Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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melodifestivalen

Melodifestivalen, what is it? Well it directly translates to Melody Festival. Idiomatically it translates to Song Festival. I’m sure you never would have guessed that, so I’m glad to help. As you all remember my thoroughly in-depth description and analysis of Eurovision 2012, I’m now here to explain how Sweden chooses the song they send to Eurovision. (Get caught up on Eurovision here.)

Eurovision 2013 was held in Sweden, where Denmark won. (If you have been waiting for my analysis of Eurovision 2013, it’s not happening. Sorry for the letdown.) This year the song contest will be held in Denmark.

In order to decide which song will be sent to the Eurovision Song Contest, Sweden has a song contest. What else? Melodifestivalen lasts six weeks, where artists from across the land compete with one another to get the Swedish populace to vote for their songs. (At a price. Imagine if it cost money to vote for American Idol? Think there’d be as many votes? Now imagine you could also choose to call a number where money would go to charity (as they do in Sweden). Imagine…) Anyway…

Melodifestivalen is shown on Saturday nights (high time for lördagsgodis – Saturday candy – remind me to tell you more about this later). The first four showings consist of eight songs competing for your vote. During the first four shows two songs are sent directly to the final competition. Two songs are also sent to the second chance. The competition travels around Sweden and is sent live to all the televisions across Sweden.

The first four weeks the competition is pretty much set up how you would expect it to be. Eight groups/artists perform their songs, and Sweden calls in to vote. The two songs with the most votes get sent directly to the final (and are preformed one more time). The two songs receiving the 3rd and 4th most votes are sent to the second chance week.

Week one in Malmö saw YOHIO with the song “To the End” and Ellen Benediktsom with “Songbird” move directly on to the final. Linus Svenning singing “Bröder” as well as Helena Paparizou with “Survivor” were sent to the second chance competition.

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Week two broadcasting from Linköping sent Panetoz and Sanna Nielsen, singing “Efter solsken” and “Undo” respectively, to the final. Martin Stenmarck singing “När änglarna går hem” and JEM singing “Love Trigger” went to the second chance.

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In week three the artists sent directly to the final from Göteborg were Oscar Zia with “Yes We Can” and Ace Wilder singing “Busy Doin’ Nothin’”. State of Drama and Outtrigger singing “All We Are” and “Echo” respectively were sent to the second chance.

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Then in week four, from Örnsköldsvik (I don’t know where that is either), both Alcazar and Anton Ewand were sent to the final singing “Blame it on the Disco” and “Natural” respectively. Ammotrack singing “Raise Your Hands” and Elinor Holmer with the song “En himmelsk sång” were sent to the second chance show.

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Last week, week five was second chance week in Lidköping. Second chance week is a little different from the first four weeks. First, all eight artists/groups perform their songs. Then Sweden calls in to vote (much the same). However after the votes are counted, things get interesting. The top four songs are paired up two and two, and the artists prepare for a duel. The top four songs chosen by Sweden were: “Echo” by Outtrigger, “Survivor” by Helena Paparizou, “När änglarna går hem” by Martin Stenmarck, and “Bröder” by Linus Svenning. Linus sang against Martin Stenmarck, and Outtrigger sang against Helena Paparizou. In the end it was Linus Svenning and Helena Paparizou who walked away with golden tickets to the final competition. (Figuratively, I saw no actual golden tickets.)

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The final gets even more interesting than second chance week. It starts in much the same way all the previous competitions have begun. This time, however, ten performances sing their songs for a live audience instead of eight. Sweden then calls in (or texts, not sure if I mentioned yet that you can also text – if you’re not the phone-call-type-of-person). It then gets even more interesting, as 11 international juries also vote on Sweden’s final 10 songs. This year Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom weighed in. The Swedish people and the 11 international juries have 473 points each to divide amongst the songs.

The points that the people of Sweden award are divided up based on percentage of votes. (If 12% of the votes were awarded to one song that song would receive 12% of 473.) The awarding of the points from the international juries is very similar to that of Eurovision, where the best song receives 12 points, the next 10, then 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1. Once all the votes are counted the winner is announced!

If you ask me….

This year Evelina and I enjoyed the whole of Melodifestivalen comfortably from our couch….or a couch at least during those Saturdays we weren’t at home. However, I highly recommend seeing Melodifestivalen live. In 2012 Evelina and I worked at Cloetta Center in Linköping, along with 6 of our closest teammates during the Melodifestival performance. (Well 6 of our teammates anyway.) We got to see a bunch of fun performances (after hanging everyone’s coat in the coat check). Plus, the jokes from the hosts of the program are just a little bit funnier in person.

The final is right around the corner, a mere 15 minutes away. And if you ask me, I vote for Ace Wilder’s “Busy Doin’ Nothin'” Since you did ask me, I think her song is a lot of fun, and will do the best at the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s not my favorite song in the competition, or necessarily the best song…but, like I said, I think it will do the best at Eurovision. But everything remains to be seen.

If you’re ever in Sweden in February or early March, you now know what to do. (AND you now hopefully understand all the minute details of the Swedish song contest.) When in Sweden…

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pictures from svt.se


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the new year’s tradition

Did you guys know that Ryan was here over New Years? Again. The first time he came for New Year’s he ended up belly dancing in a restaurant.

There's picture proof, so you know it happened

There’s picture proof, so you know it happened.

While that will be hard to beat, I’m glad he took my invitation seriously, and showed up this year as well.

#nye13

It was great having him. On #nye we enjoyed a home cooked meal at Evelina’s parents house, and then walked/ran down to the city in order not to miss the fireworks. We did not.

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I took some time off work, so we took it easy and ate a lot of fika. It was excellent.

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FIKA!

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Besides all the fika-ing we also spent a lot of time at the rink. Ryan got to try out his goalie skills in one of our practices, and I was thoroughly impressed. He also helped out the coaches as well as got some lifting time in the gym. We even ran together, seeing as I went a little crazy and signed up for a marathon. Ryan, consider this your official invitation to run the marathon with me.

Look who's in net

movies 3D style

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Movies were also watched, with HFR, hence the wicked cool shades.

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Having Ryan to visit is always a blast, and I hope we keep the New Year’s tradition going strong. In reminiscing about Ryan’s most recent visit, a summertime visit comes to mind. Both Ryan and Tyler came to Sweden the summer of 2012.

They had both just gone on a tour of Great Britain and Wales, and had had a great time.

lazing about

(Clearly not more fun than Sweden though)

Lucky for me they decided to stop by Sweden before making the trip back across the Atlantic. We spend the time riding bikes around Eskilstuna, and having fika. I hope you sense the theme. A day trip to the Natural History Museum was also in order.

The National History Museum

Where we posed creepily with the animals. Obviously.

There were serious moments as well:

the siblings

Ryan, Tyler, consider THIS your open invitation to visit Sweden the summer of 2014!

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more movies: pulp fiction

I’m sure you all remember my New Years Resolutions for 2013. In case you’ve forgotten, and are now struck by curiosity, feel free to click here. I wanted to watch more movies, and I was semi successful at that. Although I did not write about it in 2013, I did watch Pulp Fiction with Evelina last year.

Pulp Fiction

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It was quite educational really.

What I learned from Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino, and his top-notch cast:

  • They made some pretty bad ass movies in  1994
  • I now understand all jokes made about Quentin Tarantino
  • Samuel L. Jackson has now explained what a pilot is in perfectly understandable English – finally, I understand.
  • Burgers are a good breakfast food
  • You can buy a pack of cigarettes for $1.40 (in 1994, let’s be clear on that)
  • I realized I do not know how to do the twist
  • “Zed’s dead” is fun to say

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The movie was great, I definitely recommend it. Have you seen it? Did you find it equally as educational?

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2013 in review – with love, from WordPress

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 42 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


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2013 – looking back

At the end of each year I like to take a moment to reflect on a year gone. Okay, no, that was a bold faced lie, sounded good though, right?

This year at least I would like to take a look at last year’s New Year’s resolutions which read as follows:

  1. Paint a painting.
  2. Find a lasagna recipe Evelina enjoys as much as I do.
  3. Make homemade macaroni and cheese.
  4. Bake a rulltårta.
  5. Watch more movies.

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It seems the only resolution I have successfully been able to follow is number five. To be fair I have also completed 3 & 4, but really just in the past few days as a last ditch attempt to be successful with my resolutions. Yes, I deem 3/5 successful. Passing grade people!

In regards to the first two. I’m pretty okay with their lack of completion, as they are both well on their way. For my birthday Evelina got me two canvases and some paints. I have already planned out what I am going to paint and how I’m going to paint it. Half way there. As for number 2…Evelina has exasperatingly explained that she does not like lasagna. She will not like lasagna. As she does not like cheese, which is a main ingredient in lasagna. Little does she know I plan on adding these two uncompleted resolutions to my new resolution list (coming 2014) and I have a little something up my sleeve. Cue evil laugh.

found here

found here

I don’t want to dwell on the things I haven’t accomplished, but rather take a look at the things I have.

  1. Well on my way on learning Swedish
  2. Read Wuthering Heights
  3. Went to Mexico
  4. Read a book a month (despite some delays in posting about it – coming soon)
  5. Own the complete 10 seasons of Friends

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And those are just the things off of my 25 before 25 list. I’ve even:

  1. Planned a Lucia celebration
  2. Celebrated my Dad’s birthday with him
  3. Attended my brother’s high school graduation
  4. Listened to my calendar when it told me to eat chocolate for breakfast
  5. Learned even more about Sweden

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I’d say this has been a successful year.

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achieve your financial dreams

I’ve noticed that a lot of people I know, and stalk over the Internet, have made resolutions involving money-saving. This is great, I say, I’m all for saving money.

money money money

more money

While banks and financial groups tend to release money-saving tips, or money spending don’ts this time of year, I feel I have something extra to bring to the table. So I want to share that with you. In my years, I have implemented quite a number of money-saving strategies, and I feel I have now been able to wade through the get-rich-quick schemes, and the save your way to millions ploys to deliver you what really works, in three simple to follow steps:

Tips on saving money for 2013:

  1. Cut up all your credit cards. The trick to saving money is to stop spending it. While you’re at it you should cut up your debit cards, and increase the security on your bank accounts so that it is required to take a week or more to withdraw any sum of cash. That’ll teach you.
  2. Minimize shopping, only buy the necessities. In today’s day and age marketing and advertising is just screaming for you to spend all your money and spend it now. In order to avoid temptation it’s probably best you never go outside. Or watch TV. Or read.
  3. Create a budget and stick to it. On the surface this may seem like the most difficult of the three tasks, but I think you’ll find without access to money and no temptation whatsoever to spend it, it’ll become wonderfully easy to follow the plan you lay out for yourself. In fact if you can survive never leaving your living space with an excruciatingly limited access to your funds this third task will be the easiest of them all!

Live long and prosper.

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because everyone else is doing it

and that’s always a good reason to do something.

2013 Resolutions:

1. Paint a painting.
2. Find a lasagna recipe Evelina enjoys as much as I do.
3. Make home-made macaroni and cheese.
4. Bake a rulltårta.
5. Watch more movies.

And yes, I did cheat. These are all off my 25 before 25 list. Seeing as most people plan on cheating on the completion of their resolutions I am fully okay with cheating on the creation of my resolution list.

Happy 2013.

2013