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So, yeah, Avengers Assemble. It blew my mind twice a minute for the duration and then... well. What do fangirls do upon having their minds blown? They start fangirling, that's what. Fanfic. And fanart. And stuff. But just a question for those on my flist who might know more about the whole Marvel universe than I do (I didn't read Marvel comics when I was little, I read Conan the Barbarian, Tintin and Asterix). What's the deal with the Norse gods?

Y'know, being a Norwegian and having grown up with the legends, I'm sort of confused by the Asgardians of Marvel fame. Is Thor a god or a superhero, or a sort of crossbreed? I guess Sif is supposed to be the equivalent of the Norse Siw, but in the legends she was Thor's wife and that's just confusing. Oh, and I have surmised that Thor/Loki is a popular ship, with brothercest being what it is. I find it funny, though, that in Norse mythology, Loki is actually Odin's foster brother, making him not Thor's brother, but the creepy uncle. Which makes the Thor/Loki pairing a lot funnier, in a twisted, kind of disturbing way.

If anyone is at all familiar with the Marvel 'verse and want to talk to me about it, feel free! I'm officially curious now :)
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I've been absent from the great blogosphere for ages now. Well, not really; I've been keeping up my Norwegian blog, but that's more serious and private and I've just linked it to my Facebook account so people who actually know me in real life can stay up-to-date if they want to. My darling LiveJournal blog, on the other hand, which has been my outlet for nearly ten years, has been shamefully neglected over the past months. Year, perhaps. Anyway, I've decided to do my level best to become an active blogger once more.

However, there's about to be a big change around here. I am determined to be brutally honest with my LiveJournal hereafter, because there's been a bit of a change in my life and I want to use this blog as an outlet. I think it'll be good for me. Or, you know, annoying to people who may or may not read it. But regardless, it is time for a full dose of honesty. This blog will act as my very personal journal as I deal, in my own way, with my newly diagnosed depression.

My doctor thinks it's a light depression, and I couldn't agree more. I am extremely high-functioning; I get good grades and I like my work, I'm part of all sorts of social activities and I have a large circle of friends. The problem is, despite how perfect my life is, I'm just not happy. For the past year or so I've worked myself into the ground in an attempt to ignore how miserable I feel, resulting in straight A's from my term in Dublin, extra responsibilities at work, volunteer work for my band and a host of other little projects which all work towards rendering me exhausted and stressed out. Which is, I suppose, better than the alternative: me sitting in a corner with a hot bottle, crying my eyes out without knowing why.

And it's made me think that perhaps this is symptomatic of our modern society: everybody's life improves year by year, but our mental state deteriorates quickly. We're unhappy, angry, anxious... Do I even know anyone who's happy anymore? I used to think I was, back in the day. When I was twenty, I was perfectly happy with my life and convinced that I could do anything I liked. Since then, literally nothing has changed, and I still think I can do whatever I want with my life, and I'm apparently little miss Perfect in every respect, but still I'm not happy. In fact, I am very unhappy. I cry all the time. I feel lonely no matter how many close friends assure me they're there for me if I need it. When I wake up in the morning, my first thought is, "What's the point? I might as well hibernate for a year or two."

It's not that I've lost the ability to laugh and enjoy myself. It's just that there's this deep-seated, underlying feeling of being sad and miserable which never abates, never goes away. Even when I'm having fun, it just takes a stray thought to bring the sadness right back. I don't like it, and I don't want to stay like this. So I spoke to my doctor and he referred me to a psychologist.

He said I seem like a reasonable person and that he doesn't see why I shouldn't benefit greatly from some "conversational therapy". I don't know if there's a technical term for this in English. This is very encouraging, seeing as I don't really want a diagnosis, and I really don't want the zombie pills that were the second option. I've heard people talk about their experiences with antidepressants and it sounds a lot worse than my teensy little depression. What I've got isn't even very serious; it doesn't keep me from studying and working and doing everything I want to, it just keeps me from being happy. Which, let's face it, isn't a big deal. There are people starving in Africa and I bitch about not being happy in my perfect little life? Disgusting.

That's another aspect of the whole mental illness thing, I guess. I don't feel ill at all, which kind of makes it a bit of a guilt trip to hog all the health care resources that will be put into my being talked through a light depression. Wouldn't everybody be better off if I just pulled myself together and let the really distressed people have my spot in the psychologist's waiting room? I almost feel like a leech. But then again, if I'm happy and stable and strong and resourceful, I can be there for others who need someone to lean on. And I have a lot of friends who need someone all the time. If I were happy, I could help them to be happy. Perhaps.

Anyway. TL; DR. Rambling entry is rambling. So I'll let this be the kick-off mark; I feel like using LJ for what it started out as again: a personal, digital diary. Only with the option of feedback. I like it better that way.
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So, a picture of my newest ink was requested. Here you go, darling f-list! :) Created and tattooed by the very skilled Sascha at ColourWorks Tattoo, Dublin.

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The runes were there before; I had them done when I was 18 but they're very badly done and I'm going to have them worked on some time in the future. The cross, however, is brand spankin' new and I love it ^^

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I have just had my most recent tattoo finished. The search for a tattoo shop in Dublin was something of a hassle, because I didn't know any of them before I came here and their Facebook pages were a bit out of date. But now my tattoo is finished, I'm very happy with it, and I thought I might offer my experiences as a potential guide to people who might be considering getting some Dublin ink themselves. But first, a few pointers on what to look for when going to a tattoo studio for the first time! I have six separate tattoos now, and the artists and studios have varied greatly - so be careful when you're choosing where to get what done!

1. Is it clean? Does everything look orderly and well kept? Is the artist wearing disposable gloves? More people than I can count have had their new ink infected, and it's not always due to bad aftercare. Make sure everything is hygienic before anyone is allowed near your skin!

2. Are there portfolios available, either in the studios or online? You should look at a selection of the artist's work before booking an appointment. If you don't like his or her style on paper, you probably won't like it on your skin, either. Different artists have different styles and specialize in different motifs, so look around before you decide.

3. Do the artist and other staff make you feel welcome as a customer? Do they let you bounce ideas off them, do they speak to you in person about designs and colours? A tattoo is going to stay on your skin until you laser it off or cover it up with another tattoo, so you need to be perfectly sure about the design and location of it. I would rather trust a tattoo artist who said, "It's not going to look great on your ankle, would you consider putting it somewhere else?" than one who just shrugged and told me it was my body.


Really, these things are important - as anyone with ink probably already knows. So before I bore you all further, I will proceed to the reviews :) These are the tattoo parlours I visited, in the order that I visited them, and what I think of them:

Snakebite Tattoo
The staff met me with a smile. I was told all about their regulations and methods, which artists were good at what style, and when they had time available for appointments. The studio and waiting room were clean and orderly, their portfolios were well stocked. This seemed like a great place to get any ink done, and it would have been my first choice if I hadn't bumped into the artist that I ended up with.

Connected Ink
The studio turned out to be very well kept and clean-looking - when I could find them. The problem with this studio is that it occupies the basement of a completely unrelated store, and if it hadn't been for a sign on the sidewalk I never would have found it. You actually have to go through the store to get to the tattoo studio. But once I got down there, it all looked much better. The artist was very forthcoming and eager to talk about possible designs, and his portfolio looked very good. The reason why Connected Ink wasn't an option for me, is that the artist there specializes in Maori tattoos and dotwork designs, and I had something more austere and old school in mind. But if you're looking for dotwork, I can really recommend this place!

Classic Ink
There were many reasons why I didn't have my tattoo done at Classic Ink, despite the fact that it came highly recommended by a local bartender I met. The first reason was that I never got to see the actual studio, only the waiting room, and thus I can't know if it's a health hazard or perfectly sterile. The second reason was that the artists who work there seemed horribly sexist; in the twenty minutes I was there, they managed to tell two different women that certain tattoos are only for men - or, in their own words, "We don't do those on girls." No questions asked. But the third and most important reason was that they made me feel horribly unwelcome. They made it quite clear they were uninterested in my custom. I was very interested in this studio, since I'd heard good things about it from Steve, the bartender. So I went there and tried asking about the design I had in mind. The man behind the counter told me to look at the drawings on the walls, to see if I found anything there. I tried coaxing him to look at my very rough sketch, but I am no artist, so I guess he didn't think much of it. I tried cajoling him into giving me some feedback, any at all, but to no avail. After having hung around and desperately tried to make them interested in my tattoo for twenty minutes, I left in disgust. If they have enough male customers not to care about the female ones, then good luck to them, but somehow I doubt it. I suggest any and all people interested in getting a tattoo in Dublin shun this place like the plague.

Colour Works Tattoo
This was the place I wound up getting my tattoo. It was actually a stroke of luck that I met the tattoo artist; I was in a café just after having been so rudely ignored by the people at Classic Ink, and I noticed a guy who had great tattoo sleeves sitting by the window. I went over and asked him politely where he got them. He promptly walked me to his studio; the Colour Works. Said studio is very well kept and clean-looking, with disposable gloves and cleaning equipment all over the place. They had a fairly open calendar, which suited me fine, since I wanted to get my ink as quickly as responsibly possible. The artist I had met - Sascha - was very accommodating when I told him what I wanted and where; he immediately found some designs to start off with and told me what he would like to do. It was just the sort of thing I had in mind, myself, so I set up an appointment. When I returned to get my tattoo, Sascha had drawn it up for me and explained in great detail what he thought we should do. I did my tattoo in two sessions, since I came in late the first day; one session for the black linework and another for the colours and touch-up. It healed perfectly, without a bump or scar, so I must assume he did a very good job. Also a tattoo shop I strongly recommend!
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So, I joined the university's glee club, properly called the Musical Society. They were so eager by their stand during fresher's week; the guy recruiting people smiled so nicely and told me I could be super helpful even if I didn't want to sing, act or dance at all. So I joined them. It's not like I've got to come to rehearsals if I've got other plans, right?

I've watched a few episodes of Glee. I can be a backup singer; I don't have a great voice, but I have a good ear and I can learn music very easily. I can be like one of the characters who never sing solos but fill in the gaps, right? Right.

Then I got an email from the auditor of the club where he invited everyone - regardless of experience level - to attend the auditions for the club's next project: Cabaret. The musical, you know the one with Liza Minelli? The club is performing that musical in a month or three.

Should I go to that audition? I mean, I've never had anyone assessing my voice before. Ever. I've sung in choirs and I sing in the shower like everyone else, but I don't really know for sure that my voice is good enough to even be a backup singer. I'm kind of curious. It's not like I'll be running home crying if they don't like it.

I guess I just want to know if anyone has any experience with these things. It's a university glee club; it's not like I'll be ridiculed in front of professional musicians. I go in there, I sing a song, they tell me I can have the part of third chorist from left, back row. Right? Or...?

Auditions. Why can't I just stick to the sci-fi/fantasy society and otherwise do my homework?
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List three books that have changed your life:


1. The Book Thief
2. The Count of Monte Christo
3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

I don't have time to specify why right now. But leave me a comment and I'll get back to it. Unless the reasons are obvious, which, to some people, they might be ^^
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If you could become a member of the opposite sex for just one day, what would you do?


A lot of people would probably use this precious opportunity to change the world, get a new perspective on things, end sexism and other good things. A lot of people would use this precious gift for the benefit of the world. Me? I would hit on my gay friends to see if we'd be compatible if I lacked boobs but had other... protrusions. Then I would have sex; lots and lots of sex.

Come on, don't lie: you know you would, too. Have sex, I mean. No matter what your preference is, wouldn't it be awesome to try and feel what it's like with a different anatomy? It would be epic! I would go out and do my best to get laid, because come on, it just has to be fun! I might even have sex with another girl, though I'm not attracted to them, just to see what my awesome new body could do. But preferably I'd have sex with another man.

I always did feel like a gay man trapped in a female body.
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So, hello all. I've got a conundrum to work out, and I figured I'd ask people's opinion as a sort of nudge for me to actually make a decision.

Thing is, I've got an idea for a novel. Not anything good, nothing serious and definitely nothing worth people's time, but funny. I think. Chick lit, only with more coarse jokes and sex. Porn with jokes, or something. Anywho, I can't decide what language to write it in - English or my native Norwegian.

You see, the setting for the novel is something which would undoubtedly work best in Norwegian, since it's... well, not exacltly culture specific, but this setting works differently in different countries and I only have sufficient knowledge of how it works here, not in other countries. So, the setting suggests I write this novel in Norwegian. However, Norwegian is a... difficult language. Not that it's difficult to use in everyday situations, but it has far fewer words in it than English, and, well, when I write stuff in English, it's vibrant, for lack of a better word. There's joy in my usage of the English language, and there are so many lovely words and expressions that simply lack direct equivalents in Norwegian. English is fun, and full of artistic life, and accessible to a wider audience (!).

I'm struggling to see how my Norwegian, in this particular language, could come out as anything other than vulgar, which isn't exactly what I was going for.

Any thoughts? I'd be very grateful!
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That's right, in Dublin. Finally! Four whole months of Celtic studies, Kilkenny-induced drunkenness, rugged nature and lively music lie ahead of me. I rejoice ^^
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Do you have a best friend? How old is your friendship?

I've had a best friend ever since I can remember. She's three years older than me, lives two houses over, and I've known her since before I could walk - in other words, for more than twenty years.

When we were little, my parents - being the defeatists they sometimes are - used to warn me that people grew apart; that some day my best friend would forget about me and have other things to think about. They wanted to prepare me for the day when she, being three years older, would get bored with me and move on with her life. I defiantly told them that wouldn't happen. And lo, I was right. She never outgrew me, and even when I sometimes think I've outgrown her, she shows up and proves me wrong by saying something absolutely amazing.

Sometimes I remind my parents that she and I are still the closest of friends; not to rub it in their faces, but just to gleefully remind us all that true friendships aren't predictable at all, save for the fact that they're sure to last. She's the one person in the world who just gets me, without my having to explain it at all.

Now if you'll excuse me, she and I are going to eat junk food and discuss yesterday's rather successful party :)
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I wish I could post a happy update about my recent hike, my imminent journey to Ireland and summer in general. Instead I will only assure my f-list that I am not among the dead today.

First the explosion, now a shooter at a political youth camp. Possibly, dozens are dead, seven are confirmed killed so far but eye witnesses say the shooter outright executed people at that camp. God, what is the world coming to? I know it's ridiculous to think that this could never happen to us Norwegians, but it's so shocking when it does.

/end inarticulate post.

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In just one week, it begins. On Monday next, that is, the 27th, I begin my three week hike from Trysil to Trondheim. I will walk, on average, 20 km (or 12 miles) a day for seventeen days, all alone. Just me, the trees and the occasional moose. In fact, I'll walk all the way to the Nidaros cathedral, along one of the old pilgrim trails; Østerdalsleden.

People have asked me why I'm going to do this, actually. In a lot of interesting ways.
"Oh, you're an outdoors enthusiast kind of type?"
"Are you trying to lose twenty pounds?"
"Did you lose a bet?"

The answer is, none of the above. I am going on a pilgrimage. I am dedicating three weeks of my summer vacation to wandering through woods and mountains for no other reason than I want to do this for myself and my faith. And yes, this is an act of faith and worship. Just in case the word pilgrimage didn't cover that. When people ask me, I smile at them and say that I'm doing this for the same reasons people have always gone off on pilgrimages. It's a spiritual journey as much as a physical one, and the reasons people have for going are between them and their chosen deity.

The sad part, and the reason why I feel compelled to mull this over in blog form, is that people don't like the answer I give them. Of all the people I have told about this endeavor so far, only one (my oldest, bestest friend) understands what it means to me. All the others have frowned a little and uttered some concern or lack of understanding. Most of it ammounts to that they don't understand why anyone would bother to waste three weeks of summer just because they believe in something, and especially not something as dated and stupid as a deity. In fact, I've just stopped telling people why I'm going and let them believe I'm trying to lose weight, instead. Defending my faith is getting old.

Religion is old-fashioned in my little corner of the world. The idea of "good, Christian people" isn't catching on anymore; I know more people who are ashamed of belonging to a church than people who are secretive about their political orientation. And excessive shows of belief, like this pilgrimage of mine? It offends people; out-and-out offends them, for some reason. Just like the little crucifix necklace I wear sometimes, and the fact that my family actually celebrates Christmas as a church holiday as well as a family holiday. When I read the Sookie Stackhouse books, I was shocked at how openly and honestly the main character admits to going to church and trying to be a good Christian - I figured it must be an American phenomenon, the whole being-proud-of-your-faith thing.

There are many reasons why people hate religion, and many of them are extremely hard to disagree with. People have been beaten, killed, raped, ostracized and worse because of religion. There have been wars and there has been hatred. There are Catholic priests having too much fun with altar boys, there are Protestand ministers sneaking money off their congregations. Television preachers and fanatics go utterly monkey in the media, overriding anyone of a more moderate view. Homosexuals, women and other minorities have been discriminated against. I don't condone any of these things, and I find it extremely annoying that people who claim to follow a doctrine of love and tolerance turn around in the next moment to claim that God doesn't love queers, or people with a different skin colour, or girls who sleep around. There are a lot of good, valid reasons why organized religion is a bad, bad idea.

And when I try to explain why I believe, why I go to church sometimes during Christmas and Easter, why I am going to walk all the way to the St Olav cathedral, people just don't want to hear it. They refuse to accept that there's a huge chasm of difference between that old stone building they remember from baptisms and weddings, and my faith. Because there really is, and it just kills them to hear that my faith has nothing to do with hate and discrimination and everything to do with thankfulness and joy.

When asked some time ago by a very aggressive atheist to describe my faith, I told him that every single day, I feel a strong sense of being safe, loved and looked after. This isn't a reasonable idea, or something I've rationalized into being; this is the same feeling that I've always had, no matter what was going on elsewhere in my life and the world. I felt like that when I was five years old and I feel like that at the age of twenty-three. This sounds like cheesier than a bowl of Cheetos, but that feeling makes me feel like bursting at the seams with joy. I've never doubted, and I've never been able to talk myself out of my beliefs. People often say that their prayers have been answered, but I feel more like things have been handed to me on a silver platter before I even knew I needed them, and I have sometimes shown more strength than I give myself credit for having. I believe, and I am grateful and happy about it.

This is far too 90s to be admitted to in public, but the following video from Sister Act 2 is actually a pretty good description of what I think faith - real faith, not a set of church rules - boils down to: it's colourful, it's joyful, and it's that feeling of being so happy you just have to sing and dance or you'll pop something.



I guess all I'm saying is, isn't it better to have something to die for than to not have anything to live for?
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I know, I know, I've been nagging about this before, but this is the last time, I promise. This is the final exam, so I won't nag about this again :)

Translation, again. I desperately need one or two native English speakers to run their eyeballs over my translation, just to point out idiomatic errors and/or things that sound strange. I'll post/send the translation to any potential proof-readers on Friday morning this week, and I'll need it back by Sunday night so I can do any last-minute adjustments and send the thing in by Monday, noon. The whole thing won't be more than two pages long, and I only need you to give it a quick once-over for glaring errors, no fine-toothed comb required :)

Please? Pretty please? I'll be ever so grateful and bake you Internet cookies!

(I also have great plans to produce a veritable landslide of fanfiction once my exams are finished, in celebration as it were, so any helpful contributors - considering where I friended most of my flist :D - may request away, in any of my old and new fandoms! Just, y'know, saying ^^ )
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There is a petition for getting the producers and whatnot to make a sequel for the A-Team movie. I signed it and shared it everywhere I could think of, because I need my action movie fix! So please, if you have a few seconds to spare, want to sign this for us? I swear I won't make you watch the sequel with me :)

Sign the petition here!

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Yippee-ki-yay, Oedipus.

That is all.

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The Erasmus programme branch at the University of Oslo has decided to send me to Ireland for a semester, in fact, to the University College of Dublin.

OH HAPPY DAY! JOYOUS MOMENT! C'mon, everybody dance now! *does victory dance*

Now all I have to do is apply formally to the UCD and fill in all the forms and whatnots, and I'll be on my way to the land of my dreams come August! I can't sleep, I can't eat, I'm excited like a five year-old with a free gift voucher from Willy Wonka's factory! EEEEEEEH!!!!

*goes off to faint from happiness*

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Please, pretty please. We have a translation assignment due on Tuesday and though I think I have a pretty good idea of what I'm supposed to do, I'd feel a lot better about turning it in if somebody whose native language is actually English, would proof-read it first. It's not long; barely seven paragraphs about Norwegian national costumes (they are creative in coming up with these assignments, aren't they?). All I want you to do, is read it and point out anything that doesn't look quite right - or idiomatic - to you. It'll be done some time tonight, and I could email it around or post it here if that'd be easier for any potential proof readers.

So... Any takers? :) I'd be eternally grateful! (And write you a drabble in your fandom of choice, if you're one of that crowd, as a sort of thank-you.)

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Ever since I discovered Irish folk music at the tender age of thirteen, I've had an intense and passionate love for anything Irish, in fact, anything of Celtic/Pictish origin. The entire culture of Ireland (and that of Scotland) fascinates and enthralls me endlessly. And I just found out that my university can send me to both the University College of Cork and the UCD (same, but in Dublin) for a semester of Celtic Studies. Free of tuition fees.

EVERYBODY DANCE NOW! :D Ireland, y/y? With any luck, I'll be there come autumn.

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O HAI :)

So, I used to host my archive at Freewebs - later Webs - but they found out I was violating their policy all over the place and blocked my account :P Yeah, yeah, I filled the thing with political incorrectness and offensive material, so what? Anywho, I need a new place to host it.

I've coded the thing in its entirety by xhtml, so all I need is a place that'll let me upload html files and a css. It needs to be free and fairly user-friendly. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Cheers!

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Warning: huge nerd alert ahead. Huge.

So, since I'm something of a bibliophile, I've been looking for some time for a way to organize information on my book collection. I wanted a database akin to what they have in public libraries; a system that would allow me to search for books or authors and perhaps even to keep records on what books were located where - on loan (my friends borrow a lot of my books), in my shelf, missing and so on. After a bit of searching, I found the BookCAT database. I started using it a few days ago, and I feel the urge to review this tool and the use I put it to.

Me and my BookCATCollapse )
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