May the Norse Be With You Part 2 – Aurland and Flam

We left Oslo on Sunday afternoon and headed for Aurland and the fjords(much more fun to say if you use the hard j). We stopped along the way a few times to enjoy the scenery and to cross a wobbly bridge. drive3

drive1 We got to Aurland later that afternoon and checked into our room. It was not really a hotel, just a place with apartments and cabins. We had a two bedroom with a kitchen and this view. hotelviewa

The next day we slept in a little and then did a long day with a 4 hour round trip boat tour of the fjord. boat boat2 The views along the tour were great and I was envious of the people who lived in the village on the water where no cars could reach. They have the longest life span in Norway, some say because of the purity of the water. After the boat tour, we did a round trip train ride from Flam to Myrdal and back. The train went up the mountain and past a waterfall. It wasn’t quite as scary as I thought it would be. We stopped at the waterfall for photo ops.train train2

We got back from the train very late, so that was it for the day.

The following day, we got up early and made the 2 hour drive to the glacier. To get to the glacier, we drove through a 24 km tunneltunnel There were three rest stops in the tunnel, i guess in case you wanted to take pictures or if you got nervous about being underground for so long and needed a break. We arrived at the glacier visitor’s center where we were told it was a 45 minute walk to the glacier. Once we got to the parking area to start the walk, we could see the glacier and couldn’t understand how it would take 45 minutes to walk there. Turns out the “walk” was over boulders, up rock surfaces and some areas where they had a rope for you to use to help climb. It wasn’t hard, but not what i would classify as a “walk”. It was worth it to see the glacier.glacier1 glacier2 glacier3 We stopped on the way back at a historical Stave Church stave1 and then went back to Flam that night to buy souvenirs and then prepared to head to our next stop.

May the Norse Be With You Part 1 Oslo

This year’s vacation was a trip to Norway as selected by our recent high school graduate. We headed out Thursday evening a flew overnight from DC to Olso via Newark. The flight wwent fine even with a very short layover in Newark. I was able to finally see Spiderman 2 on the flight and then actually slept a little.

We arrived at the Oslo airport Friday morning and was able to take a quick 19 minute train ride to the city center and to withing walking distance of the hotel. After checking in and resting for a little bit, we headed out to the Royal Palace for the changing of the guard. We stood there for a while and thought it would be a low key affair, but it turned out to be well worth the wait. These guards are also allowed to interact with you.  guard
From there we walked to Frogner Park were there were a lot of weird statues of naked people, then down to city hall, the pointing finger statue and the opera house. The opera house allows you to walk on the roof. It was beautiful at sunset.

cityhall frogner finger opera

The next day we went back to city hall to go inside and then took a ferry to the Viking Ship Museum and the Fram museum. Both very interesting. Probably my favorite part of Oslo.

inhall.fram viking

The next morning, before leaving we stopped at the National Gallery. We couldn’t take a picture of The Scream, but we did see work by many other famous artists, including


Will add more posts from the trip soon, with more description(hopefully).


Reading is Fundamental

Every year as football season approaches, Drew Magary writes a series of Why Your Team Sucks articles about each NFL team. In these articles he makes fun of the teams, the players, the coaches and the area where the team is based. I enjoy these articles and share them on Facebook. When I share them on Facebook, I pick my favorite quote from the article and quote it above the article. When quoting, I always use quotation marks. Quotation marks generally means this is a quote. The article clearly states it is written by Drew Magary, not Alan Simpson. This has not stopped people from getting mad at me for writing negative things about their area. Two years in a row this happened,

Last year, a friend from high school’s wife was apparently reading my Facebook page while logged in to her husbands Facebook. I am not friends with her on Facebook. I’m not sure I have ever even met her. When I posted the San Diego article, she took offense as something he said that she felt was negative towards the Navy. My friend from high school had been in the Navy. Anyone who actually knows me would know I have nothing but respect for those who have served. Anyone who has actually read Drew’s articles would know that you can’t take anything he writes in these articles seriously. They are meant as humor and satire. Unfortunately, this was a person who did not know me or the writing and didn’t know how to determine who actually wrote the article. Unfortunately, this has lead to me no longer being friends with her husband.

This year before I started posting them I posted a list of things you should know regarding my posting of the articles. Unfortunately, since I leave my Facebook public, friends of friends can see the posts once that mutual friend has liked or commented on it. Yesterday, a friend of a friend saw my share of the Carolina article and took offense to the quote I shared. I’m pretty sure he didn’t even bother to read the article before posting a comment insulting me and my “scant vocabulary”. My friend commented after to explain the articles and their intent, but he never bothered to come back to correct his mistake or apologize for insulting me on my Facebook because he was not smart enough to figure out who actually wrote the article(hard to do if you comment w/o actually clicking the article. A common problem on Facebook) or to figure out it was humor.

I will continue to post the articles because I think they are funny. I will continue to keep my Facebook public because I usually enjoy the occasional comment from someone I don’t actually know. I just wish people would take the time to read and think about the posts before taking offense.

Ray Rice v Michael Vick

The big local news recently was the announcement that Ray Rice received a 2 game suspension after punching his then fiance and knocking her out. I am appalled at the fact that Rice’s suspension was so short and by the fact that the Ravens organization is standing there with open arms ready to take him back immediately. I, for one, would rather Ray Rice not be on my team this year.

On the surface, this might seem to go against my “people deserve a second chance” post regarding Michael Vick Here is why I feel it is different and logical.

1. Michael Vick committed a crime, plead guilty to the crime and served time for the crime. Ray Rice made excuses and did what he could to avoid actually paying for his crime at all.

2. Michael Vick was suspended indefinitely by the NFL when he plead guilty to his crimes. Ray Rice got a 2 game suspension.

3. Michael Vick served his time and then had to go somewhere else to start over. Ray Rice will not pay for his crimes and is being welcomed back to the same town with open arms.

4. While violence against animals is horrible, I feel violence against woman is much, much worse. The NFL obviously disagrees.

5. All of this Ray Rice stuff sends an obvious message that the NFL and the Ravens organization do not take violence against women seriously.

Had Rice served time for his crimes, served a lengthy NFL suspension for his crime and then come back to try to start over, I would feel the same as I did for Vick. Everyone deserves a second chance, but it’s really not a second chance when you never had to pay for your crime in the first place.

One More List – What I’m Actually Listening To

I decided to do one more music list. This one is a list of the music I am actively listening to currently. The next 20 songs are the next 20 songs from my iPod on shuffle.

1, Back To Being Friends – People on Vacation
2. Pretty Vegas – INXS
3. The Girl I Used to Love – People on Vacation
4. Journey to the End – People on Vacation
5. Cheer Up Emo Kid – Patent Pending
6. Without Me – Eminem
7. There Was a Time – Patent Pending
8. Demons – Imgaine Dragons
9. Stupidy in Love – The Dollyrots
10. Cherry Bomb – The Runaways
11. One Foot – fun
12. Hey Devil – TobyMac
13. Don’t Know What You Got – Cinderella
14. Spin Me Around – Patent Pending
15. Sittin at a Bar – Rehab
16. Creep – Radiohead
17. I Am Waking Up Today – Bowling for Soup
18. Douchebag – Patent Pending
19. Thrift Shop – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
20. And I Think You Like Me Too – Bowling for Soup

There is a bit of a lack of variety because I recently had to start over with my music on the iPod due to a laptop crash and have yet to reload a good portion of what I have on iTunes.

My Non-Definitive List of Stereotypical Facebook Users

I use Facebook a lot. I know it’s no longer cool to use Facebook, but no one has ever accused me of being cool. I’ve noticed several types of Facebook users. I’ve decided to list them here. If you think I am talking about you, I probably am.


1. The Serial Liker – This person likes everything you post. It doesn’t matter what the post says or what’s in the picture. They will like it. They might not even read it before they like it. I’m not sure why. Maybe they want you to feel good about the fact that someone liked your post. Maybe they want to make sure you know at least one person is reading your feed. Personally, I want to want to earn the like. If my post is boring or stupid, don’t like it. It will make me a better Facebooker.


2. The Sharer Only - This persons feed is full of shared stuff. Pictures, political statements, comics, etc but no original thought or posts. This includes the “share this if you love X” posts. II would prefer to hear what you think, what is going on in your life, see your pictures not just a collection of things you saw in the internet that day. Most of them aren’t that funny or interesting.


3. The Picture Tagger – This person tags pictures with people who aren’t in the picture as a way to share the picture with those people. I prefer my pictures to be tagged with only the people in the actual picture. I don’t like to be tagged in random pictures that don’t include me. My legions of fans are disappointed when they click and don’t get to see a picture of me. If you want me to see the picture and think I might have missed it, send me a message.


4. The Wanna Be Comedian – This one is probably me. Posting things that I think are funny, but probably aren’t. Most likely because of self esteem issues and the use of humor to try to hide a multitude of personal insecurities. Or maybe I am really funny. I don’t know.


5. The Politician - Every post is about their political opinion or a shared article that pushes their political agenda. At the same time, they will get angry if someone posts a political opinion that goes against theirs. They don’t want to hear anything from the other side, They only want to read things that tell them they are right. There is no room for reasonable discussion here.


6. The Evangelist – This is the person who only posts things to convert others to their religion. I also include the atheist evangelist in this category. They want everyone to believe or disbelieve exactly as they do. Many on both sides do so with the best of intentions and with love, but others do so more to condemn those who don’t agree than to actually reach other people.


7. The Marketer – They are only on Facebook to sell you something. They don’t care about your posts, your pictures, your life. They only want your eyes on their ads. Every post is about what they are selling and the entire reason they joined Facebook is to expand their marketing base.


8. The Over Sharer - You will always know where this person is because they check in everywhere they go. They tell you what they are having for dinner(sometimes with photos), what they are watching on TV and I’ve read about people who have posted pictures of their poop. Your life is not that interesting. We don’t need to know.

I should probably think of two more to make it a nice round 10, but that’s all I’ve got.

My 20 Favorite Artists and My Favorite Songs By Them

This was the hardest one yet. There are so many that could be on the list and I’m sure if you asked me next year the list would change. I could easily have gone more modern and added more of my current favorites(Patent Pending, Dollyrots and People on Vacation) to the list and in 5 years they might actually make the list. I could probably add a few more 80’s hair bands, but decided Bon Jovi would represent them all. So, no more babbling. Here is the list in the format my bossy cousin April suggested:

1. Elvis – Burning Love

2. Buddy Holly – That’ll Be The Day

3. Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

4. Michael Jackson – Beat It

5. Prince – Little Red Corvette

6. Beach Boys – Wouldn’t It Be Nice

7. Garth Brooks – Papa Loved Mama

8. Kinks – Superman

9. Ramones – Teenage Lobotomy

10. Eagles – Peaceful Easy Feeling

11. Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues

12. White Stripes – Hotel Yorba

13. Bon Jovi – You Give Love a Bad Name

14. Bowling For Soup – Ohio(Come back to Texas)

15. Billy Joel – You May Be Right

16. The Everly Brothers – Bye Bye Love

17. Beastie Boys – Intergalactic

18. Elton John – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart

19. Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

20. The Police – Don’t Stand So Close to Me