Weekend Fun

One of four grotesque male faces on a 17th century object in the Tre Kronor castle museum. The piece looks like a little baptismal font, but the label says "possibly a kitchen mortar". Neither function seems likely. One of four grotesque male faces on a 17th century object in the Tre Kronor castle museum. The piece looks like a little baptismal font, but the label says "possibly a kitchen mortar". Neither function seems likely.

Had some quality fun this past weekend.

  • Dinner at Tbilisis Hörna, a Georgian + Greek + Italian restaurant. Service was slow and unsynched but the food was great. The deep green tarragon soda in a bottle with almost exclusively Georgian script on the labels added to the sense of not being anywhere near Stockholm.
  • Gig at the Globe Arena's annexe with psychedelic Australian genius Kevin Parker and his band Tame Impala.
  • Chinese banquet cooked by my wife and sis-in-law, to celebrate the end of the Year of the Wooden Goat and the beginning of the Year of the Fire Monkey. I got out my old mini steam engine and oversaw Jrette operating it with her cousins.
  • Visited the museum in the basement of the northern wing of Stockholm's Royal Castle, to learn more about its Medieval predecessor that was torn down after a major fire in 1697. Not very informative, mainly a lot of 17th century sculpture fragments. A few Medieval coins were in a tiny, poorly lit glass-topped depression in the floor where you could barely make them out. But one wall of the basement is the castle's 13th century perimeter and the other is 15th century building fronts, so that's something. This level was the ground floor at the time: the closest you can get to visiting the Medieval castle.
  • First semla of 2016. Mmm...
  • Bach's Mass in B minor at Nacka Church, the last major work he completed, played on period-style instruments by the Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble. Silver trumpets!

Dear Reader, what did you do for fun over the weekend? It's an important issue: fun is after all the meaning of life.

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I've never had Georgian cuisine, but I did eat in an Italian restaurant Friday evening. There was a power outage in my town (20-30 cm of heavy wet snow in a place where the electric utility is too cheap to put the lines underground), so I made the trek up to Freeport since I needed a few things from L. L. Bean anyway; the restaurant is a block north of the flagship store. Like any self-respecting Italian restaurant, they have a nice Chianti on the wine list (no fava beans or liver, though--but I can recommend the linguini in clam sauce at this place).

Power was restored by the time I got home. I was able to get out my cross-country skis and snowshoes, and also read a mystery novel (Agatha Christie's A Murder Is Announced). I figured out a minor side plot on my own, but as Christie often does, the main mystery turns on a point that is so subtle as to be easily missed (yet obvious once Miss Marple explains her reasoning).

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 08 Feb 2016 #permalink

Sounds like a good one, Eric! How do you decide whether to go for the snow shoes or the skis?

Some archaeologists are just spoiled: an Egyptian boat was found in a 4,500 year old burial chamber. Unfortunately, due to bad preservation of the chamber, they idon't know the occupant's name(!)

The Fire Monkey sneaked in, hidden inside the Wooden Goat.
BTW is the Century of the Fruitbat only a Discworld thing?
And have you tried an easy-to-eat "semla wrap" yet?

By Birgerjohansson (not verified) on 09 Feb 2016 #permalink

Hope this won't be another Century of World Wars!

I haven't had the wrap, nor the enticingly decadent advemla, which is a semla with saffron.

How do you decide whether to go for the snow shoes or the skis?

Depends on conditions and day of the week. If there has been enough new snow since the last rainfall or day with temperatures above +5, and it's the weekend (weekdays the car park is reserved for people with university faculty/staff permits, which I lack, and at 210 cm the skis are awkward to carry for the required 20 min walk while the snowshoes are not), I'll take the skis; otherwise it's the snowshoes. So it was skis on Saturday, but sine temperatures were in the +8 to +10 range Saturday afternoon, it was snowshoes on Sunday.

Alas, I'm probably done for the season. As I was walking home yesterday, there was enough snow on the sidewalk to hide the patch of ice, but not enough snow to give my boots any traction. The finger was only dislocated, not broken, but I'll have to wear a splint for at least a few weeks, which is not compatible with using poles.

As I tell my friends from warm climates (including blog regular John), I don't mind the snow. Ice is another matter.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 09 Feb 2016 #permalink

Ow, poor thing! Get well soon!

But I don't understand about the snowshoes. Aren't they for walking on top of deep snow? You mention melting events -- maybe you don't mean that the snow has all melted away, only that an icy crust has formed on top?

Yes, Eric, I see your point.

By John Massey (not verified) on 09 Feb 2016 #permalink

I recall one year Greg Laden at Sb hit a patch of ice, went down, landed on his knee and smashed his knee cap. I'll bet that hurt.

Meanwhile, a week or so ago, being a gentleman of a certain age, I got out of bed in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, tripped and fell on a big heavy radiator I keep in the bedroom, and landed on the fins of the radiator on my ribs. I didn't get burned, because I was wearing two layers of clothing to try to stay warm in bed, but I bruised my ribs pretty good.

Winter is a hazardous time.

By John Massey (not verified) on 09 Feb 2016 #permalink

Turning the snow surface to an icy crust is part of it, yes. My snowshoes have a couple of rows of serrations to help grip on an icy surface, I have regular XC skis, not telemark skis, so they get no traction on ice.

The other part is that when it's too warm, the snow sticks to your skis and prevents you from gliding. That's presumably what ends the season in Scandinavia. But I'm much further south (about the same latitude as Toulouse), and temporary thaws in winter are not unusual. Snowshoes don't have this issue--you can keep walking.

Snowshoes are also handy for walking across frozen rivers and lakes--you're less likely to break through because the force of your weight is distributed over a larger area. But it's not a good idea to walk across ice that's thin enough that you would expect this to matter--it's just a bit of extra margin when the ice is thinner or weaker than you thought.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 09 Feb 2016 #permalink

We get plenty of temporary thaws around Stockholm too. I usually don't go skiing then, but people who do use klistervalla, literally "glue ski-wax".