Boulder open #62 @ Karbin

_MAL6485.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

Friday night I joined Linda and some of her friends for a bit of bouldering at Karbin. We participated in the boulder open competition and had a lot of fun. I completed twenty-seven out of forty problems, a new record for me. I placed seventh out of thirty-two in the rankings.

Here are forty-five photos from the competition.


Another fun Thursday night of dancing

_MAL6153.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

Thursday night I went salsa dancing at Chicago. The place was packed and I danced pretty much non-stop from eight until after eleven. Here we see Alfred dancing with Camilla. She favored me with a dance too, and Ibi was kind enough to pick up my camera and take a photo. There are twenty-three photos in all.


A bit of bouldering instead of salsa

_MAL6041.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

Wednesday night is normally the night that I have my salsa lessons at SalsaAkademien. However, this week there are no lessons, so I had to find something else to do—preferably something equally strenuous. I decided to get a bit more climbing in before Friday’s boulder open competition at Karbin. I generally prefer to take a break from climbing the day before a competition, but climbing on Wednesday before a competition on Friday seems okay.

I climbed last night too, so I wasn't expecting much. Even so, with a bit of perseverance and a bit of advice from others, I managed to make some progress, including conquering this fun problem of yellow and purple colored holds. The trick is to match feet and flag with the right foot just after the first move up to the edge. Maybe that’s obvious to some, but it wasn’t obvious to me until Peter suggested it and I actually tried it. Thanks, Peter!

Here are seventeen photos from the evening.


Birthday lunch with Sara

_MAL5985, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

Today I went downtown to join Sara and some friends at Organic Green in celebration of Sara’s birthday. The food was tasty and filling as always, and Sara's bright smile lit up an otherwise rainy and cloudy day.

Happy Birthday, Sara!


Sunday afternoon at Karbin with Jens & friends

_MAL5684.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

Sunday I slept in a bit, but went down to Karbin Västberga in the early afternoon. There, I ran into Jens, who was climbing with his friends Hanna and Annica. The four of us climbed together, and I took some shots of them from the top of the wall. In the above photo, Hanna is about halfway up a relatively tricky route.

I can’t wait for summer! I want to go outdoors and get some proper climbing photos. Oh well. Summer will come when it comes. In the meantime, this bunch of photos from the day’s climbing will have to suffice.


Happy Feet in Sumpan

_MAL5469.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

Saturday night I spent a few hours dancing at Happy Feet, a salsa social organized by the same folks who put together the outdoor Djungelsalsa socials during the summer. This time Happy Feet returned to the theater in Sundbyberg. I had a lot of fun dancing with Liza, Elin, Lalla, and many more excellent dancers. I'm looking forward to going again next week! Here are all forty photos from the night.

A Czech beer at an Irish pub

_MAL5200.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

After climbing, a bunch of us went down to Molly Malone‘S pub on Odenplan for a beer. I had a Staropramen dark beer. Despite the poor light, I managed to get some nice photos, including this fun shot of Lisa and Anna. A few more photos are online too.

Climbing with Diana et al

_MAL5072.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

Last week on the way to a customer meeting I sat across from a cute girl on the subway. I noticed that she had Pearl Izumi shoes and a JanSport backpack, so I figured she must be an American. We struck up a conversation an exchanged email addresses just before the train arrived in T-Centralen. A few days later, she joined me for a bit of climbing at Klättercentret.

Diana's from Boulder, Colorado, and went to school in Oregon. These are two of my favorite places, so I knew she and I would get along. Diana insisted that she hadn't climbed at all since September, but I found that hard to believe ’cause she did so well. For me, the climbing was much better than on Tuesday. I managed to climb a 6b+ on the tall wall start-to-finish without stopping.

After climbing toprope for a while, we bouldered a bit with Matt, Lisa, Anna and Johan. Diana took all of the photos of me. She's got mad cam skillz, I'm tellin’ ya. Here are nineteen photos from the climbing session.


A bit of salsa dancing

_MAL4858.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

It’s Thursday, and you know what that means: salsa!

I hadn’t been dancing in a while (other than last night’s lessons), so it felt good to move a bit tonight. The place was crowded, but not as much as before. Ibi spun the discs and did a good job selecting music. I tried with limited success to reenact the routine he taught last night. Damn, it’s a tricky one. Sometimes I think I should go back to level 4. Either that or find time to practice more.

I saw lots of familiar faces tonight, including Lina and Evert, pictured above. All thirty-two photos from this evening are now online. Enjoy!


Level 5 @ SalsaAkademien

_MAL4815.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

Last night I went down to Odenplan for my salsa lessons. I missed a lesson two weeks ago when I was in the U.S., and I still feel like I’m a bit behind the rest of the class. Last night’s lesson was tricky. Ibi taught us a rather difficult routine and I never quite got the hang of it. Perhaps I'll try to practice it a bit at the social tonight. It begins just over an hour from now! Here are a handfull of photos from last evening’s lesson.

Back to bouldering

_MAL4784.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

After few weeks away from climbing, I returned to Klättercentret last night for a bit of bouldering. I invited Kalle along, and he brought a couple of his friends too. I met Kalle through Emelie while skiing at Kittelfjäll over the weekend. Lisa H. was there, as well as Anna J. and several other friends. Jens from the ski trip was there too, and I learned today that he also knows Johanna, a girl I often see climbing at Karbin (and occasionally dancing salsa at La Isla too).

Well this night was not a spectacular one for climbing. My strength had been sapped by three days of skiing, not to mention three weeks of not climbing. It's now Thursday—two days since the bouldering of which I write—and my forearms are still sore. Oh well, at least I had fun. I saw Libby there and realize to my surprise that she’s from Australia. For some reason, I had just assumed she was Swedish. Her boyfriend Jerk was there too, and I got several good photos of him, including the one above.

I was too tired to remember to ask someone to take any photos of me. And besides, I wasn't climbing very well. Next time. I'm planning to go climbing tomorrow evening too. Here are a bunch of photos from Tuesday night’s climbing session.


Three fun days of skiing at Kittelfjäll

_MAL4752.jpg, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

The weekend ski trip to Kittelfjäll was a lot of fun. I did have rent skis in Stockholm, because the ski shop in Kittelfjäll ran out of equipment. But the guys at the Alpint store new Sankt Eriksplan were very nice and I got a pair of skis I really liked. The skiing was much better than during the trip over New Year’s week. There was a lot more snow this time. We even got a bit of new snowfall the last night, so the final day of skiing was teriffic.

The hotel screwed up our cabin booking, but eventually made things right by putting us in smaller cabins and compensating us with free meals and a bit of money back.

I made several new friends on the trip, including a veterinary student in Uppsala (the second one I know now!) and a few more folks who are climbers here in Stockholm.

The photo above shows the view from the top level of the larger of the two cabins our gang of ten rented. Take a look at all all 67 photos from the trip.

By the way, I used Aperture 2.0 to process the photos from the trip. This version is a big improvement over the previous version, and I might even consider switching back from Lightroom to Aperture as my primary photographic workflow tool.


Heading back to Stockholm

After a quick week in Texas, I’m about to return home to Stockholm again. The memorial service for Etha this morning was quite nice. My uncle, my brother, my cousin and I said a few words about Etha and the important roles she played in our lives. It was very moving to see so many people there. After the service, we met for a luncheon at Lorn’s niece’s home, a lovely modern house near Love Field. And later in the evening, the close family met at my aunt Melanie’s home for pizza and reminiscing. We watched some of the old family movies from 50 years ago. Lorn told us he took the 16mm movies on expired film, because that was all he could afford at the time. A few minutes ago I said my goodbyes to Evelyn Marie Lowry, my adorable niece. She will probably be walking and talking the next time I see her, so I wanted to enjoy every last minute I could with her.

My flight to Newark leaves from DFW at 09.45 tomorrow morning. From there I’ll catch the connecting flight later in the afternoon, arriving in Stockholm early Monday morning. I’ll be glad to be home, even though I will miss my family here.

Ok, time to hit the sack. I have to get up early tomorrow.


I’m voting for Obama

Barack Obama LogoToday I decided to cast my vote for Barack Obama.
In addition, I donated 100 USD to his campaign — the first time I’ve ever made contribution to a political campaign.

Senator Obama is the first presidential candidate from any party who has inspired me. He has intelligence, compassion, humility, and eloquence. These are qualities that have been sorely lacking in the White House in the past seven years. We also need a leader who is capable of inspiring the nation. I believe Obama has this capability.

I respect and admire Senator Hillary Clinton, but I decided not to vote for her for two simple reasons:
  1. I find the Clinton style of campaigning distasteful — changing position based on the latest polls, making untrue insinuations about opponents, and conveying a sense of entitlement — all these things simply turn me off; and
  2. I just think Obama stands a better chance of beating Senator John McCain in the general election. A new TIME poll supports this intuition.
Barack Obama has managed to reach young people in a way no presidential candidate in recent history has. The Obama website shows how in-tune his campaign is with the younger generation. It’s reminiscent of a social networking site like Facebook. You can create your own profile (mine is here), meet fellow Obama supporters, invite others to the cause, and even get help with grass-roots organizing and fundraising. I obtained the logo above from the campaign website’s resource library.

The Democratic presidential primary election in Texas will be on 4 March, and because I will be back home in Stockholm by then, I will cast my ballot by mail. I encourage anyone who has not already done so to visit Senator Obama’s web site and learn more about him.


Safely in Austin

After an pleasant and uneventful journey, I arrived safely in Austin a few hours ago. I watched the last half of the Super Bowl game with my parents, and Pat and Curt. It’s good to be here with my loved ones, but it also feels a bit odd. I had not planned this trip, and did not expect to find myself back in Austin only six weeks after my last visit here. I suppose I’ll adjust within a day or so. Ill probably get over jet-lag just in time to go back. In a few moments I’ll go to bed. I’m quite tired. It’s 04.30 now in Stockholm, past even my late bed-time.

I spoke briefly with my grandfather Lorn on the phone tonight. He sounded good, if a bit tired. I’m looking forward to seeing him in Dallas in a few days. It’s a sad occasion, but it’s also a time for the family to come together in mutual support.

That’s all for now. More soon.


Going to Texas for a week

Tomorrow morning, I'm catching an early flight to Newark and then continuing on to Austin. I'll be in Texas for the coming week so that I can be with my family and attend my grandmother's funeral next weekend. It's a sad occasion, but I'm still looking forward to having the opportunity to spend some time with my loved ones.

Boulder open #61 @ Karbin

Last night I participated in boulder open #61 at Karbin in Västberga. I completed 22 out of 40 problems, better than my last showing of 16, but still a bit off my record of 26. I met some nice folks there, including Joakim and Sara, whom I learned are also friends with Josefin, a girl I met at Karbin a couple of weeks ago.

Update: The results from the boulder open #61 have been posted. Andreas and I tied for fifth place.

_MAL3283, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

I arrived late at the competition, and as a result, I didn't have much time left over for taking photos. Still, I managed to get a few. In this shot, Isabelle conquers one of the problems on the back wall. I posted thirty-five photos from the competition.

_MAL3465, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

After the competition, I joined a bunch of climbers at Judit & Bertil near Hornstull, for a few beers. The bar has Samuel Adams Boston Lager on tap, so I was happy. Here are twenty-three more photos from the pub.