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2014 February

A Little Souvenir

Today, I decided to get a lifelong souvenir from Pomona. A memory that won’t fade in the first place. As mentioned before, I’ve fallen completely in love with the city of Claremont. The first time I visited the town, I browsed a small retro boutique filled with a variety of objects. One thing that I found was a postcard, a small piece of art with a design that hit me spot on. The picture featured a girl with magenta colored hair, a red striped bow and eyes blue as the ocean. It had an air of mystery and wonder. It instantly made me think of Alice In Wonderland. My path was clear. “I want this as a tattoo”, I thought. I had never felt so sure of anything. It would be the perfect memory of wonderful Cali. Of course I wanted to link it to Pomona, where I’ve spent so much time. There is one tattoo place in downtown Pomona, so today, a few weeks after the event in Claremont, I visited the tattoo place called Ink’d Chronicles. One of the artist names was Sean Kreitlow – perfect since the house I’m staying in harbors three Sean’s – and we had no problem communicating and exchanging ideas. Soon the plan was formed and we got to work.
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Now, I want to share a bit more background when it comes to the design. I started researching the artist, Mab Graves, before I got the tattoo. The picture I found in Claremont, had put high expectations on her skills, and I was not disappointed. Browsing her website, I found countless of wonderful pieces of art. She even has a collection called Candyland, which features the same air as I express in my song Garden of Unicorns. Her pictures feel fantasy based, with a hint of sadness. This got me more intrigued and after a bit more research I found out that we share sources of inspirations. Fairytales and stories, like Alice in Wonderland. Like I, she seems to find the madness part of it most fascinating. If you feel like checking out her work, click here.
Truly inspiring!
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So finally, here’s my baby. My first tattoo, based on the original piece of art “Sophia and the Shatterclaw” by Mab Graves.
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Open Mic in Claremont

Yesterday, I heard about an Open Mic night that was taking place in Claremont, my favorite town in Cali so far. Me and two of the friends I’m staying with in Pomona decided to check it out. The atmosphere was friendly, welcoming and vibrating with the air of so many talented musicians. The Open Mic took place at the Folk Music Center in Claremont, owned by Ben Harper’s family. I got to play one of my original songs and I can only say it was an honor. I was treated with friendly faces and heartwarming applauds. So many wonderful people. My friends and I had the great pleasure to listen to, hang out and jam with the talented french musician Fabien Taverne. He’s in California at the moment recording an album. Do check out his Soundcloud, there’s some awesome music to be found there!

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Adventures of LA

I’m back on the blog and also back in Pomona for a few days. I have some great stories and photos to show from this past week when my friend was visiting from Sweden. Our week started out by going to Universal Studios. We went on 3D rides, saw the mechanics of special effects and went on tour behind the scenes where parts of the top movies of all times have been recorded. It was a lot of fun! We also wandered along the Citywalk, just outside of Universal Studios and ended up doing iFly. iFly is a vertical wind tunnel, like indoors skydiving. It was insane!
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The day after we went to Venice Beach in Culver City, LA. Walking along the boardwalk you could see a variety of booths selling art, rare objects and henna tattoo. It was also crowded with street performers. Dancers, musicians and even freak shows. We had some lunch along the way at a corner place called Poke Poke. Similar to sushi, only you got it in a small bowl, rice, tuna and seaweed mixed together. I also tried Funnel Cake for the first time. It kind of tasted like waffles with strawberry jam and whipped cream. Delicious!
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Later this week we went to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita to go on the most crazy rollercoasters I’ve ever experienced. It was like nothing I’ve ever been through before. Rollercoasters with a variety of loops, slopes and positioning. Tatsu, was a clear favorite. The seats were positioned underneath the tracks and your body in a horizontal position. It was like flying! It was also very fast and even had a large inverted loop, so strange! Goliath was also one of my personal favorite. An enormous rollercoaster built with steep vertical drops and high velocity. What a day!
We then continued on to Santa Barbara, a city by the coast a bit outside of LA. It had a downtown which actually offered walking distance to different parts of the city, a rare situation in the states from what I’ve seen so far. It was a really pretty town with a lot of small boutiques along the sidewalk. We sat down with the homeless for a while and played a few songs for them. Then we continued to the pier and street performed a bit. We also visited a Salt Cave downtown where you could get different kinds of salt treatments like massage, scrub and also inhaling salt particles for cleansing. We skipped the treatments but got to visit the cave for a while anyway. It was unique. We also went to do some chocolate tasting. Truffles of Santa Barbara are truly delicious!
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The last day we spent in downtown LA by the Hollywood Walk of Fame and took pictures with the stars. We ate lunch at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles which I’d heard a lot of positive things about. I was not disappointed. Such a friendly staff and food consisting of fried chicken and a tasty waffle covered in maple syrup. So unhealthy, but so good! We continued to Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum, which as expected was a strange experience. So many weird facts. Fascinating!
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We finished off the week by going to The LA Gun Club to try out some real guns. It was the first time I fired a real gun. It was very loud in there and we wore both ear plugs and the large ear protection to decrease the noise. At first we shot a regular hand gun and I was surprised about how much you had to tense your body to soften the recoil. It was an experience but not my cup of tea. So when my friend decided to try an AK-47 I stood by the sidelines and watched him shoot the picture of a zombie.
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So now I’m back in Pomona for a few days and will probably be going back to Apple Valley for a few days this weekend to record some music with a friend. The weather is still amazing and I love California. Thankfully I still have half of my trip to go 🙂

Maple Trees

I’ll be disappearing off the grid for about a week now as my friend from Sweden is coming to visit me in LA. Before I check out I wanted to share a song that I wrote yesterday called Maple Trees. Hope you like it!

Belated Entry and Pics

When I was in Monterey during my first week in the states I went to explore Pacific Grove by bike. I had to bike down a long hill and everything went so well, especially since I haven’t biked in a year, until I was getting off the bike. Then I fell off and felt really stupid. I got away with some bruises and minor scrapes on my right shin. I was just embarrassed when passer byes asked if I was okay.

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I continued my exploration by visiting Lover’s Point, a beautiful beach by the bay in Pacific Grove. I sat by the cliffs surrounding it and read for a while. After that I took my bike along the shore and enjoyed the sunshine. I passed the beach with seals that I saw once before, only this time an enormous elephant seal was taking up space next to the smaller harbor seals. I explored the surroundings, a local art gallery and enjoyed reading by the beach as the tide was coming in. The sound of the waves crashing was soothing and I worshiped the sun on my face. What a beautiful day!

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The day after, Johan’s grandmother took me to see the local hospital up in Forrest Hill. When we arrived and I saw the façade, I couldn’t help thinking that we must have come to the wrong place. The architecture of the building was exquisite, and it was not a big surprise when I heard that one of California’s leading architects was responsible for the blueprints. Well inside I did a double take, trying to grasp the beautiful environment and the fountain taking up most space in the large cafeteria. Was this a hotel? A spa? No, it was a hospital built from a patient centered point of view. I could totally see how this calm atmosphere, zen-like inner garden and art covered walls could make people instantly well. Have a look and see for yourself.
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Flow

Today we went to visit Claremont just outside of Pomona. A magical place if I may say so. Small unique boutiques everywhere, calm and friendly atmosphere and inspiration to find in every corner. The local mall had a children’s art gallery starring paintings of candy landscapes, exactly like the ones I sing about in one of my original tunes “Garden of Unicorns”. It was the first day I found things I really wanted to buy. A polka dot dress and a striped short, blue and white cardigan I found in a cozy thrift shop. A waist belt and gorgeous brand new converse also became mine after a bit more browsing. We also found a Folk Music store with a little stage so we stayed and jammed for a while, using a twelve string guitar!
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After visiting a few boutiques I was so inspired a song began to take form in my head. I wrote down the lyrics as we were browsing the stores. As soon as we got home I picked up my guitar. I finished the song in just a little while. “Knitting My Peace” has been born. Those moments of flow are just amazing!
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The food of the day spelled “Eureka” and offered the tastiest hamburger so far. Organic products like fig marmalade, bacon and goat cheese made the meat taste like heaven. It was served together with honey and cinnamon sweet potato. What a meal! I was full about 24 hours after that 🙂
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75th Homecoming of Cal Poly

Today I had an unreal experience. We went to the Homecoming festival at Michael’s college to  enjoy the festivities and also watch Andy Grammer, the guy behind the song “Keep your head up”. We get there and watch Andy Grammer giving an awesome performance. One of Michael’s friends, have a friend who worked backstage at the festival. He went up and talked to him, then brought me over. His friend had heard my music and asked if I had my guitar with me. I did, and he asked me if I’d be up for performing after Andy. They needed music to cover the gap in schedule. I said: Let’s do it! I got up and played a few original songs and then two covers. One of the songs I played was one of my original Swedish songs “Vaken”, which surprisingly was much appreciated. Apparently they like to hear other languages in the states. There were a lot of people waiting to get photographed together with Andy so there was a crowd listening to me. I got to give out some business cards and felt really happy with my performance. Afterwards I felt drained after all the spontaneous excitement, but wow, it was worth every bit! I can now say that Andy Grammer has opened for me 😀
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Later that evening, we walked around the Artwalk of Pomona and browsed some cool boutiques and galleries. We also did a bit of street performing. What a day!
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Chinese New Year, Cal Poly and Aviators

This week I visited my friend’s university, Cal Poly in Pomona, and took in the celebrations they set up for the Chinese New Year. I tried traditional foods, said hello to a dragon and got my face painted. It was really nice. I really liked the red chocolate fondue that was offered in one of the booths.
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Cal Poly University truly is an Amazing campus, with architecturally interesting buildings and houses made from old stables. Kellogg’s, the owner of the famous cereals, owned a large amount of land where Cal Poly is situated. He donated the land and his much valued horses to the University in agreement that they would take care of his horses. Cal Poly’s mascot is of course a horse, Bronco.
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We’ve been jamming a lot the last few days and on Wednesday we went to karaoke at the local bar. I sang Allstar by Smashmouth and my now old favorite Pumped Up Kicks. It was a blast! It seems like they have some Open Micks going on in the area so hopefully I’ll be participating in that soon.
My week has already had an unexpected highlight and I’m now one of the happiest people in the world. Me and my friends went shopping, first at a thrift shop were I found a new pair of aviator sunglasses, such luck! Then we moved on to a military surplus store in the area and there I found what I’ve been looking for forever basically. A hard officer hat without any symbols on it. I’m now the proud owner of an original United States Marine Corps hat.
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Super Bowl XLVIII

Today I was picked up by my friend Michael in Apple Valley and we headed off to a Super Bowl party his neighbor was throwing. A lovely buffet of Mexican food and then chocolate cake and cake pops for desert. Yumyum! The game did not go very well for the Broncos, the favored team, but ended up being the first time the Seahawks won. The Super Bowl party ended in the perfect way. There was a raffle and Michael put my name in. Guess what? I won 50 dollars 🙂 For sure a welcomed surprise to my budget!
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Now I have arrived in Pomona where I will be staying with Michael and his 8 roommates for the next week. Looking forward to exploring downtown Pomona before I make my way to LA.

A Radioactive Evening

This evening I had the great pleasure to perform on Open Jam in Apple Valley. Me and my friend Alex (on drums) improvised a lounge version of Radioactive together with the local pianist and bass player. Have a listen to our chill cover of the famous Imagine Dragons song!