Generational Shame

It’s a sad moment, when you realise just what your generation will leave behind for the after-world to say “aaaahhhh” over. What kind of “aaahhh” this is is completely dependant on what the people born in your decade can all nod and smile about, with this deeper understanding, this secret handshake, that anyone born after you will never quite be able to get to the same level. My husband can say “I love the Star Wars movies” without having to explain which ‘generation’ of Star Wars he was referring to. My oldest brother played the original Super Mario games before it became hipster-chique to play them. And I… I bonded over the Little Mermaid with a girl my age in Shakespeare class today.

This is very sad. I am simply wondering if the people growing up during the 90s have something to be proud of? What did we have that has become… cool? Hip? Trendy, because the geek-chique of today approve of it? I missed the wave of Barbie-Dolls, Spice Girls and Take That which swept over a world of pink and glitter, in a strange 90s which idealised the extremely girly or the extremely grungy. Mostly, people my age and I have little to bond over, but that it has to be Disney Movies is no consolation. I DID manage to snag a small corner of the ‘white but still cool and not completely bonkers Michael Jackson’ era, but everyone agrees that Thriller and Bad were his hay-days. I could not have told you who Nirvana were before the later part of the first decade of this millennium… but I actually still can’t. Though I have understood it has something to do with Kurt Cobain (oh look, I spelled that right before I looked it up!) and him shooting himself even though he swore he didn’t have a gun in the song. I also caught up with the other guys way after it was cool to listen to them: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Cake, Pearl Jam, Goo Goo Dolls, Green Day… I started listening to them when it was cool to listen to them AGAIN. (I’m referring to the bulging mass of Indie-kids of today, who think that a band is only worth listening to if they played alternative rock in the 90s, or even better, you don’t know who they are, have never heard of them, and “don’t get their sound” when you’re made to listen to them.)

One good reason I missed out on plenty of 90s music is because when Silence of the Lambs came out I was only 3, and around the same age with the other “people will never forget about them and keep quoting them to death” movies: Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, Schindler’s List, Titanic, Jurassic Park, The Matrix (first one) etc. I did get in on most of the Disney Action: The Lion King was enormous, as was Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. I did miss out on Toy Story. I wonder why my parents decided that one in particular wasn’t anything for us. Would it make us want toys? Are the cowboy and the astronaut too stereotypical to be good heroes for hippie-kids? No, that doesn’t make any sense. Because I never saw Pocahontas either.

Anyway, I just hope that something from my time will become cool again. Not Indie-kid cool, or hipster cool, and definitely not american football-player cool. No. I hope something from the 90s will be cool to the new ruling class: the geeks and nerds of the world. In case no-one else noticed, being geeky and nerdy has magically become the new sexy (more on that in some later blog-post). I just hope that when my children grow up, I can tell them better things than “when I lived in Canada, Justin Bieber became famous” or “Miley Cirus actually went from bad to fucking crazily nutty seriously what are you doing? Seriously” or “Well, at least Britney Spears isn’t popular anymore…”. We have one hero from the 90s, though I don’t think he is to the geeks: a man who managed to leave a sad boy-band and instead of failing completely, turned out some pretty good music, because he actually had a voice, and a personality. Yes, I think we all know that we’re talking about Robbie here. So there was always something good that the 90s left behind (though it took till the new millennium for that transformation to finish).

If you would like to point out something positive the 90s gave us which is cool/useful/nice/edible/acceptable to geeks, please chime in, and make me feel a bit better about being… a 90s kid.

I leave you with this sad and hopeful tune.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4D35vfQ7eZg

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What Would You Have Done?

Besides my new Stumbleupon fad (which I shall nurture in your little souls and hearts at the end of this post by giving you a few links to my most recent fave-stumbles), I have decided on a “frequent visitor” post: What Would You Have Done? Why? I will tell you.

A few minutes ago, whilst washing up, my room-mate told me and my husband a story from her work earlier today:

A woman had come into the store and told my room-mate that “My husband just died, so I need to buy…” My room-mate was stumped about how to respond, and said something along the lines of “oops” (though this whole conversation was in Swedish, so she actually said “ojdå”, which isn’t quite as funny as “oops”, but almost. When my room-mate told me this, I got a sadly hilarious image of someone just telling you their husband died because he slipped on a banana-peel while climbing a ladder and fell into a big tub of whipped cream and drowned. That is the sort of image that saying “oops” to “my husband just died” evokes in me. Yes, there is something wrong with me). When the woman left, my room-mate simply said “bye”. Because…

What do you say? We do have an equivalent of “my condolences” in Swedish, but it is so out-dated and formal as to be almost cold. You could say “I’m sorry” but you can’t really apologise because, well, it’s not like you caused their deaths. (And in Swedish, “Jag är ledsen” sounds more like an apology). You could say “that’s sad” but that is a statement, which in fact sounds rather stupid, because of course the widow knows it’s SAD that her husband died.

Once you’ve gotten over the hurdle of figuring out how to respond to “my husband just died, so…”, you get to the “what to say as a good-bye?” issue. Like my room-mate pointed out, you can’t really say “have a nice day” or “hope it gets better” or something to that effect, so you end up with a very awkward “bye”. Or…

What would you have done?

Do you get the theme of this now? So every once in a while, when something happens to me, or someone I know, or a friend of a friend… I shall write a post, because the question stumps me, and I would really like some advice in case I end up in a similar situation in the future.

So give us a comment below to let us know what you clever, sensitive people would have said in response, and here are the deliciously awesome Stumble-links for this post:

My husband found it quite hilarious and sweet how excited I got over the carrot-fact at the top of this page. You have to admit it has a certain wow-factor though. Or a no-way-factor. Some kind of factor.

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/01/10-fascinating-food-facts/

Most of these adds are either “you clever boy” chuckley or simply genius

http://www.sortrature.com/24-clever-print-ads/

Kinda pretty, and probably something I’ll try someday when I am dying with boredom.

http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/976091/latte-coffee-spoons/

These blow my mind, clean and simple. I could not believe some of these were actually drawings. Still can’t.

http://twentytwowords.com/2013/06/18/pencil-sketches-that-seem-to-stand-up-off-the-page-12-pictures/

Much of this made me go “he he he” or “woooow!” I have to admit I found the Spongebob one especially hilarious. Sadistic streak in me.

http://www.mrpilgrim.co.uk/inventive-urban-art-cool-street-art/#.UiuWfNLWUr8

Usually I go “euuuargh!” when I get a paper-cut. If I got one of these, I would be very happy.

http://www.picamemag.com/a4-pepercuts/

See you soon, me hearties!

Stumbling through time

Of late, I have found myself restless and worried. It’s quite common for the mood to shift with the seasons, and autumn is undoubtedly arriving, at least up north here in Sweden. With it come the colds. I think most everyone I know has been posting about how sniffly they are and their sore throats on facebook for the past two weeks.

In this restlessness, I found myself looking for a new facebook game to play. Yes. I was actually looking for a new facebook game. Actively. And I already play 3. Well, two that I play, one that I have lost my addiction to. So I stopped what I realised must be a clear sign of desperation and sat down to write out things that me and my husband like to do, that we are good at. We intend to start our own company, but all the things we are good at are fairly… insubstantial. Creativity, writing, story-telling, analysing, prop-making… and most of those are just my husband’s. So attempting to start a company, based on passion alone, with no funds, and little actual professional experience, has proven a frustrating process. (If any of my beloved readers have suggestions based on the things I wrote above, please, tell me. I would love comments with suggestions).

So after I stopped myself in the hunt for a new facebook game, and then put the company ideas on the shelf until further notice, I delved deeper into my latest obsession: Stumbleupon. I can, honestly, sit for hours and just “stumble”. I felt that my posts need some form of gimmick, so from now on, I shall attempt to end my posts with a few links to things I recently stumbled upon and thoroughly enjoyed, for one reason or another.  So I shall kick this off by sharing a LOT of things that I enjoyed on Stumbleupon.

This man creates an “image” on the wall through the shadow of objects. Quite astounding.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/4yvz0l/catinwater.com/2012/08/21/rashad-alakbarov-paints-with-shadows-and-light/

This picture made me smile… a lot 🙂

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/323KpH/media.al.com/birmingham-buzz/photo/goldie1971jpg-a0de64e9bd62fd9b.jpg/

These pictures of snowflakes are so incredibly beautiful. I know macro-photos of snowflakes aren’t new and exciting any more, but I will always find them extraordinary.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2pnYmj/www.petapixel.com/2012/12/07/ethereal-macro-photos-of-snowflakes-in-the-moments-before-they-disappear/

This is an amusing, interactive page.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1n6win/www.drawastickman.com/episode1?o=66-69-32-67-82-69-65-84-73-86-69s66-89-58-32-84-72-69-32-66-65-78-68-69-69/

And finally, an adorable video of a grizzly bear cub playing with a wolf puppy. Daaaaaaw!

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/30xLvD/www.youtube.com/watch?v=vL8x7LcA-Y4/

The Importance of Dance, Lanterns and… Two Extraordinary Photographers

This post is about… well, exactly what the title says. I am first going to post a few of the lovely pictures taken by my even more lovely sister-in-law, and then follow them by fucking fantastic pictures taken by my fucking fantastic best friend. At the bottom I will actually write a little, as well. I know, right?

Image

My something blue

Image

Walking away from the ceremony

cake

Reassembling the cake

theo

What my nephew did while I was re-assembling it.

The above pictures were all taken by my lovely sister-in-law, and this is her photo-blog, in case you missed it.

together

First dance

dance

Quite cute

thought

Thoughtful groom

future

Sending a light towards the future

These four above pictures were taken by none other than our extremely talented best man, whose blog can be found here, and who has posted some of her favourites pictures from our wedding, if you want to see more.

To me, it was important not to have a stranger taking pictures at our wedding. I wanted everyone present to truly be a part of our day, and so there was no catering-staff, no wedding-planner, no photographer… well, we did have an officiator, but he was only there for the ceremony. We had extremely helpful, loving friends and family members, who made this day possible through gifts, money, and so much help with food and decorations and planning… and as you can see, they helped us make it the memory of a life-time.

Not only are they both extremely talented… it was so much easier to smile and be yourself than if you have a “professional” wedding-photographer that knows how they want things, and the sort of pictures that “couples usually want”. What we got was unique, warm, friendly and quirky. I got so much more than I had hoped for. So if you have very talented friends with their own cameras… spend that wedding-photographer budget on something else.

If you wish to find out how I made the ruffle-cake up top, here’s the link to the Swiss-meringue butter-cream recipe I used. I used a massive Wilton piping-nozzle to get nice, wide ruffles, and also created the roses on top, with a little help from this useful you-tutorial.

The lanterns in the pictures we bought 10-packs for £17, I’m sure you could find them for cheaper. We even had some left over. It was a wonderful way to end the evening, and I would recommend it to anyone who’s looking for the perfect way to seal the wedding-day.

After the Storm

A little over two weeks has passed since I did. Well, I said “I do”, rather. And also “I will”. Before you ask: no. I do not feel any different as a married woman. I find myself repeating the phrase “it’s kind of like your birthday: you know that you are a year older, technically, but you do not feel any different from the day before”. I continue to feel overjoyed and blessed that I get to share my life with this wonderful person, whether as his wife, girlfriend, fiancée or whatever other creative words we have for “romantic involvement”. Perhaps I can’t pinpoint any specific sensations of “just married” bliss because I never got out of the “hi, there you are! I love you!” bliss upon first falling in love with a person. I wake up filled with gratitude every morning because I can turn over and see him in bed next to me, with a sleepy, adorable smile on his face. So no, I don’t feel any different. I still feel just as wonderful as I felt before.

This next post (or two) will be about the wedding. Maybe it will give you a few creative ideas. I will also blog about my oldest brother’s wedding, in due time. Their’s was a bit more quirky, since they had a distinct theme: 1920’s. Our theme was more in the colour-scheme of things, as can be seen in the following pictures:

Image

Image

The serviettes took a considerable amount of time to fold. They worked well as place-settings, added colour and a feeling of general festivity. I was going to show you how I folded them, but I can’t remember what the fold is called, so after searching for 20 minutes on youtube to try to find the tutorial I used, I gave up. If you want to know how I did it, ask, and I’ll try to record a tutorial. How about that?

The above pictures, along with many others which will be posted in the future, were taken by none other than my very talented sister-in-law, whose artistic photo-blog can be found here.

The flowers were simple and so were the candles, no mystery there. The posters on the walls were created by my husband, and tell our story in 9 chapters which you can find if you go to his blog, here. (Here’s chapter no. 1 if you wish to read it from the beginning).

A fun wedding-game was this:

shoes2

Where my oldest brother, our toast-master, initiated proceedings with the following instructions:

1. Bride and groom stand back-to-back, (so they can’t see each other), holding one of their shoes.

2. Guests may ask any question according to the pattern of “who/which one of you does the most/doesn’t…”, so that the couple can hold of their shoes to say “Me! I do!”

3. Example: “Who does the dishes?” “Who does the shopping?” “Who’s the first to say sorry?”

4. If the bride and groom both hold up shoes to the same question, a discussion may ensue, where the couple has to explain their thinking.

That is all for now. More on activities, cake and dress in a later post. Also, a picture or two from our other wedding-photographer and Best Man, whose photo-blog can be found here.

Here Comes the Bride… (And who’s that? Oh. It’s just her shrink).

It is now a few hours less than 8 days  till my surname changes forever. In other words, I will be a married woman, and I am aware that I do not HAVE to change my name, and that I can change back to my “nee” at any moment… but since it is a voluntary action, I do not think we have to argue any further.

My wonderful husband-to-be is none other than a fellow WordPresser. In fact, we met through our respective blogs. It was far from intentional: he read an early blog of mine, he liked what he read, I read his blog, likewise, and a friendly exchange between bloggers began. To be honest, it never even entered my head that we could have any kind of romance ahead in our mutual future, nor that we would ever meet, or even speak outside of the “Leave a Comment” section on the other’s blog.

Ha ha ha.

Well, here we stand today… or rather, in 13 days and a few hours time. Since I will be going on and on about how we met and who we are and all the romantic stuff for several posts ahead, I would like to make this post one of caution… and no. I am not telling people not to get married. Duh. What? I’M getting married for crying out loud! I would never lecture people on that. No. I am instead going to make a weak attempt at being of help to other future brides out there, by listing a few things I didn’t really think about before the wedding, and which have come back to bite me in my more sensitive parts as the day draws near. These are:

1. People.

You may think that it is very obvious exactly who you want to attend your wedding, and who you’d never want to share your special day. Fair enough. To me, it seemed an easy enough question… and then POOF! Out of the blue, I certainly started thinking “how do these people get along? will that person get hurt if I invite him but not her? will these people want to sit together, or apart? is it too long ago that I saw that person to invite them? I know this person will say no, but should I invite them anyway, because it’s the right thing to do?” and hey presto! Your head is suddenly spinning with what-ifs and whose-its. So my number one recommendation is take time to THINK! You may end up not having invited some people that you in hindsight would really like to be there, or inviting some people out of guilt that you regret inviting once you think about the food and drink you’ll be treating them to… so stop to think. Take your time. You’re only getting married once (well, I am. If you’re undecided, maybe it’s not so important. Then you can forget about this one and move on).

2. Theme.

Now, I’m one of those wondrously naive people who can say stuff like “I don’t really care what it looks like/I never really thought about it/I’m sure it will all work out in the end” about things such as decor, venue, general theme of the wedding etc. *stifled laughter*. Mhm. Here’s the thing. Even if you, like me, haven’t spent your entire life planning your wedding-day into the tiniest and minutest of details, all of a sudden things which didn’t seem that important will take on a magnitude that the Sphinx can’t really compare to. So try not to sit there like me, a few days before the wedding, hoping you will be able to find something green in the wild to decorate the room with, that won’t whither and die within two second of being picked. And if you were wondering, yes, it will be important to get those specific candle-holders. Trust me on this. This wedding is stupidly simple, low-budget and laid-back… and the details are still hurting my brain.

3. Expense.

Think about that for a second. If you have a certain dream-wedding in mind, you will definitely want to think about the budget before you pick a date. And once you have thought about the budget, think about it some more. Try to come up with more possible expenses. We have already had multiple: my dress, which was only going to cost me £162 (custom-sown, ordered on the internet, including transport) ended up costing me another £78… in customs. This is a cost that many sites will conveniently forget to mention when you order, so you’ll have to look up possible customs expenses when you order from out-of-borders by yourself. Because when you are already hard up for wedding-funds, an unforeseen £78 is not what you want to have to pay.  We also have to pay extra for the ceremony, which would otherwise have been free, because our officiator is from a municipality not our own. And a cravatt can be much more expensive than you think. So sit down, think about the cost down to the nitty gritty details, and then add extra money (a lot of extra money) for the “in case” fund. Because there will be “I never thought about that” expenses.

4. Help from your friends.

My friends and family-members, and family-members-to-be, are truly wonderful people. If you are arranging a wedding where you are doing basically EVERYTHING yourselves, you will probably need to ask some people for help. Think about who to ask for what. Some people will gladly help you cook or set tables, whereas some may feel a bit insulted. Some you can trust with carrying those rings and getting your grandmother home safely, and some you can’t trust with pouring welcome-drinks. Asking for help can be difficult, and it is, for me. If you are worried about stepping on toes, try to gauge who actually would like to help, and who would just say “yes” to be polite. Just try to keep a nice balance on things: you don’t want to have a guest of yours working their a** off all day, but you don’t want to be standing there doing dishes and carrying chairs either.

5. Traditiooooooons. Traditions. TRADITIONS!

Today, quirky and modern is becoming increasingly popular. The bride shall carry the groom across the threshold, the mother will give her away and maybe the ceremony should be held whilst bungee-jumping? There are, naturally, still some very “conservative” weddings, with the white dress, the cake-cutting, the father-of-the-bride speech etc. I have no objections to either. What is important is to ask yourself: this thing that we are about to have/not have at our wedding, is it because WE want it or because a) we don’t want to follow tradition or b) we haven’t even thought about it simply being a tradition because everyone does it? There are some I’ve chosen to stick with: the cake, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”, bridal bouquet, brides-maid… but my dress will be champagne, my father won’t walk me down the aisle and our best man is a wonderful woman… but the title is still Best Man, so don’t you go trying to change that around now! 😉 Just consider that a wedding can be exactly the way you want it. Don’t let yourselves be governed by traditions, or the fear of them.

 

One last, tiny piece of advice… don’t panic. Douglas Adams said it right. My husband-to-be has tried to help me in this regard. When I start hyperventilating about the things that may go wrong, everything that will have to be done last minute and all the expenses, he does his best to calm me down. I can’t say I don’t panic occasionally anyway… but it certainly doesn’t help one bit. Here’s a friendly reminder, printed on our custom-made wedding-invitations:

20130719_015733

I don’t know if these words will help any desperate brides or grooms out there. It has given me a nice little venting-space, however, and something to type while the pasta-sauce is simmering to delicious, tomatoey thickness. I’m going to go boil some fusilli now. OK. Bye.

Monsatan… Monsanta… Monsanto

I’m sure none of us have done ANYTHING on our computers the last few months without reading the word “Monsanto” amongst things like “super-duper-evil”, “worse than Hitler”, “OMG! I can’t believe how terrible these people are!”, “Boycott them or die!” and so forth. Yes. I can no longer log onto facebook without the majority of my friends having posted something about how this terribly nasty, BIG corporation (you know how them being big and making money means they are evil, right?) is taking over the world one grain at a time. If you have managed to miss this, good for you.

Because this Monsanto-fever is giving rise to something else, something which has killed an awful lot of people over thousands of years. Wherever it has reared its ugly head, people drop like flies. This little something, I like to call: self-righteousness.

Yes indeed. That thing that makes a person walk up to someone and tell them how despicable they are because they haven’t made the same life-choices. How selfish they are for drinking bottled water. What a terrible pregnant mother they are for eating a single Dorito. How can they live with themselves, these terrible people who don’t walk to work, or don’t grow their own organic veggies, or don’t breastfeed their children till they’re 3-years-old?

A deep, glowing belief that your way of life is the only right and the only GOOD way is what has led to a great many “events” in world history: The Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, The Russian Revolution and the Holocaust, to name a few. It would not surprise me if the mind-numbing sharing and reposting of things like this, this and this soon turn into “demonstration” in the form of throwing stones, bombs, graffiti etc. Perhaps some nice anti-GMO person will start shooting Monsanto hot-shots, because for some reason they think this will make the world a better place.

But hang on. The same people who are so against what Monsanto are doing today, aren’t those the ones who wanted to… what was it again… oh yes, end world hunger. Because that is the main reason for GMO in the first place! Creating enough resilient, hefty crops, that give farmers in third-world countries food and an income? Or, all these self-righteous, angry, first-world people can go the f*** down to Africa and India and into China and start helping the farmers for free, swatting bugs to avoid pesticides, farming acre upon acre of land without heavy machinery… no, but it is so much easier to just shout at some common scape-goat than to actually do something to fix the situation.

This is what Monsanto’s home-page looks like:

Monsanta 

(The morning of the 13th of June, it took me forever to get to their homepage. It would not load. Is it possible that some well-meaning anti-GMO activist feels that Monsanto are so big and evil they do not deserve a website, or to tell their side of the story?)

This is what one of the thousands of “Monsanto is the evil of the world and the spawn of Satan” web-pages looks like:

Monsatan

(Interestingly enough, the BBC are now “biased” because they made a “pro-GMO” documentary. Up until now, the BBC have been professional, the best in the biz, world-famous for their unbiased reporting.  But if they do not agree with such a large group of people, who are well-informed of who Monsanto really are, thanks to reposting stuff on facebook, they must now have turned to the dark side. I don’t blame them. We have cookies.)

And this is what good ol’ neutral Wikipedia has to say on the matter:

Monsanto

One great problem is that people continue to share these things, huffing, puffing, gasping and frowning at the audacity of this company’s actions, without actually trying to find anything out for themselves. If they do, they go to “reliable” websites, with words like “green“, “organic“, “natural” etc. in the name. Because if it says Monsanto is evil, it must be true.

I am not saying anything either way. I know that by now, I would have to read for a week straight to get any unbiased information about this company. I know that even if I did, I could not convince its supporters that it is evil, nor its opponents that it is good. Because people see what they want to see, no matter what is actually there. But I still believe that self-righteousness is a much greater killer than any evil corporation ever has been. So far.