Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I stumbled across this today--- celebs who turn 40 in 2008. Sadly, I am not yet listed.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer Ride

Yesterday I took the day off from painting and went out on a real summer ride-- 2.5 hours on a loop to Høle. It is along Rv 13, dubiously described as "Route 66 of Rogaland." It is probably my favorite route, but it takes an hour of riding before it even becomes interesting. Then there is a massive hill, and then I am confronted with always forgetting how far it is back to civilization. Taking a Sunday ride on the last day of vacation for most people put me in the path of countless RVs-- many with German plates. But I have a special "thanks" reserved for the idiot who patiently waited to pass me, only to give me a half meter of road. I could have touched his RV. My guess is many of these are rentals. They are all white. At least they are not the American monstrosities with extended mirrors that eat cyclists. There was only a brief stretch of sketchy RV fodder-- the road leaving the ferry crossing at Lauvik. I didn't need much encouragement to turn off on the road less traveled--- knowing fell well it would be a long climb and no shortcut.

Did I mention that it was hot yesterday? At least 30. When I made it home, Julian was still napping. We fed him and headed to the beach at Sola. It was a circus trying to find parking. We ended up parking in a massive no parking zone, along with about a thousand other cars. No worries--- there are likely three police officers on duty in the entire metro region during summer holiday-- and on a Sunday. We met up with our neighbors. Julian had a blast, and I even made it into the water up to my ankles. Even on a warm day, the ocean in these parts makes Lake Superior seem tepid. I was pleased to see no jellyfish. There have been times where jellyfish are everywhere, and I didn't want Julian to have to deal with them. It was worth it to take the day off from painting.

Today the weather was the same hot, cloudless skies. I have essentially painted the entire house, if you don't count the fence in the back yard--- or the windows and doors. Tomorrow I will likely start on the second coat-- which should go much faster. I need to reload my iPod. I have inexplicably been listening to nothing but 80s classics, with a few 70s classics like ELO tossed in for good measure. It is probably the same music I was listening to last time I painted a house--- when I was a kid. I will have one hell of a sun tan by the time I am done. No one will believe I wasn't living at the beach these few weeks.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Blink 2008

I rode back down to downtown Sandnes and caught several of the final races last night. I was thinking this is probably the penultimate Norwegian cultural event, until Lise reminded me it needed snow and winter. Still, it was an opportunity to see the best ski athletes in the world, just a few minutes from home. The Norwegian stars are quite famous here. When I recognize them, it shows just how much media coverage they receive. I have cultivated an appreciation for biathlon--- guns and skis. In many regards it requires similar athletic attributes as bike racing--- with the added wild card of having to shoot guns. It certainly beats team handball.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Catching Up

There are many updates. The temperature hit 90 today, which is a bit interesting considering air conditioning is almost nonexistent here. The odd thing is, I pardon my use of the metric system, but in Norway, 20C (68F) seems much warmer than 68 back in Minnesota. I would consider wearing long sleeves biking whenever the temps were in the 60s. Here, short sleeve weather starts at 15ish. On the other hand, 30C (86F) seems cooler here than in the midwest. I am guessing there is much less humidity here, and we often have an ocean breeze.

I started painting the house, and am making OK progress. It is a bit overwhelming, working on this solo. Lise has been busy looking after Julian, and she is pregnant with our second child--- so no painting or changing the cat box for her. Pregnancy has some serious perks. She had her first doctor appointment this week, and could hear the heartbeat, which makes it all the more real. It is still quite early--- we are expecting in February. But already I can see time is passing much more quickly than when we were waiting for Julian. With him, I literally felt like a little kid, waiting for Christmas--- and time was standing still. Julian keeps us plenty busy as it is.

This morning I took Julian for a bike ride. I took him in the trailer up to the tower in Ullandhaug. Gravity takes on entirely new dimensions when towing a kid trailer.
When we returned he fell asleep, interrupting his normal nap schedule. We decided to head downtown to the Gladmat Fest--- promptly at noon to avoid the crowds.

Pushing a stroller through thousands of people tends to be a bit stressful, and we managed to avoid the intense crowds (and find decent parking). After Julian had enough, we stopped off at a new park by the oil museum, then headed home. Once home, we filled the inflatible kid's pool on our terrace in the backyard. One of these days I will post a photo of the warning lable inside. It is written in multiple languages--- including three flavors of English--- one for the UK, Australia, and the US. The US goes into all sorts of detailed warnings the rest of the languages seem to ignore. For example, you should not use the pool inside another pool. It is quite amusing.

I ended up taking the day off from painting, which was well-deserved. After dinner, I biked down to the biathlon in Sandnes--- on roller skis. I saw several famous biathletes--- none of whom I recall their names. After I returned home, I watched it on taped delay-- on TV. I even saw myself. I felt like a character in a Philip K. Dick sci-fi novel. At the race, I spied an new, old-style ambulance--- station wagon design--- and a Mercedes, no less. I reminded me of the ambulances when I was a kid. Around here, if anything serious goes down, helicopters are used. There are really no shoulders to pull over for emergency vehicles anyway.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Raspberries have arrived

IMG_3092, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

We have wild raspberries growing all around us-- as well as blueberries and blackberries. Julian is a definite fan.

I really need to paint our house. I only have one day of work in--- it rained almost all last week. This week looks much better. I just want to finish so I can move on to fun summer activities.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mamma Mia Mini-Review

There comes the time when as a male, we have to "take one for the team," and see a chick-flick. I had such concerns when I was roped into seeing this movie last night. I am not a fan of musicals, and have never seen a musical in a theater, unless you count that Willy Wonka flick with the Depp boy. I was shanghaied into seeing Phantom on Broadway with work people a few years ago. It was a crime against humanity-- stemming from a poor sound system. Much of the vocals sounded like cats being strangled. So I had low expectations going into Momma Mia.

I had at least some idea what it was about, since it was impossible to avoid the media fuss. It really wasn't too bad. The scenery and music were really the stars of the show-- and it was a bit amusing seeing Streep and Brosnan in a musical. If you hate ABBA, you will really hate this movie. Everyone can secretly tolerate the band, whether they admit it or not. It is amazing how well their sugary songs have held up over time.

There isn't much plot to give away. I was amused how the ABBA songs were completely taken out of their original context, and woven into the story. Of course, the classic songs helped to make the film more accessible to people like me-- who do not like musicals. Seeing it in a packed theater with a proper sound system at least does the music justice. This is not the sort of film to watch on a plane.

As we left the theater, we saw our next door neighbors (the parent's of our babysitter) outside the theater. They had just seen Sex in the City. I joked with him that he must have been the only male in the theater-- and he said that was no joke-- that he essentially was. At that point, I realized he REALLY took one for the team. I had nothing to complain about.

Final verdict: A musical for people who do not like musicals.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How I spent my summer vacation

Nothing but rain in the forecast. I have to paint our house. At this rate, I will never even start.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Concert Review

Springsteen warmed up Oslo

"News From Norway"
First published: 08 Jul 2008, 11:09

The 40,000 fans who packed Oslo's Valle Hovin stadium Monday night didn't seem to care that it was cold and damp outdoors. The man they came to see, legendary rocker Bruce Springsteen, delivered a concert that was fabulous by most accounts, and warmed up everyone.

Some fans braved cold rain to start lining up outside the stadium early Monday morning, in the hopes of getting the best spots near the stage. The concert had sold out in a matter of minutes when tickets went on sales months ago, and a second concert was scheduled for Tuesday night. It was sold out as well.

"The Boss" was back in Oslo, and delivered a concert (here with Little Steven) that won top marks from critics and fans alike.

Diehard fans Terje Bergan and Roar Bakken had come straight from Springsteen's concert in Stockholm. They hadn't reckoned with all the early arrivals, so hopes of getting spots near the stage faded quickly.

It didn't seem to matter. Bakken, president of Springsteen's Norwegian fan club "Blood Brothers," looked forward to the concert anyway, since a new line-up of music was likely. "The thing that's so exciting with this concert tour is that he changes 16 or 17 of the songs from concert to concert," said Bakken, who figured out that Monday night's event was the 30th time he'd been in Springsteen's audience.

Roar Bakken (left), Øyvind Hagen and Terje Bergan on their way into the Springsteen concert in Oslo Monday evening.

Few were happier when it was all over than Lena Milde, age 47, and her daughter Mia, 18. They'd fitted themselves out with a sign asking for a kiss, and they both got one.

"It was just incredible, it went so fast," said Lena. Springsteen had spotted their sign, climbed down from the stage and kissed both of them.

"Suddenly he was just standing there," marveled Lena, who's been a Springsteen fan since the early 1980s. "It was unreal. Great fun."

The entire concert turned into what the Norwegians affectionately call a folkefest, literally a "peoples' party." From his opening hit "Two Hearts," through "Hungry Heart," "The River," "Born to Run" and "American Land" some 30 songs later, Springsteen absolutely thrilled the crowd.

Lena and Mia Milde got their request filled, much to their own amazement.

As one critic wrote in Aftenposten, "In Bruce Springsteen's world, the term spilleglede (joy of playing) takes on a whole new meaning..." Springsteen was described as "a storyteller, a charmer, a comrade and the successful boy-next-door," all at once.

Commenting on the sheer energy of a man approaching 60, Springsteen was described as, "put simply, quite special."

Another 40,000 or so fans could look forward to Tuesday night's concert back at Valle Hovin. And the sun was even shining.

Aftenposten English Web Desk
Nina Berglund

Setlist- July 7 / Oslo, NOR / Valle Hovin Stadion

Two Hearts
Radio Nowhere
No Surrender
Lonesome Day
Hungry Heart
Cover Me
Cadillac Ranch
Gypsy Biker
The River
Atlantic City
Prove It All Night
Darlington County
The Promised Land
Because the Night
She's the One
Livin' in the Future
Mary's Place
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
Racing in the Street
The Rising
Last to Die
Long Walk Home
* * *
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
Born to Run
Bobby Jean
Glory Days
Seven Nights to Rock
Dancing in the Dark
American Land

photograph by Jan Lundahl

Setlist- July 8 / Oslo, NOR / Valle Hovin Stadion

Out in the Street
Radio Nowhere
Adam Raised a Cain
Spirit in the Night
Growin' Up
You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
The Promised Land
If I Should Fall Behind
I’ll Work for Your Love
Murder Incorporated
Working on the Highway
Livin' in the Future
Mary's Place
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)
The Rising
Born in the U.S.A.
Last to Die
Long Walk Home
* * *
Girls in Their Summer Clothes
Hungry Heart
Thunder Road
Born to Run
Bobby Jean
American Land
Twist and Shout

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Springsteen Concert

I don't know how many people can sell out two consecutive nights at 40,000 tickets each, but apparently the Boss can. I was not much of a fan of him-- until the show. It was excellent. I have never seen someone have so much fun performing. We were outdoors-- 100% general seating. We ended up about 10m from the stage. Great location, great show. We even found our friends from Minneapolis after the show.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Oslo Photos

Back from Oslo

Before posting photos and getting into the concert, I have one oddity to point out: Agnostic Front was on our plane to Stavanger. I am not sure how I recognized them, since my tastes lean more toward Springsteen. We were flying Norwegian Air-- a budget carrier where the taxi ride to the airport usually costs more than the airfare. Then again, I would expect nothing more from a bunch of overgrown punks.

Monday, July 07, 2008


IMG_2849, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

Old street

IMG_2845, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

The bike route

IMG_2847, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

We took the alternate route rather than the tunnel--- it was actually marked as a bike route.


lunch, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

Lunch stop

IMG_2821, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

View of the coast

IMG_2816, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

We rented a car one day and drove around the west coast.

Old Monastary

IMG_2786, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

I believe it is from the 13th century.

Breakfast in our hotel room

IMG_2773, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

(Although we usually ate at the breakfast buffet).

Our Hotel

IMG_2699, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

The hotel had five swimming pools-- something for everyone.

Sand and Water

IMG_2638, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

What more could he ask for?

Belated Mallorca Photos

IMG_2624, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

Our hotel was about two blocks from the beach.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Turned 40 Today

The subject line says it all. I had a wonderful birthday. It was our quiet day home before heading to Oslo for the Springsteen concert tomorrow. I won't wax philosophical about turning 40, other than to say life just keeps getting better and better. In my life, my 20s were rather lost years, 30s were about meeting my wife and getting married, and 40s look to be all about kids. Anyway, I am in good shape, and 40 is the new 20, or something like that.