Purportedly Ostensible

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Smitten with Smittska-Udden

I woke up this morning, appropriately enough, with Lykke Li for skull music. I mean, it's cool enough that I simply woke up (because, my dear Watson, it neccesarily follows that I was sleeping), but to have "Little Bit" swimming around in my head when I got there was icing.

Since I've become an exhaustively experienced world traveler I have certain quotient of pretentiousness I need to meet, so I've decided to say you really just can't "get" Lykke Li until you've been to that particular corner on Närkesgatan in Stockholm.

Disclaimer: Really, all you need to get Lykke Li is a internet connection or a reasonably competent record store employee.

So, Thursday evening we went to the beach at Smittska-Udden to have a picnic and watch the sun set. (Jesper's idea. Genius, really, as ideas go.) I won't lie (I will lie, actually, but just not in this instance). I would have loved to have had the rain and clouds I had when I first came to this place, but the fact that so much of my family could come with, plus we could roast varmkorv and have some of Josef's beach-made chili more than made up for the horribly sunny weather. We roasted marshmallows, too (this is not part of my efforts to become more pretentious, I promise, but Swedish marshmallows are SO much better than their American counterparts. I'm sorry, it's just the way it is.) and did this crazy thing where you sliced open a banana, slipped some chocolate inside it, wrapped the whole thing in tinfoil and threw it on the coals.

Swedes are crazy! Crazy delicious!

Aidan was jumping around like a mountain goat hopped up on goofballs and took a fair amount of tumbles, but the little guy just kept on going despite his spills ("It's a good thing I'm taking karate! I just used my skills to put my hands out!" Oh, my sweet little Napolean Dynamite, you're too much like me for your own good).

Chloe wandered off to explore and have a little "me-time". I think she's a little like me, too, in that it seems it takes her a pretty decent amount of alone to decompress and compile. Still, I was (and am) a little amazed at how social she's been during this whole outting. I guess I don't really get to see her too much outside of the Richardson Cave so I've never really known how she'd react amongst the normals. Still, our relatives here don't really count as normals, as they have been superlatively kind and welcoming, which seems to put them on the lee side of the bell curve in "normal human reactions".

Jesper rode his bike to Smittska-Udden, by the way, after riding his bike to the gym. To work out for, like 73 hours and leg press the entire Stena-line fleet, I'm assuming.

Seriously, these guys are superheroes who really suck at the whole "secret-identity thing".

I took some pictures but I'm almost loathe to post them because they do nothing to translate the beauty and scope of the little peninsula we were on. I've loved Sweden since forever, and my family here couldn't be more wonderful, but the first time I went to Smittska-Udden it seemed to settle into my bones and I can honestly say I've never felt more like I just belonged somewhere.

That is until we passed the naked guys jumping into the 0°C ocean. Way to ruin Sweden, naked guys.

Now I have to go apologize to Goblin Valley.

Britt and Sofie in a very well lit pic. Go, awesome photographer!

Honestly, could this crack be any more appropriate? I looked around for Mjolnir but couldn't find it any where. BTW, there's no real sense of scale here, but I could've fit into that fissure.

I'm just sayin'.

I love this place

Josef, Tony, Hilda och Sofie

Prometheus and his attendant (sorry Hilda!) bring fire to man.

I love this place! And hate my camera!

About a fourth of Britt, most of Aidan, a good deal of Kajsa, some of Charlotte and pretty much all of Tony.

Charlotte, Kajsa, Britt and Josef's back! Rock on!

Monday, April 18, 2011


So, I don't know how all this sleeping stuff is supposed to work anymore, apparently. My body and mind feel like they're incredibly tired, but I close my eyes and lay back (the normal modus operandi when it comes to "sleeping") and all I get is horizontal mixed with a lack of seeing things. Goteborg, 3:37, and the dire and ever-circling wolves of disrupted circadian rhythms howl at my threshold.

Thank you, William Gibson.

Still, it's been a lovely trip thus far. The flight this time around went better than any of the previous iterations by, like, a zillion times. Outside of a bump to first-class seating, I couldn't have asked for a better experience. A special prayer of gratitude is spoken in for Nadine, the woman who took us around the back doors of the byzantine workings of the O'Hare airport with the grace and aplomb of a seasoned diplomat. She was so nice to my mom I wanted to hug her, but behold the power of my emotional resolve. A tip was given in the place of any invasion of personal boundries, and I think we both dodged a bullet, there. Still, the meagre remuneration I was able to offer was pittance compared to the largesse of courtesy demonstrated by the woman in question.

And that right there is good reason not to write when I'm mentally exhausted, obviously.

Chloe was kind of adorable on the plane, BTW. The poor kid was shaking like a leaf when we were gearing up for take-off on the tarmacadam in SLC. She was as anxious as I've ever seen her, and I was honestly concerned we were going to have to stop the aircraft and turn around (I wonder what the airline's policy is for dealing with a hysterical 14 year-old with a stevedore's vocabulary? Kinda glad I didn't have to find out.), but by the end of the flight to Chicago she had gone from begging me to pull up the plastic shade to the window to begging me to change seats so she could watch the storm clouds pass under us. It was so much fun to watch her switch from fear to wonder in just a few minute's time. I really wish Sofia could have been there to see her little girl face her fears so well. Proud and happy uncle moments for everyone.

Charlotte and Sofie picked us up at the airport, and it was almost heart-breaking how good they looked. (Tony and Lennart, you are beautiful, too!) I'm a little jealous that the only real manifestion of the Bjorklund blood in my life has been the ability to spin profound guilt from straw coupled with a body that has a penchant for snapping in two in a stiff breeze.

But I digress.

For those of you in the know, I will tell you that Jesper and Josef are giants. Giants! If they weren't so darned good looking I'd think that maybe they got a little troll* blood in them. Josef is a little taller than I am at 16 and Jesper stands a good 4 or 5 inches over my 6' blah. They both rock climb, so they're of course built like, well, like rock climbers, and both play guitar excellent well (Josef flamenco style). Their English is immaculate and almost a match for their kindness and generosity of spirit.

Hilda is reaching Aesir stature as well, and has taken to the drums and sewing for her creative outlets. I hope I don't sound creepy when I say this, but she's a beautiful young woman. Kajsa is about as delightfully charming a tomte as one could hope to encounter in the Swedish countryside, and my Swedish has increased tenfold because of her tutelage (that's right, kids, I now know ten Swedish words!).

For those of you not in the know, let me just say that my cousins' children come correct, as the kids up to so recently used to say.

Film at eleven.

*I apologize to any trolls reading this, it's just that, to a majority of the folk of the Midgard, you just really ain't getting the job done, looks-wise. Sorry.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Paying "Pay It Forward" Forward

I was taking a break from unpacking (Urgh. Moving bad!), and I found this entry posted by emilyf, who, I have it on the best of authority, is absolutely, definitely and completely not a red lectroid from Planet 10. Maybe. Anyway, seemed like a fun idea. So, buckle up kids, here's the skinny:

Lucky you!

The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me!

My choice.

For you.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

1 - I make no guarantees that you will like what I make! (Though I may ask some questions during the process.

2 - What I create will be just for you.

3 - It'll be done this year (might take a little while).

4 - You have no clue what it's going to be. It may be a story. It may be poetry or an article. I may crochet or quilt something. I may bake you something and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!

5 - I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

The catch? Oh, the catch is that you must repost this on your blog and offer the same to the first 5 people who do the same.

The first 5 people to do so and leave a comment telling me they did win a FAB-U-LOUS homemade gift by me!

Oh, and be sure to post a picture of what you win when you get it!

Good luck!

See, the really great thing about this, is I get about 2 hits a month on this blog, so my own personal involvement? It'll be pretty minimal. I don't see a downside.

Knock yourselves, as they say, out.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

They're obviously cool, if you've never heard of them.

So, back in the stone ages that were my high school years, I knew this very rockabilly kid; actual, factual duck-tail 'do, Fender Highway work-shirts and these black and white wingtips that I kinda coveted.

It's lunch-time, and I'm sitting at my usual place in the library (a north-east corner table, Dewy Decimal section 130), when a back-pack slams down in front of me. I look up, and it's Mr. Swamp-Rock himself, an expression of utter disgust on his face. "Ehf'n John Hughes", he mutters, slumping down into a seat.

"Huh?" I say.

"It's Molly Ringwald's fault, too," he says. "Ehf'n Ringwald."

"Ah," I say, because it feels like he needs it.

He grunts at me, and I put down The Great Orm Of Loch Ness (West High had an awesomely weird library) and put on my "I'm listening" face.

"Guess what I heard in third today," he says. "Just guess."

He spares himself my attempts at guessing by jumping right into the exposition. "Chantelle Godfrey was singing the Rave-Ups!"

My utter lack of comprehension must've shown on my face, so he continues. "I asked her where she heard them and she proceeds to tell me- me- about them; how they were this band that were discovered-" and here he manages to make "discovered" sound sexually transmissible "-for Pretty in Pink." He rolls his eyes. "Like heck!"

He'd played their Town & Country for me last summer, so I knew Chantelle had to have her facts at least a little mixed up.

"Did you tell her they've been out for a while now?" I ask.

"That's not even the point! She shouldn't even know about them! Chantelle Godfrey isn't The Rave-Ups! She's... she's Chicago! She's Bon Jovi. She's The ehf'n Jets!"

The librarian is looking over at us now, readying her shushing finger, and my rockabilly associate sinks further into his seat, red-faced.

"But you like the Rave-Ups, right?" I say, after a moment’s hesitation. "Aren't you happy they're getting out there?"

He stares across the table at me, his eyes narrowing in frank disdain for my all-too-apparent lack of understanding.

“You just don’t get it,” he says. “How can they be cool if everyone likes them?”

I frown, pretty sure I don’t know how to answer that. It couldn't be more obvious that I didn’t “get” cool, but it seemed to me that was sorta what happened if you were cool… that people liked you. I shrug my shoulders and pick my book up again.

The librarian’s aide is pushing a book cart towards our table. She’s an older woman, probably the mother of one of our fellow students. She nears us, and it’s plain to hear her humming “Positively Lost Me” under her breath.

Kid Rockabilly glares at the aide, and then at me. He rubs his hands through his duck-do and growls.

“Mother-ehf’n John Hughes.”

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dear Katie White,


I'm not sure how to say this. I mean, you've been my imaginary blonde British rock and roll girlfriend for months now. You with your modest yet funky bohemian wardrobe, that poor man's "Kristen Bell" thing you've got going on and all those crazy, awkward dance moves. How could I not have been drawn to you? Seriously. I was a goner from word go.

I've... I've been thinking a lot lately about all the time we've spent together; the long days at work, the drives down to Richfield, the hours you 've sat with me in my living room as I tried teaching myself how to bang out the first few bars of "Great DJ" on my cruddy Squire... I will cherish all of this more than you will ever know.

That's why it kills me to say this. You remember Ritzy? Ritzy Bryan, that kid who used to sing for that quartet out of North Wales, Sidecar Kisses? Right! The blonde with the button nose. That's her. Well...

I'm just going to come out and say it. Rip the Band-Aid off all in one go, right?

Okay. She and I have been hanging out a lot, lately. She came around a few weeks ago, singing this song, "Cradle", and, man, I've been digging it. And she's smart and she's funny and she's got this cute little bob and this crazy Welsh accent and...

So, yeah. I know. I know I'm a jerkface. I'm a fickle, flighty jerkface who never deserved you as an imaginary blonde British rock and roll girlfriend. I never wanted to hurt you, but--

I think... well, we've talked it over and I think she's going to be my new imaginary blonde British rock and roll girlfriend. I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.

P.S. Neko? My marriage to your voice... we're... we're totally still on for that, right?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

It's that time of the year again!

Man. Folks are so excited around here it's almost palpable! There's an electric feeling that hits everybody this time of the year, and it's kind of inspiring how the whole nation just kind of catches fire with the anticipation! I know it's not even necessary to mention it, really, but I'm gonna blog about it anywa--

What? I-- You're kidding, right? No. No, I'm not talking about your, your Wonder Bowl or your Super Game or whatever it is you kids are calling it this year. For Pete's sake! And by the way? Say what you want about American football, but it's kinda funny to me how some of the most fiercely heteronormative guys I know get all worked up to see a bunch of muscley, sweaty men in crazy-tight pants slam into each other repeatedly with a huge helping of buttocks slapping for the after show.* I'm just sayin'.

But it's not that. No.

I'm talking about Goopher Day's Eve, when Ralph the Grumpy Green Goopher loads up bags of goodies into his 1989 Ford Festiva and drives about, delivering them to all the boys and girls around the land** who didn't vote for anyone from the Dialectical Materialist party***. Which, y'know, usually covers a good deal of folks.


Anyway, I'm about to wander off to perform my own Goopher Day's Eve duties, but I thought I'd share this year's card with all who'd care to see it. (Which, I realize is pretty silly, because, hey! Who doesn't get a Goopher Day card, right? See? Silly.)

The clever inscription inside the card reads: "Meh. I guess it's not that bad. Last year the Micronauts threw a three-day kegger inside my mini-fridge." Hilarious!

* Fine. Yes, I'm bitter, okay? Ultimate Frisbee and my American Floobie-Noobie League never really took off, and, frankly? I blame American football.
** "Around the land" usually encompases about a 40 mile radius, realtively centered on the Goopher's current location. Hey, we can't all have Santa's budget.
*** I have tried several times to get the Goopher to take a more apolitical stance, but he, as are most goophers, is staunchly anti-neo-marxist. Go figure.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

" know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity..."

I so want this to be true again.