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2014-12-13

"Eat Pray Love" (2010) - the best review ever



I recently remembered a scathing review of the film "Eat Pray Love" (2010) written by the Norwegian reviewer Espen Svenningsen Rambøl, who completely tears it apart.

It was published first in Dagsavisen, but for some reason they have since removed it from their webpages. You can read it in Norwegian at oa.no, though.

Anyway, it's very funny and I thought English speaking people should have the chance of catching it as well, so I took the liberty of translating it for you.

The Norwegian title translated to English is "Eat Love Live", by the way.

-*-*-*-*-

Puke hate zzz. Bore yourself to death with this year's worst film.

An ode to selfishness that outperforms even the "Sex and the City" girls when it comes to mindless and shallow self-worship. Based on the memoirs/travel book by US journalist Elizabeth Gilbert, who spent a fortune on a spiritual hunt for happiness, duly documented in the bestseller "Eat, Pray, Love".

It's interesting that the word "Pray" is replaced with "Live" in the Norwegian translation of the title, since a big part of this story is a mixture of new age clichés, quasi-religiousness and a broad "love thy self" philosophy.

In the movie Liz Gilbert is played by Julia Roberts, an over-privileged women in her midlife crisis, who is suffering horribly in her immense luxury house with her well-intentioned husband Stephen (Billy Crudup). It certainly isn't easy to be so rich, loved and white. Because a woman like her deserves to be so much happier.

One night Liz falls to her knees, cries and prays to God about what she should do to feel more satisfied. God's answer is simple: You are a self-centered, whiny hussy who has nothing to complain about, and you should get your shit together ASAP. And then God gives her cancer.

No, wishful thinking: God's real answer is that Liz should divorce, get rid of all obligations and go on a one-year vacation to find herself. So Liz travels to the third world and helps rape victims in Sierra Leone, fights for women's rights in Iran and does volunteer work in a refugee camp in Darfur.

No, that was also wrong. Sorry. Liz goes to Italy to eat pasta, to India to meditate in an ashram and then to Bali to have sex with Javier Bardem. Now THAT is self-development.

After much soul-searching Liz finds spiritual awakening and comes to an important realization: She must learn to love herself more. If there's something Julia Roberts definitely doesn't need to hear, it's that she must love herself even more.

"Eat, Love, Live" is truly the ultimate ego trip.

2014-11-02

Unwanted attention, cat calling and misogyny


UNWANTED ATTENTION #1: NEW YORK
One day in August the actress Shoshana B. Roberts walked around New York for 10 hours. She was carrying microphones and was at the same secretly filmed by the editor Rob Bliss. (UPDATE: It turns out most of the footage is from Harlem.)

Together they recorded hundreds of men trying to "cat call" her and giving her unwanted attention. In the video Roberts has a neutral facial expression, a dismissive body posture and never replies to any of the men talking to her.

Check out the video and also read the YouTube comments:



UNWANTED ATTENTION #2: EGYPT
Also check out this similar project from Egypt. Colette Ghunim secretly films men staring at her as she crosses a popular bridge in Cairo, and plays the recordng in slow motion to show how intruding the sexual attention is.


And here is their video:



UNWANTED ATTENTION #3: NEW YORK (AGAIN)
Jessica Williams from The Daily Show demonstrates cat calling on the streets of New York, and talks to a large group of women about their experiences:



ALSO CHECK OUT THESE LINKS:
A practical explanation of the video on Hollabacks webpages
* An article in The Guardian about Roberts receiving threats after the publication of the video
* A post on a forum about "black culture" that posts photos of Roberts and asks the users if they would "Smash Or Pass" - including very misogynist comments

2014-10-03

Bali tips from a seasoned professional

Bali - Seminyak - Sunset on Seminyak beach 01

I stayed in Bali for a total of two years, but I realize more and more that I didn't use the island and the surrounding islands enough.

Anyway, here are some tips I wrote after I left in 2012 - hopefully most of this still applies!


TRANSPORT
Rent a motorbike (about 40,000 IDR per day or cheaper for a month), buy a helmet (approximately 200,000 IDR) and drive yourself. Taxi takes so long because there are so many traffic jams due to the narrow roads. I rented a motorbike from a really nice guy called Ketut (+62817351828) for a year, call him and tell him I gave you the number.

It is safe to drive a motorbike as long you drive slowly and wear a helmet. Most people also drive very careful because most of you are on motorbikes and you are all in the same boat. If you are very concerned about safety you can avoid Sunset Road. If you are stopped by the police and have to pay a bribe, have 50,000 IDR ready in a handy place - do not pull out all your money. 50,000 is the standard amount for bribing cops.


PLACES TO STAY
When it comes to nightlife and culture, most of the interesting stuff happen around Seminyak, so it's best to live in that area. Jimbaran is located too far south, so check the hotel I stayed at in 14 months, Nipuri. It is two minutes from the quiet beach Batu Belig, between Seminyak and Canggu. Call +6281236491688 and ask for Arni.

Also check out some 360°/panorama photos I took in Bali, maybe they can inspire. Here are two from Nipuri, the hotel pool and common room.


SOME PLACES TO EAT
Eat delicious and cheap Indonesian food at Warung Murah, either at the main shop (down Jalan 66) or at the junction by Lio Square (at the top of Jalan Batu Belig). I ate there a lot, you can get full dinner for less than 10,000 IDR.

And if you live at Nipuri Hotel in Jalan Batu Belig there is a very good and cheap restaurant across the road called Warung Sobat. And 50 meters down the same road is a cool (and hugely popular) BBQ joint called Naughty Nuri.


NIGHTLIFE
Check out the "luxury" nightlife in Seminyak at Potato Head, Ku De Ta and Cocoon. (I was DJ'ing at all three of them.) Also check out the W Hotel and Mint. All except Cocoon are located within walking distance of each other in Jalan Petitenget. Potato Head has the best music.

Also check out the club Maria Magdalena (next to JP's bar) at the top of Jalan Dhyana Pura. It's a small underground club with tech and (good) house music.

And if you want to party with gays there are four to five gay clubs in a row further down the same street. It seems Bali is one of the few places where it is unproblematic to be gay in Indonesia. Most of the country is Muslim, and that bunch usually have no tolerance for sexual minorities. Actually many Muslims actually comes to Bali to escape bullying and judgment, it's sort of their safe haven.

You gotta have at least one night where you are completely drunk in Kuta. We called it "trashing it" because it is commercial dance music, cheap drinks and tons of backpackers. Get to Sky Garden around 21.00 and start from there. Just don't get so drunk that you lose your valuables. And do NOT drive a motorbike for that kind of evening, take a taxi. The one time I crashed on a motorbike was when I was too drunk and drove home myself.


SUNSETS
Enjoy food, drinks and the sunset at La Plancha (on Seminyak beach) or Warung Pantai (on Batu Belig beach).

Experience sunset at the restaurant Warung Sawah (near Lio Square). It's lovely there, just see for yourself.


LEISURE TIME
Check out the restaurant/bar Deus on the road to Echo Beach, they have a lot of cool stuff going on. Sunday evenings are often nice, with free live music.

Get a massage every day! It is so cheap and good.


AROUND THE ISLAND
You wanna check out Gili Trawangan for two or three days, and take the fast boat, not the slow one. Be careful not to get a hotel room near the mosque, they make noise from morning to night. Dive while you're there, it's beautiful. Cycling around the island takes only 20-30 minutes, do it as well.

If you have time, go up to Menjangan for a few days and enjoy snorkeling or diving. Drive your motorbike or hire a driver with car (not so expensive, ask the hotel if they know of any). You can also snorkel down at Nusa Dua, I think. Ask anyone. See pictures from our trip.

If you want to swim with dolphins, never do it with animals in captivity. They suffer horribly, just watch the documentary "The Cove" for proof. Seriously, don't. Rather go to a village with lots of dolphins in the ocean, for example Lovina in the north.

Ubud is lovely, but many others have found that out as well, so it can be a bit crowded, with lots of traffic. But it is worth a trip for a few days, definitely. You can get a little into yoga too. Try e.g. Yoga Barn, they are a safe bet.

Go on a day trip to one of the beaches in the south, and on the way back in the afternoon, eat a fish dinner at Jimbaran beach, near the fish market. Delicious!


DRUGS
Do not buy any drugs in Bali! It can literally be a question of life and death. It may be safe to buy it, but often the dealer will report you to the police (for a reward), who will then bust you. If you have $10,000 to bribe the cop with right there and then you may get away, but if not he will take you to the police station, and you end up in prison for many years. Seriously. There are lots of foreigners in Kerobokan prison due to drugs.

But "magic mushrooms" are legal, so maybe that's a cool drug to try?

So now that you are armed with tips - bon voyage!

2014-09-11

The best Yugo jokes

Yugo (Zastava Koral) was a subcompact car built in the former Yugoslavia. Read more about it.


It was famous for its (mostly) poor quality - there's even a book about it called "The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History". Buy it here.

Because of its infamous ability to break down, it became the butt of many jokes. Here are some of the best:

Q. How do you double the value of a Yugo?
A. Fill the tank with gas!

Q. What comes with every Yugo user's manual?
A. The bus schedule.

Q. What do you call a Yugo at the top of a big hill?
A. A miracle!

Q: What do you call two Yugos at the top of a hill?
A: A mirage!

Q: What do you call the shock absorbers inside a Yugo?
A: Passengers.

Q: Why do Yugo's have a heater for the back window?
A: To keep your hands warm when pushing. 

Q: What to you call a Yugo with brakes?
A: Customized.

Q: Why is the car called Yogo?
A: Because IT stays, and YOU go.

2014-03-22

Where to settle down - Oslo, Berlin, Lisbon, Bali, Bucharest or Buenos Aires?

Here are some points I wrote down when I was living in Bali early in 2012, and considering where to settle down for good.

By then I had been living in Oslo, Bucharest, Berlin and Bali, and I wanted to weigh up pros and cons about each place. (At the time I hadn't been to Buenos Aires.)

As I write this it's March 2014 and I am also strongly considering Barcelona, but I hadn't thought about it in 2012, so it's not on the list. Maybe I will edit this blogpost and add it.

Here are my pros and cons, maybe they can help others also searching for a great place to settle down in.

Remember that all of this is from my personal view at the time - a 38-year old Norwegian freelancer and expat trying to avoid a regular job, and who lived in Oslo until he was 32.



Oslo


Pros:
- very familiar
- family and old friends live there
- I don't have to learn a new language
- lots of musicians to work with on my own music
- more work available for me since I am from there
- strong economy and very high wages
- civilized and functioning systems
- enough culture to be interesting
- warmer in the summer and the Oslo fjord
- could be the place I'll settle down in

Cons:
- cold in the winter
- feels too familiar and kinda boring
- not so easy to meet new people (especially around my age)
- very expensive - I would probably have to get a normal job (the horror!)
- night life ends at 03.30
- not that much food variation
- I don't really like the Norwegian self-centered mentality



Berlin


Pros:
- very cultural and artistic
- amazing music scene
- relatively friendly and social people
- tons of other expats in the same situation as me
- easier to learn German (coming from Norwegian)
- still the cheapest capital in western Europe
- lots of food variety
- very convenient
- very central in Europe
- very cheap flights
- close to lakes
- I will get many visitors from Norway and other places
- much freedom to develop creativity
- easy to visit Oslo if I need to
- 24-hour public transport
- civilized and functioning systems

Cons:
- cold in the winters
- inland



Lisbon


Pros:
- by the sea
- friendly people
- small and cute capital
- beautiful scenery
- great food
- nice light and architecture
- cultural with a rich history
- a warm country with beautiful nature
- tranquil culture and rhythm of life

Cons:
- harder to learn Portuguese
- not very cheap flights
- living is not that cheap
- bars in Bairro Alto close at 02.00 (though clubs go to 06.00)
- the sea water isn't that warm



Bali


Pros:
- very warm
- beautiful nature
- beaches and sea
- quiet surroundings
- feeling of complete freedom
- delicious food
- it's a great place to work on my self-discipline and self-development
- pretty cheap life
- easy to get around in South-East Asia and see other amazing things
- easy to learn Indonesian
- easy to meet Indonesians
- I already have some friends
- feels safe and not too boring
- I can probably get enough DJ-work

Cons:
- more expensive to rent than it should be
- no city culture
- very transient (people come and go)
- I'm not really interested in Asian culture
- long and expensive flights to Europe
- it feels more like a kind of extended vacation than "real life"
- slow and expensive Internet
- six hours ahead of European time



Bucharest


Pros:
- I know a lot of dynamic people there
- easy to meet new people
- the Romanians I meet are often intellectual and artistic
- new clubs and places are opening all the time
- many people are warm and friendly - and very attractive :)
- nice food

Cons:
- post-communism can be a bit negative
- more expensive than it should be - especially for the locals
- people can be a bit depressed because of capitalism and corruption
- a lot of traffic
- not that much international culture
- not that easy to learn Romanian



Buenos Aires


Pros:
- both European and South American feeling
- interesting culture
- warm people
- by the sea
- fairly easy to learn Spanish

Cons:
- long and expensive flights to Europe
- living is not that cheap


2014-03-20

"The Greatest Event In Television History" on Adult Swim - all episodes



"The Greatest Event In Television History" (Wikipedia) was a series of four short specials aired on Adult Swim, co-created by and starring a very self-deprecating Adam Scott.

These specials are mockumentaries about the shot-for-shot remaking of classic 80's TV series opening credits sequences, followed by the remakes themselves and finally the original opening credit scenes.

They are all hilariously funny and definite must-sees, with many famous actors listed below doing absurd guest roles in the comedy tradition of e.g. "Childrens Hospital" and "Burning Love" - or even "Parks And Recreation" for that matter.

Below are all of the four episodes in sequence, and we start with...

1) "Simon & Simon" (October 12, 2012)

Adam Scott and Jon Hamm reenact the opening sequence from "Simon & Simon". Paul Scheer plays the role of a crazy fan, while Paul Rudd plays the abusive director.




2) "Hart to Hart" (June 6, 2013)

Adam Scott, Amy Poehler, and Horatio Sanz reenact the opening sequence from "Hart to Hart". Paul Scheer plays the evil agent, and David Wain plays the therapist.




3) "Too Close for Comfort" (November 7, 2013)

Adam Scott, Catherine O'Hara, Chelsea Peretti, Kathryn Hahn, Jon Glaser reenact the opening sequence from "Too Close for Comfort". Jason Mantzoukas plays the crazy director and Seth Morris the stunt coordinator. The ghost of Jon Hamm also appears.




4) "Bosom Buddies" (January 23, 2014)

Adam Scott and Paul Rudd reenact the opening sequence from "Bosom Buddies".

There are cameos by Tom HanksPeter Scolari and Billy Joel, who actually performed "My Life", which he wrote and originally recorded but was covered by another artist for the original series.

June Diane Raphael plays Adam's fictional wife.




BONUS:
Co-creator Adam Scott has also appeared on various podcasts and radio shows over at Earwolf. Check them out.


2014-02-11

"There's no problem with freedom of speech in Russia" - says the Russian Minister of Culture




1) See this very short interview with the Minister of Culture in Russia, Vladimir Medinsky, about the situation for arts and artists in Russia:

- Q: As the Cultural Minister, how would you describe the current situation for arts and artists in Russia today?
- A: For what?

- Q: The current situation for arts and artists in Russia today?
- A: [Pauses.] Is there any problem with art and artists? [Answers his own question.] Well, the situation is wonderful, then.

- Q: Well, internationally you are seen as a bit strict on freedom of speech, for example.
- A: [Makes a face like he has no idea what the interviewer is talking about.] You're the first man who talks to me about it. There's no problem with freedom of speech in Russia, you know. [Laughs.] Thank you. [Ends the conversation and walks off.]


2) Here are 15 reasons why you must boycott the Olympic Games in Sochi, and how Russia is a very authoritarian regime.

And if you need to watch the games, AT LEAST make sure you don't provide ratings through your viewing.

If your viewing is registered in any way, you are actually a part of the problem - you are helping Russia commit violations on human rights through the sanctioning of the International Olympic Committee.

If these games receive the lowest ratings ever for any Olympic Games, the IOC cannot give future games to regimes like Russia again. You can make this happen by officially boycotting the games, and asking everyone you know to do the same.


3) The clip above is from the cultural program "Nasjonalgalleriet" broadcast 3/2-2014 on NRK, just before the Winter Olympic Games started in Sochi.

The program took a closer look at how art is doing in a authoritarian state like Russia, and how censorship is affecting free speech - and artists.

You can watch the whole program here. Some of it is in Norwegian, other parts in English.

2014-01-03

Steve Carell + Stephen Colbert = "Even Stevphen"

Funny and satirical debates with Carell/Colbert



You know Steve Carell from titles such as "Anchorman", "The 40 Year Old Virgin", "Despicable Me" and "The Office". Or his more sensitive films, like "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World".

And you know Stephen Colbert from his own satirical news show "The Colbert Report", plus his books.

But did you know that they both started their careers as correspondents on Jon Stewart's satirical Comedy Central news show "The Daily Show"?

One of the recurring segments on the show from 1999 to 2003 was "Even Stevphen", a short satirical in-studio debate between Carell and Colbert.

The segments were set up to be about the duo debating a recent topic, though they would often spend the time insulting each other instead. Sometimes this resulted in one of them breaking down in tears, due to painful childhood memories.

On this page I have chronologically collected all 17 segments of "Even Stevphen", for your comedy pleasure. Enjoy the humouristic brilliance of messieurs Carell and Colbert, and see them all in the following order:


"Weather" (September 20, 1999)
News analysts Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert face off to determine whether the weather is good or bad. (3:11)



"Agreement" (October 25, 1999)
Steve Carell breaks down as Stephen Colbert accidentally agrees with everything he says. (4:34)



"Negative Campaigning" (February 23, 2000)
Sure, Stephen Colbert could get a lot of attention for saying sh*t and f**k, but should our candidates be stooping to the lowest common denominator? (4:04)



"Elian Gonzalez" (April 11, 2000)
Stephen Colbert helps Steve Carell reach a breakthrough with his daddy issues by forcing him to face the fact that he's weak, just like his mother. (4:19)



"Reality TV" (June 5, 2000)
Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert debate reality television, but when the camera turns onto them, Even Stevphen becomes the Fox and Goose Show. (4:44)



"Blast-Off Buddies" (September 26, 2000)
Hey kids, stop striving for excellence and hop a jet to some cannibal's paradise to roast your hairy chestnuts on national TV. (3:53)



"Halloween" (October 30, 2000)
Steve Carell teaches Stephen Colbert how to trick-or-treat. (4:38)



"The Clinton Years" (January 17, 2001)
Every time Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert fight, it's because of Bill Clinton. (3:30)



"Should Medical Marijuana be Legalized?" (April 4, 2001)
Just because Steve Carell supports medical marijuana doesn't mean he's a dope fiend. (3:43)



"Stephen Wins!" (June 27, 2001)
A patient's bill of rights will shift the balance of power away from the bureaucratic soul-less HMOs and give it to law firms -- that's good. (4:10)



"Stem Cell Debate" (August 13, 2001)
Steve Carell would rather debate over Dutch prostitutes than stem cell research. (4:08)



"Secrets" (October 15, 2001)
Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert discuss whether the government should keep secrets about the war in Afghanistan. (3:40)



"World's Policeman or Fireman?" (May 7, 2002)
Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert debate the role of the United States in international affairs. (3:36)



"Death Tax" (June 19, 2002)
Stephen Colbert concedes the Death Tax argument as long as it cannot be traced back to him. (4:21)



"War" (August 19, 2002)
Ed Helms stands in for Steve Carell. Stephen Colbert is not surprised that Ed didn't go to Princeton, because Ed is stupid. (3:49)



"Islam vs. Christianity" (May 29, 2003)
Can the world's two largest monotheistic faiths exist without tearing each other to shreds? (04:37)



"Old Debate Revisited" (October 2, 2003)
You don't try to put erroneous information in a speech for a joint session of congress. That would be insane. (4:04)



...and a bonus:
"10 F#@king Years" (September 19, 2006)
The Daily Show presents the best moments from Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert's Even Stevphen. (5:10)



...and yet another bonus:
"The Colbert Report with Steve Carell" (July 7, 2010)
Steve Carell is a guest on Stephen Colbert's show "The Colbert Report". The duo reprise their old roles from "Even Stevphen" one last time, and Jon Stewart chimes in. (06:33)


The Colbert Report
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