Monday, March 27, 2017

Weekend

This weekend we decided to take the high-speed train 45 minutes south to Örnsköldsvik. The trip alone fulfilled a long standing wish of two young boys to not only watch the trains at the station but actually travelling on one. Considering the hyper mobility of Eddie’s first two years, it is of course a bit funny to think how stationary our lives have become since then, at least with regards to the boys. Unlike Umeå, Örnsköldsvik felt very maritime with heritage harbour cranes but at the same time also alpine with its maddening downtown ski jumping ramp.
Once back in Umeå on Sunday afternoon, it was finally time for my long-awaited talk on nuclear and climate realism at Bildmuseet. To my great surprise, it turned out completely non-hostile and fruitful, almost to an extent that I am beginning to think that nuclear energy may not be entirely impossible to talk about after all.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Antipodean Beerenauslese

Today, my wine journey took an unexpected turn as I picked up a pinot gris from the South Island without noticing a subtle “late picked” on the label. With pronounced botrytis influence, the wine was an absolute mismatch to my truffle mushroom pasta but heavenly delightful later with an improvised cheese plate (with was really improvised considering that it featured Billinge).

Earlier today I met my new thesis students for the first time. In line with tradition, the topics this time are very broad, reaching from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to the governance of elderly care in Scandinavia. While it may be the most challenging course to teach since I never really know what to expect, it is by far the most rewarding for precisely the same reason as I have to get up to speed with a range of new subjects every semester which effectively prevents any stagnation.

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Australian cotton seeds

The other night when flipping old travel magazines, Australia suddenly came back to me. With my application to the Swedish Research Council finally behind me, I am able take a moment to follow up with some poetry that has been aging in my bookshelf for almost a decade now.

My body wants
the long way back
just to find lost land
rehearsing what it will be –
unexpected flowerings
locked tight in seeds.

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

River Ume

With William still insisting on getting up before five, finding activities in the mornings can sometimes be a bit of challenge. Today, I took him for a long walk with the stroller down to the river Ume, just in time for the supermarket with our "post office" to open so I could pick up a collection of short stories that I had ordered.

For some reason, I have come to live much of my life in places that perhaps may look like coastal cities on a map but in which the sea is actually somewhere else, dozens of kilometres away, leaving me strangely unsatisfied. I guess growing up in Kalmar spoilt me with its open horizons.

This part of the river is dominated by a white cable-stayed bridge which leads out the airport and, with it, the “external world” as a philosopher would call it. All these continuities and discontinuities.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Småparti

In general, I am a great fan of the Swedish alcohol monopoly Systembolaget. Recently, they have started to import small quantities of fine wines or, as it is known in Swedish, “småpartier”. Transient as life itself, this means that if you find something you really like, it is unlikely that it will still be there the next time you make it to the store. Today, I found a 2007 half bottle of Fontalloro by Fèlsina which was simply divine. Fèlsina is a family wine estate situated at the southeast edge of the Chianti Classico appellation and after an afternoon of snow racing and wild pirates, a single glass was more than enough to blur all boundaries between the past, the present and the future.

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Sunday, March 05, 2017

Awash in sunshine


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Sunday, February 26, 2017

The end of the republic

United may have upped their game with illy coffee in their lounges but it is still hard to not feel as if we are living through the end of the republic. As expected, D.C. last night was almost like an occupied city, still uncertain if all the neoclassical buildings with their symmetrical shapes, triangular pediments and domed roofs now suddenly symbolize an autocracy. Yet, at Oyamel, the margaritas were still flowing in a dining room packed with the brightest and most talented of young professionals, as a stark reminder of America’s true potential.

After a morning walking around the Pentagon and the Arlington Cemetery, it is time to fly back across the Atlantic. Nav Canada is forecasting quite a bit of turbulence between Greenland and Iceland so I guess it will be a bumpy ride until we eventually touch down in Copenhagen tomorrow morning.

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Friday, February 24, 2017

The Chesapeake Bay State

Like last year at the ISA in Atlanta, you can tell that there is an overrepresentation of Europeans lining up for the very first sips of morning coffee.

Though I used to drive through occasionally back in 2008, this is my first real visit to Baltimore as such. Its Inner Harbor turned out to have all the hallmarks of contemporary urban waterfront renewal, even including an H&M store. Still, every time I return to the US I become less and less enthusiastic about late-modern capitalism. The extreme commodification and vulnerability as people have to juggle two or three jobs just in order to stay afloat in a rising sea of debt. At least to me, it is obvious that capitalism requires much greater measures of equality and social investments to function over time.

Oh well, soon time to head up to the Baltimore Convention Center for the first panel of the day.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New York Edition

When I used to live in the US, I remember coming back from Europe, picking up a rental car and driving out to the ocean in Jersey. Walking along the dunes of Sandy Hook was the perfect antidote to all those hours in the air.

Yesterday when we got into Newark we were completely exhausted. Having two kids who like to get up super early do not leave you with much in terms of reserves. At least we managed to take a walk down to Barnes & Nobles at Union Sq and have some Italian bar food at Eataly before collapsing in bed at 6.30 pm. Which of course meant that we at 1 am were wide awake and ready for breakfast. Luckily the New York Edition was able to find some Greek style yoghurt with granola and berries. 

Transoceanic

Four hours into the flight, Frithiof Viking is now more than halfway along its North Atlantic Track, slightly south of Greenland. Some time ago, Eddie and I read an article in Svenska Dagbladet Junior about Dagny, who at the age of 104, may well be the world’s oldest blogger. The article featured a timeline which marked her birth the same year that Titanic went down. This in turn led to a long conversation and many questions over the following days about ice bergs, the passing of time and the vastness of oceans.

With both kids back home, an intensive week now awaits in America. First New York tonight before taking the Northeast Regional Amtrak service down to Baltimore tomorrow morning for three days at the ISA convention. Afterwards, we hope to get one last night in Kalorama and a Sunday stroll in DC before flying back to Sweden on Sunday.

At the ISA, I am looking forward to chairing one panel on the governance of new environmental technologies, being discussant for one panel on “urbanization, technology and ecology” and then presenting my own paper in a panel featuring everything from the metaphysics of the Anthropocene to imagination as transformational capacity. As always, the programme is packed with tons of fascinating stuff including an old friend from HUFS who will present his paper on evolving US-led alliance structures in East Asia.

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