Saturday, December 27, 2008

Rebel without a warning sticker

Today was my final furniture assembly day as you can tell by the incredible mess I was creating. I made a couple of trips to Ikea this morning to get a table and 4 chairs, a little foot stool, a coffee table and some more pole thingies that go in the closet. There is basically a 3 to 1 rule with Ikea, in that you will spend 3 hours carrying in and assembling the stuff for every hour that you spent buying it.
My white chairs don't really go with the oak table but what the hell. I liked them better than the other chairs.
When I got around to building my little foot-stool, there was a warning sticker in the box with drawings of all of the horrible things that would happen to you if you stood on the top step. The last step of the instructions was to attach the warning sticker. Due to my background as an American rebel, I decided to leave the warning sticker off. That's right, I left it off and I don't care who knows about it. Someday I'll probably regret that but right now it feels good.

So after I finished and cleaned up all the cardboard and plastic it looks more like this now. Actually it looks exactly like this:

Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 26, 2008

Hi Merry Christmas everyone!

This picture is actually from the day after Christmas but that's close enough right?

I went for a nice ski trip today with Torstein, who is my manager at Nordic. We went on a trail into Bymarka, which is just west of the main part of Trondheim. There is still enough snow to ski on up there, although it was getting a bit icy in some spots. Torstein was quite patient to wait for me on the top of some of the hills, as I am still trying to remember exactly how cross country skis are supposed to work. We skied to a small hut about 3 or 4 kilometers from a parking area and had a snack, then we came back on a different route. I walked down a couple of the nastier hills, as I prefer to have both knees continue to bend in only one direction.

I had a small Christmas party with some of the other new people from work yesterday. We had Joel and his friend Mel who was visiting from Australia, Cletus, Vinayak and his wife who are all from India and me. We all brought some different food and prepared it together. I brought a frozen chocolate cake for Mel since she shared a birthday with baby Jesus. I tried to translate the instructions on the box for the cake by typing them into google translate, but basically I got "cook on full boil for 2 hours". I wisely ignored the instructions and just let it thaw out until it seemed edible.
Cletus was somewhat flummoxed by what to do with a can of corn but he was relieved to hear that you only had to open it and put it in the microwave for a couple of minutes. I also showed him how to make coffee 2 different ways so I expect him to be a full-on caffiene addict in a few more weeks. Best wishes to Cletus' mother, who fell and broke her hip last week in India, and had to have an operation to put a new hip joint in.

That's all for my Christmas update,

best wishes for 2009,

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Solstice! There is a small party planned tonight to celebrate the shortest day of the year. The daylight tomorrow is supposed to be 7 seconds longer, and we need every second here :)

We made a small group outing to central Norway yesterday to visit Røros.
Røros is a very old mining community about 2 hours east of Trondheim (by train). There was an operating copper mine there for over 300 years until it was finally shut down in the 1970's. Many of the buildings in the central part of town have been maintained in their historic appearance, and the original copper smelting building is now a large museum.
We all basically learned from the museum that being a miner really sucked unless you were the guy in charge. Isn't that the way it always works?

The train on the way from Trondheim was quite packed with people going on holiday, but on the way back we had a whole car to ourselves basically. We were joined by Leif's brother and his family from Paris, including young Madeline, who is only 6 months old but already has a French passport.

Joel and I were greatly interested in what seems to be the main form of transport in Røros, which is apparently kick sleds. Sorry I didn't get a picture of one, but it was basically a wooden sled with metal runners and handle bars that stick up. People stand up and push with one foot and zip around town on them, and if they have kids or groceries they just strap them on the front. Anyway that looked like great fun, especially going down the hills. We read in the tourist pamphlet that you can rent them, unfortunately we got to town right after the tourist office closed. Maybe next time.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Some new photos

This is a photo I took on Saturday the 13th of Gamle Bybru (The old bridge). This is a very famous bridge in Trondheim. It was built in 1861 and is just used mainly for foot traffic today between the main part of the city and the old town.
The full size picture is in this group on my picasa page.

There are also some nice shots of the full moon over Trondheim on Saturday morning, and a few from the Christmas market place in the city center.

The days are really short now, the sun is coming up around 10:00 am and setting by 2:30.
You can see how low the sun is in these pictures even though most of them were from the middle of day.
Posted by Picasa

First XC ski trip

My first XC ski trip in 12 years I think. It has been quite some time since I last strapped on some skis in Oregon. Joel, Leif and I decided to buy some new skis on Friday at a shop near my apartment. I think we made Andreas the happiest young ski salesman in Norway by buying 3 identical sets. Then Joel made him even happier by coming back the next day and buying a set of downhill skis as well.

We took the bus today (Sunday) up towards Bymarka to test out the new equipment.
I'm sure that we looked a bit dorky getting on the bus with 3 identical sets of skis (some with the price stickers still on) but I didn't hear anyone laughing at us.

There is a nice loop around a small reservoir called Baklidammen. Here is a link to some additional photos from today:

It was a very nice day up there, maybe around 30F with just a little wind on the lake. There is a bit more snow up there than in the city, as you can see from some of the trees in the pictures. No major injuries were suffered in spite of our sometimes flailing around like giraffes on roller skates. I'm sure the Norwegians that went whizzing past us thought that we were suffering from some kind of advanced spastic muscle disease. I got a kick out of one little boy I saw who couldn't have been more than 3 years old. He went zipping down a hill in front of his mom, and then when he got to the bottom he waited and his mom pulled him up the hill by the hood on his jacket. He later wiped out in front of Joel, so he just layed there and when Joel went by he stuck up his hand, Joel helped him up, and off he went again...
I think all 3 of us will be nursing a few sore spots tomorrow but nothing too bad.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Yesterday Joel, Cletus, Vinayak and I took the bus from downtown to the ski jumping hill at Granåsen, which is just outside of Trondheim. There was a lot of snow up there, and the jumping arena looks very cool at night with the big lights on. They were having an FIS World Cup competition there so lots of very good jumpers were competing. It was about about 18 degrees F outside so after standing around for an hour and a half or so we were starting to get a bit cold ( well I was anyway). We had to wait about 30-40 minutes for a bus back down to town, and I think about half of the spectators from the meet all packed into the same bus. At least we were warm :)

Anyway here are some pictures from the competition:

Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas party 2008

l-r, Joel, Cletus, Miles and Vinayak at Lian resturant in Bymarka

Me on the tram to Lian

We had our company Christmas party last Friday, here are a couple of photos of me and some of the other new software engineers.
A good time was had by all, especially when all the new guys had to get up and sing a special song, which was written in Norwegian of course. A couple of the new employees are Norwegians, so they pretty much carried the tune while the rest of us mangled the words.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The road to Ikea is paved with ice (and snow)

I took a few pictures outside today, not much else to do since the stores are closed on Sundays. The one below is my "running trail" also known as an ice covered sidewalk. I'm sure that CTB will think that is nothing compared to running in Minneapolis in January, but it's the best I can do right now :) I did see one other person running today so I'm not the only oddball here. Most of the Norwegians I see running here are probably just getting ready for XC ski season, so that's what I tell people as well.

There is also a speed skating oval not too far from my apartment. You can tell from that picture how much snow we've had in the last 5 days, because last weekend there wasn't any here at all.

Tomorrow should be a big day, I am going to open a Norwegian bank account at DnBNOR bank here in Trondheim. Maybe I'll get a free toaster or some lefse or something...I already have a toaster so the lefse sounds better.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'm a real person....

Hurray! I got my Fødselsnummer in the mail yesterday. That is the equivalant of a U.S. social security number. Which means I can now actually get a Norwegian bank account and I won't have to get blank stares from the cashiers every time I pull out my U.S. Visa card. Also my washer and dryer arrived after work today. Two guys who apparently spoke no english or just didn't feel like talking showed up and installed the washer and dryer in less than 5 minutes. Now I have to do laundry of course which is the drawback to having a washer.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hey my phone is ringing! ..oops

A table for my laptop!

Ok, if you want to be picky it's an ironing board but I prefer to think of it as a multimedia enabled work surface. In either case it will do for now until I get a real table.

I did also learn a very valuable lesson today: NEVER attempt to answer an important cell phone call while standing directly over a toilet. Bad things can and will happen.
Had I sucessfully answered the phone today, I might have my washer and dryer today, instead they "might" show up tomorrow.
Did you know that cell phones can ring under water? At least for about 4 rings...
Maybe the poor little phone will work tomorrow after it dries out, maybe not. Stay tuned...
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The days in Trondheim are getting a bit short. Here's a handy little web page that shows the sun rise and sunset times.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm here!

I arrived in Trondheim on Oct 28, which already seems like a long time ago...

I started work on November 3rd at Nordic Semiconductor, so I have just started my 3rd week at work. The first week at work I didn't know anything, so now I know just a little more than nothing :) Fortunately there are lots of new people at work and we're all learning new things at the same time.

I found an apartment after about a week of looking around. Here is a couple of pictures of the inside. Not much furniture yet, so I'm working on that

The weather has been OK, so far, or else I'm getting used to being cold. I walk to work about a mile from my apartment and so far I haven't frozen to death. Yesterday we had a nice little snow storm but most of it melted already.

If anyone ever needs advice on how to assemble furniture from Ikea, I'm your man. So far the only thing that really stumped me was when they wanted me to pound some metal shelves together with a block of wood under the hammer. I didn't have any blocks of wood. I didn't even have a chair. I finally substituted a catalog from Clas Ohlson, which is kind of the Swedish equivalent of merging Radio Shack with Sears and taking out all the stupid stuff like clothes.
It's the only store I've ever seen where you could buy Disco lights, PC power-supplies, metal studded bicycle tires, frying pans and candles all in the same place. Anyway the catalog worked as far as the shelves are concerned. Suffered a bit of damage to the Sport/Friluftsliv section in the back however.
I'm sure that the neighbors downstairs will be glad when my metal pounding phase is over.
I've found that Norwegians have 4 basic food groups - fish, pizza, hamburgers, and Mexican food. I have tried the pizza, both fresh and frozen but I've skipped the fish and hamburgers and I'm actually afraid to try the Mexican food. Food in the grocery stores is fairly expensive here, food in restaurants is off the charts. I've paid as much as 230NOK for a medium sized pizza and a beer for dinner, which is the equivalant of about $40. Needless to say I don't eat out that often.
Anyway that's my report for now, more to come....

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ok, T-4 days and counting. Things are coming together I think, or at least my stress level is dropping because I'm running out of things to worry about.

Forcast in Trondheim for the day I arrive is 40F and cloudy. I can handle that.

My trusty Cessna 152 has been sold for $16,000, in spite of the bank teller's attempt to give me $150,000 for the cashiers check.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Post 1

Just a test...