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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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 flour
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 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“.
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.
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!
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? 🙄
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.