What I Was Up To Then

Since my last update in June…

  • Life almost feels too good to be true. Like it’s so good that something bad must be about to happen because otherwise, why is life so good?
  • Arthur and I went to Fort Worth, TX for July 4 week. We stayed at Arthur’s family’s new home on a lake. I drove the WaveRunner every day. By the end of the week, I felt one with the machine. Arthur made a picnic dinner one night and we enjoyed the Fort Worth Symphony in the park. I appreciated the conductor saying how grateful he was to immigrate to America to lead the orchestra in a particularly red county. On the fourth, we had a bbq and watched fireworks from the dock roof. We could see at least 5 towns’ fireworks going off at the same time and reflecting on the water. It was beautiful. And yet, I felt sad about America for the first time ever on a July 4. Having now lived in Sverige for 2 years, I now see it closer to America’s ideals than America. It’s impossible for me to reconcile America’s ideals with the present reality of concentration camps on the southern border.
  • Stockholm Pride was on August 3. Arthur and I grabbed our favorite parade watching spot an hour before start time. As the crowd grew, we were inevitably shoved out of the way by assumed cishet people and their children. The Pride parade in Stockholm felt more like a way for straight people and corporations to prove their tolerance than a protest for queer equality, but straight people sucking the life out of a party sure beats having to fight for equality.
    • Arthur and I went to Stockwig. Prior to a painful performance art experience, there was an insightful panel discussion on the tension between “RuPaul’s Drag Race” reviving drag as an art form in places where it was dead (Stockholm) and the commercialization/acceptance of drag and enjoyment by the straights. The first drag I enjoyed in San Fracisco was at Truck. It featured a very masculine drag with scruffy performers showing hairy cleavage. It was gender bending and raunchy. I agreed with the panel that there had been a narrowing of drag types. I can’t imagine any of the queens from Truck being on “RuPaul’s Drag Race”.
    • Barry’s Bootcamp Stockholm held a hella gay fundraiser class for Regnbågsfonden, a foundation that financially assists queer people in countries where they are persecuted by the authorities, police, and religious institutions. It was fabulous.
    • Arthur, Johan, and I saw Pink in concert after the Pride parade. I’ve loved her music since I was a kid and she was spectacular in concert.
    • I created a screenshot archive of businesses and other organizations supporting Pride. There is valid criticism of whether some corporate display of support for Pride aligns with corporate behavior, but I believe every signal of support helps. I helped my employers come out of the closet in their support of LGBTQ+ people by showing how their competitors were not afraid to use their brand for good. My hope is that this archive assists other rainbow fighters inside of their companies.
  • Two years ago, I met an amazing woman at a party in Stockholm who told me about San Francisco in the 90s. We lived in the SF Bay Area and moved to Stockholm around the same time. Leah became one of my closest friends in Stockholm. She got a great opportunity in NYC and moved back to the US in September. I miss her bunches.
  • Several friends have stopped by Stockholm. Mary and David, Greg and Tracy, John H, and Rachel W. We’ve loved hosting them all!
  • Arthur’s mom visited over Labor Day weekend. We coordinated a surprise visitor, his sister, on that trip. Arthur kept making plans for the three of us and I had to follow up secretly and update the plans for four. We went to the outlandish Punk Royale, had a relaxing spa day at Yasuragi, and visited Drottningholm Palace.
  • Arthur and I took a vacation to Portland, OR the first week of October. Our friends Mary & David were amazing hosts introducing us to their new city’s food, wine, quirks, and people. I love seeing people resonate in a time and place. They seem to be doing that in Portland.
  • Arthur and I have been working on plans for a kitchen remodel since the start of the year. Construction finally started while we were away in Portland. Turns out, if you just want a bigger sink and cooktop, you have to rip out the entire kitchen.
  • I visited my American-now-living-in-Canada friends Adam and Mike on their Helsinki vacation. I took one of the Baltic cruise ships I see out my window daily. I spent 16 hours on a cruise ship to spend 6 hours in Helsinki with two handsome gentlemen and it was worth it. We rode a Ferris wheel.
  • Random fun times:
    • I went indoor skydiving with my friend Vivien. I bought two more passes to take Arthur.
    • I went to a Bachelor in Paradise finale viewing party with other expats.
    • While celebrating my friend Sophie’s birthday, I learned I can move a cookie from my forehead to my mouth using only my face muscles.
    • I attended the first-ever Queer.js Stockholm meetup. Stockholm needs more of this.
  • Quickies:
    • Apple liked my Tab Tosser extension for Firefox so much that it built the feature into Safari in iOS 13. Cool.
    • I bought an iPad mini primarily to subscribe to Apple News+. It’s been a successful experiment. Instead of reading a slow, constant drip of maddening news, I am primarily reading weekly and monthly magazines. This gives news a chance to be analyzed and presented with context. I highly recommend it, or Readly if you use Android or don’t have a US-based Apple account.
    • Most everything I hate about Twitter, Facebook, Instagram seems to have been solved by Mastodon. No single company owns it. No advertising, algorithmic timeline, or random replies from people you follow to people you don’t. No body-shaming censorship from Zuck. Social media should be like email, where anyone can setup a server and connect with anyone else. So I am trying out Mastodon (here). More
    • Like nuclear or biological weapons, facial recognition poses a threat to human society and basic liberty that far outweighs any potential benefits. We need to ban governments from using facial recognition.
    • Blackbox is a fun game for iOS.
    • Little Alchemy 2 is one of the best games I have played in a Web browser. It’s best on a laptop or tablet.

2019 goals

Long term goals

  • Ride a Ferris wheel in every European country: Barcelona, Vienna, London, Helsinki (new!)
  • Make a loan to all Kiva countries: 60 of 77—and there are no loans available in the rest of the countries, so goal complete for now. (Join me!)

Up next

  • Attending ServerlessDays Stockholm conference Oct 24
  • Attending TEDxStockholm Nov 16
  • Ireland in November for a live recording of “My Favorite Murder”, Arthur’s favorite podcast
  • Morocco in November for Kathe’s birthday
  • Still reading “An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management” by Will Larson
  • A non-queer watchface for FitbitOS