Trump wins and contextual advertising

The population of the United States of America shocked us all today when they voted reality star and business mogul Donald Trump to be the next president. It was joke in “The Simpsons” 16 years ago, but today a guy that has been making fun of women, Mexicans, gays and people with mental disabilities, is now trying to make America great again. If that is without all those people, remains to be seen.

Although his winning speech was quite composed and toned down, it will be interesting to see if all the various threats Trumps has talked about, like tossing away trade agreements, incarcerating Hillary Clinton, stopping Muslims for entering the country and building a wall to Mexico, was all talk on the campaign trail.

When I logged into New York Times today, I found piece of contextual advertising that I’m not sure was intentional or not, but still put a wry smile on my face. Above the headline “Trump triumphs” was a banner for a game called World of Warships.

I sure hope that this was just a weird coincidence and that these two messages won’t go together in the future. The only thing we can know for now is that we’re entering a uncertain times.

But no matter what, stay positive, be good, believe in good people and remember that the world is what we make of it.

Zombies som kursledare?

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Vem som helst kan bli kursledare om vad som helst. Ta bara det här som exempel: En kurs om att överleva zombiekatastrofen

Det här är inget nytt påfund. Kursen har körts sen 2011. Tydligen måste den vara populär. Jag fattar ingenting. Är folk på riktigt rädda för att skiten ska träffa fläkten på värsta möjliga sätt? Eller har de helt enkelt alldeles för mycket tid?

I sex träffar om 2,5 timme ska man gå igenom följande:

Med zombiekatastrofen som inramning vill vi på ett lättsamt sätt närma oss olika hot mot dagens samhälle som naturkatastrofer, pandemier, ekonomisk kollaps och klimatförändringar.

Tillsammans kan vi alltså både lära oss ett och annat om både zombies och hur man hanterar lite mer jordnära problem som uppstår när samhällets funktioner är satta ur spel för kortare eller längre tidsperioder. Vad är egentligen viktigt?

Vi kommer vid cirkelträffarna gå igenom grundläggande zombiekunskap, vad för förnödenheter med mera du behöver hemma och på resande fot, gruppdynamik, generell katastrofberedskap och överlevnad. Tänk efter före!

Jag kan hålla med om att man ska tänka efter före. Kanske det här är bästa möjliga möjlighet att förbereda sig för en katastrof av Hollywood-episka proportioner?

Akta er för zombies!

 

Doctors’ handwriting

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It’s a cliché, but most doctors handwriting is notoriously illegible. When you’re handed a note that contains such vital information as a medicine prescription for your aches and pains, you’d kind of hope it wasn’t open to interpretation.

Here’s an article from the Daily Mail saying it is not only a joke, but actually so bad it’s putting patients at risk .

But is it really so bad? Or is the time we’re at the doctor the only time we’re really faced with reading handwriting these digital days?

Either or, the most important handwritten document besides perhaps a letter from an ancestor declaring you the owner of a gazillion dollars, is a message containing a key to your health. So the question is why they don’t put more effort into more legible writing.

Why not set up a course for doctors suffering from the “loose wrist, not looking, but jotting anyway-syndrome”? Just to make sure your pharmacist doesn’t give you a jar of hormone pills instead of the antibiotics you were prescribed by your doc.

Or they could have a digital system where the prescription is sent digitally so it’s just to show or forward to your pharmacist. Possibly in the form of an sms or mms. There should be quite a few possible improvements here.

But for now, doctors, please just try to put 15 more seconds or so into making the note a little easier to interpret. We’re not supposed to be needing an enigma machine to get the right meds.

Just some stuff you should see

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Here are a few things I watched recently that I really recommend. I’m going to describe them in one sentence so you have more time to watch them instead of reading my incoherent blog posts.

Louis C.K – Oh My God. The best stand-up comedian of all time (highly personal point-of-view) in top LOL form.

Whiplash – Great new film with amazing jazz music about a young talented drummer and his evil teacher.

True Detective – If you want to see fine acting and writing combined in a series that moves slowly, but purposely forward to create some amazing intense scenes – this is the one.

Episodes – Everyone needs to laugh and the series Episodes give you some true haha-moments and is just all over feel-good.

Birdman – Weird but awesome with spellbinding acting and camera work.

Rudderless – Interesting drama about a man who tries to get over his son’s guilt-ridden death through playing his songs.

Need to wake up earlier

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I’ve always liked mornings. The dawn of a new day, endless possibilities, the blank slate. Stuff like that. And if you wake early you feel like you’re ahead of everybody else and the world is there just for you to enjoy. Pretty poetic.

Problem is, most mornings lately I haven’t been able to wake up at all. Not in a good way at least. I’ve been drained. It’s been a hellish winter by Malta standards and my previous 6:30 am gym routines has become a lunch-time gym routine (still a good routine obviously). When it’s as cold indoors as it is outdoors, which is the case in Malta in winters, (at least some winters), you’re not keen to get out of the three-to-five layers of fabric you’re sleeping under. It’s the humidity and the lack of indoor heating that’s making me tired and lazy.

But yesterday was the first day of spring and I’m keen to get back to early-riser routines. Which I hope will give me time to get me back into the writing that’s been sorely neglected the last five months.

If you’re a writer, being a early riser seems to be a decent recipe for success. That’s at least the point of this great post on Brain Pickings called “Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity Visualized“.

Suddenly I feel tired and need to go to bed. Good night.

The Point of Graphical Sex Scenes?

zero_hour_cloc_450It’s a zero. Meaning: no point. Now, please read on. 

We’re watching a lot of series and films together with our ten-year-old. He’s a part of the Youtube-know-it-all generation so he knows what sex, violence and swearwords are. Still, I don’t think it’s great for him (or me) to watch graphical sex or violence scenes. It’s actually pretty damn awkward.

It makes me wonder what directors and screenwriters think when they decide to make something graphical. Is it to shock/repulse? To make some kind of statement? To be “real”?

When you see a hatchet being thrown against a head and hear a thud-sound out of picture, you put two and two together. Same thing happens when you watch a man and a woman kiss intensely and then lie down on a bed. You understand exactly what’s happening and there is no point in watching it. Actually it will likely be:

  • Slightly disgusting
  • Kinda awkward
  • Look really cheap (think Stephen King cutting a fake cow in half in “Under the Dome”)

So what’s the point? Why can’t we keep it subtle and focus on the storytelling? Are there plot problems to cover up by distracting the viewer’s attention?

My take on this is:
If you want to see gore and violence – watch a horror film.
If you want to see sex – watch porn.

It’s that easy. But when you put graphical sex or violence into comedies or thriller series, I scratch my head and wonder why. And I think most ten-year-olds (and older) do the same.

The Sigh of Political Correctness

I know people all over the world are suffering and there are more important stuff to be annoyed about. Yet, this annoys me.

It’s comedy. It’s supposed to be funny and joke around stereotypes. It’s not to be taken seriously and DEFINITELY not to be offended by.

Still, people get offended by stupid things all the time. Being Swedish, I know this firsthand as we’re one of the most “politically corrected peoples” around. In Sweden, if a road sign depicts a male, people get outraged and start spewing things in media about how it reflects the patriarchal society (there are many other examples of this, but you get the point).

It’s a sign. Move on.

Don’t people have better things to do? More pressing things to worry about?

There are a lot of injustices in the world. Nothing and no one is perfect. There is work to do, weights to pull. So to me it seems like being offended by comedies, road signs and comics, to name recent examples, is a bit over-the-top and a waste of energy and time.

My advice to you on this Friday is therefore: Don’t take things too seriously. Laugh a little. Loosen your shoulders. Worry about the really important stuff and when it’s not really important, shrug and let it go.

Did You Have Snickers In Your Sleep Again?

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I would add “unhappy” to the picture above and I’m sure the cat wouldn’t have the energy to disapprove.

You wake up with a slight headache. You stumble in to the bathroom and lean your hands on the sink and look into the mirror. The close-up of your face is not to your liking. There are deep lines there you haven’t seen before and unruly hairs are jutting out from your face. But you’re too lazy to plug in your electric razor. Instead you touch your doughy belly and wonder why there are remnants of peanuts and chocolate in your underpants. Have you had a Snickers in your sleep again?

I’m not sure if you’ve ever had an experience close to the above. I have. Sort of (without the Snickers in my underwear.) And that’s when I told myself I need to get myself into shape.

This was a few years ago. Since then I’ve worked out almost every, or at least every other, morning.  It’s not like clockwork, but almost. My body craves exercise, otherwise it will feel like a loaf of bread.

So I wake up at 6-ish and head to the gym or take a jog by the ocean. It sounds like it’s always easy. It isn’t. But without it, stress and self-doubt seems to build up like a mountain of pancakes.

Without exercise, sickness creeps inside your bones like snakes in the grass and you get colds, creaking joints, a flappy stomach and because of all this – a generally negative outlook on life.

It’s so simple really, no-one will ever feel worse through exercise, which means that a 100% would feel better. If ever so slightly, it’s worth it. Sweat. It. Out.

You don’t need to go to the gym of course, you can jog, walk, play sports, do yoga or whatever is easiest for you. You just need to force it into your schedule, at least 3-4 times a week. Don’t go two days without exercise, that’s my guideline. After three days you start losing your rhythm and then it’s easy to slip back into your unhappy self.

No fat cat is happy, so let’s get some positive routines going.

If you want to read more about why your appearance matters, you can read this post.

(Talking about positive routines, this goes for everything you do. Whether it’s writing, exercising, or just making sure you take out the trash.)

Sweden: what the fuck happened

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It’s a strange headline I know. But it’s there simply  because that “Sweden What the fuck happened”  is the entry page for many of my visitors to this blog although it only contains the now almost legendary image of Stellan Skarsgård as a viking and some nightclub kids with 80s hairstyle, androgyne faces and lots of bronzer in their faces.

But it seems to me that Sweden has a bigger issue than the strange appearance of some of the males or the need to add a bronzer to acquire a tan.

To me, and this is of course my subjective, personal opinion as an emigrant, Sweden has become a country in large part obsessed with buying stuff and obeying rules. And by rules I don’t only mean laws, but all kinds of rules – most noticeably social ones. This has resulted in people being afraid to speak their minds and instead talk about nothing but practical stuff like which phone subscription you should have or which LED TV has the best value for money.

Feelings and thoughts around things that really matters, are left unspoken and unattended. They’re better dealt with alone it seems like.

This reservedness creates a society on standby and as a Swede it’s hurting me to see and experience it. You can blame it on the weather maybe, it can’t be easy to experience grey skies and darkness for 70% of the year, but then you look over to Canada or even Norway with a similar climate and where people seem less prone to have a stick up their butt and more often a smile on their face.

Sweden and Swedes: Cheer up and Chin up! (Fanastic song by Ryan Adams).