Sunday, December 31, 2006

in with the new already

I think late December is my least favorite time of year. I want January. January is new and crisp.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

now you know

Stephen Colbert was discussing the difference between 'peace', and 'peace on earth' on his show a while back. Obviously those two are not synonyms. According to Colbert, 'peace' equals 'cut and run', while 'peace on earth' is just an empty phrase you use around the holidays.

Friday, December 29, 2006

the curse of the golden flower

The Curse of the Golden Flower is a gorgeous movie that more or less is gone from your mind the moment you leave the theater. It's beautiful enough for that not to matter, though. Almost. The symmetry and repetition of movements are stunning. There are fantastic mass scenes. The costumes are magnificient. But the plot is thin and actually not that interesting.
What I did come to think of, though, is a Swedish kids' game. It goes like this. One person asks: "The Emperor of China doesn't have any tea. What does he have?" and the other people have to come up with answers. I asked Dan, and he said "rice". That was a good answer. He asked me, and I said "milk" which actually is a good answer too, but he disqualified it because there hadn't been any cows in the movie we had just seen. (!!) (He doesn't know the secret to the game.)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

from the researchers at the karolinska institutet

For a great visual presentation on world health: click.

mystery solved

The Swedish word for pantyhose literally translates into party-hose. It's one of those words that makes no sense when you start thinking about them.

Finally, I got the explanation: Someone misread the box when pantyhose was first imported, and translated what they thought it said.

That's a good email that tells you something like that. Thanks Gunilla.

reality check

I am reading a book that says that if you are looking into selling your photos through agencies, you need to start by scratching anything having to do with flowers, nature, cute babies, and pro sports off your list.

Pro sports, off. Cute babies, off. Flowers?

My list is awfully short right now.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


I saw a show on racism today on CNN. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't earth shattering either. Paula Zahn had a number of experts on a panel, and as you might expect, they didn't agree. White people have a tendency to say that race doesn't matter, which is a sure fire way of pissing off anybody of color. Blacks and whites have different experiences in America, and sometimes it's hard for white people to accept and understand that. It's also hard for some white Americans to get their heads around the amount of symbolic power they enjoy, because to them, enjoying it is normal. And what is normal is hard to see.

During the show they talked about a Harvard University psychological test, that is said to expose inclinations to favor one race over another. The test is available online. (Click on this link, and then on 'Race IAT'.) I took it. It's interesting.

The test comes with a disclaimer: Do not take it if you are not prepared to receive uncomfortable results.


spring has sprung


Christmas is over. My boyfriend just smashed the gingerbreadhouse.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

'tis the season

Went to see The Good Shepherd, the new film directed by Robert De Niro.

This is the first image google provides using the title as keywords.

The movie is not very good. The acting is fabulous, but there isn't really a story, which makes the almost 3 hours very long indeed.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

thankfully, there is help

Thank you so much to my favorite Noel for my favorite card!
I miss you too! I am crying my eyes out that's how much I miss you!

there are no main characters in real life

I am reading a blog written by a woman who grew up in the same small town as I, and then lived in the city where I used to live. Her stories are like shadows of my own memories.

I had the same experience at a dinner party once, when I sat next to someone who had grown up in the same neighborhood as I. We never knew each other as children, and when we finally met and talked we were in our 30's. Growing up, each of us had been in the background of the other's life. He was friends with the much older brother of one of my friends. I vaguely knew that he was the cousin of a friend of another of my friends. He knew my house because his grandparents lived close by. We had had the same teachers, in the same schools.

As we spoke, and he told his stories, images of my early childhood came back to me. I saw myself from a distance, playing with my friends, or us walking past the big tree the guy I was talking to said he had liked sitting under, thinking, as a boy.

The tree is to the right of the tall building in the middle of the old postcard above.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

if you're expecting something from me, now you know...

I mailed off my Christmas presents today. December 19 is distinctly better late than never.

The line at the post office was a mile long. But it took me almost all of my time in line to fill out all the customs forms.

The line at Office Depot to buy what little they had left of bubble wrap was a mile long too. And the stress level in the store was a mile high. At one point two 200 pound men made an entire shelf of sharpies fall to the floor just by trying to get past me holding all my bubble wrap and brown paper. They scrambled to pick up the sharpies, then rushed off to bigger and better things.

The atmosphere in the post office was pleasant. The employees at my post office are extremely nice. Especially one woman. I have no idea how she does it but she makes you want to stay in the post office longer. Her name is Hope. She is a wonder.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

happy planet index

This is an interesting test. It measures how happy you are, and to what expense to the planet. The sad thing is that if you live in the US, there is no way you can make the planet happy. Life here is just not set up that way.

One girl I know took the test and this is her reaction to the response she got:

they tell me i need to take more public transport, but what they don't know is that i carpool, bart, walk, bus, & caltrain all over the place. :X

What she is saying is that she IS taking public transport. But that doesn't help, because she needs to travel great distances every day between different jobs and home.


My boyfriend is now telling me that if you make jokes, you are probably not that sick.

This is not the truth.

I also think that when you are sick, you should have an army of glasses next to your bed, containing different things. that's about the only perk.

I have the stomach flu. No one likes that.

Once when I was growing up I had a stomach flu that lasted for a week. In the end it was almost humorous. I just couldn't keep anything down. So my mom gave in and called the school nurse for advice. The nurse told my mother, who ran a strictly coke-free household, that "actually, flat coca cola may work." So that's what I had and wasn't that the best drink ever. Now I have expanded my range to also include flat 7-Up. But that's because I am grown-up now.

Friday, December 15, 2006


I was minding my own business last night before giving a final.
Just playing with my phone.
When all of a sudden a police car drove up, real fast.
They stopped very close to the library.
There were two cars total.
The police ran into the library.
I have no idea why, but it was kind of dramatic.

The university has its own campus police.

want to know something about swedish culture?

Just saw this product at Target. It made me feel oddly homesick, even though it was made in Chicago, Ill.

But now, when I look at the package with a more detached eye, I see something else. Those "pancakes" there? They're not pancakes. They are "plättar". Plättar are small, pancakes are large. I am serious.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

household tips (I)

My boyfriend just showed me how vinegar will do wonders for making glass shiny.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

that's good stuff right there

In the beginning
there was Quik.

Then there was
Starbucks' Strawberry
For a truly grown-up,
yet oh-so familiar, taste:

Sunday, December 10, 2006

free men's right to abuse their children

We went to see Mel Gibson's Apocalypto. It's easily the goriest movie I ever saw. (Dan says that is because I didn't see Passion of the Christ.)

Apocalypto is rated R. That means: "No one under 17 admitted unless accompanied by parent or adult guardian." A rating NC-17 stands for "No Children 17 and under admitted."

All this means that as a parent, or guardian, you are free to bring your kids to pretty much any movie you want. Very few movies get the NC-17 rating.

There were little kids in the audience tonight that cried. We went to a 7:40 show. Apocalypto doesn't really have a story, but a mom and her little boy spend almost all of the 2 hours and 18 minutes at the bottom of a deep pit. That alone is scary if you are a kid. All the gore is just trimmings.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

that snow there looks an awful lot like those things of hay you see sometimes in the fields in summer

I made a gingerbread house today. No, I didn't make it. But I assembled and decorated the kit I got at IKEA.

If you look closely you can see that the windows have real panes. They are made from transparancies for the overhead projector. (Yes, I am a teacher.)
That's not a birthday cake candle. It's a gingerbread house candle. And a little gingerbread house man.I also made icicles.

dec 9

Happy Namesday all Annas!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I am all set. don't need a thing.

My new camera bag. I have put it right here next to the bed. I pretty much feel like I did when I started first grade, and got a new bag for school. It's so very pretty and red. Pretty and perfect. And red.


I bought a camera bag today.
It's red and very pretty.
I read 37 papers today.
They were alright.
I had 3 quesadillas today.
They were delicious.

My cholesterol is probably delicious right now too.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

my car's faster older brother

I came across this Porsche today. I don't know how old it is, but you can tell it's related to the Karmann Ghia. (Hadn't I cut the nose off the car that actually would have been more evident.)

Anyway. I love the frozen peas shade of green.

the smell of potpurri coming from the crafts store next door was overwhelming

Dan and I had lunch in south San Jose, where of course as in all of San Jose you will find the best food in the most unexpected places.
Well they really are not unexpected, because you know they will be there in the random strip malls, next to the Walgreen's and the Albertson's, and the Michael's. But you never know what you will find, or where.
This one was part of a middle Eastern food store, and the falafels and kabob wraps were super tasty.

the dogs of los gatos

I overheard a woman at Trader Joe's yesterday saying she was looking for ground turkey for her dogs.

It's the truth that the dogs of Los Gatos eat better than most people in the world.

The 1985 film Letter to Brezhnev tells the story of an English girl wanting to emigrate to the Soviet Union to be with her boyfriend. They had met when he came to her English city on the ship where he was working.

At one point in the movie, when people around her can't understand why she would willingly move to a country where people don't even have food, she says something like "if you want to see empty pantrys, take a look in the kitchens in you own street". People were poor in Thatcher's Britain too.

The dogs of Los Gatos eat better than most people in the world, and they eat better than most people in San Jose.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

exit muttering

My boyfriend says I am a smartypants for pointing out that Sinter Klaus (Sinterklaas) is Dutch, not Danish, even though the people writing the little pieces of trivia that come on before the commercials say he is Danish.

Americans just can't keep those little countries straight.

We're watching Miracle on 34th street, in case you were wondering.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

japanese friendship garden

We went to Filoli Gardens today to take pictures, but it was closed. So we drove to the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Jose instead. (The girl below was not planted as a prop, she was part of a photo shoot.)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

3rd time is a charm

I was in the elevator in the parking garage after my class tonight, and we were just getting to my floor, when the woman next to me asked:

- So you go to San Jose State?
- No, I am teacher, I said.
- So you are getting your credentials?
- No, I am a professor!
- Oh!

And that's when I had to get off.

It's that leather jacket. I am telling you.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

deal or no deal

Deal Or No Deal is my favorite dumb show. It's dumb because it's about nothing, but that's also what makes it so good. There are dumb shows that are way dumber, whereas Deal Or No Deal is dumb but good because there are no questions or complicated set-ups. The people just get to pick numbers one by one, and chance and timing are the only things they can rely on to win some money in the end. I think it's great.

And it's funny because I think they have a giant Deal Or No Deal wardrobe where the people get to pick out their slacks and matching shirts. Everybody (participants and their made up of family members supporting teams) who is on that show wear exactly the same kind of clothes. If Banana Republic has a Game Show line, that would be it.

gingersnaps. the hard facts.

For Annaa.
In America you know what you eat.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

that 's a confusing mistake to make (bilingual)

lanky= smal (person)
lankigt= thin (coffee)

I just told Dan French presses make lanky coffee.

When you have two languages in your head at all times sometimes they come out funny. I was talking to a Mexican friend once and he said he needed to go help his friend move her ropes. Her ropes? Turned out he meant her clothes. The Spanish 'ropas'= clothes. His brain took the Spanish, pronounced it in English, and turned it into plural. Makes sense, in a way.

Sometimes when I type my fingers translate too. I may intend to type 'Tuesday' and on the screen I see appear 'tisdag'.


These berries come out in fall. They are everywhere. I don't know what they are or if you can make anything with them. No birds seem to eat them so maybe they are poisonous. I've tried drying them and they look good for a while. I know there is a trick to preserving berries. Hairspray? Clear nailpolish? I don't remember anymore but I think I will try.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Christmas in November.
Thank you very much IKEA.
I celebrated with a couple of gingersnaps.

And, oh, it's electric.
No need to worry about those plants there.