Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Do we really need to go this far? Couldn't we have stopped long before we got this far? ...loooooong before?!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sankta Lucia Dag

The celebration of St. Lucia takes place today in Sweden. She has been adopted from her native Italy because she is the saint of light and brought food to the poor before the Catholics burned her alive. Irony, no? Light, burning... Sorry, bad joke. Nevertheless, she has served as an important beacon in the darkness of the north at the darkest time of the year, like right now! We celebrate by singing songs, eating Luciabullar (safran rolls) and drinking glögg and other drinks (for many that means too many drinks). Last night I attended a concert with my newish Swedish friends Åsa and Jonas in an old church in gamla stan. Then we had a fika (a coffee, literally, but usually means take a break and eat something lite with some coffee, but then again, I didn't drink coffee) in an old cafe in a cellar that must have been some 400 or 500 years old. While I walked home sober, many were still refilling their drinks. Oh well... maybe next year.

When I woke this morning, they showed Lucia as it traditionally is, early in the morning with candles. I took this picture of the program on TV. The Lucia is the girl with the crown of candles.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Istanbul Photos

I have yet to think much about my trip to Istanbul with my colleagues at Viktor Rydbergs Gymnasium, as I caught and came home with a cold and fever and have been pretty much working or sleeping since our return. As a result, I have little to say except that the people were quite hospitable and it was strange to be in a country which has so many people of a religion we've been conditioned to fear, even if these particular Muslims are quite secular, thanks to their famous leader Ataturk. Here's some photos:

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dominion/Mother Russia

I remember first hearing the Sisters of Mercy classic goth track (before goth was Goth)Dominion/Mother Russia back in high school and being haunted by its dark, murky message of impending doom. Oddly enough, I got that very same sense last night when I watched the following video about Putin's rising power even when he is supposedly stepping down or at least stepping over. I have always had a strict distaste for this man, and with all the news bubbling from over there, I've grown even more sceptical. Somehow my father has instilled a subtle lack of trust of Russia, perhaps due to his own upbringing during WWII. Nevertheless, this photo installation displays a garrish truth, which I'll leave for you to judge. Here is the link. To quote the compelling if not specious television series Twin Peaks, "Things are not what they seem."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

Here's my third neighborhood. It's much more down to earth and low key. Peace!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Two Radiohead Covers (Perhaps Unlikely Ones)

The Smiths' "Headmaster Ritual"

New Order's "Ceremony"

Monday, November 12, 2007

Two Interesting Buildings

Here's KTH, Kungliga Tekniska Högskola. I go past here almost every day on the way to work. Nice campus, no?

I have dubbed this building The Good Death Star. It's called Globen in Swedish. It's where all the big bands play, hockey matches take place, and other large events take place. Today I did some grocery shopping on my way home. I like passing by it on the tunnelbana every morning. I've moved again, so I see it regularly. I hope the sight of it doesn't get old. It's also the same area where Hammarby plays home football.

Monday, November 5, 2007

OK, I Admit it.

These past few days, I've been feeling pretty damned homesick. Between the recent troublesome news back home and the strain of the flu I picked up, I was aching to be back in the familiar. For these past few days, Stockholm just couldn't hold me with it's warm and open arms like it usually does. Amidst the hot buzz that my body and mind suffered during the fever, I needed something firmer, more solid—to me. Even today, I felt a little of the ache in bones. Someday home will make sense to me, wherever I find myself.

For times like now, I prepared a mix of music with Chicago connections to get me through. Here's the list:

Chicago 6:05 Sufjan Stevens Illinois 11 11/5/07 6:08 PM Protected AAC audio file
Dear Chicago 2:13 Ryan Adams Demolition 3 11/5/07 6:10 PM MPEG audio file
Skyway 2:06 The Replacements Don't You Know Who I Think I Was?? The Best of The Replacements 1 11/5/07 6:13 PM MPEG audio file
Double Vision 3:37 The Ponys Turn The Lights Out 12 11/5/07 6:16 PM MPEG audio file
Chicago At Night 2:47 Spoon Girls Can Tell 6 11/5/07 6:19 PM MPEG audio file
Happy When It Rains 3:37 The Jesus & Mary Chain Darklands 7 11/5/07 6:23 PM MPEG audio file
The Fall Of Troy 3:01 Tom Waits Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards [Disc 2] 5 11/5/07 6:26 PM AAC audio file
Ballad of the Sin Eater 5:22 Ted Leo & The Pharmacists Hearts of Oak 13 11/5/07 6:31 PM MPEG audio file
Love & Communication 4:35 Cat Power The Greatest 13 11/5/07 6:36 PM MPEG audio file
We're from Barcelona 3:02 I'm From Barcelona Let Me Introduce My Friends 9 11/5/07 6:39 PM MPEG audio file
Pink Bullets 3:53 The Shins Chutes Too Narrow 1 2/10/07 10:59 PM MPEG audio file
Misunderstood 6:28 Wilco Being There [Disc 1] AAC audio file
Via Chicago 5:34 Wilco Summerteeth AAC audio file
Sunken Treasure 6:51 Wilco Being There [Disc 2] AAC audio file
It Takes Two 5:02 Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock Profilin' the Hits 9 10/12/07 7:42 AM Protected AAC audio file
Never Let Me Down 5:24 Kanye West Feat. Jay-Z & J. Ivy The College Dropout 1 7/4/07 12:43 PM MPEG audio file
Wolf Like Me 4:39 TV On The Radio Return To Cookie Mountain 7 7/4/07 12:48 PM MPEG audio file
I Will Refuse 4:23 Pailhead Trait 3 7/22/07 12:17 AM AAC audio file

Did I forget to mention that it's starting to get dark here really early? Yes, no shit, you're saying to yourself. That's what we've been telling you for months. It came as a shock to be finally packing up to leave school just before 4 pm to see that the light was nearly gone. They even have these silly lamps for sun light deprivation for more southerly folks like me at my school. I use one at my desk at times. I really helps! Who would have thought! Nevertheless, here's a photo and believe me when I saw it was darker than it looked:

Sunday, November 4, 2007

It's Julmust Time Again!

This is glögg for kids. It's a sort of Christmas soda with a very distinct taste. Today I even found some in "light," which is the diet form of a drink here in Sweden. I would imagine this would mix really, really well with Absolut Vanilla; although, I'm not pushing a particular brand name. If you are interested and live in the States, I'm quite sure you can pick some up at IKEA, and also Wickström's and Erickson's on Clark Street. Quite a unique sweet taste!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Elvis, My New Swedish Teacher

I recently completed my first Swedish B course and although my teacher claimed that I had improved greatly, I feel like I could have learned more. Nevertheless, I've been too busy to continue immediately, so in place of a course, I'm reading more... Elvis! Elvis is a comic strip which I greatly enjoy. I think he's a flea. He's funny, or at least he acts funny, and he teaches me new words. Just who said Elvis is out of the building?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The New Neighborhood

Over the weekend I moved to Södermalm, the southern island of Stockholm where I spent most time as a kid growing up. In fact, this place is sort like home as my grandfather grew up within two blocks of my current apartment. I am on a bluff that looks over the water and the photos that do look out on the water from on high were taken from the balcony of the new place. I am only renting a room here, but it's a choice part of town. The housing market is so tight here that even the room I rent is hot property.

Here are some photos from the new locale (click on any or all of the photos to enlarge):

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Walk on a Rainy Day in Autumn, in Photos

All of the following photos were taken in the part of town, Södermalm ("Southern Rock," it's an island) where I now live. Cheers!

American in Stockholm

If you can read this article, you would soon know that Charlie Davies, an American playing football here in Stockholm just yesterday scored a hatrick from my club here. This may mean nothing to the most of you, but I happen to think it's pretty cool. He came from Boston College to Stockholm towards the beginning of this year and scored in his debut, which was a cup match. Alla hylla Charlie!

Friday, October 26, 2007

MTV Ad in Sweden

I wish I could explain how funny this is to me. If you do not understand Swedish, you might imagine what Johannes is saying in light of the clear disgust he displays. The fact that this is on ordinary TV in Sweden makes it that much more liberating for somebody who has grown up within the prim and austere confines of the regulating and strangling FCC. Mind you, I am not in favor of unnecessary profanity on TV, but being treated like an adult with the expectation that we act like one in return, even as a 14- or 16-year-old, always provides a great sense of dignity and self-worth.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Morning Commute

I rode my bike today for what may be the last for some time. Soon after I took this snapshot, my pedal fell off again, further elucidating the fact that the my right crank (a Eno one-speed) continues to strip itself of threading. Ugh! I just bought these last spring for a good deal and felt lucky to have such a good brand of crank. Nevertheless, the shot shows the waterway between Solna, from where I'm moving, and Danderyd, a northern kommun where my school stands up on a hill. More on my new school later. Nevertheless, I do get to take in some of nature's beauty on the way to school. Once I move to Söder (the southern, inner-city island of Stockholm), I'll have a longer and less aesthetically pleasing ride. Tunnelbana here I come!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Kanye West & Peter, Björn and John Live Together

Here my two musical worlds collide as Chicago's Kanye West blends his boasting with Stockholm's Peter, Bjorn and John's ubiquitous "Young Folks," recorded live at Gothenburg's Way Out West festival in the western port of Sweden. I am somewhat nonplussed with overall performance, but I enjoy seeing people experiment, mix it up and generally work out of their comfort zones. I suspect that is exactly what will keep these acts alive while their peers fade into the past like yesteryear's flannels and Air Jordans. Peace.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hilarious Bergman Spoof

I recently came across this spoof while reading a letter to Camille Paglia on Bergman is considered holy by many, myself included; yet, I am glad that even a group who holds him so sacred would also be able to laugh at him (unlike some other religious groups).
Here it is.


I recently read about how the photographer and now director Anton Corbijn will be attending the screening of his first major film Control, the biopic of the late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis. The film has been written up well at least once. I hope to catch it here during the Stockholm Film Festival at the end of November and see the director himself present it. I've come to enjoy Corbijn's grainy, contrasty style (Miles Davis, Tom Waits, William Burroughs and Iggy Pop), a style which first attracted my eye in Breathless—in which Jean-Luc Godard used only a hand held camera and all natural light. This new film also sounds like a labor of love on the part of the director. Only one or two other films this year have woken me up, the new Paul Thomas Anderson film There Will Be Blood and Quentin Tarantino's latest, Death Proof, which was a good but cheap and highly stylized thrill. Nevertheless, here's a trailer for the forthcoming Control.

Here's the write up for those who can read Swedish.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

You Know You're In Sweden When...

you are walking down the street on a rainy Thursday evening, slightly cold (both you and the temperature), and you happen upon a fox doing it's sly thing, ducking in and out, and around bushes, completely aloof and uninterested in the human walking his way. I had the desire to take a photo, but there are many experiences that photos cannot capture.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

That Time of Year

I quite often grow tired once the school year has gotten rolling and then I need some chill music to relax to. Some years ago it was the Swedish DJ J�sper Dahlb�ck. I happened across this at and it seems to fit the bill. I likehow the guitars are woven into the beats, licks almost like Pink Floyd at times.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

As Radiohead, So Go The Charlatans

Now The Charlatans have one-upped Radiohead and are giving away their new album for free. Not even one pence! Check it out the full story here. I haven't heard much of their music in years, maybe a single or two, which I appreciated. (They always seemed like a "singles" band to me anyways, also a sort of second coming of The Stone Roses.) Nevertheless, if you are so inclined, check it out there. The single is forthcoming soon, while the rest of the album will be available by January or thereabouts. Enjoy.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Radiohead - Videotape live from the basement 2006

This song haunts with the beauty of "Pyramid Song" and I am now eagerly awaiting In Rainbows, the new Radiohead album to be downloaded (at your chosen price, for Christ's good will!) at In a rather adventuresome spirit, Radiohead has decided to release their album as a download first and allowing us buyers to pay what we think we should pay. I am quite sure the business world sees this as financial suicide, but I recognize it as a herald to the new age of partonship that once gave the poets a financial life on which to float while they wrote their great works, a la ancient Rome (and perhaps Greece, too?). And they created some good works back then, now didn't they.

The Prize of Prizes

Around a year ago when I first found myself pondering a new life here in Sweden, I became excited about the possibility of being present in Stockholm when the Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced. This year I will be eating lunch between International Economics and English B when the big pronouncement beacons out into the world. Here you can read an interesting article for an overview on the process, should you be so inclined. I became excited when reading it because one hypothesizer suggested that American Cormac McCarthy stands as a front runner, although I've heard fellow American Philip Roth mentioned more frequently. It never ceases to amaze me at how much people get haughty about literature at this time of year. I guess this proves better than a lack of interest, but why not show more interest 24/7/365? I'd piss myself if two high school seniors busted into boastful, roastful talk over who was better, McCarthy or Delillo? Fuentes or Amos Oz?

A guy can dream a little, can't he?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Teaching Foreigners Swedish

Click Here

I wish I could explain how funny this is to people who don't speak Swedish, but there you have it, in any case.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Takes a Lickin' and Keeps on Tickin'

Talk about a strong work ethic. This announcer lost her cookies in the middle of the broadcast, took a few moments to recompose herself and then kept on going. This is sort of gross, so you may want to prepare yourself.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My Space Ship, My Tunnelbana Station

I had enjoyed a rainy and free Saturday walking Söder; eating brunch in an overly-crowded yet adequately stocked breakfast bar with hardboiled eggs, sandwich fixings, muesli and (Swedish, of course) pancakes; and window shopping for furniture. I felt comfortable in the rain, enjoyed the snuggled up feeling of being wrapped up and having a place place to go, even if it was back home to do school work. I came up from this station (Västa Skogen):

I turned around and took this snap shot because it's such an cool building and odd. Nonetheless, I go deep into the ground everyday that I commute via train and not cycle to work. It's got the deepest escalator in all of Stockholm.

The other day was one of those rainy days where you are happy to curl up with soup and a book. In my case, it was a cold sandwich and some lesson preparation. Not exactly ideal, but it worked.

Lingon: The Real Deal

You may enjoy yourself some lingon berries from Ikea, and they may do the trick. But you ain't had nothing unless you've had raw cooked lingon such as these:

Holy shit, these are good. They taste more like berry and less like fruity sugar. Go out and get yo self some or go on cheating yourself. The choice is yours.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

On the Right Side

Last Monday my new co-worker and football buddy Michaela and I got out for my second Hammarby match, this against another Stockholm team AIK. We stood on the correct side of Råsunda Stadion with the rest of the "away" fans, and I had a great time, learning and singing the songs and cheering along, even if my newly adopted team lost, again. I am starting to think they are the Cubs of Stockholm, well-loved but somehow lacking. But I have not lost faith!

This photo was taken at a particularly contentious moment. Since it was a derby, tensions remained high, especially after Hammarby showed so well in the opening minutes of the first half with a punishing strike. Too bad they couldn't keep up the punishment. Jävla AIK!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Sweden Loves Nature

I was riding along the water, on the bike path that leads from northern Stockholm proper up into Sola, where I live, and what did I come across but... sheep! Yup, just about 150 meters from where I stay these sheep stood corraled in a pen, chewing away on everything within a neck's reach. The pen appeared to be part of a small petting zoo and playground. Kids in inner city Chicago could use some of these to get back to nature!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I Love This City!

Over the weekend I walked the town here and there, basked in the sunshine and what the newspaper said was the last day of riksommar (real summer) and sure enough cool fall weather has set in. Time will tell whether or not I miss the Chicago heat, but right now I don't care. I come from a town of great modern architecture and on the whole, Chicago beats Chicago, but where Chicago has the new, Stockholm has the historical. The picture above shows Sergels Torg ("Sailor's Square"), a fascinating display of classic modern design. The chess-like floor creates an aesthetic of order that rolls out in all directions. The tower beyond the square is glass (I believe made by Orrefors, the glasbruk (a crystal maker from Småland, a southern provence). On the other hand, stadshuset (the photo to the right) where the Nobel ceremonies take place every December upholds tradition and stands as a symbol of the city and country.

Later in the weekend I spent some time soaking up the sun on a beach area a short ride from where I stay. At first the sun reached out one last time for the summer,

but in a flash, the rain charged in and I had to take cover, but soon enough the sun returned:

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Stockholm Ink Bash! / Tattoomässa

This past weekend I attended the Stockholm Ink Bash, a trade event that attracted tattooists from around Europe and a few from the States. On the whole I found what I expected, including contact info for Circle Tattoo where Hannah Aitchison worked while in Sweden. Hannah did both of my upper arms. I may as well plug her, too. Although soon enough she may turn out to be a household name (at least in some households!), as she currently appears on LA Ink. Nevertheless, I saw the painful,

the pre-historic (Viking-style tattooing),

and everything else:

If it weren't so crowded I would have enjoyed taking more time to look at the work of others, but alas... It was. Good environment there. It took place on Södermalm, the part of town my grandfather grew up on. He came from a well-to-do family. As I left I wondered if he was looking down on me and approving or shaking his head.

Why I am Here--At least in Part

I was wandering around Gamla Stan (Old Town) here in Stockholm a little over a year ago. I had certain experiences, rather mundane occurrences, that rippled up under my skin: a working class Swede doing his job on the street as a song that resembled Springsteen (perhaps Ulf Lundell) blared out into the open street; the cool morning air hung vaguely damp under a perfect blue sky; the wandering of the labyrinthine streets of old town; the heaviness of heart that frequently set in whenever I knew it was time to leave Sweden; and then, this song came on my iPod. Everything coalesced. A great sense of destiny made itself known, as a dream often has a sense of meaning without meaning anything in particular. This is why I am here.

The song is called "Ballad of the Sin Eaters" (despite the misprint on the intro reel to the recording), and it is by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. I was lucky enough to see this particular performance and I do believe a good friend was able to listen vicariously through a voice mail I recorded when they played it. Nevertheless, there's a lot of me in there.

Monday, August 13, 2007

On the Wrong Side

My friend Mike (a fellow Chicagoan who moved here two years ago for his girlfriend) and I attended our first Allsvenskan match this evening. Allsvenskan stands at the top of the Swedish football leagues. A British co-worker ranked it above the MLS in general ability but below the major European powerhouse leagues (i.e. Spain, England, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, and France). After now having seen a match, I agree. There are some good players here but the overall skill is not there. That's pretty much why all the really good Swedish players mostly head south.

Since arriving here, I realized I would have to pick a team, as there are four teams in the Allsvenskan that are based in and around Stockholm. I thought about it some, read some team history, and settled on Hammarby, the traditionally work class team that locates itself in Södermalm, and since my grandfather Alf Thufvesson comes from Söder, it seemed right. They currently stand at the middle of the table currently, so it wasn't a case of picking the best team.

I figured a good derby (a match between two teams from the same city) would be a good place to start, since it would be heated and therefore extra fun and intense. That's exactly what Mike and I got. The match took place at Rådsunda, the stadium where the national teams play most of their matches, which is also a fifteen minute walk from where currently rent a room. Their opponents: Djurgården. Nevertheless, we decided to take the tunnelbana (Stockholm's "L" train), which turned out to be an event in itself. We got down to the station (it's like three stories down underground) and waited. The stop also serves as a place to change trains, and so, a huge crowd of drunken fans got off after a few minutes and waited to get on the train that leads to Råsunda, followed by a dozen of Stockholm's finest clad in full combat gear. The goons were every-so-swiftly cordoned off to the far end of the platform (click on the photo to get a larger view, where you can see in greater detail):

We soon realized that it would be quicker to hoof it to the stadium rather than wait for a train to pass that actually had room for us. Unfortunately by the time we arrived we were to too late to get up into our nose bleed seats because they lock down sections once the game has gotten started for crowd control purposes. Security reigns omnipresent, even if hooligans get a mircophone to get the crowds chanting (once again, click on the photo for more details):

As a result of our tardiness, we had to find a vacant place to stand, which ended up being immediately behind the goal:

What a view that was!

Unfortunately, when I purchased tickets for the wrong end of the field, where the Djurgården fans relentlessly sang, chanted and shit-talked Hammarby. Behind us stood an amry of blue (Djurgården). I didn't feel comfortable shouting for Hammarby with thousands of drunken fools shouting me down and breathing down my back. There was no getting to the other side to hang with the Hammarby fans, so we had to put up and shut up. Our team lost, despite looking better for most of the match. Next time we'll know! We won't be on the wrong side again.

Friday, August 10, 2007

From the Scarp Heap of History and Gloomy Weather

My mom always talked about the automats of Stockholm, where you could buy a herring sandwich off the streets of Stockholm. These machines stood in rows in a room off the street. (Mom, if you're reading this, feel free to comment and correct what I've gotten wrong.) I don't know what was cheap for then but it still seems cheap to me now: one or two crowns per item! Here's a photo of an automat that now serves as kitsche in a hipster coffee shop on Södermalm, the hipper part of town, where rent is expensive and the ambience resembles a co-mingling of Greenwich Village and Soho (London):

The weather here has not outshined last summer here. No, scratch that. It's been competing with Seattle summers, really. I don't know if it's because I've been in such flux or because I haven't yet suffered the entire dark winter here like everybody else, but I haven't gotten down about it, at all. Here's a photo of the gloom from my balcony, which by the way, is a pretty nice balcony:

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Starting Up

I started the school year today with an introduction to schools, the principals, and the foundation that runs the schools (three high schools and a jr. high). But last night I was out for the last free night of the summer to see Moneybrother, a great band from Stockholm. The opening acts were openings acts, deservedly so, not really worth mentioning. Moneybrother, however, rocked, rolled and romanced through their set. He is a single man with a solid back up band, very good players, really. I haven't seen so many grown women swoon like little girls. That guy must have no love problems but for too many loves. His voice is very soulful, a combination of Bruce Springsteen, Joe Strummer and Al Green. Here they are rocking out:

(Sorry for the low quality photo. Camera phones, camera phones...)

I also found out yesterday that I will be traveling to Istanbul with my colleagues in a team building and curriculum development trip. I know, it almost sounds like a joke. The punchline: I don't pay for a thing. It's in December, so I'll be gone one week for that, then back a week to wrap up the semester, then back to the States for the holidays.

Hope all is well with everybody!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Great Sunny Sunday in Stockholm

After about 4,000 days of rain, we got a warm sunny day. After a few hours of writing and doing laundry, a new friend (an American, named Tim) called me up and wanted to go for a ride. Because he commutes to work almost every day, he kicked my ass all over this hilly city. I'm sure after a few months of riding here I'll attack these hills with the vitriol that I used to eat up long open spaces with no traffic in Chicago, but until then, I'll be humiliatingly eating these diehards' dust. After a healthy ride, he invited me back to his place where his girlfriend had been preparing the food we would eventually take out to the park for grilling near their place in Midsommarkränsen, just south of central Stockholm and up another hill (it was much more fun on the way home, going down the hill). Eleanor (raised in Sweden) can cook! Damn, I haven't eaten that well since my going-away breakfast at Joe's place! Wine, great food and sunshine... what else can make a better Sunday afternoon. What a simple pleasure it was. Here they are:

Here's a shot from our picnic place:

I cycled back down that hill and across town around ten p.m. when I took this shot from the bridge connecting Södermalm (literally "southern rock," which is a where I spent so much time growing up) with the southern outer ring of Stockholm where they live:

Friday, August 3, 2007

Two Tidbits

I've always found myself curious at how well Stockholm and Sweden in general blends nature with culture, at least in terms of the aesthetics of the city. Take this photo for example: I was cycling around Djurgården (a larger island that is full of parks, an amusement park, an outdoor theater for music, etc, a cool TV tower with a great restaurant, among other things) and found myself on this trail (pictured below). Farm land right up to and within the city! I mean how much more integrated can you get? The buildings off in the distance include a TV station and a bustling residential part of the city.

Park life in Stockholm attracts everybody. I've never been much of a park-goer, aside from one very nice afternoon under the new music shell a few years back with a special person and one afternoon I fell asleep grading papers early this summer in Wicker Park. Ok, wait... I've also played some fun pick-up soccer games lately, too. But anyways... I think I could get be a park regular here. They invite all into their loosely formalized dwellings with food and snacks (man, I love eating), statues, benches, grass/weeds (funny side note, weed is Swedish is ogräs, meaning nongrass) and flower beds.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Muscles Burning = Finding My Place

Today I built up my Surly 29" single speed mountain bike again and sailed down the trails into central Stockholm, sometimes having to pump the pedals up hills I wasn't altogether prepared for. Once in the city I felt a bit out of sorts for obvious reaons: this place is nothing like the grid of Chicago; there's an extra bike lane that sort of fades in and out, sometimes on the street sometimes on a level above the street but below the sidewalk; and stop lights are difficult to read because there is only one or two but you must remain back to see them. I'm sure I'll get used to all of this and it certainly makes for rides that are never dull. After heading down to Kungsträgården to look into some tickets for Hammarby vs. Malmö on Wednesday and Moneybrother a week from Wednesday, I headed back north but easterly toward Djurgården, where I found myself on some challenging trails upwards as well as downwards. Alone, these trails may not be so bad, but after having ridden a solid 35 minutes, these trails beat the crap out of me. I stopped off by the water but soon realized I was in need of libation, headed south to Vasastan, where I sucked down a Poweraid (new to Sweden), a Wasa sandwich with cream cheese and chili and then a Coke Zero. A mother and her two babies sat next to me on a bench and they "studied me" ("Du är väll studerade" she said). As soon as I turned to them, the one giggled while her twin sister hide her face, shy as a Tinkerbell. I decided to head to Södermalm, the southern island of central Stockholm. There I checked out some Fred Perry, some little nostalgia for the old punk rock style but came up empty, oh well... wasn't really mine to begin with. So I headed home, north through Gamla Stan (old town), up through Vasastan again and along the water, past the new post office (with its compelling facade) and around and home and by the time I was cranking up that last hill, my thighs burned that sweet burn of knowing I was going to sleep well tonight in my new city.


First, the Swedish pizza is not unlike it's NYC cousin. Thin and not so much sauce, much like NYC style, the Swedish style often has ingredients that may sound unappealing, at least at first. This one had red peppers, green peppers, mushrooms, tuna fish, green chile (a personal favorite), kalmata olives, and I believe a few bits of pineapple. The combination was inspired to say the least.

Then there's the bulle (a type of cinamon roll) but this one has pistachio lining it and it's amazing, but costly at about a dollar and a half at most any 7-11 in Stockholm.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Four Days In

I mostly have pictures to share right now, but I'm here and everything is sailing. I rented a room, registered with the government as a citizen living in the country, opened a bank account, and enjoyed the beach. There's been an unusual amount of rain for Stockholm, the same storm that flooded England. Nevertheless, a vivid result occurred: the sunset stunned last night:

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Taking Off

After a great party with so many people I was happy came out to say good bye, as well as a delicious breakfast of blueberry pancakes with many of the same good, good friends, I made it down to Toyota Park with my dad to see the Chicago Fire outplay Celtic FC, the Scottish Champions, with a 1-1 result. The new player Blanco was to debut for the Fire, and he played so beautifully, tears almost welled in my eyes. Hope should now be simmering in the hearts of Chicago Fire fans. Nevertheless, I've had a great last day here in Chicago, and despite getting a bit lost in the revelry of the last 24 hours, I have to say that I feel very lucky to have all these great friends and family in my life. Believe me when I say that my only regret about moving is leaving so many good people behind. Having said that... come on over!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Just gettings things off the ground...

Stay tuned for updates in August or September