Finn Harald Røed - blog archive 2012


December 27, 2012
The expression "because you deserve it", has annoyed me for at least a couple of years now. It has frequently been used in commercials, and has unfortunately also gradually sneaked into people's everyday language.

Of all the luck and fortune I have had, I don't really think I "deserved" any of it. What have I possibly done to deserve more than the poorest of the poor somewhere else on this unfair planet? What have I done to deserve to live in one of the most peaceful and richest countries in the world? Nothing that I can think of, really. On the contrary, I sometimes think of it as a challenge and a test. "Ok, Finn, let's see what you will do with all your riches now that you know they won't make you happy, and at the same time you know someones else's life would improve radically if you were willing to share just a little of your material abundance."

Materialism is like a good meal that you get a selfish kick out of right there and then. Already later the same day you feel the hunger coming back, and you want more. And then more again just a little later. Materialism can be compared to a similar ongoing hunger that never stops as long as you live, and you will never be full for more than a short period at a time.

Yes, I think we all deserve enough food on the table and a safe place to live with a warm bed. But no, we don't deserve a particular hair product, a fancy vacation, a new iPad, a car, a computer, juwelery or any sort of by definition "unnecessary luxury". Even though I'm partly caught up in the same egocentric dead end as most people in my part of the world, there's no way I'm going to think that I actually deserve luxury, luck and fortune, because I really don't. Not even because I think "I worked hard for it". I honestly didn't work all that hard compared to the average person somewhere else on this planet. The world is full of people working 12-16 hours every day, just to experience they still barely can feed their family. It sucks, but it's true. We don't deserve our luxury.

December 23, 2012
Once again, Christmas time is here. I've been reading a series of daily Christmas blog entries by musician Kenneth Cope the last ten days or so, which I found to be quite inspiring. I'm glad to say that it's been an uplifting experience getting some reflected and spiritual input in a time where Christmas becomes more and more commercialized and secular.

Also, my father turns 76 today. Sometimes I still think of him as being in his fourties, which was when I was around 16 or so. I kind of keep forgetting for a few seconds that I'm the 40+ year old now, and not him. It's strange how we, as time goes by, sometimes subconsciously aren't fully able or willing to stay updated on the facts of life.

December 2, 2012
I got my first own dog when I was 13. It was a Golden Retriever pup which I bought for my own money from a breeder on a rather remote farm in Telemark, Norway. I named her Goldie, and with her calm, responsive and devoted personality she became my loyal friend for the next eleven years. When the stomach cancer took her when I was 24, it left an empty space in my life that only the loss of a close relative or dear friend can cause. It's been 20 years, but I still think of her, and I still miss her.

In 1995, at age 26, I bought my second dog, a brown female Doberman Pinscher (Mika). I took her to dog training classes. She was a quick learner. I basically brought her with me everywhere I went, both to give her social training and because I enjoyed her company. She never liked crowds, though, so I soon chose to keep her away from situations where lots of people were gathered in one place.

Just a year later, I got married. During the first year of our marriage, my wife and I first bought a tiny female Yorkshire Terrier (Pentagon), and then a few months later a male English Mastiff pup (Kaiser). To keep a long story short, we soon sold the terrier to a good home, and kept the Doberman and the Mastiff. The Doberman was the most intelligent dog I have ever met. After a long walk in the woods, she could watch TV shows with me (her personal favorite was "Lassie"), all focused and concentrated on what was going on for 30 minutes or more at a time. She knew the difference between 15-20 every day words, and also understood the difference between commands like "go to the window", "go to the kitchen", "look at the TV", "go and lie on your blanket", and so on. All this simply because she was naturally clever and alert, not because she got any special training except for being around us all the time. However, at the age of three, it became more and more obvious that there were issues. She was very aggressive towards other dogs, to such an extent that we no longer dared to let her run free unless we were really far away from people, like in the woods. She also became more and more anxious and almost nevrotic around children, to the point when we no longer felt it was safe to let a child come close to her. She also became more and more dependant on me being next to her all the time, and was extremely nervous with strange anxiety attacks like teeth chattering and dandruff when I wasn't there to calm her down. It didn't seem like she had any joy in her life anymore, and we had no idea how we possibly could make things any better. The combination of all this eventually made us decide to end her life, rather before than after something potenially tragic happened. She was euthanized by a veterinarian in 1998. It was one of the hardest and most painful descisions and experiences I have ever had. She was so strong and in such good physical shape because of the healty food she always got, and as a result of daily walks in the woods, running next to my bicycle, etc., that it took three doses of poison (syringes) before her heart finally stopped beating. She died in my arms, and we burried her with her blankets and toys in the same woods where she always liked to spend time with us. It's been 15 years, and it still hurts to write about her.

Two years later, on August 1, 2000, Kaiser, our English Mastiff, suffered a sudden attack of bloat. His stomach turned, and we had to let our 200 lbs king of dogs end his life by the hand of a vet with a syringe. He was always so pasient and calm, and didn't complain even when the pressure in his stomach must have been dreadfully painful. He just looked at me with sad eyes while falling asleep, and then quietly left this life with my face burried in his warm fure. He was only four years old, and had been a peaceful, loyal and patient angel his whole life. I was so sorry to see him go. He was a true gentle giant, a good family member and a great companion.

So why do I tell you about my dogs? I guess mainly because they played such important roles in my life and that I miss them so much. I spent lots and lots of time with them, felt so much affection, and was so connected to them. In many ways, they were the best friends I ever had. As for my Golden Retriever (Goldie), she died after a long and good life. I miss her, but I'm allright with it. However, as for Mika and Kaiser, I will never know whether I could have done more to extend their lives. Could Mika have overcome her mental issues before an accident occured? Could an operation have saved Kaiser, even though the vet told us there was a 90 % change he would get a new and deadly attack of bloat within just a few months, maybe even before he had recovered from the operation. I don't have the answers to these questions. I only know I miss them so much even after all these years. It feels like we lost so many years that we were supposed to share and enjoy.

To some people, this glorification of the relationship between man and dog may all sound a bit pathetic or far fetched. I guess you have to experience the spiritual and/or emotional connection with another intelligent and social animal before being able to understand what kind of links that may develop. Dogs are individuals. They are all different, with different personalities, intelligence and talents. Just like us. But they are definitely not human beings. I have never treated my dogs like humans, and I think no one ever should. But we did adapt to each other, and connected somewhere in between in a harmonic and peaceful way that I believe only dogs are able to offer us. I learned a little about how dogs communicate and think, and I learned to respect them. Throughout their lives, my dogs probably learned even more about how I, the human, communicate and think. The things I remember and miss the most, are their unconditional ability to love and forgive, and simply to be the loyal childhood friend most of us always wish we had had.

November 18, 2012
I'm doing some upgrades to my "new" home studio these days. Relatively soon I will be up and running with a different setup, including new studio monitors and a brand new studio PC / digital audio workstation (DAW). I'm hoping this will do wonders to the recording and mixing process for the new album I'm planning on releasing in a not to distant future!

November 10, 2012
Last night, one of my American friends aired his frustration on Facebook about the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik's apparently mild prison sentence. His reaction was triggered by ABB's recent letter to the prison authorities, where he complains about the prison conditions. Someone commented that we should send ABB to an American prison, to make sure he got what he deserved, etc. etc. One American woman referred to us as "European dumb asses", and obviously had little or no understanding of what 21 years with special detention means. I felt obliged to offer them my local opinion and insight on this whole issue. I believe what I wrote to them embraces so many of the things I find important in life, that I decided to publish it here as well:

"Even though I'm one of your European (Norwegian) dumb asses ;-), I would like to point out that ABB was not sentenced to 21 regular years of prison, but 21 years with "special detention", meaning he will be locked up for the rest of his life. As long as he's considered a threat to the society (which will be forever), he won't go anywhere. I don't know what the American version of this story ended up like, but in his letter he complains about pointless daily naked and intimate body searches, and that he is isolated in his cell for more than 23,5 hours a day. He also complains about the prison cencoring his incoming and outgoing mail, and that he is not able to receive or send letters related to his convictions. He also complains about that the prison guards won't give him his warm clothes when the cell is cold.

I support the descision that he should not be able to spread his wicked ideas via letters etc. I am not qualified to say anything about the rest of his complaints, but I'm sure the authorities will figure this out, and make sure he is treated in accordance with standard prison rules.

I believe the way a country treats it's prisoners (and the poor) says a lot about it's citizens's hearts and minds. Do we seek revenge and find satisfaction in letting a prisoner suffer physically and mentally, or by generally making sure he is being humiliated or mistreated on a regular basis? Or do we simply put bad people in prison to protect the society? I believe in removing the gift of freedom from those that prove they are not able to handle or appreciate such a gift. Clearly, ABB is one of them. However, I will always fight the temptation of lowering myself to the same level of evil that even the worst of our prisoners represent.

We rule after christian and humane principles. The leaders of a society need to show it's people the difference between good and evil. Who are bad, and who are good? Can the good still be good, even if they treat others badly? These nuances may be hard to see if we teach our children the ways of revenge and inhumane punishment. In the old times, man enjoyed the principle of an eye for an eye. That was the old testament way of doing things. As for now, we rule by the spirit of the new testament, which is quite different from the spirit of the old. We will keep ABB locked up for the rest of his life, but without the chance of being beaten up by other prisoners, raped, deliberately humilated, or treated disrespectfully by prison guards. His destiny is that he has lost the most precious of gifts - his freedom. The Norwegian people no longer needs to fear him, and that's all we should want to accomplish.

If nothing of this made any sense to you what so ever, we probably should just let it go and pretend we blame it on cultural differences..."

November 9, 2012
We all have a wind behind us that takes us through our lives. It never stops blowing.

October 15, 2012
The storage and retrieval of memories in the human brain is still a mystery we know surprisingly little about. This evening I watched an interesting TV program. Despite major curiosity and increased knowledge over the past 100 years, we still have very little understanding of how the brain actually works when it comes to memory storage and handling. Among other things, the program showed how scientists had cut a single brain into thousands of thin slices, and photographed them in high resolution in order to be able to zoom in on every little detail and nerve fibre. You could literally see the individual brain cells.

Can we really ever read memories from a dead brain, based on how the cells and nerve fibres are laid out etc.? Like a map or a book where each little detail is readable to those who potentially could read such a map? The thought is both scary and intriguing, but having thought about it, it seems to me that memories aren't just stored in the cells in the way we think of a computer's hard drive. To me, it seems more likely that the brain needs to be active with all it's electric impulses in order to remember anything, meaning that if you pull the plug and the light goes out for good to such an extent that the cells, nerve fibres etc. are damaged or die, the memories are lost and the brain is just a dead mass that no longer remembers nothing. Rather than a computer hard drive, I'm leaning more towards thinking of the brain as the computer's short term memory, often referred to as RAM (Random Access Memory). What happens to data stored in RAM when you turn off the computer? It's gone. For good. If my brain shuts down and the lights go out, my brain no longer can sustain it's memories. They were not carved in stone (in the cells, nerve fibres etc.), but were dependant on the constant flow of "brain electricity" that connected everything into something meaningful, and that now has ceased to exist. All the memories and thoughts that used to cruise my brain with electric impulses - in a wireless network full of electrifying activity - would now be silenced forever.

I believe the electricity in it self is a crucial part of the brain's memory storage and retrieval. The brain cells are the RAM. When you die, these electric impulses that kept it all together, connecting millions and billions of details into interconnected and meaningful information, can no longer connect anything, because the electricity is turned off, the power is gone, and it's like trying to read a book with blank pages in the middle of the darkest night.

September 13, 2012
I'm still hoping to find the time and energy to record a number of new and not so new song ideas, and release a full length MP3-album during 2012. When the last key is pressed and the last button tweaked, I am sure the final result will be fully recognizable according to my usual sound - electronic/synthetic pop-rock with an organic feel, but probably a somehow darker collection of songs, especially compared to the "Magical" album from 2008.

The last year or so I've been using my cell phone to record new song ideas on the fly, including comments and hints on the arrangements. It's a simple but great tool to remember song ideas that seem to pop out of nowhere. I'm hoping to be able to mimic what I hear in my head when I finally sit down in my studio to do the hard work - the recording and mixing of my new creations.

Some of the most likely song titles are "The shape of things to come", "Too tired" and "Strangest desire". Earlier this year I did most of the basic recording and arrangement for a new song called "Our love is on film", which I at the time had pretty high hopes for, and still do.

I have this restless and itching urge and need to make this album as soon as possible. I'm thinking - "what if this is my last chance?" and "what if I won't be able to do it again?". I certainly still feel I have more music and lyrics waiting to come out of hiding, and that I haven't reached my creative peak just yet. There's definitely more to come. I "just" need to overcome the challenge of pulling myself together and make it all happen.

September 5, 2012
In his fourties he admitted to once have been a young and stupid man. How closely related those two words seem to be; young and stupid. It seems like the stupidity itself is proved by any young man's lack of ability to understand the relationship between the two of them. However, is experience really the same as wisdom, and is lack of experience necessarily the opposite? Or are we, as the years go by, simply trying to hide our stupidity, and gradually build up defenses and a certain behaviour to avoid constantly making obvious fools of ourselves? Of course, some of us with less success than others.

August 31, 2012
The original version of "Last Summer" (1993) is now available as a video presentation on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/ReplaceYourself/videos.

August 18, 2012
I've randomly heard the expression "life is precious" a few times the last week or so, and it has hit a nerve. I'm thinking that the younger we are, the more we seem to take life for granted. I'm not so young anymore. I've come to realize how fragile, vulnerable and short life is. Too short to make all the right choices, and too short to make up for all the wrong ones.

So here we are - all sorts of people desperately wishing it was possible to turn back the clock. Longing for unachievable forgiveness and understanding, and a fresh start. It's hard to be forgiven, because it's so hard to forgive. At the same time, under the right circumstances it may be surprisingly easy to forgive, and consequently equally easy to receive forgiveness.

There seems to be no constants in this life, only variables making life tremendously unpredictable. In other words a constant blend of excitement and frustration, ups and downs. You win some, you lose some, and shouldn't be too worried about it. It's normal. It's natural. We are not in control, and that's ok. We're just passing through, as contestants on borrowed time in the race of life. When the day is done, we are all part of the same journey, spending our precious lives wavering from side to side, two steps forward, and one back, and sometimes the other way around. Raise your head, open your eyes, and enjoy the race while you still can.

July 21, 2012
So we cling to theories suggesting or defining the meaning of life, all of which have little or no scientific foundations, nor any link to reality the way reality can be sensed, measured or observed in any kind of way by any mentally sane human being. Personal faith. A higher purpose. Gods. The allmighty universal power or force. All so much larger than what we are capable of understanding at this point, even though millions and millions of people desperately have searched for the answers since the first soul was able to recognize and put words on his spiritual awakening or religious awareness.

Until this day, it has never really occured to me that there, for natural reasons, was no mention of God(s) for billions of years on this planet, until man finally one day discovered him (or was it the other way around?), and from that day kept on describing and defining him and his more or less invisible world in theological ways colored by whatever palette the local society and it's traditions could offer. Since then, we have constantly adjusted our religious beliefs and gods as they have been interpreted through our own eyes, feelings and thoughts, in our own image, in the light of our own experiences, views, society and culture.

As we move forward, it seems like the only certain factor is that "things will never be the same" as they once were. Constant change. Constant search for truth and the understanding of the incomprehensible. It's a major characteristic of human nature, and I find it very fascinating. June 23, 2012
The human brain. So advanced, but still so full of sub routines that by instinct draw conclusions for us, creating generalizations and categorized conclusions on topics based on personal experiences, what we are told or exposed to by others, or on general observation. Then you have the less traceable and less evident conclusions that are made based on combinations of different generalizations. Some of A + some of B and a dash of C and a tiny leftover from D = E. All these interpretations make up our subconscious opinions and attitudes. They shape our ideas, convictions, or lack of convictions, without the need for even the slightest effort from our side. Eventually, they define not only our minds and thoughts, but also our choices and actions. Having an awareness of these things sets the ideas of free thought and free agency in an interesting perspective.

June 18, 2012
Every now and then, within a glimpse of a second, it truly feels like I am able to embrace and understand the whole picture, how everything is put together and how everything is meant to be. But as these grand and mind blowing impulses, all beyond description, escape my mind as soon as I become aware of them and everything is ruined by the slighest sign of cognitive activity, I once again am left as alone and alienated as any other human being on this planet, painfully aware of that I don't fully understand even the basic existential questions. Then there's the phase of resignated frustration in the hangover from my recent miliseconds of eternal wisdom, which I once again wasn't able to hang on to, and then finally the wondering of if they were really ever there at all.

June 17, 2012
I suddenly felt the need to share a day dream I had when I was a teenager. I still haven't forgotten the travel plan that a friend of mine and I drew on the map when we were 15-16. We dreamt of driving from Norway to Spain, then crossing the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea from Gibraltar to Morocco, and drive towards the east in North Africa. Either to Egypt and up through Israel towards Turkey and back into eastern Europe, or to Tunisia and by ferry to Malta and Italy, and then back up north through Austria, Czechoslovakia and some other East European countries, until we finally returned to Norway.

It all looked so fascinating on the map. We only needed to turn 18 and buy a car, and then just go! Things all sounded so easy back then. I only wish my friend was still alive, so we both could make the travel of our dreams come true.

Nowadays, being a bit more realistic due to the facts of life and death, and that I am now a family man with "certain obligations", I rather try to think of my current top 5 list of countries I'd like to visit. Being well aware of that I might never get the chance to visit some or any of them, I still hold on to the need of dreaming about places to travel. I'm not talking about typical crowded tourist experiences. I'd prefer plenty of time, going off track, observing people, nature and culture. And some historic input.

Anyway, here's the list as of now:
1. Kenya (elephants and wildlife)
2. China (it's a world of it's own, with it's own culture and history)
3. Brazil (keywords: Amazonas and butterflies)
4. Australia and New Zealand (I can see my self live there)
5. Italy, India, Peru...

It is really hard to choose which country should be nbr. 5 on the list. I have lots of alternative options, for at least as many different reasons. :-)

June 10, 2012
In an eternal perspective we hope we will be mercifully judged according to our hearts' best intentions and wishes. In this life, however, we sometimes need to take responsibility for what we actually said in stead of what we meant, and what we actually did in stead of what we wanted to do. Or is it the other way around? And why does the mercy part almost always go in our own favor?

May 11, 2012
There is now a page about me in the Norwegian online rock encyclopedia - Rockipedia (Finn Harald Røed).

May 2, 2012
I believe everything on this planet is interconnected. Some threads are considerably thicker or thinner than others. To me it seems probable that the level or degree of connection between things varies a lot, all the way down to the levels of elements, atoms and particles and electrones. The planet, and everything that has developed on it, was originally a giant mass of bits and pieces put together from whatever was available leftovers at the time, and whatever was floating by the next x billion years. Lots of stuff from one or a series of unimaginable explosions in space, and then the addition of one piece from that direction, another piece from another direction, and so on.

I'm not going to touch the topic of God and a long term master plan right now, but with all these different building blocks, and the perfect conditions of light, temperature, an athmosphere and water, the scene was set for the development of a magnitude of life, an interconnected system with a variety and complexity that we still don't have a full understanding of. But we can feel it.

And life rose from whatever building blocks available, spread around the globe in the big waters, for further developing isolated from each other on different continents. Some met again to once more interchange and mix whatever they had become since the time they once split up. All kinds of life forms and objects, interconnecting and blending with each other as millions and millions of years went by.

As the current results of a seemlessly never ending process of change, it seems to me that we sometimes need to get in touch with our original common denominators to achieve at least a certain degree of mental or spiritual balance. Our common ground and inheritance with other objects and lifeforms - plants, animals, people - are astonishing and thought provoking, and a reminder of both how little and how much we really know about who and what we are, and what we are a part of. Some creatures on this planet are more different from the rest than others, but sometimes we by instinct recognize and emotionally acknowledge the awareness of being closely related to an animal, a tree, a field, a rock, running water, the wind, the smell of grass, the rain. Sometimes such awareness can be experienced down to the basic particle level of our own existence.

I believe the building blocks that everything physical on this planet share, constantly make us, by instinct, recognize and feel that everything is connected. Even in a world dominated by materialism, asphalt, concrete, electronics, indoor living, economic obligations and TV screens, many of us sense the inseparably relationship with things around us that we don't really have a clue about why we should feel connected to. Unless we stop and reconsider.

April 30, 2012
It just occured to me that during life we are supposed to find and meet certain people, objects or creatures that we for some reason are connected to by default. We need to establish contact in order to achieve whatever might be necessary to overcome obstacles and move on to the next level or phase in life. Some meetings are short or few, while others last or are repeated for a lifetime.

Sometimes we stumble across individuals that are in contrast or conflict with these intented relationships, resulting in unbalance and disturbance. These we should avoid, and learn from the experience to handle it better next time a spiritual mismatch occurs, often referred to as "bad chemistry". Having opened my mind to this principle, I realize the need, purity and greatness of it, and hope to be more aware of who and what my list should include or not include. More to come.

April 19, 2012
What is loneliness? Is it simply being alone, with little or no physical or social contact with others? Often, it's not that simple. To many, loneliness is being surrounded by people not being able, or having given up trying, to understand, stimulate, challenge, guide, respect, please, comfort, impress or uplift them.

The daily reminders and awareness of being different or on a different stage in life than everyone else, alienates a person even from those that love or once loved or appreciated him or her.

It can be a greater burden than total solitude, a painful reversed state of mind leading towards mental and spiritual isolation, lost opportunities and emotional captivity. Eventually, you simply no longer see the need or point in trying to communicate your thoughts, experiences, feelings or ideas. You stop transmitting, numbly convinced of that no one is willing to or capable of receiving or decoding your signals.

April 10, 2012
I'm planning on releasing a new album during 2012. It will have at least ten songs, and about half of them will be more or less new material. The rest are based on demos or ideas that haven't reached final song versions until now, or songs that I previously have performed live but never got to record in a studio. I'm quite excited and hope to have more news soon.

April 6, 2012
The close links between human beings, other mammals and the creatures of this planet in general are undeniable. It seems obvious that we have the same origin, as parts and pieces of the same master plan. We share the same basic instincts and a multitude of physical characteristics. We eat, drink, breath, propagate, rival, territorialize, flirt, learn, build relationships, adapt, give birth, grow, live, die... and share an astonishing high percentage of the same building blocks, DNA and physiology with most of our fellow creatures. The common denominators are so overwhelming that any person with only a basic knowledge of these things will have his or her religious faith heavily colored and influenced by accepting them.

Are science and religion contradictions? Can traditional faith in f.ex. the Bible or the Koran on one side, and reliable science on the other, be combined and bring new understanding and a broader perspective on God's existence, creation and omnipotence? Or does science step by step prove that the established world religions are false and products of man's imagination, superstition, traditions and general wishful thinking? I believe the honest answer would be a diplomatic yes to both.

Science does prove some old religious ideas and dogmas to be both false and narrow minded, but it also expands the understanding of both God, all life, and of the whole universe in such a way that God and his creations only become bigger, more impressive and more facinating than ever. I seldom or never find a total clash between science and general religious beliefs. On the contrary, I find science to be extremely enlightening and uplifting, especially when seen through the eyes of open minded faith. January 8, 2012
David Bowie is 65 today. What an influence his music has been to both myself and so many others for several decades. I've never been able to vision Bowie as an "old man" until now. Even the chameleon of music eventually became a senior citizen and entered the retirement age. I have problems explaining what it says about time for all of us. I've seen him in concert twice in Norway, in 1995 and 2001. He was just as extraordinary live as on his many classic records. A musical innovathor of our time. The idea of Bowie turning 65 feels in itself both strange and remote, but still so disturbingly real and thought provoking.