Saturday, July 31, 2010

my new ride

I bought a bike today. I haven't had a bike maybe? 20 years?

So yeah, I bought bike.

Lately I've been riding the little Oslo Bysykkler to work. Riding a bike ends up being faster than the bus much of the time and I get a little boost of energy from it as well. Plus I don't have to get shoved around by people on the bus, I HATE that.
The problem is, the Oslo Bysykkler aren't always available and I got tired of not being able to get one when I want. So I thought I would look in to buying a bike. Nothing fancy. I am not a sporty person so I didn't want a mountain bike or a sport bike. I wanted a "Dutch bike", you know, one of those easy step through bikes that you see women riding in Amsterdam. They pedal by in their flowery dresses with the basket full of bread or flowers and a bottle of wine. It just looks so European.

I went in to check out a few places and narrowed down the bike choices to either a Merida or a DBS. I thought I'd be ok with a 3 speed, but the 7 speed seemed a better choice as Oslo can be hilly. Also, the 7 speeds were a bit bigger, with big 28" wheels and a larger frame. They felt better than the smaller 3 speed ones. Either the Merida or the DBS were costing around 4500nok, which, in Norwegian terms is a cheap bike, but in American terms, that's around $750! I know people that paid that much for their first cars! I test drove a very comfortable Merida, a bit retro, white and black, and really liked it. Expensive!

So I decided to think about it. 4500nok was more than I had budgeted (I was hoping for around 3000).

On a whim, on the way home, I popped into XXL, this kind of obnoxious chain sports store that is always chaotic, but does have lower prices.

And...they were having a sale. 30% off. On the EXACT DBS bike I wanted. (DBS, by the way, is a Norwegian bike maker, Den Beste Sykkel, so I am rather happy to have a little piece of Norway as my ride of choice.) As it was the end of the day I got pretty good service from a young man there (I'm 41 and about to start wearing bifocal glasses, I can use terms like "nice young man" now) and he went over the bike, made sure everything was working, and adjusted the seat for me, like, 12 times. I was probably a high maintenance customer, with my adjustment requests (seat lower, back, tilted differently, handle bars adjusted, etc.), but, hey, it was a one time chance to get it all perfect before I drove my new baby home.

Which I did. I got the DBS for 3000nok, my exact budget price, and they also had a sale on the helmet and the lock, so score for Karla. Just by checking out a different shop I saved $250 on the bike!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

glasses I want/need

I am going to have to go bifocal. You hit 40 and suddenly your vision changes. I know, I know we've all heard it before, but nobody told me how FAST it would happen. Suddenly I have to take off my glasses to see things close up, I remember Dad doing that when I was a kid and I would laugh at him. Yuck. Now it's my turn, I guess.

So, I decided, if I am going to have old lady bifocals (sorry, 'progressives') then I am going to get as FUNKY OLD LADY as I possibly can.

Meet the Prada Nerd glasses. On order as we speak. I will be peering over the top of them soon. I have a feeling this is going to be one expensive funcking pair of glasses.....

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hillbilly koozies?

Click on the picture for the link.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Some Random pics from our trip to Rome in May

Note the grafitti on the pillar at the Coliseum. Those damned Aggies sure get around.

They said no photography in the Sistine Chapel but it was SO packed and EVERYBODY was doing it. Of course I didn't use flash. But I did take pictures!

I thought the light was amazing. This in the Vatican, a sculpture hall. I was in the middle when I took this, it was a very long room.

The Grim Reaper outside the Castel San Angelo. He didn't seem to be coming for me that day.

I've been going through my digital photos and have dug some up from the past few years, so am gonna throw some out here as summer progresses. I sort of realized I have posted almost NO pics from my two trips to SE Asia, which includes Cambodia, Java, Bali, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and all around thereabouts. So I thought I might post a few of the THOUSANDS of shots I've taken.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap Day.
Crap Day.
Crap Day.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'm just a big kid

In 1998 the Oslo airport was moved from an island called Fornebu, which is very near the center of town, way north to Gardemoen. (Austinites, this is pretty similar to moving the airport from the old Mueller site out to Bergstrom, but farther.)

They did a nice thing with the land that used to hold the airport. While much of it has been used for mixed use development, current and future, they also took a big chunk of it and turned it into park land. There's a beach and walkways and play areas and some really interesting water features. Rich and I went out there today to check it out.

One of the water features was a sort of fountain, where these low spigots of water would turn on randomly and spit out water onto the ground. You could move these spigots around in a circle. The water coming out of the spigots runs down a small incline, around rocks and obstacles, including these things that look like pinball flippers, that you can also move around in a circle. So, basically, depending on which spigot was running, you could run around twisting the spigots and the pinball flipper thingies to create obstacles and direct the water flow as you wanted around rocks and boulders and stuff. It was SO cool.

There was nobody around but me and Rich, and I got really absorbed in playing Water Goddess, and moved around the flippers and the spigots and hopping from rock to rock watching the water move and shiver and flow in different patterns. I felt like a 6 year old kid. I lost track of time, just twisting and arranging things, seeing how much of an effect I'd have if I just did this or that or whatever thing I could mess around with.

I didn't realize what a giant kid I was being until I saw movement out of the corner of my eye, and, thinking it was Rich standing there, was all, "Isn't this awesome? Dude this is so much fun!"
But it wasn't Rich, it was a rather amused Norwegian couple watching the 40 year old American woman in black shorts and tank top hopping around in puddles and giggling. Rich was way over there, watching his wife be the total dork that she is, and just shaking his head at what he got himself in to when he took on a life with me.

I don't think grown ups get to play enough, do you? I had fun.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Balcony, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Our flowers in the balcony flower boxes are growing like crazy. So pretty! Makes me feel a bit European whenever I look at them.


Ettiquette, originally uploaded by karlakp.

No spitting in the drinking fountain. Must observe the niceties!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Well, which one is it?

I get so tired of these medical studies that directly go against each other.

Like this one.

Versus this one. And this one.

So in one study they say bigger hips (small waist to hip ratio) make you smarter, AND sexier, and in another they say thse same attributes affect your memory as you get older? For years I have been hearing nothing but how it's better to be a pear shape than an apple, due to fat distribution, and heart health and stuff, and now they are reversing that?

This is all just an excuse for scientists to fondle women's asses.

Come the fuck on. Leave me alone with this. Keep your damned studies to yourself and quit contradicting one another.

Now bugger off while I take my smart sexy forgetful hourglass self off was it I was doing?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


What I woke up to last night.

We had a nice little thunderstorm last night, actually more of a lightning storm than a thunder storm.

They are pretty rare here, and I always forget how much I miss them until one happens.

We had to run around closing windows as the sudden gusts of wind were blowing water in all over the place. I could hear the surprised shrieks of women outside who got caught in the downpour (that was kind of funny).

Everyone was talking about the storm today, it was big news. Today was one of those still, humid days you get in summer. It almost felt like Texas. Almost.

*My Dad always calls thunderstorms 'thunderboomers'.

Friday, July 09, 2010

So much to talk about, so little time

I've been back from the US for a week now, and I hit the ground running.

It's been busy busy. Luckily the weather has been GORGEOUS, just warm enough to not need a jacket or sweater, but cool enough at night for good sleepin', which has been good to catch up on sleep after the jet lag.

I've spent my time catching up with work, friends, chores, errands and housework. It's been busy. A lot of people are on vacation (July is 'felles ferie" time, or the time when just about EVERYONE goes on holiday) so there aren't many people around, but those who are are looking for stuff to do.

On July 4th we went to the festivities at Frogner park. I never really enjoy them, to be honest. Too many people, same old stuff every year, and all those Americans everywhere. This year was no different, but with the added pain of an "Idol" style singing contest. And, it was PACKED, which meant that the food ran out early. The food is really the only reason I go to this annual event, it's a chance to get food that you don't normally get any other time or place in Norway....but apparently everyone ELSE has cottoned on to that, because the food was out by 1 pm (the party started around 11, I think.) I barely managed to get a few ribs when they ran out and just started handing out plates of the leftovers. Pretty sure the food vendors were overwhelmed at the numbers of meat hungry people.

My friend Elaina was stuck with overpriced frozen yogurt. At least I got some meat. The main thing that's a bummer about the 4th of July party here is that it never gets dark enough for fireworks. Not the party's fault, obviously, it's just that the sun doesn't set until well, ever, really, this time of year, so a quintessential part of the tradition doesn't happen. No fireworks, no bright lights, just the teasing smell of bbq with no 'happy ending'.

This week was all about work and catching up on stuff. The big gossip has been about the damned German octopus, Paul, who has an uncanny ability to choose the winning World Cup team. Personally, I think Paul is best served as calamari with a nice squeeze of lemon, because i really wanted Germany to get to the finals, but hey, whatever. Damned octopus.

Today I had some excitement when I found out the Robert Plant is coming back to Oslo in October. Those of you who know me, know I am so in love with him, he is the only celebrity that I would actually go goofy over if I ever met him. I love his music, all of it, and I love his curiosity of life and the world, I just ADMIRE the dude and think he has had the most amazing life. Anyhow, I immediately got tickets to his show, and am absolutely PSYCHED about it. It will be in a smaller venue, not a giant stadium. Imagine, me in a room with only about 1500 other people, with Robert Plant. Wow.

One very good thing about Norway, I have gotten to see some shows here in smaller clubs that would just not EVER be possible in the US. I mean, I was 6 feet from Lyle Lovett. I hope to be the same distance from Mr. Plant. I have the tickets safely waiting for October all safe and folded away.

In other news, I've been riding a bike to work when I can. There's this company that rents out bikes for a nominal yearly fee. You can then just grab an available bike (if they are available, that being the catch, as some dumbasses keep stealing them. This would be like stealing a park bench or something, just stupid.) and then pedal your happy ass to wherever you want to go, drop off the bike at the other end, and be done with it. It's been FUN! I can't always get a bike, even though the drop off is literally right outside my front door, but when one is available, I just hop on and ride down to work. Takes me about 5 minutes to get there. I really hadn't ridden a bike in 10 years or so, but it's true what they say, it's just like riding a bike, you don't forget how to do it!!!

I think this bike idea is so great, they really have the system well thought out. It's a serious bummer that stupid people have to ruin it for everyone else by stealing the bikes. I mean, they are practically free, so why steal?

I'll see if I can get one this weekend for a bit of a ride. Maybe Rich will come too.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

July 4

July 4, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Summer in frogner july 4

Friday, July 02, 2010


I think people have been having problems commenting since I was forced to install this new commenting system. (I still hate it and I miss my old Haloscan.) I did a minor adjustment today that might make it easier to comment, though I will still moderate, as I always have. Have you had problems commenting?

Thursday, July 01, 2010


Really?, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Who thought putting a lampshade onto this horse's head was a good idea? Worlds biggest and dumbest lamp. Outside the BA lounges at Heathrow.