Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can't stop eating peanuts

A list of things introduced to my digestive system, mental or physical, today, in fairly chronological order:

- One and a half (1.5) slices of my mother's Christmas bread, which is really just French bread, with ham and cucumber.
- Two (2) Digestive biscuits, with cheese.
- Two (2) vitamin pills.
- One (1) apple.
- One half (0.5) cup of Rooibos tee.
- One and one half (1.5) glass of milk.
- Two (2) cinnamon rolls.
- One (1) chocolate chip cookie from Pepperidge Farms.
- Two (2) summaries of the past weeks of the NFL, in which I got to see the Arizona Cardinals disgrace themselves by handing the New England Patriots a free spot in the play-offs (ege, not dissing the Patriots here, but the Cardinals didn't even put up a fight and it was pathetic).
- One (1) plate of nachos, with ground beef, cheese, salsa, lettuce and garlic sauce.
- One and a half (1.5) bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale.
- One (1) four centilitre glass of Mackmyra whiskey, "Den Första Utgåvan".
- Three (3) pieces of marshallow chocolate candy made by and given to us as a present by Eva.
- One (1) piece of Cornflakes candy, same as above.
- One (1) piece of nougat candy, same as above.
- One (1) cone of strawberry icecream.
- Two and a half (2.5) liters of water (or thereabouts).
- Fourteen (14) episodes of The West Wing.

The water and the episodes were spread out over the day and are not, as such, listed chronologically.

Not an average day, by any accounts, but a very good and relaxing day.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

One of television’s great contributions is that it brought murder back into the home, where it belongs

I like TV. I especially like TV when it comes in series form in a dvd box.

We're ten episodes into the second season of the West Wing. I think we've seen six episodes today. This is what passes for vacation for me, and I absolutely adore it.

However, I couldn't stomach another episode today. Instead, we turned to comedian Jeff Dunham's Comedy Central special that we recorded while we were away at my parents' place. Why? Because I needed the break, I needed comedy instead of intense drama, and I needed to disconnect for a while.

Because there is TV and there is TV. There is stuff that I can watch without any kind of emotional attachment besides the smile on my face, and then there's stuff that I can't watch without getting tears in my eyes when they pluck at the right (or wrong) emotional strings. West Wing falls into the latter category, as does Six Feet Under, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and a few others.

I'm not saying I dislike it. Not at all. I'm just saying that sometimes, a smile is the best thing there is.

(and did it work? Yeah, kind of, though Dunham isn't as funny as I would have liked...)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Without a soundtrack, human interaction is meaningless

'twas a great party. They don't come along that often, those parties that seem to transcend expectations and morph into something else, some experience that words aren't enough to describe. Nor pictures, though I took over a 100. I do so love my camera phone.

At a quarter to two this morning, I was sprawled over a couch in Drickard's living room, happily singing along to Queens of the Stone Age. Around me, the party was slowly winding down. Not like last year, when it crescendoed around midnight and then mellowed out completely. This year it was more gradual, a more even level of energy throughout the evening, which only made it better.

Music was played. Beer was drunk. An extremely good time was had.

Favorite quotes from the party:
It's smoking that makes me hung over.
Nicklas tried to explain that his coming hangover wasn't due to the ten beers he had consumed, but rather the half dozen or so cigarettes he availed himself off during the night. Right...

Shit. You too.
Andreas I, as yet another Ghost of Childhood Pasts walked in the door.

You can't roll dice to determine when to drink. It's the little voices in your head that tell you that.
Mia, upon hearing some serious drinking games were taking place in the basement.

To describe the taste of Lars, I would use the word “aftershave”.
Erik, having licked Lars' cheek and ear, for reasons unknown.

Three rounds with The Cock is usually enough.
Can't remember who said it, but referring to the basement drinking game, oddly named The Cock (as in not “a rooster”, but rather a penis).

I tried to apply it to my wife. It went to hell.
Andreas K, while hearing the line “you speak when spoken to” from a song by The Editors.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Money can't buy you happiness. But it can buy you assassins

I pondered this thought today as I stood in line at the local burger joint *points to headline*

Post-party, post-alcohol, I must have food. It is a universal truth. I must have meat. Preferably between two pieces of bread with salad and various condiments.

So after Primator (beer) and friends and The Cock and Newcastle (beer) and laughs and chocolate and Staropramen (beer), I craved food. Off to the burger joint we went.

Christmas Day is the party day (emphasis on "the") in small towns like this, the armpit of Sweden, and there is only one burger joint stupid enough to be open on a night like this. The new burger joint. The one next to the McDonalds, that actually is a serious contender. It was a fuckin' freak show.

Was I ever that annoying when I was 20 and drunk? Did I ever stand in line, screaming at the top of my lungs, that my friend is a cunt and that I need food? Did I ever lick the backpack of the guy standing in front of me (tonight, that would be me)? I don't think so. Why? Because as my girl put it, I have a higher IQ than my age. Which these complete morons do not have.

There should be a license required to have children (and I'm actually serious here, and not that drunk). With something like that in place, I wouldn't have to consider professional hitmen to clean out the gene pool.

Sometimes I understand people that climb to the top of water towers with high powered rifles, I really do.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Winter then in its early and clear stages, was a purifying engine that ran unhindered over city and country

We took a walk the other day. Walked through the little town, though even town is probably too big a word, where Mah Girl grew up. Houses, a lake, an iron works, and not much else.

Crossed an old wooden bridge over the railroad, where trains pass but never stop. Down to the lake, and stood looking out over the water. Clouds reflected in the water. Cold biting at my cheeks. It was peaceful. Tranquil.

I should go on more walks.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Guns don't kill people. Ninjas do

Merry X-mas, y'all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A man's idea in a game of cards is war, cruel, devastating, and pitiless. A lady's idea of it is a combination of larceny, embezzlement and burglary

The card game in my family (as in not only my immediate family, but all them peoples that be related to me), or at least on my father's side of the family, is Philadelphia. It's kind of sort of a version of Gin Rummy and is named Philadelphia because my aunt learned it in, you guessed it, Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is played with two decks of cards and four Jokers. The object of the game is to get sets or runs of cards, where a set is three or more of the same rank and a run is four or more in sequence of the same suit. You start with six cards each, where the goal is to have two sets, and then work your way up to sixteen, where the goal is four runs.

After the cards have been dealt, an additional card is turned face up on the table, and the rest of the deck is split in two piles, placed at right angles next to each other. The person to the left of the dealer begins, by either picking up the open, face up card, or the top card from the first pile. He must then put down one of his cards, either the one he picked up or another one, on top of the card laying face up. The next person repeats the same, and so on.

Anyone can pick up the card laying face up, unless it's been covered by another card at some point, but if it's not your turn you have to pick up a penalty card from the second pile of cards as well.

Once you have the required cards (two sets for six cards, a set and a run for seven, two runs for eight, etc) you can put them down on the table, but only in your own turn and only after picking up your required card.

There are other rules to the game as well:
- The Joker, or Viblom, can be used as any card in either a run or a set (why is it called Viblom? Because the Joker card in my grandfather's original deck of cards kind of looked like Olof Palme, and my grandfather's neighbor Viblom also kind of looked like Olof Palme. That's the kind of joke I like).
- If you have a Viblom down on the table, anyone else can buy it by replacing it with the card you've replaced with the Viblom. For example, in a set of eights you have two eights and a Viblom, that Viblom can be bought for an eight. Or in a run of four, five, six of hearts and then a Viblom, that Viblom can be bought for the seven of hearts. However, they can only buy it in their own turn and only if they put their cards down on the table that same turn.
- An ace can be used as both a 1 and 13.
- In the eleventh round of the game, when sixteen cards are dealt to each player, you can only put yoour cards down on the table if you can get rid of all your cards at once.
- After someone gets rid of all their cards, the others tally up their cards and a score is kept. Two through seven are each worth five points, eight through king are worth ten, an ace is 25 and a Joker is 50. The winner is the player with the fewest points after all eleven rounds have been played.

Easy peasy, right? Now go play.

And every family has a card game. What's yours?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Drift like sleep

Drove through a flat and grey Sweden today, in a rental courtesy of Drunk Carl. Wovenhand on the stereo. Thy will be done, here on this highway.

Rainwash against the windows. Not a single snowflake, as far as the beard could see. When did it all change? White blooms to white and freezes white again.

Now cocooned in the comforts of home. Old home. Eyelids heavy. Right eye bloodshot. The headache is acting up. Sleep sounds like a good idea, but won't happen for a while. Jeff Dunham is on TV.

That state of mind where you realize that you're actually on vacation, that the office actually won't fall apart without you, is right around the corner, held off by the excellent combination of exhaustion and a major sugar rush. Hopefully it really hits me tomorrow.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

When the world is mine, your death shall be quick and painless

I had a birthday on Wednesday. If you'd cut me apart you'd find 33 age rings now.

People I know have had major crises when they turned 30. I mean, major. No crisis for me yet. Maybe at 40? A red sports car and hair plugs for my chin when the beard starts thinning out? No?

I used to celebrate my birthday in style. For my 25th, I had three bands and we partied from seven in the evening until six in the morning. Thanks for the after-party, Jouni and Ellie. Then I had live acts for two more years, then paused for two until I celebrated my 30th. Three times. With four sets from three bands at the biggest one, including an all-cover set from Lingua, where I got to choose the covers. Third best present I've ever had, after the NFL game my brother took me to, and what Mah Girl gave me:

This fantastic man graces our kitchen

It's been three years since, and I haven't really celebrated properly since then. This year, I snuck out of work at 3:30 in the afternoon, and we went to see Rock n Rolla. Good stuff. Then home for sushi and chillin' out. An excellent birthday.

The day before I got a notification I had a package at the post office (not post office really, the post desk at the local grocery store, the pathetic workings of which should be the subject of a whole 'nother post). I didn't really think much about it, since I had a whole bunch of stuff on the way in various packages from Amazon. So I didn't go and pick it up until Thursday, the day after my birthday.

“Happy mofo birthday, buddy” was stenciled in thick magic marker over a long cardboard package. “From your friends in Rågsved”, it continued. This is when I realized Misha was involved. Sneaky Misha, who had hinted at having found the perfect gift for me a while back.

So now we need to set a date for playing Family Guy Monopoly. What the deuce?!? Giggity, giggity, giggity! Thanks to my friends in Rågsved!

Misha playing grownup Tetris

Hanna sipping a cold one at her own birthday party

"What? Who? Me? No no, I'm just hangin' out with Pingu."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting

I read an article today that people that snore have the equivalent of a full workout every night while they (we) sleep.

I'm not really one for working out anymore, so maybe I should give up snoring, on principle alone.

Back when I played football, I worked out three times a week. Went to an actual gym, strapped myself into contraptions the Spanish Inquisition would gladly have used on their victims (no, not a comfy chair), and did whatever it is people do at a gym.

Now I snore. Hell, I did then too, but no working out = more body fat = more snoring. Just the way it is. I need to do something about that body fat soon, and even though that has "New Year's Resolution" written all over it, that just won't happen. We had a Resolution this year, which was to go to the movies more often. We've been about twice a month, which is pretty good. However, that's about as far as I will go with a Resolution.

I need motivation to work out. And I'm not talking about some personal trainer screaming at me. Back in the football days, working out equaled hitting people harder, moving faster. I need that kind of motivation, some sort of goal that's more tangible than "feeling better".

So maybe snoring less is motivating enough? We'll see. The plan is to begin A New Life in 2009. The jury is still out on whether or not it will actually happen, but at least the intent is there.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I like the pretty lights

On my way home after a nerd session at a friend's place. We have come to the realization that we're quite happy with being nerds. Though geek might be a better term. Whatever.

Part of tonight was spent watching UFO clips of dubious origin on YouTube. This brought back memories of that time we saw UFOs from our friend Lars' balcony. We saw these curving lights slowly moving at the horizon and couldn't really explain what they were. Lars put on the soundtrack to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and we called SMHI, the Swedish weather service.

They couldn't explain it either, but asked us to call a guy at FOI who was quote interested in this sort of thing unquote. Now, I don't know about you, but I find the fact that a UFO nut works at FOI both appealing and disturbing. And highly amusing.

So we call him, explain what's going on, and he gets all excited. Tells us he needs to run outside to take pics, and will call us right back. Cue the X Files theme.

We didn't get any kind of explanation from the guy, because he was kind of confused and incoherent. But when he called back, he managed to convince us that it was a natural phenomenon. See how he moved from Mulder to Cigarette Smoking Man there, between one phone conversation and the next?

At one point in the conversation, the guy actually says "Is that Close Encounters I hear in the background?". Again, highly amusing.

Afterwards, we were all wondering when the men in black suits would show up to wipe our memories of the whole incident. Come to think about it, I haven't thought about that afternoon in a long time, so maybe they did...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It was the greatest magic trick I've ever seen

I ended up going to bed at 3 in the morning between Friday and Saturday. My intention was to be asleep before midnight. Instead I spent the night watching two football games, shooting 136 terrorists, talking to various friends and foes online, and waiting for my Mah Girl to come home.

I'm not really the worrying kind, but there's something about sitting up, waiting, that appeals to me. Not really sure what though...

So yesterday was a very mellow day. We kicked back and watched three movies.

Dawn of the Dead
(note: the remake, not the original) Yawn. The first time I saw this it was pretty cool. Turns out it's a POS. It has the most unmotivated naked boobs scene ever, and while I accept that characters in horror movies generally suffer from a lack of logical thinking, these dumbasses are exceptional. I won't need to see this ever again. Dawn of the Dead gets a shaved chin. Not a single hair.

The Prestige
Christopher Nolan in top form, as always. If you haven't seen it, do it. Do it now. It's about two 19th century stage magicians trying to outtrick each other. It has a murder mystery, twists and turns, David Bowie and pseudo-historically correct science signed Nikola Tesla. Outstanding stuff. Five beards out of five.

Tesla's field of lights in Colorado

Swedish director Mikael Håfström's adaptation of Stephen King's short story is pretty good. The best Stephen King adaptations have always come from his short stories (Apt Pupil, Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption), and often short stories without any supernatural content. 1408 however stands firmly in horror territory, though with a streak of dark humor that had us chuckling a few times. Granted, our sense of humour might be more twisted than most...
Anywho, 1408 has a few scares, a few laughs, and John Cusack. What more do you need? Three beards and a moustache, out of five beards.

What I have learned from this weeked, and some basic Googling, (other than that I should never ever watch Dawn of the Dead again) is that I need to learn more about Nikola Tesla. Fascinating man. Someone to write something about.

Friday, December 12, 2008

There's no place like

I was considering drinks with friends today. Mah Girl is at a birthday party, and I figured I'd hang out with some people and then maybe meet up later.

But alas, I am old and tired, so instead I'm sprawled on the couch, laptop on my stomach, Bears vs Saints on TV. I might shoot some terrorists later, I might not. Sleep feels like a good idea, but I doubt that will happen anytime soon. That would mean turning off the laptop and shutting down the Internet, and too many people rely on that for fun and info that I just can't do that.

That's actually something that people at support desks (like the one I used to work at) hear regularly. “Internet is broken”. And then you have to stop yourself from saying “Your Internet connection is down, moron, not the entire Internet”. But you don't. Cause customer satisfaction is oh so important.

The plan for the weekend is to kick back, relax, and sleep a lot. I feel drained, and I really look forward to sixteen days away from the office over the holidays. We're going to my parents' place in Karlskoga, to eat mom's food, hang out with friends and relax even more.

Going home like that (cause even if this is home now, Stockholm, I still call Karlskoga home on occasion, since it's where I grew up) becomes something of an event, and that's why I can stand it. Parties are thrown, friends are visited, favorite foods are prepared.

During the almost seven years that I've been here I've come to the realization that I'm never moving back (here's where a voice inside my head says “never say never”), but I still enjoy going back. For short periods of time. After about a week, small town angst settles over my mind like a wet, cold blanket, and I have to get out.

The Bears vs Saints game is turning into a really interesting game, so I'm going to stop writing now and focus on the TV. Good night.

This is the best meeting that we have ever had

I go to a lot of meetings. A L-O-T. My problem with that is if I have meetings from 8 am to 5 pm, I won't get squat done and my to do list will just keep growing.

"8 to 5?" you say. "What madness."

What can I say? I'm a popular guy.

I sat in on a two hour project meeting today. A very good meeting, though the Friday mood permeated the whole thing, and we went off on quite a few tangential discussions. None of which will be sampled below.

The best quotes/expressions from the meeting:

1. "Optical orgasm."
As in "This presentation is so good, it's like an optical orgasm". Note that he was hung-over. A brain marinated in alcohol works on different levels. PowerPoint never ever induces an orgasm, in any shape or form.

2. "Shorter gigabytes."
I can't even remember where that quote fit in. But of course, one gigabyte can be shorter than another. Right.

3. "Add that requirement to a separate list, cause we're cutting it later anyway."
See, part of a project's first phase is listing all the requirements that we have on that particular project. The quote above shows a very realistic view on requirement gathering.

Tonight, Mah Girl is off to a birthday party. I will spend the night watching football (as in "not soccer"), eating sushi and shooting terrorists. And sleep. Remains to be seen if I will be able to go to sleep early. Doubtful (he wrote and yawned).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I say listen to all voices, but mine's the final decision

I borrowed an Asus EEE from work yesterday. I've been considering buying some sort of mini laptop or web book for quite some time, and wanted to try one out for a while before making any kind of decision.

My current laptop is an LG LW25, which has a 12-inch screen and weighs in at 1.8 kilos. I've used it for about a year and a half, and I'm very happy with it apart from the start-up time, and the current battery time which is crap, but I didn't expect anything else after 18 months of frequent usage. The size and weight are just right for my purposes, which is writing, emailing and loitering about on the Web. Nothing major.

(of course, I was less than happy with the crash, but I'm not a Mac person and have to settle with Windows, so I'll just have to deal)

So. The Asus. So far a nice little machine. I wrote parts of this on it on the train this morning. Initially I had problems with the small keyboard (I have sausage fingers), but I've managed to up my typing speed considerably in only ten minutes. It still needs some getting used to, though.

Not sure if I have reached any kind of conclusion yet, other than the fact that I will need a new laptop of some kind within the next six months or so. I'm seriously considering using two, an Asus EEE-type machine for carrying around for writing purposes, and a bigger machine at home to use for editing purposes and storage. Of course, an external hard drive solves the second part, so I need to do some serious thinking whether I need a bigger screen than 10 inches or not. The other option is to go for a new 12-inch. Decisions, decisions.

Now children, this is what we call a luxury problem.

Another problem, is which video game console to choose. I'm still undecided between an Xbox 360and a PS3, but leaning towards the Xbox, if only because a lot of people I know have it, plus it's a boatload of cash cheaper.

Oh. And Wintersleep's "Search Party" almost makes me cry each time I hear it. Awesome stuff. Thanks, Spotify.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

No one knew they were robots

This is how I felt at work today.

"What? Square and made of plastic?", you ask. No. Like running away. It was that or run around screaming. Or do the Swedish thing, which is sit around and fume. Which I did for a while. Until I went home. Escaped. Yay for me.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The internet is the trailer park for the soul

Back in July, I found a cool blog using Blogger's “Next blog” function. I just clicked around, and there it was.

So today I figured I would go for a repeat. Click around, and find something out there, again. Something worthwhile, something fascinating, something I would want to read.

You can probably guess where this is going.

I found zilch. Nada. Nichts. Noll. Ingenting. And so on. Or rather, I found a lot of blogs but they were all either in a language I don't read or horribly ugly or complete crap. Or at least two of the three. And sometimes maybe all three.

So I'm asking y'all, point me to some blogs. Preferably in English, but Swedish works too. Well-written stuff, please. Wow me. Pull me out of the trailer park and into high society.

I leave you with this quote:
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

White and nerdy

Proof today that there be geeks everywhere. I just watched Biohazard, the New York hardcore band, celebrate the end of their 20th anniversary tour. The bass player/vocalist, badass Evan Seinfeld, sported a Punisher tee and a Spider-Man logo on his wrist band. Not so badass now, are you? Though I wouldn't say that to his face...

A riot is a spontaneous outburst. A war is subject to advance planning

The last couple of years, Salem to the south of Stockholm has become a battlefield on the weekend closest to December 9th. Right-wing extremists hold a parade to commemorate the death of a 17-year old skinhead who has become something of a martyr to neo-Nazis, and left-wing extremists go there to throw rocks.

I'm not even going to go into a discussion about politics, other than stating that all kinds of extremists are morons. It's a level playing field as far as I'm concerned. Right-wing, left-wing, doesn't matter. Morons, all of them.

Unfortunately, the freedom of assembly gives the neo-Nazis the right to march, regardless of what you think of their politics. However, as Salem politicians pointed out in a column in DN, the march leads to violence and a massive police action which in turn leads to disruptions in the everyday lives of Salem's citizens.

The question: should the safeguarding of freedom for some lead to the infringement on the freedom of others?

My answer is a firm “no”. No ifs or buts. Neither Nazis nor leftist extremists should get permission to march under these circumstances. Under any circumstances where the end result is something close to open war on our streets.

A few years back a leading politician on the left side of the political spectrum (which isn't really a spectrum, but more of a circle where the ends don't quite meet) encouraged the left-wing extremists to stay away from Salem during the weekend of the march, to avoid confrontation with the police and thus giving the march less exposure in the media. He was called a traitor, and people went anyway. Sounded like a good idea to me, but evidently they were too keen on putting on ski masks and throwing rocks at what they perceive as fascist police. Morons.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Psychos will always be psychos. They don’t need video games to help them

No, this won't be a rant *points to headline* I have a question. I want answers. And motivations.

The question: Xbox 360 or Playstation 3?

I'm buying one of them, probably, but which one?

What you need to know:
I like first person shooters, so it has to have good first person shooters. I'm not much of a sports or racing game person. Or complex roleplaying games either, for that matter (the video game kind at least). Though I'm open to change.

So I want opinions, and motivations. Why should I buy whatever it is. Xbox or PS. Let the commenting commence.

Oh. And there's no reason to mention Little Big Planet. I know already.

Friday, December 5, 2008

They can buy, but can't put on my clothes

I bought corduroy pants yesterday. Yes, you may point and tell me I'm an old geezer.

Granted, they're Carhartt, and they're baggy-ish cargo pants. So they're at least supposed to be in my style. But still. Corduroy. Not sure how to feel about that.

Then again, it might not be until I wear a corduroy shirt and beige slacks that you need to start worrying...

So now I'm walking around the office, announced by a soft swishing sound. Swish, swish, swish. Who's that? Beardo, can't you tell from the swishing?

Mah Girl came to the conclusion that these are not pants for assassins or ninjas. Stealth is out of the question.

I'm not far from applying for a membership here. I mean, come on. A membership card in a corduroy swathe. How can you beat that?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The street lamp's glow is the only sun I know

December. I can't believe it.

The weekend was a combination of splendid and horrendous.

- Hanging out at Eva and Fred's place, watching 12 Monkeys, playing Little Big Planet, drinking Mackmyra's Den första utgåvan.
- Hooking up with Matthias and his girlfriend (who has the lyrics for the TOOL song “Sober” tattooed on her arm) for food and music nerd speak.
- Playing CDs at Belsepub, meeting up with friends both old and new, and hanging out with Larsa and Alice In Jeans until the wee hours of the night.
- Shopping. Cargo pants, jacket, three sci-fi anthologies, Dave McKean's tarot deck and a four-inch alien warrior for Mah Girl.

Really. We weren't that inebriated. Really.

- The five hour hellride that was supposed to take three hours. An X2000 train that can only do 110 kilometers per hour should be outlawed.
- Spending an hour and twenty minutes at the train station in Borås because I read the wrong time table. Without my Nintendo DS I might have gone crazy.

In all, a good weekend. Though it was good to come home too. Back to the girl, and yet more episodes of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Happy happy joy joy.