April Pieces Of My Mind #1

Repotting my office mates
  • Three weeks ago I went to one of the Stockholm Film Festival’s monthly screenings for members in a big movie theatre in central Stockholm. Loads of old folks in the audience, not many seats left.
  • In the 80s people would talk about making a change in a spreadsheet and watching the recalculations ripple through the sheet. Because computers were so slow.
  • Year’s first outdoor meal! Nearby road is unusually quiet. I’m reading Tom Sawyer.
  • hey my dudes I took a long walk with my wife then had some porridge then napped for 90 mins and now I’m completely confused
  • Our little neighbour, the ginger solo rabbit, has survived its third outdoor winter!
  • 13 years ago I switched from Windows to Linux. Very happy, particularly about the performance difference and absence of spyware, and I still haven’t had to learn to use the command line.
  • I’m starting a Spiritualized cover band. All the members are archaeologists. We call ourselves “Decontextualized”.
  • Starting the dishwasher when you go to bed is like leaving a present for yourself!
  • Wow, Picard was co-written by Michael Chabon!
  • If your partner is an archaeologist and a masochist you can email them Antiquity’s Submission Guidelines and it will be confusing but also totally hot
  • I like badgers and hedgehogs. In Sweden the former have multiplied greatly in recent years. Sadly they’re eating all the latter.
  • You know how all Sikhs are named Singh? I think all members of the Church of Sweden should be named Psilanderhielm.
  • Marty Feldman was in only 16 movies including those made for TV. Surprises me. He was a big deal when I was a kid.
  • Someone on Twitter is really sad because of a coronavirus death, and they wrote “Oh My God. I can’t stop balling”. Good golly, Miss Molly…
  • Writing some book reviews of anthologies, I find myself just ignoring the poorest papers rather than arguing against them. This is very different from how I would do things 15 years ago. It’s an old truth in science that unsupported models are usually just forgotten, not explicitly disproven. One reason for my change in behaviour is that now I’m older and more established than many of the colleagues whose work I review, and it is never a good look to kick downwards.
  • One of Windows’s worst weaknesses is that an installation deteriorates over time, getting slower and slower as it amasses something or other that you don’t want. (It’s not just that Microsoft pushes updates past what your machine can handle.) I just replaced such a bogged-down Windows 7 installation with a recent long-term-support version of Ubuntu Linux. Snappy computer again!
  • Gusty erratic winds throwing sleet against the windows. Feels like the world is out of whack.
  • It must be quite common among middle class millennials that your grandparents are way more wealthy than your parents. That’s certainly my kids’ experience.
  • The more Polish I learn the less hope I have of ever getting all the suffixes right. The grammar is like German on amphetamine.
  • The number per day of new covid19 patients in intensive care in Sweden has been oscillating between 27 and 40 for over two weeks, 23 March to 8 April. In other words, there’s been no increase. And it’s not because we’ve run out of ICU beds.
  • I feel sad for Shannon Hoon, the 90s rock singer who had one hit with his band Blind Melon and then died on the tour bus from an overdose aged 28. His daughter was only three months old.
  • First butterfly of 2020, a brimstone as usual, Sw. citronfjäril.
  • You can tell that the local Boomers are bored now. The district court filled up two days’ worth of layman judges in no time.
  • My browser start page is 25 years old this year. It’s what comes up when I click the “home” button. I’ve updated it now and then, and it’s gone through one or two word processors on the way, but at its core it’s still my hand-coded HTML from 1995 when I got my first internet access.
  • I’ve been reading the PolskieRadio web news in English. After three months I started to wonder why the bookmark was labelled Strona główna. Turns out it means “home page”…
  • Movie: Jodorowsky’s Dune. Documentary about a grandiose failed attempt to film Dune in the 1970s with an extremely star-studded team and a crazy visionary director. Grade: OK.
  • Kamilla Terkildsen makes an interesting point in a 2018 paper: fire-cracked stones may represent brewing or cooking, but also textile dyeing.
  • Woah. A buddy of mine just died aged 51. Got flu symptoms, stayed home in bed, did not wake up one morning. )-:
  • Movie: Get Out. Meeting the in-laws across an extremely fraught race barrier, things begin to go grotesquely wrong. Grade: great!
  • If I’m fat and poor my risk of dying from the virus is way higher than if I’m skinny and rich.

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

15 thoughts on “April Pieces Of My Mind #1”

  1. Do you ever run into troubles with publishers (or people who want you to edit their papers) who insist on working with docx format? Integration with Libreoffice is not always perfect.

    I wish LibreOffice was smarter about language detection, having to go through a 200,000 word manuscript marking all the words and phrases in 10-12 different languages as “Not Canadian English” so spellcheck does not freak out is painful. And then I have to see if the ‘errors’ in the French/Italian/German are errors or differences between 1880s Prussian orthography and 2010s Austrian orthography.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t had trouble with docx. conversion. But Swedish hyphenation stopped working with a version years ago and has never been reinstated. And spell-check is flaky. These days I mostly use Google Docs instead which doesn’t even pretend to have hyphenation but whose spell-checker is good.


    2. I once wrote a paper containing mathematics in TeX. It looked beautiful. The journal editor insisted that I convert it to WordPerfect, the word processor that he used. That version did not look as nice. The publisher then insisted that I convert it to Microsoft Word format. That version was still uglier.


  2. A former colleague of mine once told the story of when he was in a Russian class. He was significantly older than the rest of the students (IINM this was a university class), which would normally mean that he should have a harder time. But he had a secret advantage over the other students: he had taken Latin, and so was familiar with the concepts of case and declension. All he had to do was memorize the endings.

    I suspect it’s similar with Polish: if you are familiar with Latin grammar, you will probably find it easier than if your only experience is with languages that have relatively simple grammars, such as English and Mandarin Chinese.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Strona główna. Turns out it means “home page”…

    Isn’t it “main page”? “Szczecin Głowny” means “Stettin Hauptbahnhof” in German, i.e. “Szczecin Main Station”.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If you want to help hedgehogs you can relatively easily make a hibernation den, but I forgot where I placed the article with described how to do it. Local wildlife animal protection groups should know.
    If you like word puns (in English) I will send you some collections of comic strips by Stephen Pastis and his Pearls Before Swine.


  5. Waaibo is for non-japanese/Japanese what whigger is to whites/blacks.
    Is there a term for non-Polish people trying to be obnoxiously Polish?
    (There is definitely no word for south Swedish people attempting to be extremely north Swedish)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Woah. A buddy of mine just died aged 51. Got flu symptoms, stayed home in bed, did not wake up one morning. )-:”



  7. It isn’t actually true that all Sikhs are named Singh. Sikhs start out as “ordinary Sikhs”. Those who are more devout become “khalsa” Sikhs. It is Khalsa Sikhs who undertake the obligations known as the “five Ks” (after their Punjabi names): unshorn hair with turban, comb, steel bracelet, drawers, and dagger. When a man becomes a khalsa Sikh, he theoretically replaces his family name with “Singh”, the motivation for which is that family names often reflect caste and Sikhs have an egalitarian philosophy that rejects the caste system. In practice, many Sikhs insert “Singh” between their given name and their original family name, so that, e.g. Samdeep Brar becomes Samdeep Singh Brar. When a woman becomes khalsa, she replaces her family name with “Kaur”, not “Singh”, or if she chooses to retain her family name, makes “Kaur” her middle. name. For example, Harpreet Gill may become Harpreet Kaur or Harprett Kaur Gill.

    Liked by 1 person

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