I blame my mother for my lack of willpower,

because she’s naturally as skinny as an Olsen twin. 

 

She passed on her skinny genes to me, which means that I grew up without the important lessons learned from dieting: delaying gratification, controlling willpower, and the weakness of the human flesh.  I never learned the small tricks that assist the willpower quest; objects out of sight are less tempting, distractions are necessary, pure logic is often futile, outside accountability fails because noone is actually going to try to control you life to an extent that would motivate you.  (ie. your accountability partner probably won’t agree to hit you with a bat if you eat too many cookies on Saturday.  It’s much more likely that he/she will encourage you to “keep at it” and tell you that you can “learn from your failures.”)

And no, I’m not currently trying to diet, though two weeks ago I had the following conversation with my father:

me: “Dad, can you help me find this dress in a small?”

dad: (double takes) “A small?”

me: “Um.  Yes.”

dad: “You’re a small?!”

me: (slightly offended) “Yeah.”

dad: “I mean don’t get me wrong.  But you’re a big girl.”

etc.  My father was, of course, including height into his size calculations (though at 5’8, I’m not exactly a giant).  I tried to explain that sizes had more to do with weight than height, but he persisted in his argument and ended up with this golden line: “If I stood you up in front of a giant group of people, not one of them would call you a small.”

So…27 years of marriage, and he hasn’t learned the one-size-fits-all-women rule that you don’t call a female “fat, large, or big.”  I suppose that’s the second thing I can blame on my skinny mother in this post.

 

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While I applaud many of Sweden’s policies,

especially its  environmental activism(it was labeled the European Commission’s “Greenest Capital”), I’m a little appalled at their totalitarian approach to children’s education.  It is extremely difficult to get permission to homeschool a child in Sweden because the government believes that children need to be socialized and exposed to the same government-approved curriculum as everyone else.

Mind control much?

This year, my 18-year-old sister has been attending a local high school for her final year of schooling.  It has been her first year at school, after having homeschooled k-11th grade.  Her friends are always surprised to hear that she grew up homeschooled, and one of them even remarked that until he met her he used to think homeschooling was bad and didn’t provide enough socialization.

People complaining about the socialization of homeschoolers always amuses me.  Certainly there are a lot of weirdo, asocial homeschooled kids.  There are also a lot of weirdo, asocial public school kids.  The truth is, generally speaking, parents are homeschooling because they are willing and able to invest more into their children’s education than other parents.  This means that they’ll also put in the effort to providing their children with enough social opportunities.

But I don’t think I need to sit here and write a long defense of homeschooling, or list off incredibly successful homeschooled students.  The same debate happens in the States all the time.  My bigger concern is that, from what I’ve read, Swedish parents aren’t being given the choice to choose a side of the debate.  They are simply told “no.”  (Yes, it’s legal, but it’s extremely difficult to get permission).  I think that’s a step too far.  It’s another case of “tolerance” being intolerant (think Muslim headscarves in France).

And, as a topper, the Swedish high school curriculum has some pretty dramatic perspectives.  There have been criticisms of overtly explicit sex-education videos shown in classes (sex-ed here technically starts at age 6 with sperm/egg information), and the latest complaint over an 8th grade essay assignment asking students to describe “with passion” their first sexual encounter, or what they imagine it will be like.

**

Meanwhile, in S. Korea, they’ve grown some dogs with fluorescent genes that can be activated and cause the dog to glow in UV light.  This somehow translates to medicinal uses in humans, though I think it’d be cool just to use it to create glowing humans.

http://www.reuters.com/news/pictures/slideshow?articleId=USRTR2PDHC#a=5

Today I thought I’d check out Freckles.com you know, type in a site without being directed to it by an engine.  Found it kind of entertaining.

And here is some other reading:

Random (from PCmag.com)

Average Cats

Awful Library Books

Fancy Fast Food

LA Times
Man attempts surgery on his hernia with a butter knife

It’s official: Time machines won’t work

NY TIMES

Addictive Personality? You might be a leader

Black and White and married in the deep south: A shifting image

My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

Today I ate sooo much food. Like a ridicuous amount. The thing is.. I cooked all of it on my own, so it’s not like I overate at a party or anything. I did this… to myself. I’m seriously thinking of going to The Wilborrow Home For Food Addicts, they have a 2 year program in Korea where I can work on my problem, while teaching at a high school in my free time. Although Korean schools don’t usually let in teachers over 190lb.

On other thoughts..

I found out my boyfriend has been stashing my ex-eyelashes in a small vial around his neck. I think it’s really cute.

Sometimes the internet just doesn’t cut it.

As wonderful a bastion of knowledge that it is – it still doesn’t provide easy access to some important information. I partly blame Google’s search algorithms because results are stacked in order of most viewed, which, occasionally is really useless because of the proletariat tendency to hover on sites like Yahoo!Questions and gossip sites. No, I don’t want the lay person’s opinion on how to fix my ear ache. Where are the stats behind your anecdotes? Also, as much as I love Wikipedia (and I do), the majority of its pages lack citations, statistics, and depth. Unless it’s about a celebrity. Stalkers do their homework.

I know there are ways to optimize my searching, and sites I can pay to join that have academic research backing up facts. I guess I just want more. Especially from government agencies.

But I’m not trying to be a negative Nancy. So here is a list of things that the internet is useful for:

– free articles from reputable newspapers

– free entertainment (television shows, movies). In Sweden we can’t use Hulu, so I generally use one-tv.net

– endless recipes and cooking advice

– funny cat photos with captions

-Google images

creepiest photo in the world?

 

(Guiness Book of World Records)

This is Giant George, the world’s tallest dog.  On his hind legs, he’s 7’3.  He has his own queen-sized bed.  He’s from Tucson, Arizona (go Wildcats!).

My parents didn’t love me when I was a child,

(Kevin Scanion, NYT)

which is why they didn’t buy me a$250,000 playhouses like this one.  Turns out the “building fancy child playhouses for the wealthy” business is doing just fine in this economy.

Barbara Butler, an artist and playhouse builder in San Francisco, said her sales are up 40 percent this year, and she has twice as many future commissions lined up as she did this time last year. Not only that, but the average price of the structures she is being hired to build has more than doubled, from $26,000 to $54,000.

“Childhood is a precious and finite thing,” Ms. Butler said. “And a special playhouse is not the sort of thing you can put off until the economy gets better.”

So parents.  Are you putting off your child’s special playhouse in the hopes that the economy will turn around soon?

Another story that hit my radar is about a 25-year-old bride who got pushed into a pool during her bachelorette party and became paralyzed.  After a year’s delay of medical treatment, etc., she married her husband yesterday.

I know there isn’t an ideal time to get paralyzed, but at your bachelorette party seems pretty unfortunate.  And who are the other players in the drama?  Her best friend, who “playfully” pushed her into the pool.   Who wants to be that girl?  Will she be regret that third shot of tequilla for the rest of her life?  Or was she sober and can only blame her fully functioning mind?

And the husband.  What if he had spent the week before the accident rethinking their impending marriage?  No way to leave now.  Or, no way to leave without looking like a scumbag.  Should you ever stay with someone out of guilt?

I’m being a Debbie Downer here though.  Everyone seems to have come through this ordeal remarkably intact.  It’s amazing what we can pull through.

 

 

The boats docked along Strandvagen,

one of Stockholm’s most famous streets, are beautiful and varied.  As we walked next to the water, my father pointed at a boat.

“A pirate ship!  This one is new.”

“How do you know it’s new?”

“I’ve memorized every boat that docks here.”

I scoffed at this.  Then when I got home I read an article about the ship we had discussed.  Turns out, not only is it a visitor to Stockholm, it actually is a pirate ship – it starred in Pirates of the Carribean.  It has also been in Mutiny on the Bounty and Treasure Island.

So we have a celebrity next door.  Also, while I’m on the topic of celebrities and Pirates, Stellan Skarsgard was in the US Embassy the other day.  Jatte cool.

 

A few months ago, the American version of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo filmed a couple of scenes in and around my apartment building.  My dad and I snapped a few photos of the set before being asked to stop because we were in the scene.  It was pretty cool to watch and listen; I had never managed to get to a real film set during my four years in LA – and I’m a fan of David Fincher (Fight Club, Social Network, Benjamin Button).