Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Last Post (for now)

Sad to say, but here is the last post from this current stay in Norway.

Let's re-cap, shall we?

Since arriving, I have

-Been to the opening ceremony and three events at the World Cup of Skiing
-Washed a Hairy Cat in the bathtub and survived
-Experienced a Norwegian winter time, in all of its glory
-Shoveled snow using a two handed snow/sled
-Received haircuts at the hands of Lise-Lotte
-Got a brand new spanken' winter coat
-Finished all of my "Learn Norwegian" Books
-Finished two puzzles
-Got to see crown prince Haakon as a regular person waving to the people
-Finally met Ida's Brother, Christian
-Got to pet a Reindeer
-Received a brand new pair of Ski Boots along with some really nice Skis
-Started to learn how to Ski
-Was Accepted at BI: Norwegian School of Business
-Got to go to Sweden and shop for things on the cheap!
-Found a new interest in Scooter Motors
-Started Constructing a new deck for the house!

Whew!  now that's a ton of new stuff!  Most of the events are things that I couldn't have experienced without being in Norway.  and a few items are once-in-a-lifetime events!  I am very grateful for all of my travels and experiences.  I will never take them for granted!

And because all of you have been so good and faithful reading my blogs, I present you with a little treat. I call it, "Oscar's Adventures"

This, is THE OSCAR!

One day, The Oscar was sitting upon his rock, and he was thinking.

He thought, about his kingdom, and he looked as far as his eyes could see.

He noticed that the side porch could use a little work.  And so, he set his furry kingly mind on the task of organizing his minions and the construction of a new porch.


He went on,

The Kitty heard his kingly roar, but she felt that the passion in his voice was wasted, as she had no opposable thumbs, and cannot handle tools very well.

The Kitty then suggested to The Oscar that he turn around, and actually face his audience when trying to yell at them.

"Hmm?,  Oh, yes, thank you Kitty,  I had forgotten which way I was facing"  Said The Oscar bashfully.

Not to lose face, The Oscar turned around, almost as if he had done so on purpose.

"Right, is this better?"  The Oscar asked Kitty in a low voice.

"Yes, you're looking good now, my king.  Surely the people will hear you this time"

The Oscar prepared once more to shout some sense into his peasants.


So Dan said, "I can take up the old boards with this metal stick."

And Ida said, "And I can take them away in this wheelbarrow"

The Oscar looks on as the work continues, and his expression grows more and more into a pleasant smile.

"We love working for you, The Oscar", said Ida and Dan together

But their cries of exclamation fell on deaf ears, for The Oscar had to take a Kingly nap.

Work Continued on, and new boards were attached where the old ones were.

Soon the Deck was completely refurbished.

And as The Oscar awoke, his face lit up, and his kingdom was once again back to its former glory.

"You have done well, my legions of laborers.  Today is a great day in my kingdom, and as a reward, I will allow you to stroke my fur and brush me until I pass out in a sunbeam."

All of the kingdom rejoiced, all of the work had been completed, and all was well in the kingdom.

The End.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Deck

Lykkelig Påske alle sammen!

First, to clarify, you all need a history lesson (except for my theology friends, you probably already know this).

in the U.S. we celebrate Easter, which gets its name from the old heathen Anglo-Saxon goddess, "Ēostur" which then got changed into english "easter" but of course is celebrated for completely different reasons now.

"Påske" is Norwegian for the Latin "Pascha" (also is acceptable in Greek form Πάσχα) which is derived from the Hebrew "Pesach."  Looks a lot like the phrase "Passover" doesn't it? So, in short, Norway which became a christian nation in AD994, adopted the christian holidays and therefore calls what you guys call "Easter" as "Påske."  make sense? 

anyway, upward and onward with a new deck!

The deck on the side of Lise-Lotte and Silvano's house was getting a little green and worn.  Further inspection showed that it was rotting.  So, it was time to pull up all of the boards and lay down some new ones!  Lise-Lotte, Ida, and myself were just standing on the deck talking about different designs and things that we would like on the deck, and all of a sudden, Lise-Lotte disappears and re-appears with a set of crowbars and hammers.  She doesn't waste anytime folks.

so, a few short hours later....

Even Ida's Morfar (Mother's Father) got in on the action.  That man is an unstoppable force of nature.  He's like a human power plant.

 I think in this photo he isn't sitting on the remains of the old deck....he is dragging and moving the entire house!


So, what to do with all of the old lumber?  I know!  Let Dan use the big saw and chop it all up!

Mom and Dad, you will notice that my hands are at all times, very far away from any sort of danger on this machine.  But I don't have any pictures of me using the chainsaw later that day.  

All of the decking wood had to be recycled because it is toxic when burned.  However, all of the wood painted white in the wheel-barrel is burnable, and we saved it.  

Here is a picture of me TCOB  (taken' care of business)

And here is a photo of the wood pile in the barn.

Yeah, we have just a few pieces.  

Today, I finished cutting up all of the trees that we cut down the day before, and I split all of the wood and added it to the nice wood pile. and before you call me a heathen for doing manual labor on Easter Sunday, you must realize that Påske is celebrated on Monday.  don't ask me why.  it just is.

I will be posting some photos later on this week, and that post will probably be the conclusion of this particular blog.  However, I will keep the domain name and simply add newer blogs in the future.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Update on the Scooters

Well, as my avid readers already know, recently I have had an interest in simple small motors.  Specifically the motors found on the two scooters in the Baietta Familys' Barn.

Ida and I are going hunting for parts on Saturday for the 1986 Honda PA50.  I found a spare spark plug downstairs, so we no longer need that, but we still need an oil seal, and engine mounting screws.

Here is a photo of the scooter as it lies about in two pieces.  I keep the front-end supported on the tractor wheel so that I don't risk damaging the trottle or levers.   Plus, there's the gas tank....I just feel safer when It's sitting upright.

When we last left the 2005 Derbi Atlantis, I was complaining about the throttle not working.  Well, I am happy to say that with a few days of work and a lot of cleaning and oiling, the Derbi Atlantis is going 50 km/h again!   I found that the throttle cable had become detached to the connecting carburetor cable.  While I was in the area, I checked the carb and found that it was relatively clean (great news!)

 Lise-Lotte had informed me that she wasn't happy with the quality of oil in the scooter, so I bled it (overnight) and put new in it this morning.  I checked the cylinder and found a lot of carbon buildup (probably due to the crappy oil)  So I took it all apart down to the cylinder casing and cleaned and lubricated (with the good stuff).  Today, I put it all back together, and ran it for a while.  I had to adjust the Low Pressure on the carburetor in order to get a good low Idle speed (without it dying eventually).   The bike smoked and smoked as the oil change and all of the new lubrication was being processed.  But Lise-Lotte took it for a ride today and hit 50 km/h  which is about the speed that a factory 2005 Derbi Atlantis can go on a straightaway.

I've read on websites where people are claiming 90 km/h on one of these....but I'm calling BS because most owners put aftermarket products on this specific scooter.  So those people are probably omitting the fact that they've added performance parts.

Anyways....I know that it seems to be all about motors and such....but I think that I've found another hobby.  I think that I might have found an affection for scooters.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Oh hey, internet!

Two weeks,  let's see if my life has had anything interesting in it.  At least something more interesting than Super-Bread.

Today was fun,  Ida, her Grandmother, and her Grandfather, and I, went to Sweden today.  You see, Sweden also has the currency of the Kroner, however, the Swedish Kroner is not worth as much as a Norwegian Kroner.  (psssst, it's because Norway has tons of oil and drills it and ships it).  So, as one might guess, prices are cheaper in Sweden, AND the currency that you carry is even stronger yet.  it's like Double Coupon days on crack in a Mexican Pharmacy.  The stores were packed.  We could barely get through the liquor store, and the Grocery Store was a hoppin' place too.  (easter pun intended)

Also, as of yesterday and today, I am slowly growing an interest in small motors.  I carefully read a service manual for Ida's 1986 Honda PA50  and then started dismantling the entire thing.  It ran, but the top speed wasn't nearly what it should be for this tiny 49cc engine. (1 piston, 2-stroke).  So as I began the tear-down, I found my culprit.....carbon build-up on the piston head.  dun, dun, DAAAAH!  which of course leads to a lack of compression, and as a result, the engine runs, it revs, but it simply lacks power.  The Carburetor was extremely clean for something so old.  and I did flush the exhaust.  We are waiting on a few small parts that were rusted and snapped during dismantling.  Two regular items like an oil seal (for the head)  and a spark plug.  Also, some of the header mounts snapped and had to be taken out.

So, after seeing my progress on this and hearing me talk about this, Lise-Lotte then told me that her Scooter, (a Derbi Atlantis 50)  also had exhaust issues.  So as of tonight, I have started the flushing process and I have a feeling that because of the oil that they used on the scooter last time, that I will have to bleed it, clean it, and re-lube the whole thing.  Also, the throttle is not-responsive.  So, I will most likely have to break it all down until I find the real dirt (so to speak).

Hey Dan, When are you flying back to the States?

May 2nd.  Yes, I arrive the day before my Dad's 32nd Birthday.  Luckily I will be there in time to celebrate it with him.

Everyone be good to each other out there.  I will see most of you soon!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Super Bread!

I know, I know, it's been way too long since I last updated my blog.  Recently, there hasn't been too much to report.  just life as usual.   So, I thought that I would give my loyal readers some odds and ends of the cultural differences, and funny sounding names of products.  enjoy!

First of all, commercialism is alive and well here in Norway, and the Simpson's Franchise is also alive and well.  See examples 1 and 2.

Example 1:
Simpson's Brød.  Literally, "Simpson's Bread."  Bread sales are a staple in every part of Norway, Norwegians eat bread during breakfast and lunch.  So you can imagine how much demand for bread exists in this country.  Why not eat the bread that reminds you of your favorite cartoon dad?  (I swear, if any of you make any kind of pun using the term "d'oh" as if it is meant as "dough"  I will punish you)

Example 2:

Duff Beer is a REAL beer here in Europe.  No, it didn't exist before the Simpson's made it a funny name with a hysterical spokesman.  But it is sold in various places.....however, I think that it would do especially well in the United States, mostly because Europeans don't like the taste of Duff Beer.  And as most American's don't really have a palette for good, dark, rich, beer (like they have here),  I have a feeling that Duff needs to make it's American debut quickly.

Now for a different kind of franchise;

SuperBread,  yes, that's right, a bread that is....well, just kind of plain.  But at least the label is cool.  That kid is going to eat this bread and then go off fighting for truth, justice, and the Norwegian way!

On the Right hand side, we have a comically named product.  It is using the latin-root word for "Shower" in it's product name.  And because it works on both your scalp and your body,  it is "Dubbel"  for what you pay.  And just think, now that this product name has been taken, what am I going to call my Biography about that Koran burning guy now?

While Starbucks isn't around these parts of Europe (thank goodness).  They do however sell starbucks franchised products in certain grocery stores.  While you might think that $4-$5 for a freaking Frappuccino is ridiculous, try imagining paying the equivalent of $9 for one of those stupid little glass bottles full of coffee bean water. A Frappuccino in Norway costs 45,50 Kroner.  yeah, now that's a game killer.

Every now and again, I find a humorous translation between the cultures.  The other day, we stumbled upon the subject of frogs, and how they start life as an egg, then a tadpole, then an adult frog.  But the Norwegian word for "Tadpole" is "Rumpetroll" or literally translated "Butt Troll"  while I do not have an explanation for this weird combination of words, I think that ignorance is bliss, and my bliss takes the form of hysterical laughter.

Another small thing that tickled me in just the right way, was the translation from one of my favorite childhood TV shows, the "Gummi Bears".  Remember how they would just drink some juice and then would bounce away from danger and trouble?  well, because of that bouncing, they got the name in Sweden meaning "Bouncy Bears"  or "Bumbibjörnarna"  It sounds an awful lot like "Bumpy Bears"  and then I get the image in my head of real life bears that just bump off of each other like some kind of organic bumper cars arena.

Anyway, I am sure that I will find more things that make me laugh, and I will post them,  but hopefully I will have more eventful kind of things to post in the future.  I like it when you guys leave comments, (hint, hint)


Thursday, March 24, 2011


Last Friday, I received some really great news from a college here in Norway.  I have been accepted at BI: Norwegian School of Business Management, for the Fall 2011 Semester.  Most likely, this will be the school where I will complete my higher education.

Check out some of the pictures!

The school is located in Oslo, and Ida and I have been looking for apartments around the area.

With a student visa, I can stay in Norway for as long as my education takes to complete.  This was wonderful news to receive considering that Ida and I have had to follow the 90 days laws of vacation every time that I am in her home country.  It will be nice to see what a Norwegian Christmas is like, and also the 17th of May Independence Day that they have.

We are very excited for the news!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pieces and Plans

Hello to all of my faithful readers.

At first glance, it would seem that this post is simply "filler" because of the lack of exciting content....but just keep reading (or just skip to the bottom) and read a big surprise and some good news!

But first, some smaller news.

I have completed another puzzle, this time it took me about 3 days, and it is 499 pieces.  Ida and I have no idea where the last piece is...but anyway, feel free to click on the image to enlarge it.  This is a picture of Segovia, Spain.

Yesterday, Ida was closing the hood to the Ford Fiesta, and a funny thing decided to happen, the front emblem just fell off.  She wasn't amused at the time, but the roomates and I had a good laugh about it after she had left for school.

It now sits on our coffee table.  I am thinking of re-attaching it once the weather is more agreeable for adhesives.

In other news, Ida and I have purchased my plane ticket back to the States and also back to Norway.  So I will be home between May and August.  My plan is to get a job for the summer and earn tons of cash.  I have already started applying.  Ida's plan is a little different.....(here's the big news part).....

Ida is going to Madagascar in June!  can you believe that?!?  how cool is that?  She is going as part of a school trip.  Usually this kind of trip is reserved for freshmen, but there weren't enough people signed up, so she was accepted and has registered and everything.  She is going to MADAGASCAR!

She will be frolicking with the Lemurs in no time.  

anyway, that's all the news for now.  I will post more as the events unfold.