Henrik Carlsson's Blog

Iris fyller ett år och vi påbörjar ett nytt äventyr

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Idag fyller min underbara dotter Iris Gullan Marie Ljungberg ett år. Det har varit ett underbart år och innan hon föddes hade jag aldrig kunnat föreställa mig hur mycket en person kunde utvecklas på ett år, och hur mycket personlighet även ett pyttelitet barn har.

Hon älskar sina böcker, vilket gör mig alldeles varm i hjärtat. Hennes favoritplats i lägenheten är framför bokhyllan där hennes pixiböcker finns. Där kan hon sitta länge själv och bläddra och plocka.

I morgon börjar min andra period som föräldraledig och den här gången ska Linn börja jobba igen, så nu är det bara Iris och jag. Ända fram till och med augusti. Det ska bli superspännande. Jag har sett fram emot det länge men det känns även väldigt läskigt. Hur kommer våra dagar se ut? Hur mycket kommer hon förändras under den här tiden? Kommer jag klara av att vara en bra pappa?

Det kommer bli ett äventyr.

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Grattis på 1-årsdagen, älskade lilla barn. ❤️

Grattis på 1-årsdagen, älskade lilla barn. ❤️

(Även på instagram)

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Idag ”ryter vi ifrån mot kroppshetsen” i #nymo. Imorgon tipsar vi om hur du bäst tränar för att shapea den perfekta bootyn.

(Även på twitter.)

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Nu kan hon stå själv. :)

Nu kan hon stå själv. 🙂

(Även på instagram)

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An introduction to the X-Files

I just finished listening to The Incomparable #284: She Scullys Herself, where Jason Snell, Erika Ensign, John Siracusa and David J. Loehr talks about the original X-files TV series. Great discussion about a show that I love very much.

I watched some of The X-files during its original tv run, even though I was probably too young and easily spooked for it, and it scared the s**t out of me from time to time. In fact yesterday when I took a shower after having listened to about half of the Incomparable episode, I started thinking about the episode Squeeze and got reminded of how much I feared Eugene Tooms. For a moment I almost expected him to crawl out of a hole in the wall and start eating my liver.

I didn’t watch the show all the way to the end when it first aired but almost ten years ago I bought the entire series on dvd and have watched it all the way through at least twice, and most of the episodes I’ve seen three or four times (or even more).

In the Incomparable episodes they talk about the show in aggregate but also focuses of four episodes that they rewatched for the podcast and while I agree that it’s four great episodes, they are all episodes that rely on you being intimately familiar with the X-files to appreciate. So it got me thinking, if I wanted to introduce the X-files to someone who has no previous relation to the show, which episodes would I pick and why.

I decided to limit myself to five episodes.

Which X-files episodes should I watch to get a taste of the show (and in what order)?

  1. The Pilot (Season 1, Episode 1)
  2. Squeeze (Season 1, Episode 3)
  3. E.B.E. (Season 1, Episode 17)
  4. War of the Coprophages (Season 3, Episode 12)
  5. Duane Barry (Season 2, Episode 5)

(Yes, you should watch an episode from season three before one from season two.)

Why?

If you haven’t watched the X-files, or if you’ve just watched an episode or two a long time ago, and you’re curious about the show you should stop reading here and instead watch the episodes that I suggested, in the order I suggested. What follows now is my motivation for picking the episodes I did pick, so the rest of this post is mostly for those of you who are already fans of the show.

For starters, I wanted to limit this list to episodes from the earliest seasons. Remember, the list is not meant to summarize the X-files in its entirety, it’s a teaser for someone who hopefully will want more.

The Pilot

Well this one is sort of a given. The pilot establishes the characters, the setting and the tone of the show. It is far from the best episode but I think all X-files newcomers should start here.

Squeeze

For a list like this it’s hard to decide whether to focus on ”mythology” episodes, or ”Monster of the Week” episodes. Some people will get hooked by the former, some by the latter.

So the list needs at least one great Monster of the Week and this episode is really a perfect monster episode. To me there is no better monster than Tooms. He scared me in the nineties, and he still scares me now. The character is super creepy and the actor does a great job. It also showcases the arguments between Scully and Mulder and their different points of view.

E.B.E.

This is a ”mythology” episode, but that’s not why I choose it. Instead it’s because it’s the introduction to The Lone Gunmen, the perfect side-kicks to our heroes. They’re also great as an example of how much worse Mulders paranoia and irrational believes could be.

The episodes also features Jerry Hardin as Deep Throat, one of the most important of the more minor characters during the first season. It will give the viewer a hint of the complicated relationship between Mulder and his source and it shows how hard it is to really trust Deep Throat.

And then there’s the biggest reason I choose this episode, the scene where Scully and Mulder realizes, after Scully has accused the Lone Gunmen of being paranoid, that they are in fact being monitored by someone.

War of the Coprophages

One of the great things about the X-files was its ability to play with its own premise and to tell genuinely comedic episodes, while still considering them canon and staying true to itself. Many of those episodes require that the viewer is well familiar with the show and its characters.

This one does not. It is funny and unexpected, especially if all you’ve seen this far is the other episodes on my list.

Duane Barry

And finally, Duane Barry. Maybe it’s cheating to put the first episode of a two-parter on the list but this is one truly great episode. It’s a tense one that keeps you on the edge of your seat and it features Krycek.

It is easy to get sucked into Duane Barry’s paranoia, but just as easy to listen to Scully and believing that it simply is paranoia. And then comes the great scenes near the end where Scully finds more and more evidens that suggests that Barry might actually be telling the truth, or some form of it.

Perhaps I should feature its sequel Ascension on the list as well, maybe on the expanse of War of the Coprophages, but I think that it makes sense to leave it off. Because if you show Ascension as well, you’ll also need to show One Breath since that is where this arc really ends. And One Breath is great and would be worthy of this list as well, but if I would put it on the list that would make three episodes that focuses heavily on the mythology.

So I find it best to just recommend Duane Barry. If the one watching finds it thrilling and gets sucked into the show she/he will eventually watch this arc in full as well.

(Also the reason to show War of the Coprophages before this one is to at least plant a small seed of doubt in the person that maybe something terrible happens to Scully, thereby hopefully making the person more eager to keep watching the show.)

So what do you think of my list? Let me know via e-mail or twitter.

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Igår började jag läsa Gillian Flynns Gone Girl. Verkar vara en bra bok än så länge. Att läsa mer står ständigt på att göra-listan.

(Även på twitter.)

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Celebrating my 30th birthday with Star Wars – Episode VII: The Force Awakens

I’ve loved Star Wars for twenty one years. That’s a lot shorter time than some other fans have but also a lot longer time that other fans. It is not meant as a metric of how much more or less a fan I am than other people, just a way of saying Star Wars and I go a long way back.

I first saw the original Star Wars movie on December 11th or 12th, 1994 just days before turning nine years old. From there on it’s been an ongoing love affair, even though my interest has had its ups and downs I’ve always loved the original movies whenever I’ve sat down to watch them. I was young enough for the prequels to not HATE them in the theater but also old enough to be able to look critically at them today and realize they’re pure and utter garbage. All of them.

So the stakes where quite high when I first heard about a seventh movie being made. The first teaser trailer looked okay but didn’t really say anything about the movie, except for the important fact that The Millennium Falcon would appear. I did not, however, get my internal hype-machine up and running. Then came the second teaser and I got really excited. I literarily (yes literarily, not figuratively) cried when Han and Chewie showed up.

”Chewie, we’re home.” Damn right you are! My friends are home and we’re about to go on another great adventure like we did when I was young and life was simple. That’s how it felt. So I started anticipating the movie. And when I saw it’s release date I got so happy I almost cried again. It actually had its world premier on my 30th birthday!

My experience (spoiler free)

The big day arrived. I had given myself a ticket to the three p.m. show, the earliest in the theater in Falun, as a birthday gift and I was ready. I had done my very best to avoid spoilers beyond the second teaser. I hadn’t seen the actual trailer and I looked away whenever anything Star Wars related appeared online. I was pumped and ready.

And the movie delivered. I had hoped to be entertained. I was. I had hoped to see some visually thrilling scenes. I did. I had hoped for believable characters and an exciting plot. I was given that. And I had almost dared to hoped to laugh, cry, be on the edge of my seat and in the end just be almost cathartically happy. I did all those thing.

In the end I sat in the theater as the closing credits rolled with a happy grin on my face. The movie had made me feel like I was a preteen again. Like I wasn’t as cynical as I am. It had taken me on an adventures with my old buddies again.

Was it a flawless movie? Far from it it. I’m counting on the next one being better and I’ll likely find more flaws when I rewatch The Force Awakens but on that day it was everything I could have hoped for. Since it was preceded by me playing with my daughter, not yet a year old, and since afterwards me and my fiancé was able to go out, just the two of us, for a nice sushi dinner it all added up to being the best 30th birthday I could ever ask for.

Digging deeper (spoiler alert)

I had originally planned to write a thorough scene by scene review but as time has passed (it’s over a month since I say it) the memories are fading and I need to be done with this text so I’ll go over the high points and my main criticism of the movie.

There will be spoilers. If you haven’t watched the movie, stop reading and go watch it!

So, highlights it is:

The opening crawl

Well, how can it not be? You have the ”Star Wars” logo, the star field and the iconic, yes iconic, music by John Williams. The first seconds of any Star Wars opening is enough to open the door to my inner child. So it really takes a putz to screw it up. That being said the prequels did manage to screw it up, especially in The Phantom Menace.

The Force Awakens did the crawl well. It let me know who the good guys where, who the bad guys where, that there was a MacGuffin and that we needed to find Luke, fast. And that’s really all I needed to know.

The blood on Finn’s stormtrooper mask

It’s really the start of his hero’s journey, but more importantly it’s a reminder that there are actual people inside these suits. People that can bleed, that can be killed, that can be happy or sad, than can mourn or be mourned.

I also see it as a clear message from the movie makers to me and people like me who feel like one of the (many) problems of the prequels were that there were no stakes in the big battles. Soulless droids fought agains soulless clones and the audience where always given the impression that both the droids and the clones where cannon fodder and that we shouldn’t care about any individual one. The blood on Finn’s mask is a clear message that we should care. That there are no cannon fodder. That the battles have ramifications.

Rey and the introduction of her

How can I not love Rey? Finally there’s another woman in a Star Wars movie as badass as Leia. The introduction of her is great. The way she works persistently in silence, the way her actions rather then her words tell us that she is tough, that she’s someone we can count on in a pinch, but also that she has a troubled past and that she really lacks any kind of friends.

Kylo Ren’s voice and face

Kylo Ren the character is not that interesting to me in this movie, at least not until Han and Leia talks about him and clearly states that yes, he is their son. But his physical appearances is cool and his crude lightsaber is great as a symbol for himself as this unfinished, frustrated thing that’ll blow up any second.

The thing that worried me as he made his entrance was his voice. The last time I saw a bad guy in a mask in the theater I got super-annoyed by his voice and the effect treatment of it. I think Kylo Ren’s voice was a positive surprise. It sounded menacing without being overdone and silly.

I also like the fact that when he removes his mask he is not horribly scared in anyway. He’s just a frustrated young adult with an unhealthy obsession for his grandfather ”The Great Darth Vader” and therefore he also want to look badass. And it works, both as a way for him to look badass and as a way for him to appear more insecure and out of control.

BB-8

I don’t need to elaborate on this, do I?

Space/air battles

The ones involving The Millennium Falcon in particular. They look like the best parts of the battles from the original trilogy, only cooler. And the Falcon is just as much a ”hunk of junk” as before.

The references to the original movies

There were a lot of references for us old-time fans. And they walked the fine line between fun and tedious with grace.

The music*

This comes with an asterisk since I didn’t really notice the music during the movie. It was there, no doubt about it, but there were so many other things to focus on. But as I’m writing this I’m listening to the soundtrack on Spotify and it’s great. John Williams’ music is the one constant through all seven movies. It’s always been there, it’s always sounded like a genuine part of the Star Wars world and it’s always been amazing. It was one of the few bright spots of the prequels.

The lack of references to the prequels

This is certainly fanservice, but it’s hard to see this movie and not feel like the creative team wants us to know that they too hate the prequels and that they promise us that even though they may still be canon, let’s not speak of them again.

The special effects, both ”practical” and CGI

The movie looks great, as simple as that.

That Leia is old

We knew beforehand that Han would look like he spent the last thirty years being pulled behind a tractor on a corn field, having his face used as a plow (and looking amazing from it). We didn’t know what Leia would look like.

And I love the now old Leia. I love the idea that a woman is ”allowed”, for lack of a better word, to age in a similar way. She is wrinkled, her eyes are those of an old woman and her voice is filled with traces from Carrie Fisher’s own hard life. And all of that makes her more believable as a character.

As I’ve read the Expanded Universe books over the years it has felt like a given that Leia would end up president of ”The New Republic” but this movie proves how wrong I was in thinking that. Off course Leia won’t be a president sitting in her far away castle, she’ll be in the trenches, she’ll be digging the trenches. She’ll be standing shoulder to shoulder with Chewbacca and fight of impossible odds.

In a way I wish that she had been the main character, instead of Han, and that she had faced and been killed by Kylo Ren in the end. But maybe her confrontation with him will be all the more intense in a later movie. Now we know the stakes in such a confrontation. And we also know that Leia is a fighter and that she’ll be the last one standing regardless of the odds.

It’s also worth pointing out that the chemistry between Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford is just as good as ever. You can clearly see that these are characters that love each other, that can’t live with or without each other, so to speak.

There’s probably a lot more worth pointing out and I’ll likely do that once I see the movie again. (I’ll see it in iMax this weekend.)

The less good parts

I won’t dwell on this for too long.

The poor treatment of Captain Phasma

(I hope I got the name right.)

The shiny stormtrooper in the teaser got me really curious and when I watched the movie and we where told that the character was a woman I was happy. Yes, a badass evil woman in a Star Wars movie. The happiness stopped there since her role in the movie was minuscule. She gets captured in the silliest way possible1 and gets knocked out by Chewbacca.

Here’s to hoping she’ll be back with a vengeance in Episode VIII.

The rehashing of Episode IV and the high pacing

It felt like JJ Abrams had so much he wanted to say that the second half of the film felt rushed in times. There were so much to do for the characters.

It’s a nice contrast to the endless scenes of people sitting around and doing nothing but talking that’s infested the prequels. It’s also nice to see a movie that crams more than enough stuff for two movies into one, instead of the usual modus operandi of todays movie studios where source material, such as a single book, gets turned into two or more movies even though it could just as easily have been one movie that in itself had been more interesting. That being said, I do think some things could have been cut from the movie making it feel less stressed.

Which brings me to the Episode IV rehashing. The whole idea of this new super weapon (The ”Starkiller”) and the comparison between it and the Death Star felt silly. I think the plot didn’t need this. The search for the map to Luke Skywalker had been enough for me. That would probably also meant that the filmmaker had found a better way to get the story to the point of the meeting between him and Rey.

I do like the fact that Luke was missing for 99,9% of the movie though.

Some character, especially Finn, could have used a few more minutes on their story arcs as well.

Finn using a lightsaber

No. Just no.

Lightsabers should be the privilege of jedi and other force-sensitive people. And please don’t make Finn a future jedi. Please.

Wrap up

I’m having a hard time deciding whether I like the very end of the movie or not. The part where Artoo comes back to life and provides our heroes with the final map to Luke seems like Deus ex machina. Or if it should be explained in the movie, it happened because either Luke sent some kind of remote signal to Artoo, or he was aware of what went on around him even in his powered down state (maybe there’s midichlorians in his engine oil). Regardless of how it happened, Artoo ”woke up” because the force had awakened in Rey and she was ready to meet Luke.

I think subsequent watchings of this movie, and even more its coming sequels, will help me make up my mind on this matter.

So as I said in the beginning, I really liked the movie. It’s without a doubt at least the forth best Star Wars movie. Sure, that bar is quite low to pass but it still passed it with flying colors. It’s close to the original trilogy in quality and a few more viewings might even convince me that it is as good as Return of the Jedi. It is not, however, a new The Empire Strikes Back.

I think the best way to sum it up is to quote the line that made me tear up the most, and I did tear and choke up quite a few times in this movie. It’s when Artoo finally comes back to life and Threepio says

My dear old friend, how I missed you.

It felt so good to hear that line. It reminded me again of the close relationship that these droids have to each other and also, like the ”we’re home” line, reminded me of all the adventure these characters had brought me along for as I grew up. And now they are here again and they will bring me on for so many more adventures. I’m ready to jump into my imaginary spaceship and go wherever the Falcon heads.


  1. Well, I’m sure Lucas would have come up with an even sillier and even worse scene, but hey… 

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David Bowie, Alan Rickman och Glenn Frey, och vi är fortfarande bara i januari. 2016 verkar bli ett tragiskt år.

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Mario Kart 7

I’ve been playing Mario Kart 7 for 3DS lately. I’ve loved Mario Kart games since I first played it on the N64 a lot of years ago.

The 3DS game has been a lot of fun this far and today I finished first in all the cups of the the ”100 CC” difficulty. I’ve also played online for bit and found it to be entertaining. (It’s actually the first Mario Kart that I play online. I do own it on the Wii but I haven’t bothered connecting the Wii to the internet.)

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I did it! (Majora’s Mask)

Two days ago (on Monday) I did as planned, played Majora’s Mask and actually finished the game.

I tried to help Kafei retrieve the Sun’s Mask but I failed. I did not feel like retrying the whole thing so I headed straight for the Skull Kid and Majora.

The final boss battle was weird, like so many parts of the game has been weird. And I mean weird in a good way. I really like Majora’s Mask, and I think I’d place it among my favorite Zelda games.1 I do however think part of the reason I enjoyed is as much is because it’s different from previous Zelda games, and because I’ve played so many of those. I wouldn’t recommend Majora’s Mask to someone who’s looking to play his/her first Zelda game.

Incidentally, my brother bought a Nintendo 3DS for himself for christmas. He also bought Ocarina of Time 3D, Majora’s Mask 3D, The Spirit Tracks (a DS title) and A Link Between Worlds. My advice to him was to start with A Link Between Worlds. I think that it’s a great ”beginners Zelda game” while still being a really fun one for the experienced player.

As a side-note, I really couldn’t bring myself to just try the Anju/Kafei side quest and then do the final boss, I also had to help Romani and Cremia. I just love those character’s so much and the battle against the ”question marks”/”aliens” with Romani is so much quirky fun.

Also, I bought Tri Force Heroes for myself.


  1. My absolute favorite is probably Ocarina of Time and I think the second place would have to go to A Link To the Past

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Farväl, David Bowie. 

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Turning play into work

I think that by blogging about every step of my progress on ”Majora’s Mask and even more so committing to the idea of creating the perfect day in the game, I accidentally turned play into work because I haven’t played the game since conceiving that idea.

That’s a shame since I was so into the game a while ago and I really felt connected to the game world. So this needs to end.

The idea of the perfect day is dead, at least for now. Next time I’ll have an hour for leisure time I’ll play the game again and focus on reuniting Anju and Kafei. After I attempt that, whether I succeed or not, I’ll go for The Skull Kid.

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(Because I don’t want to read or listen to anything regarding ”The Force Awakens” before I’ve blogged about my thoughts about it.)

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The list of podcasts to listen to and articles to read about ”The Force Awakens” keeps on growing for me. I need to finish my review soon.

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CDONs hemsida fungerar inte som den ska om du kör AdBlockern Ghostery. Kan vara bra att känna till.

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Hans Rosling – Vinter i P1

Hans Rosling ”Vinterpratade” häromdagen. Jag lyssnade på det idag och tycker att det, som vanligt med Rosling, bör höras av alla. Jag blir optimistisk inför världens framtid när jag hör honom prata och det tycker jag är bra.

Nåt av det sista han sa i programmet är väl värt att citera:

Jag älskar Sverige, både för att det är en så fin del av världen och en så stor del av världen finns i Sverige.

– Hans Rosling – Vinter i P1

Det tycker jag är en bra anledning att älska vårt land och en bra anledning att arbete för att det ska fortsätta vara en fin del av världen, där en stor del av världen finns representerad på olika sätt.

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An Open Letter to Gamergate — Cosmodrome

Why are you continuing to harangue me on Twitter, through email, though doxxing me, through spreading malicious rumors about me, and through hostile threads on KiA? What’s the point? What does this accomplish for you?

It’s a question worth thinking about, because it seems completely at odds with the things you state that you believe – such as developers should be free to ship games without censorship. It doesn’t seem logically consistent to rally to defend games like Dead or Alive from a few stray feminist Tweets, while organizing efforts to harass me and my employees.

I would probably use the word “hypocrisy”.

– An Open Letter to Gamergate — Cosmodrome
(my emphasis)

Brianna Wu hits the nail on the head regarding GamerGate’s hypocrisy when regarding their claimed protection of ”free speech” at the same time as they try to silence anyone who criticize them or a game they like.

Obligatory reading!

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Om Iris har en favoritplats här hemma så är det nog framför bokhyllan där hennes böcker står. Hon går gärna dit på eget initiativ, sätter sig ner och bläddrar i böcker, skivor och en kortlek. (Sen får pappa städa.)

Om Iris har en favoritplats här hemma så är det nog framför bokhyllan där hennes böcker står. Hon går gärna dit på eget initiativ, sätter sig ner och bläddrar i böcker, skivor och en kortlek. (Sen får pappa städa.)

(Även på instagram)

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Nej, återinförd ”värnplikt” kommer inte återupprätta ett svenskt invasionsförsvar | Cornucopia?

Säg för all del att ni drömmer om fornstora dagar och invasionsförsvaret eller åtminstone en totalförsvarsförmåga värd namnet, men tro inte att återinförd värnplikt kommer lösa det problemet. Återinförd värnplikt handlar om populism – dvs på pappret enkla och populära lösningar som inte löser några som helst problem. Via GU Ny och GSS/P har vi redan en frivillig värnplikt.

Är du för återinförd värnplikt är det bara att anmäla sig till GU Ny, för du har väl inte tänkt att någon annan ska vara den som genomför din önskade återinförda värnplikt? Även äldre kan göra GU Ny och Försvarsmakten tar nog gärna emot GSS/P under 40 års ålder – det finns GSS/T i 40-årsåldern iaf.

Att inte 72% av svenska folket, inte ens 72% från de yngre årskullarna, har sökt tjänst hos Försvarsmakten visar på att man egentligen inte alls stöder värnplikt utan bara att någon annan ska göra denna värnplikt, så man själv kan sussa gott om natten, utan tumme i munnen och utan snuttefilt.

– Nej, återinförd ”värnplikt” kommer inte återupprätta ett svenskt invasionsförsvar | Cornucopia?

Om det moraliska argumentet att vi människor inte är statens egendom och att värnplikt därmed är slaveri inte biter på dig så kanske Lars Wilderängs rent praktiska invändningar mot värnplikten få dig att förstå att det är en dålig idé.

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Trivial Things

I’ve written before about me wanting to blog more. I like the idea of myself being ”a blogger”, but the procrastination force is strong with me so I rarely do blog. Also I think I worry about not expressing myself eloquently enough and therefore I choose to not do it at all. Perfect is indeed the worst enemy of good.

(mer…)

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”We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

”We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

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Movienight

I watched Salmon Fishing in the Jemen tonight and I think it was a good movie. Not great but good. It was a funny, but not in a hysterically-laughing-out-loud kind of way, and heartwarming tale of fishing, love and faith.

It was a nice ending to the Christmas Holiday. Yes, I’m off from work until Monday but tonight was the last night with our relatives. Tomorrow we’ll be heading home to Falun. Both Linn, I and Iris have been suffering from a cold today, which has been a bit of a bummer. Hopefully Iris is better tomorrow and fit fot the trip home.

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