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.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

dark waters

more orange

This is my right foot, wearing (one of) my red Campers winter boots. They look like something wrestlers would wear, so I tend to get my way when I wear them. I think the toe is scuffed because of the VW's limited foot room.
As far as food court food goes this Korean spicy soup was the best ever. It cleared out my sinuses and made me sweat just below my eyes just like the guy who sold it said it would. It looks like I had a basin of soup there, but I actually did not. I did scrape the bowl though. Plastic spoon against styrofoam is not pleasant, but it was so worth it.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

no, I am not about to make gingerbread using an american recipe

Orange is a very popular color for Thanksgiving. I am kind of glad we are done with it, though, because when it comes down to it I am in favor of Christmas.

I need to go to IKEA in search of that gingerbread dough. If they don't have it I will have to make my own, which would involve buying a metric scale because I won't be responsible for converting metric weight measurements into American volume measurements. That's probably 5th grade math, but I just don't feel like it. Not where there is baking involved, and the stability of a gingerbread house is at stake. The Fahrenheits of the oven are bad enough.

I also need to draw a plan for the house and test out the construction. And see if I can find a cheapo version of the silicon mats Martha Stewart uses to line her cookie sheets. Gingerbread house construction requires that you roll out the dough onto something that can go in the oven. If you try to lift and transfer the pieces they will become stretched out and will not fit when it's time for assembly.

Friday, November 24, 2006

that's newfoundland down there

The weirdest thing just happened. I woke up to the smell of warmed-up catered Thanksgiving leftovers, and I thought I was in an airplane on one of those flights across an ocean where they actually give you hot food. Smells exactly the same.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


It's tiring to celebrate Thanksgiving.
There is turkey and stuffing and potatoes and gravy.
Pecan pie, apple pie, and pumpkin pie.
And leftovers.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

no, I don't remember my own license plate

So I ran around today to get some last minute Thanksgiving stuff. I was not alone. I kind of like the desperate tension in stores on the days before big holidays. People tend to interact and bond more and not just keep to themselves and their own cell phone conversations.

I ran into an older gentleman driving a VW Rabbit with a license plate saying "SLOW CAR" or something like that. He asked me what year my car was (that's always the opening line), and then told me that when he was still teaching, he used to get obscene gestures for going too slow on the freeway far more often. Which is kind of funny when you think about it.

Then I saw somebody who had the Los Gatos zip code for their license plate. I am going to go ahead and guess they use it for their ATM pin number too, as well as for various passwords.

I on the other hand make up creative passwords all the time that I never remember. I will probably never get access to the pay your bill service on the PG&E website again I have had to change my password so many times.

I won't ever have to leave my house again.

No dust, just two IKEA candle holders on top of each other.

I read somewhere about the lens that I just got that it turns even the dullest abandoned yard into a place of wonder. So far that seems to be the truth.

that blind again

I didn't wait for Christmas. So now when I take pictures inside the dust shows up.

This digital photography thing is so much fun I don't know what to do with myself.

Monday, November 20, 2006

one nation one holiday

I made a practice apple pie today. Thanksgiving is coming up and pies are a must. Last year we made a practice turkey, and then the real deal one. Both were tasty, but especially the Thanksgiving day one. It was wrapped in bacon by Åsa, and isn't it the truth that bacon makes everything taste good.

Today's apple pie was not wrapped in bacon. The crust (all butter, no shortening) turned out good. But the apples were the wrong kind (Mcintosh). Mcintoshes turn into mush when baked. Tasty mush, but mush all the same. So I googled what apples to use, and now I know to look for Jonathan, Stayman-Winesap, Cox's Orange Pippin, or Jonagold.

Apple pie and turkey aside, what happened to the indigenous peoples of the Americas may turn Thanksgiving into a day of mourning. Winners write history, and they make up the holidays too.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


This is Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. It was on TV tonight.

The movie was in theaters for 11 years straight in Stockholm. That's in the Guinness' Book of Records.

I am not going to try to explain why the Swedes liked it so much. Maybe they just like a good movie.

And it's a really good movie.

may be appended

All I want for Christmas is a macro lens and some good ribs. And a gingerbread house but I guess I will have to make that one myself.

dan's rules of america (cont.)

4. Coffee should be in cups, not bowls, in America.

(1. When you give someone chocolate, you don't get any.
2. If you are not from America, you can't make up "Rules of America".
3. In America, pancakes are "fat".)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

pet peeve (language)

In my mind, you use a recipe to make a dish.
You don't make a recipe.

Just like you use instructions to assemble your IKEA furniture.
You don't assemble the instructions.

Saturday morning back to back PBS cooking shows = a nightmare.

Friday, November 17, 2006

if you were a tree

What would you look like?

no, you are not a flower. (you wish.)

A lot has happened since this time last year. I can't get my head around some of it. But one thing I have been reminded of lately is that there is an element of choice in how we feel about things. Not only, and sometimes not even mostly. But we do have a choice and that's an important thing to remember.

Poppies, on the other hand, do not have choices.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

it's all about that word count (box on the right there)

I do not know why the background of this flower turned blue. I only did very minor photoshop fiddling. In real life it was the greyish green of old grass. Flower has its original color, though.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

pants got dirty too

I photographed things on the ground today. I kind of took it seriously, and didn't move anything off the ground onto a more comfortable hight. Maybe my jacket knocks 20 years off my age, but I sure can feel that bending and kneeling in my sciatica leg. So if the jacket subtracts years my leg adds some, and it all evens out.

Monday, November 13, 2006


So I had an errand today and when I was done and wanted to leave my car was dead. I checked the lights (working) and opened the engine and poked around a little. Obviously I couldn't find anything wrong, it all looked good to me. I called Dan but he was an hour away, and busy. So I just stood there looking lost, thinking about what to do next. Engine still open though, I figured I needed to signal my distress somehow.

About 45 seconds later a wandering mechanic showed up, adapted something to the battery to measure something, deemed it insufficient, got some cables, jump started the car, and off we went to get a new battery. He installed it in five seconds and the car started like a charm.

This may be the best part about the US. Whenever something happens to your car, people just show up and are extremely helpful.

Guy was from Nicaragua, had been to war, and said he had healed himself from the terrors of that experience by positive thinking.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

apparantly wearing something that old cuts your age in half

Went to see Borat. I got the tickets, wearing my leather jacket. Guy gave me the student discount.

The movie kind of left me speechless too.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I spoke too hastily (below).

Actually, you also cannot kill sage.

objets d'artes they're not. (I am unsure of those plurals. I don't know any French anymore.)

I cleaned up the yard. It's fall. The small Japanese maple is turning red. Geraniums and one other thing (sv. kärleksört, eng. orpine) you cannot kill. Everything else is dying.

Sometimes I buy unnecessary garden objects at IKEA. I do not know why I do this. They just end up in that cart. I figured the best way of dealing with them would be placing them close together. At least that way they will be with someone who likes them.

it's pretty crowded, actually. pretty, and crowded.

People ask me aren't I afraid walking in the mountains on my own. If they ask, they don't know how much time the average software developer spend getting fit. There are people everywhere. I am not afraid of software developers.

Friday, November 10, 2006

the thin white duke

Every Thursday before my evening class I have coffee in the same coffee shop across the street from the department. Last night the young woman (mid 30's, I think) who has made my latte for the past several weeks came up to me as I was drinking the coffee and reading papers.

- Are you a teacher?
- Yes.
- Aren't you a litte young to be the teacher?
- No, I am really not...
- I thought you were a student!

And then she went on to ask me what department I was in, and chatted some more.

After this little interaction I finished reading my papers, and got ready for class. As I was gathering my stuff my phone rang. When Dan calls my phone plays David Bowie.

So there I was, in a leather jacket I've used for almost 20 years, my winter boots (15 yrs), answering a phone that played 1970's Britpop.

Maybe now it's time for that gabardine suit.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Bye bye Starbucks.
No more mudpies.
It's-It is a San Francisco
tradition since 1928.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

myself, I think it's pretty (yep. I am an american now.)

My friend Åsa came to visit last year, right before Thanksgiving. When we passed a house decorated like this (it might even have been the same one) she took one look, and asked one question:
It's not that she doesn't appreciate holiday decorations. She does. She appreciates them more than the average person, in fact. But being from a country that, naturally, does not celebrate the most American of holidays she hadn't seen hay and dried corn decorated fences before and it didn't make any sense to her.

I thought that was funny and I have thought of it every holiday since then, whichever one it has been. Because traditional things of any culture rarely make any sense in themselves. And if you actually take a look at them, they too are as weird as prettily arranged hay with miniature pumpkins on top.

we love becki

I got an email today and among other things she said:

Today I was in line to vote and this dad and little boy got in line behind me, so of course I immediately started talking to the little boy (he was in 2nd grade and reading 300 page books, for God’s sake). His dad said “You must be a teacher.” But, obviously, I’m not. I thought that was a nice thing to say though.

And I just think the nicest thing ever was that to her it was a compliment that someone thought she was a teacher.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

they think about each other, just don't talk with each other.

So I am typing away at this novel writing challenge. I am actually caught up with the number of words, and I kind of like my idea. It's not hard. But I have no idea how to write dialogue. So far I have dealt with that by not having anyone meet or interact, but that will only work for so long. People can't have parallell lives for ever. I don't know what to do. I need to read some book and get some ideas.

the rightness of whiteness

I saw this sign in Oakland on Sunday. I had never seen anything like it before. But, then again, I am rarely in predominantly Black or Latino urban neighborhoods. We don't have signs like that in Los Gatos.

Cultural studies scholar John Fiske wrote an article called "White Watch". I use it for class. It's about surveillance and cultural segregation. Who watches over whom [in society]? And who has the right to claim the "truth" [in society]? And: how can it be that we think it's normal that depending on where you are from, the world is a very different thing to you?

Monday, November 06, 2006

all art should just be thrown together like this

As of exactly right now I have 8 077 words of my novel. And hopefully there will be a few hundred more before the day is over.

This is a very weird thing indeed. I kind of always thought I would write a novel some day, but it's completely surprising to me that I am writing this one, and right now. I just sat down and started and now the story writes itself. Maybe that is not how you write a GOOD novel, but it seems to be how I am writing this one. I love the challenge of National Novel Writing Month. Such a great idea.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Friday, November 03, 2006

ship street gardens

My friend Hans was in Brighton on the south coast of England for a visit recently. He spent a year there years and years ago. I did too.

When I lived in Brighton I lived in this alley. It was very quaint indeed.

When looking for an image to borrow online I only found one. It came with instructions to use the alley to get from the pubs in Ship Street to the pubs in Middle Street, thereby saving valuable drinking time.

When I lived there we had to have the mail slot in our front door nailed shut because otherwise drunk people would pee into it at night.

And when I say 'people' I mean 'men', obviously.

at least they are honest. but maybe honesty is overrated.

Last night I walked into my classroom to start class, and somehow lost my voice in the middle of my first sentence. As I am struggling to speak, drink some water, and not loose momentum all at the same time, a kid in the back is asking "Are you sick?" with a voice full of hope.

That's a moment when you don't love being a teacher.

how we learn about the world

I fully intended to watch some news this morning (any news, really). But the cable came on to Comedy Central and there was a Colbert re-run so what could I do.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

another email

From the queen of procrastination:

I have a short script I need to finish by monday. :X
& by "finish," I mean "start."

from babs - the campaign for real beauty

Did you guys know about this campaign or the ad called Evolution -- a 78 second video that shows the evolution of an ordinary woman who turns into a Vogue-type model via stylists, makeup artists and photo-shoppers. Too cool...

Click already:

And then click to see the film.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

my cosy pants have pockets, thank god.

I went for a walk and brought my ipod. And my camera. And my cell phone. I felt extremely mobile.

no, I can't believe it either.

I wrote 2426 words today on a story for the Novel Writing Month challenge. Yesterday I had no idea what I would write, but this morning I just started. And kept going. And then I went for a walk and figured out the basic structure. Just like that!

national novel writing month

National Novel Writing Month started at midnight, November 1. The idea is to write 50 000 words in 30 days.

Word count so far: 7.