Put on your Saturday Suit

Today was the joyous climax of Stockholm Pride, the Parade. I hadn’t seen it before, but others indicated it was relatively low density compared to when Stockholm Pride coincided with Euro Pride.

Still, it took the procession three hours to pass our perch on top of the exit of Söderleden.

I was a bit disappointed by how few Dykes on Bikes rolled at the front, but maybe the explanation was the absolutely huge crowd of pram-pushing gay parents coming somewhat later: they’d eventually had to switch vehicles…

Notable was how the political parties (with notable exceptions) embraced the issue and turned out in force, in some cases I suspect the entire party was there. However, Honeybuns noted that all political organisations (including trade unions) appeared in predictably modest and boring fresh and clean T-shirts made for the occasion. Nothing like the fancy outfits worn by, say, Scandinavian Leather Men, who I thought won the parade.

The gay clergy of the Church of Sweden was also there and I was much amused by the chosen musical accompaniment: “He has opened the Pearly Gates so that I can enter”. It was on purpose, right?

The gay members of the armed forces were there and carried a big banner—in a camouflage pattern, so I couldn’t see what it said.

When the end of the parade finally passed us we left to do some shopping, and apparently so did thousands upon thousands of other people, Stockholm was well crowded today.


Veckans ord: getölj

En gåvomöbel: getölj.


There’s no reason to applaud

One of the things that makes a spex a unique experience is that the audience can demand instant replays of particularly funny scenes, typically with an alternative rendition of the scene.

In the spex ”1492, eller, Expedition: Inkvisition” princess Joanna feigns madness in order not to be married off. Then she meets and falls in love with prince Philip. When Philip suddenly dies of poison she becomes insane for real. At the performance I saw this became an absolutely heart-rending scene. A small section of the audience shouted “Restart!”, but all the rest squeezed “No!” past the lumps in their throats. The emotions were too real, there could be no restart, no jokes to make light of what had happened. The play ended on an unusually sombre note for a spex.

I felt much the same when I finally heard the lyrics to “Another Day in Paradise”—how can you dance to this?



Word of the week: blight-seeing

And yet another president is blight-seeing at yet another natural disaster.



The voices in my head compel me: everybody else must also have this buzzing in their heads.


When bygones are bygones

Friday evening was spent at the Usual Place in the company of friends. Just as we got up to leave, my mother called.
“Hi, when are you coming over tomorrow?”
“…… Oh! The cherries! Right, er, uh, I’ll get in as early as possible.”
And so I did.

Mother’s cherry tree had excelled this summer and was full of plump red cherries. In a few hours we had picked perhaps 15 litres of cherries, and there were still plenty left in high branches. Being a mother, Mom admonished me sternly when I stood swaying on top of the ladder and reached for cherries, yet had no qualms at all about standing on the selfsame ladder, taking the saw to branches she decided were better off gone.

All picking done, I took some bags of cherries to take home and then we took some bags to my aunt. Chatting over cherries, coffee, cake, and Coke.
Then I got home for an evening of nothing special.

In the morning Mom called:
“Auntie said there were worms in the cherries, you should throw yours away.”
“Moom, I ain’t afraid of no worm. Anyway, I’ve put the cherries in the freezer, so any worms will be dead now.”

Honeybuns and I prepared for a day outing to somewhere, but just as we were ready to leave Auntie called. She’d just been on the phone with Mom again and Mom had had no recollection of any cherries, any visit, or anything. This surely couldn’t be good?
Uh-oh! I immediately called Mom and indeed she denied having talked to Auntie recently, did not recall having spoken to me either and certainly I hadn’t been there yesterday. Oh, no! 112 connects me to a nurse who listens to my explanation and suggests that it probably isn’t anything dangerous, but to go and check on Mom and call again if anything further happens.

In the taxi out I review the options and decide to take Mom straight into hospital anyway. As I arrive Mom is very upset, since I’m so clearly agitated.
“What’s happened? What have I done?”
I try to explain that she may have had a stroke and that I want her to see a physician. Further conversation makes clear that she has no memory of the last day or so, but neither is she aware of having lost any memories. She is much confused by my insistence that there is a problem, since she feels perfectly OK. When we get to A&E we are within minutes received by a neurologist and further testing bears out that this is the case: Mom is in good shape (for her age), knows perfectly well where we are, what day it is, who I am, and it’s so nice to see Honeybuns again. So, everything OK, except that Mom does not remember the events of the last day.
The neurologist explains that this probably is a case of transient global amnesia—causes are unclear, but it should clear up by itself with no aftereffects. Nevertheless, they’re going to run some additional tests and keep her for observation over the night.
After a CT Mom gets rolled up to a Neuro ward. More tests. She passes them all with flying colours. Some bits of memory seem to be returning, but Auntie’s phone call is still completely gone.

My brother and his girlfriend arrive. Sis is away, but is informed of events.

A decision is made and Mom gets rolled into the monitoring room. Four beds, all monitored from a central desk. Mom gets hooked up to a machine that goes bing. I’ve always found medical machinery comforting. Nothing shows that you’re taken care of as well as a machine that goes bing. Or breeep, as the case may be.

More tests are done in the course of the evening. Mom is perfectly clear and lucid. Eventually visiting hours are over and I have to leave.

In the morning, all us siblings call the ward in turns and get updates. More tests and then Mom is discharged. Probably nothing to worry about, but keep an eye open and do follow-up tests in a couple of weeks. Mom is much pleased to come home, but is still wondering about Auntie’s phone call that she just can’t remember.

Presumably I did the right thing taking Mom to hospital, even though it worried her and us others—it could have been something much more serious. Still, if Auntie hadn’t felt like making an extra phone call, possibly neither Mom nor anyone else would ever have noticed that anything was amiss, just another day in the life blurring into all other days and might not merit any specific mention.



 – Jag sköter gödslandet av rabatten, du ska bara skita i den!


Veckans ord: grötrim

Grötrim äro: blöt, nöt, söt, tröt, sköt, njöt, bröt, stöt, möt, slöt, göt, tjöt, ljöt, bröt, flöt, snöt och poet.


Poms vs Bruces

Have tried Vegemite. It is distinguishable in taste from Marmite, but not by much. Works well on toast.


Livet i överklassen

…och när man rumlat färdigt vid Stureplan går man till korvkiosken och köper en bratwurst.


Like a ferret

A recent research article indicates that people’s blogs correlate with their personality type, at least in the choice of words used.

Mattias Östmar has independently developed Typealizer, which analyses the contents of blogs and determines their personality type. This is the analysis of Pointless Anecdotes:

ESTP - The Doers

The active and playful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

I recognise the character, but it’s not me—Honey, you have taken over the blog…and I love you for that!


City on water

Delfin XA day of sweltering heat, time to do something! As last year, Honeybuns and I went touristing in our own city, this time on water: Under the Bridges of Stockholm with the long and low Delfin boats. We started with lunch, good and plentiful Thai dishes in one of the eateries in Kungsträdgården and then got on the boat at Strömkajen.

We leave the quay and don the headset for the audio guide. I turn to the Finnnish channel, to see what it’s like. I note that since there is a person speaking, the translation has to be good, as a Google translation would be unspeakable. (What if you did do a Google translation, that then was read by a non-native speaker? I just tested translating Swedish into Finnish and then running the results through the Speech service of my Mac. Oh dear, oh dear&hellip) As tour guides are wont, we get a stream of random factoids about Sweden and the parts of Stockholm we pass. In the breaks we get “Swedish music”: various hits arranged as cocktail jazz—just imagine “The Final Countdown” tinkled on piano. Or, rather, don’t.

Skerry boats by Skeppsbron

The city is at its best, the sun glitters in the water, the houses glimmer in the heat. People from all over the world have come to see the fabled city—the Chinese woman speaks with an unmistakeable Småland accent. A sea breeze blowing in through the open door to the bridge cools us. Happy screams from Gröna Lund echo over the water. Cruise ships line the quays, skerry boats, sailboats, jet skis, and RIB boats fill the water…


Out of nowhere Djurgården 7 turns up on our port side and only a sharp turn saves us from colliding, the boats miss each other with perhaps a metre to spare! While we passengers already have imagined tomorrow’s headlines featuring our watery demise, the captain doesn’t seem to think that there is anything amiss, as no apology or explanation for the event is given; we proceed as if nothing had happened to Karl-Johansslussen in order to enter the Mälaren side of Stockholm.

It is a hot day, and every bit of the waterfront is filled with people tanning or paddling about in the water.

Smedsuddsbadet utterly crowded

We round Reymersholme and continue through Årstaviken. All previous companies at my erstwhile working place seem to have been replaced by others, judging from the new logos on the glass façade of the building.

The tour guide prattles on about how the vikings honoured great story-tellers and another great story teller was Carl Michael Bellman. [Musical interlude] Argh! While Fred Åkerström was a famous Bellman interpreter, ”Jag ger dig min morgon” is not by Bellman, but Tom Paxton! (the original).

After having passed through Hammarbyslussen we pass
Hammarby Sjöstad, its buildings and inhabitants basking in the sun. On our way through Danvikstull the guide notes the sheer cliff face is a popular haunt for rock-climbers and indeed a woman is negotiating the cliff, her rope secured by her family. She looks around but decides not to wave at the passing boat.

Soon we have returned to our starting point and get ashore on schedule, 1 h 50 min after departure.

We feel like exploring more, so go for a walk around Skeppsholmen. One of the secret military tunnels in the rock exudes cold air and we stand at the entrance for a while cooling off.

We are still pretty thirsty and when we find Restaurang Hjerta we go in and order something to drink. This turns to be about as easy as buying cheese and it’s only late afternoon! In the end I get a glass of ice water, and not very good-tasting water at that (for free though).

We admire the ships along the quay. While they are all well-kept and well-loved, many of them clearly have not left their moorings for a long time, which is a bit sad. We follow the waterside and end up at af Chapman, where we get something decent to drink and while the afternoon calms down, we sit on the deck and philosophise on how the Red Queen’s Race manifests itself in our lives—you can never say “Yes, this is just enough work for me.”, but have to keep doing more things, just to get to keep doing the things you do.

Biological math

It just struck me that unicellular organisms multiply by dividing.


Tämliga barnvisor

Nisse ville sjöman bli,
segla till Jamaica.
Beska piller fick han då,
tvångströja fick han också
om den breda, ludna bringan.


Veckans ord: vitterhetsakademin

Vittrorna är upprörda. Inte nog med att befolkningen i gemen är avogt inställda mot dem, det finns en hel statsstödd akademi som hetsar mot dem.


From the Tourist Board of Västerbotten

Some holiday snaps:

The bog on top of Nalovardo. Needs more elk, says Honeybuns.


Waterpolished rock at Mårdseleforsen. Honeybuns used this as a slip-and-slide in her youth.


Serious forest in Vindeln. This is a couple of kilometres from the town centre.

Fir forest

Storsjö is getting depopulated.

A very decrepit barn

Not visible in the photographs are the mosquitoes. One evening Honeybuns noted with some concern that I had a biggish rash on my arm and wondered what had happened. I responded, with some surprise that she had to ask:
“It’s a mosquito bite, and here’s another, and another, and another, and another, and another…”
“What!? You’re not immune?”
Oh, so that’s why people manage to live up here…


Social services

A couple of weeks ago my employer informed us in a brief meeting that the company would perform “cost reductions”, i e layoffs. Further information to come by the end of June. I had seen the writing on the wall and wasn’t particularly surprised, but unemployment was of course still a course of concern, so as soon as the meeting was over I got on Facebook (allowed at work) and sent out an SOS. Within minutes consolation and suggestions started coming in. A particularly hot tip came from a former student who works for Major Corporation. By next evening I had updated and sent off my CV. In the morning came the phone call: could I come for an interview the next day? Indeed I could!

A week later I was in for a second interview. I left with a signed contract and felt relieved, elated, nervous about how I’ll manage the new job, but also deeply grateful to my friends who came through so effectively, and of course also to the fancy social networking system that speeded up the job search so remarkably.

Now I’m wrapping up stuff and will soon be looking at the world from Kista Science Tower. Banzai!


Special people for special baggage

Once we at the lab were going to an important conference to demonstrate some multimodal interaction and thus had to bring quite a bit of Fragile and Expensive Equipment with us. We packed it as carefully as we could, wrapping stuff in layers of our underwear, bubble wrap, foam peanuts and other soft items we could find. Then off we went to Arlanda and as we checked in we explained we had Fragile Things with us, so could they please be extra careful with them?
“Oh, then you must take it to Special Baggage around the corner there. Here’s some FRAGILE tape for you to mark your boxes with.”
We criss-crossed the box with red-and-black FRAGILE markings and then went around the corner to Special Baggage. Nobody there. We looked around a bit and went:
“Ho-hoo! Anybody heere?”
Presently a lady came out, looking very bored and continuing to look bored while she had us put our box on a conveyor belt and supplied it with the necessary bar codes.
Then she started the belt. We looked curiously as the box slowly moved towards a rubber curtain at one end of the room and then started parting the curtain so we could see beyond it. NOOOOOO!!! I threw myself towards the curtain and the π/4 incline beyond it. Too late, we could just watch in dismay as the box tumbled end over end down the seemingly infinite belt. The baggage lady barely bothered to look up at the commotion, but wore an expression of dull incomprehension: what were we going on about?

It was with some trepidation that we unpacked our precious box at our destination, but our careful wrapping had paid off and everything was in fact unharmed.

Now, many years later, I was again at Arlanda (I know, I know, but at least I’ve had planted 80 trees in Africa as an attempt at expiation) and, as usual, belatedly realised that my army knife had somehow returned to my pocket from the big bag that I had already checked in. What to do? Better put the knife in the backpack I had intended to carry on board and check it in. I return to the baggage drop and explain the situation and note I have fragile stuff in the backpack (the work laptop, some stuff supposedly couldn’t wait until after the vacation).
“Oh, then you should take it to Special Baggage over there.”
I take the backpack over to Special Baggage, where the guy at the counter x-rays it and notes I have a knife in the bag. Indeed. All contents of the bag are clearly visible on the display.

Off we fly and when we have arrived, refreshed ourselves and all that, I pick up the laptop to have a look at the latest messages. Oh, foo! The screen is cracked. Somewhat incensed I navigate a number of answering machines until I get hold of a person at SAS Baggage Handling. No, no, computers are not allowed in checked-in baggage, it’s all my own fault if anything got broken, and clearly their check-in staff has no responsibility to inform anyone of anything. Aargh!

Trains it is for the future!


Young art

A rainy street in Stockholm.As the Only-Begotten Daughter reminds me, she has recently had her first art exhibition.

Teater Accént, in addition to schooling young performers, have initiated Galleri Accént, where young artists can exhibit their work in the theatre’s premises. So the OBD and several of her friends worked hard for weeks sculpting, photographing and painting, spreading the word through all those wonderful social media and then rigged up the labyrinthine cellar spaces of Teater Accént with both art and a nice setting for viewing.

This is when we arrived on the scene. I was pleased and proud, though not a bit surprised, to find that the Daughter’s pieces were among the best featured, in particular her photography. (Anything else would clearly have been against the laws of (parental) nature.) She even managed to sell a painting (though not the featured one).


Burial traditions

Walking through Vindeln cemetery I found the headstones rather spooky as they often had a still-living spouse’s name already engraved, just waiting for the final date to be added:

Herman Holmlund, his wife Anna

Unfamiliar to me was also the custom of carefully mentioning the home parish of the dead. I wondered in confusion if the family dog had been buried in the same grave, but of course Rambo was where they (had) lived:

Lindberg family from Rambo

Particularly sobering was the mass grave for Finnish infants evacuated from Rovaniemi. We searched the church; there were lots of leaflets in several languages on the history and architecture of the church but no information on the refugees and how they had come there.

27 buried refugees


Veckans ord: reparationsångest

Det är alltid lite läskigt att sätta igång även med absolut nödvändiga lagningar, man lider av reparationsångest.

Dress code

I don’t have very good memory for faces, so that I didn’t quite recognise the fellow coming towards me in the street was no surprise, but the T-shirt he wore came from a data communications workshop small and obscure enough that I knew all participants and it had been twenty years; accordingly I greeted him cordially.

It turned out that while he liked the T-shirt a lot, he had no idea what it represented—he’d been given it at the homeless shelter.

I think this is what sartorially immaculate Honeybuns has been trying to tell me: hobos look just like computer scientists.