Strange Fellows

January 8, 2010

I haven’t told you about my fellow passengers, have I?

Most of you are familiar with the first one. I had him neatly chopped in 12 slices and shrink-wrapped into 4 DVDs.

Dexter is IMHO the best TV-series ever made, at least the only one which has maintained superb screen-writing (great characters, clever dialogue and and nail-biting plot-lines) for four consecutive seasons. I thought I might need some distraction on slow days so I decided to bring season 1 with me.

Now, if you have missed out completely: Dexter is a forensics expert with the Miami police department. His professional specialty is blood. His main hobby is: killing people. He is mass murderer with a twist: he only kills really bad guys who have managed to escape justice. He is clearly a deeply disturbed person (due to a childhood trauma), but he follows a very strict morale, or “code” as he calls it himself. So if you haven’t yet, I warmly recommend you to check Dexter out. Buy it, borrow it, download it, steal it, whatever.

And then…

The other guy in my bags is Böddi. Now, “who the hell is Böddi?” you might ask. Well, I had him evenly spread-out over 427 hilarious pages.

Stormland (Swedish details, and an English translation of another novel) is a highly entertaining book by Hallgrímur Helgason. Just like Dexter, Böddi has failed (or refused) to adapt to the norms of society. He lives in a tiny town, in the outbacks of northern Iceland. And I can tell you, he is one angry dude. He does things his own way, and loses every job he gets. On his blog he spews his sarcasms over everything he detests about Iceland and the people in his hometown. He then experiences an unbelievable string of unfortunate events, and slowly he starts to lose his grip on reality. But his anger remains unbroken. It then escalates to a Gargantuan confrontation with society. He decides to take them all on, single-handedly, from a horse-back. Epic stuff.

The book was written in 2005, well before the global economic crisis and the total collapse of Iceland’s financial system. So it can be seen as a quite strong and prophetic story on the dark side of the heedless greed that was prevailing in Iceland (actually, not only Iceland (and actually not only was)) before the crash. If you have a soft spot for dark humour, I recommend it warmly.

* * *

It has struck me that we have a few things in common, Dexter, Böddi and me; Dexter loves the Atlantic ocean and often goes out to sea. Böddi often stares at the ocean and contemplates. And the Atlantic is just what made me come here! Even though I do not particularly mind traveling on my own, here I am constantly surrounded by happy couples, which reminds me of my status, and makes me feel a tiny bit like Dex or Böddi. And then, all three of us are travelers of different kinds. Dexter along with what he calls “his dark passenger”, Böddi with his horse, and me with my little rented Fiat Punto!

Reading 2

April 7, 2008

This blog might perhaps not be the fastest place on the planet! But my visitor log reveals that some of my dear online friends have not given up on me, despite my rather erratic posting frequency.

Today I saw a visitor from a new country, Botswana. This of course brings back happy memories of one of my favorite writers: Alexander McCall Smith, who writes absolutely charming books. I blogged about him a while ago, here. So my dear visitor from Gaborone, if you come back here, please let me know who you are.

Gaborone, as seen by emster214

As for my other readers/bloggers I have another question: Very few of my real life friends read my blog these days. (It was different in the beginning when I was travel-blogging as a way of staying in touch. ) Today I have a nice little circle of online-friends, of whom I have met none, (well OK, very few!). How is this for you, do you have many real life friends who read your blog?

As for my own life, it is presently rather full of not too good family related troubles. Such things hardly help me find the time or energy to post. Let us leave it at that.

The Kite Runner

November 1, 2007

Mo blogging has been rather silent for a month. Not the first time. Now…

I started reading this book while visiting San Francisco. It was electrifying to read the opening paragraph of the book where the narrator is overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge [me myself and I being there, quite a coincidence] and saying: ” I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment…” here I end my quote because I warmly recommend you to read the book.

A boy is born in Afghanistan in the mid 1960’s. He grows up in a country: then rich, well organized, civilized, and beautiful, a fully functioning society. He sees the “revolution” where the Afghan leftist rebels overthrow the monarchy, and a total disintegration of a peaceful society, followed by a period of turmoil, followed by the Soviet invasion, then the undignified Soviet withdrawal, followed by the extreme islamist mayhem, followed by 9/11 and all.

With all this historic turmoil as a background, all the personal experiences, family hardships, and difficulties are painted before us in a painful, yet very down-to-earth image.

I can only say: Get it. Read it.


September 19, 2007

This weekend’s excursion went to Berkeley. Across the San Francisco Bay lies this super nice little university town. Everything revolves around the university. The atmosphere is very relaxed and pleasant. I spent a whole day just walking around campus and the streets. Just hanging out and absorbing the atmosphere, I really enjoyed it.

And, of course, academics and culture are high on this town’s list. Bookstores are all over the place.When I wandered into one the record/DVD stores, at the back I found a shelf that really won my film loving heart and mind. ( Most people when talking about film usually ask: “Who’s in it?”, while I ask: “Who directed it?”.) Movies in this section were sorted by director: Robert Altman? Check. Fellini? Check. Hitchcock? Check. Ingmar Bergman? Check. Francis Coppola? Whaddaythink?

If you ever spend a good amount of time in San Fran, do not miss Berkely.

Steven King in bookstore – mistaken for vandal

August 18, 2007

Steven King, introduction redundant, was visiting a bookstore in Alice Springs, Australia. As he started taking out his own books from the shelves and autographing them,he was at first firmly stopped by vigilant staff. They hadn’t recognized him and, quite understandably were a bit upset for this dude writing in some books. BBC story. King, of course hugely famous, by name, but how many of us would recognize him on the street corner café?

Imagine yourself in the position of the bookstore clerk. Having to switch attitude from cold and stern, to submissive and apologetic. And also gathering your wits fast to think of some really interesting questions you would like to ask a guy like that. One chance in a life time, five seconds to use it.

Ah, eh, Mr. King… How do you like Australia?

Not! a good question, but how can you find something more clever in five seconds?

The Tandem Story Experiment

April 15, 2007

Thank you all my my friends. McKenzie, Highlander and TomQ. This little experiment in interactive male-female writing has been a lot of fun. What happens if a woman and a woman have to create a short story together, by writing every second paragraph, alternatingly? Not my idea. I was inspired by this post by blogger Highlander and found the idea intriguing.

Plunge in and enjoy the two litterary creations below!

The Day It All Changed

March 5, 2007

A tandem story by Highlander and Tom Q.
Comments on the story as it evolves are very welcome in the parallel comments thread.

Now this post is back on top. Nudge, nudge, Highlander!