Roadside Crosses

The back cover of Roadside Crosses starts with:
"On the Internet, you can never be sure who is listening. Anyone can discover your secrets, you deepest fears."

Okay, another scary-internet mystery. Politicians suffer a lot from Scary Internet Syndrome (have a read at Lauren Weinstein's Why governments are afraid of social media while you are at it). But it's a Jeffery Deaver story, so I dive it.

The stuff you would expect: minority people doing great jobs, incompetent bosses, an irritating blogger, drinking teenagers, game-playing teenagers, plots, lots of people dying before the mystery gets itself solved. The minute the heroine, Deaver, asks for the IP addresses I'm sure the thing is doomed, but the blogger refuses to give them up (at first). The plots thickens and twists and turns to an unexpected end.

It is very hard to address a technical topic such as social media without boring half the readers - either the ones who know about and use social media, or the ones who have no interest in them at all. They tried cross-media, putting up a "real" blog: The Chilton Report. Okay, it was built with NetObjects Fusion 11, but nothing is linked, you have to have the links in the book in order to see the pages. I did spend most of yesterday just sitting there, reading, however. A good vacation read, especially when it rains most every day...


Miss Wyoming

WiseMan found this for me at that strange little bookstore, a book by Douglas Copeland that I hadn't read yet. Oh my, I do like how he writes, I've been hooked since I got my mitts on "Microserfs".

Miss Wyoming is no different. Once you get down into this zany story, you have to keep reading or you will lose all of the many threads that are flying around, still unresolved. There is the occasional pink elephant (or in this one, a giraffe) that suddenly shows up and disappears, but still the mad flashbacks from all the different perspectives is fascinating. You look at the story from all sides and just want to KNOW how each person thought and ends up.

So for the past few days I've been "busy". I read until 2 am last night, was not a brilliant conversational partner at breakfast and even made us miss one train because I JUST HAD TO FINISH THIS.

The story deals with Hollywood, the beauty pageant circuit, love, dysfunctional families, the tabloid press, and a search for the meaning of life. And a giraffe.

Loved it!



On our way to Genarp the other day our friend pointed out the Dalby church. "You've been to see that, of course." Uh, no. We've never actually been this way. Is it nice? Well, it's the oldest stone church around here and there used to be a bishop there and it has a great view and ...

So picking up another friend after work in Lund today, we suggested driving out to Dalby. We had packed a picnic coffee time just in case (we are sooooo Swedish), as we had tried to find a cafe in Dalby using both Google and the Lund web site. Google suggested that the nearest cafes were actually in Lund, and the Lund city web site is a navigational maze with unhelpful search function. It is not made for tourists, but for people with an intricate knowledge of the structures of the city government.

So we headed out for an adventure. Dalby sits up on a hill with a very wonderful view - we could see clear to Malmö! The church is really fascinating - it looks big on the outside but is actually quite small on the inside, as it has bits and pieces tacked on all over the place that are not really part of the sanctuary. We dragged open the inner massive wood doors - and discovered the organist practicing. What a wonderful way to explore a church, with great music being played!

We headed back out into the lovely, sunny afternoon and joked about now exploring beautiful downtown Dalby. We just headed out - and landed at a coffee and tea shop across from a restaurant. There were even a few shops around - there was, indeed, a downtown. The coffee and tea shop had a few chairs outside, so we hoped to get a cup of coffee and climbed up the steep stairs.

Inside "Bönor och Blad" (Beans and Leaves) there were all sorts of foreign and Swedish delicatessen foods, tons of licorice, great cheeses - and a truffles collection to melt a chocolate lover's heart. We hemmed and hawed about what we would be having when the owner pointed out that she had cookies too and that there was a garden if we would like to sit out in the sun.

A garden? We checked it out: green stuff, sun, chairs, tables. Yes! We ordered coffee and goodies and sat out in the sun. Every now and then an airplane flew over, but other than that - it was lovely.

After coffee we shopped at the local Konsum and then drove on to the nearby national park. We pulled out the picnick stuff and headed off down the trail. I was worried that I didn't have my hiking boots on, but this was the trail for wheelchair-bound people - 1.20 m wide planking all around. After a bit there were some seats and a little table, bathed in sun. We sat down, broke out the cheese and crackers and coffee, and declared this the loveliest place to be right now - until the mosquitoes chased us away.

We drove back to Lund and walked around, finding nothing interesting, other than groups of foreign students walking by in droves trying to figure out the town. Dalby wins today, hands down.


Sound of Noise Again

We so liked Sound of Noise when we saw it last year in Lübeck and had noticed that it was being shown for one night only at different small towns around Skåne. Tuesday night finally fit into our schedule, i.e. we had time and there was not a monsoon expected. We had a great dinner with friends in Lund and one of them accompanied us to Gennarp.

Genarp, pronounced strangely enough as jenarp. Never knowingly driven through the place, although it has a church and a castle and a library. But we found it, even without a GPS. As our friend said: it's an adventure to drive without GPS, just for the sport of it.

There was plenty of parking at the swimming pool - just a few cars there. We walked in and saw this screen set up. It was hung from a cherry picker, held by guy wires against the wind, with loudspeakers on either side.

There were two groups of family sitting around, huddled under blankets. And two trucks sort of blocking the view of the screen. We organized a patch of cement, and turned to look at the trucks. And then we saw why the trucks were there - there was a 35mm projector, bolted on to the floor of one of the trucks. The other probably had the cherry picker and the screen tucked into it. They had electricity coming in from the ice cream shop, and were getting setup. We scored real chairs from shop and set ourselves up for the film - also wrapping ourselves in the blankets we had brought to sit on. About 2 dozen teenagers showed up, and as soon as it was dark, the show began.

The film is better the second time through. There are lots of little jokes we didn't get the first time. Political things even. And it is just plain fun.

As the credits rolled, everyone took their chairs back, and the full moon suddenly appeared above the clouds. And then it began to rain. Great timing! Kör vi! Ett-tvo-tre!


How about this book?

We decided to spend the day in Lund because it was raining so hard. We split up, WiseMan taking the bookstores and the DVD collections, and me checking out the clothing situation. We met back at a book store not far from the Parkhaus.

We browsed around, speaking German with each other, and then went to the cash register. I had a Douglas Copeland I had somehow missed, and WiseMan the usual collection of history books, including one comparing Hitler with Stalin.

Behind the cash register was a wizened old woman (not a WiseWoman!) who spoke with us in German. Many elderly Swedes had German instead of English as a foreign language in school. She adds up the pile and then turns to pull a book out of the shelves behind her. "Would you be interested in this?"

It's a 1933 edition of "Mein Kampf" in excellent condition. Only 500 SEK (a bit more than 50 €). We had a look - and then handed it back. We don't need one. It's boring anyway.

But it was a bit shocking in this part of Sweden - the extremist right-wing party got over 10% of the vote last time down here - to find books like this on sale.



You know that you are seriously behind in film-watching when you find a film you were planning to see on the El Cheapo racks at the supermarket. Especially when it even got an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

So we popped in Juno after starting in on Mel Brookes' "History of the World" and deciding after 10 minutes that a better use of the DVD that film is on would be as a coaster. Or in the cherry tree to ward off birds. I had no recollection of why we wanted to see the film, or what it was about, so there were no great expectations.

They speak American, dude. American slang. Modern American slang. I was soooo happy there were Swedish subtitles so I could pick up on the meaning of some of the sentences for which I had understanding of the individual words, but not of the sentence.

A young girl who does not really fit in an American High School (man, I can relate to that) but is a very talented, funny, sharp girl, ends up pregnant. She decides on a rather unconventional way to deal with the pregnancy. And the film teases us, we are expecting a typical ending, and it does not happen that way.

Ellen Page as Juno is just amazing - she is just so totally a 16-year-old pregnant girl who doesn't give a shit about fingernail polish or cheerleading. I thought I recognized her from somewhere, she played the daughter of the main character in ReGenesis, a Canadian series that we watched every single episode.

Look up the quotes section at the IMDB - they have tons of great stuff there. But the best - and truest - is this short exchange when Vanessa gets the baby:

Vanessa Loring: How do I look?
Bren: Like a new mom. Scared shitless.
It's a very good film, but don't take little kids to it if they understand English, unless they already speak like this. 


Super 8

Since so many people are talking about it, we decided to have a look at "Super 8" this evening. I don't want to give away cool things about the film, but it is sort of a mixture of "Die Drei Fragezeichen", "E.T.", and "Romeo and Juliet". Well, okay, E.T. if the kids hadn't found him and sent him home, but the military had gotten their fingers on him.

There was always a kind of rumor going around that the military had caught some guys from outer space and their flying saucers.....

Anyway, the film opens to a suburban area that gives me quite a shock, as it looks just like where I grew up. We had houses like that, that exact same door with the three windows in it, and the hills looked very much like that. Officially, the film plays in Ohio, but it was filmed in West Virginia, on that little panhandle that sticks up between Ohio and the part of Pennsylvania I am from. The downtown shots were just so authentic, the cars, the middle school. Gave me a bit of the shivers.

Anyway, these kids love to make Super 8 films, and the actors are quite something. Alice is only 13 in real life (looks older than Joel) and has a filmography other actresses would give their souls for. And she really does a good job, as does Joel, although it gets corny in the end.

The fx, however, got on my nerves. It was like they wanted to get just one more stupid flying burning thumping groaning thing in there, and then another and another. It didn't fit the plot, many were quite senseless. And silver is not magnetic, but I can't really say more on that.

I really felt the fx to be quite overdone, that detracted from the story that was meager to start with. And the translation was painful, if you go see it, try and get it in English. There were strained translations all the time, but when Joel asks the driver for a crowbar, the German translation is rendered "wagenkreuz" instead of "brechstange", which does not even fit to the pictures, much less what they are doing there.

It's not the film of the year, IMHO, but if you do go see it, keep you seat when the credits start to roll, or you will miss the absolute highlight of the film!