Showing posts from July, 2012


It was hard leaving my Mission Viejo yesterday, especially since my mom's arm still was not fully recovered. There was so much she couldn't do, like even fix herself a cup of coffee, when I first got there. But the day I left she was getting back some range of motion, and well I hope she will manage without me. I had to get ready for my trip to Iceland early next week, so I could do little other than bid her farewell. I also bid farewell to my friend Christine, whom I had seen nearly everyday of my trip down there. She lives here in Northern California, only about an hour away from me, but still when she was hugging me goodbye, she said we would have to get together for my birthday, which is in October. That hardly counts as planning to see each other soon, by Icelandic standards. But she's the sort of friend I don't have trouble catching back up with, even if we go years without speaking. That is the difference between a farewell and a goodbye.

Hope Icelanders won't mind

Yesterday I had a meeting with the people in charge of the Norway Pavilion at Epcot Center. I told them they ought to include Iceland in some of their historic displays, since Iceland was part of the Norwegian Kingdom for a very long time. Not surprisingly, the representative Norwegian in the group was fully in favor of expanding the definition of Norway's national boundaries to its historic maximum. Hopefully Icelanders won't mind too much.

Life's big questions

A few days ago, the graduate advisor in my department asked me one of those big "what do you want to do with your life?" sorts of questions. Usually when people asks me this I have a vague answer, kind of an Icelandic "oh we'll see what happens". But with Professor Sandberg, I thought I ought provide a bit more thorough of an answer, since he'll be directly involved with whether or not I have a position at Berkeley in the future. He also asked it in the right way I guess, because he said "Are you still planning on going into the museum field?" Somewhat to my surprise, I had a very cogent nd complete answer to this question. For a bit of background, he had written a book on museums, and his interest in museums was one of the reasons I had joined the department at Cal. So normally I have played up my interest in museums to him. But not this time. Instead I found myself saying that actually, my negative experience with museums recently, and my p


I spent this morning with my friend Christine, whose mother passed away last month. Christine is an only child, so she has inhereted her mother's house, and has decided to sell it. So she's currently going through the house, trying to "stage it" before putting it on the market. Her mother lived I that house for 40 years, so there is a lot of stuff. It doesn't help that Chrisrine was a big fan of collectibles, and had given her mother lots of them. I think "collectibles" may be a particularly American phenomena, at least in terms of the plastic molded figurines in the shape of cats, angels, old fashioned houses, ferries, birds, children, etc. I have never encontered any of these in an Icelandic home. Or a maybe I just don't know enough 60 year old widows in Iceland.


I decided that it was better to let my son play video games rather than watch youtube postings of other people playing video games. So I bought him a Nintendo Wii game system for his birthday, which is today. It came with Super Mario Brothers, and I also bought him Kirby's Epic Yarn. My little male cousins in Iceland were not as interested in video games as kids here in the U.S. seem to be, I guess because they can just get sent outside for hours on end without supervision. We get arrested if we do that here. Anyhow, I am happy with my purchase. He is having a good time, especially with Kirby's Epic Yarn, where it is a lot harder to get killed than in Super Mario Brothers. I did something wrong in the setup, so there is no audio, but Palmer was so excited to play that he doesn't mind. I guess I will try to fix it later.


Yesterday, I was picking up a futon from a graduate student who is moving from Berkeley to New Jersey. Her name is Jessica, and although she has been working on the same floor as I have in Dwinelle Hall for the last year and half, we had never actually met before. So after I'd bought the futon from her, we got chit-chatting about the configuration of the academic departments, and how our floor, which consists of the faculty of the Scandinavian, Italian, and Slavic departments, does not integrate quite as well as one would hope. I was telling her that I frequently have conversations with another graduate student whose name I do not even know. In hopes that Jessica knew her name, I described the woman in question as having long blond curly hair and not too tall. Jessica looked at me blankly for a minute, told me the name of another student who has dark long curly hair, and I was like no, blond. So then she said, "Oh, do you mean the one who always wears make-up and whose clothes