Friday, 31 December 2010

Turning another page

So it does rain in the desert, it would appear :). The blindingly bright blue skies have disappeared for a bit and rolling thunder heads have blanketed the world in a deep grey. We are almost exactly halfway through this trip, and almost through with another year. This has been a somewhat odd one :).

For one thing I've had the most fun ever travelling while on office time :). And somewhat unexpectedly so, seeing how the last ten months in and out of Oslo have been strung together by a fortuitous (and sometimes not so fortuitous) series of coincidences. It was almost as if I hung around another year for no particular reason, but had some fun in the bargain...

I'm beginning to lose my sense of time a little. On the one hand it feels like it was hardly any time back that we were blasting down the highway to Key West. On the other, so much seems to have happened since! Road-trips, snowboarding weekends! The drama with the lost wallet =)). Oh dear, this is beginning to feel all too familiar.

Things I wish hadn't happened, happened anyway, and left some of us a little different. Or a lot. I'm still no good at saying the right thing. But at least sometimes it's enough to just be.

And a lot of time spent in hyperspace :). I'm glad I've started reading a little more these days. I think I have anyway, it's hard to keep track, the way I keep weaving in and out of books. But like they say, there's always so much more, just waiting. I think at this point the only non-optimal for travel thing left in my packing is the fact that I don't have an electronic book reader. And I'm glad that is so. Somehow I can't bring myself to let go of the comforting and endearing feeling of the paperback :).

There's also been a lot of new music. I should listen to more of it!

I am looking forward to so many things in the coming months. And of course, I'm wondering what it'll be like in another four or six months. My life that is. If there's something of use I've learnt this year it would be that there's no point wondering how the last year was :). There's never quite anything to compare with, is there?

On the other side of the edge of midnight I'll be busy bringing in 2011 hard at work on the back deck. I wont be the only one, and to you lot I've got to say, this too shall pass!! :) And to everyone, wish you all a happier, brighter New Year!

Currently: waiting, wishing, hoping...
Listening to: Flunk - Play

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Ho Ho Ho!

This is usually not a good time to be on the boat :). Through the gaps in the general efforts at merriment and in-between the awesome lunch and dinner spreads and the other things we do to make the holiday season feel festive, that feeling leaks through, that we would all much rather be elsewhere.
But, the Christmas celebrations help :). This time as it turned out Santa didn't even need a false beard (or an artificial waistline :D)! I was quite happy with my gift :D. It was exactly what I wanted! Not that that was a complete coincidence... :P. But I don't think too many others would have wanted the Bill Bryson anyway :).
And in keeping with my on-board Christmas luck, our table managed to completely blow everyone else out of the water in the inaugural (and possibly only) Trident Annual Christmas 'Pub' Quiz, complete with alcohol free Budweiser and lots of photos of pubs (and presumably not alcohol-free beer) on the super size screen /:). I think it may have helped a little that the quiz-setter and I have discussed favourite music in the not too distant past ;).In the mean time I pretty much raced through the rest of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The strange thing is that the end seemed to go a little sideways when it came to the plot, but the pace stayed relentless. So I ended up screaming through the first few chapters of The Girl Who Played with Fire before running out of steam somewhat.
I think I should really start studying :-<. Maybe after the New Year. We'll see.

wondering why Guinness World Records exist
Listening to: Aerosmith - Sunshine

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Män Som Hatar Kvinnor

Looks like the snow's causing a bit of drama up in the European region. Which is a shame, imagine the kind of snowboarding that could have happened in January! And that is a shame because, contrary to all my expectations, it appears that I wont in fact be returning to Norway next break.Or at all, quite possibly. Not for office rotations anyway. Of course, there are still a lot of ifs and maybes and so forth. Still, I'm now wondering if it was an oversight to not have carried those two bags back home the last time. I wonder how long they'll remain in the narrow confines of that store room shelf in Asker.In the mean time, I've managed to get about halfway through The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (they should have kept the name Men who hate Women, like in the original Swedish, if you ask me). So far it's a pretty gripping read. You know, the kind which if you try reading in bed before you go to sleep, you end up wide awake an hour later, cursing yourself for having missed that precious hour of sleep! But the artifacts of translation remain. I'd really like to know Pippi Longstocking a little better, for instance :|.I'm quite looking forward to reading the whole trilogy, but I realised with a jolt that I hadn't anticipated the immediate future travel possibilities too well. I left the third book at home, but I'm not sure if I'm heading back there before June even!!! Oh well, such is life :-<. (I wont even go into the amount of time I'll possibly have to spend apart from my cameras...)But between the two Larssons, the Hornby and the new Samit Basu (of Simoqin fame) I picked up in Mumbai airport on the way out, I should be set on the reading front for at least a significant fraction of whatever time it takes me to get back home. Oh! And there are those last two Empire books that I am quite likely to get my hands on before long :).
Clearly, work's been not awful thus far :). That wont last too long, I know. But hey, this first week's been infinitely better than the last one!

Currently: wondering at changing fortunes and shifting futures
Listening to: Taylor Swift - Enchanted

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Bring out the tree, break out the (alcohol-free) champagne!

I'm getting that distinct feeling of déjà vu. Not the good kind :|. I'm referring here to how progressive crew changes to and from Angola got increasingly difficult :S. In fact, this crew change marked two years since the first one in Luanda, to the day. This time getting to the Red Sea was not outright awful though. Barring the no camera thing, obviously. The day spent on the crew boat in pretty bumpy weather was good in a way. I managed to sleep for about 15 hours and was in reasonable shape by the time the Trident showed up this side of the horizon. I'd had barely 3 hours the previous night to clean up in Jeddah in absolutely the hugest, fanciest hotel suite I've ever been in! Oh the irony :|.The bad thing was that my flight out of Cal got delayed a solid three hours, and all my plans of meeting up with people in Bombay were shot through the head :(. But there might be other unexpected opportunities on that front before too long. We shall see.
On the other hand, the good thing was that some people managed to get their cameras through to the boat! (Of course, if I were to think that I could easily have slipped in my IXUS, then that's not such a good thing, but I'm trying to be positive.) So I've got some choice of equipment to use while on the boat. Hence the photos :).My boss very kindly offered his slightly old Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ8. It's not bad actually. One of those super-zooms. Only trouble is the rather pedestrian 36mm low end. But I'm not going to complain. We even had a laugh when someone joked that my 450D seemed to have shrunk to get past immigration :). I must say though, once you are used to the SLR, the awkward in-between-ness of the compact super-zoom can never feel right :-<. Be that as it may, I'm here, back in the Red Sea. A bit further south this time, and quite close to the coast. And the weather's perfect. Cool enough that I can actually step out-doors with the camera without an instantly fogged lens :). Let's hope the trip goes by in reasonable peace.

Currently: settling down for the watery year end
Listening to: Taylor Swift - Back to December

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Memories beyond memory


I obviously don't remember that one being taken! It was quite a surprise when it landed up in my inbox! The subsequent hunt through over-crowded drawers past years of accumulated stuff caused a bit of an avalanche of old photographs in 'hard copy' :).I wish there was some way I could tell what the subjects were thinking in some of those photographs. The expressions are often priceless :D.

And out of the lot you could tell which ones were mine. It appears my habit of ignoring people and clicking just about everything else is an old one :P.

Right, on to another turn of the desert then.

Currently: in an enormously good mood :D
Listening to: Milosh - World

Friday, 10 December 2010

De-lensing life

This break was going quite well. Till yesterday that is. I shall come back to that later, but first, other things. Turns out I'll be flying out Sunday, and through Bombay for the first time in a fair while! Years even, I think. (That is not counting the times I've flown to Bombay, of course.) And I have a long stop-over!
When I explained to a friend that it was only about 4 hours of actual free time, he wasn't amused, but that's the only time I have in that city in the foreseeable future, so I'm hoping to make the most of it. Return that book, for one thing! The Pullman I borrowed in January :).

Speaking of books, I am officially finished with my (now almost two year long) chronological Asimov run-through :D. There were a lot of other books in between, and I had to skip two of the three Empire books as I never managed to get them. But the rest, Robots, one Empire and Foundation are done! Finished the last Foundation book last night. I'm still in a sort of afterglow :). It's a shame he didn't write those two more pre/sequels to fill in some of the larger chronological gaps.

I get the distinct feeling though that, contrary to my previous belief, I may have never actually read Foundation and Earth. Or maybe I did, but the only thing I seemed to recall was a vague notion of the ending. Which is strange, as I remember the rest of the books in somewhat better detail.

Anyhow, seeing that the remaining Empire books await my return to Connecticut, I am for now, Sci-Fi free for a little bit :). As I mentioned before, got a hopelessly overpriced copy of Juliet, Naked from Norway. And on my visit to the book-store under the escalator here I picked up Larsson's trilogy. I've heard good things about it!

Oh but wait, I do have a couple of other unread Asimovs lying about somewhere.... hmm :).

Then yesterday I got my new updated joining instructions for KSA this time, and the bomb dropped. Apparently we're travelling through some port this time that makes it illegal to carry cameras across the border and confiscates any that are found!! X-(((((

I thought about carrying a sacrificial piece, just in case it could be slipped through. But the potential hassles, not limited to the mere loss of the camera, make it far from worthwhile :(. And the resultant alternative? Camera-less existence for a minimum of 5 weeks, and quite possibly much more, depending on what happens after. Then again, that 'what happens after' is at this point, such a foggy business, I'll just leave it be for now.
Bottom-line, these are probably the last pics from me for a while :-<.

Currently: fairly distraught about the imminent lack of photographic equipment in life =((
Listening to: Maps - Die happy, die smiling

Friday, 3 December 2010

A shot in the dark

Every time there's a chance I'm leaving somewhere for good, I get these slight pangs of sadness. It's not even straight up sadness. More like two-thirds a rather misplaced sadness with a quarter something akin to regret and the remainder made up of varying amounts of relief and other such incongruous stuff.
Yes, the sadness is mostly caused by the faces we'll never see again. But not entirely. There's a little bit of it solely reserved for the empty street corners. And heated foot-paths. And quiet walks down to still, sometimes partly-frozen lakes.
And that sound through the silence as I float down some frozen hill-side. (Have I ever mentioned how snow seems to act as an acoustic damper?)
Need I have clarified that this only applies to places I've actually had some chance to acquaint myself with? Oh!! I finally managed to grab a copy of Juliet, Naked on a random walk through the mall before I left Asker :).
However, there was not even the faintest hint of sadness or regret when I exited the airport at Kolkata to find the temperature a beautiful 17 °C! Yes, that's right, positive, and quite cold for here! A 30+ degree jump again, but at least this time it went the right way :).
For several reasons I hope I don't end up back in Norway come the new year. But there are a couple that keep me from being too unhappy, knowing that that hope is all but futile.Currently: warmer :)
Listening to: Maps - Valium in the sunshine

Monday, 29 November 2010

Magic white powder!

And just like that, the whole current state of life improved vastly over one week. Having heard that the ski slopes were finally open for this season, (and with more and more people landing up here who I could drag along with me :D) I did a bit of further research to ensure we didn't find ourselves shivering in the cold wind with no snow covered slopes to slide down :S.Wednesday night was quite cold, at -10 C. It was also quite windy. No matter, armed with our unlimited runs passes we started off :D. It was good. I was very very impressed with the lack of persistent aches and pains by the end of the night. At least for me :). But having been down that slope in Tryvann three years running, it was beginning to get a bit boring.

And that's when the weekend plan was hatched: another skiing weekend! This time at Hemsedal! The rest of the week seemed to barely creep by till Friday afternoon, and then off we went!
Having seen the scale of Trysil last winter, I wasn't too surprised by the gorgeous lit up slopes when we arrived there, but I was definitely quite in awe of the cabin we'd managed to rent :D.What followed was quite simply bliss :). And of course frozen finger and toe tips. And huge steaming cups of hot chocolate. And the occasional stopped chair-lift, mid air, with the wind howling (brrrrr).Also, home cooked dinners and breakfasts. More hot cocoa and marshmallows. Sleepy conversations. Serious straight hair discussions /:). Miles and miles of brilliant slopes.By the end of it I'd probably managed my longest set of fall free runs down long slopes. And then I decided to go for one more :D. Collected more falls than the whole weekend put together, and then called it a day.Never-ending trails of tail-lights. Driving snow. Pizza. Random soundtracks.By the time we were back in Asker it had easily been the best weekend in a long long time. And I still have my wallet :P.Currently: regretting leaving all this snow behind in another day
Listening to: Eagle Eye Cherry - Save tonight