Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Despite that it is only three days left until the race, it takes all my willpower to not head out around the lake for a run. Over the summer, running has become a highly physical addiction and I must admit that I have not been very successful at leaving enough time for recovery. So, instead of breathing the crisp morning air, I am back reading new chapters in what promises to be a very good book by my long-term co-author Jonathan Symons with Polity Press.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018


The last few days have been very good. Not only did a simple power adapter for 20 EUR blow new life into my dying four-year-old laptop, Citizenship Studies also finally published the co-authored article that has given me so many headaches. Meanwhile, feeling the competition from Gabriel running around Skaryszewski Park in Warsaw, I was able to set a new PR at the gym by running 5k in 22 minutes and 15 seconds.

With a friend coming over for dinner, I decided to make a seasonal vegan pasta with chanterelles and kale. Of my three #småparti bottles, this one was perhaps the most interesting, hailing from the old Roman settlement of Carnuntum, halfway between Vienna and Bratislava along the Danube. Yesterday, I was reminded of the Eurotunnel and of all the great adventures that await later in the fall.

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Great Southern Land

I know I have an irrational weakness for cheap marketing with an escapist flair but when Qantas gave the name “Great Southern Land” to one of their Boeing 787-9 flying the new ultra long-haul route between London and Perth, it obviously calls for an honorary mentioning. While I remain fiercely loyal to Star Alliance, I have to admit that the thought of taking that flight and checking out the new white sand coloured Perth lounge is very tempting. However, until I have a sufficient stack of Avios, I decided to at least replicate one of the lounge menu items together with a new arrival at Systembolaget, also from Western Australia.

Outside in the real world, I am becoming increasingly convinced that people voting for the Swedish Democrats, Trump and others somehow know that what they are doing is morally wrong (just like I do when I eat meat) and that is precisely the temptation. In essence, what they are being offered is an escape from reflexivity, to not have to be moral agents in a complex and ambiguous world. As such, calling out people voting for these parties as racist or sexist may paradoxically add to the allure. Or?

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Friday, August 10, 2018


While juggling two wild kids, proofreading can be a particularly challenging activity but, at last, Jon and I were able to send off the corrected proofs to Taylor & Francis. With Anna back home from her running, it was then my time to head out in the mist for the Nydala version of the morning rush, i.e. a sprint over silent sandy beaches.

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Thursday, August 09, 2018

Der Tod in Venedig

It is strange how some classics can be left unread for decades even if their intertextuality alone should have warranted immediate inclusion in the bibliography of Rawls & Me. With both kids taking a nap, I play with time to when one could stay four weeks in a hotel at the Lido. And while I did not contract cholera and stayed in Grado, I can somehow personally relate to what it means to “feeling indisposed” at the Mediterranean.

White bridge

Biking with the trailer along the river, I passed by the white bridge leading out to the airport. For some reason, that bridge has come to symbolize the world outside Umeå and, since I once took a picture of it covered in ice, I thought it deserved one in summer as well. Otherwise, from Delhi to Hamburg, the existence of that world tends to become almost inconceivable after a few weeks on the ground here in the North.
Yesterday, I went for a 18 km run with my colleague Rolf at a conversational pace which felt great after all the minute chasing. Right now, I am running about 70 kilometres per week which is like the Nydala-edition of the Oregon Project and clearly something I cannot go on doing as the semester begins. As for other and less commercial projects, I watched a short documentary about the November Project which seems like something I would love to be part of.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Nero di Lupo

When turning 40, I was given a most generous gift card for #småparti by my parents-in-law. Of the three bottles I bought, this one hails from Sicily and tastes of smoked minerals and forest raspberry. After biking 20 km and running 10 km today, a chèvre pizza from Ruccola felt well deserved (and, yes, I know, real Italians only drink beer with their pizza).

Last Thursday was “Earth Overshoot Day” and I had originally decided not to write anything about it here on Rawls & Me. After all, I prefer to laugh all the way to the replicator with Jean-Luc Picard (who, by the way, is returning to the screen) rather than engaging over and over with the same Malthusian narrow-mindness. Still, in the meantime, the usual suspects have published yet another paper, explaining why we are all going to hell in a handbasket unless we fully commit ourselves to their “resilience-building strategies”. Reading through the paper, I am again reminded of the words often misattributed to John Maynard Keynes, “it is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong”. For all their fancy modelling they completely miss the bigger picture in terms of what humanity can positively achieve as a species over the coming hundred years...

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SM trail

I have not been running hills in earnest since living in Gothenburg a decade ago so, in preparation for Tavelsjö Half marathon, I decided to take the bike up to Stadsliden and its legendary “SM track” to mortify my flesh. While I missed half a kilometre of the trail due to poor signage, that was more than made up by how beautiful the forest was after the last days of rain. For the hills as such, they were less of a challenge than I thought, probably running up the Marin Headlands has skewed my standards somewhat.


Monday, August 06, 2018

Cold front

Overnight, cold and gusty winds from the northwest came down over Umeå with the temperature falling into the single digits. Still, having just installed the Strava app on my phone, the heat was on so I decided to ignore a slightly sore throat and head out around the lake.

Giving my all, I managed to keep a pace of 5:18 minutes per km which was enough to secure the impressive rank of 21 021 among Strava users completing the 10k August challenge ;-)

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Sunday, August 05, 2018

Asics Nimbus

Buying shoes in size 47 (US 12) is never easy. Sometimes, I get excited just by the fact that the store has a single pair of shoes in my size and I guess that is a bit what happened when I bought my New Balance a month ago. Though perfectly fine for running shorter distances (say 5k), I could quickly tell that they were simply not up to the task of running a full marathon, especially on asphalt. In fact, for my last half marathons I have reverted to my four years old Asics. Yet, with the Tavelsjö race coming up in less than two weeks, I decided to bite the bullet and buy a new pair of Asics Nimbus.