Monday, September 25, 2006

Tang Tonguelers

The thing about being "creative" is that your brain works in mysterious ways; you make associations that other people don't. Sometimes this can be a good thing, and the result is an innovation that nobody else would have thought of. Other times, it's just plain confusing.

For me, there seems to be an extra layer to the creativity cake. Not only do I make unusual associations that sometimes require conceptual stretching for others, the connection between my brain and my mouth sometimes goes haywire. It usually makes much more sense to me in my head than it does to the person listening to me.

It doesn't usually occur in a professional capacity, thankfully, nor is it usually offensive. (Usually, I'm offensive only on purpose.) But it has made my boyfriend occasionally wonder out loud how such a prolific blogger can say such nonsensical things.

I'm afraid that I must agree with him.

Yesterday, he asked me if we should take the bus or the subway. I replied that it would be half a dozen of one, and three-fourths of the other. He looked at me as if I had just suddenly started speaking in tongues.

"You mean six of one, half a dozen of the other?"

Yeah, something like that. "I never said I was any good at math!"

Another time, I ordered Beef Saskatchawan when we were at a Chinese restaurant. Good thing I was pointing at the menu at the time, or we would have been waiting quite a long time while they imported a cow from Canada. (Luckily, they had plenty of Beef Szechuan at hand.)

It's a good thing he likes for me other reasons than my amazing ability to articulate. Like my amazing organizational skills.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Happy 93rd Birthday, Grandma!

The third youngest

High School Graduation

Waxing political

The two most decisive issues in the Swedish elections tomorrow will be unemployment... and schlager.

In most countries, I would be willing to bet an öre or two that schlager wouldn't win you any votes. In Sweden, however, it might just be the difference between whether or not Göran Persson can hold onto the coveted seat of Prime Minister. The other parties are hot on his heels to snatch away the post after the Social Democrats have been in power for 65 of the last 74 years.

This afternoon, there was quite a hubub at the top of the escalator as I emerged from the subway at Åhlens, the big department store near Central Station. Personally, I think the racket I heard only vaguely resembled music, but to the Swedes gathered around a stage, it was the sound of sweet, sweet music. This is Schlagerland, after all.

The group "One more time" introduced Maud Olofsson of the Center Party with a rousing chorus of some schlager song that all Swedes can sing along with... and do. The group featured some guy in a white suit and a very pregnant woman in a very green, very short skirt. I didn't stay to hear Maud speak; however, if you're sad you missed her, I suggest checking out the Battle for Sweden, where the Good Fairy Maud and the evil King Göran duke it out for the future of the Kingdom.

If you want to figure out where you lie on the Swedish political spectrum, take a test to see which Swedish political party you most closely identify with (in Swedish only). Looks like I'll be rooting for evil King Göran.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sweater weather

I think my debut and demise as a fashion blogger has occurred in the span of a single day. I'm not nearly up-to-date enough with the current fashion trends, although I know ugly when I see it. I can appreciate fashion as artistic expression, but it's hard to take haute couture from the catwalk to the street. Besides, any piece of clothing that has to be taped to your body to stay on is best left to the professionals.

Yesterday's shopping spree was actually a much-belated reunion with Wild Child, who has been hiding out in Gävle for the last several months. She was scarf hunting, and I joined her after work (apparently they don't have any scarves in Gävle). I wasn't really intending on buying anything, but I indulged my craving for cosy as the weather is starting to get a bit of a chilly edge. (Speaking of which, I was horrified to learn today that one of my favorite coffee bars has stopped serving gelato; the barista informed me that ice cream season is officially over. I was not pleased.)

While I view the semi-monthly purchase of socks as par for the course (not to be confused with my other opinions about socks) as they often need replacing thanks to the damn sock elves, in the last year or two I've had to curtail what used to be a rather ferocious appetite for the acquisition for new clothes. Part of it has been growing up a bit and getting my priorities straight, and part of it has been due to sheer financial necessity. Minus excessive credit limits, it's rather difficult to buy things when you don't have any money.

But after six months full-time employment, I decided I could afford to add a few new pieces to spruce up my wardrobe. While I did not purchase a pea green polyester sack and call it a dress, I did get two new fall must-haves: sweaters.

The reason I rejoice in the purchase of two new sweaters is that it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy -- not just on the outside, but on the inside. I know it's sacrilegious to worship anything other than the Midsummer season, but the autumn is my absolute favorite time of year (operating on the assumption that the rainy season remains at bay for another few weeks). It's crisp and brisk, but it's not cold. During midday, you can still walk around in a short-sleeved shirt, but you need a bit extra to keep warm in the early morning and the evening. And sweaters are only happy to oblige in the pursuit of warmth.

Maybe it's like Linus and his blanket in Charlie Brown. We all need a little something to protect us against the cold (literally or metaphorically). Since it's socially unacceptable to carry around a blanket as an adult, a cosy sweater is a great substitute.

I think maybe my fondness to sweaters is similar to my appreciation of the cafes in Sweden that provide blankets so customers can sit outside and enjoy every last ounce of sunshine before it disappears for six months.

Because it's all about the cosy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Avant garde ugly

Today can best be described as a plethora of pleather and avant garde ugly. It's going to take me years to get over the fashion horrors I saw today (and H&M is the perpetrator).

It's been awhile since I've been on a major shopping spree, but I thought I was at least somewhat up-to-date on the latest styles and trends. It turns out, however, that "up-to-date" means raiding the back of your mother's and grandmother's closets and taking out the things that even they would be embarassed to wear.

You know what I'm talking about. Imagine that pea green polyester sack trying to pass as a dress and that ostentatious pink and orange patterned shirt that you laughed at as a kid as you leafed through your mother's high school yearbook. Then wear the pink and orange patterned shirt with the pea green polyester mumu and you have a complete outfit.

This isn't even retro. Retro means the garment was actually manufactured decades ago and requires you to forage through racks of secondhand clothing. It may still be ugly, but it's earned ugly.

What I saw today was just a cheap imitation of a style that was an eyesore in the first place. But what worries me more is that if there is a supply, there must be demand. Who wears this stuff?

And another question: Who decided it would be a Good Idea™ to revive the worst of the worst fashion mishaps of the 70s and 80s?

That person deserves to be beaten with a fermented herring.

Here's a tip: If it looks like your grandmother's curtains, it may not be the best fashion choice.

And some of the construction of the various garments was just confusing. Maybe I'm wrong, but it really should be pretty obvious which hole is the neck and which is the sleeve. But in more than one instance today, that distinction was blurry. It may be that "up-to-date" fashion requires you to put your head through the sleeve and leave the other one dangling. Never mind that it leaves half of your chest exposed; it's all in the name of fashion.

I also noticed an inverse relationship between price and the amount of fabric used to make a garment. For just 199 SEK, you can purchase an entire sea of polyester. On the other hand, 1999 SEK will get you piece of string otherwise known as a thong with a Dolce and Gabbana label slapped onto it. (I think I would rather pay the 1999 SEK to have the polyester removed from sight).

Maybe I should stick with my Gap basics for the time being. Of course, next year I may have given in to foul fashion and I'll be forced to eat my words. Again.

In the meantime, I'm sticking to the thought that if it was a bad idea the first time, it's going to be even worse the second time around.