Visiting Moth


Official picture of the house for rent. Well, it will not be for rent long.

Today I visited Møll, where there was a nice house for rent.  The name of the small farming village literally means “Moth” in modern Norwegian, but it is more likely to be related to “mill”, or perhaps some old word no longer in use. There were no moths that I could see, in the house or elsewhere.

I did express my sincere wish to rent the house, and my willingness to pay some months in advance (provided, of course, that the contract stipulates at least the same number of months as advance notice  – we can’t have the landlord just take the money and boot me out after all! Not that he seemed the type to do that.)

There is serious competition though. It is not my place to write in public details about that, but there are a couple others who are just as desirable tenants as I am, so I have to be prepared to look elsewhere.  The same company (and presumably the same guy, since he runs it) has another house to let from December, so unless he for some obscure reason blacklists me, that might be worth looking at as well.  I suspect the competition will be even harder for that, though, since it is larger.

This house is not particularly large. It also seems to be old, or at least old-fashioned. It is so well kept that I cannot guess its real age, but I passed through at least one interior door that must have been built before Scandinavians reached their current height.  There were also many small rooms rather than few large ones, this is also typical of the old style.  The windows were also of a type I remember from my younger years. One particular oddity was that several of the rooms were on slightly different levels, so that you had to take a fairly large step up or down to enter them.  Not something a healthy person would think twice about, but still, strange.

All things considered, I don’t think the house warrants a higher rent than what he asks.  It is not a bargain, but not gouging either.  The reason why it is still my first choice, however, is the surrounding landscape.  Møll is a typical farming community. It lies on the east side of the river, which is far too big to cross except by bridge.  There is one such bridge north of the stretch of valley which comprises the Møll farms.  Crossing that bridge you will come to a small village center with shoportunity.  In Møll itself there is a gas station. I assume that, as is the rule here in Norway, it also sells snacks, kiosk literature and some everyday food at higher prices than a normal shop.  If I move there, I will surely find out.

Walking through the valley on one of the last days of fall was to be immersed in beauty.  Despite the late time of year, there was still green grass on some fields where sheep were eating leisurely, stopping only briefly to look at me with curiosity as I walked by.  There are probably not many people walking by these days – even farmers use cars if they are leaving the farm. The fields may still be green, but the trees were getting sparse and the remaining leaves were red and brown more than yellow and orange.  The sky was overcast but dry.  Despite the road passing straight through the valley, and the occasional car speeding past, the small well-kept farms radiated a calm you rarely find these days. It was as if I was magically moved back to a time before everyone had to run and before you were expected to answer a letter within 5 minutes.

For this reason, most of all, I’d like to live in Møll.  Moths or no moths.  But if not, then I will go where I must.  We have not on Earth a lasting home.  Still, there is no reason why our temporary home shouldn’t be a good one if the opportunity is there!


Oh, and something memorable happened after I had seen the house and talked with the landlord.  The last bus was already gone, because there are very few buses going anywhere on Saturday night in Norway, least of all through some farming village.  (Saturday night is binge drinking night in Norway. It is traditional for the non-religious to drink to excess on Saturday and, if single, also on Friday.  For couples, Friday is vaguely thought to be lovemaking day, but obviously this will vary.  Anyway, Saturday night is not a good time to catch a bus, much less on a thinly populated route.  I could have called for a taxi, but they are hideously expensive in Norway for a number of reasons.  (Cars are hideously expensive in Norway, gas is hideously expensive in Norway, and wages are very high in Norway. )  It is not like I can’t afford it, since I don’t have the regular expenses of owning a car, but it seemed like a waste. So I started to walk toward Mandal.

OK, so perhaps I really am 50.  My NaNoWriMo novel this year has the working title “The Eternal Road”, but I was not expecting to literally walk one the last day before I start writing. But that was how it felt after an hour or so.  Of course, it probably did not help that I had not been eating or drinking since last night, except a couple spoonfuls of yogurt before I ran off from home.  I did not have blood sugar crash, as some people experience if they go long without food or exert themselves.  But in retrospect I think it would have been useful to drink some water at least…

Luckily I did not have to walk all the way to Mandal, just most of the way. Eventually I reached the Europe road (that is a literal translation, I guess it is similar to “interstate” in America, since it does connect Norway to other European countries as well as connecting the Norwegian provinces). Conveniently, there was a bus stop right by the crossing. Conveniently, there was a timetable that had not been vandalized.  Inconveniently, it showed that the last bus in a good while had passed 4 minutes previously.  Conveniently, the bus actually arrived as I turned around. Not quite a miracle, but still appreciated.

While such “synchronicities” (meaningful coincidences) may make me feel like a Main Character, another and perhaps more likely explanation is that Someone Up There has labeled me “fragile – handle with care”. After all, in a cosmic perspective, there is not a big difference in the sturdiness of a man and a moth.

Ubuntu install, GRUB rescue error


Obviously this picture is taken after the grub is rescued.

The subject line will make sense for those who desperately need this post.  I apologize to my normal friends for a line that looks like sheer insane babble. But such is life for us who dabble in the wild world of Linux, the free and rapidly mutating operating system for personal computers.

The version of Ubuntu that is realeased today is 9.10 (year 2009, month 10), nickname Karmic Koala.  I used the 9.10 RC (release candidate) that was available for download some time before release day.  It is stable and contains pretty much the same as the final version, with only a few downloads to bring it up to date after.  If you get it to run in the first place, that is.  I did not, at first.

It looked easy enough.  I booted from the live cd and chose install.  I answered some questions about localization and such, and then accepted its proposal to share the machine between Vista (which was installed on this laptop already) and Xubuntu (Ubuntu with a faster, smaller user interface).   It worked for a long time partitioning the disk, setting up the new and improved file system, ext4.  It is said to be faster and more secure than ext3, which is itself pretty good. Anyway, I wrongly suspected ext4 when things went bad. This happened when I rebooted the machine after the install.  Linux is much less hungry for reboots than Windows, but after a brand new install you still have to do it.  I did, and the operating system did not start. Actually, neither Xubuntu nor Vista.  Instead I got a black screen with the text

GRUB rescue>

I booted with the live CD, which lets you run Linux anyway but is fairly slow since it runs off a CD rather than a hard disk.  Still, I got online and could Google for  GRUB Rescue, GRUB install etc.  (GRUB is the programs that runs as soon as the machine starts waking up. It lets you choose which operating system to run, in my case it should have given me a choice between Vista and Xubuntu.) Unfortunately the sites I found were all extremely technical or did not work.  I tried to use the Find command to locate the existing Grub, but got an error message. I tried creating it in the most common position, but got another error message.  And of course when I rebooted I still got the Grub rescue message.

I looked through a couple technical-looking guides, and tried using something called grub-install, but it required information I did not have about the device names of the hard drives. There are no doubt ways to find this out, but then I would have to Google for that separately, and know the right keywords to search for.  Luckily I followed a guide that used fdisk -l (l for list, not the number 1) to create a list of those names.  And behold, the partition names fell neatly into two groups, that seemed to correspond to two hard disks.  But I had only one, right?

Turns out that Xubuntu had installed itself on my external hard drive, a WD Passport, which uses USB to connect to the laptop.  It was entirely on that drive, including the actual GRUB code.  The boot sector only linked to that … but it ran before the USB drive was connected, right after the machine booted.  So it linked to the empty void.  No wonder the machine panicked!

I ran the install again, this time without the USB drive attached.  This time it took a piece of the internal hard drive. I had to do it all over again, although it took less time than it had on the external disk.  Now it worked perfectly.  Of course, part of the Passport is now set up with a big Linux partition.  I will consider what to do with that when, or if, I need the space.  There is still plenty left.

I wish you all a happy new Linux!

Sixth-dimensional programmer


The Light is a source of absolute power, as I am sure I have told you repeatedly. But this time it is an illustration from the anime “The Laws of Eternity”.

I have thought about this so often the last month or two, I almost believed I had written about it already. So I better do, or I will think I have said all the words that should be spoken, and then they are lost forever.

I’ll use the concepts from Kofuku no Kagaku (Happy Science, formerly IRH) to look at a part of my life from a different angle. I don’t really expect westerners (or indeed most Japanese) to believe that the sect leader is actually from Venus etc. I certainly don’t, but then again I will just let that rest, because I honestly don’t know how literally that is meant. He does say right out that his description of the spirit world is NOT some kind of “other world” that we go to when we die. I already knew this. It makes a lot more sense if, as he says, these dimensions are all in your mind. (That does not make them any less real: Everything is contained by the human mind, even this “real” world. This is why Democrats and Republicans live in different worlds and cannot even agree on measurable facts, such as whether the planet is warming or cooling.) People think they have to go somewhere when they die, but we are actually “there” already. In my case, I think, somewhere in the lower reaches of the sixth dimension, although I am not sure if I can stay there.

Now, what do I really mean by “dimension”? We already agreed it was not a physical thing.

If you really were a materialist – which nobody really is in practice – then you would basically be like an animal. You would have no goals or values above what your instinct told you from moment to moment. But all of us actively remember the past (while most, if not all, animals only recognize it when they see it) and think about the future. This means we all have access to Time, the fourth dimension.

But according to Happy Science (and this is the least happy part of it) many people these days don’t have access to the fifth dimension, which is spirituality. For some reason, this is also called the realm of good (or realm of the good). I guess “spirituality” is not a perfect translation of the Japanese concept? I mean, ouija boards etc should probably not be included. Intriguingly, the voice in my head reminds me that the Bible (Jude, vers 19) supports the view that there are “natural men who don’t have spirit” (or “the Spirit” – obviously one must have some degree of spirit to be human at all, much less religious.) So, since I still have not found any explanation in Okawa’s book for this feature, I rely on the voice in my head (or heart) for the following: The fifth dimension is characterized by the ability to reflect on your life, see your imperfections and repent. Without this there cannot be progress or true spirituality. The “natural men” cannot do this. They will excuse or explain away their mistakes and not grieve over their sins unless they are caught and punished, in which case they grieve over their lost reputation and opportunity, but not their lost purity, otherwise they would have repented alone as soon as they became aware of it.

Well, even though calling me “good” would be a bit of an overstatement, I do keep afterthought, or self-reflection, and I do pent and repent over and over. (Sometimes even without being sick! No, really!) It is just that some things seem to find their way back in. Still working on this, but it does not seem to be unique to me. And as Smith’s Friends say (this is another group of people again, and pure Christian, no Buddhism at least that they know of): The sin you see as most grievous is the one you first get victory over. This seems to be perfectly, accurately true. If you think your sin is not a crime and God is just easily squicked, then it will come back again and again, like muddy footprints in a house where the children never learn to take their shoes off.

The sixth dimension, finally! It is the Realm of Light. All who live here know that there is a higher power, which they may call by different names, but they are all aware of it. And not just in a theoretical sense, like when you learn in geography class that in Japan there is a mountain called Mount Fuji, but more like living in a place where you can view Fuji-san from your window. In the same way, one who lives in the sixth dimension, or should we say, the sixth dimension lives in him, is well aware of the Light. This divine Light is different from the light of the material sun, and it has two unique properties. One, it is able to create. Two, it is able to grow. When the divine Light meets a soul which has affinity with it, that soul will radiate more Light than it received, as if the Light was a living, growing thing. When the Light shines on a group of souls that are drawn to it, it can move from one to the other and back, growing all the while, so that they together radiate a great amount of Light. This is how a true religious organization should work. But this is not restricted to religion. Andrew Cohen talks about “enlightened communication”, and says that there is a greater consciousness beyond ego, which can be reached by groups of people who dedicate their talk to a greater purpose and abstain from making references to themselves. This greater consciousness has abilities beyond what each member of the group has, and even beyond the sum of the members of the group. I will add that exceptional cases of teamwork all over the world may be caused by Light amplification, for the Light has many projects going on.

People from the sixth dimension are active in various areas, doing exceptional things. They tend to be leaders in their fields, or outstanding artists or inventors, people who create something of lasting value. They do this not only by their own inherent connection to the Light, but also by the inspiration of their fellow spirits. Each of us has a guardian angel and many of us has one or more spirit guides, according to Happy Science. These are high spirits from the sixth realm or above who assist us when we seek to achieve something worthy but which we would have a hard time doing on our own. The muse of an artist or writer could be such a being from the sixth dimension, who is currently not in the flesh but is aching to contribute to the world through acting as inspiration (a word clearly related to spirit). I cannot swear that this is true, but long time readers will vaguely remember that I have written about this years ago.

When I was creating the debt reclamation software that later helped numerous companies here in Norway save millions, I would frequently get revelations on how to write a particular piece of code. It was as if someone had figured it out for me and placed it in my brain, and I just had to write it down and test it. This happened many times and I found it remarkable. At the time, I ran rings around a 20-man team of educated programmers with expensive equipment. Alone with a few workers who tested my programs as soon as I had coded them, I made this masterpiece on my free time and mostly for the joy of it, as well as helping an old friend. Because my motivation was pure and my creativity was beyond material rewards, it would seem that the high spirits of programming would quietly pitch in. If you believe in the afterlife world of Happy Science, it may be that spirits like Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace were looking down from Heaven and decided to give me a hand. Of course, this is figuratively speaking. Remember that everything is in our mind. But the effects are very real.

The sixth dimension is the dimension of truth, or true knowledge. People who love knowledge for its own sake, not as a tool to success in the material realm, will be blessed from time to time by random moments of bliss or ecstatic joy that comes for no reason or is out of proportion to its trigger. I call these “joy attacks” or “pleasure attacks” as a pun on the well known phenomenon of panic attacks. Actually, Okawa is the first other person I know of who has mentioned this! But we are not alone. A few days ago I had a poll on my LiveJournal to find out whether my friends had these experiences too, and whether they really only happened to people know loved knowledge, as Ryuho Okawa says. Not many answered, but all who did had these “joy attacks” and loved knowledge. One even commented to ask whether there were still people who did not love knowledge for its own sake. There certainly are, and I think you can ask any high school or college teacher about that if you are in doubt. Even better, look at advertisement for higher education. We may not know our motivations, but the advertisers know. They study humans with the same professional detachment as scientists study lab rats, because their success depends on knowing what really makes us tick.

Anyway, how do I know that I belong in the sixth dimension and not the seventh? That is easy: The seventh dimension is forgiving love. This is where the bodhisattva belong, and their western equivalents, the saints. (For some reason, Okawa always refers to the Christian version as “angels”.) Let us explain how love reacts at the different levels here. At the fourth dimension, you love your family (natural love). Apart from that, you expect tit for tat. At the fifth dimension, you expect gratitude. If people don’t praise you, you quickly lose your motivation, but if you can see that other people are happy and grateful, you get motivated to keep helping them even if they don’t pay you for it. At the sixth dimension, you don’t need gratitude, just acceptance. I have elsewhere compared this to a young mother whose breasts are full of milk. She does not need the baby’s gratitude, she is aching to let him drink, it is a need of her own. In the same way, we of the sixth dimension have a need to create and to share with the world, and all we ask for is that our gift be accepted. But those in the seventh dimension are not so easily turned away. Their love is unconditional, so that they will keep giving even if they are loved less the more they love. If you look at the official saints of the Catholic church, you will find that a disproportionate number of them were persecuted and many even became martyrs. This makes perfect sense because it is a kind of final proof that they were indeed saints. Normal people would have stopped well before it got that badly out of hand. But there are many other saints, and because they were never tested in such a dramatic outward way, they are not officially known. But those who have met them may realize it in time.

I am not a saint. I pray to God repeatedly that I may never be severely tested in forgiveness. As a Christian I am required to forgive everyone, and I believe this is needed even if you do not belong to this religion. If you cannot forgive someone, there will be a spot of evil on your soul, and this would put a serious dent in any plans you may have for your afterlife. But some of us, like me, are better off the less we are tested, as we could break easily and be overcome with evil. Therefore I pray that I not be tested in this regard, except for the most trivial situations which we all have to face. Like my bosses not respecting my vacation, for instance. To forgive is to forget, so don’t be surprised if I forget to show up for that mandatory training course that is slated inside my vacation… ^_^* But that’s a far cry from being persecuted for the Truth. I just know I could not possibly take that, at least not in the long run. They say that it is easier to die for your faith than to live for it, but I would rather prefer not to test that. Well, perhaps I could die as a martyr at the age of 90… Somehow I don’t think that would impress God or the angels very much though!

As I said, you can (and perhaps should) be a saint without being a martyr. But I also know that I simply am not that kind of person. I don’t have that level of love and dedication. It is a human trait to want to see oneself at the top of the pyramid, or very nearly so, “next to God”. But I cannot honestly believe that I am anything more than a barely sixth-dimensional programmer. Can I even stay at that level constantly? I don’t know, but I sure hope so.

Of course, that’s just one way of looking at it. I have used many other descriptions in the past, my favorite probably being Spiral Dynamics. But they don’t quite say the same thing. Also, one is more dry and scientific, while the other is colorful and filled with the mythos of several cultures. Even I see myself from different angles, and perhaps someone will understand me better one way than another. Is that not a big part of why we are on Earth in the first place, to understand and be understood?

A glimpse of normalcy


Very normal Norwegian house at half price. There must be something wrong with it. Then again, that is what people think about me too, no doubt.

I was, like most days, studying the “to let” pages of, a Norwegian online marketplace that overlaps with a lot of newspapers as well as having some unique adverts.  And unlike newspapers, it is updated when something is sold or, in this case, rented out.

This time I got the great idea to check in Evje, a small inland town in the neighboring province. My workplace lies quite close to the province border, and there are frequent buses that fit well with my commute schedule. The bus ride is about 1 hour (in practice longer when roads are icy in the winter).  But the extra time is not a problem for me, if anything the opposite:  The commute is the only part of the day I am forced to just sit still, so I tend to spend it reading or meditating. Even napping, on my way home. I would have to get up half an hour earlier, but that would also mean I could spend half an hour with delta waves in brainwave entrainment, which would more than compensate.

(You can obviously not completely replace sleep with meditation and brainwave entrainment, as sleep serves a multitude of functions. But you can definitely replace some of the sleep beyond five hours.)

Enough about that, I was amazed to see that someone was willing to rent out a quite large house for little more than you pay for a small apartment elsewhere.  I know that Evje has had some rough fortune after the military closed down one of Norway’s largest training camps there, losing over 200 jobs and a lot of trade.  But the town turned out to be quite resilient. Strategically placed as a trading center for the largely agricultural inland area, it has attracted new jobs to replace most of those lost, and the population is virtually unchanged (not counting the military recruits, obviously).  So while I did expect rents to be lower than in the coastal boom zone, I did not expect something like this.

Checking out the municipality’s web sites, I saw that they also had a link to houses for sale. This is something I usually ignore completely.  I am not proud of being one of the few working men in Norway who does not own my own home at the age of 50, but I am not ashamed of it either. I like to be detached and without worry.  It is one of the few things that both comes naturally to me and is encouraged by my religion. Well, not renting in particular, but being free from worry and attachment to earthly things.

Anyway, I was surprised by the disparity of prices.  Apartments and some houses are almost as expensive to buy as down by the coast, but then there are some homes for sale that are ridiculously cheap.  One in particular was in a price range I have not seen in this century and well into the last.  Admittedly it was described as needing some work, but at least the paint was not peeling off, and I am not exactly the type that need to live in The Shiny. And so I started to briefly consider buying instead of renting.

That would probably be a very bad idea.  It is true that for each passing month, there is more money left after I have paid my bills.  In fact, something like half of the after-tax salary is just lying around unless I can be bothered to buy a new computer or something.  I simply don’t have many expenses other than rent and food and my flat-rate broadbands.  (Yes, I have 3 broadbands:  One at home, one at work and one for my mobile phone. You have a problem with that?) So, theoretically I could live with a loan this size, if I could get it.  Which is not entirely impossible, since Norway has resumed its boom and banks are throwing money after people again.  But I really doubt this is going to last.  Interest rates are probably going through the roof again at some future point, well before I can pay off a loan.  In fact, the loan would last for approximately my life expectancy.  Which is another reason why it may be a bad idea to start buying houses now, at a life phase where others have paid off theirs.

So, most likely I will still continue to be unique and suspect.  But as a single male, I am suspect anyway.  Which is also why I probably won’t get to rent any of the nice places unless my guardian angel violently chases away all competition.  You never know, he just might. I have seen stranger things.


PS: This episode makes me think about a saying here:  “There are times when it is not enough to run faster, you have to have started earlier.”  You cannot just decide to buy a house without first having saved up money.  It is the same thing with invisible property:  You cannot just decide to be a spiritual person one day.  First you have to save up and you have nothing of substance to show for it.  All you have is hope, and if it is not something you really long for, this is where you give up.

Science of happiness and prettiness


There is beauty for the eyes, beauty for the ears, and beauty for the mind. Today I have enjoyed them all.

Got book from Amazon in my mail! Actually it was too big for my mailbox, because they used a huge flat package. In a small box it would have fit right in, but I suppose they have their reasons. For me it was a nice walk to the post office and back, and then I could open yet another Happy Science book. This one is actually called The Science of Happiness: 10 principles for manifesting your divine nature. As usual it is written by the astoundingly prolific Ryuho Okawa, but let it not be said that he is a miser who keeps secrets. He has already explained how he has been able to write more than 500 books since the mid-1980es when he started his happiness movement. The secret? He does not write them, he holds speeches. After making an outline, he then holds a series of speeches (something he does regularly anyway) on those topics. Afterwards, he edits them into a book. This book is no exception, and you can clearly see it when you know it. It has a living, unstilted form that is quite suitable for a public performance.

Yes, I still buy and read books by Okawa. No, I still don’t believe that he was king of Atlantis or ruled Venus when it was a tropical paradise. Apart from his personal biography, however, the voices in his head are disturbingly sane and even wise. Much like mine… ^_^ But of course I’m not some grand savior, just an ordinary guy from the sixth dimension, at most. If I had been incarnated before, I was probably called Ibn something and dabbled in alchemy… Anyway, the voice in my head tells me to pay attention to THIS life so I can get it at least somewhat right. I don’t exactly see a lot of divine nature in my life to date.

Speaking of divine, I have ordered the Saga CD I wrote about yesterday. Even though it is sold by Sony, I have not heard that the original Japanese division engages in the same random attacks on their customers as the American recording companies do. Therefore I don’t feel that I am supporting injustice when buying from them. And I don’t think it would be divine – or even humanly decent – to keep playing their song over and over and not pay for it, even though this is easily possible. Still, I would rather prefer to buy songs in non-physical form. Unfortunately the European iTunes does not have Japanese songs, and I don’t read kanji well enough to even find out whether it is possible for Europeans to use the Japanese iTunes or any similar service.

While waiting for the CD (which will probably arrive after I have left this address) I still enjoy listening to the full song on YouTube with the best conscience. It may not exactly be divine, but it sure is pretty. And beauty is also in its way a reflection of the divine, or so say the perennial traditions. According to Happy Science, great works of art are inspired from the sixth dimension, the Realm of Light. I won’t argue against that. There certainly seems to be an element of Light in it.

Scientists work long and hard days to prove that the consciousness is only a product – some even say byproduct – of the brain, and the same for beauty and religious experience. But by the same token, their own relentless search for “truth” as they see it must also be an unfortunate side effect of a brain that has forgotten its only purpose, to raise as many healthy children as possible to pass on the genes. It is an irony that just like the religious hypocrite is unable to practice what he preaches, so too is the anti-religious crusader unable to live up to his professed non-faith. The Light keeps shining on us all, and even the blind feel the sun on their face at times.

“This is my road”


Beautiful colors and beautiful music.

Lately I have watched some early episodes of the anime Guin Saga. At first I liked it: It was drawn with unusual beauty and rich colors that made the imaginary world seem intense and larger than life.  And there was the ending song, Saga by Kanon.  I was amazed to hear the beginning of it, which did not sound Japanese at all. And indeed it was not, at least not the lyrics: “Benedictus qui venit in nomine – in nomine domini. Hosanna in excelsis.” Then it switched to English: “This is my road” and eventually Japanese. The melody changed as well, though it is still beautiful, albeit not as ethereal as for the first breaths.  It flits fluently back and forth between English and Japanese. The girl pronounces the English perfectly (although she falters slightly at the Latin) – I have later found that there is in fact a full English version of the song, although it is subtly different from the mixed-language version, as can be expected.

The anime, unfortunately, let me down over time. There is a darkness running through it that disagrees with me (though I am sure many like it), an undercurrent of betrayal and helplessness, not only versus others but also toward the characters’ own feelings, an overwhelming fate which only the greatest hero can stand against, and even then with difficulty and the occasional help of some unknown greater power. The bleakness of the characters and their world contrasts painfully with the beauty of the art and music. It is unlikely to be resolved either, for the work on which the anime is based stretched well past 100 books and ended unfinished through the death of the author.  There may some kind of irony in this, and a lesson for me as well.

The song is still beautiful though.  It and the pictures gave probably at least some of the inspiration to the story idea I wrote about yesterday.  Certainly when I listened to the song afterwards, I could see how it resonated in parts with what I wanted to write.

As usual, translation is almost certainly erroneous in some detail but tries to catch the impression on me when I am in doubt. The translation from Latin is pretty exact though, and the English words, which I will mark in the text, remain unchanged. For the time being, you can hear the original on YouTube.

Blessed is he who comes in the name – the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest. / This is my road, it shows me where to go. Here I stand, this is where I am.  The faces of my parents are faded far away, yet when I close my eyes I can still hear their voice. This is my road, and I keep walking it, surpassing even endless time itself. This is my life, and I open the door; together with my destiny I make my own road.

Now that I look at it, it is disturbingly similar to my story idea, although I have probably bent both of them a little to get closer to each other.  But the concept in particular of surpassing or eclipsing or overcoming time is one I have specifically picked up from Japanese songs, where it appears in various forms.  In fact, the entry that kind of set off my new direction – six years ago already – was about “surpassing numerous destinies while one is alive”. Or at least that was how I saw it translated.  I understood even less Japanese then.  I suppose now that it could also mean “many people surpassing fate in their lifetime”, but I kinda like the idea of passing several lives’ worth of destiny in one lifetime.  If it was ever possible, this is the time, and we are the ones who are called – challenged -  or tempted? – to do it. You may say, that in September 2003 I started on another destiny.  I guess that is what some people call “midlife crisis”, except for me it is the opposite of a crisis, it is an opportunity, a door to brightness opening in a dimly lit room.

So if I get the opportunity to write that story, it will be about myself, in the most abstract sense imaginable.  As if condensing my life into one sentence, forgetting everything that made that sentence come into being, and expand it again into a book.

Perhaps I should stick with non-fiction.  But people would probably not know it was non-fiction or even believe it if I said it.   And yet, this is my road…

NaNoWriMo story germ


Pre-industrial road from Oblivion.

I honestly still don’t know whether I will be able to take part in NaNoWriMo this November, as I usually have done.  It is the last month before I need to be out of this house and into a new place (which I still haven’t found), and experience shows that this is a lot more work than one thinks beforehand.

But just in case there is time to write, either this November or later, I have a seed for a story I have not used before.  I could just reboot an earlier story, I have a lot of them, most of which are not used for NaNoWriMo before; but as I change over time, so also do the stories I would write, and this is a brand new one. Well, it has a few elements that I have used before, but overall it is quite fresh.

The main character will as usual be a boy in his late teen. This is not random.  It is the age in which boys in modern times are (at least in theory) able to stand on their own for the first time, and make important decisions for the rest of their life, like who will be their spouse and what will be their career. If I write about someone younger, I will need to take into account their birth family. If I write about someone older, I will need to take into account their existing marriage (or liberal facsimile thereof) and career, possibly even children.  So for the simplicity of the story, especially a far-out story like this, the best time is around the end of high school. Probably a little later, these days.

I haven’t even come up with a name for the Main Character yet, so for now let me just call him MC.  MC is diagnosed with a slow but deadly disease, just as he thought his life was about to begin. He is not happy about it. Things are generally not good in other ways either.  Insert some well-deserved emo here.  He goes hiking in the nearby mountains (which should be pretty convenient if I set this story in my native Norway).  It is a favorite hobby of his and he wants to do it one more time, also he wants to be alone with his thoughts for a while.

While walking in the mountains, he gets lost in a sudden fog and when he exits, the landscape seems subtly changed.  He has lost his way, but not only that.  There is something different about everything, and the map does not quite fit the terrain anymore.  Off we go into fantasy land!  But not quite the standard fantasy.

Once he finds a road and follows it to the nearest village, it is obvious that we are not in Kansas Norway anymore.  Or, not quite.  People still speak a similar language, but not quite the same. Their houses are different and prettier, the people are likewise more beautiful and smart. It is as if the whole place is slightly upgraded from the world MC knows, and he is starting to feel more than a little inferior, although nobody is actually mocking him.

One thing that is not superior is communications.  There are no cars, no phones, no radio or TV.  The worst part is that people generally don’t miss these things. People tend to work in the same area where they live, and they don’t buy lots of imported stuff.  Their furniture is handcrafted by more or less local artisans, and so with most other things.  People take great pride in their work, and take good care of the things they own.  Mass production and mass obsolescence  are unheard of.

When they learn about his medical condition, his new friends decide to take him to a larger town to the east, where there are better doctors.  So with a couple others, he sets off  on a journey.  Various things probably happen here to fill out the story.  The thing is, as they come further east, everything become slightly more awesome.  The people here are even smarter, prettier and longer-lived.  Their things are of even better quality, and longer lasting.  The healers here treat MC with natural techniques and herbs, and manage to slow the progression of his disease.  However, he will have to travel further east to seek a cure.

As you may guess by now, the change repeats itself.  As they travel eastward and just gently upward, the land changes in subtle ways, and they come to an even more superior region.  People here live the same unhurried life, but in even greater depth and quality.  MC feels like an absolute moron when he tries to follow their conversations with each other, and he  learns that they usually live for a few hundred years. They also manage somehow to halt his disease, although they cannot cure him.  For that, he should travel to the next province eastward…

So basically this is a kind of fantasy story that is also a parable of our spiritual life, albeit very subtly so.  As the travel goes on, our MC witnesses ever more perfection, depth, quality and durability.  This makes him feel ever smaller, weaker, uglier and more stupid.  But eventually we learn that he himself is also changing and beginning to absorb some of the quality from the new world he lives and breathes in.  At some point he realizes that he would not want to go back to his own world even if he could, and if he did, he would be a very different person from when he left.

This story should also explain why not everyone is “going East” and upward toward the more perfect regions. Actually there are some who do, and our MC meets and becomes friends with some of these. But most stay where they are. They have family, friends, livelihood or property that they can’t leave behind. Perhaps there was some time in their life when they could have made a break and searched for something better, but that time is past or they are still waiting for it. Also, there are some who tried, but they couldn’t stand the feeling of inferiority living among people who were more perfect than they. Actually, some chose to travel westward instead: Even though they lose some of their abilities and lifespan over time, they still get respect and admiration in the meantime, and a feeling of being more useful to those around them who have less abilities.

Yeah, pretty transparent once you know it, but I hope to be able to write something that is at least a bit enjoyable in its own right. Also, the metaphor should be very generic. There won’t be deity namedropping, if I can help it, though there would probably be less personal concepts like the Light and perhaps the Way.

Oh, and there won’t be any Land of Aslan or some such in the ultimate East.  In fact, as far as this story is concerned, there is only the way, and the end of it cannot be seen.

Happy Science or just science?


This picture is taken from a video on YouTube portraying a strange phenomenon over Moscow.  Scientists say that this is a rare but not unheard of meteorological  phenomenon called a “hole punch” cloud.  What made my spine tingle, however, was the similarity to the promotional poster for Happy Science’s newest anime, to be released on the 17th of this month, The Rebirth of Buddha.


Hole punch indeed!  Suspicious, ne? Hopefully it is the artist who has been inspired by real-world hole punch clouds (even though they are so rare) and not the other way around…

Double XP long-weekend

2009-10-04 15:13:26

Dagslys, my bright/bright tanker.  Until the recent update, this build was only available as dark/dark.  I think this suits me much better. Hmm, reminds me of what Sigurd Bratlie once said:  If people had a visible halo in real life, that reflected their secret life, they would be far more pious when alone.

City of Heroes occasionally have special events, and one recurring event is “double XP weekend”.  As the name implies, experience points (and influence, the currency of superheroes) are doubled at that time.  Also, former players are invited to come back for the weekend and play the game for free.  This fall, due to some North American holiday, Monday is also part of the weekend.

For the first time in its history, City of Heroes now has a competitor within the same genre. More than that, the competing game Champions Online is made by some of the same people who made CoH.  So a number of things have been done to make the game more inviting, including loyalty bonuses to people who stay subscribers during this season.  I mean, over and above the veteran rewards for people who have subscribed for a certain number of months. Some of these vet rewards are quite nifty, while others are more or less useless, at least for most of us.

Actually, games are generally useless for most of us.  I was speaking relatively, as in “more useless than usual” or “useless even in the context of the game”. Games are after all lower worlds, even compared to the ordinary world that most of us grow up in.  The only thing you can take with you from them is your experiences, and (in the case of online games) the occasional friendship.  Of course, it seems likely that we won’t have anything more when we leave this world either, so the difference may be less than most think.

Be that as it may, I spent some hours in the game this weekend.  I made a couple new characters and took advantage of the flood of fellow new characters to team up quite a bit.  Since I play at a time of the day when there are fewer players (because I live in Europe and most in the USA), teaming up can be difficult on ordinary days.  Special events see a lot more people, and so are easier for team-based characters.

Electricity restored


Winter is a pretty sight, here in Norway as well as on Hokkaido (here portrayed in the anime Sora no Manimani). But winter without electricity is not pretty.

For a couple days I have been without electricity in half the house. Although not cleanly divided like north/south or east/west.  The bedrooms have been without electricity, the electric stove (but not the fridge or the rest of the kitchen), one small wall in the living room, and the area around the outer door (including the door bell). Oh, and the basement.

The landlord stopped by (with his mother and grandmother) today and took a look at it.  He changed the fuses, including those I had changed. There was one notable feature:  Among the 3 main fuses, you could take out one of them and nothing happened. This implied that it related to the dead part of the house, or so you would think.  But changing it had no effect either.

They phoned the landlord’s uncle, who came and looked at it.  The landlord’s uncle phoned his friend who was an electrician but currently out in the countryside.  The electrician evidently told him that there was another set of main fuses in the attic, where the electricity actually enters the house, and that almost certainly the corresponding third fuse there was dead. It was. More than that, it was burned and cracked.  Something horrible had happened to it, perhaps some wetness had got in at some point in the past. We were all very happy that the whole thing had not caught fire.  It was replaced and everything works perfectly.

I have not put my main computer back in the home office though.  It is kind of nice to spend some time in the living room while I still have one.  I don’t know what my next apartment will look like, but chances are that it will be quite a bit smaller.  In fact, the chances of this are gradually increasing, as December 1 approaches and I can no longer be quite as picky as I used to be.

But at least I don’t have to move out early due to lack of electricity!