Monday, December 31, 2007

A Happy New Year!

To all my Blogging friends, and to everybody else who might drop by, I wish a:

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Through a dark tunnel clearly

Is that what is at the other end of the tunnel?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Look before you leap

Taking a walk between the showers, in the grey light of midday - one has to be a bit careful where one steps. Luckily for us, there are remedies that can help us look around the corner (I think I have shown such inventions before...).

Today, everything screamed to me "Black & White!". So let it be.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Winter Morning Has Broken

This time I have done something different. I have made a short movie from a slide show that I hope you'll like - especially since I've added a soundtrack that I feel is highly appropriate. The pictures were taken two days before Winter-solstice and for me this illustrates the feeling of that event very well

If you don't have the time or the band-with for the movie, I have included the first and the last pictures. But you'll have to watch the movie to get the soundtrack!

For those of you who enjoyed yesterday's Thursday Try-out, there is a (IMHO) more interesting version on my Norwegian Blog.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Sotra Bridge (Thursday try-out)

I am as usual on a Thursday looking at candidates for Sky Watch Friday . This one was taken two days before the winter-solstice and about half an hour after sunrise. The bridge is Sotrabroen (The Sotra Bridge), which connects our small island with Bergen. I cross it at least twice a-day.

I think the picture is more than good enough for Friday, but I found something else...

One day I am going to be without proper pictures when it comes to Friday.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

W is Wet Christmas

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Christmas Tree - and something more.

Last week I told you of my "Quest for a Christmas Tree". Now it has been put to good use and looks more or less like Norwegian Christmas trees are supposed to do. It was decorated on Sunday (we do it late in this country) and the gifts were put beneath. We do not use "the stocking method" here (what kind of stocking would hold them, anyway? ). In Norway it is customary to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, with the dinner and opening of presents and all the "trimmings". The 25th is often used for family gatherings and so forth.

This year I got a gift of a very special kind: My daughter No. 2 and her cohabitant gave me two pigs! Or more correctly - they gave me the opportunity to donate two pigs to people in South-East Asia who needed "ordinary" presents more than I do. For me, the present was the pleasure of donating to someone else something that is really needed.

This is an arrangement organized by The Norwegian Church Aid (Kirkens Nødhjelp) whereby you "give away" the opportunity of donating everyday products to people in need. So yesterday the family received, pigs, trees, chickens, mosquito nettings and I don't know what.

A memorable evening.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Today is the Winter solstice. The sun is at its lowest in the horizon and the days will be getting longer. All the more reaseon to wish you all:

Merry Christmas


A Happy New Year!

PS If you want to know how we say this in Norwegian, have a look here.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Sky Watch Friday on Venus

Venus - the Morning star (or Evening star, as the case may be).
Named after the Roman goddess of love.
The third brightest object in the sky.
Planet No. 2 from the sun.
The "twin" planet of the Earth.
Atmosphere of 96.5 % CO2.
Clouds and rain of sulphuric acid.
Surface temperature of 461 degrees C.

PS As usual, another picture to be found here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday try-out

I was saving this picture for tomorrow's Sky Watch Friday. However, today I found something else that I'll use instead, but I liked this one so much that I have posted it today. I hope you'll like it too. It should be suitable for the season we're in. If you want more information about the "final" subject, look here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

V is for Visual (Norway)

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says about Visual:

Main Entry: 1vi·su·al
Pronunciation: 'vi-zh&-w&l, -zh&l; 'vizh-w&l
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin visualis, from Latin visus sight, from vidEre to see
1 : of, relating to, or used in vision
2 : attained or maintained by sight

4 : producing mental images : VIVID
5 : done or executed by sight only

6 : of, relating to, or employing visual aids
- vi·su·al·ly /'vi-zh&-w&-lE, -zh&-lE; 'vizh-w&-lE/ adverb
I'll settle for No. 3 - VISIBLE:

The title of the blog being what it is and I'm who I am, I ll give four examples related to Visual (Norway). Let us start in the south:

This is from Kristiansand, almost on the southern "nose" of Norway. In the middle is Odderøya. Formerly a naval fort (where I served for a time during my national military service). Nowadays it is best known for a yearly Rock consert, the Quart Festival. I also have a daughter living there, so it is a bit special - and she'll be home for Christmas...

The next up the line is Oslo - the capital of Norway. The picture is of the harbour with the sailing vessel Christian Radich in the middle. It also is the "home" of Rikshospitalet, which helped me in my hour of need some years ago.

Going quite a bit further up north, we come to Lofoten, an archipelago of islands that has some of Norway's most magnificent nature. It also happens to be the where my mother-in-law came from. The picture is taken from an aeroplane, by my son as it happens, and shows Ballstad on the island of Vestvågøy. We are about to cross Vestfjorden - the widest fjord in Norway.

And finally:

We are back in the Western part of Norway - in Bergen. Here I was born and here I was raised and educated. I have lived here for around 30 years. I still work here, but I live just outside the city borders. Anyone wanting more pictures of Bergen can search my Blog with Bergen as the keyword, or look here or here for some samples.

BTW - this picture was take from Ulriken - the highest of our seven mountains.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The quest for a Christmas Tree

A proper Christmas tree is a necessity for a proper Christmas. Plastic ones are definitely out. Ergo, a job for the father of the house. However, in a modern urban society, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to find a good and traditional specimen. For example - you have to find a forest:

Norwegian forests are not what they used to be, so we'll have to settle for a more short-lived, slightly commercial one. This one had only fir, but we are difficult and want pine.

Of course, there is always the do-it-yourself option.

This one might do - after some slight adjustment at home.

Into the machine with it, and hey, presto -

Out comes a ready-made package ready for transportation.

If you wonder what it looks like when it all finished, you will have to wait for that. Most Norwegians decorate their trees on the eve before Christmas eve - Sunday this year.

Biting the bullet

If you think I have changed my blog once more, you are quite right. Since Blogger obviously doesn't want wide pictures as banners at the top, I have bitten the bullet and changed to a fixed-width format and used a lower picture so that header isn't as dominating. Further minor changes is to be expected. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!! :-)

For Non-Norwegian visitors: The ship is the bark "Statsraad Lehmkuhl", Norway's Largest Sailing vessel and belonging in Bergen. You might say that it is one of the city's main symbols.

Monday, December 17, 2007

More about headers

Mishka OP is one of those humans who seems to spend their life helping other Bloggers getting things fixed. I posted the following today at Blogger help:

Turns out that Blogger modifies the pictures when they are uploaded so
even if you try to upload a 900px picture to cover the entire banner
area on a stretch or lefty template, it won't do it anymore....the
biggest you can get is a 740 with new uploads (apparently this changed
a couple of months ago). Those that uploaded larger pictures a while
back and have stayed with them are able to get some of them to stay
He has helped some to get headers up to this size, but I have used a much larger one and seem to be lost.

Another person has stated that there will be no return to the former situation in Blogger, but that there might be options for sizing of pictures in the header - within limits.

Does anyone know of other good hosts for blogging?

Bloggers take more pictures

This strange title struck me when I looked through today's capture and noticed that it included picture number 9000 with this camera. It is a three years old Canon EOS 300D. I have upgraded with a full-size flash, changed the main lens to one made of proper glass and an extra tele-zoom, but otherwise it is the same.

And this is only one of my cameras. I try to always bring one with me, so I usually have a small compact one in the belt. Many of the pictures in my blogs is taken with that. It will soon be two years since I started blogging and the number of pictures taken per week are steadily increasing.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Temporary fix

The header picture forced upon us by Blogger has at least led me to a little bit of experimenting. This picture was 800*533 before uploading and has been reduced a little. I haven't investigated by how much. It is at least visible :-) . So instead of the whole view from my terrace, you now get just a piece in the middle.

Anyone curious about the cruise ships? It is QE2 in front, followed by Astoria and the picture was taken in June 2007.

Any comments about the situation (or my "fix" for that matter) would be much appreciated.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Problems with Blogger

"Regular" visitors to my Blog can see that my usual header picture has shrunk. The picture was a panorama with the text embedded as graphics. Unfortunately, there was some misspellings that had to be corrected. When updating, Blogger would only accept a max width of less than 800 pixels, which makes my header look even more ridiculous than usual.

In Blogger help groups ("Something is broken"), others report to have come across similar problems. I have reported mine.

I ask your indulgence concerning the design of this blog for the time being. That is, until I, Blogger or somebody else find a solution.

UPDATED 16.12.07:

The strange sizing of the Header is a change made by Blogger themselves. I found this in Blogger Help Groups:

Hi all,

Thanks for reporting this issue. We've recently made this change, as
you noticed, so header images would default to the actual size of the
header. So, this in fact is desired behavior. We'd love to hear your
feedback on this change, though, so make sure to share your
thoughts. :)

- Jordan
I have seen dozens of complaints about it, and not one positive comment. There are "fixes" by members, but since all templates are different, and the fixes involves tempering with CSS, I couldn't make it work for me.


Euphorbia pulcherrima

Christmas is closing in and some decoration is in order. We are fond of poinsettias, and especially the "white" varieties. The local flower shop gave us a particular large and fine one this year. So large that it was difficult to get proper pictures, so I am posting two - one on the floor and one on a table.

Only after having taken the pictures did I discover that something else had followed us in with the flower...

Friday, December 14, 2007

On reflection in Sky Watch Friday

It is all done with mirrors.

PS As usual, you can find more here

Thursday, December 13, 2007

One who didn't make it

I am going through pictures for tomorrows Skywatch Friday. This one didn't make it all the way, but is more than good enough for a Thursday try-out (I hope)...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

U is for University

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says:

Main Entry: uni·ver·si·ty
Pronunciation: "yü-n&-'v&r-s&-tE, -'v&r-stE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
Etymology: Middle English universite, from Middle French université, from Medieval Latin universitat-, universitas, from Latin universus
1 : an institution of higher learning providing facilities for teaching and research and authorized to grant academic degrees; specifically : one made up of an undergraduate division which confers bachelor's degrees and a graduate division which comprises a graduate school and professional schools each of which may confer master's degrees and doctorates
2 : the physical plant of a university
That should say what it is. As an example, I have of course chosen the local one (I have after all spent some time there): University of Bergen:

The University was founded in 1946, but was a continuation of Bergen Museum (see picture) that started in 1825. One of the most famous scientist working at the museum was Fridtjof Nansen - famous explorer and diplomat.

The University has chosen an owl on top of Bergen's seven mountains as a logo.

If you want to see a real owl (and chosen as the word of the day in Norwegian ("Ugle") - look here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A walk in a frozen forest

We have had a magnificent weather the last few days. The temperature is now below freezing, and with the lack of snow one gets a lot of effects with light, frost, haze and so forth. Yesterday I went for a stroll in what is known as "Langeskogen". Why not join me?

This "avenue" leads to the manor of the forest, called "Langegaarden". It is now a gallery. BTW, if you want to see what it looked like two months ago, visit here.

At the nest stop, you can get a glimpse of the castle "Gamlehaugen" across the frozen bay.
The castle was built by Christian Michelsen, the first Norwegian prime minister after the end of the union with Sweden in 1905. After his death in 1925, it was transferred to the government and is now a Royal Castle.

There are many of these old stone walls. With a bit of frost on the top and the back lighting, the result can be quite interesting.

Frozen grass and old stumps make better pictures than a lump of snow - in my humble opinion.

This is a much used recreational area with facilities for resting and eating your lunch etc. Not many people there today.

Sometimes the forest can get a bit spooky. I had better get home. Bye!

Monday, December 10, 2007


This little fellow was walking around in a park in the center of Bergen on Saturday.

Maybe he was hoping for warmer and better times?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Roses for a young man

A young man very close to me turns 18 today. He was born when the snow was around and came home in a snowstorm to a father with high fever and 'flu. He has been a great support through thick and thin (as have his siblings). These roses are for him.

PS You may notice that there are more than 18 of them. He is worth them all.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A rose in December

I associate December with colours like red for Christmas and white for snow and frost. Yellow suggests to me light, spring and summer. Yet I found this rose today in the Town Park ("Byparken") in Bergen.

In two weeks time we will have winter solstice - I take this as a symbol of the light to come.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sky Watch Friday once more

There are more ways than one to watch the sky.

PS (more to be found here)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

T for Tooth

Two postings about Ts? Why not? One "serious", and one literally "tongue in cheek"? This is (some of ) what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

Teeth (singular, tooth) are structures found in the jaws (or mouths) of many vertebrates that are used to tear, scrape, and chew food. Some animals, particularly carnivores, also use teeth for hunting or defense. The roots of teeth are covered by gums.

Teeth are among the most distinctive (and long-lasting) features of mammal species. Paleontologists use teeth to identify fossil species and determine their relationships. The shape of an animal's teeth is related to its diet. For example, plant matter is hard to digest, so herbivores have many molars for chewing. Carnivores, on the other hand, need canines to kill and tear meat.

As you can see, something to bite something or someone with. There are large teeth and small teeth. We all like them to look like the ones above.

For the younger generation, the primary teeth can be a source of much needed income. Aided by the tooth-fairy and a glass of water

- a derelict and lost tooth can be converted to a new and shiny coin.

T is for Transplantation

Wikipedia has this to say about Organ Transplant:

An organ transplant is the moving of a whole or partial organ from one body to another (or from a donor site on the patient's own body), for the purpose of replacing the recipient's damaged or failing organ with a working one from the donor site. Organ donors can be living, or deceased (previously referred to as cadaveric). Organ transplants can be categorized as "life-saving", while tissue transplants are "life-enhancing".

Organs that can be transplanted are the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, and pancreas. Tissues include bones, tendons, cornea, heart valves, veins and skin.

I my own case it was the heart. After suffering from a relatively rare heart disease for three and a half years, a heart transplant was the only thing that could save my life. Luckily for me, there was a person who had agreed to become an organ donor in case the worst should happen to him/her. I feel the greatest respect and gratitude towards this person and his/hers family for this act of human kindness and solidarity. Since I have been the lucky recipient in this case, it also befalls upon me to encourage other persons to make arrangements so that in case the worst should happen to them, their organs is placed at the disposal of others in need. How such arrangements are made varies from country to country. Your doctor should be able to tell you.

I got the heart on the picture from my youngest daughter shortly after my operation. "You can have this heart as a spare".

Two to three weeks after my operation she turned eleven. Her dad couldn't be there. He was when she turned twelve.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Prepared for spring

I have been writing about autumn, falling leaves, rain, frost and snow for a while now. But if you look around, you will see the signs that sometime the spring will come.

I found the little twig this morning while out walking. All set to go - a little more sun, a little more warmth and off we go.

The ground has been prepared.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Coloured salads?

It may be the beginning of December and it has been a frost and it has been snow. But some plants are still with us when we are back to "normal" temperatures and surface conditions. I found these ones in a somewhat reduced condition at the edge of lawn while out walking today. To me they looked like some strange coloured salads, so that's what I'll call the picture.

Hopefully, somebody who knows what they really are will tell me.

The value of red

Yesterday I removed the colours from my picture. Today I have put at least one back - red. It is the first Sunday in Advent. Christmas is getting near, so a dose of light from a red candle seemed to me to be just right.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The value of colour

I usually take a stroll sometimes during the morning when I have the opportunity. Today was one of the grey mornings: 4 degrees above zero, clouds slightly above the chimney tops, and rain. Grey. I took a picture of a puddle that I think would be a great symbol of the day. I played around with the it in Photoshop and found myself wondering: What matches the feeling of such a day best - keeping the few colours that were present or going all-out for black-and white. So here is both:

So which one is it?