Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Walking out...

The news of the the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, walking out from an interview with 60 Minutes' journalist Lesley Stahl only made page 6 of yesterday's Fréttablaðið.

Most newspapers have reported the event depicting the French president as the foe during the interview. I do think it is really uncalled for: Lesley Stahl was asking questions good for the Oprah Show, not for a political interview.

In the following extract from the show, "there's a great mystery. Everybody is asking", says Lesley Stahl... Honestly, who cares!!! A survey showed that 79% of the French did not care about the divorce.

Who is more professionnal? A president answering politely questions and then decides to leave because the questions are inappropriate or a journalist forcing to get answers to personal questions? I let you be the judge:

On a different note, Andrea Bocelli is playing tonight in Egilshöll. Four types of types went on sales: 22900isk (€284 or $381), 14900isk, 12900isk and 8900isk (€102 or $148)... Guess what? it is not sold out! Just to compare: Björk's concert tickets went on for 4000isk (standing) or 7000isk (sitting) for her concert in April 2007.

Weather outside: partly sunny, 2°C

Monday, October 29, 2007

French DVDs...

There is a DVD/CD sale taking place in Perlan (see picture ->).
I like to go to these sales because I can find french films for much cheaper that I could get them in France.

Few examples of what could be found: Les poupées russes for 590Isk (approx. €6.70). Another nice find: Les triplettes de Belleville for the same price of 590Isk. Both DVDs are over €12 on

Weather outside: fog, -2°C

Friday, October 26, 2007


The new, and the last, Harry Potter, translated in French Harry Potter et les reliques de la mort, is available in store since last night.

Speaking of Harry potter, the free newspaper 24 stundir had a funny story on its front page on Wednesday morning. From the information contained in the article I was able to find an English version on the net.

Our behaviours are influenced by television/movies!?!!?... In England, it has been reported that sales of pet rats are up by 50% since the release of the animated film Ratatouille on October 12th.

Now on a totally different subject, the possibility of a high voltage power line between Iceland and the Faroe islands is being investigated. This cable would run under water for over 450kms and would be the longest of its kind. Read more...

Weather outside: mostly cloudy, 5°C

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Voting from abroad...

This weekend Poland had some anticipated legislative elections. The site of statice provides with a figure of about 7000 Poles leaving in Iceland. I was surprise on Monday to see on the front page of the newspaper Fréttablaðið that only about 450 did vote during the elections.

These 450 voters represents only 15% of the Polish community. What can explain such a low level? Were they only allowed to vote in the embassy? Or did their embassy "f.cked it up" like the French one did? I was not able to vote for the French presidential election this year because the consulate at the French embassy was not able to write down my address correctly... "Elle est belle la France". As a result, it is my neighbour who is getting my mail from the embassy!

Weather outside: partly sunny, 7°C

Monday, October 22, 2007

Casual Friday...

Here is a video that was sent to guys in the company this morning. I realised after watching it that is a sketch from the British comedy show: smack the pony and I was able to find it on youtube.

If casual Fridays were like that...

Weather outside: rain, 6°C


Airwaves... No, this is not the name of a brand of chewing-gum nor the name of a bathroom spray. Airwaves is the name of a music festival taking place in late October since 1999.
This year the festival took place from October 17th until the 21st. I was in the city centre on Friday evening and I was surprised to hear so many Americans but then again, they are a lot of American bands playing and Icelandair offers very good packages (plane+accommodation) during Airwaves.

The ambassadress of Icelandic music is surely Björk Guðmundsdóttir but since the end of the 90s another Icelandic band has emerged on the international scene. I am referring the indi-pop band Sigur Rós.

I had a little discussion about music with some of my colleagues from work on Friday evening. We went to Indian Mango and while waiting for our dishes, we spoke about the Airwaves festival. Of course it lead to Björk, Sigur Rós and other Icelandic artists...

It turns out that Sigur Rós is not that popular with the Icelanders. Björk is a little bit more popular because she did Gling-Gló, an album in which she interprets popular icelandic songs.

So who is popular with all Icelanders???... It's Magnús Þór Jónsson also know as Megas. This came as a surprise to me as Megas has the worst voice ever. So what makes him so special: his melodies and his lyrics (really????). Come on, have a go: Megas extracts.

Weather outside: mostly cloudy, 5°C

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Never to old...

Today France is hit by strikes in the public transport sector and energy sector. The government plans to scrap the "special regime" pension system for half a million workers in state-controlled companies, mainly the SNCF (railroad) and EDF (electricity).

Only 6% of pensions fall under the special regime, which allows beneficiaries to retire after 37.5 years worked, compared with 40 years for other public and private sector employees. These special regime pensions were created after the second world war to make sure positions in the transport and energy services were filled in and by doing so helping the reconstruction effort after the war.

In 1995, Alain Juppé tried to change the special regime system: massive demonstrations took place. In 2003, Jean-Pierre Raffarin did have a go at it.... I will let you guess the result: demonstrations/strikes.

It is crazy to think that a small group of people, only 500 000 person are on these special regimes, can cause so much disturbance. I have a lot of adjective for them: hypocrites, self-centred, selfish, egoist... How can people be so blind to fact that we live longer and the country cannot provide for you like that???

It is nice to live abroad and to have a remote view of the on-going issue in France.

The normal age to retire in Iceland is set to 67 years old. If you want you can push a little bit longer and still work until 70 years old. But there is a problem in Iceland: there is too little unemployment! In Septembre, the unemployment rate was 0.8% with only 1336 people registered as unemployed. This is the lowest rate in 19 years. As a result, the city council of Reykjavík offers now the option of going back to work part-time for people over 70 years old. Here is an extract from Iceland Review:

10/05/2007 | 11:22
Reykjavík City Approves Hiring People Over 70

Reykjavík City Council accepted a proposal from Mayor Vilhjálmur Th. Vilhjálmsson at a meeting yesterday to hire people older than 70 for workplaces operated by the city, like kindergartens, which suffer from a severe lack of staff.

It is now permitted to hire people over 70 for positions requiring work between 33 and 50 percent of a normal working day for one year at a time, but only if the applicant can submit a competence certification, Morgunblaðið reports.

Employment will not result in lower payments from the Pension Fund of City Employees.

Vilhjálmsson said he had noticed considerable interest among senior citizens to reenter the employment market and that he was convinced many would take advantage of this opportunity.

“This is one of the issues senior citizens have been fighting for. We have discussed this with them and are following their request,” Vilhjálmsson said. “I am certain senior citizens will celebrate this decision because many of them are still fully capable of working.”

Sesselja Ásgeirsdóttir, who is 70 and used to work for the Consumers’ Association of Iceland, has been hired as project leader and will be responsible for providing senior citizens interested in this project with jobs where they are most needed.

Ásgeirsdóttir is pleased with the move, but said she finds it strange that people who retire at 67, which is the norm, have to wait for three years before they can reenter the employment market without their pensions being cut.

There is currently a severe lack of staff within caretaking positions in Reykjavík and almost 200 employees are needed for the city’s kindergartens.

Weather outside: mostly cloudy, 10°C
(changes from the -3°C yesterday!!!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Winter is around the corner...

Winter is coming.
Yesterday, the thermometer was showing a mere 3°C and today is even less with temperatures around 1°C...

I must admit that I like this time of the year. This snappy cold is really invigorating in the morning. You start your day fresh and alert. In the evening you appreciate the warmth and "coziness" of you home.

Cozy... This is a word that I rarely used before living here but it is dear to Icelanders. Not surprisingly, if you search the internet for the etymology of the word cozy you will find that it may have its origin in Scandinavia.

Weather in Iceland can change dramatically in a matter of few minutes. During the week-end temperatures were around 10 and now they are close to the freezing point. It is therefore important to be prepare when visiting Iceland. Accordingly, I propose you today the first part of Bear Grylls' show: Man Vs Wild in Iceland.

Weather outside: partly sunny, 1°C

Friday, October 12, 2007

A new major...

Yesterday the city of Reykjavík got a new major.
This happened after several days of debate regarding the potential sale of Reykjavík Energy’s (OR’s) holding in Reykjavík Energy Invest (REI).

Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson leaves his place to Dagur B. Eggertsson, member of the Social Democrats party.

Now, let's move on onto something totally different. Iceland Review published an interesting article a couple of days ago:

Icelanders Throw Away Food

Every year, each Icelander disposes of 510 kilograms of rubbish. One sixth of this amount is food products.

Farmers’ Weekly, Bændablaðið, quotes Cornelius Aar Meijles, environmental engineer, who argues that each Icelanders throws away 82 kilograms of food in an average year. Half of this food is believed to be fit for human consumption at the time of its disposal.

Similar statistics from Norway indicate that each Norwegian throws away 90 kilograms of food every year.
Among the possible explanations are said to be lesser consumption of leftovers and recipes in cookbooks that are too large. The biggest factor is believed to be food spoilage from supermarkets, especially meat.

I laugh at the idea of "recipes in cookbooks being too large"... Aren't people able to divide quantities? If the recipe is for 8 and you are cooking for 4, just reduce the quantities accordingly unless, of course, you want leftovers.

Two days after Yoko Ono and Ringo Starr unveiled the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER, there are only few videos available on the net. I did find one where Yoko Ono is presenting the tower. I must admit that the end is a little bit strange. What's with the eye???

Weather outside: mostly cloudy: 11°C

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Drug comes in, show goes out...

In Monday's post, I spoke about all that drug coming in.

On the other hand, Iceland exports a TV show for kids promoting healthy life style in over 100 countries. The show in Iceland is know as Latibær or Lazy Town in English. The show was created by a former gymnastics champion: Magnús Scheving.

The show has been translated to over a dozen languages. I propose you two version of the same song I found on youtube: an icelandic version (with subtitles!) and an english version.


Icelandic version:

English version:

Weather outside: mostly cloudy, 8°C

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

And let there be peace...

I'm sure everyone heard this verse from the book of Genesis:

"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light"

People who know me might find strange that I quote the bible but I must admit it fits well today's event: The unveiling of the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER.

The imagine peace tower??? I will just copy an extract from the Imagine Peace website:

On October 9th 2007, Yoko Ono will unveil the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER on Videy Island, Reykjavik, Iceland.

Dedicated to the memory of her late husband John Lennon on what would have been his 67th birthday, the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER will shine as a beacon for World Peace.

Sponsored by the City of Reykjavik, the Reykjavik Art Museum and Reykjavik Energy, the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER will be surrounded by more than 495,000 PEACE WISHES from people worldwide that the artist has collected since 1981 as part of her interactive Wish Tree exhibits.
The wishes will be stored in capsules and buried surrounding the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER.

The light from the tower will be switched off on December 8th, anniversary of John Lennon's death.

I'm wondering how useful is an event like that. Can someone really think that lighting up a culture will bring peace or play a part toward bringing peace? How many people have heard of the event? People who have heard of the event are from countries without on-going wars or political instability.

Here is a picture taken by Jónas Björgvinsson during the ligth testing on September 6th.

Weather outside: mist, 6°C

Monday, October 8, 2007

On the increase...

A murder was committed this week-end in Reykjavík. This is the second one this year.
The first one happened on July 29th and was the first in two years.

I suppose that from an outsider point of view, Iceland seems to be really quiet and safe but crime is on the increase. Here are a few examples:

- On september 20th, fifty-six kilos of amphetamine were confiscated on-board a ship in Fáskrúðsfjörður harbor in east Iceland.
- On August 11, two Icelanders, a 36-year-old male and a 20-year-old female, were arrested in Copenhagen Acarrying 1.9 kilos of a substance believed to be cocaine.
- Some time late July, a 16-year-old girl was arrested at Keflavík Airport in possession of 500 grams of cocaine. The girl and her 28-year-old boyfriend were arriving from Venezuela with a stopover in the US.
- On June 6th, a 28-year-old Icelandic man was arrested for drug smuggling at the Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He was caught with over six kilos of cocaine.

These are just few selected examples but I think the best example is the fact that women are now scared to be alone down town on week-ends. This was not the case a few years back.

Weather outside: mostly cloudy, 8°C.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

And why not me...

Blogs are now legions on the web and a couple of days ago I decided that I should add my own. Why not me?

No more big "group e-mails"! Now everything will be online. I don't know how often I will amend the blog with fresh news but I'm sure it won't be daily.

As blogs' purpose is sharing (news, infos, links, etc...), I'm going to share with you the following link that has been circulating at work yesterday: Fight For Kisses.

Weather outside: mostly cloudy, 7°C.