Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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book of september: the remains of the day

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This book is assigned reading in one of my upcoming ECE classes. (ECE = Early Childhood Education, for those not ITK). ((ITK = Informations- und TeleKommunikationsbranche)).

Kazuo Ishiguro is one of the most celebrated contemporary fiction authors in the English-speaking world, or so Wikipedia tells me. What I can tell me is that this book was a great read. Assigned reading can really be hit or miss, I’ve realized. But this one, luckily, was out of the park.

The Remains of the Day has even been made into a movie, so you know it’s good. It’s even a good movie, nominated for eight Academy Awards. Don’t be lazy and just watch the movie though! Always read the book first.

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interstellar

Have you guys seen this movie? It is epic.

It had been on my “to watch” list since it came out in 2014, we just never got around to seeing it in the theater. Then I saw that IMDb added it to the top 250 list, and there you have it, two birds – one stone! Also, seeing as the slogan for the movie was “THE END OF EARTH WILL NOT BE THE END OF US” I was pretty confident it would lift my spirits regarding the future of humanity. You know, that the only possible series of future events won’t inevitably lead to our extinction.

I ended up seeing Interstellar on an aircraft. Where I proceeded to hold onto my face for stability for the duration of the movie. My fellow passengers may or may not have thought I have anxiety. Which wouldn’t be completely untrue with regards to the emotional roller coaster I went on during the viewing.

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Ladies and gentlemen, prior to take off please make sure your seat and tray table are in the upright position, that your seat belt is securely fastened and that all carry-on luggage is properly stowed. At this time, please feel free to take a firm grasp upon each side of your face and do not let go for the following 150 minutes.

Now, I’m no theoretical astrophysicist, but I’m pretty convinced everything in the movie could totally happen. Hence the need to clutch my face for two and a half hours. If you have not seen this move, please do so. It is worth your time.

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book of february: essentialism: the diciplined pursuit of less

I really liked this book. Really a lot.


I’m not sure if it’s because we’re moving soon, or that we’ve just had a baby, but I feel the need to have less things. Not only have less things but do less things. Do less things more effectively. Which is what this book is about.

Now I definitely think you should go read this for yourself, but my big take home was that whenever a choice presents itself to you, in life, love, business, whatever, ask yourself if/how this will help you make your biggest contribution to the world. This is some difficult stuff, it requires one to be a grounded and informed individual. But, something I think is important to remember is that nothing is written in stone, and you should never not do something because of the time it takes. The time will pass anyway. If an opportunity you deem to be important enough to pursue presents itself, then it’s an easy: Yes.

After finishing the book I find myself often asking myself two questions (in my quest to have less possessions and to use my time more effectively):

  1. If I didn’t already own this, how much would I pay for it?
  2. Do I want this enough to struggle for it?

I feel the second question needs some explaining. By combining what I read in this book, and the contents of this article, I ask myself this question for two reasons. If I think I want something I need to first examine the hinders/obstacles ahead of me that may prevent me from getting there. After I have determined the obstacles I need to then determine if I am willing to overcome them. The answers to these questions help me decide if whatever I’m pondering about is truly worth pursuing.

As I said, wonderful book. Go read it!


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memory lane: a danish weekend

As we continue along this trip, let’s make a stop at May, 2013.

Danish flag

Evelina and I traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark to see my cousin, and meet her beautiful little girl. Who by now has turned 3, but let’s return down the lane and talk more about Denmark.

We arrived pretty late, so the first thing we did in Denmark was sleep. Okay the first thing was to find and check into the hotel, but the second thing was sleep.

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After waking up to a beautiful view of Copenhagen we ate breakfast with my cousin and then proceeded to explore the town.

Exploring Copenhagen

Me & Evelina Copenhagen DK 2013

As dusk fell we found our way to Tivoli, or the amusement park, right in central Copenhagen (next to our hotel, so the finding wasn’t particularly difficult). We wandered around taking lots of pictures of flowers. I’m pretty sure that’s what all the tourists do in Copenhagen. We must have been there on a day of no tourism, because we were the only ones taking flower pictures that evening.

Tivoli

When we returned to the hotel Tivoli started the firework show in our honor.

Tivoli fireworks

We had a great weekend away, and though much of Copenhagen reminded us of Sweden, the ever-present Danish speaking always reminded us that we were a long way from home.

As we concluded our weekend we returned home to Sweden, but didn’t venture far from Stockholm. The evening of our return we caught Pink at The Globe. We ate dinner before the show, and to be honest the food was quite good.

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Pink Globen

If you haven’t yet, go see Pink in concert, she is truly an entertainer. Also, if you have the chance, eat dinner first on a balcony from which you later enjoy the show.

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book of june: the power of habit: why we do what we do in life and business

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg was very enjoyable. But, before we get into things I would like to comment on how long the titles of my book of the month books have been these past two months! Geeze! Is that the new thing, ridiculously long titles? I like it. Or at least I’ve really liked these past two books!

The Power of Habit

Anywho! If you haven’t seen my most recent PN post, go check it out, because a big reason for why I read this book was PN. All the talk about habits in PN got my thoughts a churnin’. Luckily, this book gave me some of the answers I was looking for.

First, basically every single habit and lesson in PN is based on thorough research, some of which is touched upon in this book. Second, I think this book should be recommended reading for all those in PN. The book is captivating, touches on a wide range of subjects while still keeping its focus and the interest of the reader. That is quite a feat, in my opinion. At times I was reminded of Malcolm Gladwell’s writing, but I want to claim that Duhigg took a step up in his writing and really kept one focus strong throughout the entire book. Something that is missing from Gladwell’s writing. Don’t get me wrong I’m a huge fan of both authors (apparently!), but I felt that The Power of Habit spoke to me personally on a level that Gladwell’s books just don’t.

The ending was truly powerful *wink wink*, but I particularly enjoyed the appendix. If you were to only read one part or section of this book (which I don’t actually recommend) read the appendix. The appendix is particularly juicy. Have you read this book? Did you like it? Hate it? Tell me about it in the comments section below!

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book of may: orange is the new black: my year in a women’s prison

Orange is the New Black

After telling you all to watch this awesome Netflix series (which I seriously hope you have) I thought it would be fun to read the book that inspired it all. Piper Kerman (not Chapman) is a real life person who went to real life prison. Like her fictitious blonde friend, also for a drug charge.

Before we go any further, if you’ve seen the show I won’t be giving anything away, but if you haven’t and are planning on reading the book you may not want to read on.

Obviously real life events are fictionalized to make for more exciting and dramatic television & movies (except for Monster, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how shit went down). Anyway, there were some clear similarities between the book and the show, including, of course, the main character’s first name.

In the show Piper works in electrical after asking to work for the GED program. In the show the GED program was shut down because of mold in the classrooms. This aspect of the show was apparently 100% true, and 100% terrifying. Or is it just me who is irrationally appropriately afraid of mold?

Piper’s eventual roommate is a Caribbean woman whose attributes are morphed into the on-screen character seamlessly. As well as the lovely head of the kitchens Red, also known as Pop in the book. Pensatucky & Crazy Eyes are both based on real people, although the characters in the show seem to be built from multiple people Piper encounters in real life. The guard called Rotmanson in the book is perfectly portrayed as officer Mendez in the show.

In season two Piper travels by plane to Chicago, which apparently also happened in real life, and the plane ride in the show seems mostly accurate. The ending of the book does not coincide with the show, seeing as we’re all excitedly awaiting the release of season 3 in just twelve days. But that’s not the only thing that doesn’t quite align. As far as I can tell Alex Vause is, unfortunately, completely fictionalized. Her presence in the same prison as Piper from the beginning is fictional, as well as most things about her. The one grain of truth, as far as I can tell, is the fact that a former female lover got Piper mixed up in the drug world to begin with. Alex Vause’s moody good looks were, despairingly, never part of the equation.

Some other things that get lost from book to television show:

  • Piper’s dry humor
  • gay David
  • Larry’s fans in prison
  • Kids day
  • Piper’s loving and supportive family
  • Larry’s identity as a doting and secure fiancé

Though these things would certainly enhance the television show (in my humble opinion) I’m sure they were calculated changes. And who knows, maybe gay David is coming in season 3!

If you love the show I definitely recommend the book. It’s interesting to see where such an entertaining show gets its roots, but also to discuss in a surprisingly captivating fashion the short comings of the US prison system. That and the awesome tomato metaphor Piper uses in the final pages, and her expert use of the word ostensibly. Some seriously good writing.

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eurovision song contest

If you don’t recall my other post about Eurovision, read up here. There I explain all about how the contest works. Guess what, one week ago today, Sweden did it again!

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This post won’t be quite the same detailed run-down as my previous post was, but I will have you know that I personally think that this year’s Eurovision Song Contest was the best one I have ever seen. Every country that made it to the final really stepped it up. Every single song and artist was truly amazing. And I’m pretty hard to please, seeing as I’m a native English speaker I’m hard on artists. If they can’t sing in English, I’m a firm advocate for them singing in their native tongue. This year, however, no one’s English caused me to cringe or want to turn off my TV. Everyone brought their A-game.

That being said, here are the results, as well as links to the songs from the official ESC site.

ESC(picture found here)

  1. Sweden – Måns Zelmerlöw – Heroes: 365
  2. Russia – Polina Gagarina – A Million Voices: 303
  3. Italy – Il Volo – Grande Amore: 292
  4. Belgium – Loïc Nottet – Rhythm Inside: 217
  5. Australia – Guy Sebastian – Tonight Again: 196
  6. Latvia – Aminata – Love Injected: 186
  7. Estonia – Elina Born & Stig Rästa – Goodbye To Yesterday: 106
  8. Norway – Morland & Debrah Scarlett – A Monster Like Me: 102
  9. Israel – Nadav Guedj – Golden Boy: 97
  10. Serbia – Bojana Stamenov – Beauty Never Lies: 53
  11. Georgia – Nina Sublatti – Warrior: 51
  12. Azerbaijan – Elnur Huseynov – Hour of the Wolf: 49
  13. Montenegro – Knez – Adio: 44
  14. Slovenia – Maraaya – Here For You: 39
  15. Romania – Voltaj – De La Capat/All Over Again: 35
  16. Armenia – Genealogy – Face the Shadow: 34
  17. Albania – Elhaida Dani – I’m Alive: 34
  18. Lithuania – Monika Linkyté and Vaidas Baumila – This Time: 30
  19. Greece – Maria Elena Kyriakou – One Last Breath: 23
  20. Hungary – Boggie – Wars for Nothing: 19
  21. Spain – Edurne – Amanecer: 15
  22. Cyprus – John Karayiannis – One Thing I Should Have Done: 11
  23. Poland – Monika Kuszynska – In the Name of Love: 10
  24. United Kingdom – Electro Velvet – Still in Love With You: 5
  25. France Lisa Angell – N’oubliez Pas: 4
  26. Germany – Ann Sophie – Black Smoke: 0
  27. Austria – The Makemakes – I am Yours: 0

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Definitely click the link to listen to Sweden’s song, and I even encourage you to click all the links. Form your own opinion. Learn a little about European music. Although I thought this year’s performances were above and beyond, as per the usual I did not agree with this year’s voting.

If I was the Queen of the Eurovision Song Contest this is how I would have ranked the songs:

My list

This year’s song contest did not occur without a little drama. Half way through the contest Russia was winning. The audience did not like this, and they started booing when Russia received points. The TV hosts reminded the audience that the song contest is completely outside of politics, and all artists should be supported. A bit later on a Sweden chant began.

Little awkward, but the ESC has been very pro LGBTQ, and Russia these days is the opposite of that. So, although awkward, not unsurprising in the least. I do think that what the hosts said was important though, the music is the focus, and the music this year was GREAT.

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I’m super glad Sweden won, and if any of you readers can get me tickets to the song contest next spring I would be forever in your debt!

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