june 2004, sverige (sweden)

june 18, stockholm

in mid-june 2004, i was asked if i wanted to go to siggraph or the eurographics rendering workshop. siggraph has become more and more of a show, and the last two or three years have apparently been quite disappointing, and a smaller and smaller group of people have more and more power over it, revolving around a few stanford alumni. besides, i am not keen on travelling to the states during the regime of dubya. one hears all kinds of strange stories of random harassment, and my current residence being germany, i can easily imagine being hassled, so the choice was fairly easy.

i have never seen stockholm before, however, and i have heard great things about it, but the conference took place in norrköping. by the way, you wouldn't believe how you have to pronounce that 'k'. in fact, in english this sound doesn't even exist, but it is something like 'sh'. and the double-r must be rolled a little bit.

anyway, i decided to take a few extra days off, and visit stockholm. i didn't pre-book a hotel, but found one as soon as i arrived at the train station. it was not too expensive, about $100 for three nights, but it was also not fancy in any way, and i had no separate bathroom. i don't need that anyway, so all was fine. the fourth picture is the entrance to the hotel, but it shares a stairway with some other business. pretty incognito.

the first panomara is the university, or one of them, since i think there is more than one.

stockholm was originally built on a series of islands, but after the last iceage, the land rose slowly, and today most of it is mainland. the old town is still on an island however. as you cross over, you get this panoramic view of part of the harbour. given all the many little islands and peninsulas, you almost constantly see water between buildings. on all the islands and peninsulas are also many little hills, so it is sometimes quite difficult to orient yourself.

once you cross to the central island, you find one of the nicest parts of stockholm. cycore, now a branch of mental images, is apparently here somewhere, but given that it was a weekend, i couldn't visit. i regretted this, but should have planned it better. next time.

the central island is not large, and when you leave it to the south, you end up in another nice, if not quite so quaint, area. there is quite a steep hill right there, and on one building, they built out a bridge and a tower, and put an elevator in the tower, which costs about 50c to use. the guy inside gets grumpy if you ask him for a ticket. he prefers that you pay but don't ask for a ticket, although he doesn't say so.

on the way back i passed the royal castle, which is the largest royal castle still in regular use, it stated in several places. in the water in front of the castle is a hand, pointing at who knows what.

on the way back up to the hotel there is a pedestrian street, with a series of lions. one boy (with the glasses), insisted that i take his picture, and then all the others joined. i gave them the url and told them to look in a few weeks. their father came out as i was writing it down, and looked pretty suspicious, but if they ever come here, they can see themselves on a real website. they seemed pretty interested in that.

anyway, i had nothing better to do, it was still early, so i turned around and went back to the old town and looked around some more. eventually i returned pretty late, and took a picture of the night sky. i think it was around half past eleven at that point. in the middle of the summer, it doesn't get totally dark in stockholm.

june 19, stockholm

the next day i looked around again, but ended up pretty much visiting the same parts of town. i had a lonely planet guide, and didn't spot much in it to make me leave the downtown area.

i did go to the other central island, a bit to the east, where there is a museum for the wasa ship. this ship was created to fight the danes and the dutch, and if i recall correctly, was launched in 1829. the trouble was that they had made this huge warship, much larger than before, and they didn't really have any scientific way of designing it, but did it based on experience. they eventually didn't add enough balast, and as it left the harbour, with all guns blazing, a gust of wind made it tip enough to the one side that water started pouring in through the gun openings, and it sank like a stone, hardly anyone surviving.

in recent years, interest in salvaging it was awoken, and eventually a scheme was devised for raising it, and stabilising it. the building they made for it is kept very dim, and fairly humid, to avoid damage to the ship. there is a wealth of information on all aspects of the ship and its history. as a child i had a very large model kit of it. i didn't paint it, but did assemble it, which was a complicated job. i think it was an airfix model, but i am not sure any more.

the statue is astrid lindgren, the author of pippi and other stories. on this, larger island, there is also a park. part of it is an amusement park, but i didn't go there. behind it is a public park, which i went through. on the edge of this there are some very large and expensive-looking houses, probably the most expensive part of town to live in.

in the evening i relaxed a bit in my room, depicted, and then i headed out to sample stockholm's famous jazz nightlife. there are three famous jazz clubs, but i chose this one, the glen miller café, for its relaxed and non-pretentious atmosphere. the jazz and the beer were both excellent. this is the whole café. by the way. quite small.

june 20, stockholm and norrköping

on the last day of the weekend, i was meant to head to norrköping, where the conference was taking place. i scheduled the train for late afternoon, and managed to squeeze in a last walk through the old city, and a couple of old churches. then i took the train south, arrived, found the hotel, and walked around a bit. the last picture was taken after midnight.

june 21, norrköping

the eurographics symposium on rendering was the purpose of my trip, and monday the 22nd it started with registration, although we had registered early sunday afternoon. here is the main entrance to the university where it was being held. the little red arrows were attached to the room where all the conferences were being presented.

there is a picture of me, another of jurgen in one of his many disguises, and one of juri, as we hang out, discussing the conference. just below that is a picture of marie-claude, an ex-colleague and friend from softimage, where i worked before mental images. this is followed by some pictures of the arranged dinner of the first night. this took place in the yellow castle (manor, i would say, but i don't choose) shown. we were given a tour, and then dinner was put on. in the middle of the first dinner picture we see alexander keller, and in the next one is carsten wächter, next to a rare display of me emptying a beer. as well as dinner, there was also some entertainment, some put on by members of our group. in the one little picture before the panorama, a bunch of maniacs (me included) sang monty python's philosopher's song, egged on by alan, the madman of bristol. the last picture is a picture of the moon, believe it or not. juri also took a picture, because it was so nice, but in both our pictures, the moon disappeared. i still don't know what phenomenon can cause that to happen.

june 22, norrköping

on the 22nd, we were mostly busy with the conference, but in the evening they had arranged a dolphin show, which proceeded blithely in swedish. even i with my danish could not understand much, but it was great. then we had dinner in a kind of chalet, and i fiddled with the underexposure settings of my camera to provoke a deep purple sunset.

june 23/24, norrköping

the last day of the conference there was nothing special planned for dinner, so we managed our own. during the lunch, however, alan had brought two balls with... well, one, and a hand thing, and we all signed them. this sort of community feeling could never arise out of the glitter and self-serving paper selection which happens at siggraph. i will choose eurographics every time in the future, unless something changes dramatically. our plane back to copenhagen was not so large, and i joked out loud that it was a toy plane which ran on chocolate milk, and got a couple of chuckles out of some other conference attendees on their way home.