Thursday, March 25, 2010

learn one thing in comm class: context context context

A few years ago I was at a large dinner party, and it so happened that the two people I was making dinner conversation with were both identical twins. It was interesting, and I started feeling like there was something wrong with there only being one of me.

Yesterday I was walking around with three other people who I have just met. It struck me that all three of them own, and fly, their own planes.

So, yeah, what's considered normal is totally a matter of where you are, and who you're with.

(They're tall, too, the pilots. At 5'8" I was the short one.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

read it

Here is a cool story from 4th grade. Thanks Landis.

I'll remember this day

People around me were very nice when I was being treated for cancer in 2008. My friends came with me to the doctor, and to the infusion center when I had chemo. They asked what else I needed, and if I responded with 'nothing' (which was often), they believed me and didn't push.

Somehow I don't think Swedes would have been so effortlessly helpful.

So it's ironic that not until today has that basic generosity, thoughtfulness, and inclusion been official policy in the United States.

they did it


my favorite time of year

poppy season

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


I just wrote a comment on Undecided, Barbara and Shannon Kelley's blog. It's kind of long, so I thought it might work as a stand-alone piece too. Here it is:

I saw a comment yesterday (thanks, facebook) from someone saying that congratulating women on International women's day is like congratulating AIDS patients on International AIDS awareness day. There is something to that, I think.

Unrelated, but related: I was at a talk a couple of weeks ago about the past, present, and future of ethnic studies. It was a really good event. High quality invited panelists and lots of interesting stuff. Afterwards I had a discussion with my class. Several of them seemed to think that the only woman on the panel should have smiled more. The two men seemed happy, but the woman was more aggressive. My students (usually liberal and open minded young women and men) said she ’seemed angry.’ I told them that anger might be a relevant response if you teach ethnic studies (never a high on any priority list) in the University of California system right now (check the news for the most recent update on budget cuts). They persisted. She seemed angry, and that was a bad thing.

I hate to make any Downer my friend, but I do think realism is a good thing. It’s dangerous if we so value a positive attitude that we loose track of what is real. International women’s day is a day to remember those who came before us, and those who still need our solidarity. It may also be a good day to remember that real women don’t have to smile.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


The Keep Calm and Carry On poster was designed in 1939 by the British Ministry of Information. The idea was to use them should the Germans invade Britain during WW2. But, since that never happened the posters were never mass-distributed.

At a Barnes & Noble that I went to yesterday they had red notebooks with the same text on them. And they had red bookmarks in the same style.

When I saw those things I remembered a poster in a magazine a while back, on a wall in the London apartment of Jo Malone, the woman with the perfume line. So, I went online to do a little research.

I found that there is an entire line of products. Some of them are for sale in the US through

I've never lived through a war. But, it's ironic to me that a culture that promotes drama queen-ness, excess, and hysteria (Housewives, anyone?) puts British calm up for sale.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

thank you so much to everyone who voted, this photo won!

Yea, this photo of Dan waiting for the movie theater to be cleaned at Camera 7 in Campbell, Calif., came in first in 'people's choice' in the Hipstamatic photo contest! Yay! I'm super excited!

The coming week there will be an independent voting session by impartial judges, where they will select three additional winning images. So please hold your thumbs, cross your fingers, or do whatever else your culture tells you to do for good luck! And thanks again for voting, everyone!

Monday, March 01, 2010

getting competitive - final update

So I've been asking everybody I know to vote for me in the hipstamatic photo contest. Or, to be honest, I've probably asked everybody I know twice. Or thrice.

The competition will be over Tuesday night. Three photographers will be featured on the website as winners. On Sunday night it looked like I was in fourth place. On Monday afternoon, one of my photos comes in third, but now I'm down to fourth again. Arrgg!!

If you want to help and vote for me, please click on the link here, and then click on the magnifying glass to the right on top of the screen. If you search for 'charlotta kratz' my photos will pop up. You can give all of them five stars. No need to pick favorites! Thanks!