30 June 2007

The one about the Quadriga Bassoon Ensemble

The answer to the joke "How do you get four saxophones to play in tune?" is to shoot three of them. Five bassoons playing "Pictures at an Exhibition" is however no joke. We have been listening to the latest release of the Quadriga Bassoon Ensemble featuring Dag Jensen. During my visit to Berlin, this was one of the CDs that my friend Douglas, a member of Quadriga, gave me to settle his debt. He would not believe me that Felix Mendelssohn had a sister, called Fanny, who was also a composer. The bet was that if the CD store stocked any CD featuring Fanny's music, Douglas would give me his whole CD collection. The look on his face was pricless when the shop (female)attendent inform him proudly that there was a whole section of Fanny Mendelssohn CDs. Fortunately for Douglas, I could not take all his CDs due to baggage weight limitation on Air Berlin.

27 June 2007

The one about Groote Schuur's new tree

The dead palm tree in front of the Old Main Building at Groote Schuur Hospital was replaced yesterday. A very similar tree was sourced from elsewhere on the hospital grounds. Appartently the delivery fee was a bargain at only R25000.

And I'm back!

Home. Rainy, wet, windy, sunny Kloof Street... and the first cup of coffee at Vida. Man, life is good.
My phone image manager needs a cleaning, so I am downloading a lot of random photos and some of them are on the blog. Enjoy (or not).
What will I remember of Sweden? This poster for a missing favorite teddy sums up my love for this country where everybody is important and life is still gentle.

13 June 2007

The one with 11 days to go

It is quiet here in the PK lab at the BMC. I am all alone. My models are running at the speed of light because I am the only user of the PK/PD cluster.

Here I present the visual predictive checks (VPC) for zidovudine (AZT) and nevirapine (NVP) created using the PSN platform. "Dear diary" moments.

11 June 2007

The one about the letter I didn’t send

Dear SJ

A quick note to thank you for:
1. giving me the time to visit the Horticultural Garden in Gothenburg where I saw this delightful rose [Jake the Obscure]. Next time I will expect all trains to leave 95.23 minutes late.
2. heating the cabin to allow me to continue to enjoy the hot summer’s day inside and outside the train.
3. teaching me humility. After confirming with two ticket collectors that Tåg 442 would actually stop in Uppsala, I faithfully remained onboard during the promised “quick stop over in Stockholm” on the way to Sundvall. Luckily one of your cleaners shoutred at me that this train was going nowhere.
4. the gift of SEK 70 to spend at the lovely restaurants in Stockholm C. Just how blessed did I feel that both Burger King, Pizza Hut and McDonalds were still open to provide the freshest of Swedish cuisine.

Now your unconditional Number 1 fan,

[and to quote Chandler Bing: “and… send!”]

The one about the stones at Lysekil

Ulrika and Johan found old stone for sale on the internet (which turned out to be pink Lysekil granite). We traveled thereto meet the seller and to see some stone. Christer Johansson turned out to be a delightful man who also showed us some of the houses that he was renovating.

The one about Björboholm

Just some pictures of Ulrika and Johan’s home on lake Mjörn.

Erik tried to teach me some basic Swedish and, despite my lack of progress, still decided to include me in his field of interest which also included large farming equipment (notably lorries and tractors). Growing a beard is really starting to pay off…

The one about the return of Götheborg 3

I have been looking forward to visiting Göteborg for quite some time. And after a sleepless night, I snored at 90dB all the way there. After picking me up at Göteborg station, I accompanied Ulrika and Erik to welcome back Göthenborg 3 from her two year journey to China. We were entertained with a cloudless sky, cold beer, hotdogs, Chinese and Swedish flags, a 21 gun royal salute, several genres of music (Chinese, Swedish Chinese, and Swedish) and a viewing of King Gustav and the Chinese President. This was my second viewing of King Gustav III and, true to form, he did not smile.

The one about Brigitte's last day

The Uppsala PK/PD lunch group (including "NONMEM"bers) sushied in the s(h)un. Joy really looked forward to tasting her sushi.

02 June 2007

The one about the best hot chocolate in the world

Fassbender & Rausch claim to be the biggest chocolate store in the world. Who cares? When you can make drinking chocolate that tastes like pure, concentrated orgasm, size really doesn't matter.

Inner Sanctum

The one about wild life in Berlin

So there you are, walking up Potsdamerplatsstrasse (from the Philharmonie) and you see a giraffe peaking out behind the Sony Building. In Africa, you would think "barbeque", in Berlin you think "LEGO". Is it just me, or does Mr Giraffe look really sad?

The one with Berliner action figures

After an absence of 12 years, I returned to Berlin to visit super bassoonist, Dougie Bull (co-principal of the Deutsches Orchester, Berlin). Picture this: I left Sweden on a nice summersday (12ºC with just a light drizzle) dressed in layers including fleece and snow jacket. Exiting Tegel Airport, I experienced what could only be the worlds first human evaporation and started to melt faster than I could undress. I met Dougie at the Philharmonie (I am going to mention this building numerous times in future posts) and had almost 2L of beer before you could count ein...zwei...drei. Then I drank about 5L of various non-alcoholic beverages until bed time. And yet, I had no urinary output for 2 days! I can hear you sigh... "Anyway".

The Berlin Educational System (BES) produces approximately 23.547 geniuses per week. To support their intellectual kinder, Berliner toy stores have to stock superior action figures. These two are my favorites.