Friday, January 26, 2007

Keep your head and sponges outside of the microwave at all times

Apparently, recent reports that microwaving a sponge is a very efficent way of disinfecting it, has caused some people to microwave sponges - without wetting them first. Maybe they should have a pop quiz in the manual so that people could tell if they are qualified to operate the microwave or not before trying it :)


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Live 105

Friends, strangers, patronns of ze blogging. I've been coding python all day and I think I'm starting to like it. It's quite neat actually. But now on to something completely different..

I usually listen to the KITS Live 105 morning broadcasts when driving to work because they are so wonderfully sarcastic and funny. I love it when they are reading the traffic report and have a laughing sound in the background as the reporter lists accidents and clogged roads you should avoid that morning.
I found some scripts for it on their website too, so all of you living outside of the Bay Area can have a look at all the high quality content :)

Update: Looks like you can stream it of the web if you sign up or whatever


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Getting used to it the other way around

I continue my rant on the Swedish mindset which has become so much more apparent to me lately. I found this list quite amusing:

You know you've been in Sweden too long when


You get used to it

Hey y'all.

I'm getting used to life in the U.S. The novelties that in the beginning constantly reminds you that you are not livning in Sweden any more are sinking in. What was not logical has become logical, from the new perspective of things. And what yet still is not logical has been accepted as the way things are. Then life sort of converges to an every day life iteration. But that is an iteration that is always breakable as long as you remeber to remember that it is.

About getting used to things. A couple of swedish friends of mine have lately been complaining a lot about how how tough and boring life is (It's not you Karl-Oscar :) , though your post made me think about it). A little bit of this is part of the swedish attitude. It's part of social practice to complain a little about the state of things. This makes me want to introduce to the reader a not very well known swedish singer, and a song that artfully embraces this attitude, and brings it to the point of excess:

Kjell Höglund - Man vänjer sig
(Unfortunately only in Swedish)

This song usually makes me snap out of it, when I've momentarily stuck in the pattern of thinking that life is in an unrepairable rut.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

All quiet on the eastern front

As work is super busy right now and my hands are kind of aching from typing some four pages of technical text and doing several urgently needed illustrations for my somewhat confused (and stressed!) coworkers... I don't particularly feel to write much in my pitifully neglected blog. Seriously, Robert, your house was demolished and you got a 740?! Cool...

So, for a funny story I heard of:

Jan 15, 2007
TALLINN - Caretakers of a medieval citadel in Rakvere, northeast Estonia, were left embarrassed after the Swedish flag was hoisted above the castle tower instead of Estonia’s national strip on Jan. 12.
The mistake was noticed by outside observers, who quickly called the operators of the Rakvere castle museum to alert them of the apparent invasion.
The error came about due to an apparent similarity between the Swedish flag and the flag of Rakvere city, which has a similar design.
To mark the anniversary of Rakvere’s liberation in the 1918-1920 War of Independence, the city’s flag was to be hoisted above the castle.
The error was corrected in a matter of hours.

It kind of feels like I am getting into a bit of a routine here in Estonia now. A new hamster wheel? Well, I don't mind particularly, and all the hard work is keeping me busy and reasonably happy. My hopes are it will pay off nicely in a while of course. What could I write of interest? Of course I still would want to write that thing about my impressions of Estonia, and work is still super exciting and we've made much progress toward actually managing customers... but that's about it.

Except we need to find a new apartment by early summer at latest. We're probably buying. How many adult points did a shared mortgage score now again?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Extreme weather

It's chilly in the Bay Area. Me and some of my colleagues shared a laugh this week about the government reactions to the unusual weather. We sure hope all the Californians will get through this frosty siege.

Let's quote the Chronicle:

"An overnight low of 31 degrees was forecast for the city. The frigid weather is expected to continue through the weekend. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency because of the extreme cold"

The San Francisco Chronicle
Saturday, January 13, 2007

31 degrees F is about -0.5 degrees C. The California Health & Human Services Agency issued this Preparation Guide during the week.

Some quotes:

"Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions."

"Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs."

Oh well. Guess I’ll be chilling out as well this weekend.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

To be continued

What happened that Christmas was that everyone from the Bergmansion went home to Sweden again, except for Walker who is also staying in the US for some more months.

Walker, and our main character Robert, moved to their own respective apartments during the second week of December. Robert then caught a flight to spend some time with his relatives and friends in Sweden.

The Bergmansion was demolished, leaving a $1,1M patch of dirt and gravel, and many fond memories of all the fun it was living there that summer.

Robert came back to Sillicon Valley and realized that it was time to get a car, and that still the American dream car was not in his budget. So he got the next best thing...

..a Volvo 740 wagon.

He also got a good start with his thesis work. The deparment and managers are eagerly waiting for the tools his ideas will spawm. Unfortunately (or maybe not), to protect his employer, he is unable to tell you much of the details.

And so the adventures continue, as the world turns and brings us into the new year..

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

If Swedish breakfast was holy, I could call myself a pilgrim

Having been awake for 24 hours already, keeping me alert from Amsterdam by chatting with my neighbor on the plane about the US, the state of the Swedish automation industry, and how it was lake vacationing in Holland, I boarded a Malmoe Avivation flight from Gothenburg-Landvetter to Stockholm-Bromma around 7 pm.

The sore throat and itchy nose-thing that broke out sometime after takeoff from San Francisco airport kept me tried but awake, and while descending to Bromma I thought I saw Stockholm made out of gingerbread houses, with sleighs and reindeers moving around. I closed my eyes and saw colleagues and friends dressed up as Santa, or made out of gingerbread. Closing my eyes was like going into some kind of semi-sleep state where you are strangely aware and may control some but not all of the content and flow of your thoughts, thought that cause all kinds of stupid shit to visualize inside your head.

About an hour later, after grabbing a cab at the airport I arrived at the Hotel Anglais, instantly passing out on the bed. 4 am I woke up, after 5 hours of sleep. Not the least bit tired. There goe my sleep-awake-rhythm, I thought to myself.

I made travel arrangements for that day and got ready to eat breakfast at 6:30 am.

The breakfast, the first Swedish breakfast in a very long time, was maybe the closest to a religious experience I have ever come. Eggs and "Kalles kaviar", really good dark bread, incredibly nice (meaning cute) serving staff, "filmjölk" and tasty cereal. Dim lights, still dark outside, lit candles. The feeling of not having to hurry anywhere. Fresh orange juice and real strong Swedish-roasted coffee. The rich taste of the cucumber and tomatoes..
I was close to shedding a tear when the realization of all this beauty hit me.

Business people, in suites and the like, were sitting around me in the sparsely occupied dining hall, discussing something or reading their newspapers. The scene was calm, tidy, proper, beautiful.. divine.

I choose not to pick up one of the newspapers, but to just sit there and watch the scene while eating my breakfast, studying the other participants. Maybe they were going to meetings, conferences, fairs. Maybe the fates of their companies were to be decided in a few hours. Who knows? It's silent. Every once in a while a car passed outside of the large windows facing the street.
Later in my room, I turn on the TV with the morning news while preparing to leave for the US embassy. The broadcast too seemed calm, as if a spell was cast to make everything that morning slow and relaxed. There was a news break about a big section of highway near Gothenburg collapsing because of heavy rainfall. With a yawn I turned it off and headed out to meet the day.