Brett's Books


A Virtual Vacation

Flights of Fancy inspired here and there by Facts.

To make things easier, I've labelled many of the things which I believe to be a True (it would get too tedious to label everything which I believe to be True) with a subscript (as in FACT or TRUE). Now, my facts may not be True, as this is not a Research Report. But rest assured, everything not labelled as a fact is most definitely not true... or at least, it might not be True. Meaning, I am not vouching for it.

Thus, if it's not labelled, it's (very highly likely to be) a Flight of Fancy (i.e. fiction) and any resemblance between it and anything in the Real World is coincidental. So, it might be True after all. But most likely, it is not).

Furthermore, all the characters and any locales where any action takes place (clubs, hotels, and so on) are completely made up and a product of my imagination.

A Virtual Vacation

I think the idea is simple enough. Rather that taking a Real Vacation, I shall be taking a Virtual Vacation. Of course, even that is not overly clear. So let me say, the intent is to learn a bit about Iceland, consume some media, and report back on my findings... all while having as much fun as possible.

Before I started, I thought I might go to an Icelandic Restaurant (or at least, a Scandinavian Restaurant) to enjoy the food and/or take a steaming-hot candlelit bath. But nothing of the sort ever emerged.

Rather, I studied hard for a few days. Then, the project devolved into a Story Time Writing Project. And finally, I found myself reading a bunch of Scholarly Articles... along with a Saga or two. And that's where it ended... more as a Reading Assignment (and/or a Topic of Interest) and less of a project.

Still, this is the raw footage (well, the highly edited raw footage) of the notes I took (if that's what we want to call them) before I decided to pull the plug.

Let It Begin

On 1944-06-17 (or on June 17th 1944 for those who like the old syntax better), Iceland seceded from Denmark. FACT

Personally, I'd rather dream about nightclubs.

I like the idea of Viking Heavy Metal, which I will describe as Punk Rock guided by an aesthetic of anger and abandon. So rather than the Truth, Beauty, and Justice of the Romantics, we have Raw Emotional Dissonance. Balgar (is that even an Icelandic sounding name) of Frozen Hammer (please forgive me if this is the name of your band... and then, realize that it's the first possible name for a fictional Icelandic Punk Rock Band that popped into my head, so is sort of obvious... and as such, it should be obvious that Frozen Hammer is completely fictional to me) has famously chided, 'First, you scream until your throat bleeds. And then, you quietly beg and plead.' Rinse and repeat. And ten-thousand (count them) records later and you're a household name all the way from Wreck (Reykjavik) to Thor's Foot (Thorshofn), having outsold every other group on the island.

Originally, Bjork was lead singer for the Sugarcubes. FACT
{Is this a FACT? I'm hardly going to fact check anything. Whatever the case, I believe it to be TRUE.}
'I need a thumping beat,' I can hear Skull (short for Skull Smasher, as derived from Skel'e'son, which more or less means Son of Smasher of Skulls, so it's a family thing, and don't even start in with how Skel'e or Skeleton might be a better moniker), as he starts to yell onstage.
'A Thumping Beat!'
'A Thumping Beat!'
'A Thumping Beat!'
And so goes their breakaway smash hit... vocals disintegrating into raw octaves, the tin rasp of taped and re-taped drum heads being pounded mercilessly (and quite un-artistically) by hand-carved whale-bone drum-sticks (a.k.a. sticks and/or bones), while Melody (would you hate me if I named her Rune'vold, well, probably not, as that's a call to the Rune of Voids rather than some Ring of the World, a reference which likely makes little sense at this point, as just now, I have decided to change Miss Rune'vold's first name to Melody, killing the joke to which the previous name made reference... any-the-way, she, Melody) strums the strings of her (full-on, full-sized, glad we finally got a van, as this sucker is a pain to move, let alone drag a quarter mile down the road to where the bus stops... of a) harp. Melody (the harpist, have you really forgotten her name already) is widely considered to be the only one of the trio with the slightest smattering of talent. And if not playing with Frozen Hammer, Melody would likely be spending the evening in some Touristy Hotel Dining Room Lobby, filling the room with some Proper Icelandic Ambiance (opinions will differ, but of course), making a heck of a lot more kronor in tips for her efforts, but not enjoying herself nearly as much. Besides, I think she has a thing for the drummer.


Step outside.

Leave the thumping of the music behind.

And take in the night sky.

Is it summer? Is it winter? Does it matter?

Tonight let it be winter.

Enjoy the spray of color from the Northern Lights, as it dances and fills the sky,

Take a deep breathe.

Enjoy the cool, the crisp air that is on the edge of cold... maybe a bit beyond the edge of cold. So, shiver a little. Come on, get into your role. Cup your hands together and give a good blow.

But most importantly, take what is offered as it is passed around, inhale, and breathe deep.

You've only just landed.

Your vacation has just begun.

And trust me when I say, there is no way to know what the 'morrow will bring... and where our flights of fancy will go.

It's hot where I am in The Real... Really Hot. SO TRUE

I need to get myself to a waterfall (mainly, because the map of Iceland I am looking at has a waterfall on the cover FACT). And it doesn't much matter how I get there. Why, I'd ride all scrunched up in the back of one of those small Euro Sized Vans next to an oversized harp, if that's what it comes down to.

Let's see if it does.

'You don't want to ride with them.'
At first, it is hard to tell whether the voice originates in my head or not.
'In your head? Are yea daft?'
Ah, it is one of the Hidden Folk.
'What a stupid name? Hidden Folk? Bah. Ain't our fault your lot is as blind as a sleeping bat in the dark of winter under a new moon when the clouds are up, the fog is rolling, and ya can't be bothered to open yer bloody eyes and look around.'

I can see him quite clearly, even after all these years. I was in some English Tourist Town THIS PART IS TRUE, breathing in the sights. And we got to talking. Well, he was offering travel advice, but I had no need, so the conversation turned to etiquette.

'So, when walking past a lady on the sidewalk, should I be on the left or the right?' I asked.
And being a man of wisdom, he replied, 'A gentleman always passes on the side closest to the curb, allowing the lady to stay clear of the street.'

And then, there is that other conversation we were having, still in progress.

'Oh, I was just...'
'Just what?'

I was just relating a memory to which the appearance of this short statured gent has given rise.

But instead of all that, I merely say, 'Oh, nothing.'
'That what's on your mind, then?'

You know, I didn't sign up for this abuse. And it looks to be a nice day.

'Nice? The sun promises to be blinding. And I bet by noon it will infernally hot.'
'I'm looking forward to it.'
'Proves my point.'
'What point?'
'That you're an idiot.'

I have no time for this. 'Hot chocolate,' I say to myself, deciding that would be the best way to start the day... any day, in Iceland or otherwise. YEPPERS

But Short Stuff...
'Segnol,' Short Stuff (a.k.a. Segnol) replies. 'Of course, you're spelling it all wrong,' he continues, breaking all manner of narrative norms... not to mention the fourth wall. But showing he is a Team Player ('Am not!' he helpfully adds, 'Ye are a daft fool, aren't yea?'), he turns the conversation around to where this nested mess of mass confusion started, 'What? Oh, fine. We'll get ye yer sissy drink.'

And hot chocolate it is?

'He's mine!'
'Don't worry your little head.'
Segnol, as the name might suggest (and what does a name like that suggest), has taken a fancy to yours truly.
'Have not!'
'Have too.'
But then, this might have more to do with one's interpretation of the word fancy.
'I ain't no fancy pants, Mr Hot Chocolate. Gads. Drink it up, already. One! Two! And you should be done! We've been here for hours!'
Which is true... sort of.
'Two thirty sunrise. Now, half past eight. Do the math, boy. Hours.'
Still, I shall sip my imaginary beverage of choice at my leisure, as I peruse ('Now, there's a sissy word for you,' Segnol is more than happy to interject) my pile of Travel Guides and Maps.
'Do ye not know how to work a story? All ye just said is back in The Real. Here's abouts,' back in Story Land, 'ye be lucky to find a Bulletin Board with one or two old notices tacked to it.'
'I'm going to enjoy my Cocoa.'
'Ye make me sick. I'm gonna to sharpen my axe.'
'Hey! No killing the narrator. Now, my stories don't have many rules. This is true. But not killing the narrator is in there somewhere.'
'It ain't for ye. Yer more the strangling type. It be for the Trolls.'
'Ye shall see.'

Of course, that's just because back in The Real (where he loses a few more feet in stature, 'Ye, Bast'rd!'), Segnol has watched as I peruse (a word that elicits a level eyed stare and a slow deliberate over-pronunciation of the word 'Sis-sy', as I hunch over) a bunch of Icelandic Maps trying to plan my Imaginary Day.

'Plan? Yer almost out time.'

True enough, my day is coming to an end, but Character Boy ('Ye mean, Sissy Boy', Segnol rejoins) will soon set out for Hofsjokul, which I believe (oh, yes, I do) means Have Joy Will Kill in the original Viking Time Norse from which it is derived.

'Ye's heard of Tourist Traps, yeah?'
Need I say more?
'Gads, no. Boy.'

Suffice to say, I have every intention of enjoying the black volcanic rock (basalt, I presume), as I picnic ('More with the food', Segnol interjects, but I will blithely continue on with my vision of a well-spent Imaginary Tourist Day) by the side of an Icy Glacier, which I imagine (or view, if you prefer, in my Mind's Eye) as a sort of Giant Ice Cube (Crystal Clear), with a slight trickle of water running off the top... in a delightfully cooling mid-day frolic through the mist sort of way.

'I've said it once, and I'll say it again...'
But not if I cut you off.
'Sissy Boy! No one cuts Segnol off!'
Well, except for off at the knees when they are painting your character portrait, Short Stuff.
'I'll have me revenge. Mark me words.'
Well, maybe. But look how much play the members of Frozen Hammer have gotten today.
'Ay. But ye be forgetting your ultimate destination of the day be Trollaskagi.'
'Au Contraire. What I am not forgetting is your sharp axe,' I say, on the (most likely misguided) presumption that Segnol will protect me, 'Iceland's legendary hospitality,' let us assume, 'and the fact that this is only the second entry in a Month Long(?) Project, so it's way to early to worry about my untimely demise.'
'Ay. Ye got a point, there.'

Besides, I do not expect to get to Troll's Crag (or whatever Trollaskagi actually stands for) today.

Today, I shower in glacial runoff, dance in the snow, and listen to the sing-song of water in a bubbling brook, as I wonder as to the who, the what, the when, the where, and the why of the creature trapped in the ice.

'Wait! Who? What?

Yes, Mr Segnol! If I can see you, imagine what else my eyes can behold.

'The Lady of the Frozen Lake?'

Among Others.

Among Others...

I'm going to have to find out whether the Vikings practiced Human Sacrifice IT LOOKS LIKE THEY DID, keeping in mind that there is a very fine line between Sacrificing a Boatload of Chumps and telling a bunch of folks (Chumps, if you will) in a boat that if they ever show their face in these-here parts again, they'll be killed... not so much as a sacrifice but because this-here island ain't big enough for the all of us.

But that's for another day...

On second thought, I'll look it up.

The Internet says Yes!

It, also, says The Sagas might be a useful resource... of which many are freely available on the Internet.

Time to get my reading on!

{I did not find the Sagas to be overly interesting. Surprisingly, I found Journal Articles (Research Papers and the like) about The Icelandic Sagas to be highly compelling. And as such, Northern Studies (or whatever you want to call it) has been a minor (which to others might be closer to major) Reading Topic for me for the last four months.}

I was very tired this morning, back in The Real THE REAL ~> REALITY ~> TRUE. Numerous Naps were unsuccessful. I should count my blessings, as I have the option of taking Numerous Naps. In the end (and for whatever reason), I alighted on the idea of Day Dreaming about being tossed about on the sea. I couldn't tell you why. But I am sure it is somehow related to a What's the worst that could happen sort of thing.

So, I lay there (in bed), imagining the experience (the experience being one of experience), as I was tossed about by the waves... big waves... the kind of waves one drowns in, the kind of waves that suck you down and are totally unswimmable due to the froth and foam.

I was enjoying myself.

Though, I must admit to having some difficulty staying in the water; much less, under the water (in the World of Dreams or Day Dreams, that is). After all, I have a lot more experience looking down on waves (from bridges and boats and such) than looking up into them from beneath. So, imagining the later (and maintaining the visage in a Near Dream State) is much more difficult.

But the most interesting thing of note was my breathing. Breathing (and/or Breath Control) transcends the Dream State. I FIND THIS TO BE TRUE Hyperventilating is a good way to wake up. IT WORKS FOR ME So is holding one's breath. DITTO And since I desiring to sleep (and before that, play in -- and not on -- the waves), I endeavoured to keep my breathing even... even while being underwater. It's counter to Real World Survival. But then, many of the pleasures to be had in (or should that be, hacks relating to) The Dream State are counter to Real World survival. This (project, webpage, whatever) is not intended to be a Dream State PrimerIT IS NOT, so let it suffice for me to mention that Sex, Weapons, and Money need not function in The Dream State as the do in The Real. But I will let the reader work out the relevant details in regards to all this for themselves. I'VE ALREADY SAID TOO MUCH

Clearly, in Story Land some Viking Time Sailor (so, call him a Viking for short) is being tossed about by The Sea... and/or The Gods thereof. His boat smashed. His crew gone. (And I'm not saying they are dead, but their fate lays, most definitely, off-screen.) Our hero (or perhaps his descendants) is sure to feature in the next scene. So, don't be surprised if Viking Boy suddenly turns into a Troll... or some sort of Frost Giant.

But as always, the details lay ahead in the 'morrow... assuming I don't sweep the entire thing aside by having Segnol play (or should that be blast) Frozen Hammer's latest song Frost Giant from the small Euro Van's speakers.

I mean, you have to understand, it's a small island and vehicles (not to mention gas) are expensive, so sharing is common. {Please note the absence of a FACT. I have no idea as to the truth of the matter.} Besides, if you don't want Segnol to borrow your ride, you should maybe (just maybe) lock the doors and not store the keys in the glove box. WHILE THIS PART IS TRUE

'What say we see if this thing can do 60 kph?'

Yeah, it doesn't sound like much. But we are talking about those twisty-turny gravel surfaced roads that wind through the mountains.

'Watch out! Pot hole!'

And suddenly, I have a desire to ski behind the van (all water ski style) skittering through snow and gravel, alike.

'Eh. Ye not be such a Sissy Boy, after all!'

On the North Shore of Iceland (I have no map in front of me, so I will not be bothering to call out a real place name for a fictional locale), I like the idea of taking-in a Viking Tourist Dinner Show, you know, something like a Medieval Faire or Renaissance Festival, but Viking Themed.

Arnie Aasgold (maybe I have his name wrong) has calmed down a bit from when he first Stormed Ashore. Do you like that call back (to the previous section)? Anyhow, he and his shipmates (sorry, I've already forgotten what a Viking Raiding Party is called {and that he lost his entire crew at sea}) stormed ashore all Berserker like, taking me and a score of other like-minded pleasure-seeking tourists captive. Now, Arnie is a kindly sort of Viking Berserker, so he never thought about confiscating our souvenir horns of mead. But he did grab the one that Svensson (fine, auto-complete, have your way, I would have just called him Sven) was holding, while forcing him (Sven, that is) to his knees at the same time. It seems, we can die, swear allegiance to Arnie (while keeping in mind that Arnie ain't got no problem stealing your wife, as well as your lands, but as to which is more important, I'll let you decide), or we can turn back time YES, I OWN A TIME MACHINE, grab some weapons (after a bit of basic training, but of course), and defend our Land Hold (also known as a Land Strassa, keeping in mind that I'm just pulling words out of thin air, at the moment); and then (after a bit of pretend fighting), proceed to the awaiting Banquet Hall (well, it should be set up soon), where I am sure Miss Melody Rune'vold will be making whatever small bit of coin she can, playing her harp. So clearly, Balgar and Skull Crusher (or whatever his name is) are along for the ride. Personally, I cannot wait to accidentally (quite on purpose) kick him (Balgar, Skull Crusher, either/or, neither/nor) in the balls and let him (Balgar and/or Skull Crusher ET AL) know how I feel about him invading my lands, burning my crops, stealing my wife, and diddling my livestock. I take a certain umbrage to that sort of thing, if you know what I mean. And maybe it's the Mead Talking... or maybe it's the encouragement Sven Svensson is now shouting... or maybe I've finally found my Inner Strength, call it courage... but I'm pretty sure I paid the extra kronor for the VIP Package; and if I feel like abusing my position as narrator in this here adventure (call it a Virtual Vacation), we'll I am going to.

'Sorry, accident,' kicking him in the balls, I'm sure that it was.
'Fine. Whatever. Play dead like a good little extra or I will step on your head,' pushing your face into the mud, I might add, 'as I go take care of that Arnie Assbite joker.'
'You take care of Arnie Aasgold...'
And truthfully, the end of his statement was sort of cut off, so I don't know if he meant it as a challenge, statement, question, or implied insult.
'Sputter-Sputter,' seriously, how does one adequately convey the sound of spitting mud? 'Ya, Wanker!' however, sort of speaks for itself.

Now, Arnie is sort of big (even by Viking Berserker standards), so even under Sven Svensson's (a name, which at this point, I am convinced has been used by countless hack writers, before) expert guidance, we have been unable to subdue the brute. That is, until Sven (The Sven) Svensson suggests (just like in old times) that if we can't beat him, maybe we should join him... or at least, let him join us... which seeing as how Arnie is now holding a log (hey, call it a cudgel if you want, I'm calling it what it is, which is a log) and the implication seems to be that anyone who is not down with drinking with Arnie tonight best be willing to go toe-to-toe with him, keeping in mind that the last tourist who did spent three weeks in the ER and is still drinking their meals through a straw.

'So, how is this different from being taken prisoner?'
'Grrr! There's one in every crowd.'
'Look, there's like twenty of us, not including Sven, who I'm wondering if he isn't the inside man on this job, but only one of him. So if we all...' and that's about when your humble narrator (well, I'm not really that humble, but it's a well established literary convention, so I get to say that I am humble even if it is not true... anyway, this is when your narrator, humble or not) sort of blacked out on account of the wooden mallet that hit him upside the head courtesy of Skull Head, who I guess (and I do believe it is a good guess) did not much care for being kicked in the balls, much less having his face used as a stepping stone and squashed into the mud a few lines back.

The world spins. Music (harp-like, eerily transcendent) plays in the background, while your humble (it's a convention) narrator's head aches, as if it was just hit by some sort of overly large wooden mallet of the type Viking CosPlayers seem to favour.

Oh, and he's (as in, I'm) tied to a chair... nice and regal, so we are inside the Clan Hall.

Oh-Oh (so, Double-O), this second sitting of the day (so, second scene of the day) starts with a bucket of water raining over my (that is to say, the narrator's) head, waking him up.

'Yeah, not so fun, is it, Wanker?'
But this isn't, really, Balgar's scene, so Arnie cuts him off, asking, 'Do you yield?'

It's a stupid question, so yours truly responds by sputtering a bit more and trying to get free.

'Look, I'm sorry Balgar hit you. He's not supposed to do that.' And as punishment for his offense, Arnie pauses, ever so briefly in his diatribe, to give Balgar a glare. That settled. Punishment rendered. Arnie continues, 'But you got to admit, you were being a bit of a jerk back there.'
'A bloody wanker, you mean.'
'Shut it, Balgar.'
'Yeah, shut it, Balgar. Can't you see the Big Boys are talking.'
Balgar lunges.
Arnie steps in to stop him.
Skull Buster laughs. 'I like this guy. He's bleeding from his ears. But he's still got the wherewithal to sass.'
Having the floor, Skull Boy stands, grabs a horn of the good stuff from out of the hands of one of my fellow... nay, not fellow... traitorous tourist scum, who sit around a Big U-shaped table, eating hors d'oeuvres and drinking the local piss-water beer, better known as mead. 'Look, play nice. Have a drink with me. Or by the Gods of Old, I will kick your teeth into the drink,' aka ocean, 'all the way from here.'

And now, it is my turn to glare at my fellow tourists, 'We could have taken them! And by Right of Might, this entire Free Hold would have been ours!'
'I'm going to count to three.'
'Whatever. I yield.'

And there was much rejoicing in the land. Deceitful Curs (i.e. Balgar and SB, as I grow weary of spelling Skull Buster's name out all of the time) served food... like the peasants they are. Young Maidens played the harp... seriously, I cannot sing Miss Melody's praises enough. AND NO, SHE DOES NOT EXIST IN THE REAL, MY PARANOID ONE While Arnie retold the same story he's been telling every night for the last thirteen years... but it pays the rent, even if it's gotten a little stale. And a gaggle of tourists stuffed their faces and drank their fill, while I for one watched the sparks from the fire drift up through the open hole in the roof and off into the night.

Let us float upwards with those floating embers into the starry night, shall we? While down below, through the thatched roof, Arnie starts a Trollish Tail (so, perhaps foreshadowing; and then again, perhaps not), while Balgar promises to break a certain someone's nose. But then, what are the threats of wankers, fools, and thieves in a story which has no plot and whose only purpose is self-indulgence?

I must admit, this bit of writing is becoming a bit too story-like for me. So although I like closing loose ends and wrapping things up (i.e. I like a good story), exploring Icelandic media and culture (and by this I mean wherever and whatever my random walk through the Internet and the Materials at my Local Library leads me) is much more central to my goal.

I want to delve into that which is Icelandic... whatever that means.

For instance, I've downloaded a few Icelandic Saga Related Journal Articles...

Or much more on point, instead of writing for the past hour, I believe I would have been happier paging through the trio of Graphic Novels spread out before me and incorporating their content into this project somehow. Of course, to some extent, I just did, as the one Graphic Novel is little more than an endless Fight Scene from beginning to end. And I hope you will allow that the previous section was little more than a Fight Scene... from beginning to end.

Still, I need to take a firmer hand (and/or the exact opposite of that), as sporadic meanderings rather than episodic cohesion is the ultimate goal of this here project.

But we'll see.

I doubt I will be able to help myself but to try and move the story along.

But if the story jerks around and feels more like a carnival ride than a movie, remember (so, note to self, here) that's par for the course and part of the plan.

Well, what do you know?

I spent three minutes with the graphic novels. It turns out they weren't important.

Still, it's not just a writing project.

It's (supposed to be, at least) output oriented casual reasearch... along with whatever Real World Experience I can muster... so, eating out at a Scandinavian Restaurant or two, if nothing else.

{And I never did eat at a Scandinavian Restaurant, acquire a bottle of Black Death, or even take a Candlelit Bath. Yes, I will have to go back to Iceland again, before long.}

Back in The Real i.e. THE REAL, I am sitting before a giant book-style Atlas. It measures 11"x15" (22"x15" when opened) and was published in 1969. I would be quite happy to have an Atlas that was a hundred years older. But this one was free. It was a gift from the local library. I am a member of their Daily Reader program, after all. {I am a library person.} And for some reason, they were giving this Atlas away rather than trying to sell it for the buck or two (I am sure it would have gotten at least that) at one of their book sales.

Norway -> Shetland Islands -> Faeroe Islands -> Iceland -> Greenland
{That's the migration pattern, as I see it.}
The Faeroe Islands are so obviously inhabited by Fairies (-Γ'œ -> Faeroe: it doesn't get any clearer than that) that they immediately stand out. And as such, I will need to consider them further.
{So maybe, that's my next trip... or more likely, any trip would be something hybrid.}

Over the years, I've acquired many esoteric tomes from the library. And even though I am a Heathen (or at least, closer to that than a Christian), I have taken to collecting Bibles. But that's not overly relevant at the moment, as it is Iceland's Pre-Christian Era that interests me the most.

From the Internet (odd how the Internet is capitalized, but the much more important library is not), I have acquired a few Icelandic Sagas (more than a few) and a slew of Academic Papers. In one such paper, it was theorized (that in part) one of the reasons Christianity won out was due to its more efficient system of oaths and allegiances... that Christians grouped together better than the Pagans did. And so, the former tended to outnumber the later on the field of battle.

In being critical of my Atlas, I will note that half of its pages are devoted to an index.

And in changing the subject entirely (for the umpteenth time in this section), I will advise that on the same kitchen table, on which the Atlas now lies (actually, it's two tables set side-to-side the long ways), sits a chess board... with a game currently in progress. And if I were to make a Viking Themed Chess Set (or include such a game later on in this work), I would rename, rework, and/or restyle the Knights as Long Boats. But I am not so sure what the Bishops would become.

Archers, maybe?

There is no close-up detail of the Faeroe Islands in my Atlas. Literally, they are Off The Map. And Iceland, itself, only does slightly better.

Truly, I cannot tell you how much of this project (so far) has been a simple Geographical Review, with me staring at maps endlessly... or until I become bored.

I've never thought much about birds living on the side of cliffs... {which is such a lie (I say, at this remove, months later), I don't even know why I would claim such or thing or even what I originally intended.}{ITALIZED BRACKETS EQUALLING META-COMMENTS ADDED DURING THE EDIT MONTHS LATER}

I think (actually, I know) I would enjoy laying on my back in the sun (soon turning to a cold rolling fog) at the edge of a cliff (facing the sea, but not too high up, as I am not envisioning a 1,000' Cliff Face) and enjoy the squawk of the birds, as they glide by and hover overhead.
{Such detail should indicate that I have been there and done that. So, I really have no idea what I was intending by this section's opening remark... or what could be gained by alluding to such ignorance.}
Back in The Real, I am reading a magazine, which features Scotland (close enough to Iceland, if you ask me), and the next picture of interest is of Highland Cattle: the long haired sheepdog of the cow world, which would make for a mighty fine blueprint of a Cuddly Minataur.

Thus, enter Miedier the Minataur (think Murder, as you pronounce his name) and Thurgood the Troll (who as it turns out, is a thoroughly upright guy), who walk along the edge of the cliff, laughing at each other's cheesy jokes and slapping each other on the back.

'Do you think we'll get talking roles?'
'He's been writing for a few days now, I don't know even know if we'll get walk-on roles.'

All the while, your humble narrator sinks deeper into the heather (is this stuff even heather, no matter, I can hide in it whatever it is), as the duo goes walking by, oblivious to his presence.

Truthfully, what I could really go for today (as I dream along) is one of those Stonehenge Rock Circle things.

'Ain't gonna find any of those in Iceland,' Segnol advises.
'What? Where?' your humble narrator exclaims in sheer terror.
'Thought I was Miedier, didn't you?'
'Well, yes.'
'His bark is worse than his bite. Or should I say, Bay? Whatever, sissy boy. I mean, if you're scared of a cow...'
'Excuse me. He's clearly an Ax Wielding Minataur. Half man. Half bull. And Hell bent on murder.'
'He wears flowers in his hair.'
'And he eats them. Pure vegan. Even milk gives him gas.'
'Fine. Your point?'
'You're a sissy boy.'
'Why are you here?' the narrator asks, trying to keep this thing on track.
'Standard union wages. Five kronur per.'
'I thought it was kronor?'
'Well, you're an idiot.'
'Fine. Scene over. If you're just going to insult me...'
'Not just. I, also, bring crucial plot turning information.'
'Which is?'
'There are no rock circles in Iceland. Vikings had both beer and broads,' aka women. 'So, their nights were full and the idea of spending their days hauling rocks around never occurred to them.'
'Take your time mulling it over, sissy boy.'

'Hey!' Segnol exclaims, a few moments later. 'I could go run Miedier and Thurgood down and we could all go kick Balgar's teeth in?'
But at five kronur a word (however much that is, um, it looks to be roughly equivalent to a penny), I'm not going to engage Short Stuff any further.

And that's about the when and the where (or should that be the where and the when: a problem of syntax that will occupy my mind much longer than it should) Segnol heard the off-screen Ka-Ching! of whoever and whatever keeps track of his pay.

'I'm in the kronur!'

And the rest is word-whore history.

I like the idea of Segnol (being at a loss for what to say in order to earn his pay) starting to recite one of those Sagas of Old (perhaps, the one I shall read tonight), as your humble narrator settles back down into the heather and Good Old Segnol drones on... and on... and on.

After all, that's more than enough writing for one day, as I'm not making a kronur per page, much less per word.

What is The Sport of Iceland?

And without using the Internet (as I have no connection {or more accurately, as I studiously avoid using my phone for data}), how would one find out?

Of course, I am in a library (where I spend much of my time {being a library person, as I may have mentioned}), so I'm just going to search the Card Catalogue, which is conveniently stored online as a website.

So, just like I said: The Internet, it is!

Note: The question arises from perusing a 2,500+ page (large page, small print) book of Baseball Statistics. Not only is Hammering Hank one of the All Time Best, he's listed first.

Anyhow, the Card Catalogue suggested (as in, it came back with hits for) both soccer and fishing. And since I am not interesting in soccer, I shall pursue the later: i.e. fishing.

Deep Sea?

'Eh, a sissy boy like ye be wanting to steer clear of the Lochs.'
'We ain't in Scotland.'
'And Old Nelle be a we babe. Go dancing with the sharks, it be safer, lad.'

I am sure there is fishing in Iceland; hunting, too. Though, whether getting a license makes sense (as in, is it economically viable for a tourist to secure a legal permit) is another matter, entirely.

'There ye go being a sissy, again.'
'Well, excuse me for trying to be a considerate traveller.'
'Ay, that's why ye broke Balgar's nose.'

All in all, I must admit I do not feel like hooking a monster.
'Sissy Boy!'
'You just want to get me killed, Segnol.'
'Fair enough. But it don't mean ye ain't a sissy boy.'

And you know what immediately comes to mind after such an exchange...

'Oh, does sissy boy have an idea?'
'Yeah. I wonder what I would catch if I used one of the Wee Little Folk as a bit of bait.'
'Ye wouldn't dare!'
'Try me.'

And here, I fear, I must break, as it's turned into a sort of a Catch-22 (in my mind, at least, which is where these things really matter). Segnol is sure to antagonize me, in an effort to lure me into using him as bait. But if I take the bait (yuck-yuck) and do such a thing, one of his friends (Land Lubber or Creature from the Depths, either) is sure find the exercise in poor taste and be prone to express their opinion on the matter most violently. So, I can't (or don't want to, on account of having a preservational interest in both life and limb) peruse that option. But if I go fishing elsewhere (or else-how), I'll come up empty handed.

'Aha! I'll use whiskey!' your humble narrator suddenly exclaims.

Of course, I doubt whiskey is the local beverage of choice. But no matter. There must be some sort of distilled mead the locals favour. And I can use that as the real bait with any fishing that is to be done only serving as a decoy.

'Let's do it!'

Of course, I already have a sort of preminition the next section will be about the one that got away.

I was so close!

But I think you get the gag. And I need not elaborate any further.

Yeah, I tire.

If I am to meet a monster, it must wait for another day.

And then, I shriek and play scared, before ending with the counter-punch, 'Oh, it's only you, Segnol.'

As both of us add in unison, 'I need a drink.'

Black Death, as it is called, is Iceland's Signature Drink... or so, the Internet assures me. I DID THE SEARCH It's a caraway cumin flavored schnapps, often having a few other odds and ends thrown in for marketing reasons. I'm looking at you seaweed and dill... and to a lesser extent blueberries and angelica, the later of which I am assured tastes like juniper berries.

If the story takes me fishing and I fish in the ocean, I want to fish for Monk Fish, also known as Frog Fish or Sea Devils. They look cool, like monsters, all flat and deformed, like squished catfish in some ways... and altogether unlike them in others. I am, also, led to believe famous musicians (names will not be named, so do your own Internet Search if you so desire) prefer fishing for monstrously large Atlantic Salmon in the rivers. Seriously, those hook nosed beasts get much larger than I had ever imagined.

And as long as I am doing research (and reporting on same), I should note that the Yggdrasil is some sort of gigantic Tree of Life Thing.
{It is months later (as I edit). And I will note that at this juncture (and after having read more than a few Journal Articles on the Icelandic Sagas), I know what the word Yggdrasil means... even if I do not understand any of the nuanced ideological conceptions lying behind some Tree of Life Thing.}
Anyway, it's easy to imagine getting drunk with Segnol. 'Eh, ye ain't so bad, after all.' So, he really is drunk. And falling asleep under some tree (call it the Yggdrasil), while fishing for Salmon. No doubt, Balgar and the rest of Frozen Thunder will happen along. They'll (or he'll) probably steal my hooch. But before Balgar can get really vindictive, he'll lose his nerve, as some monster (mild breeze, or whatever) scares him off.

So to complete the scene, all I need is a monster... an Icelandic Monster...
{Time passes, as I do further research.}
Ah, this is too great to pass up. SO, BUTCHERED RESEARCH AHEAD Iceland has these, um, Trolls... or more accurately, these characters called Yule Lads. There's thirteen of them, so that's an auspicious number and more than enough to outnumber Ball Sack (sorry, Balgar) and the rest of Frozen Thunder. Of course, these thirteen Trolls are sort of a joke, as one licks spoons, another slams doors, and a third will eat all your yogurt. So, the real reason Balgar (et al) runs away is because these are the nefarious offspring of Gryla and Leppaludi. And Gryla has been known to eat folks, especially naughty children... probably, the type of children who lick spoons they are not supposed to lick, slam doors when others are trying to sleep, and/or eat more than their fair share of the yogurt. Meaning, I've got a strong suspicion the story has gotten switched around over the years... and rather than eating these particular naughty children, Gryla has taken them on as her own.

Whatever the case, I don't much fear the Yule Lads (and their spoon licking ways), so have at it boys.

And you, dear reader, do not be surprised if the lot of them (The Yule Ladset al) are turned into a rival Musical Band... or some other form of Roving Rowdies.

I'll have to figure it out... and start working on some closure for this project, you know, if there is to be any.

{Um, there is no closure. So, don't be expecting any.}

Leppaludi is this giant (as in, I'm pretty sure he's a giant, his wife certainly is a giant, but unlike Leppaludi she is not a) lazy drunk. Got that? Hard working wife. Slothful husband, who likes a good excuse to sit under a tree, drink whatever, and shoot the breeze.

'What? No.' Leppaludi explains. 'They aren't our kids. We used to have this deal where we got to eat any children that misbehaved. You know, if they made too much noise, nabbed sweets they weren't supposed to, or that sort of thing, we got to eat them. Pretty standard stuff for a Fairy Tale, actually. I mean, sure. Getting eaten alive for such piddling small infractions is complete overkill. But then, we were on the sweet end of the deal, so it's not like we were about to say anything to anyone. And then times changed, folks got all woke, and started to saying it was bad form, which is a load of malarkey, because when we tried to return this last lot to their rightful parents, they weren't having it.'

What does one say? In these situations (you know, whenever I find myself drinking with giants), I find it wise to take a small sip (an ever so small sip, just enough be polite) and pass the bottle on.

'Oh, I think you got a bite there.'

I nice big salmon... a record breaker, in fact. Who says there aren't perks to writing fiction?

'Hey. Bring it by the house...' And then thinking better of it, Leppaludi (or as I'd come to think of him, Old Lepp) suggested, 'Why don't we cook it right here? You got another bottle, right?'

And for whatever reason, none of us could here dear sweet Gryla call, as her voice echoed over the moonlit vales.

The local liquor store (back in The Real, where I live) does nor sell Black Death. YOU LOST A SALE THERE, GUYS I'm just going to assume that means it is so good and popular back in Iceland that there's not a drop available (leftover, if you will) for export.

'Ye go on believing that, sissy boy.'
'Why with the insults?'
'Why with the insults?' Segnol mocks. 'Imagine living on a small island with thirteen of the nastiest lads in all of fiction.'
'They don't seem so bad.'
'They don't seem do bad.'
'They don't.'
'Don't they?'
'Ye be forgetting that if they show up, Old Leppaludi does... the flesh eater.'
'Oh, right.'
'Yep, that's right. But the good news is that he'd rather get drunk than just about anything else, even eating your flesh.'
'Um, maybe we should just sneak away, then, on the pretext of gathering some wood for a fire.'
'Now, yer thinking. Just remember to leave a bottle for him or he's gonna come after you.'

And that's why there's no spare Death Grog to be had outside of Iceland. Everyone needs it to keep Leppaludi at bay.

Not that this is how the legend goes. But then, I'm not convinced the stories I'm reading are entirely accurate. I think they've gotten twisted up some over the years.

I'm just going to sit in a chair (rocking) and enjoy the view (glacial), while pretending that I am staying in a luxury resort and paying others to protect me from the natives... which considering my behavior, pretty much means protecting me from myself.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

I think I can even hear Melody playing in the background.

Shoot! Not much came up {in my search for music} for Icelandic Harp, but auto suggest (maybe they know me) offered Icelandic Hard Rock, meaning Frozen Thunder. Um, the vocals grow on you.

The Lads are dancing. And by that, of course, I mean that the Yule Lads are Slam Dancing. Things could get ugly... less so if Gryla never shows up.

'Sir. We will unable to protect you,' despite the exorbitant rates we are charging you, 'if you insist on provoking the yokels.'

'Sir. I most definitely did not refer to the locals as yokels.'

Back in The Real (where despite all appearances to the contrary, I spend most of my time), I watched the sunset this evening. It was very nice. Though, the sunsets I am liable to imagine in Story Land are much better. I'm sure it (either, both) put me in a better mood... so much so, I don't mind sending a bottle of Black Death over to the band. Maybe, it will smooth things over with Balgar... or make him even easier to take down, if that's what it comes down to.

I have composed a few Icelandic Punk Rock Sagas for your musical enjoyment.

When Vikings Ruled The Sea

Strange Word!
Strange Word!
Not a Real Word!
You're Making That Up!

Strange Word!
Strange Word!
Not a Real Word!
You're Making That Up!

When Vikings Ruled The Sea!

I Hate You

Anger! Hate!
Spite! And Rage!
These are the reasons.
I Hate You!

Lakes of Fires!
Seas of Ice!
This place sucks.
I Hate You!

Rolling Thunder!
Balls of Fist!
Let me show,
How much,

Note, these are made up words, lyrics I composed on the fly {with nary a moment's thought}. So, like, if you think I lifted your song, rather than getting mad, consider that this was, like, two minutes of work for me. And I'd likely be willing to sell more songs just like these for... um, mere kronor on the dollar.

Guitar Solo

Leppaludi's Lament

Across the sea
Far away
My home lies
Beyond yonder vale

Mountain High
Valley deep
No one shall keep me
From my keep

Down the road
And to the store
I'm running low
I need some more

Searching high
Searching low
Where did that Icelandic
Rot Gut Go?

Never fear
A tavern's near
We'll blast our minds out
Drinking there

Waking up
Soaking wet
I'll need some more
To break the cold

Never fear
The gang's all here
Iceland's Best
With Gryla's Cheer

Yeah, I think that is enough for now.

While up on stage, they'll have to drag Frozen Thunder away.

I'm going to guess Odin has only one eye, because he lives in two worlds: This & That, with the relative meaning changing depending upon in which world one finds themselves.

His two ravens and two wolves lend credence to this interpretation: one going Hither and the other Thon.

Not being big on winged helmets, I like the view of Odin as a cloak wearing wizard... an old man, not wholly of this world. The real question is what does he want?

"They're Huldufolk," the one-eyed old man besides me says.
I can't say I feel much like talking.
"That's why you should go," the Odin-like figure continues. "You did your thing. You came you saw."
And the project has become a massive reading assignment consisting of Sagas, Esoteric Philosophies, and Historical Research Papers... enough to last me years... if not lifetimes.
"So, you got your homework cut out for you."
Which is true.
But more importantly, the reading has become divorced from the writing.

It's time to realign.

After all, it's easy enough to hop on an imaginary plane and come back... whenever my heart desires.

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