Posts Tagged ‘life’


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!

Summing up the month

25.12.2012 10:47

We’ve almost reached the end of the year again, and I thought I’d just sum up what’s been going on in my life this past month. It has been an eventful month, and I wish I’d made one post per event as they happened, but that’s just how time flies, I suppose.

About two weeks ago, I took part in a final app launch (behind the scenes), where I had to join in and be on stand-by for updating a content management system for the apps (both iOS and Android) on the fly. This meant that I had to be available in a phone meeting that lasted about 6 hours during the night, another 6 hours the next night (these were starting/ending arund 2 am for me). It was a hellish weekend and start of a new week, but as I was told by my boss later on, it showed our value and trust as a service provider, and I also showed my own value with the company I work for. Luckily, such weekends are rather rare, but they do happen (and especially when I’m in Norway, and the client is in California).

Most of you know that I’m in the process of losing weight, and at the last weigh-in of the year, I managed to bring my total weight loss to an even 41 kg (or a little over 90 pounds and 6 ounces for those of you who still use those types of measurements). It’s a nice way to round off the year, and I’ll keep on going next year as well. I still have about 50 kg more to lose before I reach a comfortable weight (given my heavy bone structure – that bit is a genetic thing, though). The next weigh-in will be on January 7, and given the current weight loss rate, I’ve calculated that I’ll reach my final goal just before Christmas next year. But even if I don’t, I expect to keep doing these courses until I’ve actuall reached my goal.

On the 20th, my grandmother passed away at the age of 87 after a short time of illness. It hurts a little more when it happened this close to Christmas, but we knew that she was close to her final breath, so it was an odd sense of relief that it happened so swiftly and painlessly (for her). She was also my last biological grandparent I had left, and the “oldest generation” of our family now includes my own mother (those were actually my mother’s words, not mine). There is a tiny bit of comfort that my “reserve grandmother” (ie. my stepfather’s mother) is still alive, though, even though it’s not quite the same. In any case, since my sister and her family is visiting the “in-laws” in Sweden for the holidays, we decided to set the funeral date to the first week of January, so they’ll have time to return by that time.

As you noticed, the world didn’t end on the 21st, making the so-called “Mayan calendar profecy” a total miss, as most of us rational folks suspected. I mean, just because the Mayan calendar ended doesn’t mean the world would, too. It just means that nobody was around or able to update and extend the calendar beyond this day.

And yesterday was the 24th, which is the main day of Christmas for us in Norway (and Scandinavia in general, as far as I know). For most of us, it means family togetherness, lots of good food, and the unwrapping of gifts. As far as actual gifts go, I got a comic strip book (of my favorite cartoon, Pondus), two shawls, a winter hat, two soap+perfume kits, two boxes of candy (with a note attached, which said that even though I’m losing weight, I should just enjoy myself a bit at Christmas), a 64 GB USB thumb drive (from work), and a bunch of gift certificates and a little bit of cash as well. The gift certificates were expected, as I had wished for most of them (especially those for the sporting goods stores – I’ve come to a place in my weight loss process where I’ll start hitting the gym pretty soon, so I need at least some comfy shoes and a proper pair of excercise pants).

But my main gift, though, which I’m granted every year so far, is to celebrate Christmas with my family. Even if it’s only part of the family, it’s especially great to be with family on this particular day of the year. I’ve come to a point in my life where gifts are no longer that important, as long as I at least get a little something from those I care about (which show that they at least thought of me). It doesn’t have to be big, but it should at least show that they put a little thought into it. Then again, those soap+perfume kits are probably just a waste of money, though, since I never use them.

Sometimes, my thoughts also go out to those who suffer in one way or another during the Christmas season, and who don’t have anything to look forward to at Christmas (rather the other way around). I sincerely hope you’ll hang in there, and find some way to escape the pain sooner rather than later. Again, my thoughts go out to you.

But anyway, on a lighter note, merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone!

Sick days suck

28.11.2012 13:51

I had a crappy start this week. Early Monday morning, I woke up with the stomach flu. I had a bad feeling in my stomach, and after a lengthy trip to the bathroom around 5 AM, I went back to bed. Since I still had a bad feeling in my stomach and at the back of my throat, I brought along a bucket to put next to my bed, just in case. A couple of hours later, during another trip to the bathroom, the “bad feeling” had another trip to the back of my throat, and made it more “serious” (to spare you the graphic details). Luckily, I was already on the bowl, so it was only a matter of “trading places”. This was the defining moment when I concluded that I had caught the stomach flu after all. First order of business then became to let the office and my weightloss advisor know that I wouldn’t make it today (or the next day either, for that matter).

As some of you know, having the stomach flu, even a minor one, drains the energy from you, so I spent most of Monday just zoned out on the living room couch (sitting on a big bathroom towel, to spare the furniture), half-way sleeping and spending my awake time for either more trips to the bathroom (thankfully missing out on another “upwards expulsion”, to put it bluntly), or trying to re-hydrate (drinking lots of water), or catching re-runs of Frasier and M*A*S*H.

Time off work can be nice, but not like this. It’s far from an enjoyable time off from work, as I don’t feel up for anything at all (not even enjoying myself anywhere). Thankfully, it was only one bad day, and the entirety of yesterday (Tuesday) was spent just plain recovering from the day before. I’m still not 100%, but I’m at least much better than the day before.

So… How has your week been so far?

Life in general

18.09.2012 16:18

I just thought I’d let you know what’s been going on in my life this past month or so.

About a month ago, we had visitors at our office. One of our partners we’ve been in regular contact with in the U.S. came to visit us again (the last time he was here, which was also his first time here, was back in March) for the long weekend. And while he was already here, our contact in the Netherlands also came to visit. The week was a bit hectic, but it was nice to get to know each other and get a live discussion going of future developments and what each of us was going to work on (and preferably in which order). I’m not too keen on coming in to the office on weekends, but I can let that pass when it’s on rare occasions. I decided to leave early that Saturday so I could spend a few hours celebrating my cousin’s kid’s birthday party for the family (he turned 3 that day). It’s important to not burn yourself out.

As a bonus, though, my boss treated us with tickets to Jugendfest that Saturday, which has become a local music festival. On that day, the highlight performance was Roxette, which some of you may remember from the 80’s and 90’s (at least I remember them well). It started to rain heavily towards the end of their performance, so even though I came prepared with a thin poncho, I got pretty soaked that evening.

I also got myself a new phone. This time, I decided to go for a Samsung Galaxy S III. I spent a few weeks deciding on whether or not to buy it, and after making the decision, I used some unspent gift certificates to reduce the price even further. After spending a month with it, I still have no regrets on my choice. Simply said, I think it’s the best smartphone on the market today. And yes, that’s even after the new iPhone has been released.

And regarding my trip to Oslo in November, I finally got around to book flights and hotel for the weekend. I arrive in Oslo at 5 pm that Friday (November 16), take the airport train directly to Oslo S (the central train station in Oslo, where I’ll be arriving at about 5:30 pm) and check in to my hotel, which would be Radisson Blu Plaza, a short walk from Oslo S. After checking in, I take another short walk to Oslo Spektrum, where Gabriel Iglesias will perform at 7:30 pm. I head back home on the 5:50 pm flight that Sunday. While I’m already in Oslo, I plan on visiting my friend in Oslo and his wife, but I’m also up for anything else to fill my time (if anybody reading this wants to meet up).

But first, I’ll be preparing for my vacation in Berlin, which is less than a month away. And with even more added to the fan meet schedule on October 20, I’m getting even more excited as the day comes closer.

Sometimes, I hate my job

03.09.2012 15:20

I originally meant to write up this post last week, but I was simply too exhausted to do anything productive.

I usually keep my work life and home/private life separate, and since I consider this blog a part of my private life, I’ve chosen not to talk about it much here. That’s partially because I don’t want my work life to seep much into my private life, but it’s also because I work with clients and potential clients I don’t wish to reveal the identities of (this is mainly major corporations that I don’t want to either sue me for revealing “secrets” behind the scenes, or that I don’t want to piss off in a way that might cause them to drop us as a supplier). But sometimes, I have to rant out in the open.

Because sometimes, I really hate my job. I bet you sometimes do, too. Not in general, though. It’s mainly those little moments where you’re doing something that goes largely unappreciated. Even those “invisible” tasks you do; tasks that you know in the back of your mind that you have to do, tasks you have trained yourself to do through experience over a long time in the same job. I say that these small tasks are “invisible” in the sense that even though you do them on a regular basis, nobody at work seem to notice that they are being done, or people think you’re not doing your job.

Interesting dream

06.08.2012 23:53

I want to share a little something with you. I had a dream about a hot British actress last night, and before you call me a perv or something along those lines, I can already tell you that it wasn’t like that at all. First of all, I’ve had a little bit of a crush on this actress for a couple of years now, but I’ve never told anyone about that until now. And I’ll also refrain from disclosing her identity to avoid embarrassment (on either my part or hers), so I’ll call her “Miss B” (since that’s the initial letter of her first name) in my story here. I will not disclose anything further about her identity in a public forum, and I will only tell her myself (and only if she asks). Then again, given the unlikeliness of that happening, her identity in this dream will probably remain only with me. OK, that’s enough of that – back to my dream.

In my dream, I run into Miss B in her residence, not because I seek her out, but because she lives on the floor below someplace else I was seeking out (in my dream, that is). I happen to chat a little bit with her, but she puts me in the “friend zone”, since she already has two kids and a non-present husband. In itself, that’s odd, since she doesn’t have either in real life, and in my dream, her husband is one of her co-stars (and the most unlikely choice possible).

Since I realize that I’ll never get any closer than being a friend, I accept that fact, and we just hang out, with her kids playing around the room.

When going out as friends, we discover that Blue Man Group is performing at an outdoors event, out on a barge or pier that has a low stage built on it, where the audience watching from on the other side of the water (a very short distance away, though). After some time, she happens to join in (rather reluctantly) with Blue Man Group’s performance when she’s spotted as a celebrity in the crowd. When she returns to where I am in the crowd, we just sit down on the asphalt road and enjoy the rest of the performance (playing out , and hang out as friends for the rest of the evening, with her head rested on my left shoulder, as if we could actually become more than just friends.

At this point, I wake up from my dream, and I’m left with odd feeling of comfort. And with the memory of one of the oddest not-completely-surreal dreams I can recall.

Honestly, I’d very much like to meet Miss B in real life, and be friends with her. Not because of her celebrity status or the fact that an actual meeting is not likely to ever happen, but because she genuinely seems like a pleasant person overall. And oddly enough, I suddenly don’t feel just lust towards her, but something more. I’ve felt just lust for other actresses, sure, but not like this.

And before you ask: No, I don’t plan on stalking Miss B. I never feel like that for anyone. It’s not in my nature to stalk anyone. I do hope we will run into each other by random chance, sure, but I won’t try to make it happen as some sort of twisted destiny. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. It’s as simple as that. Given that she’s based in the UK (I’m guessing the London area) and I’m in Norway (Ålesund, for those who remember), we’re not exactly likely to cross paths. Of course, I might travel to London on vacation, but again, the likelyhood of running into a specific celebrity actress in some city is closer to none, even if it’s that celebrity’s hometown.

Then again, if you’re reading this, and for some reason feel you fit the bill, feel free to get in touch, and I’ll let you know if you were the one in my dreams (damn, that sounded corny).

If course, that also goes for any woman out there who want to meet up some time. I’m usually not picky, but personality does count.

May-be an update…

05.05.2012 17:29

Now this is a new way of doing things….

One, I realized I had been silent on my blog for over a month, so I thought I’d catch up a little. Two, I’m typing the entirety of this blog entry on my iPad at a local diner, and using a Logitech keyboard specifically designed for use with the iPad. I’ve been using my ‘pad quite often recently, as I also mentioned here earlier this year, and I have to admit, a tablet PC was definitely something I needed. It’s just perfect for those tasks that a regular smartphone can do in a pinch, but is not powerful enough to do that task very efficiently while I’m on the move, and where booting up my regular Windows laptop just takes too long. With the tablet, I just pull it out of the bag, unlock the screen, and it’s ready to do what I want.

Granted, the iPad wasn’t my first choice, but since I got one as a thank-you gift from work, I felt I might as well go for it. If I hadn’t gotten it at work, and had to use my own money to buy one, I would’ve most likely gone for an Android tablet. Not because Android is so much better (quality-wise, both Android-powered and iOS-powered devices measure up quite equally), but because Apple’s usage policies and tight lock-down of their devices and software are so rigid and twisted, Apple products in general are never part of my first choice for anything. Sure, Apple stuff have their strengths when it comes to graphics design and video editing, but aside from that, the price for what you get is simply too much to rank higher on my list of product choices.

Anyway, I’ll repeat what I said back in February: Next vacation, I’m leaving my laptop at home, and will be using my iPad paired with the external keyboard instead.

To change the subject, we have recently crossed the line into the month of May, and with that, summer is leaping closer. Even so, I woke up today to see that it was snowing outside, despite having warmer weather for the last month or so. I was not happy, to say the least. My optimism hasn’t been shattered, though, since the temperature is also at around 3-4 degrees Celsius (about 38 Fahrenheit, for you slackers who still use that 😉 ), so the snow had a chance to melt again the moment it hit the ground. With the temperature this “high” above the freezing point, it simply won’t last long. I just hope there won’t be any snow or rain on Constitution Day, which is May 17 (for you Americans, this is our July 4 – imagine this day raining away, and you get my slight pessimism).

Of course, there are also more important things in life. Back in late March, I became an uncle for the second time. My nephew Oliver is now a little over 1 month old, and my niece Ebba celebrates her second birthday this Sunday (her actual birthday is this coming Tuesday, but the we usually move the celebration party to the closest weekend). It’s amazing how productive my sister can be once she puts her mind to it! 🙂

Sure, the fact that my three years younger sister has gotten this far ahead in her life (boyfriend, children and a home for themselves, of course), keeps reminding my that I still haven’t gotten my own life properly started the way I want it to be. I’m annoyed that at the age of 32, I haven’t gotten my ass in gear to get things going (if “get (your) ass in gear” seems like an odd expression to you, I assure you it translates to an actual saying in Norway – “få ræva i gir”, or more delicately put, “get a move on!”).

I do have things moving properly in my life, though. The more perceptive of you might’ve realized I’m quite the heavy guy. Several hundred pounds worth, and I’m not talking about British money here. I said earlier that I had lost 8.5 kg in the first 8 weeks, and I just started a third course at Grete Roede earlier this week. At this point, I’ve lost a total of 17.1 kg (about 37.7 lbs) since I started my first course back in January. My first milestone of losing 25 kg (55 lbs) before the summer properly starts is well within reach, and based on my calculations (ie. worst-case scenario of losing “only” an average of 1 kg per week), I’ll reach a satisfying weight around September next year. It’s going to be a long and tough road ahead, but I’m confident I can make it, no matter how long it takes. It’s going to be expensive to reach that goal (using the Grete Roede method as a guide and motivator), but it’s well worth it in the long run.

On a more depressing note, some of you might’ve caught the news of the trial of the Norwegian terrorist started this past month. This was the asshole (to use a mild word for him) who performed the acts of terrorism back in July last year, and we’re now about to find out what his penalty will be. Thankfully, we don’t have a death sentence here in Norway, since that would be taking the easy way out. Besides, killing him off would only make him a martyr for those who strangely enough agree with him, and we just don’t need that. Also, the Norwegian maximum sentence of 21 years in jail is too mild on a crime such as this. To be honest, the proper sentence for this guy is an isolation cell for the rest of his life, and be forced to watch the Norwegian community’s solidarity towards eachother (as most of us have responded to these acts of terrorism and extremist views) and the way we continue to include people regardless of ethnic origin or religious background. This is something that this guy wanted to remove from our society, and we need to show him that we will not give in to his “demands” of adjusting our society to his views. I genuinely believe that our compassion towards our fellow human beings, including Muslims and those who follow other religions, is something that pains him, and this is the type of torture I feel I can condone with a good conscience.

I’m usually very accepting and patient with people who don’t share my opinions, even those who have the exact opposite opinion as myself, as it gives me more of a challenge to try to discuss my way into making them change their opinion. What I don’t accept, however, is when someone expresses their opinion by way of murder, violence, or severe damage of property, either by performing these types of acts themselves, or by condoning or suggesting such acts. I also have no respect for opinions that express hatred or discrimination towards fellow human beings purely based on ethnicity (“race”), gender, religion, disabilities (mental or physical) and/or sexual preference. Sure, people of today can attempt to avoid such hatred by converting to another religion, have gender reassignment treatment (I’m not talking about those who choose this path because they feel they are of a different gender in their hearts), or pretend to be someone they’re not (usually gay and bisexual people who try to act exclusively heterosexual and “normal”), but that does nothing change society around you to accept you as you are. People who express such hateful or discriminating opinions (even expressing them at a more unconscious level) are the ones who need to change, not the ones who are experiencing the hateful end of such opinions. There are an alarming increase of people in small groups who speak out about the so-called “Islamification” of our society, where even more Muslims are being accepted into our communities. Such people believe that Islam will “take over” society, and that we’ll lose our Christianity, and in all of these cases, I believe these opinions are both misguided and factually wrong. Look, if you consider yourself to be Christian, no level of presence from the Islamic community can convince you to convert to Islam, can it?

On a happier note, I plan to attend the Blue Man Group fan meet in Berlin this coming October. Sure, it will delay my summer vacation until after the summer has officially ended, but it is something to look forward to nonetheless. I haven’t made any specific plans yet, such as booking flights and hotel, but I plan to do so once my paycheck arrives in a little more than a week (the 15th). So far, I’ve only decided to actually attend, so once again, this year’s vacation will be centered around attending Blue Man Group shows. I never thought I’d be this much of a fan of, well, anything at all, but such is life. And what a great life it is.

Sitting here at the Egon diner, I just realized that I’ve spent way more than an hour writing this blog post. It’s amazing how time flies when you’re on a roll.

Anyway, until next time, this is NeonNero, signing off. I’m going for a walk.

A leap ahead

29.02.2012 18:39

As most of you know, today’s a leap day, and I figured it was about time I updated the few readers I have with what’s been going on since my last update. Since before the cross-over into the new year, I’ve had a few things happen in my life.

iPad and external harddriveMy last update was back in late December, and that same week, I got the iPad 2 I was promised from my office (“day job”, so to speak), as a thanks for the big effort (and late working days) earlier in the year. I’ve previously mentioned my disgust for Apple, and that I wouldn’t go out and buy their products based on their policies and how the appear to treat customers and software developers on their platforms. That said, I wouldn’t pass up the chance of getting one of their products as a gift, which I did just before the new year arrived. It was especially appreciated that the iPad 2 I got was the 3G+WiFi edition with 64 GB storage. And during our annual dinner (with all of the colleagues), we all received an external 2 TB USB drive each, as a belated Christmas gift from our workplace (since this dinner was in mid-January).

Since that time, I’ve noticed that I’ve used my laptop and smartphone less, and transferred some of that time over to my new iPad. With it, I’ve played games, managed servers at work, read e-mail, looked up information I was looking for, viewed videos and updated myself on social media. This, to a much greater extent than what I found possible with my small smartphone screen. I noticed that I would do much of the same whether I got an iPad or an Android tablet device, as this fills a small need for having information on the go. With the iPad, I’ve also been promised a SIM card for mobile broadband (which I’m still waiting for), so I won’t be locked down to having a WiFi network nearby.

I also notice that this will be the perfect device to bring with me on vacation, instead of lugging around on a laptop.

Also new this year, I’ve started on a weight loss program back in January. This first round of 8 weekly meetings wrapped this past Monday, and I’m already enrolled in the next round, starting Monday next week. This particular program, called Roedemetoden (named after the founder, Grete Roede), focuses on losing weight slowly (to avoid health problems underway), and eating right (and healthy). It’s not only about how much you eat, but also about how you spread your meals across the day, and regular exercise (even a long walk counts as proper exercising). After doing some quick research, I suppose it’s similar to Weight Watchers (although not quite the same).

Over the last 8 weeks, I’ve lost a total of 8.5 kg (roughly 18.7 pounds), which is something I can live with. Since my BMI is still over 60 at this time, I’ve already come to grips with the fact that this will take time. Based on my current progress, calculations suggest that I would reach the goal of a normal weight at the end of next year.

And, almost two weeks ago, I turned 32. I had family over for dinner and dessert, and that was about it. It may not seem much, but it’s all I need, honestly. I’m just not that much of a party person, really.

All in all, I now have a much brighter outlook on life.

How late is late?

03.09.2011 06:12

I've censored out the identifying parts of the address to protect the innocent.

I had an interesting piece of mail land in my mailbox earlier today (Friday). I’ve scanned it for your viewing pleasure.

I don’t know how much you can actually tell from the scanned envelope, but it’s a letter that was returned to the sender (me). I instantly recognized what it was, considering the odd format of the envelope, but I began to wonder why the hell this was arriving in my mail now.

You see, I recognized it as one of the Christmas cards I sent out to friends and associates, and as I examined the date stamped on top of the postage stamps to confirm, it was indeed sent at the beginning of December last year. The perceptive of you will also notice that the date printed on the “return to sender” label at the bottom of the envelope is August 22. This year.

Since it was posted and stamped December 3, it took the various postal services exactly nine months from the time I sent the letter to the time it was returned back to me. About eight and a half of these months was apparently spent figuring out that the destination address didn’t exist. Letters and post cards between Norway and the United States usually takes one or two weeks, or up to a full month if you’re unlucky.

What boggles my mind is, what kind of postal limbo has this Christmas card been in for the last 8 months? Has some joker had it on their desk for their own amusement? Did the P.O. box facility drop it under some piece of furniture, and found it during a more extensive office cleaning? I guess I will never know.

And the person I tried to send this to received one less Christmas card last year.

As a side note, I’d like to explain the three postage stamps attached to the envelope; the one on the far right is a non-denominated postage stamp (“valørløst frimerke”). This type of stamp was introduced by the Norwegian postal service in 2005, and is comparable to so-called “forever stamps” in the U.S. The design used on the stamp on this particular envelope is from a series of Norwegian rock pioneers (this one is about Per “Elvis” Granberg – a Norwegian artist who lived from 1941-1980 and was heavily influenced by Elvis Presley). The other two stamps (green and red/orange) have been added for additional postage to the U.S. (that is, in addition to the value of the “forever stamp”).

In any case, and to repeat myself, I’m about as baffled as you are as to why it was returned to me now.

Not quite there yet

02.05.2011 17:21

One thing’s for certain: I’m up top again now, considering last week’s bad start. But it did take me a full three days to get back on track. Monday was the day of the blowout and being flat out in bed, while Tuesday and Wednesday were used to recover from the whole ordeal. I finally got well enough to go to work Thursday and Friday, even though I could feel my digestive system wasn’t completely balanced (no runs, though). Today I can truly say that I’m fully recovered.

Later this week, my sister’s boyfriend’s (can I still call him “brother-in-law” if they’re not married?) family comes over from Sweden to celebrate my niece’s first birthday, so that could be fun. They’re always a joy to hang with, so it’s all bound to run smoothly. Two of them are even going to be guests at our house, simply because accommodation elsewhere isn’t always affordable and/or available. But hey, it’s family, right? 🙂

In other news, early yesterday, it became clear that my auction was a bust. No takers. I can see two reasons for the auction failing. One, I started the auction that close to Easter, and most people take the Easter week off in Norway (since there are only two and a half workdays that week, anyway). That would put a dent in the possible attention it could get during its two week run. And two, the price was simply too high for a single sponsor. Taking this into consideration, I waited until today to run a second attempt on the auction (NOTE: Norwegian text only). This time, I divided the sponsorship into 4 parts, which would hopefully be a more suitable value for smaller sponsors. The auction runs for 14 days, ending on the 16th. If it doesn’t happen this time around, it will never happen that way.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll get lucky this time around… (Of course, if anyone else would like to contribute, I’ll accept.)

Also in the news, Osama Bin Laden has finally been taken out. As someone I know pointed out, Obama did in 2 years what Bush couldn’t in 7. Then again, it has been a long process in the making, I’m sure. All this mess, and in the end, it ended up with a shoot-out in a villa in Pakistan. A small tactical team was what it finally took to get him. Not huge airplane fleets dropping bombs, not convoys of tanks, but good intelligence and a group of specially trained soldiers (fine, I suppose they did have the support of several tanks and other heavy equipment, but still). What it really takes, is good and solid intelligence with sensible leadership behind it all to do a good job. Not acting on a whim, like Bush did with Iraq. Not to mention bombing the hell out of Afghanistan. Sure, Afghanistan and Iraq had leaders rotten to the core who ignored everything about human rights, but it would still pay off in the long run (both in reputation and in actual costs) to have intelligence reports people can count on as well as people who know what the hell they’re doing.

Like I said when the US started dropping bombs in Iraq, I asked myself several times: Why couldn’t they just gather enough solid intel to take out Saddam Hussein and his cohorts with a small tactical team (or a few assassins)? That would be much quicker and painless than attacking a bunch of civilians. It would have been much cheaper, too. And with Afghanistan, “he must be hiding in a cave up in the mountains” is not a solid enough lead to start bombing the landscape.

We (as the whole world, more or less) can finally start rebuilding the messes we made in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and turn over the keys to the sensible leaders actually elected by the people so they can continue on their own.

Now, who’s next?