We got together to learn and practice la Rueda de Casino. It's a type of salsa that is danced in a circle by two or more couples, with people changing partners constantly. How one changes from one partner to the next is decided by the dance leader, who calls out the name of the next move. Some of the moves are quite simple; others are more involved; and still others are just plain silly. The names of all the moves are in Spanish, so many of them don't make much sense to me. Still, it's not too hard to remember a move after it has been called out a few times. It's a lot of fun. During a break in the dancing we sat outside on Inger's balcony. In the photo are Inger, me, Linda, Elias, and Johan.
Posted by Michael A. Lowry at 20:30
On Thursday night I joined some salsa dancing friends at Inger's place. Inger lives in a nice place on Reimersholme. I took this photo on the bridge from Södermalm to Reimersholme. All along the south shore of Söder, poeple were out jogging and picnincing, taking advantage of the last of the evening sunlight.
Posted by Michael A. Lowry at 19:15
So much for my plans to get my drivers license by the end of the week. Although the overview page describing the requiements for a class B license does not mention it, it's necessary to take a risk education course that includes training for driving on slippery roads. This requirement must be completed prior to taking the practical (driving) test. I signed up for the next available class at Bromma Halkbana, about three weeks from now. This class also adds another expense to the process of obtaining a drivers license. The class costs 1200 SEK.
Posted by Michael A. Lowry at 09:51
I enjoyed this New York Times article about animal colors. The picture above is an excerpt from one of the photographs that accompany the article. The caption of this photo reads: "A male cardinal preparing to land on a bird feeder. His red color comes from a carotenoid pigment, which he extracted from the food he eats."
Posted by Michael A. Lowry at 14:30
Swedish law allows holders of a valid U.S. drivers license to drive in Sweden, but only for one year. After that, one must obtain a Swedish drivers license. The process of obtaining a Swedish drivers license involves both a theory test and practical (driving) test. This morning, I passed the theory test. I plan to take the driving test later this week.
Here's a shot of Benny Golson on stage. He played, among other things, two of his compositions that I have always enjoyed: Along Came Betty and I Remember Clifford. He also played a very nice version of Take the A-Train. While Benny and his band were playing, I couldn't help but want to dance. I showed Lisa a few of the basic Swing steps later in the evening, but I must admit I've forgotten most of what I once knew. I've really been enjoying Salsa dancing, but maybe I should take some Swing lessons too!
On Saturday, I went to the Stockholm Jazz Festival on Skeppsholmen. Here is the view across the water toward Djurgården. The building on the left if the Nordic Museum. The one of the right is the Vasa Museum. The concerts at the festival were very nice. I especially enjoyed the performance by Benny Golson & Friends. That's my kind of music.
Posted by Michael A. Lowry at 23:40
Here's a panorama of my new office at the headquarters of IBM Sweden. The building is loacated in the woods on a hill overlooking Kista (a suburb of Stockholm). Out my window I have a view of the outdoor break area next to the cafeteria; so while I work, I can watch all the cute girls sitting outside in the sun while they sip their coffee. On the windowsill to the left (just beyond the edge of the photo) is a "KVM" switch that allows me to control four different servers (Solaris, AIX, Linux, and Windows) using the same keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Three of these servers are in a storage room a few meters to the right of my desk. This is nice because it gives me more room and reduces the amount of noise in the office.
Posted by Michael A. Lowry at 16:24
Ethan has arrived safely back in Austin. It was really nice to have him here for a while and to spend time traveling in England and France with him. I stayed up late to call him after his flight landed. Now it's dawn again here in Stockholm, so I should probably get to bed now.
Posted by Michael A. Lowry at 02:57
This afternoon I let the cats out and went for a run. I started my run as I usually do, by running South alongside the E18 on the bridge over the channel that connects Brunnsviken to Lilla Värtan. After crossing the bridge, I would normally continue around Brunnsviken; but today I decided to take a longer run so I turned left after the bridge. I ran along Lilla Värtan until I could see Lidngöbron in the distance. I continued running along the shore as far as Husarviken and then turned back Westward toward Stockholms Universitet. When I reached Brunnsviken, I continued my normal jog around the lake.
When I got back around to the west side of Tivoliudden (the peninsula where Pipers Park is situated), I went down to the granite rocks by the water, took of my shoes, and had a swim. It was very refreshing. There was a waterskier out on the lake, and a few people having a barbequeue on the granite hill near Kraus grav. The sun was very low in the sky and the light was lovely. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me. When I got back home, the cats were waiting for me by the door.
I'm just a beginner to running so during the run, I had to slow down and walk from time to time to catch my breath. It didn't help that I had eaten just an hour before starting the run. Next time I'll leave at least two hours between a meal and my run. I'm considering running a half-marathon in September. That's 21 km. I estimate that I ran 16-18 km today, and it took me a bit over two hours. That leaves a lot of room for improvement!
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As I walked through the woods between the E18 and Brunnsviken, the sun began to rise. Illuminated in the damp undergrowth was an old rowboat..
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Dew covered all the plants and droplets of water were suspended from every leaf; trees appeared to be green upside-down chandeliers.
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There was also a layer of fog moving across Brunnsviken. A pair of swans and several cygnets were moving among the reeds.
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This morning at 4:26, Ethan caught the airport bus from Järva Krog to Arlanda airport. He's in the air right now on the first leg of his journey home to Austin.
Posted by Michael A. Lowry at 09:05
Google just bought Picasa and they're making the program available for free. For those of you who don't know, Picasa, as well as being the name of the company, is also the name of this company's primary product, an iPhoto clone for Microsoft Windows. The friendly folks at Picasa are also responsible for Hello, the picture sharing program that I have been using to upload photos to this weblog.
Posted by Michael A. Lowry at 04:04
Ethan's last dinner at my place for a while. Tomorrow morning (acutally, in just a few hours), he will fly back to U.S..
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Here's a better view of the Cedargrenska tower. It is in the middle of Djursholm, and surrounded by a nice forest. One can rent it out for parties of at least 60 people at a price of about 800 - 1700 SEK per person. A couple of Summers ago, Lotta and I were riding our bikes around Djursholm and we rode by the tower whilst a wedding party was being held. People were dressed up and dancing to piano jazz on the roof of the lower part of tower. It looked very nice. If I ever get married in Stockholm, I might want to have the dinner there.
Our table was on the deck outside. Here is the view across the water. Ethan chatted briefly with one of the guests at the restaurant who said that he lived in the neighborhood. Several of the parties arrived and left by boat. The restaurant is a renovated old boathouse and there is a dock down by the water. The houses in this neighboorhood cost at least 5 million Swedish crowns.
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Beacause of Bastille Day, no busses were running from Hyères to Nice. We took the TGV from Toulon and met a girld named Sara on the train who was also headed to Stockholm.
Posted by Michael A. Lowry at 18:21
Here is Agnès in her kitchen with her two daughters, Audrey and Laura. Ethan is eating a piece of bleu cheese!
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There were many kite-surfers. Agnès explained that this place is very popular for kite-surfing because there is always a steady wind blowing across the peninsula. It's amazing how fast they were going. Many of them also jumped high into the air and even did flips. The leading edge of the kite is an air-filled baloon.
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We sunbathed on the beach next to these pretty French girls. They were very friendly, and I managed to chat with them using a bit of French and a bit of English. The first few days in France, every time I tried to speak French, what came out of my mouth was a mishmash of French, Swedish & German. But after a few days I actually was able to say a few things in French. It wasn't perfect, but at least I was able to make myself understood. Most young people in France understand some English, but only some of them speak it fluently. That's a noticable difference from Sweden.
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This is a blurry photo of me, but it gives a good view of the peninsula South of Hyères-les-Palmiers. The hills in the distance are connected to the mainland by a wide but very low-lying strip of land that is partially covered by water. Salt was once collected on these flats, but they are now a nature preserve for flamingos. Later in the day, we went swimming on the beach on the right (West) side of the peninsula, called Étang des Pesquiers.
Ethan on the beach at Hyères. In the background you can see sail-boarders and also the ruins of an old Roman road that goes out to the peninsula. In those days, it was obiously not submerged.
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Michael & Ethan at a salon de thé on the sqare in Hyères-les-Palmiers. We had Moroccan mint tea and a Moroccan pastry made with figs, nuts & honey. We were served by a very friendly fellow named Sam (partially visible in the doorway to the right).
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