Plumbbobs and chandeliers

Oh, my platinum plumbbob lights up the paintings on my wall…

The plumbbob, of course, is (in addition to an actual real-world tool for finding the direction of Straight Vertical in mines and constuctions) the soul crystal over the head over the small electronic people in The Sims games. Its highest level, the pure white shining Platinum Mood, represent the highest possible level of happiness and contentment. This is how my sims usually live out their later years, and how I usually feel as well.

That seems like useful preface before mentioning that I came across an old country song today, called “Crystal Chandeliers”. Like almost every country song I can think of, it is at the very least verging on the self-pitiful. At least it is better than the Norwegian version, which was the one I could remember. Anyway, I don’t really recommend getting anywhere near country music unless you have a permanent platinum plumbbob of your soul, an unshakable mind, invincible thinking etc, or at least nearly so.

And of course, thinking that you know me, it would be easy for you to read me and a certain someone into that song. After all, I never fit in too well with folks she knew etc etc. But that’s just the way it is – I don’t even fit inn well with the folks I myself know! In fact, I would probably worry if I did.

In any case, the song is pretty, but it is also subtly evil, because it mis-portrays love. Love is not about having expectations of reward, never. Love does not even have expectations about how the other person will behave, even though we would of course want them to Don’t Be Evil (TM). Happiness is different to different people; in part, we are born different, and have different fates.  While there are certain laws of the mind which promote happiness, some people are made for a life of crystal chandeliers, and some for one of plumbbobs. Love only blesses. Love only gives. Love leaves another person with more freedom than than they had before. This is true and essential.


So anyway, now I have this overwhelming urge to name one of my minor characters Kristel Chandlers. Although, knowing the madness that seizes new parents, I am convinced such a person already exists somewhere, probably in America.

Reflections on quiet

“The only person who truly knows your innermost thoughts is yourself.” And even that is a very optimistic view.

Back when I first started to experiment with the Holosync Solution, I briefly mentioned something important: If this could make people sit down and shut up for an hour each day, it would lead to rapid personal growth regardless of whether the brainwave entertainment actually worked.

This is not to say that I don’t believe the brainwave entrainment works. It probably does, at least part of it. And it probably does have health benefits beyond what you could get by just staring at the wall for an hour each day. But the fact remains that staring at the wall for an hour would indeed be an improvement for most people. Or at least half an hour, but if you really want far-reaching changes in your life, why not go the whole hog and just sit there for an hour.

This may seem like an absurd thing to do. And for all I know, it may be better to play Bach for an hour each day. I keep hearing good thing about Bach, although he is a mite too subtle and refined for a barbarian like me. ^_^ But the thing is, each of us has a profound need to sit down and shut up, if at all possible. And it is a need we usually repress at all costs until our health and even life itself is in danger.

There are different levels of quiet. What we today call meditation (and which the monks of old called contemplation) is a much deeper quiet than just sitting there and shutting up. There are also different levels of meditation. But we have to start somewhere, right? And the first thing we need to do is shut up.

Even if we shut our mouth, even if we go sit down in a room by ourselves and don’t turn on the TV, or the radio, or the stereo, or the computer… even if we just sit there and say nothing, that does not mean we really shut up. Our mouth shuts down, but the brain keeps making talk as if we were not alone.

Actually not all people have that particular brain that talks incessantly. Some think in images or even in music by default. But it is extremely common that our thoughts take the form of a flow of words.  This inner monologue (or in some cases dialogue or more!) tends to go on and on when we are alone.

In meditation we make a distraction of sorts, by binding our mind to a mantra or some other symbol. This serves as an anchor for the mind, so that we can quickly jump back to that point of stillness when we realize we have been carried away on the stream of consciousness. It is like a teleport spell that takes you back to the anchor in a moment. No need to flail and get upset or disappointed or even surprised that an important person like me got carried away by random thoughts. Just jump back to the point of quiet and start again.

But – at least at the outset – the truth is that this inner silence is not really what we are aiming for. I mean, each of us is aiming for it consciously, I suppose. But not having it is an important lesson in itself. By seeking the stillness inside, we become aware of the mind-chatter, the inner talk show, the often inane babble that it all comes down to when there is nothing more to say and the mind just can’t shut up.

If you never sit down and try to shut down your thoughts, if you just distract yourself until you cannot stay awake any longer, you can delude yourself. You can think that you are this particular person, “I”, who has some clearly defined personality traits and is pretty much the same person at all times, and simply creates thoughts by the amazing power of your brain. You don’t need to wonder what to think, say or do: By virtue of simply being you, it all pops into your head when you need it.

Once you become quiet enough to listen to your own thoughts, you will realize that no, you are not that unified thing, like a pearl that is whole and looking the same from all angles. Rather, your mind is like a flock of sheep, or a kindergarten with overly excited children squabbling and laughing and crying and doing random things, talking incessantly and mostly about useless stuff. But you have to be still enough to observe yourself to find out these things.

Is that really useful to know? Yes, it really is. If you don’t know at least roughly what you are, you are deluding yourself. You will make a history, a narrative, that is actually, factually wrong. And you will be surprised over and over by things inside yourself:  Feelings, irrational impulses, sudden urges, subtle tendencies. Among all these, you are blown off course again and again and cannot understand why.

But even if not, you really need that quiet. For your body to relax, for your mind to defragment itself and settle down. For your thoughts to stop flapping their wings quite so vigorously. And to become able to fall asleep without chemicals and without being so exhausted that you cannot wake up in the morning without (more) chemicals.

So if you haven’t already, please take some time to sit down and just shut up for some minutes. Your future self will thank you.

Quiet entrainment

Bedroom stereo is up in Cherryview. The diskless computer is connected. And, just in case, a steel plate is under it in case it might otherwise start building up heat. It is time to resume brainwave entrainment. Quietly, very quietly.

(In all fairness, the toddler upstairs seems to be awake till near midnight, so I don’t really think they have much reason to complain even in the unlikely case that they can hear a soft hum around 11 in the night. Now if their cat doesn’t return, they have reason to complain. Hopefully it won’t go that far.)

I am not really surprised that I wake up more often the first week in a new home. Anything else would be unnatural, or supernatural or something. But with the delta brainwave entrainment, it should no longer be a problem, more like an opportunity. Let’s see if we can get that Red Bull out of the lunch before it becomes a habit…

Foot and rain. Oh, and souls.

Half a minute’s walk from home. Not quite Manhattan.

Another slice of life in the three-dimensional world of Earth! Well, mostly.

On Thursday and Friday after work I walked for half an hour. Saturday morning I took a walk for 45 minutes and another half hour in the afternoon. I could barely notice any pain in my foot even after that. So it seems my foot is almost fully restored. It seems to have been healing at almost supernatural speed from the day I decided to give in and move to this place rather than keep looking for a house. Hmm, that’s an awful lot of coincidence, seeing how it began to hurt only a few hours before I heard that I would have to leave Riverview. The “before” of the previous sentence implies that it is not something my subconscious could do without divine intervention, or at least telepathy. It is still kind of suspicious.

The last part of a long walk is the only time I stay warm lately. Well, except under my duvet. This has probably more to do with the weather than the location. It is around 16 degrees C / 61 F outside, and no sources of heat inside except me, my quad-core computer, my fridge and occasionally the stove or washing machine. Not a lot to heat a family apartment. Those on the second floor probably get a small boost of heat from below, as hot air rises to the ceiling. Given how rare rainy days are here on the south coast, I am not eager to swap with them.

The funny part is that in my home office, the electronic thermometer shows 22 degrees C, which is only about one degree less than when I was wearing boxers and still feeling hot back in Riverview.  (No pictures of that, for some reason.)


I guess the topic today is that the body and the soul are highly intertwined, like the spaghetti and the past sauce. Or, to use a more correct but less amusing symbol, like the metal of a coin and the pattern engraved on it.

New research has shown that the placebo effect – the ability of fake medicine to heal – works to some degree even if you know it is placebo. So if your doctor gives you calcium pills to reduce your pain, and tells you that they are actually not supposed to work except for your belief in them, they will still work to some degree. If he does not tell you, they will work better. If the doctor also thinks the pills are genuine painkillers, they will work even better again. I suspect this may be ramped up even more if a whole nation thinks a form of medication works, even if the laws of nature do not explain it.

The other day I had the amusement of meeting someone on Google+ who claimed that his mind did not exist. What was called mind, he insisted, was simply a function of the brain. In my brain, this was translated into the following:
“My computer does not need software! It comes with Windows built-in!”
“Bah, my Mac does not even need Windows! I just turn it on and it works!”

I’ve been working with software since I was a teenager, back in the 70es, and I think this may have influenced my view of the mind. The reality is probably a little different again. But I believe it is the closest metaphor we have right now, and also closer than any metaphor our ancestors ever had. When an atheist goes so far as to deny software, you know that their (un)belief is truly important to them. Whether it can also heal their foot, I do not know.


A deeper difference

Many of my online friends are people who might just say things like “I am a bird” or “I am a dragon” or “I am a woman in a man’s body” or “it is a scientific fact that my mind does not exist”. They all consider me a bit weird.

I am fed up with writing about moving. I am sure my birth family, if they even read the journal still from time to time, appreciate reading about my life. Even I would probably like to know if they move.  (One of my brothers evidently moved a few years ago, not that anyone told me for a couple years, so it is not entirely theoretical.)

But how interesting is it really? Unless you plan to visit me, or get some good ideas for your own moving, there is nothing in it for YOU. And I don’t write to get things off my chest. I write mainly because I love you and want you to know that life is not as limited as you thought when you just looked at your neighbors and relatives and wondered: “Is this all?”

To be human is to have an immense degree of freedom. There are many lifestyles, and you can mix and match and make your own … although some combinations are probably not as good as others. And of course there are some combinations you cannot technically achieve. You cannot live as both married and single at the same time. (Or at least hell will break loose when your spouse finds out!) You cannot go back to being a virgin later in life. You can’t spend all your money and save it too. So nature puts some limits on us. (That’s why we have The Sims, to try out those other options. And online journals, to see what happens when someone tries them out in Real Life.)

Wherever we go, there we are. If you are in your fifties, as I am, you cannot become quite like me, and I cannot become quite like you, although we could probably approach each other. But the paths that took us to where we are, diverged much earlier in life.

I’ve found a number of new acquaintances on Google+, more so than in all my time on Facebook. But they are basically the same as most of the old ones. There is a deep difference between us, and I have thought a bit about how to express that.

Basically, I think most of them are children of their time and proud of it, in so far as they know it at all. I am… more like a continuation of something very old. My postmodern friends have nothing but scorn for those who think the world was created 6000 years ago, and yet they seem to assume that our cultural world was created only a couple generations ago. They take for granted that there is nothing to learn from the Great Souls that appeared at critical points in the history of our civilizations:  A Lao-Tzu, a Buddha, a Socrates, even Jesus Christ. All these people lived before the modern age, so they must have been idiots.  You cannot know anything unless you got the facts right, and it is only just recently that we know everything that is worth knowing.

The truth is, of course, that every generation has known almost everything – in their own eyes. In the age between Newton and Bohr, science knew that the sun got its energy from gravity – the friction when its mass contracted heated it up to its temperature of about 6000 degrees, and when it began to cool just a little, the reduced pressure caused gravity to compress it just a little more so the temperature increased again. The idiot scientists who had lived before thought it was burning, perhaps fueled by coal. But now we knew the fact: It was gravity all along!

It goes without saying that if humanity soldiers on for another 100 years, scientists will laugh their butt off at many things we consider immutable facts today.  Currently, for instance, we assume that more than 95% of the universe consists of “dark matter” (which cannot be seen or observed in any way except through its gravity) and “dark energy” (which seems to be kind of like gravity but with the opposite effect). Come on. This is disturbingly similar to the “epicircles” that official science had to explain the movement of the planets before Copernicus began to suspect that the sun was at the center of the solar system, not the Earth.  Something is very much missing.

Our complete and comprehensive worldview based on facts is just the latest in a long series of comprehensive worldviews based on the known fact of the day. The scientific name for this is “mythology”. Each age has a mythology, a more or less unified body of myths that accounts for all the essential facts known by that culture at that time. Ours is no different. We just have dark energy instead of dark gods, as befits our particular culture.

Wisdom is not like that. It is not a collection of fact, but a way of thinking. It operates on a different dimension, and allows for “time travel” in the sense that you can make a stop in any culture, at any age, and apply wisdom to it. Or not, as is the case with most people at all times.

Aristotle honestly thought that one of the testicles made boy seed and one made girl seed, and you could decide the gender of your children by tying up one of them for a  long enough time. That doesn’t mean he was an idiot who has nothing to teach us. The truth is that you and I almost certainly believe in something equally idiotic, which is considered a scientific fact today.

Or to take a more recent example: Sir Fred Hoyle, one of the greatest astronomers of the 20th century, invented the phrase “Big Bang” to mock the newfangled notion that the universe had not eternally existed in its current form. At the time he coined that phrase, the notion that the universe had a beginning was considered a form of creationism and inherently unscientific.

So the difference between me and my friends is that they are children of their time, eager to tear down the rubbish of their mistaken ancestors. I am a children of  eons, the words of the Buddha and the Christ ring in my ears as I walk among the spires of steel and glass. “Everything that has form is subject to decay.” “What profit is there in winning the whole world if you lose your soul?”

As my body walks through space, my mind walks through time. I see the land as it was when the first farmers pulled their boats ashore, I see the small unpainted houses of a few hundred years ago, the cattle paths now hidden under the pavement. All things change. And every time the face of the world changes, people live in this new world as if it is the only world possible. This vast number of people are who I call “4-dimensional”, as they are trapped in the three space dimensions and the one time dimension. Their goals lie within the world of space and time and they cannot break the fifth wall – at least yet. That is not to say they can’t be good people, in some cases more so than I. And they certainly know a lot of things I don’t, too.

When did I take this path? My mother, before she passed on, told me that when I was little, I refused to let her read me fairy tales. “Tell me about when you were a girl, mama” I had pleaded her. Although I have read (and written) fairy tales since then, this core of my being has always persisted. When I moved away from home at the age of 15, I came to a house where there was one of those ridiculously long world history book collections, with blow by blow descriptions of ancient battles and in depth analysis of the archives of the Hittite civilization, that kind of thing. I was stuck there for hours a day. I did not think of it back then, it felt natural for me, just as when I was little, to travel in my mind to the past and back.

I was born like this, I had no choice:
I was born with the gift of a golden voice,
and twenty-seven angels from the Great Beyond,
they chained me to this table right here
in the Tower of Song.”
-Leonard Cohen, Tower of Song.

Without broadband

Computers, computers everywhere, but not a drop of broadband! Or rather, drop may be what it did.

One of the things I first thought about when the house was sold, was broadband access. I had fiber-optic high-speed access. Kind of overkill, but the price was only marginally higher than the slower telephone  cable broadband, except for an initial investment of around $1000, which I found acceptable given that I was renting the place for five years. That cost would happen again if I chose the same solution (it covers stretching fiber-optic cable to the house, while virtually every house older than 10 years has copper cable already).  I can’t keep stretching optical fibers from house to house every year.

So I looked at DSL suppliers, and decided to go back to NextGenTel (a Scandinavian-only ISP), which I had used for several years until I moved to Riverview. The other realistic supplier was the former state monopoly Telenor, which I used before switching to NextGenTel.

I quit Telenor because of their incompetence. On several occasions I was without Internet connection for a week or two, and calling them just resulted in their helpdesk making up some random story to explain, a story which would depend entirely on who I met when I called. The next day someone else would give another story. An engineer would be there tomorrow. No, it was just a temporary glitch. No, they would get an engineer to look at it. Etc, until I happened on one of the few people who actually knew anything, and who could throw a switch to get my Internet back on.

In all fairness, Telenor is OK as long as everything works. I have them for my mobile phone, at least for the time being.

I ordered DSL from NextGenTel when I was sure I was actually going to move to Mandal. To be honest, I did look for houses in the countryside for a while. If my foot had been OK, I might even have gone for the one that was a 45 minute walk from the bus. (Once the move was imminent, my foot started healing rapidly. Another suspicious coincidence.)

Yesterday I got mail from NextGenTel that they would deliver my broadband on September 20th. That is a bit later than the 2-3 weeks their web site advertises and that is specifically mentioned during summer.  Evidently they had forgotten that their workers have summer vacation or something. I called their customer service which verified the mail. They also pointed out that this was the same for the competition, and I am pretty sure it is. For certain values of competition.

I could get ICE.NET wireless broadband in a couple days, and this is probably true because 1) I have had them before and they delivered fast, they just were horribly slow to stop when I tried to end my subscription, and 2) there is no local driving involved, they just send a wireless modem in the mail. Actually I still have their wireless modem and am testing it right now.

Or I could just continue to use my mobile phone as wireless broadband. It does have a flat rate subscription, and unless they have changed policies without me noticing, the only result of “overdraft” is that the download speed is lowered. I am not absolutely sure of this though, and it would be pretty dramatic for someone in the zeroth world to lose data access on the mobile phone!

About that: I whined on Google+ about the 10 week delivery time on broadband, and was met with absolute icy silence instead of the expected shock and outrage over the cruel and unusual treatment. Could it possibly be that this kind of customer “service” is common down in the first world? Do you still have regional monopolies and stuff? Up here in the zeroth world, every day without broadband is like a day in the Dark Ages. It is just unnatural for a modern human to not be able to videoconference, watch movies almost immediately, and play elaborate multiplayer online games while talking on some kind of IP phone. The death of distance is more or less a part of history for us, which is why being without broadband is so unthinkable.

I may end up getting the ICE.NET wireless broadband to supplement the mobile phone. Between them they should provide me with all the bandwidth I may need during July, August and Septembet. There is as usual a 12 month minimum duration, but the first six months are half price, which is quite reasonable indeed. If that applies also for former customers, I may opt for it.

At least if I have to move again (or find a nice house way out in the countryside), ICE.NET uses a frequency that covers a much larger area per base station than mobile phones, so there is hardly any habitable place in Scandinavia that is not covered. I can bring it with me anywhere there is some source of electricity, basically, with no downtime. That may turn out to be a valuable trait if I keep getting chased from place to place with little time to prepare.

I mean, it is not like you folks want to be without my updates even for a day, right?  Right?

Pigsty Project II

Not literally looking like a pigsty. More like after a tornado or teen home-alone party, some such.

Extremely regular readers – well, probably only myself – will remember the Pigsty Project from last time I moved. It is a year and a half ago, after all. It was quite simple really: Each workday I would carry something, anything, out of the home, never to return. I could be an empty bottle, used batteries (we are not supposed to throw those in the household garbage around here), a used book to give to the second-hand book store. Anything that was not going to be used again, and that did not go in the regular garbage.

I am not sure when I started. If I had been smart, I had started as soon as I heard I would be moving, but I think I only did this the last few weeks. It was complicated by the fact that I also carried things each workday that I would bring to the new house before the actual move, so as to make that less.

I continued for some weeks after I moved too, because frankly there were still things left. Eventually it came to an end.

Yes, I have started it again. Strangely, there was now a multitude of such things. Partly there are new ones, like empty glasses that have held pasta sauce. Partly there are old ones, like the comics I was sure I was going to read again but never did. If I had a couple more months before the move,  I could probably have made it off with them all. But I didn’t.

Needless to say, perhaps, this time I started as soon as I heard I would be moving.  And I intend to continue until I am rid of everything I don’t need. This time, even the old computers will go, even if I have to carry them bit by bit. That is what I think. We shall see what actually happens. Yesterday and today I carried books. For tomorrow I have set a bag of comic books by the door. I brought along the glasses (as opposed to setting them adrift on the river) so they will also have to go.  I think most of the rest I need to get rid of will be fit to throw in the garbage bin.

I got my own garbage bin! Even though it is only half a house. It is certified family residential unit so evidently I get my own. That should help. Well, if I don’t fall back to keeping everything “just in case” once I forget the packing and unpacking. What is the chance?

Once more into those breeches

Back to work today. But at least I put on trousers and shirt that had not seen fresh air since I moved or thereabout. Possibly the move before that, I am not sure. I could do this for a long time, but I probably won’t. The shirts and many of the trousers are already finding their way into the wardrobe shelves, where they will probably just disappear from my consciousness until I am forced to move again, if ever.

But at least I carried a plastic bag with paperbacks to the city and gave them to the used-book store. And I’ve filled the bag today again, hopefully to repeat the feat tomorrow, unless something gets in the way. I don’t intend to put a book back in the bookshelf unless I feel a nagging suspicion that I would replace it if I lost it. Well, except perhaps to complete a series.

I also discontinued my subscription to the Wimp streaming music service. They showed no interest in getting back the Norwegian composer I had written to them about. There is no point in subscribing to a Norwegian streaming service if it is the Swedish competitor that has the Norwegian composers I want. Spotify is more than enough.

Next up – to stop the fiberoptic Internet subscription at Riverview. But first, sleep. Somehow that always ends up low priority unless I stop myself from doing everything else.

I have moved!

Double the chaos, double the fun!

I want to write this while it is still fresh, before I take it for granted and forget to mention. Or even, Light forbid, edit my memories the way humans do, so the memories fit better into their life narrative.

A few days ago I realized that boxes would be great for moving. I have not used special moving boxes before, just various leftover cardboard boxes. At first I did not think they were available locally, and felt stupid for not having ordered some. Then I discovered that the local Clas Ohlson supermarket had them. I went and bought 6 of them, and carried them home over the course of two days.

Yesterday I bought 6 more, and carried them home instead of food or my work computer – the packs of flat-pressed boxes are not all that heavy, but unwieldy.

Moving boxes are Heaven’s gift to mankind. Blessed be whoever came up with that idea. I wish I had bought twice as many, truth to tell. They certainly made this move at least a bit smoother than usual. Of course, usual moving for me is somewhat nightmarish.

The landlord had made an appointment to show up with a van and workers at 10 today. During yesterday afternoon I started to realize that I was falling behind on the packing. I had mostly ignored the whole thing, except for carrying bottles out of the house every day since I heard of the move. And except for filling six fairly large sacks with things to throw away, not counting filling the garbage bin to the top each week. I had some stroke of insight as the weekend approached and defrosted the fridge, which was finished sometime Monday.

I did not sleep quite as well as normal tonight, as can be expected. While I did not actually panic, I felt pretty rushed through the morning as I packed and packed an packed and cleaned (which was, incidentally, a waste of time: The house is going to be razed to the ground, really really. I asked again. Well, at least its last inhabitant was someone who appreciated it… eventually!)

Around noon the landlord appeared with the van. I was just starting to pack down the computer equipment, that is to say, pretty much everything in the home office. At least I had turned it off before he came, although I had not unplugged most of the stuff. He went home and ate. When he returned, I had more or less finished. He brought two boys who look like the have barely started school, but worked like teenagers, except for not whining. I was kind of disturbed that he let them carry beds and stuff, but they evidently do this habitually. They must have been lifting weights since they were babies or something.

They did not take the washing machine though. Adult workforce arrived later and took the heaviest stuff. I did not touch the washing machine with a finger. It has it in for me, I feel. It has been close to killing me a couple times already.

It took two turns, but we did it! Everything is now in the new apartment, the lower half of a fairly large house in Mandal. Despite the landlord’s assurances that the apartment is at least as large as the old house, that is just not true. But it may well be 75% or even 80%. The living room is huge, probably the largest I have ever lived in. There are two fairly large bedrooms, the largest of which is becoming my home office. If I stay till winter, I may consider moving the computer desk into the bedroom so as to heat one room less, and heat the bedroom with the computers. Of course, it is possible that the next winter will be normal, with temperatures just barely below freezing and no howling arctic wind. Those who live shall see.

I knew the living room reminded me of the Chaos Node. The windows are smaller (thank goodness, I could barely even wear boxers in the Chaos Node during summer) but the wallpaper is exactly the same. It is kind of ridiculous to see, I get this flashback feeling when I look at a wall where there is no window. It is even longer though, and wider at least in the sense that there is no kitchen area taking up part of the space. Possibly wider even apart from that. It is ridiculously huge for what must have been a middle-class home.

The kitchen is reasonably large, although it would be crowded if it was used for eating, which it probably was. Here is shelf space, shelf space and more shelf space. For some reason the washing machine is attached here, instead of the bath. The bath is fairly spacious because the toilet is in a smaller room with a separate entrance, so I can shower without guests peeing their pants. This might come in handy if I actually had guests.

I mentioned the two bedrooms. The inner bedroom is facing north, and there is a large outhouse / shed across a small backyard so it is very sheltered. For good measure, a giant cherry tree is overshadowing the place. The street is to the south too, so the bedroom is quiet, sheltered and cool. I may appreciate the north-facing less when winter comes, I guess. The windows are single-glass, something that is almost extinct in Norway. That implies the whole house may be poorly insulated. At least it is sheltered from the howling winds that howled on the open fields of the river valley.

Barring divine retribution, I think I will indeed be here this winter. I had not expected to fall in love with the place, but it is very nice. If I get along with the family upstairs (as in, have nothing to do with them) it seems a very nice place. I love the huge number of wardrobe closets in the bedrooms. I have an insane amount of clothes.

People, let me talk about clothes. I had no idea how much clothes I had. I have used 3 pullovers throughout the winter and spring, but it turns out I have something like a dozen of them! What the Hell* was I thinking buying that many pullovers? And how did I forget it? I knew I had a multitude of shirts, but it turns out that I have more than twice as many trousers as I thought too. I probably have enough socks for the next 20 years too. This is just crazy.

(*Hell is here used in a religious sense, just not as an expletive. The urge to amass random earthly things far beyond my needs is definitely not divinely inspired.)

As I kept carrying clothes, I realized something hugely ironic: If I had saved that money instead of buying unnecessary clothes, I could have owned a place to keep those clothes I did not buy. These were not cheap labor class clothes either. The cost of them would in fact have given me enough starting capital to buy a flat and pay about the same on the loan as I now do in rent. Or buy a house in the countryside, I guess, although not like the place I lived.

Don’t get me started on the hundreds of computer games I bought in the past. Well, all this is long ago now. I usually buy a couple expansion packs to The Sims each year, and that’s pretty much it. How did I have that kind of money back then? Well, the rent was lower. :p

The rent here is the same as for the house. I can see why he thinks that is fair. While not new in any sense, the house is not near collapse from old age either. It lies in a quiet part of town. Taking a short walk, I saw middle-aged and older people in several of the well-kept yards. You don’t feel surrounded by roads – I can neither see nor hear any road to the north, and the road passing on the south has very little traffic. Most homes are painted white, as is the custom here on the south coast, and seem to be in good shape. There is a bakery and something like a convenience shop so close that I could have gone there even if my foot had not recovered.

The foot did recover, incidentally. Despite the overuse yesterday, it is fine today again (unless I walk an hour again, I guess.) On the other hand, I think most of my body is going to hurt tomorrow. And I dare say my blood sugar is not dangerously high right now. I have worked hard and barely eaten until now in the afternoon, so I was starting to get weak. Well, that is good. Emptying the glycogen reserves means the blood sugar will have somewhere to go now that I have food again. Yogurt and rolled oats! The heroes of breakfast!

I have inhaled a year’s worth of dust and muscles are hurting that I did not know I had, but I am happy. The move was completely amicable and while I will miss the beautiful landscape and the sight of the river, the truth is that I only spent an hour a day in the landscape and most of the rest looking at a computer screen. Which I still do.

Continuing to speak about walking, a couple minutes from the house (but on the other side of a small hill, it seems) is the town bridge. It connects the sleepy residential south side with the shopping district on the north side, and conveniently also the bus station, about 5 minutes from home. Unfortunately the bus station is on the other side of the main street, which may prove a problem during rush hours. We shall see. People on the south coast are not exactly known as speed demons, so I am optimistic.

Now, what to call my new domicile? House of Cherries? Cherryview? The Half Home?  Wardrobe Central? Or perhaps Double the Chaos, since it reminds me of the original Chaos Node but with twice as much space? It certainly looks like chaos now, with dozens of bags and boxes and scattered commodes and two vacuum cleaners.  (The landlord let me keep the one from Riverview, and it turned out there was one here already. A meaningful coincidence?)

I don’t intend to put it all in place immediately either. Each thing, before I give it a place in my home, will have to pass examination: Will it go or will it stay? I am not going to drag this sea of unnecessary things with me one more time. Not again. Not ever again. Well, perhaps the shirts, as it is kind of nifty to go a decade or two or three without buying a new shirt. You don’t know how close I was to setting some of the other things adrift on the river last midnight while the neighbors were sleeping. I would have gotten away with it too.  There was a door on the river side of the house and no neighbors at all that way. I was tempted. I was so tempted.

But now: First night in a new home!

Foot and move update

Today I had a lot of errands in the city, and had to walk back and forth between a number of different shops and offices. I probably walked for well over an hour. Amazingly, it took about that long before the pain returned after a weekend of only occasional biking on the exercise bike. So that was a pleasant surprise. Of course, I actually did use up all that recovery, but it seems there is some hope that it may heal if I could avoid returning to my old habits too fast.

Ironically one of the longest treks was diagonally across the town to the private clinic that took the x-rays my doctor had requested (and that were almost certainly not necessary). At least, with it being not state-owned, the waiting time was minutes rather than months.

If that sounded like it had an edge to it, it is probably because in 2005 I had to wait all summer for being checked for a potential cancer. Luckily it was not cancer anyway, but if it had been, waiting from June till August might mean the difference between certain cure and certain death. Since I doubt I was singled out for special treatment, that probably means any random number of people die from de facto health care rationing in Norway. On the bright side, health care is generally cheap here. Having long lines makes for great planning ability.

More about 2005 later, Light willing.

At the end of the day I had to choose between carrying home food, my computer, or six more moving boxes. I chose the boxes. You can eat fresh food almost every day, but you only move once a year.  In my case, that is tomorrow.

I wish I had even one more week. That way I could get more stuff out of the house that should not be in the new apartment. I have been carrying one bag each day (except a couple days in the beginning when I forgot) and if I could have done that for just one more week, it would have really helped.

I can’t help but remember an earlier time I tried to move to a smaller place than I had before, the landlord threatened to crush my kneecaps unless I gave him the keys and the contract right there.  (Today I left the contract at work.)  I also lost 3 months of rent and found myself with a weekend or so to find a new place to live. So, I really don’t need a repeat of that.

Of course, that is why I wish I had thought of getting moving boxes earlier. Dozens and dozens of moving boxes.  I usually use black garbage bags to keep my enormous mound of clothes dry and clean during the transport, but evidently this causes an automatic train of thought in certain people going like this: “Black plastic bags – garbage – flies and stink – AARGH – HULK SMASH PUNY HUMANS! RAAAHR!”  This is not a good development on moving day.

That said, I actually have 3 garbage bags with actual garbage, in a manner of speaking:  One with old worn clothes, two with old computer games and DVDs. But neither of these stink. Nor do the 3 paper garbage bags with paper and cardboard (that I had thought to make fire with next winter). I feel confident that I could have left the house as it is right now for four months and come back and there would be neither flies nor stink. (The reason I say four months rather than years is that after four months the winter descends and pipes would freeze. I cannot guarantee that this does not cause a stink if they burst.)

Anyway, tomorrow it is really real for real! Will I survive, or will I try to lift the washing machine? If I survive, will my kneecaps and my glassware be unbroken, by and by?  Light knows, but Light rarely tells. That is why life is an exciting adventure rather than a boring rerun. Even mine.