Friday, 30 December 2011

Else is going travelling! Sofie's notes

Morocco - 3.5 weeks Western Sahara - underkant av en uke - reise gjennom og besoeke et par steder Reise gjennom Mauritania - ikke saa lenge Senegal - just travelling through Gambia - meeting parents on the 4th february, staying for a week. Luxury vacation. Not very charming tourist industry. Senegal - travel quite a bit there. quite interesting and nice Mali - the southern parts (unstable north, kidnappings) Burkina Faso - Ouagadougou Ghana (flying from there on the 12th april, to Ethiopia), visit organisation, gather children paintings Ethiopia (Addis Ababa) - travelling around. No return ticket yet. meeting friend. Eritrea (quite hostile relations with Ethiopia) Crafting your T's and dotting your i's.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Hackney – Where ideas are born and bicycles are (almost) stolen (by knife)

As our dear readers might know, some of us were privileged to meet up in London last weekend. When Anandita, and her (very sympathetic) boyfriend Zach were planning to go traveling in Wales with her parents, nothing felt more natural for me and my (very handsome) boyfriend than to catch a cheap flight to the UK, and for all of us to merge in the capital!

And what a weekend it has been. We of course did the good old traditional sightseeing: The British museum with all the stolen goods of the empire, Tate Modern with it’s progressive paintings and installations, Brick Lane with its lovely curry, shopping in Camden Town/Market and a stroll along the south bank of the Thames with all the sights that has to offer. Anandita, Zach and Juliane also went to a lecture with Arundhati Roy (!) and “some random Marxists”, where the latter apparently weren’t too impressive. The visiting boyfriends (Chris and Zach) are dedicated Clash fans and made sure we extended to some untraditional sightseeing as well. We went far down south to the (in)famous Brixton. We were disappointed to see such few guns but the number of squeaking ambulances were at least far above average.


The main excitement of the trip was of course to see each other’s long missed faces and to exchange recent experiences, old memories and eternal ideas. One of the social highlights was the day when Sofie had arranged the MUWCI (and friends) summer shindigs in London fields (a huge park close to Ant and Sofie’s flat). Here we met more MUWCI people than I had ever dreamed of.

Some of the old friends we met during the stay

Bezzerwizzer in the park. Anandita carry these photos in her wallet.

After enjoying countless beers and conversations in the sun we slowly returned to the flat where more beers were in order, not to mention a delicious meal served by Anthony. The board game Articulate! was also a big hit. As the hours were getting late, people came and went but the core remained.

Acticulate in Anthony and Sofie’s living room.

Eternal ideas. Around midnight the same night Anthony’s (very charming) architect friends came by, and somehow the whole atmosphere became very philosophical. Perhaps not so strange, since Anandita currently is doing her PhD in philosophy at Boston University. Also given our philosophical background from the IB, it was granted for it to become a subject of conversation eventually. At some point Sofie came back into the room, after being absent for a while, when she suddenly became very worried about her architect friends’ well being (read: them being bored). The reason was that Anandita and I were rambling about Hannah Arendt’s (or originally Aristotle’s) distinctions between labor, work and action and the Human condition in general. Though, as soon as Sofie expressed her apprehension one of the architects immediately dispelled it. He engaged in the conversation starting to throw out ethical dilemmas for every one of us to take a stand. In regard to this we ended up hypothetically killing a man on a railroad track to save ten (or two hundred) people, in addition to killing a man in a coma for some other alternative purpose.

The discussion about the common versus the elite was the most intriguing though. The starting point for this debate was a claim that

“the idea of people sitting in their offices doing philosophy is useless or irrelevant, unless their ideas are brought to the masses”.

The extreme example of this would be some French philosophers like the deconstructionist Jacques Derrida etc. Anandita presented a very nuanced and well-grounded argument against the above claim based mainly on Hegel and partly on Hannah Arendt (and her own viewpoint of course). The poor thing was constantly interrupted by Sofie and myself who had countless (ir)relevant insights and digressions. We/I must have been pretty annoying because, due to the large quantities of alcohol that had been consumed, I kept forgetting the main argument and demanded she’d explain the whole thing again and again. Luckily I finally decided to write down the The Main Ideal Argument which goes as follows:

“Forget about Hegel (though it’s all Hegelian)*. When intellectuals dump things down so that everyone can understand them, then all they do is to give the masses a glimpse of the truth, or a certain form of the truth that isn’t the ultimate truth.”

Be aware that this is the ideal argument. The practical application of this could be:

“Given that we need work and labor for the survival of society, it’s important that those who do work and labor are able to at least get a glimpse of the truth, or a certain form of the truth, since they don’t have the time to be philosophers”.

Examples of these glimpses of truth could be the concepts of freedom and democracy. The conclusion of the discourse was, that the path to reach the ultimate state of enlightenment must be the employment of Robots.

Some of the notes from the discussion. Notice the washing machine in the robot's stomach

At this point I stopped taking notes. The good news is that in the future we wont have to live in the shadow of the ultimate truth – because Anandita is now becoming an official contributor to the the world and other issues! So let me pose a question for a potential follow up post to this philosophical debate: Wouldn’t this lead to a complete Marxist alienation (all work and labor conducted by robots)? And if so, is that a problem?

And last: During our stay Anthony caught a rude thief at the outside entrance of their house. The thief was about to steal Ant’s bike, when Ant rhetorically asked the guy what he was doing? The thief replied that he had a knife. Being the man of steel that he is, Ant asked him to show his pockets and surely a knife was revealed. “Fuck off” was Ant’s reaction, and fuck off the thief did – with the parting promise: “I’ll be back!”

I’m sure I’m speaking for everyone when I say that I share the thief’s sentiments (about coming back to Hackney Baths). Hopefully Shane will be with us next time.

*Anandita had first spent a lot of time explaining Hegel – unfortunately casting pearls before swine.

Friday, 10 June 2011

At Long Last!

Well I have to say I feel quite ashamed about my prolonged absence from this blog. But it's also very encouraging to see that even though our posts get sparse sometimes, they keep chugging along! I was reading back a little bit and I love Else's narrations (you give the best speeches) and Sofie's snapshots (more houseblogging please!). So I thought I would contribute with a combination of the two.

I want ed to share that, at long last, I graduated! NYU's graduation was a very funny affair, they held it at Yankee Stadium. My parentscame but they couldn't even see me because there were so many people. I just sat in my seat and drank a milkshake (seriously!) the whole time, no diploma receiving necessary. Here are a couple of pictures my dad took.

(At least they could see Brett...I'm one of the purple dots. Oh also he got a special hipster haircut just for my graduation, he went to a military barber at a very fancy place where you write your name on a chalkboard... I know, I don't get it either!)

(Bill Clinton was our graduation speaker... Wow! Also, I think this is a really nice photo... my dad has been getting really into photography recently and I think he has some serious talent!)

So I guess that's the major update in my life right now, and with that have come some other changes too! I moved into Brett's apartment where we're going to stay for the summer until we move into our own place and I'm very happy here. And last week I started my new job -- precisely one week ago today! So far I like it and the people are really nice. I feel like right now I'm getting into a new rhythm in my life and I like that. Maybe my new rhythm will include morning exercise?

Now I'm getting a little rambly but I also wanted to share that last night I put my little sister onto a plane for LONDON! Where you and Anandita will be reuniting soon. Sofie, I told her to go find you and give you a hug for me. She said she would so I hope she does! She'll be there until August, living with a friend from AC. Here are some pictures of my sister, taken a LONG time ago when I still lived in Queens (but she hasn't changed that much!).

(Isn't she pretty? And don't these photos look kind of 80's?)

Love you both lots and lots!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

I've been hanging out with Shane recently

I finished my 4th year on Thursday. Everything handed in and ready, and I'm happy with how it all turned out.

I love to use friends in my images, it gives me an excuse to revisit lovely old photos to find just the right pose, activity or light condition. In this case I have been trawling through photos from mine and Shane's trip to Calcutta, Varanasi and Bodhgaya in 2006. Lovely memories! I thought I'd share some of the resulting images from my design.

Sunday, 29 May 2011


Snapshot from Wazirpura, Agra, where I am doing my design project this year (for three more days!) Amazing colours!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Himalayan Flowers

Came across these photos from project week no 3, from the lovely hillsides of Chamba, Himachal Pradesh. Thought I'd share now that flowers are cropping up everywhere and summer is coming!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

India pt 2

So, as some of you might know, this year my relationship with India has taken a bit of a professional turn. I am doing my 4th year diploma project in Agra, city of the wonderful Taj Mahal. Here is a little sketch I did of my project as it stands.

I have three weeks left till portfolio hand in, so now it's all about hard graft and long days with lots of coffee!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Easter time is here!

I know I have been a bit keen on my house-blogging recently... Please forgive me for yet another post. Just wanted to show you a couple of things! Yesterday I finally finished the bedroom, and we could sleep in peace in there (except I was washing the linen, so we ended up in sleeping bags. note to self: save up for some more linen.).

Exhibit 1:

Exhibit 2:
The man's new herb garden

(He has decided to start a better life which he rightly thinks involves fresh herbs on anything. I mean fresh basil on EVERYTHING. He would probably put it on porridge if it wasn't for the fact that he doesn't like porridge.)

Exhibit 3
Neverending Decemberists Love

I got these posters last summer at End of the Road Festival, a wonderful folk festival in Dorset. The Decemberists were unfortunately not playing there (but several other of our favourites were, including the Mountain Goats), but for some reason they were selling these great hand printed posters. They are now adorning the wall above our tiny dining table.

Exhibit 4
Going on holiday!

Finally, I am going to Italy! I am very excited because I've never been there before, and also because it is kind of mandatory for an architect to go to Florence at some point. We leave on Friday and I can't wait! (Our last holiday was more than a year and a half ago, so about time!)

I hope you all have wonderful easter holidays!
Much love from sunny London

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

DIY, or, Need is the Mother of Invention

When a poor architecture student and a starter-wage architect move into their first home together, it is very, very easy to spend the limited furniture budget on design classics which we (read I) have always dreamed of having in our house. So, the limited buget got us a pair of Eames chairs and a few tins of paint. But, two dining chairs, surprisingly, wouldn't quite fill up the space. We got a sofa from IKEA, but needed a coffee table. Since I had quite strict requirements for this table (Must be a specific size, not too big, and must have a shelf for books under the tabletop) and limited resources, this one was concocted one late friday evening with the man sleeping peacefully on the sofa, amazingly ignoring my drilling and sawing.

So, take a few bits of "furnitureboard" (pine board from B&Q, the UK's equivalent to Maxbo) and one length of industrial steel angle from said shop, a couple of screws, and voila! Budget coffee table which fulfills all our needs!

In time I will paint it (pine isn't exactly known for aging gracefully), but for now, it adds a nice, somewhat Norwegian exposed wood feel to the living room.

Student budgets don't always have to be (entirely) spent at IKEA!
(I say that, and then I also post a picture of how useful a spare shelf bracket became when we needed to hang up this cool enamel lampshade which the man got from Brick Lane! It's all about the balance, right?)

Monday, 4 April 2011


Sneak preview of the bedroom!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Get on the floor!

Finally, we are in the process of laying the bedroom floor. The wood we got is called parawood - cheap, and green, as it is a bi-product of rubber production! Gives me joy to walk on a floor which I know has done a good job in its previous life... And best of all, it looks quite good!

Downside is it is not an engineered timber floor, so every piece has to be glued individually. Time consuming! Also, the walls being kind of squint does not make for an easy job!

Looking forward to showing you the finished room!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Another Sunny Day

Finally, the weather in London is turning! My mood is better, my productivity is better, and I sit under my roof window drawing Indian houses in the fresh air.
Blissful! I wanted to share my wonderful view with you...

Spot Canay Wharf and the Gherkin!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Green Home

Me and Anthony decided since all the other rooms in our new flat is white, the hallway should be something else... Green!
The hallway doesn't have any windows, so excuse the blurry photos...

At the end you see my little storage corner which I am in the process of making a curtain for. If only this architecture degree I'm doing wasn't taking all my time...
Will post more soon!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Green smoothies and other nice things

Hello weekend!

This weekend feels highly undeserved. I’ve had two whole days with nothing on the schedule but starting to write my BA thesis. Not a single word has yet been typed and it is 2 p.m. Friday. It’s an assignment in economics where I’ll be writing about food: Food prices and food crises. I’m starting to think that things related to food really are at the core of my interest.

It’s one of the most basic things of our mere existence, it’s a source of unlimited hedonistic joy, it’s an inevitable part of everyday life and it plays an important role in both my academic fields: Politics and economics. I’ll let you know more about the academic aspect later but for now I want to share a recent discovery I made: The green smoothie. My friend Irmelin was on a long journey in southern Africa this winter. In Swaziland she got to learn about the significance of raw food (if you're also into this I'd love to learn more). After she convinced me I’ve been having green smoothies for breakfast everyday. Below you can see the recipe and I urge you to try it. It tastes great, it has serious amounts of vitamins and nutrients and it gives you a very unique sort of energy. Basically you can use whatever you want but here is my variant:

· 1 banana

· 1 green apple

· A bit of fresh ginger

· Celery

· Ca. 100 g spinach

· Juice from ½ lime

· Some water

But it in the blender with some ice cubes and voila.

Another tip for the weekend is to check out the new Belle & Sebastian album: Write about love.

All the songs are really nice and catchy. I especially like “I didn’t see it coming” and “I want the world to stop”. When Sofie, Sigrid, Christopher and I saw then this summer they played the first one. It was epic!

I hope you all have a great weekend in your respective corners of the world.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Moving House!

Me and Anthony are moving to our own flat on the 3rd of February. I am so excited to blog about it!