Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bikes in D.C.!!

Looks like the stateside equivalent of Copenhagen's City Bike program (Bycyklen) is coming to Washington, D.C.! Though I would be out-of-my-mind terrified to ride my bike in D.C., it's exciting, nonetheless.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Clear the Water, Snark Attack!!!

Okay, not a very funny joke, I know, but some people (cough, cough, Søren, cough) have alluded that my recent posts have been too snarky. I think the article that he emailed me (below) earlier today likely has something to do with it:

Unfortunately, I don't work with idiots, I work for idiots. By that I mean the "customers" I serve are idiots. Sometimes I thank my lucky stars that I'm not completely retarded and self-insufficient. Make that often. Often I thank my lucky stars... My whole solar system of lucky stars containing the wit and wisdom that helps me get by day-to-day.

Now, to be completely fair, not everyone I work for is an idiot (and, on that note, I believe idiot is an extraordinarily harsh term, but in keeping with the article...). But enough of them are to make me feel like I am in the teeth-gnashing depths of Hell at least twice a day. In order to counteract some snark, I'm posting the absolute hyggeliest, feel-good picture I can find:

Flowers, candles, and cake. Snark medicine. Antisnarkamine. I feel better already. Sort of.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday Tidbits

Slow day at work...

Ikea Guilty of Cultural Imperialism?! or, The Danes Overreact Again! - Nyhedsavisen (self-proclaimed as Denmark's Biggest Newspaper) recently ran a front page article (that's right, folks, front page) accusing Ikea of "bullying" Denmark because names of Danish towns are relegated to "lower value" items, like doormats.

"It seems to be an example of cultural imperialism," Klaus Kjøller, Assistant Professor in Political Communication and the Danish Language at the University of Copenhagen. "Ikea has chosen the objects with the lowest value and given them Danish names," he added.

Doormats and rugs such as Köge, Sindal, Roskilde, Bellinge, Strib, Helsingör and Nivå are all "seventh class" citizens in the hierarchical world of Ikea furnishings, according to Kjøller.

"Ikea is a very professional company. I don't think this can be a coincidence," he said.

But according to Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson, that is exactly what it is.

But Klaus Kjøller is not convinced.

"It's hard to imagine it's not intentional," he said.

In an unrelated but interesting aside, the Copenhagen academic also pointed out that "it is exactly 350 years since the Swedes took the Halland, Skåne and Blekinge regions from Denmark."
Riiiight. I emailed the article to some Danes to get their opinion:

"I for one am sure that it is done deliberately." - Michael Gajhede, Professor of Biostructural Research, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Copenhagen.

"I hate those Swedes! They believe they can step all over us - like on a doormat! But we Danes and you with your Danish ancestors are better than them... Funny!"- Stine Svenningsen, Danish Institute for Study Abroad Receptionist and all around sweetheart :)

Also, Tramp Stamps = gross. Tramp Stamps on your WEDDING DAY?! = Might as well get married at the trailer park.

Man chokes to death on cupcakes! Sad.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Top 10 Things I Hate, Gym Edition.

It's a good thing working out releases all those feel-good endorphins to help combat these top ten things that bug me at the gym (in no particular order):

There was this woman at the gym last week working out on the treadmill next to mine. I have two gripes of which she is a prime illustration, so she will be numbers one and two on my list of things that bug.

1. People that wear unnecessary workout gear. This treadmill woman was wearing one of those running underwear thingamabobs that, in my opinion, people only need to wear if they are a) in the Olympics or b) running a marathon (and, really, not even then). Moreover, she was jogging along at a mere 8km/h pace. Jogging at this pace especially does NOT warrant wearing those "look-at-me, I'm a super-runner!" bottoms. Unfuckingnecessary. I feel for the people standing behind us waiting for a treadmill to open up as they were surely having a tough time looking at everything else possible in the room, trying to politely avert their eyes from the horror that was her jiggly thighs. Other examples of unnecessary workout gear include people who wear those little belts with multiple bottles of water, protein gels, etc. to fuel their "superhuman" 45 minute workout and people who wear sweatbands simultaneously on their head and wrists. Dumb.

2. Window Watchers. Back to the woman on the treadmill. So, she was running at 8km/h. I and other people around me, on the other hand, were running at a significantly faster paces (I was going 10.2), red-faced, and sweating. I was trying to reach an (arbitrary) 10k goal time so I knew I had to keep running at a pretty decent clip for the better part of an hour. I was doing okay, breathing well, muscles working together, my shoulder didn't hurt (for once), and I was not fatigued... BUT I was hot as hell. Seriously, I felt very similar to the way I feel when I run outside around mid-afternoon during the summertime in the Mid-Atlantic. Knowing I'd never be able to make my self-imposed time goal if I had to keep running in this heatwave of a gym, I paused my machine for 45 seconds, hopped down, and opened the window behind me. I could almost feel the wave of relief washing over my fellow fast-paced runners as I returned to my treadmill on the crest of the cool breeze now flowing through the window. My feet had barely returned to my treadmill when "gross bottoms" next to me hopped off her treadmill to close the window. WHAT?! I turned and asked her, probably a bit hysterically, what she was doing. She informed me that I couldn't just open the window like that, people would get sick from the cold air. I informed her that people don't get sick from cold air, they get sick from viruses and bacteria, and that it was really hot and I felt myself and some of the people around us could benefit from having the window open during our workout. She told me she would only be running for two more minutes and then I could open the window. I begrudgingly resumed my workout in the Serengeti heat. She worked out for at least ten more minutes (two minutes?! lie teller!) during which the rest of us sweat like fat Asian guys in a sauna. If she hadn't been wearing those ridiculous running bottoms or going at such a lame pace she probably wouldn't have been so cold. And if she hadn't been so stupid she would know that cold weather is merely a catalyst for and does not cause illness. Needless to say, my slowed pace in order to avoid certain heat stroke while the window was closed made me miss my 10k time that night by eight seconds. Bitch.

3. People who work out on the elliptical at a glacial pace for twenty minutes, wipe the non-existent sweat off their brow, and head straight to the vending machine for a protein shake and powerbar. Nuh-uh. You did not work hard enough for that. Don't you know you just consumed what little you burned off and more?! No wonder you are still fat and out of shape.

4. People who insist on working in on the weight machines even though it entails both of you adjusting the seat and the weights between each set, thus taking way more time then it would have had they had just waited for you to finish.

5. People that don't wipe down the machines after they have sweat all over them. This especially applies when you can see the outline of your sweaty butt print. Gross.

6. When I am working out on the elliptical, reading a magazine, and whomever is next to me keeps looking over at what I am reading. "Um, I'm about to turn the page, are you finished?"

7. People who workout in improper footwear. I don't know if this is a Danish thing or what, but since when is it appropriate (in terms of safety, for the most part!) to work out in socks or, worse, flip flops? Get some sneakers.

8. People who stare at you while you workout. Yes, I know the rowing machine is directly across from and facing the treadmill I am on, but do you really have to look at me the entire time you erg? There is a whole room full of people. Shift your gaze every now and then or watch the meters go by on the machine. I don't want you to see if I start lip-syncing by accident.

9. In the locker room: People who unnecessarily take up an entire bench with all their stuff, especially during peak hours when there are a lot of people trying to get changed. Also people who walk around naked for longer than they need to before or after they shower; though, I digress, there is a smidge of benefit to this. Women who walk around naked in the locker room who are hot can serve as motivation and inspiration to all of us mere mortals. They give us something to think about during the last bit of our workout where we are pushing hard but losing steam and thinking about going home early and stopping to pick up our friends Ben & Jerry on the way, you know? Women who walk around naked in the locker room who are NOT hot can serve the same benefit, in reverse naturally. God, I sound so pervy.

10. When two friends (usually female) will stand around talking and waiting, waiting, waiting to get two machines next to one another to work out. More often than not, once they are working out they don't continue their conversation. Why bother waiting around for adjacent machines in the first place?

Friday, February 22, 2008

I wonder if Yorkshire Bank PLC Are Fascist Bastards is on Facebook...?

I think this is relatively old news because I couldn't find a current "legitimate" news link for it, but this came up during Trivia last night at The Globe and I thought it was funny enough to post.
After being charged £20 for a £10 overdraft, 30 year old Michael Howard of Leeds changed his name by deed poll to Yorkshire Bank PLC Are Fascist Bastards. The bank has now asked him to close his account, and Mr.Bastards has asked them to repay the 69p balance, by cheque, made out in his new name. The Guardian
Hahahaha, zing!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Because I can't sleep (oh, the already apparent redundancy of this post)... top 5 things I do when I have insomnia:

1. Lay awake in bed becoming increasingly grouchy, wondering why I can't sleep.
2. Read a book (currently Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion)
3. Read Missed Connections on Craigslist (usually Washington, D.C.)
4. Look up random stuff online (tonight I googled 'sneeze in sleep' because I was wondering if people sneeze while they sleep)
5. Eat something small (usually a mix of carbs, protein, and fat in hopes that it will help me sleep. For example, a banana with a bit of peanut butter. No snack tonight.) or have a cup of decaf tea (No tea either.)


Monday, February 18, 2008

Øl Pong!

Sweet Carlsberg commercial...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Wikipedia aligns with Denmark

Defies 180,000 demands to remove images of the Prophet

Hmmm... I think this "whole thing" (crass terminology given the scope and magnitude, I know) regarding depictions of the Prophet Muhammad (starting back in September 2005, flaring up in January/February 2006, and currently experiencing a revival to consciousness in Western countries) is extremely interesting because it skirts a much bigger issue of applicability in regards to religious practice and tolerance. I've just started reading Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion and he addresses the feeling of varying religious groups that their laws are, of course, the ultimate. He continues to explore whether it is reasonable for religious laws of particular sects to be applicable to others and/or for their religious laws to trump laws made by mankind. (In particular, I'm thinking about that tribe in New Mexico who, merely by playing the religion card, gets to regularly indulge in psychotropic substances that are otherwise illegal to everyone else). Perhaps I'll write more on this at a later time. I need to do some thinking. Unfortunately, most of my thinking never makes it into this blog, which is why most of my posts are inane at best. Oh well.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nice one Danes, fark those cretins.

- Total Fark subscriber Nestea Plunge, in response to the Fark bit about Denmark reprinting the Muhammad cartoons on Wednesday.

Here is the CBS News article.

And the Fark commentary, some of which which is pretty amusing.

Adventures at the Airport

Let me preface this post by saying it may be rather long. I’ve decided to bunk off work for a while to blog because [as you will soon learn] I have technically been “working” since 6:30 this morning. Plus, I just don’t feel like doing "real" work, nor do I have anything incredibly pressing at the moment because all the students are away visiting Jutland, and other "exciting" places.

The beginnings of this blog ramble all started yesterday afternoon… One of my colleagues asked me if I would be willing to pick up a parent of one of our students at the airport this morning. Airports, along with grocery stores and drug/convenience stores (like CVS or Walgreens), are actually one of my favorite places to kill time. The people watching opportunities at airports are unbeatable. So, I agreed to go greet the mom, take her to her hotel, etc. I was all set logistically to arrive to meet the mother’s 7:10am flight. I’d leave my apartment around 6:45, arrive at the airport around 7:00, hit up Starbucks, and be ready and waiting with my sign by the arrivals gate by the time she deplaned and collected her luggage.

The "trouble" started when I received a courtesy text last night from the airline, informing me that the woman’s flight would actually be arriving twenty minutes before schedule. This was an incredibly surprising alert, considering the bad weather both out of Denver (her starting point) and in Newark, where she was supposed to catch her non-stop connecting flight to Copenhagen. The other bad thing was that I received this text while I was in the middle of my fifth drink at Salon 39 with some friends. Shit, I’d have to wake up earlier than expected and I drank more than I intended. Shit.

5:30am came [expectedly] fast. I dragged myself out of bed and into the shower, desperately craving a cinnamon brown sugar pop tart from my overpriced American Store stash. Though I was hung over and feeling ‘blah’, I forced myself to skip the pop tart and wait with the promise that I would get a skinny raspberry peach muffin from Starbucks as soon as I arrived at the airport. By 6:30am I was slumped in the passenger seat of a swanky Mercedes cab, being whisked through the darkness to the airport.

Once at the airport (6:45am), I went immediately to the ONLY STARBUCKS IN DENMARK. “Venti-soy-extra-hot-caramel-macchiato and a skinny-raspberry-peach-muffin, please.” Charge the 75 kroners (yes, that’s $15 USD for a coffee and a muffin(!)) to my corporate credit card. Swish, swipe. Thought process during this entire Starbucks exchange: Fuck, it’s early. Hmmm… interesting… They sell a Starbucks City Mug for Copenhagen now. That’s really strange, considering there is ONE STARBUCKS IN THE WHOLE COUNTRY. What a waste of production equipment to produce mugs for just one store. Maybe I’ll get one.

6:55. I’m sitting in Starbucks eating my muffin and someone at the table next to me accidentally spills their tea all over the place. A little girl at the table, probably around seven years old, immediately bursts into tears. Thinking about it, I conclude that it is really strange that young children cry over spilled drinks (As the saying goes - There’s no use crying over spilled milk!...and I presume it would follow, tea, or any other beverage substitution for milk). It wasn’t even her tea and no one else at the table was making a big deal over it at all. Very strange. I wonder if there have been studies done on this particular subject/phenomenon. Do young children have an enhanced sense of loss (compared to adults) when it comes to spilled beverages? If so, I wonder if this is culturally or socio-economically related… Interesting. Maybe I’ll look into this later, out of curiosity. Geez, I sooo have a degree in psychology.

7:04am. Okay, according to the arrivals screen, the mom's plane from Newark has landed.

7:20am. Okay, baggage is apparently coming in 12 minutes. Maybe I should finish my coffee and go stand by the arrivals gate with my sign.

7:45am. According to the arrivals scree, all baggage has been delivered. Where on earth is this mom? Oooh, here comes a Thai Air flight from Bangkok. Wow, glammy! All the Thai Air flight attendants wear flashy bright purple uniforms! Whoa, these people coming back from Thailand are sooo tan, and wearing flip flops!!! Thai Air also gives everyone a beautiful purple orchid to pin to their clothes as they disembark. Pretty! Text Rachel: ‘Watching a Thai flight come out of airport. Everyone so, so tan. We should go.’ Response from Rachel: ‘Done. Book it.’

7:55am. Still watching the Thai Air passengers come through the arrivals gate. Eeew, too many people are wearing Crocs. Blegh. And seriously, I know they are coming from Thailand, but why are they all wearing shorts and sandals? They knew they were flying to Copenhagen. It’s too cold for flip flops here right now… and no weather temperature or conditions ever warrant wearing Crocs. Gross.

8:00am. HOTTIE SPOTTING. Great broken in jeans, long sleeved grey shirt. Wow. Hmmm, appears to be meeting a friend. A guy, not a girl, but the exchange doesn’t appear to be of the homosexual variety. Hmm…

8:20am. I spot someone with skis wrapped up in grocery bags and duct tape. Weird. You’d think if they were a nice set of skis they’d buy a ski bag. If they weren’t nice enough to warrant buying a ski bag, they would probably be better off not bringing them at all and just renting skis at their destination. Weird. GhettoNetto yellow ski bag. Hahaha.

8.25am. So. Much. Burberry. Text Libby: ‘High scoring morning’, referring, of course, to the Burberry Points Game. Extra points for the novacheck skirt, naturally.

8:30am. Where the fuck is this mom?! I walk over to the information desk to inquire.

“Sorry, we can’t release information about our passengers.”

Damn. “She may be slightly mentally disabled, her daughter is in the hospital. It’s a traumatic time, naturally.”

“Ooooh, well! Let me see what I can find out for you.”

Bingo. I get the 'illegally relased' information from the guy at the information desk. Apparently the weather in Denver made her miss her connector in Newark. I’d been hanging out at the airport for two hours for nothing. She'd be coming later. Meh. I went over and bought the Starbucks City Mug. Not totally a worthless trip, I guess.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Wish List

I'm in the Valentine's spirit because I decorated at work the other day. Valentine's Day is not big in Denmark, but it is growing in popularity and my boss thought it would be nice if I decorated for it for the sake of our American students. Not one to shirk away from a creative opportunity (and being a romantic to an embarrassing extent sometimes), I hung hearts of three different sizes (s, m, l) and colours (red<3 , pink<3, cream<3) at varying heights over the front desk where the receptionist sits so that it looks like a cloud of hearts. Then I stuck the same variety of hearts at different angles along the front side of the desk. It sounds lame when I describe it, but it's really cute. Very Martha Stewart Living-esque if I do say so myself. Even Valentine's-hating students have popped in to say how much they like it and how nice it looks. Check it out:

In honor of the Valentine's spirit, a sampling of my current mental wish list (also because I'm a bit bored at work now that my creative work is done):

1. Agent Provocateur's red 'Gangster' bra - €140

This bra is beautiful. *swoon* Of course a red, satin balconette bra is impractical under most clothes (though, let's be real, we all know this is not a bra meant to be hidden under a tatty Saturday t-shirt!), but I love the pleated detailing on top and the rich wine colour. Perhaps I'll pop over to the AP store here in Copenhagen later this week to check it out, though the price is a bit depressing.

2. Red Hunter Wellington Boots - £55

These are super cute and really practical, especially when you live in a rainy place like Denmark. Though they offer them in a rainbow of colours, I especially like the red because they will go with everything I usually wear plus things I don't usually wear but would like to wear in the future. I can just as easily picture myself wearing them with my jeans tucked in as I can picture wearing them with my white A&F mini, splashing around during Spring showers in April.

3. Tibor Kalman's Sky Umbrella - $48

Such a fun way to beat the grey on an omnipresent rainy day! Plus, it'll go great with my red Hunter wellies. From New York's Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art Store.

4. Valentine's Cupcakes

Because I love cupcakes. They are so cute and just the perfect amount of delicious cake. In the States I make delicious S'mores Cupcakes that I created myself. They have graham cracker cake with a chocolate-marshmallow fluff icing topped with a square of Hershey's chocolate and a dusting of graham cracker crumbles. Delicious. Because it's not available in Europe, my parents recently sent me a family sized vat of Jif Creamy Peanut Butter. I'm planning on making peanut butter and jelly cupcakes when I get a chance (perhaps with the jelly inside the cupcake, jelly donut style). The shocking thing is that they don't really know what cupcakes are here in Denmark. Denmark is home to some of the best bakeries which make some of the best pastries in the world and they don't know what a cupcake is?! Nutty.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Can you make crystal meth in Denmark?"

That was the question I posed out of the blue today during lunch. I'm wondering because, according to Wikipedia (the foremost intelligence on, oh you know, most everything) "methamphetamine is most structurally similar to methcathinone and amphetamine. When illicitly produced, it is commonly made by the reduction of ephedrine or pseudophedrine. Most of the necessary chemicals are readily available in household products or over-the-counter cold or allergy medicines." The thing is, you can't get cold or allergy medications in Denmark (stupid. pharmaceutical companies would make a bloody fortune here), leading me to believe that members of the ephedrine set are probably also difficult to find in Danish cleaning products. Now, I am aware that people reading this who do not live in Denmark might see this as a logically flawed inference to make, but if you lived in Denmark you'd understand. The lack of certain products here is really mind-boggling.

So, can you make crystal meth in Denmark? Not that I, er, want to or anything. Crystal meth is such a ghetto drug. I'm still curious, though. Maybe I'll ask some druggies in Christiania or, better yet, on Istedgade. Maybe I can even get some valuable insight from a Gammel Torv hobo. Hmm...

Tuesday Bits

After a fun-packed weekend, I "hit the ground running" at work yesterday morning with 364 new things to read in my RSS feed. I am still working on reading through the interesting bits today. Hmmm... am I mis-prioritizing if I give my RSS feed higher importance than Outlook, Filemaker, and the list on my desk marked "To Do/Projects"?! Oh well. I'd totally red-flag my RSS if I could. To put off real work for a bit longer, a few of my favorites:

McSweeny's - Excerpts from the Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook for People with Rocket Packs: How to thwart robbery by multiple knife-wielding attackers, escape underwater bondage (David Blaine, this is for you), thwart a Nazi supervillian, and end your long-term relationship.

Cupcakes Take the Cake - Morning sugar rush.

DCist - What's next? Blacks in back again? That might become a problem in 2050, when minorities will take over public transport, along with everything else in America. (see below)

Whites to become the minority in the U.S. by 2050 - Here in Denmark, on the other hand, seeing a non-white is something I notice. Like, seriously, I maybe see one or two minorities per day - sometimes none if I don't go into a Kiosk.

First toast, then dog butt, and now tree Jesus.

Dzien dobry,
satanic spirits! - I wonder if Piotr has heard about this?!

Boring Iceland - The Nordic countries need to start a war or something. Someone draw some provacative cartoons!

Meh, I guess that's it for now. I'll be posting a wishlist soon though. I hate being too busy to blog, and studying for the LSATS suck. I could bore you with tales of logical reasoning and chai, but I won't and nothing else is interesting or going on right now.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"Love Is Blind"

No, wrong. Whoever came up with this cliche is dumb, or ugly. Just like "inner beauty" is for fat, ugly people.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tang Attack

Bornholm, Denmark is one of my most favorite places on Earth. I will likely describe these reasons in a later post (I'll be going to Bornholm again in May) but I wanted to mention one of them now...

Whenever I go to Bornholm, I stay in Danhostel Gudhjem. Danhostel Gudhjem is fun for a number of reasons, one standout being that they serve what appears to be and tastes like TANG in the dining room. I started thinking about Tang when I was drinking my afternoonly Safari Fruits flavoured Capri Sun (ahem, Capri-Sonne - it's actually German here) and Stine compared it to my love of Bornholm Tang. A quick visit-out-of-curiosity to Wikipedia has shown me that Tang is an American product (though it has been in outer space). Suddenly wondering where I could get some of this delicious Tang-like product here in Copenhagen, I called Danhostel Gudhjem and spoke to Jakob. I told Jakob I had a weird question and asked him what the drink was in the dining hall. He seemed confused and, unable to hold my cool and excitement any longer (I was already mentally planning an after work excursion to Nørrebro to score some Tang) I burst out with, "Is it Tang!?!"

"Tang?" he asked, confused.

"Oh, yeah, you know, it's an American fake citrus beverage. It's been to outer space in the shuttle!" (loser.)

"Erm, hmmm, okay. Well, I'll ask the chef when he comes in." (God, this girl is a whackjob)

"Okay, great. Here is my email...! See you in May!" (all smiles, still a loser.)

God, you know you've been away from USA too long when you go nuts about Tang. I'm still awaiting my email though, and I do hope it's Tang.