Monthly Archives: December 2005

Happy Birthday (an alternative card)

I decided that as I hadn’t wrote about people that much recently, I would write a piece about one of my newer students who turns 40 years old today. I have taught Mikael (Micke) Lind for a couple of months now and have found our lessons enjoyable, inspiring, nostalgic and best of all fun!

Micke works for a big paper factory just outside Norrköping and is married with three children, twins at nineteen and a daughter at fifteen. His wife and youngest daughter both celebrate their birthdays 15th December and so this month is one of extra stress for Micke!

Okay why in truth did I choose to write about Micke today? Well the main reason is that it is his 40th and, unlike me, Micke is not into big parties and excessive plannning and so I thought I would try and bookmark the day in some way.

I decided to choose a fellow writer as Micke has been writing (in English) for many years, mainly in the area of fantasy but has also delved into other stuff from time to time. It was interesting to find out that he doesn’t actually write in his native tongue of Swedish and says he hasn’t since he was around eighteen.

In our lessons we have discussed the art of writing, the joys of cycling, the absolute freedom of immersing yourself within a damn good computer game and the aspects of commercialism within the Christmas period and I have found each lesson to be two hours which just flows by (many times going over the two hour lesson).

Micke plays tennis regularly and this has resulted in me picking up a racquet for the first time in fifteen years and enjoying getting a sound thrashing a couple of times this season. I am thoroughly looking forward to winning my first set against Micke, around August next year (or 2007)!

Games is something we have talked about a lot recently, both in terms of computer and board-games, and it has been interesting finding out what a young Swede played when he was young. I got very nostalgic when talking about ‘The Game of Life’, which was a board-game that me and my sister played regularly and especially when discussing ‘Kick Off’, the football game (introduced to me by Pete).

As I said it has been an absolute joy to teach him and I am looking forward to many more lessons in 2006!

Happy Birthday Micke, hope you have a good one!

All happening at once

Well first it was the laptop that got problems with its DVD burner (which is now dead) and then the desktop started playing up with crashes every five minutes (even on programs such as winamp!). Yesterday the scanner decided it doesn’t like scanning anymore and refused to respond to any commands and then to top it all off I received two calls last night from friends saying that my e-mail account doesn’t work as they have got failure messages from me!

What did I do, what have I said or done that resulted in this ‘negative karma computer scenario’ I am in just now?

A little piece of heaven

Etina is sat in the living room playing Christmas songs on the piano; that is my little piece of heaven for today…:-)

Where was I at eight years old?

I am still amazed by the fact that my niece and I began our writing careers at the tender age of six. I always felt there was a link between us ever since she reached up and grabbed my little finger on the night of her birth, 12th June 1997 and that feeling has just intensified throughout the last eight years.

It came as no surprise that Heather (the niece in question) mentioned a couple of evenings ago that she has decided to put her potential classic, ‘Deflin the Dolphin’ to one side due to the work demand being put on her at school. What did force me to react with awe was that she has planned to do her own adaptation of ‘Aladdin’ as this is her younger brother’s (Ethan’s) favourite Disney film.

I began to think back immediately to my early stages of writing and wonder if I even knew what the word adaptation meant let alone consider it as a project! It is hard with Heather not to become an obsessive Uncle, aiming to push her with her writing, even if the desire is not there but I am trying; I nod and give advice when it is asked for and make sure I ask her to read things to me when she is willing.

Her writing has become so natural to her that, at times, it appears that she is not even aware that she is a writer, it is something she does, like breathing. I knows the enthusiasm was strong within me when I was Heather’s age but I am not sure that my awareness, talent or goals were anywhere near the level that she seems to be at.

One thing that is obvious for me, even at this early stage, is that if she manages to maintain the drive and the desire she has within her now, that big things are on the horizon for Heather Lucy McNally.

A heady mix of influence

Yesterday was one of those days in which I experienced a lot and felt drained both physically and mentally afterward, whilst feeling it was so important for my own self-development.

The day started with the panic realisation that I had to finish my Swedish novel so that I could verbally summarise and review it for the course I have been taking this year. I had originally chosen ‘Röde Orm’ (Red Snake), a Swedish Viking classic, written in Old Swedish and had read a third of the novel and was enjoying it, before I was bought another for my birthday.

This book ‘Låt den rätte komma in’ (Let the right one in) is a chunky four hundred pages of Swedish language and focuses on a 12 year old vampire in a suburb of Stockholm over a three week period in October and November, 1981.

I had read around two hundred pages before yesterday and was thoroughly enjoying the book, however, two hundred pages of my second language, which I still don’t feel happy with, filled me with dread, especially as it was to be done in one day.

The beginning of the reading session was very sporadic and I seemed to find a hundred and one excuses not to get too bogged down in the novel: ‘I’ll put some coffee on at the end of this section’, ‘I’ll get a piece of fruit before I continue’, ‘I’ll pour a coffee now’, and so on and after three solid hours of ‘reading’, I was amazed to see that I had read a massive 35 pages.

It was then the real panic set in and I decided to make a quick lunch (bulgar wheat and brussel sprouts…yummy) and get on with the task in hand. It was here that all fell into place as the book hit a peak and my reading went with the flow.

When it was time to get myself ready for my weekly football training with Etina’s relatives, I had only 30 pages left and knew that I would be able to read them without any problem on my return.

Missing the football for the last three weeks, due to that birthday party and my wedding anniversary, I had mixed feelings about returning to the fold. In general the relatives are pleasant and we have a fun hour and a half of five-a-side football, yet there are a couple that seem unsure of how to deal with me and instead of just saying ‘hello’ every week and then speaking ‘football talk’ feel that they need to engage in some meaningful conversation that goes something like this:

Mark: Hello there, how are you doing?
Relative: Not too bad, yourself?
Mark: Pretty good.

[uncomfortable silence follows as Mark then tries to get on the football pitch and run around a bit]

Relative: So how’s the teaching going? (fifteenth week in a row)
Mark: Yeah it’s okay but it takes time away from my writing (fifteenth week in a row)
Relative: Cool

and here is where the traditional comes in as it doesn’t matter what I say as the answer is always in the positive. I am still toying with the idea that I can tell them next time they ask that I am an alcholic and am thinking of comitting suicide and see what the response is with that one. The thing is I already know that they will say ‘that’s good’ and nod interested.

I know they are only being polite but I’m not that interested in politeness for politeness sake. Have I become too harsh here, should I get involved more, make these people feel that we really have something in common, maybe hang out socially? [Mark shudders].

Anyway yesterday was not so much annoying in that way as realising I was losing the desire to play with the group that has now displaced the older, more relaxed players. Now we have a majority of teenagers, some quiet, some mouthy, some typical but one that is so arrogant that I found myself biting my lip to stop myself from giving him a mouthful on more than one occasion.

I am aware that age makes a difference and that at my peak of playing, as a seventeen year old, I could be a problem but this was different, this was taking the fun out of the whole game and I’m not sure there will be enough motivation to get me back to the sports hall next year for another game…shame.

Returned home and finished the book. Was expected a horribly clichéd last twenty pages or so (as is often the case in novels of this kind) and found the author did seem to have a problem with ending the story well. On saying that I did enjoy it and it wasn’t as clichéd as expected and I really feel like the early sections of the book really made up for it.

I would recommend the book for those of you with a taste for the vampire story although as only Kroker and David will be able to read it for now (as I am awaiting an answer regarding my offer to translate the novel to English) you may have a chance in the future.

This morning I reviewed the book and got a decent grade for it; only five assignments left and then I will have college level Swedish…:-)

Handwriting with a mouse; now that’s ?

After having seen Kroker’s wonderful handwriting analysis, I decided to take the test myself and see what I could find out about myself that I didn’t already know.

[The results of your analysis say:

You like to be surrounded by four solid walls.
You are a shy, idealistic person who does not find it easy to have relationships, especially intimate ones.
You are affectionate, passionate, expressive, and future-oriented.
You are a talkative person, maybe even a busybody!
You enjoy life in your own way and do not depend on the opinions of others.]

Oops, better inform the wife that a divorce is on the way…;-) but wait a minute I don’t listen to others so why should I listen to you…eh?…eh?

I was very impressed by their politically correct way of describing my insanity: ‘you like to be surrounded by four solid walls.’

Chuckle Monkey proves his worth!

I always knew Chuckle Monkey was an absolute star but even I didn’t realise how well he would do against a, so far undefeated, madagascan monkey at the height of his career.

Let the results tell their own story:

Come on the Chuckle Monkey!

This is life

I had suddenly got some spark back and was ready to pop down a few things here to make up for my terrible writing day, and Etina’s pain in her side (due to pregnancy) has re-surfaced.

I will be back but for now I am going to sort her hot water bottle out and give her a little bit of tlc.

Sleep tight and if the bed bugs bite then bite them back, it’ll hurt them a lot more than they ever hurt you!

The stalker is back

Hey, I’m just too popular for words…;-)

[extract from Yahoo! messenger last night]

Stalker: hello
Me: hello
Stalker: yeap
Me: pardon?
Stalker: hello
Me: what do you want?
Stalker: to say hello
Me: you’ve done that twice
Stalker: shit
Me: I beg your pardon?
Stalker: you can send me an offline message
Me: why?
Stalker: to say hello
Me: [laughing] ?
Stalker: ok bye for now
Me: yes
Stalker: LOL
Me: I didn’t say anything funny
Stalker: ?
Stalker: ?
Stalker: ?
Stalker: ?
Stalker: ?
Stalker: ok bye

(of course all extracts written by Stalker looked nothing like this but I didn’t want you to have to decipher the code too)

Wonder when she’s going to ask me for money again?

Words fail me…

That can’t be right!

I have just looked at the clock, which says 12.40, and I realise I have been sat at this desk, pad in front of me, for nearly 45 minutes. And what is on that pad?

Not a single word, not a thing, zilch…

I cannot remember a writing session that has been this lacking in productivity…ever!

I’m scared…