Hello world!

We had a security compromise on the old self-hosted WordPress blog that forced us to do that move to WordPress.com that we had been meaning to do for ages. Unfortunately some things clumsily got broken during the migration and that’s why most of the photos have disappeared from the blog. We still have most of the missing photos, but it’ll take Marie some time and effort to upload them and put them in their correct places. At least it means Marie won’t have to be idle during the summer holiday. I guess that’s one bullet dodged, eh?

– Kalli the webmonkey (mostly monkey, though)

Eating out in Reykjavik

My internet buddy Mattias shall be traveling to Reykjavik nest week and I offered to mail him some ideas for places to eat. I then decided to make my recommendations into a blog post, so that maybe others could benefit from my list. So, here are some eating places I would recommend you to try, while in Reykjavik:

I start off with my favorite restaurant Sægreifinn, situated near the Reykjavík harbor. An unpretentious place with fantastic food. The interior is very quaint and cozily cluttered with seafood connected parapharnelia. Best dish is the lobster soup. Last time we went there we had lobster soup for starter followed by skewers of respectively whale and lobster. Fantastic!

Lobster soup

Lobster and whale skewers

Very close to “Sægreifinn” is Hamborgarabúllan (translates to Burger joint). Here you get excellent grilled burgers, not fancy, just very tasty. “Fast food burgers done right” as Kalli puts it. Incidentally the guy who runs Hamborgarabúllan was the person responsible for bringing hamburgers to Iceland, something which happened sometime in the eighties.

“Food&Fun” by Helgi Halldórsson/Freddi’s CC BY-NC-ND (Flickr.com)

“condiments” by roboppys CC BY-NC-ND

Gamla smiðjan
On the subject of fast food. Last time I was in Reykjavik we got the most delicious take away pizza from a place called Eldsmiðjan. Pizzas baked in wood fired oven with a great selection of toppings. Can’t guarantee that it’s still great, but the crew originally behind that place has started a new place called Gamla smiðjan centrally located at Lækjargötu.

“Eating Pizza” by ian.crowther CC BY-NC (Flickr.com)

Café Loki
Of course traditional Icelandic food has to be tried while in Reykjavik. There is a new place at Lokastígur called Café Loki which specializes in home cooked traditional Icelandic cuisine. Everything is made from scratch and they also bake their own bread. For someone not familiar with Icelandic cuisine it is very helpful that they have a photo version of the menu. I had plokkfiskur which was great. Kalli had Icelandic meat soup (lamb) which he claims was a bit week.

Icelandic meat soup and on the side smoked lamb on rye bread

Plokkfiskur with rye bread

Kolabrautin at Harpa
Icelandic cuisine in a more luxurious version is to be had at the newly built, and not quite finished, Reykjavik concert house Harpa. On the fourth floor the restaurant Kolabrautin is situated and here we had the most fabulous meal. A four course dinner with specially selected wine to go with every dish. The meal was exquisite and a culinary experience extraordinaire. Click here for menu.

Kolabrautin restaurant

Marinated Arctic char

Slow-cooked cod

The desert was a bit of a surprise. A waitress came in and placed a large square tablet in the middle of our table. She then proceeded by scooping up various desert ingredients on this tablet. One heap in front of each one of us with sauce, cake, fruts etc. She then rounded off by making ice-cream, using liquid nitrogen.

Our waitress impressively making ice-cream, using liquid nitrogen

Nonnabiti and Bæjarins Bistu Pylsur
I’ll finish off by mentioning a couple of places at which to grab a quick bite on the go, for when you are downtown Reykjavik. The first one is Nonnabiti which is a fast food joint at Hafnarstræti, specialising in subs. Great selection of fillings; fish, chicken curry, bacon, turkey, vegetables and more, accompanied by Nonnabiti’s special sauce and other condiments. Around the corner from Nonnabiti is the famous hot dog stand Bæjarins Bistu Pylsur (translates to The best hot dogs in town). The hot dogs here are cooked in lager and immensely popular. On the wall inside the stand you will be able to see a picture of Bill Clinton savouring a hot dog from the stand.

Turkey subs

Kalli downing a couple of hot dogs

The constant queue would be a good indication on how good the hot dogs are

One last tip. Austurvöllur is a square in central Reykjavik which nowadays has free wifi. The square is surrounded by cafés where you can sit and reap its benefits if you do not want to sit in the square itself. I know that, out of these, at least Café Paris has decent food.

Austurvöllur, Hot spot, Free internet

Have a nice stay!

Now I'm Happy!

It is very seldom one receives personal letters these days. When it happens it is always very exciting, as they are almost always good news. Today when I got home from work I was not very happy, quite fed up actually. This particular letter could therefore not have picked a better time to await me in the hallway.

The envelope was dark green and there was some sort of thing in it. (This kind of personal letters are of course even nicer than the flat ones.) My address was prettily written with gold letters. At the back of the envelope was written “En IT-mamma kram” and in it was the prettiest fridge magnet. It read “We can do it!”.

When I saw it, all my unhappiness was gone and I felt really good again. IT-mamman is Christina Löfving, one of the cleverest ICT-advisors I have ever encountered. In fact, during the last few years I have met a lot of women whom are very knowledgable and clever when it comes to IT – a field normally dominated by men. The reason why IT nowadays attracts women, is most probably because it is used in combination with pedagogics. The field of IT-pedagogics seems to me to be a field of gender equality which is of course great. This means that there are plenty of us women there, to be role models when it comes to the younger generation. For young girls to see women handle technique with confidence must be a boost to their own confidence. I remember an incident a little while back, when I helped one of the younger boys at our school to fix something computer related. When I had fixed his problem he sad with awe “You sure can handle a computer!”

So to us ICT women out there I say: “We can do IT!” To mention a few: Kristina Alexanderson, Marie Andersson (Ö-pedagogen), Anne-Marie Körling, Sandra Wissting, Alma Taawo, Maria Zell (Decembertjej), Ulrika Jonson, Åsa Kronkvist (Ugglemamman), Lena Gällhagen

And if you think of anyone else whom deserves a mention, please add them in the comment section.

A Visit to the Garbage Tip

Who would have imagined a trip to the tip could be such a nice experience. Here are my reasons why:

Firstly, it is of course great to get rid of stuff. In our case we cleared a load of stuff out of the basement storage room. There were a load of old skis, a hamster cage, two gigantic computer monitors, an old stereo, a broken TV, outgrown clothes and loads of other unwanted stuff.

Second reason is the good order of the place. It is clean(!), there are signs telling you exactly where to put things, it is very accessible and the staff is very knowledgable.

The environmental friendliness of it all makes up for another reason. It is very encouraging and reasuring to see that society take such fantastic responsibility when it comes to recycling. When I was an environmental activist, in my teens some thirty years ago, todays rubbish tips would have been considered totally utopic.

Kalli looking into a barrel full of old batteries. The brown bags in the background are for people to bring home to put organic stuff in for compost.

The fourth and last reason that comes to me might be the most exceptional one. Visiting the dump is also a very nice experience when it comes to the social side of things. The staff is extremely pleasant and helpful, always ready to help. As soon as I got the TV out of the car this young girl from the staff came up to me asking me if I needed help to carry it. It is also very sociable at the tip, because of all the people coming there. Living in a small town one knows about half the population, and one therefor always meet people to chat to. Of course there is always stuff to talk about; like the reason for you throwing the old garden furniture out or maybe memories concerning some thing you’re getting rid of.

At the bottom right you can spot the boys old LARP armor.

All done and ready to go home. On the way out we drove past this place where you can by soil produced from the compost at the tip.

Vive la République!

On Saturday I watched the royal wedding on TV. I did so because royals intrigue me and I like looking at the dresses. What intrigues me is the silliness of it all; obsolete traditions kept in use only to differentiate them from us. I am totally and utterly against monarchy and I find that as long as the head of state position is hereditary, Sweden should not be considered a true democracy.

In Sweden the head of state is the king. It is quite remarkable that, in a country which in so many ways is quite radical, this antiquated form of constitution still rules. The monarchical constitution goes against democratic ideals and the principles of everyone’s equal worth. It states that the function of head of state, is closed to everyone not happening to be closely related to the aristocratic family Bernadotte. This means it is closed to A LOT of people. Before 1980 (!) it was even closed to the king’s first born, if she happened to be a female that is.

Another aspect to be taken into consideration is the fact that the members of the royal family do not get to indulge in the human right of ruling over ones own life. Of course they are incredibly fortunate in a lot of ways when it comes to material matters; but maybe freedom is worth more when it comes to quality of life. What if Viktoria and Daniel had rather gotten married in Vegas…? (Of course the option of getting married in Vegas does not apply to most of the worlds population – but this is not the point here. Had Viktoria and Daniel been ordinary Swedish citizens they would have had the option. Also of course there is the option to opt out of the family and it’s demands, but this is probably a decision filled with a lot of heartache.)

Säg ja!
Photo by: Karl Gunnarsson

Stuart's Big Day

Our Stuart has now graduated from gymnasium (eqvivalent to upper secondary school). It has been a good three years at Haraldsboskolan and the Technology Programme; he has worked hard and he deserves his very good grades. As a mother it is very weird to think that the boy is now grown up and ready to leave home. I become very sentimental when I think back, but also very happy about how well everything has went. He is a determined and very intelligent boy and I am sure his good luck will continue. This autumn he will continue his studies to become an engineer; either in Uppsala or in Luleå.

The student ceremony was very lovely. The positive atmosphere with all these happy youngsters full of assurance and happiness is a thing very wonderful to experience. Thanks to all those of you that came to celebrate with us! Also a special thanks to my brother Ulf, whom took Stuart and his class mate for a ride around town in the newly acquired Jaguar. It had to be a British car of course, what else!?


It's a Different Matter Now…

…or… Making Friends on the Internet is a Fabulous Thing.

My Kalli just tweeted: “At some point I might have been forced to find like minded individuals and sit in cafés or homes but now it’s the net. Chatting and drinking.” Kalli is at the moment talking to his friend Nick in California, with whom he has set up a photography blog, which they successfully manages to administer from two separate continents. The internet has opened so many doors for making friends, and I think it is truly wonderful. Kalli is part of a large photography community on the internet (his interest) and I am part of a large pedagogically geared community on the internet (my interest). I know many of the people on Kalli’s forums through him, and he knows many of the people on my forums through me.

Both of us have made some real friends through the internet and this is of course an interesting phenomena as it is reasonably new. We have also ourselves made each others acquaintance on the internet. What is up meeting/gaining friends through the internet; what is the allure? I think what internet friendships have got going for them is that they can become very sincere. What happens must be that you keep in touch (through comments, IM, ReTweets, direct messages, stars/favrs/hearts etc.) and in this way the people that you interconnect most with are the people that eventually become real friends.

When it comes to all the people I have met in real life after having befriended them on the internet I have been truly impressed. They have stood up to my expectations and more. All I can say to this is that making friends through the internet is a good thing.

"Don't Tell Me About the Press. I know Exactly Who Reads the Papers."

Kalli is sitting opposite me at the kitchen table watching bits of episodes from “Yes Prime Minister” when this one comes up. Sheer brilliance!

“Hacker: Don’t tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers: the Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by people who actually do run the country; the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Financial Times is read by people who own the country; The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; and The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.

Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?

Bernard: Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.”