LA Stories

September 21st, 2014  / Author: The Mad Pixie

Recently I flew down to sunny California to attend the Story Expo.  It was a three day conference on writing predominantly for film and television.  the experience was astonishingly enlightening and I was fired up with enthusiasm, energy and subsequently a complete inability to write anything about it.

I have had this happen before when I have crammed so much information in to a short span of time that save writing a small treatise there is too much information to disseminate in a single essay.   This trip was a different experience for me on several levels.  I have been to many music conferences over the years but this is the first time I have truly addressed my secret passion for writing, and my geographical focus turned to a single strip along the oceanfront from the airport to Venice and back while I am normally bouncing from downtown to Pasadena to Venice to Malibu and all places in between.

Here’s my route close up.

And here it is in the larger picture of LA.

In an effort to describe the limitations of my geographical forays and to start the writing flow again I went to a website enumerating the Latin names of phobias in the search for a term to describe my extremely limited movement.  Xenophobia and agoraphobia skirt the parameters (being the fears of things perceived to be foreign or strange and the fear of open spaces respectively) but nothing really nailed it.  I WAS delighted to discover Aulophobia (fear of flutes), bufonophobia (toads), genuphobia (knees) and lutraphobia (otters).  Porphyrophobia is the fear of the colour purple (I am assuming the actual colour rather than the 1985 Oprah Winfrey film of the same name).  I hope to utilize this list more at some point.

The Expo itself was excellent.   I learned a great deal, met some inspirational teachers and am looking forward to a return visit next year.  In an effort to avoid doing a huge injustice to any of the talented instructors I will not attempt to paraphrase their lectures.  I will say that the seminars were very well organized and the subjects covered all aspects of creative writing from the very nascent stages to helping people pitch and sell a finished product.

The host venue was the Westin LAX.  I opted against staying there and instead rented a beautiful apartment in the Venice Canals.  It was an easy 15-20 minute commute and meant the difference between staying in a generic hotel room in an area with limited fast food meal options that looked like this:

To a place on the water, five minutes from the beach and a stone’s throw from fantastic restaurants.

I have loved Venice and the few canals that remain ever since an old friend moved there some years ago.  They are changing of course, as all things do.  Many of the tiny cottages remain, but they are being bought up and much larger homes are being built in their stead.

It is still a calm and beautiful place to be, and the quirkiness endemic to Venice still remains.

Here are two transportation options to be had in the area – kayak and USS Enterprise

I did find some time on the Sunday before my departure to wander in to Santa Monica long the main street in Venice and back along the boardwalk.  The weather was perfect and I was delighted to see they have reclaimed an area in front of the court house and turned it in to a beautiful park.

I stopped to watch some excellent break dancers, dabbled my toes in the ocean, breathed in some salty aired and called myself lucky for being able to experience all the things I managed to cram in to a single weekend.  I am a fortunate soul.  Now I just need to write about it.

Bliss Point

August 30th, 2014  / Author: The Mad Pixie

Michael Moss wrote an excellent book on the fast food industry called “Salt Sugar Fat:  How The Food Giants Hooked Us”.  It explains the science behind the industry’s quest to find the “Bliss Point” – the perfect, addictive balance of sugar salt and fat.  The researchers have spent decades as well as millions of dollars to find this ratio.  I spent one afternoon and about fifty bucks blowing it right out of the water.

My friend Kim and I spent a few hours at the Canadian National Exhibition.  We got in free courtesy of my good friend and insider, Jennifer and together we made our way directly to the Food Building, ignoring the rides, ignoring the music, ignoring the vendors booths and stopping only for a brief foray into the Arts & Crafts building.  To buy fudge.

We had a very specific mission:  to explore the new and amazing concoctions that the Fair had to offer.  I consider it a get out of jail free pass for a single day to eat all the things I would normally scorn.  It did not disappoint.  From a turkey dinner waffle (the waffle is made out of stuffing!!!) to a cheekily named CroBar (croissant with chocolate bar squares baked in to it) we enjoyed gustatory experimentation from all parts of the globe.

Undropped waffleCroBar

Kimchi fries, Clam Chowder fries, Choco Chicken, peanut butter siracha bites.  All down the gullet in a delicious dance of hyper caloric revelry.

Some poor soul dropped their waffle.  We noted how truly unpleasant dropped food looks.

Dropped Waffle

Then I uploaded all of the photos I took of the things we actually DID eat and realized that the undropped versions were not overwhelmingly photogenic either.

Kimchi FriesChowdah FriesChoco Chicken

I must remember to give any food stylist I meet a hearty handshake.  The one little item that did give a figurative smile to the camera was the marshmallow nutella bao, which we think looks like a muppet.  Goodness knows it isn’t food.

Muppet Bao

“This is everything that is wrong with America!” I proclaimed as I tucked the last bit of shining alabaster  sugar and bleached flour delight down my throat.

I have relearned to love the Ex in the last few years after a prolonged shunning.  It helps to have a friend on the inside, who not only gets me in free but susses out the best fudge purveyors and lets you in on the concert schedule and secret gems the Fair has to offer.  There is a remarkably good sense of fun here.  People bring their kids and their parents, hormonal teens try to pick each other up over the din of the carneys and you can buy a floor mop or a sari or a whirlpool tub within ten feet of each other.  Kim and I were seduced by a particularly enticing massage unit that heated up.  I had to be torn from the back one – Kim nearly became the Borg with the face version


Truly, there is something for everyone.

And everyone seems to include some of the less bright bulbs in the chandelier.  As we were leaving I noticed the following warning signs on the sundae stand.

Sundae Warning

It saddens me slightly that the populace needs to be warned not to jam a wooden stake down their throats but it should be noted that this second sign appeared in front of an actual pile of peanuts:

Peanut warning

Yes kids.  These peanuts may contain peanuts.

It was an excellent afternoon, spent with great company in a very upbeat atmosphere.  I am home now to beach myself and to vaguely ponder what my triglyceride levels might be.  Perhaps they will have levelled off by next year when I can only imagine what the Bacon Nation people will have thought up for our dining pleasure


Kiss Off

August 22nd, 2014  / Author: The Mad Pixie

So, this happened.

Which I suppose warrants a bit of an explanation.

I have worked in and lived a life in music for, well, my whole life and for that I am eternally grateful.  When I was young my very identity was inextricably linked to the music I listened to (not uncommon, I think for any young person).  I liked some things, I loathed others and there was generally very little neutral ground.  I would not be caught dead listening to the stuff I threw in the “loathed” file.  I once tried to overthrow a Genesis listening party with repeated plays of the extended single of the Clash’s “Magnificent Seven”.  (The coup failed).

Flash forward many years and you will find me far more tolerant of different music genres, and with a willingness to not only accept but embrace the spectacles that music can offer.  I also find myself nourishing a love for the sounds that made an impression on me as a very young lass.  Which brings us to Kiss.

Kiss played on a double bill with Def Leppard the other day and my pal Kim was game for the going.  Kim is a very adventurous sort with a fabulous sense of play and an enduring love for Gene Simmons.  She has dressed up as the legendary bass player several times for Hallowe’en and co-opted her father to play the role of Paul Stanley for one concert attendance.  She threw the same challenge down for me and for the first time in my shy retiring life I picked it up. We bought the tickets, bought the white face and got down to business.

Kiss hit big when I was in grade school.  I will never forget one Hallowe’en in grade six when my class mate Brian arrived in full Gene Simmons makeup, with white Y front underwear pulled over his brown corduroys in place of a cod piece.  This is an image that has burned itself in to my psyche that I am delighted and revel in.  I myself was never truly a fan but they certainly occupy a place in the jukebox of my brain.  Attending a concert in full face was something I never would have considered even a few years ago.  Kim and I were greeted with much amusement and admiration, and were photographed many times.  The concert was exactly what I expected it to be, including confetti cannons, spark-shooting guitars, blood spitting, hydraulics and the works, all married to a schtick that hasn’t changed one whit since 1978.  I had a blast.

I shot the above picture off to a few people, most of whom were vastly amused.  This behaviour is extremely atypical of me.  I hate being photographed and generally try to avoid bringing much attention to myself and I must confess I was a little proud about stepping so far out of my comfort zone.  This happy feeling got doused suddenly when one of the photo recipients took it upon themselves to release a vitriolic tirade on the legitimacy of Kiss as a band, their overall contribution to the decline of the music business and the dismissal of myself (and my generation) who presumably are incapable of distinguishing between true art and artifice.  Aggressive and unapologetically judgemental, it actually knocked the fun right out of the experience and made me unable to write a post about what had been a truly joyous experience until that moment.

I have gotten my sea legs back, the experience has born an investigation in to a deeper topic. Is it an aberration of the individual that makes someone have to deflate the euphoria of others?  Or is it the new media, which makes saying hurtful things as simple as the click of a mouse and and allows uninvited opining while protecting the aggressor from really understanding what effect their words are having, or at least from the immediate reaction that they might ordinarily suffer if they were communicating face to face?  Louis CK has a brilliant bit on this concept that he explained on Conan.  His is primarily focussed on kids, but I think the idea that email and texting suspends the development of empathy is a very valid one

I will try to grow a thicker skin and I will continue on with my adventures.  I wil have some fun, I will explore new things and I will share them with the people who care and can hold their thistle tongues.  Plus I have discovered a new delight in dressing up for the carnival – god only knows what will happen when my Cirque Du Soleil tickets show up!


Don’t get too attached

August 11th, 2014  / Author: The Mad Pixie

You don’t get to choose who you are marooned with.  Nor, unless you are intimate with the entire passenger manifest, who survives the plane crash in the Andes.


I took a Wilderness Survival class this weekend – an addendum to the foraging class I attended in the spring.  Both were hosted by a very capable gentleman called David Arama who has worked as a consultant to all the Canadian “Survivor Man” type reality shows (of which I have watched precisely zero, but I assume he is qualified).  The class was about fifty people strong ranging in age from early twenties to about fifty, most of whom appeared to have little experience with the great outdoors.  More power to them for taking this class but judging on footwear alone I don’t think too many of them would survive an afternoon without air conditioning.  I am not quite sure why one would equate “wilderness survival class” with “flip flops”, or what motivated the gent I saw to wear Pumas with absolutely no treads which would have been no less effective had the bottoms been greased with bacon fat.

The class incorporated some edible plants recovery as well as a segment on fire starting.  David pulled out a variety of items one might find in one’s personal or first aid kit that are flammable and easy tinder for a fire.  Vaseline, hand sanitizer, steel wool, duct tape, cotton balls and feminine hygiene products all fit the bill.


David Arama makes fire

As this was a disaster preparedness course, some of the information was as simple as a warning to bring a butane lighter or proper waterproof matches which would certainly speed the process but we were given flints to start the flames going.

I have to admit, I have am curiously amused by people that have no facility in nature.  I spent many years in my youth on canoe trips (a couple over 30 days where food was flown in to us) so the basics of creating food, warmth and shelter are ingrained in my very being.  It was simply inconceivable not to know how to start a fire – we would have suffered badly if we didn’t.  I love watching people go “car camping”.  I once visited such a site and watched a couple friends pop up their tent, plop in their queen sized, hair dryer inflated mattress inside complete with their duvet and sheets from home.  It looked like the Ramada.

Willard was with me on this adventure.  He grew up in the country and besides having learned how to drive anything with an engine (sometimes rather aggressively) by the time he was six he also spent his summers building forts and tree houses, so the chapter on creating shelter was particularly amusing for him.  We we shown a couple of examples of styles of shelter (lean-to, teepee & A frame were among the options) then split in to groups and sent off to build our own.  “This is perfect!” cried one of the team, upon spying an immensely tall, massive trunked maple on the edge of a fairly steep incline.   Perfect for what? I wondered.  It transpired that she thought that the tree would be a perfect anchor for the shelter.  I pointed out that the splay of the trunk and the root system would take up an enormous amount of real estate and render much of the floor space unusable, but she would not be deterred.  Will and I gathered branches, musing all the while to stay clear of the decision making as realistically it wasn’t like we had to sleep there.  A giraffe, it has been said, is a horse designed by committee and I didn’t need to build a giraffe that day.  We did spend some time discussing which of our team mates we would eat first when they all inevitably perished.   The rest of the team bustled around and assembled what could best be described as a tree cozy of sticks for the huge maple.  David Arama wandered by and declared the design a “TeePee/detritus mash up” and pointed out that the tallest tree in the forest like the one we had selected would also be the most susceptible to lightning strike.  Maybe at least then they could get a fire started.


Worst shelter ever

The class was actually rather fun and I learned some things I didn’t know.  Trust your instincts, don’t take chances and be prepared. And shoes, while they may not make the man, may determine the meal.

Don't get too attached

Why Are you here?

August 7th, 2014  / Author: The Mad Pixie

“Why are you here?”

That was the first question out of Don Beck’s mouth.

“I don’t believe you are just here for a visit.  You must be CIA.  Or a hooker.  Or a CIA hooker.”

Shit.  My cover as a feckless audio producer with an affinity for California has clearly been blown and my true identity as an undercover spy/call girl to the stars has been revealed.

Don’s is an excellent question, and one he has every reason to ask.  I blow in to town about every two months, demand to be fed, harass his son (in a good natured way, mind you) and gossip salaciously with his wife.  Then I pick up, wipe the gravy from my chin spilled from whatever high end restaurant he has squired the family to on my behest and vanish back to the North lands.

It is an excellent question and one that I ask myself every time I am strapped in to my economy seat pushing back for what is generally a minimum 8 hour travel day for a 56 hour visit.  A one to seven margin is not  good  in terms of vacation parcelling.  But I do it.  Because I love California?  I like it well enough, but there are other places on the map.  For the weather?  In July it is about the same or hotter in Toronto than Los Angeles.  Because I am a closet masochist?  Possible.  I will unpack that thought in therapy.  Because that’s where the Feds have sent me to seduce secrets out of high ranking studio executives?  Certainly, but I am sworn not to discuss matters of national security.

Really there are a number of answers.  I have a couple of very good friends who I lost for a while and found again, and I don’t want to lose them again (Hello, Anny and Jessica!). I find the aforementioned Mr Beck vastly entertaining, and it is unusual to meet someone whose command of the international swearing dictionary is greater than my own.   I have a godson to whom I have promised to give ongoing spiritual and maternal guidance  (though all evidence would point to such things being completely missing from my dubious acumen of skills).  He is person I quite like.  He’s shaping up to be a hella musician, and I am going to need someone to sponge off of in my twilight years.  I feel comfortable and familiar in LA and like there is a chapter of my life that I can’t quite finish.  I also get to swing from steak and chocolate lava cake on one day to whole grain macro dining in a single 24 hour span, courtesy of the awesome spectrum of company  I keep there.  It is dietary schizophrenia at its finest.   There is also this magnificent balcony at the apartment I often rent, and fresh lemon and loquat trees in abundance around it.

So at great personal expense and the opportunity to jet lag myself twice in the course of a single week, I go.

As an aside to Don, I DID notice him casually mentioning that he knew where to find the best sushi in LA, and I am going back for a seminar in September.  He doesn’t know it but we have a date.  I leave you with his parting words.

“See you soon.  It’s been nice feeding you”.





Emergency Punch Up

July 27th, 2014  / Author: The Mad Pixie

It was Friday night and I had bought myself a ticket to two “Best of the Fringe” performances which are being staged at the Toronto Centre of the Arts.  The theatre is located on Yonge Street north of the 401 in North York so neither in Toronto nor near the Centre of anything.  It is a nice enough venue but for its northerly locale (I wondered briefly if I should have amended the roaming plan on my cell).

First up was The Emergency Monologues, a one person play by Morgan Phillips.  He is an EMT and appeared on stage with his “Wheel of Misfortune” a contraption featuring a number of wedges on a vertical wheel, each with one line representing a separate anecdote.  The wheel is to be spun and Morgan to recount the story assigned to wherever the peg has landed, so each show is different.  Morgan is charming and personable so it was a fun night but I cannot help but wonder if the act would lose it sense of intimacy and efficacy in a larger venue.  The theatre was about half full and largely populated by seniors. This is a trend I have noticed in more traditional theatre companies (Stratford, Shaw, Mirvish et al) but less so at the Fringe so it came as a bit of a surprise.  A good half the audience looked like they have been on a cruise.  Their wardrobe and mahogany tans supported my theory.

I stepped out to use the restroom before the start of the show and when I settled back in my seat I noticed too late that someone near me had doused themselves in what could be described as a shit tonne of old lady perfume.  The locus was indeterminate but it pervaded my area like mustard gas.  I do not suffer from allergies but the fog of scent started making its way in to my nose and lungs. It felt like a slow but industrious mole was packing my sinuses with damp cotton batten and rotting lily leaves.  I found it hard to concentrate on the performance, especially when the fumes made their way to my eyes, glazing my corneas with the thin lacquer that tightened slowly over the minutes.  I realized I was suffering through essentially an aromatic water boarding.

Once the play was over I made my way to the fresh air where I discovered the perfect visual representation of my experiences, handily located in the gardens off the theatre.

Having survived the gassing I returned for the second event, “Punch Up” by Kat Sandler.  The audience for this performance was almost to capacity and much younger and the work was remarkable.

The play opens with the first of three main characters – the Funniest Man in the World – doing a very poor job at a stand up act.  It transpires that he was once half of a duo with his wife who had left the marriage suddenly and reemerged in LA to great fame and fortune.

The second vignette introduced an earnest and passionate though simple man named Duncan who falls instantly in love with a woman as she is attempting to commit suicide.  He thwarts her attempts and they strike a deal.  She will come to one dinner with him and is he can make her laugh she will promise to live.  If he fails, he will help her end her life.  Duncan dubs the woman “The Saddest Girl in the World” and we learn in a separate monologue that she feels she is cursed as everything she has ever loved dies.  She fears she cannot love for the drastic consequences and does not wish to live a loveless life.  Duncan has an onerous task, made only more difficult by the fact that he has lead a sheltered life and is not funny at all.  Is a desperate move he kidnaps The Funniest Man In The World and chains him in his basement in the hopes he can be taught to be funny to save his new love’s life.

Sounds tricky?    This play was blessed with some of the best writing I have ever experienced, including a riff on the famous “Who’s On First” Abbott and Costello bit that is possibly even more rapid fire than the original:  (Link below for the uninitiated).  Think The Importance of Being Ernest.

I absolutely loved this play and was inspired not only to seek out and shoot a complimentary note to the playwright (If she ever needs a stalker character, I am her guy) but also to sign up for a writing expo in LA in September that I had been considering.  I should thank her.  Not only for the inspiration but for knocking some fresh air in to my previously swaddled cranium.

Not So OK Computer

July 18th, 2014  / Author: The Mad Pixie

I decided to update the operating system on my office lap top last night.  I thought I had left the task to hum away in my absence but discovered much to my chagrin that I had inadvertently put my computer to sleep and arrive this morning to discover there were 51 minutes remaining before the task was complete.  So I settled in to do … nothing.

51 minutes is the average life expectancy of chocolates in a hospital.  It is also how long it took to find a vein in a death row inmate in a botched execution in Oklahoma.  It is the frequency with which someone died in an alcohol impaired crash in the US in 2012.  I know this because I Googled it.  Which you can’t do if you computer is updating its OS.

I don’t want to be one of those “I remember when” types – god knows I already am – but I am always alarmed to discover how dependent on my computer I have become.  Without it I am incapable of estimating or scheduling.  I could scratch these out on paper, but I cannot impart the information to others in an effective way.  This morning I tried to file some contracts but without access to the docket archives it was not worth the effort.  I ended up sitting at my desk, waiting and buggering around on my iPhone, which is another addiction of its own.

I got my first smart phone about seven years ago and my first iPhone only last year and now I cannot imagine living without the technology.  When I am out for dinner with friends it is all I can do not to grab it.  Not to text or call someone, which I hypocritically consider “rude”, but to lookup some banal factoid that comes up in conversation if the source cannot immediately be located.  (“What was the name of the guy who was in that movie about the thing”… is usually how these things start)

I don’t WANT to be this person.  I don’t know how I BECAME this person.  I love to read books and other things made of actual paper.  I love to travel.  I am very active.  There are dozens of things I can do in a day that don’t involve tapping on a keyboard buy so many things become incorporated with the connected world that I have not even noticed the transition.  I think it would be great to break the ties and to run away to a place where the world wide web is a world away.  But then how would I know the name of the guy who was in that thing?



Happy Election Day!

June 30th, 2014  / Author: The Mad Pixie

I have just treated myself to a lurid green popsicle, the colour of which is only found in nature on creatures who wish to advertise their inherently poisonous quality to potential predators.  I have been shunning sugar altogether until my recent jaunt to South Carolina (I blame my recidivism entirely on Jennifer Ward for reminding me of the existence of Key Lime anything)  I generally forgo the likes of popsicles as I tend to eat healthy foods and avoid the equal parts frozen sugar and shit on a stick that this treat represents, but I was splurging at the end of a fantastic day.

I decided to spend the end of June kayaking out to the Islands, which I had to miss last year due to the untimely breaking of my wrist, and that I almost forwent again today as it was slightly overcast and I was overcome by an attack of lazy.  I ended up rallying and I am very glad I did.  This is pretty much the perfect way to spend a day.  A journey to a peaceful and beautiful place made possible by a modicum of exercise that justifies the consumption of treats.  What could be better!

For those who have not been to the islands in a while it is certainly worth the trip.  From the kayak rental at Harbourfront it is easiest to hug the Western side of the bay close to the airport and to enter the narrows by Hanlon’s Point.  One you are in the islands themselves there is virtually no wind or current so the water is glassy calm and effortless to paddle.  I packed a little lunch for myself but I often hop out at Algonquin Island and eat at the Rectory Cafe, which has a beautiful garden setting and view of the lake to the south.

I often take a little wander through the island neighbourhoods.  The houses on Algonquin are generally larger and more spaced apart than the ones on Wards. Some are quite impressive

Some are less so, but the setting is still fantastic

The homes on Wards are tighter, smaller and more cottage like but still utterly charming

Here is the one I have been obsessing about for years

Here’s where I would like to have the ceremony if I ever got married.  In a church.

Ok, strike that.  Here’s where I’d really like to play bingo one day.

This to my mind represents a perfect day.

And significantly better than this person’s day, I suspect:

I am glad I have broken the seal on the Island paddle and I hope to do it again a few more times this season.  I cannot promise there will not be more technicolour popsicles in my future either.

I’m Going To Carolina in My Mind

June 30th, 2014  / Author: The Mad Pixie

It is finally summer in the city and what better thing to do than immediately leave town?  And not to the lazy breezy piney north land, but to somewhere even more hot and humid than fair Toronto?

My friend Jennifer acquired a free hotel stay in Myrtle Beach some months ago during the bleak grey of the Canadian winter and asked if I would like to join her.  Knowing nothing of the place but for the distressing fact that it is pictorially represented by golf courses in any search you do on the region, I agreed.

Myrtle Beach has a number of things to recommend it:

1.  It has a 60 mile long, sugar sanded public beach

2.  It is cooled by ocean breezes that make the heat and humidity remarkably palatable

3.  There is fantastic fresh seafood on the offer

4.  The know all about Key Lime Pie

5.  The Myrtle Beach airport is a scant two hour flight from Toronto

6.  It is but two hours north of Charleston

That last point proved to be the most salient.  Myrtle Beach itself reminded me of what the illegitimate cracker baby of Ft Lauderdale and Niagara Falls might look like.  60 miles of beach hemmed by  60 miles of 1970s poured concrete monoliths and 1950s motor hotels with a strip of souvenir shops and wax museums.  My advice to anyone going to Myrtle Beach is to immediately leave Myrtle Beach.  Immediately south of the area you find Murrell’s Inlet and Pawley Island.  The former is a lovely example of the low country with swamps and shoreline and the latter is a sand dune of the softest sand and beautiful, if completely uninsurable, frame Nantucket like beach homes.   Murrell’s Inlet is also home to a restaurant called “Bliss” which served one of the best meals I have had in ages, including a truly wicked Key Lime Pie.

Further south still is Charleston.  I knew nothing of the place and was actually reluctant to make the drive, but Jennifer pressed and I am glad she did as Charleston is one of the most beautiful US cities I have even seen.  It reminded me of  Boston, only with a drawl.  The city is surrounded by water which keeps the heat to a reasonable level, it is the oldest city in the South so the architecture is gorgeous and easily walkable.  They have had the same incumbent mayor since 1975 who is clearly adored and brings a stability and pride to the area (I will say nothing more on mayors at this juncture).  The food is fantastic, there is a free trolley that tours you around the town and the waterfront is pristine.  I hope to get back there soon.

I don’t golf, and I am sure anyone who does would have an entirely different opinion on MB than I.  Here’s the difference between Myrtle and her southern neighbour:

The waterfront in Myrtle Beach


The Waterfront in Charleston

A typical building in Myrtle Beach

A typical building in Charleston

Myrtle Beach DOES have some fun things to look at, like the view from their ferris wheel

Charleston has some nice views as well

And no matter how you slice it in South Carolina you can find good old Southern hospitality, with a little faith and often pie thrown in for good measure.


June 9th, 2014  / Author: The Mad Pixie

Färdknäppen sounds like a combination of two of my favourite leisure activities, but it is actually a revolutionary way of living that hails from Stockholm, Sweden.

Färdknäppen is a community owned apartment house comprised of 43 individual apartments that range in size from one to three rooms, including a small kitchen each.  The apartments share a large communal space including a vast kitchen, dining room, exercise room with sauna and a small photography lab.

There is also an office with a computer, printer & scanner for any work that needs to be done and two small guest rooms for visitors.  There are large gardens and a rooftop green space as well.  There is a communal laundry area and a small carpentry workshop where minor household repairs can be done.  Everyone participates in keeping the house clean and in preparing the dinner meal.

Why my interest in a community house in Sweden?  The concept of pooling my resources with friends to maximize our quality of life is one that we have been kicking around for a while.  We are, for the most part, single and those who have children know they will eventually (like it or not, dammit) be flying the coop.  We are independent financially but aware of the struggles of living along in this vibrant but expensive city.  We have discussed what options we have as we start to consider our “twilight” years.

This from the Färdknäppen website

The initiative to create Färdknäppen was taken by a number of middle-aged people, who were concerned about their future and what their living conditions would be as they aged.

You move into Färdknäppen when family and children no longer dictate your needs. In order to live in Färdknäppen you should be 40 years old or older and no longer have children living in your home. And you should embrace the idea of collective living in “the second half of life”.

The  advantages of living in Färdknäppen are many and of course different for different individuals. How much social contact and  “togetherness” one desirers varies from person to person and from one period to another.

The tenants at Färdknäppen can spend as much or as little time as they want in their private areas, but the sense is that the environment will engender a sense of community for each individual, and that in turn will ward off many of the trials (and indeed the loneliness) that can be present for the single aging person.

Kinda sounds like a bang up idea.  I think I am a little young to be considering such things, but I will certainly mull it over for the future.  Perhaps I am facing my future in an exciting and mature new way.

Or, I just like saying “Färdknäppen”.

Maybe a bit of both.