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Settling in Reykjavík

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home? - 2 Jan 2012, 19:15
It seems I'm continuously on my way home. Home to Germany, home to Reykjavik, soon home to Blönduós to give up my flat. At the same time it seems I'm not really at home anywhere, my things being equally distributed among these places and I left Blönduós without settling somewhere yet. And without a plan or any rhyme or reason. Everywhere I moved I have made my home quite easily, but it feels more difficult this time. Maybe I'm getting old? In Berlin I went to the Taizé meeting, another place like home. But things and places change, even surprisingly, Taizé. New songs, preaching and a five year plan created a creep with the otherwise familiar atmosphere.

Melabuðin - 4 Jan 2012, 14:40
I was a bit doubtful about moving to Reykjavík, money-wise it is not a smart move and my German sense of duty makes me feel guilty about leaving the Blönduósians without a physio. But walking into Melabuðin today convinced me, that I was in the right place. So much good food! Real cheese from Austria! Bread, which also has the consistency of bread! And my beloved ginger-apple lemonade.
Fortunately there were several conditions preventing me from buying up the shop.
I was by foot and could only buy as much as I can carry (Ginger-apple juice will have to wait).
I don't have a fridge yet, so food that can spoil is not an option (I will buy the cheese next time...)
I also still don't have a stove, so nothing I have to cook.
I did buy amazing apples, which taste like apples, obviously the bread (I hope the taste will be in accordance with the consistency) and humus.
And now I'm hungry.....

Just because I can - 3 Jan 2012, 18:06
So, how do my lovely readers like my blog?

See comments

This is what happens if I don't have access to the internet and have to entertain myself...

snow or a failed attempt at getting to aikido on a bike - 9 Jan 2012, 19:03
Reykjavik is the worst city for biking I have ever lived in. OK, I lived in Amsterdam and Beijing before, two cities where bikes are one of the main forms of transport. Still, I did not expect the snow to slow me down that much and the cars are so much scarier than Beijing, as they are not used to bikes sharing the road with them (why make space, it is only a bike).
Now I will start Aikido on Wednesday, as I did not want to be late for my first class. I bought grapes and ginger lemonade instead, so it was not a wasted trip.
And if it snows this much on Wednesday I will go by bus.

While I'm drying off and defrost:
Similarities between Reykjavik and Beijing:
Both are capitals
Both slowly destroy their pretty old parts with pretentious glass buildings
Both have weather, which makes you wonder why the hell you live here for 80% of the time (actually, this is true for all of Iceland, looking forward to South-America)
Both have an inadequate public transport system
There are some very nice bars in both of them, with good music
Easy to spot tourists
Friendly locals with an obscure language (Icelandic and the Beijing errrrr)
and now both had the honour of me living in them! (and having a case of Stockholm's syndrome as for no logical reason I love both of them, even if their weather or car drivers are trying to kill me).

Unemployed! - 10 Jan 2012, 17:04
now who wants to drink some bónus léttbjör in front of bónus with me?

The most difficult part was getting to the Vinnumálastofnun in a snowstorm. I have to prove that I'm actively looking for work by pressing a button on my personal webpage once every months. I think I'm already registered as a possible problem case, because when the nice women (she apologised when she was taking some time on the computer for making me wait, I told her I was still recovering from getting there by foot, not phasing out because of the wait) told me I have to press this button I asked: "So I actually don't have to prove I'm looking for work?"
I was just surprised, because I was not made to jump through hoops or scrutenised, or my life organised by the unemployment office.
Hopefully HartzIV will never make it to Iceland.

What a lovely country with awful weather.

Random thoughts on random countries and cookies

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comments - 15 Dec 2011, 16:55
I did not notice I had specified the wrong folder for comments, so it did not work. Which explains why no one commented before. Obviously not because of lack of people wanting to ...

open source cookies and overly friendly doctors - 22 Dec 2011, 19:29
Christmas is coming and had been coming for quite sometime in the hospital, which basically meant that I always enjoyed gingerbread cookies with my coffee. On one of my many refill-trips to the lunch room I noticed that the cookie box had the receipt of the cookies printed on them. Open source cookies!
I pointed it out to my colleague to whom I then explained the advantages of open source with the examples of cookies (eating some in the process, of course). I came up with following arguments:
It is unlikely that more people are going to bake the cookies themselves, there are several other gingerbread receipts out there and people still buy cookies.
Consumers might trust the product more if they know what is inside (especially with food)
People who like to bake can experiment with the receipt and maybe change or improve it. If they relate their experience on the companies messageboard it is free product development.
The opposite of the open source cookies is this:

This is a recipe for real American style soft cookies - great for 4th July celebrations.

This recipe comes with an urban myth: A woman in New York met a friend at a small coffee shop, where they ordered drinks and cookies. They liked the cookies so much that she asked for the recipe. The owner of the coffee shop said that she could have the recipe, but she would have to pay something for it. The woman agreed, and paid for the coffee, cookies and the recipe on her credit card. When she got her next credit card statement, she realised that she had been charged a massive $200 for the recipe. She was furious! She called the restaurant, which refused to refund the money, saying that it was a fair price for the recipe. The woman said that, for that price, she must have bought the copyright for the recipe and she would send it out worldwide. She passed the recipe on to everyone she knew, and asked them to do the same.

So here it is; pass it on!

100g (4 oz) porridge oats
125g (5 oz) plain flour
2.5ml (½ teaspoon) bicarbonate of soda
2.5ml (½ teaspoon) baking powder
2.5ml (½ teaspoon) salt
50g (2oz) bar milk chocolate, grated
100g (4 oz) butter at room temperature
100g (4 oz) soft dark brown sugar
100g (4oz) caster sugar
1 large egg
2.5ml (½ teaspoon) vanilla extract/essence
115g (4½ oz) chocolate chips


Another thing that happened on my last working days is that I got a new patient. A very pretty one, but that is not the point of this story. On the referral note of the doctor was the following sentence:
<div class=quote>Væri þér þakklætur að líta á þennan sjúkling fyrir mig </div>
it translates to:
<div class=quote>I would be grateful if you had a look on the following patient for me </div>
usually the referral not only consists of a short patient history, such as: has backpain since Friday. But I like it when people are grateful for me doing my job.

a confession - 22 Dec 2011, 12:31
There are certain aspects of dutch society that I admire.

There, I said it, after all my bitching about the obsession for planning and process by the Dutch and obviously growing up with jokes about their language, I have to admit that if I were to create the perfect country, it would be possible to find dutch elements in it.
The train system for one. In my countless travels from Amsterdam to Germany, I was only delayed twice. Once because of construction work (and that was only half an hour delay and buses were provided, which departure was timed according to train departure and arrival.

Another thing I enjoy, especially after coming from Iceland is the generally agreed upon multiculturalism. Obviously the comparison with Iceland is unfair, as the Netherlands used to be a colonial state, just like England, and therefore have a much longer history of importing foreign cultures. But I do sometimes wish, that instead of following the danish in their paranoid fear of anything not blond and blue eyed Iceland would maybe just look a few kilometers to the west. Not to say that the Netherlands do not have happily joined in with the paranoia after 9/11.

Related to that, i have to say that I admire the patience with which the dutch people I meet suffer my "dutch". I was never fluent, and my dutch always had been more of a throaty German, but ordering a coffee or buying a train ticket did not use to be problem, while now it is a mix of German, English and Icelandic spoken with a throat infection. And I still get understood. I guess years of practice of communicating with people like me help.

The ticket inspector just came by and reminded me of another thing, language related. i like the ending -jes. Something that is definitely missing both in English and Icelandic. It is a way to make things smaller, just like -chen in German. So instead of asking for "kaarts" (tickets) the inspector asked for "kaartjes" basically cute and little tickets, whats not to love?

Icelandic alcohol import restrictions... - 24 Dec 2011, 12:47
...are strange. According to

*1l vodka, 1l wine, 6l beer
*1l vodka, 0l wine, 9l beer
*0l vodka, 1.5l wine, 9l beer
*0l vodka, 3l wine, 6l beer
*0l vodka, 0l wine, 12l beer

I have 0.5l vodka and want to bring at least 2 bottles 1.5l wine. My question is, can I still buy beer at the fríhöfn? And if yes how much? It should be possible to make some sort of calculation with this, such as:

*1l vodka + 1l wine + 6l beer =
*1l vodka + 0l wine + 9l beer =
*0l vodka + 1.5l wine + 9l beer =
*0l vodka + 3l wine + 6l beer =
*0l vodka + 0l wine + 12l beer =
*0.5l vodka + 1.5l wine + ? beer

but even if I can calculate the amount of beer I might be allowed to take with this the Icelandic customs are not a very logical institution and I'm afraid if I asked will they take my alcohol from me.

I also have to mention, that I'm planning to buy Icelandic beer in the fríhöfn, which considering I'm German and am coming from Germany is a big compliment to Icelandic beer.

certified toilets - 1 Jan 2012, 12:16
I'm definitely in Germany. At the rest-stop on the way to Berlin the toilets were certified by the TüV, an organisation which evaluates machinery according to security standards. I wonder if toilets without the TüV certificate eats its users...
To be fair, the toilet was no ordinary toilet, but high tech, with an automatic toilet seat cleaner, which caused me to stare at it in amazement when it started. I've lived too long on a little Island, I guess....

More geekery and a homeless cat

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the epic of the nooby vs the / - 9 Dec 2011, 2:32
I installed a different server, because my old one did not have the zip module installed in PHP (it came packaged together) and switching server was easier than trying to compile or recompile php or go package hunting. Which is a bit sad, because I liked Hiawatha as a server. It did take me 3 days to configure it, not because it is difficult, but because I'm really thick sometimes.The configuration for the virtual host looks like this (in the config file under /etc/hiawatha)
VirtualHost {

Hostname =
WebsiteRoot = /var/www/
AccessLogfile = /var/www/
ErrorLogfile = /var/www/
ShowIndex = yes

mine looked like this:
VirtualHost {

Hostname =
WebsiteRoot = /var/www/
StartFile =
AccessLogfile = /var/www/
ErrorLogfile = /var/www/
ExecCGI = yes

ShowIndex = yes is for if you want to see directories; ExecCGI = yes is for if a special "language" is used, my blog is written in Perl, and I need to specify a StartFile as the server otherwise only looks for index.html or index.php when is asked for. So what was my mistake? It took me three days and lots of rewriting of the config file to find. At WebsiteRoot (the path to where the website is on the computer) there is a / in the end. This confused my server enough to present me with error message after error message. And made me read lots of man pages. And now I changed to Apache, so it all starts again

A gallery and a homeless cat - 10 Dec 2011, 22:41
I have a gallery now, which is funny, because I never take any photographs and my camera is analog, with film and developing and everything. But I have to show it off, because I had to edit the perl script for this blog (although what I edited, was I think html, it was the underlined line:

<body><div id=all><div id=menu>
<h1>Main Menu</h1>
<a href=?page=1>Home</a>
<a href=?do=newEntry>New Entry</a>
<a href=?do=archive>Archive</a>
<a href="">Gallery</a>
<a href="?do=RSS">RSS Feeds</a>

and I made the gallery fit to my blog with playing around with css scripts. The only public picture is my poor little kitty. No privacy for her, I'm still desperately trying to find a new home for her, so if anybody reads this:HELP!!!!!
I did sell my car today though, so from next Thursday on my hitchhiking days are back on!

Pure desperation - 12 Dec 2011, 15:55
My add in the local "paper"

frítt nudd!
Frítt nudd gefins fyrir hann/hún sem gefur kisu mín nyja heimili. Hún er þrjú ár gömul, lítil og kelin. Klósetti, leikföng og skálar fylgja með. Mynd af henni er hér: Hafa samband við Christinu: 8658068,

And anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a very massage adverse physio...

And this is the only kind of massage I'm talking about, I'm not that desperate to get rid of my cat (yet).

gone - 13 Dec 2011, 17:10
My kitty is gone. Just when I got VERY anxious she was adopted by a nice family and now lives on a farm (a real one, euphemism). She did not like to leave though, scratched me as a goodbye present as she was scared to be carried out of the flat, and the last thing I heard from her was a heartbreaking meow. But as Ulli pointed out, she will probably be much happier, having mice to catch, space to run around and even a little sister to push around. But I will miss having something cute and furry to cuddle with when I come home.

Things I love - 13 Dec 2011, 16:53
changing to linux had many effects on me. It made me understand my computer better, it lessened my helplessness if sth went wrong and it made it possible to use my computer for more (like writing a blog, or having my data available on the web or having an alarm clock :)
But most of all, it made me love more. I love the puppy linux community, helpful and friendly, no matter how stupid the question is. Today I gave back to the community by posting my "getting the headphones to work by remastering with a new kernel and making it hibernate on the way" solution.
I love ffmpeg, now all my music is in flac format after running this script:
find . -iname \*.wav -exec ffmpeg -i \{\} \{\}.flac \;

it is so much fun to type something into the terminal and suddenly see changes magically appear. How do you convert files from wav to flac in windows?
There is Scribus, which is such a relieve to use after years with Words and painful months with Abiword (honestly, this program is written by people who hate anyone who wants to use a picture or a table or, god forbid, a flowchart in their document. And anything over 5 pages is punished by random font changes) and R, which always surprises me with having a simple solution for something I thought would be horribly complicated to execute, almost a built in dwim command.
But my latest love is the sendmail hack from Bjarni:

cat >>/root/Mail/fake-email.txt

after hours of fighting with permissions (more about this some other time) I finally got friendica installed just to notice that it sends my password with sendmail when I register. Which i didn't have nor ever use. The thought of spending time on finding and installing another program, trying to get it to run,and probably google a lot and read man pages for the sake of one password made me go and whine to Bjarni for help.
Thank you

Setting up the blog

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It is possible to delete everything - 26 Nov 2011, 15:51
and there is no backup!
So now it will remain a mystery forever, what was written on this blog 10 min ago.

It wasn't important anyway...

Everything seems to be working - 28 Nov 2011, 12:33
and I'm impressed with myself. The first thing I did (and suddenly I have this weird deja vu, that i might have written this on this blog before)was to install and get pagekite running. Which was ridiculously easy. Basically it required typing path/to/ into a console and then follow the instructions. I even managed to make it start on boot, by writing a "script" (I'm so proud) with one line which I put into the folder /root/startup:
/path/to/ 80 AND 8080 

the first is this page, running on port 80, the second on 8080 is piggydb, a note taking /wiki /database thingy, which I use for university notes.
Installing that was easy as well, basically extract to /root/ and make sure you have java installed. No start at boot file for this, lectures are finished for now.

Anyway, this is probably not going to be interesting for anyone who reads this, but in case I have to do all of this again (which is likely, considering my tendency to break my system) I really do not want to go back to reading man pages, especially after trying to configure my server, but I'm not going into that now, it's lunchtime...

I'm no fun - 28 Nov 2011, 18:11
apparently I did not allow smilies for this blog, so no silliness please!
Being the administrator also means that at least in this corner of the internet MY interpretation of the world is the only valid one. I can delete comments, even ban people (actually, it is possible to ban people, but I have now idea how, so everyone behave!) and edit entries when and how I want, so no free speech, only Christina speech here mhuahahahah!

ok I allowed smilies, I'm a benign dictator

prettier - 29 Nov 2011, 18:35
I beautified the blog, by editing a css scrip

I like it, it's green!

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