Namaste!

My first proper meeting with yoga was in 2008. It wasn’t very long after the car accident I was in that summer, and my body wasn’t wholly healed. To be honest with you, the meeting wasn’t at all pleasing. I went to a yoga class at the gym I attended at the time. I don’t really know what I was thinking, I managed to arrive pretty much as the class started, and felt as I was the only one there that had never done any yoga before. That, added to the pain I was still in, didn’t make a wonderful meeting.

Some time later I decided to try yoga again, much thanks to a friend of mine. I was living up north in Hammerfest at the time, and she’d done a course about teaching yoga. Because of her yoga interest, she managed to get a yogi coming from Oslo to teach yoga for a week end. This time, yoga was a whole different story, and I’ve loved it since.

Even though I’ve been yoga for a few years now, I still feel very much like a beginner. I would love to take more yoga classes, and I even went to classes at Satya Yoga here in Sandnes, but even though the teachers were good and I enjoyed it, they do Iyengar Yoga, and used a lot of props. I do see the usefulness of them, but I felt I lost the flow you normally get from Hatha Yoga.

Not long ago, I passed a new yoga centre in Sandnes though. It’s called Atha Yoga, and according to their website, they do different sorts of yoga. Having looked at their Sandnes schedule, they seem to be doing mostly Jivamukti Yoga. I must admit I’m intrigued! I’ve never tried Jivamukti Yoga before, and am planning on trying it!

I love foing yoga. It feels good on so many levels. Especially my body is happy when I’ve done a round on the yoga mat. But I feel good afterwards, all-in-all.

Namaste!

Photo © 2014
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
Photo © 2014

Book Review: Talking about Jane Austen in Baghdad, by Bee Rowlatt and May Witwit

I joined the bookring for Talking about Jane Austen in Baghdad, written by Bee Rowlatt and May Witwit, simply because of the title. I mean, I’m a Jane Austen fan, what else is to be expect? It didn’t talke long, though, before I realised that this book was not so much about Jane Austen, as about two other women.

Talking about Jane Austen in Baghdad, by Bee Rowlatt and May WitwitThis is the correspondence between the BBC journalist Bee and the Iraqi university teacher May, who wrote e-mails to eachother from the beginning of 2005 to late 2008. Bee works for the BBC World Service in London, is married with small kids. May teaches English and human rights at the University of Baghdad, and is married for the second time to a much younger man.

It is through Bee’s job the two women get in touch with eachother for the first time:

17.01.05
Hello

Dear May

Thank you for agreeing to be available for interview. As I said, I’m a producer for BBC World Service radio, on the news programme The World.

And so starts the e-mailing back and forth the two women, and through e-mails they develop a deep friendship, despite cultural differences, age gap and different religious views.

This was a very interesting read. I must admit I even had to break down some prejudices I had about Iraqi women. And that, I think, is a good thing. I loved reading about the women’s lives. Especially I found May’s side of the story interesting. Through her eyes we get to know Iraq better, even before and after the invation. Not only does May tell Bee about the (then) present situation in Iraq, but she also gives information about the coutry’s history. I can’t even phantom how it must be like to have such living conditions!

I’ve seen some people mentioning that they don’t like May all that much, but I disagree. Even though there are things she, and Bee for that matter, thinks that I do not agree on, I do take a liking to her. Heck, I like them both. Not that I know what on earth I would say to them should I ever meet them, but they’re real. They don’t show us picture perfect lives, but how things really are, for them both.

To be honest, I think this is the kind of book most people should read! Maybe especially Americans, but also others in the western part of the world. I think that we all have something to learn from this. Maybe we should force Barak Obama to read this? 😉

The Island of the Sagas

I went to Iceland 16 to 19 January, traveling with former colleagues. This was my second visit to this beautiful country, first time was in August 2010, almost 3 1/2 years prior to this trip. I was happy and excited to go visit again.

We had to travel via Gardermoen (the so called Oslo Airport), to getting there took a bit. When we arrived, we checked into the Grand Hotel Reykjavik, which was to be our “home” for the week end.

We went to a restaurant called Lækjarbrekka, and the food was really nice. If I’m to go back to Reykjavik, I might very well end up going back there – I loved the lentil burger I had there. It’s not always restaurants like that are good at vegetarian food, but these guys knew how to do it!

While the others went out sightseeing on Friday, I decided to go horse rinding. I love horses, and did the same thing last time I visited Iceland, so this was something I had been looking forward to. It was good to see the winter landscape from the horseback!

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After a day on the horseback, it was good to go for a walk down to city centre, after I had done some relaxing. Spent a bit of time by myself, before I met up with the others for dinner at Fredik V, a fancy restaurant serving five courses. I wasn’t very impressed by the vegetarian food, though.

Here are some photos from the coast of Reykjavik:

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Saturday morning I went to the centre of Reykjavik again. A couple of the others and I walked along the coast, which was a really nice walk. The day before I had just gone down to the coast while in the centre, but this time we walked all the way from the hotel.

Me by the coast of Reykjavik.
Me by the coast of Reykjavik.

After walking down the coast, we went our seperate ways, and I had a walk around the centre of the city. I walked up to Hallgrímskirkja, but didn’t go inside. However, it’s a magnificent view, and you can see it from many places in the centre.

Hallgrímskirkja
Hallgrímskirkja

There’s few things as good as a nice cup of coffee after wandering around for a while, so I headed for a coffee place I’d been recommended: Kaffitár. I enjoyed sitting there with my (good) coffee and read my book.

In the afternoon we all headed for the Blue Lagoon. I had really been looking forward to go there again, and it was wonderful to spend some hours there. Being there at windter time was absolutely magic! It’s a pity we didn’t get to see any northern lights, but that’s Mother Nature for you, you don’t always get what you want! It was still great, and I’m sure I could spen even more hours there.

The Blue Lagood after dark.
The Blue Lagood after dark.

Sunday it was time to bid farewell, and head back to Norway. I hope to go back to Iceland in a not too distant future!

Hanging with the Dream King

On Sunday I met Neil Gaiman. Not quite “hanging” with him, but I did get up early-ish to get in line for a signature from him. I thought I was early, but some peeps had actually been there since 7 in the morning. And to be honest with you, I wish I had been there earlier (even though I was among the 20 first in line, arriving several hours before the signing started). The thing is, even though it was raining and all that, I had a great time. Met some cool people, and the time seemed to fly.

When Mr Gaiman arrived at Outland, we were in for a real treat: He started the session by reading to us from his book Fortunately the Milk! I read this book at the start of the year, and it was a fun read, but hearing Mr Gaiman read out loud from it himself, was really something special. He has such an excellent voice for readings!

I got one of my copies of Neverwhere signed, as well as the Norwegian translation of Fortunately the Milk! As for the latter one, I am thinking of giving it to someone as a gift. I haven’t quite decided yet. Anyhow, even though I forgot to tell Mr Gaiman my name for the Neverwhere signature, I got a fun signature. You can see the photo below. Neverwhere has been my favourite book for 15-20 years, and I used to have a really nice paperback copy of it. Unfortunately, I lent it to someone, and never got it back. The copy I got signed is a hardback copy, and actually a first edition published by Avon Books in 1997.

I have posted a photo of my signed book, as well as a photo of Mr Gaiman signing books at the end of this blog post. But before that, I have a video clip of Neil Gaiman, reading from Fortunately the Milk! at Outland, Oslo (Norway), 25 May 2014. Recorded by yours truly, and with the permission of Neil Gaiman.


Mr Gaiman signing books at Outland, Oslo.
Mr Gaiman signing books at Outland, Oslo.
Photo © 2014

My signature from Mr Gaiman.
My signature from Mr Gaiman.
Photo © 2014

EasterCon 2014: Satellite 4

Though this year’s EasterCon was my second (last year was my first), I still feel a bit of a newbie. I had therefore decide that for this year’s con, Satellite 4, I would volunteer. My friend DC pretty much “claimed” me for Ops, so I had shifts there every day of the convention.

Photo © 2014
My badge.
Photo © 2014

Though I had arrived on Thursday, the first day of the convention was Friday 18 April 2014. I didn’t actually attend any program items this day, but had two shifts in Ops, and had a blast doing that. However, I managed to attend a few on Saturday, among them one called “Astronomy and poetry”, which was pretty much reading of poetry with some sort of astronomy link. I really enjoyed it. It was lead by Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who’s a British scientist and Visiting Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford.

Photo © 2014
Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Photo © 2014

Another fun program item on Saturday was “Is it steampunk if it’s real?” Here we could listen to Feorag NicBhride tell us about some odd transportations that was developed in the 19th and early 20th century. One thing is for sure: There was no lack of imagination at the time! If the transportation actually worked? Well…

Two other program items I attended Saturday were “African Writes” and “Read for your life!”, and I enjoyed both. Especially the latter ones, where you could listen to known and unknown readers read from their works. If there’s a similar item next year, I would love to listen to it! It’s not every day you get to hear an author read something from their brand new one-week-old idea!

Come Sunday, I managed to oversleep terribly, that meant I missed breakfast, as well as the first program item I had planned to attend. Fortunately, I did not miss the panel “Red planets”, which was on politics in science fiction and fantasy. It’s no secret politics interest me, so this was an interesting discussion. I would probably have gone to it even if my friend Pogodragon hadn’t been on the panel.

Photo © 2014
The Red planet panel.
Photo © 2014

After the politics, I hurried over to the next item I wanted to listen to, this one called “Humans are weird”. And this item made it clear we really are a weird mammal. Our babies are helpless, we have good eyesight and amazing sense of taste (humans have 10000 taste buds, while a hen has only 24!), and we have a rubbish sense of smell.

When the weird humans were done with for the day, I headed for my shift in Ops, before going to a sort of celebration of Terry Pratchett. This was a sweet and fun program item, where stories about the wonderful Sir Terry Pratchett were told. Stories about meetings and other fun facts. I have never met, nor probably ever will meet, Sir Terry Pratchett, but he seems like a grand dude, and writes fun books indeed.

Photo © 2014
Celebrating Sir Terry Pratchett!
Photo © 2014

Sunday ended with a party for next year’s EasterCon, Dysprosium. There was a beheadding of a chocolate bunny, drinks, snacks, and people to talk to. It was indeed fun, until I decided it was time for me to go to bed.

Monday was the last day of the convention, and I started it with a shift in Ops, before some time to relax. I then attended the program item “Early science fiction writing”, which I must admit was a great disappointment. I actually ended up fishing out my e-reader to read my book! Just because I was too polite to get up and leave, and maybe in the hopes it could turn better?

The convention officially ended with the closing ceremony. Prizes were handed out, people were thanked, and we all concluded it had been a wonderful convention. We can’t wait for the next one!

The 1974 Challenge: Final list of suggestions

The 1974 ChallengeI’ve gotten more suggestions for my 1974 Challenge, and here’s final list:

– Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard
– The Dispossessed, by Ursula le Guin
– Carrie, by Stephen King
– Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values, by Robert M. Pirsig
– Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein
– Serendipity, by Stephen Cosgrove
– The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
– Centennial, by James Michener
– If Beale Street could Talk, by James Baldwin
– Alive, by Piers Anthony Reed
– Mister God, This is Anna, by Fynn
– Tales of the Black Widowers, by Isaac Asimov
– Greenwitch, by Susan Cooper (middle book of 5 in series)
– Lille Persille, by Inger Hagerup
– The mote in God’s eye, by Larry Niven
– Poirot’s Early Cases, by Agatha Christie
– Kjærleikens ferjereiser, by Edvard Hoem
– Dhalgren, by Samuel R. Delaney
– The Inverted World, by Christopher Priest
– Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, by Pjhilip K. Dick

Now, these are the suggestions. I will pick some of the books on the list, and might very well read other books I come across. 😉 First book to be read in my challenge is Carrie, written by Stephen King.

1974 Suggestions

The 1974 ChallengeAs I’ve mention previously, I’m planning on challenging myself by reading books published in 1974. Here are the suggestions I’ve had for my challenge so far:

– Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard
– The Dispossessed, by Ursula le Guin
– Carrie, by Stephen King
– Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values, by Robert M. Pirsig
– Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein
– Serendipity, by Stephen Cosgrove
– The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
– Centennial, by James Michener
– If Beale Street could Talk, by James Baldwin
– Alive, by Piers Anthony Reed

10 books that have stayed with me

I originally found this meme on Facebook, but decided to post it here.

(…) list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and don’t think too hard – they don’t have to be “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you.

Here are my books:
1. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
2. Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien
3. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
4. Northanger Abbey, by Jne Austen
5. Odinsbarn, by Siri Pettersen
6. Ingen må vite, by Aina Basso
7. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
8. Tipping the Velvet, by Sarah Waters
9. Jordmora, by Katja Kettu
10. Amazone trilogy by Ingar Knudtsen

What are your 10 books?

Turning 40!

The 1974 ChallengeSo, I’m turning 40 next year. The big four-oh! So, I was planning on challenging myself, and read some books from the year I was born, i.e books published in 1974. Do you have any suggestions? If so, please let me know by commenting below!

EDIT 27.12.2013

Please give me your personal suggestions on books you think I should read, and it would be fun to know why you think I should read it too! Please don’t point me to a list on GoodReads or elsewhere, I’m quite good at finding such lists myself. I want your thoughts, not some list someone has made, that’s not quite the same. 😉