Saturday, July 31, 2010

Araslöv Golf Klubb City

Annika Sörenstam is one of the world's best female golfers of all time.

With her in mind, today we hit the Swedish links for the first time.

Jihad Golf?

As we drove up to Kristianstad's "pay-for-play" golf course, we were greeted by this troublesome sign.

It actually means "Golf for All." This is a truly public course where you do not need a Swedish golf green card to play. It is owned by a 36 hole private course, also in Kristianstad, that took over this former 18 hole course awhile ago.

They closed holes 1-9 and turned them into a massive pitching and putting practice area. We thus played only nine holes today, the former 10-18 holes. Nine holes was just perfect on this great day for golf.

Araslöv Golf Klubb City

The colorful parrot logo was an interesting choice in Sweden. The course was mostly a links style course with few trees and lots of very tall rough.

We asked what the course record was and were told that it was a 3 under par 32.

It still is.

Uffe Palmbrink teeing off on the #2 hole

The easy winner of the Rookie-of-the-Day award, as he set a blistering pace the entire round. He earned a par 4 on the 292 meter seventh hole.

Uffe's sister Victoria

Her game compares favorably to Sorenstam's.

Ryan Bolland

Ryan actually played on the Buena H.S. golf team. He had not played golf since then he claimed. You would not have known it as he got a par 3 on the 132 meter eighth hole.

The Happy Face bunker
protecting the eighth green

Overkill protection on this 132 meter, par 3 hole if you ask me.

The 404 meter, par 5, sixth hole was my favorite. The green has five very mature trees blocking any normal approach to the pin . . . nice touch. Three of us took 11s on this hole, Uffe kicked butt with an eight!

Lots of fun thanks to Victoria and Uffe hosting us.

We stopped at Castle Palmbrink in Vinslöv on the way home for some of Elin's world famous fika. We were not disappointed in the least!

In the evening, Ryan, Laurie and I went to the Cordeiro home for a great BBQ rib dinner and a remarkable cheese cake dessert. As always, Shawn, Katerina, Willian and Adrian were perfect hosts.

Ryan will be staying at their much more spacious home for the next week.

Golf, food and friends, it doesn't get any better than this!


Friday, July 30, 2010

Ryan Bolland Arrives

The Gulf Stream helps Sweden maintain a relatively mild climate despite its northerly latitude.

But not so much today, as it rained all day, way to moderate!

Ryan Bolland on Copenhagen's Nyhavn

The "Big Deal-of-the-Day" was the arrival of Ryan in Denmark. Actually he arrived last night while we were at practice and spent the night in the Danish capital.

I met him at his hotel at 8:30 a.m. today with the idea of showing him some of Copenhagen's highlights. Unfortunately, the unexpected rain cut our visit short so we went to Plan B and got on the 10:43 a.m. train to Hässleholm.

The reason that Ryan was coming to H-town was to help coach our wide receivers and defensive backs during the last three weeks of the Hurricanes' season. I am really looking forward to his help and youthful enthusiasm!

I first met Ryan at Buena H.S. in Ventura, California where I spent three seasons as a defensive coordinator. Ryan was versatile player for us during the 2002-03 seasons as he played Free Safety, Strong Safety, Linebacker and Long Snapper.

After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, he embarked on his teaching/coaching career having spent the last two years in Mississippi working in Jackson while earning a Masters degree from the University of Mississippi.

Now he joins the Hurricanes to experience the uniqueness of coaching American football in Europe.

Welcome to Sweden!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Final Detail

Astrid Lindgren wrote the books about Pippi Longstocking.

Myron Bolitar #6

Today I finished the sixth and final installment in the Myron Bolitar mystery series by Harlan Coben that the D'Antuono's sent me.

If you have a wise ass friend who you think needs to be slapped around a little, then you would enjoy this installment.

A little more complicated plot line this time around made it a better read than the others.

My question is, how many more books are there in this series?

Practice tonight was long on valuable 1-on-1 fundamentals but woefully short on players with only 11 Hurricanes were in attendance tonight.

We continue to organize and plan a real start for both a Junior and a PeeWee program sometime in the near future. Interested young athletes are in our area, now it is up to us to provide them with a quality product.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

James Jones

James Jones, 1975-2010

I received the sad news from Camarillo today that James Jones had passed away due to an acute asthma attack on July 24th.

James graduated from Rio Mesa with our son Michael in 1994. He was a huge teddy bear of a man who loved his family, life and his friends, you could not help but like him. He was married to his junior high school sweetheart, Kathleen, for 18 years and leaves behind four children ages 14 to 6.

He was an amazing athlete, quick, fast and agile, which just did not seem to fit his short, squat, 300
+ lbs. body. For the Spartans, he was a back-up fullback. Think Refrigerator Perry and a starting defensive tackle. Think very hard to block.

My favorite athletic memory of James came his senior season in the crosstown rivalry game at Camarillo H.S.

The Scorpions were kicking off to us and I was at the top of Camarillo's huge hillside stadium in the spotter's booth. James was positioned in our second line and the short kick wound up in his hands. You at first heard the Camarillo crowd almost chuckling as the "Big Boy" started to move up the field. Suddenly he put on a burst of speed and Scorpions were literally bouncing off of him left and right.

Later on the video tape of the game you could here the crowd's mood change from amusement to "What the . . . " to "Oh, my God!" I'll never forget that roar from the hostile home crowd in appreciation of having just seen something that they probably would never see again.

You must remember, James was like a booster rocket, made to be explosive but not for long. After about 40 yards on this fabled return, he ran out of gas and a couple of Camarillo players were able to finally bring down our now "wounded" Spartan hero.

We would go on to win that game and if memory serves me correctly, James scored one of his patented short yardage, goal line TDs.

James was one of the good guys.

On the Wallander Trail

Before I left for Sweden, Mike and Susan D'Antuono got me hooked on Stieg Larsson's book set in Sweden, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." It was the first of Larsson's three Millenium Series books and I would quickly read the second and third installments after arriving in Hassleholm. GREAT BOOKS!

Laurie read the Millenium Series as well and we made it a point to visit some of the real live Millenium sights in Stockholm a few weeks ago.

Once in Sweden, Johan Hammarqvist got me going on Vilhelm Moberg's four book Emigrant Series about a farming family that leaves the nearby Småland area in 1850 to emigrate to Minnesota. It was a very interseting set of tomes, quite different from the Swedish mysteries I'd been reading. I need to get back up to Växjö to see the Emigrant Museum dedicated to Moberg's storyline about the massive Swedish emigration to America in the second half of he 19th century.

That brings us to today's activity. Uffe Palmbrink clued me in to Sweden's other great detective series written by Henning Mankel. Mankel's books predate Larsson's by several years and feature a not so hip, grumpy, depressed detective named Kurt Wallander.

The Wallander series now feature 11 books as well as nine Swedish movies and six Kenneth Bragnagh English films based on these books. Additionally, another 22 Swedish movies based on ideas by Mankell about his star detective have been produced. Obviously, the Wallander series is a huge hit in Sweden.

Kurt Wallander is a fictional detective who lives in the very real Baltic seaport town of Ystad which is only a two train, two hour (based on not missing a connection which we did in both directions) ride through Skåne. In the books he works for the Ystad Police Department and travels all over Skåne chasing down some really evil criminals. He even has been in Hässleholm a few times in his travels.

Since I have finished the first six books in the series and Laurie has knocked out the first four stories, we felt it was now time to go to . . .

Couldn't they have moved these poles
just a few feet to the left?

As timing would have it, Laurie and I were both still reading Myron Bolitar mysteries on the train trip into Ystad.

I felt guilty.

This was my second trip to Ystad, Laurie's first. My first trip there was back in April before I had started reading any of the Wallander books. Actually, I bought my copy of "Faceless Killers" the first book in the series on that trip in the bookshop on the Stortorget. In Mankell's mystery novels, Wallander is a loyal customer of this same bookshop.

The Ystad Tourist Office has a booklet entitled "In the Footsteps of Wallander" that has maps and descriptions of Ystad's and Skåne's real life sights that are mentioned in Wallander books and movies.

We took the bait.

Wallander's Favorite Café

At Fridholf's Konditori, we shared a delicious shrimp sandwich and had some coffee, imagine that.

A tasty Fridholf's dessert
completed the afternoon Fika circle

Quaint Streets

Back in April, Ystad was a sleepy little seaport village with a population listed at 27,700 inhabitants. Now we are in the ides of Summer and the town is wide awake catering to the tourist clientele.

I love the bright colored homes, the half-timbered buildings and the rambling cobbled streets.

The oldest Hotell in all of Sweden

Yes, two L's is correct. We saw this sign around the corner from the Hotell's main entrance. It was opened in 1829.

The Main Entrance

The Hotell Continental is also home to one of Wallander's favorite restaurants. Their dining room is a very nice, up-scale chandeliered affar.

The Bröderna M Pizzeria

Another Wallander favorite hang out, it plays a prominent part in one of the Wallander book/movies, "Firewall."

Firewall is book#8 in the series and I am scheduled to start reading book #7, "One Step Behind," tomorrow.

Ystad's Stortorget

Ystad's Main Square, the bookshop is in the second red building on the right. Many of the Wallander movie scenes take place here.

It is the Tourist Season

Stora Östergatan is Ystad's main pedestrian only shopping street and Laurie finally bought the clogs she wanted in the SkonsSam shop. She bought tan colored leather Skåne Toffeln clogs made in Sweden no less!

Crazy Mane

The Stortorget has it all.

Fire Engine Rides

With only a bungee cord to secure the passengers in their seats, it was off to tour the town. Somewhere Brian FitzGerald nodded his silent approval.

Not for us.

The Church of S:ta Maria

I know it's probably Saint Maria, but when it is a female saint, this is the way it is written.

Wallander got married in this church to his now ex-wife Mona. There will be a funeral here for one of Wallander's murdered colleagues, I won't say which one so as not to ruin the shock.

S:ta Maria Church Door Ornament

Laurie liked this painting in S:ta Maria

"Take a picture!"

" Yes, dear."

Ystad grows BIG Hollyhocks

Ystad has a thriving art community

We ducked into this pottery shop and bought a small copy of the Ystad's signature Tornväktaren, the night watchman.

Throwing some pottery

Klostret i Ystad

In 1267, Franciscan monks came to Ystad and established this Old Monastery dedicated to St. Francis. They were dubbed the Grey Friars as they dressed in simple cowls and, as they were also mendicant friars, they had to beg for their daily bread.

By 1532, the Protestant Reformation power hounded these Catholic friars out of town and used the monastery as a hospital.

In 1777, the hospital was closed and turned into a Royal distillery. It would evetually become a barn for grain storage and by 1876, the old monastery was in very poor condition when the town bought the land with the intent to level it.

They never did.

In 1907, the Ystad Archaelogical Association was established with its main purpose being to restore the monastery. It was re-consecrated as the church of St. Peter and used as a parish church until the 1960s. Now it is a church, museum and garden complex that is soothing to the spirit, mind and eye.

In "Firewall," victim Tynnes Falk's apartment is near the Old Monastery.

The Old Monastery's Ceiling

Just a cool, old wooden door

A Half-Timbered House

Very typical in old town Ystad, this one is next to the Old Monastery.

Laurie by the Monastery's Duck Pond

Glass Art

Looking out of one of Ystad's art shops onto their outdoor restaurant.


Another well preserved half-timbered house, built in the 1500s!

"Say it ain't so!"

How could Pizza Istanbul possibly go out of business with a name like that?

Österportstorg's Grillen

In Wallander's very health conscious diet, this is his main Ystad choice for a good hot dog with all the fixin's.

Kurt Wallander has a whiskey
or two here on occasion

We settled for a time-out from walking and a Czech beer.

The King's Head Pub's amiable
bar keep at work

The view from inside the King's Head Pub

We were close now to our main highlight . . .

The street where Kurt Wallander lives

Mariagatan 10

This is it!

I believe he lives in that roundish bay window of an apartment on the left.

It was now time to head on back to Icelandia as it was getting late.

Cubans in Ystad?

We missed our first train home, so we killed some time roaming the streets of Ystad some more.

What is that structure coming
out of this building's roof?

A Turret and a Swedish Pennant

The Ystad Theater

Built in 1894, it was in a scene of the Swedish Wallander film "The Cellist."

It is still in use today for several cultural events.

We had a fun day in Ystad. It is a good place to be on a nice Summer afternoon.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Day at Lursjöbaden

There are nearly 100,000 lakes in Sweden.

Today we joined Johan and Henning Hammarqvist for a drive out to one of them.


The suffix "sjön" in Swedish means lake, so in English we were at Lake Lur.

Now growing up in southern California, our water attraction was always the Pacific Ocean, 40th Street in Newport Beach to be specific. The lure of the surf is part of the lore of life in the Golden State.

In my golden days, I now find lakes so soothing and beautiful.

Kids Area

Henning loved the slide as it turned out.

Setting up our spot


It means shallow. This lake is like the beach at Carpinteria, very shallow a long way from the shore.

Hey, isn't Carpinteria the "World's Safest Beach?"

"Sun, Fun, Stay, Play"

This Bakersfield slogan fits these kids at Lursjön a lot better it seems to me.

Blessed Shade

Henning auditioning for the role of the
Penquin in the new Swedish Batman movie

Living in that yellow house would be SWEET!

Johan and Henning

It is amazing how much fun you can have with just a lake and a bucket.

I hope Henning had fun too.



In the evening, it was time for our first Hurricanes practice in six weeks as we prepare for the last two games of the season.

I guess my comments frightened
away three potential PeeWees

"What he said gave me a headache!"

Lots of the players brought their wives, girlfriends and kids to practice.

For Mira Palmbrink,
tonight was all about nutrition

Attendance was low

It was to be expected, in Sweden July is the big vacation month. Still, the ones who came worked hard and got another day better.

Someday Ludvig, someday . . .

Johan Hammarqvist came to practice

Here he is working PeeWees Henning and Ludvig on a fumble recovery drill on asphalt!

He is a tough, no nonsense, old school coach.


Did anybody get the license
plate number of that truck?

Don't worry Ludvig, the first time you take one of these ear hole shots, think Alex Lilja, it IS quite stunning.

Unfortunately, the next time won't feel any better.

Ludvig, if you must know, Mira was the Wide Receiver doing the cracking on this play.

Half-line Offense vs. Air

Working on the Passing Game

While our passing game looked good tonight, our catching game still needs a lot of improving.