Monday, October 27, 2008

Government and marriage

Here in California one of the propositions (Same as a referendum, something they have tons of here in the USA) that is generating the most discussion is Proposition 8. This is a proposition to ban gay marriage. It gets confusing since if you are for gay marriage you should vote no to proposition 8 (Since gay marriage is already legal in the state of California). I've discussed this quite a lot with some friends around here and the more I think of it the more I think that marriage simply shouldn't be anything that government should care about at all.

Why not simply have government not care at all whether you are married or not. Instead of having a bunch of laws that change how you are taxed, what kind of benefits you can use when married and what happens when you dissolve it why not make the marriage itself simply be a contract you sign in the same as if you were forming a business venture with someone. This contract would simply relate how to resolve conflicts during the marriage (And specifically when you want to dissolve the partnership and get a divorce).

In regards to the benefits you get today, instead of having them being tied to being married make them tied to the actual situation that you want to help out with. Examples of this would be to increase subsidies for having children or giving tax breaks when people share a place to live. Religions would still get to decide whatever they want to endorse as calling a marriage, but whether or not the marriage is sponsored by your religion of choice wouldn't in any way influence what the government treats you.

I'll just go through some arguments I've heard against it. First of all the obvious that this would make more people get a divorce. My answer to that is that if the only reason a couple doesn't get a divorce is that they can't deal with the paperwork they probably should have gotten a divorce regardless.

Another argument against it is that if you allow gay marriage, what's next polygamy? I have to say that as long as it is amongst consenting adults I have no problem with that either. The only unions I have problems with are the ones where one of the participants are not consenting adults (Children are out) or if there are medical reasons (So no brothers and sisters).

Finally I've heard the reason that it is hard for parents to explain to their children why some of their class mates have two fathers or two mothers. My only comment to this is that this is a problem they already have regardless of if gay marriage is legal or not. Gay people will not stop being gay just because they can or can't get married. If that was the case there wouldn't have been any gay people until the last couple of years and even now in very few places in the world.

Off course all of this is just a pipe dream and it will never get to pass sine the norm is still that people get married and why would a privileged majority ever give up privileges they already have in a democracy. It is unfortunately not the way the world works.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Went to Love Ride 25th Aniversary

I've been to the Love Ride up in Pomona which as far as I've understood is the biggest motorcycle gathering in California.

I went with Helena, a fellow Swede who also drives a motorcycle (Off course she fit in better since she has a Harley)

There were a lot of really nice bikes. Mostly Harley's or even bigger bikes, some to the point of being completely ridiculous.

I also saw Foo Fighters and ZZ Top who were playing at the even. Really nice to spend a day in around 30C (90F) temperature even though it is almost November. Gotta love the weather of this place.

I have some more pictures of the event over here.

Pumpkin Carving

I just carved my first pumpkin in preparation for Halloween. The one in the picture on the right is the end result of my endeavors. I took some more pictures of the even which took place at my friend Eric's place (A local artist).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I'm bringing back big arms tradition again

Basically, this was something that me and Madelene Olsson started doing back in the day (Somewhere around 2001 I think). The original idea stems from a bit by the comedian Eddie Izzard called Big Arms (It's at the end of the clip). Basically the tradition was that whenever you travel anywhere you take a picture of yourself in a big arms pose.

To start it off I figured I would post the big arms pictures I have so far in my photo album. Whenever I go traveling somewhere where I haven't taken a picture at before I'll post it here.

Big arms at the McDonald homestead in Scottland

Big arms at the beach in Scottland
(Seriously, the one we have in California is a lot better)

Big arms parachute jumping

Big arms inline skating with the gang

Big arms sailing in the Swedish archipelago

Madde with big arms at Picadilly Square in London

Under a mangrove tree (That is all one tree) in Lahaina, Maui

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Started a work related blog

Started a blog for just work related stuff. It's at if someone is interested. I moved some recent postings from this blog to there. I figured the work stuff might be interesting for some users of Toad, but these people will probably not care where I go on vacation and other stuff I put here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Good site if you still don't know who to vote for

The Electoral Compass seems like a really good site for the one who has still not made up his or her mind in regards to the US election coming up soon. Basically it will ask your position on about 40 questions and then plot how well your views correspond with the current candidates. It was pretty spot on with my own opinions of the current election at least so hopefully it could be helpful.

Random updates for the last year and a half

Ok, since it has been way too long since my last update on what I've been up to so here goes.

  • Going home for Christmas for 6 weeks is now a tradition. This Christmas will be the third year.
  • Went to Costa Rica about a year ago to visit a friend. He's now moved on to Panama so I guess that is another trip I need to do. Here are some pictures.
  • Went skiing in St Anton last winter with Stefan. Here are some pictures.
  • Bought a new car. This time it is a BMW 335i.
  • Spent New Years in Amsterdam with Joe and Nicole. Here are some pictures.
  • Went to Coachella (Big music festival near Palm Springs) but was sick the entire time so that was not a pleasant experience.
  • Went to Seattle a couple of times to visit Microsoft for a new project. The project itself was a little bit of a mess (We were developing an add-on against a non stable beta Microsoft release) and I've now managed to get off it.
  • Went on a Napa trip. Here are some pictures.
  • Have had visits from John, Henrik Johansson, Anna-Karin and off course my parents.
  • Got a motorcycle license and then a bike (A BMW R1100R). Also went on a motorcycle trip through San Francisco, Yosemite, Death Valley and Las Vegas. Here are some pictures.
  • Went to Maui with my parents. Really cool place. Here are some pictures.

That's pretty much the highlights of the last year and a half.

Switched to a new blogging software

I've switched the blogging software to Blogger. I've just completed the integration into my original homepage (Including the homepage news section) which was a bit tricky.

If you are subscribing to any feeds there is a new URL The new feed is Atom instead of RSS by default, but there is an RSS feed available as well.

One good news in this change is that I've enabled commenting again because hopefully with Blogger they will worry about the problem of spamming in comments and it's not something that I have to deal with myself as much as before.

Finally posting new stories on Blogger is a lot easier than with my old software (Where the only way of posting anything was to write it in HTML) so hopefully I'll be posting more often than before.

I've also tweaked the photos section so that it doesn't use SSL and thus will not give you a weird invalid certificate error message whenever you look at something. The SSL version is still available, but now a none secure version at is also available.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Swedish coverage of the American Election

It's been interesting following how Swedish news portrays the USA election compared to here in the USA. Even though here in the USA there has been a lot of stuff being thrown around in regards weird allegations and other miss information. In Sweden it seems like that is the only stuff being reported.

It's also very annoying to see everything being so ridiculously tilted towards one candidate. When I read news I tend to prefer it when it is as unbiased as possible. It's very hard to find any article at all in Swedish newspapers that says anything positive about McCain the last couple of months. For instance I read this article, now the article isn't that bad (It is about the Irish Bookie calling the election early). But the picture that went with the picture was the one to the right here. For some reason Aftonbladet in their infinite wisdom saw that this pictures which makes McCain look like some kind of grabbing lizard was the right picture to accompany an article that was about an Irish bookie. It would make a better sense with a picture of the bookie (Which is what the US news agencies I've seen ran with).

Also reading the readers comments on these articles are scary. It seems like people think Obama is some sort of second coming. However, I seriously doubt that almost anybody in Sweden can recite accurately any specific policy that either candidate is promoting. One of the comments I read was that the economy in Sweden would probably be better if Obama won. I would highly doubt that myself since Obama is the one of the two candidates which is against free trade.

In full disclosure I am leaning towards Obama myself (Although since I'm not allowed to vote who cares) but it is not with any vehement conviction. The main thing that tilted me over to his side actually is the running mate of McCain who frankly scares me. It's not because I'm sexist (I had very little against Clinton except she seemed a little too calculating). It's just that Palin seems like an idiot talking head and I don't want people like that to lead regardless of their gender.