A pox on your thieving hands!

Yesterday we had a “kräftskiva” at out garden cottage, and much merriment was had by all. I spent much of the evening taking smoking pictures of people smoking, and some of those turned out quite well. I’d show them here if we hadn’t had the house burgled while asleep and the laptop disappearing. Sneaky bloody thieves — they walked just outside our bedroom door, and neither of us recall hearing a thing. Took us a while to realize that anything was gone as we spent most of the morning pickup up exoskeletons and beer bottles.

Losing the laptop, the cellphones and whatever else we find once we go through it all, is one very annoying thing and financially sucky. Worst is that now I keep eying everyone I don’t recognize, wondering if they’re scouting for opportunities or just passing by. Everyone looks like a theif. That’s the real toll of something like this (well, unless you lose something really important) and I don’t enjoy having violent fantasies of defenestrating the jerks. Goddam fucking asshole fuck-shits — I hope the cellphones give you contact allergies!

Ear drum head bang

Two gigs I’ve been to recently. Koloni presented Charles Haywood at Kajskjul Fyra Sex, and Kylesa performed along with two other bands at Truckstop Alaska. Haywood was rather fun to watch as he was making a twisted angry face at the microphone — his music is repetitive and manic, just as his stage presence — and occasionally it’s great fun to listen to good and tight drums.

A week later, four of us took the ferry over to see Kylesa at Truckstop. I thought their melodic trash metal was humdrum and uninspired, and the headbanging so perfunctory they might as well have hired extras to do it. Mine was a minority opinion though, and Petter even bought their record.

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In concert: Fucking werewolf asso

iTunes keeps track of how many times you listen to songs, and upon my return from Finland I’ve apparently listened to Fucking Werewolf Asso’s album Kid, just letting you know we’re doing it again 69 times. I was sure the number would be higher, but there you go. Ever since I saw them at Henriksberg two years ago, I’ve been hoping to catch them again, and yesterday they played at Pustervik for the release of their computer game, made by Cactusoid I think. The game looks like any self-respecting retro LOL-pixel adventure ought to, judging from the video loop the band had in the background.

It was enjoyable to hear old and new ditties, and singer Dennis is shouty and entertaining. There was a strange vibe to their show though; While Dennis is a spastic nihilist who’s jumping around (probably very bruised today) Martin is an angry drummer who keeps tipping over cymbals and swatting at things, particularly the new bass player EmoHair who mostly tries to hit people with his instrument and whose strongest card is “menacing pose.”

Had I been a bit more drunk or a half my age I wouldn’t have minded the posturing and the throwing of stuff, but since I got the show straight from work I was too sober not to frown disapprovingly on throwing cymbals at audience and staff. In all, it was a throwback to the days of mosh pits and bodysurfing; The music is excellent and would the energy be focused more on kicking ass instead of each other the show would be even better.

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Take me to those stars.

I’ve lived in Gothenburg for almost as many years as I’ve wanted to visit the star observatory in the park, and not until yesterday did I actually go. Bus 60 took me and Sara to the top of the hill, and after a while Olle and Helga joined us at the small building which houses four telescopes and dioramas left over from other, probably upgraded, museums.

At the observatory, a gawky guide shuffled us around telescopes swaying in the wind, requiring constant adjustment to remain fixed on the Pleiades or twinkly Sirius. The stars look nothing like in the movies, and even less like the colour-composite images NASA releases. Turns out that when you’re looking closely at bright dots, what you see is slightly larger bright dots, and even more dots around those. It’s dots all the way, so to say, which was the sentiment of one vocal woman, who exclaimed “you have got to be bloody shitting me, I can see as much in my binoculars at home!” It was a tense moment, and with the exception for a brat who just wouldn’t shut the hell up — his parents resigned to his annoying existence — twenty or so people held their breath, expecting the woman to lay into the poor, bumbling, guide. She was somewhat placated by seeing the Andromeda galaxy.

At the end of it all, we got to see some constellations and their constituent stars, and even got to see a blurry Saturn with a blurry ring. According to the other guide — the jovial one with the nose ring — this popping of ones Saturn cherry is a big moment in any stargazers career, and we did our best to feel properly awed. It was very nice to see it for real, and next time I’ll be in a city with a bigger telescope I’ll do my best to sneak a peek at the other planets. Not buying my own telescope yet though.

Music appreciation day in Gothenburg.

Petter has a taste in music. I’m not saying it’s always good, but he is a man of tastes. This taste brought us to the balcony of Henriksberg — a place for unpleasant young people, people who view of the harbor, and those who are there for the bands. We were there to watch the duo Civil Civic from Autralia, and I just noticed a writeup of their experience here: The Civil chronicle #6.

Somehow that blogpost forgot to mention the sauve and strapping young men who bought t-shirts after the excellent show, but perhaps they were thinking of other things. I look fetching in my t-shirt though. I recommend that you go to their MySpace and have a listen. You can buy their albums for any amount, which is neat since they’re a live act and not another guy with a laptop. (I’m not putting down people with laptops, just saying that a band with instruments and amps has more at stake than a midi-keyboard and a pirate copy of Cubase)

They’re an independent band and seem to put a lot of effort into the whole band experience thing which I understand the kids enjoy, as should you.

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Following Civil Civic, an even more party hardy band came on. Their music doesn’t carry well in a non-live setting, but the duo Fucking Werewolf Asso from Gothenburg kicked an excellent amount of arse. A drummer was exacting revenge on his drums for some past transgressions by beating the fuck out of them, and the bespectacled singer with Eraserhead hair stod with hand on hip, spewing awesome into the microphone over chiptune loops. If you get a chance to hear them, I wholeheartedly encourage you to go.

The main act was another local band with a punny name: Fulmakten. It’s a very style-conscious ensamble, and that’s the extent of what they had to offer. They were mimicking Swedish 80’s music so well they sounded like a generic tribute band, and I don’t think that was intentional. What little personality they had was contained in the splendid afro and facial hair of the singer. Then again, if you’re ever organizing a live roleplaying event which takes place thirty years ago on a cruise ship between Sweden and Finland, and are looking for that special blend of blandness, you’ll squeal in delight.

As a side note. With my 32:nd birthday out of the way last Monday, I’m wiser, closer to death, and have an updated list over who will get Christmas cards. Some will regret their lackadaisical approach to important dates.

Happy midsummer celebration, be careful out there!

Partial moon over Gothenburg

Continuing our experiments with GIF animations, I’m surprised by how crap the gif support is in Photoshop. And on Mac, there aren’t any alternatives for files larger than 100×100 px or so. Also, export for web seems to gunk up the cache; Files no larger than five megabytes crash the app, and each rendering takes a minute or two. Are there any good alternatives? Something as flexible as PS but faster (or, y’know, actually working) and maybe with a few more dithering options would be awesome. GIF is the most ubiquitous format for Internet animations, and it’s just too darn fun to play with not to use.

Guarding Enrico Pallazzo with my bare fists.

Given that I’m both handsome and easily amused, I was handed guard duty at the housewarming party for Hey, it’s Enrico Pallazzo on Saturday. As if by total coincidence that day marked the end of my one month sobriety; It goes without saying that beer improves the quality of life when you’re standing in freezing weather, trying to be friendly to people. What also helps is having a faux earpiece in one ear, and making an occasional pretense at receiving info from inside the party. Not many dared to call me on it, and those who did thought it was fun.

It was interesting to note the ten metre walk of dignity that people felt compelled to put on as soon as I was spotted. The avoidance of eye contact, the miniscule nod of the head so as to indicate friendliness, or alternatively the 1000 yard stare past me so that sheer determination would see them through. Gods know we’ve all been there, and I’m happy to say that a minimal amount of power was abused by me.

Carding 19-year olds was a bit odd, but even they seemed cheerful. I guess it’s because they’ve just barely reached legal age and still revel in being able to show a legit ID and not their older brothers bus pass. Because the housewarming was semi-private, the cost of getting in varied depending on who knew whom and what mood that person was in; The cover charge jumped from “voluntary” to 100 then down to 20, 50 and settled on 40-ish. The age-limit yo-yoed as did the rules of “this drunk or less to get in.” In the end only one guy was turned away; His indignant snarl diminished by his more convincing inability to speak in full sentences.

Hey, it’s Enrico Pallazzo is an ensemble of folks who got bored working for advertising agencies and started up something that nestles between advertisement and art. Adart? Regardless of their ambition, the space they are renting is beyond awesome. It’s beawesome.

Anna and Jan have commandeered a tiled room – imagine a large shower at a mental asylum, refurbished with a wooden floor – and there’s a big pillared hall which can be used for workshops, exhibitions or (like the other day) for parties. A grand space is an excellent catalyst for action; It’s going to be fun to see what comes off it.

“Earth Hour” was celebrated by turning off all the lights for half an hour, issuing glowsticks and lighting candles. Any doubt as to the symbolism of the event was dispelled by the unabated techno. Imagine that you’re Earth and one of the kids kicking you in the face has decided not to wear steel tipped shoes out of consideration for your well-being, but is still aiming for the teeth. Even so, there was an accoustic guitar, which I guess counts as a token of caring and a concession to uplugged entertainment.

Burlesque! Caffeine & Suicide! Mustache!

Last Friday was spent at a party. A burlesque party. To better fit in with the crowd of Manson fans and strip-tease performers, I presented myself in tights and with a mustache + soul patch. I’m going to try this feature on for a couple of days. So far most people are bemused. I don’t know, is it too Wyatt Earpy? (Also, please notice the author pose I have going on. I’d be an awesome writer if I would only not have to actually write something)

Newspaper publishers should consider consolidating and outsourcing news operations — even overseas — to save money as revenues continue to shrink, the head of a major U.S. newspaper company said Monday.

→ USA Today: Outsourcing could be in journalism’s future.

In July of this year, the now-defunct Eureka Reporter reported that McClatchey has outsourced the copy editing of the Orange County register to India, outsourced the advertising design department of the Fresno Bee to India, and had intended to outsource the copy editing of the Miami Herald to India but ultimately changed its mind on that one.

→ Watching the watchers: Offshoring/Outsourcing Journalism: The Unstoppable Bad Idea?

Although caffeine does not produce with life-threatening health risks commonly associated with the use of classic drugs of addiction such as cocaine, heroin and nicotine, some caffeine users report becoming “addicted” to caffeine in the sense that they report an inability to quit or to cut down their caffeine use, they continue to use caffeine despite having medical or psychological problems made worse by caffeine. and they continue to use caffeine to avoid experiencing caffeine withdrawal symptoms.

→ John Hopkings Medical Center: Information about Caffeine Dependence

The motif of harmful sensation is a recurring idea in literature: physical or mental damage that a person suffers merely by experiencing what should normally be a benign sensation. The phenomenon appears in both traditional and modern stories.

→ Wikipedia: The motif of harmful sensation

Both McKinney and Bedard told me about people who took Tylenol or phosphorous, which also destroys the liver (and incidentally produces phosphorescent vomit). In both cases, they slept off the initial sickness and recovered for five days — during which time they decided suicide was a mistake after all and they wanted to live. But the liver had been destroyed and after five days each of them started to feel very sick, passed into deep coma, and died. “He knew it would happen and that there was nothing we could do about it,” Bedard said, “and his friends and family knew it, and for five days they sat in the hospital together waiting for it.”

How not to commit suicide, by Art Kleiner, 1981

I want you to know that I have a deep affection for you. I am deeply grateful for all your kindness. I wish I could have made a happier life for you. It was mostly my fault, please forgive me.

Suicide notes. ibid.

Jill Tracy – Evil night together:

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I’m looking specifically about a rejection of postmodern theory (I apologize for the broad terminology), that looks at thinkers like Foucault, Derrida, Lyotard, Deleuze, Jameson, etc etc, that accurately comprehend their arguments, and then rejects them. That is, if postmodernist thought is broadly characterized by a general rejection of singular, grand narratives and a method of critical thought that involves a disbelief in foundations — then I’m specifically interested in arguments that go against these characterizations and arguments.

→ Ask.metafilter: Anti-postmodernism for postmodernists?

It’s football maaaaadneeeeeees!

Outside our building there’s a football field that occasionally gets occupied by people running around in brightly coloured shorts. Last evening there was a kids game going on, and I thought I’d time lapse it. I’m sure there’s some sort of analysis that could be done on how the players and crowd behaved, but I just think it’s rather pretty with all the sunshine and ant-like behaviour.

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Black bird, running.

I’ve restored most of the stuff that I lost in the crash, but the drive is beyond salvation. The only things of importance that I’ve lost are a few images, and anything in the downloads folder. Any attachments you might have emailed me are now roaming the pastures of the great beyond.

Korpar kan det vara? Vid Arkitekturmuseet

Regnbåge på Konsthallen i Göteborg

There’s an exhibition going on at the art museum right now, concerned with painting. The modern art world being what it is it encompassed performance and installation as well, and since I haven’t been to any shows lately it’s such an odd feeling when I go. An essay is taking shape somewhere in my brains about my chosen profession and my role in it. I’m obviously not going to great lengths to establish a career, but I go through the motions of doing it. I buy magazines, see shows occasionally, have 2000+ articles in my RSS reader about grants and exhibitions, and most of my friends are part of that scene.

In lieu of artistic work, I take great pride in the wheezing and panting I do every other day. When I started running I was at one point overtaken by a lady pushing a baby stroller. It was sort of a low point, and I had to take a picture to illustrate. The whitish dot disappearing under the viaduct is she, three minutes after she overtook me. Today I would totally kick her arse as long as she didn’t keep her tempo up for longer than three minutes – that’s how long I can run without stopping. I’m moving up to five minutes on wednesday.

WTF en kvinna med barnvagn går förbi mig

I spoke with Stefan yesterday, and we discussed moving somewhere. Not somewhere in particular, but just the urge to move. He asked me why I’m still in Gothenburg, and it took me a bit by surprise. I haven’t thought of it much lately, but I guess that this is as close to a home that I’ve ever had, and I’m wont to enjoy the feeling.

Sooner or later I’ll be in good enough shape to do a Forrest Gump, and I’ll take off for Taipei or the horn of Africa, but until then I stay put.