A Norwegian's 7 week trip to the U.S.

2015-11-05 02:51:03 by JamesHatfeld
Updated

Here's the full story! (Updated May 2017)

I went to the U.S. in early October 2015 to participate in the New York Comic-Con. It was amazing! Truly! A bit too crowded for my taste, but the number of attendees over the 4 days the convention was held reached 170 THOUSAND! So the convention in itself was quite a feat to pull of alone, so kudos to all the invisible personell that made the CC what it was!

 

Did I wear a costume? Yes. It was from the Fallout franchise, more specifically Fallout 3. The outfit is basically an Armored RobCo jumpsuit (complete with logo on back) the Ghoul Mask, and the Alien Blaster. I had lots of additional props on my person, like a keychain with old keys, Energy Cells (ammuntion for one-handed energy weapons), RadAway, bottlecaps, and other Fallout stuff. Originally I was going to wear a Pip-Boy 3000A, a fancy wrist-watch that is iconic to the franchise, but I didn't receive it in time. The jumpsuit belonged to my father, he used it (up to 2006, when he passed away) as labor-coveralls, which ment it was already heavily worn, stitched, and sun-bleached by the time I found it.

The Alien Blaster was bought from Etsy, for a reasonable fee. It has functional LED wiring throughout the gun, as well as funtioning reloading mechansim  with the Alien Power Cell that comes with it. The prop maker goes by the name of TheWastelander. He provides great dualogue and customer service, just so you know.

 

The Ghoul Mask is custom-made by an artistic friend of me. She's on Newgrounds, actually! Her profile name is bella-art. She does commissions whenever she has the time to work on them (note that she is almost always working on something, and when I asked her if she tired of it, she said no, never, because she enjoys it so much). She takes her work really personal and professional at the same time, and she can draw or paint just about anything you can imagine, in case you got some "ideas" you would like to see to fruition, including NSFW-material. I've got a couple of works by her, myself, and communication with her before, during, and after she finished the commissions were phenomenal! She was present at the C-C, which is partly why I flew across the Atlantic all the way from Norway. 2 birds with 1 stone, they say. I was successful in encountering her and her boyfriend which was a absolute joy!

Since they are both artists and exceptional with pencils (and the like), I observed them working together on a Sci-Fi-comic Bella was working on, an interesting sight to behold. You may ask yourself "if she's a pencil artist, how come she managed to make the mask?" To that, I will answer "connections". Bella has been an artist for quite some time, not only with pencils, but she has done some sculpting work as well, and she is capable with needle and thread. But the real mastermind behind the mask was her mother, who creates costumes (dresses, gowns, those sorts of things) in Tel Aviv, Bella's country of residence.

After I introduced Bella to the Fallout universe, and expressed my desire to go to the Comic-Con dressed with the Ghoul Mask (which is basically the facial skin of several zombielike horrors cut off and made into a mask, so the Feral Ghouls won't eat you), she explained that she might be able to help me with that. So I sent her some pictures of the mask and some measurements, and she said that she and her mother will give it a go. So out into the city she went, and bought several scraps of leather of different color, and in the end, it was downright identical to the mask in Fallout 3, right down to the number of seams (pseudo-seams in real life) under the right eye. She painted the leather fantasically, complete with ear-remains, blood splatter here and there, and went for a shoelace mechanism in the back for opening/closing the mask. So that's the history behind that item.

 

So, when the Comic-Con was over, I shipped the outfit and most of the props back home (no reason to carry all that cumbersome deadweight), and spent a week in south Brooklyn, in a great hostel on Moore Street (Moore Hostel), and did all the "touristy" things: Times Sq, Liberty Island, Hard Rock Café (I collect clothing from the restaurants all over the world), Empire State Building, etc. I spent two weeks in NY, one in 42nd st., Manhattan, close to the shipyards and the Javits Center, where the C-C was held.

 

After that I went to Washington, D.C., and walked in the footsteps of The Lone Wanderer, the player character in Fallout 3. I also went to the National Mall (Lincoln Memorial, the top of the Washington Monument, stairs of the Capitol Building, Natural History Museum, Aerospace Museum, and so on).

I also went to Arlington National Cemetary, The Pentagon, and Roosevelt Memorial Island, which are all represented in the game. I spent a week in DC, before I took a plane to McCarran Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada, where I spent a month in total.

 

In Nevada I walked in the footsteps of The Courier, the player character of another game in the Fallout franchise, Fallout: New Vegas. I started my journey chronologically (McCarran doesn't really count at this point) in Goodsprings, and got a ride by one of the workers in Goodsprings General Store to Primm. From there I followed the I-15 towards California, took a left down the road towards a small but picturesque settlement by the name of Nipton. I spent a night there, and then walked onwards towards Searchlight. I reached it, and lived quite well there for 5 nights, at a motel named El Rey (the funny thing is, there is an El Rey motel in Fallout: New Vegas, it's located right outside McCarran!). I walked to Cottonwood Cove, and enjoyed the sunset and begging of a multitude of birds that were after my trekking foodstuff. I went back to Searchlight, spent some time in the McDonalds(TM) there, due to free beverage refill and free Wi-Fi access.

 

Then I started down the long walk towards Nelson, the small remains of a Mining Boom town. I walked for about 3 hours, when a gentleman in his early 50s (I reckon) offered to give me a lift to wherever I was headed. I accepted, and was driven to Nelson, which proved to be quite the sight. I've seen sandstorms, rainstorms, hail, the potent stars of the desert night sky, unshackled by any lamp posts or city lights, and strange and random junk people have tossed out the window for unknown reasons (a wire cutter, gloves, a cell phone cover, underpants, and more bottlecaps than I care to count (I've found about 30, I think.) BUT, the ancient preserved buildings of the Old Nelson was really special. The landscape, too, was Arizona-esque, with spires jutting from the beige rock near the route down to the Colorado River. Anyway, I was hesitant to get out of the car I found myself in because of the rain we experienced. It was no mere drizzle, let me tell you! No, the rain POURED down, exploding on the windshield (there was even a few minutes of hail!). Bill, the driver, told me that it was close to flash flood material, right there. So we went back up through Nelson, and towards Boulder City and Hoover Dam, my next destination. Bill dropped my off at the Nevada Inn, before he drove back home to Henderson. I stayed the night there, and then followed the old railroad tracks (supply railroad for the Dam under it's construction) to the dam the next morning. 

Walked from Boulder City to Hoover Dam, via the Alan Bible Visitor Center, some 5 hours by foot from Boulder. After procuring some maps and directions, it was 5 in the afternoon, so I went to the Marina to get a bite to eat. 
After, I went back to the center, now closed, and devoid of people, and hung around on a bench, resting, and enjoying the relative silence and free wi-fi access. I sat there for a while, pondering whether or not I should pack up and push on, or stay and rest some more.

The Hoover Dam Lodge/Casino was visible not far away, so I went over, inside, and dropped down on a very comfortable couch in the lobby. I sat there watching documentaries on the TV into the small hours. I tried not to dose off, as that would undoubtidly lead to my ass getting thrown out. When it neared 6 in the morning, I was almost in a trance-like state, half asleep, half awake. A door opening and shutting behind me snapped me out of it. A security guard came over and said something in the lines of "hey man, you've been sitting in that couch all night, please order a room or leave." I explained my situation (trekking through Nevada, no sleep in 24 hours, low on food, aching feet, etc). The guard nodded and said "All right". Cheching the time and glancing outside, I saw that daylight was finally emerging, so I thanked the guard for not throwing me out immediately, and set out on the old railroad path that led to the dam.

Took -2,5 hours to get there, through the massive train tunnels, rugged mountains on my right, and the slowly diminishing Lake Mead on my left. Went up to the new overpass, magnificent view, then down onto the dam itself. You don't fully realize the scale of the dam until you are standing on it. After a meal at the on-site café, I waited around the parking house elevators, trying to hitch a ride back to Boulder City, to no prevail. I was being as polite and non-threatening as I could, but still, the dam police approached in a car and said they've gotten word of someone making the visitors "uncomfortable"! I explained my situation to them as well, and asked if they could give me a courtesy ride to Boulder. "No", they told me, and disheartened, I went back up to the parking garage roof, and through the pass on the right hand side, back the way I came. 

To my surprise (and slight worry), two police cars were standing by the road, just before the tarmac path gave way for gravel. They said they could give me a courtesy ride to Hoover Dam Lodge! After a series of mandatory questions (any drugs, weapons, etc, etc) and a short pat-down, I was put in the back seat, and off we went! Arrived at the Lodge, ordered a taxi, and got back to Boulder City, and to the Nevada Inn.

Stayed there for about a week, waiting for a shipment (Bottlecap Mine + Nuka Grenade), and enjoying having, for once, a temperated, quiet room with a mattress TV and a fridge.
After the package was received, I checked my funds. Enough for a flight home, and not much else. I needed to find the cheapest way possible across the U.S., from Las Vegas to New York. I had no wish to get back out there on the road, living in the great uncertainty of the long walk and the squatting to needed to survive. So I ordered a ride with Greyhound, and booked the flight accordingly.

After that was done, I used my remaining cash on an evening on the Las Vegas Strip: took a bus to Vegas, got off about a mile (1,6 km, I believe) south of the epic Stratosphere tower. Dusk was setting in, and up the Strip I went, past both amazing and iconic sites: the Rome and Paris section, and the Venice Section. They all had copies of the tourist attractions most famous from their respective places: Rome had the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, Paris had the Eiffel Tower, and Venice had canals.

I went up about 3/4 of the Strip, before I got to Hard Rock café, had an awesome burger, bought a T-shirt, and took a taxi back to Boulder City. I packed my things that evening, and the following afternoon I took a bus to the Greyhound depot, and started the 60 HOUR trip across the U.S.

Left Las Vegas shortly before sunset. We drove north-northeast, towards Utah. The bus drove through Hidden Valley, and through a long, winding canyon pass, beatifully lit by the setting sun, in colors ranging from orange, gold, copper, bronze, blue, and purple. I always get sleepy when I'm on a bus, and this tome was no different. Fortunately, I remained awake till daylight was gone, determined to see as much as I could of the serene desert lanscape. Unfortunately, my sleep was very erratic. We drove from small town to small town, stopping 10 minutes in each place. Before doing so, the bus driver would turn on the bright lights, and yell the incoming stop over the speakers, abruptly awakening anyone who was asleep.

This continued on throughout the night, and there was little sleep to be had, maybe two hours in total. Travelling on to Colorado, we started ascending the Rocky Mountains. I felt almost at home there! Small ski-resort villages amidst mountains and valleys covered in snow, and the evergreens covering much of the hills. The downside was that chains had to be attached to the wheels, rattling immensly, appearentely being much too loose. So no sleep in the Rockies, either. We descended in the evening, finally taking off the chains, and letting me have some much needed, albeit, sporadic shut-eye.

When I awoke, we were not far from Denver, where I switched bus, and proceded into the Plains along Interstate 70, which we deviated little from for the rest of the journey. Hate to say this, but the ride frin Denver was boring. Really boring. Remember the Windows hills with the grass and the sky? Good. Imagine that, but flatter ground, wilting grass, and grey sky. That was my view for at least 12 hours. Endless yellowish plains in all directions. Much of the same in Kansas, but with some cultivated lands.

The ride went on through Missouri. Arrived at St. Louis at nightfall, saw it's famous arch about 1,5 miles (lets say 3km) away. Christmas lighting was already up in the trees of the streets, predominantly blue. Very nice.
Went on through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virgina, Pennsylvania. Scenery didn't change much throughout these states.
Arrived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and then the bus went south towards New York. At 6 in the morning, I went off at the Port Authority Building in Manhattan, not far from Times Square. The plane was to leave at around 5 in the afternoon, so I took a taxi to JFK, and waited patiently. Had some proper sleep i a comfy chair in a lounge in one of the terminals.

The check-in, the venture to the gate, and boarding went smoothly. Went overseas via Reykjavik in Iceland, trip took around 10 hours. I then had to wait 3 hours for the flight north, and then take a 2 hour bus ride back home. Arrived tired, fatigued and hungry, but a thousand moments richer!

So that's my U.S. trip, in broad strokes and horribly downscaled, though. If there are anything you've read in the text you would like embellished, please let me know. But beware! I could probably write 3 paragraphs about a 10 second event :)

I have no grammar correction while I'm writing this, so if there are any typos, then... they're there.

This gargantuan pile of text is too damn long for me to proof-read immediately!

 

On a side note, I slept outside 6 nights in total.

Alright, now for the pictures from 2015!

3735214_144670913893_AlienBlaster1.jpg

Full body shot. The brown bits on my legs and shoulders are actual iron, from an old wood stove.

 

3735214_144670922842_AlienBlaster2.jpgIn the IV bag there's apple juice.

3735214_144670978463_FalloutGroup.jpg

3735214_148433348491_NYCC20161.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pictures were taken from here:

http://www.mugenstylus.com/fallout-1/

 

 

 

 

 

 


The photographer showed up in a Vault suit, and gathered as many people with Fallout inspired costumes as he could find, and we had a little photo shoot with him. Great guy! I actually met the guy in red again at the 2016 NYCC! Paul's a great guy, really passionate about Fallout. He ran around with a Tri-Beam Laser Rifle and the Nuka Breaker!!
 

3735214_148433366393_NYCC20162.jpg

3735214_148433388991_thumbnail_nycc-73-2.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

^   ^   ^   ^   ^

  Here's the 2016 NYCC pics.  >  >                           

I'm in the process of obtaining more, I attended an awesome photoshoot hosted by "Spuds" Zupatsu. Lots of people took pictures of the Fallout geeks :)

 

 

If you have read *all* of the text above:

Thank you.

If you haven't: I don't blaim you.

 

 

Best wishes,

JamesHatfeld/ Even


What's happening:

2015-01-26 14:33:28 by JamesHatfeld
Updated

Last summer since late-June to mid-September, I worked voluntarily as a viking in a viking museum in Lofoten. It was the best months I have ever experienced. Not long ago, I applied for a full season there, which is from May 1st to September 15th. 

I got the job! I'll work there from the 15th of June to August the 15th, during the high-season, when the number of tourists is at the largest. So now I have to start getting into shape physically, mentally and superficially. I bought different types of fabric at the viking festival we had last August, which I've made into an authentic tunic and pants, with the help of my mother, who is much more adept with needle and thread than I am.

 

Here are 2 images from the festival the viking museum had in August, and 2 pictures of me as a visitor some time before.

3735214_142278741391_bilde07403.jpg

^ Polish Vikings resting after a mock battle

 

3735214_142278762983_bilde0743.jpg

^ Me handing out throwing axes to museum guests at the firing range. I've upgraded my attire with leather braces (on the forearms, not the teeth, duh :) ), leather pouches and an axe and a shield.

3735214_142463655632_DSCF3672.JPG

A couple of years ago I visited the museum as a guest myself. Needless to say, I enjoyed it immensly! Here I am hurling throwing axes at the firing range. I had a go at archery aswell, but axe-throwing was my strong suit. It still is.

3735214_142463660491_e.JPG

Later that day I had my first taste of mead. It tasted heavenly! Normally I seldomly like alchohol, but I really loved it! It has a taste of the sweetest honey and a smell of spruce resin. You should definetly try it sometime!

 


A very merry christmas, NG!

2014-12-27 14:22:07 by JamesHatfeld
Updated

I hope you've all had a superb christmas! I certainly did. I received a little bit of everything: a gift card for an electronics store, a thick sweater, thich wool socks, a really extensive hiker's manual, and skiing goggles so that I won't be blinded and harassed by my constant winter nemesis, the relentless, assaulting snow brougth forth by chilling, arctic winds. And lots of luxurious chocolate, which I was happy to receive, being the sweet-tooth that I am :3

So, now we're all approaching the end of yet another year on this miserable cess-pool of an excuse of a world. This new year will have lots in store for me, I'm sure. I'll (hopefully) get a job, I'll (hopefully) travel the wastes of autumn Russia and I'll (hopefully) gather the nerve to tell my crush what I feel for her.

I wish you all strengh to rise above the challenges of 2015. A new year is a chance to begin again. But I believe that one's life can be made anew every day, and that fortune is more than the wealth in your hands. Love, life, family, those to care for and those who will care for you. To those who know these joys, 2015 holds little they do not already possess.

I wish you all well, and from me to you: merry christmas and a happy new year.



About frikkin' time, huh?

First things first. I skulked around on NG a couple of years before I created an account.

Before my "conscription", I roamed all over the web for entertainment; Armorgames, Gamershood, NinjaKiwi, Maxgames, Fizzy, you name it.

But none of them were anywhere equal to - yeah, you guessed it - Newgrounds.

So I made my account and played some games. Unfortunately, I've never really had a talent for producing anything... cool, like music, art or games. But I've always had my way with words, and over the years I've perfected the art of commenting, beginning stages were similar to "OMG, THIS IS SO %#&u"#¤ AWESOME !!1!!!1ONE!!1!", while nowadays it's refined praise and admiration of all the little details in a picture, or the playablity of a game.

A little bit about myself, then: I'm a dude from northern Norway, with a ridiculous amount of random knowledge about geology, astronomy, biology, chemistry, history, and just about any class taken at school.

 

I got one person I can call friend, which, for now is all I need. I've known him since I was 5-6 and he was 4-5.

I'm partially asosial, primarily for two reasons:

1: The contact I've had with class"mates" has been in the form of ignorement and mental and/or physical abuse.

2: I'm rather introverted, and I thrive in my own company. Guess I have to be, all things considered. Ah well. It's better to be alone than in bad company.

 

So, I shielded myself from the outside world by taking up video games at the age of 12. The Elder Scrolls IV, Oblivion, and later Fallout 3. I came to love them, both the cultural setting of the games and the unique freedom they offered. I was free to... mold a hero, a champion, who was strong, intelligent, agile and charismatic; being the hero I most likely never could/will be.

I came to live through my in-game "avatars", which is why I still play the games to this day. The level of depth on so many levels immersed me, and has still not quite let me go, which I'm completely comfortable with. For now.

I would not be surprised if someone claimed me to have escapism. But the video games helped me deal with the loss of my father by taking my focus of his demise and applying it to a TV screen.

 

I started listening to MetallicA when I was 12, shortly after my dad passed away. That was in November 2006, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. Anyway, their fast, (usually) aggressive style, awesome solos and deep, meaningful lyrics I more-often-than-not could relate to, captured me. You should check them out live in the '80s or early '90s, that's when they were at their peak. Now, not so much. James Hetfield's singing has gotten worse and worse since he went through rehab in 2003. And Lars' drumming has gotten... so-so. But that's just my opinion. You're welcome to believe anything else about the matter, for better or for worse.

 

Alright, lets get a bit basic, shall we?

I like books (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, GoT, that sort of thing), music (MetallicA and Iron Maiden) and video games (a bit of First Person Shooter, and lots of real-time strategy like Command and Conquer)

My favorite era is the Viking era, ca. 700 - 1066. I like their harsh way of living, and it made them tough and hardy. But not only were the vikings ferocious warriors, they were also skilled farmers and tradesmen, when they later established trading cities in eastern Europe and along the Volga River. 

I don't work out, but I'm still rather fit, due to I strain myself not in a gym, but at home, using manual labor every so often. I also ski and shovel snow in the winter, swim abroad in the summer, and hike (you know, as in going on a trip strolling on a mountain) the rest of the year. My favorite time is autumn. Or fall. Depending on your language disposition and/or preference.

If you have read this entire, gargantuan post, then I thank you for your time. I'm currently unable to return your wasted minutes back, so you'll just have to deal with it like an adult. Please don't sue me or anything.

 

I needed to get that off my chest, and even if downright no-one will read it, it provides me solace. I hope. Otherwise, there's no point in me writing all this. Hm. Guess I decide whether it's all for naught or not (heh). It's not for naught.

 

I apologise for any misspellings or an awkward use of words (not the long ones though, I use them intentionally). I wrote this text as I always do. Fast. Sometimes, letters get mixed up. I'm sorry if that ocurred. English is not my mother tongue, by the way. May help explain why I write as I do.

Feel free to comment/ PM any questions! I'll answer what I can.

 

Below is a picture of my hometown. 3200 inhabitants. I just hope the link works. Just copy/paste or something.

http://gigapix.no/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/stokmarknes_900pre.jpg 

 

Regards, JamesHatfeld