måndag 22 december 2008

Winter What-the?-land

Season greetings to all, and to all a happy Xmas

Friends, something has been eating away at my fragile sanity for some time. Something dark, sinister, and most confusing appears every year around this time, colouring my red-and-green spirit a dull brown.
I am referring, obviously, to the song Winter Wonderland. Or, more specifically, its lyrics.
Now, I am not one to criticize songwriters, especially those who make a living writing Christmas standards. Songs like "White Christmas", "Jingle Bell Rock" or "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" has ever been a part of my celebratory traditions. 
But the happy-go-lucky lyrics of those songs tend to focus on describing and foreseeing simple concepts like "I want snow, because it's totally awesome" or "Santa will give you a present and eat your cookies" or "Fuck the Jews, Jesus loves Mickey Mouse".
Now, having listened to all these songs several thousand times each, I can't help but feel that Winter Wonderland was written by someone who had been inhaling a very serious amount of cocaine.

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening, 
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We're happy tonight.
Walking in a winter wonderland.

Alright, fair enough. "In the lane" is a pretty awkward expression, but fine. You're pleased to see pearly snow lining your driveway.

Gone away is the bluebird,
Here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song,
As we go along,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

"A new bird"? What fucking new bird? A woodpecker? Because he sure as shit won't sing you any love songs. Also, bluebirds don't migrate, as far as I know. He's not "gone away", homie.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say: Are you married?

We'll say: No man, 

But you can do the job

When you're in town. 

Okay. Here it is. This line has been the bane of my existence for the past few Christmases, and I've finally found out what it means. Apparently, back in '34 when this here song was done written, parsons – that's a protestant minister, a church-man – would travel the small towns and perform impromptu weddings.


So let me get this straight. You'll go to a big ol' clearing, erect a snowman, and go all crazy-brainfreeze-schizo, pretending that it's just the friendly neighbourhood random priest, passing by for a quick marriage. Great!
And isn't that exactly the kind of conversation you would imagine taking place in a 1934 american small town. 
- Hey there, children. My name is Brown. 
- Hello. I'm Michelle, this is Kevin. We're both 26 years old.
- Say, are you two young sinners married? I saw you holding hands.
- We are not, actually. But since you showed up here all random and sudden, we might as well let you do it. Right now. 

Later on, we'll conspire,
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid, 
The plans that we've made,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

"We'll conspire, as we dream"? That's nonsense. And "To face unafraid, the plans that we made"? You'll face your plans? Come on. Rephrase, please.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
And pretend that he's a circus clown
We'll have lots of fun with mister snowman,
Until the other kids knock him down.

This is just retarded. Yeah, I'm sure you'll have "lots of fun" with three gobs of snow stacked on top of each other, until some asshole bully shows up and devastates said construction. 
Where's the verse about you avenging "mister snowman" and beating the shit out of those "other kids"? Huh?

When it snows, ain't it thrilling,
Though your nose gets a chilling
We'll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

"Frolic and play". Yeah, I'm sure that's precisely the Eskimo way. They sure do love their snow, them silly Eskimos. 

As with most Christmas songs, this one has been recorded dozens if not hundreds of times since it's inception. Artists as varied as Louis Armstrong, Michael Bolton, Macy Gray, Ozzy Osbourne, Kenny G, Cyndi Lauper, Willie Nelson and The California Raisins have all gotten a stab at guessing what in the hell a Parson Brown is.

Me, I'll stick to Mr Hankey's Christmas Classics, thank you very much. Nothing says Happy Holidays like hearing racist, bigot Mr Garrison singing "Merry fucking Christmas". 
That, and chocolate. Mounds of it.

lördag 13 december 2008

Into the great unknown.

Or as the geographically talented call it: Japan.

In less than a month, I will leave the comforting soil of motherland Sweden behind, setting my course for Tokyo. (In reality, I will not have to set the course myself. What a modern age we live in.)
There I will stay for more than three months, studying Japanese at Geos Kudan Institute (dig that groovy retro 90's website!) and living for a time with a Japanese family.

The whole thing has been a couple of months in the planning, but was made official only a few days ago when I made a stupidly huge deposit to the Blueberry organization, the in-between people who hooked me up with all of this.

My feelings towards the trip are, as far as I care to define, positive. A kind of optimistic excitement, spiced with a healthy dose of fear. I don't know what's going to happen, outside of my schedule for the Japanese Conversation course (which I also don't know very much about.)
Today, I know absolutely nothing about the family with whom I will stay for six weeks, nor the student dormitory where I'll live the remainder of my time. 

I'm writing this mostly as a prologue to my trip as documented on this blog, and in hopes that it will remind me of these uncertain times in years to come. 
I'll try, mainly for my own sake, to write often.

torsdag 4 december 2008


Today I ate fish. It was good, but I feel kind of bad for them.

I have been a vegetarian for almost five years. It started around the time I lived in London, which was not long after the whole mad cow-thing (no, not that one). I basically wasn't too keen on red meat, and also I was broke as a rat so veggies seemed like a good idea.
It caught on, apparently, as I am now approaching five years without meat of any variety. Or, it would have been five years this January if I hadn't wolfed town a delicious piece of salmon for dinner tonight.
"Wtf?", I hear you cry (no I don't). Well, my reasons are many. The main and singularly significant one is that I'm moving to Japan for a while. 
Japanese cuisine tends to include a very serious amount of fish, and since I'm staying with a family for six weeks, I thought I would make it easier on them. And me. 

So there it is. I'm officially back on fish. 

That doesn't mean it's okay. The sea is awesome. Don't fuck with it.

tisdag 2 december 2008

Buy me some health!

Fuck! I should write more. Oh well.

This past week has seen the official transgression into Christmastime, or Juletide as people with no understanding of what they're talking about like to say. I am totally stoked! 
Unfortunately, this might come at a price, I fear. When something exciting appears before me, I tend to hype the hell out of it until I barely care anymore. This is usually true with movies, which I often know about months or years before I can see them, and have plenty of time to digest every shred of information one at a time. I want to see something new when I actually see the movie. As a result of this, I have now begun to ignore trailers, rumours and other such pieces of hyperbole if it's a movie I really care about. Anyway, I'm derailing here.

My point is, I'm not sure I can retain my Christmas cheer for 22 more days. This relates to my previous post about starting Christmas early, which I still think is silly.
Hopefully, I can take it slow and save my celebrating for choice occasions, such as this weekend. I just wish there was more snow. But, hey, that's manbearpig for you. 

Oh yeah, the title of this post relates to my previous weekend. Me and Melody was at a spa of sorts. It's not really a spa, but I can't think of a better English word. It's more like rehab for people who aren't sick or addicted to heroin. 
It was nice, and a bit wierd. We ate lots of vegetarian food, and did some swimming (that's the health part) and filled our remaining hours with a stupid amount of sleep and many episodes of Family Guy (less healthy, but not that bad either).
It's always fun to see the different ways people approach the "pay to feel better"-concept. Because as friendly as Masesgården was, it was damn expensive. But we didn't pay for it, so I'm in no position to complain. The aforementioned activities constitutes one hell of a weekend for me, end of story. 
Plus, we hung out with a Yorkshire terrier with short fur, which may actually be the cutest non-fictional being on this earth.

As a last note, I have just about finished sending in my paperwork for the stay in Japan. It looks like it's happening. Holler.