Tromsø, NORWAY Archives

June 17, 2007

Roddick Wins


I took the pic of Andy Roddick above earlier in the week on the Queen's Club practice courts. With his 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 victory in the championship today over surprise finalist Nicolas Mahut of France, Roddick pretty much locked up the third seed for Wimbledon (which begins in 8 days) and his ranking should return to #3 in the world as well. The American was match point down in the second set before rebounding to win. This was Roddick's fourth title at Queen's, which ties him with John McEnroe, Boris Becker, and Lleyton Hewitt for the record in the grass-court Wimbledon tune-up. Federer still looms as a force on the greensward, but hopefully this year Roddick will at least surpass his early-round loss to Andy Murray in the 2006 Lawn Tennis Championships.

A Strange Sight

As I wandered around the town of Tromsø this evening--it was pretty quiet, as it was a Sunday--I came across this store:
As I peered in the window, it became apparent that it was a shop dedicated entirely to videogames. Why it is named after Spider-Man, I cannot fathom.

What is weirded yet is the depiction of the wall-crawler:
Maybe this is what Mickey Mouse would look like were he bitten by a radioactive spider?

June 18, 2007


I guess it's one of those things that you intellectually understand, but you can't really get it untl you see it. Here is the midnight sun--this is downtown Tromsø at 12:45 a.m.:

Song Of The Day #169

"Nowegian Wood" is by The Beatles. (iTunes link coming someday!)

Did You Get The Memo?

As someone whose professional obligations include living with teenaged boys, this blogger's post resonated with me. I pass it along here in its entirety for the benefit of any members of the target audience who may have found their way here:

To: Surly Teenage Boys

From: The Straggly-Haired Pear-Shaped Heterosexual 30-Something Schlumpy Lady with the Glasses Who Drives the Dented Green Car with Britax Car Seats and WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER and GOD BLESS THE WHOLE WORLD NO EXCEPTIONS Bumper Stickers

Re: Take my word for it


Teenage Boys: Stop with the surly. You have nothing to be surly about yet. Yes, pimples suck. Yes, homework sucks. Yes, wanking with your mom’s Skin-So-Soft is not the same thing as doing it in the back of a rebuilt ‘78 Mustang with Jessica Alba.

But your parents give you a room with a bedroom door and they let you keep that door AND keep it closed. They let you have in that room GameBoys and Wiis and Xboxes and other things my aging brain files under the “ATARI” category. They let you hide out for endless hours in that stanky room with those things and they let you slam that door they let you keep. I am here to tell you that this would not be so at my house, because Ma Ingalls here would never put up with that kind of crap.

Aside from school, you are blessed with nearly unlimited freetime and very limited responsibilities. Yet you are surly. You are surly when you load my groceries into my cart. You are surly when I have to ask you to wait so I can find out whether or not Sophie wants chocolate milk or apple juice with her Unhappy Meal. You are surly when I finally pull up to the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through for my whole-milk latte with Splenda and I am not half as cute as my voice was through the speaker.

Let me tell you something, Surly Teenage Boys. Surly becomes a bad, bad, hard-to-beat habit, and it’s not going to help you get laid, either. At the very least, it’s not going to help you get laid well. I know right now you think that any sex is great sex, but you’d be surprised how far a good attitude goes in that department. Mumbling oh baby you know you want it in what you think is a sexy, tough guy voice? Is. Not. Hot. Look up ‘foreplay’ if you need to. Read a few interviews with Sting and Trudie Styler.

Better yet, just work on eye contact. Bonus tip: Sex is better if you’re not ashamed to look the other person in the face. Sex does not preclude smiling. ‘Preclude’ is a good SAT word. Look that up too. I’m trying to help you here. Our two demographics tend to be polar opposites, so consider this an outreach memo.

Surprise yourself. Surprise me and the other pear-shaped women of the world. Pull up your pants. Better yet, buy pants that fit. Scrap the Jay-Z cap. Borrow a tie for absolutely no reason and wear it like You Da Man. Because it’s that frickin’ simple. You Da Man, and not Da Boy, if you carry yourself with respect and treat other people with respect and LOOK PEOPLE IN THE EYE and STOP SHOWING YOUR BUTT CRACK. You could wear your grandmother’s lace doily on your head and no shirt and lederhosen with patent leather stilettos, and if you treated people well and dropped the surly act, you would STILL be Da Man, and you would get Da Girls. And I would like you too, although I would worry about your nipple ring getting caught in your lederhosen suspenders.

Look all people in the eye, even the haggard mother-types. Women like me, the ones who buy baby wipes and supersize tampons and organic milk and a guilty 24-inch Slim Jim and Us Weekly? We remember you. We remember you well. Not you in particular, but we remember how those of your age and species treated us at an early and difficult age, and it mattered. It mattered more than you knew at the time, more than we knew at the time. What you do now, how you treat the young women in your life after your shift at Big Y? I am here to tell you that it matters very much.

Be good to the girls. Not for what you want from them. Because bedroom door or no bedroom door, this whole time sucks bad for them too. Sucks worse, because they’re the ones who bear the visible brunt of young love gone bad and gone unhappily fertile. They’re the ones who wear the terms slut and whore and that c-word that you and I both know, while the guys who manhandle them just yank up their pants, readjust their caps and slink away smirking.

I’m not saying you’ve done this, not yet, but watch your mouth and expect more from yourself. It’s always been easier to ruin a girl than a guy. That kind of damage clings to a girl in ways you don’t know, in ways you don’t ever want to know. Women turn out strong because they’d die if they didn’t.

I’ve got girls. I’d rather you kept your paws off them. I’d rather they loved other girls. But they tell me they like boys like you, so I have no choice but to write you this memo.

Love girls well. Love them honestly. Or don’t love them. And tell them that, gently but assertively. Then walk away, never once talking trash about them. It’s pretty simple: If you don’t love them, don’t stick your boy parts into their girl parts. Be better than that.

If you do love them, great. Then keep your hands off them for longer than you think you can bear it. Keep your hands off them until they put their hands on you. Keep your hands off them for a full week after that too, if you can, and hear where they’re coming from. Listen hard. Because they are on your team. Although without this memo from me, it might have taken you another fifty years and two divorces to figure that out.

Snort if you want, disbelieve if you want, but I know exactly what your penis looks like under your Big Y or Burger King pants. Every pear-shaped mother whose groceries you bag? She knows too. And if she smiles slightly and sadly after she says thanks and you just grunt at the floor, that’s what she’s smiling about. Your penis, and how it rules your life these days.

Don’t get pissed off. Maybe you think you have a terrific penis. Maybe you think you don’t. Maybe you’ve read my post on Ron Black, his adult penis, and the Extender. If you haven’t, read it. Because the point is the same: Women, young or old, pear-shaped, apple-shaped, or brick shithouse-shaped, care much less about your penis than they do about your eyes or your mouth or your hands, and what they say.

What you can do with your penis and what comes out of your penis is just not all that impressive to us. You can do a great shadow-puppet snake act? Terrific. Lift a car with it? Excellent, dude. Get something up on YouTube, stat.

Please know this beyond a shadow of a doubt: Straight girls of all ages are just amused by your penis. Even when we seem to be actively enjoying your penis, we are still amused by your penis. The male member is a funny thing, and it’s even funnier that Freud was dead serious about his beloved theory of penis envy.

Penis envy is something that happens in sidewise glances in a men’s locker room or a men’s restroom, as far as we XX-chromosomed can figure out. There is penis pity, but Freud was too busy sweating and Gestalting in a back room to admit it to himself. It would have killed him.

We don’t care much about your penis and what you do with it, as long as you use it with respect in our presence, or disrespect it to a bloody pulp alone behind your bedroom door. We women DO care a lot about what you do with your eyes, your mouth, your hands. Young women are trying to convince themselves that they don’t care that much about anything, because then the disappointment when you treat them badly is not as acute. So maybe this is news to you. Good. Straight-talking news sources are hard to come by. Trust me.

I will say it again: Surprise them. Surprise the world, yourself, and that naked girl you’ve snuck into your bedroom after school, with great kindness. Kindness is all. Kindness to the naked hotties who will come your way, and kindness to the bundled, exhausted mother-types you barely seem to notice, even when they ask you for two fives and five ones instead of a ten and a five. At this point in our lives, we exhausted mother-types know a lot about sex, and we know a lot about kindness. Kindness is more surprising.

Do not forget: You’re here on this earth because someone had sex, or had a lot of sex that didn’t work, procreatively speaking, so they whipped up your ass in a test tube. But I guaranfrickintee you that sex was involved in some way.

I am no longer as cute as my voice. But I am a force to be reckoned with, particularly if you decide some day that you love one of my daughters. I can tell you right now that I will see it all, that I can see into you, that I will know from your eyes what kind of person you are, or are trying to be. I’ll know too if you’re not trying at all.

So I’m begging you. Start now. Throw surly to the wind. Look at me. I’ll look at you. Let’s smile at each other. I won’t look down at your penis, but we’ll both know it’s there. You’ll know I have a hoo-hoo, because one of my daughters will have fallen headfirst into the cart, and when you help her out, you’ll see she looks just like me. She’s too young for you, but there is someone out there right now who isn’t, and she’s thinking about you.

I know your options. I care about your options.

Rise to the occasion. Make it a habit. There’s a reason the nerdy dudes seem to get the hot chicks later in life. They figure it out early, have more time to practice. Or they’re stinkin’ rich. That’s the chick’s issue; I’ll address that later. Right now I’m talking to you.

Surliness sucks. Kindness rocks. Using girls sucks. Appreciating girls rocks.

I’m watching you. Watch me back. Take a good look at me as I wipe my whining kid’s nose and fumble for my car keys. If you love a girl for the long haul, this is what you’ll get. Someone like me. Someone like your mother.

Try not to recoil. Let it sink in. Because this is the start of recognizing that beauty runs a lot deeper than all of us can see, especially in our crappy surly early years. Since we’re speaking of surprise: Real beauty is fabulously surprising. The sooner you train yourself to look for it (not just the glossy enameled variety), the better.

Meet my eyes and I’ll meet yours. I promise to look harder for your beauty too, even the beauty you don’t know you have yet.

And maybe someday we’ll even have a good laugh over this after Thanksgiving dinner.

'Nuff said.

Life In A Northern Town


The two-month-long daylight phenomenon is pretty cool here, but "midnight sun"? I have yet to see the sun here at ANY time of day. Thus far it's been perpetual overcast skies and on-and-off drizzle.

Before leaving Connecticut, I was asked why I was heading to this Viking village at the north end of the continent. No doubt I wanted to see this 24-hour daylight thing first hand, which now I have (and it makes it harder to get to sleep at night, for sure). But the remoteness of Tromsø appealed to me because these June vacations are just as much about decompression as they are about seeking out the unfamiliar. That is, at the end of the school year, I feel I need some time alone to relax, reflect, and review life. I am at my most thoughtful in these periods, generating lots of ideas, creating lists, and making plans. Now the trick is finding the time to implement them once I get back in "the real world."

A Pricey Country

Dinner this evening at a pretty low-key pizza place ran me over $50, as did a lunch I had in Oslo the other day. Neither meal was in a fancy restaurant, but I am realizing just how expensive Norway is (again, the weak U.S. dollar is doing me no favors).

I discovered online that Oslo is one of the ten most expensive cities in the world. And Moscow, where I am headed in August, is at the top of the list! Ugh.

Cupertino Cool


An intriguing piece in this week's New York profiling Steve Jobs in the context of the soon-to-be-released iPhone. You can read it online.

June 19, 2007

Song Of The Day #170

This Fleetwood Mac song led to a generation of baby girls actually being named after its title character, "Rhiannon."

Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac - Rhiannon

Reconnecting To The Wire


I am plugging back into the second season of HBO’s The Wire on DVD, my enjoyment of which got sidetracked mid-course at the beginning of the spring term (funny how school being in session does that to me). With the bounty of unscheduled time now available to me, I am also re-engaging my reading of The Brothers Karamazov, which I also left mid-stream a few months back.

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