I was out with a cold for a week, but when Kongsberg Jazz started was feeling well enough to binge on Sudafed and Mucinex (and other cold remedies also illegal in Norway) and went to Kongberg.

DSC00690A lovely time was had as always.  It’s the best jazz festival in Norway.

DSC00689Apropos of festivals, every year in Norway there are articles about how few female musicians appear at festivals.  Especially the major rock-ey festivals like Øya, but also the jazzey festivals like Kongsberg Jazz and the Oslo Jazz Festival, who are (respectively) 80% and 90% blokes.

The discussions are always A: “Why so many men?” B: “We don’t look at gender, just ‘quality’.”

Here’s my take on it: Women (statistically speaking) make more interesting music than men.

For every new musical fad in pop/rock, you always get (approx.) five gajillion bloke bands that sound identical.  About four years ago all bands were called Wolf Bear Universe and consisted of blokes with beards and hats and or plaid shirts.  Somehow people are able to distinguish between these virtually identical bloke bands sufficiently to be able to call their agents and book them all, individually, to come to festivals dedicated to boredom (like Øya).

They’re always inoffensive bands, and they strum their guitars in the distance while you drink your beer in the sun.  Perfect!

Except for boredom so extreme that I’d rather sit and watch a Michael Bay movie.

I have no idea why, but women seem (in a larger degree) to only bother to make music if they have talent.  Bloke bands sort of just happen, and they keep on playing and playing until they find a sufficiently boring succession of chord changes that somebody thinks “hm, that does sound like something else that I once liked.  I’ll check them out on youtube!”  (And or book them to Øya.)

Like, success.

I haven’t computed the stats for what we saw at Kongsberg, but I think just about half of the acts we saw were bloke-only acts.  If you go only to shows that sound interesting, the blokefication of music lessens dramatically.

Festivals like Øya aren’t after interesting, though.  They book inoffensive, boring bands, because that’s the type of festival they want to be.

DSC00698You’re welcome.


IMG_5525I bought this cooking thermometer today.

It says that it’s good for -50 to 150C.  But does that just mean that it can measure up to 150C, or it mean that the entire thermometer can withstand 150C? Inside an oven?  For hours?

It feels awfully plastickey.


Couture: Squeegee Success

I finally got the correct squeegee for screenprinting onto fabric:

IMG_5516It has rounded edges instead of the square ones used when printing onto paper.  So I made yet another attempt with the screen I made weeks ago.


IMG_5521It takes a few attempts to get comfortable with the squeegee, but I did a few trial runs “dry” to try to control the pressure better, and I think I’m getting the hang of it.

The squeegee itself is kinda badly made, though.  As you can see, this Speedball squeegee is just a rubber ting stuck badly into a piece of wood.

IMG_5520The ink gets trapped inside the wedge there, which makes it impossible to wash completely.  The wood is very porous, too, which makes the ink stick to it like crazy.

I think I’ll try to find a better one.  The first one I bought (for paper printing) is perfect in that regard, and feels very solid.

Now I just have to make a new screen with a larger image, which is why I needed an A3 printer in the first place.

Useful Consumer Review

I bought an HP Officejet 7110 (which is an A3 inkjet printer) to print stuff for screenprinting and the like.  It prints out nicely onto normal paper, but whenever I tried printing onto any type of plastic (transparencies for screenprinting or vinyl for t-shirt transfers) it creates these annoying lighter horizontal lines:

IMG_5511After trying all the different print modes, and calibrating with each of them, I found some settings that lessened the problem, but nothing that could remove the problems totally.

Now, the 7110 is the cheapest A3 printer I could find, so it’s perhaps not surprising that it’s not…  fabulous.  So I got a more expensive printer, the Epson Stylus Photo R3000.  Which is also an A3 inkjet printer.

IMG_5514Look, ma, no lines!

IMG_5510Well, except where there’s supposed to be lines.

But it’s not a perfect printer. The main issue I’ve had with it so far is that you can’t use the front loader unless you’re using really stiff paper, and plastics aren’t very stiff.  So you have to use the back/top loader, which means that it takes up a lot more space than it should have to.

IMG_5513It prints out very nicely, though.  On paper, vinyl and transparencies (it’s down with OHP, even if the manual doesn’t say anything about it) — it looks good on all media I’ve tried it with.  Work well with CUPS under Linux, too, although it’s new enough that I had to install the .deb driver for it manually.

And it has a gazillion paper quality options, and lots if various inks.  Four black inks, for instance: Matte black, shiny black, light black and light light black.  (Yes, it’s called that.)

So that’s not much of a review, except to say: The Hewlett-Packard Officejet 7110 sucks if you want to use it for screenprinting, and the Epson R3000 works great.


Couture: Plastics

I’m still still still waiting for the right squeegee (the squeegee shop owners apparently went to France for the summer) for doing screen printing, but I got a shipment of t-shirt blanks.  So I had to make something.

I bought a different make of iron-on transfers — this time for black shirts. Sigel Foil T-Shirt Transfers.  Or something:

IMG_5508These are pretty nice.  You print out onto the transfer “paper”, remove the backing, and then iron the plastic onto the shirt.  The end result is kinda stiff, so it makes the shirt bunch up a bit, but it does look quite nice.

IMG_5507For an iron-on transfer thing.  How’s that for a review.


I Am Consumer

Look at how nice the latest album from Peter Christopherson (from Coil) is.  (Although he died a few years ago.)

It’s called Time Machines II, and it comes on a wooden USB stick inside a pewter box wrapped in a leather bag.





IMG_5506And the music is high-class, too.  AIFF with lots of bits and stuff.




My New Horticulture Blog

The seeds I planted a couple of weeks ago are growing pretty well. Probably because I’ve almost never forgotten to water them. It’s an achievement!

But it’s very windy on my balcony, so I thought it might make sense to shield the plants a bit from the incessant wind. I bought some plexiglas (i.e. plastic) sheets, drilled some holes in them (with a wood drill bit — I was afraid the plexiglas might shatter (it’s quite brittle), but it worked fine), and tied them up with some fishing line:

IMG_5498Looks almost invisible, eh? But they’ll probably grow gross as time passes. We’ll see.

Anyway, I think this is the reason for the windiness:

IMG_5499I’m on the edge of a hill, sort of, so even if there’s the slightest air movement in the hollow down there, I get a blast of wind.

Or something.