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.