I’ve had this decent idea for a post popping up in my mind twice and then dropping out of it before I had a chance to write myself a note. It’s something about fragments, about beginnings of stories stacked onto each other like a collage. Or so I seem to remember. Maybe it will come back to me.

So, instead, here are some random jottings about my Christmas.

  • We have a lot of snow and I have been shoveling selected bits away from the yard and the outdoors stairs using a shovel that the previous owner of the house left for us in the garage.
  • I also had to shovel a track to the compost container. Trucking compostable waste to a garbage incineration plant is just stupid.
  • We haven’t had any sunshine, so I have taken walks with my mp3 player instead of going skiing on the golf course. I am unhappy with the quality of recent Skepticality episodes and I consider Dr. William Meller to be a Palaeolithic romantic and a Zen hippie muddlehead. In other words, I am skeptical of his claims.
  • My dad gave me a book of fancy bread recipes and complained about the bread I bake every two weeks or so. My non-fancy bread takes about 2:15 h to make from start to finish. Looking at the first recipe in the book, the basic levain, I found that it takes about 6:00 h to make — provided that you have already prepared a yeast culture some days beforehand by dunking raisins in water and leaving in out on the countertop to ferment.
  • My kids have the flu, poor tykes.
  • I’ve read Shea & Wilson’s first Illuminatus! book and found it mildly entertaining. Its paranoid pattern-seeking then turned up in another book, Fredrik Strage’s Fans, in the thinking of a schizophrenic woman who believed an old celebrated poet communicated with her through ads and headlines in newspapers. I also read Jincy Willett’s 2003 novel Winner of the National Book Award and liked it though it has a poorly crafted fizzle ending. Now I’m reading J-K. Huysmans’s Against Nature.
  • I watched bits of The Wizard of Oz with my daughter and noted that some of the actors play double roles, both in Kansas and in Oz. I don’t remember getting that when I saw it as a kid. The same device of course occurs in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. (By the way, what is that spooky cartoon show my daughter watches where one of the characters is an unabashed ripoff of Riff-raff?)
  • My son and his mom gave me the Fleet Foxes album, and what little I’ve heard so far is great! Reminds me a lot of the Midlake album I bought at the recommendation of a Dear Reader.

What about you guys? Let’s hear something interesting about your Christmases!


16 thoughts on “Christmas

  1. It turned out children actually grows up and move away, beware! But I had a nice Christmas anyway, just a little more calm, silent and lonely. Not as lonely as it could have been thanks to my sister, but apart from Christmas Eve so far I have done nothing, and been all alone. Just film, books and food.:-) Wich will force me to go skiing. Your welcome to join me, we have good tracks if its not snowing all day.


  2. Just watched The Host. The best Korean movie I have ever seen. Also Sonetaula – who knew Sardinia was so beautiful?

    Just re-read Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. It is rich enough for me to find new stuff I missed in the first go-round.

    Also re-read Satrapi’s Persepolis and Broderies. She is great.
    And Near a Thousand Tables: A History of Food.

    I really enjoyed the book you recommended some months back, Let the Right One In, or whatever the exact title is. And so I dare to ask: could you please post more about what you read, and your reactions?


  3. I too think Skepticality has been of a lower quality… only I think it has already been like that for a couple of years. I remember unsubscribing after they teamed up with Skeptic (good idea as such), when Michael Shermer interviewed Ann Druyan and the quality of the audio was really abysmal. Really, no matter how good the content was, I’d like some basic respect for my eardrums.

    I listened only to one more post after that, which was the one about the author who wrote the definitive book about the Columbine shootings. Great content but I saw no reason to resubscribe.


  4. i make a simple flatbread every so often (in fact, i think today will be baking day). it takes maybe an hour and a half to prepare the dough — then another two to three hours, minimum, to roll it out into actual flatbreads and cook them one by one on a clamshell (“Foreman”) grill. at the end of the day, you have a couple dozen little flatbreads that seem to be eaten faster than it took to make them.


  5. Hm. Spent most of christmas day this year driving through your country (Trysil to Gøteborg) and not enjoying it at all – although I can hardly blame Sweden for our crazy planning. Christmas-Day lunch was a burger eaten standing in a Shell petrol station.


  6. We attended an all-you-can-eat sushi party in a youth hostel in eastern Hokkaido. Afterwards we went to a rotenburo (open-air hot spring – not a bathhouse, just an open pool open to anyone) nearby and soaked in the hot water while the stars glittered in the snow.


  7. So far the holiday has mainly been reading (which would be nicer if it weren’t to a purpose), but my brother and I descended on my mother’s house and split a load of logs from the wood next door so she now has a full shed of firewood in sizes she can handle. The payment for this was a truly excellent boeuf en croute 🙂

    Amazon has been trying to tell me I would like Fleet Foxes for a long time now. Usually stuff as fragile as reviews seem to suggest they are isn’t my thing, but I suppose I should make room for the idea that maybe they really are the next Pearls Before Swine. Gonna blog a review? 🙂


  8. Oh, and the first part of Illuminatus! is the best IMO. As the various plot lines begin to converge later on, one realises that it’s only the magic lantern effect of the writing style that made the suspension of disbelief possible.


  9. Dear Dr.Rundkvist,
    If you imagine that I am romantic about the Stone Age you might try reading my book. Life in the paleolithic was dirty, diseased, and harsh. Nasty brutish and short barely does it justice. on the other hand it WAS the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness for most human traits and the origin of many modern diseases.

    I would also be better described as an anti-zen, ex-hippie. I always appreciate skeptical critique of the ideas and research referred to in the book and usually find this sort of dialog more constructive. If you would like to discuss any of the science based medical thinking in the book, I would love to hear from you.
    I hope you are getting enough Vitamin D or sunshine on your walks.
    Bill Meller


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