Standing in an orchard of palms and other topheavy trees, talking to a breeder about a harlequin puppy, something like a spaniel, roan and blue but the patterns all particoloured diamond shapes like a jester. She was lovely, but I still missed Lucy.


Maryborough House

High ceilings and wide spaces filled with watercolour light. The walls were painted in impressionist patterns, amber, green, blue. Designs of flowers which might have been blue thrift. When we walked through the spaces our faces felt as if they took on the flowing colours and simply represented forms of the space around us. We became part of the house.

The designs had been painted by Nana Mac. She was not here now. Grandad had collected the old lights. There were many different styles of lamps. They represented scientific forms of light. One of them looked like the Milky way, a floating spiral of dusty radiance.

It felt sad walking through. The staff were sad, this was the end of an era, these people had lived here a long time. They still wore Victorian uniforms and aprons. There were also boarders here, stern old gents who muttered loudly to each other if things were moved out of place and two girls studying at a big kitchen table, more focused on upcoming tests than the problems of the house.

Formal curved stairways and snugfit staff backways. A child swept down the main staircase, the timber pillars where the stair curved were smooth and rounded like stemmed wineglasses, she swung around and slid down the next flight of stairs, surfing the wide waves of worn carpet.
One of the corridors continued down to join a subway or walkway under a bridge.

Outside the garden was filled with amazing plants, but the lawn was thick monogrammed astroturf. Sheets of plastic desert did not seem like something Nana would choose.

I couldn't save it. How can you save the paintings on the wall, the feel of a place, the love and movement shaping its wear. I hoped that perhaps someone would want to keep it this way, but you could feel the welling of glass and chrome property values press up through the subway.

Some complaints about popcorn packaging

Does it bother anyone else how vague the directions for microwaving different foods are? For example, the "Pop-Secret Premium Popcorn" I'm eating right now says "Stop microwave when popping begins to slow down (about 2 seconds between pops)" (emphasis from original). What the hell does that mean? I understand that anything beyond a certain degree of precision is impossible with microwaves having different strength laser beams or whatever they are but that's still a lot more vague than it could be.

When it says "two seconds between pops", what does that mean? Stop the microwave after the first time there is a two-second difference between pops? Wait until most pops are separated by two-second intervals? I'm not asking for something absurd like, "Wait until the average length of time between pops for the last 50 pops is below 2 seconds", but a little more information would be nice. I don't want the difference between burnt popcorn and delicious popcorn to be an issue of interpretation, is all. And what the hell's with the bolding, anyway? Is the word "stop" really going to be overlooked if it isn't emphasized?

Shopping with girls, gaydar visibility, insecurity, foolishness, and some masturbatory stream-of-consiousness ranting

Went to the mall yesterday with two girls from my Physics class (I am a high school student and it is terrible, please do not bring it up if we ever have a conversation because it will just make me sad) and it was pretty alright. If you feign interest in clothes and shoes for long enough you eventually convince yourself and start to enjoy them. It was a little frustrating because I kept seeing all of these nice shirts that I would definitely want to wear and realizing that they were either a) way too low-cut for a skinny muscleless pale boy to look anywhere close to good in or b) extremely fucking expensive. The whole thing put me off of buying clothes at places other than thrift stores... but I haven't been to a thrift store in a while, either, so I may go to one and find out it's just as terrible there and the whole process of buying clothes in general is much more painful than I had imagined. An aside: with the exception of a few shirts from anime conventions and such I haven't really ever purchased clothes for myself. Department store-bought clothes from relatives and occasionally friends was enough to sustain me, but now that I find myself longing to be social and go to parties and network, my lust for some kind of distinct "wardrobe" is becoming harder to suppress. Plus lately I am in the mood to date a boy and year-old collared shirts from Sears are like stealth bombers on gaydars, which makes things difficult if I'm trying to find other people who share my interests.

Anyway, the two girls were nice, and both very friendly to me (I had no doubts that they would be, but I was a little nervous about the situation because, frankly, outside of my small group of longtime friends I hadn't really done anything social in a long, long time) but we were sitting in the food court and I guess I looked mopey or something because one of them said, "Wow, you are so depressed." It wasn't intended as a slight or anything malicious or harmful or mocking or even anything more than a side comment maybe to start conversation or something, I don't know, but it's been turning over and over in my head since.

I no doubt have or had some form of depression, but I have no real way of measuring its severity except by relying on comments from people around me. And apparently I'm depressed enough for someone to spontaneously comment on, which came as a shock to me. I'll deal with it, though. The appropriate advice in situations like this is "oh, go see a professional!" but somehow, maybe foolishly, I don't feel like I'm at that point yet, and I don't think it's so severe that I can't work through it. I'm open to the idea of getting some sort of help and I've seriously entertained it in the pass and I revisit it from time to time, but something makes me think I'd be happier if I worked through it on my own.

I think I'm on the right path, or getting there. I basically recognize what all of my problems are: I get no exercise, I spent obscene amounts of time on the computer (which, in my mind, would be acceptable if I was actually doing interesting or mind-expanding things like reading cool stuff or playing all sorts of interesting games or even just watching decent movies or TV shows, but I spend most of it refreshing the same six or seven forums or imageboards or news sites. This is a habit I've maintained probably since middle school.), I probably don't eat as well as I could, my social life is lacking and I have no interesting hobbies or artistic/creative outlets. I think this spontaneous urge to start daylogging might be a response to hearing that girl call me depressed. Maybe writing all of this down will help me, and maybe writing it all down in public will keep me from reneging on all of the promises I make to myself. I'm already making progress in some areas which I'd go into detail about but I think I've prattled on long enough and besides I need something to write about tomorrow. Will this be a daily thing? A weekly thing? Something I do once in a while on a whim, or when I find myself with free time? I don't know yet. It should be interesting to see how this plays out.

Matters of trust

I represent myself as bisexual whenever the topic comes up, but around the two girls mentioned above I have pretty much given off the impression, while still using the word "bisexual", that I'm basically 100% gay (plus, a lot of people assume bisexuals are just gays-in-transition/denial, though I have no real reason to assume these two share that view). I'm attracted to one of the girls (the one that called me depressed), and I feel a little guilty about it. I doubt I would ever make a move or anything, but it's a little strange. I've been on a (wannabe) gay streak for a while and have been in a pretty homosexual mindset for the last six months or so, and suddenly finding myself attracted to someone without a penis is a bit of a (not unwelcome) surprise. Just another thing to roll with and another chemical impulse to enjoy, I guess.

But the dynamic between me and these two girls basically operates on me being "the gay friend", i.e., not interested romantically or sexually in either of them and thus non-threatening, safe, and trustable. So by being attracted to one of them, am I somehow betraying that trust? Have I portrayed myself dishonestly to them in exaggerating my gayness? I'm probably overthinking it but it's kind of an interesting conflict and it reflects a lot of stuff about bisexual identity and inter-sexual-orientation reactions and gender roles and stuff that I've been reading a bit about lately, mostly here or on Wikipedia. It's fun to watch the theory about that sort of thing actually express itself in my real life. I live in a very interesting time and I need to convince myself that my life isn't boring, because it isn't. Maybe that realization is one of the keys to overcoming my rut.

Since this is my first daylog -- my first substantial node, actually, if a daylog can be called that -- I'm a little insecure about the whole process. If you found anything here enlightening or entertaining or at least less boring than staring at a wall for the same amount of time, a /msg would be greatly appreciated, just to let me know that I'm on the right track, or that people are actually reading this garbage and finding some value in it. Thank you.

Beer! Mermaids! Jazz! The grand Copenhagen birthday-meet of 2009

By now you have probably noticed a fairly lazy pattern to our days - to stay indoors until early afternoon, merging breakfast with brunch with lunch, and only depart the Labyrinth at around 1pm. This is a pretty disappointing way to spend one's days abroad. In particular, BaronWR was mildly irked at having spent most of Friday (his first day in town) slouching around, drinking very expensive beer, and achieving not much else. As such, the plan for Saturday was for us to get up and out of bed, regardless of the damage or risk to our delicate hung-over constitutions, and head into the city at around 9am to see what we could see, and do touristy stuff.

BaronWR, Evil Catullus, Wntrmute, DTal and I started from Kongens Nytorv again, this time heading south towards the area of Copenhagen known as Slotsholmen, which is where various Copenhagen palaces and castles have been built on the same site since about 1167. The Wikipedia article on the subject is pretty much accurate.

We looped around to enter the place from the south, passing the old stock exchange of Børsen with its twisting spire made from the tails of four copper dragons, which had been one of Evil Catullus's requested stopping points. The current Christiansborg Castle itself is a pretty baroque and straightforward structure, but not unattractive. It's functional, holding a huge quantity of Danish governmental offices and legislative power and so on; this said, it was surprisingly empty, even for late on an Easter Saturday morning. After emerging at the Castle's front and proposing and then rejecting a proposal for taking a panoramic shot (Wntrmute hadn't brought his tripod), we went inside and took a plunge down the stairs into the ruins below the Castle. These were specifically the ruins of the original Absalon's Castle, built by Bishop Absalon of Roskilde in 1167 and then buried until it was discovered during excavations in the 1900s. Thanks to the darkness and the fact that the Castle had been extended, fortified and destroyed at least once each, the ruins were very difficult to make geometric sense of. In addition, the text accompanying the various portions of the ruins and the displays nearby seemed to appear in something entirely other than chronological order, making the full and complete history of the building(s) very difficult to unpick. Still, I got most of the rough details, which are summarised better on Wikipedia than I could manage here. Other memorable details: mysterious colourful Easter eggs hidden around the place along with clues for children to track down; displays of old masonry (spectacular...n't); inexplicable wooden logs in the 12th-century ruins, which we later discovered had been hollowed out and filled with lead to serve as water pipes; the word "jordklump" ("lump of earth"); emergency exits taking the form of trapdoors in the ceiling with ladders stowed nearby; kids painting Easter eggs in an activity room at the end of the tour; two wells (surely, this close to the harbour, any water drawn up would have been salty? Does Copenhagen sit on a river, or what?).

We emerged blinking from the ruins in time to meet StrawberryFrog, la petite mort, Dimview and sloebertje at the statue in the courtyard. (It might have been Keirkegaard but I honestly don't remember.) StrawberryFrog, la petite mort, BaronWR and to a lesser extent Evil Catullus were of the opinion that we had to go and see the Little Mermaid which we'd intentionally avoided on Wednesday, if only to be able to say that they had gone and seen it. Though it would mean retracing a lot of Wednesday's steps, we agreed to make the long trek up the coast, passing the Copenhagen Opera House, Amaliehaven and Amalienborg a second time.

Tangent. If Sydney Opera House was built by rearranging slices of fruit, Copenhagen Opera House was based on the chopping board on which the fruit was sliced, with, according to BaronWR, a small touch of petrol station forecourt.

This time, just missing the Changing of the Guard at the palace, which apparently happens every day at 11:30am, which we didn't know. StrawberryFrog, la petite mort, BaronWR, sloebertje and Dimview elected to go and take another look at Frederik's Church, while Evil Catullus, DTal, Wntrmute and I continued on up the waterfront ahead of them to see the Little Mermaid.

The statue is lifesize, by which I mean it's exactly the same size as any real mermaid, i.e. the same size as a human, i.e. tiny. I was prepared for the anticlimax. There was a gaggle of tourists photographing the statue. Periodically, canal boats full of tourists would approach the statue from the water side and photograph her from behind. A more interesting picture, I think, would be to get up on her pedestal and photograph all the fascinated tourists.

A great deal of the tourists were going to far as to climb up nearby and be photographed alongside her. Why? we wondered. "I know what my face looks like, why should I ruin a perfectly good photograph by insisting on appearing in it?" were BaronWR's sentiments.

We trooped a little further up the road to a stall which was full of tacky Lille Havfrue merchandise but which also incidentally sold food. Here, Wntrmute and I bought hot dogs, a foodstuff which is available seemingly all over Denmark and thus assumedly part of traditional Danish cuisine, or something. Consisting of a crusty hot dog bun, not sliced open but cored, filled with not mere ketchup but tomato relish, with a fairly substantial and high-quality sausage which stuck out of the end by a decent four inches, this was a surprisingly delicious piece of junk food.

Once la petite mort and StrawberryFrog had caught up with us (I believe sloebertje and Dimview had decided to head off to do girly shopping and then meet us back at the Labyrinth), we veered west across the railway bridge and then south towards the park of Østre Anlæg, which nestled in a seeming chasm between the many railway tracks on one side and buildings on all three others. I had hoped that the park would be more scenic than it turned out to be, which was pleasant, but not particularly spectacular. When we reached the middle of the park, StrawberryFrog and la petite mort split off from the rest of us, intending to visit a specific fabric shop and a specific goth shop - I guess this is an international subculture just like noderkind - and, again, meet us back at the Labyrinth.

Meanwhile, Evil Catullus, DTal, Wntrmute, BaronWR and I headed into the Danish National Gallery, which, being free to enter (aside from a returnable 10 kroner coin to lock up your backpacks in smart grey lockers in the clean, extremely smart white-painted vaulted basement), was the best-value attraction in the city, by my reckoning.

A curious art exhibit was outside the front entrance of this gallery. We originally took it to be construction work, but in fact it was a steam-roller almost perfectly balanced by a crane loaded with a concrete counterweight. It was positioned so that the steam-roller could potentially be driven around in circles like a horse on a rein, but nothing was actually happening. As modern art goes, and we confirmed that it was indeed an artistic endeavour of some kind, I've seen better.

Aside from the special exhibits which cost money to enter, we dragged ourselves through every room in the building, starting with modern art. Most of the modern art was pretty passable, though not necessarily my thing, and there were more exhibits which failed the "I could do that" test than you would find in, for example, the Tate Modern. A wall covered in cloth hangings depicting skulls, marijuana leaves, and other brightly-coloured counter-cultural symbols painted on fabric? You just took that out of your room at college and couldn't bear to part with it, could you? A big sign saying "Your rights infringe on my rights" or "I love my country! ... But what if it's not that good, and I was just brought up that way?"? If you have a point to make, there are better ways of doing it than writing it out explicitly and calling the paper on which you wrote it art. A semicircle, half red and half blue? So you were inspired by the FedEx logo. Something which looks like a wall full of spilled tagliatelli? I admit that the majority of good modern art requires a great degree of physical skill and compositional skill, but sometimes you have to just sit there and go, "What?"

Or possibly, "I know what art is, and it's not that."

It was at this point that we crossed the bridge between the old art gallery and the new one. Apparently the Danish National Gallery is actually one building (pretty much tall and cuboidal) with a second one (more of a wedge shape) placed carefully nearby and then linked to it with bridges and glass, creating something like a big vertical conservatory space between them. In the rest of the gallery we found mainly older, more traditional art works: old mediaeval art fitting the same old mediaeval religious formats and templates (somebody should make a gallery of entirely Virgins Mary, just to emphasise the monotony of this artistic period); landscapes and portraits; still-life paintings of bowls of fruit and pin-boards crammed with notes and huge piles of artistically-arranged meat and vegetables; lots of other pieces whose presumably fantastic historical significance were sadly lost on me. I have tried to take a constructive interest in traditional art, but it does not work. Frankly, the existence of a two-storey-tall industrial elevator rated for moving artworks up to 3.5 tonnes was more interesting to me.

There was much more of the traditional artwork than there was modern art, and after passing a variety of interesting sculptures in the main hall we quickly headed back downstairs to the cafe we had spotted from above an hour earlier. We drank drink. DTal and I had another stab at the beer and were stung yet again by its colossal expense. DTal had successfully conned the cashier into thinking he was Danish (or at the very least had avoided speaking any English) and the cashier voluntarily opened his bottle for him. I (somehow, I forget how) revealed that I was British while paying and walked away with a firmly capped bottle in my hands. Coincidence? Refusing to swallow my pride, I spent the next five or ten minutes amusing myself and the others (and probably everybody else who was nearby) attempting to open the thing with a nearby fork.

The others had sticky cake and soft drinks. The smarter move. We consulted the guide books and considered our options. BaronWR's main interest for the day was Rosenborg Slot, a Renaissance palace which unfortunately was closed for the day by now, due to the delay of my suggested detour into the National Gallery. BaronWR and the others intended to be around the following day, so this was my loss more than anything. As a Plan B, we elected to return to the Rundetårn, the enormous tower which had been built for the famous astronomer Tycho Brahe to do astronomy from - presumably during the days when Copenhagen created negligible light pollution. The interior of this tower has no steps for the most part, but is instead a continuous spiral, to facilitate wheeling large pieces of astronomical equipment up it. We found several kids apparently playing hide and seek in the various alcoves on the way up - it seemed like a fairly easy venue to derive a search pattern for, though. "Top to bottom", for example? The final spiral staircase leading to the top of the tower was so narrow as to be pretty much one-way. As for the views from the top of the tower, I'll have to let my pictures speak for themselves.

I don't know whether Denmark has rich natural resources of copper, but a lot of the old buildings in Copenhagen have (or had) copper roofs and other features. As we all know, copper corrodes quite quickly and turns into a hideous cabbage green colour which simply clashes with everything, and which nobody would ever choose to use in a building. The result is a skyline which would be rather attractive if not for these livid ugly splashes of green. What is it with those otherwise brilliant old architects, then? Did they not see the pattern developing? Was one or two years of attractive shiny brown roofing enough to satisfy them of a job well done? Did they not think of the future? I call this a shame.

It was now past 17:00 and we were footsore, and had run out of ideas for things to do which were likely to still be open. We returned home.

That evening Dimview had promised to make delicious traditional Danish food - not hot dogs, something rather nicer whose name I can't remember but which will undoubtedly arrive sooner or later. She delivered on this promise with not only delicious meaty lump things halfway between hamburgers and meatballs, but also the most delicious cooked potatoes I'd ever tasted and a tasty brown sauce whose brownness is apparently merely a traditional food colouring which is bought separately. Replete, we chattered drunkenly on into the evening. I drank well, knowing I had to get up early the following day to return home.

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