2005-01-31 16:06 UTC Solitudes
Friday evening, Tim introduced Wilhelm, Allan, Rebecca and me to Mike (of Shareaza fame) and his friend Allan, who had stopped off in Oslo as part of a trip around Europe. Fine folk. Wilhelm then took all of us to eat dinner at a great Italian restaurant called Bella Napoli, on Storgata. After dinner, I invited everyone back to my place, where we had lots of fun playing Ricochet Robots, Bohnanza and Acquire.
I love evenings like this. Two Americans, a Norwegian, a Briton, a Swiss, an Australian and a Canadian, all from different backgrounds. The world is definitely getting smaller.
It should also be pointed out that while Kam once again won Ricochet Robots hands down, he utterly failed to manage the Acquire stock cards. This is a task simpler than running the bank component of money games: all you have to do is wait for people to say what they wish to get, then give it to them. For example, "two shares of Fusion and one share of Sackson", they might say, in response to which the person managing the stock cards would give them two stock cards labelled "Fusion" and one labelled "Sackson". Kam, however, managed to hear the request, comment on the request, even continue the game if it was then his turn, but never, not once, did he actually manage to give us any stock cards.
It seemed to be as baffling to him as to us.
It struck me as I was tidying up afterwards that since moving to Oslo I've acquired quite a lot of stuff. I have half a dozen plush toy cats, a stack of games a meter high, enough books to fill a suitcase, every Stargate DVD currently available in season box sets, and my train set. When I move out, this is going to be a problem. When I moved here, I had two suitcases and that's all...
Saturday, after fooling around a bit in San Andreas, I went downtown and updated the CSS 2.1 Issues List in a café. Oslo's pretty cool on Saturdays, always lots of people buzzing about. In the evening we played Puerto Rico. I won, but I didn't really like the game. Way too complicated for what it is. Carcasonne (which we also played, and which I lost) is much better.
Iraq has been holding elections over the last few days, and for a few hours on Sunday I followed the news on TV. I rarely watch TV, so I found the contrast in reporting between the two news channels I receive to be quite interesting.
First I watched a bit of CNN International. CNN were covering the election almost exclusively. The major themes were:
- Elections took place with strong voter turnout, including outside Iraq.
- The exact turnout was debated. Much air time was dedicated to arguing the merits of each estimated turnout number, arguing over lack of independent verification, asking whether numbers were accurate, approximations, estimates, or guesses.
- Many Iraqis were exhilerated over the fact that they had voted. Symbolism was mentioned.
- Many interviewees were asked about whether the elections had been fair. Concerns were raised about voter turnouts especially in terms of whether minority groups were accurately represented.
- There were some mortar bomb attacks, but no major attacks and people in Baghdad are now used to daily attacks and pay them little heed.
- A big point was made that Iraqis voted mainly because of the prominent (mlitary) security situation.
Then I watched EuroNews for a bit. EuroNews were covering all kinds of events, and not particularly focussing on the Iraqi elections. When they did cover the Iraqi elections, the major themes were:
- Elections took place with strong voter turnout, despite violence.
- Large numbers of violent attacks (suicide bombs, mortar attacks, explosive devices, shoot-outs, etc) occured in Iraq, in Baghdad and elsewhere. Many people killed, even more injured. Apparently a specific terrorist group group claimed responsibility for some of the attacks.
- Territory is still debated, and parts of Iraq are threatening to break away and declare independence if they do not get what they want from the elections.
- Not many expatriates voted, maybe due to apathy, lack of information, or worries over violence against themselves or their families still in Iraq.
- Police in the UK had to break up people who were fighting over whether the elections should be taking place at all.
- Some voters apparentlty hoped that voting would hasten the US forces' departure from Iraq.
I found the differences quite striking. Today my dad commented that he wished the media wasn't all so biased and would report the Truth instead, but it's hard to see if that's possible. Maybe Wikinews will manage it, although of course many people claim that all the Wikimedia productions are biased themselves (or otherwise flawed!).
I couldn't watch TV for long. I kept trying to reach for the TiVo remote to hit pause, rewind, or just to get it to show the name of the programme. But Norway doesn't have TiVo.
Now I have to go and buy a copy of Battlefield 1924. Apparently I'm part of Opera's team in some Norwegian tournament...