Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Incentives

Ooh, I spotted a shaded area.

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Time for a nap

Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z

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Save as draft

I got out of prison.

The gate opened and right away I started running. I made it just in time for the bus that corresponded with the ferry to Lüleå. When I made it to the apartment I only had time to say hello, empty out my bag and pack another one, pick up my ticket, say goodbye. On the way to the airport it started snowing.

I got on the plane too jittery to read my book. It was the same one I’d taken with me to prison as a joke, Crime and Punishment. Bad choice of book, I can see that now.

In Copenhagen the snow was gray. I found my way to the Central Station and took the southbound train. It was full of boys like myself, all jittery, each with our little bag. We all got off at the same station. I didn’t have to ask for directions, I could just follow the torrent. When I reached the gate I showed them the letter and they waved me through. One more step - I was in the army.

Ah, the miracle of immaculate conscription.

I was in the infantry, which meant I was running all the time. Even eating felt like running. Running, eating, running, shooting, running, being yelled at, running, sleeping. Sleeping slowed the pace, but in my dreams I was still moving forward, soundlessly, through the underbrush.

I quickly found that I didn’t mind. In fact I was just getting used to it when the captain decided that I wanted to be a sergeant. He sent me away to become a forward mortar observer, which involved a lot of running, but also a fair amount of blowing things up from a distance.

A senior artillery sergeant was in charge of our education. To him it wasn’t just the ballistics and the train of fire, he had a whole philosophy to go with it. This he would instill in us mostly by hovering over us everywhere we went, subjecting us to random quizzing. He only had one question, and it was always the same: Where are you? If we didn’t know the answer he would hit us over the head with a pinewood plank that he kept with him for that purpose alone.

More than once I was torn from my soundless dreams of the underbrush by him standing over me, shaking me awake, demanding that I give him an eight-ciphered coordinate to my position - or as I liked to think of it, my bed.

This is the deal: A mortar is a smooth-bore, a tube mounted on a baseplate, supported by a bipod and pointed upwards at an angle. When a grenade is dropped into the muzzle, a firing pin at the bottom of the tube ignites its prime charge and sends it arching into the air to detonate on top of things you don’t like. Sound phallic? Maybe a tad.

Because of the high-arched trajectory, mortar fire is indirect fire, which means that the monkeys who operate the actual weapon mostly can’t see what they’re shooting at. So to be able to shoot you need to know two things: The position of your mortar and the position of the target. Then it's just a question of pointing the tube in the right direction and calculating the angle that will give you the proper range.

You already know the position of your mortar. And the easiest way to find the position of the target is for someone to run out and have a look at it. That's what you need the forward observer for. If he knows his own position - and trust me, he does - it's just a matter of him calling in the direction and range. The rest is triangulation and high explosives.

When I got back to my company I knew all there is to know about the mortar, just as you now do. They gave me my three 81mm lovelies, some vehicles to transport them and a bunch of monkeys to operate them. Those goddamn mon- keys. I had to teach them, but they didn't want to learn.

I quickly understood that the only way to get anything done was to keep them running at all times. I also got me a pinewood plank to hit them over the head. That definitely helped.

Slowly they got the hang of it. I started them out with duds on the regimental testing range. From time to time they actually hit what I aimed at. I chose the cleverest of the monkeys to do the triangulation and the loudest of the monkeys to yell at the others when I was away on important forward observing business. When the big day came and it was time to start shooting live rounds I was pretty sure they wouldn't get me killed.

On the first day of the exercise we dug our position. It started raining and everything turned to mud. While I had to go see the captain to get my orders I told the loudest of the monkeys to keep the other monkeys digging. When I got back the position wasn't half finished and they had all fallen asleep. I naturally went high-arched trajectory ballistic. I had them assemble and started marching back and forth screaming at them. I was doing fine until I stepped into a foxhole half full of mud. All the monkeys laughed.

On the second day of the exercise I started shooting brisance grenades. The monkeys were slow, but they put the grenades more or less where I wanted them. I had called a round and was watching the target through my binoculars, waiting for the ROAR that made it all worth it, when I saw a deer wander into the target area, grazing. The poor thing didn't know what hit it. I stopped the shooting and took the monkeys out to look at it. This is what we're doing, I told them. None of the monkeys laughed.

On the third day of the exercise I shot smoke grenades. Those are nasty little fuckers. In addition to the shrapnel they're full of phosphorus. They won't stop burning, they'll burn under water if they have to. They basically set fire to everything in a radius of 1oo meters, creating a smoke screen that we can hide behind. The Geneva Convention says you can't use them on personnel, but the Americans don't seem to mind.

I had called a round and was watching the target through my binoculars, waiting for the ROAR that made it all worth it, when the cleverest of the monkeys got on the radio in a panic: I don't know how it happened, he screeched, I got the positions mixed up, we're shooting at your position.

I threw myself into the bottom of my foxhole and crossed my fingers.

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Winter

We eat candy. We read books.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Pimp my child

The Eurovision Songcontest never looked quite so... Tiny and pink.

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Monday, November 28, 2005

My recent brush with science

I had a terrible day today. Why, you wonder? Well, first of all I didn't sleep all night, wondering whether my intestines were going to burst, leaving me to die slowly, and surely painfully.

This inevitably led to hospitalisation. After the 4th shot of opioids and anti-puke serum I was poked and prodded by several friendly people. At this point, my count was up to 16 different friendly people. After a dazzling array of tests, I fell asleep in my bed.

Shortly after, a woman and six nervous 3rd year Med students arrived to poke and prod me some more. By this time the pain had receded, but apparently the morphine had made me evil.

They all anxiously looked on as their supervisor proceded to demonstrate how to squeeze my stomach. I gave them my best suffering look and winced. And now it's your turn, she said. They all stared at my stomach scar. One guy asked; Ahem, do we have to write in the journal that she has a tattoo? I laughed loudly. The supervisor gave him a toxic stare. He blushed.

The next guy up was sweating, he definitely didn't feel like putting his hand on my stomach. As soon as he touched it, very lightly, I yelled AW! He jumped backwards and I gave him a retarded smile. They thanked me and left.

After that I wrestled my way out of hospital and went home to Mikkel. Phew.

So what was wrong with me? Who knows.

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Identity and the economy of social relations II

So you were born in the USA - OK. Then as you grew older you found yourselves strangely attracted to Tyröler music - yeees. One fine day you woke up and realised that you needed to form a band, complete with insane copies of German folk outfits (not the correct anthropological term, I know). Now you all stand around outside the Crystal Brook Resort and yodle. WHAT?

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Late Victorian salon for sale

Enough of this clowning around! We're trying to have an auction, here.

As I was saying, due to the disintegration of my previous family structure, I now have in my possession a collectible late Victorian salon (c. 1870-80), carved in rosewood. It was upholstered with silk damask in 1999 and is in mint condition.

The entire salon (a sofa and two chairs) is valued at NKR 40,000, Euros 5,100 or USD 6,000. Bids accepted.

If needed, it will be shipped at buyers' expense from Bergen, Norway.

I might add that the salon was only ever sat on by an old cat on Sundays, a Manx.

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A personal message from Bastian the Clown

Bastian the Clown says:

"Are you suffering from Coulro- phobia? Are you afraid of clowns? Well, you should be.

Clowns can be good, and clowns can be bad.

Respect the clown. Don't yell at him. Don't be mean. And most importantly, don't cheat on the clown. You will end up dead and wrapped in plastic... Nah, I'm just KIDDING with you!"

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Build your own personal Centaur

As you can see, the entire SHÄDY ÄCRES staff is suffering from a severe case of blogger's block at the moment.

We want to entertain you monkeys, but sadly this is the best we can come up with.

Our advise is to peruse the newly updated Encyclopedia Finnmaercia instead. ---> ---> ---> ---> ---> ---> ---> ---> ---> --->

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Sidebar conference

What do I know about HTML? Fuck-all, that's what, and I want to keep it that way.

I am no geek pioneer. I have never owned a Commodore 64 and I did not have my own homepage in 1982. I did not spend my teenage years trying to hack into the Pentagon or phwatever. I had better things to do.

I don't want to know. I specifically waited until the interface had reached a level where I didn't have to know. I CAN'T BE BOTHERED. Why else would I do this for Christ's sake?

But then they make it so hard for me. First of all they offer me a choice between a squillion equally disgusting templates. Then they construct an editor that basically eats your text if you look the other way for a nanosecond.

And then there's the dotted line.

OK, so I can understand why they don't want to make room for a picture of every contributor on a collaborative blog. The sidebar would look ridiculous. Fine. But why, WHY does the picture have to be replaced by an extra dotted line?!

I have hated that line since it first appeared. And it has taken me this long to figure out how to remove it. Sweet Jesus, what am I turning into?

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

A word from our sponsor

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Tööt – tööt – tööt

Because of the rocky terrain, the bad weather and the constant family feuds, the Finnmärsckers sure do like their dynamite. They carry a few sticks around with them everywhere they go along with a lighter and a tin whistle. If provoked, they will blow the whistle three times, and if you don't back off they won't hesitate to light a stick of dynamite and throw it at you.


Please respect the signal.

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Everything is under control

Q: Who is the guy?
A: The computer operator.
Q: What is he doing?
A: Programming the computer.

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Monday, November 21, 2005

Reader haiku



quiet empty space
you must have abandoned us
winter - no comment

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Haunted by flashbacks

Saturday, we went with apprehension to each our yületide smorgäsbord. If you ask me, this is a horrible, horrible tradition. Why would I want to party with my co-workers? I hardly even want to work with them. Come to think of it, I hardly do.

This kind of thing inevitably leads to petty scandals, cigarette smoking and taking a taxi home. Oh, the naked horror of forced communion: Watching the human tragedy play out at close hand, usually in the shape of a divorcee twice your age and half your gender, all dressed up and still as squalid as paper money. It makes you want to wash your eyeballs with detergent, but all you can find is cheap brandy.

Afterwards, when we met up back at headquarters, we were both full to the brim of alcoholic misanthropy.

Sunday we regrouped. Since there are only the two of us, this was easy; we just changed seats and ate each other's pizza. Then in the evening we got a sudden attack of cabin fever and went to town on a spree. My brother, the eminent internet diplomat, had told us about a concert with one of the guys from Clouddead, but that turned out to be a complete lie. Sara then capitulated to the massive hangover and went home. I, however, decided to dig in and fight it out.

I went to an Irish pub to get a hair of the dog. The guy behind the bar was (ironically) an Englishman I used to work with a few years back. I hadn't seen him since then, so I sat around shooting the shit and watching him play an insanely untalented game of chess with a customer. It was a quiet night.

When the bouncer arrived, an hour late and not in any hurry, he turned out to be another guy I used to work with and hadn't seen in a while.

A few years ago, me and him and a third guy were working as doormen at a club.

At that time I had worked as a bouncer different places, and I was getting bored with it. This was a good door, though: Not too busy, not too much trouble, and a young crowd of mostly business students who were all talk. Still, we had our hands full.

That was not the best job I ever had, but by no means was it the worst. The guys I worked with were martial arts people, bodybuilders, a few scrawny gangsters*. Most of them were nice guys, not too bright, but not nearly as dumb as you'd think.

Since I've come back to Lüleå this time, after two years abroad, I haven't been in a hurry to contact any of them. They were just co-workers. But seeing as we're sitting there, talking, I ask him; what about the other guy, the third guy? Is he still working? Well... He hesitates. No, he's not working anymore. He had some trouble.

Trouble, you say? Yes, it was discovered that he'd been embezzling money from the Company. He must have been doing it while we worked with him at that club. Large amounts of cash, over a period of years. Tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of reichmärck.

So what happened to him? Well, you know - they had to have a talk with him.

Where is he now? Not in Lüleå, that's for sure.

There you go.

In other news, Sara's in the kitchen making a roast leg of lamb with red wine sauce and brussel sprouts - and of course an espresso-flavored panacotta for dessert. I'm going to watch a TV show for deaf people on the state channel. There are sound effects, but no talking. It's hilarious.

Jesus Christ - I just remembered. There was a girl at the yületide smorgäsbord with a guitar and a fucking COWBOY HAT playing country & western songs. The horror. The horror.

*) Like myself.

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Whilst we take some time to recover

I survive

So we're is back. But we had to smoked.

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Traditional yületide smorgäsbord

Season's greetings. Whoop- de-fucking-doo. We're both going to attend parties at our respective workplaces. This includes a pasty meal consisting of air dried sheep's ribs plus copious amounts of aqua vitae. If we're lucky, there's going to be karaoke.

Later on, this sporty event also means having to dodge pasty drunken and air dried co-workers' attempts at intimacy.

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Blitzkrieg














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Friday, November 18, 2005

Can't let them think I'm getting soft


I haven't exercised my mean streak in a while, but it's still there, I just felt it move. Or maybe I'm just a little hungry. I don't know, it could be the season.

No, it's definitely evil.

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Identity and the economy of social relations

Oh fuck it. You all know what I think about the mind numbingly dumb hordes and the well-dressed wannabe predators out there. I'm not going to give a lecture.

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Important scientific questions concerning hilarious identities

As an academic, I'm naturally interested in issues concerning identity. I also feel that we've been neglecting the scientific interest views on this blog lately. Oh what the hell. I thought this was cute.

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A personal message from Chiron the Centaur

Chiron the Centaur says:

"The elite, draped in the bubble wrap of legality, will find ways to convince the economic underclass that repression is a function of justice.

The economic underclass - dumb as glue and twice as sticky - will in turn find ways to convince the elite that fashion is somehow much more important than power.

The middle classes, swathed in the electric blanket of self loathing, will find ways to convince themselves that they belong to either the elite or the underclass, depending on whether they want to be powerful or hip."

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Power shower

Funny thing happened in the shower yesterday. No, wait, let me start over.

So we had the insane autumn rainstorms. The meteorologists started talking about extreme weather conditions and you know that can’t be good. It turned out to be the worst in like 50 years.

Something’s happening to the weather. I sure hope it’s not a sign of the impending apocalypse or something, because that would be really bad for the economy.

Anyway, I was taking the kid back to Stöckfisck. On the way to the airport there was water everywhere. To him it was all a big adventure: You could hear the fire engines and police sirens in the distance, trucks were coming by carrying huge trees. We saw a roadside auto shop cut off by the swelling river. The cars in there had water coming up to the windows. The kid was all like: Oooh, those people have to swim to get to work.

The coast was being flooded by rainwater; there were landslides going off here and there, taking the coastal roads with them and cutting off whole communities. North of the city construction workers got trapped inside the house they were building. One of them died aboard the ambulance helicopter. It was no joke.

Well, we got to the airport, I flew the kid over and came back. There were some crazy side winds, I’m telling you. Now, I’ve been gone for what, like three hours? When I get off the plane there’s snow everywhere. All of a sudden it’s winter.

The seasons sure change quickly in Finnmärck.

So things are back to normal, and yesterday morning, hum-de-dum, I’m taking a shower. I’m under the jet, doing my shower thing, and then at one point I need to adjust the taps a little.

I reach over, and when I touch the taps I feel a slight buzzing in my fingertips. There’s a low electric current running through me. Bzzzzzz.

This can’t be good.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

There is no front - Madrid is the front

We are so fickle.

We make these bold announcements promising you all sorts of series and makeovers, but we never deliver. Horoscopes, gender transformations, bog stories. We write one entry and then we get bored with it.

See, my plan was to give you an account of the death of Durruti.

I would tell you first about the Nationalist Army of Africa, come all the way from Morocco to take Madrid. How the fierce Moors of the Spanish Foreign Legion, with knives between their teeth and supported from the air by the German Condor Legion, crossed the Manzanares River and fought their way into the University City street by street, building by building, floor by floor.

I would try to make a balanced account of the exceptional courage on both sides, but I would undoubtedly emphasize the comradeship and bravery of the Republican defenders.

The civilians: The chains of women and children who passed rocks for the construction of barricades. The fashionable Ritz Hotel con- verted into a field hospital, a shelter for refugees. The im- provised trade union militias: The metal workers’ battalion, the tailors’ battalion, the school- masters’ battalion, the graphic arts battalion.

And the International Brigades: The confusion of seventeen languages singing The International through the unceasing artillery and air bombardment. The 11th Brigade sent to defend the Hall of Philosophy. The company of Poles from the Dombrowski battalion who resisted to the last man in the French institute’s Casa de Velasquez.

And the Durruti Column: The dusty bands of unmanageable anarchists who entered the city directly from the Aragón front and were provided with Swiss 1886 model rifles bought by Russia with Spanish gold. The men who were promised ghost artillery and air support and sent by Russian military advisors on a frontal attack directly into the University City. The men who were driven back, cut down by Moroccan machine gun fire…

And then, in the middle of all this, the random absurdity of a stray bullet from a naranjero machine pistol caught on a car door.

I had planned to tell you all this, but of course in much more detail. Fortunately for you I realize that I am the only one who is interested in these things. Me and a whole bunch of loony leftists that I don’t want to be associated with.

So I’m going to spare you for now. You can thank me later.

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Not much to report

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What's new, pussycat?

On this day, 69 years ago, the legendary Buenaventura Durruti arrived in Madrid to aid in the defense of his capital.

A railway worker since the age of 14, he had become a trade union activist, an anarchist subversive, and now a professional revolutionary condemned to death in 4 countries. He had spent more than a decade on the run.

As a young man he had taken part in the General Strike of 1917. With Juan Garcia Oliver and Francisco Ascaso he established the infamous Los Solidarios group, responsible for the assassination of Eduardo Dato, Spanish prime minister, and Juan Soldevila Romero, hated archbishop of Zaragoza.

The group were also behind an assault on the Bank of Spain at Gijon, and a failed bomb plot against king Alfonso XIII. They quickly became wanted men, heroes to some, dangerous enemies of the people to others.

Fugitives from justice, Durruti and Ascaso first fled to Paris where they set up an anarchist book shop; but after taking part in a border raid over the Pyrenees they were threatened with extradition.

Durruti then traveled to Cuba, and later to Mexico, Chile, Argentina. There was a price on his head wherever he went.

In 1931 the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera came to an end. After the Second Spanish Republic was established, Durruti could finally return to Spain. Again a trade union activist, he was imprisoned in Cadiz, but was released after the February 1936 election victory of the Popular Front coalition.

On the 18th of july 1936 an unsuccesful military coup conducted by right-wing generals and supported by the church turned into a full scale civil war.

Durruti and Ascaso, then in Barcelona, took part in the co-ordination of resistance; but during the storming of the Atarazanas Barracks Ascaso was shot dead.

Less than a week after the death of his comrade Durruti led over 3000 armed anarchists to establish a front in Aragón. This militia later became known as the Durruti Column.

69 years ago today Durruti came down from the Aragón front to strengthen the defense of Madrid with 4000 men. He went immediately to the frontline, where the Manzanares River passes through the University City.

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

The ghost of Christmas present 1

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Quicker, easier, more seductive

- Oh, wait, I've got another one: What is a jewish dilemma?
- Well, I think maybe...
- Pork chops at half price! Ha! Hahahaha!
- Hahaha... How delightful. But seriously, Lord Vader - may I call you Darth? Explain to me again why I should support this SHÄDY ÄCRES project of yours. We lost a lot of money on that Deathstar thing.
- It's different this time, I assure you. If you can just help us ensnare a few more souls -
- Yes, yes I see, the magic 2000. But how?
- Leave that to me, Adolf. Leave that to me.

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A personal message from Chiron the Centaur

Chiron the Centaur says:

"A vote for the United Nations Secretary General is a vote for world peace in Africa and other places. Vote for the Secretary General."

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Friday, November 11, 2005

Sitting quietly doing nothing

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