House Judiciary Chairman Walks Out of Heated Hearing

House Judiciary Chairman Walks Out of Heated Hearing

simply amazing. if this man gets re-elected (too bad he doesn’t represent my district back home, because i’d vote absentee just to get rid of him), it will be an act beyond all reason and comprehension.

oh, just so you know, this is the same guy who snuck the Real ID Act into the House Appropriations Bill that passed unanimously. senenbrenner is a real dick.

norway post #7

greetings from sunny kristiansand, when the sun actually sets, but not until 11:30. this will be a post describing the events of the previous day, because i was just too braindead last night to get anything done.

yesterday started, surprisingly enough, at breakfast. i branched out into something i hadn’t seen in norway before yesterday: cereal. in addition to my eggs and cheese and bread, i had a small bowl of cornflakes mixed with muesli. it was very good and i enjoyed it muchly. after breakfast, we all walked down to the harbor and got on a boat for a two hour cruise to lillesand. if there was ever a time when i felt my heritage coming through, this was it. the coastline was beautiful, and the trees were fantastic, and the water all around me was just magnificent. i spent a lot of time standing at the bow of the ship just looking out and taking it all in. i was also party to some of dr. a’s silliness coming through, and laughed more than i had laughed all tour so far.

after we docked in lillesand, we were treated to a lunch of fiskesuppe (fish soup) by the mayor. i was very pleased, but my stomach didn’t quite know what to think. we sang a small concert (which we shared with the town men’s chorus), and then went back to kristiansand via motorcoach. before returning to the hotel for the evening, we stopped at the arkivet, the building which used to house the state archive and which the nazis used as the gestapo headquarters during the german occupation of norway during world war II. the exhibits they had on the prison cells and torture chambers that the nazis used was absolutely horrifying, and i am very thankful that unlike other cultures, the norwegians study the past so that they can avoid repeating it.

when we returned to the hotel, i spent the rest of the evening here doing computer stuff, like uploading pictures and talking to nicole. i went out for about an hour to get some food, but everything but mcdonalds was closed, so it doesn’t look like i was missing much of kristiansand’s vibrant night life.

anyway, i have to go practice for the concert now, so i’ll write about today’s events and include some more thoughts when i return. peace, and behave.

norway post #6

holy shit! free wireless internet in a hotel in norway! whoooooooo-hoooooooo!

we left larvik for kristiansand today, and i for one was sad to see it go. so pretty…
the drive was quite nice however, and the beautiful landscapes made me fall in love with norway even more. once i get pictures resized and up on shutterfly, you can see what i saw.
on the way to kristiansand, we stopped in arendal and did what we in the st. olaf choir affectionately refer to as a “sing and run” or a “drive-by concert”. this involves stopping at a town along the path between points A and B, rehearsing in this town, eating dinner, singing a concert, and then getting back on the buses to finish up the trip to point B.

veteran members of the st. olaf choir are no strangers to this concept, as there are usually at least 2 sing-and-runs on any given tour. however, tonight’s concert was was especially awesome for a number of reasons. first off, we were in a hall where we could actually hear each other. second, we were in a much lower stress environment for rehearsal as well as the concert, and dr. a was having fun, which means we were having fun. the concert was fantastic, and afterwards we did benediction in the church across the street. it was the perfect ending to a wonderful concert.

and now here i am, on the fifth floor of the hotel norge in kristiansand, norway. i’m no longer medicated, and bed is callin’ my name, so i should wrap this up for the night and talk more when i actually have something to say. peace, and behave.

norway post #5

rain in larvik. larvik, the town which gustav mahler said was “very nice”, the town where f. melius christiansen grew up and received his musical education, the town which has been a haven for artists and artisans for years and years, the town which supposedly has the best weather in norway. larvik, the town which just happened to have the abnormal rainfall for this time of year.

and so here i am, spending my last night in larvik attached to a computer recording my thoughts from the day. why? because the only other thing to do on a saturday night in larvik is go to the bars or go to the gentleman’s club, and i don’t feel like doing either.

the day started out very quietly. i woke up to the alarm clock i set, fixed the broken slat in my bed, got up and somewhat dressed, contemplated running in the rain, and went down to breakfast instead. after another fantastic norwegian breakfast, i came back upstairs, took a shower, got dressed (for real this time) and went downstairs to go on a short city tour of larvik.

we ended up at a beautiful memorial for the men and women who lost their lives at sea in world war I and world war II, and i took a number of pictures of the fjord that this memorial was built next to. i think that this was the exact moment that i fell in love with larvik. my love affair deepened as we drove back into town and our tour guide/sponsor told us about the apartments that developers are beginning to build for artists, and how they will afford a great view of the sea and the countryside. my love for larvik further deepened after walking into one of 3 wonderful grocery stores, and was culminated when i was told about the wonderful weather and the 30 kilometers of bicycle trails and foot paths that run along the coastline.

chances are that i will never live here. norway is an expensive country to live in, and obtaining norwegian citizenship in order to reap the benefits of the national healthcare/social security system is next to impossible. however, if it ever becomes a possibility and nicole agrees to it, i’m taking her, moving to larvik, and naming my children lars and helga.

ok. i’m going to call it a night and try to post these utilizing the 3 minutes of free wireless that i can get before i have to start paying for it. peace, and behave.

norway post #4

i’m sitting here on a rollaway bed in a hotel room in larvik, missing my girlfriend terribly, and half-watching “conspiracy theory” with norwegian subtitles in some dialect i’ve never seen before. there’s pretty much nothing to do unless you make something to do, and i’m in no mood to make my own fun, so here i am. no wonder f. melius christiansen left here to go to the united states.

now, some of you (including me) may be thinking “hotel? the choir was supposed to do homestays for the next couple of days!” well, you’re partially correct. we were, but something got screwed up with the housing. therefore, about a third of the choir is in host homes, another third is in a hotel/the hotel in larvik, and the rest are in a youth hostel just outside of town. i was in the third that got put up in the hotel, so now cole blume, george bagan, john grau and i are staying in what seems to be the bridal suite or some large, important room in the quality hotel grand farris in larvik, norway. fun.

aside from lots of really pretty scenery, the bus ride really wasn’t that interesting. i read a book, looked out the window, and listened to some choice tunes on my iPod, and everybody else on our bus either did something very similar or fell asleep. the scenery did give me a much greater appreciation as to why the norwegian immigrants to america were so reluctant to leave their homeland, however: it is absolutely beautiful here. there are trees everywhere, and the hillsides are just gorgeous. the only thing i’ve ever seen that even comes close is quite close to home, actually: if one goes to seven mile hill on the way to iola/scandinavia back home, one gets a view very similar to the norwegian hillsides. no wonder they called it little scandinavia.

i figured that seeing as i’m no longer in oslo, i should talk about something other than my experiences there. therefore, we shall now talk about something that is near and dear to grant’s heart: food.

my experiences with norwegian food have been ruled largely by frugality; the cheaper i can keep my meals, the better. for example, a group of 4-5 bandies (including lauren! yay!) and i went to a grocery store and split about 45 kroner worth of food. all in all, i paid about 10 kroner for dinner yesterday night. now, seeing as vegetarianism isn’t as rampant here as it is in america, finding things that i (and other vegetarians) can eat has been a bit difficult. my diet has consisted largely of dairy products – yogurt, cheese, and the like – fruit juice, fruit (when i feel like springing for it), and bread. tonight, we were treated to a meal of really good pizza (and they even made vegetarian pizza for us!), which was a nice change for those of us for whom $200-300 has to go a really long way. between food and museum admissions, i think i spent about $80 in oslo. anyway, between the requisite walking, the frugal gourmet, the pure, clean tap water, and the running i’ve done almost every morning, i think i’m starting to lose weight again. my love handles are shrinking, anyway, and this makes me happy. now if only nicole was here to appreciate it…

and on that happy note, it’s time to go to bed. peace, and behave.