Category Archives: Rants

Liveblog: ‘Svalbard: Life on the Edge,’ Episode Seven from Coal Miners Cabins

liveblog7

9:30 p.m.: I walk into the restaurant/pub at Coal Miners Cabins and experience a moment of panic since it looks like the show’s already in progress on the big-screen TV, rather than the usual weekly show about villages near the Arctic Circle that precedes the series. A couple of minutes pass and I realize it’s actually a long infomercial for the company that owns this place and lots of other tourism businesses in town (the audio is muted and I realize there’s no subtitles). The fact it’s hard to tell the difference due to the similar editing styles (a few minutes each of dogsledding/snowmobiling, a scene in a restaurant/pub, a special event, etc.) highlights something I emphasized in last week’s coverage: a lack of overall focus and direction.

Ranking the characters of ‘Svalbard: Life on the Edge’ from least to most interesting (sorta halftime edition)

benimage

Six down. Four to go. And it’s far from clear the current rankings will look anything like the final ones.

I’ve been at a loss as to how to rank the “stars” of the ten-episode BBC Earth docu-soap “Svalbard: Life on the Edge” (“Ice Town: Life on the Edge” outside Norway), mostly because I can’t figure out why the show is allocating scenes/storylines to everyone the way it is so far. But things have progressed far enough to say the initial rankings after the first “introductory” episodes were somewhat askew.

Liveblog: ‘Svalbard: Life on the Edge,’ Episode Three (‘Out of Darkness’) at Polar Permaculture

liveblog3

9:30 p.m.: Saw an advance screeing of this “make-or-break” episode two days ago (almost certainly the last time locals will get the opportunity during the 10-episode series) and it certainly was for the best as I prepare to do this tonight. Not because of the jolt of reliving last December’s avalanche – hard as that is at times – but because of a far more dismal shock I never would have imagined would be shown tonight (BTW, that shock isn’t what may seem overwhelmingly obvious, as you’ll learn by the end).

Rant: Holy f****** c***, we just published a 20-page fishwrapper…

20pages

It was a cute and quirky bathroom reader at four pages. It became constipation-worthy at eight pages. And capable of causing constipation at 12 pages. This monstrosity might require surgical extraction.

Rant: Homeless – a very true story about ‘that woman holding all her belongings in a plastic bag’

homelesswoman

Most locals have probably seen the cover of the most recent Svalbardposten and know people (or were among them) joking about “that woman holding all her belongings in a plastic bag.” I will tell you her true story.

Rant: If this article is true, everyone’s worst fears about that BBC ‘docu-soap’ are coming true

bbctourship

(This story has been updated with a producer’s response at the end.)

If you live in Svalbard, be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

Not because of any real-life dangers here, but because of the extremely hazardous view the world apparently will be getting about life here starting a month from now. A 10-part BBC “docu-soap” is scheduled to debut Aug. 28 and it appears it may live down to the worst fears of everyone who felt them during the eight months of filming.

Multi-multi-lungual: New Svalbardposten editor familiar with many languages by many definitions

neweditor

It’s daunting enough to be a new newspaper editor sitting down on the first day and facing the task of getting out the next issue. Hilde Kristin Røsvik found herself facing the necessity of publishing two during the same week.

Rant: ‘You may want to go home’ – for the last time; two hours of hell and angels evacuating Gamle Sykehuset

memovingout

I’m throwing clothing, books, computers, musical instruments, cables and who knows what else wildly about in my three-room flat, not caring where any of it lands except for those things I most desperately want to keep or think I can sell. With no time to hunt for empty boxes, I’m tossing everything I value most in my life in grocery bags that are carried out by people who are largely strangers to me, but are rallying to my aid in an ultimate moment of crisis.

Maybe what I’ll remember most about being forced to permanently evacuate my apartment building on two hours’ notice is those black reusable cloth grocery bags with a “Svalbardbuttikken” logo on them. Dozens of them, piled in a corner of my bedroom where I was using them as the base of a nightstand (a throwback to my college days when milk crates were my bookshelves).

‘Fortitude’ follies: We binge watch and document everything the cult-hit TV series gets wrong about life in Svalbard

fortitudemapsection

“There has never been a violent crime here.” Maybe that’s because after shooting a guy in the head you’re told to go home and not worry about it by the cop who watched you pull the trigger.

Believe that’s a realistic portrayal of everyday life in Longyearbyen and you’ll be well-prepared for the rest of “Fortitude,” since throughout the 11 episodes (or 12, since the DVD version treats the double-length opener as two) the locals wander about killing and pummeling each other, stealing relics and expensive equipment, going on drunken shooting binges, and generally acting in ways that make viewers think everyone deserves to be locked up at some point. And while some are – always the wrong ones, naturally – nobody’s ever charged, let alone convicted of anything.

But we really don’t care much about that, because the far more twisted thing is – WTF is up with all those trees?

AVALANCHE UPDATE: Editor’s rant: Safe at home again, but the drama is far from over

snowedin

Thanks to everyone for their kind words these past few days. For those interested in “the rest of the story,” this is a “family and friends” e-mail I sent on Christmas Eve:

Hei alle (tell me I haven’t ignored any of you long enough that you think I misspelled my greeting)…

Those of you who read my fishwrapper may know I’m back home again, although it’s anyone’s guess for how long. I’ve already written about most of what I went through early this week, so this e-mail is mostly to fill in the gaps.