Sunday, September 30, 2007

Stamp of the Day: Oyster catcher

In a few months, this chick can open oysters without any Japanese knifes! How do the oyster catchers do it? Do they sharpen their beaks?

I think the Swedish name 'strandskata' (=beach mag pie) is not as interesting as the name oyster catcher...

Oyster opening 101

1. Buy good oysters at the local fish market. Note, GOOD and LOCAL.
2. Bring them home.
3. Get out your knives, thin and sharp-edged, but not the best ones in case they will break.
4. Try to find an opening.
5. When you can't find an opening, swear a bit, and try to force yourself in. It won't work. Suggest to husband that a hammer might be a good idea, he disagrees.
6. Look for another knife, this one made in Japan, and try again. Works better - it only takes 5 min to open the first one.
7. Second one, I think I am getting the hang of this. You force yourself in between the shells with your Japanese knife, twist the knife around to cut off the muscle that holds the shells together, open the shells, and scrape the whole organism into the shell and put it on ice.
8. I don't like raw oysters, but after opening a bunch of them I had to try them. Strange taste, but not so bad with Tabasco on and lemon. They are certainly not the prettiest food (see above), but they are quite edible. I still like deep-fried oysters and oyster stew better, but nowadays I think I can actually enjoy a raw oyster. At least if I opened it myself.

But I still don't get what Shakespeare meant when he wrote:

Why, then the world's mine oyster,
Which I with sword will open.

When you get tired of building your nest (home)... can rest in one of these:
It is a chair made from liana vines (rattan palms) all nested together and only $2000 to buy! ("som hittat!"). There are some other chair designs using the same technique here. But I don't understand how you can get all the branches nested together into that shape. And even if it looks soft, I bet it is hard to sit on.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Our ancestral home

This is the old house Gäserudstugan [the Gäserud house] where we who write in this blog have our forefather from. This house can you visit in Dals-Ed, Dalsland, in Sweden. It is built 1741 after dendrocronologic examination. It was an older house on the same place, but it was bad so that when Per Persson got the house from his father and married Ingrid Jonsdotter he build this house. This is a watercolor painting I did of it when I was there.
This is the interior from the kitchen. This house was inhabited until 1931, then a new house was built a little bit away from this house. If you want to know more, search and google or "Gäserudstugan".

[LS edited some, and added title and labels]

Friday, September 28, 2007

Russian cinema: Your dreams are just a throw of a nut away

Three men, carefully walking in each others footsteps through the grass, following the trajectory of the nut (the fastener kind) they've thrown. Where it lands it is safe to go . They are in the "Zone", an abandoned and restricted area where a catastrophe decades earlier wiped out the inhabitants, and created a place within the zone where it is said that your deepest wishes and dreams will be realized. The three men are "Professor", a scientist, "Author", a successful writer and "Stalker", their guide in the zone, trying to get there. Each of them for his own reasons. But in the zone the shortest and most safe route is not the one of shortest distance.

Yesterday I saw Tarkovsky's film "Stalker" (1979) in a movie theater for the first time, although I've seen it several times on dvd before. Easily one of the ten best films I've seen. Slow, but with an intensity that grows on you, and very russian in style. If you don't crave car chases, superheroes, funny jokes and don't mind thinking once in a while this might be a film for you.

(Listening to while posting: Gaffaman and his space-dub)

Bigger, better?

Quote from the arranger of the proposed cycling race "Tour of America", modeled after Tour de France:

"The idea is to go big. In some sense, it may be overboard. It may be swinging for the fences. But then again, hey, this is America. That's what we do. We want big. We want powerful. We want wonderful. We want grueling."

Well, what do you say? East coast to west coast in 26 stages, 4700 miles / 7520 km in total (more than twice the distance of Tour de France), starting in september just as the "Vuelta a España". I like the spirit but seriously, no big teams will participate in this craziness after participating in any of the big tours earlier in the season. So who will? Cycling isn't that popular in the states as far as I know, so attracting sponsors for a lot of american teams will be hard. And I imagine that american viewers want "stars".

I think this is the ostrich of the cycling sport. It may be the biggest bird, but it won't fly...
But by september 6th 2008 we will know.

Now I'm just waiting for the russians to respond with Tour of Russia, from the Baltic sea to Bering Strait. On unicycles. :)

(Listening to while posting: Frank London - Scientist at work)

Stamp of the Day: Vikings again!

A Swedish stamp depicting the travels of the vikings,
with artwork obviously inspired from medieval art.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Signs: No littering

So, what exactly are you allowed to flush down this toilet? Last I checked what you usually put in toilets were body waste products. And the sign is rather negative, not positive(ly), I think. If you put the waste down gently, not throw it, are you allowed to do it then?

This was seen at the Flemington Outlet Mall, in the women's bathroom. I wonder if the bathroom sewer drains in their pond - it was the most disgusting pond I have seen in a while with gas-filled algae heaps floating in it, surrounded by immaculately kept cute buildings with upscale outlet stores.

Watercolor magic

I was over at the Swissmiss blog, and ran into Stina Persson, an artist in Stockholm. Check out her modern watercolors and other art. I love it! She seems to be heavily into marketing and design too, with clients like Target, Elle, and Blue Note Records.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

On the what appears to be the highest point in Philadelphia, with a wonderful view over the city, is the magnificent building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. My friend KV and I went there for the first time last week, and we were both pleasantly surprised. Not only is the building gorgeous with its columns and mosaics (see below), but the contents inside are great. I like this museum better than the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, but I am not really sure why.
In the Modern Art wing, a giant electric (wooden) plug is hanging from the ceiling, ready to drop on the one that dares to walk under. Seeing such an everyday object at such a scale and in the 'wrong' material was interesting. I don't remember who made it and I forgot to write it down. They also have a wonderful collection of Shaker furniture, which made me want to read more about their history and legacy.

A Japanese teahouse had been painstakingly recreated. The visitors have to crawl through the little side door after walking over a little court yard with rocks and gravel.

Even steam trains are present for PP, here is one going over a bridge in France in a painting by Claude Monet. There were lots of impressionists, and many wonderful paintings by Renoir, Monet, Manet, Pissaro, and a new favorite, Maximilien Luce, a master of pointillism.

And this is not a painting at all, but the view to the west from the Museum, over the Schuylkill River and the restored Fairmount Water Works. It includes a restaurant and an interpretive center, and is housed in the old water treatment plant of the city. There used to be steam engines here that pumped up the water to a reservoir up the hill to where the Art Museum is now, and then the water was distributed throughout the city. It was the first city-wide water distribution systems in the US. The balloon in the distance is attached to the Philadelphia Zoo, and the boat houses are for rowing clubs.

Ghost boats in Chicago

Some boats aren't really there.

All photos at the harbor in Chicago at Lake Michigan.

New light on the Swedish stone in Chicago

Hi everybody!

I just had to ask the Swedish Museum of History about the mysterious round stone.
Here is their answer.

Here you can read more and see the mysterious stone Signs of sweden in Chicago by LS
In short (LS can you translate the whole thing? Done/LS)

The round stones are found in Lake Malar valley on top of graves, dating back to 500 AC. The round stones are believed to mark female graves and the erected stones are male graves. This is not certain though. The Swedish museum of History has not found anything in their records about this particular stone but its probable that its a Swedish stone.
- - - - - -

Hej E!
Den sten du frågar om som din syster sett i Chicago är förmodligen ett gravklot som varit placerad på en stensättning. Sådana förekom under järnålder, bland annat för ca 1500 år sedan. Så vad gäller tidsaspekten stämmer skylten – att det skulle vara tidig stenålder då är dock fel. Inte heller var det vikingatid för 1500 år sedan (rubriken Swedish Viking Monument). Perioden då kallas folkvandringstid och spänner på ett ungefär över 400- och 500-tal.

Att klotet har påträffats i Mälardalen kan mycket väl stämma. De är förhållandevis vanliga här. Man brukar säga generellt att gravklot har placerats på kvinnogravar medan resta stenar har markerat mansgravar, men om det verkligen stämmer är kanske inte helt självklart. Under den här tiden förekom det ganska ofta att flera personer begravdes i samma grav, och ofta var de av olika kön.

Om stenen verkligen kommer från Historiska museet är osäkert. Museet har gravklot i sina samlingar men jag har inte kunnat hitta några uppgifter om att något skulle ha förts till USA. Förmodligen är det så att någon från Historiska museet har presenterat stenen för översten i fråga men att det är en sten som man fört över utan att den tillhörde museets samlingar. Eller så stämmer kanske inte uppgiften om museet på skylten.

Lotta Fernstål
Lotta Fernstål fil.dr arkeologi – Ph.D. Archaeology 1:e antikvarie – Senior Curator Statens historiska museum – Museum of National Antiquities Enheten för samlingar – Collections P.O. Web:

[Short summary of the letter by LS:
Yes, the stone could be from the Lake Malaren Valley, and these stones were placed usually on women's graves 1500 years ago, the 'iron age', or more specifically the 'people wandering's age'. It has nothing do to with vikings, and nothing to do with stone age. There is also no record of The Historical Museum giving anything like this to Chicago, but maybe someone gave something to an individual and then that individual gave it to Chicago. But the stone was never part of the Historical museum's collections.
- - - - -
Min fråga [My question]:

Min syster har nyligen varit i Chicago och tittade då på Tribune building där de satt in stenar från olika delar av världen, bland annat Sverige. Bland de svenska föremålen fanns denna sten, med en förklarande plakett under. Informationen kan inte stämma, det har vi insett, men vad är det egentligen? Och kommer den verkligen från Historiska museet?
Hälsningar EH

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Horsey horse don´t you stop...just wag your tail and go flippetiflop

I went on a days ride in the crispy september air this weekend. It´s such fun and relaxing at the same time. Some pictures from my day...

Small but strong hairy icelandic ponies with names like Fluga,Sokki, Helmingur, Noi, Bangsi and Krokur.

Forgotten places in my hometown

I went by bus in Eskilstuna and took a timetable. Do you remember Helgestahill, Valhalla, Glömsta, Rinmansparken, Tunavallen etc, dear family. It´s been a long time since I thought about these places, but seeing the names calls the memories back. Do you feel the same?

Editing: Ohhh, forgot the most important of all SLAGSTA, but that I hadn´t forgot. Slagsta-glass mmmm...(yummy)

More familiar names and places...

How I feel after loosing the bidding for Nibblevägen 8b

This is a swedish comic strip from today, very fitting.

Free translation: first picture something like " I feel so bad for the people we´re bidding against, I hope we can match their bidding limit. Next strip, I hate these people, why cant their money run out soon. "


By the way, the bidding stopped at 2520000 SKR.

Virtual hairdo

Want a haircut without getting a new hairdo? You'll get an demonstration of binaural recording at the same time by listening to the link below. You MUST use headphones for it to work.

So, go and get your headphones now and listen to this!


Snapshot: Hairdo

Some music calls for certain hairdos...


Bringing order to nature

"Today, birds fly around aimlessly and freely, and this is highly unfortunate. As long as birds are free, they cannot be socialized and enjoy the benefits of modern society.

The way birds live today is comparable to how we humans lived tens of thousands of years ago. This is the first step towards creating a modern society for animals, which could be very beneficial in many ways. "

Relax, this is just an art project/exhibition with political undertones where housings for birds are built on the roof of Kulturhuset (A cultural center in the middle of Stockholm) in the style of the swedish "miljonprogrammet" (the million program). Miljonprogrammet is the name of the political agenda to build a million new dwellings during ten years, between 1965 - 1974. Today it is used mostly as a negative term for the ugly and depressing suburban apartment complexes from that era. I suspect the priorities were "fast and easy to build".

The houses can be watched live here until the end of next summer. Will the birds adapt to modern society, or will they continue to live like anarchists? ;)

P.S. The cranes (no, not birds ;] ) in the background are real, new (real) buildings are being built. Some less pleasing to the eye than others...

Listening to while posting: Animals of Wheels - Soluble ducks (from the album "Designs and mistakes"). I thought it was a suitable soundtrack. :)

Monday, September 24, 2007

The World's most beautiful motorcycle?

The winner for 2007 is built by a Swede, Stellan Egeland, and called "Hulster 8-valve".

Do you like it?

Sunday, September 23, 2007


In the time before time, the great beings created the bionicle universe from a location known only as the world that feeds the world.
They created Artahka, Karzahni, Mata nui and Makuta.
And from the world that feeds the world, the matoran of light and the av-matoran were created. They are the matoran destined to become Toa, guardians of the universe. Mata nui created the matoran, the sky, the earth and the water. Makuta created weaker duplicates of himself, creating the brotherhood of Makuta (although there are female members of the brotherhood). Artahka and Karzahni were always bickering about who was a better craftsman. They had a contest, and Artahka won with his creation known as the staff of Artahka, which can re-create any object even from the smallest fragment of the object. But Karzahni vanished into his realm, never to emerge until nearly 100,000 years later. The great beings created the hand of Artahka, also known as the order of Mata nui, whose job was to protect Mata nui. In Artahka (the name of Artahka's realm) the order created the Toa Mata , whose job was to retrieve the staff of Artahka if it was ever stolen. The great beings then created the mask of life, commonly known as Kanohi Ignika. The mask was created to save Mata nui's life if it was ever in danger (because if Mata nui died so did the universe). A prophecy came with it as well, inscribed on the inside of the mask:

Where evil's afloat,
A secret brings hope.

Where a world has gone under,
Comes lightning and thunder.

What darkness divides,
A cut will unite.

Ignite the flame of the heart,
For the future to start.

Nearly every single villain in the bionicle history craves that mask. Not only does it have the ability to give life, but also to take it away.

Signs: Keep children under control

Seen at the Ship Inn bar in Milford, NJ.

Smart thing for egg lovers

We saw this in an antique store. It is an egg holder for boiling perfect 3-minute eggs, in and out of the boiling water. Cute, isn't it?

Stamp of the Day: Longship on the Scottish coast

They really knew how to build beautiful ships, those vikings! This stamp reminds me of Asian art, with mountains in a distance and foggy mornings.

Friday, September 21, 2007

LOL n00b l33t h4x vid


Getting ready for Christmas III

But how to pay for those unexpected but perfect christmas gifts? Once again Derren Brown shows you how.


Food Heaven on Earth: Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, heaven for foodies is placed inside the old Reading Railroad's Terminal (station), and it is now called Reading Terminal Market. Over 50 small shops and stands, many Amish, selling fresh produce (veggies and fruits), meat, fish, cheese, cooked food for lunch and dinner, and teas and spices.

Outside hangs a fish, so you will know what is going on inside.

Stores, this one with candles and spices.

An Amish woman having pizza for lunch and checking her voicemail on her cell phone.

Piggly wiggly for candy dandy.

Ears for boxers. (chocolate). They also had lungs for smokers.

Toothpaste and teeth for dentists. (More chocolate)

Mmmm, Bucks County Coffee Shop. Drinkable heaven! This market is also the home for Sang Kee Peking Duck, with its famous duck rolls. They just have to be tasted to be believed.

Filling up the ketchup bottles at the oyster bar.

Traffic jam! We bought some. ANd got some on the way home on the highway too.

Pickled eggs, some with jalapenos and some with beets. Yummy!

REAL pickles.

Shrimpies for all, forever.

And I brought home the bacon!
Guess what was next to the bacon? Hickory smoked pork chops (kind of like Swedish 'kassler', really good).

Mullet is not only a haircut, it is also a fish. THe mackerels looked kind of tiny.

How it really looks like. Reminds me of Oriental bazaars, flea markets, and saluhallar in Gothenburg and Uppsala. I love it! The prices are not bad, because there is big competition among the family-owned stores. Abborre (perch), $2.99/lbs, for example.