Tuesday, February 22, 2011

An Afternoon at Galleri Duerr with James Bradley Jr

"I worked to do with my right foot what others did with both"

So said Los Angeles-native Mr. James Bradley, Jr about his musical career as one of the world's finest jazz and rock drummers. On Sunday afternoon, Mamie Hyatt led Keepin' the Beat: An Afternoon with JBJ in Galleri Duerr in Odenplan. 

JBJ started tapping to the beat of music from the time he was in his crib, and demonstrated true musical talent at the age of 3 banging on pots and pans. At age 4, JBR was recognized as the world's youngest professional drummer.

Since then, Mr. Bradley has continued to live his passion, playing in a variety of bands, including Mary's Danish, Chuck Mangione, and Anita Baker. He has also played with The Beastie Boys, Crazy Town, and Lenny Kravitz.

On Sunday, his audience was lucky enough to hear the first-hand story of his music, and then to hear an incredible mini concert. His talents are truly amazing and make me wonder - was I doing anything at the age of 4? 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love is in the Air

Today is indeed the day of love, and whether you celebrate with a dozen roses and a pricey dinner or by coming home late from class and making stir fry with frozen chicken and vegetables (as we just did), there's still romance in the air... and so, I wrote a little story of my love story for Bay Weekly.

Read here, just scroll down to the bottom
oldie but goodie, my Valentine & I, Kardinia, Feb 2006

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

To the Ice, Round II

Last Saturday I ice skated outside of an ice rink for the first time. My days doing loops around  Dahlgren Hall in the Naval Academy, taking a break every 20 minutes for pizza and ice cream were a distant memory. This was real ice skating. In a place where kids learn to skate at the same time they learn to walk (and ski, for that matter) and people drive their cars across the ice in the north to get to the archipelago islands. 

We skated a total of 25 kilometers across 3 lakes: Brunnsviken to Edsviken to Norrviken. We were 5, led by the skating-adept Pierre, who was so kind to organize the expedition. I was the slowest, having only been ice skating a handful of times in my life, but not by much. I wore long blades strapped to my ankle with special boots that squeezed my calves so hard I had (and still have) bruises and could barely walk by the end. 

My skating technique needs some work, to say the least. For some reason, I seem to need to stretch my arms out parallel to the ground and look at the ice ahead of me to keep my balance. I was, however, still able to appreciate the beauty around me, surrounded by trees and towns on the hillsides. 

Hiking between the first and second lake, we stopped for a fika (coffee/pastry break) in a little cafe inside a nursery before continuing to Edsviken. This 14-km lake had a little stand in the middle where a boy scout troop was fundraising, selling sausages they were grilling on the ice! In the US, we have bake sales outside grocery stores; in Sweden, they set up stands in the middle of frozen lakes. 

The day was gorgeous; the ice was - if slightly slushy on top - thick enough; and I didn't fall through, which is always a good thing. But I still had my isdubbars just in case. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Handboll VM

Sweden just came 4th in the 22nd World Championship of Handball. If you're reading this from America, you may be having a hard time picturing what a handball game looks like, much less knowing that the world championship just ended (as I was a few weeks ago - or am I on my own for this one?). If you're reading this in Sverige, you know it's a big deal. 

And so I have recently learned the game of handball. 

By learned, I don't mean physically played. The game is super tough and takes a lot more coordination that I think I'd ever manage. But I have:
          a) become aware of the sport's existence and
          b) developed an appreciation for it

Handball is a fast-moving game sort of like basketball, but players dribble the ball every 3 steps and instead of tiny baskets, there are huge nets....errr goals I mean, to score in. And contact. Elbowing, dragging, practically tackling each other. My colleague played for years in her youth and broke all 10 fingers (at least once) playing handball. Players get pretty beat up - and then they play the next game. There was even a guy who broke his nose and was out playing the next day. And that, my friends, is why I don't play the game. 

Besides the fact that it wasn't an option growing up. Not for me or for anyone I knew. 

But Sweden used to be the best team in the world in the 70's and 80's, and still competes with today's top teams. That's why the world championship - the Handbolls-VM is such a big deal for them. And it took place in Sweden this year! 

Sunday's game against Spain was close for the whole 60 minutes and ended 24-23 Spain, leaving Sweden with 4th place. And on Sunday night, France took the gold. Who knew the French were so good? They've defeated the world in handball once again and it will be another 2 years Sweden has a chance to fight for the honor. At least I have the Super Bowl to look forward to... that is, if I can stay up until 4am next Sunday.