Archive for March, 2007

Across the sea

A Chinese girl randomly Skyped me to ask about Denmark yesterday, reminding me of the Weezer song Across the sea where Rivers talks about the sweet letters he gets from an 18-year-old Japanese fan.

Anyway, Helen Tu is a 20-year-old assistant in a ‘trading company’ which apparently exports belts and bags to Denmark. She asked me how to pronounce the name Mie (one of her company’s clients) and what Danish people were like.

For the past six months she had assumed that Mie was a man’s name and she couldn’t believe it when I explained otherwise.

After a while she asked how old I was. Apparently I’m the same age as some Chinese dude she talks to online and who she thinks she might be in love with, though ‘he doesn’t show interest in her interests so she doesn’t think he likes her’.

She sent me a link to his blog and asked what I thought of him. I explained that my Mandarin was a bit rusty so I couldn’t really form an opinion but that if she liked him she should tell him and arrange to meet.

She promised to let me know what she decides.

Helen asked if I had a blog so I sent her the link but the Great Firewall of China wouldn’t let her open it.

I told her that her government blocked many Western sites because it didn’t want its people to know too much about the outside world but she totally avoided the issue.

Later I asked if she liked living in China and she avoided that question too.

Anyway, here’s a random Anime video for Across the sea.


Danes lead the way in IT integration

Denmark has just been named as the world’s leading nation in terms of the impact of IT on the country’s development.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that Denmark is streets ahead in terms of new technology take-up and integration.

Read the full article here.

Deathtrap on the wane?

Deathtrap, my beloved bike, may be on the way out.

I bought him for just 650DKK when I first got here (15 months ago) and he’s been with me ever since.

But age is catching up on him I think. In recent months I’ve had to fork out quite a lot on repairs and this morning the gears gave up the ghost.

I wheeled him to the bike shop round the corner from work and now it’s just a question of waiting.

I really hope the chap thinks it’s worth repairing because losing Deathtrap will be like losing a limb.

Your bike is an extension of your character in this city. They are the blood that pumps through Copenhagen’s veins, keeping people healthy and happy.

Yes, I could buy a new one but I have such a strong attachment to this one. It would feel like an act of infidelity.



I’ve just come out of a very interesting client meeting.

Leaving aside the fact that my pathological fear of breaking wind during a meeting seems to be getting worse, client meetings are always a pleasure here.

Danes are generally a fairly serious lot but they have a pleasingly laid-back approach to business.

There’s always coffee, and usually some snacks on offer too. I was even given a homemade piece of carrot cake once.

After some initial chitchat about the weather (bright blue skies, warm), we got down to the brass tacks.

This client has developed a potentially revolutionary piece of security software which is more or less unhackable.

It would take every computer in the world using every kilabyte of processing power to even get close to it apparently. Or something like that anyway.

The chap told us that he had applied for a patent in the US and had been whisked away by the FBI who demanded a back-door to the software. He politely declined, explaining that it wasn’t feasible.

Anyway, we’re going to be working on some marketing materials for him hopefully.

I can’t really tell you much more but, even though I know next to nothing about computer security, i’m fairly sure this software is going to make this guy a lot of money.

It’s days like today which really make this job so enjoyable.

Sitting and talking to ingenious, extremely clever people just starting out with their company and helping to plan their next steps. In my experience, self-employed people are often slightly more interesting company than us wage slaves.

Perhaps it’s that feeling of standing or falling by the strength of their ideas that gives them an edge.

For my part, I guess a lot of my enjoyment is knowing that I have something they really need, too.

Thank goodness for English I say.

The Pixies were just a band. . .

. . . is the only thing I don’t agree with here . . .


I don’t have any curtains at the moment so every morning the light brings me kicking and screaming back into waking life.

It’s still strange having noone to share my bed with. Those first few moments are the most difficult. The tangled veil of opaque, obscure dreams falls away, leaving behind a weird psychic aftertaste of whatever goes on in our unconscious.

I lie there, letting my thoughts gather velocity. The Enghavevej traffic flows past below at its sedate Copenhagen pace.

I think about the past, and how easy it is to slip between that world and the world revealing itself to us now.

One day, maybe, I will understand things more.

There was a moment yesterday when I thought I got it. But then that moment passed too and the world moved on.

Maybe that’s all there is. Brief moments where we’re all in alignment and harmony reigns. Then something somewhere falls out of kilter and we’re all pitched back into the murk.

Who knows?! It’s all a mystery to me. But I always loved detective stories.

Now, it’s time for a shower. I can already feel the warmth of the sun through my window.

What will today bring?

Winging it

I had to post this link to Charlie Brooker’s column in The Guardian today.

Anyone who’s gotten past their mid-20s and thought “Hang on a minute, aren’t I supposed to ‘get it’ now?” will probably enjoy it.

Life doesn’t get easier to make sense of, we just develop new and cleverer ways of disguising our ignorance.