August Pieces Of My Mind #3

Steam pressure 17 kg/bar. Effect 3.5 steam horse-powers.
  • Two days of running around in the woods on islands while wearing shorts works out to roughly 50 ticks.
  • Movie: Turning Red (2022). 13-y-o Chinese-Canadian straight-A’s student doesn’t just have puberty problems. She has a family curse that turns her into a giant red panda whenever she becomes emotional. Grade: good!
  • Suddenly remembered espadrillos, those fabric shoes with soles made of coiled-up rope.
  • First Feargal Sharkey sang in the Northern Irish punk band The Undertones. Then he had a hit with a short-lived 80s synth pop band. Then he worked as a spokesman against illegal online music distribution. Now he’s campaigning against river sewage pollution. Not a lazy man, not a single-issue fellow!
  • Depeche Mode’s first album and the Pixies’ last pre-hiatus album were recorded in the same studio: Blackwing in south-east London.
  • I’ve been asked to do some public archaeology outreach at a place near Örebro named the Äs Sound. Listen up!
  • I love the internet but I hate the way it makes me conscious of what stupid and ignorant people believe.
  • Remember how clip art used to be a pretty big deal in software packages?
  • You know when someone successful thanks a mentor for believing in them when they started out? That’s survivor bias right there. The mentor believed in 999 other young hopefuls too who never made it.
  • Funny situation with the Tory leadership level-up. The Left doesn’t really want a competent and likeable leader of the opposing party. But equally, it doesn’t want the Prime Minister to be a Tory at all.
  • In about one year, the message in a bottle that I found recently had travelled 37 km as the crow flies, from Bergshamra to Djurö.
  • Movie: Iron Sky (2): the Coming Race (2019). Dieselpunk, moon Nazis, Agartha in the hollow Earth, Udo Kier as reptoid Hitler riding a T. rex, original songs by Laibach. Grade: OK.
  • Tabletop game design has come so far that Routledge publishes an encyclopedia of known mechanisms. You can look up Deck Building, Card Drafting, Hex and Chit, Roll And Move, Victory Points, Worker Placement…
  • Do people who get that Icelandic magic sigil as a tattoo know that it’s from 1860, or do they believe that it’s from the Viking Period?
  • There are TikTok influencers who talk about books and create an enormous demand among young people for certain writers.
  • Had a Peruvian lomito at the street food festival, then cycled over to Gröna Lund to listen to Clutch. Haven’t been to the fun fair since Jrette was like ten.
  • Breathlessly the two mathematicians explored each other’s parameter space.
  • Passenger planes with a hold for bringing your car were a serious business in the UK of the 1950s.
  • All Madonna’s best songs are about her love for hats. “Last night I dreamed of sombreros”…
  • Oh great. The local historical society’s board is planning events over group email without noticing that my address is also in the email header.
  • Movie: In the Mouth of Madness (1994). Metafictional horror where an insurance claims investigator is sent to retrieve the latest manuscript from a hit novelist whose books drive people insane — only to discover that he is living in that book. Grade: OK.
  • My labour union interviews members who are also active in political parties on the occasion of the impending Swedish elections – including me.
  • I’m really old. When someone mentioned padded envelopes I immediately thought of a store that sells them. Only the entire block containing that store is gone now. Blå bodarna, Slussen.

Author: Martin R

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

7 thoughts on “August Pieces Of My Mind #3”

  1. > Icelandic magic sigil as a tattoo
    Not sure which one you mean. I thought some of them were from the Galdrabók (compiled c.1600-1750 – hardly Viking era either).
    For obese people, I would recommend Angurgapi – “Carved on the ends of barrels to prevent leaking”.


  2. The website the reference to your political activities linked to had strange formatting issues under both browsers I tried it with. The first few seconds after I first opened it it presented as a normal web page, thereafter it was a mostly blank screen with a series of text links widely spaced down the left margin. There were also images, one of which was an envelope which opened an outgoing mail message. I refrained from clicking on any of the other graphics. Scrolling down I found the interview and was able to use google translate. The translation came out rather stilted and hard to follow. I assume “S” means Sweden?

    It continues to rather disappoint me that Sweden, a country that has a reputation for having a strong public sector, doesn’t fund cultural heritage fully at all levels. I mean here in the US it is hardly surprising that field tech pay is shit and a state like Tennessee has no cultural resource law at all, but for human burials. I suppose archaeology is a less than mission critical function in all countries, but it does make you feel discriminated against.

    Trump’s election stimulated your interest in political activism? It made me feel more like fleeing for the hills. Tell your daughter I’ll beat the crap out of Trump if I ever run in to him, and not just for her sake. Good luck in your election.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One reason why I never got into birdsite is the feedback loop where person A says something provocative, person B says “that is wrong on the Internet!” and they *both* get more views and a larger audience (because birdsite controls what you see on birdsite, and they prioritize things which get a response, and “that makes me angry” is a quick and visible response). If you reward people for saying stupid **** you will get stupid ****.


  4. I knew my relationship with Pinterest was going to be fraught and short-lived when I realised every second pinner couldn’t recognise the difference between Art Nouveau with Art Deco and I couldn’t amend their idiotic captions!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A lot of history was invented in the 19th century. There were all those Scottish clan tartans that they made up and backdated. I think that had to do with Queen Victoria’s Scottish ancestry somehow. The whole Saxe-Coburg-Gotha thing got big with her too. There was The Golden Bough, Fraser’s rewrite of history to include an ancient golden era of sexual equality and, somehow or another, witchcraft. I’m not really sure, but it turns up a lot in other literature like Graves’ Hercules, My Shipmate. There was the Lost Cause in the US which was transparently a racist reaction to the South’s desire to continue slavery and a preview of our current Stop the Steal movement. I’m sure there was a lot of other stuff too. It’s no surprise about Viking sigils.

    On my first trip to Europe back in 1965, we had a NYC teachers’ union charter flight. Back then, flying was seriously expensive and the government fixed prices. Unions and other affinity groups were allowed to offer cheap charters though. Our flight to Brussels from JFK was rescheduled at some point. My parents had booked a lot of stuff, especially for early in the trip, in advance, all done by sending airmail letters with international reply envelopes inside. So we could make up time, the air charter company offered to make good and paid for a flight from Ostend to Southend-on-Sea, including our car. We landed in Brussels, took a taxi to a car lot on a side street somewhere. My parents got to use their high school French. We picked up our VW Beetle. It was a buy-drive-ship deal, so we’d use it on our trip, then have it shipped to the US where we drove it for years, until it died in Mississippi on our way back from Mexico in 1968. Then, we drove to Ostend, and they loaded our car into the big hold. I remember the whole front of the plane flipped open with the cockpit sideways. For a kid into toy cars and planes, it was pretty amazing, even more amazing than the Madurodam in Holland or the fact that Matchbox toy cars were a shilling, or about two for a US quarter. Then we had a rugged drive from Southend to our hotel in London on a street just north of Hyde Park. My father had never even heard of roundabouts, let alone driven one on the wrong side of the road with a manual transmission. It was a great trip. I don’t think we missed that much by losing a day. We were in Europe on Five Dollars a Day for eight weeks. Thank you AFSCME, my parents’ uber-union.

    Liked by 1 person

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