Posts Tagged ‘Blue Man Group’


25.06.2013 16:21

I just realized that I haven’t said anything about my life in the past six month, so I think it’s time.

Back in February, I turned 33 (Tesla would be proud), and my love life is still non-existing. My niece and nephew are growing up, but I still haven’t gotten as far as having a litter of my own. C’est la vie, I suppose. Speaking of which, I recently started brushing up on learning German to a somewhat larger extent. I’ve installed an app called DuoLingo, and with it, I get lessons in the language I’m learning. Call it an alternative way to learn a language, but it might work out.

This summer, I’m going on vacation twice, actually. First, I’m going on a vacation trip with my family to Hungary, where we’ll spend about a week in Zalakaros (which we’ve been to before), followed by a few days in Budapest (which will be a new place on my map of places I’ve been to). And a few weeks after that, I’m heading off to Berlin on my own to catch a few Blue Man Group shows, and get together with a few of the fellow fans I met at the fan event last year. Tickets to two of the shows are already on the way (I hope they’ll arrive before I leave for the first vacation trip, though). In Berlin, I’ve also secure a seat on a bike sightseeing tour, and I might reserve a seat on a second bike tour with the same tour company. Either way, I plan on renting a bike for my stay this year, so I imagine that it will be quite the experience. We’ll see.

Fingers are crossed for hot and sunny weather on both trips, though.

Last week, I was at the last weigh-in before the summer, and this brought my weight loss total up to 52.7 kg, or roughly 116 pounds. I still have some way to go, but I can finally say I’m well over half way to my final goal. The weight loss courses resume at the end of August, but our instructor has promised us an extra (unofficial) weigh-in at the beginning of August for those of us who are in on the long term courses (ie. those who are trying to lose a lot of weight), just to come to terms with any weight gain that might’ve happened during the summer.

Projects at work are still going strong, and I’ve finally been able to switch to a new work-only laptop. It took quite a while to transfer all work-related software, documents, data and settings from my previous laptop to the new one, but the time has finally arrived. I also found a small backpack to keep my lunch, iPad, extra cables (phone charging cable and extra battery), Nintendo 3DS (to earn my daily motion coins) and a few USB thumb drives, just in case. Just the basic essentials, really. And yes, I’m a little bit of a gadget guy (without going overboard, that is).

Besides a whole bunch of birthdays (most of my closest family have had their birthdays already), confirmations (for my youngest sister and another of my relatives), continuing weight loss, upcoming vacations in the near future, and being more comfy at work (on a general daily basis), there’s not much else going on in my life.

OK, fine, I was recently notified that I’ll get a small tax refund in the next month, which I’ll, uneventfully, spend on paying back a little more of my debt, and a little bit on my second vacation.

I’ve also managed to get in a few performance improvements on my site, making it a little bit faster to load. What do you think of it so far?

Anyway, that’s pretty much it. See ya around!

A story of piracy

14.11.2012 17:16

This week, RIAA’s Vice President, Joshua P. Friedlander, released a blog post as a response to the claim that illegal downloaders are those who also spend more money on legal content (downloadable or otherwise). Of course, his opinion is biased, considering that his paycheck comes from the organization that spends millions (if not billions) fighting all forms of music piracy, no matter how large or small the infringement. No P2P downloading network is safe from becoming a target by his employer.

This same week, there was also a news story saying that the latest strict anti-piracy laws in Japan actually hurt the industry, when they correlated with a significant drop in sales. Supporters of these laws claim the sales drop might have nothing to do with illegal downloading (or attempts at it), but rather a “cultural chance [… because] people don’t feel the need to fill silence as much as they used to”. Personally, I call bullshit on that statement, and on Friedlander’s claim as well.

Let me tell you a little story.

Back in 2008, I came across a video on YouTube called “When Graphic Artists Get Bored” – a slideshow of photos collected from the Worth1000 website. The background music used for this video slideshow: the track “TV Song” by Blue Man Group. I seriously doubt that this music usage was licensed, but it created a spark in me. That same week, I (illegally) downloaded the two Blue Man Group albums that were already out on the market. Later that year, I found out about their “How to be a Megastar World Tour”, and that the closest it would pass by where I live, was in Copenhagen, Denmark, and in late October that year (a couple of months away at the time). Luckily, my city’s airport had direct flights to Copenhagen, so I bought a ticket for that show, and booked a hotel room and flights, making a full vacation week out of the trip (I checked my e-mail archive, and I found that I booked everything in late August). After seeing the concert in Copenhagen, I immediately wanted more, and looked online to see if they had any further tour stops in Denmark, but it was simply too far away on such short notice (I think it was a couple of hours of travel time, by train or bus, from Copenhagen).

Shortly after New Year’s Eve, I found out about the Blue Man Group community, and after a short while, a fan event was announced, which would happen in Orlando (Florida) in July 2009. This was in March, though, so after some analysis of my economy, and some in-depth research on what else to catch while on my first trip to the U.S., I booked flights, hotels, and tickets to see Blue Man Group (along with the fan event in Orlando) in both Las Vegas and Orlando, spending one week at each of the two destinations (of course, catching other sights as well, including a few days at both Universal Studios Orlando and Disney World). On this trip, I made sure to buy the physical and legal versions of the albums I had previously downloaded illegally, and I also attended 3 shows in Las Vegas and 2 shows in Orlando.

In 2010, I found out that Blue Man Group would have shows in Stockholm, Sweden, for a short period of time (October and November), and I made a vacation of this as well. I was there for about a week, and I managed to attend all 7 shows that had been set up for that week. Unintentionally, I was invited for a quick backstage tour after the 6th show that week, and got to see most of everything behind the scenes up close (and seeing first-hand some of the “trade secrets” of the shows, as I had previously only read about in the community forums).

Last year, 2011, I found out about a fan event in New York, the primary home of Blue Man Group, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the company. This triggered another vacation trip to the U.S. for me, and since they were now touring North America with brand new material, I also wanted to catch a show or two with this new material while I was already this far away. The only show I could find at the time within a two-week window was in Winnipeg (Canada), so I made sure to also book a hotel stay (single night), flights and show tickets (two shows in a single day), just to catch this show. Since I was already so close to a magic round number, I decided to keep up attendance, and the show on the day of the fan event actually marked my 20th Blue Man Group show (or concert) over these years.

This year, I wanted to attend another Blue Man Group fan event, and I directed my attention to the annual European fan event, centered around the only regular show in Europe: Berlin, Germany. Considering the fact that the guys who plans the annual fan event in Berlin (and who were also a major part of the planning process for the New York anniversary event the previous year) is based in Netherlands, it was well within reach for me, too. I planned the Berlin trip as my primary vacation for this year, and booked a trip for two weeks this past October (less than a month ago, at the time I’m writing this). I also managed to catch a total of 7 shows spread across these two weeks, just to give me the annual dose of Blue Man Group live shows.

Through the years, I’ve also bought all the other albums from iTunes, and both concerts (“The Complex Rock Tour” and “How to be a Megastar”) on DVD and Blu-ray (only the latter). No pirated versions, but the actual physical (or downloaded, in the case of iTunes), licensed products.

I estimate that over these 4 years, I’ve spent a total of almost 3,000 USD just in show tickets, plus somewhere around 17,000 USD in travel costs (flights+hotels only) to see the various shows around the world (rough estimation based on my archived travel confirmations – good thing I have Excel to find out these totals). CDs, downloads, DVD/Blu-ray discs (both for myself and bought as gifts) and official merchandise (mostly T-shirts) comes on top of this. And I keep coming back for more, like most other fans.

All of this sparked by an unlicensed use of a music track in a YouTube video. In return, I’ve gained several friends in the community, a true sense of belonging, and inspiration that I never would have known without Blue Man Group. Because of that video, the Blue Man Group gained at least one more fan.

Basically, my point is, good things can come out of a little piracy. Have you discover something through an act of piracy, even if it was indirectly?

Back from Berlin

01.11.2012 12:29

Hi, everybody! I’m finally back from Berlin, and I’m barely getting settled in to normal life again. I hope those who live on the east coast of USA are safe and have started to recover from hurricane Sandy. I’ve been watching the news here from Norway, and it’s a crazy sight to see.

I’ve previously detailed what I did on my vacations from day to day (and I’m still kinda stuck in the middle of my vacation summary from last year’s trip to New York – I hope I’ll get it posted one of these days), but I think it would be enough to just point out a few of the highlights.

First of all, all of my flights went smoothly, which was pretty nice. My flight from Copenhagen to Ålesund (the last leg of my journey back home) was delayed about 15 minutes (which I was notified of in advance), but that didn’t affect anything, since I didn’t have to catch anything after that. When I got home, I heard about the chaos at Gardermoen (Oslo airport), and I was grateful that I was on a direct flight from Copenhagen to Ålesund, and avoided that chaos completely.

Second, I tried something new in Berlin: I went on a sightseeing trip on bike! I wasn’t too sure about it at first, given that I’m still rather overweight, and I haven’t ridden an bike in over 10 years, but it came out pretty nicely, I think. I went on the All-In-One City Tour from Fat Tire Bike Tours, just to get a look at, well, almost everything in Berlin. Our tour guide Kate had a special (and fun) way of telling the history about the sights of Berlin as we stopped in front of them, and had some fun anecdotes spread throughout. At the end of the trip, when it was time to pay for the tour, I almost felt a little bad for using my discount from my Berlin WelcomeCard – the tour was definitely worth the money. Next time I go to Berlin, and have time for a sightseeing trip, I’m definitely going with these guys again (and taking one of their other tours – hopefully with Kate again).

I also went for a balloon ride on a captive balloon called the HiFlyer. That was an amazing view from 150 meters up (or 450 feet for those of you who are stuck in the imperial system), and I recommend everyone to do this at least once in their lives.

It was nice to see the view from Fernsehturm (the TV tower) and Panoramapunkt at Potsdamer Platz as well, but I must say the balloon has a slightly better view of the city.

I managed to fit in a trip to the Madame Tussauds museum in Berlin, too. It was a tiny bit smaller than the one I went to in New York, but absolutely worth the trip.

And last, but not least, the main reason for my trip to Berlin: the Blue Man Group fan event in Berlin. First of all, the weather during the fan event weekend was amazing – around 18-20 degrees C and sunny (or roughly 64-68 degrees F for your other guys). Second, it was fun to get a backstage tour (with visits to the storage room, practice room, prop kitchen, one of the band lofts), and be around for the soundcheck before heading out to Tony Roma’s next door for our dinner together. After dinner, it was time for the show, along with a private meet-and-greet for us fans. We also headed out to a local bar to grab a beer (or something) and chat together for an hour or two. The next day, it was time for our little Catch & Throw contest, where we would catch balls in our mouth, just like the Blue Man does in the show. The 4 winners (with the highest scores) would get to do their own spin art with actual official paint balls from Blue Man Group. (If you’ve seen the show, you may know what “spin art” is.) I came last with 3 catches out of 20 throws, but at least I had fun participating. Afterwards, it was time to head back into the theater’s private lobby for a little Q&A session, along with a raffle. I didn’t win anything here, either, but it was fun nonetheless.

In my two weeks in Berlin, I managed to catch 7 shows in all, bringing my total number of Blue Man Group shows up to 27 (Copenhagen, Las Vegas, Orlando, Stockholm, New York, and now, Berlin).

And now that I’ve seen most of Berlin, for next year’s fan event in Berlin, I think I’ll make do with just an extended weekend (using Friday and Monday as travel days). That is, unless someone wants me to catch some specific sight or event while I’m already in Berlin (if that’s the case, I might extend the trip up to a full week).

Although the weather for the fan event weekend was amazing, it got colder in the week that followed, with night frost in the last few days of my stay. Actually, comparing Berlin on the day before I left with yesterday’s walk-around in Ålesund, it was actually slightly warmer here in Ålesund in the middle of the day. Weather changes quickly, huh?

Anyway, that’s it from me for now. I hope you had a safe and fun Halloween last night.

I’m going to New York!

03.06.2011 16:17

When I checked my account this morning, the funds I was looking for had finally arrived.

I ordered travel insurance, booked the flights and hotel to New York, confirmed my attendance to the fan meeting, and even booked additional flights, hotel and tickets for a detour to Winnipeg to catch two Blue Man Group shows on their North American tour, which has their absolute latest material. The stop in Winnipeg was their only tour stop within a two-week radius of the fan meet in late July, and I really wanted to experience it.

So there you have it. In case someone wants to hook up, I arrive in New York on the evening of July 16, then hop on the early morning flight the next day for Winnipeg (not a direct flight, though) to catch the 1 PM show (and the one at 8 PM), return to New York on July 18, and fly out on my way home on August 1. And, there’s the fan meet on July 30. To sum it up: Winnipeg on July 17, New York from July 18 to August 1.

Assuming, of course, that there are no problems when crossing the border (and I don’t expect there will be any problems – it’s just that little insubstanciated fear that lives inside me).

Now I really have something great to look forward to!

See you around!

I’d like to go to New York… (another follow-up)

03.06.2011 04:06

As you’ve probably guessed by now, the second auction fell through, so I won’t be going on vacation on a sponsorship. At least not fully sponsored. And as you’ve probably noticed, I recently made a blog post in Norwegian containing links to casinos and betting sites. If you could read Norwegian, you’d also see that it was paid advertisements.

Yes, it has come to this. I have nothing against casinos or gambling myself, though, as long as you don’t overdo it, so it didn’t feel like I was selling my soul. My soul is very much intact, thank you. It is, however, a way to add a little extra cash to my account, for things like vacations.

It would also mean I have to force myself to write more, just to avoid my blog looking like some link farm for ads, which it isn’t supposed to be. I do have a couple of subjects lined up in the near future, though.

As for both auctions being a bust, they did bring my mood down for a while. Looking back now, I can see yet another reason for these auctions failing: Wrong crowd. I just don’t see any businesses acting as customers (only as sellers) on that auction site. Plus, the Norwegian auction site would probably have too small of an audience willing to give my auction as much as a second glance. The only direct responses to both auctions, using the “ask a question to the seller” feature, can be counted on a single finger for each of the two auction. In both cases, they were merely derogatory comments on the fact that I was looking for sponsors for my vacation, and were along the lines of “get a real job” and “what happened to saving up money”. Frankly, I don’t need that. If you’re so much against my inventive attempt of finding financing for my vacation, just ignore my auction, like the other couple of hundred people who only viewed the auction information.

But, like I said, it was the wrong crowd for those attempts. If I had started out a month or two earlier using something more global, like Ebay, I might’ve had more luck. Too bad it didn’t occur to me until it was almost too late.

On the brighter side, it would seem like a loan I applied for might get through (I was getting it for both some refinancing and possible vacation financing). If it does, I’ll be able to make it to New York after all. I’ll know something more definite in another working day or two. I know it’s cutting it rather close, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. Given the short time before the actual vacation trip, an unusual late order for me, the prices are already on their way up.

At least I’ve done a lot of research into the whole thing already, so once the funding is in place, I’ll be able to materialize my plans in a very short time.

Fingers are crossed.

I’d like to go to New York…. (follow-up)

18.04.2011 11:06

So it’s done, then. My auction is up (Norwegian text only). I’ve even taken time to draft a preliminary sponsor contract (PDF, 14 pages, Norwegian only) where I make a whole lot of promises (which I plan to keep) in exchange for this sponsorship.

I finalized the auction post yesterday morning, with the best promotion packs they had, and already I’ve gotten 84 views, 2 of these were visits through my Twitter message (where I used a link shortener, the visit count is from them) regarding my auction. No bids (or other messages) yet, though. But still, fingers are crossed.

The auction itself will last for another 13 days, so there’s still plenty of time. I’ve also put up a “buy now” price somewhat higher in case someone wants to bank the deal straight away (I have absolutely no hopes for that to happen though). And not to worry, I’ve already set my expectations for any type of response very low, just to prepare myself for possible disappointment so that I don’t fall down too hard if/when the auction runs out without any bids or responses.

So there you have it. I do have a glimmer of hope that the trip will happen, though, one way or another.

I’d like to go to New York….

14.04.2011 15:04

About two months ago, a date was set for the 20th anniversary fan meet for Blue Man Group in New York. That’s right, Blue Man Group has had their show in New York for 20 years now, and the arrangers are hoping to fill the entire theater on the 30th of July this year. I hope to become one of them.

My vacation plans in recent years have revolved around getting to see Blue Man Group in one form or another. In 2008, I went to Copenhagen, Denmark, for a stop on their How To Be A Megastar international tour, which is more of a concert experience. In 2009, I went to Las Vegas and Orlando to see their theatrical show for the very first time, and to experience the Orlando fan meet that year. I ended up seeing three shows in Las Vegas and two shows in Orlando. In 2010, last year, I went to Stockholm, Sweden, for their more or less travelling show (lasting two months in Stockholm), and managed to catch 7 shows during that week’s stay (meaning, all of that week’s shows). It would have been 8 shows if the Wednesday show hadn’t been cancelled (due to low sales, and no room for advertising due to the Swedish elections).

But, due to my current economy, I can’t quite get it to stretch for the flight and hotel as I would like for this year’s trip. And that’s even the cheapest flight + a full two weeks at a 3 star hotel. And time is running out, at least for the best priced plane tickets.

Last week, an idea turned up. What if I can get the trip itself sponsored somehow? I would already have enough for spending money (including tickets to see several Blue Man Group shows) by that time, it’s just the trip itself that’s biting my bum.

A sponsored trip would take a large chip off my shoulders for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But how would the best way to get a sponsor for this?

Then, it struck me: online auctions.

Tomorrow, when my paycheck comes in, I plan to put up an auction ad on, a Norwegian branch of a large European online auctioneering service (comparable to eBay), with additional highlighting and the works. It’s a certain cost, I know, but it’s a lot easier than finding funds for this vacation elsewhere.

In exchange for the sponsorship, I plan to offer advertising on this blog (inside the the blog posts themselves, not just hidden away in the small Google AdSense space below my navigation meny), and going to various tourist attractions in and around New York as a walking advertising board. That is, clothes with visible logos in large print, both on T-shirt(s), backpack, baseball cap, and if needed, pants. In case of rain, I will also have a poncho or an umbrella, also covered in logos. And if my sponsor wants to, I can hand out various effects (buttons, T-shirts, whatever) to random strangers.

I plan to catch everything on camera, both as photos and as video (using my digital camera), and post these on my blog, on Flickr and on YouTube, both to increase the sponsor effect, and to provide a form of proof that I’m keeping my end of the deal.

And, like I did in Stockholm, I also plan to post a daily summary of my experiences, and this time, the sponsor will get exposure in every summary report.

I plan to take a flight out of Ålesund on Sunday, July 17, and leave New York on Monday, August 1. That’s a full two weeks for sponsor exposure, and 15 nights at a hotel. Nothing has been booked yet, but I hope to get this in order barely after the Easter holidays this next week (that is, if I manage to get a sponsor).

I’ll be hammering out the details in a agreement document hopefully by the end of today. I already have made a spreadsheet to calculate the final value price that will invoice me from the winning bid, which shows me what I have to set as a starting bid to get the funding I need for flights+hotel (which will be booked either through Expedia or Travellink, another online travel agent that’s in the same price range as Expedia – these two alternate on who’s better priced).

My preliminary queries say that I’ll have to expect a low-cost (but user-recommended) three-star hotel and matching flights will cost 20,000 NOK (or, with the current exchange rates, about $3,700 for you Americans – yes, the Norwegian krone has a big advantage over the US dollar these days) and up. That’s after the winning bid commission is withdrawn, though.

Unless someone else steps in and wants to bypass, I’ll go ahead with the action tomorrow.

Fingers crossed!

Happy New Year!

12.01.2011 22:44

Well, sorta. Considering we’re almost a full two weeks in, it is rather late. Then again, I had quite the way to start the new year.

On the morning of New Year’s Eve (December 31), I woke up with a sore throat. Not a good sign, I can tell ya. I wasn’t exactly in a party mood. Then again, we were going to babysit my 8 month old niece that night, we weren’t about to go into full party mode anyway.

The next morning (January 1), my condition was more or less confirmed: I had flu-like symptoms, not unlike what my mother’s been having for the past week or so. In the next few days, I was taking turns coughing, sniffling, sleeping and going to the bathroom (due to the increased fluid intake – what comes in has to come out), and not much else. You could say that I was in no condition to get started on my work plans for the new year. Then again, since I have a job that allows for telecommuting, it doesn’t stop me completely from doing at least some work.

By Thursday (January 6), I felt an improvement that would allow me to get a fresh start after the weekend. Saturday morning, I was proven wrong, as I woke up with an even more sore throat, and my voice completely gone. You could say I didn’t get to enjoy that weekend as much as I had hoped for. Just wonderful.

And now we’re into Wednesday, almost two weeks into the new year, and my voice is only at about 50-60 %. It still hurts a little just to talk, and with a teleconference meeting (using WebEx) scheduled with a client earlier today, I just had to make the most of it. I’m still coughing, too, and every little cough hurts a little.

I’m not too happy with how 2011 started out, and I seriously hope this doesn’t set the mood for how the rest of the year is going to be like.

Oh, and there’s a big Blue Man Group fan meet in New York at the end of July this year, and it coincides with their 20th anniversary in New York. I seriously hope I’ll be able to make it there – and stick around for a total of 2 weeks, with the fan meet day either at the end or at the middle of those two weeks. All financial options are being considered. Following the advance planning I did for my USA vacation in 2009, I should have everything in place (flights and hotel stays) by the end of March or mid-April. Occasions like this don’t come around often, so fingers are crossed.

Way beyond normal (in the wrong direction)

05.11.2010 15:23

I’m seriously starting to wonder what the hell is going in with South-East Asia in general. (If you’re sick of rants about China, North Korea and/or politics, skip the next two paragraphs.)

As you may’ve caught, China strongly disapproved of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate of 2010, Liu Xiaobo, as they consider him to be a criminal. They’ve gone as far as sending letters to the Oslo-based embassies of Western governments, urging them to disapprove of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize (and not attend the ceremony on December 10), as it interferes with Chinese domestic affairs. All mail sent from the Norwegian Nobel Committee to the Chinese embassy lately has been returned unopened. Liu’s crime? Signing a public manifest (Charter 08) which disagrees with some of China’s politics. Something which is strongly encouraged in most of the rest of the world, and in all of what’s considered the Western world. It’s just silly.

And today, it was revealed that North Korea has a new device on its market. Where the concept of a PDA is more or less outdated in the rest of the world (or at least in developed countries), this appears to be “cutting edge” in North Korea just now. From what Engadget could tell by the photos, this PDA runs Windows CE, a half-sibling to the Windows Phone platform (previously called Windows Mobile). It doesn’t have Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi, broadband, or even phone capabilities, which more or less states that it doesn’t have many areas of practical use. The cost? Around $140 for the high-end 8GB model with a microSD slot. And that’s in a country with an estimated $150 monthly income per person (btw, that’s pure guesswork based on the GDP numbers per capita from CIA’s World Factbook).

In more positive news, my blog article on my little backstage tour of the Blue Man Group production in Stockholm was recently featured on Blue Man Group’s official Facebook page, as well as shared on their recently created Twitter feed. My, I feel proud. 🙂

I just hope I’ll be able to repeat such a trip next year. I’m hoping to either visit one of the stops on the U.S. National Tour (which has brand new material) or see the permanent show in New York (which is the classic show, going “back to the roots”). I’ll have to see what direction the economy takes me once 2011 has begun. If I’m extremely lucky, I’ll go for both options, but there’s also a chance the outcome will be neither one – I’ll just have to take it as it comes. I won’t know for sure until the end of March or beginning of April, though. Mid-April would be the last opportunity for a well-planned trip in July (although I could plan it as late as mid-June, but that would be pushing it to an uncomfortable level). Until then, I’ll happily accept suggestions for possible destinations. 🙂

Stockholm 2010, day six (final), going home

05.10.2010 23:54

Final day, and time to just wake up, pack up the last few things before I check out of the hotel and start my way towards the airport.

I was a bit worried about getting the spin art from the day before with me home, but after a few tweaks to my suitcase (if I open up a special zipper in the lid, the suitcase can contain about 2-3 cm more stuff), I was able to carefully squeeze the frame into the lid. I was already looking up options for mailing it home or cost for extra pieces of luggage on my flight (the first piece of luggage is free with SAS, anything beyond that costs extra), but the fact that it managed to fit into the lid made me relax a whole lot more.

I had been up almost all night surfing the web and didn’t get around to really turn in for the night before closer to 6 in the morning. I already had my phone’s alarm clock set to a 8:30 wake-up call, since they stop serving the breakfast buffet at 10, with an additional wake-up at 11 (final check-out is at 12, or noon). I woke up just slightly at the first wake-up call, and decided I could just catch a few more hours of sleep and find something on the way to the airport instead.

I’m thankful for almost eternal repeat (the app I use for my phone’s alarm clock makes me solve mathematical problems to completely shut off the alarm) – I didn’t get my ass out of the hotel room until it was closer to 11:55, which is really pushing it. I took the bus the usual three stops to where I can switch to the subway. There’s a Burger King right next to this stop, and I had originally thought about grabbing me a burger menu (I didn’t have to be at the airport for another 2 hours at least), but I decided to just travel all the way to the airport, get myself to the baggage drop and be done with it. The subway leads about 4 stops to T-Centralen, which is where just about all public transportation in Stockholm meets, including the Arlanda Express, which takes me to the airport in 20 minutes or less.

Yes, this little folder

Arriving at the airport at about 13:10, I felt I had all the time in the world, and after walking about 5-10 minutes around the check-in area to find my airline’s check-in terminals and baggage drop-off counters, I suddenly realized I had forgotten my folder aboard the airport express train.

Now, this is where I kept a written copy of the booking reference code, one of my credit cards (more specifically, the credit card I used to pay for this trip), and last but not least, my passport.

You can imagine the sense of panic I felt at that moment. I rushed downstairs to the airport express trains and waited for the next train to arrive. I tried looking in through the windows around where I sat, hoping it was the exact same train I arrived on myself, but without luck. Finally, one of the train staff noticed the slightly confused and worried person that I had become at that point, and approached me. I explained the situation, and he managed to call up the train central for more information. The train he was operating was at its last stop, and would be switching tracks to leave for the city about 5 minutes later, but he would meet me again at the track at the other side of the platform to give me an update.

Sure enough, the guys at the central had found my folder, and the person now holding my travel folder would be on the train arriving at 14:10, about 40 minutes later. I patiently waited at the platform until the time came, and I finally got it back, with an immense feeling of relief.

I rushed back upstairs to check in my baggage (SAS lets you check in to the flight and select seats up to 22 hours before the flight, so I did just that the night before), first via one of the check-in terminals (for a baggage attachment), and then over the the drop-off counter. When I had dropped off my suitcase, I looked at the clock up on the wall; it was now 14:30. The flight takes off at 15:35, and baggage has to be checked in no later than an hour on international flights (this was for a flight from Stockholm, Sweden to Oslo, Norway). So much for that relaxing extra time I was hoping for.

Next up was a quite long walk through the security checkpoint and to my gate (which was probably as far away as you could possibly get – if you’re on an international-bound flight at Arlanda airport outside Stockholm, try walking the distance to gate 10A, you’ll see what I mean). I managed to grab me a cinnamon bun and a croissant along with an orange soda (Zingo) when I had found my gate, just to eat at least something (and those were the only things I found tempting at the time).

The transfer from an international flight to a domestic flight at Gardermoen airport (outside Oslo) was no picnic, either. I now remember what I hate about travelling internationally, especially if the first airport I arrive at on an international flight isn’t the airport of my final destination. I have to walk a long way to the baggage pick-up, take my luggage, haul it through customs and outside the security checkpoint, where I have to check-in my baggage again (I can go directly to the drop-off counter this time, though) and go through the security checkpoint all over again. I don’t think I’ve walked that far in a very long time.

Good thing the next flight of my trip wasn’t leaving for another 2 hours or so. After finally finding some decent food (the choice finally landed on a heated ham and cheese ciabatta), I found the right gate for my flight (which wasn’t up on the boards yet when I first arrived through the checkpoint) and sat down for some eating time. The flight appeared to be slightly delayed, and seemed to be the last of the 19:10 flights to start boarding, but this slight delay allowed me to finish my ciabatta and soda before the boarding started.

Some flights can really be tiresome. I just hope the flight portion of my next trip goes more smoothly. I don’t know when or where my next trip will be, though, but I hope it won’t be too long.

And for those who are interested, I’ve uploaded all photos from this week to my Flickr account:

Flickr photoset: Late Summer Vacation 2010