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Books have always been a big part of my life. I learned how to read before attending first grade, and a grade-book comment from my teacher says "Nina reads like an adult". I think it's from second or third grade. As a kid I could stay up all night just because a book was too exciting to put away. At that time it was childrens books that gave me most pleasure. I think I've read all the books of the norweigan Anne Cath. Vestly and the swedish Astrid Lindgren. And more than once. Another writer to me mentioned is Torbjoern Egner. When I got a bit older I stumbled into C.S. Lewis and his books about Narnia. I've read most of Tolkien, his works still among the finest there is. The older I got the more strange the books got. Brave New World, 1984 and Pictures of Dorian Grey, just to mention some. Another favourite book have been (and still is) Lord of the flies.
Nowadays, Fantasy has a big place in my heart. Wheel of Time from Robert Jordan is higly appreciated, the same with Terry Pratchetts Discworld.
Being from Norway I have to add Jostein Gaarder. Still he's not my favourite norwegian writer. I think that prize have to go to Erlend Loe. His books "Naiv Super", "L" and "Fakta om Finland" are wonderful. These are books I recommend everyone to read, in whatever language they might understand.
Harry Potter. Childrens books, but they are wonderful. I just can't wait to get another one of those.
Apart from what already mentioned, books about art, history, culture and mythology have always been valued high, the same with astrology, myths, religion and psychology.
The computer part of my life is aslo really big. I guess it all started back in 1995, when I met this guy who used his Amiga for making music. He was a part of something he called "the demoscene", which he told me a great deal about. I got taken in by what he said, started to follow the demoscene more and more, and am today proud to call myself a scener. An explanation on this will follow further down. For now I should just say that the demoscene makes me travel around a lot, to visit people in many different countries, and to go to demo parties with them. Also, the demoscene part of me use a computer daily to try designing new demos and intros, keep myself up to date, and mainly just communicating with other sceners. Apart from that, computers are also highly in use at my multimedia study, and for information gathering.
Explaining the demoscene has always been hard, but I'll try anyway.
The demoscene is a computer oriented subculture, mainly situated in Europe (allthough it has followers from all over the world). This subculture originally spawned from a group of people called crackers. These crackers were (and still are) people that would crack computer games (that is, to break their copy protection) and copy them around. The faster they could do this after a game was out, the better and cooler they were. With the games they copied came a little program called a cracktro that ran before the game was started. Here, they would normally state who the game had been cracked by (using an alias, also known as handle, instead of their real name), and say hello to their cracker friends.
But it didn't stop there. These small cracktros got more and more complex, and people started specializing in making them. A bunch of crackers would for example form a craking group, one would program (or code, as we call it) the effects shown, one (the graphician) would make a nice logo with the groupname, and one (the musician) would make the music . After a while, the best cracking groups formed their own demo divisions, and started releasing small programs on their own, without following a cracked game. These programs would now be called demos, or intros, a bit depending on the size (an intro would normally be very small in size, from 4 to 64 kilobyte).
Eventually, the demo divisions of the cracking groups would detach themselves completely from the crackers and call themselves demogroups. At computer parties all around the world competitions were started where these demogroups could compete in making the best demo or intro, the musicians could compete in dedicated musical contests, and the graphicians could compete in graphical contests.
And from there, it has evolved to what it is today. Today a typical demogroup would have multiple coders, graphicians and musicians, who make demos together, either for competing at a computer party or just for releasing something. Borders hold no meaning: due to the heavy use of internet among sceners it doesn't matter where you are in the world. The demos are usually good visual presentations, focusing mainly on design and on making a computer do seemingly impossible things by programming it yourself.
Another important thing I should point out, the demoscene of today is completely legal, as opposed to what the crackers were.
I guess the best thing to do, as always, is to give an example. Therefore, I've put up a link to my favourite demo here. This demo by the group Damage was released at the assembly 2000 computer party and is called "en haluaisi olla". Simply download the file, extract it with either winzip or winrar, and run the .exe. (You'll find another example at my gallery:various page).
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