Stockholm Beer Fest 2005

Last night I went to the 2005 Stockholm Beer Festival with a bunch of colleagues. I met up with some of them at Slussen and took the 473 bus to the convention center at Nacka Strand. Tobbe and Danne are such a cute couple.

Erik was there.

So were Jens and the gang.

Much beer was consumed.

Many pressing and important political issues were resolved.

Or not.

Slottskällans Bryggeri served up some fine beers. I particularly liked the one called Uppsala, named after the brewery's home. I had a nice chat with the girl pouring my beer. She seemed to know a lot about the different brews.

Daniel tries, without success, to coax Åsa into joining the party.

Tobbe's brother Hokan (of KGB Bar fame) and his girlfriend Ulrika also showed up.

A good time was had by all!

This is the view from the IBM lobby on the 6th floor of the office on Wallingatan where I spend most of my weekdays. The building is at least a few hundred years old, and the glass in the windows is quite wavy.

One of the nice sunny afternoons this week (I don't remember which) I took the cats out for a walk. They seemed to enjoy it. As the weather gets cooler, they become more restless from being kept inside all the time. So when they do get an opportunity to gou out, they really enjoy it!


Porrfest på Bunny

I went to the Bunny night club last night. It was great fun: lots of scantilly clad young things dancing and showing off. The music was well beyond tinnitus threshold. The half-naked revellers I didn't mind, but the painfully loud music should be criminal. A good time was had by all. Thanks to Jens for the VIP treatment.


This morning Alex and Sasha were particularly cute. They sat on the table in my living room that doubles as a TV stand and soaked up the morning sunshine.

Sasha kept her good eye on the camera, just in case it turned out to be a mouse.


René Descartes

I recently learned that René Descartes was burried for a time at The Adolf Fredrik's Church in Stockholm. Descartes was invited by Queen Kristina to come to Stockholm to be her teacher and adviser. Perhaps in part because he was unaccustomed to the chilly weather, he succumbed to a lung inflamation and died less than a year after his arrival in Sweden. Although he was originally burried in the churchyard here, his remains were moved to Paris 16 years after his death. In the church there is a memorial to Renato Cartesio. Descartes gave us Cartesian geometry and cogito ergo sum.


Evening sunshine

I like the warm evening sunlight and the long shadows by the bikes.

Sasha is such a cutie!


Today was a cool day. Autumn has definitely arrived. Just before sunset, I took the cats out for a walk.

Alex and Sasha are almost like dogs. They follow just a few steps behind me.

Alex doesn't like to sit still for very long, but somehow I managed to convince him to pose for a few nice photos.



Mountain biking on Drottningholm

On Saturday I went biking with Lotta in the woods on Drottningholm. We didn't find the path sought until we were already on the way home. But we did find some paths. They varied from easy dirt roads to almost impassably steep and rocky paths. There were some horse trails that were a bit challenging too because of all of the deep hoofprints in the hardened dry mud. The weather was lovely and we sustained only minor bruises and scratches. All in all, it was a very good ride.

Here's another view of the same place. We didn't meet many other bikers on our trek, but we did encounter several groups of backpackers and picnickers.

Here is a snapshot I took from the top of the Nockeby bridge, Nockebybron, on my way back home.


Daniel's 33rd birthday @ The Saddle & Sabre

On Thursday I joined a whole gang at The Saddle and Sabre to celebrate the 33rd birthday of my colleague and good friend Daniel Lundh. Here's a photo of the birthday boy and his girl.

Åsa was there too of course.

Torbjörn was in rare form.

It looks like Daniel is pleased with the food. Or mabye displeased. We're just not sure.

Jens: “That one's mine.”

Daniel Häggman had a good time too, from the looks of this photo.

I tried to take an artsy shot of the candle.

Say cheese!

Another dinner comes to a satisfactory end: zero fatalities.


Texas cookout recipies on Tom's website.

I remember that some of the folks at my Texas cookout last month asked for the recipies for the hamburgers, pinto beans, and potato salad we served. I'm glad to report that my dad has posted all the recipies on his web page. Enjoy!

Should the government subsidize living in high-risk areas?

This morning's Washington Post has a timely article entitled The Lure of Coastal Life Outweighs The Risks. This excellent article dares to state the obvious: Americans, with the enthusiatic help of their government, continue to build homes and businesses in coastal areas prone to deadly storms and floods.

Some may reply "Hindsight is always 20/20. We could not have predicted the devestation wrought by Katrina."

But the sad truth is that the damage was predicted years ago, the warnings not heeded. It's a tragedy that so much life and property were lost needlessly.

I was not surprised to learn from the article, for example, that Senator Trent Lott used his position of influence to encourage the building of casinos along the Mississippi river — casinos that now all lie in ruin. That he then tried to sabotage the career of the Army secretary who urged a moratoriun on new waterfront casinos is just evidence of Senator Lott's ruthlessness.

Like Senator Lott, President Bush failed to consider the consequences of his actions. He cut the Army Corps of Engineers' budget three years in a row, eliminating the necessary funds for shoring up the levees that were supposed to protect New Orleans.

From the article:
The disaster in New Orleans "is not an act of God," said Benigno Aguirre, a professor at the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware. "This is an act of man. The federal government refused to spend the money to improve the levees.

Flood insurance subsidized by the federal government makes the cost of coastal living artificially low, eliminating an important disincentive to living near the coast. Certainly, insurance companies will bear a large portion of the financial burder of rebuilding. But when FEMA and other government agencies can be counted on to come to the rescue again and again, the financial burder on costal inhabitants is again artifically lowered.

If people want to put themselves in the path of danger, why not let them? Well, the problem is that the money doesn't come from thin air. Whenever FEMA and the military rush in to offer aid, it is U.S. taxpayers in less disaster-prone areas who foot the bill.

The government should stop subsidizing dangerous lifestyles, or if they must continue, at least not try to do it on the cheap.

Mountain biking on Sunday. Lots of fun!


We have to find something new to tax.

Sometimes Sweden really does feel like a foreign country. This morning, for instance.

When I checked my email this morning I found in my in-box a message from one of the human resources folks at the office. She informed everyone that free parking is now considered a taxable benefit by the state. Therefore, employees who park for free at work must henceforth pay a tax on this benefit. The tax is 52% of the fair market value of the parking. So free parking now costs an average of 23 SEK per day (about 3 USD).

If it weren't codified into law, it would be hilarious.

The state is obviously running desperatly low on funds. To help out, I've compiled short list of other employee benefits that the state should investigate taxing:
  • access to the company gym
  • benefits provided by membership in company clubs
  • coffee & tea in the break rooms
  • access to the toilets
  • heating in the winter time / air conditioning in the summer
  • electricity for computers & lighting
  • telephone calls
These are just starting points, mind you. I'm sure that creative bureaucrats can come up with a fair market value for just about anything. Don't let convention stand in the way of progress! Any benefit provided by employers to their employees without charge is fair game.

And why stop there? I belive that a tax on thingy is long overdue.