April Pieces Of My Mind #3

Shit’s about to get real
  • Received a tip about a “Medieval staircase” on a steep hillside in Tumba. Turned out to be part of an erased 19th century mansion, orchard & park complex. The stairs went down to the jetty in Lake Tullingesjön.
  • Several scenes filmed for Aliens were set in the terraforming settlement prior to the outbreak of nasty critters. They didn’t make it into the theatrical release.
  • I wish I could avoid all US news until the next non-Republican president takes office. Come on, I hear absolutely nothing from Uruguay or Sierra Leone, it should be possible!
  • People who don’t know what CTRL-Z does must have an extremely stressful time at their computers.
  • Public Service Announcement: nachos found in an opened package at the back of a cupboard two years after their expiration date taste remarkably bad. But equally ancient ones from an unopened package are fine.
  • Last year I killed off what must have been a major wasp nest by blocking the entrance to the low attic space above our house’s front door. Shortly thereafter something that sounded like a mouse moved in and apparently survived the winter by systematically eating the dead wasp larvae in the nest. We would hear it messing around up there and occasionally patter about on little feet on the plasterboard ceiling, but it never entered our living space. And now that spring has come, the mouse seems to have left for greener pastures.
  • Impressive response time: the Hans im Glück boardgame company in Munich replied to my customer service email in 44 minutes on a Monday night after office hours!
  • Movie: Moon (2009). Astronaut is coming off a 3-year stint alone on a lunar H3 extraction base. He’s finally going home to his wife and kid. Or is he? Grade: great!
  • On a whim I googled the principals of the schools I attended as a kid. Turns out they’re both still alive (aged 89 and 92), still living in the area and still active in various associations. One of them published a memoir in 2017!
  • The Liar Tweets Tonight” by the immortal Roy Zimmerman.
  • “Door” is plurale tantum in Polish, like scissors and pants. You can’t talk about one door.
  • Of course I’m looking way too often at the three rose bushes I planted yesterday. The Hansestadt Rostock looks happy. The Augusta Luise looks droopy. The Nostalgie had and still has no leaves.
  • Ebook readers with WiFi and low power demands really are an excellent invention.
  • People seem confused about tests for “Am I infected” vs. “Have I got any immunity”.
  • Movie: Shoplifters (2018). An elective family among Japan’s urban poor. Grade: great!
  • From a recent paper: some Russian and Polish colleagues share my frustration with the direction Swedish archaeology has taken in the past half century. Note that when they say “Scandinavia”, they really mean Sweden and Norway. The Danes have their shit together. “Scandinavia is a region hugely underestimated in terms of its importance in the dynamics of transformations occurring in the Barbaricum at the transition from the Early to Late Roman Periods. This stems to some extent from the fact that a considerable part of the materials from this area remain outside scholarly discussion, as they have not been published or are known from patchy publications in older studies. The situation could surely be changed if only by some basic research on the differentiation and distribution of particular artefact types.” One extremely telling example of this is that the huge 2004 international centennial tribute to Swedish fibula guru Oscar Almgren contains no Swedish contribution.
  • Jrette is 16 and likes to borrow my shirts and sweaters, which I find super sweet. Last night though, she had a dream where there was this big solemn public occasion and I was wearing something like a dumpster bag. “Dad! Why are you dressed like that?” “Sorry honey, it’s because you have taken all my clothes.”
  • There are still drive-in bank offices with pneumatic postage systems in the US! Like when I was a kid in the 70s! In Sweden we barely even have physical bank offices anymore.
  • Confession: I don’t get the Christopher Walken – Blue Öyster Cult – cowbell sketch. I mean, I find it mildly amusing that their producer is so passionate about the cowbell. But completely forgettable.
  • Swedes say “zoom out” when they mean “zone out”.
  • Why do I always have to look up Ge. zwar = “admittedly”?
  • Sudden recollection: there’s a jigsaw puzzle at the summer house that my grandpa made, featuring an early-1900s image of a fairytale castle. I need to assemble enough of it that you can just make out the motif, take a photograph of it and show it when I give talks about Medieval castles.
  • My kid has translated a Japanese 1997 cult video game into English! And written an extensive commentary!
  • I do lose track of what weekday it is, but I get up at 7 and go to bed at 23:45 regardless.
  • Funny how life is absolute shit when you’re reading a boring book and then it turns great when you switch to an interesting one.

Author: Martin R

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

4 thoughts on “April Pieces Of My Mind #3”

  1. I see you picked up on my trip to the bank last week.

    There are various reasons why Americans in general, and I in particular, are less likely than people in other technically advanced countries to do online banking. Part of it is that, especially outside major cities, internet in the US is not particularly fast or reliable. It also doesn’t help that when online banking was first rolled out in the US, it tended to be for Windows users only (I prefer Macs but can tolerate Unices), and banks have not necessarily done a good job of marketing online banking since the initial rollout (mine certainly has not). There is also a tendency to keep written records of things, reinforced in my case by training in laboratory science (if it isn’t in the log book, it didn’t happen). Some advances I have been fine with: I got an ATM card along with my first bank account (that did not have one or both of my parents as joint account holders) and have found that a convenient way to keep reasonable-but-not-excessive amounts of cash in my wallet (this was a big deal in the 1980s, when I was a student on an urban campus at a time when crime rates were significantly higher than now).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The sensible way to do it is over https, so it doesn’t matter what operating system you use.

      As for records, you can still print out—or save to a file—whatever you need.


  2. Now that you mention it, how much news do we get from Senegal? In the MSM, I don’t recall any, ever. As far as the world’s English speaking journalists are concerned, it is as if Senegal doesn’t exist. Maybe because its official language is French, I dunno. Or maybe an African country of 16 million people is just not considered newsworthy.

    It turns out the Senegalese are doing a magically good job on controlling the coronavirus, and one doctor there has got people to start making testing and analysis kits in suitcases for very low cost, that can just be picked up and taken to other African countries, and each suitcase can be used to test thousands of people. Nothing short of a fucking brilliant idea, a portable medical lab that you can carry around with one hand, and it’s scalable, so they could end up supplying much of SubSaharan Africa with testing capability. No shortages of personal protective equipment for medical workers; no shortages of masks for members of the public.

    Last time I checked, their total virus fatalities were 9. Nine. Neuf. Per head of population, they are doing even better than Hong Kong.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That is incredible. Skeptics will of course say it is because cases are not registered but Senegal deserves more analysis than that. A decentralised approach viable for countries without a huge technological infrastructure is a must-have to prevent a holocaust in the third world. Sadly, it is too late for India whose leaders are sacrificing the migrant workers.


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