Saturday, August 30, 2008

Even a really close shave won’t make me a Medium

Right-oh. This is inspired by both missTV (she has “Song of the Week” every Sunday) and ege (who has recurring themes at least twice a week).

Welcome to Like/Don’t like Saturdays.

beardonaut likes:

It goes without saying that I like beards. I like it on me, I like them on others, I take pictures of my beard with other beards. I am a beardonaut (for those of you that don’t get it, that’s –naut, like astro, but with a beard instead of space) suffering from beardomania.

So on Thursday I went to a barber for the first time ever. Not a hairdresser, mind you, but a barber. There’s not an abundance of them here. Extensive Googling yielded three. I settled on Barber & Books.

Now this is what a barbershop should look like.

The place is, quite literally, a paradise for beard nerds. As a friend commented: “Too bad I don’t have a beard anymore, cause it seems like you could go crazy with all sorts of shaving paraphernalia.” So true, and all that paraphernalia is available at Barber & Books.

I spent about 40 minutes having my beard trimmed. It went from “massive goatee with bushy sideburnsy things” to “full beard” under the barber’s skillful scissors, combs and whatnot. The result was beyond my expectations. I’m going back in a few weeks to get a proper shave, to clean up the lines of my beard.

A straight razor is just about the scariest thing I know (Lament Configuration puzzle boxes with moving parts being number one, of course), and I would never consider using one myself, but I really look forward to such a close shave. I’ve only had one before, and in comparison with what I’m getting this time, the first time has to be considered a quickie. I expect to leave fully satisfied and with a smile plastered all over my face.

So. I like Barber & Books.

beardonaut doesn’t like:

I had some time to kill before my appointment, so I took the time to look around for some clothes. I tend to buy a lot of my clothes at skate shops and such, since I really like skateboard shoes, baggy pants, hoodies etc (if I could choose I would always wear my baggy denim shorts, my Painfield hoodie, and one of maybe four pairs of skate shoes).

The problem is that most people that skate (I don’t – I have the balance of twelve different sized and shaped boxes stacked) are two feet tall and weigh about as much as a piece of paper. I walked into two different places and went “Ooh! Aah!” at maybe six different pieces of clothing, which is highly unusual since I’m very picky. All of them turned out to be available only in sizes Small or Medium.

Not really sure how to sum up what I don’t like about that in a short sentence. You get the point.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Norwegian Blue prefers keeping on its back

A colleague called me today as I was on my way home from work and started the conversation with:

“This is kind of an odd question, and I thought of you…” Presto! Instant attention.

“You know all sorts of odd people…” There was a degree of hesitation to his voice, as if he was about to ask me something very strange. I do know some odd people, and may be categorized as odd myself, at least by some, but I think that some people I work with tend to exaggerate the oddness of my social circles.

And then, came The Question.

“Do you know someone that owns a parrot?”

Ehm…crazy person says what. What?!

A parrot. A known associate of bearded metalheadz everywhere

Why would I know someone that owns a parrot? To me, parrots are the pets of old ladies, who feed them nuts and say “Who’s a pretty girl?”. Wait. Maybe that does fit some of my friends…

Thinking about it now, I’m kind of flattered. He had a problem and figured I knew someone who had the solution to that problem. I choose to see myself as a facilitator here, someone who does know a lot of people, as opposed to someone who specifically would know someone with a parrot.

Yarr, mateys!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Here is a simple but powerful rule - always give people more than what they expect to get

“Greetings from,
We thought you would like to know that the following items have been sent to: …”

Now that’s customer service. I ordered yesterday, and part of the order is shipped today. Amazon are always fast and reliable, but this…phew. Me likey!

So what was shipped today?
Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore (graphic novel)
Batman: Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrisson (graphic novel)
Absolute Sandman: Volume 3 by Neil Gaiman (collects a number of Sandman graphic novels)
The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made by David Hughes (non-fiction)
Forensics and Fiction: Clever, Intriguing, and Downright Odd Questions from Crime Writers by Douglas P Lyle (non-fiction)

Hooray! Hooray!

Monday, August 25, 2008

I always say shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist

I had a shit day today. After a shit weekend.

Don’t get me wrong. I hung out with Mah Girl, cooked some food (fake chili and the kick ass fish stew my parental units taught me), watch all of Spaced and generally kicked back. It could have been an awesome weekend. However, there was a reason for this level of inactivity.

We were supposed to go see Blade Runner: The Final Cut at the movies on Saturday. Then we were supposed to hook up with friends for dinner. All of it cancelled, because some fucking asshole decided to assault someone I really care about. I would pay good money to be able to turn back time and be on a certain street at five a.m. on Saturday morning with a baseball bat. Or a chainsaw.

This has not improved my faith in the inner goodness of mankind.

So my mood was bad enough when I went to work this morning. Then the day turned out to be one of those where things just go wrong. Horribly, inexplicably, blood spillingly wrong. I managed to wrench two small victories out of the absolute chaos that was work, and when I got home I soothed both myself and Mah Girl (who had a traumatic going-back-to-school day) with sushi and fries (yes, it’s a viable combination) and the awe-inspiring chocolate squares left over from a colleague’s party this weekend (thanks, Pretty Karl).


It wasn’t enough. So, I turned to the glory that is Amazon. Now a massive package is on the way, loaded with books, movies, TV show box sets and some comics. Will list it another day. I feel better, though not good.

People who say you can’t buy happiness just don’t know where to shop.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

There is great truth in Alphonse Karr's remark that modern men are ugly because they do not wear their beards

I’ve been known to terrify small children. Not on purpose, no no, I’m a really nice guy, but the mere sight of me has driven children to tears on occasion. My theories have included that my general attitude towards the miniature people shines through, or that it’s The Beard.

Today it was The Beard.

I was walking up towards the line at the grocery store when a man and his son came walking from the left, to get in line in front of me. No problem there, I was several meters away and crawling along at my usual pace. Which is to say most of the store could have moved in, in front of me. And it’s a big frackin’ store.

So the guy takes his place in line in front of me, while his son stops and just stares at me. You know the kind of look. People in horror movies faced with a massive man wearing a hockey mask and wielding a bloody machete get that look. Then the kid turns and runs.

The father notices and chases after him, looking back over his shoulder at me and says:
“It’s your beard.”

OK. So people in grocery stores faced with a massive man wearing a bloody…I mean impressive beard get that look. Obviously.

He comes back with the little Oompa-Loompa cradled in his arms and says:
“He’s afraid of priests.”

Let me stop for a moment here and inform y’all that we’re not talking about Bostonian priests. No black vestments and priest collar for me. Oh no. They were Muslims, so it was all about The Beard.

Yes. It is bigger than my head.

The father spent a few minutes trying to get his son to realize I wasn’t a priest. We shook hands (helped a little), I smiled (didn’t help) and I told the Loompa my name (maybe that helped).

In the end, the kid stood staring at me while his father paid for their groceries. Then they went on their way. I see a psychologist’s couch in that kid’s future. And a shaved chin.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Let me help you tie the rope around your neck

So I wrote this post about useless people and nurture vs. nature and inner darkness vs. the goodness of mankind, etc. Basically I’d had a bad day and needed to vent.

I’ve calmed down now (yeah, right), and figured I would continue that train of thought, especially since Joel went to such great lengths to comment.

I don’t believe that the inner core of humans is evil. Neither do I believe that it’s good. Beneath the veneer of civilization, we’re still animals, still the creatures that either hid in the shadows when the predators stalked by or planted our feet and fought, tooth and nail. That fight or flight reflex is still there, and it wakes up when we’re put in a situation that pushes us beyond the limits that we, and society, have set for ourselves.

Because of that, I remain convinced that every human being is capable of lethal violence. It doesn’t matter how much of a non-violent person you are, that primal reflex remains there, dormant.

That aside, I also believe some people are inherently evil. There are some atrocities that people commit that I simply cannot attribute to a messed-up childhood, or to the instinct for violence at our core. There are things that humans simply don’t do. And yes, I acknowledge that abuse or childhood trauma or whatever can make things worse, and probably shape someone who otherwise would have stopped at ripping the wings of insects into something far worse, and I even acknowledge that video games or movies or whatever intense experience there is out there, can act as something of a trigger, though not as a root cause. That, however, is a discussion for another day.

In Western society, we choose to meet such atrocities with prison time, and in some states in the US with the death penalty. I’m not an avid proponent of ending someone’s life, but in some cases, I actually see no other way out. This is not out of any biblical sense of an eye for an eye and all that nonsense. It’s simply because some people, that can no longer be called humans, simply don’t deserve to live.

Case in point: Andrei Chikatilo. This pathetic excuse of a man wanted the death penalty and got it. Can anyone argue that incarcerating him would have made more sense, or that therapy could ever have rehabilitated a man who murdered 52 people over 12 years? And ate some of them?

I claim to be an agnostic of some sort, but I sincerely hope that there’s some deep dark Hell where sadists like Chikatilo endure everlasting pain, or that nothing awaits them beyond death other than a cold lonely grave.

So yes. I’m in favor of killing people occasionally. Please argue with me.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Every head has its own headache

For a few years now I’ve suffered periods of chronic headaches (I know chronic is supposed to be “all the time”, and as such it can’t be periodical, but I don’t know how else to describe it). When it first happened, I had no idea what it was. My right eye got all bloodshot, and I had severe stabbing pains just slightly above and in front of my right temple.

I spent an afternoon at the emergency room, watching an endless parade of old men holding the hands of their dying wives, drug users zonked out of their minds and screaming incoherently, car crash victims, and so on. It was horrible and emotionally draining.

Finally some med student barely out of Anatomy 101 found the time to meet me, had me stand on one leg, made me touch the tip of my nose with my eyes closed, brushed my face with a feather, etc. At first they thought I had Horton’s, which is sometimes called “the suicide headache”.

After being bounced around between a few doctors, I finally ended up with a neurologist at Huddinge hospital, who is part of a team that work exclusively with headaches. The final diagnosis is that I have SUNCT (I’ve learned what the acronym stands for – Short-lasting, Unilateral, Neuralgiform headache attacks with Conjunctival injection and Tearing – but have yet to say it in full while drunk).

SUNCT manifests in a variety of ways. Some people suffer a few hours of attacks and then never feel it again, and some have it all their lives and no drugs help.

I don't like the drugs, but the drugs like me

For me it was periods of attacks, about two months at a time with dozens, sometimes up to a hundred short stabbing attacks every day. I had problems sleeping, couldn’t watch TV for a long time or sit by the computer. I read books, took walks. Cooked a lot. My neurologist prescribed me a few different drugs, before we tried Neurontin. It’s normally used as an enhancer drug for epileptics, when their regular meds can’t do the trick, but also has documented results for various kinds of nerve pains. Such as mine.

For a glorious list of possible side effects and such, go here.

The last time the attacks started was January of 2007. They still haven’t stopped. 19 months and counting. Whoop-de-fucking-do. I eat pills three times a day, at 08:00, 15:00 and 22:00, seven pills in total. 3+2+2.

I’ve had them for so long now that the headache feels like an integral part of me. Which is just sad. The pills go with me everywhere.

Today, while Googling around for Neurontin info I found out that it’s been linked to a couple of suicides in the States. At first I wrote this off as The Land of Law Suits nonsense, until I found this. For a few minutes I seriously considered not eating my pills tonight. Until I read the whole article. A 0.43 percent increase in suicidality. Ehm…hardly something to worry about. I hope.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Beware of the man of one book

Sometime early next week I’m going to place orders with Amazon (the English one, not the American one – toll fees suck almost as much as earwigs) and AdLibris to get me some books (and dvds and music, but that’s not the point of this post).

Now I want you people to point me to some new books. But not just any books. No no no. You must actually believe that I will like these books. Why? Cause I will judge you as a person based on the books you point me to. As John Cusack’s character Rob puts it in High Fidelity:

What really matters is what you like, not what you ARE like. Books, records, films, these things matter. Call me shallow, it’s the fucking truth.

Here’s what I like.

The Best Books Ever (fiction) are:
Pattern Recognition by William Gibson
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Absolution Gap by Alastair Reynolds

I also enjoy non-fiction. The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and Myth-Maker from the Crimea to Iraq by Philip Knightley is one of the best books I’ve ever read, and I intend to order three books on forensics and two about the American government’s use of mercenaries like Blackwater in Iraq with the coming order.

Oh. I will also order Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and some sci-fi, probably something by Bruce Sterling.

So. Challenge extended. Wow me.

And I almost forgot. They have to be in English.

Monday, August 18, 2008

As me and my companions was setting out a snare

I spent a pleasant evening at a friend’s today. As always, topics discussed varied wildly, and there’s not really any fixed conversational path we walk down. I like that.

Today, the most fascinating topic, which wasn’t discussed at any length, was number stations. This is where we cue the X-Files theme song again. Sooooo cool. And quite geeky as well.

And oh yeah. I linked to Freud the other day. I was really aiming for this. Turns out Mah Girl knew exactly what I was looking for, even when I didn’t know myself. That’s often the case.

I shaved my head this weekend. I’ve sported a Mohawk in various configurations for a while now, but got fed up and took it all off. “You look weird”, Mah Girl said. I’m used to that verdict when I change my hair or beard. However, this time it went one step further. Behold:

Female colleague: “You look weird.”
Me: “I think I look nice.”
Female colleague: “What does Your Girl think?”
Me: “She thinks I look weird.”
Female colleague: “Look at it this way. Are you going to have sex with her or yourself?”

Now where did I put that Mohawk? I should be able to glue it back on, right?

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Saturday morning. A beardonaut with a hangover.

Me: “I took the night bus home.”
Mah Girl: “That’s cheaper than a beard. I mean a taxi.”

Yes. The beard is indeed more expensive than a bus. A whole bus. Don’t you forget it.

I may not know much about art, but I know what I like

So yesterday, I managed to accomplish…nothing. Or rather, I chose to accomplish nothing. That’s the best kind of nothing there is.

On Friday night I had drinks with some people from work, some friends, and some people I’ve never met. A good night. Though the music almost got the best of me.

Yes, music can mess up an entire night out for me. Even when I’m under the influence and with good friends. In this case I almost went over the edge when one hit wonder (I was about to write Boy Wonder. Holy subconscious, Batman) Troll came on. Oh, the horror. Then again, probably serves me right for going to a club that plays mainly 80’s pop and 80’s hits. Let’s all agree that the 80’s was the worst musical decade, ever.

Still, I managed to pull through. It was a true test of endurance.

Music is a Big Deal to me. That’s why I prefer parties at home (not necessarily mine) over going out. Did someone say “old geezer”? Yeah, well, in that case I’ve been an old geezer forever. I embrace my old geezerness.

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to play CDs at clubs a few times. Did I like it? Let me think. Being allowed to play the music I want all night long AND having the opportunity to snub Mötley Crüe and Iron Maiden fans every time they come up and ask for a song? What’s not to like?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The god of lost socks

That age old question. Where do the socks go when you do laundry? I’ve definitely had it happen to me, doing laundry with an even number of socks and ending up with an uneven number. One of life’s great mysteries.

Yet another victim of the Lost Sock Monster.
I considered a chalk outline on the corridor floor.

I derailed my boss from a work discussion today. A colleague started talking about the fine print on one of our ads, and they were standing right next to my cubicle (yes, I am that kind of wage slave). I couldn’t help myself. I looked over and said:
“That kind of reminds me of how they voice the fine print for ads in The Simpsons. You know, how they say ‘satisfaction guaranteed’ in the ad, and then the voice adds, hyper fast, ‘satisfaction not guaranteed’?”
“Yeah!” he said, all excited. “My favorite episode is…” And off he went. We discussed Simpsonsania (it’s a word) for a few minutes, and then he went off to get coffee. The colleague gave me his Tired Look, for stealing the boss man’s attention. Simpsons discussions trumps fine print talk, any day.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Some great urban voodoo

OK. This is getting cree-he-he-heeepy. Earlier I pointed out that I had three headers starting with “A”. The last three headers begin with the letter “B” *cue stunned silence from readers, segueing into the X Files theme*.

Should the trend continue, I need one more header after this one not beginning with a “C”, and then three in a row starting with a “C”. Suggestions?

Further reference to the header: I recently finished The Best Book Ever. For the third time.

I’ve been quite the William Gibson fan since first sinking my teeth into Neuromancer (which is now required reading in some English college courses here). For those of you that don’t know, he coined the term “cyberspace”, and is considered one of the most influential science fiction writers currently active.

However, with Pattern Recognition, and more recently Spook Country, he has moved away from sci-fi, and into some sort of pop culture pornography thrillers. Pattern Recognition centers around Cayce Pollard, who works as a cool hunter for various clothing labels and is sometimes called in to determine whether a new logo for a company will work or not. She’s always right. In her spare time, she posts on a website dedicated to odd snippets of movie footage found hidden in various corners of the Internet.

I won’t say anything else. No spoilers. Read it. When I feel cocky about my own writing, I read the first page, which is available here, under “Excerpt”. The language is so good I go numb.

For more pop culture porn, check out Gibson's blog. Now, back to meatspace.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bless them all with reason, and this is what they choose

For a long time I’ve been of the opinion that at least 50 percent of everyone are useless. Not adding anything useful to the gene pool, basically. Note that this has nothing to do with race or gender or color. Recently I’ve revised that opinion to an even higher percentage. And tonight I’ve had it confirmed. Again.

I’m not a big believer in the inner goodness of mankind. I don’t think that nurture alone creates the monsters that move among us, the soldiers that rape the villagers, the Russian that eats his victims. There’s some fundamental flaw of nature in those that commit the atrocities that we read about every day, but at the same time I believe we all have the capacity for deadly violence within us, under the right (or wrong) circumstances. Humans are not nice. Period. Anyone that believes anything else is deluding themselves.

And yes, I might be a bit harsh here cause I’ve had a shitty day, and I’m upset over the fact that some ass clown decided to place a sharpened wooden stake in the water at a beach here in Stockholm. Two choices as to who the perpetrator is, according to the news anchor. Either a psychotic adult or boys “playing a prank”. What? Prank? No no no. Anyone that sharpens a stake and places it so people diving into the water can impale themselves on it is lacking that basic humanity.

Yes, there’s a darkness in the depths of us, some primal urge that can manifest itself physically if we’re cornered or someone close to us is threatened in some extreme way, but that fight reflex is not what we’re talking about here. These are damaged people, with some integral part of their soul removed, and that damage has probably been enhanced by (a lack of) nurture.

So what I’m saying? No idea, really. Just ranting. Venting. Writing. The whole point of this blog is for me to start writing again. Which I have. If at the same time I can vent some frustrations and thus become a more balanced and harmonic human being, then all the better.

Now, pillow time. Please comment. This is a subject I feel strongly about, and I hope some of you do as well.

Burning bridges, building bunkers

I rarely remember my dreams. When I do they’re almost always nightmares. I am a very well-adjusted young man (anyone has a problem with me using young to describe myself? No? Excellent).

Last night I dreamt I was standing on a cliff or something rock-ish, watching a long rope bridge across a gorge. Yes, I admit, I expected thugees to appear, chasing an archeologist with a lopsided smile and a wrinkled fedora. But no such luck. Instead the thing started burning, and tumbled into the gorge. Looking down I realized I held a can of gasoline in my hand. Not the gas station kind, but the honest to goodness olds-school arsonist kind, round and with a spout. Then I woke up.

Shadow: What did you do to that little girl?
Ronald: It's not fair, Shadow.
Shadow: What did you do to that little girl?
Ronald: I burned her.
Shadow: You burned her. What do you do to old ladies, Ronald?
Ronald: Burn them.
Shadow: And what about the world, Ronald? What would you like to do with the whole world?
Ronald: Burn it all.

So am I harboring arsonist fantasies? Nope. Am I thinking about burning a bridge or two? The thought has crossed my mind. Today, and other days. More on that some other time.

And some more love at home today.

We made tortillas, and as we learned this weekend, they fall apart easily, just laying there on the plate. I decided it would be a good idea to stick a fork through my first one, holding it shut.
Me: Maybe you should use a fork too?
Mah Girl: Yes. But then you would be right.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Blood is a precious thing in these times

It’s a well-known fact that I’m a complete klutz. I spill milk. I drop things without any apparent reason. I fall out of all kinds of furniture to the amusement of others (mostly Mah Girl though).

Yet another notch on my belt today.

I was making pancakes, and turned around to adjust the volume on the CD player, when my feet decided it was a good idea to become entangled in two pieces of luggage on the floor. Why is there luggage on the kitchen floor, you ask? Why, because our landlord decided to renovate our basement storage area a while back, we had to store all our crap in the apartment and we’re so lazy we haven’t moved it back yet.

Anyway. Feet in luggage. I fell. Someone, somewhere, surely yelled “Timmmmbeeeeeerrrr!”. I managed to avoid smashing my face against the kitchen bench, and managed to fit my arm into the space between the bench and the shelf. All of it luck rather than skill.

On my feet, with minor aches and pains in my arms and legs and The Head. Continued making pancakes. Noticed a warm sensation on my shin. Whaddaya know? Blood!

All Band-Aid:ed up. Yes, those are ninjas.

It’s also a well-known fact that I’m a pale and hairy man. Pale Force, here I come!

Oh. And a short little something that took place in our loving home today.

Mah Girl: I almost pinched your ass…
(and here I was about to say “thank you for refraining from it”, as she continued)
…but then you moved away too quickly.

Can you feel the love?

The end of the road

So, at 0730 this morning we were in place at the locker. A perimeter was established. Comms freqs were decided. Escape routes mapped. Snipers placed on nearby rooftops.

Though not really. I plonked my ass down on a bench about ten meters from the locker, along with my trusty companions. And proceeded to stare at the damn thing for five hours. Tick tock, tick tock.

I already figured Stockholm Central Station was a busy place all day long, but I had no idea there would be such commotion around the lockers. The mystery locker in question is kind of out of the way, especially now with construction going on in the station, but regardless, there was a lot of human traffic there.

The lockers in all their drab glory

There was the Japanese couple, older man, younger woman, might have been father and daughter, where the man opened every single unoccupied locker, one after the other. The woman followed him, holding an envelope from the Stockholm police department. I was tempted to ask what was going on, but they didn’t seem in the mood.

The locker then. Tick tock, tick tock. Was the veil of mystery about to be lifted? It was on schedule, the display showing that it hadn’t been opened since last Monday. Then, at around 11:30, this:

Eh? P3? The Swedish radio station? No? The plot thickened. We kept our watch. Tireless. Fearless. Clueless.

Then there was the old man. Oh, the old man. I can only hope to aspire to such heights of obsession. He was probably in his 80s, carried two bags from Swedish everyman gadget supermarket Clas Ohlsson, and clutched a few wrinkled papers to his chest. He moved among the lockers, stopping at each the occupied ones, jotting down what the display said on each one in what I can only imagine was some sort of list of all the lockers in the station. He walked past us twice, about three hours apart, and jotted down his numbers each time. What. The. Hell.

Then, suddenly, disaster struck. The display jumped back to “…”. Without any human intervention. Confusion ensued. What was this? Divine intervention? Some infernal reality game? Only one way to find out.

I phoned BoxGruppen (the locker group, in Swedish), the company or division or whatever responsible for the lockers, and pointed out there is one that’s always occupied. The man at the other end sounded tired, distracted and confused. I gave him the locker number. Tap tap tap on a keyboard. Then a distant voice, somewhere behind the man, muffled. Then he comes back on. “That locker is rented permanently to one of our customers. We can’t tell you which customer or what for.”

Flatline. Dead end. Brick wall at high speed. To quote Otto from A Fish Called Wanda: DISAPPOINTED!!!

So. Back to square one. No mystery unveiled. Someone rents that locker, permanently, and has access to it anytime, any day. There could still be whatever going on, but I have no realistic way of finding out. Again, to quote a movie: FUCK! ASS!

Now I need to find another mystery to obsess over. Any suggestions?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

You anti-semantic bastard!

I just realized I've started the last three blog headers with "A". Shame on me.

Correct language usage is a big deal to me. Part of it comes from my mother, who is a teacher (of Swedish, English, French and general good manners) and part of it comes from me being the obsessive know-it-all that I am.

Some years back (I was going to write "a few", but then I looked at the website and realized it hasn't been active since 2003...) I was part of an online community against "särskrivning". Can't think of a proper term in English, since the phenomenon itself stems from Swedish words that are usually written as one word being separated into two since that's the way it's done in English. Hard to explain unless you're a native. The website is still online, but not active. I am still, though.

Not sure where I'm going with this...more than to acknowledge the fact that I'm a know-it-all. Oh well, most of you are probably very much aware of this fact already.

Anywho, I will leave you with this excellent sign I saw the other day. 'tis in Swedish. And mostly for Ellie.

A clean house is a sign of a wasted life

Two things learned today that I already knew. Now I know them even better.

1. Children should be kept on leashes or in cages. If they’re uncivilized little barbarian children, that is. Blood was almost spilled today. Mark my words.
2. Ice cream cures most conditions of the soul.

Three times today, I’ve looked over at the living room window and thought “Oh, it’s raining”, only to realize seconds later that it’s not rain drops on the window, but the spattered brains of a Yule gnome. Long story. And yes, it’s August, and yes, we still haven’t cleaned the windows since December. We’re heathens as well as slobs. Yay for us!

Friday, August 8, 2008

A condom is the glass slipper of our generation

I’ve made some observations today and while on vacation. A few truths/opinions/whatever I felt I needed to share with y’all. Enjoy.

- There’s a certain breed of sixteen year old girls, with hair bleached blond beyond anything nature could come up with, usually dressed in sweatpants, that should be eradicated from the face of the Earth.
- The perfect soundtrack to a rainy Stockholm is Cult of Luna’s “Eternal Kingdom” or Portishead’s self-titled second album.
- My own pillow trumps away-pillow any day of the week.
- If Heaven exists and I have been a good enough boy to get there (which isn't likely), Chokladfabriken will be the official supplier of dessert at the all you can eat buffet.
- There’s a substantial difference between “penetrating” and “penetrated”, a difference I almost experienced today. Long story short, I almost had an intimate moment with a gear stick.
- Stellan Skarsgård has six children. Excellent. He has filled my quota as well.
- The vending machines at the supermarket contain everything you need for a weekend that begins well but ends horribly. Except alcohol.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Clockbeard Orange

I find myself fascinated by the concept of clockwork mechanisms and automata. I’ve wanted to write a story featuring those for quite some time, but haven’t found the time or the inspiration for it.

To find that inspiration, I keep coming back to this. The first known mechanical computer, dated to about 150 B.C.

The Antikythera Mechanism in all it's rusted glory

The idea that the ancient Greeks (or whoever built it) possessed the know-how to construct a mechanical computer almost 2200 years ago is mind-boggling. The degree of mind-boggledness (new word) depends on who you ask, though…

I read Graham Hancock’s Fingerprints of the Gods about ten years ago, and found it to be a combination of interesting maths and facts, and absolute madness. is theory is that there was some kind of ur-civilization from which all the ancient civilizations (Egyptians, Mayans, Sumerians, etc) sprang. There’s a fine line between genius and insanity. I need to reread it soon.

Monday, August 4, 2008

This conversation…is over

Snippets of conversation today.

Me: “Are those cows or horses?” (driving)
Mah Girl: (looking over, trying to discern what I’m talking about)
Me: “Cows. Horses. Horses? Cows!”

Once again proof that I do know my moo-cows from my horsieses.

Me: “How come the timer isn’t moving?” (staring at the archaic microwave)
Mah Girl’s father: (walks up and pushes the “start” button. Microwave starts) “Maybe that was too technical for you?”

A rather technical geekboy upstaged by a 65-year old man. Oh the shame.

Mah Girl: “Look at that orange room!”
Me: “Where?” (driving, intent on the rain-soaked road)
Mah Girl: (sighs) “Too late. But it looked like our living room.”
Me: “So not orange. Terracotta.”
Mah Girl: “Yeah. I only said orange to piss you off.”
Me: “I know. I said terracotta to let you know I know you wanted to piss me off.”
Mah Girl: (smile) “I know.”

We’re so much alike it’s scary.

And the quote of the day:

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
- Ray Bradbury

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The smell of sunshine

I don’t get to drive much. We don’t have a car, since we live close to both bus and train and don’t have kids to transport. Basically it’s an unnecessary cost for us. Now we’ve rented a car for the week, and yesterday we spent six and a half hours driving the 230 kilometers from Flemingsberg to Karlskoga.

And no. I didn’t drive 35 kilometers per hour. We made a few stops and took a few detours. Going outside those tunnels.

We had planned to go to the zoo in Eskilstuna to watch some felines (they have tigers, cougars, snow leopards, etc) but that didn’t happen. Instead we took an unexpected right turn, following a sign to Taxinge Castle. Now, to me, a castle obviously isn’t the same thing as to the designers of Taxinge, but whatever. It was a nice detour even so. There was a Tim Burtonesque tree in the garden. And the café at the castle had a dessert table six meters long. Mmm….cake…

We kept to the back roads and off the highway for a while longer, stopping off at an antique store housed in a massive barn, full of furniture, old photos and less identifiable stuff. Eerie forties music emanated from cracked speakers. We bought a beautiful old wooden box, intended for three square bottles. Very nice.

At Arboga, we choose the smaller road again, and turned into the town itself when mah girl spotted what appeared to be an old water tower. Turned out it was St Nicolai’s church, with foundations and stone walls from the 13th century. Cool.

St Nicolai's church

For a while we were Lost in Arboga (Danger, Beard Robinson!), but got out safely. Phew! Made a few more stops on the way to snap pics.

Mah girl down by the water. Little fish, big fish...

Turns out I walked around with an airline luggage label on my ass from yesterday morning when we packed until six o'clock at night. Bravo.

Upon arrival at my parents’ place in Karlskoga, I realized the werewolf children are all grown up. Time flies. Next door a whole pride of kittens gallivanted about on the lawn. We played some cards, and cursed the heat (a recurring theme over the past few weeks).

Today it’s raining (laptop and DVD weather! Yay!) and a pie has been made.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Life is good. Except for the earwigs. Earwigs suck.

Road trip playlist

Bat For Lashes


Tori Amos

Nine Inch Nails

Woven Hand

White Zombie