Ultralight Backpacking – Abisko National Park, Sweden

This summer I will head out on a new adventure along with my brother and possibly a friend or two. This time around we will head back to Norway and also partly in Sweden, like last year, but this time there will be a two-part trip unlike last time when we did only biking.

The first part of the trip will be biking between Alta – Nordkap – Alta. I expect  harsh climate even if during summer time with lots of rain and winds and somewhat cold temperatures.

The second part will be backpacking in Abisko National Park for about a week, exact roundtrip is not yet decided but we do know we want it to be for about a week.

When I this winter went on a solo backpacking trip I had troubles with a to heavy backpack along with some bad choices in gear which had me to abort the trip early. Lesson learned I am now heavily focused on lightweight backpacking and since it’s summer this time around my goal is (including camera-system for documentation and three meals a day + snacks for 7 days) is below 12 kilos (26.46 pounds). Although I can have it down to 10 kilos (22 pounds) I will go for the slightly heavier system as it will be more durable. The base weight is 5778 grams (12.74 pounds) as it stands for now.

The choices I dabbled between was ZPacks Solplex versus Hilleberg Enan 1000, that’s roughly 500 grams versus 1200 grams. I already own a Hilleberg and I am happy with it and I know it’s durable. Of what I understand trough watching reviews of ZPacks I am pretty sure a Hilleberg will beat it in durability all year around and protect you way better agains the elements.

When it comes to backpack I will go with Bergans Helium 55L, with Hip belt pockets coming in at 1080 grams in total. The alternative I was considering was ZPacks Arc Blast with belt pockets, 637 grams in total.

If you are curious of the items in my pack, please head over to my LighterPack-list. Please do share your thoughts on my gear-choices, if there’s anything I could improve/change.

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Review: I Can Spin A Rainbow by Amanda Palmer & Edward Ka-Spel

I’ve been a silent fan of Amanda Palmer for a while, probably since about 2008 where I was introduced to her music (Dresden Dolls) through a friend while studying at the University. I got hooked immediately and when I later found out she was a good person also, a kind women who really connects with her fans I got even more of a fan. Still in silence. I am not the one to shout out stuff like that.

A few weeks ago I got her album – which is co-composed with Edward Ka-Spel – I Can Spin A Rainbow. Yea, I did order the signed one 🙂

My first impression was “wow, this is really different” and reminded me of the first time I heard the album Evelyn Evelyn. Anyhow, I Can Spin A Rainbow is interesting and I am not really sure what the album tries to tell. My guess is a women having a child and becoming a mother? Maybe that’s because she fairly recently became one. But there’s something more to it, something I can not put my finger on or put into words. It’s intriguing and I can’t get enough of it, listening to it over and over again and when I am at work I have it on my mp3-player (yes, I still use one of those).

So what does it sound like? Slow. Almost melancholy. With a wide collection of instruments such as the given piano, drums and strings and what not. Amandas unique voice with the equally unique of Edward is a perfect match. To my ears, this is a perfectly brilliant written and composed album from start to finish. In some ways, even though completely different styles of music, it also reminds me of when I discovered In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel and how I could not stop listen to it. I probably went trough that one a hundred times before I changed music. And now the same seems to be happening with I Can Spin A Rainbow. (when writing 55+ play troughs in addition to the times at work)

If you like story driven albums, this one is definitely one to take a listen to.

Scheduling Tweets with Hootsuite

Lately I’ve been getting up really early to get some writing done before work (start at 6 am) and while I’m doing so I usually have a podcast – most preferable Philosophize This – but occasionally the Twitch-stream Morning Coffee with Barnacules, which I did today. While doing so he mentioned a service giving you the ability to schedule Tweets for Twitter, something I’ve been interested in but never really looked into. Well, he mentioned the service Hootsuite so I went over there to sign up and try it out and at first glance it looks really nice and it’s very simple to get going.

Now, I have once again begun thinking of the old idea of mine to publish a story series on Twitter. Heck, I can now write a bunch of tweets and schedule them to get some kind of consistency in the publishing of them. And with Twitter now supporting 280 characters it’s getting easier for the idea to become a reality.

You can connect other social medias to Hootsuite, like Instagram. I have not yet tried that one out but it seems like you can add images directly from you computer. No need for uploading to the phone… I can probably connect WordPress also but I have no need for that since it has its own built in scheduling thing.

Yea, it seems like a cool software that I can get used to using on a regular basis.

How did you get back into the groove?

I have a problem. A big one. It’s called LIFE. I don’t have a problem with life itself but rather a problem making the most of it. Almost every night, a few hours before bedtime, I get this thought: tomorrow I will begin anew. It never happens as once I wake my inspiration and motivation is lost and the energy-levels to get up and do something productive is non-existent.

Planning does not seem to work for me. I have tried using both physical and digital solutions, simple to really complex. Entering the data into the planners is no problem, it’s sticking to it that I fail on. I kind of know what I want to do but in the past few years I seem to not be able to work towards my goals. A psychiatrist once told me that I “have lost my start engine, but there does not seem to be any wrong with the actual engine.” With this in mind I do know I have to make some maintenance.

Going back a few years: once I had a lot on my plate – school, work, theater, chairman of a board and on top of that trying to find time to write – but now days I have begun to scale down. As it sits today I only have work and my chairman-position. I have announced my retirement from the chairman position. The reasons being I feel the need to simplify my life and get the time to focus on other things – writing – and be able to relax when I get home from my regular work.

In the long run my hopes are that clearing out my schedule leaving only work left I will in time find my way back to writing, the part of my life that is the only thing that sticks. Often I get interested in something, do it for a while and then loose the interest. Writing is so far the only thing that has stuck for a longer period of time and I do not think I will ever loose my interest in it.

I can not be the only one dealing with this disconnection, this trouble to be productive and inspired. So the question that I have to ask is: how does one get out of it? How did you get back into the groove?

5 years with WordPress

Woke up to a notification saying I’ve been on on WordPress for five years today. Does not feel like it. Although I have written many hundreds of posts throughout that time (most no longer available here) I have not really gathered a good follow base, likes and comments on my posts. All I can take out of this is: irregular posting-schedule; badly written posts; bad socialization on other sites; boring topics; crappy tagging.

A couple of weeks ago I began a Pages-document clearing out the questions I had of what I wanted to do with my blog, what to write about and how to categorize them and so forth. As I have a wish to blog fairly regularly my thought process is: I need to write posts, have time to edit them before publish and plan ahead.

Of course this posts is just as much as unedited as many other posts I have or have had on my blog. This is just a spontaneous thing without effort.

The Excitement of Creative Writing

Oh the excitement-long time ago now that I felt like this-of creative writing. A couple a days ago I looked through an old notebook and found the early writings of a story of some sort and I thought to myself that maybe I should get back at the story. So I did, with no anticipation of getting anything out of it. Oh boy how wrong I was. The writing of this-for me-unknown story set a flame to the dying spark inside me and once again it’s fun to write. I have gotten back this feeling of real excitement: my heart’s beating, sweat in my armpits as before and shaking hands.

I have no clear idea of where this story will take me or what will happen but what has happened so far is that a few characters from my old story called The Gardener has shown up, just brief mentions of them but as far as of now, no actions or visual representations and I think I will keep it that way.

The over all idea that has formed is to write short stories, loosely connected to that of The Gardener. I do know though that this new character I have created in this short story will die by the hand of my favorite angel from The Gardner.

Something else to mention is that this story is being written in Pages instead of Scrivener which I typically go to. I have even formatted the work already, inspired by a printout of the stories from the very first issue of The Paris Review.

Oh boy, stopping is even harder than keep writing but at some point I have to stop and eat, go to the toilet and sleep. I do not dare to hope for this to stay but I sure want it to. I love this feeling and it’s the reason why I even wanted to become a writer from the beginning: accomplishment and expression of thoughts in a fictive way that tells a story of the simple things here in life that people like to complicate – love.

But don’t understand me wrong. I do not write romance. I’m not sure what genre I write but it’s definitely not romance, more like drama taking place in a fictive late 19th century/early 20th century even though it’s not historical correct. I like to take inspiration from that era and it keeps me away from cell phones and social media and what not.

Self Reflections

Last week of my vacation, which was supposed to be spent out in the woods on Bergslagsleden, a 280 kilometer long trail here in the region where I live. I had to cancel the trip as my legs broke down; ill prepared for deeps snow which became to much for me so on my second day I took the decision to cancel the trip. I am a littlest bummed out about it but I have learned something: my physique is bad and I seriously have to get into shape I hope to do a trip like this (and finish it) in the future.

Going forward; I have a bunch of projects started (like my loft bed construction and living room renovation/decoration) and a few “smaller” projects that I like to get back at. These are: renovation of my typewriters; design, prototype and produce a custom made backpack. I have a few more projects but those are tightly integrated to the loft-bed/home-renovation-project. But I have a lot of stuff at hand and non of which I work on, I just think of doing them. This blog is one of my “projects” that I do not work on the way I might wish to. I also wish to make myself time to read all the books I have purchased and now just sits on the shelves collecting dust.

My home is a mess, seriously. It’s so bad I can’t have people over (not that I am interested in that) nor do I have the space to make things. It’s all a big distraction for body and mind and I am sick and tired of living in a dump, pretending I am a “creative” person and this is how it has to be for me to be able to work. It is just one big lie. And my life could be so much better if I just got my head out of my ass and got this place cleaned up and organized.

For what it all really comes down to in the end is a distractions free environment and less things to think about so I can focus on what’s really important in my life: writing. I try from time to time to write but I just end up writing a few lines, do some script planning and then I shut the lid of my computer to go back to procrastination. Nothing really gets written. And there is so much I need to write. Ever since back in 2006-2007 when I had my epiphany I have had one big goal in my life: to become a writer and have works published. I have a long way left to walk.

Over all I am pretty tired of my life. Bored most of the time. Wasting my days on meaningless things wishing to have something else, to live a different life. If someone where to ask if I am happy and I would give an honest answer it would be a simple NO. Not as it is right now.

I don’t know if this post have said anything of importance or giving me (or you readers) any revelations. But maybe there’s someone out there struggling in a similar way as I do and have thoughts and ideas of how to get out of the deep hole I (we) have dug for myself/ourselves?