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An Australian in Uppsala
17 September 2003

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What else has happened. Went to the US three times now. All the conferences have been really good. The feedback from the customers, prospective customers and the opposition has been really good. We are looking to release our new version of software and hardware in November. Should be awesome. I am really looking forward to showing all those back in Oz what we are doing as I think youll all like it. It has great wow factor. Sales are going well although I cant really say too much as this is not a secure channel. If you are a competitor you are and should be scared that is all I will say.

 

Paula is going well although she is still a little stressed all the time. The PhD isnt always the most simple job for her. Bastard techniques dont work, lecturing is a little intimidating amongst other things. The house is going well and we have had a couple of parties. They have marron parties (fresh water crayfish or Kräftor in Swedish)  which, as with all Swedish ideas is an excuse to drink straight spirits laced normally with the most evil tasting things that normally taste like very cheap vodka strained through grass clippings from a lawn with an enormous toxic weed problem. Problem is that the little buggers are to hard to eat and dont even pretend to soak up any alcohol. You normally have bread or potato salad on the table but the marron and the left over bits always take up too much room for any of that rubbish. Thus you can imagine how much effort it takes to shell the 10 or so marron you eat before you are so blind drunk that they start talk back to you. It is all good fun until around 11:30 or 12 when you start thinking I think I should have had more potato salad and things start to spin.

 

I had Mark over which was great. We showed him around and went up to Sundsvall to do some ice fishing and skiing. It was great although the ice fishing is the biggest waste of time known to man. The most fun thing about it is the drilling of the hole for which they have and extremely cool looking, sharp folding drill. This is a lot of fun and goes through 30cm or so of ice like warm butter. Problem is then you have to fish. Now the fish are supposedly down there. Maybe but they are either lying at the bottom so cold they cant be bothered moving or frozen into little fishy ice blocks. Either way they are not going with 10 foot of a fishing hook and bait. Froze my arse off but we got to build a fire and eat some hotdogs (no not on the ice smart arse, on an island in the lake). When we were at Paulas parents, who are fantastic by the way, they decided the Mark and I should try surstömming. Now this is herring which is fermented. This basically means taking small herring and leaving them in the sun for a week then storing them in a warehouse for a month then canning them. It smells almost exactly like roadkill after a similar length of time. You cant open it inside else the house will reek for a month. Anyone doubting me should ring a random Swedish person (www.gulasidorna.se) and ask them. Even if they like it they wont deny that. Mark was brave (or stupid, hmmm which one?) to try it. He also tried their caviar in a tube stuff. I on the other hand refuse to be in the same room with either product. They served me up a fish of the surströmming and said I HAVE to try it. I pointed out that I may have to pay ridiculous amounts of tax, put up with amazingly good looking Swedish women (including my baby), -25 degree days, taking a number to get prices in a shop, no-one talking to each other in public, drinking too much at every national excuse to get pissed etc but I did NOT have to eat a rotten fish. So it sat in front of me stinking me out of my mind until it was taken away. I know, not very adventurous but I swear this thing is listed by the UN as a biological weapon. If anyone complain about Vegimite again I now have the ultimate comeback!

 

I am planning to do the Vasaloppet. At least half of it. This is a 90km cross country skiing race. I have done 15kms so far in my life. 10kms on one occasion and 5km on another. Might require a bit of training but it should be fun. Supposed to be one of the most Swedish things to do so I feel I have to make up for the surströmming thing.

 

What else has happened? Well I succeeded in snapping the forks of my bike. I was riding home from a party a little pissed and was hopping off the curbs etc. As we came up to our house I jumped off a curb and the steering went all loose. The handlebars didnt steer the bike anymore. I tried to stay up but it wasnt easy(and I wasnt in full control if you know what I mean). I went down like a ton of bricks and the handlebars were only held to the bike by the brake cables. I was lying there pissing myself laughing while a slightly worried Paula was asking me if I was OK. She thought I was just too pissed to ride until I showed her the two pieces of my bike. She said it was my fault for being a little show-off. Probably right but that wasnt the point. Well I have gone out and bought myself a nice little hybrid. Now before John, my brother and all the other MTB and road bike riders start calling me all sort of names questioning my sexual orientation or asking if I have started wearing pirate shirts there is a good reason I bought it. I wanted a road bike to go and train on the road with but in the snow they are nothing short of deadly. Thus to have the ability to have road bike like efficiency in the summer and the ability to survive in the winter I have gone for the much abused and derided hybrid. It is really quite nice actually. Very quick. I am trying to train myself up to a fitness level were I can justify buying a Specialized Epic. Hmmmmm what a beast. Might not ever happen as it is around A$5000 and that takes quite a lot of fitness!!

 

Well I am back in Oz in October and the very start of November. If anyone wants to catch up and I havent been in touch please email or phone me. It should be a great time!! 

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