Tuesday, February 28, 2006

And she's right, of course

Today is the last day of February, and therefore also the last day of Black History Month. I asked my class today what that means to them. "It means there will be another year until I hear about Martin Luther King Jr. again", one of the girls said.

I was at the unveiling of the statue honoring John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the San Jose State University campus a few months ago. Carlos and Smith were the two African American athletes who raised their fists in that famous gesture during a ceremony at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.
I was completely excited to see them in real life. I can't even begin to describe it. But I took some photos... So here they are, sitting on stage, listening to speeches. Once again accompanied by the silvermedalist, Peter Norman of Australia.
Peter Norman speaks of himself as "the white guy in the photo". What not everybody knows is that he took an active part in the protest, and has been friends with Carlos and Smith ever since. But the statue on the San Jose State campus leaves the silvermedalist's spot empty; Norman is not included. Why? To give us all the opportunity to climb up and stand there for a moment, and try out what it would feel like.

Yes. Sometimes the right thing to do is to stand still, and shut up.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

more brotherly love

So the Swedes

beat the Finns
in the final game for the Olympic gold in icehockey. To sum up the Swedish news coverage of the event: The Finns are cry-babies.

Hej Hasse!

Biff ala Lindström.
Sunday brunch.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

sticking it to the Finns

Sweden: 6 gold, 2 silver, 5 bronze
Finland: 0 gold, 6 silver, 3 bronze

headline: Congratulations on another silver, Finland!
(Aftonbladet Feb. 25, 2006)

more yellow and blue

This is the Swedish king hugging Anna Carin Olofsson, an Olympic athlete who had just won a gold medal.

Swedes are warm and fuzzy.

Friday, February 24, 2006

yellow and blue

I went to IKEA again. I really really like it there. There is something so comforting about seeing the name of the tiny town where my mom grew up on a foot stool.

And then there is the smell when you enter the pick-up area. Cinnamon and cut wood, two things close to the hearts of my people. The air from the cafeteria must travel a funny way though.

Today a Swedish woman was standing next to the frozen food, telling random Americans that the Swedish word for salmon is "lax". They were not overly interested. (There was indeed salmon in the frozen food section, along with the meatballs and flatbread.)

When you leave, this is what you see.
It's odd to see the IKEA logo in yellow and blue. When I was growing up it was always red and white. I think it still is in Sweden. Maybe you don't have to be nationalistic when you are actually there.

Hej då. Bye bye.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

from the shores of the Baltic sea

So this is California, where on an average February day you will wear flip-flops and a big woolen scarf.
I got the scarf in Tallinn, Estonia, in 1995. I had never been to the former Soviet Union before and I was shocked by the wide unfriendly empty streets, the high unfriendly buildings, and the not to be messed with former communist officials. I also got this hat and scarf --- an all-in-one creation:
I use it when I have a cold.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Some call her Carmen

That's my car behind there.
They say about the Karmann Ghia that you don't know if it's coming,

or going.

I don't think that's true.

Oh wait.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

gotta love Pedro

This was a nice Indian lunch. I know it doesn't look like much, but it was tasty. It was chicken kabob and cucumber salad.

I really like Indian food, and I really like Pedro Almodovar. We just watched Live Flesh. It's good.

Once on a plane I started watching Something's Gotta Give with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson. I was bored and irritated with the perfect beach house setting and the perfect beach house off white linen summer clothes on everybody. Too much of that, and too much of bare feet on wooden floors. I flipped through the movies and found Talk To Her, Almodovar's film about a woman in a coma and the man who loves her in not so healthy ways. It was great.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I was let out at night

I was in the doghouse today. At 8PM I had to go to Safeway in my pyjamas to get chocolate icecream to make up for it. That worked. It sure was nice to come out.

My tulips are even prettier today.

On a different note: Metro PCS really has lousy coverage in downtown Los Gatos.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The most unassuming scent of Spring

Thanks Anna and Greg for the prettiest tulips ever. Who can resist the crunchiness of a tulip?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

More kitchen stories

So I didn't make meatballs after all. For dinner tomorrow there will be salmon, salads, and a yummy lentil soup made by Dan. The soup:
I made a lemon parfait for dessert. Kathy had given me lemons from their tree, and they are tasty. The parfait tasted good too. The lemons:
Meatball update: My mom says to use oats instead of breadcrumbs, and a splash of water in addition to what I had added before. I'll make them when I have more energy, and fewer vegetarians coming over for dinner.

I did some low grade kitchen cleaning today too. There was serious splatter around the stove. Red as in crushed tomatoes, and brown as in dried crushed tomatoes.

Kitchen Stories

This is a photo from the film. The story, based on real events, is that Swedish researchers are sent to observe Norwegian bachelors' kitchen habits. The objective of the research is to design more functional kitchens. The observers will sit on those abnormally high chairs, and take notes on the potterings-about. The scene is from a training session before departure.

Here they depart for Norway:
You can see a chair tied to the back of each caravan.

Friday, February 17, 2006

boxes and boxes

Went to IKEA today and bought things for 31 dollars, an all time low. Nothing you can eat. No chocolate, no fish paste, no deep frozen birthday cake. Instead we got boxes for putting things away. This house is not getting any bigger, but we have a closet of Narnia proportions.
I need more assistance with that meatball recipe. Dan's cousins want Swedish food.

Speaking of food, and Scandinavia, the Norwegian movie Kitchen Stories (Salmer fra kjokkenet) is really very good. I saw it a while ago and it made me oddly homesick for Samuel Beckett.

One cool woman

The Pretenders is coming to San Francisco on March 30.

And this makes me think of Hillevi Ganetz.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


This puzzle maker website is the perfect distraction. I am addicted.

I am also addicted to coffee. The blood orange salad. Pineapple. Ipod. Project Runway. Could be worse.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

More from February 14

This is Jason and Kat, two of my favorite students. I took the photo with my phone. Kat is from the Philippines and Jason is from Hawaii. Kat says that before she had her hair straightened it was as curly as Jason's.

Other news: The two young men who attacked Dan in November were convicted today. They each got two years in a state prison for assault and battery. Dan's eye is still not completely healed.

I can't decide if two years is a long time, or a short time.

Happy Valentine's Day!

The best roses ever from the best Sweetheart ever.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


I spent the weekend at the Hidden Villa. It's right there behind the trees. I met a cat named Oscar and there were cows and a rooster, and 19 college students.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I made meatballs

They look like my Mom's, but don't taste as good. I don't know what else she puts in there. I used: meat, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, an egg, salt, pepper, and allspice. Tasty, but not perfect.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

We're open today!

That was what the Korean couple told me when I got my coffee from them this morning. Yesterday was a bad day, I told them.

So then later, for lunch, I was able to get what I wanted. A Super Squeeze:Pineapple, banana, protein, and ginseng. And probably other things I don't remember right now.

One of my very few African American students told me today that because she feels "OK" with me (a white person), ironically she thinks having gotten to know me will make it even more difficult for her to get by in the real world. She knows the white people she feels comfortable with are few and far between and chances are she will always be disappointed. And somehow it's worse to know it's possible to get along with a white person and then never have it happen again, than not even to know of the possibility.

Her compliment made me happy. But what she said is completely upsetting, I think. And I have no doubt she was telling the truth.

Monday, February 06, 2006

No lunch today

My favorite Korean run tiny lunch cafe was closed today so I had to go to the corner store and get brandname substitutes for my coffee and fruit, protein, and ginseng smoothie. This was not good.The entire thing gave me a headache. My next stop was the department office where the women working there keep a giant bottle of aspirin next to the m&m dispensers. There is a constant supply of both aspirin and m&m's. They say that every finals week they strongly consider putting the aspirin directly into the m&m dispensers.

All through my non-lunch experience my office mate was talking to her do it yourself and play around with photos software tutorial. They were not seeing eye to eye and neither of them was giving in.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


This is Åsa, doing what?


OK so now David Bowie is on PBS. Dan says we have the same hair. This is funny to me because for as long as I can remember I have meant to bring this to a hair appointment:
(The photo of his current do won't load so we can't make any 21st century comparisons.)

I am now watching TV with earphones on. This house is very small and I guess there is only so much aging Britpop even the best of Americans can take.

Clean clothes

Here they are, the dryers from yesterday.

Bathroom mat still not dry, though.

Anderson Cooper is on CNN right now. The man has made a career out of standing around in outdoor journalism outfits (linen shirt and jeans, down jacket when cold) talking about victims of natural catastrophies or accidents. He does this amazingly well. Emotional, but never melodramatic. Hair in order, no obvious signs of hairspray. Google 'metrosexual journalism' and I bet he comes up. As a matter of fact, I just googled his name and this photo came up:

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

black history month

Strange Fruit
(by Abel Meeropol, pseudonym: Lewis Allan)

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
the bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
scent of magnolia, sweet and fresh,
and the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
for the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
for the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
here is a strange and bitter crop.