Archive for the ‘Uncategorized Drivel’ Category

Live Free and Drink Hard

Saturday, December 12th, 2015

One of the few redeeming qualities about this obscure, little website is its dedication to the discovery and promotion of Viking-themed alcoholic beverages. Despite being the hardest drinkers known to both human history and Eddic poetry, Norsemen that actually grace the labels of bottles of booze are unfortunately fairly hard to come by in the 21st century. It’s usually a pretty rare occasion when I stumble upon a new specimen worthy of photographing (poorly) and then uploading into the great black abyss of cyberspace. It’s even more rare when said specimen hails from the shores of Norumbega, so naturally I felt that special rush of excitement that only the Vikings/alcohol combo-pack can deliver when I discovered Kelsen Brewing Company’s fine line of Norse/Tolkien/medieval inspired brewskies.

The Battle-Axe IPA is shown here, but they also have a Draken Robust Porter, a Vendel Imperial Stout, a Vinatta Russian Imperial Stout (‘Vinatta’ being the Norse word for friendship), and a Paradigm Brown Ale (for those who prefer doing their drinking with the dwarves). Not all their styles feature a Norse or medieval theme, but they’re on the right track. On a more serious note, they’re basically just a solid, little craft brewery doing good work from their home base in the state with the most Viking motto of the entire nation.

Brewsky of the North

Monday, September 21st, 2015

There’s no better way to start the week off right than by rolling out of bed Monday morning and popping open a cold, refreshing Icelandic craft brew courtesy of the Einstök Beer Company. Located in Akureyri, along the island’s north shore near the Arctic Circle, Einstök brews a variety of beer styles that are gradually making their presence felt over here in Vinland. With any luck, Einstök will be luckier than Leif the Lucky was in his day and remain here in Vinland for many years to come. I was personally lucky enough to recently find a batch and enjoy its clean, glacially-derived alcoholic contents. There’s just something about drinking a well-crafted beer from the land of fire and ice that helps you get by. And the logo is pretty damn badass, too.

Holger the Sleepy

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Holger Danske, or Ogier the Dane as he’s known in the non-Scandinavian-language-speaking parts of the world, slumbers in the deep, dark dungeons of Hamlet’s castle, Kronborg, about an hour north of Copenhagen, defending Denmark with his staunch snoring. It doesn’t look like a very comfortable position. Personally, if I was going to sleep for years on end, I’d prefer to lie down and take off my armor. But then I’m a lame, weirdo blogger type of person, whereas Holger is a heroic badass who will wake and arise whenever his nation is threatened, so I think he probably does most things better than me, especially when it concerns medieval warfare, battle-preparedness, and general sexiness of appearance.

This particularly sexy rendition of Holger was sculpted by Hans Peder Pedersen-Dan back in the glorious year of ’07 (1907, that is). Pedersen-Dan, not only sculpted this great Nordic hero, but also made some important contributions to the Carlsberg Brewery, so he deserves double skåls for that.

Check out the photos below for an additional, sexy shot of Holger himself as well as his humble abode.

June Downbeat: Some Dark, Wintry Ice[land]

Monday, June 1st, 2015

Ahhh, June, that wonderful month when the weather warms up (maybe), the sun stays out late (when it’s not overcast), and vacation seasons tend to officially start (if you can get the time off and/or afford to go anywhere). But let’s not be so optimistic here. Winter is only a short half a year away. In three weeks the days will be getting shorter, again. We will hurl headlong towards the bleak darkness of December and its vicious little gnomes, who as the descendents of two abominable ogres, will terrorize your yule-tide merry-making by breaking and entering into your house to eat all of your yogurt, steal your sausages, slam all of your doors loudly in the middle of the night, and spread germ-ridden saliva over all of your dishes and kitchen utensils.

But the stout of heart won’t let these trolls get them down, because there is beauty in winter, especially in Iceland, where they maintain a keen appreciation of their Norse heritage, as exemplified by Jón Gunnar Árnason’s work Sólfar dramatically situated along Reykjavik’s waterfront (above) or Alexander Stirling Calder’s Leif Eriksson memorial statue in front of Hallgrímskirkja (below).

Keeping It Real at Aifur

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Stockholm is a magical place where they have a Viking restaurant and bar that actually strives for authenticity. Normally this kind of thing would be totally gimmicky and feel like a themed version of a Chuck E. Cheese; anyone over age 10 would stand out in a sad way if they weren’t there with a younger family member. Not so at Aifur. At Aifur it’s different. They’ve done their research to make the setting cozy and believable. The staff dress in garb appropriate to the setting and time period. The menu is based on archaeological records regarding the types of animals the Norse ate, and the types of spices they used to make those animals taste better. The drink menu consists of an extensive list of Nordic beers and meads, which alone is enough to make me excited. Throw in everything else I just mentioned, and it’s like Aifur goes to 11 when everyone else only goes to 10.

Check out their “about” page in English for more info:
http://www.aifur.se/en_about.

And below is their booze menu!

A Good Day to Hail Leif

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Today is the official Leif Erikson Day of 2013, and what appropriate and ironic timing!

Leif’s Icelandic ancestors all bailed from Norway when they finally got too disgusted with their slimy politicians to bother sticking around. Lucky for them, they were able to find a nice (if harsh), uninhabited island out in the middle of the North Atlantic to claim as their own, and their descendents kept the tradition of exploring alive, culminating with Leif’s badass voyage to America. That’s a far cry from our current tactics of belly moaning and ineffective protesting. Too bad we don’t live in an era where we can just get our buddies together, get in a boat, and go find a new place to conquer and settle without getting fire-bombed in retaliation. Oh well.

The photo above is a statue devoted to Leif’s glory located in Reykjavik, Iceland. Check out my Monuments to Greatness page to learn more about Boston’s own glorious Leif statue. And best of luck staying sane in this sea of madness.

Skálmöld Trip Out with the Wolf

Friday, September 27th, 2013

It’s the last Frey’s day of the month, the nights are becoming longer than the days, the average daily temperatures are dropping, and “winter is coming.” That makes it a perfect time to trip out with Icelandic Viking metal band Skálmöld in their new music video. In it they take us on a journey through their wild Icelandic landscape and show us all sorts of strange on-goings involving that demon-woman Hel, Odin hanging out passively on the top of a cliff, the iron-ribbon Gleipnir wrapping around a young girl, and the wolf shaking the shit out of his fur to get dry. Pretty badass.

Also, the video itself was created by Bowen Staines who originally hails from New Hampshire, so this is a nice New England-Scandinavia collaboration!

The Boners of Östergötland

Friday, August 30th, 2013

In Östergötland, Sweden there are many boners carved into the surfaces of large rocks that protrude up through the ground. And, while we’re on the topic, I am sure there are many other boners in Östergötland of another sort as well…that also do their own sort of protruding. But those are not the types of boners that we are interested in here. No, we are interested in the rock-carving boners and these rock-carving boners have managed to keep it up for a solid 3000 years, which is a pretty good indication of an amazing level of stamina if you ask me. In addition to boners, these bronze-age Geats also carved pictures of boats, weapons, and animals. Clearly, these people had their priorities.

It is also interesting to note that Östergötland basically means Eastern Geatland in English. For those of you that are familiar with Beowulf, you will also know that he was a Geat, so we’re basically talking about boner carvings that were made by his ancestors. You can read more about these hällristningar (as they are known in Swedish) at Hällristningar i Norrköping (in Swedish only). Sadly, there does not seem to be information available in English on this site, but there’s a serious academic article on the matter here.

And lastly, here are some more views of this majestic ancient boner rock-carving mine-field:

Icelandic Lava Beer

Friday, June 28th, 2013

 photo lavabeer_zps01b3df40.png Finally! The Icelanders have begun smoking their beer (in addition to smoking their whales and their puffins). I personally can’t think of a more befitting national, Viking-appropriate meal for Iceland than one composed of smoked endangered animal, smoked cute little penguin-type thing, and smoked beer inspired by volcanic eruptions. How could you possibly go wrong with all those items sitting on your table all at the same time? The answer is: you can’t.

Plus it’s 9.4%, so knock yourself out with many and then go break down a door in a drunken rage. Odds are, you’ll only regret the monetary expenses, because Lava ain’t cheap.

Chiseling the Scandinavian Cheekbones

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

So I just gave this website a major facelift, and by that I mean that there is now a very aggressive-looking, native Blue Sheep from Birka hanging out in the background off towards the right (and slightly towards the left as well, but that guy is fainter). If you look closely, you will be able to admire the finely chiseled cheekbones of the individual to the right, which is a trait he shares with the lovely Scandinavian women. You may also be able to see the killer intent in his eyes. I figure he is probably pretty good buddies with the even more hardcore Icelandic Killer Sheep:

 photo Icelandic_Killer_Sheep_zpsc3993d02.jpg

In fact, this guy is so intent on being aggressive that he goes around looking like he should probably stop trying already and just transform himself into a Norwegian black metal band instead. You used to be able to get his mugshot on t-shirts like the one pictured above, but that website seems to have been plucked away by some misguided valkyrie, though the corresponding myspace page still exists.

On a side note, I’m going to make a better effort at updating this damned blog on a regular basis again (as opposed to 1 post every 6 months). I finally got myself dislodged from the bigass boulder that I was living under since last fall and it is good to see the world again. Some sad things happened in that time (Stockholm burned, Boston bombed to name just 2) but some good, exciting things are indeed afoot: Amon Amarth is releasing a new album this month, the days are long, and the Bruins are in the finals. So, skål to summer!

Leif Eriksson on the Rocks

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Highland Park has gone and done something wonderful: they have produced Scotch in honor of Leif Eriksson. Why did no one think of this sooner? It took the discoverer of North America approximately 1012 years before he had a Scotch whiskey named in his honor? Sometimes I am ashamed of the world we live in. That sense of shame almost outdoes the sense of shame I feel from not having bought a single bottle of this magical liquid because a) it costs nearly $100 and b) even it it was less expensive, it can still only be found at international ports of entry.

Click here to visit the official Highland Park Leif Eriksson webpage.

Death in Digital Fire / World Reborn

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

During the middle of the month, this site was sacked, pillaged, and put to the sword. My poor little Viking-toy-avatar-thing was passed around like an unfortunate Irish woman during the great Norwegian conquest of what was to become Dublin. But as the great story says, that which was the end would soon be reborn. I’m a little disappointed that so far this world looks worse than the previous one, but then that’s what I get for not backing up my goddamned files in over a year. Anyway, the site’s back up, and I’m going to try to work on getting some of the lost material back on here in the coming days/weeks (I’m slow). And if anyone knows how to include an image in a header in this newest version of wordpress, that’d be killer if you could let me know, since I’m no good at this shit. Skål!

Glory in a Bottle

Friday, May 27th, 2011

The Norsky brewers up at HaandBryggeriet are clearly modern day recipients of Odin’s wisdom and have held a cherished spot on my Viking Barley Brew list ever since I first compiled it. But they wanted to outdo themselves and so they started to age some of their brew in aquavit barrels, and the result is this Barrel-Aged Porter, complete with Norse carving decor on the label. Midgård would be a better place if there were more people like these guys out there, so skål to them!

Then on a more somber and unrelated note, the online literary magazine Bananafish recently suicided itself. This saddens me because Bananafish was one of those few sites that actually acknowledged the importance of writing about drunken leprechauns being held hostage in Viking dungeons, which is not a topic that most literary venues value. (And also the guy who ran the site seemed like a nice fellow). So, anyway, since Bananafish is now down for the count, I’ve reposted the content of my story that had been published there, and it can be found on the Encounter with a Miscreant page.

Lastly, a few parting words for the fallen Bananafish, plundered verbatim from the mighty Ville Laihiala (formerly of Sentenced):

“The shadows growing deep
We’ll be gone eternally
Our stars have fallen from the sky
Our dreams have faded into the night
No tomorrow
Not for us
Death and sorrow
Dust to dust
Dust to dust.”

Viking Classic Rock Parody

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

This one was brought to my attention by the good mead-brewing Stenhugger from Illinois. Apparently part of a television series in the UK called Horrible Histories, it’s called Literally: The Viking Song and is an amusing take on the Viking raids on England delivered in the form of music video.

Happy Up Helly Aa!

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

On the last Tuesday of every January, the honorable jarls up in Shetland celebrate the end of the yule season by setting everything on fire. It’s called Up Helly Aa and not only is it a glorious homage to Viking glory, but it’s also the biggest fire festival in Europe.

Unfortunately, I’m not cool enough to have actually been to Up Helly Aa myself, so I pilfered this photo from Millgaet Media instead. I think it’s an awesome photo and I’m jealous of whoever took it.