December Pieces Of My Mind #1

Anglophones, why do you say “might” instead of “may” when expressing uncertainty? If you’re certain, you say “I’ll eat some bread”. If uncertain, you sometimes just say “I may eat some bread”. But usually you form a needless subjunctive, “I might eat some bread”. Sometimes you even use this mode to express certainty! I sometimes…

It’s been a busy couple of days with a lot of publicity. Monday morning a paper I’ve co-authored with my friend, geophysics specialist Andreas Viberg, was published in the on-line version of Archaeological Prospection. For reasons of scientific priority (which I myself like to establish by spilling everything I do onto the blog immediately) I’ve…

November Pieces Of My Mind #2

This chocolate praline contains something that looks and smells like shampoo. Apparently it’s flavoured with elderflower extract. Jrette prints out song lyrics and fixes them to the outside of the shower cubicle as aids to singing in the shower. I’m kind of OK with most subcultural dress codes. But I really gotta say: young men…

Karate In A Hijab

Here’s an interesting case regarding Muslim women’s veils. They’re instruments or symbols of patriarchal repression, right? Well, check this out. Dania Mahmudi is from my area, Fisksätra. She’s 14 years old and wears a veil. Mahmudi has been practising karate for years. Two weeks ago she went with her club to the district championship, eager…

Pompeii situations, where daily life at a settlement has suddenly and catastrophically been terminated and the site has then been abandoned, are extremely rare and extremely informative. As has recently been discovered, the Sandby fortified settlement on the island of Öland offers a Pompeii situation from about AD 500. The settlement has been attacked, its…

Boardgaming Retreat

I spent last weekend at the annual boardgaming retreat organised by my friend Oscar. This was my fifth retreat, and I enjoyed it greatly. Oscar negotiates a good off-season all-inclusive deal for 25 of us at a small rural hotel, and then we spend two days gaming and sharing meals. People bring huge numbers of…

November Pieces Of My Mind #1

No, Kim Stanley Robinson, when two groups of characters meet and tell each other what they’ve gone through recently under the reader’s watchful eye, you shouldn’t write that dialogue. Because the reader already knows. Back when my father-in-law the engineer had just come to Sweden from China and worked as a waiter, he used to…

Stockholm Film Festival 2014

Before this month I’d never attended a film festival in any concerted way. But I was inspired by Ken & Robin’s podcast to do so, and got myself a membership card for the Stockholm Film Festival, 5–16 November. The festival’s excellent web site made it easy for me to choose which viewings to attend. And…

I follow the decommissioning of Sweden’s churches keenly for several reasons. I like churches, the older the better, but I don’t like the Church much. And I take great interest in the West’s ongoing secularisation process. Before, I’ve blogged about how Maglarp Church was torn down, about how Örja church was sold as housing and…

October Pieces Of My Mind #2

What are the best arguments to keep your home wifi password protected? I think it’s a pain in the ass. My retired neighbour makes prophecies of doom involving child pornographers standing around with laptops outside my fence, distributing contraband files and leaving me to do the jail time. I tell my students that the two…