Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rejection and Further States of Disengagement

It's challenging to stay as "in the moment" as I feel like I should be at all times. It's also hard to type on these goddamn European keyboards. Must they thwart my attempts to bring prosaic justice to this accursed land at every turn?

But onward I must press. My tactic so far has been to just get outside, and to that end I've been shoveling an elliptical path through the snow atop the frozen pond in the yard here. I may have already mentioned this before. I don't remember, I write too damn much on this thing anyway. I might be acting in a Sisyphean manner, as I'm certain by the time I finish the ice will be too thin to skate on -- not to mention the fact that it consistently snows right after I get done shoveling. Not a lot, but enough to irk me in a most irksome manner. IRK.

I really really don't want to fall into a pond of near-freezing water. That would kind of put a damper on whatever form of happiness I had going on here.

Today, instead, I will be playing soccer. Football. Whatever.

I crave buffalo wings with such consistency and visceral fury that I don't think I'll make it much longer in this alimentary climate, which is comprised chiefly of mayonnaise and weak curry powder. Any kind of food you could consider "Dansk," a distinction that many Danes don't recognize, can pretty much be boiled down to a sauce you can put on starch or meat. It still tastes pretty good, but I think it lacks a certain verve that food from places with real cultural pride has. The snack food is also severely lacking, which is really more of a blessing than anything. It's easy to see why our country tips the scale so obesely when weighed against others, especially Denmark. Not only is our food fattier, saltier and more artificial on average, but the portions are larger and the price is unimaginably lower. It would be interesting to map the prices of food over America's history and try to compare it to other countries. While I suppose lower prices allow more of our populace to eat to begin with, the food they are given in the quantities they are buying it presents a situation that is pretty universally reprehensible. And throughout all of this, the farmers and providers of America are being swallowed up at a rate comparable to that of the fruits of their labor.

I had a mildly exciting week. Between a strange illness, many late nights, a paper writing experience and a bar performance, I feel like I should have more to talk about than I do. I guess I can try:

I went out into Copenhagen on Tuesday, purportedly to sing some karaoke. What ended up happening was distinctly not like karaoke, but it was still legit. I met up with Bill Schoenfelder, aka Big Bill Money aka Billiam aka Billionaire, who I haven't seen in a coon's age, and he tagged along as the rest of the American contingency from my højskole and I ran amok through the city square and "hopped bars" as they say. I had some hilarious exchanges with very drunk Jews, who are always excited to see other Jews in such a strange land as this, you can imagine for yourselves how those went. When we actually got to the karaoke place, after our group splintered in a quintessentially inebriated manner, there was really not much going on. There was a guy on stage, we would later learn it was his birthday that night, holding the mic. Now, karaoke was happening, but he was decidedly not a participant. The words were scrolling by on the screen, and the instrumentals were blaring, but he was just holding a conversation that was completely unrelated...through the microphone. We left immediately and sang the whole way home, which was a long way. There is almost nothing good about the night bus to Helsingør. On it I gave my flash drive full of random music ripped out of my iTunes library to a girl, purportedly a friend of somebody staying at this højskole, so with any luck I'll see that again before May.

Thursday was exciting enough, I got to sing a song with that guy I mentioned a few weeks ago on this blog, Jeppe. In typical fashion, eschewing the always helpful step of planning ahead and, I don't know, knowing what time I'm supposed to be there, I just showed up at the bar at a random time hoping he would be there. Turns out I was about 80 minutes early, but also in typical fashion turned out to be a very good thing. I was one of 4 people in the bar for those 80 minutes, and two of the people were already fast friends and were decidedly against holding a conversation with me. Which left me and the bartender, a really neat guy named Kasper who was playing Kings of Convenience when I came in. Music really is the great uniter.

Long story short, we talked for a long time and I got the name of some cool underground music spaces to check out in the future. Then the drinks started coming in. By the time that night ended at 3am, I had payed maybe 70 kroner for about 200 kroner worth of drinks, not one of which I asked for but all of which I received gladly. The bartender was also a whiskey enthusiast, so of course I had to try some of his stock. Needless to say next Thursday will take place primarily at this bar, conveniently only a couple miles from my place of residence. The performance also went well, although they only had one mic which was troublesome. Once I get the parts down for more songs (slash make them up), I could be a regular.

After that, one of my companions and I decided to stick around and make some friends. We ended up meeting, in keeping with the truly ridiculous nature of everything, a bunch of professional bricklayers who were also on the same soccer team. Apparently they've been out of work for quite a while due to the weather, which not a single Dane fails to point out is unusually cold even for a country this far North. I end up randomly stepping in and winning a fusbol game, playing wingman for one of the bricklayers, hilarity did in fact ensue.

After singing so much and being around college-aged people for so long (you will recall I just came off of a short study tour with 30 of my contemporaries), there was no way to avoid getting a cold, specifically in the throat. The scary part was that my tonsil really hurt. Yeah, that's right. The one I had removed. So basically my throat is haunted now.

Friday I had a fun time of staying in and small-scale partying at the højskole, and I'll take this time to point out that I have danced more here than I have at any one other place or time, something that I didn't really expect but I suppose subconsciously knew had to happen. It can be fun! I introduced people to Tunak Tunak Tun, which as you know means virtually endless entertainment.

Saturday was a costume party, as a part of the Fastelavns tradition here in Denmark. It's like Winterween, but without ghosts. The tradition is to put a live cat in a barrel and then smash the barrel like a pinata until the cat is broken loose and, probably severely abused, flees the scene. This is symbolic of driving evil out of the town, but due to magical trickery they had to substitute cats for the witches they really meant to put in the barrels. Nowadays it's just candy in the barrel, but it was still funny. It was also Korean New Year, Valentines Day and our very own special made up holiday, wine day. Hooray! I dressed up as the 70s, but after a solid week of out-and-aboutness I felt like I couldn't muster the energy to put my all into it and really adopt the full persona. Pictures will follow

This was also unfortunately one of those nights that I fell asleep before midnight. Let's just say my night didn't go as planned, but it's really no disaster. If I've learned anything from being here it's that you are never out of options.

Soccer time. Football. Whatever.


  1. I lost 25 pounds in Denmark and gained it all back over winter break.
    Yeah, I didn't mind the food.

  2. i want to meet Kasper now.

    hope your throat (or any other body part) manages to get rid of the tonsil-ghost and isn't haunted again anytime soon.