Gefle Metal Festival 2018

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Rolling out of bed Thursday morning, I wasn’t at all prepared for the summer that would ensue. Sure, it’s been summer in Sweden for like twelve weeks by now, which isn’t normal I might add, but when you enter an old gasometer for a music gig that revolves mainly around hell on earth, the sensation of actually BEING in hell was at least setting the mood.

When stepping through the entrance to the gasometer, it was like being covered by a blanket of a moist, dense condensation of human flesh and sunsweaty skin, with subtle hints of beer, camping and electronic equipment ready to malfunction at any second in the pressing heat.

The emergency exits stood open at all times, if anyone inside would decide that enough is enough and throw themselves out through the door to meet a slightly different kind of heat, with less hints of skin and more hints of dead grass, melting pavement and old mud tiles slowly wishing they could seize to exist in the setting sun. Fortunately, two stages were outside and merely one in the depths of hell inside.

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Don't let the clouds excite you. They released two drops of rain the entire weekend.

A few days before the festival started, we concluded that the amounts of alcohol consumed would go through the roof with the promised perfect hanging outdoors-weather and that it would turn into one so called Off Our Faces Metal Festival, metal optional if you manage to actually locate the stage where your favourite band plays. But! Instead, I experienced a pretty sober festival, with my theory being that the frying sun took the edge off the usual metalhead stamina, seeing as there was no actual place to hang out in the shade.

I mean, metalheads ARE my peeps, my peoples, but hell, they’re drunk on outings. Very drunk. And I would lie to you guys if I denied waking up Friday morning after the pre-party, experiencing a roller coaster when turning sides in my bed after a night heavily laden with tequila, beer, cider and hey, why not a little vodka to go with that? In my defense, I had only slept two hours the night between Wednesday and Thursday and instead of a nap on Thursday I got dragged out to the fringe parts of town and forced into a stream. Well, by forced I mean “I’m dying from heat exposure and that brown piece of water looks good to me even though it’s upriver from a beach that is too dirty to swim at”.

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Ahem.

Anyways, on Thursday night this year, there was a warm up with the promised last gig of a cult classic band for my generation of metal- and non-metal fans, The Kristet Utseende. Their music is pretty much about genitals and a little bit about religion, drugs, alcohol and other racy subjects in a punk fashion. Yeah, I don’t get it either but whatever.

Then on Friday and Saturday the real festival commenced, lining up band after band of the metal persuasion. This year, I only had three bands I wanted to actually see, and then a couple of others that I could enjoy at a distance while feeding on onion rings or rolling around on the only little patch of dying grass that exists on the area of the festival.

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I'm always in for a piece of At the Gates, one of the best bands out there! The thumping bass triggered my hangover though, so half the gig I watched from a distance. Hrm...

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Angry Finns, yes! 

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And then of course my peeps in Apocalypse Orchestra with their doomy doomyness and flagellant and everything (not in view)! 

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All in all, it was a lovely festival with lots of people, new and old friends and acquaintances, lots of beer, lots of hangovers (2½ in three days) and lots of loud music and an unflinching torment from the ball of fire in the sky. It was really nice, is what I am trying to say! A couple of years ago it rained so much that I couldn’t even take out my phone to take a commemorative picture of the bands playing, fearing it would drown and die, so I prefer this kind of weather if I have to choose..

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After this entire post about the festival itself being only about weather, I should add that I do realize that there are a lot of places in the world that easily outheat themselves in comparison to Sweden, but sporting temperatures of around 31C/almost 90F for weeks isn’t normal. Us pleb citizens have no means to shelter ourselves at home with fancy stuff like AC. I mean, Swedes spend like 10½ months of every year trying our best to keep the damn heat IN, not OUT. And in my defense, even the tattooer visiting my boss, a native to India, questioned what the fuck is going on with the temperatures here. “I mean, I’m used to it but this doesn’t feel like 31 degrees at all! At least 35-36!”.

Gefle Metal Festival 2018, I almost can’t believe it’s already passed.

My sister's wedding

Last week, I made my ten hour way south to participate in my sister's wedding. They finally decided to get it done after twelve years together. It was an intense weekend and I brought one of my best friends for my plus one because I have a complicated love life, haha. The weather was lovely (you never know with the Swedish summer) and it was such a loving atmosphere. 

The ceremony took place in a castle ruin out in a lake, and then the festivities took place in my sister's and her now husband's garden, complete with a bar and personnel, and a very popular man professionally handling the BBQ. The polaroid camera was sent around and everyone wrote their well-wishes, speeches were held and food was happily eaten. All in all, a very nice experience!

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Before the wedding we went sightseeing a little and crashed another wedding. Maybe you can't see it, but all the men in suits were staring at us when I took the picture.

Kronoberg's castle was the site for the wedding. Having been used and built on since at least the 14th century, it has been in ruin since the 17th century. And of course, like all old places in the southern half of Sweden, the Danish torched it at one time. 

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The guests arrived, with the lovely little café in the background. 

Food and drink! 

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Mingling in the setting sun.

We've always teased my sisters spouse because he's obsessive with the lawn, but dang, it's the most perfect patch of grass I've ever seen! 

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Outdoors dancefloor with lights and a DJ! 

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On the way home we stopped for a bit of air at another ruin, Brahehus, a 17th century dwelling wonderfully placed upon the cliff side, overlooking the lake Vättern. I dropped my phone and got my first dents ever in a mobile screen, but I guess it's fine because it was ON the ruin. If I'm gonna drop my phone on anything, it's a ruin, right? 

All this makes me want to move south because I just love this part of Sweden. 

Midsummer of 2018

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So, I can with great joy proclaim my survival of Midsummer’s Eve in God’s year 2018!

I mean, one guy did almost die but that’s expected when shoving 16 people together in a house in the countryside, having brought twice as many bottles of schnapps than there are people. The weather was as usual too, aka surprisingly cold considering the days before and after Midsummer’s, as if just planning to dance around the pole manages to invoke the rain gods, leaving all the little frog hoppers jump through the drizzle in order to make their children happy with its traditional midsummeryness.

It was a joyful experience, banqueting on great food and schnapps, mingling and talking to old and new acquaintances about everything from the simple things to bigger questions in life well into the night.

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The darkest that the early summer night gets in the center-ish of Sweden. Magic every year.

I’m so grateful to have made a bunch of new friends these last few years since I moved home, it’s such a silver lining in addition to all the things I have to be happy about.

The magic of Midsummer's Eve

This coming Friday, it is Midsummer’s Eve. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept of a Swedish Midsummer’s Eve, I can tell you that it’s the national day for getting eaten alive by mosquitos, “involuntarily” drinking schnapps flavored with elderflowers (even though our fathers does not smell of the berries), BBQing whatever we can get our hands on from the trashed half empty shelves of anything BBQable in the stores and being outside in dresses and shorts even though it’s just a few degrees above freezing come sunset.

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Imagine a country full of self-controlled people that lives in the darkness and cold of the north for eight months every year. Then imagine there being quite a lot of the heathen ways left, in spite of Christianity’s tries to subdue them. Most of our holidays are Christian (somewhat) in origin and we, as a pure and godly collection of folks, of course use the days off of work to get pissed in public. But Midsummer’s is a little bit different.

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Firstly, it’s our only holiday of any weight during the summer months. So not only do we get off of our faces in public, we also get to accept our heathen spirits that still roam these lands and give ourselves the opportunity to flee out into the countryside and have sex outside because it’s tradition to do so (some people are denying this, I don’t know why?). All the while freezing to death and being eaten alive by mosquitos, of course. That act of survival is a vital ingredient in any early-to-late night outdoor activity in Sweden. Why one should have sex outside on the night that the sun nearly doesn’t set at all and gives you the absolute minimum of darkness to protect your privacy I don’t know, but hey, it’s tradition after all!

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As dark as the night gets. It's kind of magic really.

As you can tell, it’s obviously the finest holiday of them all and of course, everything I’m telling you is true (except for the sex part, but one can wish, right!). Also, everything you've heard about people jumping around a pole like little frogs are true. Only parents though, and their kids. The rest of us stands around in the background, happy that we don't have to.

Now, I don’t have a set tradition apart from the aforementioned BBQ and schnapps, I just jump on whatever location being offered that the drinking and BBQing (how about some halloumi rolled in chili flakes, ugh so good!) can take place with nice folks. This year I’m shipping myself off to a country side dwelling about an hour away from town with a bunch of people ranging from friends to strangers, to eat and drink a lot during 26 hours.

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What could possibly go wrong?

The ALL THE THINGS storage!

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So, I live in a small apartment. And I mean small. It's a dainty 28 square meters or 300 square feet. And even though the smallness has its challenges, I really love my little pad with its bed alcove and glazed balcony. I love having everything close by and all the things I feel makes a home, visible. 

Also, having everything in view all the time makes the goldfish-span-of-attention-me actually remember that I have the things and makes me use them more often. Naturally, open storage is my thing. Also naturally, having such a small space to work with, I have to be quite efficient. I wanted to replace my bulky computer table and get rid of a small table on which I had the sewing machine. I gave away the shelf where I had my books so… that was clever…

Even though I had a computer space, I still had nowhere to put my printer or the little speaker for my computer, or my headphones for the nights when I want to listen to really loud music after 10 PM. I had no craft space and nowhere to let the future projects make their presence known and I had nowhere to put the coffee maker. I wanted lighting around my workspace. I wanted a space for charging my electronics without them being in the way on tables or worktops.

And yeah, I had random stuff that had no place and when you’re living small with lots of stuff, shit needs a home. Needless to say, I needed to update my apartment. And boy did I!

May the chaos commence!

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I ordered home delivery, and Ikea's Ivar was delivered! I chose the tallest gables, 220cm's/86 inches just to cram as much efficiency in it as possible. 

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Now, I couldn't have it in its natural scandinavian blonde wood finish, so I stained it a coffee-ish colour instead. It sucked and it smelled, but the result is great!

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The "chaos behind the scenes"-photo is on me! 

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Then I just tried everything out and moved things around until I was quite pleased, and then clicked stuff into place. 

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And, tada! It's messy, I have work spaces, it's lighted, it's a pretty aged brown colour, it swallows masses of things, it has electrical sockets and leaves no cords on the floor to collect dust that make me angry while vaccuuming - essentially everything I need in storage! It serves as handbag hanger that doesn't fit my miniscule hallway and a space for kitchen towels too. 

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Retractable surfaces so I don't need to waste that space when not sitting by the computer/crafting. It's not the prettiest but who cares!

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Charge all the things. 

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Yesssss, precious.

A little trip to Dalarna

Home again; I’m sitting by the computer in my little apartment. I’ve just returned from a six day trip with my two best friends. We got the chance to rent a cabin in the lovely Dalarna, close by where we as teens had a cabin through an association at school. Packing a week’s stuff worth of stuff, we ventured inlands to the hills and valleys and the accompanying wonderful views. It’s all been calm and quiet, and so, so great. We’ve talked about life, gone thrift shopping, cozied up in front of the fire, gone to a knife outlet (Mora, hähä) stared at the wonderful nature, laughed, cooked, watched Brits compete in baking and interior design and gone to bed early.

Not at all like when we used to visit this place when we were in high school, that is. Back then it was more like anything microwaveable, using the floor as a refrigerator for our beer because it was so cold, collecting water in the public water/toilet house because there was no running water in the cabin and having a hot cup of coffee on the front porch with its glorious views, trying to fight off the hangovers.

Fifteen years later it was lovely to get to see the same views again, with my two best ones in life. It all has meant and does mean so much to me; having the history and that we’ve gotten the opportunity to do these kinds of things together. Invaluable.

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How it looked during our time. My love.

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The cottage has changed a lot, and I'm guessing that there's not much left of the original. But everything changes. 

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Dalarna is one of Sweden's most beautiful regions, that's for sure.

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It's like time froze 120 years ago, and I LOVE IT.

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Eheh.. Funny.

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Storstupet, "The big fall". A little canyon with it's train bridge built in 1902 and a logger's chute in order for the logs to get down stream unharmed.. Not far from here is a place called Helvetesfallen, "The Hell Falls", that is wonderful also, but walking through 2 kilometers of knee deep snow didn't really tickle our fancy, so we missed out on that one. Next time! 

It's been truly lovely, and I'm ever so greatful to have these people and memories in my life. I'm one lucky gal, after all.

Album: Slugdge - Esoteric Malacology

I don’t usually do this, but this time I have to. I’m no reviewer and I don’t know jack shit about music, but I do listen to music a lot and know when I hear something I really appreciate. As most of my close friends already know by now, I found this for me new band on Easter Thursday. I had been thrift shopping with friends and was celebrating having Friday off by lying spread eagle on my couch with my laptop and… what do you mean “I knew it!”? Hey, you watch it, you reader you!

Anyways… I had this playlist of metal album review videos on and had checked off a few bands to look closer at, when another video started. This one was about the album Esoteric Malacology from the band Slugdge. Yes, it’s a word play on “slug” and the genre named “sludge”. From what I gather it’s pronounced “Slug”+”the reflex sound one makes when your crush suddenly shows up and asks you a really simple question that is impossible to answer because your brain blew up in pure surprise”.

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After a little bit of talking about the TWO guys that have the band, Matt Moss and Kev Pearson, the reviewer played a clip. It was guitar heavy, fast drums and then... it all lowered itself into my heart with low drums smattering away accompanied by a guitar loop tying everything together. HOLY FUDGE! I perked up, and listened intently. The reviewer mentioned the “blackened, tech, death metal range” and “A little bit of Bloodbath and old school Opeth”. Yup, yup, yup, let’s do it! “A little bit of Bloodbath for you guys that miss the days when Åkerfeldt was in that band”.

UHM, YUP? *tear falling, remembering the good old days*

He played another clip, this one holding clear similarities to Gojira. OH GOD THERE’S NO TIME LET’S DIVE INTO THIS FRIGGIN BAND! And so I did. And I found my way home. At 2 AM I had to tear myself away from looping the album and its social commentary dressed in a slime worshipping suit.

Gosh. I’m pretty sure this is the album of 2018 and it’s just the beginning of April. EVERYBODY MUST LISTEN! Okay, no, just kidding. If you’re not very fond of clear growling vocals (you can make out words! My fav!), blackened death metal with melodic loops, fast drums mixed with deep clean singing, tech and the theme of the band – slugs, then maybe this one isn’t for you. But, if in the least of doubts, fucking do it.

It’s so good. So so good. SO GOOD!

Favs: Crop Killer, Slave Goo World, Salt Thrower.

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*shrieks*

The lovely Easter celebrations of 2018

Maybe it’s presumptuous of me to assume that not many of you missed this – but recently, it was Easter. And like many other quasi-heathen non-God-fearing Swedes out there, I took the opportunity of this Christian tradition and its off-workness; and got drunk in the company of my (grown-up) family at 3 PM on Easter Eve after already having 1½ days off of work.

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Along with singing songs and downing spiced booze one milliliter at a time, we ate pie and then the classic Swedish princess cake with the only holiday-difference that the marzipan was dyed yellow instead of green. Entangled with the eating and the drinking was talking about life and its mysteries, and getting to take part in my father and my boyfriend getting along very well. After the intense eight hour family dinner, I ventured on to another gathering that plied me with Dragon’s Blood (which is the onomatopoeic version of “Oh God what did I do last night?”) and I got to talk loudly about ancient monuments with a person that was actually interested!  

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Spot the Fireball and the hand of future regret

Later on, much like the miracle of Jesus, I succumbed to the celebrations (being drunk sometimes is my cross to carry) at half past three on Sunday morning after being out and about for thirteen hours, and came back to life on Sunday afternoon. Well, I wasn’t gone as long as Jesus, but hey, no one’s perfect. And, like a miracle; I wasn’t hungover when I woke up! If that’s not a sign I celebrated the right way, I don’t know what is.

A little more than “lagom” level of celebration, I’d say!

My fantastic use of Ipad Pro + Pencil and GoodNotes!

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I’m studying at the university, at a distance. Having the perks of not being in school every day gives me the freedom to work and put in my hours whenever I want to. The downside is that I have to travel to school and put up that expense about six to eight times a year. The first time I traveled to school, it was 13 hours away by train. The introduction would last for eleven nights and required bringing books and, since I would be gone for so long, my laptop to do further school work. And then of course, a thousand other things since I was about to be gone for so long.

When I arrived in town at 7.30 AM after having taken the overnight train, I lugged that big red suitcase around all day because my inn didn’t do check-ins before 2 PM, and man, dragging that thing around town and then to the university and back, I was finished. A few days later, I changed rooms from a 6-bed to a single room. And of course, because I had to check out at 8 AM I had to choose between dragging my suitcase around with me another day or leaving it unsupervised in the luggage room until the afternoon.

Uhm. Dragging it is.

Since then, the scheduled visits have been shortened to around four-five nights and I’ve moved closer, so I don’t need to pack as much stuff or travel as far. But I was still carrying too much around with me day-to-day while away. Books, laptop, chargers, notebooks, pens, papers, cellphone, wallet and add to that the days when I traveled and brought everything with me everywhere. It adds up quickly.

Enter; the iPad

One day I was at work when my colleague pulled out a huge, A4 size shiny golden iPad out of her bag. I had seen it before, she usually draws her designs on it being a tattoo artist and all, but it wasn’t until now it had caught my eye. I looked on a little while she sweepingly created things on the screen with the pen, in total control of the line thickness and moving her drawing around with the pinch-motion. An iPad huh. My materialistic side had awoken. I wanted one. But for what?

When I got home, I exhausted Google on all its relevant information about the tech-thingie and its pen which was the selling argument for me. So you can draw it, I knew that. Oh, you can write on it too (well, it’s obvious ya know but I was informed about good apps for it)? Oh, scan papers? Mhmm, read on it. Listen to podcasts? Also, play music of and surf the internet of course.

So that means that I… can surf on it, scan all the school handouts and parts of literature and put them in there to read and annotate on, take notes in class by hand, have my complete DIY calendar with me AND entertain myself at the long boring evenings at an inn with just this little flat piece of technology? OH OKAY.

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Oh, so almost no difference in how much I'll carry around then....

After that realization, having made a few of those trips to school and moved house three times within the last 18 months, in a fit of internal rage I flipped a mental table and mind-threw everything weighing over half a pound in the trash can, yelling “I WILL CARRY MYSELF TO DEATH NO MORE! I’M GETTING MYSELF AN IPAD DANGIT”.

And so it was! Even though I’m not the greatest Apple fan, I think IOS works on a tablet and the UI don’t annoy me like it does on my laptop where I want a more “computery” style of handling things.

I’ve had it now for almost a year, and what do I do with it? Let’s make a list!

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Scan all the things!

The apps I use the most: GoodNotes (annotating, reading, keeping calendars and lists), the podcast app, Procreate (drawing), Genius Scan (scanning papers), and then the usual media; Pinterest, Bloglovin, Feedly, Youtube, Hemnet (SE, for looking at houses), Safari.

I read, write (by hand and by a little bluetooth keyboard), keep a regular calendar and a bullet journal, draw in Procreate, scan pages and papers in order to keep them all in one place, and import existing documents from my computer. I make my own “printables” and import them into GoodNotes so I can track things just the way I want to do it instead of following someone else’s templates. I have made my own calendar and a couple of different templates adapted to what I’m keeping track of, like school, or just things I want to get done. The star of the show is GoodNotes though.

 

GoodNotes

GoodNotes is “a new take on note-taking”. In this sync-between-units-app, you can create new notebooks or import existing PDF’s and images to read, annotate, draw on etc. I use it with everything that regards school and planning my life. We always get the instructions by PDF from school and there are often articles to download and read during the courses. I collect everything in GoodNotes, together with my own DIY getting-my-shit-together-documents in order to keep track of everything I have to do and when the deadlines are.
The times when I have to travel and the instruction calls for a specific chapter of a book being handled in upcoming lectures, I scan that chapter and import it into GoodNotes so I can read it/use it in school without having to bring the entire book with me.

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Take notes and then highlight the actual important stuff

During the lectures I take notes in GoodNotes, on dotted paper that I’ve made, being able to move the text around if I want to add something or create a new page in the middle of pages. When the course has ended, I export everything into PDF’s so I can save all that collected information for later if I need to go over it again.

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I've made my own calendar in Photoshop (not ideal, I know but it's what I've got) with dates and holidays and everything, and I love trying out different layouts and systems. No paper waste if I suddenly get the itch to switch things up! I just saved the thirteen pages with a front page and now that I'm running out of months, I just add one at a time and fill in what plans I have. It's a lovely adaptable way of keeping my shit together. The layout you're looking at now is my third and I find that it's quite suitable for my needs. Further instructions on school assignments and stuff dwell within another document, with check boxes to see that I've gotten through everything I need to do. 

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Sort-of easy to find overview, all the notes and highlights show here so I don't need to search page by page after what I've noted as most interesting.

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My book tracker, it hasn't gone very far yet. This is the front page I made, where I write on the books which one's I've read. On the next page, there's a list of books I want to read.

You can drag-and-drop pictures into your notebooks and resize after taste. And if your handwriting is fancy enough, you will be able to search your own notes and convert your handwritings into text. I on the other hand, cannot. From the pictures it may appear why. Hehe.

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Yeah I'm pretending I'm one of those people that can manage having big goals in life, when really, it's all little tiny steps forward in all categories. Hee hee.

The app costs around 6.50 euros and its worth so much more than that! So, if you’ve ever thought about what the fuck people use a tablet for (I was one of them one year ago), this is my favorite aspect of having one. Just scan it all and use it for the paperless home office! Thank you for reading this ESSAY on this little subject, I tried cutting it down but I couldn't. It's so good, I wish I WAS sponsored. Instead, I'm just a fan. 

Until next time, toodiloo! 

Ellet goes international

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Yes! It's time. I thought I'd just branch out just a little and make myself eligible for creating contacts extending outside the borders of Sweden, so I'm gonna start writing in English. I can't promise that Swengrish won't get into the mix, and I do realize that I, like the native Swedish speaker I am and by media inundated by both American and British English, will mix both versions of English because I most often don’t even consider what word is of American or British persuasion. I hope you swedies don't mind the change, it's gonna make my presence on the internets just a tad easier and easy is the way to go nowadays. 

Little by little I'm gonna translate the current posts on the blog into English and sort through and tidy up a little. I have to change all the labels and buttons and stuff, so that will happen over time too.

I've been thinking about this for a while now, and I think it's the right decision. Let's hope I don't change my mind and have to redo everything again later on. 

Cheerio!