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

New Is Always Better

I know that I always say “this occurred to me the other day” or “something that has been bothering me for a while” and stuff like that. Well. This one just kind of slid in there. It hasn’t really bothered me, and it didn’t come to me in a flash of lightning with halos or Bach music. It gently settled in my brain and would not let go until I wrote it out. The reason this one itches in my brain is because I am wondering if it is true, or if I am merely tagging on to the “it was different back then” band-wagon of the people who think that “things are only getting worse all the TIME and the universe is going to implode REALLY REALLY SOON!”  I don’t know, because usually, my ball is never in that court. (Or rather, if I owned a ball, it wouldn’t be). I tend to think that little has changed about mankind over the last thousand or so years, and little will change. It does make sense, however, that with technological change and “improvement”, something will change in the way humans think and feel, and the greatest change I have perceived is this: new is always better. 

If you are awesome, like me, you will recognise this quote from How I Met Your Mother‘s Barney. Though he does little to give the argument credibility, we do our best to preserve its validity. There was a time when the older something was the more valuable. When the fact that you had had a bag for 10 years meant it was good quality and you should be proud, but it now means that you are stingy/un-hip/”poor you! you can’t afford a new bag!” Huh. Wait. Why is new always better?

I believe that I mentioned a similar issue in a blogpost not too long ago. Since it is so easy to find those “other fish in the sea”, people are not so wary about breaking up any more. There must be a switch somewhere in the back of our heads going “So this person you’re with… you love them very much, they’re alright, no real problems… but we’re just not as excited any more! The sex isn’t as great, we don’t talk as often, or as much, we’ve just lost it. Hey, who’s that hottie?” (I will concur that “hottie” is probably not a word that people use during an internal monologue, but you get my point). So we keep going, from new partner to new partner, because new is always better. It is exciting, it is different, we can go through all those tingly first feelings again, and think that this time, we are actually really in love… until it happens all over again.

So as we sit there, longing for the newest tv-series, the new iPhone, that organic cotton-rug from Madagascar, the solar-powered spaghetti-machine from Japan… As we worry about being able to afford a whole new wardrobe for the summer so people won’t see us wearing the same stuff, and what our next shade of dark-brown hair-dye is going to look like compared to the one we’ve got (I’m sorry, no-one will notice. Trust me. I’ve been there), and if the guy across the street has more abs than the guy next door so maybe we should focus our flirtations on him instead… do we question our reasoning? What is the logic behind this “new is always better” stuff?

My theory is that we are constantly stuck in an “upgrade in progress” loop, where we believe that we are improving ourselves and our lives through this new stuff. We are so busy admiring that thing we don’t have yet that we fail to notice all the things we DO have that we used to feel that way about. We get something new, and a week or two later, we rage about how inadequate it is, and start looking for what we should have gotten instead, and will certainly save up for. We notice all the ways that the thing we wanted didn’t meet our expectations, and firmly believe that there is something shiny out there that will, we just have to keep looking.

Aha. That must be why we are still looking. Because there obviously is, you just haven’t found it yet.

If you get tired at some point though, maybe you can re-evaluate what you are ACTUALLY looking for, as you huff and puff, flat out on the floor. My bet is that a) you already have it, b) your expectations are set too high, so stop watching all those Disney-movies and start looking at what life is actually like, or c) OK, so maybe this thing or person is out there, and they are real, and they are flawless and you’ll never ever get tired of them or bored because life will be all rosy and perfect if you find them… If you feel that way, by all means, keep looking. You may be right. In the meantime, I shall sit here with my broken, worn down things, and be extremely happy over having them. Partially because I see all these people around me being so frustrated with their new, shiny things that aren’t what they expected. And partially because I know I won’t find peace over the next hill, if I can’t find it right where I’m sitting. There is only one thing that getting something new will give you, and that is a guarantee: something new.

A word of caution.

It seems to be somewhat of a trend here on WordPress to write about the past year, the way one of my favourite fellow bloggers did, regarding the lessons you learned and the things you experienced. Though in most cases when I attempt to keep myself up to date with trends, I fail miserably, I figured I’d give this one a shot. 

Tips for future me to remember

  • Yes, kittens are just as cute as you remember them to be. They are also vicious, selfish, loud, destructive and never asleep when you want them to be. And though they might be warm, fuzzy, soft, with adorable eyes and purrs and smell like summer-rain and honey a lot of the time, they can also be a tornado of claws smelling like litter-box and bad fish-breath
    Friend or foe?

    .

  • Attempting to recall, in detail, the worst nightmare you ever had, especially when alone in your home at 4 in the morning, is an absolutely horrible idea. Yes, you may be on the phone with a person who makes you feel reasonably safe and there may or may not be a katana standing next to your bed, but it doesn’t mean the panicky mess that is your brain and racing heart will listen to the voice of reason. So just don’t do that again.
  • Remember how you dyed your hair red, then dark brown, then something that was almost blonde, then dark-brown, then more red, then black and then how you tried for ages to get back to normal again? Look away from the Hazel Gold 601 missus. You are not dyeing your hair again!
  • Apparently, you can get more muscles and stamina from working out in your own home than you did when you went to the gym all the time. But without the high expense and the public humiliation. So just keep at that, it’s not so bad.
  • If you get the chance, invent a time-machine, go back to August of 2009 and stop the idiot on the back-porch from lighting that first cigarette. She doesn’t realise the gravity of her actions. Please inform her of how that puff will lead to many nights of freezing in the snow just so she can kill herself a bit more, and even more moments and guiltily moving as far away as possible from her non-smoking friends so she won’t blow second hand smoke in their faces. It’s not going to be worth it. Also, slap her for me.
  • The more you worry about your grades and doing well in them, the better you’ll do. It’s when you relax and get over-confident that you’re screwed. Also, keep double-checking with teachers when it comes to assignments and what they require of you. They’re bad at telling you that.
  • It is possible to miss people every single day. Now go get really rich so you can fly all over the world and see the people you love on a regular basis instead of sitting here missing them.
  • The end of the world will come and go many times, but the only thing that constitutes the end of the world is your own, personal end of the world. (Even if we all die, the world is pretty damn likely to go on. I don’t think it’s a big fan of us and won’t mourn our loss a whole lot, anyway.) My end of the world is the same day that books are no longer read or used. If you find me with one of those internet-book-pads in my hand, that is probably a sign of our upcoming demise.
  • Allie Brosh probably won’t write another blog-post in a long while. Don’t cry yourself to sleep over it, but rather treasure the rare times that she does.
  • Your friends are still the best part of your life and they will probably always be. So just take good care of them, and get better at keeping in touch. It’s not that f-ing hard.
  • Watching countless episodes of “House”, “How I Met Your Mother”, “The Office”, “Glee”, “Sex and the City” and “Black Books” does not count as being productive. Not even if you’re knitting while you’re watching them.
  • The blogging world is ridiculously exciting. Once you click a new post or check out a new writer, there’s no telling where you’ll end up. Be careful, be safe, but keep exploring.
  • Remember that dream you had where you had a bunch of cavities in your teeth? Go get a dental check-up.
  • You’ll turn out ok. At least if you keep thinking that you don’t have to worry so much about it.

New Year, New Look, Old stats.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 30 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Sweet of them huh? I would write something for you guys today but I’m still too hung over so I’m just going to sit around in my dressing-gown, eat candy and watch tv-series on the internet. Yes. It sounds like the sort of sluggish day I require at the moment.

Ok, love you guys, see you tomorrow.

Can you see the blue elephant in the room?

Today in class, we got to pick an article from the Daily Mail and create a debate about the topic. At first I went with the “intelligent” article, where they were discussing the financial crisis in the U.S (where they mentioned, among other numbers, $1.2 trillion. No, I can’t get my head around how massive of an amount that is either. $1.2 trillion. Try to picture it. Can you? I’m impressed.) and Barack Obama was all like “I can has veto, I can has use it, hah!” and the Republicans were like “Well you suck!” and it was all very mature and grown up and interesting.

But then me and the girl that was doing the assignment with me started talking about other things. It was my fault we got side-tracked (and that usually never happens *coughs*). I said “They only got into the crisis because today, money isn’t an actual thing any more, it’s an abstract concept, an empty number. If you can’t see the money, if you don’t have money that you can hold in your hand, then how are you supposed to grasp the idea of your actual resources?” This quickly lead into “Nothing is real any more!”, “Can you believe this years Christmas-present in Sweden is a 3 month subscription to ‘Linas Matkasse’ (Note for non-Swedish readers; Linas Matkasse is a grocery-bag with a selection of groceries and recipes, so you don’t have to decide what you want to cook for yourself any more, and if you don’t want to bother with planning a meal and finding the recipe yourself, you probably don’t want to go to the store either, so yes, it comes to the door for you) how sick is that?”, “I can’t remember where someone said this but you know how if a guy wanted to ask a girl out in the good old days he had to turn up with flowers on her door-step and now he can just scroll through a list of eligible young singles and click ‘send flirt’ on the ones he thinks are hot enough for him (e.g, way out of his league)… Oh, I’m pretty sure that’s what Drew Barrymore says in ‘He’s just not that into you’. Yeah, that’s probably it”, “In fifty years from now people won’t even talk to each other in real life because you never have to leave your house to do anything!!!!!” and other similar remarks.

Seeing as how I felt this conversation became so interesting I figured it would be more fun to start a debate on this topic, so we quickly scrolled… I mean, looked through the page… I mean, newspaper, to see if there was an update… I mean, article about Facebook. Lo and behold, there was! According to this article we’re now several steps closer to anyone else on the planet… getting in touch with them, that is. The question me and the other girl decided to ask was this; do you feel that iPhones, laptops, media in general and networking-sites such as Twitter and Facebook brings people closer together or makes people more detached?

My own response was instant. “More detached, of course” I thought to myself. Then I stopped and mentally chided myself for being so hasty. Because think of all the people we would not even bother to keep in touch with if it wasn’t for Facebook? And all the people who would not spare the time out of their day to see what was up with you if they couldn’t read it all in a tweet? In this sense, the social networking does help us keep in touch with people. Ok, so I guess that’s determined. But wait. Keeping in touch with people, is that the same as maintaining a friendship, or a functioning relationship of any kind? If there were blue elephants and I was friends with one on Facebook, we’d be able to poke each other and hit the “like-button” every once in a while when one of us posted a status-update, but “Phoowro-proooo-pheeeuut!” (< what it would look like if a blue elephant could type. Assuming they exist) doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, and so even though I might think that the blue elephant is an all right dude, I wouldn’t really know the blue elephant, or care to get to know him. (In case any blue elephants are reading this, I’m really sorry, I apologise for my race’s inability to understand any language but its own, I know, we’re very ignorant.)

If they exist, the probably look like this.

With these questions in mind, maybe the social networking of today brings people closer together while making them more socially dysfunctional at the same time? Or are we just developing a new way to socially interact, which might be different but doesn’t have to be wrong just because it’s not like we used to interact? We don’t bow to people and kiss their hand any more (if you do, that is totally rad. Keep it up), just like we’re now starting to get closer to equality between men and women and in certain awesome countries and states, gay marriage is legal. So who’s to say that only some change is ok, but some things have to remain the way they’ve “always” been? Maybe this new way to socially interact is just another step forward in our evolution, and not a step backwards into social awkwardness and seclusion.

I’m sure you guys have a lot more interesting input on this, so I would like to hear your thoughts regarding networking-sites such as Facebook and Twitter and how they’re affecting social interaction today. If you can be bothered to comment 😉

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?

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.