“Quick, quick,” Wife yelled, opening the front door for me. I grabbed my iPod off the kitchen counter and ran outside.

“Go get ‘em,” I heard her shout behind me, but by then, I was already a good 30 meters outside the house, running towards the garage, adjusting my black leather bag that kept hitting me in the rear end. Our car was parked outside the garage complex, where eight families kept their cars mostly second cars, parked. Most of the tiny garages were used as storage space and so filled with junk that the cars were always outside.

Ours, too.

I jumped inside – I had already parked it so that I could just get in and drive – and made a quick left, then another quick left, then a quick U-turn and then an even quicker parallel parking trick, to claim the only empty spot on the street – right outside our house.

I saw Wife standing by the window, giving me a thumbs-up. I smiled back, and flashed the famous Churchillian victory sign. When I got back in, we high-fived each other.

Well, he can have THAT one. Today.

Continue reading

A backstory

In hindsight, it was obvious. The unwillingness to admit a mistake and the bossy attitude were there. He even had that certain look, that posture, the quick step in his walk, and the majestic jaw – a “Disney jaw” his old school nurse had called it, the same one who always said he’d grow up to be Somebody.


Continue reading

An exercise

“I have a little game I play in my head. Often when I’ve pitched a project or sent a job application, or something similar, I got to the gym to work all the anxieties out of my body. I send my thoughts, all my stuff into the ether, then pull back and let the universe work its magic on me.”

It could have been a dark and stormy night.

Continue reading

Scotch on the rocks

Specialists from New Zealand plan to recover two crates of Scotch whisky left more than 100 years ago by the polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and trapped deep in Antarctic ice.
New York Times, November 17, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen,

Well, who am I kidding? “Ladies”? Good one. Gentlemen, welcome to the New Zealand Explorers’ Club. It is that time of the month again, and I am happy to see so many of our distinguished members here tonight. And even happier to see all the rest of you! HAA!

The Man.

Continue reading


Remember a while ago when I wrote that “[t]here is no place – and this is no exaggaration, simply a fact, so I repeat it: no place – a Swede can’t set up a bench, or hasn’t already done so”?

Yeah, the other day I went for a walk and thought about how I said that, and how right I was. I think I may have even said it out loud, “that thing you wrote about the benches last summer, on July 14, that was so right on, it was so true.” The thing that made me remind myself of that piece was a bench that I saw on my way to the mall.

This one:

Good old bench.

Continue reading

A friend of a friend

There’s this friend of mine. Let’s call him “Alec”, and let’s assume that it’s not his real name. It’s just a random name, with no hidden meanings, no Latin roots, or witty anagrams baked in. It’s just code for this friend of mine.

“Alec” may or may not be Finnish, and he may or may not live in Finland. He could be 20, or he might be 45. Or neither. He’s not one of the Baldwin brothers. Who he is, is not the point.

Continue reading

Crying all the way to the bank

< %image(millionaire.gif|420|146|10:53am UK, Thursday May 21, 2009
“Interpol are hunting a couple who have fled New Zealand after a bank paid £4.9m into their account by mistake. Huan Di Zhang and Hui Gao asked Westpac Bank for a $10,000 (£4,900) overdraft but instead received a deposit of $10m (£4.9m), according to the New Zealand Press Agency.”)%>


Huan and Hui stuffed the money in a duffle bag, closed down their gas station, and hit the road, in pursuit of a better life as millionaires.

Continue reading