31 October 2008

Looking for my Leppard...

Well after about 3 weeks of near continuous goodbye parties including one that went on until 5.30am, our good friends, Chris and Christina have left for Canada.

Its a great shame to see them go, but what can you say. People move on.

In the mean time - just to remind us why we will miss them
Movie 1 - from the Bookcliffs about 6 years ago - rather sureal
Movie 2 - more of them same
Movie 3 - made for Christina's hen party

And nothing really to do with them but mildly topical...

Guess we'll just have to head out to Calgary and see them.

Friday Joke - it's an engineering thing

Not too many posts at the moment, super busy at work. Here is the friday joke anyway, this week courtesy of the Gregenator...

Understanding Engineers - Take One
The graduate with a science degree asks, 'Why does it work?'
The graduate with an engineering degree asks, 'How does it work?'
The graduate with an accounting degree asks, 'How much will it cost to make it work?'
The graduate with an arts degree asks, 'Do you want fries with that?'

Understanding Engineers - Take Two
To the optimist, the glass is half full.To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

Understanding Engineers -Take Three
'What is the difference between mechanical engineers and civil engineers?Mechanical engineers build weapons and civil engineers build targets.

Understanding Engineers - Take Four
Two engineering students were walking across a university campus when one said, 'Where did you get such a great bike?' The second engineer replied, 'Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, 'Take what you want.' The second engineer nodded approvingly and said, 'Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fitted you anyway.

Understanding Engineers - Take Five
Three engineering students were gathered together discussing the possible designers of the human body.One said, 'It was a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints.'Another said, 'No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system has many thousands of electrical connections.'The last one said, 'No, actually it had to have been a civil engineer.Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?'

Understanding Engineers - Take Six
Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

And finally my favorite...
Understanding Engineers - Take Seven
An engineer was crossing a road one day, when a frog called out to him and said, 'If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess.'
He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.
The frog spoke up again and said, 'If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week.'
The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned It to the pocket.
The frog then cried out, 'If you kiss me and turn me back into a Princess, I'll stay with you for one week and do ANYTHING you want.'
Again, the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.
Finally, the frog asked, I've told you I'm a beautiful princess and that I'll stay with you for one week and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?'
The engineer said, 'Look, I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that's cool.'

30 October 2008

Winter is coming

After the mad storms of last week it has got clear and cold with amazing blue skys. The first ice was on the fjord outside the lair this morning, it was really pretty with the last of the autumn colours in the trees and the bright sunlight shinning off the ice

Winter is defiantly coming and it is interesting to watch peoples reaction to this, somewhat inevitable fact. They seem to fall into 2 groups:

The first group are depressed by the idea, to them it is getting darker and colder, snow is a hassle and they yearn for the summer, they look very sad all the time...

Group two are getting excited, winter means skiing, boarding and ice climbing. We just need to get through November and then the proper winter fun starts.

I am definately part of group 2... Bring on the white stuff!

29 October 2008


Bergen International Film Festival has just finished. An amazing collection of films in a one week period. Didn't get to see too many but Man on Wire and "When did you last see your father?" were both excellent.

Next year its in Stavanger, I am wondering if StIFF will have a more adult theme?

26 October 2008

Stuck on Sotra with three Filipino girls...

The weather last week and into the weekend has been getting progressively wilder, brewing up to a big storm, the surf at Stadt this weekend was 25 ft - I opted to stay at home!

We were out on Friday evening, one of those spontaneous nights when the correct people turn up and it develops into an unplanned large one. Consequently was not feeling super sharp on Saturday. But it's the party season - so its' not like we are missing out on anything anyway.

Saturday lunch time and the weather was getting really foul. We popped in to town to collect Vench, a small Filipino girl who had offered to come out to the lair once a month and give it a quick blast on the cleaning front.

When we arrived to collect her, one had become three, all very small and giggling a lot. They seemed fairly oblivious to the high winds and pouring rain and keen to get to work. We piled them into the back of the car and drove out to Sotra. While they started cleaning I got on with some work. All the time the rain was lashing against the window and the house was shaking in the wind.

Then I noticed out of the window that the traffic towards the bridge was backed up. Not a good sign. A quick look on the net told me that the Sotra Bridge was shut due to high winds! The Sotra Bridge was built in 1972 and is 1236 m long with a span of almost 500 m. Its the 74th longest bridge in the World - not bad for a road that connects a small island with a population of 25,000 with a small town with a population of 250,000! When all the oil money has run out at least this country will have an impressive collection of bridges and tunnels!

Anyway the bridge was shut because the wind was over 25 m/s which is about 54 mph (90 km/h) - fairly windy and apparently that is only the 15th time its ever had to be closed. Not much of a conciliation to the three girls who were now stuck there. They actually didn't seem very bothered as they had by this time finished their chores and were drinking tea. They then magically produce a cake from somewhere and we had an impromptu party, which was entertaining and amusing since they didn't really speak too much English.

So the next challange was how to get them back to the mainland. Contemplated the boat but a look out the window suggested that would be a short cut to a Darwin award. Eventually it was Katharine to the rescue, she had found out that the bridge had reopened to some traffic and the police were busy stopping people with ski boxes! So we made an escape - the girls to go home and us to the Leppards leaving party.

24 October 2008

This weeks friday joke - The difference between men and women

Some differences between men and women
If Laura, Kate and Sarah go out for lunch, they will call each other Laura, Kate and Sarah .
If Mike, Dave and John go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Godzilla and Four-eyes.
When the bill arrives, Mike, Dave and John will each throw in £20, even though it's only for £32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back.
When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.
A man will pay £2 for a £1 item he needs.
A woman will pay £1 for a £2 item that she doesn't need but it's on sale.
A man has six items in his bathroom: toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel from M&S.
The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify more than 20 of these items.
A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.
A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, but she does.
A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the bins, answer the phone, read a book, and get the post.
A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.

And finally my favorite....
A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favourite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams.
A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in his house.

20 October 2008

Autumn in Bergen

Winter is definitely on the way, its now dark when I get up and the rain has arrived big style.

The autumn colours are amazing. I am not sure if I haven’t noticed them in previous years or if they are especially vivid this year. Either way it's spectacular.

Last week was pretty mad at work - both jobs!

Went to the October Fest in CIPR on friday then picked up the boat on Saturday. The weather was pretty grim and I was the only boat out on the water - it was fun, if a bit wet and cold. Felt good to be outside. Then saturday evening we had the Leps around for food - they are heading to Canada in two weeks, it will be sad to see them go.

Sunday we cleared up after the party and went for a walk up Gullfjell which was pretty wet but again good to get out and get some exercise. Have spent far too long sat at my desk recently.

12 October 2008

Ten things to do on a weekend in Wales

Just been back in Britian for the weekend to catch up with family and friends. Also visited Antony Gormley's Another Place on Crosby beach which was great.

Whilst there we realised that there's certain things that have to be done on a weekend back in the old country - here, in no particular order is the top ten:
1. Eat fish and chips on the sea front.
2. Go to a country pub and drink a good pint of bitter.
3. Have a decent curry.
4. Go to a supermarket and fill a suitcase with 20 kg of good veggie food.
5. Visit an art exhibition/installation.
6. Buy some sandwiches in a garage that are not made with plain white bread and do not contain putrid sliced ham.
7. Drive at 80 mph (140 km/h) and travel at the same speed as the rest of the traffic.
8. Hold a door open for a random stranger and hear them say thank you.
9. Drink gallons of tea.
10. Go to a petrol station that doesn't stink of pølser (hot dogs).

Hmmm I just realised that I am strangley obsessed with food...

10 October 2008


How To Shower Like a Woman
Take off clothes and place them sectioned in laundry basket according to lights and darks.
Walk to bathroom wearing long dressing gown.
If you see partner along the way, cover up any exposed areas.
Look at your womanly physique in the mirror - make mental note to do more sit-ups / leg-lifts, etc.
Get in the shower.
Use face cloth, arm cloth, leg cloth, long loofah, wide loofah and pumice stone.
Wash your hair once with cucumber and sage shampoo with 43 added vitamins.
Wash your hair again to make sure it's clean.
Condition your hair with grapefruit mint conditioner enhanced.
Wash your face with crushed apricot facial scrub for 10 minutes until red.
Wash entire rest of body with ginger nut and jaffa cake body wash.
Rinse conditioner off hair.
Shave armpits and legs.
Turn off shower.
Squeegee off all wet surfaces in shower.
Spray mold spots with Tile cleaner.
Get out of shower.
Dry with towel the size of a small country.
Wrap hair in super absorbent towel.
Return to bedroom wearing long dressing gown and towel on head.
If you see partner along the way, cover up any exposed areas.

How To Shower Like a Man
Take off clothes while sitting on the edge of the bed and leave them in a pile.
Walk naked to the bathroom.
If you see partner along the way, shake willy at her making the'woo-woo'sound.
Look at your manly physique in the mirror.
Admire the size of your willy and scratch your bum.
Get in the shower. wash your face.
Wash your armpits.
Blow your nose in your hands and let the water rinse them off.
Fart and laugh at how loud it sounds in the shower.
Spend majority of time washing privates and surrounding area.
Wash your bum, leaving those coarse bum hairs stuck on the soap.
Wash your hair.
Make a Shampoo Mohican
Rinse off and get out of shower.
Partially dry off.
Fail to notice water on floor because curtain was hanging out of bath the whole time.
Admire willy size in mirror again.
Leave shower curtain open, wet mat on floor, light and fan on.
Return to bedroom with towel around waist.
If you pass partner, pull off towel, shake willy at her and make the'woo-woo' sound again.
Throw wet towel on bed.

Not mine but still pretty funny

09 October 2008

The BBC goes to eleven

I just noticed that the media player on the BBC website goes to 11. If you don't believe me click here, don't worry about the content just click on the volume slider, it goes all the way to 10 and then 1 more!


If you don't understand why that is so brilliant you need to click here

PC Britian gone mentally disadvantaged

Great news item on the BBC website in which the Students Union in Manchester Uni are changing some of the toilets from Gents and Ladies to toilets with- and toilets without-urinals. They are doing this because they are concerned that people who's sexuality does not fit into one of those two, fairly common, categories may be disadvantaged...

Fantastic! I didn't realize British students still had this much time to waste! I thought that since the introduction of loans and the demise of the grant system they were all way to busy studying hard and doing 2 paper-rounds and 3 bar jobs to play fruit-case politics.

Watch the video and ask yourself one question...
Do you think that the ridiculous girl with the green hair has ever laughed at anything? I mean properly laughed out loud at something ridiculous.
Probably not.

So much anger, so much angst, so little direction – its great

05 October 2008

Andrew Halliday... the fastest builder in the west!

Norwegian Builders are famous, at least amongst the expat community, for their very high prices, lack of urgency and general slackness...

So to reward their supreme efforts I have decided on... the "Oscars for Bergen’s Worst Builders", which are presented below, as always in reverse order.

Third place goes to:
The team of guys who agreed to line the outside of my basement and then rebuild the steps down to the house. One of them (not Norwegian) was very keen and worked super hard, rushing about doing all the work, while his mates either didn't show up or when they did, stood around smoking and chatting. Unfortunately, he had a family holiday booked and disappeared before the job was finished, promising that the slack bunch would be in next week to finish up and build the steps.
It should be noted that at this stage the only route to the house was down a steep gravel covered slope and I was on crutches! I was also planning a summer party and had several visitors coming from the UK who are not exactly agile. Predictably, the guys didn't show up despite repeated calling. The job was eventually completed by some mates from the UK who came over, and polished it off in a week doing a grand job.
One months later the slack crew reappared and then got angry that someone else had down the job. It then took them another 3 months to collect their tools. They finally tried to tell me I owed them money.
So they make the list, but because one of them was actually keen to work and did a good job on his part of the project they only get the brozen medal - there is better to come...

The silver medal:
Second prize goes to the builder who turned up at Mark and Tanja's house to fix the bathroom, disconnected their only toilet and then disappeared for 6 weeks summer holiday. After repeated calling he popped around with a bucket to tide them over. They have an 8 year old daughter!
Fantastic effort but still pales behind our final winner...

The gold medal for Bergen's slackest builder goes to:
A man who is in a league of his own...
Mr Andrew Halliday
After claiming to be "the fastest and cheapest carpenter in Bergen", he turned up at Katharine's place to fit some wardrobes. He only ever showed up at night and did a few hours here and there. Generally making more mess than anything else. Then he stopped showing up all together.
She called him repeatedly but he never came back. We actually thought he might have died or moved away, so I fixed some of his more immediate botches and eventually she got someone more reliable in.
Ten months (yes 10 months!) later he texted to ask, "when do you want the work finishing?"
She said that she had waited a couple of months and then got someone else to do it, at which point he got very arsey and sent her a bill for 6500 nok that was all itemised - the bill is fantastic because:
1. It is written in Norwegian despite the fact that both the contractor and the client are British - me thinks he is trying to hide something.
2. The bill includes 2 hours to remove 1 m of liste (ceiling skirting boards)
3. Four and a half hours to fit a cupboard door (the manufacturer says 2 hours)
4. One hour to fit a clothes rail
5. Half an hour to fit some liste that contains 20 nails - working out at 1.5 minutes per nail

And to just to re-iterate this is the self proclaimed "fastest and cheapest carpenter in Bergen"

So he gets our Gold Medal but the the most embarrassing thing is that he is not even Norwegian, he is a Scot!

03 October 2008

Lucky number 13

Turid was my 13th masters to finish since I arrived in Norway. You might not be superstitious but during the course of her project:
1. I broke my leg 3 days before going to the field with her on her first field season
2. Next field season I had an appendicitis after 1 day in the field with her
3. She waited 8 months for the tossers in Schlumberger to give her software training before they finally decided that they wouldn't do it
4. Seismic Exchange wanted quarter of a million dollars for some shitty old 2D data across her area. That offer was very generously discounted from $1700/mile to $1600/mile since we were academics!
5. Five different companies offered to get her the data and then didn't get around to it
6. Her exam ended up being delayed by 3 months because everyone was so busy

This poor girl has been dogged by some pretty bad luck...

But today, she had her exam and I am delighted to say that despite all her troubles she got a well deserved A!

Good job Turid and good luck

Friday Joke

Not much of interest going on at the moment - so here is a joke...

It was the Scotland vs Wales 'Rugby International' in Edinburgh , and as the crowds made their way down Princes Street towards Murrayfield, a Rottweiler suddenly lunged towards an eight year old Scottish lass, with its jaws wide open ready to attack.

The crowd nearby gasped in horror but, quick as a flash, a man jumped out of the crowd, grabbed the dog by the throat and throttled it. As the dead dog lay there, and the crowd cheered in admiration, a journalist from the Glasgow Herald who had witnessed the heroic deed, went up to the man and said.
'That was brilliant, I can see the headline now.''Welsh Rugby Fan Saves Young Girl From Certain Death.'
The man replied 'No you've got it wrong. I'm not here for the rugby!
''Don't worry' said the journalist 'I can see the headline now.'
'Welshman Saves Girl From Jaws Of Rottweiler'
The man replied 'No you're wrong again. I'm not Welsh; I'm from Berkshire .
'The journalist said 'Don't worry; I can see the headline now...

''English Bastard Strangles Family Pet’