Archive for 2004

10 minutes

November 4th, 2004

Do you think that is a long time? 10 minutes is about the time it takes to..

1. Listen through 2 long songs or 3 shorter ones

2. Run out to the store for a grocery shopping supplemental run

3. Shower twice

4. Watch two sets of in-between-programming commercial sessions

5. Take 30 penalties (and score 21 but your mileage may vary :P)

10 minutes is also the duration in which I can stay alert in class. I don't know what it is about that situation of being at school but for some reason 10 minutes of a lecture is all that I can take without getting really drowsy. The first 10 minutes in case you're wondering. :P And it's not because it's boring, I've watched lectures on recording at home and thought they were interesting. Obviously the reason I chose these courses is that they interest me to begin with so that is no valid reason. What else could it be? Seats too comfortable? Too warm in the room? Too dark? Too quiet? Boring teacher? Slides too dull? I cannot figure out what it is but the whole situation of being in school and being at a lecture just makes me drowsy. No matter what. If I have to take notes, that helps. Math helps too cause that requires some brain activity. But most lectures are just showing slides and talking about them, in which case I understand them fine and it bores me or I don't understand them and I just can't bring myself to care about it. It's not the teacher either, some teachers are very enthusiastic and energetic, that doesn't help. Knowing I'm at school, I start falling asleep, that's the way it works.

who's voting?

November 2nd, 2004

Oh cmon it's election day, you really thought I wouldn't get political? :P

Like it or not, we and most other nations (if not all) in the world today are affected by the outcome of these theatrics currently in progress. It's fair to say in the long run it affects us just as much (or probably more) than whatever may be the outcome of the political process here at home. Thus it shouldn't be hard to understand that the world gets involved when the only world superpower is electing its leader. And the world has voted overwhelmingly for not-Bush. In the grand scheme of US politics, where no person without a fortune and the backing of most the country's multinational corporations is a worthy candidate, it might seem trivial to get worked up about who might win. Either of the sides is still going to do favors for their corporate patrons and noone cares about the people anyway.

But seeing how much damage the Bush camp has managed to inflict over the past four years, considering that administration shows no restraint in pursuing their blatant self-interests at the expense of long standing, well established diplomatic relations (for one thing), the choice seems very clear. The puppet must not win, otherwise the puppet masters currently in power will never hesitate to extend this dreadful streak of ruthless foreign policy and domestic misery. Bush is no orator and in his poor rhetoric, I noticed that he doesn't speak much about domestic issues at all. It's all about "we have to defend ourselves", "this is a great country", "hard working people" and for some reason people don't seem to mind hearing that. Yes, let uncle tell us a story. In Orwellish manner, the "threat to national security" is so great that he gets away with harping on that same thing and that's enough to please the masses. "America was attacked". Meanwhile fresh reports suggest the number of civilian casualties in Iraq has surpassed 100,000 but that never makes the big headlines.

I might as well say I don't know anything about John Kerry. But his people couldn't possibly be any worse than this.

Bravo, parliament of Norway!!!

November 1st, 2004

I get the impression it doesn't happen often that we as citizens commend our government or parliament for doing something good. More likely, we're complaining about all the pointless decision that they make. But in this case I am happy to announce that our representatives have applied common sense to a problem that was not all too complicated to solve and arrived at a meaningful and sensible solution. I may be giving these people too much credit here, as it almost seems like what happened is a result of the decisions they made rather than a target goal. In any case, common sense has prevailed and that's the most important.

In the space of the last decade, the national defence budget has been slashed considerably, thus causing Norway's armed forces to reduce the number of recruits in the mandatory nationwide draft from 100% to less than half the gentlemen age 19 who are declared physically fit. In other words, anyone eligible for the draft at 18 not willing to take part in the ordeal now has a fairly good chance of skipping it. In my case, in those days the draft was still all encompassing but certain exceptions were being made. I was drafted and set to sit out that one year in the woods like the vast majority of males my age when I signed up for community service in the 11th hour. (For those not informed, in Norway you may skip service in the army on grounds of strong conviction, in my case pacifism which isn't even a fictional stand, with the consequence of being shifted to community service and serving an equal time period there.) But for some reason the infrastructure responsible for offering community service for those not willing to serve in the army was being overrun by my peers and my "term of service" was being postponed several times. Finally, I was informed that enough time had passed for them to clear my name from their system in clear conscience (I believe the timeframe was 3 years) and I would not be doing any community service. In other words, the draft did not affect me at all.

So nowadays, it has become easier to skip out on the army for those not willing than it was for me and much easier than it was for those facing that situation 10 or 15 years ago. And since the infrastructure for community service is unable to process all the rest, a sizeable share of people will not be doing anything. And just today on the news it was reported that since the number of places in the army is now limited, there is actually competition among those eligible to be drafted because some really want to. And thus through common sense, one has accomplished the following two goals, which I advocated years ago:

1. The army is composed to a much greater extent of motivated individuals who find military service to be meaningful and a component in their future career (the army offers various educational programs which allow people to get a degree while working part time in the army and thus avoid considerable debt due to costly student loans).

2. Those of us who don't believe in the cause and have no interest in seeing weapons being fired aside from the occasional James Bond movie every couple of years are left the hell alone.

I raise my glass to you..

fire alarm

October 28th, 2004

Today was guest lecture day, a guy working as IT project manager, head of system development for Statoil, Norway's biggest private company had a talk about methodology and architecture at Statoil. Then in the middle of it the fire alarm goes off. And this reaction I thought was quite interesting. First of all there was no rush, no urgency whatsoever. And looking around the auditorium everyone including the guest lecturer and the two professors had this look of irritation and indifference on their faces. As if to say "oh crap not this now". So very very slowly we start walking out of the room, going down the stairs and outside in the parking lot. On the way out we pass a janitor in the hall, he was going down to the basement. After a few minutes the fire department arrives on the scene, again no urgency in their conduct. It was a dull event, no smoke seen anywhere, the chemistry institute is right next door from us so presumably they messed something up. But just to see the reactions of the people was interesting, a universal contempt for something that would disturb their day without having any inherent significance to it other than to annoy them.

My instinct reaction was thank goodness that alarm bell they have every few doors down every hallway is not my alarm clock.


October 28th, 2004

I'm not going to speculate on where it originates from, I can't be bothered today. But one thing is for sure, crying is not socially acceptable behavior. It makes people uncomfortable, maybe that's why everyone shys away from it. Whatever the reason, crying is definitely perceived as a sign of weakness, the ultimate expression of weakness in fact. It's a taboo, people who cry don't want others to see them cry, they feel weak and vulnerable.

Well I'm taking a stand right now. I've been crying everyday for the past week. Now go knock yourself out.