Showing posts from March, 2013

A long saga comes to an end

It was the summer of 2008 when it started. First it was just a little hint that something might be starting to come loose, and then one day, while eating an Icelandic pylsur, it happened. The false tooth that had been cemented in place since I was 16 popped out. A few months later, the same tooth on the other side fell out.

Thus began a very long process that is culminating today in a 2 hour visit to the dentist's office.

At first I tried to salvage the teeth the dentist of my youth had given me, and while I was living in Iceland, that seemed to work pretty well. The dentist in Keflavik did a great job cementing the tooth on the right back in place, but was not so successful with the one on the left. It fell out again a few months later, unfortunately while I was having lunch at the Culture House in Reykjavik. An archaeologist 400 years from now may find it underneath the floor boards; I however could not.

So then I went to the dentist I had through the Coast Guard insurance, and…


One of the coolest events I went to when I lived in Iceland was the University of Iceland's humanities departments' annual open house/ conference. I have never heard of any U.S. university doing anything similar. It is free, and you get to hear talks by professors and students presenting their research for the year.

I missed it this year, and last, and the year before that.

I hope the people who went there enjoyed it, and appreciated what a special thing it is to have such an honest and straight-forward exchange of ideas.

Riding on the Bart Train

When I was living in Iceland, there was some talk about putting in a rail line between Reykjavík and the Keflavík, or more specifically, to the airport. This did not strike me as a bad idea, despite the earthquake/lava flow technical difficulties of such an enterprise. But it reminded me a bit of the piecemeal approach to the rail system in California. The great state of California does not have a highspeed rail system, and even the old diesel train system is a huge disappointment. One line extends to Bakersfield and the next line does not start until Fresno, so people have to take a bus in between. Using this system, it takes something like 18 hours to get from San Diego to San Francisco, in comparison to 8 hours driving. So that sucks. There is now finally a proposal on the books to try to make a continuous, modern rail line from northern to southern California, and to say it is hightime this be pursued would be a massive understatement.

On the other hand, the Bay Area has had a wel…

Icelandic-German thing at Stanford?

On Sunday I got an email invitation from the Icelandic American Association about a special free concert, featuring Icelandic musicians paired with German musicians, who will play some experimental music from students at Stanford's music school.

How exactly an arrangement of this sort came to be made is anyone's guess, but I plan on going. First of all because I like weird music, secondly because I will go to just about anything at Stanford I can since I love that area, and thirdly because it has an Icelandic connection.

It is upcoming this Friday, and I am looking forward to it. Maybe I will even get a chance to figure out how all of this came about.

San Francisco Þorrablót

Last night, the Icelandic-American Association of Northern California had its Þorrablót celebration, which I think technically makes it a few days too late, since the full moon a few days ago would have marked the end of the month of Þórri if I understand things correctly.

The Association had gotten in the habit of having the celebration a bit late, so that a chef could be brought from Iceland to do a proper Þorrablót for all of us recalcitrant Icelanders living here in the Bay Area. But this year they had no such excuse, since the Association decided not to have an Icelandic chef and band on hand for the occasion.

Instead we met at the Norwegian Men's Club, which is a cool row house at Golden Gate Park, beautifully decorated and set up, with a bar in the basement and pool tables on the 4th floor. (The only problem with this place, which I have blogged about before, is that it is exclusively a men's club, so little old me is only allowed in when there is an Icelandic Associati…