Last Night in Sweden…

…Kickstarter project update

As of this evening (04.13.17), the project has been funded!  The first two of the three stretch goals have been met, as well.  Hooray!

The third stretch goal, a major traveling exhibition consisting of the 50 best images, is within reach (Note to organizers:  a visit to the RTP area is expected as you do have a consulate here).  The goal is SEK 350,000. Currently, the pledged amount is SEK 337,489 or $38,423.  The project is short SEK 12,511 ($1,384 +/-).

Of course, one can make contributions at any level.  In terms of rewards, the lowest tier is a pledge of SEK 200 ($22.13 +/-) which will yield a copy of the book in either Swedish or English (supporter’s choice), along with the satisfaction of knowing that this pledge contributed to reaching that magical, third stretch goal.  Only 63 additional people are needed to make this a reality.

Alternatively, if one is feeling unusually generous and/or slightly cheeky, one could opt for the next level by contributing SEK 1,000 ($110.65 +/-).  With that, your name goes in the book and when your copy arrives, you will see it.  WITH YOUR OWN PEEPERS (eller med egna ögon – and I will continue to slaughter Swedish until the third stretch goal has been reached).  Do you know who else will see your name? Orange Foolius and every member of the European Parliament. Mmmhmmm.  Only 13 relatively big spenders are needed in this category.

For those with some serious cabbage, a commitment to the arts, a love of Sweden, a deep respect for journalistic integrity and possibly a pinch of spite, there’s the next tier which requires a pledge of SEK 3,000 ($331.94 +/-).  It comes with all of the bells and whistles offered at the lower tiers along with the signatures of every photographer contributing to the project.  Oh yes it does.  Only 34 remain at this level.

There are only 14 days remaining.  Alternatively, there are 14 days left for nagging.  Do the right thing, please.  :flutters eyelashes:

The Swedish Flag

Bang on.

Paddy K

This Friday there was an awful truck attack in Stockholm, where four people died. I wasn’t personally affected, even though it was just up the road from where I work, although I know several people who were scarily close to it. For the people who did lose somebody, it must be the worse thing in the world, and I can’t even grasp it.

A horrible situation, although on the day after I made damn sure to get into town and do the whole carry-on-as-normal thing. If life doesn’t go on, then we’ve lost.

2017-04-07 17.07.59 The view from my office after the attack

A few positive things came from the attack, though. One was the immediate and professional response from the police and emergency services, closing down the city and catching the guy a few hours later. The police were getting hugs and flowers from people all weekend, which was great to see in usually-reserved…

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I’ll always be a teacher…

…just not professionally anymore.

“Miss Kitten,” one of my students said to me one day, “Can’t you just work here for the rest of your life?” Those words really sting in a bittersweet way. My god, it’s heartbreaking when I think about them. My students. My kids. I see their eager little faces, rapt with attention. Hanging on my every word. Enjoying the Miss Kitten show. Their eyes lighting up with laughter.

I was that teacher, you see. The one the kids all love. The one the kids all want as a substitute teacher.

“You’re my favorite teacher.”
“You’re the best teacher I’ve ever had.”
“You’re the coolest teacher I’ve ever had.”
“You don’t talk to us like you’re our teacher; you’re more like a friend.”

When you’re a teacher, the kids are everything. They are why you do what you do. And they are amazing, inspiring, and truly remarkable young people. Particularly the latest group of kids I had the great pleasure and privilege to teach. There are no behavioral cases among them. Even the ones who try to get away with being naughty are no match for Miss Kitten. My greatest weapon is my sense of humor and it’s been sharpened and perfected over the years.

“Shut up.” I tell a student who keeps whisper-yelling during a test and hasn’t responded to anything less direct and more polite.

“Hey, you can’t say that to me!” He responds with feigned dismay, which I know is entirely for the benefit of his classmates. Every class has its clown.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Please shut up.” I say, and the entire class erupts in laughter. You can’t out clown the master.

*sigh*

But I am tired. Sick have I become. Old and weak. Well, maybe not that old. However the sick and weak part is true. Sort of.

In January of last year I experienced a breakdown that led to me having to stop work. I was diagnosed with acute stress reaction, which was caused by a number of factors, all of them work-related. It’s very common for teachers to experience this due to the nature of teaching as a very demanding high-stress job, but usually you can transform the stress into productivity. In my 15 year career I never experienced anything like that before, what I can only describe as a kind of paralysis. I simply could not do it anymore. I had to stop working and went on sick leave. The doctor prescribed me some anti-anxiety medication and told me to get as much rest and relaxation as possible. It was incredibly hard, because I was also dealing with depression and guilt for having abandoned my students. Every day I questioned whether I was really sick. I was convinced I was faking, that this was all in my head. That I just needed to pull myself together, forget about my stupid problems and get back to work. My students needed me. I realized much later that this reaction is completely normal for highly productive people (aka: workaholics).

The medication and instructions to relax were the only treatment I received. I only found out later that usually some kind of therapy is recommended in such cases. In Sweden they have a system in place whereby if an employee is injured on the job, they are referred to a company health care service. The company is responsible for rehabilitating the injured or sick employee and for fixing the problems that caused the injury or sickness in the first place. No such assistance was forthcoming from my previous employer. They had this service available, but they elected not to refer me to them, saying I should get treatment through the local health care service. I was told that this is their prerogative. In the end I was put on paid leave because they either could not or simply would not fix the conditions that led to my breakdown. I couldn’t go back to work, so they decided to pay me for the remainder of my contract.

This arrangement seemed reasonable and fair. Eventually I started feeling like myself, ready to start teaching again, but determined to be very selective in the type of school at which I wanted to work. I wanted to work at an international school, so I applied at all three of the international schools in the area. I got interviews at two of them, and was eventually hired. It was only a part-time position, which was perfect because I was in no way ready to jump back into a full-time position after my breakdown.

The school was wonderful. The students were, as a previously described, amazing young people, and my colleagues were fantastic. It was an international staff, reflecting the profile of the school. Yet, even though the work was satisfying and rewarding, after a few weeks the symptoms started creeping back. My employers were well aware of my previous breakdown. I informed them during my interview, and they were not at all surprised, knowing full well how common it is for teachers to suffer such breakdowns. They were very reassuring and supportive.

During my initial interview, they gave me a tour of the school. It was a small building but there was an atmosphere of positivity and happy looking students working on projects everywhere. However, there was something very unusual about this school and that was the location of the Home Economics classroom. This was the position I was interviewing for. There was, in fact, no Home Ec classroom at all. There were four kitchen units set up, oddly enough, in a busy hallway. I’d never seen anything like this before. The practical Home Ec lessons were taught in an area that was completely exposed. I would find out later how just how impractical it was to teach in that space.

However, at first, it was kind of exhilarating. Home Ec lessons are usually very lively, smelly, and noisy. I was used to teaching Home Ec so all the chaos didn’t really bother me. We were reminded on several occasions to try and keep the noise level down, since there were other classrooms nearby. We were also located right in front of the principal’s office, and just around the corner from the assistant principal’s office, as well as student toilets, staff toilets, and the staff lounge. This meant that colleagues were walking through the area constantly. Students weren’t supposed to go in there during practical lessons and were instructed to use different toilets when lessons were taking place. Our solution to prevent students from walking through there was to place traffic cones at the entrances to the hallway. The older students knew to keep out, but the younger ones frequently walked right past the traffic cones and right through a lesson. It was also normal for a colleague to walk through the hallway during a lesson, pushing a large cart of iPads or laptops, and forcing me and students to move out of the way. In addition, when lessons were happening, we were very entertaining. Students and colleagues alike tended to stand just outside of the hallway and watch the show.

It sounds completely crazy, and it was. However that was simply how Home Ec lessons were taught at this school. I actually enjoyed it. The exposed situation made it really exciting. At least at first. After a while, however, it made it increasingly difficult. I had no control whatsoever over that area, even though I was responsible for it. On the days when there was no Home Ec, the hallway was used by other teachers. The kitchen counters were used to place computers and books, pretty much anything. Each kitchen was equipped with a set of utensils, dishes, and cookware, and these were constantly being removed when I wasn’t there. At least once every lesson, I would have to hunt round the staff kitchen for a missing whisk or a skillet or something that was definitely there before, but which had since disappeared. No one seemed to understand or respect that that hallway was, in fact, my workspace. To them, it was just another public area.

Eventually it became unbearable. My anxiety level increased and I started having panic attacks. I couldn’t stop thinking about work. I obsessed about those kitchens, and the state they would be in the next time I had a lesson. Before each lesson I would have to spend time putting them back in order, checking that each kitchen was fully equipped, tracking down items that were missing, removing books or other items that had been left on the kitchen counters, make sure we had enough clean dishtowels and start a load of laundry if we didn’t, empty the dishwashers from the previous lesson, check to make sure we received all of our grocery delivery, and whether it had been put away, anticipate a trip to the grocery store in case anything hadn’t been delivered (a regular occurrence). It was a lot of responsibility for one person, and too much for me.

During lessons, I had to supervise up to four groups of students working in the kitchens, while attempting to minimize disruption from other students and colleagues walking through the area, as well as trying to keep the noise level down so as not to disturb other ongoing lessons. In other words, we (the students and I) had to accommodate everyone, but no one would accommodate us. I still enjoyed the practical lessons very much, but after a while, the conditions made it almost impossible to maintain a proper classroom environment. I’m usually a very effective teacher who has no problem with classroom management, but under these conditions, I had no control and ownership over the environment and this made it extremely difficult to have control and ownership over the class.

I know I’m making it sound like it was complete chaos, but it wasn’t actually that bad. The worst thing about it was the psychological toll it took on me. After this experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to get out of teaching, for my own sanity. It’s time for another career. What that will be, I have no idea, but after fifteen years I’m pretty sure my time as a professional teacher is over. I don’t make this decision lightly. I always promised myself that I would keep working until it was no longer “fun,” that I would quit before I turned into one of those totally burnt out and bitter teachers, who obviously hates their job but keeps on working out of spite or lack of ambition.

The kids deserve better than that and I won’t let that happen. Who knows what the future holds…

Last Night in Sweden…

…a shameless plug.

The Swedes are a curious lot; thoughtful, considerate, kind and very concerned about the welfare of others.  They are also fiercely patriotic and damn all to hell if you criticize their society or country.  Not only will they reject such criticism, they will go to extreme lengths to correct the erroneous assumption.  Once finished, they will kill you in your sleep.  Need proof?

So, when President Orange Foolius decided to besmirch their reputation, Sweden reinstitued conscription.  IKEA laced its köttbullar with horsemeat.  There was no sharing of the semlor.  40,000 ocean containers full of Kalles kaviar were dispatched to the US disguised as Easy Cheese.  The government hired scores of actors to set fire to certain areas of Stockholm for the sole purpose of giving Katie Hopkins something else to bitch about.  And for all of the Trumpeting Deplorables hoping that any of this is true:  the conscription happened well before your Dear Leader opened his foodhole, the horsemeat scandal was from 2013, you don’t deserve semlor, Katie Hopkins is a cunt and if there is any justice in this world, you will be eating Kalles (and nothing but) for the rest of your miserable existence.

Seriously, though, Swedes have had it with Donald Trump‘s misinformation campaign about their country.  HAD IT.  Over it.  And an angry Swede is not something you want to deal with for the angry Swede is not only incredibly stubborn and relentless, it’s slightly cheeky, too. Also, largely emotionless but very dignified.  The angry Swede will not wrinkle its clothes or muss its hair in battle.

To that end, a Kickstarter was born.  The project is titled “Last Night in Sweden – The True Story.”  The scope is to compile pictures of everyday life throughout Sweden between the hours of 18:00 – 0:00 (or 6pm to 12am for the unable-to-tell-time Deplorables).  These pictures will be taken by award-winning photojournalists.  That’s right.  They mean business.  These pictures will not be taken by suburban women who have their part-time “photography business” focusing primarily on children or families in bucolic fields, newly engaged couples in burnt out parts of cities and babies in wooden barrels.

Once the photos have been selected by a jury, they will be compiled and published in book form.  The first copy of the book will be presented to Shitgibbon, himself.  Stretch goals are listed on the project’s page and they’re pretty damn nifty, too.

So, for all of you truth loving folks, why not chip in and support this project?  If you love Swedenland, why not help portray it in its wonderfully magical form?  If you want to tell Donald Trump to eat a bag of dicks, kick in a few kronor – or kick in several kronor and your name will be printed in the book.  If your name is American enough, Foolius may even understand it when his grandkids read it to him at bedtime.

Supporting the arts is never an exercise in futility.  In the United States, supporting the arts is going to become the provenance of the private sector so why not get a little practice in entering that credit card number right now?  You can also consider this a multicultural endeavour as you channel Swedish customs: enforcing the truth via art and very dry humor while not taking shit from anyone who doesn’t understand their society.

I’m All Out of Eggs

To be sung to the tune of, “I’m All Out of Love” by Air Supply. 

I’m all out of eggs,
I’m so lost without you.
There’s nothing to make.
Oh, what will I do?
I’m all out of eggs
And the bread is all moldy.
The bacon is gone,
And the corn flakes are soggy.
I’m all out of eggs,
Won’t somebody save me?
Oh, what would I do,
For some biscuits and gravy?
The oatmeal has bugs.
Can’t have any porridge.
I’m even eat that.
Though, I think it’s horrid. 
I’m all out of eggs,
And I’m so very hungry.
Oh, fuck it, let’s go,
Get an Egg McMuffin, again. 

Welcome To The Apocalypse

 

There’s them that make news
Them that make fake news
Then there’s fake fake news
That’s called satire
Sometimes it’s hard to tell till you come down to the wire,
But it’s no longer true that where there’s smoke there’s fire,
Before you share or shout better hold your horses,
Time to teach our children in their classes and courses,
Check your sources! Check your sources!

Things are turning quickly now,
The show is underway,
How long it’s gonna last,
Well really none of us can say,
We came in with a big bang,
Will we go out that way,
Come get your free tickets,
For the coming Judgement Day,

Welcome to the Apocalypse,
Check out the disturbing view,
14 billion years at our fingertips,
Now we’re about to see things through,
One good thing with the Apocalypse,
I get to spend all the last days with you…..

You’re gonna see things you never thought you’d see,
Things are gonna be the way you never thought they’d be,
Don’t believe what you read, or see on tv,
In an Orwellian world, only the chained are free,

Welcome to the Apocalypse,
Check out the disturbing view,
14 billion years at our fingertips,
Now we’re about to see things through,
One good thing with the Apocalypse,
I get to spend all the last days with you…..

Heads are tales and the tables have been turned,
Can’t trust any of the things that you’ve learned,
To save this village, it’s got to be burned,
The die is cast, the courtroom is adjourned,

Welcome to the Apocalypse,
Check out the disturbing view,
14 billion years at our fingertips,
Now we’re about to see things through,
One good thing with the Apocalypse,
I get to spend all the last days with you,

One good thing with the Apocalypse,
I get to spend all the last days with you

CHECK YOUR SOURCES! 

There’s them that make news,

Them that make fake news,

Then there’s fake fake news,

But that’s called satire,

Sometimes it’s hard to tell,

Till it comes down to the wire,

It’s no longer true that

where there’s smoke there’s fire,

Before you share or shout,

You better hold your horses, 

Time to teach our children, 

In their classes and courses,

Check your sources!

Check your sources!

Idag i Sverige…

…a newspaper (or many) works at a frenzied pace.

What an absolutely bizarre day.  Newspapers in Sweden, Aftonbladet and Dagens Nyheter, have been publishing articles in English in order to clarify things for impressionable Americans who blindly accept everything McCheetodick and Alex Jones bark and tweet.

Another digital news outlet, The Local, has been working diligently to provide the English speaking world with articles debunking the false allegations made by our president and other conspiracy peddlers (Fox News, Info Wars, etc…).  The Local caters specifically to English speakers in nine different countries, focusing entirely on the respective country’s domestic news.  The Swedish version was the first, having started in 2004.  Yours truly stumbled upon it in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina of all things.

As of right now, there are four compelling articles which Americans should read.  These articles will clarify any issues regarding Sweden, immigration, crime and fake news.

Swedish embassy offers to ‘inform’ Trump after ‘last night in Sweden’ explanation
TT/The Local

Sweden has offered to “inform the US administration” about the country’s immigration policy after Donald Trump explained his comments about a non-existent incident in the country were provoked by something he saw while watching the news.

The US President took to Twitter to explain why he had insinuated to a crowd in Florida last Saturday that a serious incident had taken place the night before in Sweden – comments which left Swedes baffled over what he may have been referring to, following a peaceful evening in the Nordic nation.

continued***

Swedish Fox News cops hit out at filmmaker: ‘He is a madman’
The Local

Two Swedish police officers interviewed in a news report referenced by US president Donald Trump about crime and immigration say their quotes were taken out of context.

The controversial segment from a film by filmmaker Ami Horowitz, which was shown on Fox News on Friday and claimed immigration had led to a rise in crime in Sweden, made headlines after Trump (much to the surprise of Swedes) used the Nordic country as a cautionary tale in a speech on Saturday.

But two Stockholm-based police officers featured in the clip, talking about crime and the accessibility of weapons, have sharply criticized how they were portrayed and how their quotes were used in the interview.

continued***

Analysis: Why Trump’s false claims are bad news for Sweden
Emma Löfgren

Donald Trump targeted Sweden and then things got even weirder. The Local Sweden’s editor takes a closer look at the story dominating the news in Sweden.

“We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?” US president Donald Trump asked on Saturday, targeting the country while listing a number of places in Europe hit by terror attacks.

Well, who would believe this? Least of all the Swedes, it soon turned out.

Trump later clarified his comments, but not before causing major confusion after a fairly quiet Friday in the Nordic country, where some of the biggest stories had included a man setting himself on fire for unknown reasons in Stockholm, talk about Eurovision try-outs, and a picture of an elk humping a wooden elk.

continued***

Six claims and facts about Sweden: a closer look at Ami Horowitz’ report
TT/The Local

When US president Donald Trump this past weekend mentioned events in Sweden, he was referring to a TV broadcast about Swedish migration policy. Several claims in the broadcast are questionable, and some downright wrong. Swedish news agency TT has looked at the facts.

Claim: In the introduction to the Fox News segment, the presenter says: ”In 2016 alone the country accepted more than 160,000 asylum seekers”.

Fact: In 2016, nearly 29,000 people sought asylum in Sweden, a very sharp decline compared to 2015, when nearly 163,000 sought asylum, according to the Migration Board. In 2016 there were nearly 112,000 asylum decisions taken, some 67,000 were approved.

continued

Read, share, inform.

Sverige…

…the horror, the terror, the recovery.

This escaped me and I do not understand how.  As a reader of several Swedish news sources, I do not understand the delay in reporting such a catastrophe in the era of the 24-hour news cycle.  I suppose, with things on a scale as grand as this, the media was simply performing its due diligence and not alerting the general public until it had thoroughly researched every fact before going to press.  Maybe this is the media’s correcting its behavior as it relates to all of the fake news stories it has been printing since The Angry Yam descended the escalator in Dump Towers and declared his intent to drive the world into the ground.  Or, perhaps, an agreement has been reached?  No news regarding the safety of human beings shall be dispersed to citizens until Our Dear Leader, Orange Foolius, informs us directly, preferably at a rally at an airport with only his most devout followers in attendance.

Imagine my emotional state when I discovered that my second country, the place that occupies my heart, the home to many of my dearest friends was attacked.  Attacked in a manner so violent, the newly sensible media thought about the general public for once and chose to withhold all reporting and publishing of photographs to keep us snowflakes from being triggered.

My friends, shaken to the core and traumatized so significantly, were unable to utilize Facebook’s safety check feature.  From what I have been able to ascertain, neither Kitten nor Blitz were able to access a cellphone signal on Friday night.  Their social media platforms were silent from early Friday evening until midday Saturday.  I can only deduce that PM Löfven is working in concert with the Tang Tyrant’s administration – withholding details until Our Dear Leader addresses his public first.  After all, we’re living in an America First era.

A friend of mine is an editor of a fairly large news outlet which provides news for expats in English in multiple countries in the EU.  It was only this morning that I managed to obtain two pictures of the damage to Sweden on Friday night.  I may be at risk of breaching trust but I understand the source of the photos has been thoroughly vetted and I fundamentally believe they must be shared with the general public.  I do not understand how and why the Short-Fingered Vulgarian is not allowing the New York Times or the Washington Post to print them. From a different source, I managed to obtain a copy of Kim Jong-un’s media management strategy guide which is circulating through the upper echelon of Our Dear Leader’s administration.  This will be shared at a later date, when my request for asylum has been granted.

I hasten to add, the images you are about to see are not appropriate for children.  If you find yourself easily agitated, you may want to stop reading at this point.  And, as I said on one of my social media platforms, when the Red Cross begins its text message drive for donations, please, please donate.  Sweden is a country of 10 million.  It has resources and a very strong social welfare system.  But, it will still need assistance from generous donors in order to appropriately distribute tools for clean up, medical services, water, etc…

snökuken Göteborg

snökuken Göteborg

snökuken Göteborg, recovery & clean up

snökuken Göteborg, recovery & clean up

Jag är Sverige för alltid.

MORE THAN THAT 

Go on, emasculate me,
Remove my masculinity, 
If that’s all that you see,
Because I’m more than that,

My nationality? Just where I come from,
A part of me, not the sum,
Shouldn’t be a distraction, 
Because I’m more than that, 

The colour of my skin?
This package I’m in?
Doesn’t show what’s within,
Because I’m more than that,

Many parts to my whole,
Not a one has control,
But love in my heart and soul,
Is where I’m really at.