I am Neuroscience PhD, a humanist, skeptic, feminist, avid reader, science enthusiast, woolly-liberal über-nerd, and, as of October 2015, father to the Lykketroll.

I moved from England to Norway in January 2012 and live in Lørenskog with my wife, the Lykketroll, and our two aging rescue cats, Socrates and Schrödinger. 

I am on paternity leave from the 4th of July to the 18th of November. 

The job I am on leave from is as an  Associate Professor and Head of Studies at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. My background is in child neurodevelopment (my PhD looked into the relationship between fatty acids like omega-3 and cognitive development in young children) but I now work on a hodge-podge of things roughly within the field of Universal Design of ICT 50% of the time, the other 50% of my time I am Head of the 'General' Studies (Allmenn in Norwegian) Unit, which is comprised of around 24 academics within a range of fields, including mathematics, physics, Norwegian, and technology and leadership.

In between working and doing the usual dad things,  I like hiking and running in the beautiful Norwegian outdoors, cooking and playing video games. 

If I believed in souls I would say that mine was born in Norway. 

I plan to sleep when I'm dead.

Book review: Detektor by Erlend Loe

My wife and I had tried to read Norwegian writer Erlend Loe’s Doppler together a couple of years back, before we moved to Norway, but I was in no way ready for it at the time and it was just an exercise in frustration for the both of us.

Now that my Norwegian is now good enough that I can read most things without having to reach for the dictionary every third word, I thought it was time to tackle another novel. We’ve read extracts from Loe’s earlier novel Naïve. Super. in my Norwegian class, which sounds really interesting, but then I spottedDetektor on my wife’s and I thought I’d give that a go instead.

Whilst Erlend Loe  is best known for his novels and children’s books, he’s actually a screenwriting graduate from the National Film School of Denmark and Detektor turned out to be a serendipitous choice because the stripped-back form of a screenplay makes it much easier to follow what’s going on, and there is no room for the non-native speaker/ (or in this case, reader) to get bogged down in heavy prose and metaphors.

At its core, Detektor  is about Daniel, a listless psychologist fast approaching 30, trying to break free of his needy mother and make something of his not unpleasant but certainly unexciting life. Out metal detecting with his hilarious verbal diarohhea-suffering best friend one day, he chances on a small locket, which sets in motion an off-beat tale, peppered with crazy revelations, as Daniel tries to track down the owner of locket, solve a mystery involving a buried dog with the rest of his metal-detecting gang, try move out without upsetting his mother and deal with his crazy clients whilst trying not to go crazy himself.

Detektor is pacy, quirky, full of dark humour and very much in the Tarantino mould; a brilliant scene with some gym gorrillas requesting a flautist to play Iron Maiden is just one of the many times I found my drawing favourable comparisons to the Pulp Fiction and True Romance screenplays. I’m looking forward to seeing the film to see how much I missed or didn’t get as a result of the language barrier and my personal interpretations of things.

Films are, of course, always very different from the book, but even still, I was surprised by how much more sinister and dark the trailer looks than I felt the book to be. Given that my Norwegian is yet 100%, I’m sure that I missed some of the subtleties of the story but I was quite proud that I was able to detect (if you’ll excuse the pun) the symbolic significance of the metal detectors, which was confirmed by Loe in this

short video

 about the ideas behind Daniel's character (warning: it’s in Norwegian).

I really want to read

Doppler

and

Naiv. Super.

next but I’ve borrowed the four

Elling

books by Ingvar Ambjørnsen from my Norwegian teacher so they’re at the top of one of the reading piles. Elling has to be one of my favourite films, in any language, so I’m looking forward to those too. (It is much better than this cheesy American trailer makes out, but I can't find an original Norwegian one.)

It feels good to be able to start building up a reading list of books in Norwegian; it’s just like finding a new whole new section in the library that I would have ordinarily would have walked right past because it was closed off to me.

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