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.