Thursday, February 28, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

I think it may be Spring

Although the last time I said that it snowed only a few hours later. But the daffodils are coming up, small tweeting birds have taken up residence in the shopping carts and...


Yeah, so I go shopping today and as I walk by the line of shopping carts chained to the retaining wall and I realized that they were filled with little tweeting birds. Mostly you find these sorts of birds hanging out in shrubs and hedges. But apparently we have slacker birds here, who hang out in front of supermarkets, messing with the carts and whistling at the cute chicks that go by.

Meanwhile we have us a storm here that must be trying out for the Big Bad Wolf because if I doesn't blow a couple of tiles off the old factory down the street, I'll be very surprised. This is where I am very glad that most of our power lines run underneath the street, because just like the house in which I grew up, this is an all electrical establishment. Were the power to go out, I'd be sitting in the dark, in the cold, with no way of heating or cooking anything.

Every now and then the wind actually blows a hole in the clouds and you see blue sky for a second. Well, it's either that or a blue house flying through the air. I would not be that surprised, no I would not.

And now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll try to stay away from the windows for a while.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I get the whole free speech thing...

but sometimes I wonder if people do it just to create a reaction.

So a while back there was the Mohammed Cartoon Crisis. Everyone has heard about it by now. If you haven't, you've lived under a rock because it was all over the news. The creator of one of the most famous cartoons (the one with the bomb in Mohammed's turban) had received death threats. Police in Denmark tracked the threats to a group of Muslims living in Denmark. Then yesterday they arrested them. The DB had a heck of a time getting in to work, seeing how there were lots of other news organizations hanging around and taking pictures, interviewing people and interfering with the security people and the police who were checking the id of everyone trying to get inside. The DB was very glad he got his photo id card Tuesday.

In a show of solidarity, a number of newspapers decided to YET AGAIN reprint the cartoons. And make big statements about free speech. As expected this set off a lot of other angry people, who are ticked off that the newspapers, having offended a huge population of the planet, would do so AGAIN, just because they can.

I support freedom of speech, but I also think that there should be a measure of social responsibility involved (it's that whole "fire" in crowded theater thing). It reminds me of the scene in Die Hard: With a Vengeance - where McClane is standing in Harlem with an "I hate Niggers" sign around his neck. Sure, a man has a right to go to Harlem and wear that sign, it's his right to freedom of speech, but if he gets the crap kicked out of him, or shot... well, that'll teach him.

I applaud people who stand up and say things that need to be said, even if they are unpopular and sometimes suicidal. But I'm a lot less sympathetic to those who say things for the purpose of creating conflict, fostering negative dialogue, and hurting people's feelings. This is why bullying is looked down on (hey, it's only words, why don't we just explain to the bullied that the bullies are just practicing their right to freedom of speech and they shouldn't let it get them down) and we have "hate mongering" and "sexual harassment" - all of which are ways of using words that are hurtful and in some cases, prosecutable.

Words hurt, and while we have the right to say what we want, we should also think about what we are trying to say and what impact that may have on those around us.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Are you freakin' kidding me?!?

So Friday morning was a pretty normal day in the life of the archaeogoddess. I had to drive in to Århus to get at some hefty encyclopedias (what IS the plural of encyclopedia, encyclopedias sounds stupid... what about encyclopediae?) and I really had only three things on my mind.. which I was planning on posting under the title: "What ever happened to..."

What ever happened to trash compacters as the next big thing in kitchen appliances? I remember, vaguely, hearing this was the case and, way back when I was small(er), I knew someone who had one. The name escapes me at the moment. I remember getting in trouble for repeatedly pushing the button and possibly for also throwing things away just so that I could repeatedly pushing the button and eventually I was told I was not, under pain of death, to touch the damn button again! But that's it. Today, no one I know has one. And it would be a handy thing to have. Keep you from jumping up and down on the trash, in order to pack more in. Especially seeing how my dad has to go out and get into my family's trash-trailer and leap about like a lunatic. I feel it is a rather dangerous pastime my father has undertaken at his age. Bring back the trash compacter!

What ever happened to all of my highlighters? I know I had them around somewhere... Damn, this one is dead too! I swear there is an office elf somewhere eating my highlighters and sucking other ones dry.

What ever happened to my gas milage? Or gas kilometerage (awkward!)? I got 5 km to the liter on the way into Århus! That's less than 12 miles to the gallon - about right for the '72 Chevelle, but not a mid-90's Volvo!?

Funny story about that last one. I drove the Volvo in and then met up with the Danish Boy for some Mexican food (ah, yeah!) and we swapped cars for the drive home. I love my VW Lupo! And then I played the "don't lose the DB" game - which is funny because the DB THINKS he's driving so nicely that I won't lose him, but it takes a bit of weaving and cutting in front of people to stay behind him. (I mean, if he was going to be really nice and easy to follow he could start by GOING THE SPEED LIMIT!) Anyway, I caught him at a red light - and as he gunned it through the intersection I noticed a crazy bunch of liquid pouring out of the back of the car. And then there was a VERY strong smell of gasoline. Now, we'd thought we may have had a leak, because we could smell gas fairly strongly at times, but there was never any puddle where we parked. This is because we forgot rule #1 of gasoline - it vaporizes at a crazy low temperature. So I speed up and tail my dear boyfriend, staring intently at the back of the car. Every acceleration, every curve, every time he shifted, more liquid came pouring out of the car, instantly turning to a misty vapor that was then sucked into my air system. High on gas fumes, I called the DB (disclosure: the archaeogodess does not condone calling while driving - unless it is an emergency, get off the damn phone and drive, people!) and let him know what was up. There was much swearing. We sent the car in for it's 6 month check-up with a "please look at the gas leak" caution, but what is really irking to the DB is that he filled up the tank on Thursday for me. We'd used or lost half a tank (i.e. $50) and would now probably lose the other half when they pump the gas out in order to inspect the tank.

I did have a very good time in Århus, what with the eating and the being out and about, and we probably wouldn't have discovered the leak otherwise, but the DB is right in thinking that we could have just saved ourselves the trip and run up and down Main Street Ebeltoft throwing 20 kroner ($4) coins at people instead. It would have been cheaper.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

What if...

...the Danes got to vote in the primaries? Who would they vote for? (I know, you've been loosing sleep over this very issue.) Well Søndagsavisen has answered our cries - over 40% for Hillary, Obama was close behind her with 34.5%, with McCain trailing a distant third at just under 4% and last but not least, Huckabee with less than 1% of the vote. (No, I don't know how many people they asked. Geez.)

What does it all mean? Not much, I thought it was rather funny. If you read Slate, you get the feeling all of Europe is for Obama. But not Denmark. Personally I think it is because Hillary is so very much more Danish than Obama. Yeah, she looks more Danish, but I mean that Obama brings a message of hope and promise, two things Danes don't really believe in. Pragmatic, that is a good word for the Danes, and Hillary has that in spades.

So really, what Republicans need to be very worried about is not illegal Mexican immigrants sneaking their way into the voting booths, but Danes.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Things that make the archaeogoddess not happy...

Okay, so I expect a certain bit of ridiculousness from the media. The ongoing "surprise" at ANYTHING. The making mountains of molehills. The jumping to conclusions. And after landing neck deep in it, the lack of apologizing. But sometimes I am quite amazed at the biases in the media that are so blatant that I have to gape.

Take CNN this morning. I check to see if there is anything I missed over the last 24 hours. And I see the following:
Suicide blast in Pakistan kills 4.
Female bomber kills 8 in Columbo.
Lebanese Army: Israel kills citizen.

But the BREAKING NEWS, so big that they have no picture, but instead a huge yellow box with "breaking news" written inside:
Three dead in Israel blast.

If you die in a suicide blast in Israel, you are apparently breaking news, even if MORE PEOPLE DIE IN OTHER SUICIDE BLASTS ANYWHERE ELSE.

Really, the blast in Pakistan should be more important news, because it shows how Pakistan is falling apart. A female suicide bomber in Sri Lanka? She killed EIGHT!? That's a high death count and it looks as if that country is falling apart too, it has got to be more important news. And Israel may have killed a Lebanese citizen... okay, this is actually not really news, because they do it quite frequently. In fact they did it quite a lot the other summer. And don't get me started on the number of Palestinian bystanders that get taken out all the time. (But then Israel doesn't consider Palestinian bystanders to be innocent, no more than Palestinians consider any Israeli to be a non-combatant.)

But OH NO, we have BREAKING NEWS here. Why? Is it because it may show that the peace process is stalled (note: it has been dead for some time now) and Bush's desperate last ditch effort (too little, too late) for a more positive legacy has failed (what, was he freakin' kidding me)? Or is it because we are so tied up with Israel and the importance of Israel that their citizens count as more important that the citizens of every other nation on the planet, except our own, and thus are more newsworthy?

Can you tell I'm jaded?

Someone take me to Vegas...

and sit as far away from me as possible. Not only has the Fed lowered interest rates twice in a week, which "shocks" journalists everywhere, but Giuliani doesn't even make it to the New York primary. (It's very good that he tanked out, not only because he would have made a lousy president, but I CANNOT spell his name.) Then, not long after I finished my last post the other day, complaining about the lack of snow - then it SNOWED. Not for very long and not very much and it didn't stick around, but still snow.

The weather here is playing with my mind. Sun, cloudy, SNOW, sun, cloudy, SNOW! Enough - pick one and go with it! And no more damn wind. I'm sick of the wind.

In the end, since I seem to bring the opposite of what I am thinking/wanting - if you just bet against me, you'll probably win every time.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

How to make an archaeogoddess happy in the off season

It's very simple.

1) Start with sun. There must be sun. The archaeogoddess is suffering from lack of vitamin D.

2) Second, there must be cookies. This is how I fell to the dark side. I heard there were cookies.

3) Then there must be a reason to go out and drive around. The archaeogoddess loves to drive. Especially if there is some great pop music to bop to.*

4) Send her out on a task that involves going to the hardware store.

I love hardware stores. I love the smell of nails, that tangy iron smell (I hear blood smells the same, anyone?). I love how hardware stores are always in a large building that has very warm spots and very cold spots (it is ALWAYS cold by the nails). I love all the stuff that I can touch and feel and imagine using. "Hey, I wonder if I should re-caulk my windows!" I love the lumber section, the paint section, and the gardening section. My favorite hardware store, now long gone, was in downtown Sutter Creek. It was in an old gold rush era building, probably had always been a hardware store (now it's antique furniture, which isn't so bad, actually). It had old creaky floors and crumbling stone walls. It was always cold, even on the hottest days of summer. There was a very scary basement - a big hole in the floor that was dark and had a dank draft oozing up the rickety stairs. You couldn't have given me enough chocolate in the world to make me go down there. There was always dust in the air, part sawdust and part antiquity, that had the most fantastic smell. There was a large scale for weighing the nails. I used to pull on it to see how strong I was or to see if I could hold it at 5 pounds without wiggling. I remember going in with my dad several times and I loved to stop by for Christmas Open House (they always had cider). Unlike automotive stores, where I feel as if I'm trespassing or unwelcome, hardware stores never felt particularly sexist. Maybe it's the gardening section, but women in hardware stores is not a sign of the approaching apocalypse. Alas, today, all I needed were mouse and rat traps (though if the Danish boy had just brought me a sample of their feces I would know which we actually needed). Perhaps tomorrow he'll need something else!

*The archeogoddess normally likes heavier music that includes yelling and will induce steering wheel thumping, but happy pop is great for short trips.

"Maybe if you give them some petty cash they won't notice the recession!"

Well, I was wrong about the rates. But anyone who is still thinking that we aren't in a recession already is an idiot. Why do I keep seeing all these reports: are you ready for a recession, is a recession inevitable, will we end up in a recession? The answers are: no, because if we were ready, it wouldn't be a recession, would it? Yup. And we're already in a recession, dumba$$.

And would people stop blaming the various government parties for the recession? It was the bad loans that tipped us all in. There could have been more oversight, or the banks could have stopped giving money away so easily. It's like the dot-com crash, not government induced, idiot induced!

Meanwhile, I had the stomach flu, which was awful in all kinds of ways. The Danish boy was phenomenal, making up batches of re-hydration fluid, peeling apples and boiling up cups of beef bouillon - while still working +12 hour shifts driving the taxi at night.

We then had to shift from the night schedule we have been on to the day shift. This was very painful, as I'm getting over the flu, I have a hard time determining when I'm going to sleep and when I'm not. However, it looks as if we may have succeeded. Alas, here I am at 7 am (I've been up for several hours now) and the sun hasn't risen, the wind may blow down the house and the day is not looking so hot. The weather here has been atrocious. Wind wind and more wind. No snow. Two winters ago we got blanketed and I don't remember so much wind. I guess global warming has robbed me of my snowy winter, this weather feels more like California in February than what one expects from northern Europe. However, it is getting noticeably lighter earlier and staying light for later. This is wonderful. Now if we only would have less cloud cover and less wind, people may actually have a chance at getting some vitamin D.

The dissertation continues and we aren't going to talk about it any more. Because we hates it. It is not precious.

The wedding plans also continue... at a snails pace. There are some rather large financial concerns that must be squared away before we proceed. At this point I am in no hurry. It's not going to be a fancy affair, there will be no frills or favors, and I will probably wear a nice sun dress and flip-flops, so the amazing pressure that normally surrounds a wedding is lacking. Etiquette is out the window - it's not so much a wedding as a casual party. Thankfully!

And on a completely random note - why do none of my cookbooks include a PLAIN oatmeal cookie recipe? I hate dates (unless they are stuffed with cheese and baked) and I don't have chocolate chips. Yes, I am sure somewhere in this god-forsaken country there are chocolate chips, but seeing how it's taken me five years to find the one store that sometimes sells ricotta cheese, I may never find chocolate chips. I also don't want to put all kinds of spices into them. I just want some nice, plain, oatmeal cookies. Is it so much to ask?