Wednesday, April 30, 2008

in california, places are pretty

location location location

This unattended piece of luggage has been sitting right outside our driveway for the past couple of days. I think it has cleaning supplies in it, because I think the Cheery Maids (or whoever it is that the neighbors use) left it behind on Monday.

But I also know that had we been in an airport, we would all have been very nervous by now.

what your friends can do for you

This is an honest to God Swedish pancake in the making.
This is some very yummy stuff made by my friend Babs.
This is how you combine the two, and eat it, soft taco style. Invite yourselves over.


My friend just sent me this photo of himself at the office, in East Timor. And he sent it from that there computer there.

yet another installment in the endless series: the world looks different to you depending on where you are standing

Black and Latino students are 'underachieving' in schools, and educators are trying to bridge the gap. Here is a story about a program in Milpitas, Calif.

Question is, though, whether 'underachieving' is a fair term. From the article:

There is inherent racism in the language of the achievement gap," said Glenn Singleton, a San Jose State University instructor and consultant who works with Bay Area school districts. "It conjures up the notion that black and brown students are deficient, rather than shining the light on how the institution fails students.

That's an important point. It's the job of schools to figure out how to teach all students, right?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

andorra not in africa

As I continue my shameless season of thefts, here is some breaking news from Denise. Well worth your click.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

more words of wisdom from facebook

Si la vida te da limones, pide sal y tequila.

Or, in my case, forget about the alcohol and just make me some lemon bars already.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

ooh technology

Dan is in Barstow. Google maps has lots of info. (Click 'satellite' and zoom in.)

An old friend of mine is working in Dili, East Timor. I just checked out what it looks like there.

on bill maher

The old question about Obama: Is he black enough?
The new question about Obama: Is he dumb enough?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

meeting david wilson

I just watched a discussion about race on MSNBC. It was interesting. Here is a part of it. Unlike many such attempts this one has some sparks in it, and it's worth watching.

The discussion starts off around a documentary called Meeting David Wilson. The films tells the story of two David Wilsons, one black and one white.

The two David Wilsons are connected through history: during slavery the family of the white David Wilson owned the family of black David Wilson. The movie came about because black present day David Wilson is a film maker, and he tracked down the white David Wilson in North Carolina.

quote of the day: colorblindness

"To be blind to color is to be blind to the consequences of color."

I didn't catch who had said that, but it's true.

separated at birth

Former colleague, bestselling author.
New York chef, TV star.

Friday, April 18, 2008

dear frankie

This movie is lovely. Set in Glasgow it has big ships, a small boy, truths and lies. Sweet, salty, and lovely.

people are funny

Yesterday I saw a man in the park, standing by himself under some tall eucalyptus trees. His head was tilted awkwardly backwards, and he held one of his nostrils shut using his index finger. He was breathing deeply through his one accessible nostril. Then he shifted hands, and held the other nostril shut. More deep breathing.

It took me a second, but then I figured it out. He was breathing in the eucalyptus, obviously. The air was heavy with the scent, and he had found himself a private, yet public, indisputably natural, aromatherapy spa.

The air was also heavy with springtime pollen. I hope the benefits at least canceled out the harm.

from the karmann ghia mailing list: win this car

It's true. There is a raffle, benefiting a school. Tickets are $25. Info is here.

This is a 1972 Karmann Ghia Convertible. You can tell the year on the front turn lights and the front bumper. The car is obviously in immaculate condition. It's what my car looked like as a newborn.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

that's power

So this was fun, a long lost friend found me on Myspace. We were friends when we were students in the mid 1980s, and we became friends when on the first day of class we found ourselves sitting next to each other in the back of the room.

When a couple of years ago the local police in my small friendly California town sent me to a day of traffic school (for an offense I didn't commit, I swear) the same thing happened. I sat in the back, looked around during the first hour, and had made friends by the second break.

I think of that when I try to catch the eye of the students in the back row at the first day of class in my own classes.

By the second class meeting I force them to sit in a circle.

thanks pat

Someone I know had put on his Facebook status line that 'misery is optional'. I googled and found the quote:

Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy.
(Tim Hansel.)

I like that.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

what I did get at world market

I know green tea and dark chocolate are hipper, but sometimes you just want your tea black and your chocolate goey.

would you buy a used car from these people?

Dan and I looked at furniture for our tiny backyard today. Adirondack chairs are popular. Similar styles are everywhere.

The ones at Cost Plus World Market came with instructions for care and maintenance.
Let's take another look at that, shall we?
So, both we and the store are in California. It's April. We are gearing up for seven months of non-stop sun.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I still miss someone

just good

When I was 19 years old and lived in England for two semesters I developed the most perfectly pitched English accent.

When you are 19 and 20 it's important to fit in.

When I moved to the US 15 years later people didn't understand me until I had learned to sound like an American.

I liked it. I found that American English is more relaxed. You use different muscles of the mouth, and it just feels better. Also, when you speak British English you have to have the sentence ready in your head beforehand, and be able to deliver it in one go. It's supposed to flow. With American English you get time to think.

Nowadays I get nostalgic when I hear British English. I watch Judi Dench movies by myself, and even a vague Irish accent makes me like a person.

In the summer of 2000 I traveled to Sweden for my green card interview. I was nervous. To calm those nerves I had brought REM. I love the sound of Michael Stipe's voice. He has the perfect American tone, and he sings with perfect American ease. After my interview at the American Embassy in Stockholm I walked a mile in the wrong direction, listening to that.

on the today show, today

Joan Rivers just said that Los Angeles looks like a reunion of Schindler's List. That was funny.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

I walked to safeway today, 10 minutes each way

Me - The US 1-0 (in overtime).

the cnn 'expert'

I just heard a talking head on CNN suggest that if you loose your job in the US due to your company relocating manufacturing 'overseas', you could consider moving overseas in order to keep your job.

Ever heard of immigration laws? Visas? You realize other countries have them too, and that it is as hard for an American to 'move overseas' as it is for a foreigner to obtain residency in the US?

Friday, April 04, 2008

lyrics by jens lekman

People seem to think a shy personality equals gifted,
but if they would get to know one
I am sure that idea would've shifted.
Most shy people I know are extremely boring.

Isn't that funny?
Maybe it's just me.


So I had the meatballs in the IKEA restaurant yesterday. As can be expected, the restaurant has a Swedish set-up: An efficient counter where you get a tray, silverware, and choose your food. If your choice is a hot dish, the plate is handed to you across the counter. Cold plates are displayed in cold cases, and you just pick one.

You pay, and take your tray to a table.

When you are finished, you put your tray on racks that can be wheeled into the kitchen where everything will be washed.

And this is where Sweden ends, and America begins: In Sweden you would put your tray in the rack yourself. There would be rules for you to follow, like putting paper napkins in a trashcan on the side, or scraping your plate and dispose of whatever food you didn't finish in a bin. Everybody would do this. If you didn't, you would get dirty looks from fellow eaters.

In America, you approach the racks, prepare to slide your tray in, and discover that on the other side of the rack a young woman is waiting. It's her job to receive your tray. She will take your paper napkin off and trash it, and, I am sure, even though I didn't wait around to check this, scrape your plate.

The station with the racks sits in the middle of the restaurant. The girl stands there and waits between customers.

Yes, it's an extra level of service. It's to make sure the scraping gets done and the leftovers won't dry on the plates, as Americans aren't trained scrapers like the Swedes.

And, it's another mind numbing minimum wage job.

dr king's last speech, april 3, 1968

Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X were both killed the year they would have turned 40. Dr King was shot in Memphis on April 4, 1968. Had he lived, he would still not have been 80 years old.

bronx students discuss obama's race speech

Wednesday, April 02, 2008