Monthly Archives: August 2014

August 28

Yesterday, I woke up at 6am to jump on a bus, then a train and then a car to drive all the way up to Billund for a work meeting at LEGO. God, waking up before 7am is bloody painful. I set the alarm clock at 5:50am and instead of relaxing and relying on technology to wake me up on time, I spent the night all fidgety, rolling over and over again. It’s always the same, every time I need to wake up early to catch a flight or make it to an early appointment, no matter how many alarm clocks I have around me, I never get proper sleep. It’s stupid.

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The good news is that the meeting went down well and we got things approved, which is always nice. I also got to visit the LEGO headquarters for the first time, too. It’s a cool place in which most of the people I saw looked like they were having a nice time and enjoyed doing what they do. I reckon all those happy faces and pretty smiles get shattered the moment they step out of that building and into the absolute boredom that reigns in Billund but hey, at least they are working for LEGO. They could be living in Billund and having a shit job so, all things considered, it probably isn’t that bad.

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Today I met up with Anna for lunch to discuss that little video game we are working on; she has already contacted a few good people who seem interested in lending a hand to make it happen so I’m looking forward to see what comes out of this. I like Anna, she gets shit done.

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August 25

Great news: I got my UK visa approved so Kat and I are heading to London and Brighton on Friday. London, baby! I’m really looking forward to this trip, not only because I will get to catch up with some of my best friends, whom I haven’t seen in a good while, but also because Kat is coming along and I will get the chance to take her to some of my favourite places and walk around the city I love so much. The other day I came across an article in which an Australian freelance journalist eloquently described what it feels like to leave London, and I found myself nodding along as I read, overwhelmed by a strange mix of happiness and nostalgia; on one hand, I was happy to be able to relate through personal experience to that London life she was talking about, and on the other hand, I got a bit sentimental about it because whether I like to admit it or not, I still miss London.

Don’t get me wrong, things are great in Copenhagen and I’m truly enjoying living with Kat. She has upgraded my Danish experience from Economy to First Class and has really made a big difference in my life and the way I relate to the city, but deep down, I still miss my friends and some of the places I grew so fond of over the years I spent in London. It’s only natural, I guess. Living in London has been the greatest experience of my life and so much happened during those three years that it would be impossible to forget about it. The good thing is that now I have a one-year visa and I have Kat, who I’m sure will make me look at the city in new light and turn every single trip to London into an unforgettable affair. I really can’t wait.

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Last Friday, we had a Summer Party at Advance. Monika, Rune, Jon, Sabrina and I were in charge of organizing it so we decided (well, Monika and Sabrina did) to throw a Rockabilly-themed bash, because nothing says Danish summer like girls in bullet bras and bright red lipstick, and dudes in pompadours and tight jeans, right? We started at 3pm with a bit of bowling, then burgers and cocktails at 6pm and then all sorts of alcohol, cake and live music back in the office from 9pm until 2am. I left at 11pm, mind you, but let’s not talk about that.

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All in all, everyone had a great time. The Orgelheimers, the band that played, was terrific (check them out) and people looked fantastic especially some of the girls, who really should make that 50’s style an everyday thing. I also dressed up for the occasion, of course, although I took the easy way and ended up on the Grease side of rockabilly, as most dudes. You know… black jeans, white t-shirt, leather jacket, black boots and fake tattoos. Two of them, to be precise: a hot female sailor on my right arm and a big heart lock with the word “Mom” on it, next to a yellow flower and fresh leaves, all over my left forearm. Considering it was a corny design, It looked great. Everyone said so. I liked it too, so much so that I’m seriously considering to get a proper tattoo and if I ever figure out what is it that I would like to get permanently engraved on my skin, it will definitely be on one my forearms, most likely the right one. 

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I Skyped with my parents the day after the party and showed them my fake tattoo, which I guess looked very convincing on screen. They were not particularly thrilled about it. Not even my mom, can you believe it? I should have probably gotten a tattoo with the word “dog” on it, I’m sure Sabrina (my dog, not my co-worker) would have been a bit more excited about it…

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August 21

It’s strange not having Kat at home. Everything is too quiet and boring, so much so that I ended up going to bed earlier than usual the last couple of nights. And once in bed, I realized how much I’ve gotten used to her being there, which is odd considering I have spent the most part of the last thirty years sleeping alone (and enjoying it). 

The times, they are a-changin’…

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August 19

It’s my sister’s birthday today. I have been missing my family’s birthdays (except for my Dad’s, which I was able to attend just once, a couple of years ago) for the last four years, and every time it happens, I wish I could be there with them. Living abroad have its perks, many of them, but it also have a few downsides and missing out on my family’s birthdays is certainly one of them. It really sucks.

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Kat left to Berlin this morning with her mum. I’m suppose to do some grocery shopping and cook a healthy dinner but I will probably end up ordering takeaway and watching telly, all by myself (intone in the style of Eric Carmen, for dramatic effect).

 

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August 18

A lot happened this weekend:

Friday evening was spent at home, sleeping on the couch. I dozed off around 8pm and shortly after Kat gently woke me up and invited me to bed, a much more comfortable place to snooze. Not long ago, staying in on a Friday night was unacceptable. I felt like I had to go out, meet people, go crazy. Thinking in all the beautiful scandinavian young girls who were out in the streets, partying hard and looking for a bit of fun, was an incentive strong enough to get me out of the door and into  a bar, almost every day of the week. I’m not kidding. Now, I really couldn’t care less; the beautiful scandinavian girl is laying on the couch next to me and I can sleep my way to Saturday without remorse. I no longer feel like I’m missing out if I don’t go out and, to be honest, I like this much better.

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Having said that, I still enjoy going out for a drink every now and then so, on Saturday, Kat and I met up with Carlos and Marisa and went to The Union, for a change. Before heading there, we drank an entire bottle of Bacardi while we played UNO and Looping Louie, our favourite drinking game (which I’m pretty sure wasn’t intended for that purpose), and once we were a bit tipsy, we decided to continue our intoxication process behind the mighty black door. We were joined by Denis, a German dude I met last summer and with whom I used to go out every once in a while. It had been a long time since we got together so I told him to come down to The Union for a drink. Kat and I spent the evening chatting with him while Carlos and Marisa did their thing. We left them at 2:30am, dancing the night away.

Despite waking up with a mild hungover, Sunday lived up to its reputation. My friend Christiaan and his girlfriend Sasha were in town for a few hours before jumping on a ship for a 10-day Baltic cruise so we met them for breakfast at Kalaset: Christian and I had a massive brunch including eggs, bacon, spicy sausages, bread, cheese and fruits while Sasha and Kat decided to go for the pancakes, all delicious. While in Kalaset, Christiaan gave us a couple of presents: two wonderful micro mushrooms that now stand proudly in our home. Pretty sweet.

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After we filled our tanks, Kat went back home and I took Christian and Sasha to Christiania for a bit of shopping, if you know what I mean. I said goodbye to a very happy Christian and his girlfriend around 1pm and took a bus home.

The rest of the day was spent watching the third season of “Misfits” (by now, a very average tv show), eating pizza, drinking cola and napping on the couch. We also did a cleaning break and took care of the dirty dishes that were sitting in the kitchen, watered Julio and picked up the laundry.

Yep, we’re pretty good at Sundays.

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August 15

Last night, Kat took me to Cinemateket to see one of her favourite movies: “The Last Waltz”, a film by Martin Scorsese that documents The Band‘s farewell show in San Francisco, back 1976. The movie features scenes shot on a studio soundstage, interviews by Scorsese with members of The Band and, of course, songs from the actual concert, which included guest appearances by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Ronny Wood, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Neil Diamond, Ring Starr and a bunch of other musicians I don’t know much about.

The screening started at 10pm, which is a bit late for me, but despite having to struggle a bit to not fall asleep, I really enjoyed it. Beyond the fact that it was a musical film, which in general tend to appeal to me, what I liked the most was how pleased the band looked on stage; there they were these guys, at the peak of their career, saying goodbye to all of it without a single visible trace of nostalgia or remorse. That’s my impression, anyway; I barely know The Band so I might as well gotten it all wrong.

In any case, the film is worth watching, for a few reasons: 

1. The cover version of Marvin Gaye’s “Don’t Do It” is great and it’s the first song you will hear in the movie (it was actually the encore of the show but, for some reason, it’s the opening track in the film)

2. Neil Young looks very stoned, especially towards the end. I find that funny.

3. Muddy Waters. Do I need to say more?

4. The Band is entertaining, sometimes even funny. I particularly found Robbie Robertson to be a very likeable guy.

Now, there are also things I didn’t like that much about the film, like Neil Diamond and some of the most folky-softy-tacky songs the band played. I’m just not that kind of guy. However, what really annoyed me was that at the end of the show, when all the guest go onstage in a “we are the world, we are the children” kind of spirit, Ronnie Wood comes out, takes the right side of the stage and remains there throughout the whole song without the director showing him AT ALL. Not even once. There was the guy that had collaborated with Mick Jagger on “It’s Only Rock n’ Roll (But I Like It)”, a guy that would end up joining The Rolling Stones the year after, and he can barely seen in the film. Nonsense.

If you can leave that aside and don’t hate Bob Dylan as much as Kat does, give the film a try. There’s a high chance you will enjoy it.

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August 13

I was halfway through a post about our trip to Møn over the weekend but WordPress, once again, has managed to put it somewhere I can’t find it, probably on a top shelf. This sucks because I had written a more or less detailed account of our little weekend in the south-east of Denmark but now I really can’t be bothered to do it all over again so a very summed up version will need to suffice.

Let’s see: Kat managed to convinced her Dad to drive us to Møn so we left Copenhagen on Saturday at 7am and by 9:30am we were in Klintholm Havn, a little fishing village with a harbour and a supermarket where you can also rent bikes. Kat’s Dad suggested us to cycle all the way to the cliff, it sounded like a good idea and we went for it. Ten minutes later, we realized we had to ride 6 km of hilly roads to get there; by the time we acknowledge our mistake, it was too late to do anything about it. 

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And so we pedaled, and pedaled, and pedaled, until we finally reached Møns Klint, a 6 km stretch of chalk cliffs in the Baltic Sea. I must admit, I expected it to be much higher (120m above sea level or so) but despite it’s underwhelming height, the view from the cliff was fantastic. The sun was shinning when we got there and its reflection over the water was absolutely beautiful.

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We wandered a bit at the top of the cliff and then went down all the way to the beach, where we sat for a while, just looking at the sea and secretly making fun of some of the tourist around us. That’s what Kat and I do, we laugh at people because they are probably laughing at us too. After spending some time on the beach, the sky turned grey and the air cold so we headed back to the top of the cliff (after climbing a hundred fucking steps!) to grab some food and get mentally prepared to cycle 11 km to the Bed & Breakfast we had booked for the night.

We hadn’t finished eating our chili con carne when it started to rain. Not a bad thing, really; it actually made all the cycling a bit more tolerable. It took us about 45 minutes to finally get to the place we were going to stay, a really nice house in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees and grass. Really pretty. The only downside to it was its location, quite far from everything, which meant we either had to find a restaurant that could deliver food to us or we had to take our bikes and go somewhere to grab dinner and cycle back to the B&B in absolute darkness (people in Møn are not very fond of lamp post along the roads, apparently). 

Eventually, we found a place that was willing to drive a few kilometers to save us from starvation. God bless them, they don’t know how much we loved them that night. We sat next to a German couple, eating vegetables and rye bread while I devoured a bacon and cheese burger and Kat tried to figure out how to eat a massive calzone filled with pasta and meatballs. That’s right, pasta and meatballs inside a calzone. I can’t think of anything more carbohydrate-packed than that. 

(Stolen from Kat's instagram)

(Stolen from Kat’s instagram)

After dinner, we went back to our room and watched a few episodes of “Misfits”, a series I really liked at the beginning but that after the second season is starting to piss me off; the guy that replaced Nathan is NOT funny and the whole story is getting way too tacky. I’m still planning to finish it but I must say, I’m not all that excited about it anymore.

On Sunday, we woke up around 9am, had a shower, packed our stuff and cycled back to Klintholm Havn to return our bikes and catch a bus that dropped us somewhere else where we caught a bus that dropped us in some other place where we finally jumped on a train that brought us back to Copenhagen. We celebrated our return to civilization with KFC, like it should be. 

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Despite all the cycling, which made my ass and legs hurt a lot, I really enjoyed our little weekend trip to Møn. Kat’s always good fun and she made me forget a bit about all this UK visa application thing, which is stressing me out and making me really, really anxious. Just yesterday I submitted my documents, let’s see what they say…

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August 8

Yesterday morning, I went to the doctor to get my blood test done. Kat and I woke up at 6:30am and did a great job at not falling asleep again; instead, we put our clothes on and left the house around 7am, took a bus and less than half an hour later, we were in the reception room waiting for my turn.

The nurse, a man in his mid-fifties, asked me where I was from and how long had I been in Denmark. I told him I was from Venezuela (that immediately brought up a little discussion about Chávez and I made sure to let him know what a tremendous son of a bitch, goddamn motherfucker he was) and told him I had been in the country for a year and a half. He asked me if I was getting married to which I replied that indeed, marriage was a possibility, at some point, but that at the moments there were no solid plans to tie the knot.

However, I did pointed out I had a Danish girlfriend, a piece of information that for some reason encouraged this man to say: “who knows, maybe you will find another girlfriend. A better one.” A better one? Pfff. Clearly, this man has not met Kat and doesn’t know me; the chances of a short, grumpy old man like me scoring with a smart, funny, younger green-eyed scandinavian blonde are almost non-existent. Kat is, by far, the greatest partner I have ever been with and she would have kicked his ass if she had been in that same room with me, just for the fun of it. I would have loved to see that.

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Spent all evening writing my UK visa application, going through tons of papers, trying to answer to all the questions in the document as accurately as possible. Went to bed around midnight, slightly upset and with the application still incomplete…

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August 5

After going through a decent amount of boxes, bags, clothes and suitcases, Kat and I have finally managed to bring our flat to a pleasingly orderly and clean condition. It looks wonderful. Kat seems to be a bit overwhelmed by the amount of floor space that is visible now but I’m sure she will get used to it. We still have a few minor details to sort out but, in general, I’d say we’ve done a great job at giving our new home a well-deserved makeover.

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Over the weekend, we signed up for HBO Nordic and started watching “Misfits” (it was Kat’s idea and I’m so happy she suggested it, the series is fucking great!), met up with some of her friends for a BBQ and even got the chance to go to the beach. It was really nice. When the weather is good, Copenhagen is certainly a lovely place to be. Before the BBQ, I met Monika in Frederiksberg and went to a record fair that was being held in a bar; I didn’t have very high expectations but it was actually quite nice, with around 10 stalls selling mostly rock/jazz vinyls.

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There were a few records I wanted to buy but in the end I decided to get only two of them: a black-on-black Black Friday limited edition of Queens of the Stone Age “…Like Clockwork”, and an original first pressing of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” that came with a poster and two stickers. I’m trying to convince Kat to let me put that poster somewhere in our flat but, in all fairness, we already have seven of my posters lined up and we haven’t yet figured out where to hang them so I might need to keep the Pink Floyd one rolled up for a while. No big deal, I’m OK with that.

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I just came across this, it’s MIND-BLOWING.

Now, changing subjects. This will be a busy week: dinner tonight with Kat’s parents, blood tests on Thursday morning and meeting Lars for the turntable project later that day, then meeting Anna for breakfast on Friday to discuss a little project we want to work on. I also have to get some photos taken for my UK visa application, need to book an appointment at the British Embassy, need to get some bank statements signed as well as a work letter from the office, need to change my home address and set a meeting with another bank because the one I currently have is rubbish, need to get a new bike and on top of that, I need to keep my promise of eating healthy, exercise and get some proper sleep.

Yeah, good luck with that…

 

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August 1

A couple of days ago, I discovered Found Things, a website that has quickly become one of my favourites. Today, while going through it, I came across quite a few interesting posts but there are 2 that stand out right now: one that cites this article published in The New York Times, which suggest the scary possibility of us living “in a computer simulation based on the laws of mathematics — not in what we commonly take to be the real world” (holy shit!), and another one that elaborates on the importance of sleep for habits and motivation.

There isn’t any permalink to the post but it basically boils down to this:

1. If you don’t get enough sleep, you will fail at changing habits; and
2. If you have a lack of sleep, your motivation will drop tremendously.

Nothing new, I know, but it was a reminder. My body had been hinting at this for a while now but I guess that after those 2 weeks abroad, where I barely slept more than 5 hours a day, the sleep deficit has considerably grown, to the point in which I feel like I need to have a 15-minute nap every 15 minutes. Yawn.

So, starting next Monday, I’m gonna try to get my shit together and take my sleep a bit more seriously. I will also give my exercising/eating healthy resolution another shot (I did well for about 2 weeks and then failed miserably) and, in general, I will try to get back into the swing of things again. I feel like I’m eternally tired and I can’t take it anymore, enough is enough.

In the meantime, I will have a beer; I just have been offered one at work and well, I couldn’t say no.

Hey, don’t look at me like that! I said “starting next Monday”, remember?