Friday, April 25, 2008
I babynamesworld.com'ed it, out of curiosity (I can't do any more work today. We are out of the specific paper I need and won't be getting any more until Monday... so for the rest of the day on I am homing from work.)... "Brave Counsel." Pssh. Lame. Also, Renard is the modern French word for "fox" (pronounced 'ruh NAHR'). It is not a given name in French-speaking countries. Dumb. Fox Sexton. That could be an okay porn name, I guess.
I'm such a jerky, snarky blogger sometimes.
Also, I'm totally loving the "let the hunt begin" tagline. I might start using it to sign off blog entries. Hell, I might start using it all the time. Parting ways with a friend? "Let the hunt begin!" Going out for lunch? "Let the hunt begin!" Okay, maybe that last one is a little too hunter gatherer for me.
In the spirit of this post:
Have a nice weekend, and LET THE HUNT BEGIN! :)
01. In case anyone was unclear (which they obviously were), Johnny Mathias would like to clarify that his Letter to the Editor in the University of Maryland's Diamondback Newspaper regarding Skirt Day and The College Park Secret Hot Girls Club was a JOKE. Bonus points, Johnny, for incorporating Urban Dictionary's April 24th Word of the Day into your article. That's current. I like it.
02. In related news, I think that Do-Rag Day and the College Park Secret Gangsta Rappers Club sounds sweet. I'm all about group-specific, exclusionary extracurriculars. Like greek life. God, Renard Sexton, shove your 'despicable cultural norms' up your ass and take a joke, already! By the way, you have one of the worst last names EVER. Douchebag.
03. My hometown, Annapolis, Maryland, is all old and historic and shit. We now have our very own 18th century log road to prove it. *Also interesting, in a fashion-y kind of way: Log roads seem to have been the inspiration for the fabric we now call corduroy. Cool. Up for current debate... is corduroy a fall fabric worthy of Annapolitan Fratstars? Are Sperry topsiders appropriate footwear to pair with corduroy pants? Let's talk color and thickness of the corduroy...
04. My favorite cupcake blog has heard of University of Maryland's 50,000 Maryland Day cupcakes and blogged about it! The cupcakes are apparently going to be yellow cake, topped with yellow, white, chocolate, and red icing to look like the Maryland flag. According to the Maryland Gazette, "the cupcakes will be arranged in the likeness of the university’s globe-like seal on a 60-foot table under a tent in front of Hornbake Plaza" and were Patricia Mote's (wife of University President C.D. Mote) idea. The whole bunch will be about 12.6 million calories. Wow! You'd gain approximately 3,600 pounds if you scarfed them all down. (They are about 252 calories a piece, for those of you who plan on only eating one or two! And you could eat about 13 before gaining a pound solely from cupcake consumption...) For the record, I still think my red velvet cupcake with Testudo topper was a good idea (see down a few posts...), but maybe next year.
I am writing to encourage you to please start selling Benadryll and/or Tylenol Allergy Cold & Sinus over the counter in Denmark. I don't know if it's the incredible potency of Danish pollen that has been lying dormant during the cold winter months or just me being a complete pussy, but I feel like my allergies are awful this year.
I was running around the lakes early this morning and I felt like, for lack of a better description, a crying rhinoceros. Thankfully, I didn't feel like a rhino because of my size (au contraire! I'd like to think I looked rather panther-like in my super-sharp and professional all black running ensemble). Rather, I felt like a rhino because my nose was so stuffy I had to breath through my mouth the entire time. I think I even snorted once or twice, though to be quite honest I can't be sure because I was listening to my ipod. Regardless, it was completely gross and embarrassing. To add insult to injury, I had tears running down my cheeks for a substantial portion of my 6k run - and, at only 6k, obviously not because the run was hard.
I generally enjoy running outside around the lakes, taking in the scenery, and enjoying the camaraderie of fellow joggers. I'm positive I would enjoy it even more if I could breathe and see. Furthermore, I think I've already proven to you Danes that I have viking blood and stalwartness by getting through the entire winter with nothing more than ibuprofen. Give a girl a break and please consider some legal and easily obtainable antihistamines. They really would be swell and I sure would appreciate it!
I pay your non-negotiable socialist health care taxes, too!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Growing up and in recent years, I thought my family members and the people who I've made this for over the years were the only ones that called this delicious breakfast/brunch (but really, anytime. Who am I kidding?!) dish 'toads in a hole!' Turns out I was wrong! (Hey, it happens sometimes. Rarely. But on occasion, yes, unfortunately.) Apparently the folks at Flatbush Farm in Brooklyn, New York call it a toad in a hole, too. Perhaps next time I'm in New York I'll venture to Brooklyn and see if it's up to snuff. I doubt it. Mine's pretty fierce.
Discovery thanks to Cravings.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
01. The “crowd sound.” Do you know/remember the crowd sound that you may have made when you were a little kid and did something awesome? You know, the one where you emit that low, kind of soft, raspy sound so that it sounds like an entire stadium full of people cheering? I KNOW I’m not the only one that ever did this, because Rachel and I were talking about it last night. We’re totally going to try to bring it back. You know, I’ll PR a run around the lakes, I’ll make the crowd sound. I’ll blast through Lance Armstrong Intersection well before the light even turns yellow… crowd sound. Saying “Aaaand the crowd goes wild!!!” before making the crowd sound is optional.
02. The best and worst feelings in the world? Somewhere between eating dinner and talking about/reliving the glory of the crowd sound, Rachel and I watched an episode of House last night. In the episode, the House team is trying to figure out what is wrong with Ezra Powell, a highly respected (but controversial, as we find out later) doctor. After much suffering and many tests, the team remains unable to diagnose Powell and he asks to be euthanized. House, unable makes a deal with Powell that he will euthanize him if the team cannot diagnose him within twenty-four hours. Powell agrees. Twenty-four hours pass and the team is still without diagnosis. House puts Powell in a coma under the ruse that he is euthanizing him. Throughout the whole thing Cameron is (of course) lost in a guilt-ridden cloud of ethical-dilemma.
Yadda, yadda… time passes and the team eventually diagnoses Powell. Of COURSE it’s the one strain of some protein disease (or whatever) that’s terminal. Everyone knows Powell is going to die.
The next day, Cuddy approaches House and tells him that Powell’s stats were checked by a nurse around 2am and were stable. By 2:30, Powell had passed away. Cuddy was curious if House knew anything. The episode ends with House meeting a tearful Cameron in the hospital chapel. We then realize that Cameron overcame something and learned a valuable lesson, resulting in her euthanizing Powell in the middle of the night. House tells Cameron he is proud of her.
My reasoning for this story? Well, I think the feelings of pride and disappointment are extremely interesting. First of all, I’ve always thought that the worst feeling anyone can feel towards me is disappointment. Honestly, I’d rather have someone hate me than be disappointed in someone. I guess it’s maybe because feelings of hatred can be seemingly largely unwarranted, whereas feelings of disappointment are often when expectations have been made and not met in someone you care about. Anyway, yeah, I think disappointment is the absolute worst.
About pride… I also think pride is interesting because pride is one feeling another person may feel towards you WAY before, if ever, you feel it towards yourself. I wonder if the only other feeling like that is love…? Hmmm… I also wonder if pride is one of the more (if not THE only) altruistic feeling you can feel towards another. Up until this blog post, I’ve generally subscribed to the notion that there are NO purely altruistic feelings, however, I’m having a difficult time seeing how feeling pride towards another person would in any way benefit oneself. Thoughts?
03. J. Crew's Featherweight Merina Tunic. I want. Possibly in multiple colors.
04. The 11 Manliest Cocktails in the World. Are really not. I mean, seriously. Tequila sunrise?? And Nuclear waste SOUNDS badass... but it's just vodka and sunkist. I mean, come on!
05. Philosophy meets Psychology. I think it's neat, g. ;)
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
If you are going to sing out loud while biking and listening to your ipod, the part in the Backstreet Boy's hit old school jam "The Call" where they say "Hi, I got a little place nearby Wanna go?" I should've said no, someone's waiting for me! is probably not the choicest lyric to belt out while you are biking next to a group of random Danish guys standing around outside a kiosk. I guarantee it's a sure ticket to making you look like a total retard. Especially when you're coming home from the grocery store by way of the gym, so not only are you wearing shorts, but you also have a head of lettuce, three lemons, and a cucumber exploding out of your bike basket plus a double pack of Wasa crackers snapped into your rat trap.
Not that that was me or anything. I "learned" it from, erm, a friend.
Living my life, one retarded moment at a time. :)
Hoping for deliverance
From the distances in you.
This room feels like an oven
Somewhere south of nowhere
And north of nothing
- Counting Crows | Barely Out of Tuesday
Some things I love this Tuesday + One thing that absolutely horrifies me:
01. Is the verb "Tasered" or "Tased"? You'd think anyone who actually frequently uses the past tense of Taser would be able to figure it out. The rest of us? Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and presume that we normal folk just don't taser people often enough to care about talking about it in the past tense. Side note: I once thought (admittedly not that seriously) about buying an Air Taser in France from a spy store on the Champs d'Elysée. I thought it would be funny. I wonder if I could have gotten it through customs. I definitely could have gotten it through customs here in Denmark. They rarely even have someone staffing the 'Goods to Declare' line. It's like "Yeah, all these cigarettes, bottles of liquor, illicit drugs, and my air taser? Oh, guess you guys don't care about that." And then I would go taser Danes in a coked-out drunken haze, smelling like old cigarettes. Super. Anyways, I looked for a picture (of course I took one. How often do you see a store called "Spy Store" that advertises air tasers?! Yeah, thought as much. You totally would have taken a picture too.), but I guess I don't have it on Facebook or webshots, so use your imagination. (Or go to Paris and check it out for yourself.)
02. Leanimal's cool architectural designs. I don't know if I could pull it off (says the girl who is wearing jeans, rainbows, and a thin, snuggly lambswool sweater - about the furthest from 'architectural' you can get!), but I think some of the designs are gorgeous.
03. Logical Fallacies. Though instead of pointing out logical fallacies in e-arguments, I'm a fan of using latin words and phrases to at choice moments to trip up my e-pponents. That's the nice part about e-guments. You have time to consult your latin dictionary. Mens mentis. Neco inimicus. Derideo. Fullio of shitis.
04. Yeah, I dunno. I think this Font Game is boring as hell, but someone might like it.
05. TREEMAN. Oh. My. God. Freak me out xcore.
Monday, April 21, 2008
I'm sure I've mentioned them before, but two of my all-time favorite blogs are Cupcakes Take the Cake and Cup Cake Bake Shop by Chockylit. The former really is the ultimate in delicious, sugary, cupcake porn coming to my RSS daily. :) Mmmm...
So, what's with the title of this post? Well, today I got a standard University of Maryland Alumni Association e-mail. Usually, I pass these off as invites to lame-sounding parties at the Alumni center or backhanded ruses to get us newly alumni-ed to donate money we don't have, but this one was actually for the 10th Annual Maryland Day. Even though I always enjoyed Maryland Day as an undergrad, I still wouldn't have really cared because I will be out of the country (and off the continent!) on April 26th. But then one little line caught my eye and gave me one huge reason why I am glad to be a University of Maryland Alumni:
YESSS!! :) I'm truly sad I'll be missing out on my Terp Cupcake. :( I hope they have Testudo-decor. Something like red velvet 'Stud-adorned cupcake would be perfect:
Also, where were these when I graduated?!
Go Terps and Go Cupcakes! :)
Oh I don't know, I don't know, oh, where to beginToday's Give Away Sure-Signs I'm an American (from the Mid-Atlantic) in Copenhagen:
We are North Americans
And for those of you who still think we're from England
We're not, no.
01. The weather hit 50F (10C. Danes don't do Fahrenheit.) and I broke out my Rainbows for the first time this year! Rachel is also wearing flips today. Hooray! Spring has sprung!
02. Upon seeing my flipflops, one of my colleagues asked "Aren't you cold?" To this I responded, "No. Rachel and I were laying out on my balcony in bikini tops yesterday." My colleague told me I am a viking. This, I knew.
03. On my way to to work today, I listened to Crime Mob's "In My White Tee." Remembering that I am wearing a white tee under my polo, I spent the entire bike ride thinking of things I could do in my white tee today and rap about later.
04. I brought a fresh tin of Old Bay to work to use on my lunches now and throughout the summer.
Other fun things:
01. Johnny Mathias is waiting not so patiently for skirt day and wondering about a possible College Park Secret Hot Girls Club. The Diamondback.
02. Some humor-lacking feminist wishes he wouldn't affront the female population of College Park with his blatant misogyny. Lame.
03. The Christian Science Monitor explores Ten things to do when your flight is canceled. Suspiciously absent: drink, yell at various airport staff, yell bomb in a crowded terminal, and spend copious amounts of money in duty free.
04. Stuff White People Like #96: New Balances. I own a pair. Figures, I'm white.
When you meet a person wearing New Balance shoes it is a good idea to ask them about the marathon for which they are inevitably training. If they say “I’m not training for a marathon,” this is a good opportunity to raise your status by saying “oh, I thought only runners wore those. My running club all wear New Balance except for a few jerks who won’t shut up about Asics. I’m still a bit sore from the 10k run this morning.”
Well, obviously. :)
This is an extremely effective move since white people who jog are generally viewed as being better than white people who don’t. Although perhaps it’s more accurately stated that white people who jog feel the need to constantly prove they are better than white people who don’t.
05. Google. define: atheist
"A person for whom the idea of god is senseless. Not to be confused with a person who hates (and neccessarily believes in the existence of) god." OR "Atheism entails the absence of belief in the existence of God or other deities. Absence of belief:*"Atheists are people who do not believe in a god or gods (or other immaterial beings), or who believe that these concepts are not meaningful. ..."Google. define: oxymoron
"A paradox reduced to two words, usually in an adjective-noun ("eloquent silence") or adverb-adjective ("inertly strong")Now see here: Atheists go to church too!!
Novak is part of the growing group of American atheists who have left traditional religions but still feel a desire to be part of a religious group... So they join religious organizations that are accepting of atheists, form churches just for atheists or even attend traditional theistic churches.
the Humanistic Judaism movement, made up of nontheistic synagogues, can be a way to participate in Jewish life while being honest about disbelief in God.06. It's a good thing I'm registered as an Independent, because I like both gin and Chick-fil-a.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
01. Science confirms the obvious: Limiting TV and video games will reduce prevalence of chiodhood obesity. Note that the girls should be taking 2,000 more steps per day than the boys. Getting ahead of the mid-life weight gain curve?
02. Oh great. Something else for the Swedes to tease the Danes about. Not like having an old tree is all that cool. Now that that's been published, I bet Swedish hooligans are already plotting to cut it down. Fire on Mount Fulu! That has a fun ring.
03. Biometrics are really neat. I haven't actually read this link, but I came across them today and was reminded how cool I think they are. I intend to learn more about them.
04. Tomorrow is Store Bededag in Denmark. That translates to Big Prayer Day. As far as I can tell, it's just the Danes pretending to be religious again while really just sitting around drinking beer and eating these special prayer buns or something like that. We also all get off work, so that's fun. Religion is a great excuse for a holiday. I knew a girl in college who pretended to be Jewish the whole time.
4.24. I've waited long enough. Peace out, cub scouts! :)
02. 'I don't understand why they didn't just write a note,' said Miss Smith, 27. I don't understand why you didn't just read in the first place. Dummy.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
01. Tillykke Med Fødselsdagen, Dronning Margrete II! The Queen Of The Kingdom of Denmark is turning 68 today. In Denmark there are a LOT of traditions surrounding birthdays. First of all, you're supposed to get woken up super early in the morning by your friends and family members who arrive singing and tooting horns. I bet neighbors love that. Second, you're supposed to fly the rectangular Danish flag, instead of the long, skinny vimpel that is usually used from day-to-day. Third, on the Queen's birthday, she always comes out on her balcony at Amalienborg Palace at noon to wave hello to her loyal kingdom and all it's constituents. After the changing of the royal guard, everyone sings the traditional royal birthday song "Margrete, Margrete, kom nu frem, ellers gå vi aldrig hjem!" (Margrete, Margrete, come on out, or we will never go home!) Denmark is a strange place, but it's kinda of cool that we have a queen. I'm planning on taking an early lunch at work today to go see her come out. :)
02. Robert Stadler's Question Mark Light Installation in a Parisian Church. I think it's so cool that this exhibition was allowed in a church. Perhaps we are making religious progress...
03. Oh no wait. On the other hand, America still doesn't even try to separate church and state. What First Amendment? Thomas Jefferson is rolling over in his grave.
04. xkcd on techno. I chuckled.
05. Inconsistent Thoughts on Epistemic Disagreement: "To roughly summarize, epistemic disagreement arises when epistemic peers arrive at divergent conclusions. Epistemic peers are folks who are relevantly similar with respect to intelligence, their ability to reason, and who have access to relevantly similar evidence concerning some particular issue X." Mmm, okay, well some people are more full of shit than I am, it seems. Check out the article. If the first word that pops into your head is "evidence," you can join my Concluding the Obvious Club. We meet at the bar.
I mean, obviously theoretical physics does not equal the entirety of the quantifiable field of science. Not even close. So equating philosophy with the study of theoretical physics and trying to essentially equate that with all of science seems dumb. I draw your attention to the statement "science obviously undergoes revolutionary periods where disagreement is more widespread than convergence. Perhaps that is the phase in which theoretical physics currently finds itself." You can't equate this with philosophy simply because philosophy seems to ALWAYS be in such a revolutionary "period." (a period being, by definition, having a beginning and and end). Since when has philosophy not been in a period of disagreement?? Most of philosophy is merely speculation and hemming and hawing until science makes progress and debates move outside of the contemplative realm of philosophy and into the testable and measureable realm of science! Also, "Second, maybe philosophical truths are just really hard to understand." Um, thank you captain obvious? Or maybe there aren't any 'philosophical truths,' because by the time they become truths, they are scientific.
Have a Great Wednesday!
Monday, April 14, 2008
Well, how can you expect a Monday to start? I woke up feeling sick again. :/ I think it’s getting worse, as its taking longer to feel better throughout the course of the day. It’s just general achiness combined with a sore throat and stuffy nose. In America, I’d take a swig of Dayquil and get on with my day, but they don’t have those sort of luxurious medicines here, so I just have to suck it up, viking style. At least this is a short (4-day) week because Friday is Store Bededag (Great Prayer Day). Danes only care about religious holidays when they work in their favor to get off work, by the way. Also crappy about this morning: Spring is here and with spring have come these disgusting little fly-like bugs that swarm around and dive bomb you by the lakes as you’re biking. I found one that suicide bombed itself to my miniskirt when I got to work. Absolutely gross.
Luckily, two things have happened in the past hour which have cheered me up a bit. First, I got a care package from home with two boxes of thin mints, a box of samoas, a HUGE tub of Old Bay<3 and a giant family sized jar of peanut butter. Ah, the essentials! J Also, I found out I might be going on a cruise to Norway this weekend.
Tah tah for now!
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Long story (which I'm not going to go into) as to why we don't have an internet in our apartment but, after stealthily stealing it from unsuspecting, unprotected neighbors for the past four and a half months, I can say that I really wish I had a legit internet connection just so I could security-enable it and give it an asinine name like tsunami, LESBOS or (my personal favorite) pay_for_ur_own_internet as a deterrent to would-be thieves.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Since I was feeling crappy I figured I'd pull an ultra casual, completely effortless Friday and threw on a pair of dark SFAMs, grey beater, and white long sleeved shirt. While braiding my hair, I wondered if I am getting too old to wear my hair in double braids. I decided not, as long as I wear them in a more grown up way (clear, non-distracting elastics with a side part or pinned up (today I'm rocking the former). NOT down with a center part and they must be unadorned.)
Now I'm sitting at work. Still feeling crappy. It's an exciting day, though. A few months ago I was involved in a marketing project to design a t-shirt for our students to purchase. After months of student focus groups, drawing board sessions, ans general hemming and hawing over various specifics, the t-shirts arrived today! Though they are a slight derivation of the particular look I wanted (I got out voted on a few style aspects), I think our team did a good job. They look awesome. :)
I leave you with some tidbits from my news feed that I particularly liked this morning:
01. Emo Bond drinks dry vodka martinis, too. But he takes his stirred with a rusty razorblade, not shaken.
02. Beautiful wedding photos.<3
03. In America, some people hold their parking spots with orange parking cones (by the way, in my opinion the only time when such ruthless behavior is acceptable is if you had to spend hours shoveling your car out of the snow), in Denmark, we employ guard dogs!
04. A social study of Googlegängers and the same-name phenomenon. Raise your hand if you've accepted a friend request from a namesake on Facebook and it still weirds you out when your newsfeed tells you you've done something that you haven't!
05. When Is a Fashion Ad Not a Fashion Ad? Photographer Juergen Teller tells it like it is.
06. On the Fashion Fringe: I don't care how fashionable it is, I still think it's gross. Keep your Pocahontas/Wild West fantasy behind closed doors or save it for Halloween.
07. Banana Republic, trying to compete with Ralph Lauren?
08. Rugby jerseys are like thick sweatshirts with collars! But if you want to see some real fighting spirit, you should check out Celtic Football.
09. Oh Yeah, and The Nationals still suck.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
01. Andrew Moon on Prosblogion: Is it Permissible for God to Kill People? Further considerations to be made: Can God violate rights if he (it) is responsible for creating said and discussed rights? Wait. Does God even exist in the first place?
02. Richard at Philosophy, Etc. asks if Logic is Overrated. Inconsistent Thoughts argues that It's Not. I am withholding my opinion baring further consideration and perhaps drafting a logical proof to further support my opinion one way or another.
03. Richard Brown at Philosophy Sucks! on zombies (he loves zombie arguments), the existence of numbers, and a short argument that there is no God.
04. Interesting lunch table argument on personal identity today. Sometimes I think that my propensity to think like a philosopher is a curse. It pisses people off when they are just trying to be funny. (But yes, Rachel, the argument that 'If you don't remember something you did while you were drunk, it didn't happen' does relate directly to personal identity theory and the concept of accountability. I think it's interesting.) :)
05. Progress in Philosophy? Maybe not. I've always said that philosophy leaves you "knowing" less than you thought you knew when you started. Philosophical discussions often exacerbate or at least perpetuate states of confusion. But, some people like that. ;)
06. A Short Argument That There Is No God. I like the sound of it, though I think premise three may have a hole in it. It's been bothering me but I can't put my finger on exactly why it's irking me. Side note: I'm SO not a huge fan of Plantinga (weird concept, this theistic philosopher/academic thing...). I also have no idea what "transworld depravity" could even hint at meaning. Sesquipedalian semantics, I tell you!
07. Shoot to kill policies, the right to life, and arbitrary execution. I started thinking about this today because it was briefly mentioned in the International Law class I sat in on this morning. The discussion stemmed from one on profiling and that international student that was shot in London. I'm not going to go into specifics (because I really should be hitting the gym, not blogging), but it seems like the percieved necessity of such action would largely depend on how strictly one adheres to utilitarian practices. Basically, the shoot to kill policy and reasoning would likely be inversely proportional to one's "sureness." Hmm. This is probably a thought I should explore further. The real purpose of this entry, 07, was so I don't forget to think about it again.
08. The most delicious looking cupcakes of all time.
09. I hope the Nationals fail, too. Go O's. And take that, all you turn-coat traitors that became Nat's fans after being Orioles fans your whole life! Everyone knows that true fans are fans even when their team sucks.
A is for accidents, which do happen. I’ve been “in” two since I’ve been here, neither of which were serious or my “fault.” The first incident happened when I was on my way to work a few months ago. I had just biked across Lance Armstrong Intersection (see ‘L’) going the non-Lance direction (towards the movie theater/downtown. The Lance direction is towards the lakes). Some dummy was biking in the road instead of the bike lane and, without warning, decided to swing a right hand turn by Palads, the movie theater. This stupid move cut off a whole bunch of us in the bike lane, with me (being the speed demon that I am, of course) being first in line. I slammed on my hand breaks so hard (my bike has both hand and foot breaks for fast and slow stops, respectively) that my back tire flew up and whipped around to the left, thus causing a domino effect of people that had to stop short. Luckily, everyone behind me knew it wasn’t my fault because they saw the asshole that cut me off. Instead of handling it like an ever-so-cool-and-collected Dane, or even more basically, a lady, I got all American Psycho on him and yelled “Pas på, you fucking idiot!” (Pas på means watch out in Danish. The fucking idiot part was in English, but I think it’s actually the same in Danish…). Oops.
My second “accident” wasn’t my fault either. It was completely a force of nature. I was biking to the gym after work one day and the blustery Copenhagen island wind was particularly blustery. I was biking across an intersection and, as I steered left to avoid a car turning right, the wind gusted extreme and blew me right into the car. I smashed into the back but quickly took off across the rest of the intersection. I guess that’s technically a hit and run, but I don’t think there was any damage.
B is for bike lanes. Currently 32% of Copenhageners bike to work or school every day. The city's bicycle paths are extensive and well-used. Bicycle paths are often separated from the main traffic lanes and sometimes have their own signal systems. (See more: http://www.virgin-vacations.com/site_vv/11-most-bike-friendly-cities.asp)
C is for cykel. That’s the word for bicycle in Danish. It’s pronounced ‘sue-kell’.
D is for Det Grønne Bud. These green spandex clad guys are essentially bike messengers. They are very expensive to use, but you can call them up to come to your home or office, give them a letter or package to be delivered somewhere in the Greater Copenhagen area, and they will cycle off to hand deliver it straightaway. A lot of them are also really hot and eat lunch on Gammeltorv (old square) near where I work every day. Too bad all that cycling makes them rather stinky by lunch time. See one in action here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eY2ul-e-6c
E is for evasion. Just like car drivers, cyclists are subject to random police checkpoints where they can ticket you for anything from biking the wrong way down a one-way street to drunk biking. These checkpoints are best avoided if you see them. Even if you think you’re doing everything right, they can usually find something to get you for. Sneaky police.
F is for Freetown Christiania. You’re not allowed to bike or drive within the walled in limits of Christiania. Pedestrians only!
G is for ghost-riding the whip. Sometimes when I listen to rap music while I’m riding, I get the mad hyphy vibe and wonder if I could figure out a way to ghost-ride my bike. I'm thinking perhaps I could stand on the bar. This probably would be way more difficult for men because they have way higher bars. I’m a complete loser, I know. :)
H is for helmet. In Copenhagen, helmets are optional. Most people opt out, presumably because they look so uncool and mess up your hair. See more thoughts and questions on helmet hysteria here, in Copenhagenize: http://www.copenhagenize.com/2008/04/great-bike-helmet-hysteria-introduction.html
I is for ipod. I jam to mine whenever I’m riding alone, rather than with friends. Lots of Copenhageners jam to music while they ride. My favorite jammers are the ones with the huge, over the ear, recording-studio style headphones.
J is for jumping the curb. This is always an option if you want to make a right hand turn from Studiestræde on to Nørregade and there are queued cars blocking your way. Just jump onto the curb, cut across the cobblestones of Bispetorvet, and pop down again onto Nørregade. I’m not sure if this is legal (pretty sure it's not, actually), but I do it a couple of times a week. I have to go the long way to do it, but in doing so, I am avoiding the more illegal option of going down Vestergade the wrong way (esp. bad because they often have police checkpoints to ticket cyclists that do this…).
K is for kickstand. Kickstands, though intended to help your bike stand up, can sometimes serve just the opposite purpose. If you kickstand (yes, using it as a verb) your bike among dozens of others and one falls down, they inevitably suffer the biking domino effect and all fall down (ashes, ashes…). The kickstand then often serves as a hook, getting caught in the spokes of another bike and further tangling your bike among the others and making getting your bike out a thoroughly annoying, messy, and physical task. Situations like this do, however, generally result in quasi-altruistic acts because in getting your bike out it's usually easiest just to stand the rest of the domino-ed bikes up again.
L is for Lance Armstrong Intersection. Okay, that’s not really what it’s called. It’s actually the combination of the two intersections by Vesterport station, Hammerichgade and Vester Farimagsgade, biking in the direction of the lakes. I call it Lance Armstrong Intersection because the lights aren’t synched up well. The Vester Farimagsgade light changes to green waaaay before the Hammerichsgade light. In order to make it through both lights (rather than having to wait at both to finally make a clean break towards the lakes) you have to pedal like hell the second the Hammerichsgade light turns green. If you’re good, you can fly through the Vester Farimagsgade light just as its turning yellow. I’ve gotten pretty good at perfecting the timing, though I probably look like a fool, pedaling hard and fast like I’m being chased. The more I do it, though, the better I’ve gotten at resisting the urge to pump my fist in air as a sign of victory when I make both lights.
M is for multi-tasking. You know how people, particularly in the United States, are criticized for doing other things in the car while they should be concentrating on driving? Talking on the phone or applying makeup, for example. Well, people do the same stuff here in Copenhagen - on their bikes. I’m particularly impressed by the guys that ride with no hands, holding a cup of coffee in one hand and talking on their cell phone with the other. Impressive.
N is for necessary components. There are three things every bike must be equipped with to be “street legal” in Copenhagen: Lights, brakes, and fenders. Helmets are NOT required for cyclists and most people opt out, though they seem to be becoming more and more popular. Something that's not popular yet? Ground effects. I bet they are "street legal," though.
O is for obstacles. Obstacles that must be avoided when biking include, but are certainly not limited to, glass, low-flying pigeons and seagulls, the occasional intact beer bottle, tourists who are unaware that they are dangerously standing in the bike lane, and people embarking and disembarking from buses.
P is for priority. In Copenhagen, transportation priority as far as right-of-way is as follows: Pedestrians, Cyclists, and Automobile Drivers.
Q is for quality of life. Quality of life is extraordinarily high in Denmark, one of the highest in the world. I’d like to think that the insane amount of biking we all do might have something to do with it.
R is for road-rage. Yes, even cyclists get it (see 'A'). Signs that you have or are the victim of road rage include excessive bell-dinging, being ridden by in a fast, angry huff, and/or getting yelled at.
S is for side saddle. This is how you should sit if you are riding on someone’s rattrap. I learned my lesson the hard way back in November. My friend Collin was riding my bike and I was sitting on the rattrap with one leg on either side. If a gynecologist, social worker, or police officer had seen the bruises on my inner, upper thighs the next morning, they probably would have insisted on giving me a rape kit. Ouch.
T is for transportation. That’s all biking is to me. It’s certainly not a workout. These days I think of biking in the same way I used to think of walking to class: simply a means of getting from one place to another.
U is for u-turns. Rules regarding u-turns for automobiles are remarkably unclear in Denmark. I’ve seen cars randomly hang u-ies in the middle of super busy, big streets. You’ve gotta watch out for u-turn lunatics if you’re biking.
V is for vectors. I always think about unit vectors and centripetal force when I am flying around the sharp turn by Palads movie theater. This is saying quite a lot, given that I fly around the turn before 9am every morning. But, I mean, who doesn’t think about vectors before lunch?! Regardless, if I don’t slow down, one day I’m going to bite it and scratch the hell out of the left side of my body, for sure.
W is for work, which is where many people are heading on their bikes in the morning. Copenhagen businessmen, take note: if you are wearing a suit and riding your bike, you are likely going to work. Stop riding like you are in a spinning class. You look foolish.
X is for xtra awful. (Okay, this one is a stretch). Though biking conditions in Copenhagen are generally pleasant, sometimes they can take a turn for the worst. One of the worst biking experiences I ever had was biking uphill, at night, over cobblestones, in heels, during a hailstorm, while drunk. Misery.
Y is for youth. Whenever I’m riding around Copenhagen with friends, I always feel transported back to my youth. It reminds me of when I was a kid and used to spend endless summer nights riding around the neighborhood with friends. On weekends, a bunch of us will often all hop on our bikes and travel together in a pack, like a motorcycle gang except, you know, obviously without the motors. We’ll shout directions back and forth on the way somewhere and, on the way back, we generally engage in shouting varying foolish things (esp. if there was alcohol involved in our evening). One of my favorite things to say at the beginning of a friendly ride somewhere is “Let’ ride or die, *expletive* and/or *racial slur.” Totally appropriate for the gang mentality cycling with friends evokes.
Z is for “zoo hill.” The hill by the Copenhagen Zoo is the worst/highest in Copenhagen. It’s “incredible” (by Danish standards… this is a relatively flat island/country) height not only makes it awful to bike up, but also scary as hell to fly down. I’d say it’s singlehandedly taken about 3 months off the lifespan of my brakes.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
I made this handy comparison guide on MS Paint. Click to enlarge.
Try not to be too amazed with my "skills."
(sarcasm. I really wish I was better at and less daunted by the Adobe Suite)
Also, check out The Bike-Sharing Blog.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
01. Well, the Danes finally finished my balcony today. The actual construction of the balcony appeared to take less than a day because I sure didn't have a balcony this morning when I left for work. The setting up took, oh, 4-5 months. Ridiculous what kinds of time frames these socialist laborers think they can get away with! It's gorgeous, though. Well worth waiting for. It's made of dark, reddish wood. I'm not sure what kind it is and couldn't get a good look because it was wet from today's rain. (Though, let's be quite honest; I'm no wood expert either and dry conditions probably won't change that.) It's about 3-4 meters long (eew, I'm thinking in metric. This indicates that I am either a scientist or European. Since I don't really consider myself affiliated with either party, I will modify the statement before these parentheses to say that my new balcony is about 9 to 12 FEET long. Oh, fahrenheit is cool too. And it really trips Europeans up when you say, for example, that "it's 52 degrees outside." Some of the 'less quick' ones will actually look at you like you're talking about walking on the sun and say something asinine like "Wow, that's so hot! I was confused for a second!" Dummies.) Um so anyway, yeah. The balcony is cool. And I'm really excited to be able to wake up and not have some guys standing outside of my window, 5 floors up. Presumably watching me sleep. Creepy. On that note, it'll be really nice to not have to come out of the shower and change in the living room. I can't wait for the weather to get a bit warmer. The balcony will be awesome with a couple of chairs and tons of candles. Super hyggelig.
02. Tonight when I was eating dinner, I reached an incredibly sad realization. That realization is that I don't really know what pure, unadulterated crab meat tastes like. :( Oh, the horror for someone from Maryland to admit that! I realized this sad fact while eating my Old Bay coated smørrebrod dinner. I thought to myself, 'wow, this Wasa bread, dijon mustard, tomato, and hard boiled egg doused in Old Bay sure tastes like crab!' Then I realized, 'no, it tastes like Old Bay.' And I further realized that, in my mind, Old Bay = Crab. I'm going to have to eat some unadulterated crab right away when I get back to the states. Not a crabcake either. I'm going to have to crack open a crab and eat it plain. No Old Bay, no butter, no nothing. Just to say I can and I did. Mmmm, I sure love Old Bay, though!
Rach and I decided to watch Ronin on VHS tonight, having already watched nearly every single movie (all VHS, by the way) that my landowners (letters? out-renters? land people?) own.
03. At the beginning of Ronin, and by far the best part of the entire Ronin experience, they had a commercial for DVDs. It was so funny and awesome. It explained all the features of DVDs and why people should all switch to DVDs. We've come a long way from the days of VHS. The scary part is that I've had dozens of movies on VHS in my lifetime. I'm getting old. This is like my parents talking about records and eight tracks.
04. Okay, so more on Ronin. Ronin might be a half decent movie, but I had trouble concentrating on it because it kept reminding me of other movies. If you haven't seen it, Ronin is best described as 1/3 Oceans 1x (could be any of them) because of the whole heist, case plotline, 1/3 The Italian Job/ maybe Grand Theft Auto because of the car chases, and 1/3 The Saint because of the Russians and the Ronin/Samurai lessons (there are three. Three is also an important number when it comes to miracles if you are trying to become a saint). Speaking of the Ronin Samurai, the whole suppuku thing is nuts. Can you imagine disembowling yourself out of honor even when you no longer had a master!? I guess I'm not cut out to be a Samurai.
05. Go Danish! You can deduce that your foreign language skills don't completely suck when a movie has parts in French, is subtitled in Danish, and you know exactly what is going on. Yesss!
In keeping with the French, au revoir! :)
Monday, April 7, 2008
That's the benefit, I think, of having a non-themed blog. I can write about anything I want, whenever I want. I don't care if anyone reads it or understands it, or even cares, but I like to write it and I like to have it to look back on.
Anyway, I feel like insomnia has been a particularly virulent force in my life recently, though I've thought and thought and can't pinpoint a specific cause or even a plausible reason why. I'm not particularly bothered by anything (at least nothing serious enough to lose sleep over), I don't really have a - to use a completely middle school term that I wish I had a synonmn for, but I can't think of one so whatever - crush on anyone (so that rules out staying up late thinking about someone specific), I'm eating decently, getting enough exercise, my caffeine intake has actually diminished since college... what could it possibly be? I'm thinking that maybe my mind is overactive because I don't really have an outlet to discuss (or at least channel) a lot of the things I think about anymore. I actually miss school. (I don't care if admitting to that brands me a loser in some people's books. I've always liked school.) I miss being able to have discussions about interesting things in interesting classes. I miss being in a setting where going up to someone and engaging them in a discussion about the meaning of life isn't weird. I mean, sure, I've had some really interesting discussions along the lines of "intellectually stimulating" here in Copenhagen (late nights with Libby, the coffee shop with Tage), but they just haven't been frequent enough. I sometimes feel like I am bothering people, or that it is completely artificial in many settings, to talk about whatever I'm thinking about. Meh. I guess it's a good thing I have a blog. And a hand written notebook. Though I admittedly sensor myself here often. There are some things you just can't write about. At least not for the world to read.
Hmm... the more I think about it, the more really IS on my mind. Blogging has a funny way of bringing things you are thinking about to the forefront of consciousness, doesn't it? Maybe just for me because I'm such a tangential writer.
Maybe I'll end this post and try to sleep again soon. Maybe I'll try counting sheep. Who ever thought of that lame trick? I presume it's gotta work for quite a few people, otherwise there is no way it would be perpetuated as the "how to go to sleep mind game" prototype, right? I wish they had 24 hour fitness here. I've never lived near a 24 hour fitness, nor do I know if it's even a half-decent gym, but the appeal of pairing insomnia with an hour of ladder running on the treadmill at 3am is stratospheric.
Until next time... or until I get up within the hour because I still can't effin' sleep...
Friday, April 4, 2008
Perhaps because I've been thinking about the Holy Ghost recently, I had a really weird dream last night. I usually don't remember my dreams at all, so I wrote it down as soon as I woke up so I wouldn't forget. I've decided to immortalize it in my blog.
I'm on Jeopardy...
“I’ll take ‘Holy Figures’ for 800, Alex”
“This member of the Holy Triumvirate is the only one who hasn’t had a testament devoted entirely to its practices.”
“What is the Holy Ghost, Alex.”
“’Holy Figures’ for 1000.”
*neer, neer, neer*
“I’d like to make it a true Daily Double, Alex…”
“This Biblical figure presided over Jesus’ trial, has a thoroughly modern name which surprisingly hasn’t yet become popular among yuppies in their child-naming practices, and would probably make a pretty decent rapper name.”
“I need an answer, Sarah.”
“Who is… Pontius Pilate?”
And then I woke up. Weird.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Also, I was on the UGG Australia website today because I saw a girl wearing some Uggs the other day that were knit and folded down with a button. Though I relegate any Ugg-wearing to ultra-cold days on which it is actually warranted and always keep the uggly suckers safely hidden under my pants (none of that Uggs with mini-skirts heinery.), I thought they were actually kind of cute for fall perhaps and wanted to look into them. I couldn't find them on the site. I only found knit Uggs sans-button, which weren't as cute. Then, I found this, which nearly made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. Sick. What the hell is that. Like, a hat-scarf monstrosity with pockets?! Gross. You wouldn't even look cute wearing that camping in Vermont.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Anyway, as much as studying for a standardized test sucks, sometimes there are little gems of passages or questions that make me smile or laugh. Today, I got:
In his History of Oracles, de Fontanelle maintained that it was not the obvious and true facts, for which we lack a cause or explanation, that had convinced him of our ignorance, but rather the obvious falsities we take for facts, and for which we have elaborate causes and explanations. He felt the greatest indication of our foolishness was not that we lack principles and methods to arrive at what is true, but that we possess others that co-exist so peacefully with what is false.... which I thought was interesting and thought provoking. I wasted a lot of time on this question being distracted and thinking about it. :/ Got it right, though.
This question, extracted entirely with the exception of the actual question part, just made me laugh:
Advertisement: All boys who read one year or more below grade level are invited to spend the summer at Remedial Reading Summer Camp. Let us get your son up to grade level. Have him spend his summer in the classroom, delving into the classics of children’s literature and winning spelling bees. Allow him to improve his morale by being surrounded by other underachievers. Make him into the successful, goal-oriented boy he was before he fell behind in his reading – and finally, the “A” student of your dreams.Haha, can you imagine your parents sending you to Remedial Reading Summer Camp?! Sucksville. While the other, more academically gifted kids are spending their time camping and swinging on rope swings at sleep away camp, you're spending the glorious days of summer "enjoying" spelling bees. Not that there can't be something enjoyable about spelling, of course... but, really, when given the alternative, wouldn't you just wish you were smart enough to not have to go to RRSC? The saddest part about this ad, which I really hope is completely fabricated, btw, is the part about improving morale by being surrounded by other underachievers (yes! I'm the smartest dummy in the class!) and the part about being the "A" student of (presumably) the parent's dreams. Like, they won't love you unless you make As. Also, does falling behind in one's reading really make you completely goal-less?
Questions such as these really are the silver lining of studying for the LSATs.
Until next time...
I think yesterday’s overactive brain activity started at the gym. I was forcing myself to run 10k of ladders (building up and down with and for speed) on the treadmill. I think that with running, once you’re in decent shape you can likely run for quite awhile, as long as you can keep your mind engaged. Beginning runners don’t realize how much of a mind game running is. They jog for ten minutes, “get tired,” and assume it’s just because they are out of shape. Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t really out of shape people who really do tucker out after ten minutes, but I’d venture the argument that most people can probably maintain a really slow pace and run a 5k even if they are out of shape as long as they stay mentally engaged.
I have a variety of things I usually do while I’m running to stay mentally engaged on something other than the relatively monotonous physical task at hand. First, I always listen to music. I believe I read somewhere a few months ago that the best music to run to has a tempo of at least 120bpm. I have a playlist full of such upbeat songs which really help when I start to feel bored. The only thing I have to be conscious of as far as listening to music goes is accidentally lip-synching. Many-a-time I’ve found myself lip-synching obscenities on the treadmill followed by looking around guiltily to make sure no one was watching! Second, I try to consciously focus on my surroundings. If I’m running outside, I obviously check out the scenery, look in shop windows, etc. If I’m running on the treadmill, I try to position myself on one of the machines that has a good view of the door of the gym. I people watch people coming in and out. Doing this, I’ve decided that I really want a pair of red Hummel track pants to wear to the gym. Third (and clearly most dorkily), I’ve found myself doing mental academic exercises while I run. I’ll do long division or multiply large sums. I’ll create and work out logical proofs or set up a pseudo-LSAT game. Dorky, but it works and keeps my aging mind sharp. ;)
So anyway, after my 10k workout of ladders and long division, I headed home. Libby came over and we finished off last night’s Paradis ice cream and watched ‘Small Miracles’ because it is one of the only movies (ahem, VHS!) that my landpeople own that we hadn’t watched yet. If you haven’t yet seen Small Miracles, don’t bother. It’s a pretty lame movie starring John Travolta. He seems to acquire super intelligence as well as telekinesis, impressing everyone in town and striking fear into government officials. We later learn that his super-intelligence is just coming from a malignant, octopus-like tumor wrapped around his brain. Oh, and even though the movie takes place in the nineties, some people drive trucks that look like they are from the 1950s. Weird.
After that brain drain of a movie, Libby and I somehow got onto one of my favorite conversation topics: religion. I think I like talking about religion for two reasons. First, I think it is an intrinsically fascinating topic to study and discuss. Second, I don’t think I know or am passionate enough about politics to discuss them ad infinitum the way I can religion. Our conversation went as many conversations about religion between non-believers usually go, until we got onto a subtopic I had surprisingly not put a lot of thought into: The Holy Ghost. Now, the Holy Trinity concept in and of itself is pretty strange, but aside from that, what exactly is the Holy Ghost/Spirit’s duty as a member of the Holy Trifecta? “The Father” presides over heaven and stars in the Old Testament. “The Son” stars in the New Testament and seemed to pay his Trinity dues during his time here on Earth… But what about that mystical ghostly spirit? Will it be starring in The Modern Testament? The Newer Testament? The New, Improved, High-Tech, and Self-Cleaning Testament? And what’s it doing now? Just being an essence that inhabits all of us? Are we infused with Holy Spirit the way we’re infused with scents in upscale retail establishments? Can you be allergic to Holy Ghost? “Stop infusing me with Holy Ghost!” was Libby’s most quotable saying of the evening.
Then we got to talking about omnipotence and Hell. To us, Hell seems similar to Freetown Christiania, which is a squatter colony in Copenhagen. The government has been threatening to kick Christianians out for years, but have yet to follow through. I bet they could though… How come Hell isn’t like that? Yeah, I know Satan is a fallen angel, yadda yadda yadda, but God is supposed to be omnipotent, which is more than Satan can say… Couldn’t God kick Satan and all the squatters out of Hell? (Yes, I understand squatters is a tricky term to use, because I think squatting usually implies desire to be in the place and most people (supposedly) probably don’t want to be in Hell…) Is Hell the original squatter colony? Bevar Hell! Lots to think about…
By this time it was getting late, so Libby headed home and I decided to head to bed because I had an early meeting today at work. Unfortunately, after lying in bed for an hour, I realized that the ‘sleeping’ part of 'going to bed' (the other part is the lying in bed part, obvi) just wasn’t happening. To my tired dismay, my mind churned with thoughts. I thought about how people have particular habits when doing particular things. I thought about how interesting it is that you can have completely, utterly mixed and confused feelings about other individuals, ideas, and future plans. I thought about other things that I don’t really feel comfortable blogging about… Suffice to say it was a long, sleepless night.
This morning I woke up tired and bedraggled. I knew it was going to be a long day when I was in the shower and I quickly glanced at my roommate’s shower gel sitting on the shower ledge. At first glance, I thought the bottle of teal gel read “Occam’s Razor.” ‘Hmmm,’ I thought, ‘Occam’s Razor scented shower gel… that’s interesting. I wonder what CVS thinks unassuming simplicity smells like…?’ I looked at it again, intending to pick it up and smell the simplicity, only to realize that it was actually called “Ocean Breeze.” Ugh, today is going to be a loooong day...
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
01. The weather in Denmark has been GREAT! It's warmed up and been really sunny. I wore flip flops to work today. First time in 2008, hurra!
02. I bought a plane ticket home to America! I'll be sad to leave Denmark, but excited to go back to America when the time finally comes! :)
03. I got a four-page handwritten letter from a dear friend in the States.
04. Last night when I was biking home I saw the cutest sight... an elderly couple riding next to each other on their bikes holding hands while they biked. :) So cute. I hope to do things like that when I'm old with my husband someday. Step one: Find a husband. (orrr, wait. Maybe step one should be fall in love with someone?) Step two: Do cute things together. Step three: Grow old. Step four: Combine steps two and three to make passerby think 'Aw, that's cute!' to themselves.
05. Later last night Libby, Rachel, and I went on an evening field trip to Paradis, which has some of the best ice cream ever. We got a half gallon tub with three flavors and ate nearly half. Delicious. Oh, did I mention I also bunked off going to the gym yesterday? Oops. I'm going today, I promise... :)
06. I had a embarrassingly long conversation with Lib, Rachel, and Sam about the merits of Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons last night. It's really funny to get on a completely dorky topic and realize, thirty minutes later, what you've actually been intensely talking about. By the way, we're not ashamed.
07. Great gossip at work today.