lens lens baby!

I got a lensbaby! :-D

The 2.0 to be more precise. I can't wait to start playing around with it...

If you don't know what a lensbaby is or what it can do, click on the product link, or perhaps check out the lensbaby flickr group...

I also got penguin jewelry - the silver one. Apparently, it was the (plush) penguin and owl families that insisted I get this ;-

Boyfriend of feitpingvin got one of these, so that he can find himself :-P


moose news

More crashes in the full moon
Statistics show that a full moon really can "bring out the beast," at least in Norway, where the most collisions between cars and moose occur when the moon is full and the weather is cold.

Norway's state statistics bureau SSB reports that 1,321 moose were killed in traffic accidents during the past year. Most of them occurred in the winter: Statistics reveal three times as many collisions between moose and vehicles in January than in the summer.

Torstein Storaas of Hedmark College, one of Norway's foremost experts on moose, told newspaper Aftenposten that it's not just because it's easier for the moose to move alongside open roads when snow is lying deep in the forest.

It's also, Storaas said, because the moose prefer to eat the twigs and branches of pine and low shrubbery during the winter. "Therefore they need to emerge from the deep fir- and spruce forest," he said. "Unfortunately many claim they also are attracted by the salt spread on highways by road crews."

The moose is also most active during a full moon, although it's not entirely clear why. Moose tend to wander more than usual during a full moon, and not just because the moonlight guides their way. Studies show they're just as active when cloud cover blocks out the moon.

Motorists are thus advised to use extra caution during full moon periods in the wintertime. Subfreezing temperatures, snow in the forest and dry air draw the moose towards roadways, and that's when driving is dangerous.

Many drivers involved in collisions with moose claim the animal suddenly darted across the road, and they didn't have a chance to brake in time. Storaas said that's because the moose are easily stressed by the noise of traffic and headlights, making them unpredictable. They also have trouble moving on hard, icy roads and want to get across as quickly as possible.

Collisions between cars and moose are generally more serious than collisions with other animals, because the moose are so large. They're generally hit in the legs, and then land with full force in the car's passenger compartment.


Ndihamba Nawe

I love this song, and I finally got around to finding the lyrics:
Chorus x2

We bhuti we bhuti
We bhuti mina ndihamba nawe
We bhuti we bhuti
We bhuti mina ndihamba nawe

Verse 1 x2
Ngithanda na le way
Unguyo ngakhona
webhuti mina ndihamba nawe
Ngithanda na le way
Ucula ngakhona
Webhuti mina ndihamba nawe

Bridge 1 x2

Eh ndihamba nawe
Hei ndihamba nawe
We bhuti mina ndihamba nawe
We bhuti ndihamba nawe, We bhuti ndihamba nawe
We bhuti mina ndihamba nawe

Verse 2 x2
Ndafika endaweni ngibona abantu
ehh ufak'umfana wam
Ugcwel'umfana wami
Ngathi loya lobhuti loya
isoka isoka lami

Bridge x2

Chorus x2

Ndithanda na le way
Ujika ngakhona
We sisi mina ndihamba nawe
Ndithanda na le way
Ududla ngakhona
We sisi mina ndihamba nawe

Bridge 2 x2

Eh ndihamba nawe
Ohh ndihamba nawe
We sisi mina ndihamba nawe
We sisi ndihamba nawe, We sisi ndihamba nawe
We sisi mina ndihamba nawe
Ndithanda na le way
Ungiyo ngakhona
We bhuti mina ndihamba nawe
Ndithanda na le way
Ududla ngakhona
Ay' suka mina ndihamba nawe
Eeh Ndihamba nawe
Eeh Ndihamba nawe
We bhuti mina ndihamba nawe
We sisi ndihamba nawe
We sisi ndihamba nawe
We sisi ndihamba nawe

What does it all mean? From one of the reader responses:
Ok, so Ndihamba Nawe literally means "I'm going with you", but it has much greater significance in the Zulu culture. When you say Ndihamba nawe, yre essentially telling someone that "I choose you".At parties, if people are really feeling the DJ, they'll say "DJ, Ndihamba nawe!" or if you've found that one boy/girl that just does it for you, you tell them "Eish, ndihamba nawe!".

Girl's verse
Ngithanda na le way -- I love the way
Unguyo ngakhona -- you just are
webhuti mina ndihamba nawe -- Brother, I choose you
Ngithanda na le way -- I also love the way
Ucula ngakhona -- the way you sing
Webhuti mina ndihamba nawe -- Brother, I choose you

Guy's verse
Ndithanda na le way -- I really love the way
Ujika ngakhona -- You turn (walk/stride)
We sisi mina ndihamba nawe --Sister, I choose you
Ndithanda na le way -- I also love the way
Ududla ngakhona -- You gain weight just right
We sisi mina ndihamba nawe -- Sister, I choose you

Gotta love African music hehe...


owl in the city

This birdie was in my neighborhood, but I didn't get a chance to see it :-(

Be sure to click the link for photos goodness :)

City owl gets help
A wayward and apparently ailing horned owl has been rescued from city perils in downtown Oslo.

The Agency of Outdoor recreation and Nature management took the owl into care on Wednesday, after days of sightings of the endangered bird in the capital.

"It is a very unusual sight, spotting a horned owl in a city," said Agency nature manager Kjell Isaksen.

Isaksen saw the owl for the first time on Tuesday morning when he saw it being chased by a peregrine falcon over the rooftops of Oslo.

"That was quite a sight," Isaksen said.

The owl first drew attention when it was seen in downtown Grønlandsleiret on Friday, when it landed and stayed in the middle of a street.

"People could go right up to the bird, and that is very unusual since the horned owl is normally shy. This indicated that it was not at all well," Isaksen said.

Later the owl could be seen in downtown Tøyen Park, where it was being pestered by smaller birds.

"The horned owl was sitting in the open, being bullied by crows and magpies without reacting. That is why we wondered if it was sick," Isaksen explained.

On Wednesday the Agency, with much assistance from the fire department, managed to get the owl down from window sill in a narrow downtown apartment courtyard. The bird made no attempt to escape and allowed people to climb up next to it and toss a net over it.

"That's no way for a healthy horned owl to behave," Isaksen said.

The owl will now be fed and receive veterinary care before being released in its natural habitat, not the capital's cold concrete streets.

karma is a bear

Bear defends itself against poacher

Just so you get that right. The poacher was the one on the attack. Not the bear.

I also hope that the poacher's injuries are permanent, disabling, and painful. Just so you know how I feel about the matter...


mmm... wine...

To celebrate over 400 wines in our tasting database, we bought a 400 NOK wine (well, 431) to celebrate.

R. Lopez de Heredia Viña Condonia S.A. Cosecha Gran Reserva 1981 (Rioja, Spain)
grape varieties: Tempranillo, Grenache noir, Graciano, Mazuelo/Cariñena

color: clear reddish/dark coralish-brown

nose: floral and aromatic, also earthy, cherries, and leather...

palate: flavor of sour lingonberries, hint of cherries and raspberries. Long and pleasant aftertaste. Perfect for drinking on its own. Will also be OK with very simple meat dishes.

grade: :-D+


when the news is good, it's REALLY good

Beer after sport 'is good for the body'
A beer after playing a game of football, a long run, or a strenuous round of golf can be good for the body, scientists say.

In a rare piece of good news for those who like a pint, Spanish researchers say beer can help someone who is dehydrated retain liquid better than water.

Prof Manuel Garzon, of Granada University, also claimed the bubbles in beer help to quench the thirst and that its carbohydrate content can help to replace lost calories.

Prof Garzon asked a group of students to do strenuous exercise in temperatures of around 40ºC (104ºF). Half were given a pint of beer, while the others received the same volume of water.

Prof Garzon, who announced the results at a press conference in Granada beneath a banner declaring "Beer, Sport, Health", said the hydration effect in those who drank beer was "slightly better".

Juan Antonio Corbalan, a cardiologist who worked formerly with Real Madrid football players and Spain's national basketball team, said beer had the perfect profile for re-hydration after sport.

He added that he had long recommended barley drinks to professional sportsmen after exercise.

Previous studies have shown most alcoholic drinks have a diuretic effect – meaning they increase the amount of liquid lost by the body through urination.

Dr James Betts, an expert on nutrition and metabolism at Bath University, said a moderate amount of beer might be just as good as water at helping the body retain liquid, but that he doubted it could be any better.

Dr Betts said: "If you are dehydrated to start with following exercise, a beer, as opposed to a spirit, probably does not have a high enough concentration of alcohol to induce a diuretic effect."



Check out The Travelling Penguin as I have put lots of stuff there lately.

In case you're wondering about my shoulder, I'm out for the season. That is, no Krav Maga until January. I do go to physiotherapy once a week and it's helping a lot...

Not much else going on other than I really miss South Africa...



Well, I'm damaged goods for the next few weeks. Some asshat decided to do an entirely other defense against a headlock than what the instructors told us to do. I was literally picked up and thrown hard on the mat. Pro-wrestling style, only for real. Right on my left shoulder. All 67 kg. of me. That really hurts...

What the fuck is it with young boys and their need to "improvise" like that? Do they think it makes them look talented or something? Sure, it's cool to pick on the little penguinette, but if he gets into the habit of doing crap like that and has a larger opponent, then he's dead meat if he ever has to execute that defense...

Well, the trip to the doctor wasn't wasted as I also got a refill on another prescription I needed a refill for. I have some lovely Naproxen to kill Ms. Stomach. I even got to go to the x-ray place and get some funky pics taken of my evil shoulder...

After this episode, I'm rethinking this d-i-e-t thing. I have to go see a sports nutritionist to find out why I'm not losing weight/fat. Then again, if I gained 10 kg, it would be more difficult to pick me up and toss me around... :)


I haven't written much lately...

I should do something about that.


the harbinger of things to come...

Way back when I got my first passport ever, a friend of mine looked at the empty pages and said "this is going to get full of stamps..."

Well, I'm on my second passport now. I just got back from the US Embassy because I had to get new pages put into this passport, as I'm running out of un-stamped pages. Just like I had to do with my first passport...


trying to figure out a strength+power routine...

I'm on a Krav Maga break (for formal training anyway) until August. In the meantime, I need something to do, and after the strength drills from hell during Thursday's grading ("the Nazi" among other things), it's quite obvious I need to work on strength...

I still want to work on power, so I figured I'll do this during the summer:

day 1: legs + back (+ biceps)

day 2: shoulders + triceps + chest (+ biceps)

day 3: power/plyometrics (full body) and/or punch and kick work with the mitts (killer drills)

So far, I'm thinking Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday or Friday for this. I'm not quite sure how I want to set up the sets and reps. I'm not sure how I want to fit in abs either... maybe on my condition training days. Otherwise, condition training (both interval and steady-state) first thing in the morning Monday-Friday and maybe an extra jog or punching/kicking during my non-lifting/power days if I'm up to it.

Saturday will be my rest day.

We'll see how this works...



I graded tonight, even though I said I wouldn't. We both decided this afternoon to grade. We were very apathetic about the whole thing...

We're both P4 now :-)

My injuries, in particular my evil finger, weren't bothering me too much. And I was able to execute the most difficult thing in our pensum - defense against an overhead stick attack - almost perfectly. I couldn't be happier about that...

My Little Toe of Doom would like gifts. Lots of gifts... ;-)

support Amnesty International!

Here's why.

Amnesty International supports the rights of all women, including their right to abortion when their health is in danger or human rights are violated, especially in cases of rape or incest. This is essential for women's rights... for human rights...

"We are saying broadly that to criminalise women's management of their sexual reproductive right is the wrong answer," Amnesty's deputy Secretary General Kat

Thank you, Amnesty International!


Little Toe of Doom VIP Protection AS

(AS is the Norwegian version of Inc.)

We were at a Krav Maga seminar yesterday; the theme was protection of third persons. Our guest instructor was a guy from Sweden...

Anyway, we were mostly outdoors (and I have the tan to prove it) and we did a lot of technique work (with and without weapons) and then drills where we use what we learned. I was the only female attending the seminar and consequently the smallest person there. It was rather amusing protecting guys who were a bit bigger than me against guys who were a bit bigger than me. But things worked out nicely. I was able to use a lot of (other) dirty Krav Maga tricks when I was too small/weak to get the techniques we had just learned to work properly. It shows I've learned something during training ;-)

The place where we had our seminar is a place where the police do a lot of "practical" training. There was a building that had these "apartments" set up. Our last drill was protecting someone while that someone was going through the rooms of the apartment, with lots of attackers waiting. (We all switch roles, of course.) It got really crazy in the end. Good fun. Especially when it was much cooler inside the building than outside in the sun...

Today was spent outdoors as well... first at a sort of food festival or farmer's market or something... I got to sample lots of sausages and cheeses and I bought some ecological salad and lots of fresh herbs... and then to the botanic gardens to take some pictures... and well, here I am now :-)


and even more on gay marriage in South Africa...

How cool is this?!?!

Jewish same sex marriages welcomed
Jewish gays have lauded a decision by the South African Union for Progressive Judaism (SAUPJ) to allow marriage between Jewish couples of the same gender.

The Jewish OutLook: SA Jewish Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Alliance - an organisation representing lesbian and gay people in the Jewish community - said the decision affirmed the full humanity of all Jews.

"It is particularly important that the status of lesbian and gay relationships will be equal to that of heterosexual couples and will be recognised as full Jewish marriages or kiddushin," it said in a statement on Wednesday.

SAUPJ announced the decision to allow marriage between Jewish couples of the same gender on Monday.


more on gay marriage in South Africa...

This is cool... lots of churches are actually applying to officiate gay marriages. Too bad about the exam delay though...

Churches get nod for gay marriages
eventeen churches across South Africa have applied to, and been accepted by, the department of home affairs to officiate gay marriages.

A list of the churches, released to the Cape Argus on Thursday by the department of home affairs, excludes the major church groupings.

The 17 institutions had applied to solemnise same-sex unions after the Civil Union Act, which legalised gay marriages, was implemented on December 1.

All were approved by Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, said department spokesperson Mantshele Tau.

Ministers at these churches, are, however, still required to write an examination - which tests their knowledge of the Civil Union Act - but this process has been considerably delayed.

A pastor at the Unitarian Church, Gordon Oliver, applied for his licence on December 5 and is still waiting for material to prepare for the exam.

On Thursday, the Cape Argus reported that four leading denominations - the Anglican Church, the Baptist Church, the Presbyterian Church and the Catholic Church - had instituted policies that barred their ministers from officiating at gay marriages.

It was also reported that individual officials at religious institutions were obliged to submit letters to Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula if they did not wish to officiate over gay marriage ceremonies.

However, Tau said that, according to the Civil Union Act, "churches make their own decisions on whether to marry same-sex couples".

He said the rule of submitting letters to the Home Affairs Department applied to Home Affairs marriage officers only, if they did not want to marry gay couples.

In the meantime, the policies barring gay marriages at larger churches have not gone down well with certain ministers.

Nineteen ministers in the Methodist Church Cape of Good Hope District recently challenged the decision not to marry homosexual couples.

A minister of the church, the Reverend Timothy Attwell, said the church was in discussion with those ministers.

At another church, a gay minister, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals, told the Cape Argus that he planned to leave his church denomination to move to a smaller denomination that supported same-sex marriages.

He said while he felt strongly about officiating at gay marriages, his church, which is one of the country's largest denominations, would fire him for even considering it. The church is not aware of his sexual orientation.

"I am definitely going to change my denomination because of the church's views towards same-sex couples.

"There are smaller churches that don't seem to be as unfriendly about it and encourage it, but they are in the minority."


an illegal immigrant in Peru...

A confused Magellanic penguin has somehow managed to travel from his native Chile to Peru. Nobody knows how he got there, or why - perhaps to seek asylum?

Well, like other strangers and asylum seekers, it is unlikely he will be given the warm welcome by the local Humboldt penguins, who "usually seek out their own species."

He'll probably get deported back to Chile...


Eurovision so far...

My favorites are Hungary and Serbia...

The commentary:

1 Bosnia & Herzegovina Maria ŠESTIĆ Rijeka Bez Imena
Her dress looks like the top of some hut in Polynesia. Her voice is OK, but the song is slow and boring, and lacking any kind of real tune…

2 Spain D'NASH I Love You Mi Vida
Hah! A boy band! Disco fever baby!

3 Belarus Koldun Work Your Magic
Uh, WTF? Who do you think you are? James Bond? Well, guess what. You’re not! Oh, and you need to learn how to match your makeup to your skin color. Or lay off that spray-tan shit. And button up your shirt please…

4 Ireland DERVISH They Can't Stop The Spring
OK. This is the first Irish singer I’ve heard who doesn’t have a fantastic voice. Very off-key. Too bad, because the song is otherwise good…

5 Finland Hanna PAKARINEN Leave Me Alone
Yes. Please leave me alone… (actually, this isn't too bad)

6 FYR Macedonia Karolina Mojot Svet
Her short skirt doesn’t really make up for the song being dull though. Apparently she has lots of friends in the former Yugoslav republic, so she’ll get a few votes. Even though she doesn’t deserve them.

7 Slovenia Alenka GOTAR Cvet Z Juga
Opera meets rock. Didn’t Nightwish try this already? This will probably do well in the points, the ex-Yugoslav bloc and all. She does have a nice voice, but I think she could do better with it…

8 Hungary Magdi RÚZSA Unsubstantial Blues
Wow… great voice!!! Lots of power. I also like that she looks… um… normal. My favorite so far…

9 Lithuania 4FUN Love Or Leave
The singer is also normal-looking (i.e. not a skanky bimbette)… very nice ballad…

10 Greece Sarbel Yassou Maria
Ææææææ!!! The first “Hatten är din” of the evening. And this is also an example of why I want the return of the rule where the artists have to sing in their native language. Grenglish ick. The only thing this guy is missing is the unbuttoned shirt…

11 Georgia Sopho Visionary Dream
Very 80s… plus a touch of Björk-wannabe… the background dancers make it all the more amusing…

12 Sweden THE ARK The Worrying Kind
What. The. Fuck. Is. That. ?. She-male 70s glam… Think The Sweet… (OK, you can put your shirt back on. Please!)

13 France LES FATALS PICARDS L'amour À La Française
Oh my FSM. It just gets “better and better.” Lots of black and hot pink. On men. French men, but still. It’s nice to see that thte French have a sense of humor… and the song is actually quite good…

14 Latvia BONAPARTI.LV Questa Notte
Oooh, more opera. Charming… tuxedo jackets and shirts, top hats, with jeans. The song is quite nice, energetic for being a ballad…

15 Russia SEREBRO Song #1
Here come the skanky bimbettes… can’t say much more…

16 Germany Roger CICERO Frauen Regier'n Die Welt
OK, he’s dressed like 30s/40s Chicago, same musical style, but in German? (OK, he switched to English) But OK, he can sing…

17 Serbia Marija ŠERIFOVIĆ Molitva
She’s probably a lesbian (she has that anything-but-skanky-bimbette look), but she has a good, powerful voice and the song is very good… this is another one of my favorites…

18 Ukraine Verka SERDUCHKA Dancing Lasha Tumbai
What’s Eurovision without a drag queen? ;-) The costumes are… um… silvery special. Sieben sieben ein zwei drei… charming… very old Soviet bloc meets psycho German nihilist Kraftwerk techno… I have my pocket calculator… this definitely wins the cheezefest, but I don’t really get why it’s one of the favorites…

19 United Kingdom SCOOCH Flying The Flag (For You)
Why is this song even here? (btw – this is the Eurovision example of what British Airways has been reduced to) *ugh*

20 Romania TODOMONDO Liubi, Liubi, I Love You
Very Vaudville… *shudder*

21 Bulgaria Elitsa TODOROVA & Stoyan YANKOULOV Water
Oh for the love of the FSM, is this another Björk wannabe or something?

22 Turkey Kenan DOĞULU Shake It Up, Shekerim
Hatten är din, hatten är din, hatt baby hatt baby…

23 Armenia Hayko Anytime You Need
Anytime I need to kick someone in the nuts… at least he had the decency to keep his shirt buttoned up…

24 Moldova Natalia BARBU Fight
Hike up your trousers, please. Nobody wants to see your skanky crack... you have to shave to wear trousers like that...


en attendant Eurovision...

Tonight's the semifinal for the Eurovision Song Contest, and Saturday night is the big night. We're going to have a little party here. No, I'm not kidding. We're going to serve lots of food and alcohol and have a good, cheezy time...

Tonight's the night we'll see if Guri Schanke will make it to the final. She's some 40-something woman who's going to sing some kind of Latino disco-inspired song. In a short dress. Apparently, she's been "caught" without panties, but nobody can confirm this rumor. The Danish tabloid press believes that she needs to get a grip on her botox injections. Denmark is sending a drag act. Let the bitchiness begin...

Among the drag queens, opera singers, death and glam rockers, and Israel's "Push the Button", Germany is tipped to win...


public service announcement

In case you ever decide to chase after me with a knife, don't. I'll kick you. One way or other, I'll kick you. Back kick, side kick, turn around and roundhouse kick, I'll kick you. And if you start stabbing me with that knife while chasing me, I'll turn around, break your arm, and mash your groin with my knee.

Yep, that's what we did in training tonight. Defenses against psychos chasing you with knives.

We trained outdoors too, so we had plenty of space to run around. And most of us were in plainclothes; I was wearing tight jeans. (Another PSA - groin guards under tight jeans are reeeeeeeally sexy.) It was hard enough running around on grass with tight jeans, let alone executing the kicks. I managed most of the time. I think. Next time I'll wear a skirt...

Another interesting thing we did, at the beginning right after our warmup, was tumbling on the gravel path. I've done tumbling on the mats and on the grass before, but not on gravel. Worked out fine, as my tumbling technique is actually there. I saw that some of the others were having a hard time of it though.

For the last thing we did, I let to guys punch out the RoF. One of those 2-against-1 drills where the 2 attackers hit your torso at 50%. I let myself get hit, as I could have easily fucked up my finger again doing the defenses. It's kind of a good thing to build up "resistance"/"tolerance" anyway. RoF was not amused...

The weather was a bit chilly, but actually perfect for the intensity level of what we were doing, and there were still enough other people out walking, walking their dog(s), jogging, whatever, and when they passed by us, they would stop and gawk. Excellent ;-)

Oh, as I hinted to above, it was a damn physical training. We were literally sprinting back and forth, being the attacker or the defender, not stopping until the instructor told us to stop. We also trained for a little over 2 hours, as opposed to the usual 90 minutes. I'm pleasantly exhausted.

Now it's time for some well-deserved organic sparkling wine :-)

poor Elvis...

This was depressing :-(

Heartbreak Hotel as king penguin Elvis can't leave building
ELVIS is alive and well, but marine authorities say he can't go home.

The fellow is in a rehab centre on a windy headland in Cape St Francis and, every now and then, he throws back his head and croons his rather haunting song.

Elvis is a king penguin that washed ashore near Cape St Francis in January, many thousands of kilometres away from his home on one of the sub-Antarctic islands.

No one knows how he got here, but when Trudi Malan of the Ajubatus Marine Rehabilitation Centre in St Francis was alerted, she and a local nature conservator rescued the creature.

"I can't believe how well he's looking now. He is beautiful. My wish is to release him back home, possibly to Marion Island, but the scientists say we can't because of the risk that he will carry back diseases.

"I understand that from a scientific point they can't take that risk. But for us, it's a very emotional thing. Kings are very gregarious penguins, they breed shoulder to shoulder and they like to be with their friends," said Malan.

"And every time he calls, ah, I just want to die. He throws it back and makes this sound. It's beautiful but it's so sad."

She had hoped the penguin could hitch a ride on the Department of Environment's ship that took research teams to Marion Island, a habitat of king penguins.

Rob Crawford, an ornithologist with Marine and Coastal Management, confirmed yesterday that this was not permitted in terms of the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research.

"Any species that has been in captivity may not be released back into the Antarctic or sub-Antarctic Islands, because there is always a chance of introducing disease.

"It could be disastrous if that happened," Crawford said.

Asked if the penguin could be released off the Eastern Cape coast and left to take its chances, Crawford said he was not sure it would survive in the warm Agulhas current.

"My personal opinion is that it would be best if it could be with another captive population," Crawford said.

Malan said the Edinburgh and Zurich zoos were interested in taking on Elvis.

"The Zurich Zoo has a world specialist on king penguins. He says they've got to be with friends or they fall into depression. They have about 20 but they really wanted a female.

"The Edinburgh Zoo was interested but they can't take him because of the bird flu ban," she said

Two Oceans Aquarium is also interested in taking him for their Antarctic and Islands display, yet to be built.

"I've tried everything. Sometimes I feel if I ever found another one, I would quietly euthanise him," Malan said.


the legs are evil and must be punished...

Lately, I've been training plyometrics quite aggressively, as part of my strength/power training routine, to supplement Krav Maga. Sometimes I do plyometrics-only, sometimes in combination with weights. I'm really enjoying these exercises, especially for the variety factor, but dang - they can really punish the legs! Especially after 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps ;-)

I had a really good killer squats+plyos workout this morning. Neither my legs nor the RoF were amused. I'll be feeling it tomorrow and Wednesday hahaha...

It's too soon to determine to what extent this is benefitting Krav Maga. I still have the damn finger injury, and it's really cramping my style. I can't train properly. (It also makes things difficult to do upper-body work.) Bah. And training starts up again tomorrow, after a long Easter break. I wonder what we'll do... hmmm... if it weren't for the damn finger, I would want to do a lot of ground work. Wrestling and throwing off attackers who are on top of you and the such... perhaps with weapons... good fun...

Anyway... how are your legs doing today?


exotic ingredients...

Hmm... what does one serve with a rabid salad?

mmm... gourmet local dives...

We have a new informal-yet-gourmet joint in the hood... Vognmand Nilsen... As we couldn't be bothered with cooking dinner last night, we ate there instead...

Rule number one... when a new restaurant in the hood gets great reviews in the papers, book a table... we got a table in the bar area where we could also eat, but that was less than ideal... (we eventually were able to move to a regular dining area table)

Anyway, we had a three-course meal. We could choose courses from the menu of the week. We had the following:

(Amuse bouche: jellied crab with aioli on flatbread)

Starter: grilled lobster tail with purée of petit pois, citrus-marinated julienne root vegetables, and shellfish foam for me, fried halibut with orange-glazed "poor man's asparages" (not really sure what this is), spinach, and white wine sauce for boyfriend of tuxette. We ate half of each...

Main: roast veal with sautéed artichoke hearts, port-marinated lentils, roast potatoes, and creamy truffle sauce...

Dessert: cheese plate with apple compote and fruit and nut bread...

Wine: we shared a bottle of Allesverloren Cab Sauv...

Absolutely delicious food - seafood and fish cooked perfectly, tender and tasty veal, perfect al-dente vegetables... The sauces were especially noteworthy; these were probably 1000 kcal per drop ;-)

The restaurant itself was cosy and unpretentious, and quite bustling... it's the kind of place where you don't have to get overly dressed up for... definitely a place to go back to :-)


teach yourself Xhosa

Well, now we've gone and done it. We bought a "teach yourself Xhosa" course, with a CD and book and everything. We'll soon be well on our way to clicky-clicky goodness... or was that confusion? ;-)

Heh, for one of the first lessons, you get to practice singing The Click Song hehe...

Igqirha lendlela nguqongqothwane...

What the song translates to is kind of funny :-)


getting drunk without the booze...

At the end of last night's training, we did this rather intoxicating drill. We got into groups of three. The first person (placed between the second and third) had to roll (sommersault) to the second person, the second person attacks and the first person counterattacks, and then rolls to the third person, who attacks, and the first person counterattacks and rolls back to the second person... this goes on and on until the instructor says stop and switch... the first 2-3 rolls were ok...

Then the dizziness, the drunken feeling hit... woohoo...

Maybe I should try some rolling around along with some beer and wine tonight hehe...


Madiba: Man of Destiny

boyfriend of feitpingvin and I went to see Peter Magubane's "Madiba: Man of Destiny" photo exhibit at the International Cultural Center and Museum here in Oslo. It is about the life of Nelson Mandela and the fight against apartheid from the end of the 1950s to Mandela's release to now - the new South Africa.

Magubane captured many disturbing episodes during the apartheid regime, including Mandela's arrest, student demonstrations, various massacres, and the resulting funerals. His photographs have been show in, among others, Life magazine, The New York Times, National Geographic and Time magazine. For his efforts, Magubane has been jailed and tortured, and even banned from taking any photographs at all. It's a good thing he never let anything stop him...

I think some of my favorite photos were ones where white people were also included. It's very obvious that the blacks were opposed to the evils of the apartheid regime. It's easy to forget how many white South Africans were also involved in the struggle. I'm not sure what my absolute favorite photo was though. I think I'll have to go back and have a look again. The exhibit was free after all ;-)


woohoo! more bullshit exercise equipment!

(This is almost as good as the Vacunaut)

I proudly give you the CelluBike - the cellulite-removing exer-cycle! It has infrared technology! w00t!

This thing is supposedly used by millions in Western Europe (which Norway is a part of), yet this is the first time I've ever heard of it. Considering how much of an exercise-junkie I am (I guess I'm too old school since I'm "only" familiar with things like killer self-defense/martial arts and Soviet-style weightlifting).

I'm especially LOL'ing at this because, despite being overweight (if one should believe the BMI charts), I don't have cellulite (well, barely). Sure, I have a big ass that would put Serena Williams to shame, but like Serena Williams, I move my big ass on a regular basis. My workout routine includes doing HIIT on a stationary bike. If stationary bikes are the key to getting rid of cellulite. No need for infrared technology here...

And of course, they have the various disclaimers. For example, that in addition to the actual exercise, you have to follow a set of basic rules:
1. Reduce your carbonated drink intake
2. Get regular exercise
3. Avoid alcohol and smoking
4. Drink an adequate amount of water (it takes 22 oz. of water to metabolize 1oz. of fat)
5. Eat sensibly, preferably whole, fresh foods; avoid processed, fast foods, fats and sugar

I also found the following disclaimers very fascinating:
To use the CelluBike you need to be in general good health, you should not use the bike if you are:
1. Pregnant
2. Menstruating
3. Have any heart problems
4. Have a pacemaker or other stimulators
5. Have lessened pain sensibility due to other treatments
6. Have artificial limbs
7. Have increased cartilage
8. Have shortness of breath





hey batter batter... and a fashion advice bonus

We did defense against stick attacks yesterday. And by stick, I mean things like baseball bats, crowbars, etc. The counter-attacks are quite technically difficult. Amnon made it look so easy. I think it will get easy once I'm more experienced and at a higher level than I am now...

btw - something quite interesting (and somewhat "no shit Sherlock") is that how an attacker with a stick attacks you is more often than not determined by culture. In Europe you're more likely to face an "overhead" attack while in the US you'll be swung at like a baseball player swinging his bat. And of course England... cricket... (probably the same with South Africa, Pakistan, India, Australia, New Zealand)...

Despite the difficult techniques, we still had a lot of fun, especially at the end with all the crazy drills we had to do. Lots of 3-against-1 training. Plus one exercise where attackers hid/hung out in various areas of the building and attacked the rest of us as we walked around. Good stuff...

Speaking of good stuff, this is supposedly what hip and trendy men are supposed to be seen in. It'll make it much easier for me to tell if a guy is hot for me, and even better, much easier for me to hit my target. Because if I ever see any guy in something like that, I'm going to have to take a pre-emptive strike, just to save humanity... ;-)


"Let's keep the blood inside the body..."

What a nice way to start a weekend training seminar ;-)

Amnon Darsa also told us "you are not here to have fun, you are here to suffer."

We had so much fun today!

After doing a bunch of sadistic warmup exercises, we spent the whole day doing all kinds of defense-against-knife-attack exercises and drills. It's so cool that he was able to set up 6 hours of training with only knife stuff, and have it so varied and fun that nobody got bored with it...

Now I'm ready for a trip to... um... Finland ;-)

Hmm... I wonder what we're going to do tomorrow. I can't wait :-)


crowd control... and reaction times...

Aaaaah, the first Krav Maga training session of the year! This time we started with this interesting little game for our warmup. A few of us were given knives. Everyone else had to move around the room. When those with the knives suddenly started slashing and stabbing, you had to get out of their way. The point of it all was to be aware of your surroundings, pay attention to what's going on around you, and to be prepared to react to the unexpected.

The story behind doing this exercise is based on a story that Eyal Yanilov told when he led a seminar here last spring. There was a situation where some guy started stabbing a bunch of people at some shopping center. People just stood there and watched other people get stabbed, until it was their turn to get stabbed. They just stood there and didn't at the very least get the fucking hell away...

The rest of our time was spent going through basic stuff choke defenses and punching and kicking drills. No sadistic drills towards the end of class though (i.e. the Nazi, schizo, etc.) - are the instructors getting soft on us? Hmmm...

Oh, and speaking of reaction, here's a fun little game for you all. Baaaaaaaaa...


when the RoF gets in the way of boinky-boinky...

male panda too fat to have sex (with scary panda-jaws-of-death picture :)

"Chuang Chuang is gaining weight too fast and we found Lin Hui is no longer comfortable with having sex with him," said the zoo's chief veterinarian, Kanika Limtrakul, adding that Chuang Chuang weighed 331 pounds while Lin Hui is only 253 pounds.

As a result, zoo authorities are cutting out bamboo shoots in the daily meal for Chuang Chuang and giving the obese bear only bamboo leaves, Kanika said.



It's about time!

*waddles outside and slides on belly*



2007 - the Year of the Penguin

From the New York Times:

A Procession of Penguins Arrives on Madison Ave.
NEVER mind what the Chinese calendar says. This is going to be the year of the penguin, at least on Madison Avenue.

Penguins have long been popular in advertising, but they have become even more so after three successful movies with penguin characters: "Madagascar" and "March of the Penguins" in 2005 and "Happy Feet" last year. They have helped turn the penguin into the new pitchbeast of choice.

There is, for example, Club Penguin, which offers a Web site for children at clubpenguin.com, and the revival by Perry Ellis International, under the Original Penguin label, of the apparel bearing penguin logos that was once sold by Munsingwear. Penguins appear in print ads for Dawn dishwashing detergent, sold by Procter & Gamble, and star in commercials for Coca-Cola Classic. Hallmark Cards centered a promotion on a "dancing penguins" Christmas tree ornament, and the National Geographic Society has spotlighted penguins in campaigns.

"There’s obviously something about these little guys" that is leading advertisers to think "it says something about us as consumers to associate ourselves with penguins," said Michael Megalli, a partner at Group 1066, a corporate identity consulting company in New York.

One theory Mr. Megalli offered is what he called "the Al Gore thing" — this is, "we want to reassure ourselves penguins will have a place in a world with global warming."

That theory is reinforced by a campaign last fall from St. Martin’s Press for "Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions," a business management book by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber. Penguins decorate the book jacket as well as the ads.

Another reason, Mr. Megalli says, may relate to the dynamic between the individual penguin and the flock.

"None of us wants to feel we’re just another penguin in a sea of penguins," he said, so a penguin who strikes out on his own can be used to tell an appealing story.

That was the case in a Coca-Cola Classic commercial, by Wieden & Kennedy, that teams the brand’s familiar polar bear characters with a colony of penguins. The spot was introduced for the 2005 holiday season and was brought back for 2006.

The commercial shows a polar bear cub intruding into a flock of penguins. The penguins do not know how to react until one steps forward and serves the bear a bottle of Coke Classic. The spot ends as all the penguins join the cub and its parents in grooving to a Beach Boys tune.

"The bears have stood for being approachable and friendly, and the penguins are chatty and social," said Katie J. Bayne, senior vice president for Coca-Cola brands in North America at Coca-Cola in Atlanta.

The commercial "was the top-scoring spot we’ve ever done with the polar bears," Ms. Bayne said, referring to research conducted for Coca-Cola by Millward Brown, part of the WPP Group, "and in the top 4 percent of all spots Millward Brown has tested in the carbonated soft drink category."

Penguins have played a part in marketing and popular culture for almost a century. The imprint Penguin Books was introduced in 1926; seven years later came Willie, the brand mascot for Kool cigarettes, then owned by the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation.

Willie had his own Hollywood moment in the 1949 Marx Brothers movie "Love Happy," when Harpo was chased through Times Square and climbed a neon sign advertising Kool. In the '50s and '60s, cartoons featured penguin characters like Chilly Willy and Tennessee Tuxedo.

Brown & Williamson sought to revive Willie in the early '90s, in a hipper incarnation, but in 1998 tobacco marketers agreed to end the use of cartoon characters in cigarette ads.

Penguins entered the high-tech realm in the late '90s, when Linux, the open-source computer operating system, adopted a penguin as its mascot.

The bird also appealed to the founders of Club Penguin, a Web site for children founded in October 2005 by Dave Krisko, Lane Merrifield and Lance Priebe.

Its genesis dates to 2000, when Mr. Priebe, working on computer games for children, "happened to glance at a 'Far Side' cartoon featuring penguins that was sitting on his desk," said Karen Mason, a spokeswoman for Club Penguin in Kelowna, British Columbia. Work on Club Penguin began in 2004 and the name was selected in summer 2005, she added.

Summer 2005 was also the season of the documentary "March of the Penguins," which initially had almost no advertising tie-ins because no one expected it to become the hit it did. Eventually, the National Geographic Society — whose National Geographic Feature Film unit released the documentary with the Warner Independent Pictures division of Time Warner — brought out "March" merchandise, like plush toys and books, and there were tie-ins with marketers like the Minute Maid unit of Coca-Cola.

By contrast, "Happy Feet," released in November by the Warner Brothers division of Time Warner, had numerous marketing partners lined up in advance. They included Build-A-Bear Workshop, Burger King, General Mills — and Roche Laboratories, the pharmaceutical company, for a campaign to promote a Web site, flufacts.com.

Roche, which makes a flu drug, Tamiflu, came in for criticism about the campaign.

On the blog of Shaping Youth, which studies the influences of marketing and the media on children (shapingyouth.org/blog), Amy Jussel, executive director, wrote: "It’s chilling to think that an animated cartoon is being used as a product-placement hook to sell paranoia, prevention and pop-a-pill solutions to families everywhere in a big-bucks deal that would make your head spin. (And not from the flu.)"

The next significant date for peddling penguins — and penguin peddling — is June 8, when the Sony Pictures Animation division of Sony is scheduled to release an animated film, "Surf’s Up," a mock documentary about a young surfing penguin (voiced by Shia LaBeouf) and his mentor (Jeff Bridges).

Trying to describe the idea, Premiere magazine wrote, "Think 'Point Break' meets 'This Is Spinal Tap,' with penguins."



Birthdays are great and RoF friendly (RoF has already forgotten about the workout I had this morning hehehe :) I'm sitting here on a Sunday afternoon, quaffing sparkling wine (Bellavista Cuvee Brut) and snacking on chicken-avocado sandwiches...

We went to Statholdergaarden Krostue (pathetic website that is Exploder-only unfortunately) last night for my birthday gourmet RoF-stuffing orgy. Statholdergaarden itself is a restaurant that has a Michelin star. The Krostue is a more informal restaurant that uses the sasme kitchen...

Our feast consisted of the following:

Aperitif: sparkling wine cocktail with bourbon and Tia Maria. It was a very interesting combination, and had a nice citrus/grapefruit/exotic fruit flavor.

Amuse bouche of salmon rillet, tarragon-marinated scallops and chili-marinated shrimp on crostinis (mini-toast). This was a nice complement to the aperitif ;-)

Trout carpaccio with sorrel and pesto. Served with a semi-dry Riesling (didn't get the name of the wine unfortunately - forgot to get the list of all the wines we drank... blah!) that was an excellent match...

Sauteed scampi in sour salad with peanut sauce and Skagen shellfish salad with løyrom (a kind of caviar) and sourdough toast, served with the same wine as the carpaccio (but wasn't as good of a match but still ok)...

Provencal ”Brandade” (potato and bacalhau mash), Congo potato chips and Viergesaus (a kind of grape sauce). The Congo potato chips were interesting - purple potatoes with a very different taste compared to white potatoes...

Pepper-fried filet of cod with sauteed spinach and bell pepper sauce, served with a Chardonnay... The cod was served with the skin, which was nice and crispy :)

Frothy shellfish soup garnished with beans and fennel. My only critique is that the cream in the soup dominated too much... (RoF wasn't complaining hahaha)

Gravenstein apple sorbet with pomegranate and Calvados - to clean the palate :)

Main dish: Choice of olive-baked isgalt (grenadier/rattail - Macrourus berglax) in Baccalao sauce with onions, olives, pimentos, and potato cubes


Duck confit served with red onion compote, broccoli purée, and roasted chestnuts with a sourish onion sauce.

I got one and boyfriend of feitpingvin got the other. We each ate half and then switched dishes. The fish was the best dish - perfectly prepared with a wonderfully tasty sauce. The duck was also good, but way on the salty side. Apparently, other people complained about the same thing...

The mains were served with each their own Italian red wine. Both were excellent; damn it that we didn't get the names! :-(

Dessert was fruits and berries marinated in Muskat Beumes de Venice, served with spice ice cream with a fruit sorbet. Served with a Sicilian dessert wine that tasted like cloudberries...

Coffee afterwards, no avec this time...


it's that time of year again...

There was at least 3 times as many people as usual at the gym this afternoon. Freaks galore...

Some freak who thought "paying attention to the others around you" was too good for her pushed some guy aside (screaming out "excuse me!" in a snooty voice) to get to the dumbells rack. While he was doing some kind of exercise. Which caused him to crash into me (he was otherwise at a safe distance). While I was doing some kind of exercise. Now my neck is killing me. It ruined the rest of my workout... not that I would have gotten so much more done with so many people there...

I hope that guy is OK, that is, that he didn't pull anything. He was using some rather heavy dumbbells and had to do some freaky manouvers to avoid the crash being worse than it already was...

Yeah yeah, come February and they'll be long gone...


Kwela Kwela

I have mentioned that I recently got a CD filled with South African songs as a Secret Santa gift. I am very hooked on Kwela Kwela, by a group called Mafikizolo. The genre is called Kwaito...

I was actually trying to find an MP3 to post, but the only thing I could find was what I found on YouTube. The video is kind of, um, well... I love the song though...