Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Home sweet home...Man-cave...or??

Recently I had occasion to notice something about myself, and wonder about it.  It doesn't happen very often because I know myself pretty well.  So, here is what happened.

Lulie, my good woman left for a three week visit to L.A.  Leaving me to my own devices.  Life went on...then about two and a half weeks into this I noticed that my house didn't really look the same as it did when she left.  Upon further speculation I realized that I had only used one fork during that whole time; it made me wonder what else I had done that was odd.

I had used a total of two bath towels, because if the one I used had dried sufficiently by the next time I used it, there didn't seem any need to get a fresh one.  I remember getting a new one one day because, even though it had dried...it didn't smell good and I noticed that.

At the risk of embarrassing myself further; on days when I wore my kilt I never took my shoes off, I just slept in them.  One less step getting dressed in the morning when I put my kilt back on.

The kitchen, well...that was a sight!  I had done one load of dishes that was still in the dishwasher but the sink was piled high with stuff, and the two refrigerators were full of spoiling food.

OK, I have never been what I consider to be a slob...really!!  So what happened?  and, more importantly...why hadn't I noticed?  The truth is that I didn't notice until I had some people over that needed to come in the house.  I warned them about the state of things, explaining Lulies absence.  One of them said that it had turned into a man-cave.

I thought about that, and had to disagree.  It was not a man-cave, no...Man-caves are fun.  It had turned into a "lair".  What is a lair? you ask.  Well, if you watched the old Batman shows the evil villains hung out in their lair, but the dictionary says:

Definition of LAIR

dialect British : a resting or sleeping place : bed
a : the resting or living place of a wild animal : den
b : a refuge or place for hiding

It's true, my home had become a lair and I hadn't even noticed.  So focused was I on the bare essentials of life; eating, sleeping bathing, going to the bathroom, feeding the animals, etc.  I forgot to actually live in the absence of Lulie. 
I went and picked her up today at the airport.  I apologized in advance for the state of things, and told her about my "Lair" theory.  She is so great...wow.  She didn't really blink an eye, she understands me more than I do sometimes.  This is what she said:
As an "alpha male"; (on the higher end of the testosterone scale) run of the mill domestic necessities are simply not on my radar.  I am too pre-occupied with "killing the deer".  I asked, and what she means by that is; my vision becomes narrowed and focused on the individual task at hand, tasks that are high on my priority such as eating, feeding the animals, going to work, sleeping, general man stuff, etc.  In that mode my brain does not register little things out of place, or a half cup of coffee on the counter with a film of mold over it because those things are not relevant to my priority list.  And, since I have a woman, my mind is not occupied with the acquisition of a woman...only on existing until she returns. 
So, that is what my love said, and after thinking about it...I think she nailed it.  When she came home she turned on the radio and I realized I hadn't listened to music in three weeks either.
Look, I know there will be some people reading this that say "C'mon...you are just a pig, stop making excuses."  Or, they might say that I am a chauvinist bastard just waiting for the woman to do all the work.  Ok, I get it...you are entitled to your opinions, but I respectfully disagree, and this is why.
I have had occasion to live on my own before, without a woman, and I actually keep a spartan but orderly house.  What Lulie made me understand is; it is BECAUSE  I have a woman that I resort to lair mode when she isn't here...because in my caveman brain I have been made gloriously free to just hunt, to just be myself without worrying about whats going on in the cave, because we as a couple have determined that is her domain.  The fact that she is gone for a little while doesn't change that.
Ok, ok, ok....yes.  Now that I have made this realization, the next time she leaves I will be more prepared, more aware.  I will not let mold grow in coffee cups, I will take my shoes off to sleep, I may even use more than one fork.  Being honest though, I know there are still many things I won't notice, I won't notice them because they just won't seem important to me.  As long as she understands that...I guess it's ok.
It should also be noted that during this three week period I was on a special "hunt", and was more singularly focused than I might be otherwise because I was putting my eBook together; first time, lots to learn etc.  That is NOT an excuse, merely a fact.  For those interested you can read about the book at www.alfsbook.com 
I would be interested to hear your comments about this, as long as they aren't too mean, lol.  Have any of you experienced a similar revelation?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Life Observation #2

To be strong?

 A good friend of mine told me in a comment that “I don’t have to be strong all the time.”  I have had other people tell me that in the past as well.  It got me to thinking…

I have thought about it all day actually.  I tried to analyze this statement from an objective view point.  I asked myself questions like; what would happen if I wasn’t strong all the time?  What does it mean exactly; to be strong?  Is the opposite of strong weakness, or merely a lack of strength? 

To get to the bottom of it, I have to define what it means “to be strong”.  There is the physical aspect obviously; possessing pure physical strength and the willingness to use it.  I have always been physically strong, more a result of great genetics than anything else.  But, what if I didn’t have those genetics?  What then? 

Hmmm…well, then I suppose I would still consider myself strong if I was being as physically strong as I was able to, even if I wasn’t strong in comparison to someone else.

The other aspect of being strong is strength of character, it is much more vague and harder to quantify than physical strength. I see this as being like a pillar for others, always being stable, not losing control emotionally, treating others well, not being easily swayed, being confident, being true to your own conscience, and also having the strength to admit when you are wrong.  The list could go on and on, but you get the idea.

It is conceivable that a person could be strong in one of these aspects but not in the other.  I think it is also true that a human could be strong one day, or most of the time, but then have a day when they are not strong. 

Is it better to be strong, than to not be strong?  I would say yes, it is better to be strong.

What would happen if I was not strong all time?  Being a human, I have had moments when I was not strong; it is rather difficult to admit though.  There were times when I was sick and weak, or grief stricken, or like when I was in that bad accident when I was 16, or the one time I lied to my father. 

Nothing happened; I got over whatever it was and went back to being strong.  However, if I stopped trying to be strong that would be a different story…then, I really wouldn’t be me anymore; I would be someone else.

That brings us back to my friend’s original statement that I don’t have to be strong all the time.  After careful deliberation I agree partly, and disagree partly with her. 

I agree that if a moment comes when I am not strong, that it will be OK, for a minute.  But I also feel as a man, that I have an obligation to “try” to be strong all the time, in all ways.  I feel it is a duty that comes with manhood.  I must at least try, and be as strong as I can.  I may not always succeed, that’s OK.  The obligation of a man is in the honest trying, and when he fails…to try harder.

I’m speaking about being a man, not to leave women out of the conversation.  I am not a woman though; I can only answer this question from my experience as a man.  Perhaps women have the same obligation, perhaps not.  Perhaps women are strong in ways that men cannot conceive of? 

Here is what I suspect though; the obligation of a man to be strong is perfectly matched with the obligation of a woman to be all the magical, wonderful things that make her a woman. 

My final answer then:  Yes, I do have to be strong all the time.  I have an obligation to be as strong as I can in both body and character.  My obligation is to all the other humans around me, because my strength might help them. It is to my ancestors, to honor their legacy, and to those who will come after me, because if I am being as strong as I can in all ways…surely their life will be improved somehow because of it.

To be strong, and to have the opportunity…the privilege to share that strength, is one of the best parts of being a man in this life.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Life Observations, #1

Life Observation #1


 I am going to post these life observations occasionally, as they happen.  Not all the time.  I expect my life observations to be a portion of the content here, but not all of it.  Also, I remind you that I encourage you to comment with any insights of your own that the blog may generate in you. 

The balance between working hard, and working smart.

I was raised in a purely blue collar family with blue collar ethics and ideals.  My example of manhood; my father, is one of the hardest working guys I have known.  For most of my life I too have enjoyed blue collar professions, not surprisingly, since that is how I was raised.

When I was a younger man, in fact up to fairly recently, it was very important to me to be the hardest working guy on any job, and I was.  I didn’t do that to be noticed or to inspire comments from others (although that did happen), nor did I do it to impress my boss.

 I worked that way as a matter of my own personal pride.  That was my way of challenging myself and continuously improving, it made me feel good at the end of the day knowing that I accomplished more physically than anyone else on the job.  The question is; was it smart of me?

In my case, it turned out OK.  I was never seriously injured trying to lift something too heavy or straining my connective tissues past the breaking point.  I never had to take time off work because I was injured.  I was very lucky…I have known others who were not.

Perhaps this topic is more on my mind now because I just turned 51.  My current job is still very physical, and I like that because it keeps me from getting fat, but I am making the shift into working smarter, not necessarily harder.  It is a tricky balance though, at least for me.

I started working smarter in my 30’s by analyzing every situation and determining if tasks were being executed in the most efficient manner, but that is only part of the “work smart” equation… I would still push my body to incredible limits, completely oblivious to the possible consequences.  Looking back I shudder to think what the effects would have been on my children and life if I had seriously injured something by being too careless, by not being smart. 

I still am doing the job of a much younger man, but its OK, because I’m in pretty good shape.  Recently though, I have refused to do certain task that I simply deemed “unwise”.  The risk of injury was not worth the wage I would receive to perform it. 

I really need all of my limbs and my back, and I want them to carry me happily into old age.   What is my health and long term happiness worth?  A lot!  A lot more than I am earning.  It is priceless, really.

The problem with this, the hard part for a guy like me, is that because of my blue collar mentality I start to feel like I am a big sissy if I refuse to do something.  In my brain it equates directly to my worth as a man.  It is not a good feeling…I am still working on dealing with that.  Yesterday it got to me, and I carried some extremely heavy objects up stairs by myself rather than have someone help me.  I did it alone on purpose. 

Was that smart?  No.  It was dumb actually.  But…It did make me feel good just to remind myself that I was capable of it, even though it was stupid. I don’t regret it, because I didn’t get hurt…but, I could have.  That is what I am trying to remind myself of.

The same thing applies to people who are in a white collar position.  I have known white collar people who work so hard that they lose their quality of life, and their family, it becomes all about “the job” rather than being about the things that really matter.  That isn’t smart either.

What it comes down to are priorities; and the constant evaluation and identification of those priorities.  Whether you are a fence builder, a truck driver, a secretary, nurse, executive or circus clown…you have to always be aware and focused on those things in life that are most important, and make decisions based on that. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the vocational whirlwind, especially in this economy, when it might not be that easy to get another job if you lost the one you have. 

But what is more important; your kids having a dad with a job…or, your kids having a dad that is alive who can take them to the park, or fishing?  

What is more important; your kids having a mom with a job…or, your kids having a mom who is emotionally healthy with enough energy to take walks and spend time to teach them about the things that matter in life, like my mom did for me?

Those are just a couple examples, but you get the idea.  I’m not suggesting everyone quit their job or tell their boss to go to hell, just that you start having the conversation in your own head about what’s most important in life, and how to work smarter…not harder.    

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I'm back!

Hello everyone!

Well, It has been awhile since I blogged here.  After the completion of my journal blog I took a little break.  Truth is, I had to think about what else I wanted to say

Turns out, I have quite a bit to say about life in general.  That will probably be the focus of my blogging for awhile; General insights on the human condition, with practical solutions of course.  I am all about constant improvement in my own life, and the lives of those around me.  It is a very Odinic philosophy as well.

I will also provide updates on my whereabouts and doings.  Lately I have been feverishly trying to get the EBook done.  It is done now, all that remains are putting the systems in place that will make it available to people.  I suspect it will be within the next two weeks, maybe sooner.

It has been quite a journey for me.  Recording my journal in a blog was one thing; it brought me right back to Alt for Norge and I was re-living those experiences as I wrote it.  Surprisingly though, getting it all in an EBook was another emotional challenge.

You would think at some point it would stop affecting me like that...but it doesn't.  Remember though, the emotion is not one of sadness, not at all.  I am just so profoundly touched and moved by the whole experience, and little parts too, and now there is the love shown to me by many of the Alt for Norge fans that also touches me deeply.  It is all really quite wonderful, it makes me feel blessed on an almost continuous basis.

I have decided to charge $15 for the book when it is ready.  That is the price of one Norwegian beer in a bar.  I am hopeful that people think of it that way; as though they ran into me in a bar and offer to buy me a beer.  In exchange, I tell them my whole story.  There will be video links in the book that connect to corresponding Youtube episodes as well.

I plan on using any proceeds I get from the book toward my eventual return trip to Norway, with Lulie.  I have an idea that while I am back in Norway I could post where we will be in different cities at different times, and I will invite all our Friends to come and meet us.  I think that would be just great...getting to meet all of the people that have so impacted my life and my view of the world in these past months.

So that's it for now.  I will be blogging about a variety of subjects but they will all have a common theme; life, and making it better.  Your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Until next time.

Monday, July 8, 2013


DAY 50 - The last day
(June 12)
Going home

I woke up in the airport hotel.  In the moments as consciousness was returning to me I forgot.  I forgot I had been eliminated.  I forgot that this was the last day I would spend in my beloved Norway...I just forgot all that.  Instead I awoke exhilarated, ready to meet the day, to experience and tackle whatever was before me, just like I had for the previous 49 days.  But, then I remembered.

I just lay there then, as though the air above me had become so heavy that I could no longer move.  Perhaps, if I didn't start moving, I would not have to leave?  Now I was full of the realization that in a few moments, I would be leaving the landet av min forfedre.  It was in short...a horrible feeling.

I am looking forward to seeing home.  I want to hug my family, I want to see my dog and visit all the animals, I am looking forward to all that, yes.  But at the same time it is so terribly bittersweet.  I simply do not want to leave this place...this new home, this land where the bones of my ancestors rest, where they sweat and bled and laughed and cried in just such a way that many, many years later...I was born.  If they had done anything different, perhaps I would have never existed?  But I DO exist, because they existed!  And, I love them.  I love my ancestors and I love this country, and the people who live in it and keep it going.  I love my Norwegian relatives even though I didn't get to meet them.  I love Vebjørn Skogg and his lovely family who I stayed with in Stranda.  I love those people at Bevø campgrounds who were so kind to us.  I love my fellow cast members, and the people on the crew who put up with us everyday, The people at TV Norge, and O'Connor casting.  Hmm...sounds like I love everybody.  I guess right now, I do.

Getting over my wake up sadness now.  Now the prevailing feeling is one of sheer gratitude.  What a lucky, lucky man I am!  I have had the experience of a lifetime, I have done and seen things I have yearned to since I was a small boy.  I am so thankful to the Gods for bestowing this responsibility upon me. 

I think maybe best of all...I have secured a spot in time that will become part of the legacy I leave for my descendants.  It gives me great comfort and peace to know that my great, great, great, great grandchildren will have an opportunity to see me...to see me living, living as my full being in the land of my fore fathers!  They will have a sense of who I am, because during this whole journey I made sure I was always myself.  Hopefully, it will make them proud that they came from me...that is what I like to think.

At the airport now.  I had some good talks with mama Christine, she has been very kind and understanding.  My plane boards in a few moments.  oh...this really sucks! 

Did I do enough?  Did I do the best I could?  I have to ask myself these things, it's only natural.  I can't think of any big misstep I made, I can't think of anything I would have done different...but, I feel like I am being punished, forced to leave this place I love...punished, for what?  Intellectually I know the truth; I know I am not being punished, I just didn't win, and I have to leave now.  Those are the rules and this is a game after all.  I didn't win because it was time for me to go home...I cannot argue with that.  My new destiny awaits me and I have an obligation to go see what it is, and embrace it the best I can.

The plane is starting to board now.  I guess this is it.  I will miss writing in this journal everyday...it has been quite a comfort, a good way to unravel my mind.  I will write up to the last minute though...I'm not going to write on the plane, because I won't be in Norway then.  This journal, this story is about a strange looking man who the Gods favored enough, to send him to the land of his fathers fathers father.  As soon as I get on that plane, the story ends.

Oh...Norway!!   Thank you, thank you so much!  I will miss you, but I promise...I will return.  I have so many memories right now.  Like right before you die they say your life flashes before your eyes, well, right now all my memories of Norway are flashing before mine.  I remember the faces of children that noticed me and smiled, I remember the kindnesses of store clerks, and hotel people, I remember the spectacular scenery's, the jokes, the tears and fears of my fellow Americans.  In this moment it seems like I can remember everything. 

This will be my last entry, I will be on the plane in less than a minute.  I will close with this; I am so profoundly proud, and honored to be a descendant of this great country called Norway.  I felt at home in a way I never have before, as though my DNA remembers, and was happy.  You will always be a part of me Norge, always, until there is no breath left in my body.  I will return, and when I do...it will be a happy day.

Good bye, and thank you
Tusen takk, Jeg elske deg

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

DAY 49

DAY 49
(June 11)
No more episodes

We arrived in Copenhagen.  I said my final good byes to the remaining cast members, this time with a definite aire of finality.  It was another emotional experience.   They went off to explore Denmark, while I was taken to the airport to fly back to Oslo.  I drew Othala this morning.  Ancestral property...interesting.

1350 - 1:50 pm.  Now I am sitting on the plane that will fly me back to Oslo with the crew, I'm glad I get to hang out with them a little more.  Tonight I will stay at an airport hotel under the supervision of Mama Christine.  She will give me all the information I need and early tomorrow morning I will fly back to America.

Brita told me that this evening Christine will let me call home so I can let everyone know I am coming.  It's going to be very weird, calling home,  not sure why, it just seems like it will be very weird.  I don't want to go home...not yet.  Of course I miss my family and my animals and my home...but, I'm just not quite ready to leave.  Now I will miss my new friends; the wonderful crew people, the other cast members. 

It's a strange thing I'm feeling now; both happy and sad at the same time.   In complete awe and thrilled by the opportunity I had to take part in this experience...but at the same time, my heart is breaking, and I feel like crying.

Actually, the notion of going home seems almost more surreal than coming to Norway did.  My home, my family is in America...but I have family here too, and I did not get the opportunity to meet and know them.  At least they will know I exists now, that is something.  Yes...my home is in America...but my spirit, my soul wants to stay in Norway.  I feel differently here than anywhere else on earth; it's as though the cells of my body recognize that I am back where I belong and they all relax.  Or maybe, it is an ancestral memory activated deep in my subconscious?  I don't know...but I know I want to stay.

It will be difficult conveying to everyone at home what I have been through, and the magnitude of this experience.  I know they will have a lot of questions, and my answers will not seem adequate, at least not to me, because this experience is impossible to put into words.  It defies language.  I don't yet know how I will be, how I will act. 

I'm going home...but that notion just isn't computing right in my brain...because, I am home already.  How can I be going home, if I am home?  Even as I write this, I wonder if anyone except others who have been on the show can understand the feelings I am trying to speak of.

It is all very strange, and wonderful, and sad, and happy, and thrilling, and spiritual, and profoundly moving.  I'm sure I will be ok.  I will get used to being home again.  I'll stop writing now, and relish this time, breathing Norwegian air, on my last night in Norway.
(view out the hotel window, my last night in Norway)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


DAY 48
(June 10)
Episode 8

Today is a big day; I face elimination.  When I drew runes this morning, two came out together; Eihwaz and Ansuz.  Both deeply powerful runes, I won't rush to any interpretation of them.  Besides, any thing I interpret now would be influenced by my anxious state of mind as I get closer to finding out what the elimination challenge is.

Last night was our last night at Bevø camp grounds, and it was a great night, one of my most enjoyable in Norway actually.  I stood around having beers and talking with good Norwegian men, my new friends.  They were mostly around my age and they were truck drivers, carpenters, roofers and the like...real men, my kind of guys.  When I get back to Norway I will surely have to visit these men again at Bevø.

Today we will leave Bevø at 0930 and go back to Oslo.  There, we will get on a ship bound for Denmark.  We have been told the elimination will happen on that ship, and it will happen today.  Then afterwards we will sleep on the ship, I think it is a 16 hour voyage or something like that.  When the ship arrives in Copenhagen the eliminated person will leave and those who remain will be able to explore Denmark for a bit before heading back to Norway.

The ship itself is a smaller sized cruise ship, it has a casino and nightclub and everything.  So, I feel confident that the elimination challenge will have something to do with the hospitality aspect; like being the entertainment in the night club, or being a bartender...something like that.
(The ship to Denmark!)

I will not draw runes to see who is going home.  I am just too close to it, it would be too difficult to be objective.

I went and said goodbye to the beautiful coastline at Bevø today, and thanked the wights of that land for their hospitality.  I walked on beaches of huge solid granite monoliths amid the sandy spots, I gazed out at the shoreline dotted with granite islands that supported a population of struggling pine trees.  I sat for a bit and watched the swans swimming by with their goslings in calm waters...it was beautiful. 

However, sitting there in the beautiful quiet, I was trying to get rid of a "feeling" that had come over me.  It was very strange; on one hand I remained confident and sure of myself and deliriously happy with my whole experience so far...but on the other hand, there was this sense of foreboding.  It made me uneasy in light of what today was all about.  I kept trying to shake the feeling, to think it out of my head...but it remained, curious.  I normally have little trouble eliminating unwelcome thoughts.

Now it is 1408 in the afternoon, I am on the ship in my little cabin.  In about 30 minutes we will find out what the challenge is.  First we drew straws to get our order; Jonathan is going first, Jessica second, and me last.  Now I am almost certain we will be performing...and if we are, I think it is a good thing to go last.
(My little cabin on the boat)

We were brought out to Henriette, we stood there while we got all the camera shots we needed.  Then out walked the person that would be officiating over our elimination;  he looked like an old Norwegian cowboy carrying a guitar.  Turns out his name was Sputnik, and he had a real famous song back in 1986 that was wildly popular.  He sand the song for us then, it sort of sounded like an American country tune, except it was in Norwegian.

Then we found out that each of us would have to learn a verse of the song, and the chorus, and perform it live with Sputnick on the stage of the ship nightclub.  The audience would then vote for their favorite.  The one with the least votes would have to leave Alt for Norge.

Initially I was thrilled!  I sing a lot of karaoke, my family is very musical, I have no problem performing in front of people and I have a good memory!!  It was as if this competition was tailor made for me.  I almost felt it would be unfair to the other two.

I learned my verse quickly, in about 20 minutes, the chorus too.  Feeling very confident, but that strange sense of foreboding was still lingering around from earlier.  Weird.

Sputnik then did a little practice with each of us separately.  That went really well, Sputnik seemed impressed with me, though I wasn't sure because he didn't speak a lick of English.  There was something about him that reminded me of my dad, maybe it was the cowboy hat, and the age?  Whatever it was, during one of my interviews on camera I was asked a question about him and the tears just came from nowhere.  Seeing Sputnik just made me miss my dad a lot.

Next, we all did a rehearsal on stage live with Sputnik and the music.  I wasn't concerned at all...I knew my verse well.  When it was my turn for this practice something weird happened; the words that I knew so well just evaporated from my brain, they were just...gone.  So, my rehearsal went terrible and now, for the first time I think since coming to Norway, I was nervous.  Even weirder; as soon as I stepped down from the stage the words came back.

I immediately went into super practice mode, drilling these words into my brain over and over again.  I am really good at memorizing things and I just could not figure out why the words left me on stage...nothing like this had ever happened to me before.  It didn't make any sense, it even made me feel a little angry, and helpless, and scared that it would happen again when it really mattered.

Jonathan was quite nervous as well, Jessica was very focused, and I was still in super practice mode right up until the time of the competition.  The other two were not bringing notes with them on stage.  I was torn; What if I couldn't remember the words again??  Then I would look like an idiot, and lose!  In the end I decided to just bring the words on a tiny piece of paper just so I could refer to them if I needed to.

Jonathan went first, it seemed like he slaughtered some of the words, but he danced and hopped around on stage a lot and seemed like he was having fun.  Jessica did pretty good on the words and also employed a lot of physical antics; she even took off her boot and hit Sputnik on the head with it, the crowd (it was a packed house) really seemed to like her. Then I went, and, I sucked to make it real simple.  By the time it was my turn I had become so paranoid and focused on the words...I got though the words, but that's all I did.  I forgot to perform, I forgot to have fun.  There was no dancing or showmanship from me.  As soon as it was over I realized my shortcomings, and I was certain that I had lost.  Like I told them in an interview; if I had been in the audience, I would not have voted for myself.
(The infamous performance that sent me home.  See me reading my notes?  Sputnik looks cool though.)

When the results were announced I really wanted to take it like a man, and I think I did a good job of that.  I get emotional pretty easy, but usually only when I am touched or moved.  When Henriette said I was going home I was sad, but I knew it before she said it, and I wanted to be strong for my friends that were left...because I knew they were going to be sad.

I was surprised though, at how emotional the others got.  Even Todd, who I had not seen cry once during the whole show, was crying.  I was told later that after I left it got very emotional.  Apparently, these people really liked me.  Todd and Jessica both gave me great compliments when they said goodbye.  They told me their life was better because they knew me.  Todd told me that knowing me made him a better man.  They both said that they want to come and visit me and they want their families to know me, that they wanted me in their lives forever.  Wow!  I was blown away by that...and profoundly touched.  I didn't see it until I watched the show, but sweet Amy said on camera through tears that I was the closest thing to a father she had known.  Jonathan and CJ got a little blubbery as well.

The whole thing left me feeling so honored, and so humble.  So happy, to realize that I had some impact on these other people that were strangers just a couple months ago, but who now were my dear friends.  I can't really express it any more than that...I don't have the right words.

Since we were on a boat, I couldn't leave.  So I was able to have one last night with the cast and crew, and I was really glad about that.  Thor and Steinar, the producers, and several others on the crew told me some very nice things, some of them cried as well.  Everyone on the crew was sad, and gushing with thanks and condolences.  Mama Brita told me I was a great man, and cried.  Camera men and sound guys were hugging me as though I was their relative.  I am so honored, and surprised, that I was able to touch so many.  Many of them predict I will be loved my Norway as well, we'll see about that I guess.  I am so very, very, extremely touched and moved by it all.

As for me?  I'm actually ok.  My final conclusion is that I could not remember the words because I was not "allowed" to.  My purpose here, and the deal I made with Freya had been fulfilled.  It was simply time for me to go, so the universe is sending me on to my next adventure.  It all happened exactly how and when it was supposed to.  Of course I would have loved to stay...but that was obviously not the grand plan of things.  I have no regrets.  I was true to myself and my Gods, I did the best I could, and the best I was "allowed" to do.  When my great, great grandchildren watch this someday, I hope it makes them proud.
(An emotional good bye with Henriette, before I came back to america.)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

DAY 47

DAY 47
(June 9)
Episode 8

This morning I got up and said Sigdrifa's prayer, then I drew a rune.  I was hoping the rune would give me some insight into how we would fare in today's competition.  I drew Fehu.  Cattle, mobile wealth, money, but also a fire rune and a rune associated with Freya...so I'm not sure what it means.  I am feeling a little out-of-sorts, there is a strange feel to the air.  I think it might be because we are getting so close, there is so much at stake.  I don't know...

This morning they are supposed to film us having breakfast and maybe swimming.  Turned out Jonathan and Todd went swimming, I chose not to because I actually feel like I am coming down with a little cold or something.

The competition was announced, and at first I was not happy about it.  Henrietta told us it was shopping...and I hate shopping.  Then we got some more details and learned that we were going to go into Sweden, we would spend all the money they gave us and bring our purchases back to Norway.  Then they would figure out how much it would have cost to buy the same things in Norway, and the team that "saved" the most money would win.  Kind of a crazy competition.

Because blue team won the first miserable competition they would start out with 3,000 nok, and we would start with 2,900, not a huge advantage it doesn't seem.

We had four big stores to shop in.  We were strategizing about what to buy that would be the most different back in Norway; meat, tobacco, alcohol, something else?  We were talking to other shoppers and asking them what they thought.  Finally, in one store we found there was a sale on Capri sun juice packets...the little bags of juice with a straw you poke into it.  It was a ridiculous price, and a better value than anything else we could find.  Immediately I knew our only chance was to spend all 2,900 nok on nothing but that, Jessica agreed, Jonathan took some convincing but the math finally sunk in with him and he went along with that idea. 

We were driving an SUV, and it was completely full of juice.  I felt confident that if the other team didn't stumble onto the same sale that we would win this.  If we don't win it...then either me, Jessica, or Jonathan will be going home tomorrow.  I understand why I drew Fehu this morning; this competition is all about money, and that is one of Fehu's strongest representations.

Well...the other team did stumble onto the same sale, I have never seen so much juice in one place before.  With their advantage they wound up winning by  a measly 35 nok...about 5 bucks.  Remarkably, we bought all that juice for about 22,000 nok cheaper than it could be purchased in Norway!  We gave most of it away to the local kids.

Had a great time tonight hanging out with the locals, I will write more about that tomorrow.

Now it is late, I am sitting here by the sea thinking about the day, and my whole time here in Norway.  There is a definite sense of foreboding...one of us will go home tomorrow and I so don't want it to be me.  I will make an offering, meditate for a bit and then go to bed.  Tomorrow will be a very interesting day.
(One of the many pretty spots at Bevø where I liked to sit.)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

DAY 46
(June 8)
Episode 8

I'm up early today, before the alarm.  I drew Uruz, a good rune I think because I suspect today's challenge will be a bit more physical, and the vitality and strength of Uruz will come in handy.

I am looking forward to this episode.  After this episode it is just the semi-finals, and then the finals.  I feel episode 8 is a critical milestone and I am looking forward to the challenge of it.

After lots of secrecy and some driving, we finally found out that we will be staying at a Norwegian RV Park.  I guess the idea of it is to see first hand how Norwegians spend their leisure time, apparently camping is a big deal here, nice to know.  I am on the red team, with me are Jessica and Jonathan.  Team blue is Todd, Amy, and CJ.

We had our first team challenge...absolutely everything went wrong that could ever go wrong, it was a disaster, and we were slaughtered.  The challenge was that we had to drive a small SUV pulling a camper trailer, we had to park it exactly in the red lines that were on the ground.  Then we had to unhitch the camper, pull out table, chairs, a grill, meat, and a couple other things.  We had to start the grill, put the meat on it, and all of us be sitting at our place settings...OH, we also had to erect a little fence around our "yard".  The team that did all that in the shortest time would win.

I am a very good backer...I am a truck driver after all.  I can back up anything so it only made sense that I would drive and back the RV into the space.  I was doing that, intending to correct the angle at the last minute, I think I was on target.  But to Jessica and Jonathan it looked like I was coming in crooked, so they were yelling corrections for me, which really screwed me up.  I'm not blaming them...we were all trying to do the best we could.  Eventually we got it in the space.  I was waiting for them to get me unhitched so I could drive away.  It seemed to be taking a long time.  Then they called for me to help so I jumped out and ran back.  I thought they were having problems cranking it...so I grabbed it and cranked the shit out of it.  It was raising the RV up, that's when I realized the locking mechanism was still engaged.  I undid the lock and pulled and the RV fell several inches and was free.

Next I was supposed to crank down the back legs while they did something else.  I had just got them down when they yelled for help again.  I ran to the front and to my horror saw that in my zeal I had cranked the frame right off of the wheel shaft.  We had to get it back in.  I tried lifting the tongue so they could insert the shaft back in the hole...but it was so heavy!  I couldn't understand why it was so heavy, it wasn't a big RV and the legs were in the middle.  So then I grabbed it, and with all my might lifted the tongue up so they could put the stupid wheel back in.  I strained my back a bit in the process.  I didn't realize it at the time...but I had forgot the back legs were down, that's why it seemed so heavy.  In the end I was almost lifting the whole thing off the ground!  No wonder my back was strained.

Not only am I a truck driver...I was also a fence contractor.  I have built miles of fence.  I was never so disappointed when I saw that the "fence" we were supposed to build was a flimsy wire thing.  There were no posts, nothing.  We were supposed to just stick the little wire ends in the ground and expect it to stay.  This was the most frustrated I had been on this show...the stupid thing kept falling over.  We only got it up after Jessica and Jonathan both helped.
(the trailers we were living in this week.)

(a view at beautiful Bevø camp grounds)

Jonathan was lighting the grill and scorched off some of his hair...the whole thing was a nightmare.  Eventually we got done and sat down...tired, breathing hard, angry and sweating.  I knew there was no way we could have won, and I was right.  The blue team beat us by a sizable margin.

After the challenge we had to walk through the campgrounds and invite strangers to our "party".  I was in no mood for a party after that fiasco, but I shook it off and got into the spirit.  The party was actually a lot of fun.  We met lots of really cool people and had a real nice time.

Later I wound up in a camper with Todd and CJ, talking and having beers with some Norwegian guys.  It was a good time, almost like being back home.  One of the guys was a truck driver, so we had a lot to talk about. 

Today sucked!!  But, I cannot complain, I am still in Norway after all, and still having the time of my life.  Tomorrow is a new day.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

DAY 45 - A day off

Day 45
(June 7)
Day off

Today is Thorsday, and we have a welcome day off.  This morning I drew Ehwaz, the horse...again.  Last time it was quite prophetic, I will make sure and pay attention to things today.

I woke up about 0800, I am the only one up...it was quite a night last night.  I volunteered to make omelets for everyone today, since I make the best omelets in the world and all.  There is polse and bacon, and cheese, and onions in the fridge, I should be able to do something with that.

Last night Esben (from Onkle Amerika) told me he would love it if I came to his house and met his kids and hung out for awhile.  I told him he would have to ask mama Brita, we can't do anything without her permission.  He went and talked to her and she told him there wasn't enough time, but maybe after the next episode, if I am still here...which I will be.

The omelette's turned out amazing as I suspected and everybody seemed to love them, except Amy, who isn't feeling well today.  I hope she feels better soon, shame to waste a day off not feeling good...we are in Norway after all.

Today I walked around with Todd and Jessica and Jonathan.  We took a boat out onto Oslo Fjord and it took us to the maritime museum.  I really wanted to go to the Viking ship museum, but they out voted me.  The maritime museum was really very cool though.  I think my favorite part was they had a dugout canoe, made from a huge tree ( I think oak) and it was 2,000 years old!!!  It is amazing to look at a piece of wood that old, much less a canoe, you could see the tool marks in the wood, made by people who lived 2,000 years ago, in Norway...amazing.

(A figurehead from an old Norwegian boat, at the maritime Museum.)

(I fit in quite nicely with famous Norwegian explorers)
(This is that Awesome 2,000 year old canoe, it's in a glass case.)

Tomorrow we have an early day; waking up at 0700.  That will make it a long day also, at least 12 hours, maybe more.  All we know is that we are going 90 minutes away, and we will have to wear some kind of "outfits".  Who knows...I gave up trying to guess these things a long time ago, it's impossible, I'll just wait and see what happens.  Doesn't really matter anyway, whatever it is I will still be in Norway and I have Freya on my side, and Thor as well.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


DAY 44
(June 6)
Press day

I drew Uruz this morning, The Auroch.  !st time I think since being here in Norway.  I love this rune, it speaks to me of wild untamable strength and vitality, health and virility.  Instinctive power.

So, Amy and I are the poster children for Alt for Norge, like I have said before; probably because she is black and I am...unusual.  I understand they want to use the most visually distinctive people, and I don't mind at all, it should be very interesting.

We went to the TV Norge main office in Oslo.  There were the cast, producers and directors there for all the shows coming out in the fall, Alt for Norge being one of them.  It was sort of surreal and rather fairy tale like, walking around knowing we were one of the "special people".  Oh, they also had fantastic snacks!!  A whole table full, and I wasn't shy about getting to know it.
(Amy and Me Posing at TV Norge)

They had made a little movie, a montage of all the different shows.  For our show they showed some pieces of the home town clips.  It caught me off-guard; when I saw my dad on the screen I kind of lost it...I just started crying.  I didn't realize how much I missed him and everyone back home until I saw that clip.  Tonight we will come back with our other contestants for kind of a press party, it should be fun.

Wow...Fun it was!!  We sort of did the same thing as this morning only on a much larger scale.  There were probably 500 - 600 people there in the big room.  Amy and I had to wait back stage and come out when they called us, sit down in front of all those people and speak with the guys on the stage, they were two comedian type guys, very nice people, and funny too.

When we were done we went and found a place to sit in the audience until that part was over.  I sit down, and I get a tap on my shoulder...I turn around and its Tom and Esben from the Dansk og Fingeren show, Onkle America!!  I had met them the year before when they came and did a show with the kindred where I live.  It was great to see those guys.

After that it got really bizarre.  Everybody in the whole place knew who I was!  All these strangers coming up, saying hi, wanting their pictures taken with me, wishing me well...weird.  But very cool.

I met some really interesting people; there was Kriss Kaspersen, the host of a traveling nature show.  He and I hit it off really well, super great guy and I really respect the work he does, he promotes conservation in his show.  He talked about maybe doing something with me in the future on his show, or coming to America...could have been the open bar talking though.
(Getting ready for the party on the roof, this is one of our producers, Steinar...great guy.)

(One of the open bar stations...up on the roof.)
(View from the top, over Oslo.)
(It was a great night, I'll never forget it.)

As per usual, some of my American friends got a little tipsy...some more than others, but I won't go into details here.  Everybody was having a fantastic time.

It was a surreal, magical, fantastic evening.  It made us all feel special somehow, it was great fun.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

DAY 43

Day 43
(June 5)
Episode 7

This morning I drew Berkano;  the white lady of the forest, growth renewal, vitality and a culmination of that which has gone before.  Today is the last day of this episode.

I asked the Norns to reveal to me, with a one rune draw who will be eliminated today.  They showed me Ingwaz, Freyr, Frey.  definitely male energy, so it is between CJ and Austin.  Of these two the most Vanic, the most like Freyr I would say is Austin.  So, that is my interpretation; Austin will be going home today.

1807 - 6:07 pm  -  The runes, and my interpretation of them were correct.  Austin went home, losing in one of those memory games.  I will miss him.  I really enjoyed getting to know Austin on this adventure, and he wasn't anything like I expected him to be.  He's a down to earth, good guy.

Tomorrow Amy and I have to do a press conference at 0845, then at 4:00 we all go to a TV Norge party of some kind.  I think they chose Amy and I because, well, visually we stand out the most; Amy being black and me, well...being me.  Thursday will be a day off, then Friday we leave but we are only driving 90 minutes to our next location.  It could be the farming episode!!  Oh, I really hope it is, I am ready to get dirty doing some farm work.

CJ won the spirit award, I believe it is the last one, because after episode 8 there are no more teams.  He deserves it, he has grown a lot on this adventure I think.  It guarantees him a spot in the semi finals.  The way I understand it, episode 9 is the semi finals, and the final episode are the finals.

Man...I really, really want to make it to the last episode.  And then I want to win!!

The runes are powerful, and they have been very accurate.  Thursday I may delve a little deeper and ask who will go home in the next episode, still thinking about it.

Well that wraps up episode 7, and it has been a blast...really fun.  Meeting the Swedes and getting to know Oslo a little better, the pie war, it was all great.  It was also nice to have won so decisively both times and not be in the elimination.  Hopefully the next episode will be just as good.

Monday, June 3, 2013

DAY 42

DAY 42
(June 4)
Episode 7

I was up very late last night just hanging out and talking with CJ.  We had a great conversation about philosophy, religion, random intellectual stuff, inter-family dynamics, etc.  I felt like I got to know him quite a bit better.  He isn't the easiest guy to get to know, he doesn't show all his cards right from the beginning, he is a great guy when you get to know him though.

I am the first one up at 0730, I finally drew Ansuz...I have been hoping to draw that.  It is Odin's rune, and we are living on Odin street, but aside from that it's just nice to see this rune, it gives me comfort.
(Odins Street)

This morning we are filming some "reality", that will include lots of long interviews and plenty of tedium, but I am not complaining.  We also found out we will be here until Thursday.

An unexpected thing happened!  After the interviews, as a reward for winning they took us, the red team to Holmenkollen (sure hope I spelled that right).   It is the biggest attraction in Oslo and one of the biggest ski jumps in the world.  It was very, very cool.  From the top the view is absolutely breathtaking, you can see for miles.  You can see how close agriculture is to the city, and see different parts of the city.  We had a real nice time there
Todd and Jonathan with the Holmenkollen troll
View from the top
That thing down there is a giant rock troll!
Tonight we are going to an Italian place for dinner, then that's about it for today.  Tomorrow will be very interesting, we have the Individual competition.  No Idea what it's going to be of course.
Here are a few more pictures from this episode:
This is Anna...She is my Swedish friend.
This is my headless, rock friend.
Looking over the city of Oslo at night.
When Norwegian seagulls pee, they don't mess around!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

DAY 41
(June 3)
Episode 7

This morning I drew Tiwaz...Hail Tyr!  I can not think of a better rune to start this day with; this day of the second team challenge.  It will be a good day.

I am really glad everyone made it home safely last night.

Whatever the challenge is today, it is supposed to be messy.  They want us to bring an entire change of clothes.

As I am writing this it is now 7:00 pm or 1900, we finally made it back to our very nice apartment on Odin's Gate (Odin's Street).  It was an eventful day to say the least.  It all started at 0800 with them filming us waking up.  Then they took us to an RV/Campground, where we waited around forever...literally, hours.  Eventually we were taken to Henriette and introduced to the second team challenge.

As we approached we saw a roped off area, at either end was a table, and the tables were loaded with pies, which were loaded with whipped cream.  Henriette was standing behind one table and there were six Swedes standing with her in yellow and blue Sweden shirts.  In didn't take a genius to figure out that we were going to be throwing pies.

There were two teams of Swedes; 3 in each.  We, the red team went first playing one Swedish team, then the blue team played the other Swedish team.  Then we played the Swedish team we did not play the first time, and then finally we played the blue team.  So we and the blue team each played three matches total.

The rules were pretty simple; how many pies can you make hit your opponent?  They had several people on the sidelines counting each hit as it happened.  We were not allowed to watch the other teams matches.

The importance of the competition was put on "beating the Swedes".  Whichever team beat the Swedes most would win.  If we tied, then it would come down to who won between the red and blue match.

The whole thing was extremely messy, and extremely fun.  Since we couldn't watch we had no idea how the other team was doing, but we felt like we did very well, I was also confident because I had drawn Tiwaz this morning.

In the end it turned out that we won all three matches.  Blue team had one draw and two losses...we were the clear victors.  So, that means I am on to episode 8, and either Austin, Amy, or CJ will have to go home.  We will have half the people we started with, with only three episodes remaining.  Hail Freya!  Hail Tyr!  Hail Thor!

What a life I have!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Day 40

Day 40
(June 2)
Episode 7

This morning I drew Ehwaz; the horse.  As I sat looking at the rune an old saying associated with this rune came to me;  A well trained horse will keep you on the narrowest of pathways.  When things come to me like that I try to pay attention.  I need to really pay attention to myself this week, that is what it said to me.

It seems this time away from home is taking its toll on some of my fellow contestants.  There are some decisions being made I don't agree with, a little drama here and there.

Last night everyone went out to a dance club, Austin and I decided not to go.  Apparently there was some more drama at the club, people were going separate ways, some of them didn't get in until 0530.  Oh well, maybe that will give me some kind of advantage in  today's challenges?

I intend to win this week and be here for episode 8.  I intend to win the whole thing for the glory of my ancestors and meet my Norwegian family.  I just need to stay focused on why I am here.  We have been here for so long now it would be rather easy to lose sight of the prize.  Even though this show life is very different from our regular lives, it has now sort of become our regular life.  Traveling, challenges, being told what to wear and when to poop...it almost seems "normal" now.  But it isn't, and I am here for a very specific purpose.

WOW!  What a day!  Today we broke up in teams and went out in the street to talk with Norwegians about the relationship between Norway and Sweden.  It was pretty fun, met some really cool people.  Then for the team challenge we had to actually, physically round up as many Swedes as we could and bring them back to the park.  The team that rounded up the most Swedes would win....crazy!

I was on the red team with Todd and Jonathan.  We literally destroyed the blue team with 37 Swedes to the blue teams 17.

Then the production company arranged for us to have pizza and beer with the Swedes in the courtyard of the apartments we were staying in.  We did that, it was fun.  I had some really nice conversations with several of the Swedes, they were really great people, and the women were of course...gorgeous.  To our surprise, after the pizza party then we had to all go to a night club and "Party with the Swedes".  Because, apparently the Swedes in Norway have a reputation, or stereotype of being partiers.

We got to the club and everybody started drinking...because that's what you do at a club.  They filmed me dancing with a couple of the Swedish girls, they filmed all of us doing stuff like that.  They were all quite a bit younger than me of course, but I made some good connections with Swedes of both genders.  They were people I would have like to hang out with even if I wasn't on this show.  It was really, really fun.

What happens when you make Americans and Swedes party together and give them alcohol?  People get drunk.  Some drunker than others.  We were supposed to be back at our apartment by 0100, getting everybody into a cab was like herding cats...or monkeys, drunk monkeys.  Then once we all got back, some people left again into the night.  Who knows, if I was their age I might have done the same thing, but I was thinking about the competition tomorrow and I didn't want to take any chances with my abilities...I need to be prepared to do anything!!

Indeed, the well trained horse will keep you on the narrowest of pathways.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Day 39

Day 39
06 / 01 / 2012
(Day Off)

This morning I drew Raidho, the wagon, the journey.  Perhaps that means I should walk around and explore the city while I have a chance.?  Yes, I will do that as soon as I am done writing in my journal. 

So far today all I have done is eat frokost, and lay in bed doing absolutely nothing.  It is nice to have a break from the constant rhythm of the show and just be still.  I don't have a room mate and I have very much enjoyed the solitude and being with my own thoughts. 

I watched a Norwegian fishing show for about 30 minutes.  There were about 20 guys fishing on a river in drizzling rain.  During the entire time I was watching not one fish was caught...riveting television.  American fishing shows only show the parts where the fish are caught so it was quite a different thing.  I later found out that the cameras were on these guys for a full day, it's something they do every year.

I have been thinking a lot about being here, on this show.  I believe I have so far accomplished my goal of being myself; being true to who I am and what I believe in the big picture.  I am proud of that.

Sometimes I feel like an old man, hanging out with all these kids, but not too often.  Sometimes I feel like their older brother, or uncle, and sometimes I feel like their dad.  I keep up with them all physically...we just know the words to different songs.  I don't feel old most of the time...most of the time, I just feel like Alf.

Episode 7 starts tomorrow, it is here, in or around Oslo somewhere.  We have no idea what the theme is or what we will be doing.  What I do know, is that I need to prevail, Gods willing...that is my plan.

Sitting around here with nothing to do really gets my mind wandering.  I am very curious how I will be received by the Norwegian people when the show aires.  I honestly have no idea how it will go, and there is no way to speculate, I just have to wait and see.

I hope of course that I am received well, that people understand and like the person I am.  If it goes otherwise I will deal with it, but it would be unfortunate.  It would be really awesome if my popularity or celebrity status would do something beneficial for my life later on; like help me sell a book, or be on some talk shows or something, that would be pretty cool.  But, it's silly to think too much about that sort of thing.  I'll just keep on being myself and hope for the best.