Thursday, October 17, 2013

yes, it's dryer lint

okay, this mystery was a bit more challenging than i anticipated, but, yes, as my friend jen pointed out on facebook it is in fact layer upon layer of dryer lint. a tremendous amount of dryer lint.

when we moved here, it took me forever to figure out how to even turn on the dryer:

would you know what to do with this? i didn't! to turn it on you press the left button when the knob is at 12:00 and only at 12:00, wait for the beep, then in theory set the cycle wherever you want, but it only works on the first stop to the right, then press the center button and wait for the beep and hope the thing starts rotating. i'm fairly positive there is a more intuitive way to turn on a dryer.

rich of course looked at it and figured it out in about a minute...ahem...but that's okay because i had a functioning dryer! the four of us amass a load or two of laundry a day here, as the machines are considerably smaller than back home, so a washin' i went for days and days and days. i checked the two little lint traps along the edge of the dryer every time i used it and was surprised by how little lint built up--european machines are so much better than back home! i was elated by this newfound respect for our clothes that the swedish engineers obviously had.

then, the dryer stopped working and started beeping. it beeped incessantly at me for apparently no good reason, and a big red light was blinking at me too. it turns out that this dryer sucks as well as blows and that there is a tube that holds the sucked-out water (about 3-4 liters worth) that has to be dumped out every now and again for the dryer to keep functioning. and, i also learned what the last button on the right was for, which is to tell the dryer that the water had been emptied. such crafty swedes!

a month goes by, then almost another, and the dryer really isn't working. in fact, it's crap--our clothes stay wet, even when cooked at high heat for two hours, and we've given up and are just laying wet clothes out on the beds. stupid swedes don't know how to make a dryer! then i notice that for some odd reason there is lint coming out of the top of the dryer...where the hell is this coming from--this dryer doesn't create lint...?

wrong. in fact, it had created about 3 inches of lint in the almost two months we've used it. and the lint had finally gotten so packed that it was spewing out of the top of the hidden lint trap that we never found in those same two months. i pulled it out, coughed my head off, then marvelled at the beautiful striations of clean clothing colors created by our awesome swedish dryer. i'm so obsessive about cleaning the screen at home that i honestly didn't even recognize what it was at first...hence the photo contest! amazingly, now that the lint trap is clean, the dryer dries everything in a maximum of 20 minutes, even jeans. thank god nothing caught on fire.

is it wrong to admit that i'm really tempted to try and make another one?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

vad är detta? / what is this?

play along!  the first to correctly identify this photo wins either something tasty from system bolaget or i'll owe you something tasty in iowa city (in the form of lunch) when i get back to the states...or something tasty in stockholm if system bolaget isn't your thing.  write your answers in the comments section and i'll reveal the solution to the mystery of the stripey photo in the next post. 

the answer's not something i'm proud of, and if you've read this blog for any length of time then you know that my life is frequently an example of what not to do.  this one wasn't too least no one was hurt or poisoned or set on fire (this time).  guess away!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

languorous långholmen

about a month ago, on one of the very last days of summer, the four of us took a walk from kungsholmen across the västerbron bridge to the lovely little green island of långholmen. it formerly housed a prison; today people come and go freely. this is a rather disjointed (but hopefully still intriguing) collection of images from that day. oddly, i seem to have grouped them in pairs...including the pair of studs by the STUDS graffiti (forgiveness, please, for that one--i had to include it). welcome to långholmen!

i'm including picture this only to prove that swedes always look great, even when they have their booties hanging out of their jeans. maddening.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

uppsala, part one of ?

rich playing corpse in the uppsala university anatomical theatre

we took a day trip to uppsala this past weekend (about 50 miles north of here) and really, really liked it--we're trying to plan gus' study abroad time there already. we also found that we are definitely going to need a return visit to see everything we wanted to see. since time was short we just concentrated on the area between the train station and the cathedral, concluding with the most awesome museum gustavianum. thus, this is part one of hopefully two...but i'm not sure when that next part will materialize. enjoy!

about to set out on our uppsala adventures, across the river fyris, with both kiddos looking particularly devious

interior, uppsala cathedral. it's so gothic!

interior nave decorations, uppsala cathedral

detail from the gustav vasa monument of wife #1.  or #2.  but not #3--she didn't make the sculpture

"memorare novissima et in aeternum non peccabis" = "remember the end and never sin," which is of course about as subtle as a sledgehammer...or a puti holding a skull

detail from the gustav vasa monument

beautiful old german altarpiece that is in *desperate* need of conservation

gus at the entrance to his almost-namesake museum

gus and a tiny sophie observing rich's pretend dissection, and gus looks a little too happy about it

(however, my corpse wouldn't stop giggling)

while the anatomical theatre was the highlight for rich, this was the highlight for me: the augsburg art cabinet. i had never in my life seen such an object, or even heard about it, which is just shameful on my part (and, perhaps, my professors were a bit culpable as well). it is the only intact art cabinet known--usually you get the art collection inside OR the cabinet, but here you get both. it is amazing.

unfortunately, almost none of my photos turned out well enough to do it justice! i'll shoot more on my return.


Monday, October 7, 2013

almgren silk weaving mill and museum

stockholm is a city of museums--like 87 of them--and this one, knut august almgren's sidenväveri (silk-weaving mill) is one of the best.  it incorporates 150 year old functional looms into a historical museum setting, on which weavers demonstrate daily.  it produced silk designs for the kings and queens of sweden for generations; while it was fully functional it was one of the largest employers of women in scandinavia.  sadly, most of those women probably left mill employment profoundly deaf because just hearing one out of the many looms operate was INSANELY LOUD.

the almgren looms utilize punchcards to create jacquard patterns in the silk (just to see that alone was worth the price of admission), which are put on everything from ribbons to sheets of silk.  if i remember correctly, it is the only functioning silk weaving mill remaining in northern check it out if you're ever looking for something to do in södermalm!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

gus and his smokin' kontrabas at ericsonhallen

gus had his first public performance in stockholm at ericsonhallen on skeppsholmen this evening, and what an amazing concert it was! he played for a little over an hour with his current orchestra from kulturskolan--västerots ungdoms symfoniker--and he did wonderfully. it is hard enough to stand up in front of an audience and perform, but imagine what it must be like to be spoken to/about in a language you don't understand...and be 13 on top of it...yet he did it all with ease. i swear he's gifted that way.

rich shot this video of the second piece performed by the orchestra--peter's "erinnerungg an zirkus rentz." go gus!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

cyklar i sverige

ever since we arrived in sweden i've been fascinated by all the old bikes around town. people here aren't necessarily riding the latest and greatest models--frequently they're on bikes that are easily as old as i am--but they are maintaining the old ones. and, because they're everywhere, i've had ample opportunity to start a collection of swedish bike images! here's what i've amassed so far:

hermes--this one is my favorite. it is parked near gus and astrid's school, and i look for it every single day (fortunately for me it never seems to move)

...and i even found its sibling on the esplanade in helsinki!





i honestly didn't know husqvarna made bikes--in the US all we get are their sewing machines and tractors

more to come (i hope)!