When I moved into this little cabin back in February, it was a mess. Unfinished walls and packed from floor to ceiling with all kinds of stuff n’ junk. Most of the cabin’s contents went to our local charity and whatever was left has been archived in boxes and stored away.
After giving the place a coat of paint, new furniture, wall decor, and both elephant grass and giant bamboo, my little summer studio has been a great place to work. At least until the late afternoon when the sun is out and pointed straight at my front window and the place gets sauna hot. On these rare afternoons, I’m usually ready to quit anyway, so no harm is done.
We’ll be heading back to Malmö in a while and I’m looking forward to enjoying additional indoor space – especially now that autumn is almost upon us. Still, I can see how I’ll be back here later in the fall to work on my new book of short stories.
Back in Vejbystrand again where the days are slowly getting shorter and the nights seem darker, somehow.
It’s only a matter of time now before fall is upon us with shifting colors, cooler winds and less gardening. I hand-mowed the giant lawn here this afternoon and finished just minutes before it started pouring.
The cows are still here. Don’t know for how long, though. Will we ever see them again? Sadly, the next time might be in the meat section at our local supermarket.
I have an art show in Malmö in less than a month. Thinking of showings some of my most amusing “cowtraits”. Like the one above.
I never understood how Microsoft became so successful. I mean, I get how their licensing business model was genius and that preinstalling their OS on every PC soon made it ubiquitous.
What was harder to comprehend was how so many people in offices all over the world ever got anything done on those trashy machines filled with bloated, buggy, and butt-ugly software.
At some point, during my years working for various ad agencies in different roles, I had to work on Windows PCs to ensure that the multimedia projects I was working on were cross-platform. It was an interesting but not a very creatively fulfilling process.
As Steve Jobs once said, Microsoft doesn’t have to lose in order for Apple to win. Today, “the fruit company” is thriving and Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, is thankfully using a big chunk of the fortune he made from Windows 95 (and later iterations of it) for charitable projects all over the world.
Sadly, sometimes, standardization has nothing to do with whether or not a product or service is best-in-class. A Windows-based PC has and never will be as easy to use as a Mac. The gap isn’t as wide as it once was, but there’s still a level of clunkiness to a PC that will likely never go away. And I still think Microsoft makes an aesthetically repugnant, unintuitive operating system that distracts from my creative process. Just look at the above commercial (which was likely created on a Mac…).
So, no, I don’t think there’s any reason to celebrate the launch of Window’s 95 some 25 years ago. Especially since much of Microsoft’s then-new operating system’s interface was blatantly ripped off from Apple’s macOS. Then again, Steve Jobs “stole” much of Mac’s interface from Xerox when he visited Parc, one of the photocopier company’s research labs.
I haven’t counted all the Apple computers I’ve owned over the years. Could be about 20 by now. I’m writing this on a relatively new Macbook Pro 16″ and I plan to upgrade my iMac later in the year. Back in 1998, when I bought my very first workstation, a top-of-the-line Apple Macintosh 8600, I felt a little worried that the then-struggling Apple might go actually go bankrupt. Around this time, Microsoft made a substantial investment in the company which sent a message, a vote of confidence that seemed to resonate well with Apple consumers like me. Today, Apple is among the most profitable companies in the world. So I no longer hesitate about buying into their walled-garden ecosystem. And their computers and the operating system still enables me to pursue my creative ambitions. Which is fundamentally why I continue working on them. Macs are enabling. Facilitators. Tools.
Back in Malmö for a stint. Found a place with a great view. A vantage point I’ve not been privy to before. Strangely, it feels good to be back here. Meet with friends, eat from a wider selection, and just have more options. After six months as a country boy, I kinda miss city life.
The mental health of a rabid Trump supporter and the cultish way said support is displayed, has never been made clearer to me than after watching this speech with Kimberly Guilfoyle. She’s really scary – on so many levels! It’s’ what happens when a verbally gifted redneck, a contradiction in itself, is given the spotlight and allowed to spew – in full regalia – absurd and offensive 0bscenities unabashedly.
If I hadn’t known better, I would have guessed Mrs. Guilfoyle was instead a comedian performing a satirical sketch of a hardcore Trumpian on Saturday Night Live – not at the Republican National Convention. It’s that cooky. And scary.
Like I’ve said before, the fall’s presidential race is going to incredibly interesting. Hopefully, it won’t be a race to the bottom for a country already in dire straits.
From today’s film shoot at among other locations, Långa Bryggan (the long pier) in Bjärred, Sweden. I’ve been hired to film a trailer for a Master Class (of sorts) themed around a business case and told through the lens of a seasoned CEO who’s been through hell and high water during his decade long tenure.
Behind me in this shot is a restaurant where we both ate a tremendously tasty lunch. If you’re not starved before arriving, the 500m trek along the pier could help muster a bit of hunger. I ate the above Asian Shrimp Salad.
Yesterday, I was offered a boat ride but since the seas were high, I declined. Instead, I stood firmly on the cement pier in the morning and captured a few exciting moments from the Swedish Championship in the 505 class sailboats that are competing in the waters just off the coast here in Vejbystrand. All footage shot with the XT3 set to 4k, 59fps, and 200Mb/s. That generates a ton of data, but on the other hand, it provides me with a ton of flexibility in post-production. I practice, the amount of information each frame contains, allows me to zoom in to about 200% without much loss in quality or the final render being pixelated.
From a 10-day press trip that took me all around Guatemala. This shot is from Lake Atitlan up in the hills in the southwest of the country. Beautiful region. Surrounding by majestic volcanoes, Lake Atitlan has several ancient villages populated with Native American Indian tribes. Poor, but not destitute and rich in colorful, flavorful culture.
Here’s a version of my simple, unquestionably delectable egg salad sandwich. I’ve been eating some version of this recipe off and on since I was a knee-high. In the US, the egg salad sandwich is inducted in the Sandwich Hall of Fame, right up there with the Peanut Butter & Jelly and the Baloney & Mayo (or, Mustard, or both) sandwiches.
Today, my most basic version is created with all organic ingredients; boiled eggs, mayo, chopped onions, salt, black pepper, and a gentle squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Add a dash of wasabi, a sprinkle of cumin, or, a pinch of chili flakes to your likin’. Just don’t mix all the ingredients together too fast or the concoction will end up being way too smooth. Add some chopped cabbage if you like. Cabbabe gives any sandwich a little extra crunch. And who in their right mind can resist biting into a little extra crunch once in a while?
From earlier tonight as I tempted a cow with a juicy apple so that she’d show me how long she could stretch out her luke-warm, sandpapery tongue. After a while, the cow seemed to get a bit pissed and even looked like she was about to threaten me. A charge against our old rickety gate would not have gone well. So, I pulled back and gave her a few generous pieces from my bowl of sliced Pink Lady. While I know that the apple was a Lady, I’m not entirely sure the cow wasn’t a bull. Didn’t check it’s equipment below.
Until recently, I didn’t know that there is a relatively large sunflower field not far from us in Vejbystrand. We drove to it the other day and only a few of the thousands of lanky plants had begun to blossom. So, I’ll be back in about a week. The last sunflower field I visited was outside of Arles in Provence, France – not far from where Vincent van Gogh painted, went Mistral-crazy, and cut off his ear. Shot wide open with the Fuji x100v.
Twenty-two years ago today, Charlotte and I were married at Brunnby Church not too far from where these very words are being typed right now, in Mölle-by-the-Sea.
Twenty-two years means I’ve been a married man for more than thirty percent of my life. Who would have thought that considering all the short-lived relationships I had had up until meeting Charlotte. I always felt that since my parents had both been married and divorced a few times, I was doomed in the marriage department. My father was married four or five times, all depending on who you ask.
I have never been as nervous before or since our priest Ola Stålnacke married us. My Best Man, Jonas Bratt, had thoughtfully stashed a flask of liquor in his tux, so, after a few swigs, I calmed down. Standing at the alter was a sweaty affair, nonetheless.
It rained during our wedding ceremony and back and forth throughout the 15th of August 1998. And even though the speeches ran long, the food was mediocre and our DJ totally sucked, the party was a tremendous success that friends would mention and praise for about a decade afterward.
Charlotte and I went through the wedding dinner’s seating arrangement yesterday (during dinner!) for the first time in 22 years. Sadly, of the 67 invitees, four have passed away Lars Fransson, who died from Covid-19 at the beginning of June, is the most recent. The other three are my aunt Lillemor, brother Tyko, and friend Jan-Axel Olsen.
I’m not typically a fan of religious institutions. I realize the service, purpose, and value to the evolution of human societies religions have – and to a lesser degree – still provide. When we were married on that drizzly, late summer day in southwestern Sweden, I saw it as a polite gesture, a nod of respect to the “elders” but also to experience one of the more pompous ceremonial traditions within Christianity. In retrospect, I think it was well worth it.
To this day, I continue to love Charlotte for a multitude of reasons. Our roles as Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are interchangeable and our journey continues to unfold as we carry on, evolving individually and as a pair.
We’re both doing what we can to avoid having our pact fall into the doldrums and become institutionalized – something we often see happen among other couples that have been married or together way too long – sadly, without even realizing it.
Most importantly, after close to a quarter-century of mostly blissfulness, Charlotte and I appreciate how uniquely strong and respectful our bond is.
Shot this the other day…late last week. With a 400mm lens and a teleconverter, I have a whopping 840mm glass pointed at the moon (400mm x 1,5 APS-C crop factor = 600mm x 1,4 teleconverter). But even when you consider that I don’t have to deal with any ambient urban light, as in Malmö, it’s still pretty amazing that my kit can capture the moon’s surface so well.
Apparently, Sjömantorp, the house where we live nowadays, has an age-old right to retrieve seaweed from the beach. Only a few houses along the meadow here have this agreement in place with a click of local villagers (a group of vigilant farmers with a monopoly on most of the seaweed here).
So in an effort to add an injection of powerful nutrients to the property’s many new, young plants, mainly elephant grass, and bamboo, I took our old rustbucket of a wheelbarrow down to the shoreline yesterday and picked me a nice big batch of dried seaweed. On my way up from the sea, I also piled up a couple of dried cow chips on top of the natural manure.
I was going to use some of the seaweed for my small vegetable garden but read somewhere that because of how polluted most of the country’s coastal waters are these days, it could potentially contain dangerous amounts of Cadmium and other heavy metals.
I don’t know if this pertains to seaweed on our beaches, but it feels better not to take a chance and risk poisoning my homegrown ruccola and spinach. There’s enough scientific evidence out there for me to just assume that even the sea here Skälderviken and beaches that surround Bjäre, unfortunately, contain a fair share of toxicities.
I am fascinated by conspiracy theories. It’s not what is claimed that I find intriguing but rather how they develop from fringe ideas to mainstream opinions. There are a ton of conspiracy theories bouncing around the Internet on any given day of the week. Some gain a surprisingly disproportionate amount of followers and become popularized among millions of people.
There can’t have been a more fruitful time throughout all of human history for spreading irrational explanations about all kinds of stuff. And Trump has done his share by spreading some really crazy theories to his most gullible supporters. The more intelligent followers are just as opportunistic as Trump is and while they hopefully don’t really believe in the crap his many tweetstorms and rally speeches contain, they’re savvy enough/conditioned enough to know when to just shut up, nod and continue wagging their tales.
When trying to decipher what some of the later years’ conspiracy theories represent and how they get traction, I think it’s important to understand that the vast majority of people that subscribe to them do so more for the value of participation than because they care or, at least have seen even a speck of solid evidence that provides a particular theory’s validity. Such is the case with the outlandish, right-wing Qanon theorists explained here. Ignorance is bliss.
Last night. So surreal. Shot on my two year old iPhone.
A few thoughts:
– Sunset scenes like last night’s are far too magnificent to experience in anything but realtime. Here it just slides into the uncanny world of visual clichés. A picture one might find among similarly miniaturized, mass-printed moments stacked in a postcard rack at the local souvenir shop.
– Saltwater taffy ice cream is definitely a new favorite flavor. Still not even close to genuine gelato pistachio.
– The 1 kg bag of organic, sun-dried tomatoes I ordered from Amazon.de on Friday arrived yesterday. That’s a remarkably fast delivery from Germany but likely not environmentally sound.
– No,”cancel culture” isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s probably older than Gutenburg’s printing press with movable type. It just hasn’t been as weaponized or politicized before. Thanks, Trump. Thanks, Twitter. Thanks, Facebook.
– The novel coronavirus has provided many (myself included) with formidable, unquestionable arguments to avoid socializing with people you don’t really enjoy socializing with.
– Few are talking about it, but the main reason so many Americans are getting sick is that so many of them are overweight. The “underlying condition” onto which the virus has had such a successful stronghold is indirectly caused by obesity. According to this article, the body in folks that are seriously overweight is in a constant state of inflammation – making it extremely difficult for their immune defense system to cope with the virus’s attacks. The US government’s own scientists and health experts agree unilaterally on the main reasons why 80 million Americans are obese:
- Most Americans live in an in-the-car and sit-behind-a-desk society. Daily life doesn’t involve a lot of physical activity and exercise.
- Anybody that’s been to the States knows that food is available practically everywhere. So are the many alluring messages telling Americans what to eat and what to drink – in order to be happy and to feel satisfied. Food is so readily available, it’s in places where it was never found before. Today, most gas stations have convenience stores that are open 24/7/365. Like in Sweden, the vast majority of their offering is snacks and sweets.
- Food portions at restaurants and what folks prepare at home are bigger than they used to be and most contain excessive amounts of both sweeteners like fructose (≈ sugar) and sodium (≈ salt).
- The poorer you are, the more likely it is you have to choose the cheapest options when grocery shopping. Lower prices usually mean less nutritional value and again more sugar and salt to artificially enhance flavors.
They say that after you turn 25, not much of your character changes. Thirty-two years later, I can’t but agree with that statement.
I clearly live a healthier life in 2020 than I did in 1988 when smoking, snuffing, and drinking was all part of my daily diet. I never got into drugs, at least not the illicit kind in power form. I’ve always exercised regularly, 90 minutes of Qigong&Yoga this morning) but also fall into spells of spectacular indulgence. As I near my sixth decade, I realize that I still spoil myself regularly and enjoy much of the same stuff as back in my youth. Like the IHOP breakfast above which I ate with great vigor while waiting for a friend up in the Bronx a couple of years ago.
In 1988, I spent the entire summer unloading bananas off rusty boats from Central America (mostly Panama) which arrived weekly in Göteborg’s commercial harbor. Sweden and the other Scandinavian countries were seemingly insatiable when it came to bananas at the time. Each Friday, a freighter chuck full with about 130.000 cardboard boxes of bananas colorfully branded Uncle Tuca, Del Monte and Chiquita would dock and wait to be unloaded the following Monday morning.
At 18.4kg per banana box, placing a few thousand of them onto a conveyer belt from deep inside the vessel each shift was intense. But in retrospect, the job provided me with humbling insights into the world of the working class. Like many other labor-intensive jobs, the fruit company that hired me and my “banana boat” colleagues (which in the summer consisted mostly of students, struggling musicians, and artists) eventually automized the entire unloading process.
In October that year, I flew with Yugoslavian JAT to Thailand and worked for 6 months at the Golden Sand Resort on Lamai Beach, Koh Samui. Upon returning to Sweden in April, my brother Nick called to ask me if I wanted a bartending gig at a hotel in Riksgränsen, way, way up in Lapland towards the very tip of Sweden’s northern border – real close to both Norway and Finland. Financially depleted and desperate for work, I got on a rickety train from Göteborg where spring was abounding and arrived approximately 24 hours later in Riksgränsen where it was still midwinter.
If the lifestyle I had previously been leading – culminating with several seasons working in a bar at a ski resort – was formative, the time I spent in Riksgränsen surely solidified much of it. It took me several years to leave the restaurant business and embark on more creative, less destructive endeavors. But in essence, I’m still more or less the same guy as I was back in 1988. Just older on the outside.
Here’s an interesting documentary from the BBC about the art of living where the team has met a ancient folks living in a remote mountain village in Italy and how their lifestyle has promoted mental and physical health and longevity. As usual, I’m caught between being inspired and realizing how boring that would be.
With all the really bad stuff going on right now across the world, in Beirut, in D.C., the US, Brazil, India, and elsewhere, watching a curious, carefree puppy discover how to best eat watermelon is a wonderful distraction.
You can follow Lennart’s adventures on Instagram and YouTube by searching for @lennartminidachshund
More of my commercial and personal films here.
Because I’m a US citizen, I regularly receive emails from the US government (via the US Embassy in Sthlm) about stuff that I, as an American passport holder, should think about before traveling to foreign lands or gathering in open places and spaces.
I’m fairly sure that about this time 2o years ago, about three months before our child was born, Charlotte and I began discussing names. That he or she would have at least two names, possibly three, was something we agreed early upon. If it was a girl, we would honor our respective grandmothers by giving our baby girl a name from each of them. The same would have happened if it was a boy with our grandfathers’ first names.
Our daughter Elle Ingrid Agnes Raboff will be 20 in a couple of months. She’s still figuring out what to do with her life. While a few of my friends knew what they wanted (or, at least felt obliged to fulfill their parents’ vision) at 20, I was still clueless. Heck, at 57, I’m still pretty much clueless. Elle is focused on getting a higher education, which is obviously great. But for now, working at the supermarket, she’s getting a ton of valuable life/work experience all the while earning honest money.
The other day, Elle sent us a text message with the small, inserted photo above. At some point during that day’s shift, a boss had approached and asked Elle to come with her to the office. A little nervous that something was awry, it turned out that Elle, after only six months on the job, was going to be awarded “Employee of the Month”. We were both tremendously proud. The fact that the store has 300 employees means there must have been some competition.
I’m a firm believer that being proud or feeling pride is something you can only truly do when you’ve been actively involved in a positive outcome or result. Both Charlotte and I feel therefore immensely proud of Elle’s achievement. I don’t want to read too much into the award, but the motivation is certainly a testament to our daughter’s ability to do her job really well and her social intelligence.
While our friendly neighbors insist on polluting the air and airwaves with our ancient fossil-fueled lawnmower, I really enjoy the exercise I get from mowing it manually. It takes about two hours, 9700 steps or, roughly 6,5km to get the property’s grass mowed down. I always listen to a podcast while mowing – today I caught up to the latest episode of Conan O’Brien’s funny show, Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend.
I think I waited a bit too long after last week’s intense rainstorm(s) as mowing the grass today was unusually sweaty. And as soon as I start to sweat, an armada of insistent flies start flying around me. Have to admit that there were a couple of moments when I considered firing up the old fuming jalopy…but now that is mowed, I’m glad I didn’t.