Last week was skiing break for my kids. I couldn’t find anywhere good to stay in the mountains, so we didn’t go off on holiday. Here’s what we did for fun instead.
- Dinner at the home of a Chinese friend. It was one of those no hablar parties that spouses in multi-ethnic marriages know all about. The food was great and everybody there except me spoke Mandarin – loudly and incessantly. I’ve never minded much: this time I had brought a book and there was a computer to play with.
- Birthday party at the home of an Iranian friend. He used to be a death-metal kid. Now he’s a pro-democracy Persian patriot. Everybody wore green.
- Watched the new Alice in Wonderland movie in 3D and in the country’s largest movie theatre. The kids loved it. I didn’t. Instead of Carroll’s original bad acid trip with language games they’ve made it into a slightly sappy Narnia thing where the characters have names and relationships and there’s even a fixed geography. But the lead actress does a fine job and is nice to look at.
- Karaoke night: my kids wowed all the grown-ups with their skillz. Did you know that there’s a Chinese expression for someone who won’t share the mike? Mai ba, “Microphone Tyrant”. All the Beatles songs were accompanied by embarrassing footage of a look-alike band. In order to believe that they really look alike, you have to think that all European males look the same.
- Went downhill skiing at the towering old Flottsbro landfill. It’s just across the lake from Ãlvesta, in plain view of where I practiced fieldwalking back in ’08. For skiing, I still use the gear my parents gave me in 1988. Need to sharpen the edges.
- Went skating and cross-country skiing.
- Got beaten twice at Yspahan and once at Settlers of Catan by my buddy Oscar. That’ll teach me to take up with strange men that I meet at on-line discussion forums about, ah, shall we say… specialised pastimes.
- Juniorette went with the neighbours and watched The Princess and the Frog, and Grandma took her to the Museum of Nordic Culture.
The skiing break then ended on a non-fun note when the entire Rundkvist family was laid low by a calicivirus on Sunday.
Thanks to Swedepat for the tip-off.
Spring has reputedly reached certain areas way south of where I still shovel snow daily, and with it comes Antiquity’s spring issue. This is of course an intensely interesting journal, and not solely because the summer issue will feature that opinion piece of mine that I quoted from on the blog recently. In the following are some highlights. All links will give you abstracts and then present you with a pay wall.
[More blog entries about archaeology, Antiquity, megaliths, race, Roman; arkeologi, Rom, England, raser, bautasten.]
Human eyes and brains are still way, way better at image recognition than computers. There are many visual tasks that we do swiftly ourselves but that we can’t yet get machines to do reliably at all. In January of ’06 I blogged about the Stardust @ Home project where you can help identify particles of interplanetary dust and comet-tail debris in a huge library of digital micrographs. Now I’ve learned from the BBC’s Digital Planet podcast about Solar Stormwatch, where you can help forecast coronal mass ejections and other destructive solar activity that humanity needs early warning about. Check it out!
[More blog entries about space, astronomy, sun; rymden, astronomi, solen.]
Weatherwise, last weekend was thawing and misty and overcast, so I didn’t feel like doing much outdoors. I finished reading Daryl Gregory’s new novel (didn’t do much for me) and started Douglas Adams’s fifth Hitch-hiker book. When it appeared in 1992 I didn’t bother with it since it seemed too much like flogging an aging franchise, but 11-y-o Junior recently asked me to buy it for him and then he recommended it. So far it seems mildly entertaining.
Had friends over for games: Settlers of Catan and Qwirkle. I was lucky enough to trade my old 80s Junta game for that Settlers box last week. I don’t like to own stuff that I never use, and so the Junta game has been a source of bad conscience for years. It’s probably great fun if you’re six players who know the rules by heart, but I’ve never been able to pull that off. Junta’s unconventional combination of boardless negotiation and episodes of a very basic war game leave most neophytes confused and a little bored. Settlers is much better.
I also found some games. On Saturday I lugged a bag of cardboard waste and a bag of plastic waste through fine drizzle to the recycling station. There I came upon four games sitting on a snow drift. They hadn’t been there for long as they were barely damp. Two were TV show tie-ins, one was a music trivia game, and these I left alone. But the fourth was Twister, and I happily took it home to my kids.
And you, Dear Reader? Do you still remember the final weekend of February 2010? What did you do for fun?