Sunday, October 28, 2007

Not only does SAS still suck, their planes are death traps

I was overdue for an update on the bag situation. In short terms, SAS is still screwing me around. To date, I have no bag and no settlement. Their limitations don't even come close to covering what was in it, and now they want receipts for everything in the bag to even give me that.

So, I was getting ready to write a long rant about this, when a friend happened to mention they have crashed four planes in the last couple months. Well, to find sources for this, I did a quick google search on SAS crash. If you are even remotely thinking about getting on an SAS flight, I suggest you do this first. And then take a real airline.

You can find information about their recent crashes here and here.

So now I can say, for both your safety and your sanity, don't fly Scandinavian Airlines.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

While I am posting animation, here's another one I love

Seedy Gonzalez

Those kooky Japanese

photo courtesy of the New York Times.

Not sure about how effective it would be against muggers, but it might make a useful Halloween costume. Click here for details.

strange dreams and more drunken anarchists

Last week was a good week. I was in Sweden to see a periodontist. It was an appointment I'd been dreading. Just before I left the States I was told by my dentist I was going to need major dental surgery, pretty much immediately. He scared the living heck out of me, so it was with a heavy heart and fear in the depths of my soul that I took that little journey. My Swedish specialist is a kind but slightly nervous man, which seems a pretty common personality type for the dental types - I wonder why. Anyway, after an examination with many verbal notes to the transcribing nurse (in Swedish, of course), he looks at me. "So your dentist, he told you you need this?"

"Mmm, yes, rather vehemently."

"You are fine. There is nothing not normal here.", he said, looking at me like I might be slightly off my rocker.

I won't go into details, but the last few months I've had a surgery hanging over my head that makes me shudder to think about. It's not an uncommon thing, but it is an intensely painful one, and knowing that I don't need it makes every day a whole lot easier to get through.

A few nights later, for some reason, I dreamed about a woman I'd known in grade school, who'd apparently become a dentist, and who was doing something really terrible to me with dental instruments. I awoke to the anarchists, who, from the sound of it, had erected a complete club with a professional sound system in the park outside my window. In most countries, police with batons and clubs and all sorts of implements would have been on them within a few minutes. Here, they let it burn itself out. You've got to admire the fortitude of these kids. They managed to keep it up until about 7am. The last 6 or 7 songs became a group sing-along that would have sounded kind of good, were it not 6:30 am on a Saturday, I suppose. Wow, have I become a curmudgeon or what?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

3 hours in Sweden

Today I went to Sweden. I left from Copenhagen station.

The train was nice enough, but it's the attention-to-detail that made it perfect. After all, how many times have you gotten on the train and wondered where to put your schnauzer? Thankfully for the rest of the world, the Swedes have some helpful advice.

Oh. That's where that schnauzer goes.

Monday, October 22, 2007

currently on repeat on my itunes

"stepping out in front of cars" by Morning Bride.

Download it free here:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Those kooky kids

Last Saturday, or maybe it was Wednesday, the anarchists decided to have an impromptu music festival in the square across from my house. They had a stage that was rolling through Copenhagen with a live band playing and ear-shatteringly loud speakers. It was kind of like a parade, if you took all the color out, replaced all the baton twirlers with drunk 14 to 16 year olds in black hoodies and changed the happy parade music to death metal. Anyway, since I didn't get any pics myself of the riots, thought I'd take one of this, so you can all get a taste of Norrebro on a Saturday night (for those of you who don't live here).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Lance Armstrong congratulated me today

One of the results of SAS's complete incompetence in terms of baggage handling was that I lost all my workout gear - shoes included. As all running shoes are equally insanely expensive here in DK, I was finally able to justify buying into the whole nike + ipod thing. (Particularly since I already had the nano - a gift from an old client that was lying around unused.) I've never been much of a street runner - generally preferring to get my cardio on the much-easier-on-the-knees cross-trainer while enjoying the climate controlled comforts of the gym. I have to say though, with the nike + ipod, I am rapidly getting addicted. The lakes where I run are quite beautiful as the sun comes up. And there's something innately satisfying about uploading the details of your morning run to a site online where you can compare it with other mornings. Sure, the system doesn't give me any information I couldn't get on cardio equipment at the gym. In fact, because it doesn't work with a heart rate monitor, it's missing a piece of what I normally consider vital information. However, it adds a whole different dimension getting that information from real world training. And today, when Lance Armstrong piped up to congratulate me on hitting a personal best mile time, the cynic in me played it off with a "how hokey". But deep down, I admit it, I was as giddy as a little girl in her first princess dress.

I took some pictures of this morning's run, just to bring some color and life back into this blog. I've been slacking seriously in the photo department lately, I am well aware. I was going to use them too, but then I saw this image by Flemming Bo Jensen:

That is a lot more like my morning run looks than the crappy blurry shots I took while trying to keep up to pace. (Multi-tasking and photos don't mix strangely enough.)

Anyway, that's how I spend my mornings. Guess life could be worse.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Danish trivia

A while ago, I posted on my complete inability to name any famous Danish people. I would love to say that in the past three weeks, I've studied up on Danish history and have come up with the following list based on hard work and diligence. Instead, I frittered away my time getting boozed up, working too much and going shopping. Good thing I have some of the most amazing friends in the world. So, courtesy of the always awesome (and fabulously Danish) Cristina, the following list should get you out of trouble if you are ever at a party and get asked the dreaded "name some famous Danish people" question:

Niels Bohr
Hans Christian Andersen
Karen Blixen
Soren Kierkegaard
Hamlet (he counts!)
Minna Gaarn-Larsen (OK that is my mom, but she IS well-received)
Brigitte Nielsen
Helena Christensen
Arne Jacobsen
Vicktor Borge
Tycho Brahe
and of course

In the future, I solemnly promise to mend my wicked ways, visit some museums and generally stop being such a ne'er-do-well. Which reminds me. Next update will be on last weekend's drunken insanity.

In other news, Scandinavian Airlines still sucks

Some of you have asked me how the bag thing ended up. It didn't. Still no bag. Still no compensation. And no response to my e-mails for the past week and a half. Think they are hoping I'll forget about it. (Haha. Very little chance of that happening.)

In fact, I am happily transferring unnecessarily and paying a pile extra just so I can fly Air France when I go back for Thanksgiving. (Plus skipping out on United air miles, to which I am addicted.) That's how much I hate SAS.

If you had ever been in their lost luggage room, you would probably never fly them again either.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

What's there to do in my neighborhood? Riot, apparently.

(photo courtesy of Reuters)

"Where are you living?"


"Oh yeah, where all the riots are."

That's generally what you'll hear when you mention my neighborhood in conversation. Why there are riots here are pretty simple. The police tore down a vacant building the local anarchists were using as a community center. They've been rioting and trying to take over other buildings ever since. What's particularly amusing to me is that they publish a web page with the exact location of the building they are going to take over a month in advance. I find this a bit mystifying. Of course, the police, who apparently also have internet access (surprise, surprise), are ready for them and a big riot ensues. Anyway, there was one here last night. I didn't hear much other than a few sirens from paddy wagons and 100 people drinking and singing and breaking bottles in the park across the street, but from some news reports, it's sounding like it was a big one:

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

random acts of loveliness

So I decided to make another attempt at grocery shopping this evening. This is much more difficult than it sounds. Trying to figure out what things are when you don't speak the language can be a bit of a challenge, and even things you feel you should recognize are completely incomprehensible. The "what is that large hunk of meat" game is considerably less exciting when you eventually have to try to cook and eat the thing in question.

On my second to last attempt, it took ages to fill a basket with something that I could vaguely be expected to make dinner from, only to reach the register (after a queue of soviet era proportions) and find out they don't take non-Danish credit cards. And then (after another wait in a queue that made the first queue look non-existent in comparison) the atm machine across the street decided to freak out and go out of service with my atm card still in it.

Tonight I wanted to make a salad. I had bought anchovies and dressing at the heaven-on-earth grocery store a few days before - all I needed were vegetables. SImple, right? Well, not quite. I went to three stores without finding the vegetables I need in the sort of shape that I'd purchase them. So I am getting increasingly frustrated and it is getting later and I was feeling a bit raw anyway for no good reason and all this is making it worse when I end up at this one mom and pop market. They have the best veg I've seen yet, so I load up a cart. I get to the counter and the guy asks me if I would like to try some of what his friends and family were having. It's Ramadan and they have a big meal going. He ends up loading me up with Lebanese food. I get back home, put all the veg in the fridge for tomorrow and had some of the best food I've had since I got here. Amazing how one random act of kindness can make your whole week. (Plus he sells kick-ass vegetables too, so I know where I am going next time. I think I may bake him some banana bread to return the favor.)

art discovery of the day

Ed Kienholz

Monday, October 1, 2007

My odd odd life

So I moved into the new apartment today. Well, the new temporary apartment anyway. I also found a grocery store that not only has lots of different kinds of meat, it even has pheasant, boar, deer and antelope, so things are definitely looking up in the personal happiness department. Anyway, this evening I decided to reflect on my life since leaving Chicago, and what I found surprised me a little. It's been just under three months since I left the States. In that time, I've been in three different countries, have mauled four different languages and have found a job that was just what I wanted. That's pretty amazing, when I think about it that way. I get so caught up in the little hassles sometimes that I forget to see things in perspective. I can't deny that this was absolutely the best decision for me to have made. Sometimes you just have to take the risk.