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Get Books, Not Corona

Corona Books

Books Corona png

If there was ever a time to barricade yourself in your house with enough book to fill a library… it is now.

I think most of us had a “Oh shit, this is actually real, isn’t it?” moment last week with regards to the Corona pandemic. Until then, I hadn’t really thought much of it except to wash my hands a bit more thoroughly, but when the Prime Minister of Denmark held a press conference Wednesday night saying all schools and non-essential public workplaces would be shut down for two weeks starting Monday, I did start to pay attention.

I did not, however, rush down to supermarket to hoard toilet paper.

Perhaps because I’m a natural hoarder and had just bought three packs the day before, but still…

All kidding aside, I think everyone who starts panic-buying far more stuff than they need and empties the shelves for everybody else should be kicked somewhere it hurts. Repeatedly. I had really thought Danes were more sensible than to do such things, but apparently I was wrong. Somebody even broke into the Corona ward at a hospital and stole large amounts of hand sanitizer and face masks.

Seriously?!

While I do take the threat seriously and follow all the advice the government sends out in order to slow down the spread of the virus, I do think my countrymen need to calm down and remember that Denmark went into lockdown to prevent the situation from getting out of control, not because it already is. And rushing into overcrowded grocery stores is most definitely not the way to stay safe…

I know the situation around the world is far more serious than where I live, not only because of more people having caught the virus, but also because many people risk losing their jobs because the companies they work at bleed money, or not being able to pay rent because they don’t get paid while quarantined.

Personally I’m very privileged in that regard. Not only can I work from home, I would also still get paid if I got sick. That’s a common thing in Denmark, but I know most people around the world aren’t as lucky.

The only way I have really gotten hit by the crisis is that my trip to Poland got cancelled. I was supposed to go to Witcher School again next week, but the organizers cancelled the event just hours before Poland chose to close their borders. I’m bummed that I’m not going, but cancelling was the only sensible thing to do.

But currently both the news and social media are filled with doom and gloom, so I will look on the bright side now. And the bright side is:

Books.

Having to stay in, not seeing friends or going to concerts or to the cinema, sucks and most of us are probably already going stir-crazy. But the good thing is that it’s the perfect excuse to make a nest of blankets and read as many books as you possibly can while pretending the world isn’t going a little crazy.

Hopefully everyone have a huge TBR pile to get through. If not, we live in the kind of wonderful world where you won’t have to leave your home to get new supplies of books. And you don’t even have to rely on a working mail service with ebooks and audiobooks.

So really: Wash your hands, stop obsessing over the news, and go read some books.

Stay safe!

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Don’t Listen to Terry Pratchett Audiobooks at the Gym

Good Omens Audiobook Saxo

Good Omens Audiobook SaxoI don’t normally listen to audiobooks. I have nothing against audiobooks – hell, I wish I had the attention span to listen to audiobooks, but I’m simply too ADD to pay attention if I don’t actively have to participate in what’s going on. I will listen attentively for about two minutes and then I will start thinking about penguins or something, and before you know it, we’re at chapter 17 and I have no idea what’s going on.

However, I have recently joined a gym.

Don’t worry, I’ve not suddenly become more enamored by health than by laziness. It’s simply getting to be that time again where I’ll soon be going to Poland for another round of Witcher School, and I need to get in shape if I want to survive it with just the tiniest bit of my dignity intact. Anyway, this post is about audiobooks and not exercise.

As mentioned, I don’t normally have the attention span for listening to audiobooks. But the same ADD that makes it hard for me to listen to audiobooks on a normal day also makes being at the gym mentally exhausting. An hour of my mind being idle is far more bothersome than almost killing myself lifting weights. In the past, I have read ebooks on my phone while on the treadmill, but after I realized that the Premium membership I had to my favorite online bookstore also allowed me to listen to audiobooks for free, I figured that might be a better option (it’s hard to scroll through an ebook while lifting weights).

I looked through the selection and found Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Since I have been wanting to reread that for a while, it seemed like the perfect choice, in case I got distracted and missed parts. It’s easier to keep up when you already know the story.

But I should have considered one thing: Terry Pratchett’s books are really funny, and people who grin while exercising belong in a madhouse.

In my defense I managed to keep it together – until we got to the part where there’s Bohemian Rhapsody lyrics injected in the text and the dignified British narrator suddenly had to go, “Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?”.

To summarize: I’m having more fun at the gym and the instructors are only slightly worried about me.

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This Post has Absolutely No Owls in it

Sword books weights

I was looking over my latest blog posts and realized, “Wow… I really post nothing but owl photos these days, huh?”

I know many people will tell me that there’s nothing wrong with owl photos, but come on… even the most ardent avian fan must be feeling bored with the lack of variation by now.

So I have decided to write a post that’s not about owls.

Of course I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to write about, but I’m a writer. I’ll figure something out.

Perhaps a writing update is in order? I have been working on the fifth book in the Angel’s Voice series, and – except from a break in January – it’s been going surprisingly well. I still haven’t been able to come up with a title, though, and I really should do something about that, because I have taken to calling it ‘CSI: Var’nori’ in my head and I don’t want that to stick in my mind as the actual title… I’m already having mental images of Selissa and Orrell wearing sunglasses and making bad puns and it has got to stop.

As you might have guessed, the next book sees Selissa investigating a crime in the mage city of Var’nori. For once she’s actually on the side of the law, and she hates it with a burning passion, because that means she has to work alongside both mages and nobles, and tolerate the politics that brings with it.

I promise I will kill off every bad pun that threatens to sneak into the dialogue.

I would post some snippets and excerpts from the book if it wasn’t for the lack of a title. As I said, I can not allow my working title to stick, so there will be no posts titled “CSI: Var’nori – Excerpt (Chapter 7)”. If you have any new ideas for a proper title, the comments below this post are open, and if you solve my problem I will be eternally grateful and wish you lots of kittens and rainbows.

Let’s see, let’s see… What else do I have going on? Well, I have obviously been reading a lot of books. So many, in fact, that if I keep up this pace my TBR pile will disappear completely before long. That’s a disaster that should never befall anyone, so if you have any recommendations for books I should read – you know where the comment section is. In case you’re new here, and haven’t had my reading habits shoved down your throat for the last year, I can say I prefer Fantasy and Horror, but I’m open to other fiction genres.

Pretty covers are a plus, because it makes the book owl photos that this post is absolutely not about prettier.

Except from that, I truly don’t have a lot going on at the moment. As reported last week, I stole a plant. I signed up for another round of Witcher School in March, so I have joined a gym and now I feel like I’m dying twice a week, just so I can go to Poland and be beat up with dignity. I’m half-heartedly working on some of all those cosplay projects I started years ago and never finished, so there’s half a raven made from Foam Clay lying on my dining table, being creepy. I got a sword I still haven’t figured out how to hang on the wall.

Basically, there’s nothing new under the sun at the Louring house.

Sword books weights

To summarize: throw me a comment if you have ideas for a title for my book, recommendations for books I should read, or just want to help me procrastinate by continuing this utterly random post below.

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Danish Swear Words and Insults 101

Danish swear words

Over the last year, I have, for some reason, ended up teaching people online Danish swear words. On several separate occasions. Not sure how it keeps happening, but now I’m leaning into it.

Time for ‘Michelle’s Guide to Swearing Like a Dane!’

First of, I got to admit that even though Danish has a lot of unique curse words, we have been ruined by American culture, just like just about everyone else. ‘Shit’ and ‘Fuck’ is an integrated part of the vocabulary of anyone above the age of 5 and below the age of 60 (but we’re a lot less sensitive about it. You won’t see our movies get higher ratings just because of cursing, and the dialogue in our reality shows isn’t just a series of beeps).

So a lot of the following words and phrases might not be as commonly used as their English counterparts, especially by the younger generation.

It also means that if you go to Denmark as a British or American person, you’re going to be horrified at how casually we use your dreaded F-word. No matter when I finish and publish this post, I can promise you that my mother will have told me to fuck off within the last month.

(Last time it was because I caught a shiny Pokemon that she didn’t have in Pokemon GO.)

Danish swear words

The Basics

For fanden

Literally: For the Devil

This is a nice versatile one. It’s used in the same way as ‘for fuck’s sake’, but isn’t considered as crass. The milder version is ‘For Søren’, which, considering my uncle’s name is Søren, you would think would be used like ‘For Pete’s sake’, but mostly it’s used in place of ‘Oops’…

‘For fanden’ can be freely substituted with ‘For satan’, but it needs to be said with Danish inflection. Otherwise, it sounds like you’re actually worshipping Satan.

(You can also use ‘For helvede’, meaning ‘For hell’. We’re not picky with the term, as long as it’s clear that your allegiance lies with the guy down-under.)

Fandens også

Literally: The Devil’s also

Variation of ‘For fanden’. Used in the same way as ‘Shit’ or ‘Fuck’.

Fanden tage dig

Literally: The Devil take you

This one is not as commonly used as the two variations above these days, but I just wanted to show how much shit we give the Devil, considering nearly none of us are religious.
It’s probably obvious, but this is used like ‘To hell with you’.

Lort

Literally: Crap

Used like ‘Crap’.

Can be substituted for ‘Pis’ (I’ll let you guys figure that one out).

For Stressing Things

These can not be used on their own, but are often used in front of all kinds of unrelated words to exaggerate them (and add a touch of vulgarity to otherwise innocent statements).

Pisse-

Literally: Pissing

This is another versatile one. It’s used like Brits use ‘bloody’ and Americans use ‘fucking’ when put in front of an adjective. If someone is ‘bloody annoying’, a Dane would call them ‘pisseirriterende’.

Can be substituted for ‘skide-‘.

Sgu

Literally: ? (I have absolutely no idea)

I’m not even sure there’s an English equivalent for this, but I use this word at least 30 times a day. You add it to a sentence after the verb a bit like you would inject ‘actually’; only it’s considered a little bit crude and it’s not a warning that mansplaining is about to happen.

You’d lightly scold a child for using ‘sgu’, but it’s not really considered inappropiate. I use it both at work and when talking to elderly relatives.

Example: ‘Det ser sgu godt ud!’ (‘That actually looks great!)

Insults

Some of these aren’t even considered vulgar, but they’re satisfying nonetheless.

Klaphat

Literally: Clapping hat

This is my favorite. Not because it’s one I use all that often, but because it confuses foreigners who google the term.
Used in place of ‘Idiot’.

(Please go google it.)

Fjols

Literally: Fool

Mild way of calling someone an idiot.

Kraftidiot

Literally: Power idiot

This one is considered more crass, but sometimes you just gotta let a power idiot know they’re acting like a power idiot.

Used like ‘Moron’ or ‘Retard’, but without being an offensive term for people with learning disabilities.

(We got those, too, but I won’t include them. I’m only teaching you terms you can use without being a giant Kraftidiot.)

Røvhul

Literally: Asshole

Used like ‘Asshole’.

Cruder words

Danish also uses words for ‘bitch’, ‘whore’, ‘pig’ and a variety of sexual slurs for swearing, but they’re mostly used by teenagers and people who got dropped on their head as children, so I’m not going to teach them to you. I prefer my cursing to have a certain amount of dignity.

So see you later, klaphatte!

 

 

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Madness and Newspapers

Lokalavisen Favrskov

I found a newspaper in my freezer yesterday.

I have been thinking about that a lot.

Just an entire newspaper, not wrapped around something or anything. There was literally no reason for this newspaper to be there.

Also, I don’t remember putting it there.

So why the hell was there a newspaper in my freezer?

Obviously it has to be me who put it there. I live alone, and while my mom did drop by during the weekend to feed the owl while I was at a convention, I doubt she made a detour to drop the local paper on top of my microwave pizzas. Don’t get me wrong, I do things and forget all about them, just like everyone else. I can’t even count how many times I have frantically searched for my glasses while they were sitting on my nose, or thought I had lost my keys just because I put them in the left pocket on my bag instead of the right. But usually I can understand the instinct that caused me to do those things.

I can’t explain the newspaper.

Did it offend me somehow? Did I think it deserved a worse fate than simply ending its life in the recycling container out by the parking lot? And even so, what exactly did I hope to achieve by exposing it to Arctic conditions?

Maybe I was trying to educate the chickens I keep down there. I’m not going to pretend I never reach a state of insomnia where informed owl food might seem like a good idea.

I have no explanation for the newspaper, but it seems to me that no matter whether you do so consciously or on instinct, putting newspapers in the freezer isn’t a sign of your mind working quite as intended.

Danish newspaper