Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kicksledding at Fjällnora

Jennifer Last year we went to Sollentuna and then to Ekoln so that Joe could try his hand (feet?) at långfärdsskridskor, the long-distance skates favored by those who wish to travel or exercise on natural ice. But there is another option, the kicksled, or in Swedish, "spark" (which just means kick, but specifically means a violent sort of kick). Kicksleds are just that: lightweight, flexible, two-runner sleds with a seat on the front, traditionally used for getting you and all your gear out to the middle of a lake for ice fishing, and then providing you a seat while you fish. Joe wanted to try one out, as a more stable way to get some speed on the ice, and it also occurred to us that perhaps someone could sit on the sled while being pushed around by someone else.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lost in the Woods

JoeSo I'm on my way to campus late Friday morning, biking through Stadsskogen just like I do every day now. It's been rather cold for the last week or so, staying below -10°C pretty much the whole week, so we still have all of our snow from Christmas, which makes for a pretty ride (further helped by all the hoarfrost that was left over from Thursday's freezing fog). Anyway, I'm about two-thirds of the way through when, turning a corner, I come across a woman on skis, standing at the crossing I'm about to pass, and she says something along the lines of, "Kunna jag fråga du…"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Samma rutin som förra året…

Same procedure as last year…
JoeToday is trettonde dag jul, and with it our second Swedish Christmas comes to a close. If last year I was struck by how very different Christmas traditions seemed in Sweden compared to the U.S., this year what seems even more striking is how very much the same it all seems as last year.

Swedes seem particularly hide-bound when it comes to the winter holiday season. As evidence, I present a tale of two television shows: Kalle Anka och kompisar, and Dinner for One. Kalle Anka, or Donald Duck as you know him, is an oddly popular comic book character in Sweden, a fact which is perhaps related to the staggering and inexplicably enduring popularity of the Kalle Anka Christmas special here. The show in question is the 1958 Walt Disney Christmas special, and it has been shown on Swedish television on Christmas Eve at 3 PM every year since 1959—exactly the same cartoons, only a couple of them Christmas related in any way (and one of those complete with the awkward racism so typical of Disney cartoons from the 30s), with a live narrator every year translating for the kiddies (the cartoons are in English, with Swedish subtitles). OK, so they show the same thing every year, what's the big deal, right? Consider this: in a bad year, Kalle Anka pulls in maybe a little over 3 million viewers in Sweden—it may not sound like much, but its one third of the population of the country, and some years its closer to half. That's right, half the population of the country watches this one show. Live, mind you, they watch it live—I've yet to meet a Swede who would contemplate taping Kalle Anka.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

God jul 2009 och gott nytt år 2010

JenniferHappy 2010, everyone! We had a busy time before the holidays, as Joe had exams and project due right up until the 23rd, and I have quite a lot to do at work just now, either in preparation for leaving my job soon (yes, it will be two years at the end of this January), or, preferably, preparing to carry on with the project for another year (fingers crossed). Joe has also had a cold for a while, and frankly we were just so exhausted by the time jul came around that we mostly sat around and complained. But a few nice things have happened, so here's a run down of the last two weeks.