Goodbye Riverview

Here today, gone this summer.

When I rented this place, it was for 5 years minimum. The owner intended to give it to one of his own children when they grew up, which is still a long way off. But things have changed. A relative of his wife and close friend of the family has returned from China and really wanted to build a new house on this spot.  (It is close so children can run over to each other at any time of the day or year.) And he was willing to pay a lot for it. So the landlord sold the house to him.  They are going to tear it down and would like me to get out of here as soon as feasible. I’m moving on the 7th, Light willing. Two and a half weeks from now.

At least this all happened without any threats for bashing my kneecaps in or anything. On the contrary, the landlord offered me a basement apartment of roughly the same size in Mandal, the nearest large town, in an old quiet part of town with little traffic. I went and looked at it. It is OK, and probably 100 years younger than this house. There’s lots and lots of wardrobe space. And it is bound to be a lot cheaper to heat during winter. Plus it is a few minutes’ walk from the bus station, where buses go every half hour instead of twice a day.

So, it is not a complete disaster. But neither is it a cause for joy. I have dreamed of living far from the crime and grime of the city, surrounded once more by green fields, farms, hills and flowing water, like in my childhood (when I, shame to say, did not know to appreciate it). I have lived that dream here. But dreams end. Life itself, after all, is one such dream from which we are going to wake up.  This is much smaller than that.

And yes, I feel a bit betrayed. But not very much. If I cannot forgive such a betrayal and bless them from my heart, I would not be worthy of ever uttering the name of my hero and savior, Jesus Christ, who prayed for those who killed him. This is pretty far from that (unless I have to help carry the washing machine again, in which case I can make no guarantee of my survival.)

I understand that the future of a relative (especially of the wife) is more important than a legally binding contract with a stranger. I don’t want to make more trouble for them than necessary. But even so, starting today I am looking for some other place to move to, eventually. Either cheaper than now, or out in the countryside again. Most people want to pay extra for living in the middle of town, but for me it is the other way around.

One thing that is still sinking in:  There won’t be stone left on stone of the old house. I am not sure that does not hurt me  more than simply having to leave. I know I complained of how cold it was during winter, but it is still a home. Here have generations grown up and lived. People lived here before electricity came to Norway, probably huddling around the wood stove on cold winter evenings, wearing thick clothes. People lived within these walls the summer when Norway became an independent nation for the first time since the Middle Ages. People lived here when the first cars began to roll on the roads, but not on the roads here, which were only suited for horse wagons.  Some family lived here during the harsh year of the Nazi occupation, when the future of the world itself, much less the country, was uncertain.  They lived here when spring came and the King returned to a free Norway once again. The previous owners lived here when the big, straight road was built a minute’s walk from here, straight through the valley.

Now I live here. I am the last human these walls will ever protect, the last of my race to seek shelter under this roof.  It is old, and beginning to grow frail, but it has served for a long, long time. It has, in fact, done nothing else but serve.  For a few more days shall I avail me of its protection, of its familiarity, Light willing. Then it will be empty again, but this time no new humans will come to live here. One day soon it will be razed to the ground, to give room to a new, large, modern house. Only memories will remain, and a few pictures.

It is an irony that I cannot hold back my tears on behalf of a house, even though I have buried two grandparents and one parent without shedding a tear. But then again, I doubt houses go to heaven when they die.  Of course, many people doubt that about humans too. Perhaps I too will doubt when my time comes.

But moving one more time will hopefully not be the end of me. It will be the end of Riverview though.  (And the pretty pictures.)


Well, at least now I know why these lines from an old hymn in Norwegian have been on my mind over and over these last few days. I noticed them but did not realize what they predicted, of course. The Light knows the future, but cannot reveal it fully to one such as me.

To my Lord my soul has said: You are my dwelling, my castle. He who has entered a covenant with you, sings praises in the midst of all sorrow.

All dwellings on Earth and probably even those in Heaven are temporary. Only the One is forever.  All that I had, all that I am, has always belonged to God and no one else. “God, you have been a dwelling for us from generation to generation.” Let it so be, world without end.



Oops – sleeping may be it


The human body is full of mysteries. Especially down there. But today was a slightly different form of pleasant surprise from what the picture might imply to the younger reader.

So on Thursday I had my blood drawn to test for the proteins that signal a probable prostate cancer. The reason was the sudden onset of one particular symptom of enlarged prostate.

For unrelated reasons, I went to bed at 2AM and slept til 9:30 AM today. The thing is, I did not have to get up to urinate, and when I finally got up, there was almost no liquid. That’s when I realized: This is when I used to sleep for the last 15+ years!

Well, perhaps not exactly, but around 2 to 9. When I lived closer to the city, I could do this and still squeeze in a 90% job before the 5PM bus home. Or very nearly so. When I moved further away, the next bus in to the city would not be get me to the office until nearly 11, so I would have to get up early and take the previous bus now and then.  Three such “long” (8 hours) days over the course of two weeks would be enough.  (Norwegians are very productive – we work short hours and have long vacations and still get everything done. ^_^)

The thing is, I did not actually work 8 hour days as often as that, with the predictable result that I slowly built up a large mound of “time debt”, “undertime” or whatever you will call it. Sometime this winter I started paying it down.

With the help of LifeFlow delta brainwave entrainment, I can go to sleep three hours earlier than before, get up early  and still not be particularly sleepy during the day. In fact, if I wake up a couple times in the night, this makes me LESS sleepy in the morning, because even a minute awake is enough to start delta “music” again.  (I don’t keep it playing all night so as to not mess with the brain’s natural 90-minute sleep cycle too much, and to not develop immunity. A couple times a night seems fine though.)

Now the whole 90% job grew out of the fact that I have Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, a minority condition where the body’s clock is nor reset by external stimuli in the normal way. There are divergent opinions on whether it can be cured, or even whether it should be cured. Arguably it needs to be cured to approximately the same degree that black skin needs to be cured: The only serious problems from this inheritable condition are those imposed by society.

In fact, if the minority with DSPS were allowed to live the way they were created, we would have less problems with rush hours and billions of dollars would not be lost to people sitting in cars and raging when they could have been at work.  But let us just let that slide for now. Humans are stupid, as we all know from direct observation of those around us. Especially in traffic, I suppose.

Anyway, my brain is happy with brainwave entrainment. But evidently my kidneys have no respect for it. They probably continue to work hard for the first three hours of the night, every night. (And then more slowly in the morning, as before.) Which means that the sudden onset of the nightly bathroom run did probably not come from any changes down there, but from the changes in my bedtime when I first started to try to work in my undertime, and later switched to working full time.

This, dear reader, is why I almost never go to the doctor. Because when I do, the local clinic usually concludes that I am healthier than those who work there, and the only things I achieve is to  a) embarrass myself, and b) add to my hypochondria score card.  There have only been a couple times in my adult life that a doctor visit has actually helped in any way. OK, perhaps four times.

Oh well. I understand in America, the land of extreme health expenses, it is customary for the better off to take these blood tests even if they have no symptoms.  (And even if the sum of the biopsies and the treatments are approximately as lethal as the cancer, statistically speaking.)

Now, the big question is whether the kidneys will eventually decide to join the sleep rhythm of the brain, or whether I shall have this divergence for the rest of my working life. I have a feeling that if I live to my planned retirement at 75, I won’t have any long nights of continuous sleep even after that. But who knows.


Well, I suppose I no longer need to eat tomato and take long walks. Well, unless I want to decrease my “overall mortality” – the risk of dying from any random reason – by 40% by investing half an hour a day. As far as risk management goes, that seems a pretty good investment to me. On the other hand we could be fatalists and say that the day when you are fated to die, you die. That is certainly true. But that day seems to come a lot earlier for most fat and flabby people, in our part of the world at least.  (It’s a bit different in hunger-stricken areas, of course.  May you and I never need to save up fat for times like that.)

Besides, I have started to kind of like both the spaghetti sauce and the long walks. I walked for an hour today again, in rain that was so light it was almost fog. Then went home and ate pasta with tomato sauce. I rather enjoyed them both, truth to tell. Although my “things to write” memory runs full before even half an hour of walking…

Now to decide whether to call off that doctor appointment. I presumably won’t benefit from it in any way; but on the other hand, if I cancel it, the doctor will never know if he later runs into a case like this again.

Sims 3 & EA Origin Direct Download

In Japan, personal computer games is also an euphemism for games with explicit content. That was not at all the reason why I had a stack about as high as this one, though. They were strategy games, various simulators, and sword & sorcery roleplaying games. And expansion packs for The Sims, The Sims 2 and The Sims 3.

As I have told before, after my two moves there are no longer a couple hundred computer games in my home, but only a handful. However, the Sims franchise – pretty much my only games now besides City of Heroes – comes with a new expansion pack twice a year, as reliable as the seasons. I generally don’t buy them until the bugs are ironed out, as this disturbingly lifelike life simulator either has poor quality control (EA tries to save a penny where they can) or is just too complex to test.

This week, I had installed The Sims 3 again on the quad-core machine and found that with Windows 7 and a Solid State Drive instead of the main hard disk, it ran amazingly smoothly.  So I decided to throw at it one of the largest user-made worlds out there, Los Aniegos.  (Yes, that is a pun on Los Angeles, and the overall structure of the neighborhood is inspired by that area. Of course it is 10 000 times smaller or so.) This neighborhood needs the Ambitions expansion which I already had, but also the World Adventures and Late Night expansions, which I saw no reason to buy before. Also, they have now come down in price. Way down.

(A new expansion pack is out recently, called Generations. I assume my recent renewed interest for The Sims 3 may be in part due to the collective telepathic influence of hundreds of thousands of gamers being excited about the game again for a few weeks. A great disturbance in the force…)

(I am not buying it now, then. Waiting for the bugs to be found first, but also for the price to come down, and for some really good content to be made by users for it.)

(Disappointed to see that the Norwegian name is Generasjoner, which is a literal translation, or barely even that. The name should have been slekters gang, according to the voice in my head. Next time mail me before instead of making a boring translation. The voices in my head are always happy to share their wisdom with the world for free. That’s just the kind of people we are, the voices and I.)


After checking the Gamestop in Kristiansand (the city where I work) I also checked a couple online retailers. However, considering the price, the freight and the delivery time,  I ended up buying both of the earlier expansions directly from Electronic Arts, using their new “Origin” direct download service.

“Origin” is the continuation of the EA Download Manager, which has been around for a while.  It serves two functions:  To buy and download games without CDs and boxes, and to update existing games with patches. The name is somewhat ironic: Electronic Arts bought and closed down a famous software house called Origin, best known for its cult hit Ultima series.  It is uncertain whether they originally meant to close it down – they were not really competitors – or whether the clash of business cultures simply made it impossible for the Origin developers to continue doing their work. EA is famous for being extremely suit-controlled.

While the “Origin” download service is a cold comfort for the demise of one of the most creative software houses ever, it is actually quite good at what it does. I would have appreciated being able to choose what disk to install to, but on the plus side, it is very idiot-friendly. You just pick the games or expansions you want, click through a lot of legalese (telling you that you have no rights and Electronic Arts can do whatever they want without you complaining – standard contracts in other words), and the program downloads and installs on its own. When you come back from making dinner, it is ready to press Play. It seems great for the type of humans who “just want to have fun”.

You do not need to be online to play the game, only to install or uninstall it. There is even an unsolicited description of how to uninstall “Origin”, should you ever wish to.  That was a pleasant surprise:  The competing service “Steam” from Valve (yes, probably an attempt at humor, that name) would log on (“phone home” as we say) if I tried to play Civilization 5.  With “Origin”, you can play anywhere, at any time. Or at least that is what they say. You need to be online when you install and activate the games though. And you can only install each game on 5 computers. Simultaneously.

That is pretty generous unless you have a large family, I’d say. And if you decide to  get a new and better computer, you can simply uninstall (while online) from one of the old computers, and “Origin” will phone home to tell that you have a license to spare, which you can then use to install the game again on the new computer.

The problem arises if your computer – or at least hard disk – dies without telling you in advance. This is not uncommon.  By the time I gave up on my C: disk on the quad-core, it was probably too late to uninstall things from it.  And most hard disk deaths are more sudden than that. One morning you wake up and your computer does not.  So over the course of a decade or so, the 5 licenses are likely to dwindle to two or even one. At that point you will probably start backing up your whole disk, which gets around the problem if you buy the exact same type back.

Or, perhaps after 10 years you are not going to play The Sims 3 anymore. I mean, how many are currently playing The Sims: House Party, which came out in spring 2001? Such people may exist, but are probably not used for business decisions.

This seems like a good time to point out that the accelerating change of change acceleration is accelerating, or in other words, the way things change faster than before is changing faster than before. By 2021, if there is even a human world left as we know it (and I very much expect there will be), entertainment is going to be quite different from now. It seems unlikely that there will be sold desktop computers, or even laptop computers, at the time. Hard disks and heavy-duty processors will probably be online, and most interaction with computers will come from handheld pads or tablets with 3D projection. Sims 3 is unlikely to ever be optimized for that.


Busy week

By my standards at least, we’ve had a busy week at work. We have been rolling out the first wave of new technology locally. Mistakes were made, and not by us. ^_^ Problems with central servers affected performance at just the same time, so it would seem to the random observer as if the problems were connected. That was probably not the case. I also have a start on the next new technology, but I find that I am still not able to help much with it. There are parts that are handled centrally that I don’t have access to. Still, I enjoy having more to do, for now. One day I even forgot that the workday was ending, until my bus had gone. I did not come home until around 10. ^_^

I am pleased that the weather has been cool, after the couple days of feverish heat that I wrote about. So it has been fine weather for walking, I don’t need to bring water to avoid overheating.  It has even rained a bit.


Spiritual gifts vs growth

What is this light? It could be a help to keep you on the right path, or a trial that could pull you off the path and into chasing your own tail.

This is something I thought was pretty obvious, but I can see that in a subtle way it can be misunderstood, perhaps even two ways. So I thought I should bring it up. I may as well use an example from my own life, since I am not such an amazing master that I should point at others and tell you what they should do.

I was born in 1958 and grew up in a small farming village on the west coast of Norway, back before Norway became one of the very richest and most advanced nations in the world. We had no television, and the government had a monopoly on broadcasting. It is not surprising that I grew up without knowing quite what meditation was. Even the church was state-owned, back then and there.

When I was still in my teens, I joined an old-fashioned Christian church. (Not the state-owned one – it did in fact avoid membership lists as a blasphemy.) I began to pray earnestly to God. After a while, I decided that it would be impolite to just rattle off my wish list and hang up, so at the end of my prayer, I would simply wait respectfully for God in case He wanted to say something to me as well. He did not, at least in any literal sense, which may be just as well.  But in that silence I could sense something, like an aura, which seemed to come from a direction at right angles to all of our three dimensions. Turning my attention that way, in my mind of course, I received peace and energy and clarity. What happened was that I discovered meditation, untaught by any human soul. You may say that I learned meditation from God.  (Although I only learned the name later.)

Now I could think that I must be some Very Important Person in the cosmic scale of things, to discover something as fundamental as meditation without being taught by mortals. In a manner of speaking, I could be said to be equal to whoever first brought meditation to our Earth and founded the first mystic religion. It is possible to see it in that way. But it is a pretty stupid thing to think.

What happened then  was that I received a gift. A very precious gift for sure, but in itself it did not make me a better person. It had the potential to transform me, sure, but that was not yet happening, or at least not from that reason. It is a fairly slow process, meditation, at least for most of us. And despite learning meditation directly from Heaven, I was very much a “most of us” in terms of progress.

I have also experienced the bliss of religious ecstasy that is, as they say, better than sex. Admittedly I am not that much of an expert on sex, but it certainly was more blissful than anything I had experienced, awake or asleep. The Hindus, or at least some of them, have a saying about samadhi – their religious ecstasy – that “when you have experienced this, you know there is nothing greater to experience”. That was how I felt at the time, although I am not sure whether I was right. I have in fact never experienced anything greater, emotionally speaking.

Even that, however, did not make me into a saint. I had and still have much the same temptations. Well, some of them gradually change over time, of course, but none of these things made me into the awesome spiritual person who one would expect to have such experiences. They were gifts. Growth is something else again.  Some people get more gifts as they grow. Actually, I think that is pretty common. But sometimes gifts come at the beginning, or in the middle, and sometimes they even come and go again. It varies depending on the gift and the way life was meant to be for each of us.

So if you see great lights, hear voices from Heaven, leave your body, experience five minutes lasting for five hours or the other way around,  if you are healed from serious illness or even heal others, these things are not in and of themselves important for your spiritual growth. If you are obsessed with yourself and don’t live a life of helping other people, there is no point in any of these. Or as a better man has said: “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (St Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13. Good stuff all around.)

It is a common mistake when we experience something super, that we want to go back and have it again. This is not unique either. When Jesus was illuminated on the mountain with Moses and Elijah, his disciples wanted to build a cabin there so they could just remain in that cool place. Instead, Jesus went off to Jerusalem and was crucified.

So the thing is, having those cool experiences may be something that is given to weak-hearted people so they don’t give up entirely. Or it could be something that is given to Very Important Persons so that they can help others, I suppose. But they are not the purpose of life, certainly not of spiritual life. If you don’t really understand much and you never hear anyone at the other end when you pray, but you give love to others without asking for anything in return, you have advanced far beyond one who sees great lights and feels electric currents surge through the body, and then keeps chasing that experience for the rest of his life.

So that’s the way it is, I believe. The voice in my heart seems to agree, but you know I am not so transparent that I could not fool myself. But when the holy scriptures from far away and long ago also agree, I feel pretty safe to post this, that it won’t lead you astray. Hopefully neither will the cool spiritual experiences, if you ever have those.

A lamentation or three

Toward the Light…

Today I finally got around to installing Wimp, the extremely legal music streaming service from Norway, on a Linux computer. I had it on my smartphone, but the interface is like an old aunt’s attic where just one look makes you decide to search for something later, if at all. The PC interface is better, mainly by virtue of having more space for the clutter.

And then I found that my only playlist on Wimp was now empty. All music by Knut Avenstroup Haugen was gone, without a trace and without a goodbye.

Knut Avenstroup Haugen is a Norwegian composer, in fact he lived for a while in Kristiansand, the city where I work. He is of the classical (non-crazy) school, making actual music rather than the sound of factory machines or kitchen utensils. And he made the sound track for the online game Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. The game is too evil for me to play in this late stretch of my life, although it certainly showcased the power of the personal computer for gaming. Some of the songs however are in a class of their own. Or at least they are to me.  Three of the songs from the Cimmeria part of the game are lamentations, similar to the classical lamentations once popular in church music, but more direct, more raw, closer to the barbarian dirge which they represent in the game.

Now I probably differ from every one of my readers in my love for a good lamentation. There are few things that can so certainly perk me up if I feel a bit below the top. In all fairness, I used to be immune to sadness for many years and even now rarely feels its touch, even after having recovered it through the mystery of meditation. So this may work entirely opposite in people given to depression. In fact, I suspect it would. But for me, a good lamentation fills me with the joy of beauty. And these are my favorites: ‘Ere The World Crumbles‘, Ascending Cimmeria, and especially Memories of Cimmeria.

They were gone, just like that. Now that is lamentable. I notice that they are also gone from one of the two parent companies of, Platekompaniet. So there seems to be some disagreement, perhaps, between the composer (or the artists, or the publisher) and this particular music chain.

The thought struck me, of course, that maybe Haugen had converted to the One True Faith and retracted all his worldly music. This is the kind of thinking that is never really far from my mind, I guess. Although I have yet to retract all of my worldly entries from my journal.

But the fact that I am right now playing his music on the Swedish competitor, Spotify, kind of goes against the conversion theory.  So I have sent a mail to Wimp and asked for an explanation. Being that they are Norwegian (and labor is extremely expensive in Norway compared to the less successful nations, such as yours) I don’t really expect an answer. Consequently, I don’t really expect to continue to subscribe to Wimp beyond the last month I have already paid for.


Now, a few more words about lamentations. As I said, they may be a bit unnerving for the depressed, and I certainly don’t recommend them for the suicidal, for the precise reason that I love them:  To me, the essential beauty of the lamentation is that it lifts the soul toward Heaven. This was presumably why the genre was originally conceived. The primordial dirge may have been just the senseless keening of the bereaved, but it probably evolved even at the dawn of history – if not before – into a religious function.

After all, by the faith of the earlier ages, at the time of death the soul was evicted from the body, but rarely had much idea of what to do next, nor was it usually motivated to move on. People tended to die young, and often senselessly or brutally, in the midst of their attachment to the material world. Their immaterial part, the soul or spirit or shade or whatever people thought it was, therefore was thought to hang around for at least a while after their demise.

This is where the advanced dirge / early lamentation comes in. As the confused and frustrated soul attends its own wake, probably trying in vain to communicate with its family, the ceremonial singers (and instrument players, if available) begins performing this hair-raisingly beautiful song. The soul is touched by its beauty, and lifted on the power of the music and the implicit prayer, it begins to forget the trivial attachments of the world and rise toward the Light. This, then, is the function of the lamentation: To lift the spirits of all who participate, accompanying the soul of the deceased for a ways on its journey toward the blessed afterlife, whatever that might be in that particular culture.

Or perhaps that’s just me. I am not exactly your average human, I guess even when it comes to music…


Interdimensional worldbuilding

What if the aliens were… us, as we could have been?

So the muses in my head are a-musing me with a new story set in a new world. Actually the background is more interesting than the story. (Usually not a good sign, but I am not being paid for this so I write what I’d like to read.)

So this all starts in the very near future, when off-world visitors appear in public for the first time. They don’t land in front of the White House or even in Beijing, but at St. Peter’s Square in Rome / the Vatican. A man in shining white meets with the Pope and later holds a press conference. He is a high-ranking member of the Imperial family in the Empire of 1000 worlds. Despite the humble name, the Empire actually counts over 7000 worlds and is still growing. But these worlds are mostly alternate versions of our Earth, in different time lines.

We are here not talking about time lines where Hitler won World War 2 or the Viking colonized America. Rather it seems that each of the time lines separated when the first human became self-aware. In the hub of the Empire, which is called Earth Prime, civilization is about 100 000 years old, and most of the others are also older than ours. The collected science and technology of all these worlds is now wielded by the Empire, and 99.9% of this looks like magic to everyone on Earth.

The Empire has no intention of invading Earth, assures its messenger. It is entirely dedicated to spreading love and happiness through the multiverse. They just happened to think some of us might want to join them. Quite possibly all of us, eventually, but it would have to be voluntary.

The messenger, the Oldest Living Son of the Emperor, also obliquely hints at being connected with the world’s great religions, possibly, and with the kick-starting of civilization on Earth in the first place. He is rather vague on these matters though.

The further backdrop of the story is how mankind reacts – or fails to react – to this First Contact and meeting a number of cultures utterly different from ours. The plot is about one young man, fresh out of high school at the time, who decides to throw in his lot with the Empire. But there could be any number of stories written in this multiverse.  Is the Empire really a pure force for good? And even if they intend to do good, what will the real effect be on mankind? Will it crush our spirit, incite us to rebellion, or just fail to make an impression when no further invasion fleet appears?

Well, there may already be stories written about something like that. There is no end to the writing of books, and I have not read them all. It would be typical if someone else had written something like that already.

But the beauty of the Empire is that it has no aliens, and yet almost nothing but aliens. There are worlds with furries (artificially merging human and animal traits), worlds without grownups (where people remain childlike in appearance and size throughout their lives), worlds where people never put on clothes except to have sex, worlds where the moon is densely populated and worlds where it is a billboard. And every technology is magic to those who don’t understand it: You may be able to casually walk through walls yet baffled at the sight of an eeePad.

It is a fun place for me to write, even if I never plan to have it published. And even if I don’t have much time for it, really.

Not losing weight here!

“I’ll definitely work out for what I ate later…” This may not be quite as easy as one would believe, even if you really do work out. I speak from experience here.

Today I will write a small article about health and physiology. After all, I assume my reader to have a body and be keenly aware of it. Even though our lives in the body are rather short, we try to make it last a little longer and serve us a little better.

And there’s the small point that for each day you live, life expectancy rises by approximately 5 hours. (That’s in the first world, obviously things are improving faster in the third world.) So, death is approaching, but not by 24 hours a day. The longer you live, the longer your life expectancy. Nifty, huh?

Now, second only to smoking, fat is one of those things people know is Bad For You. There has been so much writing and broadcasting about this, there is hardly anyone in the English-speaking world who does not have a wary eye on their weight, or the weight of others. While some feel it is more important to enjoy life, most people have at least some interest in the issue. So here we go!


In official statistics, is is assumed that a grown man will burn about 2400 calories a day, a woman about 2000. The reason why we men burn more calories is that we are larger and have more muscles. The few remaining people who have hard physical work are not counted in these statistics, I believe, and neither are professional athletes. These are people who lie outside the normal range.  There is of course some individual variation.

Now that I walk an hour after work,  I burn 500 calories extra each day (my pulse watch shows 600, but that includes the basic 100 calories I would burn in an hour just by being myself). The smart reader would assume that these calories would be taken from my fat reserves, such as they are. I am not quite overweight, but my normal weight is right on the upper border of the recommended range.  (“Normal” weight in the literature, not that it is normal to be normal these days, it is normal to be moderately overweight.)

I went on the bathroom scales again. There is no sign of losing any weight after over two weeks of this.

Now, two weeks is not a lot. One pound of fat is approximately 3500 calories, which is roughly what I burn extra in a week. Diets or other techniques for rapid weight loss don’t actually reduce your fat very fast, but instead cause you to lose water, which can be lost and gained much faster. Some foods bind more water in the body than others, so it is possible to “lose weight fast” that way. Sweating a lot without drinking more can also cause you to “lose weight”, but is not good for your health at all!

Even if I burn 500 extra calories a day, I won’t lose weight if I eat 500 more calories too. That could easily happen: A large box of yogurt (half a liter is a common size here) contains about that many calories. So it could easily happen if I am just a little more hungry than usual. With light exercise this is very common, unless you also go on a diet and count calories.

Then there is the small detail that “weight” is not the same as “fat”. If I use my muscles more than usual, they may become larger – this happens especially easily to us men – and muscle mass is actually heavier than fat. So a man who is not overweight could easily gain weight by exercising! Obviously this requires that one eats that much protein, which muscles are made from. But there is plenty of protein in the western diet, both from plants and animals.

In my case, there is yet another reason why I might not lose weight: I may be actually burning 3000 calories a day already. This is not so relevant for most of my readers, who get a fairly large percentage of their calories from fat. I did too, until I got a chronic illness that strikes if I eat more than a few grams of fat in each meal. So I cannot eat typical fatty foods like cakes, cookies, sauces, chocolate, butter, margarine, mayonnaise and similar bread spreads, or most meat dinners.

In the first months after I dropped eating fatty foods, I lost weight, and quite a bit of it.  Some of it never came back. But gradually my digestion adjusted so I could eat larger portions of starch and sugary foods, and digest them efficiently. It is entirely possible that I eat 3000 calories a day, I have not sat down and counted them.

You would think that if I actually ate 3000 calories a day, I would have gained weight steadily over the last years.  But it is not that simple. When you eat both fat and carbs, the body will prefer to burn the carbs (it is faster and easier) but store the fat.  If you eat very little fat, the body will not be able to store much.  Carbs cannot be converted to fat easily. It is possible, but unlike some animals, humans really suck at converting sugar to fat. Only a small portion makes it over, almost all of it is lost along the way, and simply becomes waste heat.

(Fructose, which is a common sweetener in the USA, is more readily converted to fat. If I lived in America, I would probably be fatter. But I live in Norway, where fructose is rare. It is mostly found in honey, and I don’t eat much of that.)

So you can see, there are numerous reasons why I may not lose weight even though I burn 500 calories extra on fast walking each day. That is not a tragedy for me, since I am not dangerously fat. And in any case, there are health benefits to being active beyond losing weight. In fact, it is uncertain whether overweight is dangerous at all. Obesity probably is, but moderate overweight may be more a symptom of inactivity rather than a danger in itself.  Danish statistics show that overweight people who bike regularly (a common combination in Denmark, thanks to the flat terrain and delicious pastries) don’t suffer the metabolic syndrome that plagues overweight car drivers.

In other good news, weight loss from exercise is far more likely if you are already unnaturally fat. Obese people will generally not feel hungrier after moderate exercise than without; in fact, most of them will feel less hungry after light or moderate exercise like walking, biking or swimming. This is because this level of activity stimulates the brain centers that regulate the appetite. Moving about is the normal behavior in humans “in the wild”, so the body works best when we do this, including the brain.  So if you fall in that category, you should definitely start walking or something like that, but very moderately at first. Don’t suddenly start running without consulting your doctor!

I, however, may have to start running if I want to lose weight. Or I could eat less, I suppose. I have not really decided whether I should do that, though. I just want to maintain the body so I don’t lose it from sheer negligence.


Work and the new me

It has been said that love is the source of all energy and vitality in life. Not to mention work and school.

I fear I may have written more entries of that type, but I have found at least two: “Work sucks” from the year 2000 and “Head against the wall” from 2003. I am pretty sure there was at least one more over the first ten years of my journal. In these I complained that work was God’s punishment and that I would just as well live in chronic pain on disability pension rather than work until I was 65.

What the hell was wrong with me?

As usual when I seem to be using profanity, I actually mean it in its original, religious meaning. In religious language, we could say that my attitude was one that comes from Hell and leads to Hell.

When reading the biblical account in Genesis, it may certainly looked like God is angry and wants to put the hurt on Adam and Eve. But can that really be true? In some families here on earth, the main difference between a toddler and his father seems to be that the father is physically stronger. But is God, the heavenly Father, the Creator of all and the original parent of the human spirit, really someone who looses his temper and decides to punish his small creations and their offspring for the foreseeable future?

It may have seemed reasonable to Israel at the time they received the Torah. They lived in a harsh world filled with senseless violence. A master would treat his slave harshly, and a father his child. So it may have made sense to read this story as if God flew into a rage and cursed his disobedient creation. But is that really so? Another perspective is that work was not part of the problem, but part of the solution.

In Heaven, there is no need to do any work you don’t want to. If you for some reason were to want anything, it would at once be there. And if you wanted to communicate with someone, you could do so instantly and fully, with no risk of misunderstanding. Your love would be clear for all to see. But in the 3-dimensional world on Earth, things are different. There are many wants that cannot be fulfilled, and we cannot just radiate our love telepathically. The combined solution to these two problems is work.

Through work, we can satisfy our own needs and at the same time those of others. In that regard, work can be compared to making love.  (Obviously we should not actually confuse the two, or strange things may happen in the workplace!) You may say that in marriage, you express your love by making love, but in society you express your love by work. (Of course, in either case this should not be the ONLY way you express your love! Or that’s what the voice in my heart says, I have not tried.)

So the problem, such as it is, is that we are not in Paradise, at least for the time being. Work is part of the solution.


I had an idea of this when I began to work around the age of 20. But then I saw injustice, how some people got away with crime and others were persecuted for no reason, and how difficult it was to know the truth. And as Jesus Christ had warned before he left this Earth: “Because injustice gains the upper hand, love will become cold among the majority.” This happened to me, but so slowly that I did not notice. I became disenchanted and forgot to love. Work, which should have been an exchange of love from Heaven to the world through me, and of gratitude back toward God or the Light, became instead a dark stretch, eight hours lost from the days of my life.

As can be seen from the darkest of the two articles I wrote back then, I knew that something was terribly wrong and my subconscious tried to warn me. But I just could not get what it was saying. I was looking in the wrong direction.  This was to last for several years.

To my shame, I did not realize my error until I read Master Ryuho Okawa’s book The Laws of Happiness.  By the standards of today, I have generally been a happy man for many years. But there was this big dark spot in my life. Reading his introduction to improving work performance, he almost casually mentioned that you will rarely get good at your work unless you can say: “This is what I was born to, this is the way I can give back to society for all the love I have received.” Suddenly, like when the sun rises on a clear morning, the darkness of ignorance fled from my mind and I saw how terribly I had been mistaken.

Looking back over the years, I saw how my work had steadily changed, with little or no input from me, from the things I found difficult to the things I was  interested in. By now, I had a job where I could work with things that interested me and spend my time helping other people all day long, never troubling them or causing conflict. It was amazing. My whole sector of the economy, and society itself, had been changed as if specifically to give me the best possible opportunity to enjoy my job and do my best. Life had changed for thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people, as if they were all being shifted around for my benefit. It was as if God had spoken to his angels and told them to do whatever it took to make me happy with my work, even if they needed to transform society itself.

I was shocked. Seeing the truth, I was  horrified at my own behavior. I realized that I had made a great mistake and blasphemed against the Light. I regretted deeply and decided there and then to change my ways completely.

Actually, that was not so easy. I had made bad habits and due to my lack of effort I was way behind my coworkers. Furthermore, no one thought they could rely on me. I had become one of those middle-aged men which people consider to be half retired, coming to work only to get their pay, who cannot be relied on to get anything done. So it was a bit of an uphill struggle, and it still is.  But I keep at it. I also have certain physical limitations, but for the most part I can work around that, doing other things instead.

Starting in May, I have begun working 100%, after many years of working part time. I have received permission to work from home on those days when I am too sick to commute but not too sick to think. I also brought up with my boss a new technology which I am competent with, and which it just so happens that our clients are about to start using. I politely asked that I be allowed to use this technology at work so as to be better able to help our clients. At first, my request was turned down; but a few days ago our boss sent a mail to the whole team saying that we could and ought to acquire this new technology.

So I love my work, and I love my boss. ^_^ (Very platonically, of course!) I have no idea how long I will be allowed to live and work, but I am living each day as if it is not my last, planning for a life of working far into the future. If the Light wills otherwise, there is probably a reason for that. Despite my many mistakes and weaknesses, I have begun to really hope that I will one day come home to the Realm of Light, my eternal home. But until then, my job is an opportunity to bring that Realm of Light down into this world, that it may shine for all who are in the house. And if I fail, I will learn from it and become stronger, Light willing, until I become a blessing on legs or die trying.

Doctor visit

My doctor commented that it was quite a time since he had seen me. I assured him that I was happy at work and overall in good shape. But, I pointed out, there had to be some excuse for sneaking away during work hours to see him. And so I told him the sad story of me suddenly having to get up before the alarm to empty my bladder, starting in January / February this year.

(The truth is that I don’t need to do that most nights now in summer. I assume I am simply sweating that much more. Although I would not mind if whatever had just plain reversed itself.)

The questionnaire he gave me almost made me ashamed to complain. Evidently there is a list of rather severe symptoms, and some patients have to get up five times a night! 0_0

Anyway, I got an appointment for Thursday morning to draw a blood sample, so they can test for the prostate cancer protein. To be honest, I am not sure what I would do if they found it. I have seen several serious-looking articles that say there is no statistically significant difference in mortality with early treatment of that particular cancer, unlike most others. The biopsy and treatment between them are as dangerous as the cancer, on average.  Well, hopefully there will be no indication of cancer, there or anywhere else.  I thought it was a good idea to be ahead of the curve or some such, but who knows.  Also, tomatoes and walking are better than I imagined.

The doctor did in fact ask me whether I still took walks. He must have made notes when I spoke with him in the past. Or perhaps he says that to everyone who has functioning legs. He is notoriously eager to get people to exercise, it seems he believes this to be a panache, a universal cure for all illness. And it also seems he is pretty much right.

A further appointment is made for June 24 for a prostate enlargement check.  I would only be mildly surprised if the problem was entirely disappeared by then. Well, if I am able to keep walking an hour a day until then. I did it today too. Seriously, what is up with using less calories to move faster for the same amount of time? Am I developing yet another superpower?  In addition to my ability to… oh wait, I haven’t told.

See, here in Norway we have a chocolate snack called Nonstop. I believe it is similar to Skittles, although the core is made of milk chocolate in all cases. The hard sugar shell tastes slightly differently depending on the color. Anyway, this snack comes in small bags, and the size I have bought lies comfortably in a grown man’s hand, and has a weight that is just about right to throw at a coworker.  If the bag is not opened beforehand, there is a good chance that the content will not spill all over the room. Depending on whether she throws it back, eats it, or neither of the above, you can estimate her opinion on the relationship between you. Or so I would assume, I have not even considered trying. I just wanted to describe roughly the size and weight of the packaging, since I failed to write down the weight.

Anyway, I have one of those small bags at work. Admittedly it is behind me, so that it does not distract me unless I feel like eating something sweet, which is not uncommon. But the thing is, one of those hand-sized bags lasts me for a week or more.  That’s because, despite the name “Nonstop”, I actually do stop after a few of them instead of waking up when the bag is empty. So that is my superpower. The blood sample is not going to reveal my secret power, I suspect, because it is probably not mutation but magic. I mean, it certainly sounds like magic, right? ^_^