31 August 2010

Interactive Wednesday Movie

This one is rather interesting.
Click on the link here and then don't panic when it opens lots of different windows, just leave them alone.

Then follow the instructions and be sure to enter a proper address when it asks. It is essential to the movie. If, like me on my first go, you just type in some random shit because you thinking its phishing, then the resultant movie will not make sense. Trust me on this one.
Original posted on FB by both JohnT and Lepard - two masters of the weird wide web

And for another type of fishing - check out this one sent to me by Ben - if only it was normally this easy.

I am off to Leicester tomorrow for a PhD exam on chlorite and resistivity

My garden construction project

I have had an ongoing project to fix the garden outside the house for the last 3 years, ever since it was necessary to rip out the old steps and garden to waterproof the basement. It's never really been a priority, there was always more fun stuff to do.
The timeline goes something like...
June 2007 - builders remove old garden then disappear for the summer
July 2007 - import friends from UK to rebuild steps
June 2009 - start building garden wall with my brother
May 2010 - finish garden wall
June 2010 - lay last lot of slabs
August 2010 - shovel 10 tonnes of stone into garden for drainage with help of Sandy and Helen
August 2010 - shovel 20 tonnes of earth into garden with help from no-one

Now it just needs to be planted and it will look really nice, just in time to sell the place!

This is how it looked back in 2007, just after the basement was damp proofed
The imported workers!

By the end of 2007, I at least had some steps

Then by 2009 I had a garden wall

And finally ready for some plants

27 August 2010

Man goes into a bar again...

A man walks into a bar with an ostrich and a cat and sits at the bar. The bartender walks over to them and says, "What can I get for you?"
The man says "I'll have a beer", the ostrich says, "I'll have a beer", and the cat says, "I'll have half a beer and I'm not buying."
So the bartender says, "OK, that will be £3.87."The man reaches into his pocket and brings out the exact change and pays him.
About an hour later the bartender goes back over to them and says, "What'll you guys have?"
The man says, "I'll have a beer", the ostrich says, "I'll have a beer", and the cat says "I'll have half a beer and I'm not buying."
The bartender gets them their beer and says "That'll be £3.87." The man reaches into his pocket and brings out the exact change and pays him. A couple of days later they come back into the bar and the bartender walks over and asks
"What do you guys want today?"The man says, "I'll have a scotch", the ostrich says, "I'll have a bourbon", and the cat says, "I'll have half a beer and I'm not buying."
So the bartender says "OK, that will be £7.53." The man reaches into his pocket and brings out the exact change and pays him.
The bartender's curiosity got the best of him and he asks, "Why is it that every time I tell you the amount you owe you always have the exact change in you pocket?"
The man said, "I found a bottle with a genie in it and she granted me 3 wishes. My first wish was that I always have the exact change in my pocket for anything I buy."
The bartender says, "That's a great wish...better than asking for a million dollars. A million dollars will run out but that never will. What were your other 2 wishes?"
The man says, "That's where I screwed up. I asked for a bird with long legs and a tight pussy."

25 August 2010

Wednesday Movie - From South Africa to North Wales

The "Battle of Kruger" is a home made video showing a pride of lions, two crocs and a herd of buffalo fighting for the life of a baby buffalo. Who will win?
It starts a bit slow but is well worth watching all the way through, maybe with the sound off (the people are kinda annoying). The video is here. Enjoy.

And to follow on from the recently banned Newport State of Mind* here's something from Gogledd Cymru - you ain't see Ruthin yet

* How utterly childish, humourless and insecure must Alice Kays and JayZed be to get Newport State of Mind barred from youtube? Just because someone takes their whinny, drab big apple anthem and replaces the cliched lyrics with tales of off-white transits and throwing up in the back of a taxi; they get all upitty and precious. Well lossers its gone viral so you can't stop it. In fact, you can still find it here and it's still great.

23 August 2010

More big adventures

Given that my Wife-to-be and now my child-to-be, live in another country from me it seems logical that I would, at some point in the near future move across the water to Aberdeen. It was originally planned for the end of next year and we started looking for a suitable house (or project). It was going to take something pretty special to beat the lair, especially on the view front.

So the criteria were -
1. A good view, preferably of mountains or the sea
2. Within walking distance of a nice pub (I have really missed that in Norway)
3. Within commutable distance of Aberdeen
4. A house with some character, preferably old
5. Some land

It was the last bit that created the most trouble. I grew up on a farm and have long had an inkling to have a bit of land to just do.... stuff. Preferably about 6 to 10 acres to have some donkeys, chickens, grow some veg and maybe get some llamas. So we looked at a number of places but nothing quite fitted the bill, that was fine, there was no rush.

Then we saw a place just south of Stonehaven, derelict farm up as two lots, the house and the steading (stone out buildings) each with about 2 acres. The think that blew me away, just from the photos on the internet was the position. Right on top of a cliff with an amazing sea view. We immediately went to visit and when we got there we met another couple also checking out. They were pleasant and the guy made a joke about being future neighbours. I was smiling but inside thinking "no chance, if we go for this place it will be all or nothing".

A quick check told us it was going to be popular, 13 notes of interest after the first weekend. We know we would be up against all sorts of folk, not least the developers looking to turn the whole thing into 3 or 4 houses to sell on for a tidy profit.

The Scottish house buying system is by blind bids, which means on a given day you submit your bid in an envelope and the solicitor opens them all and the highest wins. There is nothing good you can say about this ghastly system, not least because it is highly susceptible to corruption. Even without that the amount of stress of either missing slightly or bidding way over is horrible. So after lots of thinking I contacted my friend Pat in the US who specializes in "game theory and decision analysis" and asked for his advice. Armed with his wise words of wisdom we concocted a strategy. We also spoke to a variety of architects and solicitors, who gave us mixed opinions and advice.

When the final day came around we placed our bid, which was a fair way above the asking price. The advice we got from various corners was that we were bidding too much but we had decided. In our minds it was not really a question of if we would get it or not, it was how much money would we "leave on the table" and did we really want it?

The bids went in at 12 on Friday and three hours later, whilst heading up to the top of Mount Ulriken in the cable car for Sandy and Helen's wedding reception I got a call to say that we had narrowly missed out and there were two bids above us. Bugger! We consoled ourselves that we had bid our maximum and that was that. But we were both very disappointed.

Two hours later, Katharine got a call that went to voice mail to say there had been a mix up and we were in fact the winners, although this could not be confirmed until Monday. We were blown away! Despite having to wait the weekend, this was a near perfect result. We had won the auction, we had left virtually no money of the table and the brief interlude of failure had confirmed that we really did want it and we were doing the right thing.

So now we are the proud owners of a derelict farm house and steading, with four acres, one mile to a great cliff top pub that does excellent food, 15 miles south of Aberdeen, with an amazing view and loads of potential.

Now all we have to do is plan and redesign the house, fix up the barns and buy some llamas and chickens. How hard can that be?

Sandy and Helen tie the knot...

... on a mountain in a storm

This weekend we were at Sandy and Helen's wedding which started at 2pm on Friday in St Jorgens church. The interesting thing about the church is that it is not the one I thought it was! So we picked up Ross and Fiona and then spent a while driving around confused, fortunately people wandering the streets of Bergen in kilts are rare enough that we were able to home in on the right church pretty easily.

After the service we headed through horror show traffic to get the cable car up Fløyen. Last time I was in the cafe at the top of Bergen's highest mountain it served pølse and crappy pizza but it has since been renovated and turned into a rather excellent restaurant. The food was good and everyone, especially the visiting Scottish contingent loved the view. There was lots of speeches (as is traditional in these parts) and as the evening wore on the weather closed in. By the time the non-dinning guest arrived at 9pm it was a full on storm. Everyone was having to much of a good time to care that they might be stuck for the night and the band played on until after 2. We exited about 1.30 and the cable car was running at half full and quater speed! Somehow everyone managed to get home that night.

Next day we reconvened for more drinking and dancing in an old wooden warehouse in Sandviken and that party went on til 1.30. All in all they put on a fine spread and their guest, both local and from afar rose to the occasion in good fashion. I think they got a good send off...

All the best for a great life together

20 August 2010


Karmasotra has just hit a bit of a milestone. When I looked this morning it had just reached 25000 hits - thats quite a lot of people reading crap jokes, rants and the occasional piece of news.

Its being going for two and a half years and there are now almost 500 posts - thats lots of accumulated compost. had its been lots of fun writing it and reading all the comments.
So who ever you are , thanks for the support, I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you keep coming back. There is lots going to happen in the next year so there should be plenty to write about.

Friday Joke

Jack decided to go skiing with his buddy, Bob. So they loaded up Jack's minivan and headed north. After driving for a few hours, they got caught in a terrible blizzard. So they pulled into a nearby farm and asked the attractive lady who answered the door if they could spend the night. 'I realise it's terrible weather out there and I have this huge house all to myself, but I'm recently widowed,' she explained. 'I'm afraid the neighbours will talk if I let you stay in my house.' 'Don't worry,' Jack said. 'We'll be happy to sleep in the barn. If the weather breaks, we'll be gone at first light.'

The lady agreed, and the two men found their way to the barn and settled in for the night. Come morning, the weather had cleared, and they got on their way.

They enjoyed a great weekend of skiing. But about nine months later, Jack got an unexpected letter from an attorney. It took him a few minutes to figure it out, but he finally determined that it was from the attorney of that attractive widow he had met on the ski weekend. He dropped in on his friend Bob and asked, 'Bob, do you remember that good-looking widow from the farm we stayed at on our ski holiday up north about nine months ago?'
'Yes, I do' Said Bob.
'Did you, er, happen to get up in the middle of the night, go up to the house and pay her a visit?' 'Well, um, yes!' Bob said, a little embarrassed about being found out, 'I have to admit that I did.'
'And did you happen to give her my name instead of telling her your name?'
Bob's face turned beet red and he said, 'Yeah, look, I'm sorry, buddy. I'm afraid I did. Why do you ask?'

'Well it seems she just died and left me the farm and all her belongings'

18 August 2010

Geek Day

The picture below was taken using a home made pin hole camera over a six month period. The view is the Clifton suspension bridge in SW England. The camera was made by putting a single piece of photographic paper in a coke can with .25mm hole, taped to a telegraph pole. The lines are the tracks of the sun from the winter solstice to the summer solstice.
The original is from here where there is lots more.

Wednesday Movie - Sport

I have never been a very big fan of the overpaid premadonna fest that is football. But even I have to say that these guys are pretty impressive. More of the same here.

I prefer my sports to be a bit less about competition and more about personal performance, with a dose of adrenaline thrown in - a bit like this

And to prove andrenaline sports cross borders and cultures - check out these guys

17 August 2010

Eventful Weekend

It was a somewhat interesting weekend. I had planned to have a quite one and work on a project that we are trying to finish up. Hmmm
Thursday night (cos the weekend always used to start on Thursday) was Sandy's stag bbq at his house. Ten guys, a fridge full of beer and a couple of bottles of whisky, what could possibly go wrong? Enough said I think!

Friday night I was home alone, recovering from Thursday. Took photos of the meteor shower, did a bit of work, watched a movie and headed to bed at midnight. Woke up at 2.30 to the sound of somebody breaking into my house! For fucksake this is Norway! This isn't supposed to happen here. Anyway the were rather suprised to see a naked and very angry me in the corridor which was enough to ensure they beat a hasty retreat! Couldn't really give chase with no clothes-on so I had to let it go. Bastards had climbed in through the very small window in the washing machine room. Obviously thought the house was empty! Scum.

Next morning up neighbour took it on himself to deliver 10 tonnes of stone which he had promised months ago for my garden. He dumped it at the top of the stairs so I had to get it all moved. Fortunatly Sandy and Helen were keen to help and after a very long day of moving barrow fulls of stone down 25 steps the job was done. Very grateful for the help! That would have been hell alone. Stayed in and worked Saturday night, no visitors in the night this time.

Sunday went for a kayak trip with Sandy. It was a lovely day and we headed out to Turøy in Øygarden (north Sotra). Paddled out and once we got into the open ocean the swell was gnarly. Not so big (c. 1-2 m ) but really choppy and broken up, coming from all sorts of directions and breaking over us. Lots of concentration required and I was convinced I was going to fall out. Headed around the island and just as we turned the south west corner and headed around, Sandy got hit by a oblique wave from behind which sent him for a swim. We got him back in the boat pretty quick and all was fine. We surfed in and then headed back north on the sheltered side of island. A more eventful trip than we had planned.

Got back and feel asleep trying to do some of the goddam work! All in all a rather eventful weekend. Back to work on Monday

13 August 2010

Big News

There is already a lot of things going to happen in 2011, getting married, moving to the UK, buying or building a new house, some great projects at the Uni and lots of wells finally getting drilled by the company after 5 years of preparation. So when Katharine told me 2 months ago that she was pregnant I was surprised but pretty relaxed about it.

It's fantastic news, a whole new adventure and while the timing could have been better it's amazing and we are both very happy. We went for the first scan a few days ago and just seeing this little alien like thing wake up and trash around like a real disco dancer made it all hit home. I finally feel like a grown up.

Events like this lead to lots of introspection. I always wanted kids but always at some point in the future. Now the future has caught up with me and I feel ready. I will be older than many fathers and while it may be tough I have absolutely no doubt that waiting was the right thing for me. I have travelled the World and done loads of cool stuff. While I am sure there will be lots more adventures I feel totally ready to slow down a little and focus on different priorities. The person that I am now is a much calmer, better equipped individual to deal with the responsibilities that this will bring. I would not want the dickhead I was at 21 to be charged with such an important task. So I am ready and I am excited and its going to be an amazing adventure.

I am a bit sad that my Mum isn't around to see it. I am happy that everything works ok, but its sad to watch friends who are really keen for kids trying hard while it happens unexpectedly for others. But then maybe too much navel gazing is not such a good thing and its time to just get on with it.

Katharine is doing great, a bit tired but dealing with it all really well and after all the test this week the little alien inside her is also doing just fine. If everything goes to plan it will be born on the 16th February.


Sexy Octopus

A man goes into a bar with his pet octopus and says "I'll bet £50 that no one here has a musical instrument that this octopus CAN'T play'
The people in the bar look around, and someone fetches out an old guitar. The octopus has a look, picks it up, tunes the string, and starts playing the guitar.The octopus' owner pockets the £50 with a rye smile.
Next, a guy comes up with a trumpet. The octopus takes the horn, loosens up the keys, licks it's lips and starts playing a jazz solo. The guy pockets yet another £50 and his smile widens.
Jock, who has been watching all of this nips home and returns 15 minutes later with a set of bagpipes under his arm. He puts them on the bar and says nothing.
The octopus takes one look at the bagpipes and pounces, ripping and pulling with all of its legs. Puzzled, the octopus' owner says 'whow! What the hell are you doing? Why don't you just play the damn things?
The octopus says, 'Play it? Hell if I can work out how to get these pajamas off, I'm gonna fuck it!!

11 August 2010

Geek Day - Northern Lights

One of the great things about living in high latitudes is the chance to watch the Aurora (Northern lights). The classic shimmering curtains of light are caused by the ionization of particles in the Earth's upper atmosphere by solar winds. In high latitudes (c. 70 degrees) activity is going on most of the time and all you need is darkness and a clear sky. To see the Northern Lights a bit further south in somewhere like Bergen (c. 60 degrees) requires an increase in solar activity associated with coroneal mass ejections (CME) more commonly known as sunspots. Wikipedia has a great article here so I won't go into it in to much detail.

There are a couple of excellent websites that can help you predict when you are there will be increases in solar activity and when that should relate to northern lights where you are.

NOAA is probably the best with good basic info for the general public and lots of more detailed stuff for nerdy folk. I had a great intro lecture from John T on how to use the various graphs etc the other evening when we were out.

Spaceweather.com also has some good forecasts for auroras, meteors etc. and this site from the Univeristy of Alaska in Fairbanks also offers a good prediction and some very nice maps. There is a really good intro to photographing the Lights here.

All of this did not help us (John T, Emma, Oli and myself) when we headed out to Øygarden last week to photography what was predicted to be the best activity in months. We find a great spot, there was very little light polution, the sky was fairly clear and the predictions were good.

We saw nothing! But we did learn that the sun takes a VERY long time to set even in August.

I guess that is something to look forward to in the winter.

The sun takes a very long time to set in the northern hemisphere in August

And even when it did, there was no Northern Lights, just a few wispy clouds :-(

Surfing with a difference

Those crazy Norwegians prove that you don't need a beach or even the ocean to go surfing. This is from just outside of Voss, 1.5 hours from Bergen. There is some more of the same here.

And here to show its not just Norwegians that are at it.

09 August 2010

Update coming soon

Not too many postings at the moment, but there is lots going on in both jobs and my personal life. A couple of big news posts coming soon - bear with me


06 August 2010

A man goes into a bar...

So a man walks into a bar and says to the bartender "Give me two single whiskies
"Sure" the bartender replies, "do you want them both now or one at a time?"
"Oh, both now" replies the guy, "one's for me and one's for my little friend here" and with that the guy pulls a 12 inch tall man out of his jacket pocket. The Bartender looked at the little man in amazement and asked, "Can he drink?"
"Sure" replied the guy and with that the 12 inch tall man supped back his whiskey.
"That's amazing" replied the bartender, "what else can he do? Can he walk?"
With that the guy flips a coin along the bar and asks the little fella to get it. Sure enough, he runs down the bar and retrieves the coin, picks it up and jogs back to the guy.
"That really is amazing" replied the bartender, "Can he talk?"
"Of course" says the guy,
"Hey Jim, tell him about that time we were in Africa and you called that witch-doctor a wanker

There is this guy who walks into a bar and notices a man 12 inches tall playing the piano. He asks what it is all about and the barman tells him he'll tell him later.
So he asks the barman for a drink and the barman says, 'Before you get your drink you get to rub the magic beer bottle and make a wish.'
'OK,' says the guy.
He goes to the bottle and rubs it and, boom, out comes a genie, who says, 'You have one wish.
'The man thinks about it suddenly there are a million ducks crowding the bar, qwacking and flapping.
He tells the barman, 'Hey, I didn't want a million ducks, a asked for a million bucks.'
The barman replies, 'You think I wanted a 12-inch pianist?'

05 August 2010

Thursday Fashion - Facial hair

I have never been a big fan of moustaches but it occured to me the other day that a lot of the World's tyrants had furry upper lips

Add to those jokers Pinochet, Franco, Castro, Lenin, Bin Laden in fact the only ones missing from the list are Bush and Thatcher.
So if we accept that moustach equals tyrant then this guy must be the World's most evil bastard - at least for crimes against taste and decency

04 August 2010

Some stop motion fun

This week some stop go animation
These people have way too much time on their hands - awesome

And how about a game of Tetris