Monday, December 24, 2012


Though I am back with my parents in St. Louis now, here are some photos from the winter season in Sweden.

We've had snow on the ground pretty consistently.  There was a big dump of nearly 2 feet the first week of December (if my memory holds), and then flurries consistently enough to ensure the ground cover remains.  It is nice.  It brightens things up.  The trick is avoiding the underlying ice, so I wear rubber kickers most of the time.  I've still had a few swervy moments, but have managed to avoid damaging myself yet.

Cochino has been experimenting with new stay-cozy techniques.  The other day I found her like this, balancing herself above/on the radiator.  How uncomfortably warm she must be.

The other week, we went to Waxholm's Hotel for julboard.  We took a boat there for the mid-afternoon seating, then (over-)stuffed ourselves while the day faded to night.  It was a great way to celebrate the season with friends before everyone went their separate ways for the holidays.

Round one was a meat plate.

Round two was the fish plate.

And it wouldn't be Christmas without a dressed ham.  Long live the Christmas Skinka!  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

China Writes

*Sneaky remote blog post from Shanghai... Let's see if this works.*

First things first, what is with those Cards???  Holy freaking hell!  I am little nervous about the games in SF now, but I will tell you that me being in China seems to be a huge good luck charm, if last year was any indication.  You're welcome.  I'M DOING THIS FOR THE TEAM.

Second things, here I am in stinky Shanghai, sick with an effing cold again.  Today commenced the coughing-stuff-up phase, which I recognize as the nail in my viral coffin.  So the end of this junk is nigh.  But the Swedish girls here at the office must think I'm a total lame-o.  I have done just about nothing since I arrived last Monday.  I even cancelled (after buying a 30 dollah-ish ticket) on some brunch party yesterday.  L-A-M-E.  But today I am feeling better.  I am going out to dinner!  And I may have a glass-of-chardonnay-alone-in-my-room-style pre-party soon.  Better to sit here and drink by myself than sit down at the honkey-filled bar and deflect/ignore the lecherous gazes of businessmen.  Seriously.  These men are looking for trouble and good to go.  I shudder every time I see one with a short-skirted, high-booted, ill-spoken Asian women, tarted up and taught to please.  I always look for his wedding ring because then I want to draw a defiant visual line from his ring to his eyes to shame him.  Or at least to let him know that I know.  But usually hands are in pockets and, well, I'm not gonna teach any lessons, it's true.  But BOO on YOU, Mister Businessman! 

What else?  There is a woman called "Vapour" at the local (well, the closest of the four that are within a block of my hotel) Starbucks.  And today I spotted a girl calling herself "Easy" at a retailer that shall go unnamed.  There is photographic proof of the latter on my Instagram.  The Sneaky Nametag Cam strikes again!

I have gone absolutely apeshit for the Uniqlo premium lightweight down coats and jackets.  Seriously.  I have been in the store three times now, and three of my family members will be receiving one of the models for xmas.  (Disclaimer: one of the family members is me.  But still.)  I want to throw them out Oprah-style when I am home for Christmas, "You get a down jacket!  YOU get a down jacket!  YOOOU get a down jacket!!"

I saw a Bichon Frise with a blow out and a long-sleeved/panted "denim" overall suit lift its leg on the side of a marble mall yesterday.  It was a Hee-Haw/AKC/Dog Whisperer convergence... oh man, I wish you could have SEEN it.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get the Embarrassing Animal Outfits Cam out in time (OK, this is the same as the Sneaky Nametag Cam and they're both just an iPhone), but I assure you this ranks in the top 3 of all the crazy animal shit I've seen in Asia.  A moment pulled right from my dreams.

I have been up and down Nanjing Road West (back and forth to Uniqlo...) and keep passing the same legless beggars.  But there are no crutches nearby.  So I wonder who is dropping them there?  Is there a beggar van that drives the beggar carpool in the mornings and evenings?  I imagine you could really load it up, what with legroom being unnecessary.  I assume the legless beggar van gets 'em all made up (i.e., properly dirtied) and coaches them in proper moaning techniques, too.  I saw one today, a legless lady beggar, in what looked to be a wheelbarrow with some sort of plastic-mic'ed karaoke hook-up.  She was warbling some classic Chinese jams for cash.  Now this is a beggar with initiative!  I almost gave her some money myself!  But her song kind of sucked.  

So ta-ta for now!  I am looking forward to continuing to feel better and to getting home at the end of next week.  See you laters!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

One Outfit, Two Photos

New fur hat + old maxi coat + open toed shoes that are crap in the rain.  Oops.


This new hat (Thanks, Acne Archive!) is my Russian Pope Good Witch Fur Butt Hat.


What's for dinner?

Reading rubs.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Haps in Stockholm

So many things!  Here are some photos to keep you in the loop.

Moving always brings a mini-heartbreak or two.  Bye-bye, owl cup.

I have started taking sneaky photos of the flours at the health food store so I can go home and decipher what they actually are.  Eating gluten-free is easy at restaurants, but tricky at the store as the language is entirely new to me.  So far I know that "vete" = "wheat."  It's a start.

A sleepy gate at Arlanda airport.  The airport reminds me lots of Port Columbus Airport.  (See how I left out the "International" from its name?  I know, that was rude.)  Except that it's in Scandinavia.  Hmm.

We read this as "Skank-ar Kate."  And we laughed and laughed.  
No nudie photos inside, I can report.

This bingo board is our apartment building's laundry reservation system.  It had me beat a few weeks ago, until I realized I was trying to move someone else's number.  Whoops.

Marj came to visit!  Did I mention that?  We have been so lucky to have friends already visit us.  

The weather was sort of crappy, so we did a boat tour of the archipelago.  

And then Leila came to visit, for a last-minute weekend.  Here she is with B, wondering wherever are our "pig chips."

Here they are!  Oh boy, this treat was off the Delicious-Meter!  We felt better about ourselves eating what the restaurant dubbed "pig chips" instead of "pork rinds."  Crispy skin is pretty delicious no matter what you call it.  

Leila snapped this one of our little gypsy family.  Oh boy, is Cochino a pro at this.  

Winding down a weekend of shopping and fun with Leila.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Window

My writing window, I mean.  I tried to pry it open last night--and the night before, but gave up without much effort.  Because I know that if I have to force it open, I'm not going to like what's on the other side.

It's just, I haven't been in the mood much lately.  M was in town visiting us from the States last week, so it was an all-out binge.  I'm talking elk sausage and Beef Rydberg (holy hell, it's like gourmet breakfast--for dinner!), veal meatballs, and some deer something or other at a Viking-themed restaurant... and enough wine to wash it all down.  I am still blimped out, despite being on a relative detox this week.

But back to the writing mood.  I am hoping it will hit just about when the winter weather does.  I'm anticipating blogging like crazy while it is cold and dark outside.  Sounds nice, right?

It's funny because I write this blog a bunch in my head, but it always happens when I'm on the metro or at work or in the shower or something.  That's when the words come and line themselves up on their own, so that the phrasing is perfect and I'm the funniest person in the world.  I think, yeah, I'll pop that on the blog later.  Good job, Jode!  But when it's later and I'm home from work, sitting in front of my laptop on the coffee table, I'm wondering what it was exactly I had wanted to put down.  Or if I remember what it was, I can't string it together in a meaningful way anymore.  And that's when I close up shop and put on some Mad Men (season 5 finale is tonight chez moi!) and hope that I'll feel more inspired tomorrow evening.

It makes me think of some advice Anne Lamott gave in her book Bird by Bird (which I read so many years ago and lent to someone who never returned it... boo) to always carry index cards with you to write down phrases as you think of them or dialogue as you overhear it or whatever.  Fumbling with index cards during a moment of inspiration sounds like a real pain in the ass (especially in this age of techno-gadgetry... I'll bet there's some damn device that can record what I'm thinking while I'm thinking with no effort on my part by now... right?).  But it's the idea of always having something at the ready to record your creative moments.  Because once they pass, they are often gone for good.  Or they never reappear in their initial brilliance, anyway.

It's like the watered down drink you find on your coffee table the morning after a great party.  It was such a good idea at the time, in the moment, but now you wonder what possessed you to mix it... and why you thought it was a good idea to get out the Kahlua.  You question how this milky watery mess ever made sense to you, much less was appealing.  Yeah, that's how it goes with my blog pops, too.  Did I really crack myself up over hearing two different radio stations across my work department morph into Kate Bush singing "This Woman's Work," when it was actually like, Robyn on on side and Skrillex on the other?  Or some shit?  Yeah, I did.  And see, it doesn't hold anymore.  Stupid Kahlua.

So here's hoping my writing window glides right open when the season goes south.  My literal windows will remain firmly shut however.  It's gonna be cold out there.

One Outfit, Four Photos

Today's dress was a score from yesterday's visit to the employees-only store at my work, wherein you (if you are an employee, duh) can buy things for as little as 1 euro.  This dress, 1 euro.  I don't know if it was or will be in the store and I am trying to come correct on collecting cheap clothes anymore, but what can I say?  The fuzzy brushed lace spoke to me and it looked about my size and, well, next thing I knew I had a new dress.

Dress, H&M.
Tights H&M.
Cardigan, old Gap.
Necklace, made by Glendon.
Boots, I forget.

While I was photographing, this frenzy was taking place.  Apparently fuzzy lace gets someone else going, too!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

One Outfit, Two Photos

I am in love with this color combo.  I did not want to take this off.

Really, I don't think the photos do it justice.

Dress Cos, Cardigan vintage Adolfo, Tights H&M, Shoes Opening Ceremony.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

New Boots

A Swedish winter involves preparation.  I am still looking for the PERFECT winter coat  (I have found warm, yes... but stylish, not yet...), but at least I have found my winter boots.

These are Sven Clogs.  I know, I know, I went all the way to the US to buy some Swedish clogs, but the lovely people at Sven custom make the clogs just for you, so you can play with the colors/leathers as you like.  I went for black shearling with blue backs and some disco gold highlights.  (The "belts" are removable and will likely not be worn.)  I sent them an outline of my feet so that the fit would be perf, and let me tell you, they were like a dream from the moment I put them on.  (Let's not talk about the fact I am in a size 42 base, though.  These clogs be tranny sized!)

The boots are well-made and weatherproof, as is I can wear them in the rain and snow.  Perfect, right?  Oh, and I can roll down the tops for some shearling flair.  These boots put Uggs to shame.  Why do those things even exist??

Go on, make your own boots here!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

One Outfit, Four Photos

My outfit today was a little batshit.

This is an old top from Grey Ant with an allover kitten print... wait... is that GRACE JONES?  
With a rat in her mouth?
Yes indeed.


Every other print in the world could take a lesson from this one.

This skirt (made of the best fabric the whole world over) is old Dries Van Noten.  It's one of the best things to come out of my stint at A&F.  I scored this for something like a dollar at a sample sale.

Boots, as always, old OC.

Luxury Chicks

OBSESSED with this series by Peter Lippmann.  These chickens are dolled up in jewelry by Van Cleef and Arpels, Cartier, etc.

Lucky chicks.

As if they weren't fancy enough already!

You can see more here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Swedish Seaside

Fika by the sea?  Heaven on earth.

West coast of Sweden, I love you.

Way Out West

Oh boy, I wanted to fire this off while it was happening (like probably a zillion people were actually doing), but instead I kept thinking of what I wanted to say and promising myself I would say it later.  Later is now.  And I hope I can remember all of my thoughts here, as some of them were especially entertaining to little ol' me after a day in the sun and a good amount of vino.

The other week all of our things were delivered from Paris and stacked to the ceiling at our joint in Stockholm.  So what did we do?  Head to Gothenburg.  Gothenburg is just about the best city ever.  Really.  It out-charms Stockholm in the first 5 minutes.  I mean, look at these novelty bricks:

Bricks with Scotties on them?  This is a city close to my heart.  I will go on more about Gothenburg another time (as I know I'll be visiting again and again), so for now I want to tell you about the Way Out West festival.  

Look, I am old.  I can pretend to get down with the kids, but it's just about 2 days' recovery any more.  (Shh, don't tell them.)  I am attracted to youth culture--what the kids are wearing and listening to, but the thought of actually attending a large-scale music festival was enough to give me hives.  My face is all wrinkled just now as Coachella crosses my mind.  NO THANKS.  The thought of drinking in the desert with thousands of drunk youngers is almost enough to make me take out a mortgage and have a baby--you know, act my age just so they won't even look in my direction.  But when a good friend (who happens to be from Gothenburg) was telling me about Way Out West, I realized it was much different.  You can only drink booze in certain areas ("cocktail corrals" as I called them), but it was no big deal;  you could absolutely watch the bands from there, wine in hand.  The festival was well-organized and, well, we were able to get VIP upgrades, so we could chill with the fancies in a special bar/resto area bordered by a lake with ducks a-float.  Damn, it's good to be VIP.  heh.  It made me realize that my hatred of a typical musical festival event is justified because this was so well-organized and smooth.  But it also got this old lady out to a big music festival for the first time in 15 years or so.  So thanks, Gothenburg!  And thanks, Cathrine!

I wanted to give you a rundown of the stuff we saw.  Here goes.    

Thurston Moore:
Caught the end of his fuzzed out jams.  This was more B's game, but I appreciate nonetheless.  He really has that sound, his sound.  It made me and B try to think of more guitarists who always sound like themselves.  I'm not gonna get into our thoughts here.  But try it at home!  (I'll give you my best rec:  Doug Martsch.  Yeah, buddy!)

De La Soul:
I wanted more old mammerjammers!  I wanted some "Jenifa Taught Me!"  I expected a little "Buddy," damnit!  I did get some "Saturdays," a rushed-through "Me, Myself and I" ("We hate this song."  Hey, we heard that.), and some "Potholes in My Lawn," and honestly the new material was pretty good.  Though I was shakin' it the whole time, I felt a little disappointed when it was all over.  Still, I was charmed to see Dave and Posdnous looking a little hoary but still doin' their thang.  No Mase, though.

Black Keys:
Good, fine, rocky, fun.  I don't know, they're the Black Keys.  They broke it down and played just them two of them, too.  Liked that particularly.

Hot Chip:
But I didn't spend that long at the Black Keys because we wanted to check out Hot Chip, too.  Underwhelming!  I like some of their jams, and others just don't grab me.  They were a'right, but nothing spectacular.  It's kinda nice to see the nerdy guys up there, though.  But because of Hot Chip, we missed Rodriguez and Papa M, which is unforgivable.  Also, they're totally from England, B!  (Told you!)  (Also:  Is this how I communicate with my boyfriend now?  Through this blog?)

Bob Mould:
Look, respect.  Mad respect.  Even though he looks like the dad who lives next door, he is pretty legendary. (Hello, Husker Du.)  Well, this night he was playing the 90s stuff, the album Copper Blue, in fact.  And honestly, it was a trip hearing this older guy-next-door sing the words he wrote over 20 years ago.  It was all so 90s

Cloud Nothings:
Eff you, Cloud Nothings.  How dare you.  That is all.

Billy Bragg:
He is a consummate performer.  And the ultimate musician who can write beautiful pop tunes but pack them with a message.  He would be the most incredible dinner party guest, the guy is so damn worldly. And inspiring?  He had me crying (dead-sober, I'll have you know) when he dedicated "Waiting for the Great Leap Forward" to Pussy Riot, and changed/updated the lyrics accordingly.  Powerful stuff.  What am *I* doing about any of it?

First Aid Kid:
Lovely Swedish pop, but it feels so strange to me because it's MY music.  It's American music.  I love their dresses and they are darling girls, but it all feels so inauthentic to me.  American country music has a hard-earned history and I love that they respect it so, but I don't know.  It just don't feel right.

How did it take me all these years (and all of these miles) to finally see Wilco??  I enjoyed the crap out of it, if only to marvel at all of the damn guitar changes.  Tweedy's a real diva up there!  Every song, a new guitar.  He had those techs running all over the place.  Made me wonder what he's like at home.  Does someone hand him a new toothbrush each night?  And they didn't play Jesus, Etc., which I took personally.

She is darling!  Just darling!  I want to play music and be just like Leslie Feist when I grow up!  Also, she brought Tweedy up on stage for a rendition of "You and I." 

Look, here they are:

Bon Iver:
First off, he was wearing a sweatband.  What?  Yeah.  Yuck.  And he did that autotune song, which was a joke.  I don't know.  I never really got into Bon Iver, but I know they're real popular with the kids.  I felt like if someone line-drived a baseball at the stage none of those nancies would be able to catch it.  That made me both feel better and worse than them at the same time.  Lucky pusses.

Best Coast:
We didn't linger at Bon Iver so we could go see Maya's lovely Brady drum our socks off with Best Coast!  Yay!!!  

(Shoot, am I only at Blur??)  Oh man, my relationship with Blur is complex.  I respect the heck out of Blur.  Hell, I think Damon Albarn is just about the coolest guy on the planet (he scored an opera about a monkey, for crissakes, and oh yeah, The Good, The Bad, and The Queen??), but I find some of their songs to be positively snorey.  The show went like this.  

Blur:  Snoozer boring-ass song.
Me:  Yeah, I just don't get what all the fuss was about.
Blur:  Big hit (like, the one from the Trainspotting soundtrack--yeah, forgot about that one dintcha?)
Me:  Oh, Blur is great!  I love that song.  There was just the one boring one.  All's forgiven!
Blur:  zzzz song that the crowd is really into.
Me:  Argh, stupid Blur!  Britpop, shitpop!  This is awful.
Blur:  Poptastical hit ("Coffee and TV," say.)
Me:  Well, I left.  Yeah, I left the boy there and went with my friend to get the car.  Whatever.  I wanted off the Blur roller coaster.

I will tell you this, Albarn looks incredible and has the swagger of a man half his age.  They opened with Girls and Boys and, damn, we all know how fine he was in that video in his zippy track jacket, and let me tell you, he's still got it.  

Here's a video I took, don't know if it will work or not.  You know what, just go and watch the Girls and Boys video again.  Mmmm.

B and other like-minded record store geeks (love you, B) were trying to keep it together during Swans. Yes, that Swans.  You can almost see the little shirtless ogre one banging shit at left in the photo below.

Jonathan Richman:
What a way to kick off the last day.  I love this man.  Neither B nor I had seen him live before, and let me tell you, he is a JOY.  Just him and his drummer ("Thomas"), playing music.  And there was dancing, for sure.  Joyful, hammy dancing:  the best kind!  He is simplistically genius, that one.

Jacuzzi Boys:
What's this noise?  Florida's own Jacuzzi Boys get a break on the big stage?  What happened to Ben Howard?  Who cares!  It's the freaking Jacuzzi Boys, bringing the gd r&r!  I declare Gabriel Alcala to be my own personal Sassiest Boy in America.  Not the best photo, so go look him up whydon'tyou?

A$AP Rocky:
No hard feelings, Rock.  But it all just sounded mushy up there.  And, you know, the VIP tent was calling to us.  I have no doubt you have chops, but live hip-hop in a large outdoor venue can be a real disaster sometimes.  

Mike Snow:  
I saw The Animal.  I was happy.  And then it was time to position for Kraftwerk.

The. Best. Thing. I. Have. Ever. Seen.  
In 3D.

One last one for you... keepin' it real in the VIP (thanks to my lovely friend, Cathrine!):