Saturday, October 18, 2008

I want to shine on in the hearts of men

Today was all about the marathon conferencing. I got up at 7 am, the same time I got up yesterday morning, under the theory that I managed to arrive at the conference at 9 am yesterday, the same time that sessions started today. (So much for theory -- I arrived about 8:20.)

It was cloudy with intermittent spitting rain and mist, not the best day for walking or picture-taking. But I did enjoy a Berliner on the way, a pastry that always reminds me of my undergraduate German teacher, who delighted in telling the story that John Kennedy had erred in his famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" statement; the correct grammar is "Ich bin Berliner," no article. My teacher, who looked like Santa Claus, would say with a jolly laugh that Kennedy had actually said, "I am a jelly doughnut."

Then: conference conference conference. Morning session; plenary; lunch; afternoon session; afternoon session at which I presented a paper. (I thought my paper the best of the bunch in the afternoon, if I do say so myself; but its appearance at the end of such a long day meant that while attendence was good, attentiveness suffered somewhat. At least one attendee right in my line of sight slept through the whole thing.)

Tonight is the banquet at the Aarhus Art Museum, a massive and relatively new cultural project named "Aros" after the original Viking name for the city. I have a cautious expectation that we will not have to purchase our own wine; so far beer and soft drinks have been provided on each table during the conference meals, but at the first dinner last night a group of would-be drinkers was required to pool their kroner for wine.

A few pictures, although weather wasn't conducive to photography as on Day 1:

Ever wonder what the Danish version of Dancing With The Stars looks like?

How about the Danish version of America's Got Talent? (Denmark's Got Talent?)

Despite the city's hilly streets, bicycles are the way to get around. Dozens are parked on every sidewalk.

The Danes have a thing for gummi. This display at a convenience store around the corner from my hotel is just the tip of the iceberg. At the theology building where the conference is held, the vending machine contains one row of chocolate candy and three full rows of gummi products. Also some sort of salty licorice is inexplicably popular, with three different brands of the stuff represented in the vending machine. Those crazy Danes!

One awesome thing about the time difference: I'm seven hours ahead of Central Daylight Time, where Noel and the kids are. So when I get up in the morning, it's midnight back home, and when I go to sleep late at night, it's mid-afternoon for them. Last night I got an e-mail from Noel with the kid update news (short version: kids are awesome) in the evening when I got back to my hotel -- the one he wrote the day before. Then when I got up this morning, I turned on the computer and there was another kid update -- the one he wrote just minutes earlier. It's like they're living in a faster timestream than me, one that can fit a whole day into my overnight nap.


Noel said...

You'd better bring back as much gummi as your suitcase can hold. I'd like some of that Eucalyptus gummi especially.

(Seriously, grab some weird gummi. Could make for a great AV Club Taste Test. Our commenters will be tripping all over themselves to make the first SIMPSONS reference.)

Adam Villani said...

Speaking of which, I can't believe you philistines at the AV Club had never (a) heard of brown bread, and (b) thought it was disgusting. Heat it up and serve it with butter. Also: it's steamed in the can.