Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin

 This (above) was labeled as "DNA"
 These guys were in the mutants section

 Above: The Wet Collections.

Playtime in East Berlin

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Welcome to Norwegian winter

Have you ever had a dream where you opened a closet door in your house and found a whole other wing that you'd never realized was there? My mother told me she has those dreams, and then I started having them too. The house across the street from us (formerly Henry Louis Gates's house, then the house of a murderer who went to prison for life without possibility of parole, but has since been released) was designed by the same architect, but is two or three times larger, and my mother told me that going around that house is like having that dream. My sister and I went over for the estate sale, after the murder. They even sold the childrens' worn-out teddy bears.

When high school was ending, I had the feeling that I was living in a stage set. This would seem to be the opposite of, but is actually closely related to, the feeling that any door could open up on a whole new section of a building. I love stage sets. I am entranced by stage props. I read every single thing I could find on the making of the sets and props for the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. I have always loved making props. As a kid I made fake menus for nonexistent restaurants, fake quizzes for nonexistent classes, fake questionnaires for nonexistent polls. In college I made a life-sized cow, among other props, but the props of fantasy worlds for films are really what interests me, so much so that I looked into how I could go to LA and apprentice for a propmaker. I don't want to give up that dream yet.

Tomorrow is my last day on Lygra, and the island is beginning to take on a bit of that stage-set feeling. There are many doors I have not opened yet, and now I don't have time anymore. The surface of things is always a disappointment, but the depth of things often does not exist in the way you wish it would.

We went through about 20 seasons of weather today--hail to rain to sunshine, then intense wind, wet now, then blizzardlike snow blowing horizontally across the fields, then sun ("Maybe we'll have a snowbow!" I said to Robert, who was not amused), repeat. The water is choppier than I've ever seen it. But even at the stormiest the sky has been pearly and translucent gray. It is not a dense sky, more of a liquid one. I've been thinking about that good old literary cliché, "the sky was the color of brushed steel," "the sky was the color of brushed tin," "the sky was the color of aluminum." Even Teju Cole in Open City falls victim to this simile ("The sun was setting as I left Columbia Presbyterian, giving the sky the look of tin," p. 20), and I bet I have too, because I like those two different weights/textures together. Anyway, the Lygra sky is too lively for all of that.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

One photo for the day

This photo makes me think that I could one day learn to accept my child (my child=my Sony dsc-rx1000)

Trawling the Norwegian supermarket

 Look at these blond kids who are so excited about liver pate. Norway!

 So many different kinds of brown cheese.

 A can of Budweiser is $5.55 at 5.7 Norwegian crowns to the dollar.

 And a carton of Ben and Jerry's is $11.29.

 They love chocolate chip cookies in this country. I don't know about the American taste.

Added after the fact for comparison purposes (these are from a Japanese supermarket)

 Kakemann. These must be wildly popular, as they are sold at all of the Norwegian supermarkets I've been to.

Caviar in a tube, presumably so that you can use it as toothpaste

ShrimpCheese, BaconCheese, and HamCheese, in a tube. The product is a creamy, almost fluffy off-white paste, with little orange flecks in it (it doesn't matter what flavor, it's all orange flecks). Dan the Swede loves this on sandwiches.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Two song obsessions

I love this song and this song. I can't stop listening to them. I love how Alexis Krauss is so inaccessible. She's always wearing sunglasses, or even if she isn't, I can't get a good handle on how her face actually looks. She comes off equal parts hard-edged and slippery. Is she soft? Is she angular? I don't know anything about this band, which is good, because once I start knowing things about bands I get self-conscious.