Weekend Fun

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  • Played Eclipse for the first time with my new Muscovite friends Anton & Maria and frequent guest Swedepat. This Finnish 2011 boardgame has become a runaway international hit and is currently ranked #7 on Boardgame Geek. It's about interstellar colonialism: good fun, very neatly designed, and has a lot of inherent replayability. I look forward to future games. Guess which player ended up way ahead of the cluster of three stubble-chinned losers at the end...
  • Cycled in brisk & sunny weather for a second attempt at two recalcitrant geocaches. Found nada. How the great have fallen.
  • Had dinner at friends' place and made the acquaintance of their recently adopted 2-y-o. Lovely, bright & cute!
  • As head of the Carthaginian forces, managed to lose the unloseable 217 BC Battle of Lake Trasimene in Commands & Colours: Ancients. One fatal mistake I made was to not leave any room for my front units to flee when their morale broke. Interestingly, I learned that my opponent for the evening, Max, descends from inhabitants of Gammalsvenskby, dislocated Estonian Swedish-speakers who mass-migrated from Crimea to Sweden in the 1920s.

What where the highlights of your weekend, Dear Reader?

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My niece's wedding on Saturday. She is half Shandong Province, half Hakka, but the groom is Cantonese, so it was one of those very complicated all-day affairs with a lot of cultural rituals to be performed - fun for the onlookers, but an exhausting marathon for the young couple. My new nephew complained to me afterwards that "traditions are troublesome".

On Sunday, 8 of us went to an Italian restaurant that is a 40 minute walk/10 minute bike ride from my home (I must remember to email you a skite photo of my new bicycle). We ordered a set meal for 4 people, thinking that if the food was not enough we could order more dishes later. No, the 8 of us could not even finish the food served for 4, and took quite a few leftovers home with us, and I still over-ate so much I needed the walk home after dinner.

With the wedding 12 course banquet of Cantonese food on Saturday and the Italian meal yesterday, I really needed to get to the gymnasium today to work some of it off - by bicycle, of course.

By John Massey (not verified) on 05 Mar 2012 #permalink

A few years back I was a guest at a Swedish-Henanese wedding in Beijing. The banquet was ample but not insanely huge. One dish had apparently been added to accommodate the Swedish guests who might not be used to Chinese food. It was a vanilla sponge cake garnished with mayonnaise and peeled shrimp. Just like in Sweden!?

Hakka? The ethnicity is mentioned in Neal Stephenson's latest novel "Reamde" (the only group that did not adopt the barbaric habit of female foot mutilation).
He remarked how an ethnic group larger than most European peoples could just "disappear" in the immensity that is China.
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Gammelsvenskby: "mass-migrated from Crimea to Sweden in the 1920s" -Most of those migrants were so badly treated (very poor wages etc) that they promptly returned to the Ukraine... only to face the collectivisation and the Great Terror. The postman in the village got paid a few rubels from NKVD for each person he snitched on.
During WWII and German occupation many in the village were commandeered to work in Germany as "volksdeutsch". After the war they were sent to Gulag for treason (being a prisoner of the enemy was no excuse for working for them, the same thing happened to all Soviet soldiers captured by Germans, the few who survived German captivity)
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Skellefteå had a great meeting for gamers, it was all-inclusive and made a point of including analog games. Previous big meetings in the Sundsvall area had been only for digital gaming (going on through the nights) but I think those meetings have folded for lack of sponsors or whatever.

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 05 Mar 2012 #permalink

Oops, your link already had the info about Gammalsvenskby, sorry about the posting.
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A co-worker participated in Vasaloppet (a 56 mile skiing event) this weekend, alongside another 15 000 participants.
I get exhausted just thinking about it.
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(OT) Sacrifice: "Human pillars" âa barbaric concept that may have lived on into the 20th century. http://pinktentacle.com/2010/03/human-pillars/

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 06 Mar 2012 #permalink

I flied home from Seattle to Malmö. My companion book: Maja Hagermans "Försvunnen Värld"/"Disappeared World"

By Thomas Ivarsson (not verified) on 07 Mar 2012 #permalink

Birger - "the only group that did not adopt the barbaric habit of female foot mutilation" - Yes, I believe that is correct. My sister-in-law said so. My wife's grandmother from Shandong Province had bound feet - she must have been one of the last of her generation to suffer before it was abolished throughout China.

Not disappeared though - older Hakka women are still easily distinguishable in Hong Kong by their black clothing and large-brimmed crownless hats, and there are Hakka restaurants. The women frequently work as labourers in construction and in landscape gardening. They are still a coherent sub-community, but I think not for much longer, the old endogamous language groups are rapidly breaking down.

My sister-in-law is a proud Hakka and speaks fluent Hakka in addition to Cantonese and English, but I usually just get a good natured elbow in the ribs whenever I say "Show us your big hat, then."

There is a very successful chain of allegedly Swedish restaurants called "Miss Maud's" in Perth, Western Australia, from where I have just returned from helping my daughter move back into the student residence at my old university, ready to start the new southern hemisphere academic year, but I really wonder how much of the food you would recognise as even remotely Swedish, Martin. However, happily, the sponge cake and peeled shrimps with mayonnaise are served separately.

By John Massey (not verified) on 07 Mar 2012 #permalink

I-M. Back Danielsson reviews it fairly favourably in the latest paper issue of Fornvännen.

It is very exciting and well written book. I have not finished it yet, only half way through. Only a few doubts this far, about if bronze-age cult houses oould have several floors or stood flat on the ground.

By Thomas Ivarsson (not verified) on 07 Mar 2012 #permalink