Friday, December 31

Goodbye two thousand ten, Welcome twenty eleven

To all blogfriends: Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 28

Back in Norway for New Year celebration

A lovely Christmas in Glamorgan is over, and in spite of the heavy traffic problems both in air (Heathrow) and on roads in South West England and Wales, seeing and playing with grandchildren is something to save in our hearts for the months to come.
Hedda Emilie is growing and experiences more or less the same health challenges as the two older siblings and other premature born children. She is however "stronger" at this age than the two others compared to their development.
Henrik is a nice and funny boy. Full of energy and always ready for a quarrel and fight with his older sister when they play together. He loves "male"-toys, and that is something new for us having only girls to compare a child´s development to.
Helene is almost seven and a half and reads books all the time. "Bestefar" gave her the Jostein Gaarder book Sophie´s World for Christmas.  The book is both a novel and a basic guide to philosophy. Hopefully her father will get many questions within his profession as a political philosopher, and I wait for the mails about the interpretation of different questions created based on the book. Helene´s great great grandmother´s name was also Sofie.
To the Cymru family, here busy with christmas gifts, thanks for this few days. Look forward to see you soon again. Hopefully in Norway.

Sunday, December 26

Boxing Day morning

Over the British Channel the sun is rising.

Saturday, December 25

British Christmas Day

The Local is open from 12 to 14. Then it is Christmas Dinner.

Thursday, December 23

Christmas Tree and Presents

Santa has already been on a visit. Will she (or he) return with more surprises in the days to come.

Tuesday, December 21

Winter solstice 2011 and Merry Christmas

Tonight at 22.38 CET Winter Solstice will take place. I take this opportunity to wish you all

GOD JUL and Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 19

Are your passwords secure enough

In these WikiLeaks times, an interesting blogpost to be read for the Sunday morning web-surfing is John P.´s article about weak passwords. I have extracted some sentences from his article, but take your time and read his statements yourself:
How id hack your weak passwords.
First: Do you as a password use:
1. Your partner, child, or pet’s name, possibly followed by a 0 or 1 (because they’re  always making you use a number, aren’t they?)
2. The last 4 digits of your social security number.
3. 123 or 1234 or 123456.
4. “password”
5. Your city, or college, football team name.
6. Date of birth – yours, your partner’s or your child’s.
7. “god”
8. “letmein”
9. “money”
10. “love”
Then you are in trouble.

Finally: Some proposal from John P for an improved password security:
Here are some password tips:

1. Randomly substitute numbers for letters that look similar. The letter ‘o’ becomes the number ’0′, or even better an ‘@’ or ‘*’. (i.e. – m0d3ltf0rd… like modelTford)
2. Randomly throw in capital letters (i.e. – Mod3lTF0rd)
3. Think of something you were attached to when you were younger, but DON’T CHOOSE A PERSON’S NAME! Every name plus every word in the dictionary will fail under a simple brute force attack.
4. Maybe a place you loved, or a specific car, an attraction from a vacation, or a favorite restaurant?
5. You really need to have different username / password combinations for everything. Remember, the technique is to break into anything you access just to figure out your standard password, then compromise everything else. This doesn’t work if you don’t use the same password everywhere.
6. Since it can be difficult to remember a ton of passwords, I recommend using Roboform for Windows users. It will store all of your passwords in an encrypted format and allow you to use just one master password to access all of them. It will also automatically fill in forms on Web pages, and you can even get versions that allow you to take your password list with you on your PDA, phone or a USB key. If you’d like to download it without having to navigate their web site here is the direct download link.
7. Mac users can use 1Password. It is essentially the same thing as Roboform, except for Mac, and they even have an iPhone application so you can take them with you too.
8. Once you’ve thought of a password, try Microsoft’s password strength tester to find out how secure it is.

Well, after reading the article, take security of your Passwords up for condideration, and follow WikiLeaks on Twitter Have a nice Sunday.

Friday, December 17

Memories from 1957 - Oslo boys on Class trip to Ålesund

Sometime you discover that the world is small, and even smaller when we talk about our own country.
One of my Pubmates at fru Burums: Tore Steen, told me some times ago that he and his classmates went on a visit to my birthplace, Ålesund, in February 1957.
Today I got some pages from his scrapbook almost 54 years ago.

The event was covered in the local newspaper "Sunnmørsposten" and tells mainy that instead of going to Copenhagen, Denmark the seventh graders from Nordstrand School in Oslo, decided to experience the Herring fishing outside Ålesund. They had saved money from 4th grade and estimated that they would spend between 120 to 130 nok (20 $) during the trip. "This is the best way to use my savings" Tore told the newspaper in 1957, and still means the memories gave the best "return of investment"
The other boys on the faximile above is Jan Riise and Dag Edler.
In 1957 the road between Åndalsnes (train Station) and Ålesund was not good enough for bus-trafic, and the boys had to use a boat (Romsdal) on the voyage, The weather was not good, and the 23 kids from Oslo were green in their faces when arriving Ålesund.
However, we need strong experiences to make happenings worth to remember after 54 years. Maybe "Sunmørsposten" could arrange a reunion trip for the boys next year or in February 2012 when it is 55 years anivercity for the chioce of Ålesund instead of Copenhagen.
To see (and read) the old newspaper article and the photos from Tore´s scrapbook, click on the photos to ger them larger.

Thursday, December 16

From warm summer to frost and cold winter

Yesterday I posted photos of my paintings from the southern Europe and the warmth weather you can experience on the southern side of the Alps.
Today I give you a photo of the cold Norwegian winter at my cottage with animal tracks documenting  the only visitors since we closed down in the autumn and the snow arrived.

Wednesday, December 15

Quality improvement in painting too

This year I have almost not been painting at all. Mainly I find the reason for that in the fact that I have not been living at my cottage (normally very productive period) but also because the inspiration has been low. Writers talk about writing barriers, and I think the same barriers may occur for painters.

However, a few paintings has been signed and yesterday evening the last Acrylic on Canvas (50x75) painting was finished.
The obvious title must be Costa del Sol presenting lots of memories from our two stays in Andalusia during 2010. We will return in 2011.
I find this painting of higher quality than my absolutely first Acrylic on Paper from 2002 called Dame and Dogs, and with motive from Promenade d´Anglais in Nice.
Between these two paintings there has been almost 300 different paintings coming with my signature, and you may find them at My Gallery.

Tuesday, December 14

55.000 pills and still alive

Going through an operation for organ transplantation is a challenge itself. Living with medication the rest of your life is another challenge. Average life prolongation for Heart Transplants in Norway was in 2005 about 12 years. (increasing?)
I have now since the great day in 1998 when somebody, who´s life was not to save, decided to donate the heart and kidney to me, been totally dependent of drugs every morning and night to control the immune defense system against rejection of these allo-organs. I am thankful that both Heart and Kidney organs are using the same drugs for this protection.
In addition medication due to side-effects and recovery of other side-effects have resulted in daily 8 pills at breakfast and 4 pills in the evening, giving almost 55 thousands pills during this prolongation of my lifespan.

The alternative is of course not to mention, but sometimes I really feel tired of eating drugs. That is also one of the most dangerous feelings a transplanted can have. Believing that it is not so important any more has resulted in painful death for many. I know my duty to care for the gift given.

For me personally I have another challenge, the lifespan of batteries in my Pacemakers. Due to Total AV-block I am completely dependent of a dual-chamber artificial pacemaker. This type of device typically listens for a pulse from the SA node and sends a pulse to the AV node at an appropriate interval, essentially completing the connection between the two nodes. Mine are pulsing all the time.

So more pills will come and recharging of the power supply in my pacemaker (get the third in 2012?) will occur.
However the LIFE IS GREAT.

Friday, December 10

The Nobel Peace Prize 2010 - Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo should today receive the Nobel Peace Price 2010 in Oslo, Norway. However neither he nor his wife Liu Xia will be present to receive the prize due to their imprisonment and house arrest.

The Nobel Committee`s press release from October 8th tells:
For over two decades, Liu Xiaobo has been a strong spokesman for the application of fundamental human rights also in China. He took part in the Tiananmen protests in 1989; he was a leading author behind Charter 08, the manifesto of such rights in China which was published on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 10th of December 2008. The following year, Liu was sentenced to eleven years in prison and two years' deprivation of political rights for “inciting subversion of state power". Liu has consistently maintained that the sentence violates both China's own constitution and fundamental human rights.
The Nobel Peace Award comes as the last of many awards given to Liu Xiaobo
* Hellman-Hammett Grant (1990, 1996)
* Fondation de France Prize (2004): Award for Defending Freedom of Speech
* China Foundation on Democracy Education (2003): Outstanding Democratic Activist
* Hong Kong Human Rights Press Awards (2004, 2005, 2006)
* Excellent Award (2004) for an article Corrupted News is not News, published on Open  Magazine , January 2004 issue
* Grand Prize (2005) for an article Paradise of the Powerful, Hell of the Vulnerable on Open Magazine, September 2004 issue
* Excellent Award (2006) for The Causes and Ending of Shanwei Bloodshed on Open Magazine, January 2006
* Homo Homini Award (2009)
* PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award (2009)
* Hermann Kesten Award (2010)
As many others who have visited China many times since early 1995 and seen the progress of this huge country the last 15 years, I hope Article 35 of China's constitution which lays down that "Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration" will be lived up to for every citizens in one of the world's oldest civilizations with nearly 4,000 years of continuous history.

Thursday, December 9

“There is nothing so strong … as the simple truth.”

After 1300 blogposts since the start almost 6 years ago, a qoute by Dickens is my blogpost heading this afternoon.

I have copied it from the press release by Daniel Ellsberg´s Website. Daniel Ellsberg was the man that leaked the Pentagon Papers, a secret government history of the Vietnam War to the New York Times and other newspapers in 1971. The Vietnam War changed my political life.
If you now also are thinking of the present war going on for making WikiLeaks silent, you are just at the moment of truth.

The links below will give you some of the reactions from people and media around the world standing up for the Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Speech.
Freedom of Expression is a cornerstone of democratic rights and freedoms.

Freedom of expression is essential in enabling democracy to work and public participation in decision-making. Citizens cannot exercise their right to vote effectively or take part in public decision-making if they do not have free access to information and ideas and are not able to express their views freely. Freedom of expression is thus not only important for individual dignity but also to participation, accountability and democracy. Violations of freedom of expression often go hand in hand with other violations, in particular the right to freedom of association and assembly.
The right to Freedom of Speech is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The ICCPR recognizes the right to freedom of speech as "the right to hold opinions without interference. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression." Furthermore freedom of speech is recognized in European, inter-American and African regional human rights law.
Interesting links:
The Guardian
Cablegate Chronicles
WikiLeaks live Updates
What is WikiLeaks (BBC)
Operation Payback and Internet activists (Ref Wasp =  Lisbeth Salander)
WikiLeaks on Twitter
Mark Klein
Twitter Blog

Christmas in Sweden

We have been in Sweden. Not because we only want to save money before Christmas but because we normally take this trip over the border once a month for good wine, excellent food and other supplies to almost 50 % of the costs in Norway. The currency itself gives us more than 10% and when a bottle of Brolio Chianti Classico costs 115 sek in Strømstad compared to 155 nok here, your savings can be large. But be aware of continuous toll control at the Svinesund border.
However, the Christmas trees at Nordby was not what we expected. But maybe the Swedes have taken allergy challenges and forest savings seriously, removed all pine-bugs from the air-con systems and renewed the season decorations like they have done at Tjuvholmen here i Oslo.

We drop the Chr-tree this year completely.

Tuesday, December 7

Christmas, same procedure as every year

Day after day the Christmas time is evolving as last year and the years before that. The ikons related to the season holiday find their traditional places in our home, and this evening we will put the dry sheep-ribs into water for the pre-christmas "Pinnekjøtt"-dinner on Friday. A small test of what to expect on Christmas eve. Seventeen days to go.

Sunday, December 5

Art, Aker Brygge, Lunch and Jazz

 Gunnar S Composition can be yours for 350.000 nok at Kaare Berntsen this Christmas.
The modern Christmas tree at Tjuvholmen shows the way to Aker Brygge where an excellent lunch at Cafe Sorgenfri was waiting for us.
A glass of Gløgg at Hannibals Hybel provided by Johan the bartender only a few days before he has to go through a surgery on his shoulder. Good luck Johan.
Another bartender, Yvonne at fru Burums, showed another side of herself yesterday evening. Using her excellent voice together with the Jazz musicians. Brilliant.

Saturday, December 4

Burums jazz


Christmas Exhibition, Lunch and Jazz

This Saturday we are going to follow a predesigned plan for a lot of activities.
First shopping and preparing our home for Christmas.
Second participating in the opening at Gallery Kaare Berntsen´s Christmas Exhibition in Munkedamsveien 62A. This event has been a nice gathering for many years. When the gallery is decorated for Christmas and cultural activities are performed, art lovers greets each-other Merry Christmas among spectacular paintings and farmers antiques, we all feel that the season celebration has begun. Tomorrow it is 2nd Sunday in Advent.
Third we have to eat, and although the buffet table probably is not opened any more at Cafe Sorgenfri, the taste of Christmas is reinforced with season food, beer and some Old Opland.
In the Afternoon the drummy Gunnar S. invites to Christmas Jazz at fru Burums. Another tradition that has to be followed up together with other old and new Burum friends.
Was there anybody that believed pensioneers questioned what to fill into the days? Hang on, the life is still swinging.

Wednesday, December 1

Renovation completed

We are living in a city house from 1892. Maintenance is a continuous process. Sometimes we have to do major repairs. Other times we perform minor changes or want to do image-improvements, create a new make-up, etc.
This November we decided to repaint the colors on walls, ceilings and stucco in addition to replace the wall-to-wall carpets on floors with new parquet. After two weeks the renovation of our apartment is now completed.
Furnitures that we had problems moving to other rooms became protected by plastics and the floor in our living room was filled up with materials the first week.
The environment in our dining room Wednesday last week was like a carpentry workshop or "atelier de menuiserie" as Tullen would have said at her French-course.
Recalling old competence in the  Romance language that is spoken as a first language by around 136 million people worldwide, is her autumn activity. French speaking communities are present in 56 countries and territories.  I am "more" educated in Spanish.
Today my "office"-corner with the MacBook Pro at the desktop looks like this.
An antique Persian Hamadan on the dark oak floor, and a Johanne Marie Hansen-Krone painting on the white wall.

Christmas is 23 days away but we are well prepared for the celebration due to an excellent job performed by Krzysztof Zych and his team. Well done.