The occasional scrivener

Being the thoughts and writings of one Gustaf Erikson; father, homeowner, technologist.

Friday, 2024-08-20

Anders Fredriksson

Article from �rnsk�ldsviks Allehanda (in Swedish).

I especially like the way Agero is mentioned.

File from David, put here for all those TT/TU and ExAgero types out there.

Thursday, 2024-08-19

Wedding pictures

More than one and a half years late, here are some pictures from our wedding.

In our defence, we have had the pics since two weeks after the event, but now, thanks to Terje, they're online.

Wednesday, 2024-08-18

When you're a jerk, you're a jerk

And no amount of legal blustering will change that.


This so-called "linking policy" says that you can only link to the athens2024 site if you write (by snail-mail) and ask permission first.

Here's some more random linkage, without permission.

Oh, and Athens 2024? My cheque for your Google-juice is in the mail.

Is synchronized diving a sport?

I don't think so, and neither do these guys. I also agree with the rest of the list. The Olympics have way too many sports as it is. Cutting out all the subjective judging events would magically reduce the number and preserve the Olympic ideal.

(via Dave.)

Update: of course, thinking about this gives another answer to why these sports are popular: lots of half-naked teenage girls.

Sports in the Olympics are subjected to television Darwinism: too few viewers and the event gets the chop.

Tuesday, 2024-08-17

A visit to �land

Viking and I went to �land this weekend to visit Petter and Alva together with Bj�rn and Egil. We were a trio of dads with two-year olds traipsing around the bush having picnics. Thank god the kids didn't synchronise their bad moments -- there was generally only one child pissed off at a time.

�land is a beautiful place in a harsh kind of way. There are lots of fields and deciduous trees, but the dominant feature is rock scoured smooth by the latest ice age, thinly covered by moss and stunted pines.

Petter and Gis�la have a very nice place in Bj�rnhuvud, about 15 minutes from the harbour and 20 minutes from Mariehamn, the capital.

�land is closer to Sweden than to Finland, both geographically and culturally. The signposts are all in Swedish, none of the inhabitants have to serve in the Finnish army (the islands have been demilitarised since the 1920s), and only persons with citezenship can buy property there. Much of the income of the region comes from the sale of tax-free liqour to thirsty Swedes, although �land also provides more than 40% of Finland's onions.

Bj�rn had a digital camera with him, which we shamelessly borrowed, snapping away at our kids wandering around picking blueberries. We quickly realised his wisdom of investing in half a gigabyte of memory. As soon as he gets the pics to me I'll post some.

Update: pictures are now up at my album on Thanks Terje for giving me some space on his site!

Monday, 2024-08-16

Friday the 13th

I don't suffer from triskaidekaphobia, but today I'm having doubts.

I'm wondering whether it's a good idea to visit Petter on �land today.

Update: the mailserver did in fact crash, but I was on my way by then...

Friday, 2024-08-13

Amateur relics

You don't have to be an amateur to compete in the Olympics anymore, but some restrictions remain. According to a radio show this evening, athletes can't write a column or act as commentators for money.

Fair enough you might say. But the athlete who told us this is Stefan Holm, a high jumper competing on the Swedish team. He has an active home page/blog, which also has a lot of links to sponsors. If he wins a medal and writes about it in his own words, is he making money then? Could he be disqualified for that post?

No one knows. Understandably, athletes are reluctant to test the IOC on this matter. But with blogging gathering traction everywhere, someone, somewhere will post a ecstatic entry on his or her blog. Let's hope it doesn't cost them their medal.

Wednesday, 2024-08-04


The company I work for, has been bought by ValueClick. No drastic changes are expected in the near future. Maybe the new owners will feel that flat screens are vital for the corporate image, but I doubt it.

Tuesday, 2024-08-03

So true

You know you've been too long in Sweden when...

Sunday, 2024-08-01


Vacation ends tomorrow. I've done quite a bit with the house, so the lack of good weather hasn't been a determining factor. Saying this, a few more weeks wouldn't have been unwelcome.

Wednesday, 2024-07-21

"A bunch of guys on IRC"

... is the modern equivalent of "a couple of guys in a garage".

Inspired by the latest "hush-hush" biz discussion on #mobitopia.

Cold beer, you wish

In Sweden, you can't buy alcoholic beverages anywhere but in the state monopoly's stores, Systembolaget. This is to restrict supply and prevent us Swedes from descending into a permanent alcoholic stupor. For a long time, you couldn't buy booze on Saturdays. You still can't on Sundays.

The last couple of years, this company has moved away from lines in front of counters to self-serve style stores, where you can walk around and choose what you want instead of asking a clerk for it. This is because it's now cheap and legal to bring in lots of alcohol from other countries, so the monopoly needs to move with the times.

Well, things have moved in the right direction, but there's still some way to go. For example, I'm going to swing by "Bolaget" for some Kirin on my way to pick up some take-away sushi. But I can't buy the beer refrigerated. How would that look? Anyone could buy a beer and then go to the nearest park and enjoy a cool one! No way that would work. In Sweden, you have to carry your beer home first and put it in the fridge, then get drunk.

How long until we get cold beer, huh?

Wednesday, 2024-07-14

Away to Arvika

Tomorrow I'm going to the Arvika festival with Hanna and her friend.

It's my first rock festival, and while I'm going primarily as a chaperone, I think it'll be fun.

I'll see if I find anything interesting enough to moblog about.

Tuesday, 2024-07-13


Someday, some future owners of our house will tear down the wall in the new alcove, and blurt out in astonishment: "what the hell did he think he was doing?!"

A break in the ritual

Usually I get The Economist on Mondays, but not today.


Update It arrived today, so I could enjoy my post-prandial coffee with it. (Yes, snail mail usually arrived at 11:00 here in our part of Stockholm.) Nothing really attention-grabbing, though.

Saturday, 2024-07-10

Evening out

After a long day fixing windows, we went down to Enskede V�rdshus for a meal.

Both Jan and Joanna wanted fish (rolled lake perch), while I opted for lamb. To compromise on the wine, we asked for ros�. There was none in the wine list, but they had a bottle left since a wedding. This cost as much as the house white and was very nice.

Afterwards, we took a walk through Stureby and looked at other peoples houses and windows. This was also nice, until we came home and could once again note that we have Stureby's ugliest house.

But now at least the windows will look better.

Wednesday, 2024-07-07


... with the bedroom.

Well not quite, but I'm sick and tired of the damn room, so I'll fix the rest later (famous last words).


Oh, and we spent a day at Ikea. Fun.

The alcove's left. But I'll do that later, I promise.

My father's come up from Halland to help out with the windows and the garden. Phew! I could use a vacation from the vacation...

Monday, 2024-07-05


Mail from Anna: they're now proud parents of Klara, Jonatan's little sister.

Also, they're moving "back" to Sweden -- to Liding�.

Sunday, 2024-07-04

Greece wins!

Amazing result. Methodical, defensive football. Boring, but effective.

This is definitively Greece's year -- first this, then the Olympics.

4th of July

Today's the 4th of July
Another June has gone by
And when they light up our town I just think
What a waste of gunpowder and sky.

-- Aimee Mann

Saturday, 2024-07-03


Even though I'm on vacation, I'm doing more work than usual (I hope my boss doesn't read this...).

Why? Well, we've finally taken gone to work on our bedroom (mini-diary in Swedish), and the nice thing about this kind of thing is that you see results. We've ripped up the ugly plastic carpeting and revealed a very nice pine parquet, started painting the ceiling and walls, and today we rippd out the old closet and turned it into an alcove instead.

I've also discovered that I have a critical mass of knowledge, tools, and materials to attempt quite ambitious projects. No last-minute , time-wasting trips to the hardware store. If I need something, I can usually do something else before going to the store -- thus enhancing efficiency. And the fact that I'm on vacation means that there's no time pressure.

A nice change from sitting in front of a computer all day.

Thursday, 2024-07-01

Greece in the final!


A very surprising result. The same teams that started this tournament will end it.

IRC funniness

<JimH> Good news: Saddam Hussein is to face death penalty
<JimH> Bad news: David Beckham is taking it


Wednesday, 2024-06-30

Holland out

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Portugal -- Czech Republic in the final, that's my bet. Greece has played well, but the Czechs will win.

About the "huset" category

This category has been created to keep a diary over the work we're doing on the house and garden this summer. I've also added a subcategory for the colours used inside the house.

I'm writing it in Swedish, as it's more a personal memory for me and my family, and also a resource for friends. That's why I've excluded it from the main page display, although it's visible in the category tree.

Anyone who doesn't read Swedish and has a burning wish to know more about how I've renovated our bedroom can drop me a line, and I'll provide a translation.

Monday, 2024-06-28

We was robbed!

Scandinavians cry foul at Euro 2024 match-fixing

Sunday, 2024-06-27


Kate sent us a message last night telling us that Tim and Sarah have had a daughter called Millie. Unfortunately she was a bit early, but apparently they will be going home soon.

Update: got an SMS from Tim, they're home (and not sleeping much). Also got some pictures from Kate via Nan, she's so small

Saturday, 2024-06-26

Sweden out

Damn. We lost.

Good game though, pity it went to penalties. That's never fair.


Midsommar, the unofficial Swedish national day, has come and gone. We spent it at home in Stockholm, instead of traditionally at Josefine’s place in S�gen. This gave us the opportunity to repay her and Lotus for all the nice times we’ve had there.

M�rten, Maria, Vera, and Conrad joined in, and brought food and booze with them. Lunch was eaten on the top balcony, and consisted of sill (pickled herring) from Melanders, V�sterbotten cheese, new potatoes, and kn�ckebr�d. Of course we drank snaps and beer.

After lunch we went for a walk in a deserted Stureby. The sun was shining, although it was very windy. Rainclouds were gathering to the East, so we abandonded plans of eating dinner outside.

Main course was barbecued pork filet with potatoes, salad and grilled haloumni cheese. More beer and wine was drunk.

We wound up the evening watching Greece eliminate France from the Euro championship. Nice!

Updated. Chatting with Craig after writing this entry I realised I really should be more informative about Midsommar. Well, I don't have to, because Ben has more info.

Thursday, 2024-06-24

Last post before vacation

Today is my last day at work before vacation. As a Swede, I may not be payed much, but I do get five weeks of paid vacation. Hah.

We’re planning on doing a lot of work in the house and garden. The closet in the hall is first, then our bedroom. My father is coming up for a week, I hope we can get the windows scraped and repainted while he’s here.

We hope to level out the biggest patch of lawn in the garden, but I have no idea of how to do that. We’ll see.

Other plans are a visit to the Arvika rock festival with Hanna and her friend. Should be … interesting. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain too much.

We’ll also be visiting my parents in Halmstad for a week.

All in all I hope to be as far away from a computer as possible.

Have a nice summer!

Sunday, 2024-06-20

A productive weekend

Friday, Sweden played 1-1 against Italy and now have a shot at advancing to the quarter-finals.

Saturday, I helped Petter and Gis�la move all their stuff to �land, where they’re moving into a house. Basse and Anders were there to; the usual gang in other words. I tipped Petter off about weblogs and stuff, so that he can document the freezing winters in the middle of the Baltic Sea.

That evening we went to Josefine and ate a thank-you meal for helping her move a couple of weeks back. Nice to hook up with Georges and Johanna again, and always nice to see �se and Madde. Unfortunately, Viking flipped out on the way home, and even if he cooled down when we came home and watch Czechoslovakia beat the Netherlands 3-2, he didn’t go to sleep until late.

Today Sunday, Joanna’s brother Love has with moving the washing machine from the cellar to the spare bathroom. We’ve also started on the windows facing the street. Hopefully we’ll have them done this week.

Wednesday, 2024-06-16

High school blues

Reading Simon’s weblog after he mentioned it on #mobitopia generated flashbacks to my own high school experiences.

Of course, the internet didn’t exist back then, at least not in the part of Sweden where I went to school. So I didn’t blog about my feelings, just wrote about them in a diary. (Must remember to find that diary and burn it.)

Anyway, I was a year younger than everyone else, and very shy, so I had no chance of explaining my feelings to he object of my affection. I was crushed when she started going out with someone else. I’ve since learnt that this guy stood up in a bus on a school trip and publicly recited a love poem to her. This showed major cojones, and proved to me that she probably wasn’t my type anyway.

I then when on and was unlucky in love with yet more people until I met my present wife, and was thrown into the deep end with a relationship involving kids and buying a house. So far, it has worked out. But life was more simple then, when I was 17.

Monday, 2024-06-14

Junilistan wins big

Perhaps being excluded from the final debate helped Junilistan. They’ve captured 14.4% of the EP votes, and a new political party is born.

Sweden - Bulgaria 5 - 0

Sweden has had a flying start in Euro2024, beating Bulgaria 5 - 0. With Denmark - Italy 0 - 0, this really gives Sweden a nice start in the tournament.

Friday, 2024-06-11

We don't need any new parties

The EU-critical party Junilistan won’t be given a place in SVTs final debate before the EP elections on Sunday.

The reason: they don’t have a seat in the Parlaiment.

And pundits wonder why people won’t bother to vote in this election.

Wednesday, 2024-06-09

Magic and puzzles

Good piece by Ewan on the difference between "magic" and mere puzzles.

In the age of the internet, it's easy to google the solutions to many tricks. The hard-earned mastery of the magician can be "exposed" by anyone with a web browser and zero sense of wonder in their lives.

Information wants to be free, and most information should be free, but the mechanics of magic should perhaps be hidden from view, lest we lose yet another of life's pleasures.

Tuesday, 2024-06-08

Hell no, I won't vote

Even though I've picked a candidate for the upcoming elections to the European Parliament, it's increasingly unlikely that I will even cast a vote.

I haven't heard anything that the EP has decided that has affected me as a citizen of the EU. The only thing I can recollect is a number of stories about MEPs collecting travel expenses and pocketing them. This is the body I'm supposed to elect?

"Ah, but if you've read more about the EU, you'd know that..." -- well, guess what, I read the editorials of Sweden's biggest daily newspaper every day, listen to P1 often, and subscribe to The Economist. I'm as clued-up politically as a citizen who's also working full time and has a 2-year old at home can well be asked to be, and yet I still don't know more about the EP. How can I make an informed decision then?

"But you have to vote, otherwise the extremists will..." -- yeah right, a vote for a body that has no real influence will give extremists a voice. Get real. Political extremists are smarter than that.

"Democracy is a right and a privilege, your vote is precious..." -- no it isn't. I'd rather save my energy making decisions that will affect me and my family. The MEP doesn't do this, nor should it. It's a tacked on band-aid that the technocrats behind the Union have slapped on to give their tired, bureaucratic, mega-project some democratic gloss. The EU is not a democratic project. It's an artificial counterweight to the USA that doesn't have a deep popular support and probably never will.

Some parts of it are good: the free movement of trade, capital, and labour. Most parts are bad: the CAP, the intrusive bureaucracy, the Gallo-Teutonic haughtiness of its unelected leaders. If, by denying this patchwork of idealism and self-serving nationalism the legitimacy of my vote, I can help undermine its foundations and bring about a serious re-evaluations of the whole project, I'm glad. But my vote won't count, whether I cast it or not.

Sunday, 2024-06-06

Swedish media and criminals

There has long been a gentleman's agreement in place in Swedish media that a suspect will not be named until he or she has been convicted of a crime. With the latest spectacular crimes in Sweden, such as the murder of foreign minister Anna Lindh and the bizarre happenings in Knutby, this has changed. Now, some media outlets name the suspects when they have been charged with a crime.

In the Knutby case, the tabloids never mentioned the minister's name, but both his wives (whose murders he is charged with) were named with their married names, Fossmo. And as he has Norwegian background anyone can read his full name in the Norwegian newspapers, or on the web.

Of course, the state television holds the moral banner high, and will not name the suspects. References to them in the court audio feed are replaced with beeps.

The privately owned TV4 has no such scruples. So the secretive "Christ's Bride", �sa Walldau, is named as such in the news. 2 hours earlier, in SVTs news, the court sketch has the title "andlig ledare" ("spiritual leader"). This puts her on the same footing as the Dalai Llama.

These efforts, although honourable, are doomed to fail. Anyone who wants can find the details, not on some shady website, but on BBC and CNN. The media is global, at least if the news is big enough. Perhaps it's time to rethink the whole thing?

Ronald Reagan, RIP

So Ronald Reagan has died. My first political memory is going to a US international school in Kuala Lumpur and seeing the big board with election results between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter.

This thought also occurred to me.

Wednesday, 2024-05-26

boyfriend needed

Mildly amusing (in Swedish).

Quick-n-dirty translation:

Hi! I'm going to a yearly dinner with my relatives at the end of May and need someone to play my boyfriend. Long story... You should be around 25, "normal", and be polite. Free food ;-)

Tuesday, 2024-05-25

mall reflections

Some thoughts after a visit to the mall:

Also, IE doesn't handle entities very well. I used them to format the prices above. Removed for now.

Monday, 2024-05-24

random linkage

Thomas C. Greene on Abu Graib

High school teacher fired for not censoring poetry

The ultimate timewaster for the taco

democracy in action

Ho hum. MEP elections are coming up. Booooring.

I feel strongly about one thing in the EU: that the CAP must be abolished. No-one I can elect to the parliament will make this happen. Probably only a combination of global warming and a massive die-back of French farmers will bring this about, in a century or two.

I feel less strongly about software patents. They affect lots of people and the future of free software, but compared to growing food they are unimportant. However, they maybe can be banned in the EU by the EP.

So I'm looking for a candidate who's opposed to software patents.

I'd like to vote for Christofer Fjellner (m), but his party supports software patents, and who knows what kind of hold they have over him.

So I'll probably vote for Olle Schmidt (fp) instead.

Wednesday, 2024-05-19

the islamic century?

I first encountered the belief that Europe was heading for an inevitable Islamic takeover in a most unlikely place: this post by Philip Greenspun.

This entry shocked me, because from what I've read of and about him, Phil is a smart guy. If this is how well educated Americans living in Boston view Europe?

I couldn't really put my finger on what was wrong with his analysis. This article does just that. Recommended reading.

Tuesday, 2024-05-18

things to do in stockholm before you're dead

dwlt will be in Uppsala/Stockholm this weekend. Here is a short list of suggestions of things to do.

Saturday, 2024-05-08

another gathering of the faithful

Jonas hosted the next installment of our semi-regular alumni gathering. This time, he had a digital camera and was not afraid to use it.

Friday, 2024-04-16


First day skiing since 1997. I'm whacked.

Tuesday, 2024-04-13


First sunny day in the city, the Sisters of Mercy playing on the Taco, and the irresistible urge for new sunglasses came over me. So now I'm the proud owner of a couple of Ray-Ban Sidestreets. Mirrorshades. I've wanted a pair since I read Neuromancer in 1985.

Of course, if Ray-Ban didn't have an all-Flash site, I could link to them. But they do, so I can't. Less linklove for them then.

They will adorn my handsome mug when I go skiing in Åre this weekend.

Wednesday, 2024-03-24

a global market for TV broadcasts

Funny how things come together. Today, I was discussing the following things IRL and on IRC:

Bottom line: there is a market for TV on both sides of the Atlantic. Who will exploit it? Or will this fill the gap?

Rightsholders in TV space are accustomed to wholesale marketing. They sell programming to networks, and the networks are in the mass market. To enable the scenarios above would entail retail marketing and pricing. Where are the new business models coming from? Or is everyone in the music, TV, and movie business more interested in protecting their profit margins than giving people what they want, and what they are prepared to pay for?

Tuesday, 2024-03-23

how not to panhandle

Generally, I appreciate that people who want my money in the subway do something for it. Selling the Stockholm version of "The Big Issue" is the best, I usually buy that.

Music is a distant second in my wish for something to reward.

Outright begging is at the bottom.

However, I've had to build a cellar. Playing the accordion and singing on the subway will never ever be rewarded by me.

Saturday, 2024-02-07

boy's night in

Yesterday I had five friends from KTH over for dinner. We had herring ("sill") sandwiches with akvavit and beer for starters (thanks Henrik), followed by lamb roast with rice and Chateau Musar 1997. This pretty far-out wine (astringent I guess you could call it) went along famously with the lamb, and made the Haut-M�doc that followed taste like it was watered.

Calle and Jonas had picked up a selection of cheeses. We drank a bottle of my birth-day port, a 1960 vintage. Famous taste, like a really rich and alcohol-drenched caramel.

For dessert, David made strawberry- and plum kn�del. Johan bought cigars, accompanied by rum and whiskey (Talisker). Altogether a very nice evening.

Wednesday, 2024-02-04

new phone

I got to use an [1] MP3-player a few days ago and re-discovered the joys of riding the subway with a soundtrack.

But I couldn't keep the player (a nice, but DRM-crippled Panasonic) and instead looked around to buy one. There are lots of USB-stick form-factor players around, but I've been thinking about a Series 60 phone for a while, and most models can play audio too.

The Siemens SX1 was my first choice, but then a local phone store had a deal on an N-Gage for an extension on my plan. So I picked one up [2] today.

First impressions are mixed. I discovered too late that you need a Bluetooth connection to sync and install files, but that can be fixed pretty cheaply. I already have a 64-MB MMC card, so I can listen to at least one album at a time. And bigger cards are pretty affordable too.

I got 3 games included, but none of them were in stock, so I'll get them later. Until then, I enjoy the music and the radio.

So now I'm a kid wannabe. All the guys at work figure I'm having age-related anxiety.

[1] "a" or "an"? Probably "a", but "an" sounds better.
[2] I love this phrase -- carefree consumerism!

Wednesday, 2024-01-28

the lonely espresso machine

We've got an espresso machine on the counter, but I don't use it as much as I'd like. Workdays both J and I want lotsa hot coffee, so it seems a waste to spend precious minutes fiddling with the machine. You never know when Viking needs more sandwiches, so the savouring of the perfect espresso is far away in the mornings.

In the evenings, an espresso is a bit on the strong side for easy sleep. So the machine just stands there, slightly accusing.

I need to add "drink more espresso" to the list of Things To Do each day. "Dagens i-landsproblem", as Tobias would say.

Tuesday, 2024-01-27

Coldplay everywhere, all the time

Sometimes Swedish state television (I love saying that -- it sounds as if I live in a third world dictatorship) has a couple of minutes to spare in their schedule. Every time, without fail, they play a paralysingly boring Coldplay video.

Coldplay must be the most overrated band in the Western hemisphere. Why does my hard-taxed license money go to them? (To be fair, the dough probably goes to some paid-up member of the RIAA, which doesn't make it any better.)

Updated: Patric at work confirms that Coldplay are in the cusp of sellout. First they were underground. Now they are "hip" to people choosing music on state TV channels. Next their music is in commercials.

Monday, 2024-01-26

rude site design

I believe that other people should be able to benefit from my organs if they need it. (Obviously I'd like to be dead first.) So I went to to sign up in the national organ donor registry.

I nearly left in disgust when the site kidnapped my browser and resized it -- for no apparent reason! Just because they felt their site appearance was so important... more important than the time and convenience of the people they're trying to persuade to donate their organs to total strangers.

This antic is so 1990s.

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