Rose Hip Soup

Shot these rose hips just a few weeks ago somewhere along Saltörsvägen here in Vejbystrand where calmness abides.

When I was a boy living for a summer or a winter with my grandparents Agnes and Eskil Andersson in Trollhättan, rose hip soup was a common dish during the winter months. It’s not my favorite soup. Too sweet. I’m more into savory soups.

A light layer of snow arrived last night. Won’t last long, though. After a windy November, December has begun windless. Lennart and Charlotte are spending the weekend with me. Looking forward to spending some time with them.

I’m in daily contact with a few choice friends located all over the world, but my IRL life is barely measurable. Lennart is clearly the most enthusiastic when we reunite and it usually takes about ten minutes for him to calm down and stop smothering me with kisses. Poor guy, he probably thinks I’m his dad, not just a good friend that makes movies he stars in.


Electrifying History?

I’ve been thinking about all the historically significant events and shifts that have played out during my lifespan so far. I guess it’s the pandemic that got me started thinking about this.

The moon landing, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, the Flower Power era, Richard Nixon’s resignation, the rise of a more conservative American nationalism through the Reagan presidency, the fall and dismantling of the Soviet Union, China as a dominant manufacturer, the birth of the Internet, the birth of our daughter Elle, the global economy, low-cost air travel, the smartphone, electric vehicles, climate change, social upheaval, and protest movements – and the introduction of reoccurring viral pandemics.

I suppose each generation has its fair share of electrifying events, social, industrial, and financial paradigm shifts spread out across a lifetime. And today, the ability at any given moment to hear and see world events unfold is unique in the history of our species. So maybe when I think that I’ve experienced a lot more than the generation before me, I might just be confusing quantity with quality.

That’s not to say that the Black Lives Matter or LGBTQ movements aren’t as important as other socio-political crusades. But in the grand scheme of things, they are relatively niche and likely given a larger spotlight because they mostly take place in the US. I mean, you don’t see a lot of protests in America or Europe for the rights of the Chinese ethnic Uygur or against the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s almost decade-long slaughter of his own people. Us fat cats in the west are very picky about what we care about, for sure.

I find some kind of solace in knowing that most of what has transpired during the relatively short history of my life and the entire time humanoids have been around is actually quite insignificant. That what we have created, tall, deep, wide, fast, or large, is of diminishing importance when juxtaposed against, for example, the amazing evolution of animals and plants that take place over several millennia. Knowing that our species has always been equally capable of impressive and horrific stuff gives a little perspective when I feel like I’m overdosing on the onslaught of bad, sensational news perpetrated by the media 24/7.

The above collage consists of about 5 different images ranging from a skull of a dead water buffalo from Asia to a fantastic wall packed with old industrial outlets and fuse boxes that I found in Malmö a few weeks ago.


Unlocking Creativity

I was thinking about creativity today in the shower and how fortunate I am to have discovered my ability to unlock/unleash it. To be able to write, paint, photograph and film not only allows me to alternate between different mediums, but also to never ever have nothing to do during my awake time.

Ever since my discovery in the mid 1980s, producing my own stuff has been more important to me than consuming others. I definitely need a certain amount of input and inspiration, but if I only consumed what other creative people made and never let my impressions be expressed and exposed somehow, I’d feel pretty empty.

Once in a while I lecture high school seniors here in Skåne. The main theme is always a combo of filmmaking and photography. But the underlying layer is about creativity and how important it is to me. My hope is to leave these lectures with the kids feeling a little curious about their own creative ability.

I believe everyone, especially those that say to me that they’re not the least bit creative, can be just that. And if they only allowed themselves the time to explore and discover the keys that unlock their particular abilities, the need to constantly and passively consume others creative output, would be reduced and the world would possibly be in a better place today.

The beauty with creativity is that it is 100% free. At least the process is. But you don’t actually need a fancy computer, a painters studio or a truckload of camera gear to express your feelings, thoughts or ideas. It’s actually within the smaller, tighter boundaries that some of history’s most noteworthy and inspring art is born.

The picture above is from The Josh, a fine  hotel in Bangkok.


The Biden & Harris Chill Pill

Here’s a new piece for the Resurfaced series titled “Cranking Ahead”. It has an old bike crankset at the foundation of the layered collage.

I don’t know how you feel, but I’m certainly experiencing a more relaxed post-election vibe right now. I’ve taken a dose of The Biden & Harris Chill Pill.

As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in home where there always was a lot of yelling, screaming and fighting. I have a theory that I became so used to the highly volatile and often violent atmosphere, that it became the norm. One of the consequences, something I’m still dealing with today, is that I easily get worked up and have a hard time unwinding without being physically/mentally exhausted or by drinking.

So, with Trump finally avowing that he lost, albeit in a typically asinine fashion, I feel a little less wound up and relaxed.

The novelty of Trump’s un-PC presidency soon wore off and once those of us not hypnotized by his bullshit and/or mesmerized by an anomalous level of fear-mongering, doubt-seeding and shameless gloating, can now finally let out a collective sigh of relief.

Now, don’t interpret this as a wish, but should Joe Biden not feel up to the task, I mean, at 78 he’ll be the oldest president to hold the office, I feel very confident that Kamala Harris will have the grit and intelligence required to try to unify the country a little and address at least some of the most acute issues; the pandemic, unemployment, the healthcare system and, of course, the climate/environment. Especially if those two Senate seats in Georgia go blue.


Take the Plunge

Shot this in Lervik, on the last really sunny day here. I was almost tempted to jump in. Not today as yet another storm is sweeping by with cold, gusty winds.

Random Thoughts Monday

• Even though Sir Jony Ive has left Apple, the new operating system, Big Sur, is way too minimalistic for my taste. Function should always take the front seat and rule over form and design. The new macOS represents the opposite. While it’s clean and sleek, for someone like me with poor vision, the operating systems new design aesthetic – with a minimalistic approach to navigation and interface elements – is way too understated and therefore harder for someone like me to use.

• Had one of those inspiring chats with a friend that like me has a past that continues to impact his present. Emotionally and creatively. Always good talking to TB as it leaves me feeling less lonely and more inspired. Our two-hour talk went by so fast, though. So many commonalities between us.
• Noticed a herd of cows grazing on one of the meadows closest to the sea during my walk northbound yesterday. It was great to see that they are outdoors this time of year. No sheep, though.
• The fourth season of The Crown is fantastic. What a cast! What dialogue! What cinematic excellence! Watch it!
• Netflix’s other popular show, The Queen’s Gambit, makes me want to start playing chess again. Something I haven’t done in probably 30 years. There should be at least a few sites that host virtual chess games.
• The Unites States is heading for a virtual civil war where the reasonable and unreasonable will clash verbally for a long time. Hopefully, when Biden and Harris take office and the vaccine rolls out, everyone will chill.
• Will we need an ID or some kind of documentation to prove we’ve been vaccinated once that whole process gets started in the spring? I’ve heard that the airline industry is already hinting at this.
• How many storms can fit into the month of November?

The Slick Lick List

Here’s my top 40 list of slick songs with groovy licks, smooth vocals, and laid-back beats. Artists like Michael Franks, Gino Vanelli, Richard Page, Kenny Loggins, and Lee Ritenour among many others. If you don’t dig at least some of these songs, you might want to check your wiring.

 


AIRPORT CODES 2020

Shot in Los Angeles on Sepulveda near LAX. A fun idea with these new “airport codes”. But also quite sad. Some of my favorite airports: DPS, NRT, BKK, JFK,  MIA, SFO, LAS, BBK, SEZ.


Veal Burger & How To Deal with Meat Lust

Here’s a “Wallenbergare” which is arguably one of the most classic Swedish dishes ever invented. It used to be one of my favorite dishes. It’s basically a burger made of veal accompanied with mashed potatoes, green peas, lingonberrries and a butter sauce. I shot it 6 years ago for a restaurant in Malmö after which I ate it with great pleasure eve if it was a little cold.

It’s been more than five years since I ate beef, pork, or any kind of bird.

I have yet to feel that declining from eating land animals (I’m a pescatarian) has been a huge sacrifice. There’s been a few occasions when lifting the lid off one of those stainless steel pans you typically find at a hotel’s breakfast buffet, usually brimming with steaming bacon, caught me off-guard. But once I start thinking of how poorly the pigs were cared for before they were slaughtered and then sliced into strips of bacon (and other cuts), and all the other guests with grimy hands and filthy fingers that have used the same fork or tong to shovel bacon onto their plates, I have zero problems moving on.

That’s not to say that I don’t miss bacon. I do. I miss the chewiness, the smokey flavor, and the salinity. Can’t wait for “Impossible Bacon” or “Beyond Bacon” to show up someday at the store.


Cleaning Lady at Malmö Opera

This is a Vietnamese cleaning lady at Malmö Opera. I photographed her during the “We are Malmö Opera” book project 2017. I interviewed 54 individuals for that book and though the above woman wasn’t included, her colleague Tam Nguyen was.

I remember reflecting on the vocational distance between the lady cleaning seats, floors, and restrooms at the opera, and, for example, the musicians and singers. That the lady above, if she had been given the opportunity and encouragement, might have been a virtuoso cellist, conductor, or a soprano. Who knows, right?

I’ve always believed that everyone, every single person on the planet has the potential to excel in some field. That we are all, at least, to begin with, are at the mercy of circumstances that either inhibit or facilitate. The time and place we were born. Our parents. Our friends. We obviously have to recognize an opportunity and take advantage of it and not always choose the path of least resistance.

While I don’t know the backstory of the woman above, I am sure she feels that her life has turned out ok and that her children will have a much better opportunity to aspire to more than just surviving as she did.

In addition to being a fucking pain in the ass from a practical point of view, the pandemic can also be a bit of a “dream killer” – a creative inhibitor that squashes stuff I’d like to try and places I want to experience.

Even after so many months, I tend to forget about all the restrictions and mental hurdles the situation entails.

On the other hand, I also see this strange time as an interesting challenge. A time to figure stuff out and problem solve. A time for reflection and deduction. What’s important? How can I make use of my creativity to feel better, do better, live better, love better?

As Covid-19 continues to ravage the world,  it reminds me of how fragile the lives we’ve taken for granted for so long are. That not unlike the lady above, we perhaps need to chill out and calm down. Be grateful. You know?


Travel Lust: Maldives

Met this fine feather friend hanging around near our bungalow on an island in the Maldives. We were in Bangkok at the time to produce a travel guide. A couple of friends had been to the Maldives a few months earlier for their honeymoon and when we realized that it was only about a four-hour plane ride away from Thailand, we decided to go. So, we flew with the boutique carrier Bangkok Airways to the island nation’s capital Male, and then jumped on a speedboat to a tiny atoll where we stayed for four or five nights.


Stolen: Ernie’s Girard Perregaux Wristwatch

The above is a collage of my father Ernest “Ernie” Raboff‘s Girard Perregaux wristwatch. It was manufactured sometime in the mid to late 1970s. Thieves broke into my little studio here in Vejbystrand the other night and stole it.

I’ve taken care of the watch since my father died in 1986 and though its slick style is somewhat effeminate and not something I would wear on my wrist, I have always admired the amazing craftsmanship that went into it.

I don’t know when my dad bought the watch or if it was gifted to him by someone. I do know it was the only remaining thing I had left from him.

Though considered vintage, the value of the watch isn’t significant. A few years ago, I actually asked a couple of horologists – even one at Girard Perregaux HQ in Switzerland – about its value. and was told that thanks to the uniquely slim 18k gold movement, bezel, and casing, the watch would likely fetch about SEK12k at a typical watch auction.

I wonder where the watch will end up. Will the thief keep it? Or, will he (or, she) sell it? Perhaps my father’s old Girard Perregaux will be used to pay off a debt or as a sweetener in a trade together with a bunch of other stolen goods. Maybe a “fence” will read this post and feel compassionate enough to get in touch and return the watch to me. You never know.


Return to Normal
My latest piece in the Resurfaced series. Each layer of the composition was captured in Malmö over the weekend.

Enjoying a twenty-four-hour visit to Helsingborg for a meeting. Staying at an old favorite hotel, Mollberg where I lived Thursday to Sunday during a six month DJ gig back in the early 1990s.

Soon back to the tranquillity of Vejbystrand.


Tommy & The Sunset

From earlier tonight here in Malmö where I’ll be until tomorrow before heading back north to Vejbystrand with a night’s stop in Helsingborg along the way.

The weather here has been phenomenal during my stay here. No wind and relatively warm. Took a long 15k walk around town this afternoon and found plentiful of motifs for my “Resurfaced” series before returning to Västra Hamnen as the sun started setting at around 4:30 pm.

Without knowing it at the time, the boat in the above shot turned out to belong to a good friend. We can call him Tommy.


Elle’s 20th!

That’s what I call a double whammy and a perfect present to round off Elle’s twentieth birthday celebration with today; Trump is defeated and the first female Vice President Kamala Harris is elected together with her running mate, President-elect, Joe Biden. We are so proud of Elle and how she continues to inspire and make us proud parents. And as she and I are American (and Swedish) citizens, we were both sooooo relieved when we just after having finished dinner at (Kitchen & Table in Mamö) learned that the huge voter turnout turned out to be the amount of engagement required to oust the worst guy to be voted president since Tricky Dick Nixon. Unlike Richard Milhous Nixon, though, Trump hasn’t got enough sense to admit defeat, make sure the transition of power goes smoothly, and slowly but surely diminish into oblivion.


Winning and Losing

I made the above collage with both passion and sadness.

At this stage, it looks like Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris are going to secure enough electoral votes to win the election. Feels good to have voted for predictable/reliable sanity. Even if I doubt that ticket is going to be capable of leading the country out of its multiple crises. Already back in July, Trump declared he would contest the mail-in ballots if he lost. So no surprise that he’s followed through on that threat/promise. It’s just a continuum of the president’s devious strategy to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of his many ignorant followers.

Regardless of whoever wins, the US is forever a changed nation. Why? Exhibit A: close to 70 million people voted for a sociopath. The most saddening fact? There’s not enough glue in the known universe to mend that which Trump has so consciously crushed: the remaining trust in the democratic process.

Because of the collateral damage Trump intentionally created in order to try to secure this election, something he began doing soon after he won in 2016, it’s going to be hard to feel any real joy, even when the last vote is counted – and then re-counted.


The Fatherless to Fatherhood initiative Podcast

A few posts ago, I mentioned that I was going to be a guest on my creative and inspiring friend Michael G. Poe’s show, The Fatherless to Fatherhood Initiative Podcast.

Well, the ninth episode has just dropped and can be listened to by clicking here. I hope other fatherless fathers that hear my story – and Michael’s other guests’ stories – will connect and recognize some of the same experiences and emotions that I share.

Sadly, we still live in an era where toxic masculinity prevails and sets the emotional agenda for men – and women. Men are still expected to keep their feelings tucked away beneath a facade of seemingly impenetrable resilience – sheilding themselves from showing and sharing their vunerability. Hindering them to develop and evolve as fathers, as spouses. as humans.

While The Fatherless to Fatherhood Initiative Podcast focuses on fathers that were abandoned by their fathers, there are also plenty of dads that were physically present, but so emotionally distant and/or abusive, that their children still felt abandoned.

In my case, I not only had to deal with not having a father, a mentor, and a role model. my brother and I were raised in a home environment characterized by our mother’s rampant alcoholism. Which is one of these podcast’s themes: how drama feeds drama.

Being able to talk openly about some of this was cathartic and has spurred me on to continue writing about those early years and how the fallout came to shape my life as an individual and father.


The Donald Effect

Well, it’s finally time for the 2020 Presidential Election. Not that you hear much about it, but there’s are actually a lot of other elections going on today, too. The Senate could flip and the Dems might end up “owning” Congress. At least for a couple of years.

I spent a few hours walking along the beach earlier today. Instead of listening to a podcast or music, I just let all thoughts that flew into my mind flow freely there. The point was to just contemplate, not try to resolve anything. I’ve been doing a lot of that recently and I am finding the results interesting.

Today, being the “E Day”, I spent considerable time thinking about the two candidates and how unbelievable it is that there are millions of supporters that back a man so far removed from what I think is decent and presidential. A man so full of his own loud-mouth, bullying bullshit, it’s impossible to conceive that he’s ever anything but disingenuous. Talk about fake.

I’m not saying Biden doesn’t produce or represent a great deal of bullshit as well. He is, after all, a seasoned politician. But at least he’s not doing his best to instigate hatred, promote division and be a total dick like Trump is time and time again. I get that he likes to fire up his “Tumpsters” while simultaneously provoking the Democrates. But could he also just try to be a nice guy once in a while?

A surprised as I am that so many can cast their vote on the most blatantly insincere president in modern history, it still ain’t nothing compared to how strange it is to know that I have family members who are wholeheartedly supporting Trump.

How does one deal with that, I ask you? Aside from the fact that we are related, what could I possibly have in common with someone that truly believes in their heart of hearts that this vulgar and crude populist is worthy of their love and vote? What can possibly bridge our divide when so many fundamental human values are swept to the wayside? What do you talk about? The weather? No, cause that will certainly lead to a discussion about climate change. Travel? Nah, cause that too will lead to a discussion about how piss-poor the federal government has and continues to manage the pandemic, making it impossible to travel to the States. Politics? Uh, no. Health? Maybe. But that too would surely lead to a discussion about how shitty the American health care system is – and the cesspoolian orgy in which insurance companies, private hospitals, pharmaceuticals, and doctors participate frenziedly. No, I don’t think I have that much to talk to a Trump supporter about. *

Hopefully, this family conundrum might change once he’s actually out of office in a couple of months.

Am I worried that there might be a civil war? Nope. Most Americans are too old, too fat, and way too dependent on their entertainment addiction. The mighty few remaining activists, those that are really engaged, well, they’re just too few to initiate and fulfill the demands of a full-on civil war. Civil unrest? Yep. That’s for sure.

My biggest concern isn’t about Trump losing or the potential for wide-spread, civil unrest. Both of those things will likely occur within the next 72 hours.

During my walk today, I spent time pondering what the heck Donald is going to do between his concession speech and the time he has to pack his stuff, check out of the West Wing, leave town with his tail stuck between his legs and retreat to the Sunshine Orange State.

One really interesting theory I’ve heard is this: To avoid prosecution for crimes committed prior and during his presidency, Trump will strategically resign ahead of Biden’s inauguration, enthusiastically handing over the reins to the East German bad guy dude aka Mike Pence. This so that the new President (taken from Central Casting of Die Hard VI), can exonerate his ousted predecessor. We shall see…

The Donald Effect is part of my ongoing art series “Resurfacd”.

 


Autumn from Above

I’ve been filming during most of my walks. Footage that will soon be used in a short film about my stay here in Vejbystrand. While out getting a few sequences with a top-down perspective over some of the places that my walks takem, I saw this view and had to share. It represents autumn in this neck of the woods perfectly.


American Pancakes & Election Woes

Here’s me this morning after a most sumptuous breakfast. I’m feeling more American right now than I have in many years. I’m excited. The election is nearing and it’s nothing short of a thriller! With the crazy-ass, winner-take-all system, where all the votes from a state’s electoral college go to the winner of the popular vote of that state, how can it not be the most exciting happening of at least the last four years? Last time around, Trump won the electoral vote after losing by 3.000.000 in the popular vote.

As if that exciting enough for us, we also have the virus, Macron stirring things up in the Middle East, a devastating earthquake in Turkey/Greece, the climate stuff and, not to forget, how shops in Beverly Hills and elsewhere are boarding up their store windows ahead of what many seem to think could be a looming civil war.

Anyway…

There are times when I question my judgment. Some would probably argue that I don’t do this enough. I think a little self-analysis is a sign of relatively good mental health. I’m doing a lot of that these days. Time seems to stand still in Vejbystrand so there’s plentiful time for introspection, taking inventory, and judging one’s ideas, perceptions, and conclusions.

In any case, like most reasonable people, I too have moments where I question a very hardline opinion I have about something or someone. Like the ongoing debate about who is best suited to steer the US of A out of these abysmally seeming troubled times.

There have been a few occasions recently when I needed to ask myself if I was absolutely sure that I was actually “getting” Trump. Could there be a slight possibility that he is in fact a good guy, just a different kind of good guy? A leader that we’ve never seen before and feel unaccustomed with. An oddball business tycoon that can cut through the cocktail murmur and just get stuff done faster without worrying too much about polish or finesse. Or about tomorrow. A man at the moment, so to speak.

Perhaps I am judging Trump too much on appearance and his inability to communicate with tact and intellect. Maybe Fox News, all those right-leaning activist groups like Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, and the minions of Trumpsters are in fact looking out for the country’s best interests. Maybe all the rest of us are just plain wrong and too blind to see it.*

But even if my judgment has been unfair, that I’ve been biased in part because the transition from the decent, rhetorically gifted Obama to the bombastic Trump has been too much to absorb, there are still just too many people way, way smarter than me that are in total agreement; Donald J. Trump is by far the worst president in modern history. He’s bad for the country domestically, bad for international relations and goddammit, bad for the reputation of the presidency as the highest office in the land and something all Americans should admire, respect, and perhaps, at least at some point in their lives, even aspire to hold.

Still, I have hope. Hope that I would have all the necessary ingredients needed to make simple American pancakes in the kitchen when I woke up this morning. And low and behold, I did! I did! Here are the recipe’s ingredients:
1 cup flourAmerican Pancakes
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk or Oatly’s iKaffe.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Mix it all together and then make yourself some thick cakes in a scorching hot, buttered skillet. While the first side is being fryed, I added thin slices of banana and a few sprinkles of cinnamon for extra yum.


Dr Nicholas Christakis: The Enduring Impact Of COVID-19

Dr. Nicholas Christakis is probably one of the most knowledgeable experts on the ongoing pandemic I’ve heard so far. I embedded Fresh Air’s Dave Davies interview with him below for your listening pleasure. Nicholas Christakis provides a lot of insight into how we got here and where we’re heading. Interestingly, like most other experts, Christakis doesn’t talk about what we need to do to avoid future pandemics. This despite the fact that he also has a Ph.D. in Sociology. It boggles my mind that not even really well-educated and experienced smart people want to touch the 800lb gorilla in the room. I’m not talking here about wet markets or dangerous, unhygienic storage of carcasses. Instead, I’m referring to why these pathogens keep showing up and the unprecedented changes we need to undertake in order to avoid the current and future variants of pandemics. The image above is from my series “Resurfaced“.


Punching In

Wake up. It’s 05:37. Still dark. Quiet. Slight headache. Not too stiff. I can smell. Feel ok. Have to pee. Put on yesterday’s teeshirt. Slip into shoes. Walk down creaky stairs. Unlock front door. Lock front door from outside. Walk to other house. Unlock white door. Pee. Brush teeth. Prepare coffee. Shower. Dry. Dress. Drink coffee. Walk to studio. Unlock door. Turn on light. Wake up Mac. Tune in Drone Zone. Update firmware. Read news. Make more coffee. Start writing.


Thoughts on the Pandemic

Folks, I really hope COVID-19 turns into a precautionary tale. One where we instead of trying to figure out how best to avoid getting sick – through social distancing, masks, lockdowns, and vaccines – begin to tackle the virus from an existential point of view.

Yes! We need to ask the uncomfortable question: why the hell have there been so many of them in the last 10-15 years? Why all of the sudden are these deadly viruses threatening our way of life? Is it because our way of life is actually inviting these viruses to jump species and spread across the globe like locusts?

What if by encroaching on primal forests in the Amazon, in Africa and in Asia – where deadly viruses are naturally abundant – just so we can grow even more soy and raise even more cows and other factory farm animals – we are in fact fucking with shit that’s way beyond our pay grade?

What if the latest virus is a trojan horse that not only brings down the immune system of infected people for a while, killing some, but is also secretly leaving behind a bunch of genetic code so ruinous that we will never, ever fully recover?

What if the virus rewires our genetic code so that humans are eventually, within just a generation or two, essentially wiped off the face of the earth?

On top of the virus and all the devastation it has already caused, we also have plenty of warning signs from increasingly worried climatologists and other scientists.

It seems as if somehow, through the collective consciousness of our planet’s own immune system, Darwin’s natural selection process has been initiated to slowly but steadfastly weed out humans from Earth’s ecosystem.

The fact that Trump denies the climate calamities experienced all over the world, that all he is interested in is promoting and perpetuating a flamboyant, shortsighted, deficit-increasing lifestyle, which, unless you are incredibly naive, is clearly unsustainable, is reason enough to vote the man out of office.

And if that isn’t good enough for you, let’s add that Trump is a well-documented misogynist, a barely literate, doubt-seeding confrontationist and the worst representative of qualities most sensible Americans embody.

If you can….VOTE!

The above image is titled, “Honey, they’ve pillaged Kitty” and is part of my ongoing series called “Resurfaced”. More of this can be viewed here: www.raboff.com/resurfaced

Cocktails vs Abstinence

I saw this “cocktail sextet” of various gin-tonics earlier today as I was submerged deep, deep down in my archives. It’s from a rare combo shoot where high res stills and a film were both parts of the F&B gig. I think I captured the essence of a staged bar scene pretty well. In addition, it’s one of my more popular photos on Shutterstock.

The film can be viewed here.

Aside from feeling artistically proud about the composition, the shot also reminded me of something I’ve written about many, many times before here on the blog; my ongoing, complex, love-hate relationship with alcohol.

It’s now been almost two weeks since my last drink – which to me sounds like something I would be saying at an AA meeting if I ever went to one. Not that the thought hasn’t crossed my mind. Cause it has. Just not that often.

Now, now. Don’t misinterpret me.

I do not miss drinking and have no problem with 100% sobriety. Especially here, living on my own for a while in the peaceful, wonderfully lonesome Vejbystrand. But also considering I suffer mentally and physically from a life-long inability to stay within my limit. I never yearn for just one sip, one shot or one beer. My problem is that I want more than just the “Release”. And I easily fall into a destructive cycle after being on a binge.

The “Release”, as a friend of a friend so appropriately coined the emotion many years ago, is that explicit moment after you’ve had that very first sip of wine, a swig of beer, shot of bourbon. It’s when that familiar, warm, relaxing sensation begins to flow outwards from your belly, throughout your veins and body, finally reaching your head and calming your mind. This is when you begin to think that everything, just everything is fine, all is forgiven and so much is forgotten. This, dear reader, is what I miss.

After living half my life in Sweden, I can say with some authority that the social culture here almost demands that you participate in some of the ancient traditions – reoccurring celebrations where alcohol is at the forefront of the occasion. These include annual holidays, like Midsummer, Easter, and Christmas, but also the infamous corporate Christmas party and the end-of-summer “Crayfish Fest”. These events are all there in the social calendar, under the pretenses of helping everyone create and justify socially legit opportunities to ingest inordinate amounts of alcohol.

“Hey Dude! It’s a tradition, come on man, have a drink!”

According to WHO, in 2016, on average, Swedish men consumed the equivalent of 17.4 liters of pure alcohol. Comparatively, women are lightweights and drank “only” 6.1 liters of pure alcohol. Oddly, when I look at those numbers, it doesn’t really seem like all that much. Then again, it’s a naked, unnuanced statistic. A number that hardly describes my experiences where the amount is probably ten times higher.

Jokingly, I often refer to Sweden as being located on the fringe of a virtual “Vodka Belt”. We’re not exactly as excited about liquor as, say, the Finns are. And Swedes have not nearly the enormous capacity (or appetite) as vodka guzzling Russians, Polacks, and various folks in the Baltic nations. Statistically, Swedes are more famous for their coffee obsession than for alcohol abuse.

I don’t know if I’ve ever consumed as much alcohol since the pandemic was officially declared, back in March. I feel pretty sure a lot of folks can say the same thing. I probably did drink more during the first couple of seasons bartending in Lapland, at the hotel in Riksgränsen. While I don’t feel a need to redact this (alcohol-fueled) part of my life, it was a much younger me from more than a quarter of a century ago.

Honestly, there hasn’t been that many times in my adult life when I could say that I haven’t had anything to drink in two weeks, with the exception of when I’ve been on a Qigong or Yoga course. The thing is, I don’t want to quit. Stubbornly, I still think I can learn how to not be so consistently seduced by the allure of going so far beyond the initial, hypnotic “release”.

Anyway, I’ll be sure to stay sober until the election. If Trump wins, it’s all going to hell anyway. So why not just give in to a major release then? 🙄


Fall, Fail, Camel Pose

Shot these crispy dry autumn leaves about a year ago somewhere in Da Nang, Vietnam which is right now bracing for yet another typhoon. Hard to believe how mild last year’s monsoon season was compared to 2020. Hope our friends there stay safe and ride out the storm without more setbacks than they already have had to endure.

According to the soon-to-be ousted President Trump, his administration has already ended the pandemic. That’s good to know, even though there are hundreds of thousands of recently infected Americans that, if they could, would argue nothing is further from the truth than that dumbass, hurtful lie.

The kitchen project is moving along according to plan. It’s been 56 years since the last renovation, so there’s a great deal of old (and odd) solutions to fix/correct along the way.

We’re in the rainy (DDR) season now. And with winter officially here, the short days and enveloping darkness make me want to spend as much time outside as I can – weather permitting. So far, there hasn’t been a single day without the sun showing up – even if it’s just for a brief shine. Daylight is so precious. Early this morning, I practiced Qigong and Yoga without much light at all in the studio. But I actually enjoyed the extra challenge of keeping my balance whilst in the dark. And as the 90 minute session came to a close with the Camel pose, early daylight arrived.


Trump vs Biden: Bad Lip Reading

Folks, it doesn’t get much funnier than this. As a friend and fellow American, photographer and filmmaker, Timmy Skinner pointed out, this is more or less how many of us see and hear these two 70+ white dudes. Thanks pal and GM Lars Olemyr at Nösund Havshotell for the superb tip! What a way to start the week!

Oh, and finally, finally, finally, here’s Trump’s long-awaited Covid-19 Plan.


Long Walks – Deep Thoughts

This is from yesterday during my 10k walk down to Magnarp Strand. After a while, curiosity overtook fear and I was allowed to get pretty close to the herd’s lambs. So cute. Can’t wrap my head around that these were all shot on my 2-year-old iPhone. It’s really just a matter of time before I can sell, or, at least leave my other, bulky cameras to collect dust on the shelf. The color science Apple has developed for its camera phones is crazy good.

It’s taken about a week alone here to get into a routine where long walks and other healthier habits open up for deep thoughts, mindful thinking, and saying no to the kind of impulsive decisions that I know beforehand will end up causing more pain than gain.

On the one hand, I find it strange that at 57, I still haven’t settled into a life dictated by routines. On the other hand, I don’t really admire or feel envious of people that are entirely engulfed in a rigid, daily modus operandi. Then again, maybe that’s just a response, a perspective or an attitude to help me deal with not being able to be more consistent in my life.

2020 has been such a tumultuous year – and there’s still 2 months to go before we can put it behind us! Not that I think so much will change just because we begin a new year. Not in the grand scheme of things, anyway.

I’m writing a lot now and enjoying the challenge. Working on a few separate writing projects and trying hard not to let myself be distracted with other creative channels on my big screen. I really hope 2021 will be a year of artistic metamorphoses. I’m already steering my outpour in that direction so that by the time the new year arrives, I’ll be well into the groove.


Pence’s Secret Corona Strategy

What the heck is Pence’s Secret Coronavirus Strategy? There’s certainly something to be said about the level of competence vice president Mike Pence has, the man supposedly leading the Coronavirus Task Force, when several of his colleagues have now been infected by the very disease they have the mandate to confine and presumably eradicate. Am I missing something here? Are these folks running the country from the White House really that arrogant and unworried? I mean, sure, for most people, it’s non-lethal. But how the fuck do they think they’re going to get rid of this plague if they don’t help reduce the spread? Herd immunity? Sacrificing a few hundred more American lives? Is that the untold strategy? If not, then what is the secret behind the blatant disregard for the safety measures most of the world has curbed up to?


Pandemic Explained

Here’s a video by the always smart, courageous, and empathic Nicholas Kristof and his colleagues Johnny Harris and Adam B. Ellick explaining how the pandemic devastated the US. After you watch it, you’ll understand why Donald J Trump should stand trial for neglecting his responsibility by refusing to take the situation seriously and not responding acutely – which ultimately ended up causing the untimely and unnecessary death of over 200.000 Americans.

While DJT continues to claim that everything is returning to normal and that country’s economy is bouncing back and will be stronger than ever – and that the whole virus thing is the fault of China, the video clearly lays out hard evidence that Trump, Pence and the entire White House staff is incredibly arrogant and, even worse, totally incompetent.


Helicopter Perspective & Burglars

Can’t get enough of this perspective. Just read that there was a burglary in a house not too far away from here. Over the years, I’ve heard that thieves often go on a “tour” and break into a series of vacation homes in a limited area, neighborhood or village. Fortunately, aside from an old TV, there’s really not much to steal here. That said, if I was a burglar, I’d certainly look for (and do some recon beforehand) isolated homes like where I’m at now. Houses that could, at least potentially, provide a good risk-return tradeoff. I think I’ll keep the lights on for a few weeks. And probably do a lot of yelling if and when I hear unusual sounds during the night. Just as a precautionary measure. To scare, you know, the burglars – away. 🙄 Problem is, since the house is way over 100 years old, when the wind blows, which it does a lot of this time of year, there’s no shortage of indeterminable noises.


Kullaberg & Trump’s Deceit

This is a view Kullaberg I shot a few days ago during one of those crisp, clear mornings. Kullaberg is where Charlotte and Elle were baptized and where Charlotte and I were married in 1998.

Today it’s DDR weather again. I don’t mind, though. I got up early, practiced Qigong and Yoga for 90 minutes, showered, got dressed, made some Vietnamese coffee, and sat down to work on finalizing four short films for a client. In a while, I’ll start emptying out the rest of the old kitchen before the demolition team gets here next Monday.

It’s so uncompromisingly peaceful here. No distractions, musts-do:s or have-to:s. The only social interaction I have is online with a few old friends and the occasional phone call.

Tomorrow, I’m going to be a guest on a show called The Fatherless to Fatherhood Initiative Podcast created by a fellow fatherless buddy, the fearless Michael G Poe.

Yesterday, an email from Los Angeles confirmed that my vote had been registered and counted. Feels good to know that I, at least symbolically since most Californians historically vote Democratic, pitched in to remove the unbelievalby vulgar, shameful, and incompetent Donald Trump out of the White House.

Here’s something to give you an idea of how poorly Trump has run USA Inc. While diehard proponents of his tenure thus far will argue that the president has in fact done a lot for Americans; lowered taxes. removed federal regulations, increased military spending, built portions of the border wall, here’s what it’s all costing – according to a bipartisan budget group published on Market Watch:

Policies pursued by President Donald Trump in his current term will end up boosting budget deficits by almost $4 trillion, a bipartisan group said Wednesday. These costs do not include the spending on containing the coronavirus pandemic approved by Congress this year.

Effectively, Trump has shown zero fiscal responsibility with no intent on even trying to balance the federal budget. Everything he’s done has been short-sighted and always, always, always for personal gain.

I think it’s basically the same Ponzi scheme he’s always used to finance his empire. Tragically, the collateral he’s used to amassing so much debt as president, isn’t just shimmering hotels, lavish golf courses, and luxury resorts. It’s the American people’s future.

I can’t wait to see Trump be humiliated in a couple of weeks and if necessary, forcefully escorted out of the White House in January. So the national nightmare can finally be over.

From an opinion piece in conservative The Wall Street Journal by William McRaven, a Navy admiral, and commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command from 2011-14:

– This week I went to the polls in Texas. Truth be told, I am a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, small-government, strong-defense, and a national-anthem-standing conservative. But, I also believe that black lives matter, that the Dreamers deserve a path to citizenship, that diversity and inclusion are essential to our national success, that education is the great equalizer, that climate change is real, and that the First Amendment is the cornerstone of our democracy. Most importantly, I believe that America must lead in the world with courage, conviction and a sense of honor and humility.

If we remain indifferent to our role in the world if we retreat from our obligation to our citizens and our allies and if we fail to choose the right leader, then we will pay the highest price for our neglect and shortsightedness.

I voted for Joe Biden.

I wonder where all the people that are now loudly disbanding Trump were when he got elected in 2016 and throughout his first term. How could they not have seen/heard/understood that he was a joker/jackass/jerk that would or could do no good? Did they give him the benefit of the doubt? I totally get that most conservative politicians took advantage of his pathological opportunism and sided with him in the hopes that it would benefit their agendas. But what about everyone else?


Lervik Harbor

Captured this view over the weekend. Today this small harbor is known as Lervik (clay bay), but back in 1562, there apparently was a rather large port and village here called Grytehamn where timber and firewood was shipped from.


Where Are The Cows?

Took the drone for a short flight yeasterday in an attempt to caputre the calm. clear and crisp day. Cows are gone. All that is left is their drying dung. I wonder about their fate.


‘Corruption, Anger, Chaos, Incompetence, Lies, Decay’

The New York Times Editorial Board:

Mr. Trump stands without any real rivals as the worst American president in modern history. In 2016, his bitter account of the nation’s ailments struck a chord with many voters. But the lesson of the last four years is that he cannot solve the nation’s pressing problems because he is the nation’s most pressing problem.

He is a racist demagogue presiding over an increasingly diverse country; an isolationist in an interconnected world; a showman forever boasting about things he has never done, and promising to do things he never will.

Vote.

 


Autumn in Vejbystrand

We’re back in “Vejby” again. Feels great. So peaceful. So few people. Beautiful fall hues and light. Instead of rigging all my gear, I raked leaves. Gonna hang around here for a while. Chill. Rise early. Help out with the renovations. Expand my Qigong and Yoga knowledge. Breath. Relax. Create. Think. Sleep.


Sidecar Tour in Hoi An

From almost a year ago in and around Hoi An in central Vietnam where we’re staying at the time. The tour was exhilaratingly fun – especially when I got to drive, something I haven’t done since probably the early 1990s in Thailand. An electric version of the original BMW R71 (1938) or, the above ripoff, a Chinese Chang Jiang CJ750, would be a cool vehicle to drive around in. Here’s the video I shot of our tour.