A roadtrip to Dalarna

After a nice Cafe Mocha from Espresso House me and three of my friends embarked on a trip north in my little car. To my great surprise we managed to fit all of us and a decent number of bags in my car. The Clubman edition really is bigger than my old one. Our first stop was at Maria and Joanna in Tierp (sort of) where we were treated to a nice barbecue dinner and desert. Everything topped of with a cup of Nespresso coffee. I got a good demonstration how this rather simple coffee machine really works and I am tempted to buy one. Read more and see some pictures on Joanna’s blog.

After that we continued north towards Falun to stay at the Swedish LBGT-boss Sören and his Daniel. They have recently bought a rather big house in the middle of the forest. The fun part is that it is located just 10 minutes (by car) from the place where I grew up. So it was a bit like coming home to your old neighbourhood. My mother lives nearby as well (in the city of Borlänge) so I took my car and paid her a visit as well.

As you might know I am quite allergic to a lot of things such as pollen from leaf trees, grass but also to animals like cats and dogs. This house has all of that so it is a bit of a mixed experience. It is soo nice and quiet, fresh air but also all these things that makes me feel not so good. Have tried different drugs and they help but does not take it away completely. To top this off their dog (which is a very nervous creature) bit me in the evening and that made me quite shaky to be honest. So really mixed feelings about this but the good company and nice food really helps 🙂

Since I really feel like a city girl nowadays I wonder if I ever want to move to a house like that. Right know it seems really far away.

Visa större karta

A great trip to Malvern, UK

Today I got home from a business trip to Malvern in the United Kingdom. It was a great trip and the adventure started at Heathrow Airport. I boldly told my commanding officer that I liked to try driving on the “wrong” side so I got registrered as an additonal driver on our rented cars. He also decided to pay a little more (of his own money) to upgrade the car and I did not really got what car it turned out to be. Until we arrived at the Hertz parking lot and found the car – a large Mercedes SUV! So here I was switching from driving a Mini Cooper S to a huge car and on the left side to add. I took it very careful when I left the parking lot and it felt rather weird. Not to mention handling the round-abouts where everything seemed to spin in the wrong direction. However, after a little focusing it turned out ok and soon I was driving fast on the highway westwards.

Anyway we arrived there safely and settled in our rooms at the lovely hotel called The Abbey. Nowadays I am not at all nervous traveling abroad but I must confess that this business meeting was making me just that. We were scheduled to meet ex-military people and of course I was worried that they wouldn’t be as open-minded about me as I wanted. On top of that I was scheduled to give a speech for them as well. I had my nice Karen Millen outfit on and actually almost forgot my nervousness after a short while. I was really prepped for my speech and felt very engaged and energetic when I was talking. It looked like the UK people were both interested and seem to like what I was saying and afterwards I got praise both my Swedish team and the UK one.

In the evening they had made reservations at a local pub and I must confess I was a little worried about that too. You never know what happens when there is alcohol around. However, it turned out to be the best evening out for a long time. I actually managed to enjoy myself all the time and the UK people were just great and treated my like a lady 🙂 It felt just wonderful to engage in vivid discussions in English and just be myself. To me that is a big thing because ten years ago I would have been almost scared in an environment like that. That IS progress.

Visa större karta

Star Trek – The Experience

Me on the bridge of USS Enterprise
I have always liked Science Fiction and as you might know got hooked on a few lately like Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Eureka and a few others. However, a science fiction classic is Star Trek and I have watched quite a few even though I would not consider myself a real “Trekkie”. My favorite Star Trek show is Voyager with Captain Janeway as the commander (surprise…). Anyway when me and my colleague discovered that there was a big Star Trek attraction in Vegas we decided to try to squeeze it in. We did not have that high expectations but it turned out really good. It is located next to the Las Vegas Hilton hotel and it is actually a miniature theme-park in-door. The exhibitions are nicely done and the two attractions do really have the feel on Star Trek. I will always remember the feeling I had when we walked through a perfect replica of the sign-mark corridors of the Enterprise. It felt like being in the show actually – and the Borgs where actually a bit scary when you met them. We bought a big package and in that was included an option to have your picture taking while sitting in the chairs of the bridge and it was also a nice experience. The only stupid thing was that we noticed afterwards (!) that there were costumes for rent. So the hard conclusion is that if I ever get back to Vegas I need to do another photo where I can look as Janeway for real 🙂

Cirque Du Soleil at MGM Grand

Still feeliing rather sick today but managed to sleep rather well and rested in bed in my room at Luxor. Can be worse, after all. Watched C-span and the defense debates and it was rather interesting, especially the language they used. “The Gentlemen from Texas is recognized” was a phrase I heard a lot. Meant that the congressmen had been given the floor. It actually started raining as well – something I did not expect here in the middle of the desert.

Anyway, we had bought tickets to Cirque Du Soleil: Ka for this evening so I managed to fix my self up a bit and we started walking towards MGM Grand where it is being played. Before the show we went towards the Mexican restaurant called “Diego” and on our way we saw a small crowd and some stir among the people and flashes from cameras firing. I managed to see who generated all of this fuzz and in the middle was Robin Williams, probably on his way towards some activity before his Sunday performance at the MGM Grand.

After a nice mexican dinner in a really cool restaurant which mostly was in red we headed off to Cirque Du Soleil. The arena is huge and has a really cool design which makes you feel you have almost entered a different domain. The performance is a very well choreographed flow of both stylished and breathtaking acrobatics in all dimensions possible. The scene is a very impressive set of machinery which changes the whole scene in all possible ways. The theme is some mix of asian martial arts, mad max and some science fiction scenery. No one leaves there unmarvelled.

At the Strip in Las Vegas

Yesterday we landed in Las Vegas, Nevada and was met by a really hot climate and lots of lights in this crazy town. Just seeing the skyline from the airport is really interesting. Just a long row of hotels and casinos with different themes. We are staying at the Luxor – a 120 meter high pyramide made of glass. Since I am a huge fan of Stargate SG-1 it felt kind of cool to enter this place almost with a feel of Goauld influence. Even though it is a historic theme the hollow inside of the pyramide where the walkways to the rooms are feels rather futuristic, maybe enhanced by the sound of information call-outs with a slight echo in the pyramide.

Today we took a walk along The Strip in the blazing heat – around 35-40 degrees at least. Fortunately there are lots of indoor air conditioned connections between all the casinos. I must say that Vegas is a bit different than I imagined. It actually seem more fun that I expected. Sure there are absolutely endless rows of slot machines and gambling tables but there is also a equally large amount of themed shopping malls, attractions and shows. It is almost like a theme park for grown-ups. I look forward to do some shopping since the dollar rate makes everything rather cheap. Almost half the price on Mac make-up that I love for instance. I will see if I can go see Cher at the Ceasar’s Palace and I will most definately go see the water fountains at the Bellagio. I am not much of a gamer but I guess I at least have to try it, I think it will be roulette. And yes…I have to mention the Champagne breakfast at the Luxor…simply crazy…even worse that the huge one I have had at Gaylord Palms in Orlando. This was way bigger and I am still not hungry 🙂

When we returned in the afternoon we went along to what we are really here for. To attend the big EMC World 2008 conference. The registration went nice and we were welcomed to the Summit Leader’s Club since we took part in the conference last year in Orlando. We also got community tags for the Momentum/Content Management & Archiving community. Now I know that I will keep my eyes open for other’s wearing the yellow tag which means that we are both Documentum customers. Tomorrow the conference starts and I look forward to a meeting with David LeStrat, who is the Product Manager for the Knowledge Worker solution. I look forward to learn more about their thinking around the Magellan interface and will most likely offer an opinion or two 🙂

Lotion for the soul

As I said before I was rather affected by the visit in Turkey and I felt such a gratefulness towards my wonderful friends, our health care system and my collegues at work. I think we too seldom say to people when we care for them so when I got back to Stockholm yesterday I felt the need to call one of my absolute closest friend to tell her how much she mean to me. It turned out that she was free from work on the afternoon so we decided to meet. It was so great to take a walk in the sun, admiring the beauty of Stockholm and talk about life with her. She is a very wise woman with a remarkably big heart and it is so great to be able to talk about everything with her. She has been with me the whole process and having someone like that is something I wish everybody had. So it was like lotion for the soul. It is great that those days when I feel happy and pleased with life seem to come more often lately. I hope that is a trend. We ended the evening with a nice meal and some rather intense discussions about society with a couple more of her friends. Had no trouble falling asleep in the night 🙂

Censorship in action

Censorship in Turkey

Just remembered that when I was surfing around and checking my usual websites at the hotel in Ankara I suddenly got a white screen with an information that content have been blocked. Interestingly it was when I was checking the blog written by Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt. It turned out that the www.wordpress.com as a whole is blocked in Turkey. That is a significant number of web sites…

There is some more information – and being a blog – discussion about this here at the WordPress site

More on transgender issues in Turkey

We met a turkish transgender person at the office of KAOS-GL who was about to give a speech later on in the afternoon about the situation for sex workers and transgendered people in Turkey. Coming from Sweden where at least transsexuals are relatively well taken care of in the health care system and also from a legal and administrative point it is really difficult to comprehend the situation in Turkey and many other countries. I know about my own issues with my body and it must awful to be forced to use that situation as the only way to earn your living. People paying money to have sex with you just because your are something strange “in-between”. Everything that transsexuals in Sweden try avoid at all costs,

Apparently it is difficult to find someplace to live as well since there have been cases where construction firms pays thugs money to keep watch in areas where transgender people live. They sit and wait in cars all day long to get a chance to harass and assault them to force them to move from the area. The transgender people, neighbours and the police knows about this but nobody does anything to stop it. However, there seem to be a court case coming up real soon where an attacker actually is charged for beating a transgender person. Hopefully that can be a start to something new. Many people are seriously hurt each year and quite a few are even killed. It seem to be worse for transgender people and butch lesbians because they always face the risk of rape from even the police. There are also examples of police and the military conducting rape on gay men just to see if they like it. Apparently only the passive part is considered a homosexual in Turkey as it is in other countries.

From an education standpoint it must also be tough to inform people about transgender issues since it is so closely related to sex workers and prostitution. I think it is already hard enough to inform here in Sweden when the knowledge in general is not widespread about transgender issues. Being forced to also bring up the debate around prostitution would make it so much more difficult let alone the attitude towards people generally being seen on the lower steps of the community ladder.

I am so grateful living in Sweden where I have my wonderful friends, great doctors in the health care system and really nice co-workers in the Armed Forces that make me look forward to go to work each day.

Hard being a transsexual in Turkey

It seems really hard to be a transgendered in general and transsexual in particular here in Turkey. Last night our wonderful host told us about a gay club here in Ankara where transgendered people were not allowed. It was really surprised since I would have easier to understand if transgendered are not allowed in men or women-only clubs. That was the case in Sweden ten years ago but fortunately that has changed now. However, it turned out that the situation here in Turkey means that it is virtually impossible for transsexuals to get employed even if they have a university degree. Instead they are forced to work as sex workers. So this club just had a policy of not wanting sex workers to sell their services in the club and therefore denying them access. There is also a big problem of transgendered people being harrassed and beaten since some people think they have a right to kill them.

Read a little bit more about this transgendered organisation called Pink Life here in Ankara.

LGBT-work mentioned in Turkish media

Today we learned that there is an article in the newspaper Hürriyet about this media training workshop and that RFSL is participating. In a news portal there is another article that even mentions me 🙂

However, we also learned that because of this media coverage several people decided not to take part in the workshop because they were worried about the attention.