Contemporary me.

Hello my darlings! Have been a tad inactive here again I see, so since my brain is slightly fried with exhaustion and school-work and I have to get up in less than six hours, I won’t write anything profound at all. Just a list. (You know how I love my lists). So here are a few things that are relevant to my life as of right now;

E-cigarettes. These handy little thingumabobs enable you to smoke indoors without actually smoking, to smoke around other people without blowing harmful second-hand smoke into their pretty little faces, and even though there has not been extensive tests and research made yet regarding their harmful effects on those who use them, they are sure to be less harmful than cigarettes. Plus they almost like look real cigarettes, so you don’t have to feel like an idiot using them.

Dark Angel. A tv-series from 2000 starring Jessica Alba. I never thought much of Alba as an actress before, and though I do still feel like she isn’t the most outstanding of actresses, she is certainly good enough to do what she does. She is also very very attractive. Like very. The series is fun, it’s about a post-crisis – of the global financial kind – and Alba is one of several genetically modified children which have escaped from a lab-facility where they were being trained into super-soldiers. If nothing else, this series is a fun glimpse into how much of the 90ies that were still left in 2000 – and how much of the 80ies which had seeped its way into the 90ies.

Christmas. Don’t think anyone will need a summary of what that is. Or I hope not. I’m usually not a big fan of doing anything Christmassy pre-December but seeing as how the 1st of Advent was on the 27th, I went to my little-sisters and we baked ginger-snaps and lusse-katter all day… or at least 4 hours of it. We forgot to put on Christmas-songs, we made roughly 80 lusse-katt buns (that’s a LOT) and we went and got pizza afterwards, real thin-crust ones with ruccola and prosciutto on top. It was a lovely day. Next stop; toffee and chocolates at my place.

Tests. I have three major ones coming up soon – two of them tomorrow – and I’m getting rather nervous about it. I know I’ll do well, at least with the English ones, most likely with the Swedish, yet I always get nervous before tests. And maybe that is the secret to why I do well, I don’t get so overconfident in my own abilities that I neglect studying or preparing myself. But I’m going to be holding my thumbs and crossing my fingers, as always. If you want to say some kind of little prayer for me, to God, pasta, Eddie or whomever you believe in, that’d be welcome.

Dreaming. Ever since I moved to this flat a few months back, I’ve had lots and lots of dreams, mostly weird ones, only one or two actual night-mares, and not that many that I’ve woken from in a happy or blissful state. Just strange dreams, where tons of things happen, I wake up several times during the night and only remember scattered details for the most part. It makes it harder for me to go to sleep, it makes me more tired, more out of it during the day. But I’m hoping it will stop soon. Maybe when I finally get down to repainting the bedroom.

Working out. See, the flat gets rather cold at times, and my solution to this (because our radiators are pretty much cranked to the max, so it’s not like we can turn it up any more) is doing a few sit-ups, squats, shaky and pathetic push-ups, etc. If it looks extra cold outside, I’ll work out a bit before I step outside, to make sure my pulse gets up and my system is on the go already. If my toes are too cold and it’s bedtime, I just bounce around a bit so I’m nice and toasty instead of curling up and shivering under the blankets. So my solution to heating problems, which will cost you nothing and get you fit, is just to work out a bit.

Cheese. To counter-act my work out (because for every healthy thing you do you should also do something unhealthy, yin-yang balance kind of thing *coughs*) I’ve started over-indulging in cheese. I just wish someone would help me by eating the cheese before I can get to it. I’ve had the kittens help me out a bit but too much dairy isn’t good for their tummies. Well it’s not good for mine either of course. But you get me. So, the general obtaining of cheese has to be stopped for my own good!

Books. I’m currently trying to finish the last of the Harry Potter series (Don’t hurt me! I can’t explain how I haven’t read it yet! It was an accident!) but I’m only a third into it because for Swedish we had to pick one out of five classic novels and I chose “Pride and Prejudice” (translated into Swedish of course) because I’ve read that before, I own the English version, I’ve seen the movie and so on, basically it felt like a good choice because I already know what I need to know about it in order to discuss the book. Yet my honesty forces me to re-read it for this assignment. And then there’s “Rant” by Chuck Palahnuik (< = dude who wrote Fight Club) which I haven’t even touched yet, because I haven’t had the time.

What has there been a lot of/ too much of in your life of late?

Returning to and Older place

The other night, I came up with a brilliant blog-post. It was the best idea I’d had yet. I was already typing it in my head and I knew it was going to rock.

Then I forgot it.

So instead, I’m going to make a slight revisit to the past by posting something I wrote years and years ago. I used to be quite the busy bee writing back in the day. I know that is hard to believe, what with my recent lapse into “What? I have a blog? You want me to post something on it?” but there was once a time when I would write as many as 2 poems a week, maybe 3 songs a month, the scattered short-story and the three or so begun and as of yet unfinished fantasy-novels. This is nothing of that sort. This is what I stumbled upon when finding my old notebooks while looking for… a secret. So, straight from the brain of 17-or-so-year-old Amki, here’s my take on a flight from Sweden to the U.K. I would just like to note that a) yes, my English had a lot left to desire, still does and b) this was my first return to the U.K since I was 13, and I had missed it something horribly. Thus the nostalgic part towards the end.

Returning to Outer Space

It started at the airport already. A middle-aged man of some Mediterranean origin, a loose white shirt and a slight limp, but it was his expression that captured the most, somewhere between glad  excitement and anxious pain. My handbag continued losing pearls and I couldn’t realise I was really going. My bag was searched because of the nutritional supplements.

“Have you brought any coffee with you?” the security staff-member asked with a mix of busy and disinterested. “No, I don’t drink coffee.” (Side-note; things have changed. I am big on coffee nowadays). “Then we really must have a look” she said, watching as I unlocked the useless lock with the miniature keys on the “chicken little” key-ring, with eyes that bulge if you squeeze it.

Passport control nr. 1. “Going to London?” “Yes”. Where else? Naturally, I might have checked into the wrong flight. How could any human as concerned as me about anything not working according to plan make such a mistake? Going flying is really stressful, never do you hold on as tight to your handbag or extra-check the time as often as within those moving halls. How can time move slower just because you want to be somewhere else? The human mind really manipulates its surroundings. I do my usual combination of sideways glances and full-on stares, dealing them out in a fair flow over my to-be fellow passengers.

Passport control nr. 2. Fat stewardess with shrill voice and her whole nature screaming for human contact. Small-talk before boarding, and then seating second next to front. Three fruit gums and then we’re up, accelerating fast but taking longer to lift than I expected. English stewardesses, one steward, poor bloke had to run through the emergency routine. Cars shrink until they’re nothing more than specks, creeping turtle-like down the grey veins of Sweden.

Eventually, the clouds turn from bumpy gravel (stolen out of Paintshop’s flood-fill patterns) into soy whipping-cream, and reach higher altitudes along with us. Naturally, I wanted sparkling water. Obviously, just one bottle left on the plane. And of course, it sprays in large wet drops over my jeans and coat. Well, just a little of it. Land turns to sea, which turns to land full of wind power generators, (Side-note; if Gerard reads this, I’m sorry I mentioned that detail. If Tilda does, I’m glad) which turns into sea with horse-shoe shaped reefs and long, thin fingers of islands. The sun reflects in the wing behind me, and a fragile half-moon makes its way up front. This is heaven. Literally speaking.

The clouds have turned into a sturdy pattern of Greek yoghurt (not out of Paintshop) and at least one of the stewardesses has turned out to be of the Polish nationality – pointy nose, over-plucked eyebrows and heavy accent. “You wanted tickets?” Cards moving over the seats in an attempt to pay the best way. I enjoy my “fruit-bar” – chocolate covered hazelnut-paste, only fruit it contains are raisins, goodness, what can people say in order to sell a product? – and watch the ice-crystals that are spread lazily across my window. They’re taunting the sun. “Can’t melt us up here, can ya?” The cream clouds throw shadows on the monotonous yoghurt-land below. And we’re up here with the cream, floating atop the yoghurt as always.

Amsterdam soon. Holland from above is just like any European country. Modern cities like mazes when seen from the air. So modern that the buildings are ordered. It’s a shame to see, a city without history isn’t a city at all. A glint of gold in the flat ground when the sun hits a small lake or a large area covered with glass. Though perspectives change, you still turn the pictures around so they make sense, fit them in with what you’re used to on the ground. Sometimes we hit valleys and turbulence, then the plane shakes like a truck and your head spins. I don’t think your thoughts have and easy time following the rest of your head when you jump several metres at a time, at the speed we’re keeping. The clouds imitate the land beneath them; the yoghurt-clouds open up in cracks like rivers, give way to smooth cloud lakes and even and island out there in the white nothingness. Or maybe it’s the land beneath that imitates the clouds?

The landing was normal, the ground from the plane looking like a quilt of rich, red earth and gentle greens, cut through by tennis courts and suddenly a green spiral created by some overambitious farmer. Walking along the ever long grey carpet of  Stanstead airport, I somehow still couldn’t realise I’d really made it. What I wanted the most was to touch a tree or the ground outside, something firm that belonged to the land, something that I could relate to ( I did later on, when in London). (Side-note; I had really missed England.) So we took the train, and I got to watch a couple of young people that were on completely different wavelengths, the girl talked and talked, the man-boy watched her intently, nodded and looked out of the window whenever the girl stopped talking, too nervous and disconcerted to look at her in the silence. My fingers were constantly hefted to the handbag when we entered the subway. Very large parts of my life are buried in the folds of its newly sewn seams, and losing it is a thing I’m not going to do. One instantly notices how curious people get when they hear you’re not from England, but no-one dares to ask.

Then we got to the apartment, went a couple of places, went a couple of more places and went home. But it was the journey that mattered. The beautiful journey.

It’s not the what, it’s the how

As I’m sure anyone following my blog for a while now has noticed I’m becoming worse and worse at posting regularly. I think it’s because I don’t realise how fast the days go by. It feels like I wrote my last post yesterday, and figuring out what your next post is going to be about can sometimes be impossible. Either because you want to write about so many things or none at all. But then I remembered a theme that has been recurring throughout conversations the last week or so.

I was doing an assignment for Swedish class where we were supposed to compare to different writing styles from the same eras. I realised after looking back and forth between the texts that even though they both played out in the same time and were both a peek into the darker side of society, with poverty, crime and oppression of the individual, they were extremely different as in regards to atmosphere and language.

“Why?” I asked myself. How can two authors, living during roughly the same time, writing about the same social class and somehow wanting to explain the hardship that these people went through, manage to get two such different outcomes?

There could be many answers. “The voice of the author”, geography, upbringing, religious or philosophical views or any number of things could play into the reason as for why two people writing about the same thing can write so differently. But to me the real difference lies in what a person sees, what a person chooses to tell and not to tell, the details that capture or upset.

For example, Stephenie Meyer could simply have started the Twilight books with “There once was a young, insecure, clumsy teenage girl, and then there was a sexy vampire boy, and it sort of just rained all the time and they fell in love…” but instead, she tells the story differently, holding suspense and mystery alive, letting young, insecure teenage girls – and many women far past their teens – feel like this could be them, and this is in fact about them, and they life they should have, and BAM, there you go, best-seller. Appeal to the audience and the audience will come. (Btw, I’m not saying I think Stephenie Meyer is an outstanding author, though I will admit I have seen a noticeable progress in her work from book 1 to 4 in the Twilight series. I am only saying that she knows what people want to read, and she writes it.)

Or to better explain, you could send two journalists to the same country. Let’s say Mexico. Now one journalist might send back an article about how lovely the weather and the scenery was, how great the food, how friendly the people etc. The other might instead send a tense piece of work about the drug lords, poverty and slums. Both these images would be true but if you had never been to Mexico, or don’t know much about it, it might well shape your entire view on what that country is like.

So is it with all authors then. If I tell you a firsthand account on how boring Swedes can be and all the negative things about the Swedish culture, and then one of your American friends go to visit and rave about how gorgeous the place is and how friendly and exciting the people, who are you going to believe? I say you always believe whomever is telling you what you want to hear. When we see someone express things the way we would or see things from our point of view, we are a lot more likely to believe them than the perhaps more qualified person who turns into a moron in our eyes because of his opposing views.

But no matter who writes something, what matters is not what they write about, but how.

 

Damn it I forgot to name this post. There we go.

It appears I get worse at this as the days go by. My seriously slow internet at the moment is not helping. Neither is the whisky. But I shall just cut to the chase. Today’s disillusioned post is about birthdays. Firstly, I’d just like to ask

Why???

Who on earth decided to invent these? Did someone just sit under an apple-tree someday and go “Oh I know what would be fun! If I start harassing one of my friends every single year on the anniversary of his birth and throw prettily wrapped socks at him and give him a cake that will set fire to his beard!”? Really? No, it was probably a grand-mother. So she could have at least one day a year to give her grand-children all those things that the parents think are unhealthy for them and stuff them full of sugar and send them home for someone else to deal with.

I’m sure there’s someone out there who knows why we celebrate birthdays. In that case, please chime in. I’d love to know if there’s any good reason for them in the first place.

What???

is so awesome about them? “I’m still alive a year from the last time I was still alive! Yay for me!” It’s not like you are celebrating someone else’s achievements. If that was the case, I’d be all for it. But we’re simply celebrating that this person, on a time-line that we ourselves have invented – for some other ungodly reason – is still alive. I even have a dead relative whose birthday I pay my silent respect to each year. I don’t think she cares. I don’t know why I do. But in the deep recesses of my brain, in some place where it actually works, I take note of the fact that that was the day she was born. Why is that so important to me?

Now if you love yourself very much, I’m sure birthdays are the best. But for me, and I’m assuming a large chunk of humanity, they are just a day when you should be allowed to stay in bed a little longer than normal, yet you’re dragged out of it early by manically smiling people going “IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY!” and down the stairs to open presents in front of the people who gave them to you, and everyone else, and go “uh, thanks, this is a really awesome swiss-army-umbrella-cake-cutter-picture-frame! I love it! Re-ea-lly!” and they stare at you with their manic smiles going “I KNOW IT MADE ME THINK OF YOU I TOTALLY DIDN’T JUST GET THAT AT A TOURIST-SHOP ON MY WAY OVER!”  upon which they SING for you – as if things couldn’t get any worse – and make you blow out candles on a cake that they lit about 10 seconds ago – total waste of candle – as they stare at you with manic smiles thinking to themselves “SHE’S NOT GOING TO MAKE IT, SHE’LL NEVER MANAGE TO GET ALL OF THOSE IN ONE BREATH, HAH, JUST WAIT TILL HER NEXT BIRTHDAY, THAT’LL BE FUN…” and then there’s probably some stupid party or supper or something. Unless of course, you go to a restaurant, where they will make the staff publicly embarrass themselves and you by performing whatever birthday-rite the sadistic owner invented.

Really?

It’s the number thing. We invented them, stuck them on ourselves and then decided that we arrange our lives after them. We don’t expect people between 13 and 19 to act mature because they are teenagers. We don’t expect people above 50 to remember anything because they’re our parents. We don’t expect people below 3 to be able to use a toilet on their own because they are really short and tiny. But, these things aside, the number that we stick on ourselves creates a whole lot of rules and unwritten rules and weird looks that we have to abide by. It hinders us in so many many ways. We tell ourselves that we can’t do this or that because we’re a certain age, and that we can’t do that now but we can in ten years, and we were stupid then because we were so-and-so old. But let me ask you something. Do you really believe that age and maturity are that closely related? I have met a lot of children who act older than their parents, and a lot of 40-year-olds who seem like they never left their teens behind them.

Ok I’m going to stop whining now. I’d like to hear from you on this. Your birthday, do you love it or hate it? What do you think is the point of it? Why? WHY?????