Sunday bike ride

Today's ride was really great. It was about 10 C and partly cloudy. Together on todays ride were Robban (blue), "kikapu" (magenta), and "skogstokig" (black).


I got almost to the top of this drainage channel...

Then I lost my balance right at the top. Soooooooo close!


Friday night I went climbing with Lisa at Klättercentret in Solna.

klättercentret is very nice and has a good selection of climbing surfaces. There's also a little bar area 1 level up from the bottom level so if you're tired tou can take a coffee break and watch the others climb. I haven't climbed in several months, so I'm really out of practice.

Lisa shows me how it's done!

Here I was trying to do what LIsa did: climb from the left side of this wall to the right using only the wall surface — i.e., without using any of the grips attached to the wall. It took a dozen tries before I managed it. Fun stuff.

Friday night

Friday afternoon I bought a new Petzl Grigri and a pair of climbing shoes. I then went home to drop off my laptop and change into more casual clothes. The sun was low on the horizon in the West even though it wasn't even 15:00 yet.

I went to Sky Bar to meet up with Tina, Tobbe, Jenny, and Danne.

Daniel looks very worried about something. Maybe it's the alien parasite stuck to Tina's right shoulder. Unfortunately, we didn't get a good photo of that.


Tuesday morning I walked to the subway station as the sun was just beginning to rise (around 7:30). The sunrise spanned the spectrum from bright yellow to deep blue.

The glow of the sunrise also reflected off of the windows of the If building.

Here are a couple more photos of the sunrise.

Looking East toward the rising sun, you can see the silhouette of Cedergrenska Tornet on Djursholm.

Some of the exposed trees are already completely barren of leaves.

Last but not least, here's a photo of the frost on a fallen leaf on the sidewalk.

The autumn colors are lovely, especially when the sun is shining. My kitcehn window is right behind the maple tree with the orange leaves.

Biking in Järvafältet on 16 October.

Ok, I know this is two weeks old, but I just realized that these pictures were on my camera. I went biking with some folks from puls.se in Järvafältet. I went last weekend and today as well, so it's becoming a regular event. Here Robban fixes a flat tire he got on a quick descent down a rather steep hill, while Fredrik, Mattias, Anne and I begin to show the first signs of hypothermia.

Hi Mom!


iTunes Radio

For those of you not already in the know, iTunes 6 is now available for download. The new version adds the ability to download purchased videos.

The Radio feature in iTunes has been around for a long time, but it's often overlooked. There is a wealth of free streaming music out there, and the selections displayed in iTunes's Radio section are quite decent. Check it out!


My name in Chinese

I just discovered that Google has added Simplified Chinese, Japanese, and Korean to the Google Translate page. So yes, you can now translate to and from these languages. According to Google, my name in Chinese is:


Another source on the web says it's 米卡尔. Still other sources have translations comprised of as few as two or as many as four characters. I suppose it depends on the pronunciation. Whether any one of them sounds like my name, I don't know.
In other news, 平静 is scheduled for theatreical release in Sweden on 11 November, more than a month after the U.S. premier. The horror!


And here is a view of my neighborhood across the lake. My building is one of the low tan colored buildings on the right side.

On Sunday afternoon I went biking with Lotta in the area around Ursvik. It was a lot of fun even though I did crash once. I was riding quickly along a flat part in the trail when suddenly my rear wheel locked up completely. Needless to say, my bike and I came to an abrupt halt. I discovered that the rear wheel had come almost completely lose from the frame. It had come free on the left side, causing the front of the tire to rub against the right chainstay. That's what caused the sudden stop. It could have been worse. The wheel could have come look completely, and it could have happened on a steep downhill section. I was lucky. Next time, I will check the firmness of all vital quick release bolts before embarkation.
After the ride in Ursvik, Lotta and I rode along the Southwest side of Brunnsviken to the South end of the lake, where we parted company. I turned around and headed back into Hagaparken, where I tried a few of the trails. I even tried to go up the big hill in the park, but the trail was too steep and sandy. Maybe I'll be able to conquer this hill someday, but not today. Here's the view of the E4 and Järva Krog area from the top of the hill.

Saturday afternoon on Kungsholmen.

On Saturday I had a late lunch with Åsa and her friend Liza. We ate at a nice Italian restaurant near Fridhemsplan; I had a salsicia pizza that was quite delicious.

Afterward made a visit to Liza's office and took a ride in her antique British sports car. Fun!

Afterward Åsa and I stepped into a cafe for a cup of coffe and a pice of chocolate cake (pictured here). The cake was almost like fudge: thick and rich.


On friendliness to strangers.

Today is the first day that feels like autumn. I'm not talking about the temperature per se, but that surely has a lot to do with it. What I'm referring to is a vague melancholy in the air that tends to set in some time between September and November, and can last for weeks, even until the first snowfall. There's nothing particularly nasty about the weather; it's cool and gray, but there is no rain or sleet yet. So I'm not sure why it feels like fall today and didn't yesterday. The forecast calls for sunshine tomorrow, but that isn't soon enough for me.

So when I got dressed and had my morning cup of coffee, I resolved to make the day a sunny day through a sunny disposition.

On the subway platform this morning, I saw an elderly genteman walking toward me. I smiled at him and nodded hello. He looked a bit surpried to be greeted by a total stranger, but after a moment's hesitation, he returned the gesture. This brief exchange, which lasted only a few seconds, probably brightened my day and his. It is said that a smile costs the giver nothing but gives happiness to the recipient. As I walked from the Hötorget station to the IBM office on Wallingatan, I thought about this philosophy, and why it's not always easy to live by it.

Living in a crowded city makes people more isolated from one another. When people are packed closely together, such as on a subway, they often react by ignoring those around them. No doubt this is a natural reaction meant to protect what little personal space we have. But the fact of the matter is that we're all neighbors, so what do we risk by being friendly to one another?

First, we risk letting into our space people that we don't want anything to do with — obnoxious people, loud people, imposing peoeple. If a stranger smiles at you, your first reaction probably has a lot to do with what you make of the person's intentions. Is the smile just friendliness, or does the stranger want something from you? We make snap judgements of other people's intentions without even thinking about it, and we do this a thousand times per day. This too is perfectly natural. No one wants to get dragged into a conversation with an incoherent drunk asking for beer money.

Second, it's quite possible that the act of kindness will not be seen as such. When we smile at a stranger, we take the risk that the stranger will frown — not smile — in return. The old man's initial reaction was one of surprise. He did a double-take just to see if I really was smiling at him or if he had seen it wrong. Only once he was sure did he return the smile.

It occurred to me that most people actually want to be friendly, but they just don't dare to make the first move, mostly because they don't know what reaction they'll receive. It takes a bit of courage to show friendliness to strangers, but I think it's worth it. A smile can spread a bit of sunshine on a cloudy day, and at this time of year in Stockholm, we need all the sunshine we can get.


Saturday night I went to Johnny's 40th birthday party. He's the one on the left.

He has a cool flat downtown. It's small but cozy.

Johnny served tacos and beer for dinner.

The living room doubles as a bedroom, with a small office area under the bed. Here, the host selects umpcoming tracks in WinAmp.
After dinner, we went down to a disco in the area around Stureplan. This time I put some earplugs in and I was able to enjoy the music. I had an excellent mojito at the bar downstairs, and danced until the club closed at 3 am. I also met a couple of girls there named Helena and Josephine. Hi, girls!
Tonight, it's time for some salsa dancing at Container on Odengatan.

Alex on the prowl.

At the end of the beer festival Thursday night, I started collecting the commemerative glasses people left behind on the bars. After only a few minutes, I had nine glasses. Then people started giving me their glasses, adding to my collection. By the time I left, I had eighteen.

Moving day

Today I helped Åsa move some furniture into her new place. The CD shelf was easy. The couch was not.

After lugging the sofa up four flights of stairs, the moving men are placated with intoxicants.