Stockholm Archives

June 19, 2007

Hello Sweden


I arrived in Stockholm, took the airport express to the central train station, and made it to my hotel on the outskirts of the city (the neigborhood of Bromma, actually) by skillfully navigating the subway system. At first glimpse, this capital city is far more expansive than Oslo. Tomorrow I will explore it.



A print of this famous 1932 photograph, "Lunchtime Atop A Skyscraper," was right in front of me while I ate dinner tonight. I felt queasy just looking at the print. I could not imagine ever feeling comfortable enough to have a relaxing lunch this high off the ground just sitting on a steel beam above the city.

Battery Needed


My watch--sorry, my wristop computer!--broke down this morning with a drained battery, so I need to track down a new battery tomorrow. Suunto is a Scandavian company (Finnish, in fact) so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a place that can provide me what I need. The Suunto Vector was a very nice gift from a parent of a JV squash player a few years back--something I never would have bought for myself. It's an awfully large thing to wear on my wrist, but it's a pretty cool little machine. Of course, it can do far more than what I use it for, as it has a built-in compass, barometer, and altimeter, in addition to the usual gamut of timepiece functions. I pretty much use it to tell time.

June 20, 2007

Song Of The Day #171

Probably an obvious pick from here in Sweden: "Dancing Queen" by ABBA.

ABBA - ABBA - Gold - Greatest Hits - Dancing Queen

A Day In Stockholm

A laid-back day for me, mindful that in a week's time, I'll be back at work: teaching in the morning, handling office chores in the afternoon, and covering dorm duty in the evening.

I explored the city a bit via the subway system (T-bana) and ended up having lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe.
I always feel a little guilty going to a place like this, as it seems like such a typically touristy thing to do. The fact is, it's comforting to have a little taste of home once in a while when abroad, even if it is overpriced. I do enjoy checking out the rock memorabilia, too. (I've been to Hard Rock Cafes in Amsterdam, Bangkok, Barcelona, Cairo, London, Melbourne, Oslo, Rome, Stockholm, and Sydney, as I recall.)

I took care of a couple of other tasks, too, namely getting my watch battery replaced and mailing some postcards.

June 21, 2007

Next Up: Season Three

Just finished Season 2 of The Wire. This is a GREAT show. On to the next season.

Song Of The Day #172

From the brilliant Graceland album, this is Paul Simon performing "Diamonds On the Soles Of Her Shoes."

Paul Simon - Graceland - Diamonds On the Soles of Her Shoes (Remastered Version)

Deathly Hallows Await


One month until the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!

Gamla Stan


Had a lovely day exploring the Gamla Stan (the Old Town in Stockholm), with narrow cobble-stoned streets winding past attractive shops.

Knock Wood

There's an interesting article that ran in the international edition of USA Today about wood tennis racquets. Apparently a slew of current tour players were asked to hit with traditional wooden frames and compare them to the modern racquet technology. (One of them, Novak Djokovic--currently the #5 player in the world--had NEVER hit with a wood racquet before!) The common consensus--not surprisingly--was great feel, much less power.

Part of me wishes the tennis authorities did what the baseball folks did: limited the professional game to to the traditional equipment (i.e., wood racquets with smaller head sizes) while allowing the rest of us to benefit from technological advances. The problem with this, of course, is a commercial one: the racquet companies use the top players to drive sales of new racquets. Coaches and teaching pros see this first-hand, too. For example, I am on the HEAD advisory staff, which means I get a couple of free racquets every year. There is a clear push to adopt the company's new technology every season. So as someone who has been using the Prestige line of sticks, I have migrated from the iPrestige to the Liquidmetal Prestige to the Flexpoint Prestige as HEAD has upgraded the line and discontinued the older versions. (This time next year I'll be wielding the Microgel Prestige, by the way, which will be released late this year or early next.)
Of course the irony is that most of the top pros don't even play with the racquet it LOOKS like they are playing with. At that level of the game, the athletes are so attuned to the exact details of their equipment that the companies produce "paint jobs" for them-customized versions of older models that are made to resemble the current version. It's pretty much an open secret on the tour. Hence Roger Federer's "new" Wilson racquet this year is just a cosmetically altered version of the same frame he's been comfrotably winning with for years. Marat Safin, who plays with the aforementioned HEAD Prestige line, actually uses a Prestige Classic 600 frame, a discontinued model he won the U.S. Open with in 2000, but it has been painted to look like the iPrestige, the Liquidmetal Prestige, and the Flexpoint Prestige over the years (and no doubt soon the Microgel Prestige will follow).

Had the pros stuck with the wooden racquets, none of this would be necessary (though even in the 1970s, Ilie Nastase was notorious for having Wilson racquets painted to resemble adidas models to satisfy his sponsor without playing with inferior equipment). But it's doubtful the world's top players would be getting big bucks for using racquets that most of the rest of us would never dream of buying when we could be using graphite composites, oversized heads, wide bodies, and the rest.

City Slickers

As someone who tends to spend a fair amount of travel time in some of the world's major cities, I am following with fascination a recent survey by the International Herald Tribune (in conjunction with a magazine I have never heard of called Monocle) that rates cities for their quality of life. You can check out the list youself online. For what it's worth, I have been to fifteen of the top twenty cities listed and while I would quibble a bit with the order, this is not a bad list.

Cunning Linguists

As an American, I am continually amazed at the facility with languages most Europeans seem to have. I have yet to deal with a single person in Norway or Sweden who did not speak fluent English!

June 22, 2007

Song Of The Day #173

"No Reply At All" is one of the hallmarks of the "Phil Collins era" of Genesis.

Genesis - Abacab

Guess Who's Coming Back?


Yesterday Steven Spielberg took this picture of Harrison Ford, back in costume for the first time since 1989 as a certain "professor of archaeology, expert on the occult, and . . . how does one say it? . . . obtainer of rare antiquities."

Mark your calendars for May 22, 2008!

Europe Without Euros

This is my first trip to Europe in years in which I did not use the Euro as currency at some point. Two of the three countries I am visiting--the U.K. and Sweden--are E.U. members that have rejected the Euro and the third--Norway--is not an E.U. member.

Happy 30th Birthday Star Wars!


Has it really been thirty years since Star Wars arrived on the scene? This was the ULTIMATE summer movie when it came out. It stood on its own: no trilogy, no prequels, no "Episode IV" or "A New Hope" revisionism, no Greedo shooting first, and no knowledge that Vader was Luke's father.

I saw the movie with my family as a birthday present. This was in August, though the movie had been released it late May. Back then, it was common for films to have a limited release and then gradually appear on more and more screens. These days, a blockbuster has a huge weekend or two on thousands of screens and that's pretty much it until the DVD arrives a few months later. Star Wars was nothing like that: it had "legs," as they say in the business. Even when I saw it, months after its premiere, there was a line of people snaking around the cinema in the rain. And of course lots of folks saw Star Wars multiple times in the theater (this was in the era before home video took off). I remember going with my 8th-grade science class to see a 70mm print of the film on an enormous screen at some point in the fall, so it was still going strong then.

I loved Star Wars from the very start. I was probably the perfect age for it. Everything about the movie was exciting: the visuals, the soundtrack, the characters, the action. Most people I knew in my junior high universe loved it too (though not my parents--the one word I remember from their review was "corny"!)

It absolutely astounds me to think that there are teenagers today who have NEVER seen any of the Star Wars six films, even after they were re-released in the theaters with upgraded special effects and distributed on DVD more recently.

Personalized Welcome


When I first arrived at the Stockholm Central Station, the signs over the escalators indicated that apparently I was expected. Nice of them to let me know exactly which way I am supposed to go.

About Stockholm

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to As Far As You Know in the Stockholm category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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