Friday, June 02, 2006

Okay, it's time for another update.

The only thing I can blame my abscense on is that I'm busy all day and completely exhausted every evening. Bad excuse but the only one I have.

I did my final test in Nature knowledge this Wednesday. Interestingly, I think I did quite well in spite of hardly opening the books. That's quite a contrast compared to all the efforts I put in Social studies, a final test I also took Wednesday. It ended in disaster. I answered the first two questions and then my brain took a walk, leaving me alone with my paper and pencil. I just hate when that happens. I don't think I answered half of the questions correctly. My only comfort is that it was about financial politics and being the walking, talking economic disaster I am, the questions were not in my favor. I can hardly understand where my own money goes.

I also left my final paper in Swedish class, this Tuesday. We had to write a convincing article about a subject and give a lot of solid arguments in favor of our chosen subject. I chose to write about why I think it is important to increase the amount of lessons for Sex & relationships at school from the fourth grade and up. And I do feel strongly about this subject...

I even managed to find a relationship between the first increase in gang rapes in the eighties and the more serious porn in "gentlemen's magazines" and the even bigger increase from the early nineties and the greater use of the internet that started at the same time. It gave some food for thought...

Anyway, my teacher just had to quote me in front of the class (all female) with the part:

"Opening a centerfold in todays magazines has been degraded into looking at a bigger than life steak tartare with no person behind the pink. It's no more exciting than watching a leftover block of wood from handicraft class. Some things are just better left to see in real life and real life size."
I'm pretty confident I'll get a PwHH.

Surprisingly I also feel pretty confident about the final math test next Wednesday. We've had the opportunity to try out older tests and I had no problems worth mentioning.

I'm still working on the latest project in Web design and it's quite time consuming. I chose to make a web site based on a fictional figure called Jungle-Jim. I've remodeled the site about a hundred times by now and it has to be finished before Tuesday. I've realized I'm not a designer but just a mere amateur doing his best. I still think I'll get PwHH.

This last weekend the whole family went to Vaermland, a part of Sweden I love for many reasons. Several of Swedens most beloved authors lived there: Nils Ferlin (1898-1961), Gustaf Froding (1860-1911) and Selma Lagerlof (1858-1940). There isn't a swedish child who hasn't read, or at least heard about, the story about "Nils Holgersson's wonderful trip" by Selma Lagerlof. Zarah Leander (1907-1981), singer and actress, and Monica Zetterlund (1937-2005) jazz-singer, actress and variety-artist, were also born here.

I also love Vearmland for it's scenery. There are many lovely places in Sweden but Vearmland has a special place in my heart. Strangely this seems to have evolved from the poetry of Nils Ferlin and the novels by Selma, because I had never set foot in this part of Sweden before my late teens.

Well anyway, last Friday morning me, Redhead, LittleAngel and Rambo (the dog) packed our Volkswagen bus (Olga) and drove off to the small municipality called Kil (means wedge). LazyWorm, RazorTongue and CartoonBoy had left the day before together with my mother. Unfortunatly LittleAngel had caught a severe cold which made our trip less pleasant. If you're a masochist, you'll really enjoy a trip with a sick two-year old. We didn't.

Olga's gas/mileage ratio is usually very reasonable with about 1 litre/10 kilometers. Not this time though. Her 60-litre gas tank would normally have taken us all the way to Kil but not this time. We had to fill her up in Gothenburg, which is almost exactly half way. The reason? Strong winds along the coast. As soon as we had passed Gothenburg and drove more inland Olga was back to her normal mileage.

After some trouble we finally found the hostel my aunt (she's younger than me) had arranged for us to sleep at. The view was just awesome. We were litterally living on the beach of the southern edge of Lower Fryken, a three parted lake. I slept like a rock that night. If I can afford it, I'll return this summer.

This was the view that met us at the hostel we stayed at.

This was the hostel we stayed at.

Snow in May?

Now, the whole reason for this trip was that one of my cousins (15 yo) was having his confirmation in church. In Sweden, most young people don't give a damn about God, priests and churches but they do like the presents at confirmation. Which, in my opinion, is somewhat disrespectful against those who really believe.

To my surprise the whole ceremony was led by one of the best priests I've ever heard. This guy really believed and he loved his work. About an hour later the whole family, with relatives and all almost a 100 people, gathered in a house at the foot of a skiing slope. To my kids amazement there was still a big patch of snow about halfway up the slope. Needless to say they had a good time.

After meals and speaches we went to the hostel and started packing. My brother-in-law, FungusBrain, asked if we could travel together. Thinking about it for a while and realizing that he was afraid his car, a very new Chrysler Voyager, would brake down I said okay. Quite funny he was more afraid that his car would brake down than I was about good ol' Olga since he always asks me why I won't buy a new, "better" one. Considering he's already repaired his car for thousands of SEK since he bought it last Fall and I've put less than 500 SEK in my 1989 VW in the two years I've had the fortune to own her, the question has answered itself. But he'll never get it. He'll continue to plow money into his car until he finally gets rid of it and buy another "new" car, brag about it and then start to repair it. He's done it before.

The travel home had one little mishap, my right front tire suddenly started to look pregnant so I had to stop and change it. Other than that the whole trip took about six hours. We would have made it in five but FungusBrain just had to stop at a McDonalds. And when I start to eat, I eat.

Oh, and Olga cleared the yearly inspection too. Guess who's car didn't...


Lynda said...

Wow, these pictures are lovely. How lucky you are to live in a place with beautiful scenery!

Virginia Gal said...

Congrad's on finishing up the exams, do you have summer off or will you be starting up with a new set of classes?

oh most children have to be enticed to do religious things, I don't think until they are teenagers do they really start to own their faith. I use candy to get my Islamic School kids to say their prayers. Sad, I know.

JoeinVegas said...

Yes, congratulations on the schoolwork - much studying and intense review I'm sure.
Will you put your web project on line for us all to see?

Anonymous said...

Glad your final exams went well, Mr. Pencil! I LOVE that picture of the pretty lake and I'll have to check out the Nils Holgersson story. Vaermland sounds magical and we'll have to visit it on our trip to Sweden if we flee there someday. Much love,


Susan D. said...

Fungus Brain!


Thanks for the chuckle, I needed it today.

Glad you had a nice trip - it looks really lovely. Sounds like Olga earned herself a nice wash & wax!

JerseyTjej said...

Hitting up the relatives for confirmation presents seems to be a national trend...I ve coughed out almost 1300kr thus far! I am betting that the kids won't remember what the inside of a church looks like this time next year!

PissedOffPencil said...

Lynda: Every country has it's own kind of beautiful scenery. I for one envy the French for their Champagne district, the Italian's historic places and the Finn's deep, dark woods. :)

Virginia Gal: Thank you. No, I probably won't start new classes during Summer but then again, you never know. If the right class (creative writing?) shows up, I might take it, just for the fun of it. Sweden isn't a very religious country. That said, there are still a lot of religious people but religion, however free, is never allowed to interfere with the state. Even prayers at school have been abandoned. Religion is a private matter, not a public. That's good.

JoeinVegas: Thank you to you too. I'm sorry but that project at school wasn't allowed to be public. I asked but the teacher said that every project made at school also belonged to it. However, I'm am now working on a site that eventually will go public. It's kind of hobby project that hopefully will get me some work in the long run. My blog readers will probably be the first to know. :)

C-money: You're very welcome to Sweden! In the meantime you should look north. From what I've seen of Canada it looks very much like Sweden. And to get some of the atmosphere you might want to visit the swedish immigrants in Minnesota (Anderssonville, Bishop Hill, Stockholm, Vasa, Twin Cities, Stillwater, Scandia, Taylor's Falls, Lindstrom and many more.) Even I have relatives somewhere in that area.

Susan D.: Olga deserves a complete new paint job and much more. Hopefully I'll get my act together this summer and fix it. Glad I put a smile on your face. Everyone deserves a chuckle now and then. :)

Jerseytjej: Welcome! Oh, you've discovered the pandemia that sweeps this country every spring! I read some of your blog and now I'm curious about what you think of Sweden.