Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I'm Cold


Winter has arrived. Last week we got LOTS of snow, and by lots I mean so much that the busses could not run, there was chaos in the streets and everyone was taken by surprise. Then they all went skiing. It's play time for Norwegians when the first snow comes and boy do they love to ski.

Me, well, I'm a hot weather kinda gal, and I really don't see the point in going out when it's cold. Why? It's just gonna be me outside in the cold instead of inside and warm. And snow? I don't do snow. It's wet and cold and it clings to you and it's damned hard to walk in (and drive in). I LIKE to walk. It's one of my favorite pasttimes. Not to mention my preferred form of transportation. Walking in the snow is well nigh impossible. Hence, the Norwegians invented skiing. I don't ski. I prefer my legs in working order and not broken, thanks. I am klutzy enough to recognize that skiing is "ouch" in my personal dictionary.

Don't get me wrong. Snow is lovely. It's beautiful the way it blankets the trees and turns everything sparkling white and clean. Everything has a blue hue to it, from the reflected light, and there is a wonderful silence. Cars and trains and noisy things are muffled by the insulating snow. It gives everything a peaceful aspect, like a living Ansel Adams photo.

But I don't want to go out in it. I prefer to watch it from the windows. Which makes for a REALLY long boring winter. 6 months of it. rrgg.

Did I mention I am a hot weather kinda gal? In Texas we have two seasons: Hot. And Not So Hot. I know how to do hot. I am happiest in 100 degrees wearing a tank top, a skirt and some sandals. As little clothes as possible. But winter? This winter thing has me all flummoxed. I just don't know how to do it.

Look for me in a warm place near you sometime soon!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Me and Liz......

It's about time for a picture, isn't it?

I've always been a big fan of Tudor history so imagine my glee when I was able to pose for the ultimate "big head" picture.

I have always been very enamoured of the jewelry in portraits like this, and I think it has heavily influenced me in my own jewelry making style. Dontcha love her necklace? Wow.

This was taken in July, 2003 in London. Thanks Jennifer Cook for indulging me on this one and taking the picture!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Expat Thanksgivings

I was just thinking about my Thanksgivings since I left the US. I always get kind of homesick around now. (Or shall I say, I get more homesick than usual?)

The first one, in 2002, we went to London the weekend before Turkey Day to celebrate with Colleen. We got back to Norway the day before Thanksgiving. Thursday morning I got up and decided to go grocery shopping for a small turkey type item and fixings to approximate a dinner here. I got to my car to find it completely fucked up, someone having tried to steal it while I was gone in London. THAT was a bad day. We had no insurance on the car yet, it was still caught up in the customs red tape. It was very expensive to fix and took two months. So we'll consider Thanksgiving 2002 to be a complete wash, shall we?

Thanksgiving 2003 was also in London, we stayed once again at Colleen's and went to see a play, ate at Quaglino's, saw "Love Actually" the day it opened, and I hit the markets at Covent Garden, Spitalfields and Camden. We saw some excellent exhibits at the British Museum and I saw the V&A Gothic exhibit. Colleen took us on some wanderings in her car outside London and we had lunch in this exquisite town called Shere, where they filmed some of the new Bridget Jones movie that is out now. That was a very nice visit, and when we got back to Norway my car was intact. That was a bonus.

Still, that makes two turkey-free Thanksgivings in a row. Did I mention that besides Halloween, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday? I like it because it is only and ever about being with your family and friends, celebrating togetherness, and there is none of the pressure of Christmas presents or New Year's Eve (must have fabulous time! must party like it's 1999!!). Just food and hanging out and chatting. I like that.

This year, well, today, ain't nothing happening. I am making jewelry for a show this weekend. Doing laundry. That's about it. Rich and I will have leftover white bean chicken chili. There's a big pot of it in the fridge.

This weekend, though, my friend Jennifer (Norway Jennifer) is having a bunch of us over for dinner. Poor thing is so stressed about this damn dinner, I almost want to just bring her some pizzas and take the stress off of her. But then she explained the problem: She is Chinese, and in her family they never did turkey, they did chinese food and would get a ham for any westerners that might be afoot. So turkey is pretty mysterious to her, and here she is, for her second big dinner party EVER, making a thanksgiving dinner. That takes some kind of balls, don't it? Even seasoned veterans get nervous about Thanksgiving dinners, so she is definitely taking up a large challenge. I know it will be great, though. She is the sort of person that always makes things work out. I do wish she would calm down a bit. We'll probably all get drunk fairly early on and won't notice much, anyhow!

So, to family and friends in Missouri and Houston and Austin and Orlando and Pennsylvania and Midland and Santa Fe and Europe....Happy Thanksgiving and I totally miss you! Eat some turkey for me (those of you having fried turkey, eat alot for me please) and multiple huggies all around! I send you all the best and wish I was there with you.


PS Julia, stay away from the tequila and the bushes at your parent's house, please.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Update on Cheesy Mary


I got a nice roast chicken with mayo on rye around here somewhere. If you look closely you can see, um, the face of Ron Jeremy. Or maybe that's not his face. Ew. Anyhow, do I hear $4.95?

People will buy anything, won't they?

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Let's talk about fashion

For those of us who are interested in fashion, this has been a fairly intriguing week. I am talking, of course, about the debut of Karl Lagerfeld's line for H&M.

I know H&M is not in Austin, or even anywhere past the Northeast in the US, so you may not be in on the KL for H&M hubbub. I discovered H&M many years ago when I was in Germany travelling. I thought I would lose my mind, so much cool stuff at such great prices...and in good fabrics too! Imagine cheap, chic, fashionable clothes, scads of them, with a turnover so fast that if you don't buy it when you see it, well, you are SOL but good. Last week I bought a fabulous red velvet suit, the jacket fits like a dream, the pants are long and leggy, and it was less than $100 for the two pieces with a skirt. And believe me when I say that you would not be able to tell the price of it when you see it. It's positively posh. H&M RULES!

Anyhow, Karl Lagerfeld (designer for Chanel) has created an abbreviated line for H&M. The prices for these simple yet well made pieces run from $20 to $150. The fashion press has gone wild. Fashionistas are in a frenzy. The collection is a smash hit. I went and saw it and here's the scoop.

It's, um, ok.

I was in downtown Oslo yesterday and had a chance to try on the majority of it. And there did seem to be plenty of it,though some pieces had sold out. No lines out the door or fist fights, as some of the fashion press has reported. In fact, it was kind of....quiet.

Lagerfeld has definitely designed everything to fit his vision of the long skinny legged urban creature, but did it generously so that it fits real folks. (To whit: I got an ass like J Lo and I fit into his very narrow pegged jeans quite well. Snug but not too big in the waist or anything like that. Great for tucking into boots and looking 8 feet tall.) However, if you don't look good in long skinny jeans (as I don't) or in long narrow sweaters or long narrow jackets, well this is not the collection for you. Mr. Lagerfeld made this collection to fit...himself. His new improved, scrawnier than one of the Olsen sisters, self.

There were a few good things. There was a fairly kick-ass sequinned jacket, like a tuxedo jacket but shiny and very rock and roll. THAT is worth thinking about getting.

There was an "SJP" dress, a black chiffon and silk peau de soir number, very cute with a pleated skirt and just enough poof to make it fun, but it made me and my friend look a bit thick in the waist. (The belt was not adjustable and I have a freakishly small waist for my size, so it is a common problem for me.) With a better belt it might be really nice. Unfortunately, very delicate fabrics tend not to survive too well in the crush of a populist store like H&M, so many of those dresses were missing the top neck button that sort of held the whole thing up. Still, it is a cute dress.

Basically everything was very sharply tailored, minimal and a little, well, boring and cold. I thought the jackets and the sweaters were a little too long. They felt very 80's. (Iknow 80's retro is cool. *shiver*) I didn't like the idea of dressing up to look like Karl Lagerfeld, which is what this collection basically was (except the dresses). It felt like one big designer ego boost "let's dress up like Karl" homage. I don't wear uniforms, and I especially don't wear OTHER people's uniforms, and it felt very costumey to me.

I wanted to go crazy over the stuff and buy tons of it, and ended up buying nothing. I might go back for the skinny jeans (I have so many boot cuts already, and even though these were not perfect for my body type, they would suit for boot-tucking-in and heavy sweater wearing in the long cold Norwegian winter that just appeared this weekend) and that sequinned jacket. The rest, well, if it goes on sale, we'll see!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Gee, ya think?

This pisses me off.

I mean, they have known about the ludicrous prices of food here for YEARS, and now they think there might be a problem?
They think maybe there's not enough competition? DUH!
That maybe the grocery stores charge too much? DUH!
The fact is that there are only really about three companies that own all the "different" grocery stores, and they can charge whatever they want.
They don't have any competition because no other companies WANT to come sell groceries in Norway. The duties are too damn high and there is no choice here! There is a dairy monopoly, a poultry monopoly, a wine monopoly.....who CAN compete? (The government owns the dairy and the wine monopolies, I am not sure about the poultry one.)

Jesus, how thick headed do you have to be?????

"Duh. Mr. Government Minister, prices on food seem high and there is no choice in the grocery stores. Maybe we should investigate?" GAH!!!!! Prices are high because all these poor Norwegians have been gouged for years and are just used to it. That's all there is to it. Why make prices lower when you know you can get folks to pay, just by coordinating with your "competition" to make sure they stay high? The richest people in Norway are, you guessed it, the grocery store owners.

I can't WAIT until Norway joins the EU (though I won't be here) so I can watch this absurd economy face the real world fair market competition it has managed to avoid up until now. Boy that will be fun.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Cheesy Mary on Ebay

I found this article this morning, about a woman who made herself a cheese sandwich 10 years ago and saw the face of the Virgin Mary in it. So instead of eating it, she put in cotton balls (do they have preservative qualities I didn't know about?) in a clear plastic container and put it on her nightstand by her bed to watch over her.

Apparently, now, she has decided to "share" her miracle with the world, and has put it up for auction on Ebay. A bidding war has started, along with not a little international publicity.

Here is where it gets entertaining for me. Go to Ebay. Do a search for "Virgin Mary Cheese" and see what you come up with. Ah, yes, capitalism is alive and well all over the world. Some very funny (and opportunistic) folks have posted some very entertaining Cheesy Mary items.

I like the one sale that is titled "an empty envelope.....not a virgin mary grilled cheese". At least they are honest. I wonder if I can sell my jewelry that way? "Pearl necklace, not a virgin mary grilled cheese" And why not extrapolate from there? "A pearl necklace...NOT a Tyrannosourus rex". "A pearl necklace....not a bunny rabbit with big pointy teeth".

Or is that pushing it?

Pearl Necklace...*not* a Virgin Mary Cheese

I call this the "Romanesque Pearl Lariat". Just random pearls in warm tones, finished off with a tassel of crystal, a Thai Hill Tribe silver fish, a keshi pearl and some other goodies.
Yes, it is not a Virgin Mary Cheese Sandwich. I sold it yesterday, sweetened the deal with an Elvis Cheese Sandwich. The Elvis comes with your choice of upper or downer and a side of valium. On toasted white bread.
(For those who are not sure what a lariat is (this means you guys) it's basically like a jewelled scarf. One wears it as one would a scarf. Though, if one is from Texas, one may not wear a scarf very often. Thusly, one would wrap said lariat around one's neck as one sees fit. See also "noose", "cravat" and "string wrapped around the neck". Thus endeth this lesson.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

This could get boring

I am pretty much done with travelling for this year. At least, I think I am. I mean, I have nothing planned, except London for Christmas, but you never know, maybe something will come up. (she writes, hopefully)

But it kinda means that I won't have any neato current travel stories to regale you with. Instead, it might just be boring old day to day stuff. Like the other day....

Rich and I went for a walk the other day, just in the neighborhood. While we were walking I kicked something hard and it rolled away from me. I chased it down and it was...a coconut. A coconut, a whole coconut, with the husk and all, lying on the street in Norway. Hmm. Interesting. Being me (ie a dork) of course I looked up, wondering if it fell? Rich snorted and rolled his eyes, then asked if I was looking for the coconut palm? In Norway? Oh, right. Probably not, huh.

But how did that coconut get there? There was not a trash can nearby, and it was not like anyone threw it away, that I could see. Why would someone buy a whole, husk-on coconut? Why would they then throw it in the street? Did the African Swallow from Monty Python's The Holy Grail drop it en route to bringing it to Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, King of the Britons?

It's wierd, what you find lying (laying?) around in the street. A coconut in Norway. Wonder what its story is.......maybe it was a magic coconut and I totally missed out on my three wishes. I was supposed to kiss it or run in three circles around it or something. What would I wish for if I had three Magic Coconut Wishes?

See, I told you it could get boring. I really need to get a life if THIS is what I will be writing about. Sheesh.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Margaret B., You Are My Pop Culture Hero

Ok, so imagine if your friend hands you a DVD set of a cancelled TV series you have never heard of and says, "Here is your birthday present. Watch it. Trust me. You'll love it".
Of course, you would be like, "Well, what's it about?"
She says, "Well, it's kind of a space-sci-fi set-in the-future-thing, except it's like an old style Western, and they also speak Chinese and they just float thru space from planet to planet stealing stuff and getting into trouble. There's a crazy chick, and a travelling courtesan and a gonzo pilot and a genius girl mechanic and a really hot captain with a soul of gold who wears tight pants and tall boots, and his sidekick is a really powerful black woman who's married to the pilot and who also wears tight pants and tall boots. Oh and there's torture and stuff too."

You say, "Oh, ok. Right. I'll get right to it". Huh?

So, on a rainy, shitty, cold dark Oslo day, you pop it into the DVD and you discover....Joss Whedon's Firefly. And you are hooked. And there are only fourteen episodes. EVER. And you feel bereft that there are no more. So really, thanks Margaret, for introducing me to the best show ever, and then yanking it out from under me. She's like a drug dealer, ain't she? (Though I do hear they are making a Firefly movie. More crack for this ho?)

(In a long side note, Margaret also introduced me to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the series. I had seen the movie a long time ago, thought it was a funny premise. She told me that the series was way better.
I'm like, "Yeah right, and how many times has a series based on a movie EVER been even decent? And that movie wasn't all that great. Even if Paul Reubens did have the greatest dying scene I have ever seen. But still, a series based on that? On Fox? Come ON!"
She was right, it was great, I got hooked. Once I moved to Oslo I started buying the Angel DVD's and got hooked on them, too, though not as much as I was on Buffy. And of course, both Buffy and Angel are now ended. As is Sex and the City. DAMMIT! End Sidenote.)

(Another Sidenote: But then, the shows I have always been fondest of do seem to get cancelled with great, and apallingly impatient, regularity. Remember Freaks and Geeks?
My So Called Life? I think that I might be TV series death. If I like it, it gets cancelled. I like Six Feet Under,**** is it still on? Shit, now that I have written that, it will be cancelled. End of Additional Sidenote.)

The point of all of this is that, if Margaret B. ever hands you a DVD and says "Watch it", just watch it. She knows of what she speaks. I have learned from the master. The greatest lesson here is, of course, if Joss Whedon writes it, just watch the damn show, you will like it.

****10 hours later: Rich told me tonight that Six Feet Under is gonna be cancelled. He just read it. Is that true? Have I jinxed it? I am SO sorry, I should not have written anything about it.......Shit.

....On the other hand, if I am so powerful, maybe if I watch Fox news or something I can get that cancelled? What shows do you hate? Survivor? That Donald Trump show? American Idol? Maybe I can use my power for good?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

A Beer Series

Beer. Beer beer beer. We like beer.
Here are some pictures during-, pre- or post-beer drinking, at various times and places over the past few years.
You are not allowed to sue me if you don't like the pictures.
So there.

Big beer in Prague. Note the bleary smile and not-quite-open eyes. I had had alot of beer by then.

Rich with beer, Prague

Rich after beer in London

Beer in London on the South Bank...wheee!

Beer and the German flag on the Mosel

Brother drinking. Wine and beer. At same time. (He couldn't decide which he wanted first.) It was a wierd night. Orleans, France, 2002.

Two weenies (one named Julia) and a beer in Germany
Photo by Me

This is what beer does to you.
Me and Marla...she's the glamorous "blonde". I'm the one with my bra showing, looking confused, er, um, inquisitive. I think Marla should be famous.
Austin, SXSW, 2003

Beer (pinky up!) in Germany

Why beer is bad.....
Sean feels up a suspiciously large Girl Guide.....
Halloween, 2001.

Jesus and Madonna drink beer too. Halloween 2001.

Monday, November 08, 2004

In London, Again

'When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.'
Samuel Johnson

Hi. I'm in London at present, posting from an Easy Internet Cafe. The keyboard I am writing in is FILTHY. THe letters stick and the shift key does not work so well, so excuse the typos, I will fix them when I get home.

Just wanted to say how much I LOVE London. Just walking around here makes me happy. It's so vibrant, there is so much to look at and do, so many faces and places to see.

Today I have just been wandering, took the Tube to Covent Garden, where I went to Kirk Originals and bought some really cool new glasses. (They look very Fashion Director, Nerdy Sexy Geek, kinda. Hey if you are as blind as me, why even pretend to get glasses that 'show your eyes'. I am in the Coke Bottle league, y'know? So now I have given up and I just get really nerdy glasses, why hide it anymore.) Some friends of mine here in Norway know the folks who own the company. They say they are the best glasses ever. Who knew? I just liked them. They have aluminum sides and a black front and look really hip. And they are handmade, so as a jewelry designer and craftsperson myself I can appreciate interesting handmade things. But these will be the most expensive glasses I have ever owned. EVER.

Then I went over to the jewelry district in Hatton Gardens and bought a few jewelry making supplies from a 6 foot 7 inch tattooed man who was kind of like the Alterna-Rich. He looked just like Rich, but with long hair and tats and piercings and stuff. I thought he was hot, but then I always did like them tall.
I then decided to have a little pub crawl. So I got out my trusty map and found only the old pubs that are pre-1800, of which there are a few in central London, down back alleys and such. Went to Ye Old Mitre and Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese and a couple other Ye Olde's. Now I am Ye Olde Drunk.

It's been a good visit with Colleen and Karen. (Colleen is about to embark on a round-the-world trip, damn her, and is leaving London.) We have been hitting the posh places but hard. I even got to dress up in "the sparkle skirt" and a few other fab things I own but hardly ever get to wear. (What's a glam gal supposed to do with a huge wardrobe of fun stuff and no where to wear it? Go to London!)
Ate at San Lorenzo (Di's old hangout) and then had a martini at Duke's Hotel, legendary for their martinis that they make at your table. Drink one, and you are UNDER the table. I did, and I was. Karen made me drink it!) Colleen's friend Karen is a hoot, and I consider her my friend now too. She knows the good places to go. We had tea at Duke's yesterday, but were underwhelmed when we asked for more little tea sandwiches and they charged us 8 pounds for four quarters of a sandwich...it was ridiculous, like $3 a bite! We let them know we were not amused. So, lesson learned: Go to Duke's for the maritnis, but skip the tea.

Alrighty, well, my hands are tired from using this sucky keyboard. Must motor on. I have time for one more pub before tonight's festivities.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

I Hate To Say "I Told You So"....

It's already starting.
Here is the cover of The Daily Mirror, from the UK. This really is the cover, it's not a fake, here is the link to their website.....granted, it's not exactly the "classiest" paper they got in the UK, but it certainly gives you the viewpoint of the man on the street.

I know all this political crap is tiring, so I won't say any more after this post (and for those of you who are Republicans, well, your guy won, so let me bitch, ok?). I just want you to know that I already had a bunch of people here in Norway (two Frenchman, a couple of Norwegians and a Brit) (sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn't it?) ask me what the hell happened and what I thought. I just sighed, rolled my eyes and said that I was in the other HALF of Americans who did NOT vote for Bush....they got the message.

I'm back to the humorous posts after this. Thanks for letting me rant. Off to London tomorrow, am practicing my Norwegian accent. "Jeg heter Karla. Jeg liker ikke George W. Bush".

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Day After Election Day

I hate to say this, but I am almost too depressed to write. I really did think Kerry would win. I always try to prepare myself for the worst, but I guess I did not gird myself this time and I am just stunned.

When I went to bed last night (that was at about 6pm Austin time, 1am mine) Kerry was leading in exit polls. Everything looked good.

I got up at 7:30 our time (um, about 12:30 am Texas) and Bush basically has it in the bag. It's 254 to 252 electoral votes, with Ohio being disputed over provisional votes, but that's a long shot. Bush is going to take it.

What the FUCK happened?

How did this happen? What went wrong?

Tom "Crook" DeLay got reelected in Texas. All his redistricting worked and most of the incumbent Democrats got voted out. (Lloyd Doggett survived, or I would not even be writing this, I would be crying in bed.) Bush is gonna take this election. The House has a big Republican majority now. 11 states voted against allowing gay marriage. WHY?????

America is fucked and fucked hard. I can't believe US residents are this STUPID. I am disgusted beyond belief.

Before this election, at least we had the excuse of "Well, we had no idea Bush would be this awful, he snuck it in on us". Now? NOW? What the hell is our excuse NOW?

Wake the FUCK up America....do you have ANY idea what you have done?

Excuse me, I have to cuss:

Goddamnmotherfuckershithelldamnationbuttscocksuckerassfartbitchshithelltits. Buggery balls and bloody hell!! Schiesse and merde!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Today is election day

This is it. The Big Day. Today will decide the fate of the US for the next four years, and, I am firmly convinced, will determine how exactly Americans are viewed by the rest of the world forever.
If Bush is voted in, the world will turn its back on the US.
If Kerry is voted in, people will know that Americans are smarter than their President has led the world to believe, and we might have a chance.
It's fairly simple, isn't it?

So go vote for Kerry, willya? It's time to put up or shut up.

Here is another incentive:
If you want to see me, your beloved friend Karla, move back home anytime before 2009, PLEASE vote for Kerry as I doubt I could face living in the States if Bush got re-elected. It would just be too painful to see his smirking face on TV every day. And if I have to hear him say that damn phrase "the 'murican peeple" in his damn mumbly faux-Texas accent one more bloody time.........AACK!