Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A report from Olle

Olle sent me a few iPhone pics. He checked the temperature in the bathroom and it was a perfect 7.2°C. Here's how the house looked this weekend. A couple more snaps (including a November flower) are on Annika's photoset.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


It's the Thanksgiving holiday here in the USA. This is the sixth Thanksgiving that has passed since I've started this blog. I didn't mention the holiday at all in 2007, although I found it fun to look at that month's posts.

2008 was noteworthy as it coincided with Ollie's back surgery. Each of our subsequent Thanksgivings has had extra meaning for me, as it's now also an anniversary of his continued health!

Here's today's family portrait, with the fantastic addition of Sooz's dad, who flew down to Texas to be with us on the holiday.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


News reports this morning are pretty negative about the fate of SAS. Like many established airlines around the world, SAS is struggling to reconcile its state-owned legacy to the realities of a low-cost world of aviation.

I have good friends at SAS, and we have flown them many times over the past 20 years. I wish them the best for their restructuring plans.

UPDATE: Although it went down to the wire (in fact past the wire, thanks to pesky Danish flight attendants), the 8 unions involved did all finally agree to sweeping changes. The Financial Times has a good summary of events- and how things might have been different in America.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A toilet theme park

I posted a bit more than 5 years ago about a toilet-awareness organization in in South Korea which built a toilet-shaped house.

Sadly, Sim Jae-duck, the builder of the house and the founder of the WTA, has passed away in the interim. However, his house has become a Restroom Cultural Park, with toilets from around the world available for visitors.

Not sure if there's a Cinderella there. There should be!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tick Vaccinations

I've posted many times in the past about that scourge of island life, the tick, or more specifically, the diseases the little bastards carry.

Borrelia, or it's more well-known North American cousin, Lyme disease, is the most common illness. In fact, both Sooz and I have been tested positive for exposure to Lyme, which doesn't mean we have symptoms.

There is a more serious disease however: tick-borne encephalitis, or TBE. Once it's contracted, there is no cure. And it is not a disease that one wants to risk having! I have enough problems with my brain, thank you very much. No need for anything extra to deal with there.

We got our TBE shots when we were in the UK, so we're covered. However, a booster is recommended within 5 years, which would be next year for us. When Sooz visited London ahead of our visit last month, she went to our old NHS doctor and got a booster shot. They were very nice, and didn't charge her the non-resident's fee. (Like I've said before, I love the NHS).

However, going to our village in England to see my old doctor isn't an option for a working stiff like me, so I looked into getting the shot here. After a lot of research, I found that wasn't possible. The reason is simple: there is no TBE in the United States. The vaccine can't even be ordered here as an option, as it isn't licensed for American usage.

My plan B was to get the jab in Sweden, but I thought I'd try something else first. I contacted my company doctor with my dilemma. He took the challenge in good humor, and quickly found a good solution: the vaccine is available in Canada. He directed me to a travel clinic near the Montréal airport, and sure enough, I can stop in and get the vaccine there with no fuss.

As luck would have it, I need to visit Montréal for business in the coming weeks, so I'll plan an hour to stop by and get my booster shot.

The things we global residents have to go through....!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Internet service update

I received an update from Nilla, our representative of the broadband club on Nämdö. There was a lot of Swedish to get through, but this is what I understand so far:
  • The cost to wire the Nämdö archipelago for 600 residents is about 48 million kronor- or about 80,000kr ($12,000) per household.
  • The Swedish government has said that all households will have access for roughly the same price, 20-25,000kr.
  • This gap will be met by funds paid by the government (with matching funds from the EU), but the demand for this money is very high. The 2012 funds were exhausted some time ago.
  • A new, more formal broadband association will be formed by the end of this year. A stake of 2,000kr is being proposed for membership in this association.
  • This group will take up negotiations to get started with the first phase of the work next year.
There's more detail, but that's the gist of it. We probably will have to deal with our little wireless connection for one more summer!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

A 12 square-meter apartment

I read about a tiny little house built by students in Lund, a big University town in far southern Sweden. It's quite a cute little place!

The article I've linked to has a number of pictures and some background on this interesting little experiment.