Sunday, April 29, 2007

chocolate fudge

So yeah what you don't want to do is aim for equal parts sugar, butter and golden syrup (sirap), and overdo the sugar.

If you keep the parts equal it's a good plan, though. Simmer until desired texture. Stir in cacao powder until desired color, and a pinch of salt. Pour into a buttered container, and cut into pieces.

(The chocolate sauce I figured I could make the same way, and let it boil for only a second or so. I did, but the sugar made it hard, especially when it hit the vanilla ice cream. Good idea, poor execution.)

thumbs up for students, thumbs down for me

Earlier tonight I read a bunch of papers/more like journal entries actually. They were good. I like it when my smart students let their guards down and tell it like it is.

And I made a chocolate sauce today that turned into very hard fudge very fast. I didn't think you could make bad chocolate sauce but apparently you can.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

shopping makes you tired

I went to the outlets in gilroy today. (3 dresses and 1 jacket.)

today: one band-aid, and lots of neosporin

Yesterday I had blood on my hands, twice.

First from some violent gardening involving a bougainvillea and a nameless wine. And then from pulling out the splints. My arms look as if I have a cat. Which, sadly, I don't. The nameless wine is also gone. The bougainvillea is chopped in half.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

email from mayka

excerpt from an SF e-mail newsletter:

lotta love.
just like mom never used to make, old-school lotta's bakery is a throwback to when all your carb-loaded needs were baked in-house daily at the crack of dawn. named for owner g. earl darny's drag persona ("an ex-adult entertainer who's over the hill but still thinks she's got it"), this just-opened bakeshop is way over-the-top. 1720 polk street. at clay. 415.359.9039.

Monday, April 23, 2007

so beach boys it is not, and it's out of season too. but it's good.

Fairytale of New York

It was Christmas Eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me, won't see another one
And then he sang a song
The Rare Old Mountain Dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I've got a feeling
This year's for me and you
So happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

They've got cars big as bars
They've got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It's no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me

You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of New York City
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging,
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on a corner
Then danced through the night

The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing "Galway Bay"
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day

You're a bum
You're a punk
You're an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God it's our last

I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can't make it all alone
I've built my dreams around you

copyright 1988 Shane MacGowan & Jem Finer

Sunday, April 22, 2007

pogues and poppies. I liked this sunday.

but oh the pogues. five times fairytale of new york later I am liking it better.

My ipod lets me listen to the Swedish news while I am on the trail. Itunes lets me buy music I miss.

Everything is accessible at all times and post modern layers are blah blah blah really cool blah blah.

But: Is this now or is it 1990? Is that car I hear here, or is it in Paris, part of the background noise from the story about the French election?

It's freaking me out I am not joking.


I re-bought George Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier the other day. I have another copy somewhere but this one I am reading right now. It's good.

I also got the New York Review of Books to read an article about Joan Didion.

These things, in addition to the two 'get to know the library'-sessions in the chapel-turned-classroom last week make me feel quite the intellectual.

and guess what, fox news is taking the high road. no images of cho. (they talk about him non stop, though.)

I got tacos for breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon, garlic, and onion in them. And hot sauce on top. And coffee in my small Arabian glass. This is a good Sunday.

Friday, April 20, 2007

my 2 cents

I get sucked into wall to wall media coverage, whatever it is. So for the past few days I have learned a lot of details about the Virginia Tech shootings. And since I teach Intro to Mass Comm right now I have discussed both coverage and the event itself with students.

My students are scared. They are young, and away from home. And all the words of the media stories are familiar to them: dorms, classrooms, halls, boyfriends, girlfriends, plans for the future.

It's hard for me to accept the notion that there should be pure evil in people. I just don't think that is true. I think people are basically good, but that bad things can happen to them to make them angry and vindictive. Obviously we don't know anything about this kid's family background, or what really happened to him earlier in his life. And we don't know anything about his mental health status either. Clearly, it seems, he was very ill.

People have been making connections between the images he created of himself (in the video footage he sent to NBC) and images created in some real movies. Specifically one violent Korean film, but there are others too.

It seems to me, and this is what I teach in class, that today all of us live in a reality created in part by what we learn through mass media. Through all sorts of fiction we think we 'know' people and settings we have never seen in real life. We talk about places and situations, we speculate and draw conclusions, as if the events happened to us and people we know.

We move in and out of these layers of real and imagined without reflecting. But most of us understand the difference between fantasy and real life.

It gets dangerous whenever someone takes their fantasy public. When people act for private reasons in a public setting, or act on private interpretations of the world where others are involved. To some degree I think that's true for all of us; when we make others pay for how we feel. Or impose our world view on others.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

email from robyn

do programmers have a sense of humor ...?

1. go to
2. type "from New York to London" into the box
3. click on "Search Maps"
4. scroll down to step #24

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Monday, April 16, 2007

they asked me to write a column for a newsletter. here it is.

One of my students spoke in class recently about her study abroad experience in London. There, for the first time in her life, she had seen white people doing low-level working class jobs. Talking about it made her nervous and uncomfortable.

Another student talked about when his church, this past Easter, held a multilingual service. Only a fraction of the congregation had shown up. His friends later told him that they didn’t want to waste time listening to languages they don’t understand. My student was disappointed.

We live parallel lives in the US. Parallel, and insulated. From lack of practice we develop insecurities around talking about social and cultural differences.

Today much of race relations are defined by popular culture. That’s the source to which, subconsciously, students take many of their questions. As a society we leave a lot to Carlos Mencia, Don Imus, and the talking heads on CNN. But it’s up to anyone to reclaim the discussion.

I think the recent theme party, and its aftermath, provide beautiful ‘teaching moments’. For myself, what I want my students to take away is the experience of having talked about tough issues with people different from themselves. I want them to be able to reflect on what the world is like for different groups, and I want them to recognize where they themselves fit in. Above all, I want my students to practice talking with, and learning from, other people. So that next time, when I am not there, they can do it for themselves.

I am not saying that it’s easy. But if we want a better world, it's our job to try harder, be braver, and take on issues others shy away from. A university is a place where the future is shaped, right?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

2nd step on the road to gravlax:

looked up

tr fillet

Just to make sure.


Denny's: Pancakes for lunch. Mmm.
Target: Cheapo kitchen scales. First step taken towards the gravlax. Mmmm!

Friday, April 13, 2007

the hoax

The Hoax is a good movie.
I like Lasse Hallström.
And Richard Gere has gotten better as he has gotten older.

actually, it was more like the dill stems... dill is expensive and I am cheap.

So I boiled up some edamame today (no pods). When they were done, and still piping hot, I poured them into a bowl in which I had put olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and chopped up dill. It was seriously good.

it's all about the context

I needed a coffee grinder, so I walked up the street to the upmarket (to the point of silliness) kitchen store. (I live close to one of those 'European' downtowns with stores and restaurants.)

In there I found a German grinder, identical to one I owned 15 years ago.

Bought it.

Then I looked around for a bit. New in the store, at least since my last visit, was a shelf full of thermos pots. The kind your [Swedish] grandma used, but she used to call hers a 'TV-pot', since it allowed her to refill her cup without leaving the room while watching TV.

Anyway. The familiar looking pots were sitting there next to the 'Tuscan' plates, the 'Provencal' yellow ceramic bowls with roosters on them, and the comes in every shade of the rainbow heatproof but clearly overpriced Le Creuset spatulas.

I own 5 of those spatulas myself. But the thermos pots still made me laugh. Not that they are not practical, because they are. But to me they belong at Target.

on today's date

A Friday the 13th years ago I quit smoking.
Just saying.
Could be a good day.


1. I fit into my skinny jeans again (no, not the extreme skinny of spring -03, but skinny enough).
2. I had a quesadilla for breakfast. With Mexican hot sauce to clear the sinuses. Mmmm!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


It's on the other side of the building.
In there.And it's made from purple blocks of glass, and concrete.

for fia, and of course anyone else with an interest in flooring

So if I read those letters there correctly, the building is from 1912. Originally it was the sophomore dormitories. Now it has classrooms, and faculty offices.
This is the floor we are interested in. Walls are marble. Cool and smooth.
It does look like tile, right? Annaa?
And I will have to check this with someone, but it looks like the paint has been filled in at some point.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

no wonder there is war

I just learned on CNNs massive Easter coverage that John Paul II, the previous Pope, was the first Pope to visit a synagogue. That shocked me. The world religions have been around for a really long time. You'd think they would have paid each other visits before.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Local Pollen Alert: Los Gatos, CA
Tomorrow's forecast levels:
Type Level
Tree High
Type: Oak
Grass Low
Weed Very High

Thursday, April 05, 2007

wish list

A wide angle lens for my good camera. That would be something.