Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Try this at home!

The Never ever do this at home TV series is a huge success in Norway. Supposedly they show you dangerous stuff you shouldn't do at home. Recently this included a relatively big trebuchet used for throwing food! We all learn that we shouldn't throw food in the garbage, so I guess the idea was to show how you should not throw food with style.

But if you haven't seen the show then curiosity may have helped you do stuff anyway. That is what happened back in 2007 when my kids and I build our own trebuchet. We had previously seen a full size version in action at the Middle Ages Centre in the south of Denmark. While we couldn't throw big stones in our neighborhood, water balloons and tennis balls are pretty harmless.

So we aimed at a smaller version. Using a bucket filled with stones for load, we were able to send our projectiles far away, to where we could not find them. Or if the release of the sling was out of tune, then we had one water balloon go vertical - we couldn't understand where it went before we suddenly realized that it was about to land in our midst. So all the kids in the street and I dispersed in different directions. Nobody got wet though!

Unfortunately the weapon was lost last year when our old garage was torn down, so I hope the kids come home with a school project where they need my help building a new one.

By the way, I see from the picture that I looked younger then!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Haukenestårnet in Rømskog

Haukenestårnet is an old fire lookout tower in the forest east of Oslo. After having been taken out of use it has been reborn as a cabin in the Norwegian Trekking Association's system of cabins. So three dads and five boys went on tour during Pentecost, from Saturday to Sunday.

Visiting such cabins during Pentecost has almost become a tradition. The boys' spare time is heavily influenced by digital media, and these trips are small attempts to show them the joys of nature.
While previous trips (check the DNT label) may have been strenuous, this was much lighter since we could almost drive to the door. There is a forest road leaving just 5-10 minutes walk to get to the cabin. But we needed an expedition, so we walked through the woods to the nearby hotel. There we rented canoes that we used on lake Vortungen. We tried fishing as well, but without success. Instead we treated ourselves to ice cream back at the hotel before we returned to the tower for a wonderful summer evening and a very good sleep.

The picture shows the group (minus me) as we are about to get back to the cars. We didn't go directly home afterwards, but instead visited a small farm belonging to the ones with orange covers on their sleeping bags. There fishing was more successful!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Rabinowitz' clothes hanger / kleshenger

This is no mystery - its the top of a clothes hanger, or "kleshenger" as it is called in Norwegian. But the fascinating thing is that if you google the name of the producer - Rabinowitz - together with the word "kleshenger" then you get at least 300 hits.

Why this interest for a clothes hanger from a mens' textile producer on the west coast of Norway. Well, wikipedia's entry on Moritz Rabinowitz describes a man that was one of Nazi Germany's ideological enemies.

If I take the clothes hanger out of use, then what should I do with this relic. It symbolizes the fight against fascism now and then, from the aryan, latin and iberian fascism of the 1940s, to the present day fascism in secular and religious wrapping.

Friday, February 22, 2013

School map from the scrap heap of history

I was inspired to buy a map from one of the Fretex stores run by the Norwegian Salvation Army today.

What was I thinking? It certainly wasn't what I was looking for. But back at the office I see that this map was from before the fall of the iron curtain, and that it is printed in German Democratic Republic. Although the Nordic countries are in focus, the map also contains parts of East Germany and some SSRs that since have regained their freedom. "Freedom from what?" you may ask, and I will point you here as a start. Since I don't have wall space for it at home, I think it will stay in my office.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Parking @ OSL -- fraudulent practices?

So you want to travel via OSL, the Oslo airport called Gardermoen. Well beware! You may stumble into the fraudulent practices of the parking company there.

Last week I was traveling again, but I wanted to reach a meeting shortly after my return on Thursday. So I took my car and I planned to park within walking distance of the airport. But early in the morning of Monday 7, January the only parking lots that were open was one far away with a bus connection and the expensive parking house. When I checked the web during the weekend there was no mention of this. So what to do? The bus would jeopardise my chances of reaching the meeting. So I had to use the parking house, even though I could see that many of the other lots were almost empty.

If information about this had been available in advance I would have planned differently, but the willingness to help travelers this way is not a priority when you can rip them off instead. I ended up paying more than 150% more than the expected price.

In my mind this way of ensuring income is very bad. They could have made an effort to help customers avoid this with information on their web page.

So if you really want to ride a bus when you travel via OSL check out Parking @ Gardermoen. The one to suspect of bad information is Euro Park. On the other hand, there is an excellent train service as well as long distance buses.