Saturday, May 31, 2008


My father is fine, as expected. I flew into Minneapolis yesterday evening. The flight was uneventful, other than that someone either shat their pants, or had a bad medical condition involving flatulence. It was an effective appetite suppressant, but it was possibly the most unpleasant environment I have ever flown in. My brother was awesome-- and picked me up at the airport. I made it to Rochester before shuttle would have shown up. Big thanks!

I really don't understand the "Mayo Clinic," since there really isn't much of a Mayo. Rather there are all sorts of medical buildings with different names, different hospitals, etc. I think somehow they are mostly related, and the whole economy seems to be tied to the medical industry. This place is sort of like a tourist trap for sick people.

The hotel I am staying in is like a flashback to India. The proprietors appear to be Indian or Sri Lankan, and the decor is rather Indian. I also feel the heat and humidity of the midwest, which reinforces the effect. I have no complaints. The bed is comfortable, the room is big, and I have payed more for parking in city hotels than the nightly rate here.

I awoke at 4 am and watched TV. There is nothing like jet lag to start the day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I have been a bit lazy about posting lately. I attribute it to a few factors. For some reason, my postings drop off before I take a trip. Next week I had back to the US for seven days.

US Trip
My father is receiving a kidney transplant-- from a donor cousin. It is a truly generous gift. From my perspective, it is a pleasant departure from some of the other medical procedures my parents have been through. This is a quality of life improvement, rather than a life-saving operation. In other words, people generally "want" to have a new kidney (more than they want bypass surgery, for example).

Other Travels
I am somewhat apprehensive about my return from the US--- as my visa expires this weekend and there is a huge backlog at UDI. A year ago they very nearly didn't let me board my return flight, since I had no return ticket TO the US. This hiccup was created by the NWA ticketing agent--- not some government official. I believe NWA uses advanced psychological testing to screen for only the meanest, most stubborn individuals.

On a different note, I have heaps of frequent flier miles. I looked paying for an economy ticket, and using my miles for a business class upgrade. The trouble is, this only works for full-fare ticketing-- and full fare costs nearly as much as a cheap business class ticket to begin with (and the flight selection was severely limited for being able to upgrade).

I don't see any way I will make it to India before summer. I have been asked to go to London for the better part of a week in mid-June. A week later we will vacation in Spain, and then it is off to the Bruce Springsteen concert in Oslo, where nearly everyone we know will be (including a few American friends). Julian will stay with his grandparents on Kvitsøy during that trip.

I cannot remember the last time it rained. Lise informs me that it has been over a month. I have been biking to work daily-- on my fixed gear. I remember when I resurrected it, after nearly abandoning it due to all the hills here. I even tried out a 17T cog to make things easier. After the winter when I was forced to ride fixed while the mountain bike was on the disabled list, I believe I have adapted to the hills quite well. Not only have I been riding the 16T, but I am contemplating using the 15T. I believe the 14T is safe--- I could barely use that in Minnesota.

I took Julian out for a ride in the trailer over the weekend. I am a more confident in the trailer, and went on a longer off-road ride (on gravel--- not single track). Julian slept through the entire ride, which offered quite a workout (1300 feet of elevation, pulling a kid). He didn't look comfortable, but I assume he wouldn't be able to sleep otherwise. The following morning he tried to crawl into the trailer as I was preparing to bike for work. He must enjoy it at least somewhat.

Graduate School
I believe spouses of graduate students should receive an honorary degree. Lise pointed out that I will statistically live longer (since she is smarter). Regardless, she is doing exceptionally well, although we will all be happier when finals are finished. She will be working as a researcher for a summer job.

One of the perks about graduate school is that I am "forced" to spend more one-on-one time with Julian. He is not yet a year and a half old, and only speaks a few words, and yet is the funnest person to be around. He now takes my hand and tries to lead me wherever he wants to go. He picks out the food he wants. I spend as much time with him outdoors as possible, and am fascinated as I watch him explore the world. It is amazing how interactive someone who is pre-verbal can be. I really hate the thought of leaving him for work travel.

House Painting
It needs to be done this summer. I am dreading it. Enough said.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

May 17th

We spent the holiday on Kvitsøy, all dressed up. Julian did reasonably well keeping himself clean. He is completely obsessed with balls--- has to sleep with one or two, and won't go anywhere without one. He is not even a year and a half, but I believe he is a budding soccer player.

The weather was relatively clear. We saw a few flurries on TV during the Oslo broadcast. We can still see snow in the mountains off in the distance.

Kvitsøy is a bit more family friendly for the seventeenth. A year ago my parents were visiting, and we watched a seemingly unending parade downtown Stavanger. Here, everyone was actually in the parade-- including us. Julian was not bored in the least.

Julian had a fun time. We changed him into his PJs for the ferry ride home so we could put him to bed as soon as we arrived home. He was practically bouncing off the walls--- too much cake and ice cream. He is finally asleep.

Strange Morning

I woke up to some strange fog Friday morning. It was quite a surreal vision across the fjord. For the most part, we have had nothing but dry weather for well over a week. It has been great for biking. Around Stavanger, May is considered one of the best months.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Out in the Yard

IMG_1777, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

Eating Outdoors

IMG_1786, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

We have to be careful-- Julian imitates our every move.

Growing Up...

IMG_1806, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

...too fast. He is looking more like a little boy every day.

Eating Ice Cream

IMG_1832, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

Dinner on the Terrace

IMG_1845, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

Playing at Soma Gård

IMG_1947, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A Real Snowblower

(Image swiped from the local paper). As the crow flies, this isn't far from here. This machine with a 400+ hp blower shoots snow 80 meters.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

OK Shape

Most of my riding has consisted of commuting, but I dug out the Look and have taken a few road rides. Over the past few years I set up a baseline time trial-- almost exactly 20 miles with over 1000 feet of elevation gain. Of course wind and traffic can come into play, but for the most part, it ends up being man against gravity. As a former flatlander, I initially reconsidered using a double chain ring, but having ridden fixed so much in these hills, it is now tolerable. The other night I went out and kept my informal TT under 1:15. Not feeling particularly inspired I rode it even faster last night. I might be a few kilos heavier than I want to be, but family definitely comes first. And besides, I am not that far out of shape. A few hill intervals and I could be riding crits---- if we had them around here.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Bike Ride with Julian

05/03/2008, originally uploaded by filtersweep.

The seat is a problem: it is completely unstructured. Julian keeps slumping down. I really don't understand how this is intended to work.

Friday, May 02, 2008


There is a term in Norwegian called "dugnad." I have no idea if I spelled it correctly, but regardless, it means "neighborhood clean-up." It is an annual "event" where a roll-off dumpster magically appears at the end of the street, and several tons of sand are delivered to refill the sandbox/playground area. A neighborhood committee delegates who does what. This year was scheduled the two days preceding Labor Day (a four day weekend for me, this year).

The coolest thing about dugnad is that it is a great way to meet and interact with neighbors we otherwise wouldn't. We are rather plugged in to all the neighbors with young kids--- or young grandkids. Our next door neighbor has a three year old, Guro, who frequently drops by to see Julian. We have adjacent terraces, and she joined Julian for lunch outdoors today. Thinking back, we probably begun our friendship with our next door neighbors during last year's dugnad. Back in Minneapolis, the closest thing we had was following a massive snowfall, when everyone was out in the street digging their cars out. I much prefer meeting people in the spring, under less miserable circumstances.

Thursday, May 01, 2008