Kategoriarkiv: On my mind

Flip a coin or quit smoking

Recap: I’m done with grad school (yay!). I’m freelancing in NYC. I plan to move home to Oslo in December. Then I hear about this great job opportunity. In another US city. Where I know no one. There’s a dilemma here. I’ll try to write myself out of it using this old Radiolab episode called Help! that I just listened to. The first 20 minutes are about our willpower and the battle: You vs. You. Two different stories are told.

This story is about two brothers who are recent graduates and don’t really know what they want to do with their lives (yup, sounds familiar). Then their father tells them that one of them needs to take over the family business – a massage studio in Chinatown (not that familiar). The brothers really don’t want to take over, but decide to flip a coin over it. Or actually they do some tea leaf reading, but the result is the same. One brother wins, the other starts working for his dad. He’s miserable. He doesn’t particularly like touching feet. He tells a customer:

I flipped a coin, and now my life is over

After having worked there for a month, however, something changes. He starts to enjoy it. He longs for his work when he has a day off. He loves working with people every day. He simply loves his job!

The brother who won the tea leaf battle says that if he had lost, he would never actually take over as a masseuse. He just thought his brother needed a little push, and agreed to read tea leaves to help give his brother the sign he needed. How the tea leaves could help point in the right direction is beyond me. Either way, one brother found his calling, and the family business will live on.

Now the other story is about quitting smoking, and how to trick your brain into doing something that you don’t really want to do. Even though you know that quitting will be good for your health and those around you in the long run, the pleasure of having a cigarette right now just wins.

Things that are offered right now are so much more powerful than what’s offered later. It’s a battle about NOW and LATER, a battle about time.

The woman in this story finally quit smoking after telling her friend that she had to help her donate a big sum of money to the Ku Klux Klan if she ever smoked again. The battle between feeling good with a cigarette right now vs. feeling happy and healthy in the long run had been changed. It was now the balance between how horrible she’d feel for donating to a cause strongly against her personal believes vs. how good she’d feel about the cigarette. It was a NOW vs NOW battle. The KKK horror made her quit smoking forever.

So with those two stories in mind, my question to me is:

Should I flip a coin, or simply quit smoking?

In other words: is what I need a little push to take a great job in an unfamiliar city? Or is the US my cigarettes? As long as I am in the US, I will keep running into awesome opportunities. Opportunities in the NOW that I shouldn’t say no to. Unfortunately, the opportunities of the intangible LATER in Norway are hard to predict, as long as I am here in the American NOW.

If I quit my cigarettes now, I might feel better in the long run in my home country, surrounded by family and friends in the city I truly love. Speaking the language I master. Where I can be the ‘me’ I know best. And where I don’t have these visa expiration dates to deal with, cause I actually belong there. Though if I quit my cigarettes – and actually should have been flipping a coin – will Oslo become my big, fat anticlimax?

I am not sure yet whether this is a coin flipping or cigarette quitting situation. And I definitely do not know where the Ku Klux Klan comes into the equation. Though I do know that the end of my New York City adventure will be this December – and after 2.5 years here I don’t seem to have a problem letting go of that particular cigarette brand.

Cigarette photo by Raul Lieberwirth. Cause I do not actually smoke. Phew.

A Day in the Life

Friday workshop session with my awesome service design group. We spent most of the day in a very tiny, hot chat room at our SVA IxD studio to create a service design blueprint — in our case a.k.a. an object-oriented sticky-note journey.

The very tiny room had no windows. We had to make one to survive.

We took a little break to see one of the highlights of the event User Research Friday that was hosted in our studio. As we were very busy with our stickies, the only speaker we got to see talking was Daniel Stillman. He talked about buttons, knobs, bicycles and washing machine design.

The SVA IxD events always means mingling, bubbly and some yummy snacks. That was an excellent warm-up to prepare me for life outside the studio cave. Studiomate Guri and I went to an gallery exhibition opening at the .NO gallery. Filled with interesting Norwegians, nice art and more bubbly in red plastic cups. Yes.

I took a train out to Bed-Stuy to attend a house party concert. Very intimate, very interesting. First tune heard from the apartment living room had the catchy chorus «If you’re high enough you can do whatever you want». The last one was about a beaver with a tail that was too fat, but that found a way to be cool through wearing some awesome sunglasses. Uhm yeah. In between we had several sing-a-long opportunities that the 25 guests in the living room did not hesitate to join in on.

The day ended after that house party. But a day is not complete without a brunch, so I will cheat a little and add my Saturday brunch with Yiannis the Greek and Mathias the Musician. We had a creative session where we talked about app development, travel and eggs benedict—fueled by endless coffee refills in Carroll Gardens.

Life’s intense, but wonderful!


Speechless. That’s what I am. The actions towards my home town, my country, my government, and towards innocent children are just so unreal. For me a Facebook status update about a horrible sound, possibly an explosion close to the Government building in Oslo was what startet my work day here in NYC. Then my day went on with some meetings, and otherwise constantly refreshing Facebook and Twitter to make sure my friends are OK, and of course following all Norwegian online newspapers, streaming news reports from NRK – just waiting for the number of deaths to increase. Then another status update from my sister came along:

So. People on an island hiding in the bushes, and we should not call them. I was just – WHAT is she rambling about? But then again shooting innocent children at a summer camp is simply madness, so no wonder I couldn’t believe her message. But now all I see is love for the city and our country all around. And I wanted to capture that. So I did:

That’s all.

And btw, I am as far as I know NOT related to that maniac.

Skitching my finals

2 out of 5 finals done. It’s time for the 3rd one tonight when my class will be presenting our cybernetics models. I am making some final adjustments to my presentation using Skitch right now. Skitch is a fast screen capture, image editing and sharing tool, according to their website. Personally, I use it mainly as a really fast tool for drawing. While Derek is more into the perfect circles, I guess he still enjoys a demonstration of the Skitch awesomeness. I’m happy both to share the Skitch love, and to capture one of many moments in the studio – considering that I have spent more time here than anywhere else in New York these last months.

Okay. Back to presentation mode now.

10% of America

I visited my roommate’s amazing family in North Hampton, New Hampshire this Thanksgiving. This was my first time out of New York City – and I ended up visiting 4 new states. So I’ve basically seen 10% of America now. Easy. Here’s a list of things that might mean nothing to you, but a lot to me, just to remind myself of this great holiday:

  • GF = gluten free
  • Schrimp vs. Scrimp
  • Renting phone from the 70′s. Still working!
  • Flower tea
  • Rutabaga
  • The Heart and the Bottle – iPad picture book
  • Why Norwegians put feathers on twigs and hit cats out of barrels during fastelavn, and put candles in blonde girls’ hair
  • Dog show on TV. Some dogs have no eyes.
  • The first and best Thanksgiving dinner I have ever eaten. Sweet potatoes, and even sweeter potatoes. OMG.
  • Explaining the vegetables of Norway to a nice and extremely interested 91 year old New Hampshirite
  • MacGruber
  • I cross-stitch to become married one day
  • Gigantic houses in taxfree heaven
  • Ocean and beach
  • Mobile homes
  • Walmart
  • Thrift store. Got a New Hampshire scarf.
  • Pawn shop. Old coins, Beatles and Kennedy for president pins
  • Bought a ridiculously warm Overland Sheepskin coat – best buy of the day!
  • Charming Portsmouth
  • Mexican food in Maine
  • Federalist houses
  • Candle pin bowling
  • 50 cent golden necklace from a gumball machine
  • Hot rocks in living room
  • Harry Potter #1. Do I like pointy ears movies now?
  • Fatherly advice: See 9 twice a day. As in 9 AM and 9 PM.
  • Walk in sun on Atlantic avenue
  • Cemetery with Carters, Browns and Tarltons
  • Cute dog with angry necklace
  • Rotten pumpkins on a porch
  • Stop motion animation. Sadie Benning.
  • Rainbow sailboat kite
  • Through vs. Thru
  • Hyggelig vs. Cozy
  • Roommate tells the story about how the Grinch ruined Christmas. Then he sings.

Some photos from my North Hampton Thanksgiving

I’m sick. Sort of.

Being sick for me is not a big deal. It’s usually a 2-day thing, some light fever, headache, and the occasional sneeze — and then it’s all over. Although I don’t feel like I’m about to die right now, my brain is not ready for the heavy school assignments that are lined up. So. I do silly things I never do normally, like painting my toe nails even though it’s November.

Come to think of it, maybe I can use nail polish for my flowery Craft and Communications project? I think that was a pretty bad idea. Such a slow brain. I’ll sleep on it.

Remembering Oslo

I have been in New York City for almost two months now — and I don’t miss Oslo at all, even though I miss the people that I left behind there. When looking at some photos from the days before I left Norway, I stumbled upon this small project that I have been meaning to share with you earlier. It was made for a friend of mine, Ida, and her fiance, Tamam, who both just left Oslo to stay two years in Abidjan at the Ivory Coast(!). We made this memory map to remind them of what they were leaving behind, but it was a good thought exercise for me too. View the whole map in large — if you would like to get an overview of me and my friends highlights and whereabouts during the last 15 years.

The actual creation of the map makes up another great memory of a more recent date; Veronica and I were at my family’s summer house while connecting pins and strings to map and memories while sharing a bottle of port wine, some delicious cheese and crackers, struggling to stay awake, part laughing, part trying to not drive each other crazy as we realized this project would take us about 10 times as long to finish as we first thought. It was raining a lot the days we were there, but if you wear garbage bags over your rain coats like my family usually(?) does, there’s no need to complain:

Anyways. I wish Ida and Tamam will have a wonderful time in Africa, that all my other friends enjoy their time in Norway even though the darkness (a.k.a. winter) is sneaking upon them, and I’ll try to make the best out of my time here in America! Maybe it’s time to visit this cafe today?

Brooklyn Flea

Went on a bike ride to Brooklyn Flea yesterday. Got myself the cutest little organ. It’s small, but it’s still too large to get on a bike home. Ended up carrying it across all of Brooklyn – on and off subway, shuttle bus and then, when my arms were all shaky, luckily my savior, Velaug, helped me carry it the last blocks home. The saving angel arrived here:

I’m more familiar with a regular piano, but all of a sudden I’m the owner of a Multivox 700 Electric Chord Organ. It has legs too. It sounds like this - but that little clip isn’t exactly inspiring music… Every time I try to think of something to play, I just think of old Christmas Carols. So. What would be good music to play on this organ? Give me a challenge, and I’ll see what I can do :)

What I’ve learned about America

I feel more comfortable reporting from this weird country known as the United States of America in Norwegian right now. And this is my blog, so I’ll do just that. Here it goes…

Det er advarsler strødd rundt overalt mot alt mulig rart. Min personlige favoritt er denne – plassert inne pÃ¥ ethvert toalett pÃ¥ kafeer og restauranter:

Employees must wash their hands before returning to work

Som om ikke det er en selvfølge? Synes det forstyrrer matopplevelsen en smule at jeg skal bli minnet pÃ¥ at kokker og servitører muligens kan glemme noe sÃ¥ essensielt før de tafser pÃ¥ maten til gjestene…

Organic low-fat diet vegan burger
Og nÃ¥r vi er inne pÃ¥ mat. Jeg er vant til Ã¥ kjøpe «normal» mat i Norge. Lightprodukter holder jeg meg som regel unna. Her er imidlertid det som tilsynelatende er normal mat, sÃ¥ søt og feit at det nok ikke er sÃ¥ rart at folk blir nødt til Ã¥ vike unna det «normale». Organic food, og ikke minst vegan food er hot her borte. SÃ¥ hot at man kan bestille en salat med bacon som hovedingrediens i det grønne, og servitøren vil likevel si «There’s bacon in that one. Are you SURE you want bacon?»

I en del tilfeller liker altsÃ¥ amerikanerne Ã¥ være pÃ¥ den sikre siden. Mulig det er derfor de er pliktige Ã¥ behandle melken sÃ¥ mye at den dunken jeg har i kjøleskapet varer helt til pÃ¥ske. Eller i alle fall til langt ut i oktober. Samtidig bor jeg i en leilighet uten noe særlig sikring med tanke pÃ¥ brann. Jeg kan dessuten klatre opp en ynkelig stige for Ã¥ komme opp pÃ¥ taket av det tre etasjer høye bygget jeg bor i – og kaste meg rett utfor taket om jeg skulle være i det humøret. Vi hadde 30 mennesker og mengder med øl oppÃ¥ taket her forleden i mørke natten uten inngjerding. Samtidig er stiene i parkene godt gjerdet inn sÃ¥ folk ikke skal forville seg ut i «the wilderness» – altsÃ¥ litt busker og trær langsmed veien.

Rooftop Williamsburg
En liten flik av takterrassen til leiligheten min i Williamsburg. Fritt frem for å hoppe ned fra taket på hvilken side du vil :/

Apropos parker, så kryr det av hunder i dem, og ellers i byen i og for seg. Mange har også flere hunder. Litt merkelig med tanke på hvor dyrt bolig er her, og hvor små leiligheter de fleste her bor i. Samtidig er det stas for meg med litt hunder rundt om, med tanke på at jeg for tiden bare skyper med fine hunden til mamma og pappa:

Lotta på stranden i Oslo
Et av de siste bildene jeg har av Lotta – den fineste hunden i manns minne. Fra Nordstrand bad, Oslo. NÃ¥ sosialiserer vi via Skype.

Mulig hunder også er en del av nøkkelen til en slank, veltrent kropp. Jeg vil nemlig ikke si fedmen er særlig utbredt her. New York city består av en god dose freaks, men også en mengde pene, vellykkede, hippe mennesker. I tillegg er de aller fleste veldig hjelpsomme, imøtekommende og høflige. Der vi i Norge skygger unna, ser sjenert ned i bakken og er klønete i situasjoner med fremmede mennesker, ser amerikanerne med det samme om du er litt lost, trenger en hjelpende hånd, en guided tour eller en drink, for den saks skyld. Folk er rett og slett litt mer laidback her. Samtidig har jeg endt opp i en del merkelige samtaler som har en tendens til å gå i ring grunnet noens mer avslappede forhold til røyking av sterkere saker. Samtaler i sjangeren:

- Hi, I’m xxxx. What’s your name?
- Hi, I’m Kristin.
- Do you smoke weeeed?
- …

…har faktisk forekommet opptil flere ganger. Om det er jeg som tiltrekker meg denne mennesketypen, eller om det er sÃ¥ utbredt at det ikke er snakk om en type mennesker, er ikke godt Ã¥ si ennÃ¥. Har inntrykk av at mine kommende klassekamerater er hakket mer oppegÃ¥ende i alle fall, og hurra for det!

Tilbake til mat og sånn
Ellers er jeg jo over gjennomsnittet opptatt av mat, og jublet litt inni meg da min fantastiske samboer inviterte tre venner over – hvorav én av dem er kokk pÃ¥ en fancy restaurant pÃ¥ Manhattan. Han kokkelerte en deilig pastarett med kjærlighet, god tid og kylling som viktige ingredienser. Vi andre stod rundt og fjaset og glante for det meste. Da jeg hadde inntrykk av at maten nærmet seg ferdig, ymtet jeg frempÃ¥ at det kanskje var pÃ¥ tide Ã¥ dekke bordet. Jeg ble møtt med skuldertrekk i hovedsak, og forstod at jeg skulle roe ned etter et par forsøk pÃ¥ Ã¥ rydde plass ved kjøkkenbordet. Vi endte med Ã¥ forsyne oss av den diggeste pastaen i hver vÃ¥r dype tallerken, og snafset sÃ¥ opp herligheten med gaffel i hÃ¥nd – noen stÃ¥ende, andre sittende litt strødd utover kjøkkengulvet. Jeg følte jeg var uhøflig bÃ¥de mot mat og mot kokk, og kjente dessuten en trang til Ã¥ kombinere kniv med gaffel under inntakelsen av mÃ¥ltidet. Jeg var tydeligvis alene om det… Ã… sitte ned, tenne noen stearinlys og virkelig kose seg med maten, er visst ikke helt kotymen. Heldigvis har jeg et fint lite IKEA-bord pÃ¥ rommet mitt der jeg kan hylle fremtidige mÃ¥ltider som seg hør og bør :)

Det var vel det viktigste for nå. Når undervisningen kommer i gang på skolen skal man ikke se bort i fra at bloggen vil preges av mindre mat og mer faglig innhold. For nå avslutter jeg med hva samboeren og jeg ler mest av for tiden:


Oslo – New York

The day is finally here. I leave for New York City this morning to start my 2 year Master’s degree in interaction design. I bring a ton of stuff even though I really have been trying to restrain myself. But my globe will stay here in Oslo – looking out on the rainy weather. And yay for the rain! Much easier to leave my hometown when it’s all grayish and wet. Which reminds me of the last decision I need to make: should I bring my fancy yellow Hunter boots? I think they will love New York.