My version of Sweden, Day 1

Wes has already blogged about most of our activities today, but I thought I'd write a little too. I'm so excited to be here, I woke up at 5am. I was like a little kid at Christmas; the two hours I had to wait for breakfast (and for Wes to wake up) seemed to take forever!!! But I made the best of it by looking through the hundreds of brochures we've picked up in various places. I also spent some time online trying to find all of the venues for all of the conference activities, and marking our little free map with points of interest. And I have learned a lot of random facts in the past couple of days.

The university of Gothenburg is the largest one in Sweden. Viking women were insulted and shamed if they received love poems. Beowulf is set near these parts. The metropolitan area of Gothenburg is almost 1 million people (who are almost all on vacation right now). And MTV has its very own dedicated scandinavian version of the channel, mostly covering cheesey boy bands while they're on tour here. Sweden, though, do not be misled, is quite music-savvy. Even our hotel lobby plays fantastic music, like Cyndi Lauper, Duran Duran and such. And everything looks like it was bought at IKEA here. The socialism thing treats universities quite well. They have water dispensers instead of rusted water fountains, and the cleanest bathrooms I've ever seen, equipped with sinks in each stall. "Tak" is the word for both "Thank you" and "You're welcome" in Swedish.

Which brings me to my personal favorite thing here so far (aside from the conference, which I am really excited about): The Swedish vocabulary! The names of these streets, first of all, are a bit difficult to pronounce. We had to make up mnemonics for each street while we were navigating through the city today. Engelbrektsg was easy street. Stora Badhusgatan was Buddha street. Kladpressaregatan was Klad. And Viktoriagatan was an easy one to pronounce and remember.

And here's what slows people down: they aren't speed bumps. They're fart-hinders.

And here's a "friggin" ship.

animated gifs from Library of Congress photos

Kevin J Wier makes animated gifs using old photographs from the library of congress flickr account. ...