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It’s been chilly but clear the past few days. I thought we’d make it to November without snow. But when I opened my eyes this morning I was greeted with this view:

It’s like, a foot deep on the ground. It looks really lovely. But now it’s going to be like this for the next 5 months at least!

For contrast, here’s the same view the day before:

Source code here. Info on Google Bombing here. Thanks to a certain unnamed blogger.

–AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl

–AZ-01: Rick Renzi

–AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth

–CA-04: John Doolittle

–CA-11: Richard Pombo

–CA-50: Brian Bilbray

–CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave

–CO-05: Doug Lamborn

–CO-07: Rick O’Donnell

–CT-04: Christopher Shays

–FL-13: Vernon Buchanan

–FL-16: Joe Negron

–FL-22: Clay Shaw

–ID-01: Bill Sali

–IL-06: Peter Roskam

–IL-10: Mark Kirk

–IL-14: Dennis Hastert

–IN-02: Chris Chocola

–IN-08: John Hostettler

–IA-01: Mike Whalen

–KS-02: Jim Ryun

–KY-03: Anne Northup

–KY-04: Geoff Davis

–MD-Sen: Michael Steele

–MN-01: Gil Gutknecht

–MN-06: Michele Bachmann

–MO-Sen: Jim Talent

–MT-Sen: Conrad Burns

–NV-03: Jon Porter

–NH-02: Charlie Bass

–NJ-07: Mike Ferguson

–NM-01: Heather Wilson

–NY-03: Peter King

–NY-20: John Sweeney

–NY-26: Tom Reynolds

–NY-29: Randy Kuhl

–NC-08: Robin Hayes

–NC-11: Charles Taylor

–OH-01: Steve Chabot

–OH-02: Jean Schmidt

–OH-15: Deborah Pryce

–OH-18: Joy Padgett

–PA-04: Melissa Hart

–PA-07: Curt Weldon

–PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick

–PA-10: Don Sherwood

–RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee

–TN-Sen: Bob Corker

–VA-Sen: George Allen

–VA-10: Frank Wolf

–WA-Sen: Mike McGavick

–WA-08: Dave Reichert

…another story about Sweden from The Local.

Swedes think US ‘greatest threat to peace’
Published: 29th October 2006 12:37 CET

Swedes think that the United States and North Korea pose the greatest threats to world peace, according to the results of a poll released on Sunday.

Nearly one in three Swedes, 29 percent, think that the US is the biggest threat to peace on earth, the poll, commissioned by Axess Television, reveals.

Around 1,000 people answered the question “Which of the following countries do you consider to be the greatest threat to world peace”. Respondents could choose between six countries – Israel, China, Russia, the United States, North Korea and Iran.

North Korea was a close runner up to the United States – 28 percent of respondents thought that the secretive communist dictatorship was most dangerous.

Iran was in third place, at 18 percent. The poll results showed that more people between the ages of 16 and 29 saw America as the biggest threat, while a majority of those over 60 picked North Korea.

People’s opinions were strongly linked to their political preferences. Left and Green party voters were more likely to choose the US, with 68 percent of Left and 57 percent of Green Party voters believing that America was most dangerous. Only 20 percent of Moderate or Christian Democrat voters shared that view.

TT/The Local

Sweden ‘one of world’s worst polluters’
Published: 25th October 2006 10:25 CET

According to the World Wildlife Fund Sweden is among the world’s worst polluters. The WWF Living Planet report indicates that “humanity is using the planet’s resources faster than they can be renewed and that populations of vertebrate species have declined by about one third since 1970.”

Sweden has one of the largest “ecological footprints” in the world. The WWF describes the term as follows:

“The footprint of a country includes all the cropland, grazing land, forest, and fishing grounds required to produce the food, fibre, and timber it consumes, to absorb the wastes emitted in generating the energy it uses, and to provide space for its infrastructure.”

Sweden leaves the eigth largest footprint per person. The United Arab Emirates tops the list, followed by the USA. They are followed by Nordic neighbours Finland.

Just behind Sweden, taking up the tenth and eleventh spots, are Norway and Denmark.

“The size of the Swedish footprint is partly a result of our transport and energy consumption. We drive our cars a lot,” Lars Kristoferson, secretary general of the WWF in Sweden, told news agency TT.

TT/Paul O’Mahony

This weekend we had what Kostia often calls in Russian “a full cultural program” (once when we were in his hometown and I suggested buying a watermelon, he said “ooh, we’ll have a full cultural program this evening,” so you can see how this phrase is taken very seriously).

Friday night we went to a hockey game. There’s another American studying here (she’s not in my program though, hence the solo Power Point presentation) who is a fundamentalist Christian and a hard-core tomboy (I hope she wouldn’t be offended by my saying that) and plays ice hockey on the Falun women’s team. Her team was playing a “friendly match” against a team of 11- and 12-year-old boys. The teams were, surprisingly, quite balanced and the final score was 3-3. Needless to say, it was one of those experiences you don’t really anticipate having, watching grown women play hockey against pre-teen boys.

Saturday night we had a housewarming party. Our little apartment was filled to capacity. My classmate from Japan brought two friends with her, both of whom were Asian-Swedish. The Bangladeshi-Swede said to me, “When I heard that there was an American-Russian couple here, I thought, they’re making world peace in a neutral country!” I hope that isn’t a sign that a new cold war is starting. American-Russian couplings really aren’t so unusual as to be symbolic anymore… or are they?

(By the way, the Power Point presentation went pretty well today, though people didn’t laugh as much as I expected. My Mexican classmate did a really kick-ass presentation.)

Oy. I’ve just spent the afternoon making a Power Point presentation about America.

Somebody got it into their head that the students in my program needed to make fun presentations about their country of origin. Which is fine for the Germans and Poles, there are like 10 each of them, but I’m the only American. Tomorrow I get to present with the Canadian and the Mexican. Three of us total from the Western Hemisphere.

As you can imagine, it’s very easy to represent a country of 300 million people, especially when I don’t live there on purpose. And thanks to cultural imperialism, what can I tell people they don’t already know?

Well, I tried to make it funny, at least. And we’re serving Mexican food, so hopefully that will make people happy.

I’m co-writing a term paper with a classmate from Ukraine, and yesterday after meeting about the paper we had lunch together. We were talking about some of the differences between Sweden and Russia/Ukraine, and all I had to say was “public toilets” and she started laughing hysterically.

This is the little hut next to our apartment building where the dumpsters and recycling bins are. It’s totally clean and not at all smelly. You could have a picnic in there. Somehow I feel that this is one of those things that could only happen in Scandinavia.

This is a sign that was up next to a parking lot that they’re repaving near the campus.

It says: No entry except for workers! Parents who let their children play at this construction site are responsible for accidents that cause injuries.

The sign was only there for a few days, though, and there wasn’t anything visibly dangerous around — just a large, flat, dirt-covered place. Given the retro look of this sign, maybe someone just put it up to be funny.

Here’s the view out our windows. I like it a lot.

Here’s a view of the neighborhood from the balcony. Unfortunately we don’t have our own balcony, but there’s one at each end of the corridor, on each floor.

And another view of the neighborhood.

Well, I managed to upload half the photos I wanted to, anyway.

Here’s our new building. It’s the most Soviet-looking building in Falun (really closely resembles the Stalin-era buildings in St. Petersburg, only much nicer and cleaner) so we feel at home.

We have a room and a kitchen. We’ve rearranged a bit since taking this picture, but here’s half the room…

… and here’s the other half.

Here’s half our kitchen…

…and the other half.

Still to come: views of the neighborhood, the woods we can see out our windows, and the very nice trash hut (really!).

About This Blog

I'm an American who started blogging when I moved to Russia in 2004. Eventually I moved to Sweden, where life is pleasant but uneventful, and stopped blogging for lack of interesting things to say. And then I joined Facebook, which further destroyed any motivation for blogging. Maybe someday I'll start blogging again, but for now, this blog is dormant, an archive of The Russia Years: 2004-2008.

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October 2006