mánudagur, nóvember 29, 2004

black lung

For the last couple of weeks, the place downstairs has been getting renovated (it's been stripped to the bare walls), and there are people working down there until well into the evening every day, sawing, grinding, and hammering. Today I returned home to find a thin layer of black dust covering everything in my apartment... and filling the air too. From what I can figure out, the grinding downstairs (it's constant) has kicked this powdered plaster up through the floorboards of the second floor.

It's hard to breathe in here, the grinding is loud and constant, and now having to clean every surface in the apartment only adds insult to injury...

sunnudagur, nóvember 28, 2004

the return

It was a smooth and peaceful and *fast* trip back to a strange land... I was in the air just over 4 hours. But this place couldn't be more different from Boston. I took a taxi to my car which was parked at Ásdís' parents' house. It was 7 am but pitch black and raining and wind blowing the rain sideways. On the drive back to Reykjavik, along the busiest stretch of road in Iceland, I was the only car around me. I got home at 8 am and there was no sign of anyone on the streets... completely quiet.

I'm gonna go off to the hot tubs and to see Þorgeir and Magga and give them their Jeep parts. It's grey and will be getting dark in another hour. I spent the morning sleeping...

fimmtudagur, nóvember 18, 2004


"a.net" as the groupies call it has a nice search engine that lets you specify airline, airport, airplane type, and other variables. So if you want Icelandair taxiing their only 757-300 (and worldwide, a very rare plane cause it's the special limousine-stretch version of the normal 757-200) in BOS, you got it.

In fact, I've got it right here.

Here is Snorri taking off at KEF.

pack muling to KBOS

Check this wizardry. I'm now bringing back goods for 3-4 different entities. Including some amazing $95 hunk of shrink-wrapped smoked pork for Þorgeir's daughter's Thanksgiving. In exchange, she is going to give me a steering column for his Jeep. Some kind of aluminum tube or something. I have gone from loathing to celebration of the pack mule...

þriðjudagur, nóvember 16, 2004

Intellivision nostalgia

Here is a pretty interesting history: http://www.intellivisionlives.com/bluesky/home.shtml

Actually, so much is classic on that page I had to read the whole thing twice. Highlights:
- branding hair dryers with Intellivision logo
- Pong selling out in 1975
- "classic woodgrain" Intellivision
- long-promised, barely-delivered (see below) computer keyboard
- BurgerTime quote used by disgruntled programmers
- system-changer allowed you to use 2600 cartridges

Also a real fun read: http://www.intellivisionlives.com/bluesky/hardware/index.html

- I love: "also marketed through Radio Shack as the Tandyvision One" like, of course Radio Shack had to have their crappy version with crappier styling and some dumb Tandy-derived name...
- "only 4,000 Keyboard Components were made; all sold were recalled for full refund; owners who wanted to keep theirs had to sign waiver absolving Mattel of all future support for the component " I love it...

mánudagur, nóvember 15, 2004

swimming in the snow

When I went swimming tonight there was ice and snow on the pool deck (it's in the mid-20s now and we got a little snow last night) and little ice droplets on the rails to the hot tubs. It felt like they were pumping extra hot water into the main Olympic pool, so as I swam I would go through these hot zones.

sunnudagur, nóvember 14, 2004

the cure for Sunday Sadness

I have much less than the normal dollop of Icelandic Sunday Sadness (it's like normal Sunday Sadness, but with an extra helping of foggy gloom) today, mainly cause I'm getting all fired up to come to Boston. I did some Xmas shopping today and ran into Þorgeir and Magga in Smáralind (the big mall of Iceland). They were happy to see me, and I may be pack muling some stuff for them back to the USA. I just got back from downtown, where I have discovered another great place to hang out. The 3rd floor café at Mál og Menning bookstore on Laugavegi... they made me one fine cup of cappuccino and I sat there and read the Sunday papers in Icelandic (well, "read" might be too strong of a word) and listened to people's humming conversations around me. That is a great bookstore and I ended up spending a long time in there looking at the Xmas releases.

I am feeling like a new wave of comfort is settling in for me here, and maybe some of the unhappiness of the last month is fading away. I guess this culture shock is a funny thing. It happens in waves. But for some reason being able to stumble through 3 words of a 10-word sentence in a newspaper article gives me great comfort and the feeling of being in control of my surroundings.

laugardagur, nóvember 13, 2004


A real crowd-pleaser. Especially for Angelina and Josh Bond.

stirring up the pot


þriðjudagur, nóvember 09, 2004

tough times

It's been tough times here, but I always feel better after my nightly swim. It's the monnins that aah the toughest. It's just unnaturally dark to me. Pitch black. I drive to work and it's just vaguely getting light over in the East. But the nice thing is that I have seen Venus and Jupiter twice in the last week, beaming down on me like beacons. My Icelandic teacher asked her 14-y/o daughter about how she thought about the dark and she said, "what?" People who live here don't even notice it - or think anything special of it - it's just how it is. I would be like me saying to you, "so how do you like this crazy time with the leaves falling off the trees?" How do you even answer that?

ransacking old words

My new favorite is the verb að rannsaka which means to research in modern Icelandic, but it comes from "to ransack".

How about that crazy að rannsaka business? Turns out, according to Webster's, that rann = house and saka = search in Old Norse. I had no idea that "ransack" was that old. I would have guessed it was some 19th-century robber baron/ Grand Age of Steam Locomotion kind of concept. I never would have guessed that Viking farmers would rannsaka their turf hovels, looking for the lost high-seat pillars.

föstudagur, nóvember 05, 2004

a tough teachah?

Last night I was at the hot tubs at one of the RVK swimming pools and what did I hear but something that sounded so musical, so lilting... so much like Mrs. Doherty, my "fohth" grade teacher... it was two elem "teachahs" from Massachusetts! Here on vacation, gabbing in the hot tub. I talked to them for a long while. The older one was "retiyahed" but had just done a stint in Lowell working with "Pohchagese" kids. They were nice people, and so nice to talk to. At one point, they spiraled off into giving directions in "Nohton" Mass, one was saying, "at the second settah lights, offa one-fohty? peyast the honeydew donuts?" I told them they had to stop that talk, it was making me homesick.

The funny thing was, we had a rotating audience of Icelanders with us in the "hot pot" and they seemed to be listening intently to our conversation. Cause I was talking about what it was like to live here for me and they were cooing about how much they loved the vacation here. Icelanders are not used to thinking of their country as something that other people might like... but it was odd for me to be answering all these questions about Iceland, its language and history and climate, in front of a panel of 5 Icelanders, all listening intently.

miðvikudagur, nóvember 03, 2004

election disgust

I am so disgusted right now. Sure, Middle America gets what it wants (and maybe deserves) but why does that have to mean the rest of us (and the rest of the world) has to get dragged down?

I haven't felt better about living in Iceland than I do right now, this afternoon... maybe it was worth it coming here after all. In 2005, I will pay no US income tax. All my tax dollars can go to Baby Styrmir's education, rather than to the Iraq war.

þriðjudagur, nóvember 02, 2004



Boom! That is happening now, for the first time in 6 years. There is a volcano erupting under the ice of Vatnajökull... it sent a steam plume up in the air 12-14 km. Boom! The heat melts the glacier water and makes a huge flood... last time this happened it took out that stretch of route 1 to the south of V-jökull. Boom!