Wednesday, December 20, 2006

So long and thanks for all the fish!

Sitting on the plane going home to Sweden for a month and a half. Need to renew my visa so I am taking a longer trip home this time. SAS has free internet access on the flight now so I'm actually posting this in flight, how cool is that? Will be coming back to the US by February.

Also put up some pictures from this years Christmas party available here.

For the people that are joining me on Thursday we have a table reserved at Humlehof on Folkungagatan at 7pm. Hope you can make it! If not, I'll hopefully see you soon (If your in Sweden).

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Going home...

I today got notice that my Visa extension was approved so I can stay in the States for another 3 years. By a strange twist of events this means that I can come home for Christmas this year as usual. Also, this time I'll be going home for a little bit longer than usual. I'm heading home on the 19:th (Arriving on the 20:th). Hope for all in Stockholm to join me for my birthday on the 21:st as usual. Then I'll be staying all the way until the 28:th of January. Part of the time in Karlskoga and part of it in Stockholm. So hopefully this time I wont be as rushed as my usual visits.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Halloween party

Another Halloween has passed. We had another party at Doug's place. I've got some pictures over here.

I've also been to a wedding between John-John and Enid, some pictures of that over here.

Two months into my electric scooter purchase I am also pleased to note that I've managed to cut my gas usage to about half of what it was before. I've filled up my car once since the beginning of September and I still have more than three quarters left of my current tank. I think this purchase will actually pay itself of in about a year.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Random site house keeping

First of all some photos from my first trip to Mexico. As an explanation for me looking so bored and tired I went there for just one day and I left the same day as Henrik and Maria left for the airport so we had a big bash the day before I even left for Mexico.

Next are some pictures from my first Charger game, courtesy of Joe also.

There were also some more random pictures here and there too, but I don't even remember them.

I also upgraded the application that runs the photo album. The new one first looks a lot better and the "Random Image" on the left is awesome I think, at least when I have been playing around so much with the album lately anyway. I'm not sure, but I think this upgrade might also have broken all the old links I might have had to the album before too. The images should still be there though if you take the time to find them. I also fixed the Underscore website which has been broken in years. And finally I removed the guest book and disabled commenting on the blog because it was just getting completely filled with spam.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Trip to Dubai

Dubai is a truly remarkable place. The first thing that strikes you is that there is construction going on everywhere. And apparently it is not just a matter of there being active construction sites everywhere. They also get a lot of stuff done. The entire part of the city where I live (Dubai Marina) has been constructed mostly in the last year. The building I live in is one of the first completed, but even so the entire skyline from my window which now consists of mostly finished tall buildings were just iron skeletons of buildings when my friends were here 6 months ago.

Off course, with so much construction going on there are bound to be some cut corners. I heard about one tower where they didn't realize that they had forgotten to put in water pipes in the entire building until it was completed. Another example is the flat were I was staying where none of the shower drains worked.

Something else that hits you immediately (even in my case where I landed at 6:30 in the morning) is the heat. This place is definitely too hot for my taste. Even at night it's still above 30C (~95F). It is simply too hot to do anything outside. Just walking a single block is a major undertaking.

For me, having lived in Southern California for a while, I can say that in this country Mexican is spelled I-N-D-I-A-N. It is a remarkable system they have set up here. There is basically no poverty for citizens of this country. Even better than that, a lot of people don't even need to work. This is accomplished by enforcing a rule that except for a few "free zones" no foreign entity is allowed to own a controlling interest in a company. So if you are a big foreign company who wants in on the whole Dubai commerce thing you find a local who is willing to own 51% of the company. So a lot of local people just own companies without actually needing to work for them.

This brings me to who actually does the work. That is being done by Indians that are brought here to work 12 hour shifts for around $120 to $150 a month. These guys are also the people who work 24/7 building the sky scrapers all around town. Even better is that if I go to a restaurant, pay with a credit card and then add tip to it the people waiting on me don't get that money here, it is kept by the establishment. So if you go here be sure to tip in cash.

There is also an amazing amount of hypocritical moral superiority going on. You can only buy alcohol in hotel bars for instance. If you live here permanently you can get a license to buy liquor as long as you can prove that you are not a Muslim. Also there are off course no strip bars or anything like that, but in pretty much every bar you can play the game "spot the hooker". I and Johansson have been debating which country is best at it. Here in Dubai or in the USA (Which is also pretty good at hypocrisy as a society). I tend to lean towards Dubai being worst, but Johansson disagreed.

The place itself though has a lot of really nice restaurants and exceptional shopping. Price wise I would say brand clothes are about the same as in Southern California (Or Sweden), but electronics is a little bit cheaper (20 to 30%). And off course there is no value added tax.

One fun thing about this place is that just before I showed up H&M launched in Dubai (Opening a whole bunch of stores at once). By the time I arrived their ad campaign said simply “H&M: We're Finally here”. Given that H&M is the reason for my nick-name Mauritz, me and Henrik thought this was very appropriate given that we were both there at the time.

One last thing that struck me about this place is that it is so overtly religious. For instance the last day I left was the first day of Ramadan and during this time you couldn’t even get a bottle of water before 6pm (Or actually, you could, but it was illegal to drink it in a public place) in the entire Mall of the Emirates. This is regardless if you are Muslim or not. I just found it weird that they would enforce this in a place so overtly geared towards tourism.

Finally here are some pictures of the spectacle (Also including some pictures of me skiing inside the mall of the emirates).

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Some more random updates

First of all I made a trip to Seattle with work (Got to do some sightseeing too though). Went to visit Microsoft Labs. It was surprisingly rewarding actually (Pictures).

Got a visit from Lovisa and Ludde (Friends from back home who I got to know while working at Spinbox) (Pictures).

I also bought an electric scooter to get me around town. It is sort of a testament to my own dementia in that I set up a rule for my self not to use my car to get around town and then spend a grand to cheat for my own rule. It's really convenient though and the main reason for not using the car in Laguna Beach is not my own rule, but the complete hassle of finding parking so I'm not that crazy (Really).

Went on a trip to Dubai for a week and a half, but I will add a long write up on that later.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Another crappy midsummer

As a follow up from last years post. This years midsummer was also no picnic. But since I haven't posted anything in such a long time I'll start with a quick recap.

  • I've been hanging out quite a lot with Henrik Johansson since he has been working in the States a lot during the spring. Unfortunately this period in probably mostly over for now.
  • Mom and dad came to visit.
  • Went to Cabo for a bachelor party.
  • John and Anna Sandell came to visit.
  • Went to Camden, South Carolina for the wedding of Derek and Kate following the bachelor party.
  • Went to London, followed by Sweden and another wedding of Henrik and Maria (Not Johansson, he got married earlier in the year. This one was Sandell). Went to St Petersburg Russia (Pictures) for work. Came back to Sweden and hung out for another week and a half (Pictures).
  • Briefly after coming back Kaitlin broke up with me on the Midsummer's eve... Which leaves me to the crappy midsummer now two years running.

Since then life has returned to pretty much normal now. Summer is finally here with 85 to 95 degree weather constantly (25C to 30C). Unfortunately a lot of tourists too. Also finished up a release this Friday of Toad for SqlServer 2.0. Finally I'll leave you with a quote. This time a demotivator from

"The only consistent feature in all of your dissatisfying relationships is you."