Saturday, October 29, 2011

Yet another fireplace

I've written a lot about fireplaces in the past. It really is silly to install one right now. We're pretty much going to be at our house only during summertime, so there's no need. The installation needs to be done by an expert and is therefore costly. Having a fireplace also raises my insurance significantly.

All that said, I still want one. Every proper Swedish house has a fireplace and my house is surrounded by free fuel. I came across a Swedish company, Contura, who have a big range of wood burning fireplaces, many of which would look great in our house.

Maybe not now, but one day for sure...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

A little slideshow

I found an interesting slideshow on the Dwell website about the ubiquitous Arne Jacobsen model 3107 chairs. These chairs are everywhere; I would think a week doesn't go by without my seeing one somewhere. These chairs are shorthand for 'Danish' all over the world.

I don't have any of these models myself, but I am the proud owner of a pair of similar chairs, the 3130, known as the 'Grand Prix' chair. Mine are the originals, from the late 50's, with the old-style wooden legs. They're still sturdy and comfortable today.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Toilets on Mt. Everest

I read in the news about plans to provide toilets at the Mt. Everest base camp. Apparently the whole mountain has become a dumping ground, with climbers leaving behind all sorts of discarded equipment, not to mention their waste!

Instead of just cleaning up, the plan is to introduce waste management to the mountain. That is the right way to go. As any camper (or island resident) can tell you, reducing the amount of extraneous stuff before you start is most efficient. In fact, that concept has coined a new word: precycling.

When we bring stuff out to Aspö, we remove as much packaging from the items as we can. It is amazing how a few shopping bags full of stuff can compact way down with a bit of judicious unwrapping. That allows us to carry more in, and carry less out. A win all around.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dual visits

Last weekend was an episode of synchronicity. Sooz and I were in Florida, visiting Margaret and Janne in their new home, while, at the same moment, Rutger, Marcia and her mom, (plus Archie) spent the weekend at our place on Aspö!

The most remarkable thing is that we all enjoyed perfect weather all weekend. Well, perhaps not remarkable for those of us in the Sunshine State, but a weekend of nearly 80° on the Archipelago in early October- now that's worth writing about!

Rutger did a couple of small jobs at the house for me. On the handyman scale, with Janne a 10 and me (generously) a 2, I'd rate Rutger a 7. He's a handy guy to have around. I think Marcia's mom had a good time, although obviously they put her to work washing the dishes.

Now the house is closed up until the spring. I may not be able to make it back to Aspö until then, but Sooz and I certainly plan to visit Margaret and Janne again!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

Like many millions of people in the US, I saw Apple's now famous "1984" commercial introducing the Macintosh. Being fairly geeky, I was impressed and curious.

About a week later, I was in Dallas at a training course, and Sooz came down to visit. We stayed an extra night downtown, and went for a walk before dinner.

An office-supply store had a new Mac in its window and I went in to see one. It's hard to explain how quickly and completely that little computer found its way into my heart. I remember that moment in perfect detail; it's no exaggeration to say it was one of the significant moments of my life. It's a good thing my girlfriend was with me, otherwise I might have stayed there all night. I might have quit my new job. I might have moved to California. It was that powerful.

I bought one, of course; it cost $2500 and I had to take out a bank loan. That little guy traveled all over with me for the next few years, even to Stockholm in 1989. I sold it then at a good price to a banker on Tomtebogatan. It was hard to let go but I had moved on to the ridiculous Mac Portable, which I happily dragged all over Europe in the early 90's.

In the late 90's, Apple was struggling as a company and its existence was in doubt. I was making plans to buy the most powerful Mac I could, just in case, to tide me over for a few years. Instead, I made a totally emotional decision to buy Apple stock, as a form of solidarity I suppose. Today that stock is worth nearly a hundred times what I paid for it.

But that financial gain is nothing compared to what I've received from Apple over the years. I'm a different person, I think a better person, because of that little Mac I saw all those years ago.

Thanks for everything, Steve.