Weekend Fun

It's been one of the warmest and sunniest weeks in a long time. Saturday I invited friends old and new over: we played a game of Tigris & Euphrates, two games of kubb (no, it is not an old Viking game), made a lovely barbecue dinner and took an evening walk to Lake Lundsjön. Our kubb court was laid out meticulously with the aid of two tape measures and Pythagoras' Theorem, just like when you lay out an excavation trench or grid. Later that night I watched a 2006 concert by Max Raabe & Palast-Orchester on TV.

Sunday me & Juniorette visited some old friends of mine: we had lunch in their garden and walked to Lake Järlasjön where the kids went swimming. I type these lines sitting in our yard, hoping that Junior will show up soon. Though I think I'll have a nap first.

And your weekend, Dear Reader?


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I wasn't particularly looking forward to the weekend, as I had run out of books, and had nothing to do but sit around and miss home. Even the weather forecasts were unpromising. Or rather, promising rainstorms. Thankfully, the storms passed the little Isle of Man by on their way from Wales to Northern Ireland.

Anyway, as it turned out, this was to be a refreshing relationship therapy weekend. Refreshing for me, because I got to help a dear friend with some very heavy emotional baggage via frenzied e-mailing all through Saturday. It must've ran to 5000+ words for each of us.

I also watched two very very good movies, Revolutionary Road on Saturday morning after the first e-mail (I thought Winslet was much better in this than in The Reader, btw), and Gran Torino (Eastwood's latest, and I think rumoured to be his last major acting role) this morning. The Last King of Scotland is waiting its turn, I'll be watching that later tonight. This afternoon I drove down to Douglas, the island's capital and biggest city, to find some essentials: new books to read. Picked up the 3 Alastair Reynolds paperbacks I didn't yet have, Galactic North, Chasm City, and Pushing Ice. Now I'm looking forward to calling the Mrs. on Skype in about an hour.

Oh, and a highlight of the past week: the parcel containing £300 worth of whisky that I won in an internet prize draw arrived! I won't open them yet, though, since it's just a few weeks till I return to Finland. The fewer opened bottles, the better.

Detta kubb! Som alltid skall spelas men ingen någonsin tycker är roligt. Må Gotland drabbas av många svåra plågor för att de hittade på skiten.

Thomas, nu är du orättvis. Om husreglerna tillåter en att slunga kastpinnarna på de motspelare man finner som mest otrevliga (och varje husregelbok borde innehålla dylika paragrafer), så kan spelet raskt utvecklas till ett trivsamt gruff som ger god aptit till grillningen.

Finally I did something worth sharing!: A friend and I headed up to our regular campsite on National Forest land near Mt. Rainier to see if it was still covered with snow. Its elevation is around 5500 feet. Everything looked ok, no one had disturbed it since last year except a herd of elk that trampled the sand my friend trucked up there a couple seasons ago to sleep on. We hiked up nearby Kelly Butte to see the view from the old fire lookout hut at the top, and to see if we could spot any mountain goats -- we didn't.

When we got back a tire was flat, so we hiked towards town to find cel phone reception. He managed to reach his father after we bushwhacked our way up a hill and stood on a stump to get reception. The walk back in the dark was wonderful, with owls hooting to each other from one side of the valley to the other, and the beargrass glowing white in the moonlight. Several offroad vehicles passed us on the trail, and we probably could have hitched a ride, but we hid in the trees when we saw them coming. It would have spoiled the adventure.

My friend's dad kindly drove us up the next morning and changed the tire for us. We had a big breakfast and coffee at a diner in Buckley to celebrate.

Turned 40 on Saturday so we had dinner - Eisbein and Sauerkraut - in a German restaurant in Kobe after a long, lazy afternoon by the harbour area with beer and idle chitchat.

Sunday I finished a paper review, began work on a poster for a meeting next week, and scanned some color negatives I just got back.

Hey Kevin, sounds great! Though this is the first I've heard of people preparing camp sites in the wilds for themselves with truckloads of sand. (-;

Janne, congrats!

Thanks, it's a lot more comfortable than the ground. This year we're building a big wind break out of plywood to leave up there permanently -- the site is pretty exposed on the brow of a hill, but the view of the mountain is well worth it. And possibly blasting out a deeper fire pit.

This wasn't the most fun weekend because I was writing my Leeds paper, but I managed to find time in there while my son was around to play a few games with him. The day is very close when he will start beating me at Dover Patrol and Robo Rally. The weekend was a lot less fun once he'd gone back to his mum's and I had to actually work.

Ha Brokeback without those pesky sheep to get in the way ;}. It's on one of the vast tracts of National Forest land in Washington State, government-held but administered for logging rather than as parkland. The area was logged and replanted maybe twenty years ago, and you can follow miles of old logging roads back into what is effectively no-man's land, where the public is free to hike, drive, camp, hunt, shoot, and do pretty much anything.