Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Quote of the Day

Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.
- G.K. Chesterton

Monday, September 1, 2014

Quote of the Day

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.
- G. K. Chesterton

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Trip to the Norwegian west coast

Boredom took me again today, so I set out around noon, heading for the mountains of Jotunheimen (Troll's Home). I made my first stop at Vang, about 90 mins northwest of Dokka. The pictures you see underneath represent pretty much the landscape all the way to the coast; tall hillsides that could be taken for proper mountains, with the occasional waterfall cascading several hundred feet down into some fjord, usually with some impossibly green, luscious side vally somewhere in the picture. Driving from the inland valleys of the Hønefoss and Dokka areas is driving through postcard upon postcard.

View north.
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Several hundred feet of water gushing down the mountainside.
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Hillsides so tall they should be categorized as mountainsides.
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Fodnes, where you take a ferry across the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, this is the longest salt water fjord in Norway (3rd longest in the world), the 127 miles long Sognefjord. In theory there's prescious little between you and the Canadian east coast.
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The fjord continues east and north (Lustrafjord) for miles.
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This is from Fortun, just north of where the Sognefjord ends. About half way up the mountain, along winding, narrow roads, is a small layby where one can stop and take pictures.
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I tried my hand at some arty-farty b & w pics.
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These pics were taken once I reached the top of the hill and began driving across the mountain plateau. I had the wild, beautiful mountains of the Jotunheimen National Park to my right and the equally lovely Breheimen (Home of the Glacier) on my left. I can't remember what these were called, but there's tons of tops like these in Jotunheimen.
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Looking back south.
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Yet another nameless mountain.
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South or possibly west. You get dizzy trying to maintain your bearings with huge mountains all around you and a general, dispersed sunlight to boot.
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The last pictures are from Krossbu, a tourist cabin on the Oppland county side of Jotunheimen (the rest lies in Sogn og Fjordane). Here is a great view of Breheimen straight ahead with the cabin at Krossbu down on the right.
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A waterfall just after Krossbu.
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This scenery reminds me a lot of the Brooks Range in Alaska.
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Quote of the Day

It’s an incredible con job when you think of it, to believe something now in exchange for life after death. Even corporations with all their reward systems don’t try to make it posthumous.
- Gloria Steinem

Gol and Valdres

On my way back from the mountains Thursday I stopped in just outside of the small village of Gol to take some pics. Gol has tons of cabins mainly used for skiers in the winter but there's also plenty of nice views here in summer. Feast yer eyes:

The hillside looks inviting, no?
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Honey light.
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Way up in the mountainside you have great views south.
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Closer to Dokka you have Valdres, which is also a very nice area. As said in an earlier post; tall, wooded hillsides and lovely streams at the bottom is the order of the day.
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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Quote of the Day

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
- Ernest Hemingway

Hardangervidda

Here I've gathered some pictures from various parts of the Hardangervidda mountain plateau. It is the largest of its kind in Europe, and also hosts the continent's largest number of wild reindeer. The oldest rocks found up there are more than a billion years old.

This is from lake Sysenvatnet. It is a water reservoir for a power plant, and the little stream that trickles from the rocky dam joins with other streams to become the raging waters of Vøringsfossen. They actually have to let out a minimum amount of water during the tourist months so that the waterfall doesn't look all pathetic. The glacier in the back is Hardangerjøkulen, the 6th largest glacier in Norway. Areas of it was used to film "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" where it represented the ice planet Hoth.
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View from the dam (you can just see it on the extreme right of the picture) down towards Vøringsfossen and the west coast.
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Typical mountain plateau vegetation just east of the dam. The plateau is still home to tens of thousands of sheep in the summer months.
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Another mountain stream that feeds into Vøringsfossen. There are innumerable water bodies from streams and tiny ponds to fairly large lakes on the plateau.
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More from the glacier Hardangerjøkulen.
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From the eastern ends of Hardangervidda.
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Friday, August 29, 2014

Trip to Vøringsfossen

Yesterday, I took one look at the weather forecast, and seeing it was lousy for the weekend, I promptly ended my classes, downed a quick lunch and set off over the mountains towards one of Norway's greatest tourist attractions: The waterfall of Vøringsfossen. The name means something like "revered waterfall". The drop is 182 meters (597 ft) in all and the largest single drop is a vertical 148 meters (485 ft).

It is only the 83rd highest waterfall in Norway, but probably the best known and for years it has been one of the most visited attractions in the country. Big buses with mostly foreigners come from far away so that people can gawp at the water, buy very expensive touristy crap and eat overpriced waffles in the hotel cafe next door. Also, we've managed to rid the world of three eejits in the past five years; the waterfall should really be nominated for the Darwin Prize.

All pics here.

'tis a purdy sight.
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I had to put the camera on the side to capture as much of the waterfall as possible.
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The river continues on to the sea.
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This picture sadly does nothing to convey my sense of vertigo as I took it.
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It was shortly after 4PM, and the light was just beginning to get that honeylike, Nordic texture to it. With nary a cloud in the sky it was pure bliss.
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Quote of the Day

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.
- Saul Bellow

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Quote of the Day

We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until we move from the passive voice to the active voice - that is, until we have stopped saying "It got lost," and say, "I lost it."
- Sydney J. Harris

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Quote of the Day

Most of us would like to be smarter than we are, stronger than we are, richer than we are, but we don’t feel all that comfortable with people who are.
- Mickey Manfield

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Quote of the Day

The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.
- Paul Valery

Monday, August 25, 2014

Quote of the Day

The man who is brutally honest enjoys the brutality quite as much as the honesty. Possibly more.
- Richard J. Needham

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Quote of the Day

The Christian system of religion is an outrage on common sense.
- Thomas Paine

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Quote of the Day

I wouldn't exactly recommend alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, insanity - but they've always worked for me.
- Hunter S. Thompson

Friday, August 22, 2014

Quote of the Day

The reason people blame things on previous generations is that there's only one other choice.
- Doug Larson

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Quote of the Day

Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice.
- Cyril Connolly

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Quote of the Day

Politics is the conspiracy of the unproductive but organized against the productive but unorganized.
- Joseph Sobran

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Quote of the Day

We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.
- John Dryden

Monday, August 18, 2014

Quote of the Day

The reason men oppose progress is not that they hate progress, but that they love inertia.
- Elbert Hubbard

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Quote of the Day

I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars.
- Charles Darwin

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Quote of the Day

When I was a kid, I had two friends, and they were imaginary and they would only play with each other.
- Rita Rudner

Friday, August 15, 2014

Quote of the Day

In the first place God made idiots; this was for practice; then he made school boards.
- Mark Twain

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Quote of the Day

Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
- Franklin P. Jones

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Some pics from Monday

Some pics I took of lake Randsfjorden when I drove home to Dokka Monday. I gotta say, it's really nice up here in the summer.

It was blowing pretty hard, so the waves were a bit choppy.
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On the opposite side, the sun was playing hide and seek through the clouds.
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Quote of the Day

Permissiveness is the principle of treating children as if they were adults; and the tactic of making sure they never reach that stage.
- Helena Blavatsky

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Quote of the Day

While farmers generally allow one rooster for ten hens, ten men are scarcely sufficient to service one woman.
- Giovanni Boccaccio

Monday, August 11, 2014

A quick visit to Krautland

Last Monday around noon I set off from Oslo to spend a week in an apartment in Berlin. It belonged to some friends of mine, who had graciously agreed to lend it out for free (they must not know me very well). I set off and drove down Sweden and then through Denmark and reached Germany without any incident.

I stayed the night at the Ibis hotel just across the border with Denmark, ouside Flensburg. It was a very typical roadside hotel in that it was next to a gas station, was reasonably priced (at 10PM reception closed, but you could still check in via a machine) and that there was a sex shop not ten yards away from the hotel entrance. The one strange thing that befell me was that as I walked out of the gas station around midnight, having loaded up on snack and water, I was hailed by a young girl on roller skates. Apparently she was looking for a ride up through Denmark.

Tuesday morning I set off for Berlin, and I was actually in a fairly good mood as I entered the city. The heavens opened up as I started navigating the streets, but I managed to reach my destination in one piece. I parked on the street, grabbed my bags and hauled them up to the fifth floor apartment (narrowly escaping a heart attack) and then went to put money on the meter. And then hell commenced.

First, the center of Berlin has no free parking, absolutely everywhere is a payment zone with the same exact ticket machines. I quickly resigned to this, and was ready to fork over the 13 Euros (appx $17) it would cost me per day to stay in town. But, these machines would not accept my VISA card, nor my mastercard. I had no Euro coins on my person.

Cursing the poor state of German technology, I went to ask a policeman what to do, thinking that in such an advanced nation as Germany, any local representative of official Krautdom must surely be able to communicate with me in English. No luck. He pointed to the machines, but when I said it didn't accept my cards, he only shrugged. Thankfully, a random guy on the street overheard the feeble attempt at a conversation and was able to direct me to a place where I could withdraw Euros; the local post office.

I ran around the block (which was effin huge btw) and got out 250 Euros in paper money and went back to try and change some of it into coins. Just before the last corner, a disgusting little man who would not look out of place in a Gestapo uniform, came from the other direction. He was carrying a small apparatus that looked suspiciously like the ones traffic wardens in Norway have started to use to write out tickets with.

I approached him wearily, and as I suspected he spoke no English. I was able to ask him if he had ticketed my Norwegian car, feeling fairly certain that I could explain that I was coming back from taking out Euros and therefore was not to blame for the car's lack of a permit.

He answered, in German, that he had indeed ticketed me, and then proceeded to explain why. First, I did not have some sort of environmental sticker on my car, which apparently all cars of a certain age or model needed to have to drive in central Berlin. There was nothing, absolutely nothing about this on any signs along the main roads into town, at least not in English.

Secondly, and it was this that made me blow my lid, I had parked in the wrong direction.

Let that one sink in for a minute.

I... had... parked... in... the... wrong... direction...

This is the kind of insane attention to absurd rules and regulations that allow a nation to build BMWs and concentration camps. My opinion of Krauts and Krautland should by now be well known to most regular readers (both of you), and this was the final, fascist straw that broke this poor camel's back. I thanked him politely through gritted teeth, went to the car to find a ticket which consisted of two small, tightly written pages in German - not a word of English - climbed the stairs again, retrieved my bags and got the hell outta Berlin. I swore a holy oath never to return to that horrible country ever again, and I intend to keep it.

We bombed these fascist fucks back to the stone age not 70 years ago, I'd like to think primarily so that I wouldn't have to deal with the German language in our day and age. We fought a war; English won. Even here in potatoland Norway, we post signs in English along every road into Oslo about the fee you need to pay for driving with studded tires in the winter. And we were on the winning team.

Any country which has supposedly been an ally of America for nearly 70 years, but where its officials still speak no English, yet insist on giving tickets for completely absurd reasons to foreigners, can go fuck themselves, in the ass, with a blunt object. Meanwhile, I shall plan all my future holidays around Germany - literally.

Quote of the Day

Those who welcome death have only tried it from the ears up.
- Wilson Mizner

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Quote of the Day

Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world which we have developed inside us as a result of biological and psychological necessities.
- Sigmund Freud

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Quote of the Day

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
- Mark Twain

Pics from Denmark

I had a quick, aborted trip to Krautland earlier this week (more about that in a later post) and I took some pics on the way there, driving through Denmark.

Lovely skies in the evening.
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Notice the cloud pattern, it's almost like a heavenly Giant's Causeway.
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Ish phunnee. ("Fart" means speed in the Scandiavian languages.)
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Here's why I love the Danes and hold them as my favoritestest people in the world (alongside the Americans and the British): They have a smiley system for roadworks. This one started with a sad smiley at 10 km and ended with a happy face and "god tur" (have a good trip).
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Friday, August 8, 2014

Quote of the Day

I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
- Bill Cosby

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Quote of the Day

Artists can color the sky red because they know it's blue. Those of us who aren't artists must color things the way they are or people might think we're stupid.
- Jules Feiffer

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Quote of the Day

Leaders keep their eyes on the horizon, not just on the bottom line.
- Warren G. Bennis

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Quote of the Day

No sane man will dance.
- Cicero

Monday, August 4, 2014

Quote of the Day

Art is long, life short; judgement difficult, opportunity transient.
- Goethe

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Quote of the Day

Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.
- Mark Twain