Monthly Archives: July 2012

Response to my “Mindless Behavior” post

Beau Hindman, who writes for the game site “Massively“, wrote a response to my post about how we tend to spen hours on sites like Reddit & 9gag (one of the most popular posts I ever posted). He claims that Internet can hurt original content creation. Read it HERE. I think it’s fun someone picks up the topic and writes about it!

Bruce Springsteen Concert!

Bruce Springsteen live!

A glass of smashed fruit at Bruce’s hotel. He walked past the bar 20 min before this photo was shot.

My friends had made sure they got a room on the same hotel as Mr Springsteen, and last night they were lucky enough to get a picture with him when he returned from the concert!

This weekend I’m just chilling, yo. Yesterday I took the ferry from Finland to Sweden (back after 30 days in Finland). Went to the Springsteen concert in Göteborg with my hommies. The traffic jam when 65 000 ppl tried to leave the stadium area was just unimaginable!

I love relaxing weekends like this one, just laying on the sofa, listening to the rain and reading interesting articles about game making.

Sleepless

Amazing real life bug! It’s called “Golden Beetle”.

My letter from Hogwart’s finally arrived!

Me.

This place is called “Graveyard Island”…I see why.

I spent around 10 hours on the ferry this week.

Drawing spooky girls.

Wow, I can’t believe how much replies and re-tweets I got about my last post about self-esteem. I have never ever experienced that kind of attention on something I have written. Thank you all for your feedback! The fact that someone is reading what I write is quite astonishing in itself.

I have spent the last seven days at a summer house in southern Finland, near Finland’s second biggest town “Åbo”. Finally got to meet plenty of relatives I haven’t seen in years. Tried to chill, read books and watch nature. But at night I’m having troubles sleeping. I’m not really sure why, but I lay awake for some hours before I finally get to sleep. Have tried everything, but nothing seems to work. I think this problem could have it’s roots in the fact that life is very exciting right now. It just feels like there is so much out there to experience and to do. It simply feels like sleeping is a waste of time. Anyway, need to find a way of relaxing, or I will look like my creepy girl in the photo, haha!

These photos are from my Instagram where I’m called Saxen8, jsut like on Twitter.

Self-Esteem

When I sat down tonight with my cup of tea and some candy I wanted to write something about self-esteem. It’s a subject I started thinking about since I wrote my piece about “What I Came To Realize About So Called Female Magazines”. Or I guess I have been thinking about this topic ever since I morphed from a child into a teenager, a long time ago. And I continued to thing about it even when my days of being a teen are long gone (thanks God lol).

It’s not easy to believe in yourself if you start comparing yourself and your skills to the entire population out there. With the Internet at your finger tips, it’s very easy to start doing exactly that. And there’s always going to be someone out there more skilled, better looking, funnier or more creative than you. Back in the days you could compare yourself to the coolest kid in your class or your school, but that’s not really the case anymore.

It’s easy to think everyone else are living happy, perfect lives featuring beautiful sun sets when you take a quick look at Instagram or Facebook. But that’s not really the case.

I look at my friends and their teenage sisters and brothers. There seems to be different aspects of what’s important for your self-esteem when you are aged 14-20. For girls it mostly consist of not not being fat, to hide all skin problems and to have beautiful, healthy hair. For boys it’s almost all about building muscles and getting a driver’s licence as soon as possible (I could be wrong about this one since I never been a teenage boy). But that’s just me generalizing wildly.

Self-esteem is based on many things. If you only base it on your looks or a specific talent you will have bid problems when your life changes.

A lot of times the feeling of “being fake, a fraud that someone will detect and fire”, is a general symptom of low self-esteem. Remember, there’s a difference between self-esteem and self-confidence. Self-esteem is the feeling of knowing your abilities, feeling comfortable in yourself and the sense of your own worth. Self-confidence “relates to self-assuredness in one’s personal judgment, ability, power, etc., sometimes manifested excessive”. So in short: self-esteem is about your own inner worth, and self-confidence more your achievements and success/failure. Something like that.

I’ve been very lucky to have a supportive team of parents & relatives, and lovely friends around me for most of my childhood and teen years, but of course I felt the pressure when growing up (and even after that). I have always found power and happiness in drawing and doing stuff outside in the Nature. I think the tricks to boost your self-esteem are:

  • Find something you like doing (I found drawing), and keep doing it.
  • Have meaningful relations with other people. I know this is easier said than done, and sometimes other human beings can be real douchebags. Try to minimize all contact with people who tell you you are stupid, ugly, talk the wrong way or just call you when they need your money or pity. These are energy drainers and will leave you feeling low on self-esteem, eating your happiness away.
  • Try new things and master your fears. I’ve noticed if you challenge yourself, and get yourself out of your own comfort zone you will grow. Last week I climber big rock, and afterwards I was so totally happy when I got to the top. You get brave by following your dreams, but in order to follow your dreams you need to be brave.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. You are unique and only you can know what’s best for you.

There’s always gong to be days when you feel as if you are on the bottom of everything and everyone else are having so much fun. Everyone else seems to be in a happy relationship, eating lunch with interesting people or posting pictures of a sunny trip abroad on Facebook. The truth is that all people got issues, problems and WUA03ATAATP-moments (waking-up-at-03-am-thinking-about-all-their-problems). The only difference is how much of that we talk or write about and share with others. All those people who seem perfect got their own problems to deal with.

This brings me to something important. After reading Minecraft’s Lydia Winter’s very humble blog post “A Culture Of Criticism“, about how public people are exposed to tons of negative comments that could easily bring down anyone’s self-esteem, I think it’s important to remember that the key to feeling good about yourself can never be to put other people down. I try to never let my self-esteem feed on other people’s failures, bad hair day’s or miserly. Other’s feeling bad about themselves will never bring anything good into your own life (other’s feeling bad will only bring bad things to your life). Pro tip: if you are feeling low, try helping others feel good my smiling or giving them a surprise cookie, it will cheer you up!

OMG who does she think she is?!!

I think many girls pick on other girls on order to feel better about themselves (unfortunately). If a skinny girl get’s fat, many girls are happy for example. There’s a lot of jealousy out there, and haters are always gonna hate. Sometimes, if I take one of those immature self portraits (I know you all snap them sometimes), and post of on Facebook or Twitter, I freeze for a second, thinking “oh no, what will people think, that I think I look som extremely hot and think I’m being someone?”. Then I kinda just shake that feeling of my shoulders and move on. Whatever, it’s a free country and I can post 10000 images of my new shades or dress if I want to. I know I’m more than those fun, immature self-portraits, usually I go collect some interesting bugs in the garden after posting them ; )

Northwestern Finland

Photos from Finland’s northwestern Archipelago.

 

That’s actually the moon shining, in the middle of the night, in the left corner. It never really gets dark up in the Northern parts of the Nordic countries, during summer time. Kind of hard to sleep, but beautiful at the same time. These photos are from my trip to Finland’s main land a few weeks ago. Spent some time at our summer house, lovely!

 

Adventurer Weekend!

 

Summer in Finland!

We climbed rocks and went adventuring on an abandoned island with old Russian forts on it.

 

Spent the weekend at a friend’s summer house, here at the Åland Islands. Åland (a bunch of small islands in the ocean, right between Finland and Sweden), consist of something like 6000 small islands, most of them totally empty from people. Me and my friends explored caves, went for a swim in the ice cold water (it’s summer here and the water is supposed to be warm, but for now it’s only abut 16 degrees Celsius?!). I even climbed 4 meters up on a rock, squeezed myself trough tiny cracks and felt quite proud when we reached the top.

 

What I Came To Realize About So Called “Female Magazines”

A Hidden Stash                                                                                                                  Last week I had the great opportunity to visit my summer house in the Northern parts of Finland. It’s a small, isolated island in the middle of the Finnish archipelago, without electricity or things like TV or computers. So, how to entertain myself for a week without the Internet, friends or TV? The answer for me is spelled: books! Books and magazines. In many ways it feels like time has stood still since the small house in this island was built almost 50 years ago. And in a way it has. There’s tons of old news papers and comic magazines laying around in that cabin. If you dig deep enough you find things that are were printed before my grandma was born. It’s amazing!

I found this huge collection of girly magazines me and my sisters have collected for years. It goes like this: every year we buy some glossy magazines, bring them to this summer house, read them and forget them in the drawers. It was a very interesting experience to find these stashes of women’s magazines and compare them to what is published today. Many of the papers where from 2005 (with Paris Hilton & Jessica Simpson on almost ALL the covers lol), 2006 and 2008. Mostly it was issues of Swedish magazines like “Solo” or Swedish editions on more international mags like “Cosmopolitan”. So here I was, with a small library of Swedish women’s magazines, and so much time on my hands. I started to analyze what kind of articles are there really in these mags, and is there some kind of pattern? What’s the difference between the topics discussed in 2005 and today in 2012?

Sweden’s Eco System Of “Young-Female” Targeted Magazines:                               There seems to be different kinds of fem mags (magazines specifically aimed for girls or women) out there. Depending on how old you are, the content or the main focus for the issues varies a bit. Frankly, what differs them is how much the topic of “sex” is discussed. Here’s a quick and dirty guide into the magazines available for young females in Sweden:

Julia is for girls aged 8-14. Is about pop music, bakery, love and friends.

In Sweden we have the magazine “Julia“, that talks about fashion, school, bakery, gossip (like about Twillight) and free time activities. On their home page it says this mag is for girls 9-14.

Frida is for for teen girls aged 12-15. It’s about relationships, your first kiss, celebrities and gossip.

After this there’s “Frida“. Frida writes about falling in love, cute celebrity boys, basic sex questions, make-up, fashion and “real life documents”. I haven’t found any age recomendation on Frida’s home page, but I think it’s for girls 12-15.

“Vecko Revyn” is about sex, fashion, real life documents, diets and celebrities.

When you are too old for Julia or Frida you move on to “Vecko Revyn“. I know that’s a Swedish name, but I’m sure most countries have their own version of the magazines I’m listing here. I can’t find any age recommendations on their home page, but I think this is aimed for women 15-18. In reality I know many girls aged 14 reads it.

Solo is for women 18-35. It’s something of a naughty sister to “Vecko Revyn”!

Then we have “Solo“. This mag is much like “Vecko Revyn”, but it has far more sex in it. I would say that’s the only thing that sets them apart. And sometimes they try plastic surgery and write about it.

The Swedish version of Cosmopolitan. According to it’s web page it’s for “young women”. My guess would be 15-25 year olds.

Cosmopolitan” is one of the biggest mags for “young females” in the world. It exists in almost every country in one form or another. It’s about beauty, fashion, sex and love. I think  most of it’s target audience is somewhere between 15-25. It’s not as gossip focused as the other mags in Sweden, and one thing that sets it apart completely from the fem mag pack, is that it has very few photos of “real girls” and the fact that it’s aimed completely against a heterosexual audience. All the other papers above often talk about what’s its like to be gay, they even give bedroom tips for gay couple, and they feature a lot of content about real girls, not only celebrities. What Cosmo offers is a lot more like a squeakily clean dream world, where you are looking for Mr.Right or embracing your singledom (when you are not busy buying expensive designer shoes).

Rihanna when she is not on the front cover of a gossip magazine (she is not drunk, topless or making out with a mysterious boy/girl).

This is not a complete guide, and I’m sure some of the readers or writers at these mags would beg to differ with some of the things I listed above, but I write this post based on my own experience and what I have witnessed my friends and sisters read. I don’t intend to offend any particular mag, just tell you my story. In addition to this list there’s plenty of mags dedicated almost entirely to beauty or gossip (and they always, for some reason seem to have one of the following on their front page: Tom/Katie, Brad/Angelina, David/Victoria or a wasted Rihanna).

 

The Pattern Of Topics                                                                                                      So, back to that stash of Solo, Cosmo and other mags I found on my summer house last week. I realized not much has happened in the world of these mags since I started reading them, when I was just any other teen. I think I’ve made out some kind of pattern. It seems that no matter if it’s about “Cosmo” or “Frida”, there’s some trends re-appearing each year. I narrowed it down to:

  • Springtime: Start training for beach, how to lose weigh, travel to big cities, what’s this spring’s fashion hotties.
  • Summer: Find the perfect bikini, figure friendly clothing, the beach bodies of celebs, how to use self tan, summer love, how to take care of your skin/hair during summer, surf camps and fall’s fashion.
  • Fall: Tons of fashion reports, work related boosts, how to get promoted.
  • Winter: How to take care of winter gloomy skin, travel to warm places, schools you need to apply for in the spring.
It’s like the seasons of the year. Every year. If you cut out all the gossip, the sex tips and the “real life documents”, many of the mags out there follows a certain pattern. My conclusion when comparing mags from 2005 with 2012? Basically nothing had changed, except the fashion and the names of the celebrities. These glossy magazines I found in the drawers of my time-frozen summer house, seemed to have been frozen in time themselves.

Madonna in two versions: regular and photoshopped. 99,9% of the celeb photos are photoshopped in one way or another.

So What Does These Mags Really Teach Us?
About the same time as when I started thinking I don’t want to waste more time on stuff like cute kittens on the Internet, or videos of stupid people getting hurt, I started to think about what do young women learn from reading magazines like this? If you start at the age of 9 and then slowly clime the ladder of magazines until you are 20 something? What do they teach the girls (including myself)? I think it’s:
  • Look pretty, cute or sexy. Looks matter a lot. (How to loose weight/Tons of photoshopped young women).
  • Hunt down Mr.Right. He is out there somewhere (“We got the best tips to find him!”).
  • Consume insane amounts of products! (Best-In-Tests of mascaras, lip-glosses etc).
  • There’s weird people out there (“Real Life Stories” about sickness, crime or passion).
Another problem (because I think there’s a problem in all of this), is that these mags teach young women few valuable real life skills. They teach us we are imperfect, that we need to consume tons of products we don’t really need, and they teach us very few things we can use to our advantage when we grow up and start working. Knowing what mascara creates the best false lash effect will not help me getting that job, or teaching me how to change a tire on a car.

It’s in our genes as social animals to be interested in gossip. Some more than others (or why do you think Facebook is this big today?).

If I look at the other mags out there that have a male target audience, the picture is a bit different. Some of them are complete rubbish, yes, but a lot of them teaches you how to repair your own car, how to improve your computer or how to make awesome food.

 

Why Do We Read Them?
I think the answer is quite simple: to escape from our own world. To get life down to handy small lists like what eyeliners to buy, what to wear to fit in, to laugh at celebrities without make-up. Humans are made this way, every now and then we need to get away from our own lifes. We need to be entertained, to be told stories and to let the brain relax. We can’t always read deep, complex novels about life & death.

 

My Own Secret List
To end this long blog post I made my own little list of things (secrets) I want to share with the young women out there, who maybe just started reading these kinds of mags:
  • All photos are manipulated. Celebrities does not look like that in real life. They got wrinkles, scars and bad hair days. The photos you see are the result of good lightning, Photoshop, and a stab of 10 people who are hired to make this celeb look it’s best (personal trainers, chiefs etc).
  • The inside matters. Yes it does. Many of the magazines talk about the handsome, sexy, beautiful Mr.Right. In real life it’s most often that ordinary guy/gal “with the friendly eyes” who will be your guy/girl. Sometimes you will meet someone very ugly, but for some reason all you want to do is to jump in bed with them or spend the rest of your life together. The body is just a container for the brain.
  • Guys don’t get thought there’s a Miss Right. All this talk about a Mr.Right. I asked a bunch of my male friends if they ever get thought to hunt for a “Miss.Right”? They all answered “No”. Let me tell you a story: a guy friend of mine was about to do it for the first time with a girly friend of mine. He believed it would be awesome, raw, sexy and just like in the adult movies. She expected him to be her gentle, loving, prince in bed (according to the magazines that’s how it should be). Do I need to say they both got very confused and hurt when these two separate worlds clashed? It took them more than one year before they dared to talk to each other again.
 I’m not calling people who buy “Cosmo” or “Seventeen” bad people. I just wanted to share my toughs on something that’s very important to many young girls and women out there. Sorry for the long post, here’s a potato!

 

 

Fun Beverages In Finland!

Muumin soda! This is the best soda in the world!

Angry Birds soda! Tastes like chicken?

One liter of bear beer! The other can is a regular Coca Cola…

I’m back after a week in the Finnish wilderness, near the town of Vaasa. I think my trip can best be described as “going to rehab”. We left for a small cottage on the middle of an island in the Northern Finnish archipelago. This island lacks both tap water and electricity, so as a result I only used Internet for about 60 sec each day, which must be regarded as some kind of stupid record on my side. This week as been all about reading good books (“The World Accoring to Garp“), swimming (it was a lovely 15 degrees C in the water) and sleeping well. One bad, beautiful detail is that the sun never really sets during summer this far up North. Feels weird to sleep when it’s still lit outside…

I’ll post more pictures later, but here’s at least ome photos of the strange and fun beverages I could find at the local super market, in the small town near our island. Since Angry Birds are from Finland, the merchandise is practically everywhere and even my grandma has heard about this game…Since I got some time to rest my brain new ideas of what to write about started to pop up! I have some awesome ideas for longer posts like the one on mindless behavior.

Anyway, more photos about the place I visited later when I managed to transfer the photos from my camera to the computer. If you want updates in the meanwhile, follow my twitter here.

 

Mindless Behavior (or goodbye kittens)

Sorry Reddit & 9gag, it’s not you, it’s me!

Facebook Wisdome

Before I start I just want to say there’s a chance someone might find this post offensive. So if you love your daily dose of Reddit, walk away now, this is your last chance!

A while ago I decided something needed to change in my life. I felt like I was just wasting to much time on pointless things that gave me quick fixes of…something. I can’t put my finger on what exactly, but I guess everyone who ever spent a few hours just browsing trough Reddit or 9gag watching funny stuff knows what I’m talking about.

The 60’s Spider Man meme is still one of my all time favorites!

I love Internet (or at least the not-to-wtf-parts of it). I think it’s awesome how we can connect, share and discover information. I stumble upon new things almost every day that makes me go “wow!”. But lately I have felt like something is not as fun as it used to be. It all started this spring. I’m not sure when it happened, but I’m kinda sure it had something to do with the fact that Internet memes that used to be kinda obscure found their way into mainstream media, and suddenly all you ever saw when you browsed Facebook was a news feed flooded with re-post after re-post after re-post of fun/serius/crazy photos and some kind of semi philosophic quote (preferably by some celerity like Dalai Lama or John Lenon). I know that the pages views of 9gag exploded this spring as well. Might have something to do with it.

Beautiful and all, but I don’t want to read about life lessons, I want to experience them myself!

 

Things Needed To Change

Anyway, I felt like there must be a better way to spend my free time than reading news on the Internet, browsing Facebook, browsing 9gag, reading some more news, reading trash blogs, back to Facebook and then some more 9gaging (this is alos known as “rundan” in Swedish, let me know if you got a proper translation of the word).

This can’t be it, I thought. There must be more to life (or Internet) than this. I think it really hit me one night when I sat in front of the computer and stared at an empty tab in Firefox. There I was, having the whole world at my fingertips, but I felt bored. That’s just insane!

Pedo Bear, makes us deal with awful things by laughing at them!

 

Just One More Cute Kitten!

Maybe you experienced that late night feeling of “I don’t want to sleep, not quite yet…just one more cute kitten…” And what do you do? You watch more cute kittens and more photos of people doing stupid things. And in the end, what does you gain from it? Nothing.

And that’s want I was trying to explain in the beginning of this super long post. In the end I realized I don’t learn anything, I don’t create anything, it just keeps me from seeing my friends and doing, you know, productive stuff. I didn’t want to consume things that to me seemed more and more pointless, I wanted to create my own things.

I know girl, it’s embarrassing I used to spend time reading all that sh*t!

 

How Did I Change My Behavior?

So the first thing I did was to ban all kinds of “trash blogs” from my browser. Let me explain. Trash blogs are blogs about things I actually DON’T CARE about at all. Things like teenage girls doing their boobs, shopping extremely expensive handbags or writing about how to loose weight by eating baby food.

I know that blogs like this have a huge amount of readers, and that some people find these blogs very interesting. Young girls even look up to these “role models” and start their own blogs based on what they read online. But it was time to throw my guilty pleasure out the door. The only reason I used to visit these kinds of blogs is simple, I was bored. But what if I drew a picture or read a book when I was bored? Or just did nothing at all, as an experiment? So I tried.

Nothing new here,move along, just another Instagramed photo of a Starbucks coffee!

 

Withdrawal 

I gotta be honest with you. It was hard. Really hard in the beginning. Somehow all these trash blogs and meme tumblrs were rooted in my muscles memory. My fingers magically started to type the URLs before I even realized what was going on, as soon as I was bored. It’s like an addiction. But I took it day by day, and now I finally start feeling like I achieved something. I don’t spend pointless hours watching funny photos anymore, ending up going to bed all to late. I try not to browse Facebook the first thing in the morning. I turned off all push notifications on my smart phone. And believe it or not, but I realized I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I don’t feel like it’s a big sacrifice.

Awwww!

I think I have a set amount of energy each day when I wake up (sometimes less if it’s a Monday). How I choose to spend it is up to me. If I spend that mental energy on watching compilations of “Epic Sax Guy” or doing a tutorial on drawing birds is a concision decision.

But it is very hard to kick old habits. I’m fully aware of the fact that browsing Reddit after work, or spending hours on Facebook do fulfill a need. It gives us time to connect with people in our life, to realize other people do all those kinds of things you do (“like” if you remember these cartoons from your childhood), it gives you time to rest your brain more than anything else.

To watch a soap opera is much like eating fast food, sometimes your body (or brain) crave it. But it’s not good when that turns in to a habit or you get addicted or even  makes you just a mindless puppet. The brain gets lazy. You wish you could get more things done, but for some reason you just seem to have the time or energy. That could be because you spent all your energy reading about some fashion blogger’s life all day or watching puppies on YouTube to 01:00 am. I don’t want to be a slave, I want to be the master of my own time.

This picture pretty much sums up what I’m trying to say with this post.

 

I Made It! (I Think)

So how did I make it? How did I stay away from all those fun, exciting, mindless pages on the Interwebz? I a) made up my mind, b) made sure I had alternatives. Whenever I feel like I want to read about some scandal blogs or watch cute sloths, I talk to friends on Facebook instead, draw something or read a book irl. I created this web site to practice my English. I know some of you might think all those alternatives are as “bad” as my old habits, but to me it feels better, and that’s what matters in the end.

I’m judging anyone who loves Reddit (I admit the community is awesome), and I admit it’s fun to watch cats do funny faces. Do whatever feels right for you, be the master of your own time. And as long as I use the Internet I will never completely escape Facebook, Twitter and memes, I know that. It’s OK. But remember, don’t just kill time, because time is killing you.

Word!