Read the thoughts and musings of a cultured redneck here
So Mario had me running again everyday this week except for Friday and the one day that I don't go running he sees a deer in the woods. I have noticed that when we run we see these slugs crossing the trails and the slugs are huge. I've never seen any that big so its weird. Early on last week (Sunday) Will Smith was in Stockholm for the debut of his movie IRobot or whatever it was. Not only was he in Stockholm, but he did come to Tyresö and play a round of golf. Everyone was talking about that around here. They rescheduled some tournament they had for that day just so he could play 9 holes.
All the guys have been saying that while I was at home that it was raining a lot, but now the sun is out all the time so in their words " summer is here ". That is good because people are out everywhere just hanging out. I guess I would be too if I sat in the cold that long during the winter. We hung out with Ilija and his cousin a few times early in the week. One night we were out at "East" and this girl walked by and I called her " Paris " and yes we did end up dancing for a song or two. One evening we played putt putt at the local course in Tyresö and Mario and I both agreed that it may be the toughest mini-golf course in the world. If you think you are good at Myrtle Beach then you are nothing here.
On Wednesday we went to the Tyresö Castle and also to the beach. We had a guided tour by none other than Mr. Johan Rauge, who is a Swedish history buff, along with myself and Mario also added his knowledge on Swedish history during the tour. So with all of these scholars together the tour was pretty well rounded and I am surprised that we didn't receive job offers while touring. I have some pictures from the castle and the beach here. The beach is also different than from at home. I would say the differences are less clothes and no waves or sea shells, but other than that the principle is the same.
On Thursday one of the guys at practice told us to come by Berns which is a hotel that has a bar/dance room open at night time. So The Chief, Andre, Mario and I went to check it out. Since our guy was working the door we didn't mean to break in front of some people, but it just happened. Well, while we were going in we noticed a lot of Chinese looking people being around there mix with the Swedes. We went in and were hanging out for around and hour when we went to the restroom we noticed that it was " Tokyo weekend in Stockholm " because they had a sign on the door advertising it. This is explained why all of the Chinese looking people were there. I guess you would say Japanese rather, but anyways same difference. Mario saw 2 men in a business suit with a woman wearing a full kimono dress, but I didn't see her. Later on I told the guys that we should go out and check out this other room in Berns because this place is big and there was still a room that we had not yet been in. So we went into another room and this is where it got a little weird. Its going to be hard for me to explain this tactfully on here.
When we walked in (entering from the back of the room) I noticed that there were a bunch of people grouped at the front of the room. Then I recognized that they were watching a video on the movie screen, but I thought why was everyone so crowded at the front. Then we walked around to the side and could see what was happening. Let me try to explain here so bare with me. Ok this Japanese woman was laying on the stage with a gas mask and a rain coat on with 2 guns which had flowers on the ends of them and she was crawling like in Vietnam or something. There was music going on and a video screen behind her that was previously recorded and had a woman doing the same things that she was doing on stage. Like a routine. Well she got up and started doing a military march. At this point I turned and looked at the guys and they too were like " what is going on here " . Then she took the rain coat and the gas mask off as the music changed. Under the rain coat she had on this costume. Well the costume had a large upper end and it seemed to be cold in there as well and she wore another piece on the other end of the costume was some male anatomy, which had protection on it. Then these 2 guys walked out with kkk masks on their head and were also wearing white T-shirts with Japanese writing on them. They were holding a plastic chain from one of them to the other. So the girl, with the male anatomy suit ( it was red by the way ) hangs like 8 pictures on the chain. The pictures were of Osama, Sadam, Bush, France's pres, Japan's pres, The older Bush, Tony Blair, North Korea's president and the president of France. Then she was taking them off one by one and how can I say " reproducing " with the photos, but before she did this she had removed her protection and threw it in the crowd. Well she left President Bush up there to the end. She was singing the words to the song " Beautiful People " and they were randomly playing American music from back in the 60's in the mix as well. Finally she grabbed Bush's picture and looked at it real hard for a few minutes while she mustered up a huge loogie and then spit on it. Then she grabbed all the pictures and put them together and spit on them all together. On the backs of all the pictures it had the words "don't shoot". It was very weird to watch and it took me a while to figure out what she was trying to get across because at first it looked like another potential America Hate-a-thon. I guess it was a Tokyo performing arts thing and she was trying to say anti-violence because she equated everyone as being evil, but to me it was just like saying that she hated everyone, including her own president. This was only one of their routines, but we only watched 2 of their skits. Lord only knows how long these routines had been going on for. The other one that we watched for a few minutes was a parody to the song " The Age of Aquarius " which featured a Japanese guy with a globe on his head who wore a thong and a white bed sheet with random ornaments tied on it. To make it short I don't think I'll be going to Tokyo anytime soon. I would have given anything to have taken my camera with me so that I could have documented this spectacle, but I didn't so you'll just have to imagine the best you can.
So that night was extremely odd and I don't think I will forget it too soon. Throughout the week we practiced and boy these mosquitoes over here in Sweden are nothing to play with. I don't think they are as bad as Mississippi, but I think they are worse than South Carolina. Maybe its because they don't have as many people to bite, but for whatever reason they sure are out and about. On Friday night we stayed in since we had a game the next day. We went over to the O-coordinator's house and watched film on Stockholm and ate some food. He lives in the city and on the way driving through you could see all the people that were out.
We played against the Stockholm Mean Machines who are the #2 team in the league. I don't really know how to put it lightly here, but I guess I can just list the facts and you can draw from them what you may. The facts are that due to injury, vacation, wedding, birthday, funeral or whatever we took the field with 24 and the other team took the field with 44. They scored on the opening kickoff as they ran a reverse and had our whole team lost in the mix. We got the ball the next time and ran a counter and fumbled on the first offensive play. They then scored on a long pass about 5 plays later. I did however scramble one time and score. I did make some good throws in the first half, but either the pass would bounce off the guys shoulder pads or they would catch it and then we would get a penalty. I made some crazy throws falling backwards as well, but we don't really have anything to show for it. As I stated earlier it is just starting to be summer time here as far as heat wise and so the heat was wearing our guys down. Its not as humid as at home, but these guys aren't from SC so some of them were hurting out there and you can imagine with 24 that some of them were going both ways. We didn't get completely embarrassed in the first half as we were moving the ball and hanging in there what we could, but in the second half our guys gave completely out of gas and then they started running the score up. To top that off they starting blitzing in the 4th quarter which didn't help me out any. I also threw Europick #3 as I threw one up for the TE to make a play and I had gambled the wrong way on this one. One thing that is hard to adjust to is that if I let it fly like I have to at home then these guys won't catch up to it so I have to take some off sometimes and trust on my receivers making plays. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
If you would like to get positives from the game you could say that our guys never gave up and this game was more of a test of character than anything, as Coach Wikstrom stated. Also, my heel did not bother me which is good news for me. The o-line did give me more time in the first half which was pleasant and because of this I was able to make some good throws so I think Mario is helping the guys out a little. The final score was 62 - 7 and I was glad to see the clock hit 0:00. I also met the American from their team. He played at Buffalo State and informed me that he had played in Italy and Germany so it was neat to share stories of our experiences with each other after the game. Also a side bit of info is that this week in practice our head coach informed us that he would not be returning for next season. This coming week we have to play the #1 team in the league who blitzes every play so it should be another fun game.
Then of course after the game we came back and ate and then all went out downtown. We went out to a Latina club for a bit and then to 2 others and yes I did cramp up in 2 of the 3. It was fun trying to explain to a Swedish person what a cramp is and why I just kicked them in the leg....hahaha.
Below are some pics that David sent me after he figured out how to resize and email. Check out the bottom pics of the turf field at Solna that should be banned from anything taking place on it.
now this chick was really feeling me
I thought I saw Paris Hilton
The above picture was taken at 4am.
Check out Haggar's pants
Me & Tofe (and his snake suit)
David & Rauge
The worst football field on earth
Can you believe that it's cooling down already? Yes last week it was hot and this week its already cold enough to make me wear long sleeves. I think that may be the fastest weather turn around that I've ever seen. This week we did lift 3 times again as usual. If we didn't lift during the day we would probably be pretty bored so thats like our usual routine.
When I started this site I started it to keep my family and friends back home informed on whats going on with me over here instead of writing everyone emails saying the same thing. Well I was informed that my site address got listed in the forum for our leagues web site over here. So to all of you people in Finland reading my site...Hello and don't laugh too hard at some of the stuff that I have posted on here. Its pretty neat to have everyone reading though. This week was the last regular season game for us. We played an away game against the Pori Bears. During the past 2 to 3 games the wind has been blowing pretty bad and it makes it tough to pass sometimes. We won the game 55 - 8 ...some like to say that we won the game 55 - Riio because one of our corner backs Riio (toasty posti) let a reciever catch a hail mary pass at the end of the half, which was their only score. Riio also mentioned that he likes strawberry jelly for his toast...hahahaha, just joking here. Can anybody guess JP's favorite flavor? I was 20 out of 26 for 336 yards and 3 td passes and that puts me at 34 td passes 7 rushing tds for the year and 0 picks during the regular season. We finished the regular season 9 - 1 and ended up 2nd in the league which gives us a bye this week..ie: an off week with no game. I am excited about this because I need to rest some. Have to let my body recooperate a little. After the game I talked with the Quarterback from the other team. He was an American and had only arrived here on July 4th. He was from Texas and went to Grambling State. He was a pretty nice guy and it was neat to talk with other another American who is doing the same thing that Marlon and I are doing. Then we went and stayed in Tampere for the night. We had a good time and it was nice to see a different city and be in a different setting. Riio and Mikko took real good care of us there and we returned to Turku on Sunday. Marlon and I are trying to get a cruise to Sweden lined up so that would be nice if it works out.
While I have been over here sometimes I've seen people playing finnish baseball and have always wanted to get some pics of it, but I never know when they are going to play so I haven't been able to. Well while we were playing our football game they had a game going on beside our field. I asked our camera man if he thought it was possible to get some shots of their game so that I could post them on here and he said that he would so when I get them I will be posting them. So thanks to Kari for doing that for me. I would try to explain finnish baseball to you, but its impossible for me because I dont even understand it. I just know that they dont pitch it from a mound...they just stand beside the person and toss it straight up and when it comes down they hit it. Kind of like a toss up drill if you've ever played baseball. The uniforms are quite different as well and I cant describe how the bases are...all I know how to say is that it is not in the shape of a diamond.
As of today we have like 3 weeks left and then I'll be heading back home. Hopefully we can win the championship...so until I get back somebody let me know how we do in the jamborees....GO EAGLES!
Pics from this week:
Finnish baseball pics
This week we lifted about 3 times about the usual. Its kind of tough to lift in season cause I'm always sore, but anyways. On Thursday I helped one of the guys move and man it was hot when we were doing that. We did that all morning, then I lifted in the afternoon, then had practice that night. So, I had a pretty busy day on that day.
Ever since I've gotten here I've been saving the big plastic bottles that I buy...you know like Coke bottles. One thing that they do here is recycle. Its pretty neat how it all works so I will explain. Pretty much any bottle you can collect be it glass or plastic is recyclable. You just save them up and take them to the stores that accept them and slide them through this little hole. The hole has a conveyor belt that takes the bottles and separates them and all. The bottle gets scanned and whenever you are done you hit the green button and out comes your receipt. You take the receipt with you and whenever you check out you have them scan the receipt and thats how much money you get off of your purchase. I think I got like 7 dollars off from 14 bottles or so. I believe that is one of the reasons that this place is cleaner than at home because the drunks will pick up all of the bottles and recycle them. That may be promoting drunks, but I guess at least they are keeping the place clean. So I've been seeing all of these posters around town forever that say "Tall Ships Races" and I was wondering what was going on. Well towards the end of this week I saw a bunch of sailors walking around the city. At first I thought it was just "European fashion" ...again, but turns out that it wasn't. There is a race of ships that runs a course around the Baltic and Turku was the first stop on the journey. The ships ranged from very small to very large and there were many nationalities represented. One of the biggest ships was from Mexico. All of the boats were docked on the river that goes through town and you could tour the boats all weekend and stuff so it was pretty neat. Every boat had a sign on it and flags and told you where they were from and what class the ship was in. So I boarded the Mexican ship and of course I was flowing in spanish with those guys. I asked them if they thought they would ever meet an American white guy, in Finland, that spoke spanish. Of course they said no. I threw some spanish words that only exist in Mexico in there for them just to let them know. It was pretty neat seeing all the ships and those things are pretty big, but I don't think I could stay on one of them for 7 months, which is how long the voyage for these guys is. There was an American ship, but it was small and to be honest I walked everywhere and couldn't find it. Only the big ships were available for touring so most of the small ships were unmanned anyways. These sailors stayed in town for like 5 days and on Sunday there off to another port.
This week we played the Seinajoki Crocodiles. This is the same team that we played in the first game of the year. By winning this game we secured a bye in the first round of the playoffs. This was our last home game of the regular season. When we first played this team I thought they weren't that good, but all week the guys had said that they had gotten in some new players and some of their players had returned from other leagues or from their vacation. There was also a rumor that some of their guys were injured. The rumors turned out to be true as their American linebacker had a broken hand or arm. I couldn't tell I just know he had a cast on. The wind was blowing very strong at this game which made it tough to throw when the wind was in my face. In the first half I didn't really play that well. I came close to throwing my first pick and I also made some bad reads. I had some td passes dropped as well in the first half. We had at least 100 yards in penalties and never really got good field position in the first half. Our defense was holding them pretty well though. The second half was better as I threw 3 td passes and ran 1. I ran over a guy on our sidelines too. We ended up winning 52 - 3 in a flag laden, swirly winded, long game. We now have one more game left in the regular season and its an away game in Pori.
Here are some pics from this week
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