Mittwoch, 2. Dezember 2009

UiO computer science is doing great and Santa is a punkrocker, also in China!

Okay, one by one. First of all, as I keep telling everyone, I'm proud and happy to be a part of the University of Oslo's computer science institute. I had the impression that things are just great there, but now it's officially confirmed: the University of Oslo reached position 65 in the worldwide "Shanghai ranking", and computer science reached position 49, next to Politecnico di Torino and TU München. Wow! :-)

Skin Sofa has updated its myspace page for Christmas! Check it out, to listen to the Christmas song that we made, Santa is a punkrocker! Listen to the whole song because there's a surprise part towards the end!

Finally, today, we received the folder for a CD that will be released in China... check it out:


We're song number two.

Montag, 30. November 2009

6 weeks later

- and still relaxed :-)

Samstag, 31. Oktober 2009

Good music

After telling everyone again and again how happy I am with Skin Sofa, I think that Viktoria deserves a special feature here - especially because she managed to write a song that I can't get out of my head. This is the first time that I'm playing with someone whose music I also listen to at home, just for enjoyment! That song is (and Viktoria will not be surprised) ... "Without a reason"! You can listen to it on her myspace page. This is just Viktoria alone, playing piano and singing; hopefully we can also get to record a demo soon, as a band, with bass and drums.

Before I met Viktoria, I was in a phase of listening to Regina Spektor all the time, day and night, and dreamt of having a band in this style. Thanks, Viktoria, for taking this role! (and yet your style is unique, just the rough direction is the same). It's a real honor to play with you.

Well, and now Regina plays in Oslo, on 10th of December, and I just bought a ticket, to go there with Viktoria and her husband. How fitting! I'm excited!

Oh, and speaking of good music, I also enjoy playing along with LAMB again these days, they are really great... e.g. check out this great live version of "All in your hands", and don't miss the rhythmical displacement at 2:20, I think it's quite fascinating.

Dienstag, 20. Oktober 2009

Katharina's first day of life

My daughter Katharina was born on Friday, 16th of October, at 22:45, healthy, quickly, and without any problems. The next morning, visitors came... so here are a few excerpts of her first day of life. These two pictures were shot at 8:40 (i.e. Katharina was approximately 10 hours old):


Here she's in her grandmother's arms:


9:42, trying to eat her hand:


12:16 - on her grandmother's shoulder, now 14 1/2 hours old:


Just got diapers changed, at 13:24:


17:12, sleeping happily, a bit more than 19 hours old:


Right now, as I'm writing this, she's spending her 6th day of life (currently sleeping). She's got quite an effect on people - one of the comments that I received in response to her pictures was: "I think I have to go home now and get pregnant straight away ;)".

Donnerstag, 1. Oktober 2009

Coming to Innsbruck for a while

Approximately 1 1/2 months, actually :-)

Up here in Oslo, things are going fine; while I'm looking forward to the Innsbruck trip for various reasons, I'll miss my two bands - Skin Sofa is really "taking off" now (to quote one of our "hits" :-) ), and playing with Viktoria (and Jostein on bass) is a lot of fun too...

Well - I guess I'll see many of you soon!

Montag, 21. September 2009

Gig announcement

I'll play with my punk band "Skin Sofa" on Friday 25 September 21:00, in Konows Gate 67B (motorcycle club room, in a big grey building which was once called "den gamle postgarasjen"), Oslo. To get there with public transport, take bus 34 or 70, e.g. from Jernbanetorget, to stop "Kværner". Don't be disappointed that we only play 6 songs - there will be around 4 bands playing this evening.

... and 5 of the songs will work really well because we just recorded them for a demo this weekend, in "bark studio"! Stay tuned for an update, we'll have music on our myspace page soon!

Mittwoch, 12. August 2009

A general update

I've been a bit lazy with blog updates recently, but a lot of things happened - so I figured I'd just give a general quick update here: I moved to a new flat in Bogstadveien, Majorstuen (or -a), which is a nice but somewhat posh area. Frognerparken and Slotsparken with the royal castle are within 10 min walking distance, and it's another 10 minutes to the harbor. I spent some time with IKEA stuff, well, and also their staff, and got quite fed up with them. My living room looks like an IKEA show room now - all I need to make it perfect is one of these fake TV's. Seriously, I'm in urgent need of some contrast. Some plants and pictures maybe... Matthias (Erasmus student) helped me a lot with it all, thanks! He also showed me Sognsvann, which fascinates me - actually I think I can reach this place faster from my home here via subway than I can reach Lanser See from my home in Innsbruck (via car). As you can probably tell, I'm still extremely fond of Oslo - actually more and more, as I discover new things here all the time. And for everything I see and experience, I'm thinking about how our baby girl is going to like it all... well I'm sure she'll love it! Although she's going to see winter first, and watching "30 days of night" (on my iPod, in the subway) got me a bit scared about that :-)

There's some news on the musical front, too. I started to play with a punk rock band called "Skin Sofa", working towards a short gig on the last weekend of September (yeah, right, a gig already). That's good fun. I also jammed with Mark, which was great - I hope we can set something good up together, like a real band! and hopefully I'll get to play with Viktoria soon, too, her music sounds very interesting to me. Things are getting quite international, musically: a guy from Australia, a girl from Russia, and a truly Norwegian punk rock band (sure, I'm Norwegian too :-) but give me some more time to learn the language... btw, thanks to Matthias, I started to watch Norwegian movies with Norwegian subtitles now, and it takes me something like 2 1/2 hours to watch a 1 1/2 movie because I stop and rewind it all the time. Oh well... it's fun nevertheless).

Well, that's about it. Life's great, I'm happy, and I hope you're happy too!

Donnerstag, 23. Juli 2009

Scandal! New employee poisons me!

It all begins as a nice afternoon on Gressholmen island. Not knowing what is ahead of me, I am working hard...



... and enjoying the sea - just look how vivid I still am!



But destiny awaits. The evil Italian finds mussels in the sea, and offers them to me (which was, as I later found out, an old Mafia trick; in retrospective, it's easy to see that he had an evil plan on his mind! Check out the picture). And I happily accept.



Later that day, he continues his evil plan, preparing the mussels, making them look good and harmless:



Delicious, huh? Wouldn't you also have fallen for this evil scheme? Here, he even looks as if he's having second thoughts about it all...



... yet he continues, and I eat:



Accidentally, he almost eats one too, without thinking, but his girlfriend stops him, shouting "ARE YOU CRAZY? DON'T TOUCH THEM!!!"



... but for me, it's all too late.

The next day, at the University, colleagues react shocked, ask me if I'm all right... (now, this part is true!) and point me to this website, which we should have checked before picking mussels. "Spis med måte", it says... eat in moderation ... reason: "Alexandrium close to danger limit". Reading on, and on, I learned that mussels can sometimes contain toxins from a special type of algae, with possible effects: diarrhea, paralysis, and memory loss!!!

Hm, where was I? Ah, yes:

Hi everyone, I have to tell you the most exciting story. My new employee tried to poison me! It all started with an afternoon on an island, I forgot which one, and then....

Sonntag, 12. Juli 2009

Just married

- sorry girls! :-)

Montag, 29. Juni 2009

Oslo is hotter than you think!

Dear visitors!
You should properly prepare for Oslo before you come. This picture shows you what happens to you if you expect this to be a cold city in summer:



(Frank and Verena from the QE group, in case you haven't recognized them :-) )

Samstag, 27. Juni 2009

Beach days

I spent a few great days with my mother, mostly relaxing and swimming at the beaches of some of the islands just opposite Oslo. Here are a few snapshots - they were all made without a flash, check out the time in the lower right corner (you may need to click on the images to be able to read it).







Getting later...





This one features my mum:



And here's a midnight shot of the two of us, taken with automatic release but without flash!



The darkest is actually 1am, not 12... and no, it doesn't really get 100% dark these days, but it gets quite dark - for half an hour or so.

This one is from yesterday; at the beach again, this time equipped with one of these Norwegian disposable grills. These are scampi on the grill in this picture, and they were really delicious.



... but not all the fish or meat that you get in Norway is so great... although I can't say that I actually tried that one yet:



If you look closely, you can see that it says "Hvalbiff" - well yeah, that's whale meat. They do eat some strange things here. I'm still shocked by Frank's Lutefisk description.

Mittwoch, 17. Juni 2009

Sonntag, 14. Juni 2009

It's hot

or at least warm. And it was really warm yesterday. It's nice to be in Oslo on a sunny day!

Stay tuned for the next really exciting post... ;-)

Donnerstag, 11. Juni 2009

It's cold

this is like March... but our language teacher said that this is perfectly normal June weather. I'm trying to stay warm by turning on the heater (in June, damnit!) and listening to Regina Spektor, mainly the "Begin To Hope" and "Soviet Kitsch" albums (thanks Rene!). (Favorites: us, fidelity, Samson). Regina, if you read this, could you please make a short trip from Hultsfred, Sweden, to Oslo on your tour? Thanks! :-)

Mittwoch, 10. Juni 2009

Buddy Rich's Secret Weapon

About time to post something about drumming again:

When I was around 15, I attended a 1-week workshop where Jojo Mayer taught us all kinds of crazy things. He made a real effort to get everything across, from his unbelievable foot technique to... well, you name it, the guy can do everything. Anyway, while we all practiced a lot during that week, of course you need to put more time into it - and so at least I never managed to make the "one handed roll" work. This is one out of two common techniques for playing fast strokes with one hand, the other one involves the rim of the drum.

Recently, some 20 years later, I stumbled over it again on youtube. Jojo now (maybe also back then? I don't remember) calls it "Buddy Rich's Secret Weapon" because, apparently, this is how Buddy called it. I think it's what Buddy uses on his left hand in this video, right at the beginning. This video is quite impressive, by the way.

Now check out Jojo showing it off. This video starts with his foot technique, and he shows the one-handed roll at 1:18. At 1:34 you can see (or rather hear) the limit of how fast one hand can really go... I don't believe anybody can play faster than that (without using both ends of the stick).

So, of course this is only a gimmick - this is why I never practiced it, but now I felt like getting started, just for the fun of it. It's also one of things that you can nicely do on the side while watching TV (or, in my case, your landlady's DVDs with Norwegian subtitles :) ). I found this video of a guy who's teaching it very well, although I admit that, just because of the way he acts, my first thought was "heck, this guy is too young to teach me!" :-)

Seriously though, this guy has it all down, and teaches it very well. He calls himself "masterofmoeller" because he's can also do the Moeller technique very well - he shows this in a couple of his other videos. That's another technique that I can't really use well - just a little bit. Many years ago, I spent countless hours in front of a Jim Chapin video tape - which, as you can see here, is annoying ... so I can do it a bit, but by no means as good as the "masterofmoeller", and above all I never managed to really apply it, which he does very beautifully in this video. Check this guy's videos out if you want to learn some hand technique.

Anyway, I'm practicing this now whenever I watch a DVD, and I can already see some initial progress. It actually feels quite natural to me because half of the motion is how I play doubles anyway, so now it's just a matter of filling the missing link in the movement...

Sonntag, 24. Mai 2009

Oslo update

I am writing this on the plane back from my first job trip after the move (ICCRG / Pfldnet in Tokyo). It feels strange to go back "home" from a trip, when I know that I will actually arrive in Oslo...

Not much news from there, by the way: I still like it a lot - well, okay, it would be bad if I didn't, in summer! and after not even a month - but I have a feeling that things will never get worse there, only better(*) and better(**) and better(***) and better(****):

(in historical sequence)
* ... receiving visitors and moving to a new flat
** ... moving my drumkit here and finding a band
*** ... family joining
**** ... buying a boat! (just kidding... or not?)

Someone told me that everyone will just claim to visit but eventually most people just talk and then won't really do it. This seemed realistic to me, so I pushed people a bit, and now my calender is seriously packed! But I'm glad about it, and prepared - except for the salmon cooking promises that I made, I really should start practicing now I suppose :-) Oslo is full of museums, and so far I haven't visited a single one - not even the Munch museum which I'd really love to see, and which is almost next door from my place. I'm doing this to avoid spoiling the fun when visitors arrive; I plan to only see at most two with every visitor, so I get to see something new every time, which is also more fun for the visitor than going there alone or with a yawning Michael ("oh THAT again..."), I guess.

The rest of my life in Oslo is mainly about work (which is fine, in a nice environment), getting private things arranged (right now looking for a flat - they are terribly expensive here!) and learning Norwegian. For native German speakers, the expectation seems to be that you better learn the language FAST because everyone does - most people seems to know someone from Germany who managed to become fluent within a year or less. As for myself, I almost showed up for Dugnad with beer and meat because the description sounded like a barbecue to me. But things will get better, language lessons begin in June.

I hope I can get myself to write updates more frequently from now on - see you all soon, og ha det bra! :-)

Montag, 4. Mai 2009

First Oslo post

So I arrived. Things are nice here - everything looks fine to me, but I don't have anything special to say, really... I took a few walks, started to work, met friendly colleagues, it all looks good. I'm only writing this because I promised to put Oslo updates here, and this initial posting buys me some time before something peculiar (i.e. worth mentioning) happens :-)

Donnerstag, 9. April 2009

A new life

After working at the University of Innsbruck for 7 1/2 years, I handed in my office key yesterday. It felt weird, but good: while I enjoyed my job in Innsbruck, I'm quite happy about all the changes ahead. Oslo, here I come!

Mittwoch, 25. März 2009

So long, and thanks for all the fish

Phew, a geeky heading... well why not, for a change, it really fits, I did eat a lot of fish.

So I returned from Australia. It was a great time - here's one final musical bit, playing in the street with Rene:


...and the video:
video

at this point I'd like to say thanks for everything to the Swinburne mates. Here's a pic from the "say goodbye and meet the missus" dinner:


(From left to right: Romina, Lachlan, myself, Petra, Lawrence, Warren, Mattia)

After that, we had a nice holiday in south west Australia (Perth, Bunbury, Busselton, Margaret River, Danmark, Albany...) - thanks to Mat+Romina for helping with the plan!

To conclude, and to help justify the heading, here's a picture of the cutest fish I've ever seen, taken in the Perth Aquarium. It's poisonous (only if you eat it), but no, it's not a blowfish. Sadly I didn't take a picture of the description and so I forgot its name.

Montag, 23. Februar 2009

Rene

After the last two slightly depressing ones, it's high time for a fun post again. But how do I get back to the routine of fun posting without showing off again? I'm just having a great time down here, filled with work which I enjoy, evenings full of music, and surfing in between...

So here's the solution: feature someone else for a change. Rene deserves a post. He's one of my best friends, and a lot of the fun I'm having down here is due to him. I would like to thank him for:

* Sharing his great music with me and letting me join him on stage on a couple of occasions. Check out his new Youtube video! The one major thing that's still on our todo list is to go busking...

* Convincing me to go see Underworld instead of a more serious movie. What a good choice!

(forget the Oscar - I'm herewith giving the "sexiest vampire of the year" award to Kate Beckinsale, very well deserved. Congratulations Kate!)

* Introducing me to Drawn Together. How could I have missed this?

* Introducing me to a couple of cool mates down here - Turin, Geoff, Oedi, ...

Thanks for everything, mate! To end this post, here's a picture of brave Rene singing as a frontman (!) jazz singer at Dizzy... he was scared as hell but did a great job in my opinion.

Donnerstag, 19. Februar 2009

Louie Bellson died

Sad, sad sad. Check his webpage if you don't know him (which means that you're not a drummer). A lot of greats have recently passed... e.g. Max Roach, also not very long ago.

Samstag, 14. Februar 2009

A somewhat more personal post...

Hi everyone out there!

Looking at my blog, I'm getting the impression that all I do is show off - look what a cool drummer I am, look how I'm travelling around the world, look, I go surfing...

I don't want to show off. I document things that make me happy and mean something to me, that's all. Anyhow I believe that this might be the overall impression that gets across, and with this post I'd like to change this a bit, by writing something serious for a change.

I herewith publicly announce that I'll "bury" the last year. It's actually a bit more than a year (but I'll keep calling it a year here), and it wasn't the greatest time for various reasons. Some bad things happened, not so much to me, more to others, but bad nevertheless. I think that, as a person, this last year changed me quite a bit, and hopefully for the better. I learned various things, one of them being that we all don't live forever, and therefore we have to live now, look ahead, and be careful to avoid wasting the time that we were given. I did waste a lot of time during this last year. I thought and did things which were just stupid, and feel sorry about it now (because it wasn't always cool for everybody involved), but I cannot change that anymore. That's a part of what I now understand; I've been thinking too much - about things which happened, AFTER they happened, which means that I've been thinking too much about the past. We shouldn't do that.

There are several BIG changes ahead - 2009 will surely end as the "year of change" in my personal history. I wanted it this way, and I'm happy about it. Now is the time to concentrate on the future.

Phew...

The next posting will probably be about fun again - drumming, surfing, whatever :)

Mittwoch, 11. Februar 2009

The first Melbourne post

I guess that, with a bit more than a week now passed, it's about time for a first blog post.

Except for work (of course :) ), the week was music oriented. I went to see Rene play at the Espy on the day of arrival, we played a jam session at Dizzy's, an open stage at a place whose name I keep forgetting, and another open stage at the Spleen bar (where I accompanied Rene on a cardboard box and a beer barrel).

On the weekend, there was the big ending of the St. Kilda festival, with all kinds of stuff happening in the street; a guy set up quite a big drumkit to make money playing (I guess?), and for a dollar you could play on it. So I did :)

Here's me, looking forward to playing, and him, happy with the money:


Here's him, telling me not to break his precious cymbals:


And here's a couple of people watching me. In fact he told me not to stop when I wanted to, because people started putting coins in hix box ... so now I know that I have an alternative career possibility if I ever decide to quit computer science :)


Finally, a video of me having some fun with polyrhythms. Thanks to Mattia for taking these pics and shooting the video!
video

Check out the guy paying for my "art" at 0:55 :-)

Mittwoch, 28. Januar 2009

Big waves ahead!

- literally, because I'll go to Melbourne again, and for sure I'll be surfing the waves in the Torquay area. Metaphorically too, because I'll move to Norway, to join the Networks and Distributed Systems group at the Department of Informatics of the University of Oslo. I suppose that this blog's content may shift a bit, from "mostly drums" to "mostly elks" or something like that...