I recently took a swim at Centralbadet in downtown Stockholm. I first visited Centralbadet in December of 1999, when I was in Sweden for job interviews.

This is the swimming pool. Behind the doors in the background are hot tubs, saunas, showers, and a steam bath.

The Southern wall has high windows to let in sunlight. It's a very relaxing environment.


Stockholm web album

I took many photos of the city during Sunday's walk. I have posted some of them to the new Stockholm web album.


Fika at Sundbergs with Zita

Today I met my friend Zita in Gamla Stan. We sat at a table outside Sundbergs Konditori on Järntornget. I had a cappuccino and a few bites of Zita's lemon pie.

Here's a nice photo Zita took of me.

Afterward we took a walk on the Northern cliffs of Södermalm.

Here is an excellent photo she took of me with Riddarholmskyrkan in the bakground.


Happy midsummer!


This evening I met a new friend and took a walk down to Ulriksdal's palace. It had been rainy and cloudy earlier in the day, but the sun came out in the early evening.

Here is the palace, called Ulriksdals slott in Swedish.

Two swans and four cygnets were in at the shore. The swan is the mascot of my weblog devoted to nature photography, Cygnus.

Edsviken was lovely in the evening light.

The sunset was positively glorious.

Sunset behind Kaninholmen (on Edsviken).

A motor boat passed. In its wake, gentle waves lapped at the shore. Waves on the water lend a different texture to the light of dusk.


Alex & Sasha lounging on the couch

Here are a couple more photos of Alex and Sasha.

A rainy walk with the cats

I took the cats out for a little walk after lunch.

Alex nibbled on some of the flowers outside the back door.

The rain was a bit too much for Sasha, so she hid under a car. :)


Scenes from Bergshamra

Here's the convenience store in Bergshamra Centrum where I buy my monthly bus & subway card.

The subway.

Biking in Ursvik, first ride with new derailleurs.

This evening I went riding in Ursvik with Elina and Petter. I nearly ran into a one-year-old moose calf in the trail! This was the first time I had seen a moose in the wild, so I was pretty excited. I was just a few meters from him and closing fast when we saw each other. He was standing in a pool of sunlight and right in the middle of the trail. I came to an abrupt halt and he quickly ambled off to hide behind some trees. If you look closely in the above photo, you can see him!

For those of you squinting to find the moose, he's standing behind the skinny trees in the right half of this crop of the original photo. He is facing to the left and slightly away from the camera. Shortly after I took this photo, he ran away. I'm just glad I didn't run into his mom.

This was my first ride with new derailleurs. They work pretty well, but I need to fine-tune them before they'll be perfect. The new rear derailleur works exactly opposite from the way my old derailleur did, so I'm still getting accustomed to it. A few times, out of force of habit, I accidentally switched to a higher gear instead of a lower gear when starting to climb a hill. One learns quickly not to make such mistakes!

This is the same place where I took a photo of myself and Lotta a few weeks ago. It's a good photo spot because it's in an open meadow with lots of light and there is a place to rest the camera (a sign post).

Petter zooming along.

Elina negotiating the overhanging branches.

Cute couple.

Here we are at the end of the ride.

And lastly for now, a picture I took of myself by where the E18 goes by Brunnsviken. It was about eight thirty in the evening when I took this photo!


Shimano XT derailleurs

Last night I installed new front and rear derailleurs on my bike. I had to replace them because they had both become bent, probably due to impact with rocks or stumps. I decided to upgrade to slightly better components from the Shimano Deore XT line. Below, you can see the the new rear derailleur.

I chose to get the "rapid rise" version of this derailleur. With a rapid-rise derailleur, downshifts are effortless and upshifts require effort.

In other words, shifting to a larger cog (lower gears) is done with a simple click of the right middle finger, and requires no exertion from the right hand. This is nice for downshifting quickly in preparation for a climb. With a few quick clicks of the right middle finger, you're in the right gear, and you don't have to expend any physical effort with your right hand.

The derailleur works this way because the spring in the derailleur is set up so that it naturally pushes the derailleur up to a larger cog. This arrangement is also called low normal. Typical rear derailleurs have a spring that pushes down toward the lowest cog (top normal). With a rapid rise derailleur, when you push the lever with your right thumb, you work against the spring to move the chain to a lower cog (a higher gear); and so it's shifting to a higher gear that requires a bit of physcial effort. This makes sense, because it's when you need to downshift that you have the least energy and time to spare. The shifting that requires physical effort is saved for the sections of trail where you can relax a bit, namely the downhill or flat sections.

Another advantage of having a rapid-rise rear derailleur is that both front and rear shifters work in the same way: you pull to downshift and push to upshift.

Here is the new front derailleur. Less exciting, but still an improvement over what I had before.

The front derailleur was tricky to install because I had to thread the chain through the derailleur. In other words, there was no way to put the existing chain inside the cage of the derailleur without breaking the chain. Some front derailleurs have a screw you can loosen to open the cage; but not this one.

I opted to use a new chain because it will be a bit stronger than a chain that has been broken and put back together.


Going back to Stockholm

Earlier this evening, my friends Steve & Jill came over for a visit. They brought their darling children Anna Rose and Grant. We sat out by the pool while Steve and the kids swam, and then we shared a desert of cherries, dark chocolate, and champagne. Steve & Jill (and their adorable kids) are some of my favorite people, and I wish I could see them more often

It's now midnight on my last night in Austin for a while. In about 5 hours, I'll wake up and head to the airport. My parents have generously offered to drive me there, even though it will be very early in the morning. Here's a photo I took on the flight from Stockholm to Philadelphia ten days ago. Soon I'll be on the same flight, but going in the other direction.

Now, it's time for me to go to bed. I'd like to get at least a few hours of sleep before my flight tomorrow. Being sleepy can be a good thing becuase it makes it easier to sleep on the long hual flight. But unfortunately, I have a couple of flights and a long layover in Philly before I catch the flight over the pond.

See you on the other side.


Conan's Pizza is unbeatable

I went to Conan's pizza last night with my folks.

This is the shop in the shopping center on the Northwest corner of the intersection of Burnet Road and West Anderson Lane.

We ordered our usual -- a large deep-disk Savage.

Naturally, I had to add some extra jalepe�os. Yum!


Here's my new camera wit the f/2.8 70-200mm zoom lens attached. I'm having a blast taking photos with with camera and learning how to use it. I'd like to thank David Hill and Rod Cole for their help choosing the right equipment.

I created a new weblog for photos of Ethan & Kelly's wedding and related festivities.


Nationaldagen 2006

Today I had a couple of bananas and coffee for breakfast, and saved my apetite for lunch: a nice big hamburger made with the left-over ingredients from Sunday's barbecue. Today is Sweden's national day (nationaldagen) so I hung up my new Swedish flag in the balcony doorway.

Why eat at McDonald's when you can make a real cheesburger for the same price?

In the afternoon I biked down to Bergianska Trädgård and met up with Lisa. We found a sunny place beside the lake an enjoyed the lovely sunshine.


The morning had been cool and cloudy. But in the afternoon, the clouds moved away and the sun warmed things up. It was a perfect Swedish summer day.

Hi, Mom! Oh, that makeshift houseboat has been on Brunnsviken for the past few summers. It is a bit of an eyesore, but so far no one has found a law that the inhabitants are breaking. :)

After finishing off a couple of beers, we biked to Lisa's place to grill some bratwurst. Lisa's flat is on the top floor of a building that is located on the crest of a hill, so in the evening, the sunlight just pours in through her kitchen windows. Here's the view in the other direction, toward the Southeast.

And here's the Western view.

After dinner, we had some Lipton Marocco tea, which is a soothing mint tea flavored with orange and other spices.

On the way home, I snapped this shot of the last of the evening sunlight falling on the pine trees across the lake. In the distance on the left side you can see Kaknästornet.

Yesterday I did some last minute errands downtown. Here is Kungsgatan looking toward the West from Hötorget.

And of course the Malmskilnadsgatan bridge over Kungsgatan, as seen from Sveavägen.

Drottninggatan was packed with shoppers and tourists. I stopped to chat for a while with a woman and her daughter because the woman had a Nikon camera similar to the one I just bought. They were from Golden, Colorado and just in Stockholm for a couple of days.
I got all my shopping done even though I did have to visit several different stores to find all the items on my list.