Monthly Archives: October 2013

NANOWRIMO – National Novel Writing Month

by Keith Turner on October 30, 2013

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This will be my fifth year to participate in National Novel Writing Month. The basic idea is to write a novel in a month.  You write 50,000 words in 30 days. There is no editing just writing. The editing happens after November. As of today there are 184,146 people signed up to participate. I have completed the 50,000 words once in 2011. It is common for people in geographic areas to meet together and have write-ins.

Today a small group met in Lund at the city library for a kickoff gathering. I spoke a very small amount in Swedish and listened to a lot of conversations in Swedish.  At one point the question came up what people were going to write. With a little bit of prodding people talked briefly about what they would be writing about but were not very willing to spend a lot of time talking about themselves.  This by the way is very Swedish by the way.

In the NANOWRIMO group in Salt Lake City, Utah just a simple comment to someone is likely to end up with that person spending five to ten minutes telling you about a specific part of their book or character they are writing about. When it comes to socializing Swedes are very different than Americans. Swedes might really want to know more about someone but it is not polite to ask.  Americans want to know and will ask.

For me attending today’s kickoff gathering was a chance to meet some new people.  It was also another opportunity to observe Swedes interact in a social situation. I tend to be more on the shy side in these kind of situations. It has more to do with the fact that I am still trying to understand Swedish culture and what is and is not appropriate.

Swedes do not like to talk about themselves and it turns out that my great-grandfathers Sigurd Warnberg who was from Sweden was also like that according to what I have been told.  My grandmother was also like that. I on the other hand am not like that.  I am curious about other people and will ask people. It was nice to meet new people. I was a polite “Swede” and did not ask people about themselves. Hanging out with some new Swedes for a couple of hours today helped give me better insight into the Swedish culture.

Krognoshuset – Krognos House

by Keith Turner on October 30, 2013

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Krognoshuset is one of the oldest buildings in Lund. It was build sometime in the 1300’s.  It was part of a farm called Stadsgården. At the time the building was build what is now the basement was probably above ground. In the 1100’s Lund was perhaps the most important city in Scandinavia because it was the seat of the archbishop of Scandinavia. By the 1300’s Malmö had started to grow in importance. In the 1400’s Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark. In the 1500’s because of the reformation Lund lost the archbishopric. In the 1600’s Skåne became part of Sweden and Lund became an insignificant city. Krongnoshuset was built during the time that Lund was transitioning from a city with power to  becoming irrelevant.

In the early 1500’s the Krognosättlingar family that owned the farm that Krongnoshuset was a part of had a very extravagant wedding. there was 300 guests, 4,560 gallons (17,268 liters) of German beer, 367 gallons (1,390 liters) of German and French wine.  For the meal they butchered 14 cows, 80 sheep, 2 barrels of herring, 4 barrels of cod, 1 barrel of salmon, and 2,000 flat fish (scientific name Pleuronectes platessa).  I wrote about a flat fish I ate in August called a monk fish. A celebration of that size would have certainly been a statement of the family’s view of their place in society.

The farm including Krognoshuset was in possession of the family from sometimes in the 1300’s until at least 1619.  After the establishment of the Universtiy of Lund it serves for a while as a residence for professors.  When the railroad came to lund they divided up the farm and created the city market square that is still there today.  In the early 1900’s it served as a resturant and a trade shop.  The city of Lund bought the building in 1905.  In 1916 they tore down all the remaining farm buildings leaving only Krognoshuset in a restoration effort.  Since 1929 the Aura Art Society has been displaying new art work in the building. (The information came from http://www.konstforeningenaura.se/historik.html)

The building is located in the corner of of Mårtenstorget (Marten’s Square).  I checked out the art displays inside today.  I was more excited about seeing the inside of the building than seeing the artwork.  If you have not figured it out yet I really enjoy seeing old buildings.  I find old buildings intriguing.  The following pictures are from the inside of the building including some of the art work that is currently on display there.

Ander’s Blueprint

(top floor)

A Sound Family Makes A Sound State

(in basement)
The building has three floors.  It is a small building.  It would be like having three large rooms in a house stacked on top of each other.  It was probably a large building when it was built.
stairs going up to 2nd floor
stairs going into basement
window in stairs
window in basement

Ny Gallerian i Kristianstad – (New Mall)

by Keith Turner on October 29, 2013

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I friday ny gallerian open i Kristianstad.  Det fanns en fest att fira.  Många guld, svarta och vita ballonger var befriat ochså guld konfetti.  

Last friday (phase one of) a new mall opened in Kristianstad.  There was a party to celebrate.  Many gold, black and white balloons were released, also gold confetti.

Kristianstad is a relatively small town that the mall opening was a big deal.  There was enough people wanted to check out the new mall that they had to limit the amount of people entering the mall.  It was more exciting for me to see all the people than it was the new mall. I enjoy watching people.  Watching people here is Sweden is even more enjoyable because I am also trying to better understand Swedish culture.

The first floor of the mall had a really interesting wood floor.  It looked like they had cut a few inches off the ends off of 2×4 lumber to use as flooring.  It is something I have never seen before.  The last couple of pictures are of the floor.  When I think of wood floors I think of the planks that you can buy in the store.  There was not pre-made wooden planks to use for flooring in the past and people used what was available. Seeing the wood floor in the mall got me to thinking that there is so many different ways that wood can be used for flooring and we are only limited by our imagination.  In the mall my favorite part was the wooden floor in the mall.

Mall Floor

Intressant Portar – Interesting Entrances

by Keith Turner on October 24, 2013

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I förrgår i Malmö tog bilder av intressant portar. Jag tycker om porten med två ugglorna. Den är forsta bilden. Andra porten har två råttor.  Tredje porten har en häst och ett lejon. Fjärde porten har grön manen med en kanin och en uggla.  Femte porten har frukter.  Sjätte porten har två lejon ochså det heter lejonpassagen.  Sjunde porten har guld lejon över dörren.  Och sist porten många stenskulpturer.  Den var porten till kungs postkontor gamal. 

The day before yesterday I took pictures of interesting entryways. I like the entryway with the two owls. It is the first picture. The second entryway has two ratts. The third entryway had a hors and a lion. The fourth entryway had fruit. The firth entryway had the green man, a rabbit and a owl. The sixth entryway had two lions and it is also called the lion passage way. The seventh entryway had a gold lion over the door. And the last entryway had many stone sculptures. It was the old King’s post office.

Igår i Malmö – Yesterday in Malmo

by Keith Turner on October 23, 2013

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(I am going to start writing some parts of my blog in both Swedish and English. If you find mistakes in the Swedish please feel free to let me know.)

Min svenska är inte så bra. Det är svårt att höra svenska vokalen men över tiden lära jag att höra de. Också jag behöver att prata och att skriva och att läsa mera. Jag ska skriva av somliga min blogg in svenska. Därför jag hoppas jag kunna hjelpa min själv lära mig mera. 

My Swedish is not so good. It is hard to hear Swedish vowels but over time I am learning to hear them. Also I need to speak and to write and to read more. I shall write some of my blog in Swedish. Therefore I hope I can help myself learn more.

Igår åkte tåg till Malmö. Dagen var ljust och varm får höst. Jag till och med sett solen. Det hade regnade för två dagen och kanske mer. Jag åkte bussen numret två bara för rolig, till slutet och tillbaka till centrum. Jag träffas Vanim i närheten centrum. Vi gått till Sankt Johannes Kyrka så jag kanske tagit tavlorna.

Yesterday I rode the train to Malmö. Today was light and warm for fall. I even saw the sun. It has rained for two days and perhaps more. I rode bus number two just for fun to the end and back to downtown. I met up with Vanim near downtown. We walked to Saint John’s Church so I could take pictures.

Church Tower

 

The information about St John’s Church comes from the pamphlet provided by the church. Construction for the church was started in 1903 and completed in 1907. The design of the church is Art Noveau unlike many of the churches built in Sweden at that time in the new Gothic style. I really like the Art Noveau style. This church is referred to as “The Church of Roses” because there are over 1,000 roses in the church. Traditionally the church tower would be placed in the west but at Saint John’s Church it was placed on the north side of the church. This was to signify the arrival of a new era.

The inside of the church has plastered walls with murals in the Art Noveau style. The older churches built in the medieval period have a more somber and more solid feel to them. This church had a more lively feeling. Sitting in the pews you could almost feel the hum of the building. I find it interesting to visit these different churches. They each were built for the same reason but each one has its own unique feeling and atmosphere.

Wooden Rose
Stone Roses
Church Altar
Closeup of Church Altar
Looking to the front




looking to the side
looking to the back
Mural
Mural

Lära Mig Svenska – Learning Swedish

by Keith Turner on October 17, 2013

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Today was a big milestone for me. I went to the post office to mail a package and conducted the entire transaction in Swedish. I did not use any English. I usually ask “Förstår du engleska?” (Do you understand English?) or “Talar du engelska?” (Do you speak English?) than continue the interaction in English. The truth is that I have been afraid to try to communicate in Swedish with someone that I do not know in Swedish.  I realize that this is an unfounded fear since since all the Swedes I have met have been nice and more than willing to help when asked.

I have now been in my SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) class for almost four weeks. Even though I have a long way to go I have learned a lot. This is a very different experience than when I was learning Spanish in school. I did not have to learn Spanish to be successful in my life. Learning Swedish is the key to being successful here in Sweden.

This experience has given me a whole different perspective on immigrants and the political debates going on in the United States.  It has been a common sentiment with many people that I know and including myself that if people are going to live in the United States then at least they can learn English.  What I realize now is that it is not such an easy thing to do.

I sometimes have these moments of irrational fear.  A couple of days ago there was this moment when I thought I am going to start thinking different and I will loose myself.  It quickly passed.  Some days I feel like my brain might explode.  There are times when I feel I am almost to a point of understanding and then I wake up and feel like I might never understand.

I will continue to learn.  I will start interacting with Swedes in Swedish more often.  Sooner or later I will be fluent in Swedish.  I am hoping for the sooner.

National Coming Out Day

by Keith Turner on October 11, 2013

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Eleven years ago my life took a drastic change from the course it was on.  I had been spending the last few years dealing with what I referred to at the time as “same sex attraction.”  Some months before I had reached a crisis point in my life.  I found myself caught between what was going on inside of me and my religion.  I was so despondent that I did not want to live any more.  So desperate was my emotional state that I knew in order to continue living I needed to find answers.

I began to pray earnestly for guidance and help.  At some point in 2001 or early 2002 I contacted Evergreen.  They are a gay reparative therapy group with connections to the Mormon Church.  I do not recall how I came to know of their existence.  At the time I was living in San Diego, California and they did not have any active groups there but they were attempting to start one.  I attended the first Evergreen conference held in San Diego.  Sometimes events stand out in memory that become pivotal to the rest of life, this conference was one of them.

The director of Evergreen gave a long speech about how to “recover” from “same sex attraction” and then ended his talk with the caveat that he had no idea what it was like to have a “same sex attraction.” Here was someone telling me he had answers to my problems but he had no idea what it was like to have my problems.  I can only imagine it is how a woman might feel if a man was to tell her all about how it feels to be pregnancy.

The Evergreen director was followed by what I would later term as the “I am cured” person.  He spoke about how blessed he was to have been cured from “same sex attraction” and yet his voice was filled with sadness and sometimes even despair.  Up to that point he was the most depressed person I had met. Just listening to him made me depressed.  I knew that Evergreen was not my answer.

I began to do lots of research reading what ever I could find.  I read what Evergreen had sent me and I now I wanted to read what other people had to say.  On 11 October 2002 I discovered a group called Affirmation.  It is a group for Gay and Lesbian Mormons that was started in 1977.  I read “Prologue: An Examination of the Mormon Attitude Towards Homosexuality” by Cloy Jenkins.  I actually started crying when I finished reading it I was so happy I had found my answer.  It was the answer I had been praying for.  For the first time in my life I knew that I was ok the way I was.  I did not have a “same sex attraction” problem.  I was gay and God loved me as a gay man.  My life was forever changed.

On my way home from work I was listening to National Public Radio and they were doing a segment on National Coming Out day.  That was the first time I had ever heard of National Coming Out day and it was the first day I had actually come out to myself.  I looked upon it as a sign that I was on the right track. National Coming Out day was the first day I started to love myself.  It is my personal day of salvation.  Only two days are more special to me, the day my daughter was born and the day my son was born.

Skräp och Återvinna – PANT

by Keith Turner on October 2, 2013

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The Swedish word PANT can be translated a pledge.  It is a pledge of money that is paid when purchasing beverages that are packaged in aluminum or plastic, excluding dairy and juice.  Aluminum cans and small plastic bottles 1 liter and under are 1KR PANT while plastic bottles larger than 1 litter are 2 KR PANT. 1KR is about $.16 U.S.D. and 2KR is about $.31 U.S.D. according to currency exchange rate for today.

In 1984 a deposit system for cans was launched and in 1994 for plastic bottles as a way to deal with little. In 2006 it became required of all importers and bottlers to comply with the deposit system. Each bottle’s or can’s bar code is recorded for tracking purposes. When a store receives the bottles or the cans they pay the PANT to Returpack. When you or I buy a beverage we pay the PANT to the the store.

The stores have special machines where the bottles and cans are returned to. The bottles or cans are placed in the hole.  The bar code is read and if it is one of the codes recorded by Returpack than it is accepted and the amount of pant to be returned shows up on the screen. If it is not a recorded bar code the can or the bottle is If I bought a can or bottle of soda in Copenhagen and brought it with me back to Kristianstad I would not be able to return it for pant or the deposit. On the other hand if I purchase a beverage that was bottled in Copenhagen and then imported into Sweden the bar code has been recorded and it can be returned for pant. 

After you have deposited all your bottles and cans you push either the green or the yellow button.  If you push the green button a receipt is printed out with the amount of money you are owed.  If you push the yellow button the money is sent to a charity.The movie below is from Returnpack that gives a more detailed explanation of the recycling process that the cans and the bottles involved in the deposit system go though.  The web site for Returnpack is http://www.pantamera.nu/en/. There is also a website dedicated to promoting deposit laws for bottles and cans.  It also has lots of facts if you would like to know more you can go to http://www.bottlebill.org/ and specifically about Sweden you can go to http://www.bottlebill.org/legislation/world/sweden.htm.

 

Skräp och Återvinna – Trash and Recycle

by Keith Turner on October 1, 2013

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So how is trash and recycling handled here in Sweden? That question has now been put to me a couple of time from Americans since I moved here. When I first arrived it all seemed rather confusing which is why I have waited so long to do this post. I would often remark that you need a P.H.D. in order to know how to deal with the trash. At first I had to ask about every thing. For the most part now I can successfully navigate around what to do with each piece of trash.

Each house hold probably has their own system but the trash is separated. We separate the trash into six different categories as follows, Burnable, food waste, plastic, newspaper, pant, and all others including other paper, batteries, lightbulbs metal etc. Burnables is really anything that does not fit into a recyclable category.  In order to not make this a long post and still provide information I am going to do a couple of blog post about trash and recycling.  Today I will focus on food waste.

All food waste is put into a small paper bag. In the housing complex where I currently live there is a large palate of paper bags for the residents to use. I have also seen the paper bags for sale at the grocery stores. If you clean out your fridge the food that you are throwing out goes into the paper bag. Or the scrap food left over on your plate after dinner also go into the paper bag. Also things like coffee grounds are placed in the paper bag. When the paper bag is full it goes into a special trash can for food waste.  The waste food is taken to the biofuel plant where it is turned into biofuel.  The biofuel is then used to power the electric/heating plant or to be used as a fuel for the public transportation busses.  There is an article in the New York Times specifically about Kristianstad titled Using Waste, Swedish City Cuts Its Fossil Fuel Use.  The Youtube video embedded below goes into greater detail about the turning the waste into biofuel.

According to Wired Sweden only sends four percent of its trash to landfills because of the efficiency of recycling.  They have managed to turn what once once an expensive problem and still is for many parts of the world into a creative solution to both protect the environment and and continue to provide services to their residents.  In a Wikipedia article on food waste a study referred to estimated that in North America that we waste 650 pounds (295 kg) of food per person per year.  Food waste thrown into landfills adds methane to the atmosphere.

Just imagine if all food waste in the United States was turned into biofuel and converted into electricity? How many coal power plants could be eliminated? The world of a greener future is before us if only our governments make that commitment to finance and build the infrastructure needed to support this greener alternative. The city of Kristianstad has already made that commitment. Stay tuned for more about trash and recycling.