March Pieces Of My Mind #2

The Saltsjöbanan commuter railway is getting double tracks past Fisksätra after 130 years, and the 50-y-o station is being completely rebuilt.

  • Two months after this old fellow I know had his third stroke, he can walk around the house unsupported, is speaking pretty clearly and has shoveled the snow off the drive!
  • I’ve talked about this before, but it’s a remarkable thing to me so here I go again. Polish universities are really focused on evaluation by bibliometry, that is, services that count citations and assign scores to scholars and journals. My colleagues in Łódź and I are well aware of the criticism against this imperfect and often unfair system. But there’s a side to bibliometry that is super valuable to me. For the first time in a research career of 30 years I have a clear idea of where I’m supposed to publish. It’s a huge change to have access to the rule-book before I sit down to play the game.
  • I don’t see why our well-founded hostility to banks should focus on one ethnic group among bankers.
  • Movie: Forbidden Planet (1956). Neat set design and effects, cool theremin soundtrack, stilted acting, silly story. Grade: OK.
  • Educated urban Poles usually have liberal values and an international outlook. I was pleased a few years back when the Rector of Uni Łódź reacted to the homophobic climate in rural and small-town Poland with an open letter of support for our gay faculty and students. I am pleased today upon receiving a faculty group mail from the university’s Equal Treatment Council about how to treat trans and non-binary students. It ends, in machine translation: “Please, let’s help our people students who are in the situation described above, which is not easy for them and often giving rise to concerns about social reception at a time when it itself undertaking studies and joining new peer groups is not uncommon stress. Let’s work together to make these people feel fully accepted in our group.”
  • When I teach Scandy prehistoric chronology, I always tell students this. If you are only going to remember one single date from this course, make it 3950 BC. Because that is the year in which, due to a little plateau in the radiocarbon calibration curve, it looks like southern Scandinavia switched to agriculture. (In actuality it may have taken 200 years or so.) 3950 was an important date to the Renaissance-era mega-scholar Joseph Scaliger too. He reckoned that this was when God created the world!
  • Movie: La Mauvaise Graine (1934). Action comedy about a Paris car thief gang. Lots of car chases. Co-directed by a young Billy Wilder. Grade: OK.
  • I’ve spent a quarter century visiting restaurants where almost everyone is East Asian and I don’t understand the language. Experienced the same tonight, only the food and the other customers and the languages were North-East African.
  • Stockholm’s Khazaks are celebrating Newroz at the Film House and watching a band documentary from the homeland.
  • Jrette goes to a Cambodian used book store, finds a copy of Doris Lessing’s The Grass Is Singing in Swedish.
  • La Mauvaise Graine features a really interesting example of something that is not very common in American films even today, and which was to my knowledge impossible in an American film at the time. I’m thinking of actors of colour playing roles that are not about them being people of colour. The car stealing gang in the film consists of funny loveable ruffians who like to play practical jokes on each other. Gaby Héritier plays one of them who happens to be very tall and very Black. But otherwise he’s just one of the gang. In the only scene where his character is subordinate to another, he’s playing the role of a taxi driver and they’re actually collaborating to create a distraction while other members steal a car. Later they all go to a public beach together, have a swim, fall asleep in deck chairs side by side.

March Pieces Of My Mind #1

  • Someone with a busty profile pic wants to be my Fb friend again, and this time she’s named “Henga Rastkar”. Honestly, this has got to be someone’s D&D character!
  • Birdlike and sharklike creatures have evolved repeatedly from widely separated quadruped stock through Earth’s history. A dolphin is basically a deer that has undergone the same evolutionary pressure as that which created the tuna. I would love to see the next species of this kind, the ones that will radiate when H. sapiens is gone.
  • I asked ChatGPT who I am. It responded with a mix of fact and fiction. It made me 14 months younger than I am and attributed a fictional book to me. Not a work of fiction, mind you, but a book that does not actually exist. It’s called Fornminnenas värld / The World of Ancient Sites.
  • ChatGPT’s claim about a fictional book that I haven’t written reminds me of a scifi story. It’s about cinema buffs who take a print of a movie they like to a parallel universe and show it to an old director who, in that universe, never managed to make that particular movie. I forget why they wanted to do that. Maybe he made other movies that weren’t available in their continuity.
  • Movie: In the Court of the Crimson King (2022). Rock band documentary after 50 years on stage. Grade: good!
  • How many standup comedians have already opened with “I want you all to know that I’m asexual … maniac”?
  • “What if all the world religions are wrong, if the only true religion is one practiced by a remote and obscure Inuit tribe, and God is a polar bear?” /Jonas Gardell
  • In retrospect, Sweden’s unusual covid strategy turned out to be good. We’ve seen the least surplus mortality in the entire EU!
  • Movie: A Foreign Affair (1948). Straight-laced Republican congresswoman goes to bombed-out post-war Berlin to investigate the morale and/or morality of the US occupation troops. Gets involved with a dashing captain who already has an arrangement with an alluring night club singer / former Nazi top brass mistress / disillusioned survivor. Grade: great! Confession: it took me days before I understood the pun about foreign affairs in the movie’s title.
  • A memory: some of my co-workers at a contract archaeology unit in 1993-94 would select text from a document and print it. Not insert page breaks and print e.g. page 2-4.
  • Met my Umeå student George from 2014 at this gig. He has a bioengineering degree and works in pharma!
  • Tina Turner is amazing. Tony Joe White wrote “Steamy Windows”, but when he released his own recording of it after hers, it just fell flat.
  • “… as Gaznak fought he held his left hand hovering close over his head. Presently Leothric smote fair and fiercely at his enemy’s neck, but Gaznak, clutching his own head by the hair, lifted it high aloft, and Sacnoth went cleaving through an empty space. Then Gaznak replaced his head upon his neck, and all the while fought nimbly with his sword; …” Lord Dunsany, “The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save for Sacnoth”
  • It is a little known fact, rarely advertised by archaeologists, that many fairly well preserved sites offer only boring mundane repetitive information about people’s lives in the past.
  • Movie: Some Like It Hot (1959). Exaggerated cross-dressing farce among gangsters and lady musicians in 1929 Chicago and Florida. Grade: OK.

February Pieces Of My Mind #3

From the slow end sequence in The Parallax View where the pacing is all wrong

  • I just learned about “tipsy tubing”, a youth activity where you float slowly down a tropical river on a large communal swim ring while getting shitfaced on Mekhong rum (no, it has no similarities to whiskey).
  • At the end of the Viking Period, there were in all likelihood a lot of shipwrecks at a depth of less than five meters in Lake Mälaren and along adjacent stretches of the Swedish coast. They were all lifted out of the water by isostatic rebound, chewed up by the waves and ice along the shoreline when at surface level, and finally their last timbers rotted away when they came up into the air.
  • I wonder when the Roma quit practising a recognisable Hinduism.
  • “Groovy Kind Of Love” has extremely inane lyrics and rhymes.
  • A bird is singing the snowmelt song here!
  • Reading an excellent 1830s travel book by the energetic Victorian polyglot George Borrow, who married late, had no children and is strangely preoccupied with describing good-looking men that he meets. Another striking set of Borrow’s attitudes is that he admires Roma, respects Muslims and despises Jews.
  • Is the Škoda Enyaq named for Enya, Q and ENIAC?
  • The ageing body: at 50 I still have my six-pack, but I’m developing faint wrinkles between the beer cans.
  • Movie: Sunset Boulevard (1950). Middle-aged former silent film starlet Gloria Swanson expertly plays insane middle-aged former silent film starlet Norma Desmond. Erich von Stroheim plays her valet. Buster Keaton has a cameo. Grade: good!
  • Funny thing about the male gaze in Sunset Boulevard. It seems to me that we’re supposed to find 50-y-o Gloria Swanson’s character hopelessly unattractive, and instead have the hots for 21-y-o Nancy Olson. She is presented as the proper and natural mate for 31-y-o William Holden, who looks like 40. Now, as a healthy 50-y-o man in 2023 with a healthy wife my own age, I feel that entertaining Olson would strictly be a job for my son. The reason that I’d rather not get too friendly with Swanson’s character is that she’s nuts, certainly not that there’s anything wrong with her looks!
  • Movie: The Parallax View (1974). Journalist uncovers the trail of an enormous murderous conspiracy that kills US senators and witnesses to the murders plus truckloads of unrelated bystanders. Would have been interesting to know even vaguely why. Grade: OK.
  • There’s a chimp playing the 1972 video game Pong in The Parallax View.
  • Sigh. There’s a new paper about “A non-normative Roman imperial cremation”, and I’m like yay, have they identified the grave of a member of the Imperial family!? But it turns out it’s just some anonymous everyday townsperson who died during the imperial period.
  • My great grandfather’s parents had some unusual ideas about names. He was named Sven Isidor. His brother was named Otto Villehad.
  • Saw reporting on a sexological study aiming to identify the sex position that was most likely to give the woman an orgasm. It had a really odd basic design, because what they studied was penetration without any use of hands, the woman’s own or the man’s. I’m trying to find a simile. This is like a football tournament where all the players have one leg tied up behind their asses. Sure, one team or another will win the tournament. But what does this really tell you about football?

February Pieces Of My Mind #2

Fivelstad church, Östergötland. The tower is 12th century, the nave and chancel 19th century.

  • Movie: Tangled (2010). Fun and spirited Disney update of the Grimm brothers’ story about Rapunzel. Grade: good!
  • Aren’t spy balloons kind of retro?
  • This week I’m giving talks in Stockholm, Örebro and Hagebyhöga. I haven’t had a busy week in a long time, much needed! There was this study a few years ago that concluded that, much like the popular conception, people in the arts do indeed have worse mental health than others. Novelists are the worst of the bunch. The study couldn’t say if writing novels drives you insane or if you take up writing because you’re already nuts. I’ve lead a mostly solitary life of writing for decades, and I can testify that it’s not always great.
  • Movie: Passagers de la nuit (2022). A woman rebuilds her life after a divorce and we follow her relationships with teenage children, elderly dad, lovers and a young street waif who comes and goes. Grade: OK.
  • There used to be a time when the only actress I found really attractive was Catherine Zeta Jones. She will no doubt be devastated to learn that Keeley Hawes has now taken her place in my affections.
  • A memory. We had a non-portable tabletop display lighter for cigarettes in my childhood home. Has anyone else seen such a thing?
  • I much prefer reading to watching video clips and will ignore most non-fic video recommendations. The main exceptions to this rule are that I like boardgame tutorials and I need YouTube to do my tie.
  • When the images in the PDF files I use for screen presentations turned up corrupt at a conference in Germany last year, I thought I had run into a new bug in LibreOffice Impress or in some image conversion infrastructure in Ubuntu Linux. I assumed that since the images looked fine on my Linux machine but not on other people’s Windows machines, it had to be a conversion error. Today I discovered the actual root of the problem: bit rot in the cheap USB stick I was using to move the file between machines.
  • About ChatGPT as web search: my most common Google search is “searchterm wiki”. I use Google as a front end to the various language versions of Wikipedia. I have no use for any wordy paraphrase.
  • Movie: Boiling Point (2021). Single-shot journey through the busiest night of the year backstage at a high-end restaurant. Grade: great!
  • I ask the small town kebab man for bulgur and ayran. He hasn’t got any, but he appreciatively asks me if I’m Turkish.

February Pieces Of My Mind #1

  • Heard a talk by a senior policeman involved in the big drug gang take-down after the French military cracked Encrochat encryption in 2020. And it seems to me that not only was this technological breakthrough necessary for the police’s success. Technology is in fact necessary for the intricate day to day operations of a successful crime gang. In other words, it’s not that the police were lucky that the gang chose to use mobile phones. The gang could not have chosen to operate without them.
  • Bought a set of pyjamas, and months later an ancient memory surfaces: I used to keep my jammies under my pillow.
  • There should be a wizard named Glyph Rychard.
  • We all know that you can’t pray away the gay. But more importantly: can you gay away the pray?
  • The study of Italian 60s and 70s horror-crime cinema is known as giallogy.
  • Was I the only one who thought that the excellent phrase “I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair” was original with P.J. Harvey in 1992?
  • Pope Francis did something good: proclaimed that anti-gay legislation is sinful. There are definitely jurisdictions where a) the Pope’s opinion, b) the concept of “sin” are important.
  • I was a young dad (26). I’m not young anymore. But something struck me: I’m still young in relation to my kids’ age. A lot of dads retire around the time their youngest kid moves out. Jrette is ready to move out when I still have 20 years left of my working life.
  • Dammit, I need to start buying gig tickets farther in advance. Missed out on both Goat and King Gizzard. /-:
  • Movie: The Apartment (1960). Underling in a big office lends his apartment several nights a week to company executives so they can see their mistresses there. Until he gets involved himself with one of the young women. Grade: great!
  • I have never displayed a poster at a conference. From my first international conference at age 24, I have always been speaking.
  • I’m endowing a big research institute to focus on the detailed study and classification of crashed computers. Exactly what are they doing?
  • Let’s all agree that March is a month of spring. In that case, there’s only four weeks left of this winter. OK? Please?
  • A reenactor very kindly called me generous with my time as a scholar. I don’t think he realises that I’m generous in the same way that Jehovah’s Witnesses are generous with Watchtower Magazine. 999 out of a 1000 passersby would much prefer not to talk about either Jesus OR the Vendel Period.
  • Failed to spot the comet with hiking binoculars, but had a nice look at the Orion nebula and the Pleiades.
  • I am a dwarf and I’m digging a hole / Diggy, diggy hole
  • There’s a pork futures warehouse in Pratchett’s Discworld. It is used to store potential future pork until it instantiates.

January Pieces Of My Mind #3

  • Prepping to play Fiasco tonight. Trouble is most of the playsets demand intimate familiarity with the US. We’re Swedish. I’ve translated and localised the Suburbia playset to Stockholm, which worked well. But tonight I’m suggesting London 1593 and Dragon Slaying Aftermath from Anthology 1. Had similar trouble with the dirty words version of Codenames. Almost none of my gaming buddies knew enough US slang for sex and drugs to play it successfully.
  • I’m not a digital native. But I’ve used the Web since I was 22 or 23, that is, for most of my life now.
  • Hey cool, Lord Dunsany has an almost invulnerable dragon with one small weakness already in 1908, when Tolkien is 16.
  • Movie: What’s Up Doc? (1972). Loving tribute to screwball comedy, involving four identical overnight bags with different contents. Grade: good!
  • The middle of my life so far was in mid-June of 1997. I was on the PhD programme, prepping to head my first own excavations two weeks later on Gotland. Living with my 1st wife in the apartment we’d bought from my grandma. We had no idea that Junior would be born one year and a few weeks later.
  • This old fellow I know is recovering really well from the stroke two weeks ago. I told him we’re pretty good cooks around my place and would be happy to make whatever he wants to eat when he comes home. “Really, I can’t let you deprive me of the pleasure of cooking, can I?”
  • Someone downloads a paper of mine from Academia, leaves an explanation: “I am creating a contemporary divination kit connected to the Völvas and these historic game pieces are a wonderful rabbit hole to go down.”
  • Note to self: don’t invite beloved Danish writer of fairy tales H.C. Andersen to stay at your house.
  • The Early Modern Parliament of Poland was infamously ineffective as every measure it adopted had to be unanimous. In other words: every MP had the right of veto. Sweden’s current government functions on the same principle. It can only enact policies that both the Crypto-Fascists and the Liberals approve. Each of these parties have the right of veto. And these two parties have in the recent past identified each other as ranking among their main ideological adversaries.
  • Tabletop game rules: if the rules are so complicated that I feel the need for a computer to run them correctly, then I want the game off my table and into a computer.
  • Movie: Nomad. In the footsteps of Bruce Chatwin (2019). Slow, visually attractive, not very informative, somewhat self-indulgent documentary about Werner Herzog’s relationship to his author friend. Similarly to Chatwin, Herzog’s relationship to social anthropology and archaeology is the casual amateur’s. Grade: OK.
  • We have long had AIs that learn and play boardgames. Next step: feed information about the rules and components of hundreds of boardgames into an AI and ask it to design new ones.
  • Dreamed that I was flipping through an amusing book for something to read out loud. Couldn’t find anything funny enough. My dream-world circuitry can’t generate amusing prose on the fly.
  • On re-wilding, environmental protection and the cultural landscape. Many types of older cultural landscape, such as hay meadows, have extremely rich and unusual biodiversity. Many of the plant and insect species there have evolved to flourish in those environments. But they are 100% artificial. The nature vs culture dichotomy does not always apply in environmental conservation. (Modern monocultures for grain and softwood suck, though.)
  • A young person told me today how they graduated from high school with an A in physics despite an exceptionally bad physics teacher. It involved a period when they skipped physics classes in order to sit in the school library and study physics on their own.
  • Watching the first episode of Jeeves & Wooster (1990) for the first time. ❤

January Pieces Of My Mind #1

These individuals can neither deny nor confirm that there is any organisation called “Delta Green”.

  • Foreign cities or places I stayed in during 2022: Kraków, Łódź, Warsaw, London, Bornholm, Savonlinna, Kuopio, Jyväskylä, Jena, Prague, Ostráva, Lecco.
  • “Dishing the Dirt / Starving Artist IV”: I’m gathering funding for an art project where I will visit homes and interview the inhabitants about their ideas around cleaning the dishes. In each home I will search through the plates, cups and cutlery in the cupboards for fragments of dried food and collect them. Finally I will cook a gruel from thousands of these fragments and make a video where I eat the gruel while clips from the interviews are played through weird otherworldly sound filters. The video will be played in the kitchen of the Stockholm Museum of Modern Art for seven months.
  • A memory from 1990, the intro lecture to History 101. One chubby bespectacled young man in the audience stands out. He interrupts the fairly boring lecture with entusiastic semi-irrelevant questions in an odd breathless monotone. “Excuse me are you a Neo-Malthusian? Because I’m not I think when we run out of resources on Earth we can go to Mars and extract more resources so we won’t really run out!” At a later occasion I saw him pulls the collar of his washed-out teeshirt down over his left shoulder and busily squeeze pimples there. I saw him in the hallways during most of my undergrad years but we were never in the same course.
  • Movie: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018). Six separate tales of death in the Old West. Grade: OK.
  • Tom Waits has acted in 50 films of various lengths.
  • Remember early 2020 when you suddenly lost elderly relatives and acquaintances in the West to covid? That’s happening now to us who have elderly relatives and acquaintances in China. Because the Party didn’t use its oppressive powers to vaccinate people, only to lock them down for three years.
  • Current US law mandates that NASA must send something (such as a crewed lander) to the moon on a huge SLS rocket at least once a year. Until this law is repealed.
  • Cousin E reports that yes, it’s true that the US only managed to beat China at the Maths Olympiad when they started recruiting contestants from China who almost made it onto the Chinese national team. Rumour has it that the Americans do this by offering these guys citizenship. 😃
  • Movie: Insomnia (1997). A disgraced Swedish homicide detective and his Oslo colleague are sent to Tromsø to help investigate the not very complicated murder of a highschooler. But things do get complicated. Grade: good!
  • The clown show over the Speakership is a particularly clear example of why the US needs proportional representation and a multi-party system. The reason that the Republican “party” can’t deliver a Speaker is simply that by most countries’ standards, the Republicans are not one party.
  • Maybe this has already been done. But I had an idea for a scenario: a future British Museum that uses a time machine to loot the past. Sometimes they pick up famous people as well and disappear them. The museum displays i.a. the full original contents of Khufu’s burial chamber in the Great Pyramid and the section of Phaistos on Crete that was eroded away in antiquity by a river. Jesus of Nazareth and Jimmy Hoffa take turns manning the entry ticket desk.
  • Movie: The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005). It’s an odd documentary where the subject has filmed and audio recorded big chunks of the historical material used, and is himself on screen in a lot of new footage, but is too mentally ill to provide more than a few brief soundbites. The massively creative and productive musician and painter Johnston died aged 58, fourteen years after the film was released. Grade: great!
  • I game-mastered a lot of roleplaying scenarios from age 12 to 22. Then almost none until age 48, the first pandemic year. Since then I’ve game-mastered about 20 four-hour sessions a year, way more intensively and focused than when I was a boy, and I’m having a blast!

December Pieces Of My Mind #3

  • Field archaeology aims to separate the universe into spoil, samples and finds.
  • I’m working on a feature-length documentary film consisting entirely of business-related material about Ewing Oil Ltd. from the Dallas TV series.
  • Avatar II is over three hours long. No way am I watching that in the theatre.
  • Hey Civilization players, I’m thinking of barring half of my population from education, and instead making them take care of the children. Is this a winning strategy?
  • Quiet afternoon before the 24th, which is when us Swedes celebrate Yule. Cooking and baking. Babysitting my ex’s cute but highly strung young dog. It saw a hare on our walk but it didn’t pay much attention to it.
  • I recently learned that the area of Greenwich, Connecticut where I lived as a little kid was home to the Siwanoy band of the Wappinger people until 1640. They spoke a dialect of Munsee, an extensively documented language.
  • My kid called and told me my first published piece of writing, a role-playing scenario from when I was 17, is great and he intends to run it for his buddies. The best present!
  • Hear ye, hear ye, be it known to all that my Christmas nap after skating in the winter sunset was ~100 minutes long!
  • Movie: Love Actually (2003). A bunch of potential couples are frustratingly incapable of declaring their feelings for one another, but eventually they do before the end credits roll. Stars everywhere. Grade: OK.
  • Thomas Zimmer wrote in The Guardian that “Much of the moral panic over ‘cancel culture’ … is a reaction to the fact that traditionally marginalized groups gained technological means to affect the political debate.” This is also true of the rise of right-wing populism. Largely because of online discussion platforms, working-class men are increasingly voting crypto-fascist. One of the “traditionally marginalized groups that has gained technological means to affect the political debate” is the neo-Nazis.
  • Listened to a very ambitious academic podcast about inflation where it was painfully clear that the university researchers invited to speak knew nothing about this subject before about AD 1500. Kept conflating inflation of a nominal-valued modern currency with Medieval coinage debasement (increased copper content in the silver). Completely blank about the Roman source material.
  • I read an academic book recently where the author made no attempt to separate his top-level general argument from endless bottom-level anecdotal detail. Of course the latter completely drowned out the former. It was all just undifferentiated body text. Man, have you never become aware of the fact boxes in other books? This book would have been 10% body text, 90% fact boxes.
  • A memory from the brief period in my teens when I was learning to code in Turbo Pascal. I couldn’t find a persistent bug in the most ambitious program I’d written, so I asked a guy at my favourite BBS to check it for me. His reply wasn’t super helpful to a learner: “I couldn’t find the bug either so I re-wrote your code from scratch and now it works, here you go”.
  • Movie: Resolution (2012). In an attempt to get his old high school friend off meth, a man chains him to the wall in the rural cabin where he’s squatting. Then the sober friend inexplicably starts finding new film clips of the pair on various old media strewn around the vicinity. Grade: OK.
  • A Swedish social work student bought a BA thesis online, the university flunked the thesis, the student made a complaint to the National Board for Consumer Disputes.
  • Mat Kaplan of Planetary Radio has an excellent radio voice, very pleasant to listen to. But in clips from 20-30 years ago, goodness me, he sounds pretty much like Zeus! Incredible golden basso!
  • This is funny and kind of heart-warming. A party’s youth section is usually a little extreme, operating in a friendly semi-opposition against the grownups in the mother party. Now that the Swedish Conservatives have formed a government whose existence is predicated on the support BOTH of the Liberals and the Crypto-Fascists, the Conservative Youth Section has gone into pro-Liberal opposition. The Youth Section is advocating policies that would disintegrate the governing coalition if their elders insisted on them.
  • “Freebirthing” is when you go though pregnancy and labour without any medical checkups. Cf. other exciting alt-med modalities such as free-pneumoning, free-broken-legging and free-diabetesing.
  • Very proud of how Jrette continues her paternal tradition of organising events for her buddies.

December Pieces Of My Mind #2

A guitar on its own won’t get you very far. This gear belongs to Dango of the Truckfighters.

  • I wonder how many people call in a repair person or even buy a new dishwasher because they don’t know to refill the machine with salt and rinse aid.
  • The expression “I stood there dancing” is a contradiction in terms.
  • My daughter thinks I have a funny way of choosing movies to watch. I never go to a streaming site and check what’s on at the moment. I’m completely driven by my watch list at IMDB, and I will move down it until I find a film that’s available.
  • December 16 was my seventeenth anniversary as a blogger! Thousands of entries…
  • Since 1986, we’ve found one Bronze Age hoard in the Lakes Mälaren and Hjälmaren area of Sweden. It consists of three objects. The new Kaliska I hoard from NW Poland is 124 objects, many of which were made by Scandinavian craftspeople.
  • Movie: Druk / Another Round (2020). Four high school teachers have a shared mid-life crisis and start experimenting with staying drunk all day at work. Things eventually fall apart. Grade: OK. Probably makes more sense if alcohol has been a big thing to you at some point.
  • Cooked pea soup with onions, salted pork, marjoram, optional cloves. Rundkvist ladies happy.
  • I don’t like eating pig’s trotters. But a sound principle that I have followed unwaveringly throughout my life is this. Only ever marry women who really like eating pig’s trotters.
  • We lived in the US from ’76 to ’78 pretty much because my dad was in Mad Men ten years after Mad Men. He got a job at an actual advertising agency on actual Madison Avenue, Young & Rubicam.

December Pieces Of My Mind #1

At the Stockholm Toy Museum

  • Read an interesting view of the increasingly bold covid lockdown protests in China. Dangerous to participate. Have these people forgotten about the Tiananmen Massacre? Actually they probably have. Because of Party censorship, that event is little known as a deterrent.
  • In its annual stat dump, Spotify tells me that I like rock, neo-psychedelia, indie rock, psychedelic doom (a.k.a. stoner rock) and alternative rock. A big change in my listening behaviour with the arrival of streaming services was that I abandoned albums altogether. There are lots of bands where I love three songs and I have no idea what else they’ve done.
  • Found a copy of Neue Zürcher Zeitung on the train home from Lecco. Excellent paper, like onion skin.
  • Bryson’s A Walk In The Woods (1998) describes pre-GPS hiking. He’s super angry with the inadequate official paper maps of the Appalachian Trail. President Clinton opened GPS to the public in 2000.
  • Annoying boardgame design feature: when you gain new complicated individual abilities through the game, and you forget to use them.
  • If on an empty highway at night you engage cruise control on your Tesla and fall asleep, then the car will zig zag lazily mile after mile, automatically avoiding the barriers, neatly blinking its indicators each time it changes direction. You may wake up on an off ramp that the car happens to enter. Or just travel on.
  • People with a historical perspective tend to assume that if you follow the written sources back to the earliest ones, you encounter the Original State of Humanity. I find it fascinating that before written history, there’s actually hundreds of thousands of years of kaleidoscopic cultural change before you get back to the H. sapiens speciation event.
  • Somebody should write a study of American musicians’ attempted name changes.
  • There is no breathable air inside the Orion capsule during the début flight, only nitrogen.