marshtide: (Too-ticki)
Yes. I'm alive.

I've just finished my first week of school with SAS, and I actually have next week off because it's autumn break (I may spend some time in Stockholm, but mostly I've decided to try and pick a project, any project, and work on it until I'm done - even if it doesn't turn out how I wanted). So: SAS. It's still pretty easy, actually.

But I like my class. It's quite small, friendly, and focused. I have a pretty good idea of who people are (although I'm not doing that well with names, which I don't have a good memory for). I have yet to feel threatened. I have had really interesting discussions with people. I'm planning to take the next round of tests as soon as possible, but also considering grabbing contact details from about half the class. I kind of wish I'd asked some people if they wanted to have coffee or something during our week off. Which I think is a good sign.

P.S. I'm giving a short talk to the class in a few weeks. On anything I like! I think the trick here will actually be to find something I can keep short enough... uhh.

P.P.S. I've been enjoying Ramp, which is a TV programme from UR about relationships, sexuality and identity. The first episode was about heterosexuality, and I'm watching the second episode now, which is about homo- & bisexuality, and then I think tonight's is going to be about transsexuality. I think I'm partly just kind of overjoyed that a programme treats heterosexuality in exactly the same way as other sexualities and identities.

& a few weeks ago this showed on TV. ("Heterophile: a heterosexual cabaret") It was on pretty late and I was too tired to follow everything - and of course it was really complicated Swedish - and I'd like to see it again to try and pick apart more of it. Some of the parts that I got were really good, while in other parts I understood the words but still couldn't follow what they were actually driving at (and want to try again with those as well). It is, of course, a lot about norms, and power, and identity.

& this is what we're doing tonight.

Oh.

Oct. 22nd, 2010 08:59 am
marshtide: (Mårran)
SA400924


...I see.

(Confession: despite hearing snow ploughs all last winter I had completely forgotten what the terrible whirring and rattling sound as of the sky falling actually meant when it woke me up this morning.)
marshtide: (Snufkin - The traveller)
I went out into the forest yesterday. With my bike - I'm not really that great on my feet but I can cycle pretty well - so I was mostly on the main track, though I abandoned my bike for a while to explore off it too.

Photos )
marshtide: (Parkvakten)
How sick am I of politics now? I am this sick.

Every day is a new barrel of laughs, basically!

On the one hand, Sverigedemokraterna want us to believe that they are tragic victims (most of them being members of that well known oppressed minority group, straight white men) and that When They Are Dead We Will All Be Sorry (because they are absolutely all going to get murdered by hateful foreigners any moment now). Also it will be all the fault of the press for their terrible hate campaign.

On the other hand, everyone else is in hysterics about SD and a lot of people seem to be painting this picture of them which is worse than they really are. They're terrible people but they don't, in total honesty, have to be more than the local idiots if everyone else in parliament can just get their act together and stop acting like the end is nigh. They don't have decent policies, they don't make sense, and while it may be a frustrating idea for the alliance that sometimes they might vote with the opposition it wouldn't actually be a catastrophe for the country that would send us spiraling into chaos. If no-one is co-operating with them or taking up their policies, they do not actually have the power to steer the country in their chosen direction - they just get to pick between the viewpoints of two blocs which are, on the whole, considered socially acceptable and non-extreme.* And no-one can do anything about that, and no-one has a "responsibility"** to change their actions because SD might choose to vote with them, and actually, that is a fucking dangerous idea, so you know, fuck you, Frederik Reinfeldt.

Anyway, one of the dangers here actually is that you say that SD are the most evil people ever - and then the reality actually ends up looking kind of OK in comparison, and they get to say they're being demonised. Treating them in a way that could actually make them look more sympathetic to people who are sitting on the fence about the whole thing? Great idea. You know, you can point out the things they say that are wrong and damaging and racist or sexist or otherwise horrible. You can counter those points. You can maybe try to be adults about it too. I'm pretty sick of the hair-pulling and name-calling now TBH. I know they love to play that game but you needn't keep on joining in. That is giving them power.



* my feelings of deep distaste for KD and the "insane communist extremists" school of thought about Vänster aside. (By the way, Lars Ohly is about the only person who has occasionally said things that haven't made me want to throw the radio/TV/newspaper out the window lately. What's with that?)

** Also if I hear the word "responsibility" from a politician one more time I will scream. Everyone is taking responsibility or is demanding that someone else take responsibility or.
marshtide: (Too-ticki)
1. Yesterday afternoon I had the final part of my exam with Sfi. (I've passed, by the way. I don't know if I got a "good" or a "very good", but I definitely passed.)

Yesterday morning the school rang me to ask me if I knew when my exam was meant to be, because they had forgotten.

Yup. That's Sfi.


2. We have a kitten. He was a stray. He doesn't have a name yet and I admit I am still worrying darkly about potential health issues, but it'll go however it goes, and at least he's pretty happy and lively at the moment. Although terrified of hairdriers.

Perfectly reasonable, really.


3. I can't believe how much I want it to be the weekend considering how little I've actually had to do in terms of school etc. this week.


4. I'm having a music crisis. Why can I never remember what music I like outside of two or three obsessions at any given time? I feel somehow quite sure that my taste is more varied than this.
marshtide: (Default)
I went on a slightly over-enthusiastic bike ride yesterday. You know how it is; well, now I'm here, I might as well go on to there, it's not much further...

Naturally, I also have photos. A couple from the lake (which may be from Monday, actually), and the rest from town and the harbour.

Lake & woods, this time with sun )


Following the river )

Yeah, it's a mixed up little town, this one.
marshtide: (Parkvakten)
Berglins-sd

(från igårs Svenska Dagbladet.)
marshtide: (Too-ticki)
Today: trying again with this whole attending school thing.

Random links, largely in some way Val's fault (though the first one just showed up on my reading list):

1. Well, yeah. I mean, I don't think men taking an equal role in raising children is actually quite so much of a firmly entrenched idea in Sweden as people maybe imply/wish, given the issues with getting guys to for example actually take as much paternity leave as they're entitled to, but I definitely had a burst of surprise when I arrived at how common it was to see a guy going around by himself with a small child in a buggy. It made me double-take - and this despite the fact that my dad spent pretty much the same amount of time looking after me and my brother when we were kids as my mum did. I guess the thing is, in a rural part of the UK at that point in time, that was weird. And this seems to be normal.

(Val has also mentioned a couple of times that there is training here for preschool teachers to try and counter the way gender roles are enforced in without people even being aware of what they're doing. While we're on gender roles. I haven't gone and looked it up and read up on the details but doesn't that sound amazing?)


2. Here is an article about women's football. It's from a Swedish feminist magazine, so sorry if you can't read the actual text, but the reason I'm linking it is in fact mostly the photos. Aren't they great?


3. Name to remember, which I've just found written on a post-it note and stuck to one of my notebooks: Marianne Breslauer. German photographer, Weimar republic. Just look at this stuff!
marshtide: (Mist)
Yesterday was a really misty day. I'm trying to go out with a camera semi-regularly again now because we're back into one of the bits of the year where stuff changes really fast all the time. Not because I'm any good with a camera, but I do like having a record.

Down to the lake again and back by the allotments at the edge of town:

photos )

Otherwise: mental health nosedive! SFI incompetence! Stress for all! Doctors appointment on Thursday. Sent home from school today. More tea, Birgitta Stenberg, ignoring world.
marshtide: (Mårran)
Bugger. Both for the kommun vote - really, my kommun? really? after that much corruption you decided what Moderaterna needed was to become the biggest individual party in the area? - and for the national vote, where no-one has a majority and Sverigedemokraterna have got their disgusting little paws into the Riksdag. With 5.7% of the votes. Wagh.

So, you know, happy fucking Monday. Let's see what they can come up to deal with this and if it will completely depress me. I know the Alliance is trying to flirt with Miljöpartiet, but...
marshtide: (Lake)
Today, I fucked up my wrist slightly cooking aubergines. Don't ask how, I don't even know. I'll not be typing too much for a little while to try and encourage recovery.

But I do want to comment on the election stuff a little more before I go, as much to have a record as anything: I've just watched the final pre-election debate and was really impressed with all the rödgröna leaders. Even Mona Sahlin (Socialdemokraterna) was very good today, which did surprise me. Maria Wettestrand (Miljöpartiet) is seriously quite brilliant, though.

I'll be even sadder when they lose now!

I think the main other things that have stuck with me are that:

1. it is almost impossible to really listen to anything the current boss (Fredrik Reinfeldt) says - it's just sound. It does something really weird and almost hypnotic and I don't think I can remember much at all of what he said, except that he flat-out refused to admit that his own legislation on disability benefit had actively damaged a lot of people's lives and that it was obvious it would do so, even when it the relevant lines were quoted to him and evidence was provided of people being fucked over. Obviously a lovely man.

2. I nearly threw something at the TV when kristdemokraterna's leader had the nerve to say that a vote for them was a vote for solidarity. How do they have the fucking nerve? And that word! I don't think it means what they think it means!

3. it's pretty amazing how everything that is wrong with the country is now apparently not just socialdemokraterna's fault (because they've been in power for the majority of Sweden's recent history) but also the fault of both miljöpartiet and vänsterpartiet - neither of which have ever held office.

It's like magic!


Plans for the weekend:

Fika.* Vote. Wish I could get drunk watching the results.


Plans for Monday:

Take exam.


* Drink coffee and eat delicious (gluten-free) pastries. National institution.
marshtide: (Parkvakten)
OMG! I have just been talking to party representatives, because it was my homework from school this week. It's all terribly exciting, you know.

I can now inform you that Folkpartiet's chosen representative does not believe discrimination exists, the lady from Moderaterna thought that I was making up the laws about trans people to fuck with her because they sounded so weird, and that Kristdemokraterna's motto is totally "We Don't Discriminate But [offensive statement]" and also "we have gay people in our party too!" - I suddenly understand the appeal of bingo cards that much better, and believe KD are nearing full house. (They also denied that they had ever voted against LGBT rights. It's always FOR someone else's rights. Usually for the right of straight rich white men to be bastards to everyone else. Or for the rights of THE CHILDREN. Cute, anyway.)

Centerpartiet's dude was vague and confused on any question that wasn't to do with the environment and I was interrupted in my talk with him by a woman who came by to tell him that he was evil because a farmer refused to give her milk when she was a child. I do not even know. Vänsterpartiet were absent with an apologetic little note on their door about understaffing and a phone number, Miljöpartiet were present and probably the most competent, volunteering a lot of information for each question (am admittedly biased), and Socialdemokraterna at least had an answer on hand for every question I asked (Miljöpartiet are the only other one who gave an answer which really was an answer in every case) - particularly, their lady had a lot to say about the education and work placement systems for immigrants.

Everyone agrees that the schools in this kommun are crap.

I spoke with Kristdemokraterna last out of a certainty that my conversation with them would end in speachless rage, which naturally it did. (A child needs one mother and one father! Because men and women are SO inherently different that a child without both will be warped forever, I guess. OK, they only said the part about being so different, not the part about warping forever, but you know. It was really quite heavily implied.)

Other highlights: Moderaterna's answer to my question as to what the most important environmental issues in the kommun are? "Traffic should go outside town. We're building a road."

...

O really.

& Kristdemokraterna's answer? "I'm afraid I can't talk about kommunal issues. But we're very good on the environment. A poll said so. We're as good as miljöpartiet!" ...I see. Uh... I am... feeling so convinced.

I must have earnt chocolate by now, right?
marshtide: (Lake)
At school, they're determined that we must talk Swedish with people who we don't know, which is a fair point. The chosen method of making this happen is to have us write questions to go and ask the party representatives who're hanging out in booths in the centre of town right now and trying to convince people to vote for them. We're doing this next Thursday, apparently.

I don't suppose "why are you such bastards?" is quite the sort of question they have in mind, is it.

...oh well.

Actually, though, I am having the most terrible difficulty with the question-writing side of things, because my mind wants to make it into some kind of complex political assignment as opposed to a test of our ability to ask a simple question to a stranger and hopefully understand the answer. Somehow it feels as though this right here sums up many of the problems I tend to experience with education.

And life.



Non-election news: my brain is a slightly terrible place right now; I'm reading a book by a Swedish author called Birgitta Stenberg and would share her gleefully with all of you if her books existed in English; yesterday I used hair-clippers for the first time and everyone involved still has the same number of limbs etc. that they started with; putting pressure on myself while I know damn well I'm sick doesn't go well and only I am surprised by this.
marshtide: (Mårran)
Today in "things that have actually been useful in giving me some kind of quick impression of the Swedish political landscape":

RFSL (Sweden's big LGBT rights group) has carried out a survey of members of political parties, asking them questions on issues including the rights of gay parents and the situation of trans people in Sweden. They scored the answers, with -5 being the most anti-LGBT view and 25 being the most pro.

Party averages based on what they said in response:

Predictably, Sverigedemokraterna (Immigrant Bastards Go Home) scored an average -2.5 out of 25 (ha) and Kristdemokraterna (Christian Democrats) scored 4.4, while Vänsterpartiet (Left party) came in at 18 and Miljöpartiet (Green party) came in at 17. The best average of 21.3 went, also predictably, to Feministiskt initiativ (go on, you can work that one out yourselves).

Moderaterna (Moderates, the largest party in the current coalition government) only scored an average of 4.6. If you were wondering. And most of the members asked to participate didn't respond. And of six people who got the lowest possible score of -5, 5 were from this party. Wow, doesn't that give you confidence.

The others are hanging around between 10 and 14, which I guess mostly implies a "hadn't really thought about it" kind of attitude.

Based on what they've actually done (voting and motions and so on) rather than what they say, for the parties in parliament, I copy-paste:

Moderata Samlingspartiet –0,2, Centerpartiet 1,7, Folkpartiet liberalerna 2,6, Kristdemokraterna –3,8, Socialdemokraterna 9,1, Miljöpartiet de gröna 11,3, Vänsterpartiet 17,0.

...yeah.

I suppose most of the rest of you who will care about this/be personally affected by it can read the Swedish article for full details, though! Given that it's an article about politics I'm pretty sure I'd just fuck up more if I tried to translate much, though I think I understand the key points.

(Reading about politics - and statistics - in Swedish is a new, special and vaguely terrifying experience for me, so do forgive me if I'm a little all over the place... Now I'm going to resist the temptation to keep expanding this post and go to sleep.)
marshtide: (Snufkin - The traveller)
So it's autumn, which I have to say I'm appreciating a lot right now! (Ask me again in October.) The worst thing about early autumn is that the terrible disgusting fruit flies haven't died off for the winter yet. This is pretty much weight out by the best things about early autumn, though, which are:

1. dark enough nights to sleep but enough light during the day to function

2. cooler weather; ditto the enough to sleep/not far enough down the line to get in the way

3. Mushrooms. Mostly chanterelles.*

I guess it you want to do it properly and in accordance with almost creepily wholesome stereotypes you're meant to go and pick them yourself, but we haven't had time and if you don't know a place for sure it's a pretty hit-and-miss exercise. Instead you can buy them from market stalls all over the place. I was in Stockholm yesterday to meet a friend** and stopped by Hötorget, where twenty stall-holders will try to get your attention & possibly forcefully sell you mushrooms (extremely representative photo provided by the power of google). I guess there are worse fates, though that aspect is always a bit intimidating. But I escaped with a big bag of mushrooms and some money left and have just had mushroom risotto for dinner and you guys, autumn. Yeah. I think we shall be friends.

At least until the light leaves completely.


* a word I can spell without thinking about in Swedish but just had to look up in English.

** from my home area, who has also moved to Sweden this year... given that he informed me that other people we knew in junior school there are variously in Australia, China and Mozambique I suspect some kind of general urge to get as far away from said area as possible. sorry home. you are kind of crap, though.

Um.

Aug. 26th, 2010 09:19 pm
marshtide: (Default)
SFI is currently using themes which run for three weeks each. Our last one was, uncontroversially, "study techniques".

Our next one is "the 2010 election".

...

We're going to have debates.

...

One guy has already announced that his sister works for Folkpartiet ("The People's Party", right-wing) so we should all vote for them.

...

This is going to go so well. And I am totally not going to get angry at all.

Skansen

Jul. 20th, 2010 07:54 pm
marshtide: (Default)
Today we went to Skansen.

Skansen is an open-air museum with old buildings from all over Sweden (and possibly parts of Norway), traditional craft stuff, and Nordic Animals. The first two are cool. The last are generally largely invisible, because the typical examples are things like wolves and lynx and other things that are seriously not fond of being seen.

(But we did see a lynx today. And some really unimpressed-looking baby elk. Elk: they're made of legs. And really smelly.)

SA400577 SA400585

SA400583 SA400602
marshtide: (Default)
Då blev det sommar.

SA400558

SA400556

SA400559


Now people stay and swim at the lake well into the evening. We've been down there most days, just to sit around in the shade and let J play.
marshtide: (Snufkin - The traveller)
Mission: Be more active! And I don't mean cycling or whatever, because I do that! Go to talks if there are any. Meet people. Do fun stuff. Don't hide in a corner like a recluse. Possibly manage to speak some Swedish along the way.

Steps taken: tickets for Stockholm Pride - acquired. And I've subscribed to the feed for Hallongrottan (Stockholm's feminist bookshop!), since I hear they sometimes have neat stuff. Poked around På stan and gone, "really? The Millennium Trilogy tour of Stockholm? You have got to be shitting me. Dear world: what the hell." And I stared at a few anime forums but then I remembered that so many anime fans on forums are either 12 years old or believe they're on 4chan or both, and that this sort of carrying on being in Swedish doesn't make it any more bearable. Though presumably there are places to go; my search skills in Swedish are not, it has to be admitted, the best.

I shall now return to trying to explore the internet. In bad Swedish! If anyone knows of websites that might have information on interesting events (in and around Stockholm, for preference, since I don't believe there's much chance of anything at all happening out where I actually live & any other city is going to be too hard to get to) then I'd love to know.

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marshtide: (Default)
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