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I went to the grocery store with a nice list of items I had to buy, produced by the wife obviously.

I got inside the grocery store and this big-ass promo deal involving cheese caught mine and everyone elses attention, so we all panicked and went instant left instead of
passing these annoying cheese fucks. You just know they’ll be all over you trying to sell you their cheese. They even put up two workers on that stand, a 50% increase from normal
procedures. They meant serious business.

That was the first thing that made my mind wander off.

I picked up a few of the items, and kept going, looking at the list. Halfways into my shopping programme my mind wandered into the worlds of things to put on bread, and a mysterious
feeling of wanting fish in tomato sauce on my bread popped up. No fucking idea where it came from, I don’t even like fish that much. But even so, I picked up those too and
strolled over to get a few beers. The party tonight was cancelled, but I thought buying Spitfire Ale would cheer me up nonetheless.

And after buying that beer, I felt my whole mission was pretty much over and went to the register. I mean, you got beer, coke, candy and tomato sauce fish. You don’t need anything else.

Coming home I discovered to my complete surprise that I had forgotten two items on the list. And that list wasn’t very big. 7 items. So I got 5 of those items down, and came home with another extra 4 that wasn’t even on the list instead. So the wife just have to deal without any oat meal and mango fruit for a bit longer.

I have my beer though, and I’m happy.

homer

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The best gift I ever got was a Super Nintendo game called “Starwing”. I had gotten a Super Nintendo the year before, with one game included. It was time to move on from Super Mario World. I don’t remember if I actually lobbyed for “Starwing”, but I might have been.

Starwing

“Starwing” was just up my alley. Spaceships, flying and shooting. Everything I like packed in one game. This spaceship guy called “Fox” flew around in the Universe shooting anything coming his way along with his pals the eagle, a toad and a bunny. It couldn’t be any better. And the graphics was amazing of it’s time. The opening sequence of the game was breathtaking, watching Fox fly his Starwing craft thru a narrow tunnel and coming out low over a green looking planet with weird alien creatures flying around.

Starwing game

What was more fascinating though, was that I actually had a clue that I was getting the gift. I think it’s the first and last time I actually let my curiosity get the better of me. I doubt I unpacked it in secret before christmas eve, but I prolly peaked or felt my way thru to the answer. It’s a video game, and it might just be Starwing. What more fantastic though, is that the revelation of unpacking it was just as great even though I halfways knew what it was.

I played the game to death, rounding up my Starwing adventures by the following summer.

I remember my father used to say; In 15 years time, you will say “arr..we only had Nintendo in those days”. I thought he was out his mind. However, I have to admit the graphics on Starwing looks less
impressive today than it did to me when I was 14 years old.

15 years ago, all we had was a bloody Nintendo.

There, I’ve said it.

Merry christmas and a happy new year

Why SGU failed

As many people predicted, SGU was cancelled after just two seasons.

Gateworld, arguably the most famous and popular Stargate related website, put the blame on screening schedule and network agendas. While I do agree with many of the authors voiced opinions, I want to put the focus on the show itself, and not the politics involved. As with a airplanes crashes, almost never are there one reason why the crash happened. There can be plenty, human error and technical error happening at the same time. And I believe SGU’s problems didn’t stop with Sy Fy’s “interesting” (what does Wrestling got to do with sci fi?)approaches, the problems came from all directions.

SGU was different than SG-1 and Atlantis, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But, maybe they went a bit too far?

In SGU, the reasons SG-1 and SGA was succesfull was almost non-existant. The sense of action and adventure mixed with that special type of humour was all gone. When those key elements to the success of Stargate are gone, they have to come up with something else instead, and they didn’t succeed.

SGU was called “the most depressing show on TV”, and I see why. The characters were all full of flaws, like any human being is. It’s just that none of them gave the sense of being character a person might like. Rush, perhaps the best character, brilliantly portrayed by Robert Carlyle, just wasn’t very likable. He was, in short, McKay of SGA but without the humour. Rush was simply too realistic. Col. Young was supposed to be the O’Neill of 10 years ago, but all the characteristics that made you like O’Neill was never there with Young. He was a brave commander, but emo and at times quite annoying.

And this goes for most of the crew at SGU. Even Eli, the shows humour-box turned out to be a tragic character. The only one I see some form of fit in was Greer.

So, by replacing key factors in what made Stargate a major success, they replaced it with more realism, and a great deal of character drama. The episode Cloverdale is a good example. The team, stuck on a planet with dangerous plants, focuses on Matthew Scott’s “dreams” rather than what is actually taking part of the planet. Then you simply sit there and thinks; “but it’s the drama on the planet I want to see, not what Scott is doing while he’s in coma”. And it’s that stuff we want to see, the sci fi fans of Stargate. We don’t really want to see personal character drama on such a level. It’s the wrong product to the wrong kind of people.

While season two changed from season one, with more action and less drama, it was too late to get the viewers back. And I do put plenty of it on the actual SG fans who doomed SGU from the get-go, simply being upset that SGA was cancelled. Almost like trading in your mother for a step-mother, and no one likes it. So many SG fans didn’t think further than to the tip of their own nose, boycotting SGU. And now, they can collect their price money, no Stargate on TV. Perhaps no Stargate ever again. Because no matter how one looked at SGU, having Stargate on TV should be the main priority.

Also, if you want to change a TV show, the fact of keeping the same writers going into the new show is a doomed idea from the start. If you want change, get in new writes and shake things up. Not only did they show they had problems writing such a different drama, they also clearly showed they had problems coming up with new storylines. The sand alien in season 1 looked a lot like the black fog alien from the first episode of SGA.

But nevertheless, SGU showed more potential than any Stargate before them. Too bad the writers never grasped the opertunity, and too bad a conservative fan base never liked it.

Giving it five seasons, and a little changes, it might as well have been a serious contender to the epic Babylon 5 story. Now we will never know.

«I got to start somewhere».

That’s what I was thinking when I picked up the phone and called one of the most famous and almost mythical Norwegian fighter pilots from World War Two on 9th of April 2008.

I had just managed to create some form of deal with the publisher, after I put the whole deal in jeopardy by underlining the fact; «since the memoars was so kindly given to me, I was also the one who should write the book». I thought it was only fair. So I played my best card, and was told never to do it again.

So, where does an amateur start when he wants to write a book? The longest amount I had ever written was my bachelors degree of a mere 40 pages. I would have to do way more than that. After been giving the go-ahead from Finns wife, I decided to start with the people itself. The remaining heroes from those dark days of WW2. Those who knew him personally and could give me direct access to his personality and life back in those days. It made sense.
So I finally got him on the phone with me. He did not sound happy at all. I coughed lightly and started introducing what I was trying to do. Write about Finn. Maybe he had some stories for me? Something I could use?
I wasn’t even done with my pre-planned speech before he cut me off.

«No, no, no! I was done with this years ago!»

«Oh, I am terribly sorry…»
And that was the end of that conversation. It could not possibly have gone any worse. I can imagine it being a bit like someone approaching Paul McCartney as his biggest fan on the planet and being punched in the gut just when he reach out to shake his hand.
Disaster. Absolutely devastated. Confidence shattered to pieces.
And after the initial shock came anger.

After everything I’d done for him and his comrades, spreading the word and absolutely idolizing these men for decades, I did not approve of such behaviour.

I struck back. I wrapped up his book, enclosed a letter and shipped it off to his home. If this was how he treated people like me, I did not want anything to do with his book.

After that was out of my way, I re-formed and started with letters instead. It worked better. The two others I approached, called me back promptly. I was invited for a chat at Wilhelm Mohr’s house, and Rolf M. Kolling tipped me off on several books I could read. With Mohr I had the pictures I needed, the rest I could do alone and with the help of Finns fantastic wife Gurli.

So, how does one write a book about a real life fighter pilot 60 years ago?

I had no bloody idea. I just had clear cut ideas of what it should look like in the end.

First, it couldn’t be boring. It had to be exciting. But it also had to be true to the real life story. Oh dear have I read many history books which was as exciting as watching gras grow. No way I would write a book like that. I would gladly sacrifice a few historical details for an entertaining book anyone could read. And I mean anyone.

So, I decided on writing in present tense, so everything happened «now» and not «back then». The more the book would feel like a movie to the reader, the better. So, I decided to patch my storytelling with Finns past tense words (his memoars), as a way of having someone speaking over my writing. It would also create a sense that my writings wasn’t fictional. And, I went quite far on keeping them true to the story at hand.

Three factors were important for the book. The pictures, the memoars, and the squadron operational record book (ORB). Having all those three, it all suddenly looked brighter. Without the ORB it would have been impossible to dig up those necessary details on the missions Finn was flying. Without the memoars, I would have nothing at hand to work with.

The first piece I wrote was the Dieppe raid. The second I wrote was the first chapter of the book. The best part I wrote was in my opinion his first Hurricane flight, were I relied heavily on a report written online about a present time Hurricane pilot going through the thrills of flying such an historic aircraft. The hardest parts I wrote was the Stockholm-route chapter. Why? Simple. I didn’t have the ORB, and had no idea where to turn to seek the information. My knowledge ended with 332 squadron.

Going into the writing of the most important section of the book, the time at North Weald, I had gotten into the flow of things. Sometimes I liked what I wrote, other times I despised it. Like with many musicians, I have not read my book once since I finished it. I’m already on other projects, having left it behind, but as with a musician, I’m very proud of the outcome. Especially due to the feedback.

Almost morbid, I soaked up my own experiences from online combat aviation and put them into the dogfights. I did not like it, but I used it. In retrospect I still don’t feel comfortable with it, as there is something sinister in mixing games with people dying in real life doing something similar. But, in the end, the book was better because of it.

Question was, how would the book fare with those who was there? The feedback from the remaining fighter pilots in Norway were for the most part short, but grateful letters. Rolf M. Kolling got a copy of the book and didn’t hesitate in inviting me into RAFA (Royal Air Force Association Norwegian Branch). I take it as a great, great honor to be asked by a former Spitfire pilot to be a member. Finns grandson told me how he got chills on his back reading about the events on the 9th of April. As it was my father who wrote that chapter, I take no credit!

But, the greatest feedback came from a surprising source. USA.

Without my knowledge, a Norwegian living in USA came across my website. He e-mailed me and told me how he had flown with Finn on many of the missions told in the last parts of the book. He also told me how he’d been sitting with his logbook checking the dates. Not only did he think I captured Finns spirit, he also thought well of my writing. With those words coming from him, I closed the door on the feedback question and whether or not people liked it or not. The right man approved it. I wouldn’t be more proud if a newspaper gave it a star rating. Don’t care. The right man spoke well of it. It was all that mattered.

I still don’t know if I like it myself. I haven’t read the finished product! I guess I will take others words for it.

A week after that 9th of april 2008 telephone call, the famous man called me back. He had gotten the book I sent him, and was very upset. He apologized greatly. He regretted his behaviour badly, and was kind of enough to invite me to his home whenever I was in the area. It would be pleasure, he said.

Then my regret also came. Two wrongs doesn’t make a right. To his wife I said I was very sorry for being so harsh. I regretted my actions as much as he did his. She told me not to worry, and that the book would be returned to me, signed. It did, with a personal message from him. again apologizing for the phone call we had.

I decided there and then to go to his home when my book was finished, give him a copy, shake hands and say goodbye as friends. Not sooner. I deliberately waited to take him up on his invitation so I would have the book with me.

My work on «Gladiator» would take a whole year.

As I went to the annual Flying Legends airshow in England in July 2009, things were happening back home. As I was busy watching Spitfires grace the skies over Duxford, the famous fighter pilot passed away. It would take over two months before I discovered the news, missing it as I had been abroad, ironically watching Spitfires fly.

I sent him the book anyway, addressed to his wife. As planned, I wrote him a message in the book, as he had done with mine, apologizing for what had taken place.

It was full circle.

But not quite.

Everyone who have been stuck in an airport due to cancellations, stuck on trains due to malfunctions or in any other way have been in the middle of problems of travel got a story to tell. One lady from Italy gave off a long speech on her stottering English to a stranger at Heathrow on Thursday out of pure frustration. She just needed to get it out of her system.

And so do I.

We had just been having a great time in my fave city in the world, Edinburgh. My wife had gotten to her graduation and everything was swell. Until I saw that note no one really wanna see.
Plastered on the elevator of our hotel, the words “flight disruptions at Edinburgh” caught my eye. But, I didn’t truly believe it would be a problem. After all, the amount of snow
falling from the heavens wasn’t all that. Not in the eyes of a Norwegian. For the Scots, it was a disaster. Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 2

Noorit in Edinburgh

By 5pm Monday, we had gotten the word that our flight was cancelled. We were stranded. I took the first of many gambling choices that evening; Go for another night at the hotel, re-book our flight to Gatwick and take the long train journey down to London. We were set. We booked the 11:00am train the following morning. Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 4

Arriving at the station, very early, we quickly learned that most trains were cancelled due to the “severe weather conditions”. Luckily, we managed to get on the train leaving 10:30. The journey
was supposed to take 4.5 hours. I took almost 8. Trees fell on the track, electrical trains stopped and in Newcastle the London based driver of the train had not arrived. We were SO late, but
we thought it was well worth the long train journey. After all, we had tickets on a flight from Gatwick at 08:40 on Wednesday morning. My father had his own little command center back home, re-booking
our tickets, and booking a hotel for us at Hilton Gatwick for the night. Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 3

Arriving at King’s Cross Station around 18:00, we found our way to St. Pancreas station for the Capital Connect train to Gatwick. We got tickets easily, and got in line.
The platform was massively full, but as with London – a city I absolutely have started to despise due it’s over-populated streets, subways and train platforms, I didn’t think much of it.
Then the cancellations started to come in. All trains cancelled. No Gatwick for us. It felt like wherever we came, problems kept showing up. At one point, I suspected my wife was cursed, as she was also
tangled up in the volcanic ash mess in April. I still suspect she might be, but I can’t be sure. Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 1

Leaving the platform, my wife got in line to get our money back. We were desperate to get to Gatwick, so we opted to simply get a taxi and pay the amount needed to go there. Outside King’s Cross, I easily found a London cab, but he refused to go to Gatwick due to the “severe weather”. No chance. We were stuck. I took the decision to then proceed to Victoria station using another taxi, and we got there after standing in a long taxi que while the snow kept falling down. The taxi got tangled up in student demonstrations and the Queen visiting some place in London. Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 2

At Victoria station, everythin was a total mess. No trains were leaving, and people were left looking at the schedule boards with no hope of getting home. We were approached by two French-Canadians, and we hooked up for a few hours, trying to make our way to the holy grail of Gatwick. I pulled all our luggage over to the coach station, but to no luck. All busses were full. We dragged our feet back to Victoria, wanting to simply give up. I even toyed with the idea of going to Heathrow, but as things stood, it was not a real option. Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 2

By pure luck, one of our foreign friends were in front of the schedule board when a train to Gatwick was set up. He got on the phone to his friend sitting with us at McDonalds, and off we went once again.
The train made it all the way to Gatwick in the snowy weather, and we were set for a great night at the hotel before our flight home. Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 5

I got up very early the next morning. I went downstairs to check all the flights, and the screen showed them all as “on time”. I ran up to Noorit and told her to get out of bed, as the flight was on. Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 6

Just as we had packed our bags, I turned on the TV for a last quick look at the news. BBC reported that Gatwick now was closed. We couldn’t really believe it. Noorit went back to bed, while I
went to the South Terminal for a better look at things. Indeed, everything started to close down, and around 08:00, the message came that Gatwick was closed until 6am the next day. I ran into one
of our Canadian French friends again, and we exchanged phone numbers before wishing good luck to us all. The only positive thing coming from this epic disaster journey was that I got to talk with plenty of people. Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 1

Back at the hotel, I gambled on booking another night. Noorit tried to get online from the hotel, but amazingly enough, a quite posh hotel like Hilton Gatwick doesn’t provide complimentary Internet access. Come to think of it, even the shabbiest B n B’s sometimes offer free Internet! As my dad said, “At Hilton Gatwick, the charge you 5 pounds for just opening a the bathroom door”. Booking the room was lucky, as moments later, the hotel lobby was full of travellers that needed hotel rooms. At least we had a bed. Our Canadian friends certainly did not. Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 1

As hours progressed, I need to take another decision. Heathrow was now a real option. Should we simply go to Heathrow at once, leaving the paid hotel room behind, or should we gamble on staying
for the night, going up to Heathrow the next morning? While getting advice and listening in on other people getting advice, I decided – mostly against the advices I heard – to stay at Gatwick for the night. We were lucky, and managed to book an expensive flight with British Airways the next day (Thursday). We both agreed that we would fly as late as possible, as the weather conditions were supposed to get a little better coming Friday. We booked bus tickets for the 10am bus.I also decided to get up as early as humanly possible to get in line for whatever might be coming the next morning. Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 2

The next morning, weather was even worse. And when I say worse, I mean from a British standpoint. Weather from a Norwegian standpoint was more “shabby but alright”. The shuttles from the North to the South Terminal was now closed, meaning we could not get over to where I had purchased the tickets in the first place. Thankfully, National Express had another stand at the South Terminal. We were both shocked when we saw the message on their wall: “No buses leaving Gatwick, please do not buy tickets”. Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 0.1

We shook off the first shock and noticed people were buying tickets anyway, so I got in line to ask for more information. The nice girl behind the desk told us there was indeed one bus leaving at 07 in the morning, but nothing later. She was kind enough to change our tickets so we could get on it. It’s good we got up in time and managed to get on that bus, as no other buses left Gatwick this morning. Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 5

Driving out of Gatwick, we got a good view at the conditions. Again, from a Norwegian standpoint, it wasn’t very bad. All they needed was a couple of plowers and some salt to take the ice away. I guess they just don’t have them around. The motorway was a single lane for half the trip. Coming into Heathrow, the snow had decreased drastically, and we could see airplanes arriving at Heathrow. A very good sign. Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 5.5

Or so we thought.

Arriving at Heathrow around 8am in the morning, we had a great breakfast at a T5 restaurant. From 9am, the cancellations kept popping up on the screens. After an hour or so, over half the board was full of cancellations, and we could only watch in despair and shock how people lined up for refunds, re-bookings and hotel information. I was very happy I wasn’t in their shoes (again), but we both knew our flight at 18:55 was up for grabs. It could go either way. I don’t think I was ever more angry than during those hours between 11am and 2pm for this entire trip. Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 1

Very unhappy camper at Heathrow

By 5pm, the cancellations were less in numbers, so there was indeed glimmer of hope. The moment before the flight to Oslo appeared on the screen it was like watching your fave team struggling to hold on to a 1-0 lead in the Champions League final. I am prepared to find plenty of new grey hairs on my head, just haven’t deared to look yet. A Norwegian woman beside us got a phone call just moments before the flight was put up, and I could see her face dropping from something that was said on her phone. I thought it was all over.

Again.

Thankfully, her phone call had nothing to do with our flight, and she was on the 5pm flight, and not the 6:55pm flight, so we were good.

Terminal 5 is a fantastic place with state of the art technology and design, and we spent the next hours waiting to board the plane. Cancellations started popping up again, and the two flights before ours on the screens was suddenly changed to cancelled. We did get a gate though, but the message said “please wait”. What was going on now? Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 3

After another 30 minutes of nerve wrecking wait, we found out. The crew was not there. They were running late, but the BA personall confirmed we did have a plane at our disposal. Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 5

15 minutes a couple of British Airways stewardeses arrived. Absolute joy. We could board the plane! Happiness rating 1 out of 6: 5.5

Two hours later we finally landed at Oslo Airport Gardermoen. Ironically, the captain did the smoothest landing I have ever experienced. The British obviously can’t handle snow, but they do know a thing or two about landing passenger jets! Happiness rating 1 out of 6: Happiness scale shattered to pieces

Three days late, oh so many thousands of NOK’s lesser and extremely tired, we were back in our flat close to 01:00 in the morning.

where did they go wrong?

It’s hard trying to teach my mother over the phone how to work the DVD player.

“We want to watch this DVD, but the volume is loud!”
“So turn it down!”
“But it doesn’t work”
“Are you using the right remote?”
“Don’t know…”
“You have to use the TV remote…”
“Oh…”
“Does it work?”
“No…”
“So press the volume a few times..”
“Now it’s working”
“Ok..”
“But the DVD is in the middle of the movie, we want to watch the start”
“So, re-start it”
“How?”
“In your case, simply turn off the DVD player..”
“It doesn’t work..”
“So release the DVD from the machine and put it back in”
“I can’t find the release button”
“So look for it…”
“……”
“Ok..found it”
“Did it work?”
“No….”
“Ok, so stop the playback and then press Menu”
“Where’s the menu button…”
“On the DVD remote”
“They grey one?”
“Yes…”
“I can’t find it. I find play, stop and eject…”
“So look for it..”
“……………………….”
“Oh..ah..there it is, I’m at the main Menu now..”
“So go to the start of the menu”
“But this is an Israeli DVD..shouldn’t start be at the end?”
“No”
“Ok”
“….”
“Go back using the arrows, and then when you’re at the first clip, start it…”
“How…”
“I don’t know..it differs…try play…or the OK button”
“Ok…oh…well…no it doesn’t work”
“Did you try the OK button?”
“Oh..now it works..I’m at the start of the DVD!”
“Good”
“But the volume….”
“What about the volume”
“It’s too loud”
“So turn it down…”
“Oh..ok. Thank you”
“Ok, bye”
“Bye”

Life sucking vampires

Ever had one of those days? Everything is swell. You’re doing good at school, work or anywhere else you might spend your day. Things seems to go your way, the tasks you do all seem to be
alright, and outside the sun is shining. Feels good? It is.

Until that one life-energy sucking vampire comes along.

Then you’re shit out of luck.

You might spot and hear it some distance away, bitching about their day so far. The vampires car might be close to breaking down, the dentist might have charged a shit load of money for the latest filling, or work just seems to be overwhelming. Because, there is ALWAYS something. There have not been a day yet in the life of the vampire where things
have gone the right way. And even if it did, to admit would be a total failure, because then the vampire wouldn’t really feel that important.

If you’re ready for it, you might be able to shut off your ears and focus on whatever you’re doing, but be quick,

Slip just a little bit, and the vampire will suck your day away in one big swoop, and the survivors are few.

So there it comes, grabbing your attention for that tiny fraction of a second it need to fuck up your day royally.

15 minutes later, after listening to the vampire speak, your day is now officially ruined.

School seems useless in the end, your tasks at work are full of errors and incomplete, and the sun is giving up for a low cloudbase and rain. And, if you ever have to go to the
dentist you just know you’re absolutely fucking screwed. The vampire did say so, and you can’t fight the fact it’s right.

Looking outside, the first drops of rain have already come, and you watch the vampire stroll away for it’s next victim.

Finally, after stumbling back home dazed and confused over what happened your energy for the day, you fall into your sofa desperately
trying to re-charge your batteries.

After all, there’s more vampires strolling around tomorrow. You better be ready.
vampires