Friday 5: Opposite Day

A white van parked in front of neighboring rowhomes, one red and one green.
Photo by Abraham Wiebe on Unsplash

What food, normally eaten cooked, do you prefer uncooked?

I don’t know if it counts as “cooked,” or if I would say “prefer,” but I’m comfortable having my bagels untoasted.

What food, normally eaten uncooked, do you prefer cooked?

When I was a kid, all I could think about every time I made (or helped a parent make) cookies or brownies was how when I was an adult, I would make cookies or brownies and then just sit down and eat the whole thing raw.

Now that I’m actually an adult, I have zero desire to do that. Licking the spoon after I’m done scraping out the last of the batter for the cookie sheets or brownie pan is more than enough for me.

What food, normally eaten cold, do you prefer hot?

We only serve beer cold because the temperature dulls the taste of crappy beer. Anything good should probably be served at room temperature.

Also, have you heard the good news about pineapple on pizza?

What food, normally eaten hot, do you prefer cold?

Again, “prefer” is a strong word, but I can live without having my kladdkaka straight out of the oven or warmed up in the microwave. Especially in the summer.

What are your favorite dinner meals to have for breakfast and breakfast meals to have for dinner?

I don’t like to have anything dinner-like for breakfast. I generally skip breakfast anyway, since I’m not hungry in the mornings, but anything like a dinner would be too much heavy food too early in the day. The closest I get would be dumplings, maybe, but that’s it.

But I’m all about breakfast for dinner, though. Brinner. Pancakes? Omelettes? Waffles? Cereal? Yes. All of it. In my mouth.

Friday 5: With A Capital T

The movie poster for The Music Man

What kind of trouble are you getting yourself into?

I’ve been really bad at time management this summer. I’m on some long-term projects that don’t have immediate deadlines, but nonetheless I should be further along than I am. I guess, if I were to be fair to myself, I would point out that I’m using this low period to invest in some professional development (aka reading up on translation theory).

There’s an old saw about how work expands or contracts to fit the amount of time you have, and I’m finding that to be the case. I’m only as efficient as my workload is heavy.

What was your most recent car trouble?

Ages ago because Stockholm is a walkable, car-optional city!

What’s a rhyming phrase (such as “work jerk” or “poo shoe”) to describe something causing you problems lately?

Sun fun. As in, I want to have too much of it.

What’s something that needs loosening or unsticking?

I’ve straight up body checked the automatic doors at Gullmarsplan in between the bus stops and the subway station multiple times because they open so slooooooooooooowly.

What’s your favorite board game involving rolling dice?

I don’t know if Munchkin counts, since it’s a card game and not a board game. If not, then Settlers of Catan.

Friday 5: Esprit

Close up of berries on a juniper bush.
Photo by Steve Richey on Unsplash

What’s your spirit animal?

I’m going to back away from that specific terminology because I’m not even remotely Native American (no, not even 1/64th Cherokee Princess). But as for an animal I relate to, black bears spring to mind. I just want to nose around the forest and eat fruit and berries all day (and as I get older, my “fur coat” only seems to get thicker and darker, sigh…). But I’m not nearly as dangerous as an actual black bear when provoked.

It was my birthday yesterday, which makes me a Cancer in the Western zodiac. According to the stereotype, Cancers have a hard, tough shell to protect their squishy and vulnerable insides. That sounds about right.

What’s your spirit tree?

I can’t relate to any tree specifically, but my mortal enemy tree is pine trees. I have a pine (and fir) allergy, which means I’m allergic to Christmas and pesto sauce. Are there other trees that hate pine trees?

Given my stature, I’m not even really tree-like at all. I’m much more of a shrub. I’ll go with juniper, I guess. We had a bunch of juniper bushes lining our driveway for years. My dad was actually planting them when my mom went into labor with me.  (Mom: “My water just broke, we’re having this baby.” Dad: “Make some sandwiches while I finish getting this one in the ground and then we’ll go to the hospital.”) Those plants are no longer with us, but there are still a couple juniper shrubs (bushes?)  elsewhere on their property, and they remind me of home.

What’s your spirit food or beverage?

“Bullsky,” or equal parts Red Bull and whisky (the cheapest bottom shelf stuff you can find). This is not an actual cocktail you can (or should) order anywhere, or any kind of actual “thing” except with a couple members of my trivia team in the US. But it’s an oddball, low-class combination with a distinct flavor that’s not for everyone. Just like me!

 

What’s your spirit weather phenomenon?

Clear skies, bright sun, 28 *C temperatures, a touch of humidity. I’m a wilting tropical orchid.

What’s your spirit passenger vehicle?

I am absolutely an off-brand knock off Mini Cooper.

Friday 5: Break of Day

A pair of broken windows in a white wall.
Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

When did you last break something made of glass?

Years ago. I had a whiskey glass from the tour I took of the Jameson distillery when I visited during spring break in 2008. It survived decorating my college dorm, but when I came home it slipped out of my hand and didn’t survive its meeting with the concrete garage floor.

The friend I had visited in Dublin gifted me his later to make up for it. Friendship goals!

When did you last break something ceramic?

I don’t know that I ever have, actually.

When did you last break something electronic?

After really good luck with smartphones for years, I finally dropped and cracked the screen on my smartphone last year.

When did you last break a non-traffic-related law?

I’ve definitely had more than my allotted amount of liquids on a flight.

When did you last break a promise?

I promised one of my students I would bring Dixit around for our next lesson and then didn’t. I’m not usually that forgetful…!

Friday 5: How About a Knuckle Sandwich?

When did you last punch someone?  Alternate question: When did someone last punch you?

I suspect it was when I was drunk. Drunk Katherine used to get a little punchy sometimes. (Not seriously. Just friendly shoulder jabs.) I suspect the people I drink with weren’t inclined to return the sentiment because they weren’t into hitting women, which is an admirable sentiment.

How many of those frequent (whatever) stampcards/punchcards do you have, and which are you most likely to fill and redeem?

I have one to Details, a bra and lingerie store in Stockholm. I cheap out on everything else I wear, almost, but I will plunk down good money for a bra and you better believe that I’ll take any discount I can get on those purchases.

I also have one for SF Bokhandeln, but I rarely spend enough on one purchase to warrant a stamp, and the resulting discount isn’t really that much, so trying to fill it up would be a false economy. (Especially since any given card expires after a year.) The English Bookshop offers a slightly better deal (and I tend to buy more books there anyway) and the card never expires, so I actually fill it up now and then.

When have you had a really good fruit punch?

Does the smoothie I’m drinking right now count? Supercharged black tea (read as: I let it steep for hours, and then chill) plus mango plus bananas. When you need that caffeine hit but it’s too hot for warm drinks!

What are your thoughts on boxing?

At this point, it seems more humane (and like the participants are taking a more informed risk) than in other public and popularly sanctioned sports in the US.

When do you usually punch in and punch out?

Freelancers are never not working or thinking about work. Or maybe that’s just me.

Friday 5: Who Put the Pomp in the Pomp Bah Pomp Bah Pomp?

A group of smiling, mostly white graduates adjusting their tassels at the close of the ceremony.
Image courtesy Caleb Woods from Unsplash.

What’s something you remember about your high school graduation?

That it happened, mainly.

If you were asked to speak at a commencement ceremony this year, what would be the theme of your message?

Live deliberately. Do the things you want to do; want to do the things you do.

 

What items in your possession are marked with the name or logo of your high school or college?

Well, my college diploma is in a drawer in the kitchen, and the school cane is boxed up and ready to ship from my parents’ house. (My alma mater is a bit odd in that, in addition to being presented with a diploma, you also get a wooden ornamental cane upon graduating. I have no idea why.) I don’t have any school spirit clothing or tchotchkes, otherwise.

What do you expect will be your next rite of passage?

Completing KPU at Stockholms universitet? Turning 40?

What’s a good movie with a graduation scene, or a good movie with a graduation theme?

I have no idea if it’s in the movie, but Enid and Becky’s attitude towards graduation in the original graphic novel version of Ghost World mirrored my own.

Friday 5: Minding Your Peeves and Qs

A small owl sitting on a branch in the daytime, looking grumpy.
Image courtesy Gunilla Granfalk on Unsplash.

What’s one of your language-related (that is, something people say or write) pet peeves?

Editors are supposed to have an endless list of these, right? So the stereotype goes. We are the gatekeepers of language and so on and so forth. And I guess we all do, probably. But if you look at the layperson’s language pet peeves (“they’re/there/their”! “your/you’re”!) and the editor’s pet peeves, the overlap would probably be quite small.

My personal ones these days are: The New Yorker‘s bizarre house style guide (coöperation? no thanks) and The New York Times‘s practice of referring to heads of state with honorific titles instead of, simply, their names.

Not what you were expecting, maybe!

What’s one of your dining-out-related pet peeves?

It’s nobody’s fault, but somehow the waiter always comes over to check on you just when your mouth is full of food. Or maybe they do this deliberately so as to avoid getting sucked into an actual conversation with someone who wants to nit pick the seasoning of the vegetables.

What’s one of your technology-related pet peeves?

Windows updates.

What’s one of your television-watching pet peeves?

Romance. Any time a show (or book or movie, for that matter) features a close friendship or even working relationship between a man and a woman, romance almost inevitably gets shoehorned in. If not outright romance, then something like Will They Won’t They. It chafes for a lot of reasons (lazy way to add tension, heteronormativity, implying that the only possible relationship between men and women is romantic/sexual) but I think this one hits me personally because most of my inner circle are men. (Not for “women are just too much drama!” reasons; it just seems to have happened.) The close friendships I have with women are also way different than how they’re portrayed in media (much more random weirdness, much less obsessing over shoes and sex) but at least they’re not wholly misrepresented as some kind of waiting room for romance.

This is, incidentally, why I love Elementary so much. Sherlock and Joan are #FriendshipGoals to the extreme. Of course, now that I’ve said that, I’ve cursed the show to fall victim to exactly this trap. Sigh.

What’s something you do that you know peeves others?

Swedish has an expression: tidsoptimist. This is someone who lacks a solid grasp of how long it takes to get to places and (the implication is) is usually late.

I’ve been here for five years and I’m still a tidsoptimist. I still operate by American car-owning convenience and fail to take into account that I’m not leaving whenever I like, but according to public transportation’s time table. I’m stricter about this with clients, or with traveling, but socially? All bets are off. I get there when I get there. (Maybe this is why I don’t have many Swedish friends?)

Friday 5: Know When to Fold ‘Em

Four aces on a background of black playing card backs with a Wild West motif.

What did you last place into a file folder?

Physically? Some hard copies of comments and revisions I got back from a critique group member. I have an accordion file folder for this project (I’ve been working on it since 2014) and each slot is feedback from a different reader. I should probably go through and clean it out. Some comments are about revisions I’ve since made, others are on sections that have since been discarded. It’s not really worth it to keep that much of a record around.

What do you know how to fold a piece of paper into?

Not much. A paper airplane? And I could probably make a cootie catcher, still.

What’s your laundry-folding procedure like?

I don’t fold laundry.

When do you next expect to invite someone into your fold?

Making friends in Sweden is hard. Maybe I haven’t met the right Swedes, just, but all of the new friends I’ve made (if the word “friend” can even be applied) have been other immigrants and expats. I think this moment is coming soon, though; I have quite a few acquaintances on the periphery that I’m ready to befriend.

When have you slept on a foldaway bed?

Probably not since high school. One of my friends had a fold-out couch in her rec room and if I slept over, it was on that bed.

Friday 5: Vive le Difference

Fried chicken in paper boxes.
Image courtesy Brian Chan at Unsplash

What’s a food that tastes completely unlike anything else you can think of?

This one is taking a lot of thought. I mean, lots of things have a relatively distinct taste, right? Even if everything also tastes like chicken.

I imagine surströmming is singular in its taste. (I say that having never tried it. I don’t dig on fish.) I also have a hard time with the artificial sweetener Splenda: it leaves a distinctly coppery aftertaste that ruins anything it touches.

What’s a movie that’s completely unlike any movie you can think of?

Russian Ark  is a weird but surprisingly enjoyable artsy look at the history of the St. Petersburg Hermitage that’s all one long 90-ish minute shot.

Who’s a musician or band you consider completely unoriginal but whom you still like?

I think it’s a given that most popular top 40 bands and artists cleave to the lowest common denominator instead of doing anything groundbreaking, but most of the music on my phone is popular top 40 bops (and obscure international indie bands) because it’s good workout music.

Who or what are two people or things you keep mixing up with one another?

To this day I still confuse Silent Hill and Resident Evil (the video games, not the movies). No doubt there are countless celebrities that I mix up as well, because I’m not good at keeping track of famous names and faces.

What’s something you’ll do this weekend that’s different from your normal weekend activity?

Concerning the weekend after I’m writing this, there’s a small chance I’ll be attending the Japanese Flea Market in Sundbyberg. Concerning the weekend after this will actually go up (about a month later), it’s hard to say.

Friday 5: Aloon Again, Naturally

With which Looney Tunes character do you have the most in common?

I didn’t care much for Looney Tunes as a kid. The physical humor that’s inherent in the genre has never been my cup of tea. I’ll cheat and say Shirley the Loon from Tiny Toons.

Who or what are your metaphorical Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote?

I don’t think I have a Wile E. Coyote (I hope not!). But we all have a Road Runner, don’t we? Mine is a totally stress-free vacation. One day…

What’s up, doc?

That’s all, folks!

When did you last hear some opera music?

I listen to a lot of classical music while I edit and translate. That doesn’t usually include opera, since I find vocals distracting, but the Fidelio overture came up in my playlist yesterday.

What’s a good life lesson you learned from Looney Tunes?

You can’t always get what you want, and often when you do, it’s not as good as you hoped it would be.