Sunday, April 17, 2011


I spent most of last week in Budapest, but I'm back to cloudy Trondheim again. I was hoping it would be a break from the crappy weather in Trondheim but no such luck. It was even colder in Budapest :( I was attending a Bluetooth conference at the Intercontinental Hotel there. That hotel has fantastic views of the river and the old chain bridge in Budapest. I recommend it especially if you can score a room on the river side. Every room has giant windows facing toward the river and the Buda castle, and when everything is lit up at night it makes for an incredible view. Unfortunately we were in the hotel at the same time as a group of EU finance ministers, so that meant that everytime you turned around you bumped into some guy in a black suit talking into his shoulder. And I'm not really sure why finance ministers need a 10 car police motorcade with all sirens blaring every time they drive 4 blocks to the parliament building. Couldn't they just walk like the rest of us? Has anyone ever in history attacked a finance minister? I doubt it. Not really worth the trouble. I enjoyed Budapest for the few hours I got to look around. The city was quite clean and most things are not expensive there. I hired a taxi with a friend of mine for 2 hours to drive us to the Memento park and to the Citadel. That cost about 60 euros for 2 hours, which didn't seem that bad. The Memento park is interesting if you like cold war history or things related to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. It's quite stark, so don't expect a "park" in the terms of a nice shady place to read a book. It's more like a giant vacant lot with some grass and a lot of old communist statues. And they threw in an old Trabant at the entrance just for the hell of it. If you are looking for a good meal there I recommend this place: The interior is a bit crazy in a cool way (upside down tree as a chandelier), and the food was really good. I had some kind of vegetarian lentil stew or ragout and it was one of the best vegetarian dishes I've eaten - ever -. I talked to another guy at the conference who was a vegetarian and he said the same thing. I didn't pay the bill (thanks Nordic) but I think my share for a salad, main course and dessert with a couple of glasses of wine was probably around 35-40 euros.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 28, 2011

The perils of optimisim

I took my trusty mountain bike out of the storeroom a week ago, when all the snow had melted and the birds were singing and the children were running. Then the rains came, then the rain turned to snow, and oh how that unridden bike seems so wildly optimistic now. The last 24 hours have not been kind to your humble blog person (me). I think this week will almost certainly require some form of beer. I did finally make an appointment with a physical therapy office to get some exercises for my wounded knee today. My therapist Solvieg seemed quite happy with how much progress I have made in the 4 weeks since the surgery. The visit to a place like that makes it clear how different Norway can be in some ways to the U.S. First there was no receptionist in the office (that I could find) so I just waited silently on a chair with my shoes off, like everyone else. There was something odd about the other people there, I can't quite figure out what was going on, but they kept coming out of the therapy area in the back, then trading seats with another person who would then go back into the office. But they never said anything. Maybe those were magic seats or they just liked warm chairs, I have no idea. Eventually Solvieg came to find me and took me back to her office. Like all semi-literate foreigners, I of course had the wrong paperwork from the surgery clinic. No problem, she picked up the phone and called the hospital and 2 minutes later the proper papers were in the mail. No charge for my therapy sessions, I guess it was included in the $50 I paid for the surgery in the first place. Happily I wore clean underwear, as I was soon parading around in them showing off my awesome scar. After we did some basic exercises, it was time for the big room with all the cool therapy toys. It had some normal stuff that I could recognize from the gym, but also some rather odd equipment as well. There seemed to be a lot of aging pensioners dangling from the ceiling from some kind of straps and weird rope things. Some of them were sort of wiggling like fish that were hooked but hadn't quite died yet. At least one or two of them had given up even the wiggling and were just talking. Or at least one guy was talking, maybe the other one had passed on I'm not sure. I am sure it took them a while to pull his body out of the rope thingy later. I got to do the leg press machine and some balancing on a chunk of blue foam, which is much harder than it sounds. I felt a bit out of place as the only one there under the age of 85. All I know for sure is that when you get to the point where they start strapping you into the ceiling ropes, it's not far to the end of the road friends..........just keep wiggling as long as you can.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The ugly truth

Knee surgery hurts, that's the truth!
Actually it's the 2 weeks after that hurts. All that blue and yellow crud in the picture slowly ended up moving to my ankle and foot over the last 10 days. Det gjøre vondt! I managed to walk around quite well already though, so I think it is healing quickly, but it's never fast enough for me. My super nice landlord Vibeke has been giving me rides to work in the mornings, and then I am walking home after work. It takes me about 20 minutes to walk home instead of the usual 10 but I make it eventually. I pulled out all the stitches myself a few days ago, so my leg is starting to look almost normal now. As long as I keep moving it around and don't sit still for too long it is OK.
On Friday night we had our annual meeting for the sports and activity club at work. The Novel committee organizes all of our pay-day events (løningspils) and the summer party, the Christmas dinner and other activities. There are usually 4 people on the committee, so I was "volunteered" by my good friend Joel to join the committee for the next 2 years. This will be a good chance to get to know more things about Trondheim and the area restaurants and activities. I might even learn a bit more norsk if I try hard. We had our meeting at Tulla Fischer, which is a very nice cafe and bar in the Trondheim sentrum. They served us tapas until we were all about to explode, then we had dessert :). I recommend it for a nice evening out in Trondheim if you ever get the chance. The prices are typical for Trondheim, in other words $$$. Figure on around $75 (400-500Nok) a person for tapas and a few beers there. beware though that google maps has the wrong location for it if you are looking to find it on a map. The correct address is Kongens gate 8, across from the
Vår Frue Kirke.
The picture on the bottom is the entrance road to the psychiatric prison hospital in Strindheim across the road from my house. Still winter here!

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I decided to post this picture of some flowers that a friend gave me because it looks 100 times better than my knee does right now. I am so glad to get that ACL surgery finished though. Hard to believe it took 7 months to get an operation that takes 45 minutes, but that's the way it goes. I had a friend drop me off at the Aleris clinic on monday morning and they did the operation there around 9:30, then I alternated between nausea and la-la land for about the next 6 hours until they kicked me out. I have to say that is amazing how much work they can do in a few minutes though through some very small incisions now. My leg looks a bit gruesome but it doesn't hurt that much and I think it will heal up quite rapidly. I am taking a few days off of work now and I hope to go back to my office on Friday. We are interviewing people for some testing positions so I sort of have to be there in person.
The Trondheim ice is back with a vengeance this spring, so I will have to be incredibly careful trying to get around outside on crutches. They make special crutches with spikes on the bottom I guess, but I look at it more like a warning from mother nature - you're already injured so if you can't walk on the ice, stay inside idiot!
The doctor told me maybe I can't run marathons anymore after this surgery, but I think that he and I both agreed that only people with some level of brain damage run marathons anyway so I am ok with not doing any.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 27, 2011

So long Februar

This is my new favorite appliance. When I moved to this flat on Engvegen, there were no appliances included, so I sort of had to scrounge up a fridge and the oven to get started. Later I bought a freezer and now finally the dishwasher. The reason dishwashers are so great, besides the fact that they wash your dishes, is that you never have to clean them. They clean themselves.....think about that. I bought the silver colored one because it was about 1000Nok cheaper than the white one in the shop. I have no idea why. Is white paint that expensive? Anyway when I got it home and unpackaged it, I found they had wrapped it in this very cool blue plastic to stop it from getting scratched. I had to pull the plastic off the top to use it, but I liked the blue color so much I am leaving it on the door. Everything else in the kitchen is pure white, so when there is some nice sunlight coming through the window the blue plastic lights up like a nice patch of sky on a cloudy day.
Tomorrow I get my knee fixed at the Aleris Sykehus! Finally. It seems like 7 months since I hurt it. Actually it is 7 months since I hurt it. I have cleaned the apartment, washed all the laundry and stocked up the fridge, so I'm ready to survive for a week or so on crutches. Wish me luck!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vegas for the win

I am safely back from 10 days in the U.S. I was in Las Vegas just in time to see the Packers win the Super Bowl, much to the joy of my Wisconsin centric family. I watched the game in a brew pub near the convention center with about 100 other people. Some Packer fans, some Steeler fans and some just people who bet on the game but didn't care who won. For some reason the Steeler fans all disappeared along with their crappy yellow towels by the end of the game. So it was left to me and 2 tables full of cheeseheads to whoop it up. I did my best to explain the rules of American football to my Norwegian colleagues, but I'm not sure they really grasped the exciting intricacies of the 3-4 defense or especially why there is a commercial break every 2 minutes. I did explain why the 5 fat guys on offense are not allowed to run down the field for a pass and they seemed to accept that without question.
I had more trouble at breakfast explaining what buttermilk pancakes were. Norwegian pancakes are not the same as American ones and frankly I could not really explain what buttermilk is. I even looked it up later on wikipedia and that was even more confusing. Something about sour milk, lactic acid, bacteria, and chunks of stuff that might be butter or maybe not. Anyway I don't buy it at the store so as long as it just stays in the pancakes I will be OK with it. We did a bit of shopping there at the Premium outlet mall north of the strip. I recommend it if you like lots of stores and decent prices on clothes. It was a bit cold when we were there in the evening though and it is not an enclosed mall, so be prepared.
After the conference was over I went back to Minneapolis and then to Wisconsin to visit my family. It was -20F the day before I got there, and almost 40F the next day, ha ha good for me.
I took the picture above at my sister's house in Wascott, the white tail deer were getting pretty frisky there after 3 or 4 days of above freezing temperatures.
I got to play some Wii Bowling at my dad's house on the weekend. I am not sure how many other 89 year old's have a Wii, but my dad sure seems to like it. Apparently there is a Wii bowling league down at the senior center in town, so my dad needs to stay sharp between matches. There is a competitive streak in my family and I'm pretty sure it starts with him :)
The entire state of Wisconsin was still in euphoria over the Packers winning the Super Bowl, so it was a great week to visit!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Qu'est-ce que c'est?

This is picture is somewhat relevant to the story....
I received a rude wakeup at 5 am a few days ago, when it sounded like a team of construction workers had descended onto the house from a helicopter. Well that might be exaggerating a little, but at 5am it was LOUD (and dark). I may have mentioned before that I live approximately 500 meters from a psychiatric hospital, where Norway likes to send their finest insane criminals. This tends to cause me some jumpiness at 5am. I live on the 2nd floor of the house, but generally in the winter I am too lazy to go down and lock the outside door to the stairwell, because well I'm lazy, I don't want to get my feet cold and my fleecy slippers fall off going down stairs. So I normally just lock the upper door into the apartment and go to bed. This was one of those nights. So my first thought after jumping out of bed was that an escaped prisoner was trying to hack his way into the house. So I ran into the hallway and sure enough, I could see that the motion sensing light in the stairwell was on. Now being it is 5am, I just woke up and I'm not really that smart anyway, I OPENED THE DOOR, to see who was in there. Fortunately for me, I did not receive an ax into the forehead. I didn't see anyone, but I heard something... which sounded suspiciously like a crazy person talking to themselves. I ran over to the small north window that looks towards the driveway into the garage. I see a shadow! Someone is walking alongside the house and mumbling. I've got you now serial killer, I thought. I ran over to the kitchen window facing the street to try to get a glimpse of the psycho as he came around the corner.
OK, it was the guy delivering the newspapers, singing along with his ipod. whew.
That didn't really explain all the noise until I went back over to the south windows, where I could see that the section of roof from this picture was now bare. The entire load of ice and snow had slid off at once. Since the roof is tiled, every time the ice bumped over a tile it shook the crap out of the house, waking me up and setting off the motion sensor. Mystery solved, although somehow that did not really help me go back to sleep. Next I will start working on that remote locking mechanism for the outside door....
Posted by Picasa