Monday, April 27, 2009

X Marks the Spot, Last Post

Hans Christian Andersen put an X in his diary on all of the days he masturbated.

With that, I think I'm done writing in the blog. It gets tiresome after a while putting what's going on in your life into words. My schedule for the next few months:

April 29th- Athens
May 4th- Copenhagen, Andrew Bird
May 17th- New Jersey
May 23rd- Haverford, where I'll be doing math research
August 1st- Done at Haverford for the summer, hopefully road trip or such
Late August- Haverford, for my senior year. Lloyd 70s.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dublin: Adversity and Challenge

Last weekend Tiffany, Roger and myself took a trip to Dublin. The theme of the trip was Adversity and Challenge, and alternatively titled, Adversity, Challenge and Bottle Urination.

When Tiffany and myself got off the plane, at about 23:00 (Roger was already there on a different flight), we went to get some Euros at the ATM, and the machine ate Tiffany's only debit or credit card. She was told to immediately cancel her card as she wouldn't be getting it back. I was certainly not going to use the ATM after that, so we were left only with the 10 Euro I had left over from spring break to get to center city. The bus was 12 and we convinced currency exchange to give us two Euro.

We meet Roger at the hotel, but the term "the hotel" is a tricky one. The plan was: Roger booked a single in a decent hotel and then we would all sleep there and split the cost. We go up to the room, figure out sleeping arrangements and then a knock on the door. A hotel employee knows what we are doing and tells us we must leave. We have no cash and it's midnight on a Friday night in Dublin. Eventually it works out that Roger gives us money and we find a cheap enough hostel (15 Euro a night). Although the bathrooms were disgusting andmy comforter smelled intensely of human sweat and I had to use my jacket as a pillow and the obese man sleeping under Tiffany's bunk continually snored and farted during the night, it was a place to stay. The next day we exhausted Roger's Euros and the currency exchange places were closed so Roger couldn't exchange his Danish kroner. It all worked out, as we found a hostel that accepted cards. However, this hostel was connected with a hotel, and combined they only had one public bathroom. During the night this was locked and my pea-sized bladder mixed with the numerous ciders we tried out didn't mix well. Not once, not twice, but three times that night I was forced to find a creative place to put my urine. The first was a stone decoration in the hotel. The second was a found beer bottle. The third was a bottle of cider. Success.

On Sunday, Roger and Tiff decided we should go to Glendalough, a mountain-like area. We went on a 10 km hike, with a 250 m climb. Which was exercising, considering I had all of my belongings on my back, but well worth it. However, on the bus ride home, adversity struck again in its old guise of the need to urinate. We weren't close to Dublin and I had to burst so Roger chugged my water for me and I steadily deposited my wasteful liquid into the water bottle. Roger tried to look out the window holding in his laughter and trying to not make it painfully obvious what was going on. He reported that the people behind me awoke and immediately figured out what was going on and looked horrified.

Also, I'll be at the Haverford apartments this summer doing math research, staying with Mr. Ralston and Mr. Kaszubski; for those interested.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


So, these past three weeks was greater than I could have ever imagined, probably the greatest three weeks of my life. There are so many things I want to recall, and try to make humor out of, and try to explain, but I'm just going to give something of a synopsis of the trip. I went from Copenhagen to London, Oxford, London, Rome, Florence, Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Hilversum (technically), Amsterdam, Paris, Cologne and then back to Copenhagen today.

London - I went to London with my program which was a two-sided coin. It was a positive because experiences like seeing Chicago, eating at great restaurants and travel was all paid for. Bad because there was limited freedom and it felt too much like a school trip. All in all London was a great place. Upon first arriving I noticed how cheap I thought things were which made me realize how absurdly expensive Copenhagen is. Seeing Josh again also sent a chill through my body. When we met up, I couldn't help but throw the bags I had in my hand upon running to him. One of these bags had a friend's new "Mind the Gap" mug in it. Apparently I'm bad with reunions because when I saw Rosie I ran up to the door that separated us and for humor purposes hit my face against the window and split my lip and made my teeth hurt.

Oxford - Beautiful, bleh. Beautiful campuses, bleh. I couldn't see living in Oxford for an extended period of time without becoming a lifelong premature ejaculator.

Rome - Seeing Christian made Rome great, and the hours spent in his kitchen having long meals and drinking wine and making his roommate uncomfortable really made me miss Haverford in an unexpected way. I had a lot of fun in Rome, but as a city I couldn't help but dislike it. Half of it was cheap tourism and the other half was a gaggle of self-involved Romans.

I'm sorry I can't do this post anymore this way, it's too boring. For me, for you and I feel like I'm cheapening each city.

On my last day in Cologne I sat in a park on what seemed like Cologne's first spring day and rated each of the big 8 places we went: London, Rome, Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Florence on 7 categories, the first two worth double. I then summed up the totals. Here it is:

Best Time (2x):

Livable (2x):

Girls Attractiveness (and similarly probably Guy Attractiveness as well):
Every Other City to Ever Exist

Least Touristy (avoidance of the bad type of tourism):


Public Transport (ease AND accessbility):

X-Factor (warm feelings, etc.):

Vienna - 68
Berlin - 48
Amsterdam - 48
Paris - 41
London - 41
Prague - 31
Rome - 30
Florence - 17

I can't emphasize how much I loved Vienna. This is unexpected because that was the city myself and Josh were looking forward to the least I suspect. Also, the night before arriving on the night train, our cabin door became stuck and I was forced to urinate in a plastic water bottle, which is a bad omen if I've ever pissed one. Our hostel was terrific, we were able to attend an Esperanto museum, we lounged in grass enclosed by buildings built for gods, we stumbled into an indie rock performance and there stumbled into Makki (a member of an Austrian duo called Makki Und Frau Herz, which I ask you please check out on mysapce), we lounged on the Danube river and saw the river on rented motorbikes, we accidently ended up in the strip club district and came across windowed women luring us in or lazily texting while they were being paid to lure me and Josh in, went to an incredible market, went to the Opera, came across a Greco-Austrian hotel clerk in a hotel that we needed to use for watering closet purposes who was the sweetest, most charming girl two guys in Vienna could ever ask for (except for her tragically unfortunate taste in music), went out with said sweetheart and had drinks actually bought for us, had late night kebabs, begged on the street and had schnitzel. and falafel and some disarming piece of shrimp thing that Josh regrettably purchased for 1.75 euros after successfully sharing a lunch for 1.50. Whatever, you try to make one of your best life experiences funny or interesting when really you just want to keep it to yourself and overtime extrapolate and expand and emphasize until maybe it doesn't resemble what exactly you experienced but exactly what you needed to experience.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hiatus and Itinerary

Tomorrow marks the beginning of my spring break, meaning a deep hiatus on the blog. It's possible I might leave a post like ''in Prague, still alive'' or ''human trafficked to Libya, still alive'' but this will most likely be my last post for more than three weeks. It would be an understatement to say that I am looking forward to these next three weeks, as I will more than double the countries I've been to. I hope to look back on these next three weeks with great nostalgia.

My Itinerary:
March 22
Flight from Copenhagen to London
See Josh Mikutis for the first time in months and subsequent jumping up and down in each other's arms

March 25
Bus or Train from London to Oxford

March 27
Train from Oxford to London
See Josh Mikutis for the first time in days and subsequent jumping up and down in each other's arms

March 28
Flight with Josh from London to Rome, assuming RyanAir allows us to get on the plane
Greet Christian. Notice his impressive goatee. I make a passing comment about it and he laughs it off, but then aggressively holds eye contact for a split second too long.

March 30
Day trip to Florence, Train

April 1
Overnight train from Rome to Vienna

April 3
Train from Vienna to Prague

April 6, maybe April 7
Train from Prague to Berlin

April 10
Train from Berlin to Amsterdam

April 13
Arrive in Copenhagen, with Josh hopefully

Thus ends my spring break travels.

April 14
Parents come to Copenhagen, shocked by my goatee. Dad makes a passing comment about my goatee and I take this opportunity to tell them about it while aggressively holding eye contact.

April 17
Dublin with Roger and Tiffany

April 29
Athens to see Rosie and Lily

May 17
Back to the States

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Something is Hoppin' in the State of Denmark

Something is Hoppin’ in the State of Denmark
By Andrew Ian Lipstein

note: submitted to Last Word, should be printed on Tuesday

I’m currently abroad. In the state of Denmark, in Copenhagen. Yes, that Copenhagen.

One of the best parts of Copenhagen is the never ending nightlife. Never ending isn’t a figure of speech. You see old men drinking 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whether it’s a Carlsberg or a Cult Shaker (an alcoholic Red Bull), they are just drinking, staring into space, living the dream.

But what is the night nightlife like? Breathtaking. Everything I dreamed it to be. And I’m going to help you experience it right along with me, every step of the way.

So, I took my pad and paper and catalogued this past weekend, in Copenhagen, the city of herring and Hans Christian Andersen.

Friday Night
9:30 – Finished my meal of liverpaste (self-explanatory) and brunette child parts (why do you think there are only blondes?). I arrange to meet my Danish friends to pregame. This consists of drinking what the Danes call ‘’liquid cocaine,’’ because it’s seltzer water mixed with powder cocaine. I make sure to keep my pinky out when I’m downing the liquid. Any other way is frowned upon.

9:34 – I can’t feel my face and start to vomit profusely. I may or may not have seen god.

8:02, in the morning – I wake up in Copenhagen Hospital. Thank god for universal healthcare. They had to pump my stomach three times and replace the blood in my body, but I’m just happy to be alive.

Saturday Night
9:30, at night – Finally released from the hospital. Finished my meal of herringpaste (self-explanatory) and non-beautiful child parts (why do you think all Danes are beautiful?). I arrange to meet my Danish friends to pregame. This consists of me saying ‘’nej tak,’’ or ‘’no thank you’’ to their offers of ‘’liquid cocaine.’’ I feel so American turning down this offer, but I lost twenty pounds worth of vomit and replaced blood, so tonight I’m going to take it easy.

10:30 – We get to the club, it’s called ‘’Wienørlæxxx’’ or ‘’Luck of the Wiener,’’ in Danish. It’s also a pun in Danish because of some H.C. Andersen fairy tale, I don’t know. Apparently this is where Hans himself took his first Jager Bomb (and his last, if you know what I mean, ha!). So. The club was pretty good, but I’m not really feeling it because it’s literally just us and about ten Turkish men drinking Cult Shakers and staring into space. I tell me friends I want to check out some other clubs. They tell me to chill till 11:30, when all Danes hit up the clubs. I’m a little doubtful, but I wait it out. They also tell me to go up to the bartender and order something called a ‘’Little Mermaid.’’ They promise me it has no powdered cocaine. I’m in. It kind of tastes like Christianade, but sweeter.

11:30, and five Little Mermaid’ s later – I can’t really see straight and the club is still empty but as the clock strikes 11:30, literally sixty blonde Danes walk in the room and start licking my ankles. For some reason I think of Josh Mikutis. We start dancing and my moves are so crisp that three of them become pregnant. My moves are fresh and they’ve never seen anything like it. My hips are tiny dancers, moving to their own beats.

11:45 – The club is now packed. One of my friends gets it out that I’m American and before I know it, the whole club is talking to me and awaiting every syllable that leaves my mouth. Everything I say is golden. I ask what time it is and someone says ‘’23:45’’ to which I reply ‘’don’t you mean, 11:45?’’ and they eat it up. Everybody is in hysterics, rubbing my knees, flicking my earlobes and licking my ankles more. The entire club may or may not be under the influence of ecstasy.

3:35 – Everyone is still surrounding me, asking questions. Normally I would be tired at this point but I’m thriving off of the energy. ‘’Do you know Shaquille O’Neal?’’ one asks. I say I don’t and they love it. They fucking love it. All of a sudden someone brings out a basketball hoop and asks me to dunk. I’m nervous because I’m 5’9’’ but then I realize the hoop is quite small. Because Danes are so tall it is considered impressive to dunk on a hoop as short as possible. Their regulation hoop is 6 feet high. I do windmills, 360s and backhanded dunks. They cheer and laugh and giggle. The queen is apparently there. And she is impressed. She offers a congratulatory shot of liquid cocaine. I politely decline. The entire crowd becomes quiet. This is apparently not only an insult to the queen but the whole state of Denmark. I feel terrible so I down the liquid cocaine.

9:17 – I wake up in Copenhagen Hospital. I definitely saw god last night.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Saint Patrick's Day

This Saint Patrick's Day was the best Saint Patrick's Day I've ever had. Copenhagen is starting to bloom and there is happiness all over this town. The increasing presence of sunlight must be in charge. There is warmth and life and sex in the air. It's all over the place.

Yesterday was Tuesday (Tirsdag) so I got some Happy Tirsdag 20 Kroner Happy Meal, and it was the best Happy Meal that I've ever had. Thomas served us, and Thomas is known for being the nicest man at any McDonald's. I love Thomas! When he gives you food and interacts with you, he looks as though every second of interaction is the thing that gives him the most pleasure. He shares in the joy when you cheer and smile over the potentiality of a Cheeseburger, fries, milkshake and toy, all for 20 kroner.

After class and some honey fried chicken, Roger and myself finished his White Russian supplies, and I don't want to drink milk ever again! I used cinnamon in mine and I hate cinnamon now! A Spanish family was eating an imported leg of pig in the common room and cutting off fresh slices and we were able to try some and now I love slices of pig's legs!

We were able to get into the couple of Irish pubs in town and it was great. There was cheering and laughter and overpriced drink. I drank a 50 cl of Sommersby and now I hate Sommersby!

The highlights of the night were a failed piggy back ride, and Roger trying to run through the storefront glass of the H&M at 1 in the morning. Thankfully he was bounced back into the street and then proceeded to take a tumble in front of two nice looking American girls who seemed terrified. Roger! Also the 'nej tak's myself, Jimmy and Matt received in our Kiss Me I'm Irish pleas. I love 'nej tak's!

Monday, March 16, 2009

News Media in Transition, in Transition

My core class, News Media in Transition has made the transition from being annoyable terrible to being hilariously terrible. How bad the class is has brought us all together and heckling has become a team-building exercise. This is good because the program is going to London together on Sunday for a week.

Comment of the day, today, after a girl said ''what about the internet? doesn't that make this argument outdated and irrelevant?'' Eric said, in normal speaking volume, ''welcome to this class.'' Golden. I cannot wait for the study tour.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cheers and Jeers: Last Night Edition

Cheers: To Roger and his white russians. To Sommersby and their new pear hard cider.

Cheers: To kulorbar, for once again providing free beer from the hours of 11 to 1, after entry and coatcheck.

Cheers: To the kulorbar DJ, for playing some enjoyable mashups, and looking like Mario Lopez.

Jeers: To the kulorbar coatcheck, for once again refusing to retrieve a coat, because the coatcheck ticket is in fact inside of the coat. Sorry roj.

Jeers: To the two girls dancing wildly on the elevated cube in the middle of the dance floor. Your nights were going well until you fell from said elevated cube and one of you busted your nose on the floor, spouting blood immediately all over your white dress and the dance floor, while your friend laughed.

Cheers: To the rest of the dancers, who danced around the blood at first, and then decided that you can't spend your entire night dancing around blood.

Jeers: To the AIDS epidemic.

Cheers: To me, for once again enjoying yourself responsibly.

Jeers: To me, for waking up at 9:30, when today all I plan to do is feed myself, and maybe go to a bakery.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Travis Henry and the Conundrum of the Copenhagen Nightlife Dynamic

The headline refers to two topics, not one.

First, Travis Henry. A decent NFL runningback between the years of 2001 and 2007, but an outstanding specimen of what Darwin might call ''biologically fit.'' The New York Times just released a piece on Henry's child support dilemmas (yawn). However, the article pointed to the fact that Henry has nine children, between the ages of 3 and 11. Wait, 11 - 3 = 8. He had 9 kids in 8 years? Impressive. Or as the article calls it, ''prolific procreating.'' There must have been more than one mother involved. Why, yes, there were. Each of his 9 kids, in fact, has a different mother! Some of their births were months apart! Way to go Trav. You are officially the Rickey Henderson of babymaking.

Some quotes from the article:
''educating its players about making wise choices''
''the attention he received after he was indicted on charges of cocaine trafficking''
''“They’ve got my blood; I’ve got to deal with it,” Henry said''
''“I love all my kids,” he said''
''The child was unplanned as were all but one of his offspring, he said.''
''Henry’s mother, who picked oranges for a living, disapproved''
''“Knock on wood, or something, I’m blessed not to have AIDS.”''
''Back in Denver, his fiancée awaits...neither wants children.''

Now, the Conundrum of the Copenhagen Nightlife Dynamic. There are a couple of facts about the Copenhagen downtown bar scene that lead to an unsolvable conundrum:
1) Americans like to seek out the genuine experience, so they like to avoid other Americans.
2) All of the big downtown bars are full of Americans.
You can see where this goes. Bummer.

Yesterday I went to the Museum of Danish Resistance. Yeah, I know. It's like the Museum of German Non-Racism, the Museum of Swedish Brunettes, the Museum of Swiss Taking Sides, the Museum of Romanian Fair Political Arena, and other Museums that follow the naming scheme of ''The Museum of (Country) (Something that Country is Definitely Not Known For).'' But it was a positive experience, although it did reinforce some stereotypes. And if everybody heard the story about the King of Denmark wearing a jewish star during the holocaust to get the entire nation to do it as well, it is apparently false.

Correction from last post: As numerous people have showed me, Norway is, in fact, NOT between Sweden and Finland (although a small northern portion of it may be considered to be between Sweden and Finland). I apologize for the misinformation and I hope my mistake has caused any irreperable damage.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pancakes and Norway

Pancakes and Norway: The story of the past few days, in two parts
i.) Pancakes
On Thursday, a planned Keops Kooking Klub dinner was cancelled due to things coming up. Tragedy. Sarah sends me a text, "Pancakes for dinner? Yummm..." One text conversation and a trip to the Lidl and Netto later, we are all set. On the menu: Pancakes (regular, chocolate, banana, banana chocolate, white chocolate strawberry, strawberry cream, raspberry cream) from scratch, and crispy bacon. I don't want to say that Sarah and I saved the day, but the pancakes were delicious and satisfying and we saved the day.

ii.) Norway
On Friday, we departed on a cruise to Oslo, the capital city of Norway, the land mass between Sweden and Finland located at the heart of Scandanavia, the cold unsavory portion of Europe. Most of the time spent on the boat either consisted of light-hearted chit chat or, if at night, bouncing between the various night spots on the boat. This included Force 7, a nightclub on the Seventh floor of the ship.

It also included a passionate game of Kings, and being yelled at no less than four times by the same security guard. The first three times were for being in the ball pit at inappropriate times of the day. Although the ball pit was noticably off limits due to the bars inhibiting entry, the security man's responses were unnecessarily cold, calculated and direct. "Do you have eyes?" once. And then "unbelievable," in a voice so disappointed it would make even a Jewish mother wince. When he caught myself and Emily in the kitchen of the restaurant that offered a $40 buffet, he accused us of trying to steal food (if a hungry man steals a handful of Honey Smacks to feed his family, is it really stealing?) and said if I was caught one more time, I would be punished.

This man took silver in "my favorite employees aboard The Pearl of Scandanavia," losing out to the man over the loudspeaker who would wake us up or give us other important announcements. When he spoke in his native Danish, he sounded like the rest of Denmark, bubbly and incomprehensible. However, when he spoke in English, he sounded as if his nose and his testicles had been switched.

We went to the highest on the ship that men can go, and it was something of a crisis. The Scandanavian sea at night was pure black. All you could feel was the ship's slow bobbing. You could not see anything at all, we could have been in a completely black room. It felt not unlike the paintings of Edvard Munch (1862-1944).

We visited the Munch Museum, a Norwegian painter famous for The Scream and Madonna. The Scream was stolen twice, once recently. Unfortunately we were not able to view it, although we did see a different version that Munch painted. The man in The Scream (not this painting) who has his hands on his face is Munch. He was walking with some friends (the people in the background, on the left) when he lagged behind and then heard the scream coming from nature, an audification of the eternal existential crisis of the modern man. The sky turned an appropriate (maybe not?) red and life hit him. I enjoyed the style of Munch and for some reason his paintings came off more earnestly than what I would expect from a painter of existential tragedy. I especially appreciated his paintings of love, which were also touchingly earnest, but obviously in a very different way. Many of his drawings or paintings showed two lovers, but entirely alone together. My two favorite paintings were Jealousy and Murderer. I suggest looking up both, especially the second one, pictured here. I also bought a poster for a Munch exhibit in the 70's featuring a piece of a man that apparently looks just like me.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Letter From My Future Boss After My First Post-College Interview, As I Imagine It Today

So this is sort of a cheap blog-entry because I wrote this before I came to Copenhagen, but how things have been going in the "future" department, I think it's relevant and okay:

A Letter From My Future Boss After My First Post-College Interview, As I Imagine It Today


Dear Mr. Lipstein,

I’d first like to thank you for personally redefining what we know as “charisma,” “magnetism,” and “professionalism.” Your interview, needless to say, went swimmingly. Not only were we all, here at our large company that makes creative publications of some sort, impressed with the fact your greatest weakness was being a perfectionist, but your subtle yet largely evident use of a power tie was original. Breath-takingly original. Your blatant eye-contact upon meeting myself, the President of the aforementioned company, and the CEO definitely corresponded with the promised “nose-to-the-grindstone” work ethic your cover letter promised. We also appreciated that the same letter distinguished you from all other job candidates by discussing the fact you are “multi-dimensional.” I gotta tell you, if we get one more one-dimensional average Joe, I’m going hand it in. I’m going to literally quit my job and hand the company over to you, you talented son of a bitch. In addition, the fact you ended your letter with the phrase “I look forward to hearing from you” implied a certain confidence that we don’t have the opportunity of seeing everyday. It was almost as if you knew that when we contacted you, it would be good news. Stunning.

If your flawless, charm-filled interview and Magna Carta-esque cover letter were not enough to sway us here at this company to hire you, than your résumé surely would have done the trick. Right off the bat: in High School you took “all classes at the Advanced Placement or accelerated level”? This is unheard of, and although we definitely trust you (because of the aforementioned eye-contact), we had to fact check this caveat of your résumé. I mean, nobody is able to take ALL classes at the Advanced Placement or accelerated level. What, were you some sort of well-rounded renaissance-man prodigy as a young high schooler? Out. Of. This. World. Surely this fact directly proves the multi-dimensionality mentioned in your cover letter. We also noticed from your resume that you were peripherally involved in QUITE A FEW clubs and organizations on campus. Writer for the newspaper? Kayak club? Young Republicans? Peer tutoring? Where do you find the time!? No seriously, we MUST know. How often do you meet someone who has been in at least four clubs in college AND has at least a 3.0? A 3.0 is a solid B. Most people get C’s. Transcendental.

Also, needless to say, the professionalism, symmetry and cool font you used on your résumé definitely stood out among all of the other lame candidates who used a right-justified Arial font without including their middle name.

Now, there is some slight bad news. Actually, two bits of bad news. First off: While there is definitely a need to offer enough money so that you can live within a few blocks of the city, we cannot offer you enough so that you can afford the Rittenhouse apartment you always dreamed of. Instead, we will be offering you housing outside of Fairmount Park…NOT! Why, of COURSE we are kidding. You will be offered one of three choice apartments located in the center of Rittenhouse Square under the necessary condition you leave garbage collection and recycling up to us (it’s just easier that way, I’m sorry.) Now, the second bit of bad news is no joke. While we would love to have you on as the position you requested, Director of Creative Things, as we stated in the interview, that position is already taken, by Dan Deirdoff. So, we are offering you the position of Assistant Director of Creative Things, being that Dan is bound to be fired in the next couple of months. Everyone knows Dan’s a total dick. It’s also assumed that you will move up on the company’s ladder until you single-handedly turn our already thriving company around into a global megaproducer of entertaining and humorous publications.

And before you take another thought about whether or not to accept our offer, a few more minor details:

  • As you informed us of your quirky hunger schedule, your work hours will be 10:00-11:00 a.m. followed by a 2 hour lunch break, and then from 1:00-3:00. And yes, of course we will have a company fridge completely stacked with pizza, ketchup and diet root beer.

  • Fridays will not be given off, but will be for the weekly softball game against or rival company that produces creative publications as well. We are in desperate need of a starting pitcher, and we heard about your slider.

  • Just as a general rule of thumb: if it’s a holiday somewhere, it’s a holiday here.

Thank you, Sincerely, and Love,

Peter E. Flipcomber (just call me Flip, Boss, Bud or Big Guy)


Monday, March 2, 2009

$40 a Day

One of Rachael Ray's many shows on the Food Network is the show "$40 a Day," which began in 2002 and ended in, what? It's still running? At least that's what IMDB says. Also, under Plot Keywords it says: "Spoiler Alert! Rollover or vote to view plot keywords" and then once you rollover (spoiler alert!) it says "Travel | Food | Cuisine | Money In Title | Budget"

Who is searching for the plot keyword "Money in Title"? I want to meet them.

Anyway, by cutting corners and being an absolute maverick, Rachael Ray can show you how to eat "scrumdiptiously" and things "that are absolutely to DIE for" for only around $15,000 a year. She can also make you hate how she says E.V.O.O. (extra virgin olive oil) but at the same time work it into your own vernacular so you hate yourself a little when you say it but then convince yourself you only do it because it's half the syllables.

Because most of America can't afford $40 dollars a day, and I'm willing to bet most of the world couldn't afford $40 a month, I am going to do something Rachael Ray never did nor could do. No, it's not pass up an endorsement on Triscuits, it's a $15 a day, Kobenhavn Edition! Also, keep in mind that Kobenhavn (taking the exchange rate into account) is massively more expensive (keep in mind a Big Mac Meal can run you about $10 US) than the places Ray visits. Also, unlike Ray, my recount is going to be realistic meals for people actually living life. Therefore, there won't be 3 hour brunches nor cute visits to cute souvenir shops cute:

Half a quart of milk: 2 Kroner
3-4 Bowls of Cereal and other Mix-Ins: 5 Kroner
(Alternatively, Egg, Bacon and Pancake Breakfast will run around the same cost)

Water: 0 Kroner
Packed Sandwhich: Approximately 6 Kroner
Packed Dessert: Approximately 4 Kroner

Street Figs: 5 Kroner

A few pieces of candy from the candy store. So little, in fact, that the register person gives you a "really?" look: 3 Kroner

Free sample of as many nuts as you dare take from the roasted nuts and waffle stand: 0 Kroner

Pre-Dinner snack of cereal, raisins, et cetera: 3 Kroner

M&M vending machines, which will give you four (4) peanut M&M's or fifteen (15) regular M&M's for 2 Kroner: 2 Kroner

Three days a night (thanks to Keops Kooking Klub): 0 Kr.
Monday Night Hamburgers at Peder Oxe (where every student will be from the Americans paying $40,000 a year to be there to the Danish who are being paid a few grand to be there): 35 Kr.

Total: Breakfast (7 Kr.) + Lunch (10 Kr.) + Snacks (13 Kr.) + Dinner (0 - 35 Kr.) =
Between 31 and 65 Kroner, or, between 5 and 10 dollars. Hey Rachael, put that in your blender and whisk it.

More realistically, if I go for the Happy Tirsdag 20 Kroner Happy Meal (20 Kroner) and get a pastry at Taffelbay or Saint Peter's Bakery (12 Kroner), and eat out for dinner (30-60 Kroner), it will run me 62 to 92 Kroner, which is still around $15 dollars.

Moral or the story: If put in Kobenhavn with a true-to-life schedule, Rachael Ray would be one of the very few homeless Danes, asking for money in reasonably looking jackets, with a few teeth missing from her award-winning smile.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The New Animal Collective

The title is a reference to a tidbit some of my good friends might know about me. That is, I feel nauseous if I listen to Animal Collective in the morning after a late night.

This morning I woke up and made myself the trifecta: eggs, bacon and chocolate pancakes (cereal too, but that's a given). And then I covered it with the sauce trifecta: ketchup, maple syrup and pommes frittes sauce. And I ate it and then wikipedia-ed "placenta." Apparently, this shows symptoms similar to the Animal Collective Effect, maybe even more exaggerated.

My ambitions for this Saturday:
  • Take the bus down downtown
  • Buy my first street hot dog
  • Stay classy, San Diego
I'm curious, if I became that guy who repeatedly forced Anchorman quotes (and usually got them wrong) what would happen to all the relationships here I've worked so hard to keep up and add depth to?

I guess I'd find out who here is really a friend, wouldn't I?

Last night I went to Shabbat services with Joel, Joel's girlfriend Gil (very nonreligious, from Israel) and Lucy (not even a Jew, from San Fran). First mistake both Joel and I made was blowing our load on the appetizers. I'm going back in my head to try to remember if I used the phrase "blowing [my] load" in this blog yet and the freudian implications a potential reader might make.

Anti-climactic moment of the night: When I waited past the seven songs that were queued on the jukebox before my choice finally came up. Emily even waited up for me while everyone else was impatient. And then finally, the jukebox inaudibly dripped out the normally-bombastic-but-now-unenthusiastic first fifteen seconds of Bowie's "China Girl." I was so embarrassed for both myself and the jukebox I had to leave.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Stilted, Pretending Day

You know if the title makes reference to The National, it couldn't have been a good day. Think about it. Try to find one lyric out of a song by The National that would make for an upbeat blog entry title. Impossible. I know because I just tried.

Up to this morning, I was feeling optimistic and ecstatic about a potential job this summer. Specifically being a baker in a pancake house in Holland. Specifically Amsterdam. Unfortunately, apparently one of their employees wants to move to the kitchen, and just like that, my hopes and dreams of having this opportunity were taken from me.

Nota Bene: If you have ANY summer opportunities or ideas, contact me. I have a resume, and maybe even a CV, if you play your cards right.

Also, my jar of honey fell from my shelf into my sink and shattered my second to last bowl. The third to last was shattered a week ago. I can't continue this habit because you can't eat cereal off of a plate. You can however eat cereal out of a glass. You can't however eat cereal out a glass AND maintain all of your dignity AND enjoy cereal in a free-flowing spoony kind of way, if you know what I mean.

Also, I forgot to bring my ipod and headphones to the laundromat cafe, where I am currently in. Yes, part cafe. The other part is for laundry.

Also, a crick, in my neck.

Well, this entry sufficed in showing how dour I feel. Usually I would have stuck another adjective in there after dour (such as "dour and gloomy" or "dour and down and out") but dour is too accurate. I'm looking at Tiffany right now, across the table, and thinking about how much she's going to appreciate this paragraph.

To make this entry less of a downer. I'm throwing in a sneak peak (the entirety) of my Letter From Abroad, which will (most likely) be in this week's Bi-Co. I think it's funny to read. Enjoy:

Hey Fool, It’s Not Copenhagen, Denmark.

It’s København, Danmark.

By Andrew Ian Lipstein

The first thing I learned about Denmark that I didn’t know: it’s Danmark, actually. Also, it’s København, and not Copenhagen. However, that is the only new thing I have learned since arriving. Everything else I knew or suspected would be true.

Upon arriving in København (pronounced Queue-Ben-How-N), I stepped off the plane and noticed the airport was in fact in an Ikea, which is unexpected because Ikea is Swedish. The airport was somewhere between the Countertop Department and Sinks & Faucets.

I was greeted by Rasmus, my assigned Dane. All travelers to Danmark have an assigned Dane who follows them on a Segway gargling incomprehensible Danish phrases and occasionally singing a prayer for either the queen or Hans Christian Andersen. This service is provided by the Danish government, which might help to explain their income tax, falling somewhere in between 103 and 107 percent. If you work for an hour and make 100 Danish Kroner (the exchange rate is usually around 1,000 American dollars to one crumpled up piece of Danish currency, but also depends on how sheepish you appear at the Currency Exchange), you must pay 103 to 107 Kroner back to the government. Just from an outsider’s perspective, it seems their system is quite broken. But hey, Universal Healthcare, right?

All Danish men are 6’5’’ (children are somewhere in between infant height and 6’5’’) and all Danish women are 6’2’’. Once, there was a Danish man who was 6’4’’ (or 6’6’’, I forget), but the government took him away for research. Every Dane is blonde and they all get a rosy glow when they smile or think about cold things.

In upholding tradition, all Danes wear wooden shoes. Combined with the cobblestone streets, the Danes are introduced to pain and broken phalanges at a very early age. I’ve caught many of them gawking at my Sketchers, wishing they could go a day without filling their clogs with pure Danish blood.

But while I have it easy walking, I have traveler’s stomach. This is when coddled and privileged Americans travel to less fortunate countries and experience a lesser quality of food. Danes are brought up to solely eat pastries and drink Carlsberg. They derive all nutrition from icing and carbonation; it’s how they are built. I am not quite used to this and I’m pretty sure I have scurvy and maybe dysentery. I’m seeing my free (!) doctor about this tomorrow. All I have to do is blow my “boo-boo” whistle. Then Rasmus Segways me to the nearest hospital (in Berlin). Sometimes I give Rasmus a slap on the back when he’s not going fast enough, but he understands. We have that sort of relationship. Actually right now he’s whipping me up some fresh pastries and Carlsberg. It hurts when I chew because all of the pastry sugar has caused my teeth to decay irreparably, but being abroad is about stepping out of your comfort level, right? Right? Mom, if you are reading this, please send toothpaste. And some sort of vegetable. Or anything green.

Before coming to København, the Study Abroad Office introduced something called The W-Theory to all students planning to study abroad. This empirically-backed and irrefutable theory states that when arriving, you will feel euphoria something similar to crack cocaine. Soon after going through customs, your mood will plummet into a feeling of loneliness and deep depression, similar to, well, I guess the after-effects of crack cocaine. But soon after, you will once again reach that high that you’d sell a sibling for. But, wait, it’s not over. You will become manically depressed, doing anything to feel love or at least some sort of human connection. And once you do, you will skyrocket up to a new feeling of adrenaline pumping through your veins, reminding you of that craving to feel what you felt when you arrived. And so on.

Well, let me tell you: it’s all true. I just got back from dinner with some friends and I am riding an incredible high of cultural integration. I’m just so afraid of what happens when I hit the wall again…

Anyway. København is breathtaking. Go abroad. Lose some teeth. Gain some scurvy. Meet your own Rasmus. After all, it’s about the experience, right?

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Good and the Bad

First, how fame does, and does not, change who we are:

I put the 2008 picture first because your supposed to intuit what they looked like three years prior. You would expect the moustached man, Franz Nicolay, to look a lot less original in the beginning picture. He blew his originality load way too early. Sorry Franz. Maybe that explains his dissatisfied look in the 2008 picture. Nope, wrong again. He has the same face in the first picture. And check out blondie, wearing a checkered red shirt in both pictures. Not only does he look disgusted by the mere fact he might be considered attractive, but the man obviously has doesn't-know-what-to-do-with-the-hands syndrome. And apparently its contagious.

The Good and The Bad of Saturday's Party at My Kollegium (and the Ugly of This Morning)
By Andrew Ian Lipstein; Translated By Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

The Good

  1. The party was hosted by the Keops Party Planning Committee. This is a good for some reason. I guess because such an organization exists. I see them like the Dunder Mifflin Party Planning Committee, except with more molotov cocktails.
  2. The party served 5 Kroner beers.
  3. The party was 5 meters from my room.
  4. The DJ's costume, which was unmistakably Dr. Gonzo from Fear and Loathing, and I've never even seen the movie.
  5. The girl with the blue hair wig and an octopus strapped to her back.
  6. The part of the party where the speakers failed and we were all brought down to the basement to take turns beating a hanging barrel full of candy. Only god knows how much I love communal team-building exercises about destruction. And candy. It's not only god who knows how much I love candy. Oh, no, it's not.
  7. Being responsible AND having a good time.
  8. Sunday morning hazelnut chocolate pancakes.
The Bad
  1. The DJ's decision to consistently end songs before they were over. This included a string of Hang Me Up To Dry by the Cold War Kids (ended abruptly) followed by Thriller by Michael Jackson (ended abruptly) followed by HANG ME UP TO DRY BY THE COLD WAR KIDS, AGAIN (I don't remember if it was ended abruptly, for the sake of the story, ENDED ABRUPTLY.)
  2. The DJ's openly negative reaction when I requested to check out his music and then put on Material Girl, by Madonna. And yes, he ended it before its time.
  3. The broken beer bottles outside of my room the following morning.
  4. The creepy clowns who showed up at the end of the party. Roger says at one point he walked outside and they were all standing there, looking at each other, not speaking.
The Ugly
  1. The unannounced one-day bus strike.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Changing of the Tides

This entry marks a change of structure of my blog. Instead of writing longish event-oriented entries, I hope to make them more informative and/or short and to the point. I've been here for more than a month, and no longer want to detail my happenings; this will hopefully spur a more creative outlet instead of a fact-based ball-and-chain. Something of a swan song of my former style:

Last night was a typical Copenhagen night. Bus, and bar, and bar, and nice to meet you oh where do you live oh really do you know my friend what's his name oh cool oh what's your program oh do you like it me neither, bar, bus, run home from Norrebro station. This routine should change.
Today, Roger and I went to a neighborhood called Osterbro (maps description: "This is where many families with children choose to move if they can afford the rent") and had a good walk around. I almost bought a 20 Kr. fake moustache for halloween. Halloween? Andrew, its not October! You fool! You silly fool! There are two halloweens in Denmark, jerk. You are the fool:

1) The American Halloween

2) The Original Danish Halloween. Also called Fastelavn. It started with traditions such as putting a cat in a barrel and then beating the barrel in order to see if the cat would die of a heart attack or not. If not, chase down the cat and kill it. I guess it wasn't curiosity that killed the cat.

We went to the Danish Design Museum's exhibition of motorcycles that broke out into an exhibition of chairs. Don't ask what this means, that's the best way I can describe it. All of a sudden, it stopped being about motorcycles and started to be about chairs.

At an amber jewelery store, Roger paid me 5 Kroner to ask the woman working there about the plot base of Jurassic Park in which they find jurassic-era mosquitos in amber and take their blood to make dinosaurs. She responded quickly enough that I suppose she had heard that question before. Apparently no. Not possible.

Tonight my Kollegium is holding a Fastelavn party. The sign says to bring a costume and go crazy. Also, that going crazy is optional but eating candy is mandatory. I'm curious as to the enforcement of this. I WAS going to go as moustached Andrew, but now I'll probably end up going as regular Andrew. It's nothing to be ashamed of, regular Andrew. I just wish, I don't know, I guess I'm fine.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Roger & Me

Yesterday was Epic.

Epic in a that day was epic sort of way; not in a slaying a few witches and one-eyed monsters to return home to beat the crap out of a beggar and go to bed my beautiful wife while enjoying an unlimited fountain of wine sort of epic. There is food, scandals, prizes; you must read.

First, class, gym. Easy.

Then the day should be broken down into three great things:

1) I get home, meet up with Roger, and we go shopping for our night to cook. We have established a program where two partners cook for 10-15 people, and then for the next two or three weeks, they may choose 3 days a week to eat someone else's meal. On Sunday we had delicious penne and salad, on tuesday we had delicious taco salad with fruit salad, on wednesday we had delicious chicken peanut satay and noodles. If me and rog were going to stand out, it wasn't by being delicious, it was creativity. Something new the people haven't seen before. Roger made bacon wrapped hot dogs and tater tots and I made regular pancakes and white chocolate strawberry panckaes, and a salad. I think it was delicious. I was overwhelmed by the pure joy of cooking for a group of people and literally couldn't shake that energy as I was trying to go to sleep at 2:30.

2) FCK (Football Club Kobenhavn) tied up Manchester City 2-2 in the 90th minute in UEFA Championship tourney.

3) At 10:30, rog and me went to the Copenhagen Casino, which happened to be holding the European Poker Tour (EPT), brought to you by PokerStars. We walked in to the casino, not before rog continued his streak of refusing to pay for coat check and hiding his jacket in bushes. We walked around, saw the sights. A lot of incredibly wealthy people. Bought some chips. We popped on upstairs to the lounge for EPT players, a room where there was no way we were allowed to be there. A lot of comfortable chairs, some Wii, some Xbox 360, PS3, free sandwhiches, carlsbergs, mixed drinks, coffee, et cetera. We walk around some more and came back and noticed that behind a big sign depicted famous poster stars, are Ogio duffels, which both myself and rog could really use for our study tours and spring breaks. We pick one up and put it on a table. It's got something in it. Inside of the duffel bags are PokerStars shirts, polos, sweatshirts, two hats, and one or two little gadgets. Badabing. An EPT official sits down threateningly right next to us. We go downstairs to the casino. All of the games are too complicated and their complexity is magnified by the fact people speak Danish. We can only play roulette. I place a chip down on a number and after a few seconds the roller asks who put it there. I said I had and he smirks at me as if he caught me doing something. He said, "and how did you do that?" I show him the other matching chips in my pocket and then it takes 5 minutes to get the situation sorted out. Apparently you are definitely not allowed to buy chips at a table and then leave without cashing out. After I go in with 150 Kr. and stop playing after I'm down to 60 (which will come in handy quite well later on), Roger wins on a Roulette split (betting a chip on two numbers), and comes out with 340 Kr. The night is old, we are tired. We head up to the EPT room, notice the bag we were looking at is still out. Good sign. We take one each and slowly walk out of the room. The music in the background made me feel like there were 2 billion kroner in the bag. It felt like Oceans 11, or 13. Not 12. After riding on the 81N bus back home for 20 minutes, we realized we were riding the 81N bus in the direction that would take us the farthest from home. Got out, bus system is done-zies. We have to take a taxi from a Pakistani man who hypotheses almost all gypsies are Indian. I have that 60 Kr. left so we take the taxi 120 Kr. worth closer to our final destination and then walk back to our beautiful home, bispebjerg (bis-peh-bee-eh) station.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dry Weekend, Part III

The Fourth, the Final, Leg:
Yesterday I woke up, got out of bed. Dragged a comb across my head. Found my way downstairs and drank a cup. Anyway.

Went to the Copenhagen botanical gardens. It's counterintuitive, to have a botanical gardens in such an unapologetically Scandinavian climate, especially in mid-February. But I'm abroad to have my mind blown and sure enough everything was dead and it was the opposite of breathtaking. It gave me breath.

Found my coat, and grabbed my hat. Made the bus in seconds flat. Went to the Valentine's Day tea at the Kollegium, a lot of homemade pastries. Went out to dinner for Valentine's Day (with seven girls (hate bitches, love mine)), then went to the Absolut IceBar. No, this wasn't just some ordinary bar with a naming scheme somewhere right in the middle of the modernist and post-modernist movements, it was a bar made of ice. Everything. On the way in we spoke to some native Danes who at first said they weren't at the IceBar for the novelty of it and then admitted they didn't know what the word novelty meant and then admitted they were there for the novelty of it. It cost 150 kr. which is expensive, and it comes with a very large fur-lined coat you wear over your coat when you are in there, gloves, and one free drink out of their list of about 20 or so. The drinks looked delicious, made with juices I've only dreamt about, but at the bottom right in the corner was the only non-alcoholic offering: "Juices." I asked the bartender for a Lychee juice and he did some in-your-face bar trick by flipping the glass cup and missing it, but sort of saving it so the ice glass only chipped and did not shatter. And then actually serving it to me. That ol' trick.

I'm glad I did the IceBar thing, although I was let down, because the experience was one I'd like to have. I was let down because it was smaller than I thought, it was less of a bar than a brief hangout spot. You don't want to be there for too long, because it's cold. It's cold to the point that you would want to leave after a short period of time. We stayed about 45 minutes.

Walked around downtown, shot the shit, Somebody spoke and I went into a dream. Went back to the Kollegium where we played some cards and shot some more shit (a lot of shit shooting this night), and then a bunch of people dressed in fashionably raw clothes entered the room with some music and booze and said they were having a party but that we should continue to stay. They looked hip, and foreign. Turns out they were from assorted countries in Africa (Egypt, Somalia, et cetera, those types of countries), and ready to have a mind-numbing party time. Cut to an hour later. Jay-Z is still playing, but they are huddled around the table where Euchre is being played. I'm talking to a Somalian man who is dressed like he is about to host TRL on MTV Somalia, and then he turns to me and says, "Have you seen the Dude Where's My Car?" "The Dude Where's My Car, of course I've seen the Dude Where's My Car!" And then he tried to talk to me about Seann William Scott, but his excitement rendered him incomprehensible. Apparently he used the Wikipedia to look up all of the Seann William Scott moves he could and watched them all, including the American Pie ("all of them," although I don't know if that includes Band Camp, the Naked Mile, and Beta House), and the Mr. Woodcock.

The humor in the situation is that of two paths:
1) Foreigners who take themselves seriously being enthralled with the silliest caveat of American pop-culture.
2) Foreigners who take themselves seriously misusing the definite article.

After the party party we went up to Travis' room and shot more shit, which was hilarious.

So it was a good night, definitely better than my Dry Rust Experience, because the people I was with weren't nearly as drunk.

I feel good about My Dry Weekend, the things I learned and the things I didn't. And now I know how many holes it takes to fill Albert Hall. I'd love to turn you on.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dry Weekend, Part II

The Third Leg:

Yesterday Joel and myself met up, got some grubberino (Danish, for food. Really? No, not really. Food in Danish is Fjolgskold. Really? No, of course not), and then worked out, with what would be unanimously recalled as a great workout. Thanks Joel. It was great until Joel told the people at the front desk that the music was too slow and "made him want to nap," at which point they burned us a playlist of workoutable music, after two songs of which me and Joel left (because we were done toning, not because of the music.) What a prick. (<3).

Got back, made myself a stuffed bell pepper, stuffed with frikadeller (a danish meatball with more unkosher ingredients than your tiny head could even BEGIN to comprehend) and egg, and topped with waffle fries and cheese. After roasting all of it in the oven, I salted the fucker and ate it, with some bread and pesto olive oil.

Nota Bene: I don't want to turn my blog into one of those things that I try to be entertaining by using cuss words and being foul, but I think the phrase "I salted the fucker and ate it," to be exceedingly amusing. Exceeding of what? Unclear. Maybe minimum standards for humor? I don't know.

Everyone (and by everyone, I mean about 20 people) met up to go Rust, which I knew would be a not-unhoppable-but-still-formidable-road-block in my Dry Weekend plan. Rust? What's Rust? Really? You don't know what Rust is? You're kidding right? You're not? Oh, wow. I'm sorry, it's just that, no, no, it's cool, it's just that, okay, okay. Yeah, okay, we'll meet up later. Yeah, give me a call.

Okay, so Rust is Norrebro's (my neighborhood) hottest nightclub. So hot, there was a shooting a couple of weeks back. But seriously, the best place to go nearby apparently. So while everyone was pregaming and asking me why I wasn't and I was telling them I was having a Dry Weekend and then them giving me their regards I sort of felt like the kid who "sprained" his ankle in 5th grade and got tons of sympathy even though it didn't hurt at all. So we went, and including coat check, it was 70 Kr. (about $12).

Highlights of my Dry Rust Experience:
  • Being a sober participant and observer of dancing. If you ever watched two animals court each other and thought it was nothing but instinctual, go to Rust. Actually, go anywhere where people are dancing and trying to get laid.
  • The bartender I ordered from. For such a dancy bar, the bartender was just a genuinely nice guy. When I asked for some sort of energy concoction he tried his hardest to find something, and was very regretful when he couldn't. Then later in the night he sarcastically told me to not act so drunk but non-sarcastically to keep a good look on my friends.
  • Making a 7-11 run with Tiffany as she bought a hot dog of sorts and I bought a banana. Nothing to see here, it was just a pleasurable banana at 2 in the morning.
  • The delicious Schweppes Lemon I ordered at the bar, and although it was 20 kr., that's about what I would have paid if I got one at a 7-11.
  • Waking up near noon after going to sleep at 4, and not feeling terrible.
Lowlights of my DRE:
  • Paying to dance. No man, or human (but especially no man) should ever pay to dance. The right to party and dance is alienable, but may be fought for (that was a reference to a reference.)
  • Rust was less than awe-inspiring, especially for a Friday night at the end of the school breaks when the club was supposed to be bumping.
So the Third Leg of my Dry Weekend was not a breeze, but it was a worthwhile experience. About to go to the botanical gardens and if everything goes according to plan, the Valentine's Day Party, and then out to a local sit-down dinner, and then Kobenhavn's Absolut Ice Bar.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dry Weekend, Part I

On Wednesday morning, I decided that this weekend is going to be a completely dry weekend. This might seem easy, but the plan is to not just stay in the entire weekend. I am going to attempt to do the normal Danish things on the weekend, like go to dance clubs, bars and try to have adventurous nights, while only putting food and water into my body. Some documentation:

The First Leg: Wednesday night. Stayed in, easy. I have to wake up at 7:30 on Thursdays.

The Second Leg: Thursday night. For dinner I made myself something that interacted with my stomach like new, virgin lovers. They flirted profusely for a little bit and then made nervous love until it was fully digested. First, I took some onions and tightly let them soak up milk in a plastic bag for thirty minutes. I then covered them in flour and then covered them in scrambled egg. I used enough egg that after frying them in olive oil, they were like little greasy omelettes, but almost in an onion ring sort of sense. After adding salt and fried peppers, I ate it all with some ketcup, remoulade (for the left over egg I fried) and some thousand island (for the peppers.) I ate with the Aussies and the Kiwis which is always a lesson in playful sarcasm and weird accents.

One of the Kiwis looks like Bret from Flight of the Concords so I asked him if people ever tell him he looks like Bret from Flight of the Concords and he said, "yes, all the time," which actually suprised me because I would assume that in New Zealand they would have higher standards for who does or doesn't resemble Bret, because as a whole their country probably looks more like him that what I am accustomed to.

After dinner, I went to the other communal kitchen and watched some Euchre and ate some of Laura's undercooked chocolate cake which was actually optimal because if you wanted more of a cake substance you could fork some from the outside or if you wanted more of a pudding/ brownie consistency, you could form some from the inside. Smart. We listened to some killer jams, including but not limited to "How Bizarre," by OMC, the rehearsal version of "D.A.N.C.E." by Justice, "The Impression that I Get," by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and "Ball and Chain," by the White Stripes. After Jimmy, Travis and I went to Travis' room and said, okay, we're only going to watch this one youtube video and then watched all of the youtube vidoes and some tv show about future weapons. Stay tuned for the Third and Fourth installment of the Dry Weekend series.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby

"Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby," is a song by Islands, who we saw last night at Vega.

The night started with purchases of the cheapest baguettes, caviar, juice-boxed white wine, liverpaste kroner can buy. These items cost less than ten dollars combined. There was a condom perfectly laid out on the bus on the way to the concert.

I learned some lessons about decisions and mistakes. In describing the concert, I want to say, "the concert was amazing" or "incredible" or "absolutely outstanding" or "so fucking good," but I wonder how many times that phrase has been said. But it was. The concert was good to the fifth power. Yes, dude, I know how large exponentials expand. Yes, you do win a prize if you can tell me what that was a reference to.

We were in the front row the entire time, and I got some sick shots with my canon and they covered a Smiths song which made me think of Josh. After the show I was able to speak to the two front men as they tried to sell t-shirts. They told me eventually to move slightly aside so that people can see the shirts. I felt bad about that comment but I also felt bad for them having to sell t-shirts. Maybe they remembered me as the guy who kept shouting how much I wanted to touch the lead man's hair during a break in a song.

Today a few of us who didn't have field studies went to Malmo, Sweden. It was just like Kobenhavn, Denmark. Except a lot cheaper because the Swedish Krone is not doing as well as the Danish Krone.

This post is less than thrilling compared to how my past 24 hours were, I'm sorry. Here's to Thursdays.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

That's Not My Pizza, Get Out

''That's not my pizza, get out,'' was my only interaction with a man I might like otherwise. He seemed like he had a hardened outer shell of a personality, but a nose to the grindstone type of guy I would end up liking, not unlike the seemingly surly Peruvian cook from South Street Pizzeria that really just wanted to learn good enough English to gain citizenship and cook good pizzas and be outwardly surly to the timid waitress and myself. The man (not surly Peruvian, the antagonist of my story) owned a sandwhich, pizza and salad shop next to Instanbul Pizza, where I got a 20 Kr. square folded pizza with mushrooms and meatballs among other things (they sell 13 Kr. plain slices however.) After bringing my slice into his establishment to eat with others, he was told by an employee of my action and came out from the back briskly and said that line; the line I will only know this man as for the rest of my life. Maybe he's actually a silly silly man who plays goofy pranks on people and then giggles like a 6th grade me, but maybe today his bike was stolen after finding out his wife is a closet lesbian who plans to move to Cyprus ''to dance.'' Or maybe he's just a prick.

Either way, I went back to the University to meet up with Roger, Peter and Sarah which turned out to be a pleasant lunch. Among other things, we discussed the pros and cons of getting our heroine at the Netto as opposed to Irma. Pros of Netto: cheaper heroine, can also purchase cheaper cereal, food goods. Pros of Irma: organic heroine, fair-trade heroine, can also purchase more granola-y cereal.

After lunch, Roger and myself scoped out the University m&m dispensers which are not connected to the ground, and are somewhat light, and have a plastic encasing for the m&m's. We also meticulously planned out purchasing a beaver. Roger will stand in front of me and the beaver. I will hold a lighter up to the plastic encasing of the m&m machine, creating a small hole. We will switch places and Roger will hold the beaver as it gnaws through the plastic using the small hole I created while I stand in front to block anyone. One of us, probably me but Roger can do it if he wants to that bad or asks me, will hold a bag and get the m&m's out of the machine.

I also might see Islands tonight (the band, not the landform (I immediately hate myself for writing that parenthetical but I have to do it for clarification (This one too) ) ) at Vega, a sweet dance club in Vesterbro. If I do go, hopefully it will only be the non-dairy whipped cream on an epic night disturbingly-moist pound cake. Cheers to you if you figured that sentence out.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Toothpaste, and Western Denmark

I just finished watching an online report on the A-rod steroids incident, and an interviewed man finished with, "once the toothpaste starts to come out, it's really tough to stop it." Terrible. There are so many problems with this. On the ground level, the fact that this analogy is wrong; once the toothpaste starts to come out, you can stop pressing and no more will come out. It's quite a viscous liquid, maybe even a solid (though admittedly probably a liquid.) Second of all, analogies like this that are used to end an interview in some sort of sly manner always hit me in places I don't want touched. Third of all, there is no way the guy made this comment up on the spot ==> he thought of this line, "once the toothpaste starts to come out, it's really tough to stop it," at a previous time, before the interview. You can see his face too, at first subtly stutter the first syllable, and then glide through it, clearly proud of himself. Terrible.

Last night I got back from a 3-day tour, with my Communications and Mass Media program, of Western Denmark, the second biggest cities, Aarhus and Odense (the birthplace and early stomping grounds of H.C. Andersen, Denmark's greatest contribution to the world.) We left early Thursday morning and saw "educational" sites such as The Danish School of Media and Journalism, a newspaper or two, and TV2, Denmark's largest TV station (where we saw a live news broadcast, which was pleasurable.) I got to see a Danish indie rock band who could play indie rock music better than me or you could (assuming my blog hasn't made it the screens of the Followill brothers/cousins yet (of Kings of Leon)), but they weren't good to listen to. We got relatively good sit-down food, I took way less pictures than I should have, and the highlight of the trip was definitely the basement floor of the ARoS Museum in Aarhus where we got a sneak peak tour of an interactive arts media show. A few of the pieces:

  • A treadmill approximately 8 feet by 18 feet, on which you could ran as fast or slow as you want and it would keep you in the middle. In front of you was a cinema screen that showed you running through different scenarios based on how fast you were running. Depending on which sides of the treadmill you ran, the scene would change (spooky parking garage, forest, et cetera.)
  • An old fashioned type writer, attached to a long sheet of paper and a projector, projecting onto the piece of paper. You could type anything, and then hit the create button, and the letters would be used as some sort of DNA to form a creature that would live on the piece of paper. Each sequence of letters produced a different creature, and you could create as many as you wanted. If you typed letters and did not hit the create button, your letters became food for the others. Evolution based.
  • A handle, attached to a light bulb. It finds your pulse, puts it in the light bulb, and shows you where on the ceiling made of 300 lights of other people's pulses your pulse will be until 300 more people try it out.
  • Two wheelchairs that spookily move around a blank room interacting with each other and you. They write you notes that drop on the floor. Spooky music also.
  • A bed that interacts with you using human emotions with vibrations all over. When I went in, I felt as though the bed was telling me it was nervous.
  • The homepage of the New York Times, from July 4th, 2009. It was good because it was humorous and well-written.
Last night Tiffany and I made a stir-fry that had so many levels of the food group and nutrition it would make mother Lipstein sleep soundly. Then a bunch of us stayed in, saving some money and some tolerance, and played bananagrams. I'm looking forward to the week.

Also, one of the only hard alcohols you can find in Denmark but not most other places is called something like Fisherman's Friend. It's dark red and tastes more like Robitussin than I remember Robitussin tasting like. It's really something terrible. Oh and it's only 20% so you can enjoy more of it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

And the award for the most redeeming quality for Keops Kollegium goes to...

The heated bathroom floors. While I would have preferred Keops to spend money on hallways, I am completely satisfied with my discovery of the heated bathroom floors. It's suspected that the reason we have heated floors is to evaporate shower water more quickly, but it's nice getting up to pee in the middle of the night and getting a reminder someone loves me, emanating through the soles of my feet.

Yesterday in my Psychology of Criminology class, we had to form four groups for a final mini-conference. There are four guys and 25 students and the guys had to be separated. It reminded me of the One Male Units of the Hamadryas Baboons we learned about in Primate Origins in Society (note: first Sid Perloe reference on the blog.) For lunch we went to the super hygge cafe and dined like Americans (bagged lunch), and then I bought an 80 Kroner authentic worn out Zidane jersey at a second hand store.

Last night Lucy and I went "bar hopping." It's in quotes because although we went to almost 10 bars, we bought nothing, except for an oversized chocolate muffin at 7-11, the remainder of which I just used to make a TRIPLE DEATH BY CHOCOLATE oversized pancake. I called it "Triple" Death by Chocolate because it had three species of chocolate: muffin, milk and cereal. I'm not really sure why I called it "Death by Chocolate" because that's something restaurants do to attract their customers. I guess that means the only reason I could have done so is that it might actually kill me. But now that I've posted this, how embarrassing would it be if I actually died from this pancake? Someone would have to mention it in my eulogy and how the whole situation represents my love for life and its hidden joys. But they always say that about people who were, in actuality, completely useless during their time on earth. So maybe I am, in fact, completely useless. I am, in fact, writing a paragraph on the nomenclature of a pancake I made by myself for myself.

Anyway, today I missed a field study to Roskilde Domkirke, which is okay because I slept in and I have another field study later today that involves interviewing Danes on the street. I look forward to it because the Danes love to talk to strangers. I am of course using that famous Danish sarcasm.

The Danes love sarcasm, but they love to tell foreigners how much they love sarcasm more.

My new penchant for purchasing figs off of the street has helped me become quite regular.

Tomorrow I am going on a study tour of Western Denmark and won't update my blog until next week.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Great Day

A stop on the 6A bus (past my Bispebjerg St. stop) is called "Peter Bangs Vej," which is one vowel exchange from being very funny to look at. Imagine, "Peter Bungs Vej"! No no, I am of course talking about if it was "Peter Bangs Vaj."

Today was a great day in my overall transition and well-being. My vertigo and nausea is starting to go away, to begin with. This is important because I just found out I need to wake up at 6:30 on Thursday to make my study tour and won't be able to make my doctor's appointment. I made a few key purchases today that also lightened my spirits. Today was pretty much the last day for the winter sale season and I was able to claim tight bright red jeans and a tight pink-plaid button-down tee for a combined 100 kroner. The items were priced originally at 700 kroner. I also purchased some sweet Velcro french kicks, specifically "le coq sportif" for 60 US. I went to a fig and nuts stand and offered the man just short of 5 Kroner. He told me this was not money and to leave his stand. I went to the fruit and nuts stand with less cool figs and dates and stuff but this man was happy to give me more figs and dates than I could want without even asking for the petty change I offered (which amounted to approx. 93 US cents). I obviously gave it to him anyway and will frequent his stand quite often. The first man should take a lesson in business from the first. And, to top if off, for 7-something US, I purchased a liter of quite hard apple cider.

The smell I smell when I enter my room is starting to smell like a place called "home" and my Hans Christian Andersen course is sweet sweet sweet. It's just as black and dark as I thought it would be and I enjoyed the class discussion on the whole. I especially enjoyed not having to take a course with a professor who constantly says "uman" instead of "human," and won't say a line like "as we reemerge from the literature we've obliged ourself to indulge in," instead of saying "as we stop reading." Oh and Kobenhavn is endearing and I made some good choices this weekend and everything looks good.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Fisker Family

Before the Fisker family, a general note about the Danes: Danes are totally okay with losing. It's still up in the air whether or not they like it. The Danes are completely cool with their history of losing war after war and giving up land to other countries. As long as they still have something, they are happy. They are modest. Their hero is Hans Christian Andersen, who is a literary hero whose biography is based on failing and losing. At acting, at singing, at pursuing women, at pursuing men. They lost the semi-final match to make it to the handball championships on Friday and then lost the third place game today, but they sure did try hard. And that's what counts. In America, every professional team is expected to have at least a .600 record and make it to the playoffs. From our statistical background, we know that this is unattainable for most teams. If American sports fans were Danish, as long as their teams tried hard, we would be happy.

Now, the Fiskers. At 3:30 today I went to the residence of the Fisker family, my visiting family for my stay in Copenhagen. I was picked up by Rasmus and Casper, two of the three children, and we walked back to their home which seems regular in the backdrop of Copenhagen, but would be considered on the edge between advanced modernism and humble post-modernism. In short, it was a lovely, loving experience. They made meat pies that were warm and we talked about things that deserved to be talked about and everyone cared what everyone had to say. The youngest, Anders, eventually showed up and was timid at speaking English but tried anyway. The mother called them "octopussies" once (although said it correctly the second time), and there was warm bread and a meal that took over an hour to create and warmth. She packed me two brownies and the remainder of the meat pie for lunch which I greedily ate on the metro on the way home but accidentally left. I hope to see them again soon.

The Super Bowl is starting in 2 hours (12:30 am Danish time), and I have to be in the city at 8:30 am tomorrow. It isn't optimal, but I'm looking forward.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Things I've Learned About European Dance Clubs

You can dance AND take yourself seriously AND have fun.

It's still more fun to leave out the second part.

European dance clubs aren't solely populated by
chlamydia-ridden hoes and intimidating European men who are making love to three of the chlamydia-ridden hoes while slaughtering a couple pigs.

European dance clubs are mostly populated by
chlamydia-ridden hoes and intimidating European men who are making love to three of the chlamydia-ridden hoes while slaughtering a couple pigs.

Europeans love American music.

Guys are terrible at dancing.

Girls put up with the fact that guys are terrible at dancing.

Just because you can't pronounce the name of a club doesn't mean that there won't be Americans there.

If you lose your coat check ticket, you will wait until the club closes at 6 to retrieve it (sorry Jimmy). Or pick it up the next day.

McDonalds at 2:30 a.m. is just short of being more packed then the club.

McDonalds has great combo's, like 4 cheeseburgers and a drink for 60 Kroner (12 dollars).

The above combo doesn't seem like a deal but it is.

Beer before liquor, never been sicker. Beer before the club where you get unlimited beer is not economically responsible.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Universal Healthcare

This whole toothpaste business (see 3 posts down) is something special. I really feel like I should be using it to my advantage somehow, like using whether it's blue or red to decide morality-based decisions (needless to say, blue would be the moral choice and red would be the immoral but more advantageous choice.) The red and the blue also lends itself to the Matrix, but I don't think I can use that in practice.

So, Universal Healthcare. I few posts ago I made a point that I can't wait to go to a doctor so I can be let down by the system of Universal Healthcare. Mission Accomplished. After feeling like I needed to see someone as soon as possible, I went to the University center to ask where I could see one. I could only call my doctor between the hours of 4 to 6 on Wednesday, so we went looking for another doctor given it's legal to see any doctor in a Universal Healthcare system. I suggested going to the hospital, but was told unless I was bleeding (which apparently is the key word at hospitals), it might take up to 7 or 8 hours. So, I finally found another doctor. I had a lunch consisting of St. Peter Bakery's small spinach pizza and another Bakery's homemade version of a strawberry poptart.

The doctor's priority in seeing me was making sure I promised not to go to her again. I was assigned a doctor, and even though I'm allowed to see anyone, she gets paid for the visits by HER patients. That's the problem with Universal Healthcare - incentive. I was told by my Danish instructor that in this system, doctors are trying to get you out of their office as soon as they get you in. Which makes sense; they get paid for each head they see, not each head they treat. As Americans, we look to any system that's not our own as more advanced, more utilitarian, less capitalist and of a higher moral degree. Universal Healthcare is none of the above (besides probably less capitalist.) Although healthcare is ''free'' under this system, nothing is free. Somebody has to be paying the doctors: the people. Income taxes are between 50 and 70 per cent here. The people do pay for their doctors, in fact more than the average US citizen, but they get a healthcare system with less incentive, a grouping together of all citizens (which may or may not be a good thing; from my experience yesterday: a bad thing), and a solid dose of bureaucratic bullshit.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You Learn

It appeared to me a couple of hours ago that there it is definitely most likely (or at least hopefully probable) that what I'm feeling is food poisoning. It hit me, with a montage of either "You Learn" by Alanis Morissette or "Knocked Up" by Kings of Leon playing of the past week; me eating raw bacon, me eating raw pancake mix, me eating liverpaste left out overnight, me half-heartedly washing dishes, me eating raw bratwurst, me getting sandwiches at 7-11, my 10:30 am happy meal, me eating slightly browning onions, me licking the hands of a beggar, et cetera.

Today when everyone introduced themselves in my Psychology of Criminal Behavior, I thought of the following situation:

Teacher: So, everyone, say your name, where you are from, your major, why you took the class, and something interesting about yourself, if you can.

Girl 1: Oh, my name is Amanda! From Tennessee University! Go Volunteers. I'm a Psych major, I took the class because it looked interesting, and ummm, and umm, something interesting about myself. Well, I'm ADDICTED to chocolate.

Guy 1: David, from Bates, Psych Major. I also thought the class looked interesting.

Girl 2: My name is Michelle, and I go to the University of Minnesota where I major in Psychology. And I am now addicted to Danish Pastries! Oh, and Avocados.

Teacher: Well, it seems we have a theme going with the interesting facts.

Guy 2: My name is Will, I go to Penn State, where I major in Psychology also. I'm addicted to Ambien. Oh, and Beef Jerky.

I'm just saying, I think half the class would have cried out of inner conflict.

I've got 99 problems such as my shower and general vertigo/nauseau but finding cheap chocolate oatmeal ain't one

My shower is my bathroom, meaning when I take a shower, everything gets wet. If my shower is too long, I've learned, the water floods into the rest of my room.

I also need to see a doctor about some general nausea/dizziness. I hope to be as disenchanted with universal healthcare as I hope and expect to be.

On the flip side, the subject that ''ain't'' a problem, I had previously purchased a box of chocolate muesli, a cereal-like substance. Noting it's oatmeal-like consistently, I tried to prepare it like oatmeal and it worked. Thus, for all intents and purposes, because I have a whole box of it, I will rarely run out.

Last night we were taken out to dinner at a nice cafe with our language class to try to get somewhat close to the concept of hygge (look it up, pronounced hoo-guh-lee, but no one will ever admit to it). The place looked outstanding but they ordered us ham and cheese sandwhiches, which was a less than optimal situation. We were all so hungry from general poverty that we ordered more bread at the end of the meal to stock our stomachs. Also, when the professor got up to see another table, I took some of her buttered croutons. You can chalk that up as something I would do, but when one or two girls I was with did the same, you know the food here is too expensive.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


My toothpaste is tri-colored, white red and blue. When I spit it out after brushing, it will either be either light red or light blue.

The word verification for my last post was "slayhen."


Last night I had a bit too much fun. Apparently Vermouth Bianco tastes like Oregano. That's what I learned from the night, everything else I already knew.

Yesterday we went to Christiania (wikipedia Freetown Christiania). For all intents and purposes, marijuana is legal there. Christiania, for all intents and purposes, represents the contradictory nature of the Danes. Populated by hippies and supposed free-thinkers, Christiania is also a community of exclusion and general xenophobia.

The weather is almost comical. It's subtly, obscurely plain, obvious. If Wes Anderson directed a weather report, it would be what I'm looking at now. It's almost a piece of art. Starting on Tuesday, for exactly one week, the high is consistently 36. The forecast conditions are also almost regretfully unsure. It will never say "rain" or "sunshine" or "snow." It will say "AM Fog/PM Clouds" or "Mostly Cloudy." This is the most mundane topic I will ever write about on the blog.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Observations and Events

Last night there was a university sponsored party at Luux, which can be visited at By university sponsored I mean the cover charge, coat check, and two free drinks. The two free drinks were important because the drinks cost between 30 and 150 Kroner (pronounced chroona, because the Danes don’t believe in r’s, among other things; see: emotion, capitalism, sobriety.) Also, Joel says it was Denmark’s highest rated club in 2006. Even though it’s 2009, that’s impressive. And the club was objectively impressive, showing videos on scattered televisions with various sexual innuendo. Like cherries. And topless women. I enjoyed watching my classmates dance, creating a physical metaphor for what they wanted to do horizontally instead of vertically. I enjoyed dancing myself. Last night a girl told me she thinks I like to dance to make other people uncomfortable. Maybe.

Including the stores like Whole Foods, and all the organic muesli and granola, Denmark has less cereal varieties than Jake and I kept on our fridge this past summer.

In one of the central squares in Copenhagen, there is a sign that says: “Carlsberg, Probably the Best Beer in Town,” which says more about the Danes than anyone will ever realize.

Original Letter

This is the e-mail I originally sent to some regarding my first impressions of Copenhagen:

Hey all,

I’ve decided to make a somewhat mass e-mail (including the bus 28 group)
instead of sending out individual e-mails as of now, and if you want to
respond to this we can do individual e-mails or whatnot. I want to hear
from all of you. Because this is a mass e-mail, please forgive me if this
e-mail is too much information than you expected in certain areas or not
enough in certain areas. This is also quite long.

Right now I’m watching a man who is about 280 pounds of muscle trying to
convince me to join a gym in downtown Copenhagen. This is frightening
because he is very large. This is exciting though, because it means I have
internet in my room for the first time since being here. And Skype
(ailipst; add me.) First I will tell you how I am doing, my situation, and
then I will tell you things I’ve learned about the Danes so far. Although
I sometimes regret going to a culture more unlike our own that I had
originally planned for, I’m glad I’m taking myself out of my comfort level
and learning to readjust.

I live in a Kollegium, or dormitory for all types of students, not
necessarily those attending the same University as myself. My Kollegium is
20-25 minutes by bus from the heart of Copenhagen, where DIS, my
university is. It might be faster on the metro or train (which I have a
pass for) or maybe even by bike, and I’ll figure it out. Danes love to
bike. Most adults bike to work. There is a biking lane. Do not step in the
biking lane because the Danes will not stop for you. Men and women in
suits all bike to work at the same time. When it gets warmer I am
considering buying or renting a bike to live the Danish life correctly.
Anyway, my Kollegium is nice although it is in Norrebro (often called
Norrebronx by the Danish because it is known as the ghetto of Copenhagen.)
Everyone has singles with a small kitchen and bathroom but as soon as you
leave your room, you are outside. Although there is a communal kitchen, it
kind of blows having to leave your room into the cold, wet Danish weather
to see other people. I hope to spend a minimal period of time in my room.

I’ve learned in Copenhagen that as someone in my situation, you can choose
to go hungry or to go poor (or to buy very classy Danish clothes and be
both hungry and poor. But seriously, the Danes dress with tight,
fashionable clothing. It’s nice.) I hope to find a middle ground. For
example, go only slightly hungry and become quite poor, but not as poor as
I could potentially become if I ate everything here I wanted to. Like the
danishes. Not the people. The pastry. There is a bakery (all bakeries are
marked with a large pretzel at the top) called St. Peter’s that has a 12
Kroner special each day (1 dollar = 5 or 6 Kroner). Danish pastries are
mind-numbing. They make love to my stomach while sweet talking my mouth.
They are light and fluffy but have so much substance behind them I would
marry one if he or she was human. Or at least had a heart. Which I think
they sometimes do. Anyway, things here are so expensive because a) it’s
the heart of a major European city, and b) a 25% tax is included in
everything. I know that everyone abroad right now must be thinking that
where they are is the most expensive city, but I don’t see how things
could be more expensive than they are here. I am sorry. The only
affordable food items are beer and eggs, which will be the main substance
in my diet, if all goes well. And if all goes well, I will fight off
alcoholism. The culture of the program and Danish life makes alcoholism
somewhat inevitable. In America it’s somewhat less acceptable to drink on
a Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. Here not so much. I will do my best and keep in
mind I am a guest in this society, and not a full member.
Copenhagen itself is beautiful. Yada yada yada. It’s quite historical,
yada yada yada. Queen this, cobblestone that. Anyway, now, things I’ve
learned about the Danes:

I’ve learned the Danes hate immigrants. Eh, it’s kind of funny to make fun
of immigrants. Eh, they don’t really fit in with the rest of the Danish.
Eh, they are from certain areas only and you don’t see them much in the
main areas of the city. But at the heart of the matter is that it’s
accepted that Denmark does not appreciate you if you are an immigrant.
When someone says something blatantly offensive towards them, it’s okay.
They are immigrants. Apparently the bus I take to the center of the city
is chock-full of them, but to me it seems more white than the
transportation I took to Philly. It’s not really the “they took our jobs!”
or the “they stink of dog and have weird customs!” It’s just that the
Danes LOVE Danish culture, and these immigrants have upset the paradigm.
The Danes love their Queen and it’s almost illegal for the media to harass
her or to report something negative (Denmark as a Democratic Monarchy;
i.e. the Queen is just for show, although she eats tons of taxes to
support the Royal Family’s way of living. This might explain the 25% tax
on consumer goods. Today I heard it’s 50-70% on income.) My Danish
instructor said that Copenhagen used to have over 700 hot dog stands (they
are quite good and cheap, about 25 Kr.) but because of the immigrants,
there are less than 200. When the immigrants come, they bring their food.
For the Danish, this is a bad thing. If it was up to them, liverpaste and
Carlsberg is the only thing Denmark would be eating. Sidenote: Carlsberg,
the one and only true to Danish brewery, has a beer called Elephant, which
is 7.4% and about 16-18 ounces, and I can get 4 of them for 12 Kr. ($2.50)
at the local Netto, a grocery store. That’s about 8 quality drinks for
less than $2.50.

I’ve learned the Danes are extremely nice, but seem like complete d-bags
on the outside. It’s against Danish culture to be openly friendly. It’s
against Danish culture to make small talk. If you want to see a look of
panic with a Dane, make small talk. Say, “What’s up? How are you doing?”
Frightened with the social situation they have yet to encounter, they may
counter with the exact same small talk you brought to the table, which
might make conversations like this happen:

Me: Hey, what’s up? How are you doing?

Dane (looking confused, bewildered, emotionally upset): What’s up? How are
you doing?

Me (stifling a smirk): Oh, good.

Dane (looking somewhat relived): Oh, good. (the Dane now stares in front
of him or herself intensely)

I’ve learned the Danes are alcoholics. You might say Ireland is full of
alcoholics. Or Scotland. Or London. Or Italy. But in Denmark there is no
such thing as an alcoholic. Denmark drinks not to have fun or to live more
or to socialize, but to be drunk. To not be sober. I’ve gathered that the
Danes drink to escape the social rules they’ve bounded to themselves. To
be able to show the emotions they are taught to only keep inside. A Danish
man I talked to while watching a handball matchup (against those goddamn
Saudis, those Arabs) said it’s because they enjoy it. Either way, they
always drink. At lunch time. In the morning. Some beer. Some more beer.
It’s okay. I don’t know if Denmark doesn’t do the liquor license thing or
they are very easy to get, but every place that serves food also serves a
lot of alcohol. Like the 7-11’s. We were told if we have lunch with a
Danish family, over the course of the meal we will have 2-3 shots of
something like schnapps and then 5-7 beers. It was also presented to us
that Danes live 3 or more years less than their Swedish counterparts,
because Danes drink more. This is okay because Danes like drinking a lot.
Sidenote: Danes like the Swedes, Danes like the Norwegians. Danes hate the
Finnish. Something about wars and history or something, I don’t know.

I’ve learned the Danes love handball. Enough said. It’s like basketball
and soccer and a little bit of football. It kind of sucks as far as sports
goes, but they enjoy it. And they’re sort of good at it.

I’ve learned that one-third of all Danes between the ages of 18 and 30
have Chlamydia. Jesus H. Christ. We were told this in an orientation so I
assume it’s true, but I hope for the sake of the Queen and the great Danes
of Denmark that it’s not. Also, crabs are becoming an epidemic. We were
told if we are at a bar and someone is scratching their genitals a lot,
that we should not go home with them. As if in America this behavior would
be widely accepted and improve someone’s chances. That was a sarcastic
remark, which reminds me:

I’ve learned the Danes are quite sarcastic. Which is fun for everybody and
I appreciate it.

So I stopped typing and went and had dinner with some people in my
Kollegium. It was an experience that made me feel better and better about
being here. People got together for some sort of potluck. While people
made pre-made dishes like microwaveable pizza and pasta, I made some bacon
(not that impressive), but also some fried tomatoes with melted cheese,
pesto and remoulade. Before I knew it, people were asking me for advice on
the pasta and how often I can cook. It made me feel good and reminded me
how much I like cooking for other people. Hopefully I’ll be able to cook
for friends frequently, also a good way to save money given it’s their
ingredients. Also, these experience reminded me how much I love sitting
down with people I want to talk to over a meal and a few bottles of wine.
It was just very homey. And appreciated. I’ve met a lot of people so far
and am sure if I’m ever bored, there are always a group of people I can
get together with.

I feel this is a good ending note, even though I can think of more I can
say. Peace and love everybody, can’t wait to hear back.