August 2012 Member Spotlight – shotgunjen Edition
For the members that have been with the Gunslingers for a few years, you probably have fond memories of racing some karts or staying up to the wee hours of the morning talking with shotgunjen. For the considerable amount of members to sling with the rest of us since that time, your introduction to her may have been through the ongoing love and support we all collectively post as she battles with cancer. However you know her, join me as we take a moment to learn more about the talented and creative soul we are proud to count as a fellow Gunslinger.
GS: You joined the Gunslingers way back in April of 2009. How ever did you happen to come across us, and what games are you playing now?
shotgunjen: I had just started playing MKW (Mario Kart Wii) and was looking for some nice people to race with. I searched the mariokartwii.com forums for clans and found GS/SS to be the most interesting. I visited the chat and got greeted by a whole bunch of friendly folks, and just like that I was part of the gang. I remember sitting up all night and all morning just racing and yapping on Skype, insane fun.
GS: Listening to your music that you have shared in the GS Jukebox, it is no secret that you are talented, creative person. How long have you been composing and writing music? What other artists have particularly inspired you?
shotgunjen: I don’t know about talented, but thank you, Lee! I’ve only written songs for a few years. I started in 2005 with my first songs, and now I haven’t really composed or written anything for the last couple of years, just bits and pieces (maybe that should be the title of my next album, “Bits and Pieces” hehe). I get inspired by a lot just in everyday life, but when it comes to artists I’d have to say that Tom Waits has been a great inspiration to me. As has Joni Mitchell, Nick Cave, Jeff Buckley, Pink Floyd, Leonard Cohen … And more.
GS: Speaking of your music, your live cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is breathtaking. Can you tell us more about the setting and circumstances around that particular live performance? Where was it played, for example?
shotgunjen: Wow, thank you very much. Well, this was back in the days when I went to high school. We were having this concert in the school concert hall. And those who wanted to could sign up and then get the approval and the time on stage. I teamed up with this guitarist (’cause I suck at playing the guitarr, ssscch.) and we decided to do this song. I had loved it since forever and he, well he heard it in an episode of the TV series… I think it’s called O.C (lol). Anyway he liked it a lot also so we started rehearsing, and it all went well. At the day of the concert, the concert hall was packed with people and there was a really good mood. I couldn’t really hit the lowest notes because one to many whiskey the day before but people seemed to enjoy it anyway, and so did we.
GS: You have spoke of other creative ventures in previous discussions. What are some other artistic exercises do you partake in to keep the creative juices flowing?
shotgunjen: I just finished two purses, which I made out of leather. It was fun, but a bit tricky. I started on this crazy idea that I should make my own chess board, but I only made it to, like, four pawns, which I carved out of wood and then I got sick of it. I also made a bunch of bracelets made of braided tin wire and leather. Now days I’ve been making a lot of pottery. I also started on a leather belt but that’s on hold for now. Right now, I’m in the process of making these kind of silly looking owl paintings in bright colors for Stellas room, my brother’s baby.
GS: Being that you reside in Sweden, what are destinations a traveler must see while in your country to get the most out of their experience? Where are some places around the globe you have traveled yourself? Do you have any favorite spots?
shotgunjen: Oh jeez, what do I know of Sweden? (Starts thinking) We have a bunch of old castles, if you consider visiting a castle an experience… Hm… We have a lot of beautiful nature. I guess that’s about it. Oh wait, Gotland is nice (it’s an island in the Baltic Sea). We had a gig there, like, two years ago. I have been to America twice, once in Florida and once in LA. I really liked Venice, Lee! I traveled a lot with my family when I was younger. We went to Italy, Venezuela, Thailand, Greece like once a year and Poland. I’ve been to England at least three times, and I love Camden. I’ve been to Ireland three times and I really loved it there. Cork is beautiful.
GS: How many languages do you speak? What are they? Most importantly, how do you say “Frosty Pints” in each of them?
shotgunjen: English, Swedish, Polish and I can understand and speak a little Greek.
In Swedish: Iskalla stora starka (ice cold big ‘n strong)
In Polish: zymne duze (cold big)
In Greek: παγωμένη μπύρα (ice cold beer)
GS: Have you been watching the Olympics? If so, what are some of your favorite sport events in or outside of the Olympics?
shotgunjen: I don’t watch the Olympics much. Sometimes I have it on in the background, and it’s always fun when someone from Sweden wins, but I don’t care that much. I like to watch football. My brother, and my father too are big Chelsea supporters so I have seen a game or two in my life. Also I like to go to the local pub with Owl (The arcade freak in the forums) and watch the game when our city’s team is playing.
GS: Many Gunslingers at this point know you through your continued “Get Well” thread. We all are sending our love in your battle against cancer. Is there anything you would like to say at this point or comfortable sharing?
shotgunjen: I want to begin with saying that I feel pretty alright at the moment. The tumor (for those who doesn’t know, I’ve had a tumor which they surgically removed in 2008 that came back the Christmas before this one) is suppressed and not moving neither growing right now. I am not cured and the chances that I will be is like winning the jackpot on the lottery. The illness that I’m suffering from is called Anaplastic Astrocytoma, type 3. I won’t live as long as most of you. The tumor will come back, we just don’t know when. But when it does, I promise I’ll be a fighter and survive a third surgery, and I can take more chemo to curb it. So I won’t be done when it comes back. Unfortunately, I can’t get any more radiation therapy, since I’ve had a lifetimes dosage already.
The only ways that I’ve been damaged by these treatments are the memory. It’s not as good as it used to be. I’m more confused, slow and weaker. Other than that I’m pretty good. And I am so grateful for having the support of GS through all the rough times. You’ve made me cry, laugh and sometimes both at the same time. I am also grateful that I live in a country where there IS help to get. Man-oh-man am I lucky. So, I’m not that unlucky, after all!
GS: Which is more appealing to you during a particularly cold winter? Enjoying the snow with friends or reading a book near a fireplace? If the former, what snow activities do you enjoy the most? If the latter, what are your favorite authors? Of course, feel free to cheat and answer both scenarios.
shotgunjen: I choose to cheat. I’d build snow lanterns outta snowballs or maybe try to make a cave. Riding a sled is also fun. Dragging it up the hill, not so much fun. If I’d start a fire in my apartment, I’d probably get kicked out with my head first right into the snow, so lets say it’s a blanket instead. Hm. Favorite authors. I haven’t read that many books by one author. But I love Neil Gaiman, I just love the way he writes. He has such an infinite imagination.
GS: What is your drink of choice?
shotgunjen: Rum with coke (preferably Pepsi Max) and a LOT of lime or lemon. Or just an παγωμένη μπύρα!
Thank you, Jenny, for taking the time to answer our questions. We are lucky to have you as a member. Gunslingers, you can send your positive thoughts and well wishes via the Get Well Thread. Large or small. We are all in this together.