Parents and their ideas

My father lowered his wrinkled hand to the ashtray and put the cigarette out in a cloud of smoke that made it look as if he conjured it from thin air. He didn’t look up at me but kept budding the cigarette though it was dead already. I felt sorry for the cigarette that it should suffer my offense.
“In love,” he said, “is such a rhetorical thing.”
The statement was senseless on so many levels to me that I refused to respond. Such phrases were typical for this man who thought each of his words were a breath to be caught and saved in a container that would only be opened on priced occasions when one needed consoling wisdom.
But his wisdom was rarely consoling and barely wise.
“In love is something we make ourselves. You can snap out of it,” he said. “It’s actually good to experience it so early so you can practice letting it go. You’ll be quite good at it before you know it.”
“I’m not going,” I said.
The smile was a crevice stretching through his face, a deep scar in a canyon. “Nonsense.”
I needed to interrupt before he unfolded his wings and wrapped me in their softness.
“No, you’re talking nonsense. I’m in love and that’s that – I’m not going ‘cause I’ll be with Ken and I think it’s sad and pathetic and immoral that you’d try to make me, what, learn to never love again merely so I can go say hello to your cousin? I barely know the woman!”
“She’s your godmother. You owe it to her.” My father still smiled.
“Then maybe you should’ve jumped out in front of a bus so I could’ve grown up there. But you didn’t. So there.”
We stared at each other for a while. I don’t think my father took any serious offense. It was a usual verbal brawl between father and son, something we engaged in often enough and with a distorted sort of pleasure.
But today it was merely distorted and annoying.
“It would make her happy if you came.”
I rolled my eyes and grabbed the edges of my illegal Calvin and Hobbes T-shirt. The image was one of Calvin as he shoveled snow and grumbled about how building his character always meant that his father got out of work. It wasn’t a coincidence that I’d picked this t-shirt for the occasion.
“You two would enjoy being black sheep much better on your own,” I said. Continue reading

Fear and Its Ugly Brother, Self-righteousness

‘Twas the beginning of a new semester and a new era for thirty-six young people all setting out on the journey to become chemical engineers.
“A chemical engineer must have a social knack,” they were told. “A chemical engineer must make raise the team-work flag.”
Little did they know they were to be placed in groups, groups set in chain-like rules, groups they were to settle with for months to come.

‘Twas the beginning of new friendships.
Drinks went like a merry-go-round.
Who shouts loudest, who asserts themselves, who puts on the mask of the clown?

Clown

When the fun was over, and hard days began, they trod in covalent bonds and electron orbitals like an apache mule trying to get to the top of a mountain. Things that should be easy became demanding in the context of drinking and sleep-deprivation.
As experiments began and reports had to be written a leader asserted herself and managed that everything got done.
A demanding tone, snaps without humor, and soon she was quite ignored. Asserting oneself with intelligence and pragmatism was not applauded. Continue reading

Poledance: Rains of Castamere

Among many other hobbies I’ve taken up pole dancing. This was largely due to a chance meeting with a pole instructor at the local crossfit studio and partially because one of my friends had been doing it for a while and loved it.

Now I’ve fallen in love with it and I want to share my good friends’ performance with you guys:

What are your thoughts of poledancing? Is it an artform, is it as respectable as gymnastics or are you under the impression that it’s the same as erotic dancing?

Nuggets of Chemistry #1 – A Laughing Matter

Let’s ponder the chemical NO2: nitrogen dioxide.
This chemical has to be handled under a hood and preferably with a mask as well. If inhaled you’ll feel a stinging sensation in your throat. After 12 hours this feeling goes away.
12 hours after that you’ll be DEAD; eaten painfully up from the inside by acid.

laboratory

Continue reading

A New Horizon

I feel as if standing in front of an abnormal abyss. Where did the past years go? Is it not mere months since I threw caramels in the heads of the children in classes beneath me as it marked my leaving behind the public school and entering the Gymnasium? (Indeed, Danish rites of passage are strange.)

Is it not just a few months ago since I began my journey as a math/physics major in the Danish high school and fought with everything I had to get grades above minimum?

Was it not yesterday that I got my students cap and rode around town with my classmates drinking to the point of passing out?

Apparently not. That is all far behind me and tomorrow begins a new life.

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Tomorrow I start the long journey of becoming a chemical engineer with all the math, explosive liquids and hard group work that comes with it.
Lately it seems everything is happening at once. At the same time as I went traveling to like a quassillion places (okay, 4) I faced having to last-edit my book that’s getting published, having my grandfather going to the hospital with a heart-attack, needing money and, thus, a job and having some issues with friends that I still need to take care of.
Meanwhile, the whole last year has been pretty much uneventful.

Tccccccch.

But I finished editing my book the day before school starts and here I am, finally capable of breathing, of thinking of something other than time loops and whether this or that gun fits this scene.
Suddenly I’m terrified. Continue reading

pondering

Is there more than Oxygen between Heaven and Earth?

The case of whether there’s more between heaven and earth than particles of nitrogen and oxygen is one I’ve often set aside. It doesn’t matter to me because even if there is something I highly doubt it’s a God and in any case it doesn’t seem to have an impact on my life.
Lately I’ve reconsidered the constitution of the world.

It was, as always, a busy morning. Back then we only had one car and my mother had to drive me to school and my father to work before going to her own workplace.
I waited for them to finish. I was so little that my help would be inefficient if they decided to explain to me how to help so I stared into the air at the exciting dust particles dancing around.
I looked down the hallway and into the living room and stiffened.
There, right beside my father’s desk, stood a man.
Rather, I knew it was a man, but it wasn’t.
It was the shadow of a man. The broad shoulders gave him away.
He shone with an utterly astonishing light, going from inside and out. He didn’t have a face to smile with, yet I felt warm as though he had.
My mother said something and I glanced at her. All bags and suitcases were in the car.
When I looked back the man was gone. Continue reading

Lungs

Florence once said she does it to reinvoke a state of envelopment of something not good, not bad. A feeling of being able to breathe underwater.
My sister says 12 is not old enough to understand. I’ve not had my heart broken.
But it’s she who doesn’t understand.
That’s not at all what Florence is about.
“This is a gift,” I whisper and take a steadying breath.
Everything comes with a price. The heart is hard to translate, but now I see how to understand it. That’ll save me much pain. To be able to understand my heart will make me strong enough to withstand anyone.
I step over to the poolside. It’s only spring, so the water cripples me with goose bumps.
“The dog days are over,” I whisper.
I jump. Continue reading

Laws, Regulations and Gummy Bears

People say it’s dumb to be idealistic about these things; that if making laws to regulate people’s behavior help they’re good.
And usually I’m a pragmatic person and I do like that there’s no smoke in bars. It makes it more comfortable for everyone and we can stay out for longer, which in turn means that bars actually make more money because we buy more drinks.

But now I’m suffocating.
And it gets worse for every new law.

please stop

The health ministry in Denmark has grown powerful in the past years. They made the fat tax and the sugar tax which regulated nothing. People merely felt economically worse about the bacon they bought but, hey, they want it.
It’s also ironic that Danes have to pay more for bacon than the countries we export it to.

Okay, so, hey, this morning I woke up to the news that the “health minister has voiced criticism against the Supermarkets, claiming that Supermarkets play on our desire for unhealthy snacks by placing the candy shelf right next to the checkout and in children’s height.” Continue reading

Childhood Reboot: Sailor Moon Crystal

I didn’t watch Sailor Moon when I was a kid and ever since I heard of it I tried to avoid it. I assumed it was a very girlish show – which it is – and stuck to my aversion of everything rom com.
That was until I found melinapendulum, an excellent critic on youtube, who was, to put it lightly, a hardcore fan.

She highlighted all of the liberal sides to Sailor Moon, like the lesbian relationship that was, unfortunately, downplayed in the anime, the powerful female characters and their depth.
I got interested – but it’s like 300-400 episodes and my life is too short for filler.

Now there’s a new chance: Sailor Moon Crystal.
The legendary anime that helped put Japan on the entertainment-chart gets a reboot and this time it follows the manga, much like how Full Metal Alchemist got a reboot, Brotherhood, that followed the manga.
This happens sometimes because anime catches up to the manga and has to create fillers but once the manga is done this is no longer necessary.
(Wow, I wonder if Naruto will ever get a reboot. or Dragon Ball Z)

In any case, take a look at this:

Continue reading

The Party You Think Is Only On TV – Danish Graduation

It’s a year since I stood in a large physics room in front of two teachers and explained motions in two dimensions. A year since I waited 7 whole minutes before I got my grade. A year since I, with a beginning fever, received roses, hugs, a porcelain owl and the hat.

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The hat is handed out to the Danish graduates that come out every year and it’s a symbolic key to the university but also the key to the best party ever.
I’ll take this opportunity to explain the Danish school system. Continue reading