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Speak your mind! Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter.
9th-Jun-2013 08:15 am - Roller luggage
crow's reality

I have now tried travelling with a luggage on wheels, a whatyacall it? A rolling bag? I have no idea. I borrowed it from a friend. It's big and hardcase and weighs almost as much as my backpack when full.

Anyhow, the verdict is in: big well-balanced backpacks are still the undisputed king.

Roller bags are just as cumbersome as I imagined, snagging and wobbling and forcing you to shorten your stride so your heels won't hit it, while a good backpack... Contented sigh... With a good backpack you can bloody climb Mt Everest unhindered. A train station is infant's play. Hopping fences to take shortcuts over a lawn to said train station is child's play. And ascending stair cases is no harder than walking uphill.

Plus, you get strong legs as opposed to roller bags which will just give you a sprained arm and shoulder.

Yes, backpacks are king.

24th-Feb-2013 01:03 pm - Tv Tropes
snow, Nico
Been reading TV Tropes for own amusement inbetween studying. Lovely things, many laughs.

Came to the fanfic recommendation pages by chance. Found that one of my Wheel of Time fanfics is on the recommendation list.

Feel honoured.

In other news, have the last few days been home sick. Which is a big event, since I don't get sick. Truly. I can still count on five fingers the times I've been sick with fever since I was twelve years old, and one of those times was appendicitis. (Problem is, next time, I'll have to start using both hands. Damn it.)

I don't like being sick. In some ways it doesn't bother me as much as it would have a few years ago, since I spent the last year working in hospital, of which the last week surrounded by terminal cancer patients... and my own sickness seems insignificant in comparison. But I still don't like it. I still feel like there's something wrong with the world when I get ill.

Lucky TV Tropes is there to cheer me up.

And my study books, of course, always making sure I have plenty to do that doesn't require leaving the sofa.
30th-May-2012 09:09 pm - Clean house!
snow, Nico

Exams are coming up again. Looming. Threatening. On the horizon and closing.

So naturally, I figure my bathroom needs a scrubbing.

Ah, logic.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

27th-Aug-2011 06:02 am - My dog has returned
snow, Nico

I found him whining on the porch. He's tired - he has already curled up and gone to sleep - but unharmed. Damn dog. Hasn't even asked forgiveness for running off and making me worry. I should ground him and make him do the dishes for a week.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

26th-Aug-2011 11:36 pm - My dog just ran away...
snow, Nico

And I'm sitting in my summer cottage feeling lonely for the first time in years. Nico is... Always with me.

But not, not since two hours ago. We were out bicycling. Suddenly he veered 90 degrees and disappeared into the great forests of northern Sweden. Just like that. Just... Gone.

I called my family, called the cops to report him missing, called my aunt the local veterinarian, called his breeder...

I searched for an hour near where he took off, but it was no use. He's fast, I can't tell which way he went, it's grown dark, and there's 5 km or more of forest in any direction. I whistled and called and commanded and could hardly believe when he didn't respond. He... Always comes when called for. Always.

There's still a faint smell of dog from the carpet beneath my sofa. A faint smell of Nico.

The house is so very empty.

At first I felt... Resigned. I realised that he was gone and there was nothing I could do about it. Once I reached the house again, it hit me how very lonely it was. How... He's actually gone. I hope he returns.

I hope he returns, before the scent of dog leaves the carpet.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

10th-Apr-2011 08:25 am - Journalists and the "catchy phrase"
snow, Nico

Listened to radio. Have thought recently that I'm not updated enough with world events and tried to increase my radio time. Reports and documentaries and news, those days I find the time, but all it does is iritate me.

See, while news are news, the documentaries are so politically-idealistically coloured that I could bottle them and sell them as nail polish. The third-world documentaries nowadays seems to want to paint the world in black and white and spread these "truths" to the entire radio-listening nation.

What made me mad this time was a specific "catchy phrase". Journalists like catchy phrases, and no wonder, since they're an excellent way to catch someone's attention. Apparently the journalists responsible this time fell in love with the line "the economic injustice of the world is growing". It sounded a little more catchy in Swedish, and the response they were going for was likely "gasp! Oh, the horror!"

Only thing is, they've built a documentary around that phrase without making it fit. A high school student turning in an essay where the entire text is guided to a pre-constructed conclusion that doesn't fit it would have been called down, and here we have documentaries on national radio getting away with it?!

Their own conclusion at the end of the show was that the world's middle class was growing. Now, personally, if you don't count the planet-running-out-of-resources problem which is another matter altogether, I can't see why this is a bad and horrible thing. Large portions of the world's poorest populations have struggled their way to a better life as an economic middle class. Be happy for them. Yes, many are still poor. And I suppose it's "injust" that not ALL the world's poor could make the jump to middle class in one go. But come on, be realistic. You have to start somewhere, and this is a move in the right direction.

But how, how, how, can you put an equals sign between "growing middle class" and "growing economic injustice"? How can you take something that is an improvement for so many, and name it something dreadful, just to swing your catchy phrase about with maximum force?

The "injustice" that these idealist journalists usually rave about is the grand gulf between the unbelievably wealthy and the unbelievably poor. I can't say I'm fond of that gulf myself, but while the idealists seem to think it necessary to pull all the wealthy down (and crush anyone who holds any sort of power...) I prefer to see the poorest lifted up, and I don't think that squashing the rich would accomplish it.

But perhaps, if your view of the world classes "wealth" as the greatest evil of the modern age, a growing middle class is a bad thing.

While I would say, rejoice for the growing middle class, for the poor families whose circumstances have improved. That's a sign that it's possible, now, for the poorest to live a better life. Not a reason to "gasp! Oh, the horror!"

The thing that really bugs me is the knowledge that most listeners will remember the catchy phrase and consider it holy truth, without pausing to consider if the rest of the program agreed with it.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

4th-Apr-2011 01:44 pm - Bacteriology!
snow, Nico

After anatomy and physiology is done, med school moves on to bacteriology. Yay! When we had bacteriology in Veterinary school in Oslo, I loved it. I learned a lot. So this will be an easy review for me, and that's always pleasant.

Hmph. We had a good term, slightly more, of bacteriology (and virology, parasitology...) in Vet school, but in Med school we make due with half a term? Feels as if doctors learn less of infectious diseases and pathogens than do veterinarians. Shameful.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

3rd-Apr-2011 11:07 pm - Ex-boyfriend and the matter of "GO!"
snow, Nico

I've been living with a guy for the past eight months; one of those quick-blooming relationships that doesn't deserve more time than has already been spent on it. A good enough guy at first glance; we share interests for board games and fantasy litterature, for culture, religion, and cooking. An intellectual with a good heart and decent-looking. Martial arts practitioner. And a med student, like me. Only as the months pass, things come out... He's been out of the university for over a year, over two years, I still don't know exactly how long, and though he always says he's just about to jump back in, nothing's happening. He can't face taking the exams he's missed, says he's afraid, so he has put it off indefinitely.

Right, I think. If you're not a student for some period of time, you get yourself a job. You find some way to earn your keep until you're ready to resume your studies. Then you take two weeks off to study at the end of it and pass that examination you missed the last time. Only he hasn't. He's living off social services and his mother. When social services told him to take a job, even arranged a part-time job with afternoons off to study, he wrote himself up as sick because of "stress". In my eyes he has no right to call himself a student while he's not signed on to a study course, but he believes he remains a student and he has no intentions of admitting different, especially not to himself. Oh, he does study, for an hour or two every day. The rest of the time he flees into computer gaming or internetting. He does call the people responsible for the courses he's missed and book examination dates, but he always backs out of them just before.

He's depressed, and like many depressed people he's unable to drag himself out of it. So forget studying for awhile, I say. Get a job or go do volunteerwork in Africa or whatever. Just get away from the stress and exam-fear until you've gotten your feet beneath you. Come back to it when you feel ready. But "he's a med student, he doesn't have time to work, he needs to study".

My conclusion: there's just no go in him. No action potential. No ability to do something about a bad situation. No one has taught him that the harsh reality of life is that in the end, you have to save yourself. The world doesn't care if you make it or not; the world won't hand you success on a platter for whining loud enough. You have to spit your hands and do the work to achieve anything. You have to walk, to get anywhere. You have to actually take the examination in order to bloody pass it!

Which naturally I've told him, again and again. I've done my best to act therapist and support, but no matter what I say, still... Nothing changes. I wasn't doing any good. And I was losing my respect for him, layer by layer; and that is not compatible with having a healthy relationship.

I broke things off about seven-eight weeks ago. Told him I thought he needed someone "more sympathetic" than I am. A sort of half-truth.

We spoke of it again yesterday, me just repeating earlier reasons for the break-up, him at once defensive. He shoved the mention of our relationship away, saying I wasn't "physical" enough for him anyway. And I'm generally an at-arm's-length sort of person, but that usually doesn't apply to boyfriends. Except, it has with him. Looking back, I think it's because I found him needy. Someone looking at me with puppy-eyes and craving my touch (and comfort) doesn't exactly send shivers of desire up my spine. Instead it just annoys me.

I do have a tendancy to mother others if I find it merited, but such people don't score highly on my attractive-list. I need someone who can stand on his own, and who can stand up to me. Because otherwise I'll likely end up having the poor guy for breakfast, and in the mean time he'll be unhappy because he finds me cold and I'll be annoyed that there's no "GO!" in him.

A relationship that ended as abruptly as it began. Unfortunately we still share livingspace, at least up until summer. Which is its own breed of unpleasant, as I have no respect for people who don't try, who just sit down and give up, and I am constantly biting my own tongue to keep from saying something mean. Which makes me cranky, since I don't like to be mean, even if I have the capacity. While he skulks about, likely still upset (?) that I broke things off and growing even more depressed.

And he takes it out on my dog. He's not cruel to Nico - he just tells Nico to go away whenever Nico comes near, seeking company. As Nico is a shepherd dog who is sensitive to the moods of "his" people, you see him sort of shrinking in on himself each time. I think he's jealous of the dog, since I apparently love the dog more than I do him.

Meanwhile, my own studies are going well. As always I feel I don't study enough and as always I somehow pass my examinations anyway. But things are picking up speed and what's in front of me now is an 8:15-17:00 schedule, which isn't compatible with having a dog. I can make it home on lunches to take dog out, barely. Which I'll have to do. For ex-boyfriend, who is home all day doing nothing, doesn't want to help me.

So now we get to add "acts like a petulent child" to his list of offences.

The sooner Nico and I move out, the better. Our next home is already arranged: about 500m away from the university. Will make things easier. Will also be cheaper.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

12th-Feb-2011 11:12 pm - Eagerly awaited...
snow, Nico
1st March
Patrick Rothfuss, "Wise Man's Fear"

Premiere for HBO's "Game of Thrones"

19th April
Joseph Delaney, "Rage of the Fallen"

26th July
Jim Butcher, "Ghost Story"

March 2012..?
Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, "A Memory of Light"

Unknown but hopeful..!
George RR Martin, "A Dance with Dragons"
Scott Lynch, "Republic of Thieves"
"The Hobbit" movie

Can't think of any more right now, will add them if I come up with any.

In other news, my reading nowadays is audiobook only, mostly while out walking dog. Otherwise I am busy studying.
6th-Dec-2010 06:37 pm - Inside the Game of Thrones
snow, Nico
I love A Song of Ice and Fire books, because of their complexity and grittyness and the characters, and this has me bouncing on my seat. HBO might actually make this work!

April can't come soon enough.

4th-Nov-2010 09:01 pm - Finished "Towers of Midnight"
snow, Nico
Finished listening to the audioversion of "Towers of Midnight".Damn audiobook takes a lot longer than normal reading, but such was my luck, when book wouldn't be delivered up here to the End of the World before today even though the book was released on tuesday...

Loved a couple of scenes, others felt bland. Over all, I enjoyed it. But much to absorb, need to reread and take it all in before I can make up my mind if I liked the book or not.

Much to think about. Much to worry for while waiting for the final book.

And maybe this will set me in a mood to finally finish some fanfiction. I've been falling away from that, too much "real life" to deal with.

(And it's NaNoWriMo too, and I'm not joining this year either.)

Alas, no. Must return to studies now. Examination in 20 days. Oh joy.
snow, Nico
This, you've gotto see. I am not kidding. This completely redefines what is humanly possible.

I mean, Legolas? Eat your heart out. Spiderman? Same to you. Batman, you're not even in the running. James Bond can get lost, too.

I want to be able to do that. Sort of. Aside from the jumping down from buildings part, that just looks scary.
5th-Oct-2010 06:24 pm - Leonard Cohen in Stuttgart
snow, Nico
Went to Stuttgart with my father to see the Leonard Cohen concert. Since I missed him when he came to Scandinavia (in the beginning of August, the day(s) before my pharmacology/toxicology examination) I thought I'd go see him before he leaves Europe. Who knows if he'll ever return? After all, he's 76 years old. And he's been my favourite poet-artist for ten years. And he's been high in dad's favour, too... so when dad heard "Stuttgart" and thought "Mercedes-Benz museum, too!" he agreed to come along.

Anyhow, a lot of Visa-card usage later, the journey was booked and all lights were green and go.

Mercedes-Benz museum? Nice enought. I liked the look into culture and history, and how people thought when the first cars came along... even if walking through the hallways of motorist-porno (ie lots and lots of shiny old and new cars...) was, if pleasant, not a top-ten moment. (I suspect that my car neuron is not strongly enough connected to my drool neuron. Must be a manufacturer's flaw.)

And the concert?

It was nice to hear all the songs. It was nice to "have seen" Leonard Cohen "for real". The band and background singers were excellent, the performance ran smoothly, and the scene changed colour with the music, which was a nice touch.

But the performance felt impersonal. He came onto stage and played and only after the second song did he say a few words to the audience, before plunging right on. He was up there doing his job... I suspect he's been on tour for too long now for it to be "unique" every time he's on stage. All these stages and crowds must blend together into a great mass, and he's up there to get through the evening's list of music.

However, he did play three new songs. I loved "The Darkness", and liked "Feels so good" and "Born in Chains". Hope they appear on an album soon.

The performance took a turn for the better after Leonard Cohen had made his thanks and farewells and left the stage, and was clapped and cheered back inside. He then played a few more songs. This was repeated thrice. (As I understand, that's happened at a lot of his concerts..?) Suddenly came a touch of humour, playing the songs "closing time" and "I tried to leave you" and "hey, that's no way to say goodbye".

Anyhows, that was my weekend. Now it's back to studies again.
snow, Nico
I found it interesting. For the past two days I've had an interest in the way muslim women view themselves. Since I don't have any around me who I can ask, I hunt around youtube and try to find something remotely trustworthy, with mixed success. This, however, was very interesting.

19th-Sep-2010 03:56 pm - Elections
crow's reality
Today is election day in Sweden. As per usual the news are full of he said-she said on everything from relevant to irrelevant. Debates are ongoing, colourful pamphlets are falling like rain, and helpful political people buzz like flies around rotten meat telling normal people what to think and on whom to vote. Some of them, to be fair, are much nicer about it than others.

Yes, I'm in a bad mood about it. Don't get me wrong. I'm very thankful to Fate for the privilege of being born in a democracy, and I'm well aware that my country is one of the better places to live. I'm glad that the entire populace, men, women, inborns, and newly-become citizens alike, are allowed to vote.

It's just the three-year-old-with-a-grudge behaviour of the different political parties that sets me off. Instead of reading in these different pamphlets about what a certain party plans to do if they are granted the reins of power, I find...

A) subjective analysis with lots and lots of go-lucky little adjectives on why the party is so very good for you. None of which appeals to me. I want facts and figures and concrete plans for the future, thank you very much, not nifty slogans and colourful papers. I'm not a baby. I'm a grown, educated, thinking individual and I don't intend to cast my vote after which party has the most aesthetically appealing pamphlet and has taken in the least of William Strunk Jr's "The Elements of Style". Happy-adjective overload does not make you my top candidate. It puts you in the appeals-to-youths-and-children category together with "Twilight" and colouring books. Treat me as a intellectual adult and I might take you seriously.

B) equally subjective analysis on why the other party is full of crap, including what the slogan of this party was in 1919 and what they did or didn't do in 1973 which was terrible, neither of which in my opinion is very relevant today considering that a party with an age pushing on 100 years is bound to have at least two bad skeletons in its closet. Come on, people. Grow up and stop arguing over who shoved who when. If you want me to vote for you, acting like a finger-pointing child is not going to earn you any credit. Pointing at the other party and saying "the world will end if they come to power" is a fright-tactic, and I don't want to think myself a person who responds to fright-tactics. These pamphlets I hardly look at before I toss them into the bin. I control my rip-to-shreds-and-burn instincts, since "burning books" and so forth, even though finger-pointing makes me grumpy.

C) smiling candidate faces which tell me that the person in question is a nice and decent person and I should definitely vote for them, oh, and by the way, here is some political detail they find extra important... again, if you want me to vote for you I'll need something more than "normal and nice person with family, car, dog, and oh, kittens are cute, too".

D) promises, promises, promises, most of which are exactly the same as during the last couple of election periods, so again, tell me; if you've held power for all this time and are still promising the same thing, and thus your promise-keeping record is somewhat low, why should I believe you this time..?

What I want to read is a sort of political manifesto. A plan. A structure. And then I want to see a history of having followed previous such plans. Unfortunately, few of the political parties out there provide such things. They go with happy-pamphlets and doom-if-you-vote-for-that-one. I suppose I could look it up on the net if I wanted to. I suppose I could listen to debates more intently and seek out the candidates in person for an interview. But to be frank, after the pamphlets, I'm already sick and tired of their information campaigns, and ten minutes into the first which-monkey-throws-most-poo-on-the-other debate I have little to no inclination to keep listening. As for talking to all the candidates, I'll do that when I'm retired and have the time. Right now I don't. There are many candidates, and most of them do not dwell in my neighbourhood.

So election day makes me grumpy. Perhaps I'm more fond of democracy in its principles than in its execution. A true democratic election relies on the ability and will of the whole populace to know what they are voting for. Most people are habitual voters, though, and don't make much effort to see what changes occur in their favourite party between elections. And others - theoretically - fall pray to either the pamphlet-of-happy or the pamphlet-of-doom tactic (I suppose these are considered successful since they keep coming, election after election).

There's been an incident this year which also makes me think about the uselessness of democracy when the knowledge condition is not fulfilled. There is a small anti-immigrant and anti-islamic party in southern Sweden which this year has had the fright-tactic in full swing, sending out a pamphlet with a picture of a major party's leader in a muslim headcloth, the implication being "a vote for this party is a vote for islam". Unfortunately this pamphlet has landed in muslim homes where the grasp on the Swedish language is lacking, and they happily trot off to vote for this anti-muslim party, thinking the party is a muslim one, based on the picture in question, as they don't understand the text. Voting assistants have then informed them of their mistake and "helped" them vote for the major party which the person in the picture represents instead... is this much better? They cast their vote on the presumption that the person they vote for is a muslim like themselves, which is a lie/misunderstanding. Should not the voting assistants inform these people of this misunderstanding? It seems unfair to me to let them vote under false presumptions.

In my opinion, this exemplifies the problem of information in a democratic system, and why I am against the world police showing up and forcing democracy on a developing nation. Tossing such a system onto a population not ready for it is useless. The basic thought of a democracy is that a person should chose how their nation is ruled, but if the population hasn't the schooling necessary to make a reasoned choice, the system becomes a mockery. I'd prefer to see educated populace then democracy, not democratic mockery then whatever. The development of a country should not be rushed. Such things take time. And we nations who police the world need to learn that "our way" isn't always the only right way.

Gah. Election day. Essentially a good thing. Still, I am wroth, read me rant. Lucky me, we have free speech in this country. So far.
24th-Aug-2010 07:58 am - Stuff.
crow's reality
First Law of Stuff:

Only when you move do you realise how much stuff you have.

Second Law of Stuff:

But if 57% of it is books, books, or book-related material, you're okay.
15th-Aug-2010 10:35 am - Dog loves his job.
snow, Nico
In case I haven't been clear, I've been working these past few months, while on my study break, as a security guard, and my dog has been working alongside me.

His part of the job is 1) finding people for me 2) making sure said people behave. He's very very good at the first part, and as for the second part... let me put it this way. Whoever tries to strike me on the job is going to end up with an arm as mangled as if they shoved it through a meat grinder. Which isn't ideal; ideal is the dog clamping down and holding tight. Instead, my dog grows angry, and after he's bitten down - and he bites hard - he shifts his grip several times, causing more damage than strictly necessary. Fortunately, most people see dog and keep their distance. Which I'm perfectly happy with. So far he's never had to bite anyone on the job... just during our many practice sessions, where the bitten party wears protective gear to minimize injuries.

Anyhow, we had a funny incident yesterday, which shows how much my dog loves his job. He was following a scent of people through a half-finished building, and finally concluded that the scent originated higher up in an elevator shaft, where a couple of workers were fastening the rails onto the shaft walls. This elevator shaft it should be noted, due to the unfinished-ness of said building, has its entrance on each floor blocked by nothing but a wooden plank and is open in both the up and the down direction. Anyhow, dog was on the scent and intended to follow it wherever it went. So he heedlessly leaps the plank and is heading into the elevator shaft -

Where the leash and my hasty grip on his hind leg catches hold of him before he falls.

Yes, dog is mad. He's a Belgian shephard, of the Laekenois type, and Belgian shephards are like that... they love to work, love tracking and following a scent, love finding people, and this isn't the first time my dog goes on a self-induced high and leaps before he looks. Thank the stars for good solid leather leashes.
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