Swedish rants

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It be only befitting I should finish the year by writing my last post in the vernacular. Am in a Xicano mood. So I spiffed up the good old haunt Yonder Lies It. Mind you, it is the only blog that has consistently kept its name since its inception. Lest you’ve forgotten I maintain several other blogs. Well, the short lived xicano blogsphere vanished or I just ain’t aware of its whereabouts. I don’t wanna go down that path. I believe I already kissed the old porslin queen as much as Richard Rodriguez puked red and green in an Argument with my Mexican father. There is very little to add up for the year 2007 in English or xicanismo at that.

Though I still find myself at odds with a language that for so long tortured me by means of questioning my English fluency and nativeness to only come to Sweden and realize how deeply ingrained English is in me only to default to Spanish as my primary source of communication all unconsciously off course. Suddenly, Spanish became the language to be had and English ceased to be a source of joy. Before blogger I ate, thought and wrote in English. There was no room for Spanish.

I have no ready answer for this. I have put forth the question several times before and the answer eludes me. English, after so many years of struggling to make it mine and suddenly realizing it is mine become a lost cause only to be taken for granted and never straddle more the fear of abandonment. It is a small victory of sorts for me. Yet I now long and miss the old chap so much that I can not quench my thirst to hear good old English again.

The idea that am an English native speaker tends to work in many weird ways in Sweden. They see a brown, black haired person that speaks fluent English and they stand baffled before me. They don’t expect a person like me. A so called non-American being so American. Many fail to understand the multicultural aspects of our society even though many strive and look towards the US as a model for this very multi-kulti, as is it called in Sweden, society.

The fact that I lack American citizenship, political at that, does create confusion in the best of them. Specially to the ones that fear Americans. They can then be free to speak their mind without having to offend the very entity they fear most: the gringo American. I stand before them defending a culture that denies me yet a culture I form part of. Am baffled at it in as much or moreso then they do themselves.

*

I suppose that the best of 2007 was that I leave it as a teacher. Here in Sweden people tend to wear their titles as a pride badge of sorts. They actually play the part. It is not in my nature to do so because the Swede tends to become a sorts of authority on the matter which it is not to be questioned at all. I am of a different nature. I cannot be that authority yet. It must be my americanness that delimits my ego or vanity from acquiring said attitude. It is deeply engrained in me that I can always do more and better before I can even contemplate the idea that I am a teacher. An apprentice of the craft am I for sure.

I have learned a lot yet I feel I have loads more to learn. I am not done learning yet despite the fact that it is advised I stop from learning at my age. I am supposed to let go. Can I let go?

*

There is, however, a small bit of comfort that I am a teacher because I am an authority on something, in this case, the English and Spanish language. Moreso because I am a native speaker of said languages.

*

I was walking towards the bus stop. I had decided for a new route and while this new-old routine paved the way for what am about to detail what made it special was a series of incidents, curious ones at that. I had left work a bit too early to rush downhill as I usually do. I tend to time the time I take to make it just in time with a few minutes to spare while the bus arrives from its departure point to my spot. So I ventured on a different venue risking somewhat the time space I usually have for this daily chore. On my way I recall being hesitant about an idea that was lurking behind my head and persisted in convincing me to go to some After Work event. This rather insistent idea was no doubt brought upon a news advertisement I had earlier seen in the morning paper where said organized venues for debauchery of these sorts are held. Mind you, not that I don’t myself engage in the pleasures of Bacus but I often tend to resist the mingling that accompanies said public displays of ethylic atmospheres preferring instead to do so before the written word. Either way, like always, I can never convince myself to go or I can never muster enough gull to venture in a pub to drink a few good old beers in company of others.

I felt thirsty and I stopped at the local kiosk, as they are called here in Sweden, to purchase something to quench my thirst. These sort of huts serve as the local junk food provider for the vicinities as they too tend to sell all kinds of disturbing media for my mexican catholic eyes as well as the local gossip yellow press. I stopped to form a queue and while I was awaiting my turn to buy my pop soda a small boy was buying candy. Now, I only have so much time to play around with so I couldn’t help but feel stressed at the little boy’s patience as he decided with intense interest over the candy he wanted to buy. For a moment I just stared at the boy and looked upon the clerk who tended the boy’s taste and choice of candy erstwhile the child verbally pointed out to the clerk what he wanted. It seems to me that he must of have named like fifteen different sorts of candies all by their name before I finally heard that there was but 50 öre left in the purchasing thus calming my impatience somewhat. This made me reminisce if I ever also once long ago knew the names of my candies.

I even entertained the thought that I perhaps felt somewhat jealous at this ability to name candy by its name. I bought my soda and went along but I can’t seem to forget this incident, however weird it was, and yes, I made the bus too.

I believe I just shook the living lights and faith foundations out of a European or Scandinavian as they prefer themselves to be known. I don’t normally like to engage in this sort of intellectual bouts with any human being beside the blank pages that the Internet offer at the disposal of those who are in the know to use said device to churn out intellectual waste such as mine. I say so because I don’t consider my intellectual output to be of the most pristine sort, indeed, I deem it pretty much low carb if you will as it is very light in many respects and albeit with as little substance as possible though its appearances might at times indicate otherwise or right out deceit the eye though I intended not to do so.

I confessed to a person who is being tested on its friendship. Said person seems to be friend material both intellectually and spiritually as well. The outpour tested his beliefs as I pitted my beliefs against his. I flatly renounced all judeo-christian faith right in his face. This rendered asunder all faith platform said friend material stood upon. One might very well wonder what sort of being would test a friend on an intellectual basis and I would readily answer, I. However, this is a point of contention that we shall quibble further on as I proceed forward on. The gist of my spiritual platform resides on the idea that Christianity is an alien form of spirituality to Native Americans. The voices of my ancestors are still to be heard inasmuch as their voice still lingers on both in the flesh as well as in the past because it hasn’t been more than 500 years since the Christian alien force invaded our shores. This very much baffled our guest at hand. Even moreso as I called his faith a malignant virus. Though the malignant adjective was left out in the conversation but was rather implied as being such.

In retrospect I am glad I came clean about my religious beliefs to this honest to God earth man. I wish not him to believe me a man of the Church though I may convey so in our conversations. Hopelly I managed to come across as a man with not much to hide. After all, I did spoke of my spiritual convulsions during my puberty. This I speak not lightly off to anyone, in fact, not too many people in my life know of my spiritual crisis as a young pre-puberty years. Yet said person now knows of this. A gift I was willing to hand to a person I deem highly in spiritual terms. I hope he understood that.

Can barely move a finger without causing a tsunami of sweat in me. Profusely alltså. I suppose its to do with the mexican gene thang. Had I been in good ol’Califas this would not be so notorious. After all, one is by default a shadow seeker. We seek the fresh of the darkness. Either that or an air conditioned milieu. Acá is another story, as soon as the sun hits the Swedish Highlands n’ombre, am sweating like I have my own personal shower head above me. This tends to cause all sorts of conmotion from the non-using-deodorant-swedes. The same people who are blissfully unawares that their armpits reek, no, make that, stench, frown upon the beeds of sweat rolling down  in my face.

I can’t stand it. Once I start sweating it is a machine with a slow shutdown process. Or my body kicks in in Calido Forno mode. Who knows. I just can’t seem to make it stop. Luckily for me here in Sweden this sort of mild heat, ’cause I suppose we are nowhere near the temperatures of Death Valley, is a passing phenomena, so far eitherway.

I used to think that we mexicoons had an appetite for salt due to just the sweat common to us all Californios. I used to argue, with no credible evidence at hand to support my bullshit that we ate salt like cotton sugar because we sweated salt pits hence an excuse for the salty buds and the need to replenish said salts

Here in Sweden there is no salt culture, in fact, most of their foods tend to lack the old conservative spice. When I so happen to forget my place in this ancient bastion of protestantism, I often ask for some salt because my paladar somehow lures me to imagine that salt is common and is just but a matter of asking for it. What I get instead is a weird look as if I was asking for the God’s ambrosia.

– Why, pardon me sir, we don’t usually receive said request, why, we are in fact stunned at the fact, that someone would indeed ask for salt. 

So yeah, it’s hot today.

I like the swenglish version of the word time. They write it the way I titled this post, tajm. It occurred to me that I place a somewhat sentimental value to it inasmuch as it reminds me of the Spanglish word taimar, which means to tame, because tajm happens to have nearly the same phonological properties as taimar, excluding the -ar off course. Hence the association.

Though these days am far from being able to accomplish said feat. I am, you see, at an awkward position in my life and I feel time more like a sharp arrowhead on its way to pin me down like a dead insect on a wall. Though that only bespeaks half the story inasmuch that I cannot fight the propulsion of time setting its rushing intentions to penetrate the living matter that constitutes my ens.

I think pinned down would be utmost appropriate to describe the rush to beat the incoming arrowhead with its dead certain bull’s eye accuracy. Though one must admit the futility in it all, I am not denying the fact that I posses the knowledge to outsmart the trajectory of the flint. I have at my disposal a number of strategic mental solutions to beat the inevitable and in the end smile at the fact that even though I dodged the course set before me I will at most end up only moderately bruised bi it and yet succeed at any rate albeit my way.

I have always been unable to deal with success. Now am not boasting about the kind of success that one often associates success with but rather those minor successes that make the very fabric of ordinary life.

I recall that I once became some sort of an unintended hero to my fellow classmates. I then attended a middle high school in Tijuana. The name of the school was Secundaria Para Trabajadores Federal número 42. It was a source of great pride for me to attend that school because it lay in a corner of great importance for me and the city. It was in the Lázaro Cardenas grounds, a piece of dirt dear to us tijuanenses. I don’t exactly recall the lesson at the time but I recall more the people and the act I unsuspectingly became a part of in a web of events I did not fathom as much back then. I had spitted from a second floor and my spit had landed on our teacher’s head. Without much hesitation we all rushed into the classroom and pretended nothing had happened. That however, did not hinder the teacher from finding out exactly who it was who had perpetrated the deed. I seem to have been expulsed for a day and when I returned the following day I was received with a standing ovation that shook my senses and rendered me unable to deal with the acclaim. I then proceeded to ignore the acclaim and much to my own surprise thought myself above the acclaim and started to belittle those applauding me by simple going to my seat!

It just seems that I sour the moment near success and I suppose that is what ails me timewise these days.

Have had a weird headache today. Someone told me it was because thunder weather was in the air. I never realized that one could be influenced by the weather in such a fashion. I suppose I never thought about how the weather might affect the body. It reminds me a little about the crazy notion in México that pregnant women have to wear a safety pin somewhere in their garments when the moon is out. Now I never paid much attention to this type of relations to weather conditions, until today. What if that is true?

I was, am ready to believe that for an awkward reason if you will. Am I becoming more gullible as the years go by? Here in Sweden they tend to fear the thunder and yes there is such a thing as thunder weather, at least here in the Swedish Highlands anyway. People scamper like silly ninnies whenever the roar of the old Gods are heard above one. Like I said, I have lived pretty much the rest of my life not associating weather and corporal ailments like the one today but somehow I need and explanation for my headache and that seems to suit it well. I usually have all kinds of aches but am so dum that I just ignore them and never really seek an explanation as to why, I nurse them, they go away and that is what usually goes by with me and pain, until today I suppose.

I suspect another reason though. This weird association is somewhat flattering to my ego because in a weird way it makes me part of the milieu, Sweden, a part of something. Oh well.

I won’t be writing about the Swedish elections. They are too confusing for me to even contemplate the idea of doing so. Mostly because the Swedish system in many ways is akin to the American system, be it Republicans or Democrats the bureaucrats always win.

In Sweden it is the welfare state that inevitably wins. So it is difficult for me to even understand the political party I often tend to agree with the most, the Socialdemocrats. They mix capitalist ideas with social issues like old grandma weaving yarn in her machine. It just comes naturally to these guys to be capitalists with a gasp! human side to it.

That is why it is so confusing for me to understand the so-called Right in Sweden. What do they want when the Socialdemocrats practically bend over to please the Right in every other aspect of their politics except taxes? Wanna take a peek at the current proposals? Go head, just hold onto your chairs.

I do confess to wilderment to that thing people call justice in Sweden. In Sweden if you do someone it can give you less time if you try to cheat on your taxes. Economic crimes, in this socialist government, can bring far more years in the can than killing a joe.

Eitherway, today there are elections in Sweden. One gets to vote in the local, municipal (akin County) and national elections. As some of you might know, Sweden is a parlamentary government. For the local level I voted for a local party that tends to give the big parties a run for their money. I thought that would be healthy for local politics. Municipal elections I voted for my fave political party, the Socialdemocrats. For parlamient I voted for the newly created party called Feminist Initiativ mostly because I believe that women can be as evil as men.

The current government has been sitting in power for the past ten years. Just as long as I have been living here. Göran Persson, itches for more, he is running too in this year’s elections.

I get the distinct feeling that he won’t get to savour more. I could be wrong. You see I live in the heart of what is known in Swedish lingo as the Swedish Bible Belt. You know where these God fearing folk tend to lean on the political spectrum so one tends to get smothered about the one or other proposal that is better than the Socialdemorats current state of affairs blah, blah. So I may have been tinged with the local aspirations for political will when I write this. Even mass media or international media have drawn from this longing to report on the Swedish elections of today. Aquí, aquí y aquí for back up on that line of thought.

No frills or thrills in this election either. The most polemic issue on the table? A hacker who hacked the socialdemocrats intranet and managed to peep into the sheenanegens of the Socialists. And wait, it wasn’t even done because some huge computer brain nerd spent hours trying to hack it. No, it was because someone from the rightwing coalition at a Socialdemocrat convention happened to log on a wireless network and stumbled upon the opened access to the socialists intranet. It turned out the administror for the network used the same login word for his or her password.

Dang, I think I just chattered about Swedish politics like forever. Oh well. Digest at will.

* I originally worte this at the Agonist.

I’ve been speaking Swedish for the past 4 days due to my job and man, it oozes out of my ears as we speak. Most people who speak a third language will inevitably confirm the follwing: it is tiring to shift gears to a language one isn’t accustomed to speaking on the daily basis. Heck, it certainly doesn’t give me a headache to speak Spanish let alone English.

So yeah, my brain is fried to burnt toast. Though I confess that I have been pleasently surprised at the improvements I have made in the Swedish Dept. Off course there is always the little matter of not having someone confirm what I claim. Be that as it may, my metalinguistic awareness will suffice for said purposes.

Things that I have noticed I use more when I speak Swedish.

1.- I am more careful not to let the words come out as if I were to speak Spanish or English, that is, I am more concious about the pronounciation of the words I use when speaking. This would seem somewhat tedious but after a couple of years this has become more a custom than a nuisance and parlance comes out more fluid than one would suspect. Swedish are appreciative of the effort. Pronouncing v’s the way one ought o, that is, not to be lazy and pronounce them as b’s, tends to hike up status in the eyes of the Swede at hand.

2.- I tend to use more idiomatic phrases to capture whole abstract concepts of the everyday. This gives the illusion of the local. That is, there is a sensation that bespeaks of my endurance in the vecinity of my newly established roots. Meaning, though am an immmigrant I have taken the time to not only understand my surroundings but also live them and experience them.

3.- It is good if you use references of the layman. The local experience. Common lived experiences via the news or a problem that the collective has experienced is always good to have as baggage.

I was away. I went to Germany, enjoyed Bavaria; passed by Austria, saw Innsbruck by the roadway and spent quite a few days in northen Italy, specifically in the in and around the Brenner Pass. I came quite close to Milano but never got there. Though I did get to see some of Bergamo and Verona.

All this was acomplished because my father-in-law drives a trailer truck delivering goods all over Europe. I was invited to travel with him for a week that lasted nearly 9 days. This gave me an opportunity to get the living heck out of my tiny village here in the Swedish Highlands which after two years were beginning to wear me out a tad.

You can get to see some pics here and a small narrative of the trip in video format albeit in Spanish plus you get the extra added no preservatives version of my face dare you face the truth behind Yonder Lies It.

Believe it or not Sweden is too having an election this year but you wouldn’t notice by the raucus the elections churn out in news pieces such of the likes as whether a politician can make noise at a local shopmall rather than the issues at hand, what issues Julio?

Yeah, me and hundreds [of] others seem blissfully ignorant that we are about to have elections in Sweden aka Sverige and the weekend that just passed relished instead on an old sun ritual rather than reflect, wait this needs a period here, otherwise my spanish will get the better of the english. So there, got a fresh breath of air yet? Rather than reflect on whether the Moderaterna or the Socialdemocrats are better than the environmentalists or the lefties. Swedes are doing what they do best, live in Sweden.

Don’t ask me about the issues ’cause you’ll end up recieving an invariable uh? in bold letters.

What is a country like Sweden to do when its democratic system seems like a utopia in America? The Spaniards see it as the future to be and France envies its law and order while England can’t get enough of its exports and the germans adore its forests and moose trafic signs.

Homelessness? Forget it, there is little or next to nothing compared to other states in developed countries which of course, doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem. The solution however, is devoid of that long term aspect that it has, for example, in the USA. Here, homeless people have all kind of resources to resort to get out of the situation there are in and, believe it or not, homelessness, at times, can be a lifestyle choice.

Ok, how about government graft? that’s sure to rile a few folk here, erhm, not, the last graft issue involved a minister who used her government credit card to buy diapers for her baby. Ok, other stuff might have ocurred since then but that has stuck tills now.

Urgh, as a Xicano with dual citizenship that means I get to vote and as I’m a leftist, voting leftist here makes me look like a conservative. Göran Persson, the prime minister who has overseen the institutions that oversaw my permanent green card and dished out my citizenship is as popular as I stepped in unto these nordic lands. Today he seems perpetual like that even the opposition flirts with him. Gosh.

Are things that great in Svealand? and what does this teach us about democracy once nearly all acomplishable things are acomplished? Is it that better to steal from paul rather than peter?

yes, I know, your dirty, cynical stinking thought process will immediately recall greek dictatorships where, we are told by dubious characters, that everything was nice and swell. Far from the realities as we see’em to-day.

It’s just that our mess doesn’t look like your mess. Perhaps it’s that Swedish attitude towards the environment which manages to lull us into believing that everything is alright. The environment affects us all and the Swedes have been good at hiding the mess we are all in, masquerading all to fit our surroundings. One reality at a time.

At times one would think that Sweden lives a life separate from that it presents to the rest of the world, even themselves. At times you can see the triple reflection on the mirror but you have to be quick at the blink to see it or just sit and contemplate as the Swedes do. Am sure they do. What they say and what they do is not consistent t all, but heck, which country doesn’t do as they do?

Either way, the midsummer was good. What did I do? I got drunk, as a good Swede, I will not fail my country.

Blimey o’reilly!

I actually felt a whiff of hot air run through my scarcely hairy arm yesterday. I know, it’s summer, finally, no, really, I mean finally. I can tell because my skin gets a glow on it and man does it look good. I love the alive look on it. No, am not a metrosex man but here in Sweden I’ve become an expert of sorts on hand and facial creams. My skin tends to dry up as soon as a cloud manages to block the sun. So I had a few beers at my father-in-law’s house and every now and then I would peek at the glow in my arm. I was at peace with mother nature. I smiled to it all.

The glow, by the way, is a sort of sweat, perspiration if you will, that reflects back light, ergo, you know.

I opened the window and I was bared chested. The landscape offers a nice patch of land where agriculture is carried out. The green field is wide open, the sky semish baby blue and the air amazingly lukewarm at 6:30a.m. I usually get up at 5a.m. everyday and no, its not something from my days in the barracks because I have never been an army man.

I sustain the theory that my body clock hasn’t really adjusted to Sweden yet. This easily rationalizes away all kinds of irrational unconcious behaviour from my part and shoos away tiredness. This because at times I experience minor, and I joke here, unexplained narcolepsy. Couple that with the normal depression season here in Sweden during winter and you’ll get my drift.

Either way, just forget about the disgression there, I was stunned to feel the air in my bare chest, it felt good. My beer belly got all ticklish and the view my corner of the swedish highlands offered to my lagañosos eyes was not picture perfect yet amicable as a good nature morning salutation.

The thing is that though summer is here I hate the profution of sweat that I produce at the slightest feel of a sunray on my skin. This is another one of those mutant changes I suffered, I believe, the moment my feet landed on nordic soil. Yes, my whole constitution is in total disarray yet I live.

Loads of seagulls. One would expect this nearby beaches not inland. What the hell do they do here in the Highlands is no mystery. They are after the crayfish on the countless lakes that Sweden is made up of and scandinavian bread leftovers that my neighbours and countless other swedes throw out to the birds.

Swedes tend to be really concious about their discards. There are even garbage disposal spies ready to rat on you the moment you leave plastic on the paper container. No, really, garbage facism does exist here. So food either gets the decompost treatment or its thrown to the birds. One would think the birds be having and overweigth problem but they don’t. They are nice and lean and still manage to do their primal instinct chores: look for yummy earthworms, as my grass attest to witness because every now and then I manage to find patches of uprooted grass here and there, or are those hedgehodges doing the nasty work?

’nuff w/ the summer.

My street,
on
this Swedish
Spring day,
painted
relentlessly
grey

insists on
a
blue sky
above
grizzled
hues,

nordic
winds
caress my cheeks

I feel blood rushing.

last autumn’s
now
browned
dried
leafs

leave

brittled noises
on the local
thoroughfare
where nordic winds
rush

at earshot speed
crisply
criss-crossed

echos
of
a now
hardened golden brown
last year’s autumn
green shoot

who once stood out on a limb,
fell, sometime ago
intent on
following
the passing of the fall

I saw it rock and roll

to-day

the beautyful meaningless of the everyday

which tends to runaway from us

I heard it tumbling by, I want to hear it again.

I do confess
’tis was silent
when it made
me
turn my head.

It rolled,
leaving
behind
a moment

I can’t forget.

– I have noticed that more and more you liken the desert. The very one Geronimo stares at when at the offices. Does it not worry you that, in the end, your voice will end up a mere grain in the sand inasmuch as your voice is a scream in space?

– Those two concepts, desert and space, are two interesting images. In order to answer your question I must accept the fact that the aforementioned images exist. Yet my blog exist too as soon as your eyes lay their retinas upon them.

– .

Gad am I longing for a bit of soil from las Américas. Fuck me triple but Europe might have culture but they lack sun. Give me sun I say. There is so much a son of the Calida Fornix can take I tell you. Ok, so last night I dreamt I was smoking a refeer. Fuck. Europe does suck. I even caught myself perusing the products of a legal herb site from Hawaii whilst my lips dripped goo to the keyboard. Give me a jolt, give me a yahoo, anything to shake the doldrum out of my rutine euro trahs day, please, do end it!

Calm down Julius, so a few grey days might seem a tad boring but think of the whisky. Fuck, whisky my ass. I developed an intolerance to the point of not caring for my liver and wondering if it is all worth it. Whisky doesn’t cut it anymore though am sure its ripping my guts apart!

Even drug users have a bad time in Northern Europe.

On other great and uneventful news, not that my psychological constitution would be of any concern to you reader, spring has finally, I repeat, finally reappeared after a long and mystirious absence. The snow is giving way to the warmth that inevitably had to start churning heat.

I do long for California though. Been too long aquí. Time to start ordering tickets to Tijuana, ask the bank for a loan and preparing intoxicating days in the motherland where hangovers aren’t even an issue.

By the way, did I say that this a PG post? Fuck It.

Believe it or not the snow refuses to part. It’s been a crazy marzito, como decía mi abuelita, Marzo loco y Abril otro poco, but men! this is going too far. Ah, what the fuck am I babbling about anyways. Sun never makes a good impression, the next thing you’ll be hearing from me is that it is too fucking hot and that the weather hasn’t been this strange, well, since last week. Fuck, my body does really need to be attuned to mamá naturaleza.

Humbug. Must be the grey weather. The fizz in blogsphere is dwindling, like there is no tomorrow. Hardly anyone is blogging nowadays. So fucking what. Oh, yeah, I finally caught up with a thought that escaped me a few minutes ago. I want to nag about los pinches güeros here in Sweden.

It turns out that many here refuse to see my gringo side. They seem to have this godforsaken odd thinking that to be american you have to be güero. Fuck, this really tends to piss me off like there is no tomorrow, yes, I wrote that phrase two paragraphs ago smartaleck. Eitherways, I feel robbed, ultrajado, desposeido. I have no other way of being but the Xicano being. I have days when I am more mexican than others and I have days when I am more gringo than others, why can’t the pinche crazy monolinguals get this? But that is diverging the gist of the message towards another venue.

I know I have dark skin, cafe con leche, black hair and pretty lovely sort of hazel eyes [yes, am talking nice about myself, gotta a pro with that?] but that doesn’t automatically mean am not a gringo though I be hard pressed to have someone tell me, hey, aren’t you a gringo? ah, what the fuck, no one seems to know what a Xicano is in Sweden eitherways, so what the fuck am I grumbling about anyways.

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