Self-portrait with Mohawk

I have recently moved. Now I live in a smaller apartment than what we had, but without the wife and the brain-numbing TV.


I had to try out some new gear and I didn’t have any models around…

I have recently moved. Now I live in a smaller apartment than what we had, but without the wife and the brain-numbing TV. She got the TV. I didn’t want it anyway. She didn’t want me, but she wanted the TV. It’s more entertaining I guess. The downstairs neighbor in the old place used to reek of cigarettes. On a regular basis he came home drunk and argued loudly with his dumb girlfriend. One time she called on the intercom and said «I’m going to the ground floor» (That’s where she lived – we lived in the apartment above). I don’t know why, but I buzzed her in. I should have asked her why the fuck she used our doorbell, when she already knew that wasn’t where she was going…
Sometimes, when they argued loudly (I’m still talking about the neighbors), they used to smash stuff. Tore down shelves from the walls and shit. Then we would have to listen to the guy hammering for days afterwards, as he was fixing up his place again. He was an annoying, but yet an interesting character and he was very friendly when he was sober.

Now that I’ve moved, I live back in the same building that we used to live in a couple of years ago. Back on the rental market. I think that we spent four or five years here last time we lived here. When my son was born, we still lived here for a few months. Now he’s two years old and I’m back. He’s back too, because he lives with me half of the time (Luckily my ex wasn’t one of those bitches that take the kid and leave), but I doubt that he has any recollection of having lived here before. It’s the same flat too, the difference is that it’s two floors higher up than last time and that the ceiling us much higher in this apartment compared to the previous one. It makes it seem bigger. Technically speaking it is bigger, but the size of the floor is still the same. It’ll be a bitch to heat up this place in the winters. I guess we’ll have to wear jackets inside.
I have a better view than before, but everything is crooked. If you put a ball on the floor, gravity will make sure that the ball rolls down to the corner of the living room…

There’s many new people in the building since the last time I lived here, so I don’t know them all yet, but I know a handful of them. The landlord has changed the doors in the hallways here. They used to have glass in them. Now they’re solid and more sound and fire-proof, but I can still fart in the hallway and blame the neighbor.
Once, I guess it must have been four or five years ago, there was this guy that was visiting someone who lived in this building. They weren’t home, but he slept on the floor in their living room.
Now, how do I know that he slept on their floor?

One night everyone in the building woke up from the smell of fire and a fire alarm going off. We gathered in the stairs, all of us were half asleep, half-naked and ugly. We located where the smoke & sound came from and I I tried to look inside, but there was curtains hanging in the windows of the doors, plus the apartment was filled with smoke, so I couldn’t see shit. I felt the door with my hand to check if it was warm, but it wasn’t. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation and the door is warm – then don’t fucking open it!!
I smashed the window with my knuckles, stretched my arm inside, opened the lock and the door.
Some neighbors ran into the kitchen, put out the fire that the pizza had started in the oven and opened the windows to let the smoke out. I went directly into the living room and found this guy sleeping on a mattress on the floor.
I grabbed him and started shaking him wildly. He woke up, totally confused, with the apartment full of smoke and neighbors, while I was shaking the shit out of him with my bleeding knuckles and screaming:
«this is the last fucking time that you make a fucking pizza and go to sleep you dumb shit!!!».

The day after he came knocking on my door. He was obviously uncomfortable, because he was blushing and he didn’t dare to meet my eyes. With a weak voice he thanked me for saving his life the night before.
“Don’t worry about it” I said, “but don’t make a pizza again when you’re drunk”.

It’s fascinating how thousands of years have shaped us into who we are, even on subconscious levels that we’re not aware about.

The self-portrait in this post is from a test run that I had with some new gear. I’m sorry that I didn’t have any models around…

113 thoughts on “Self-portrait with Mohawk

  1. Cool … I’d never seen you before — not for real, that is. I sense a little bitterness here [wife/TV], but that’s understandable. I will not say something as hackneyed as ‘time heals all wounds’ LOL … even though it does. Apartment buildings *can* be really interesting at times … it all depends. I think in apartment buildings without elevator, you tend to meet more people. I lived on 11th floor in one in Eskilstuna, and never met ONE person?! Once I called up a lawyer in the same building and asked how to get a divorce … he told me, but I never saw him 🙂 Laundry rooms can be even more fascinating there.

    • It’s weird that you lived in the same building as the lawyer, but never met him…
      I’m not bitter actually. I was really pissed off in the beginning, but it won’t do any good to be angry. You can’t force people to stay and sometimes it’s better to move on. Now I can play guitar, have a mohawk again and no one can say or do anything about it. 🙂

  2. Nice to meet you Cardinal although you’re looking a bit pissed off with the world. I live in an apartment building too which I mostly like. You meet some interesting people. I have the opposite experience to rebkin though as I meet most people in the lift.

  3. This post was worth reading if only for the single line: “If you ever find yourself in a similar situation and the door is warm – then don’t fucking open it!!” A really life-saving piece of advice. Great self-portrait.

    Life changes. This is my third marriage (his first — he lived with girlfriends but was smart enough to not MARRY them) and we’re celebrating our 25th anniversary this year. And they said it wouldn’t last 🙂

    • Thanks Marilyn. Yes, life changes all the time. It hits you in the face when you least expect it.
      “if the door is warm – then don’t fucking open it!!” can be life-saving. If only one person remembers this advice in a similar situation, I’ve done a good deed.

  4. I’m not sorry you couldn’t find any models … it means we finally get a chance to ‘meet’ you 🙂

    It sounds like your quota for life changes is rather full right now. I hope life stabilizes for you soon.

    • Thank you Joanne. Life has pretty much stabilized since we moved. The worst thing about the situation was that we had to continue to live in the same place for 4 months after we broke up. That sucked, but now things are already better. She likes her new place (that I got her through my contacts), I like my new place and most importantly our son seems to be doing fine and he really loves to stay here.

  5. Great self portrait- glad you’ve moved- sorry about the break up, I hope your “new life” holds good things for you and your son. I married a man who was divorced (4 kids) that was 24 years ago…..

    • Hehe, I’ve been busy living amongst cardboard boxes since January. I still have boxes to unpack and things to fix (I need to hang pictures and instruments on the wall), but I’m not sure where to put all the stuff in the boxes and I can’t hang stuff on the wall when my son is sleeping here.
      Slowly, but surely I’ll get there. 🙂

      Edit: Here’s another self-portrait

      • Wow I love that People are Plastic one. Very cool. Glad you’re back and moving forward. I’m sure it’s not easy having your life turned upside down. I knew a guy a long time ago whose wife left him. He came home from work and the apartment was empty except for a roll of toilet paper in the bathtub! Glad that didn’t happen to you and you still have your son. Here’s not a self portrait but you can see me here in this post.

        • Yes, I still have my son. Unfortunately his mom is a liar, but that’s not his fault.
          That’s a nice photo of you and your husband. The photographer should have made you guys turn just a little bit, so that you weren’t in the shadow.

          Coming home to only a roll of toilet paper in the bathtub?!? That must have felt bad! Poor guy.

          • Thanks about the photo. The photographer was taking everyone’s shot and it was like a herd of elephants lol. But I agree…a shame I’m not in the lime light as I should be! LOL. Yeah a roll of TP…pretty bad. Emotions sure get out of hand sometimes I guess.

  6. Hey Max, wishing you all good things going forward. And is this the expression on your face when you see my photos? I promise I will take better pictures next month. Really!

      • Thank you. I thought I’d better check. I’ll let you know when it’s posted.
        Also, I do hope you will be happy and comfortable in your new place and that your neighbours give you no trouble. There are 7 flats in the block in which I live and I’ve only laid eyes on 3 people after about 8 months and really, that suits me fine. In the last place I lived, a horrible boarding house, there was pretty well no privacy and bathrooms and kitchen were shared. Yuk! I love my new place. 🙂

        • I appreciate that you ask Ashely, but you have a free pass when it comes to copying and republishing self-portraits found in my blogs! 🙂

          It’s good that you got out of that boarding house. Shared bathrooms and kitchen… I hate places like that. Once I lived in a squatted house with a whole bunch of others. I tried to keep the kitchen clean, but since I was the only one there that actually cared about hygiene and food safety, I quickly gave up and moved out. It was an interesting place to stay and many of the inhabitants were nice, but it was too much work to clean up after amphetamine junkies and “anarchist” youngsters that didn’t care and were just freeloading.

  7. Yeah I “read” the photo the way of a very concentrated norwegian guy a little bit unsure about the technique works the way he wants… 😀

    “Obstacles encountered in life which doesn’t kill us, they make us stronger” 😉

    • Thanks Drake. You read it correctly: I have a lot to learn, new gear = new things to figure out and new possibilities! I’m looking forward to play around, learn and figuring it out.

    • Thanks for visiting the blog Rose. I usually don’t share stuff like this in the blog, but I agree with you that this story needed telling.
      You kind of already know this apartment (having been in the previous one) and you’re welcome back here any time you want. (I realize that it’ll be difficult because of the extremely long distance that now separates us, but you’re welcome anyway).
      I hope that your life in the new, magical, exotic place, far, far away is good with the both of you.
      Pass my greetings and a kiss on to your better half!

      • It’s cathartic to let it out. Damn you’re not alone in having had this experience. As you say , at least the mum is not being a b*****ch. be thankful for small mercies.

        • You’re right, it did feel a bit cathartic to let the shit out. When it comes to the kid, I’ll admit that she’s doing the right thing in this situation: no fuzzing & fighting over the kid. We share custody and help each other when needed.

  8. TV is taboo to me too – have lived in the same apartment for 20 years or so and seen many come and go but never a passed out pizza arsonist. Impressive portrait of a man with determination and not too many regrets

    • Thank you very much Malin, that’s a fantastic compliment. 🙂
      I’m so hot that I have to be careful when I see a fire truck coming – they might try to extinguish me!

  9. Very sorry to hear about things between you and your ex-wife. But it sounds like things are moving along, and everybody is too. That’s how the world works – it turns and spins and waits for no one. What a bit of a story. Going to sleep while the pizza is cooking is beyond me…I mean, it’s pizza…good food…

    I’ve never had any annoying neighbours. I live in a block of apartments five minutes from the city in Melbourne and most of the units are rented out to university students. The only noise I have to put up with is loud music and screaming when they throw their end-of-semester parties every few months.

    Brilliant selfie with a good camera, Cardinal. You make taking selfies with it look easy…something I hope to figure out someday. And you make a good model, just saying.

    • It’s best that we broke up now rather than in a few years, our boy is still so young that it’s easy for him to adjust.
      “Going to sleep while the pizza is cooking is beyond me…I mean, it’s pizza…good food…”
      Haha, thanks for making me laugh! 😀 I love your train of thought there.
      Loud music can be annoying, but normally people in Oslo calm down around midnight, because then they hit the pubs & clubs, so the noise moves downtown.
      We have the train tracks outside our bedroom window. The train itself isn’t bothering, but every now & then they have to repair the tracks or perform some maintenance. Of course they have do it in the middle of the night, when there’s not much traffic…

      Let me know if you ever need a male model 🙂 (and thanks for the compliment).

      • Quite a number of apartments downtown in Melbourne aren’t far from pubs and bars unfortunately. But Iuckily not near mine.

        No worries, Cardinal. Would love to practise my photography on you. Always up to be a model for you too. Hope you’re having fun with the new toys this weekend 🙂

  10. Loved the self portrait and enjoyed your stories about your apartment complex. Entertaining read but maybe not always so entertaining to hear screaming and be awaken by fires. Good luck with your new place and status. As a divorced person myself, I can say I am so much happier now than I was a few years ago. It takes times to adjust though…and who wants a dang TV anyway! 🙂

    • Yes, I don’t want the TV, nor the wife. She was telling lies directly to my face about going to Sweden, but I knew that she was going to Holland so I said: “Sweden? I thought you were going to Holland?!”
      “No, I’m going to Sweden”, she claimed.
      A couple of weeks later, just a day or two before departure, she told me that she’d changed plans and weren’t going to Sweden after all,but to Holland… Then she lied to me again and said that it was something she’d suddenly decided…
      She’s a deceitful person talking with two tongues, so I’m better off without her.

      • So sad to hear this Cardinal. I cannot even tell you how many lies I have been told as well. Sad that some go to the trouble to come up with things. I can barely remember what I walked into the next room for or what I ate at times, so I find it hard to believe that some people can remember a stack of lies. It sounds like you are better off indeed. I always hear that things happen for a reason. Sometimes I don’t have the faintest clue what the reasons could be, but I try to hold onto that faith regardless. Hang in there and start your new journey with a smile:)

  11. “This story needed telling”….I’m quoting rosedayjo because it was what I thought after reading it.
    Life is always moving ,dear CG ….
    Best wishes for you and your kid!

  12. Awesome self portrait! Sorry you have been going through tough times but it sounds like you have everything under control. Hope you have an interesting weekend.

    • Thank you. The weekend has been great so far. Tomorrow is the constitution day of NOrway, so there’ll be a big parade and a lot of things happening. It looks like the weather will be crap, so I’m not sure if I’ll bother to document it with photos…

    • There’s a lot more to the story than the TV: I only scrathced the surface a bit. Perhaps I will tell the whole story some other time. Anyway, she can take the TV and piss off. It’s a shame that I will have to deal with her until my son is 18.

      Edit: I almost forgot to say thank you so much for the compliments! 😀

  13. I think this might be my favourite post by you… It so brings me back to the period shortly after I moved out and divorced: my general mood was similar to yours. It’s probably a pretty universal experience. Your photo is stunning btw, it’s good to “meet” you eventually 🙂

    • Thanks for inadvertently being the inspiration behind this post Mara. If I hadn’t read the post about your neighbors in your blog, this post wouldn’t have been written. It’s nice to hear that you think the photo is stunning.

        • I haven’t done any modelling for other photographers though, so I don’t know if I’d be any good at it. I’d might feel uncomfortable. When I take self-portraits I know the photographer and feel comfortable around him 🙂 If the chance of modelling will ever appear, I’m sure I’d give it a go.
          I had the «Hey look at me!! Hello world?? Attention please!!!”» version of a mohawk in my teens, but I like this one much better and I’m glad to hear that you like it too. It was brand new when I took these shots last week.

          • Now you make me want to try my hand at self-portraits too. As you point out, I might be the only photographer I’d feel comfortable around. Or I might just want to read my camera manual first before attempting anything ambitious. *snort*

  14. Wow. Self-portrait is awesome, intense and awesome. Story is gripping. Sorry you had to experience the breakup but from reading all the comments it sounds like you are started down a better road anyway. Having been through a painful divorce years ago (he was a most untrustworthy fellow) I can look back and say it was a VERY good thing. I’ve never been happier. May you find your authentic happiness, too. Or maybe you already have. Best to you all.

  15. Selfies now? Civilisation as we know it will begin to devolve into chaos good sir :). However, I just realised, I am guilty of the same on my last post. You’ve got some serious concentration happening there by the way.

    • Civilisation will definitely devolve into chaos, I agree on that, but no, it’s not a selfie. It’s a self-portrait. There’s a difference between the two. Thanks for the comment Brad, I’ll head on over to your blog to check it out now.

  16. Can I say that this the best post of all that you have on your blogs ? They are good, but this is a masterpiece !!
    Most of them have used the word, fierce, It describes your portrait aptly.
    To me, you remind me of my fav character, Wolverine !! Not only fierce, but that determined look ‘ you gonna mess with me ? think again’.
    Partings are painful. But it ushers in new beginnings.
    All the best Max !!

    • If you’ve read/seen them all, then: Yes, you can! If not, then you can’t. (just kidding of course).
      I loved that ‘fierce’ description too, Barry started a good thing there. I saw that X-Men movie many years ago and the Wolverine was cool, thanks Andy! I’ll admit that I have nothing against being compared to cool characters.

  17. P.S. Is this what you sounded like: Dette er siste jævla gang du gjør en jævla pizza og gå i dvale deg dum dritt !!!” ?

    • Haha, no that would be google translate talking gibberish 😀
      “Dette er faen meg siste gang du lager en jævla pizza og går og legger deg, din forpulte idiot!”

        • “Forpulte” is kind of an untranslatable adjective. It’s normally translated as “fucking” (as in ‘forpulte idiot – fucking idiot’), but the word doesn’t really exist in English. “Forpulte” is more harsh than “fucking” (still talking about the adjective, not the verb). ‘Forpulte’ means something like ‘overly-fucked’.

  18. Your story is Intense and it is good to see your face 😃
    Wishing you every happiness for the future – thriving is good – and Im so happy to hear your young man is doing well!

    • Thanks Robyn. My face is a natural place for women to rest their eyes for a while 🙂
      My son loves the new place. He’s finally allowed to drive around inside on his little blue car and make a lot of noise. The trains that are passing by is also extremely exciting for him. I can enjoy some trainspotting too, but he takes it to a whole new level!

  19. Remarkable intensity.
    Honest expression of feelings & experiences:
    Open bravery of self revelation.

    On a lighter note, my brain did an eye scan processing glitch and I combined titles when I first looked at the main page. Read the title of lead post as “Self-portrait with Beggar with Child”. Momentarily, I tried to figure out where you were in the shot And how you took the photo. 😀

    All the best as you transition to this new haircut in life. 🙂

  20. Wow Cardinal, big changes for you . . . . and what a strong, determined self portrait for blazing the trail. All best wishes to you and your son. And fun with the new gear!

    • Big changes, that’s for sure! People even refer to changes like this as life-crisis, but for me it’s just an obstacle compared to other situations that I’ve had in the past.
      Crisis? No. New opportunities? Yes.

  21. Hi again CJ. Lucile tells me you now have an OMD. I’m thinking about getting one too. Did you get the new M5 MkII? It’s a lot of money but I want something light and compact but powerful. Which lens do you have?

        • You won’t be disappointed with the M5 MkII, I can guarantee you that. If you have a smart phone, you can use it as a remote for the camera and it even has a “complete silence” option, which is perfect for street photography.
          If you buy the camera, I can recommend this helpful video on assigning swithces to the camera. I watched it yesterday and I’ve already customized some of the settings to fit my style.
          (Watch it on YouTube instead of here, because then you can see the index of the video and skip directly to the parts that are relevant for you):

    • I got the camera afterwards, but the TV was an interference. For example I could never play the guitar, because there was always something that she needed to watch on the TV.
      Even when the “break-up process” was new and I wanted to talk about it to see if we could go to family therapy, she suddenly said: “we’ll talk about this later, because I’m watching this show now.”
      For her it was more important to see which strangers that won “the race to the million”, than it was to try fix our own lives.

  22. I’ve seen so many different self-portraits of you that at first I wondered if this is really you 🙂 so it’s good to see you, Cardinal, it’s an awesome self-portrait…
    it’s funny, my ex wanted the TV… and I just wanted him out of my life … an end always brings new beginnings!!
    you just hang in there 🙂

    • Yes, this is really me. More me than the other self-portraits I guess, because this is the latest version – updated with beard and mohawk. I don’t understand what is so interesting with TV’s?
      Take the TV and fuck off I say to them all. Let’s hope that the new beginning will be a good one. Sometimes beginnings are just too slow and boring. A good beginning on a great adventure, that would have been something.

      • one thing is certain, adventures dont happen to those sitting in front of TVs 😀
        I believe that beginnings may be slow and working at their own pace, but a change is always for the better 🙂

  23. Nice to meet the real you Cardinal 🙂 Relationships eh? Sometimes good, sometimes bad, always changing. Glad to hear that things are sorted re: accommodation, sounds like you have very interesting experiences of living in a flat. I won’t live in one again, unless it it the penthouse suite! Neighbours above constantly had their washing machine on ( I reckon they were running an illicit laundry service), neighbour below cooked his socks (no, actually it was probably his fishing kit, but oh, boy did it stink!) so no more flats for me! Take care, have fun with your boy and here’s to a new beginning for you both – 😀

    • Thanks Jude.
      Apartments can be great, but with bad neighbors it can also be a nightmare. We had some neighbors once that very often played the music so loud that we couldn’t hear the TV in our living room. The father of that neighbor owned the building, so he did whatever he wanted too – a spoiled little cunt.
      Once I went up there and shut off their electricity (the fuse box was in the stairway). Then he got really pissed off, came running down and tried to force himself into our apartment. I know some self-defense, so I stopped him using nothing but his own weight and two of my fingers.
      He ran back up to the others (they were having a party) and I could hear him yelling and screaming that I’d nearly chocked him to death.

    • Yes and no: I know how to play drums, but I don’t have a drum set. As young teenagers in a band, we used to swop places/instruments a lot. I know that I look a bit angry in this shot, but I wasn’t. I was just concentrated on operating the camera which was brand new, but I really like the result with the angry looks and it goes well with the story too.

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