Sunday, January 25, 2009

There is always a period when a man with a beard shaves it off. This period does not last

I am rarely outbearded. Today, on the bus, I was outbearded not by one man, nay. Not even by two men. I was outbearded by six men. On one bus. Outstanding.

So I should be suffering from inferiority complex right now. Or is that beard envy? But no. I have neither. The reason is simple. There were thirteen Sikh men on the bus today. Of them, only six outbearded me. Six out of thirteen, of a group of people whose religion states they must never cut hair nor beard. Hooray for me!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Not eating meat is a decision, eating meat is an instinct

“Super Bowl Sunday. My place. On the projector. Chili will be served. Chocolate cake will be made. A possibility to kill terrorists before the game. Welcome.”

Now that there is how a text message is supposed to read.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Just the knowledge that a good book is awaiting one at the end of a long day makes that day happier

Back in 2005, Time listed the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present. Why 1923 you ask? That's the year when Time Magazine was first published.

It pleases me that my two favorite writers, William Gibson and Neal Stephenson, are both on the list, though not for what I believe to be their best books (that would be Pattern Recognition and Cryptonomicon, respectively), and that Watchmen is on there. A graphic novel on that list. Amazing.

Out of the 100 books, I've read 15:
Animal Farm - George Orwell
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
Naked Lunch - William Burroughs
Neuromancer - William Gibson
1984 - George Orwell
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
Watchmen - Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

These two are on my bookshelf, waiting to be read:
Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy
The Crying of Lot 49 - Thomas Pynchon

And I tried to read Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon eight years back, and couldn't get past page 20. I've evolved considerably as a reader since, and I need to try it again. I need to read The Crying of Lot 49 first though. And the dozen or so other books waiting on my shelves.

Which ones have you read?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The problem with troubleshooting is that real trouble shoots back

I can't think of a more manly way to spend the night than how I've spent this one (that doesn't involve actually building something with your bare hands, that is, which just ain't gonna happen).

In the Xbox, Gears of War. By men, for men, with men. And huge frackin' guns. An orgy in aliens, blood, spent shell casings and testosterone.

That'd be me on the left. Taking cover like a real man.
Soon I'll upgrade my puny gun to a Penis Enhancer.

On Spotify, to go with the macho warfare, some Testosterone Tunes. This is music I can't listen to in the car, cause I'll drive too fast.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A home, a place of warmth, or comfort, first of physical warmth, then the warmth of the affections

Back to work today after a week away from the office, a combination of being sick and having a day with our department to discuss strategies and the future.

This morning I got up at six, like I do most days. Sat for a while on the couch, like I do most days. Wrote a note for Mah Girl, like I do most days. It started out as any other morning. Took a shower, packed breakfast, plodded down to the train station, read the paper and started on the latest issue of Wired. Did you know you can get 155 bushels of soy beans from one acre of land?

Walking across the parking lot outside the office just before eight, a sense of unease wrapped itself around me like a wet, cold blanket. I texted Drunk Carl (if anyone reading this works at the same company as me, you know why. The rest of you will have to live in ignorance) and asked if there maybe was a chance I was supposed to be somewhere else. He mocked me.

So I got half an hour of staring at my over-flowing inbox (also a combination of being sick and having a day with our department to discuss strategies and the future), before I took a taxi to our second office. There I enjoyed seven hours of solution presentations for one of my personal Holy Grail projects (that begun back in November), before aiming for home again.

Waited for Mah Girl at the train station, as she was only three trains behind me. Read more Wired. Levees in the Netherlands will be built to specs making the risk of breach 1:100000 in any given year. The levees in New Orleans are being rebuilt at 1:100. Spheres have a lower surface-to-volume ration than cubes, so ice spheres melt more slowly, cooling a drink longer with less dilution.

Walked home, hand in hand, through the snowfall. Made fast food, and then nestled in the couch, Xbox controls and laptops at arm's reach. Arks were raided. Temples were doomed. Crusades were...last? Discovered Frou Frou and Imogen Heap. A good night.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious

On my way home from a nice Italian meal with my parental units, who are in town to see Cirkus Cirkör (I forgot to get tickets, and now it's all sold out. Color me green with envy), I decided to go by The Locker. I don't know why.

It. Was. Vacant.

The green "vacant" light mocked me.

The Locker, the centre of my obsession for quite some time during the summer of 2008 and late 2007, has now become just another locker. No capital letters, no "The". Just a locker.

And I can't help but think, what happened to whatever was in there? Did whoever used it move his oh so secret stuff to another locker? Or has it played it's part in whatever drama it was a part of? I'll never know.

Fundamentally, music is something people inherently love and need and relate to, and a lot of what's out right now feels like McDonalds

I met Alexander Bard two days ago. He spoke briefly before a small group, including me, about his views on the future of the music industry and file sharing.

I had no idea he was coming, and I definitely had no idea I would find myself agreeing with what he had to say.

File sharing is something I've had fairly strong personal views on for a long time, but I haven't taken the time to keep myself informed about what's been going on in the debate around it. Turns out Alexander Bard is one of the most vocal opponents of file sharing, and turns out he had some very interesting points to make about it.

I have been known to rip a CD and send songs to a friend, but I don't use Pirate Bay, I never used Napster, and Kazaa just flickered by at the edges of my musical universe.

Why? Several reasons. But foremost because it's not about the Metallicas and Madonnas of the world. It's about the bands that don't sell hundreds of thousands of CDs, and need sales to keep or even get a record contract. And I really want physical copies, as in CDs, of the music I like.

Mr. Bard's views were an expansion of my views. His opinion is that we've lost a generation of musicians, since illegal file sharing has negated their ability to get record deals. Record labels aren't interested in signing up someone they won't be able to make any money on. Also, he claimed that MySpace and similar sites as a breeding ground for new artists is a complete failure. A fraud, even.

Not sure if I agree completely with the last statement, but I don't know enough about it to have anything other than an opinion. The first statement is very interesting though. I do agree that there has been a shift in the way record labels work and do business over the last couple of years. The big dinosaurs have shifted away from anything that might resemble nurturing new and interesting artists, something that smaller independent labels have taken over, at least when it comes to “my music”. At the same time, we've seen a massive paradigm shift in the way that a lot of people listen to music, from physical media to purely digital.

Of course this has led to a different situation for up and coming musicians. You can't release two CDs and hope to make it big by the third. You need to be an instant hit. At least when we're talking anything outside more narrow genres. Look at Nirvana. “Nevermind”, which has sold an estimated 26 million copies worldwide, was a follow-up to 1989's “Bleach”, which only sold 30,000 copies, previous to “Nevermind”'s release. The reason Nirvana made it big was really two-fold (not counting the appeal of songs like “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, of course). For one, they had friends in the industry that lobbied for them to get on a major label after “Bleach”, mainly Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth. Secondly, there was MTV. Ah yes, MTV, as I knew it when I was 16. When the main focus was still music, and shows like 120 Minutes, Most Wanted and Headbanger's Ball were still on, and defined my musical landscape.

So much has changed since then. MTV has become an empty shell of what it once was, file sharing has exploded, and record sales have plummeted.

And now we might be facing another paradigm shift. Streaming music, from sites like Spotify, is on the rise, while at the same time laws like Ipred might start to limit file sharing.

My own views remain the same. I will keep buying CDs. I will keep using MySpace and Spotify to find new artists as well as listen to albums I can't get my hands on. And I will try to keep myself updated about what goes on with Ipred and the file sharing debate and general. Though where I would find the time remains to be seen.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We're like the Mob, only less violent. Ultimately responsible for more death and destruction

We're coming up on the end. Since December 23rd, we've watched 149 episodes of The West Wing. 149 episodes in 24 days. Yay, us! Quite the achievement.

It is the second best drama series I've ever seen, after Six Feet Under. And yes, ege, Sorkin's absence is noticeable, particularly during season 6, but (and this is with five episodes left) season 7 makes up for that.

On a related subject, I find myself irritated that I didn't buy this version of the seven season box set. I will go wipe away the drool now.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

53 questions

Hanna did this list on her blog, so Mah Girl and I decided to pass the time and do the same list. Now go do it.

1. How old are you in five years?
38. Two years away from a red sports car.

2. Who did you spend two hours with today?
Mah Girl. We've lounged in the couch, watched West Wing, feeling sorry for ourselves (me cause I feel like crap, Mah Girl cause she's dreading a school thing tomorrow).

3. How tall are you?
179.5 centimeters. That .5 of a centimeter is important.

4. What is the latest movie you saw?
The Mist. It sort of plodded along until the end, which is by far the darkest ending I've ever seen. Spectacular.

5. Who did you last call?
My boss.

6. Who called you last?
A guy from work, with some question. Really, they can't get through the day without me (a lie, really, but a fun lie).

7. What was in the last text message you got?
"Oj. Tack så mycket!" (in English, "Wow. Thanks a lot!"). From a friend we're taking to the Eagles of Death Metal gig on March 7th for his 30th birthday. Which was several months ago.

8. Do you prefer calling or texting?
Texting, anytime. I do enough calls at work.

9. Are your parents married or divorced?

10. When was the last time you saw your mother?
December 28th.

11. What color are your eyes?

12. When did you wake up today?
0800, when the alarm went off. Still ill, so no point in setting it at 0600. Though I will try and see tomorrow.

13. What's your favorite Christmas carol?

14. What's your favorite place?
Anywhere where there are people I really like, in a good mood. Often, it's our living room. During my winter vacation it was the Christmas Day party. Etc. If we're talking travels, I'll go with New York, every time.

15. What's your least favorite place?
Hospitals. I get nauseous just walking into a hospital. My personal hell will no doubt be a hospital.

16. Where do you think you'll be in ten years?
No idea. The telecom business is very dynamic, so who knows where I'll be? Hopefully in Stockholm, hopefully in a nice apartment (I vote "NO!" when it comes to living in a house). If we're talking dreams, then I'll be a published fiction writer. Though that probably won't happen.

17. What used to scare you at night as a child?
Nightmares about falling. Nowadays it's the fear that I left the stove on or the fridge open.

18. What's the last thing that really made you laugh?
Toby Ziegler, on West Wing. We laugh quite a bit, Mah Girl and I, but at things you people wouldn't understand.

19. How big is your bed?
200 centimetres by 160.

20. Do you have a desktop or a laptop computer?
Laptop, both at work and home. I probably won't go back to desktop, and I'm contemplating a new, smaller laptop.

21. Do you sleep with or without clothes?
Briefs only. Oddly enough I use boxers during the day. It's one of my (many) quirks.

22. How many pillows do you have in bed?

23. How many provinces ("landskap" in Swedish) have you lived in?

24. Which cities have you lived in (though "cities" is incorrect, I can't think of a better word)?
Sundsvall, Karlskoga, Eskilstuna, Stockholm. That would be four.

25. Do you prefer shoes, socks or knitted socks?
Socks. Shoes when I go outside. Sandals at work.

26. Are you a social person?
Yes. A friend has told me I suffer from oral incontinence.

27. What's your favorite ice cream?
There are so many. But I'll narrow it down to a tie between Ben & Jerry's Half-baked and the half litre vanilla with crushed chocolate from GB.

28. What's your favorite food?
Lasagna (yes, I'm Garfield).

29. Do you like Chinese food?

30. Do you like coffee?
Hell no. It's more evil than Sideshow Bob.

31. What do you drink for breakfast?
Water. Sometimes tea. Sometimes juice.

32. Which side do you sleep on (unclear if this is which side of the bed or if it's about in which position I sleep, so I'll go with both)?
I always sleep on the right side, viewed from the foot of the bed. It is the way it always has been, is and will be. As to positions, I tend to sleep on my side, but either works. If I fall over on my back it's not long before a kick encourages me back on my side...

33. Do you know how to play poker?
Texas Hold'em, yes. I'm not an expert, hell, maybe not even a novice, but I have a grasp of the basic rules.

34. Do you like cuddling?

35. Do you want children?

36. What other languages than Swedish have you studied?
English and German. The German is basically gone.

37. Ever been in an ambulance?
No, knock on wood.

38. Do you prefer the sea or a pool?
I'm not much of a swimming person, but if we're talking swimming, definitely a pool. But I like the sea too, for completely different reasons.

39. What do you prefer to spend your money on?
Superficial things. CDs, DVDs, boxes of TV shows.

40. Do you own expensive jewellry?

41. Who's the funniest person you know?
Mah Girl.

42. Do you sleep with stuffed animals?
Nope. But there a few of these scattered around the apartment. And a few others.

43. What's the closest thing to you right now that is red?
Mah Girl's hair.

44. Do you flirt a lot?
I have no idea how to.

45. What was the latest book you read?
"Blackwater: The rise of the world's most powerful mercenary army" by Jeremy Scahill. Scary stuff. My creative writing teacher told me he doesn't read stuff like that because it just makes him more paranoid. It's true. But that just means more people should read it. There are lots of things going on in this world that we should be more knowledgable about.

46. Do you read a daily paper?
Yes. Metro, every day I'm on the train.

47. Do you subscribe to a magazine (the question was really for a "veckotidning", but I chose to ignore that)?
Yes. Wired.

48. What radio station did you listen to last?
I wake every day to a classic rock station, don't know which.

49. What did you scribble down on paper last?
Probably something at work. I use my phone for private notes, grocery lists, etc.

50. When was the last time you were in church?
Either at Mah Girl's grandmother's funeral or at the baptism of a friend's son. Not sure which month was which.

51. Who was your favorite teacher in "högstadiet" (which is grade 7 through 9 in Swedish school)?
Arne, the chemistry teacher. He had a penchant for settings things on fire or blowing things up. He used to caution us about the dangers of acids, and how you should run water over your skin for at least ten minutes if you got some on you. Then he splashed acid over his hand and wiped it against his lab coat.

52. What's the longest period of time you've lived in a tent (as in camping)?
Six days, while doing my military service. Camping is more evil than coffee (see above).

53. Who did something extra special for you last?
Mah Girl, who did the dishes when it was my turn. Oh the joy.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cold hands, warm heart

We're cooking. Burgers to go with the rerun of the Chargers game. My stomach is better but I feel like I have a fever. "My hands are cold", I say. Mah Girl points to the oven mitts. So on they went. Warmth.

You just flash that thing, it erases her memory, and you just make up a new one?

Home sick today. Despite excellent company, stuff recorded from TV, Spotify to play around with, books to read, a shelf of unseen movies, I'm still bored. Whenever I'm home and it's not my choice, I get bored.

I've decided that being sick is part of a greater pattern though.

Yesterday I got up early and walked over to the grocery store (the big swanky one, not the POS close to us that opened up, didn't restock their shelves and then closed down after three months), and did some shopping. Three little old ladies and a guy that for some reason had decided to buy about ten heads of lettuce and a 2 liter bottle of Coke where the only other customers. Decided to take the bus back. I shared the bus stop with two Russians drinking beer. At nine in the morning.

Got on the bus, where the bus driver toasted the Russians through the open door with a cup of coffee. Their laughter became a violent fit of coughing. All those bad cigarettes, no doubt. The bus was empty. Completely empty. I remember thinking that no one else was stupid enough to be out and about at that early hour, on a Sunday. Except little old ladies and Russians.

At the first stop, the bus stopped and I suddenly saw movement in the corner of my eye. Turned around and watched as a man passed me, from further back in the bus. Another man was just getting up from his seat, where they had presumably been sitting together.

They were two seats back from me, on the other side of the aisle. No way I could have missed them. And they were identical. I mean, not twins identical, but they wore the exact same clothes (leather jacket, khaki cargo pants, heavy hiking boots, leather gloves) and had the exact same hairdo (dark hair slicked back). Both of them looked at me as they walked by. Not a casual look, but rather a “we know what you're up to” look.

Now, I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist but this has to mean something. About a month after I write about seeing a UFO, two identical men appear out of nowhere on the bus? And now I'm home sick. I expect black goo to start oozing from the corners of my eyes anytime now. Where's Agent Mulder when you need him?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sometimes dead is better

I've found the concept of the elephant graveyard interesting for quiet a while. It is fiction, with a powerful mythical quality that I can't help but find fascinating. Like something out of a fairy tale.

It is my firm belief that we have a fly graveyard in our windows. Flies from all over the country come to our home to die. Some of them wander around aimlessly between the glass panes, before ending up on their backs, dead. As dodos.

And as an add-on. Not sure if anyone reading this cares, but Darren Sproles, gods (if I were the least bit religious, all kinds of expletives would have been inserted here. I choose to go with a very non-denominational expression instead)! The very definition of a game-winning player.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one

Today we were visited by a bearded friend and his charming offspring, Una. Cinnamon rolls were eaten. Pixar characters went to infinity and beyond on the TV screen. The view from our living room was commented excitedly and unintelligibly. R2-D2 was the prime suspect in a water attack in the kitchen (though Mah Girl was the architect of that particular atrocity, not the child).

A grand time was had (I hope) by all.

I'm not having children. Ever. At 33 years old, I can say that with a fair amount of certainty. It's not for me. With that said, I need to clarify that I in no way, shape or form judge or look down from my oh so high horse on those that have chosen to have children. It might be for them. I know it's not for me. I know I have seen many examples over the years where people shouldn't have had children. And a handful where it was really the right thing to do.

Why aren't I having children? Hard question that. One that I have pondered a lot over the years. And not one I'm going to answer in detail here, since most of the reasons are private, and frankly, this here blog ain't about exposing stuff I want to keep private, but about writing when I feel like it, for me and anyone else that thinks it might be interesting. But I do have answers, and answers I feel comfortable with. If you feel like getting into them with me, let me know. We just might.

Tomorrow off to work after sixteen days away from the office. Sixteen glorious, much needed days. I feel mentally rested, though I shouldn't have stayed up late the last couple of days, to adjust to getting up at six again. Oh well. It was worth it. 104 episodes of The West Wing in 15 days. Not a joke.

And there's the answer to the question. I can't let one of those small, bi-pedal entities with almost human brains get between me and my TV shows *grin*

Monday, January 5, 2009

People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading

So, on to books. Here it's not the best books that came out in 2008, but rather the best books I read during 2008. Why? Because while I do buy a fair number of books each year, I don't necessarily buy new ones.

3. Winter's Tale, by Mark Helprin
A very odd, but fascinating book. A sort of fairytale, but not for children. It's a story about love, time and New York. Not an easy read, but well worth the time. If you have any interest in modern fantastic literature (not fantasy, mind you), read it.

2. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
Outstanding. A punch in the stomach. A man and his son walk down a road through an America devastated by an unspecified catastrophe. It's the first McCarthy novel I've read, but won't be the last. Stunning story, and amazing language.

1. JPod, by Douglas Coupland
Coupland is one of those on/off writers for me. Either I worship what he has written, or just shrug after I put the book down. This is definitely an on. The story revolves around a group of people working at a company that designs computer games, and is brimming with geek references and geek humor. However, it soon evolves into something else, as the main character's pot-growing mother and Douglas Coupland himself are introduced into the story.

I believe that Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close would have made in into the list, but I haven't picked that up since I put it down.

That is all. What did you read in 2008?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Time is the fire in which we burn

I used to not do emotion, really. I'm a very analytical person, which has gotten me into trouble, mental health-wise, at least twice. Analysis is good, but it's not the end all be all of existence. The brain can't always rule over heart and groin.

Before I had a tendency to repress emotion, to not even let it impact me. There have been periods in my life when, I think, I have felt nothing. Zero. Flatline. Walking through life an emotional zombie. Numb. Not anymore, though. I've learned to see the signs, and to break down the walls that were there. They're not all gone, but I'm doing my best to turn them into rubble.

Why did this come up today? I watched an episode of a fantastic TV show, where one of the main characters goes back home and visits her father, who's suffering from dementia. It was powerful stuff, and invisible fingers plucked at my emotional strings.

“I'm losing time”, one of the characters said. I was reminded of a visit this summer to my grandfather's. He's turning 100 in a few years. One hundred years old. The mind boggles. He still lives alone in his apartment, though with regular visits from Hemtjänsten. I have several very graphic memories spread throughout my childhood centered on my grandfather. One of them is his calendar, which is the wrong word but not really, a red plastic box with buttons on top that you push each day to move it forward a day, a month, a year. This summer that box stood on a shelf in the kitchen, covered in dust, the numerals stuck between two dates. Broken. It made me sad.

Time grinds down pretty much anything to dust.

I bought her flowers today. Lilies. And a chocolate muffin. She smiled. That made me smile. No analysis. Just a spur of the moment thing, because it's the third today. So it was a good day.

'Cause I'll rip the mike, rip the stage, rip the system

List time continues. And we still have music to talk about, though in a live setting this time.

2008 was a good live year. I got to see friends in killer bands play small venues and I got to see huge bands play festivals and big indoor places. Not the best year by far, but still pretty damn impressive, at least compared to the CD year, which was kind of disappointing, with a few exceptions.

So. Live list of 2009. I tried to get it down to three, but I couldn't, so here are the four best live gigs of 2009.

4. Wovenhand, at the Peace & Love festival in Borlänge.
We went to this festival with the explicit purpose of seeing Wovenhand. Mah Girl and I are both fans, and we felt it was time to make up for that Debaser gig we missed back in 2006. Why we missed it? Because I listened to “Consider the Birds” once, and decided it was no good. I had a bad day, and Mah Girl bought my opinion, for some reason. She has learned to be more critical of me since then, especially when it comes to anything Wovenhand.
So we went, and we had a great time, not only at the gig but at the festival itself. My kind of festival, right smack in the middle of town, with open restaurants, real bathrooms and even a Systembolaget on the festival grounds. And they had a Ben & Jerry's stand.
But back to Wovenhand. The crowds were pretty thin at the gig, and we could stand right at the front, though a bit to the left of center stage. We're not much for crowds, so that was cool. We were expecting at most a Wovenhand duo, with David Eugene Edwards on guitar and vocals, and maybe a percussionist or something backing him up. We got a full band. Reverend Dave, as he should be known, seemed to be in a bad mood, but that didn't matter. They played songs spanning their entire catalog, and managed to be more intimidating than The Haunted, who we saw at the same festival. And that's saying something.

3. The Cure, at the Globe Arena in Stockholm.
I've seen The Cure twice before, in 1992 at the Globe and 1996 at the Hultsfred festival. They've delivered both times, but weren't that memorable either time. This one, however, was one for the ages. 36 songs, three hours on stage, and the fact that we didn't get to hear either “Burn” or “Fascination Street” was completely nullified by a spectacular rendition of “If Only Tonight We Could Sleep”. Fantastic.

2. Rage Against the Machine, at the Hultsfred festival.
We did the adult festival thing for Hultsfred 2008, my brother and I and some friends, and went down for just one day. Why? Some would say 'cause we're not in the festival spirit. That's always been true for me, if by “festival spirit” you mean living on a muddy field in a tent surrounded by 10,000 drunk teenagers. I can't handle two drunk teenagers, and I've never been able to, and tents? Please. I'll take a bed, a shower and proper breakfast any day over that.
So we rented a minivan, plugged the cooler into the lighter socket, and off we went. We saw some other bands as well, but all that was just warm-up, opening acts for the main show. And what a show it was.
There are few things that can be compared to being in a crowd of 15,000 going completely apeshit, jumping up and down, making the ground literally move, in beat to live music. As rock shows go, it was one of the most energetic I've been to. We discussed, my brother, who's even less the festival type than I am, and I, how a band can end the show with the same damn song they've ended hundreds of other shows with, and still do it at 100 percent energy and with big smiles on their faces. The answer? The fans. Of which I remain one.

1. Dillinger Escape Plan, at Klubben in Stockholm.
I managed to see Dillinger and their two opening acts twice in three days. Work put me in Gothenburg two nights after I watched them completely destroy Klubben, and I got to see it all over again. I'm amazed no one was killed or at least maimed on stage, the way the Dillinger boys fling themselves and their instruments around. I'm amazed Greg Puciato can belt out throat-rending screams one second and hit pitch-perfect notes Mike Patton-style the next. I'm amazed I got to see the whole thing twice.

And that's it. Again, challenge extended. List your live year 2008.

Footnote: there was one show, that in retrospect, I really regret not going to. This Will Destroy You opened for Japanese madmen Boris in Stockholm in April. I missed it. Then again, I was in New Orleans then, so no real biggie. In fact, screw it. I was in freakin' New Orleans then!

Friday, January 2, 2009

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music

So. List time. And of course I have to start with music. So, here are my top CDs of 2008.

3. Wovenhand - “Ten Stones”
Another ride into the personal religious darkness of David Eugene Edwards. Not as mindblowing as “Consider the Birds” but still extremely qualitative songwriting and such emotion, such feeling.


2. Meshuggah - “obZen”
The sixth full-length from Swedish metal outfit Meshuggah is a full-on aural assault. Veering away a bit from their signature polyrhythmics, “obZen” is still a very complicated affair, and once again cements Meshuggah's position as one of the most, if not the most, interesting Swedish metal bands. Pop music it ain't.


1. This Will Destroy You - “S/t”
Beautiful melodies and moody aural landscapes slowly build and build into crescendos of emotion that wash over me like tsunami, over and over and over. This is music to cry to. Music to watch New York go by through a car window by night to. Music to look out across the sea to. Music to look up at the stars to. Music to love to. This is one of the emotionally most powerful albums I've come across in a really long time, and I'm completely blown away by it. Awe is the most appropriate word I can find.


That's it. Three CDs, the cream of the crop of my 2009. Consider this a challenge. Post your own lists, here or at your blogs. Find me some new stuff to listen to. Convince me. And please post links as well.

We lean against railings, describing the colours

A moment of clarification. Regarding Flemingsberg as "the New York of Stockholm".

We have a clear view of the heli-pad at the hospital formerly known as Huddinge hospital (some sort of musician ego thing, they tell me), and today, as I almost always do when I hear an ambulance helicopter come in for landing, I sang some lyrics from "This Mess We're In", which is a song of "Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea".

Can you hear them? The helicopters
I'm in New York...

And Mah Girl said "Yeah, because Flempan reeeeaaaally is like New York City". It was just too good not to go with.

That song is my favorite PJ Harvey song, by the way. Check it out.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Lies, lies and damn lies

"Flemingsberg is the New York City of Sweden." This and other glorious things have been uttered today, on the first day of the New Year.

Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable, let's prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all

A new year has just begun. Outside it sounds like artillery fire, and the horizon is lit up by fireworks. Literally, lit up. It's spectacular. We live on the fifth floor, on top of a hill, and on a clear day, like today, we can see for miles and miles. Tonight, just like two years ago, we can see fireworks from hundreds of sites, detonating all over the horizon. Very cool.

I'm not much for resolutions, New Year's or any other kind. Last year our resolution was to go more to the movies. We did. This year my resolution is less clear-cut, less measurable.

2009 will be a better year than 2008. Not saying I've had a bad year, on the whole, just that 2009 needs to be better than 2008. I hope yours is as well.

(I was thinking about doing some kind of list over the year, top movie and CD and all that, but I won't. Instead I will do many lists. I will unleash a barrage of lists. And I expect you all to accept the challenge. Be prepared)