January Pieces Of My Mind

Some recent Facebook updates of mine:

  • After four years' living in this house I just stubbed my toe on the bathrooom threshold for the first time -- painfully. Unusually, I was wearing semi-industrial hearing protectors on my way to the john -- because also unusually two people were watching TV at the same time and so the sound was on (I can't write with speech in the background). Now I wonder -- am I unconsciously in the habit of using the acoustics of our rooms to remember where I need to mind my step?
  • To solve the US gun problem, impose a 1900% luxury tax on ammo. Let the people bear arms. And not afford to load them.
  • Juniorette reads Selma Lagerlöf on her smart phone.
  • Wikipedia is a blessing and a curse. One moment I was translating my extra mom's tourist guide to Gotland. Some unspecified time later I realised I was somehow adding information to a Wikipedia article about an old building in Lund.
  • You know how non-story-driven real life is compared to fiction? It would be fun to re-mix some Agatha Christie novels so you get a book that begins with the last third of one Mrs. Marple book, has an unrelated interlude taken from inside another book, and ends with the first third of yet another book.
  • One of the more interesting kinds of contemporary archaeology I've come across: identifying found bodies using associated artefacts and DNA. But of course, this is not done by archaeologists, but by police forensic teams. I submit that any contemporary archaeology not involving the police is rather pointless.
  • Annoying how actors' opinions carry much more media weight than those of the people who write their lines.
  • 1990: I meet someone's kid sister a few times and think "She's going to be pretty good looking when she grows up". 2013: I come across a picture of the same person on Facebook and think "Yes, she was in fact probably pretty good-looking for a while after she grew up".
  • 15,000 years ago, when Dogger Bank was dry land, the Thames and the Rhine were tributaries of a larger river flowing south through the valley we call the English Channel.
  • The Stockholm public transport web site won't volunteer this information. But by taking the bus from Märsta commuter train station, I can get from Fisksätra to Arlanda airport for the same price as from Fisksätra into town.
  • 500 years from now, the difference between our era's cyberpunk and steampunk will be hard to spot.
  • I remember Govindadatorn, the proselytising text adventure you could play 24/7 in the 80s through the front window of the Hare Krishna restaurant on Fridhemsgatan in Stockholm. Do you?
  • David Bowie's method of kicking a drug habit: share an apartment with Iggy Pop for two years.
  • I have this visceral resistance against putting snacks into even the cleanest of ash trays.
  • Watched a biographical TV documentary about a business tycoon. When describing his early 90s heyday, they played a few bars of Atomic Swing's "Stone Me Into The Groove". This blew my mind. I am old enough now that the hit songs of my early adulthood are signifiers of a historic period, like jazz in a gangster movie.
  • Swedes often mistranslate Sw. "även" into Eng. "even". This gives rise to unintentional humour. "In addition to growing potatoes he even grows carrots." "I've worked as a teacher of physics and even chemistry".
  • Free advice from an editor: the words "It is interesting to note that" are almost always redundant and should be deleted. We already know that you find that shit interesting to note, or you wouldn't be writing about it. And the phrase makes a false generality out of something that's really just your personal opinion.
  • Another empty phrase that should generally be deleted: "It could be argued that".
  • Why does Congress have to re-authorize legislation? I've never heard of a "limited time only" law in Sweden.
  • I doodle absurdly on boiled eggs before putting them in the fridge. Junior just asked me if you can also boil an egg by doodling on it.
  • Two yellow hovercraft just drove past on the ice here. My dad's telescope wasn't powerful enough to determine if they had any fish on board, and if so what kind.
  • Anders Zorn was a painter and printmaker who specialised in curvy nude women. The Thiel art museum in Stockholm is currently juxtaposing his prints with photographs of skinny nude women by Nobuyoshi Araki. In my opinion, many of the latter images are simply competent porn, indistinguishable from what you'll find on any girly site. This means that either Araki shouldn't be shown in an art museum, or more quality porn should be shown there. Myself, I prefer not to be perturbed in that particular way by a museum visit.
  • One card in Magic: The Gathering is named Demonic Tutor. (It lets you select a card from your draw stack instead of drawing blindly.) It amuses me endlessly to call it Sw. "demoniska tutor", Eng. "demonic car horns".
  • Making heavy metal hand signs and singing loudly to myself: "Ja, vi elsker dette landet, som det stiger frem, furet, værbitt over vannet, med de tusen hjem."
  • Grrr. Just noticed that someone miscorrected "Appendices" to "Appendicies" in my mead-halls book. Fucking Swedes.
  • Walked Juniorette home from a birthday party. Full moon, grimly cold, we went onto the lake and checked out our summer swimming place, named some constellations, took our bearings from the North Star.
  • I bought a $10 Mary Roach e-book from Amazon. Because the pirated file was a PDF that wouldn't reformat to the window and the selected type size. And because it's Mary Roach.
  • Why do people give percentages with a decimal? Adds no relevant information, clutters the writing.
  • I think the criticism of "speciesism" is silly. I divide animals into intelligent ones that should be afforded "human" rights and others that we can blithely kill and eat. I do however think that we should have empathy with smarter members of the latter category (e.g. mammals, birds) and avoid inflicting useless suffering on them.
  • I can never get used to the idea of creating jobs. I know it's a crucial macro-scale political task. But I was taught already as a tiny kid that you don't wait for the environment to conform to your wishes. You adapt to the environment. I don't want anybody to create work for me. I try to make myself attractive to employers.
  • Bolsängen: an Uppland smallhold whose name (thanks to the Swedish method of making compund nouns) means "the sexual intercourse bed".
  • The Poupon mustard brand got its name from the firm's coprophiliac founder, who liked to encourage his staff with a friendly "Poop on, guys! Poop on!"

More like this

"You know how non-story-driven real life is compared to fiction?"
This is because our world (aka Roundworld) lacks narrativium. Proper worlds (like Discworld) do not have this problem. If a small band of warriors make a last stand against overwhelming odds there, victory is inevitable. Events without a narrative simply do not exist.
In that narrative universe, your stumble on the treshold would have saved you from a crossbow bolt.

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 02 Feb 2013 #permalink

"The hit songs of my early adulthood are signifiers of a historic period"
-This evening, Eric Gadd (who started his career in that same period) got nominated for the second round of selection of the Swedish candidate for the Eurovision Contest. Alongside a bloke who has stepped out from a Manga cartoon. As we age, we get a bit of culture shock every day.
In the intermission, the spoof metal band Megahell played their hit "Ukuleles From Hell". Plenty of heavy metal hand signs. But ukuleles in place of guitars= Sonic hell :-)

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 02 Feb 2013 #permalink

To solve the US gun problem, impose a 1900% luxury tax on ammo. Let the people bear arms. And not afford to load them.
Works just as well as the high taxes on liquor have eliminated alcoholism in Sweden.

Sweden's liquor tax hasn't eliminated alcoholism, but it has put a considerable damper on the numbers.