måndag, juli 30, 2012

Patience, patience...

After two months of incessant rain in my part of the world, the weather has changed for the better. Ergo, I prefer being out in the sun rather than blogging for the moment. I will also do some back writing from the mid-July conference I attended as well as post as promised from the Venice excursion in October last year.

söndag, juli 08, 2012

Diet success and visit to Gysinge

English: Common Quail eggs Русский: Перепелины...
English: Common Quail eggs Русский: Перепелиные яйца (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Although I cheat constantly I have actually lost a kg. This morning there was no electricity, so I started the day with a banana to avoid the unpleasant feeling of being hungry until it returned. Fortunately it did so at 9 am.

I didn't eat my grapefruit yesterday and had two eggs instead, postponing the grapefruit until today since I am not overly fond of it. This morning I  postponed eating it one more day until Monday.

Because I am worth it, I had three quail eggs with a table spoon of hollandaise instead of mayo of which I have run out. Quail eggs are notoriously difficult to peal, but the lady who sold them to me at Gysinge Handelsbod taught me a trick. After boiling them (2-3 min at the utmost) you douse them in a mix of 50-50 water and vinegar for 10 minutes. The natural egg colouring dissolves though, so it can only be used if you don't mind them loosing their speckled hue and being white instead. It actually worked.

The quail eggs I bought yesterday at Gysinge Handelsbod. In addition I ate a thin slice of gorgonzola cheese, otherwise I drank lemon water and black coffee according to the diet's prescription.

Gysinge bruk på 1790-talet. Akvarellerad pennt...
18th century engraving of Gysinge
There is a company established in Gysinge that sells material for those who wants to do traditional building restoration (Gysinge Byggnadsvårdscentum) and that was the real goal for my visit. The quail eggs were an unanticipated bonus. The Gysinge web page is in Swedish only, but if you are English speaking use Google chrome and get an instant translation. It will be a bit peculiar, and not all words are available, but at least you get an idea of the product range. They have a webshop as well as stores to visit both at Gysinge and in Stockholm. If you have an old house it's worth taking a look at it, granted, it is fairly expensive but you gain in quality.

Gysinge is situated in a forest by a river and was founded in the 17th century as an iron works. It was operative until the early 20th century when a big company bought it and closed it down more or less immediately. There are ruins from earlier buildings that were replaced by more modern ones during the 19th century. The manor house on the photo was built betwen 1820-1840 and is a prime example of Swedish Empire Style, the stone foundation on the right is from a foundry that was pulled down around 1820. Aside from the restoration center which is housed in the former worker's area there are lots of things to see, a fire engine museum, the manor house, the foundry, the iron works and so forth. In other words, it is well worth going there. It is situated about 40 km from Uppsala.

Visa större karta

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fredag, juli 06, 2012


In October last year I went with my department on a staff development excursion to Venice and loved every minute of being there. Venice is a truly lovely city with beautiful sights round almost every corner.

Most strikingly was the silence. It was so amazing, no cars and therefore mostly no engine noise! When it is absent you notice how stressful the constant sounds of motor traffic actually is.  Canal Grande is the great exception, where the water taxis, so called Vaporetti, 

 To get from the airport you catch a flight boat instead of a bus. Here we are,  trudging from the boat  stop Zattere towards our hostel.

We actually stayed in the old city in a hostel called Domus Cavanis just opposite the Hotel Belle Arti that used to be a convent of some sort. The hotel room was also spectacular. It looked like a boudoir from Casanova all in red with different patterns in gold.

Being art historians we did a large number of museums and city walks guiding each other. Everyone had prepared at least one, sometimes two talks during the week. We also had attended a number of preparatory lectures at home about Venice, both by art historians as well as by scholars from other disciplines. A single  blogpost is not enough to represent this tour, so over the next few days I will write some more to go with a selection of photos.

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Depressing weather

English: dark cloud, weather forecast symbol
English: dark cloud, weather forecast symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I really should have taken that long walk yesterday, and I really should have sat in the sun for an hour to read. Instead I sat inside diligently working trusting the weather forecast that originally promised sun the whole week.... Something one should NEVER do. The only mitigating circumstance is that email has stopped flooding in, well almost, and I can do my work from home.

Not that I should complain, it is excellent weather this year for writing those two essays I must finish before the end of the summer. No need to gaze wistfully out the window. This pic shows the current character of the cloud cover. The first essay is due August 20th, but I would  prefer to finish it by the end of next week if possible to get some vacation time without scholarly work. The other one is due October 1st.

I am seriously contemplating doing something else than being a teacher/researcher at Uppsala university. When I was young, the summers were all devoted to studies or work, now that I have reached midlife I spend them writing those pieces I never seem to get the time to do during other parts of the year. It's okey in the winter, but I am more and more annoyed by missing out the better part of spring and most of the summer due to scholarly duties.

Uppsala University (1442863813)
Uppsala University (1442863813) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today, the sky is overcast so I may as well slog on with it.  This summer has never really got off the ground, it has a decided autumnish character with a dark brooding cloud cover several days of the week. My legs are still pale, instead of golden brown. I wonder, has the Golf Stream stopped again and the authorities are afraid to tell us?
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Dietary difficulties

During the afternoon I finally blended the spinach and lime smoothie that goes with my diet. You drink it between the main meals to avoid being temped to snack. It tasted quite good. Breakfast was frugal, black coffee, lemon water and a grapefruit. For lunch a fish skewer with broccoli and salad.

Failed at dinner though, due to unexpected visitors who stayed until 8:30. Before the guests arrived I had fortunately had a portion of unsweetened frozen fruit which carried me through. Dinner was supposed to have consisted of mixed fruit salad, but for expedience sake at that late hour I had oven grilled beef of moose, very lean meat in fact, with oven grilled small beet roots and mixed green salad. Into the meat juice I stirred a few spoons of cream for sauce and also had a slice of spicey red wine butter on top of the meat.

I think it's okey. Better luck tomorrow.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

onsdag, juli 04, 2012

Summer Time Movie Time

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 31:  (L-R) Actors Michae...
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 31: (L-R) Actors Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron and Logan Marshall-Green attend the world premiere of 'Prometheus' at the Empire Leicester Square on May 31, 2012 in London, England. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Bad movie - moonrise kingdom
The poster for Moonrise Kingdom (Photo credit: williacw)
After wanting to go to some good flicks since Christmas when I got a card which entitles me to a price reduction on four movies, I have finally got the time to do it. Last week I actually went to see two movies on the same evening, one after the other. I started out with  Moonrise Kingdom, and followed up with Prometheus.

Moonrise Kingdom is a wonderful and quirky story about two children who both feel that they don't fit in their environment and who run away together, the boy from a summer scout camp and the girl from her home. As soon as they are missed, her family and his camp mates searches for them. The story takes place in the mid-1960's on a small island just before a hurricane is coming in. The footage is incredibly beautiful both in composition as well as in colour, with a brownish-yellow background hue reminiscent of what we are used to see on old photos from that era. The characters are all more than odd and are enacted by well-known actors such as Bruce Willis, Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton. Wes Anderson who is the director is also known for The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic and Darjeeling Limited. If you only go to one movie during the whole summer, pick this charming, funny and thought provoking story!

Prometheus was quite a contrast. I left Moonrise Kingdom with a smile on my lips, which was replaced during the Prometheus with a thumping heart and racing pulse. Prometheus is directed by Ridley Scott who also has Blade Runner and Alien on his CV. Can't help boasting a bit, but the female lead is acted by the Swedish actress Noomi Rapace. As usual Scott delivers an exciting, and fast paced action movie. I would designate it as horror scifi, from the very beginning it gives a claustrofobic impression which builds up slowly. A pair of lovers, both archeologists, make an amazing discovery - on ancient paintings and reliefs the same star constellation has been depicted together with a gigantic man pointing towards them. They believe that they have found the origin of man and convinces a wealthy man to fund an expedition. On the ship, which carries the somewhat ill boding name Prometheus they eventually get to those stars and then it gets creepier and creepier, as man's creator turns out to be less benevolent than surmised. A quick reminder that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein carries the subtitle A modern Prometheus is a good enough hint...

Yesterday I capped this with a third movie - The Avengers. This is also a scifi action movie based on a story from 1964 bythe Marvel Comics, featuring the heroes Captain America, The Falcon, Iron Man and The Hulk, in addition the secret agent Natasha and a pair of gods. The story also Joss Whedon, otherwise known for Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is its director. This was a fun, rollicking adventure with snappy dialogue. I very much enjoyed this matine style movie In this movie as well a Swedish actor plays an important role, Stellan Skarsgård. Mankind has discovered am object called the Tesseract, which promises unlimited energy if it can only be harnessed. At the same time elsewhere in the Universe, powerful aliens promises the trickster god Loke (Loki) the power of earth if he steals back the Tesseract for them. To support him, they provide an alien battle force....

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tisdag, juli 03, 2012


Fyris (Photo credit: Ulf Bodin)
Don't really know if I spelt the headline right, never mind. I am a bit tired still after the weekend, when I went canoeing with some friends on the Fyris River. It was the first time ever for me and maybe it was a bit presumptious since I haven't exercised much during the past 5-6 years due to various health issues: spinal disc herniation (2005), frozen shoulder (2009) and a persistent achilles heel inflammation I also contracted on 2009, which comes and goes.

Still, I am glad I am a bit crazy for this was a fantastic experience paddling down this small river and one of its tributaries with different types of landscape passing by along the way, some exceedingly beautiful. Even the dead trees, wrapped in some insect web looked amazingly attractive and at the same time horrific. We even spent the night in the forest!

Misty morning
Misty morning (Photo credit: shinryuu)
I am still unsure of the route, I have tried to figure it out by google maps but can't identify the starting point. Still, with the aid of Zemanta I have added three relevant pics.The one above shows the main river we followed on the second day. The one called Misty morning on the right is a river crossing that I actually recognise. We had to get out at that precise spot and drag the canoes across the small island between the wooden bridges. Amazing coincidence to find a Japanese who have taken a photo in the winter of that identical spot. I didn't dare bring my own camera along, being afraid I might drop it in the river.

Vattholma nordelch 04
Vattholma nordelch 04 (Photo credit: Udo Schröter)
We started out from a small brook  some kilometers from Dannemora (Sweden), where we got the canoes into water. Then we arrived at a lake or dam where we paddled across to an island for our picnic lunch. We continued across the lake/dam down to a small river outlet called Fyrisån. Our first stop was at idyllic Vattholma, a small village that was organised round an iron foundry a hundred years ago but nowadays is quite somnolent. The final goal was Storvreta, a suburb of Uppsala, from where we could grab a taxi or bus according to inclination to go home to Uppsala.

Now that I look at Google maps it seems that they have become a lot less detailed, which is a pity since they become pretty useless that way. It is impossible for one thing to find the waterways and post a picture showing the route.

Anyway, had I been attempting a rowing machine I would have believed myself exhausted after 15 minutes, whereas for real I managed with very little trouble to paddle for two solid days. My neck and upper arms hurt a bit, but not enough to deter me from continuing. In fact, although exhausted on Sunday evening and still a bit yesterday, it was the good kind of exhaution that comes from giving your body a thorough working over. All in all, a lovely weekend!
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The summer diet of 2012

Olive oil production in Klazomenai, an ancient...
Olive oil production in Klazomenai, an ancient city of Ionia( now, near Urla, Izmir, Turkey) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Having tried both LCHF and LC diets previous years with not much success, this year I am upping the ante as the saying goes by combining the Low Carb diet with two weeks of kick start meals. The kick start program I discovered in the Swedish magazine Laga GI which was an appendix to the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet earlier in the spring.

Going on a diet is nigh on impossible unless it is summer and either you or everyone else you work with is on vacation. Only then can you control the menu properly. You see, I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home when the office is empty and that means I can actually cook my lunch fresh instead of coing to the cantina. What I now need is determination. The good thing about this combination is that I won't need to adopt the LCHF diet wholesale, I simply eat a similar diet for a fortnight to get my body to start burning fat. The idea is that once that process is under way you can introduce slow carbohydrates.

According to the interview with LC expert Ulrika Davidsson the point is to promote a quick start, which will cause you to loose 1-2 kg already in the beginning. She promises the diligent follower 5-6 kg in four weeks time. The effect comes from eating differently every day thus surprising the body, eating relatively few carbohydrates, but also less fat than in regular LC diet and LCHF. It should therefore be a more healthy alternative. My main challenge will be week three when I am attending a conference i Nuremberg (Nürnberg) in Germany where all the lunches for instance are included. This means that I will need to act against my natural bent to polish the plate so that food goes to waste. I will need to ditch the fast carbohydrates.

In Sweden, there is a debate running (see below) concerning the dangers or merits of LCHF since a woman in the daily news claimed that she got a heart attack from following this diet. My contention is that there is fat, and then there is fat, there is protein and then there is protein. What do I mean by this? Well, if you stick to fat dairy products and red meat only, which lots of people appear to do, I would call that a dangerous route to follow. But if you mainly eat lots of fish and fatty vegetables such as avocado, which is much healthier, the diet should not cause you harm. Just look at the eskimoes! Always use your head when dieting. Don't let cream clog your arteries, use it with sense.

Anyway, I started this my diet yesterday with lemon water, black coffee and 2 boiled eggs with some mayonnaise on top for breakfast. For lunch I had smoked 100 g salmon mixed with low fat sour cream (gräddfil 12%), some mayonnaise for taste, chopped dill and chives, half a red onion,  70 g mixed salad leafs and on the side a boiled egg. In the evening I exchanged the 250 g grilled beef for 230 g veal that I ate with mixed salad leafs with whipped lemon juice and olive oil for side dish . Actually, I cheated a bit since there was some spoons of cream sauce from a previous red meat dinner in the fridge and I hate seeing good food go to waste. Furthermore, I fell for some leftover candy, just a few pieces for the same reason, it was lying around. No more sweets though for the remainder of the diet.

Today, the breakfast consisted of lemon water, black coffee and one grapefruit. I was pretty hungry already by eleven, but stuck to it until noon when I cooked a head of broccoli, which I left marinading in - guess what - olive oil and lemon, while I grilled 230 g of beef. Tonight the prescription is 100 g ham, which I will substitute for smoked reindeer meat. The latter is a rich natural source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fat oils, they are very good for the cardiovascular system. For side dishes, I am allowed some more mixed salad leafs in olive oil and lemon juice (I have made a batch of it), 2 dl yoghurt (no added fruit or sugar) with pumpkin seeds.

I will report regularly as to how this endevour proceeds and in particular the first two weeks.
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Doing the wave for Zemanta!

I would like to add that I got an almost immediate reply when I emailed Zemanta's engineers with an explanation. Wish all software developers were that quick on the uptake.
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