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All quiet on the northern front March 7, 2010

Posted by Elfi in Life and everything.
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Days are unbelievingly sunny and warm now although we still get around -16 grades during the night. It is such a joy to go out.

Also this week some of the courses I attended to ended so I got a little bit more free time. At least until Tuesday, when I am lecturing on Shor’s factoring algorithm in my short serial about Quantum Computing.

Plans for the next study period. Should I take a course on String Theory?


Running February 21, 2010

Posted by Elfi in Life and everything.
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Sometimes, you just go out

have fun,

even more fun,

and in the end,


you keep going.

New Archbishop February 15, 2010

Posted by Elfi in Books, Life and everything.
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A new archbishop of Prague, after Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, who is retiring, is Dominik Duka. Normally, I would noticed this news only superficially, but I am currently reading a book called “Prague, 600 years of its archdiocese” so I noticed a little bit more. From the little I read about Mr. Duka it seems he is the right man for this function. I wish him good luck.

Back to the book, published in Prague in 1944, its quality of writing, objectivity and similar is rather below average, but what makes it interesting is that this is the first book in my collection which ‘proudly’ states who censored it on one of its first pages. It is likely church’s own self-censorship but still, it feels weird.

Other book in my library which I know of that is likely censored, though this time it is a different kind of censorship, is de Sade‘s Justine. The book itself states nothing about it but almost all editions of this book are known to be abridged and censored. I own a Spanish version printed in Mexico around 1960 and I could not find any further information. Not that I have spent more than 10 minutes on it 🙂 It is quite irrelevant and I bought this book mainly for curiosity.

A lot of things January 28, 2010

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A lot of things are going on these weeks. During the day I keep myself busy by the means of taking courses on Topology and Advanced Functional Programming. Afternoons are filled with a Swedish course and climbing. On the top of that I am preparing my lectures for a short Quantum Computing course which I am going give at Chalmers in two weeks. Last but not least, Samson Abramsky: A Structural Approach to Reversible Computation (free pdf) twists my brain cells properly 🙂

At times, it gets hectic, but so far I am managing well. In fact, I like the way it tests my ability to set up an effective work schedule and stay productive all day long. I write many observations down on a sheet of paper and feed it back while planning for the next day in my diary. Brian Tracy’s Psychology of Achievement and Study Hacks have given me many helpful advices in this respect.

On the other note, this weekend begins the Göteborg International Film Festival 2010. For this year I have chosen six movies,

  • Agora,
  • John Rabe,
  • A Matter of Size,
  • Border,
  • About Elly, and
  • Honeymoons,

I am looking forward. It is always so good.

It is 1:45am. Time to go to the bed. One or two pages of Orhan Pamuk’s Snow, at most, and then sleep.

Beautiful day January 9, 2010

Posted by Elfi in Books, Life and everything.
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I use to go biking in the snow every year since I bought a mountain bike 3 year ago. Trails in the Rävlanda area are almost non-existent compared to Göteborg but frozen lakes and fields to be crossed are almost everywhere. It was close to -16 degrees of Celsius.

And now it is time to eat something and dive into the New Year’s pile of books. I cannot wait 🙂

Happy Holidays December 25, 2009

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It is the first Christmas time I am spending with Hanka. It is quite special. In the past, we always traveled to Czechia and spent the Christmas day with our respective parents. For this year we have decided to stay in Sweden and celebrate together. We have a great time and so far we have saved ourselves a lot of tiredness from traveling. Love it. We plan to travel to Czechia right after holidays and before the New Year’s Eve.

Happy Holidays to one and all!

Tonight I will win the board game Fury of Dracula for the fifth time in a row. Never beaten yet 🙂

A Week in Bullets December 17, 2009

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  • I read a lot. I am hungry for more category theory and computability. Linear logic and Geometry of Interaction is lurking around the corner.
  • I went to see the big GöteborgsOperan’s stage featuring a dance performance on Mozart’s Requiem. It was a nice evening. Yet, I wished more space was given to the orchestra. The dancers seized way too much attention.
  • I find out my fingers got stronger for more climbing, though training on the hang board has to wait.
  • I have got a cold.

Morning Shifts December 12, 2009

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I feel like a zombie these days. And it is weekend so it should not be that way. The problem is that it has been for two weeks now I am commuting every day to Goteborg with Hanka and I am forced to get up at 7:45 – 8am instead of at my usual time 9 – 9:15am. In the morning itself, it is not too bad. I can get up quite easily and I am looking forward for the day but then, around lunch time, my activity starts to drop. Lunch makes me more alert again for a while but around 3pm I am a zombie. Not really tired, not sleepy, but apathetic, brain death, physically weak. It gets better again at 9-10pm which is kind of late. In the past, I have used to be agile from 9am to 1am. So the number of active hours dropped enormously.

I always had problems with sleeping and it turned out that as long as I can sleep from 6am to 9am, my best quality sleeping time, I will do fine regardless of when I go to bed. I really miss the hour of sleeping I am not allowed to have now.

Other effect of getting up early during workdays is that you get up early also during weekends and so you get some extra amount of hours of zombie time. Great 😦 .

I hope I will get my hour back soon or I will adapt without becoming a mediocre being drinking coffee every two hours just to get the work done and survive the day.

By the way, wet, wet cold weather is back. Given my current state of mind I cannot do much better than drink a hot tea, look at the exotic fruit and think of warmer places to be in.

Rävlanda is Freezing December 3, 2009

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After quite some time of endless rain a bright blue sky is back. At least for today. Soaking wetness was cut down by temperatures around minus eight degrees Celsius. It took some courage to get off my bed in the morning. Not that it was any kind of surprise. I have yet to master how to pretend this activity 🙂

Berg Bergagården in Rävlanda, Sweden. December 2009.

Photo: Miroslav Dobšíček

20 Years On November 20, 2009

Posted by Elfi in Life and everything, Music.
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Time flies. It has been 20 years since the Velvet Revolution in the former Czechoslovakia, 20 years since I was a fifth grade grammar school disciple.

Little me in a summer camp with my brother Pavel on the right, Helvíkovice, Czech Republic. Around 1987.

Photo: Jarmila Dobšíčková

The above picture is quite remarkable. On the inner side of the tent canvas you can see a reflection of my mom’s hands, hair and a camera.

Some memories. In 1989, those 20 years ago, we have started with the Russian language at school. We were shown beautiful maps proving that Russian is spoken everywhere around the world, with off course the USA crossed out as a dummy country unwilling to learn and herewith contribute to the world peace. I doubted how much Russian is actually spoken in the South America, but what the heck …. I was kind of looking forward. In two months, we have almost mastered the Cyrillic alphabet but then it changed.

Friday, November 17, 1989, was just an ordinary school day for me and during the weekend merely some scattered news about people ‘shambling’ in Prague reached me. People of Prague, don’t they have better things to do? They should come and help us on the country side. OK, OK:-) , enough sarcasm and making fun from my childish perception of those important days.

To make a long story short, Russian lectures were canceled in few days, being replaced by very bad English lectures or rather good German ones, school was full of leaflets “Havel na hrad” (Havel for president) and not that long afterwards all adults around got puzzled by a voucher privatization.

I have a memory of admiring people around me, particularly my parents. It was very special to witness what Anton Chekhov wonderfully put as

Any idiot can face a crisis, it’s the day to day living that wears you out.

I feel so thankful for what happened, for all the wearing out and the new direction.



Me and my wife, we both celebrated by visiting a punk party. The Eastpak Antidote Tour reached Gothenburg. Good music. And great people around make you almost forget how bad the local beer is 🙂

Source: Wikimedia

I was giving a talk at Chalmers University the next day and I was a little bit behind with preparation of my slides but everything worked out fine at the end.