Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Quick Update

I haven't written in a week, so I thought I would update everyone a little on what has been happening. Short answer: nothing.

Last week's Swedish class was canceled (Best. Day. Ever.), so it was nice to be able to sleep in and do absolutely nothing. And by absolutely nothing, I mean absolutely nothing. I don't think I left the room at all that day. Yeah. It was a good day. Turns out this entire week of Swedish is cancelled as well (Best. Week. Ever.). So it's like my own little fall break! Thursday night Madison, Rachel, and I are heading down to Copenhagen for the weekend to visit Madison's sister and brother-in-law (the one who got hit by Gerri Halliwell, aka Slutty Spice), so that should be fun!

This weekend went by incredibly fast. Didn't do much though, except for spilling red wine all over my new white sweatshirt. Yeah. Not cool. Madison scrubbed it to death in the pub's bathroom, and I discovered a new spot when I got home, so I scrubbed it to death again in my own bathroom. Talk about stress.

Last night Roma (Rachel's awesome roommate) and Rachel hosted a movie night... which included Roma's friend Christianne (I completely butchered that... apologies!) and I. Fact: Staying Alive may very well be the worst movie ever made. No, wait. That honor goes to Waterworld. Correction: Staying Alive may very well be the second worst movie ever made. I understand that the 80's was a time of crappy dance movies with sub-par acting (I'm looking at you, Flashdance.. who conveniently has a bucket of water in their apartment to douse themselves with?!), but this just takes the cake. It made me dislike John Travolta as a person. And Sylvester Stallone for that matter. Don't try and direct a dance flick. Stick to Rambo and Rocky; at least you don't have to act to beat the crap out of other people. Needless to say, it was a terrible, terrible, terrible movie, and it made me realize how better off I was to grow up in the 90's rather than the 80's.

On a sadder note, the trip to Russia and Finland has been canceled. The cost didn't justify the experience I would have had sitting on a bus for 8 days to see a city a day. Not worth it. But, have no fear, because a new trip has surfaced instead. A friend from the U of M, who has been studying in Germany, wants to go somewhere for Thanksgiving, and so we both decided on a place. Get jealous, people. I will be spending Thanksgiving this year in Athens, Greece. It's going to be sweet, and somewhat cheap from what I saw for hostels/airfare. Much cheaper, and better, than Russia.

That's pretty much about it. Rachel and I are looking at airfare right now for our trip to Germany/Amsterdam/Paris in a couple weeks; looking forward to that one. Man am I going to be dirt poor when I get back to the states. But it will be completely worth it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Trip To Stockholm

Well, I have returned to the small city of Växjö. There is such a large difference between Stockholm and this city--think Minneapolis to Backus. Okay, okay, probably not THAT big a difference, but you get my point.

The train ride there Thursday night was pretty uneventful. I completed my required homework (read Ronia The Robber's Daughter) in about an hour and a half, so I listened to my music while Rachel watched Grey's on my computer and Tommy did his homework. The only eventful thing on the train ride was that Rachel spilled dark chocolate on her white shirt--and when she went to use my Tide Pen, it ran out. Needless to say, her shirt remained stained. That's when I knew I was going to be in for a good weekend.

We arrived in Stockholm around 10-ish, and got stuck in the Metro for a good half an hour before we figured out where we had to buy our subway passes. And, knowing Rachel, she got the wrong pass (she was supposed to get the 72-hour pass, but was only given the 24-hour pass); this proved to be an issue later in the trip. Anyway, after finally navigating our way to the hotel, which was attached to The Globe (which in all reality looks like a giant Death Star), we decided we were hungry, so we ate at the only place we knew was open: the hotel restaurant. Not only did we arrive 10 minutes before the kitchen closed (which really ticks off the cooks, fyi), but I paid 15 euros for a hamburger. It was ridiculous. Anyway, we all passed out shortly after that.

The next morning we awoke (to my displeasure) at around 8:30, grabbed breakfast, and hit the town. The first place we went to was Gamla Stan, or "The Old City". It was here that Stockholm officially was located long, long ago. The streets were narrow, and tiny shops were situated throughout the streets. The best thing was that many were cheap souvenir stores--shotglasses, t-shirts, postcards, knick-knacks, etc., for cheap. It was awesome. Then we hit up the Royal Palace. I got to see a little of the changing of the guard before a certain member of our trip began to complain about the fact that a line will form for tickets. So we left. The palace was amazing. The rooms were huge and spacious; gold was littered throughout the palace. There were portraits of numerous famous Swedish royalty, and even the guest bedrooms were simply amazing. Add to that, the treasury was filled with the most bling I've ever seen in my life. I've decided another life goal of mine is to somehow become a member of royalty. All you princesses, keep an eye out for me.

After the castle, we went to the main center of Stockholm and did some serious shopping. I bought an awesome jacket from Jack and Jones, and Rachel and Tommy found some calendars and clothing of their own. There are so many shopping malls in the center, as well as the main street just packed with people and shops. We literally spent about 4-ish hours just walking the streets and looking in shops. Oh, yes, and most shops here have floors (FLOORS!) dedicated to Christmas decorations now. Ridiculous.

After heading back and dropping our stuff off, we went back into town and ate at a sushi bar (I didn't.. I wasn't feeling sushi, and it was much too expensive anyway.. I ate at McDonald's) and just walked around. It was a good time. Then we headed back to the hotel, watched Seinfield, and passed out.

The next day we awoke yet again at about 8:30, ate breakfast, and headed back into town. This time, we went to the Vasa Museum right away. It was everything my presentation said it was. It was phenomenal. To think that such an old of a ship, in such great condition, can be seen by people today is incredible. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. Full of information, videos, and exhibits, the museum was a good time. They also had a Titanic exhibit, but we all decided against that. We also decided against going to the zoo, as it was raining outside. Not the best zoo weather in my opinion.

After the Vasa Museum, we went and did some more shopping and saw more of the city. Around 6, we headed to a pub called The Big Ben Pub, and enjoyed some drinks and food. And then, Rachel and I (but not Tommy, because he was too indecisive and missed his chance to make a reservation...) headed to what would be the best part of the trip--The Stockholm Absolut Ice Bar. Everything, and I mean everything, was made and sculpted from ice. In fact, the bar itself was -5 degrees celsius, so all of us were required to wear a parka and gloves, which were included in the price. Our drinks were also served in a glass made from ice; it was awesome (and a little cold). We also met some other Americans who were studying in Switzerland--one from Colorado, and one from Utah. My Colorado hat definitely gave it away that we were from North America. And Rachel's picture button on her camera fell off in the ice bar.

After 45 minutes, our time slot was up, so we left and hit up a Swedish casino. Apparently I'm the only one who knows how to play video poker, as Rachel and Tommy both lost their money in about 2 minutes. I came out ahead. I've had my share of practice in a casino, I guess. Oh yes, the piano player/singer definitely dedicated a song to us: she saw what we were drinking, said "looks like tequila over there", and started singing and playing "Tequila Man". We all got a kick out of that. She was quite good, and really funny. Oh yeah, and lesson for Rachel: even though I told you many times, you are not allowed to take pictures in a casino. That's a no-no. Which you found out from the bartender.

After the casino, we headed back home. It was incredibly late, and we all had to get up early to pack and get going. So, Sunday morning, we got up at 9, ate breakfast, packed, and headed to the city. We were planning on putting our backpacks/bags in lockers in the train station so we wouldn't have to drag them around with us all over the city, but they proved way too expensive. We carried them with us. I'm pretty sure I will forever have back problems due to this trip.

After we arrived in town, Rachel decided she wanted to see the Museum of Modern Art. Each of us on the trip got to pick one thing he/she wanted to do. Mine was the Vasa Museum, Tommy's was the Big Ben Pub and the Swedish casino, and Rachel's was the Museum of Modern Art. Now, I'm definitely not one who enjoys art. In fact, I'm 100% sure of that after seeing that museum. It was just so.. strange. And undeniably creepy. I felt more uncomfortable and scared leaving that museum than when I watch a horror film. Let me paint you a picture: one of the pieces was a shovel. A shovel, people. Maybe I'll go back home and send in a wheelbarrow as a piece in an art museum. Ridiculous. Oh, and Salvador Dali, you are one messed up man. You creep. Your mustache is the definition of either A) a crazed mass murderer, B) pedophile, or C) All of the above. If you can scare a 20 year-old with a normal photograph of yourself, you know you have problems. Oh yes, and there was a piece in the museum that depicted JFK hanging on the cross, without hands and a completely disfigured body, as well as his brother Robert in the same fashion. They say art does its job if it stirs up emotion in its intended audience. If that's the case, then this definitely was art. Not only was it sacrilegious, but I felt it was a blatant jab at the assassinated politician brothers. I'm not a nationalist in any sense of the word, but that was just wrong.

After the art museum (from which I am still recovering), we went back to Gamla Stan so Tommy could go into his sci-fi bookstore again. I think that was his favorite part of the trip--the bookstore. After that, we all headed back to the train station, stopped at Max for lunch (so good.. puts McDonald's and any other fast-food chain to shame. Seriously) and hopped on the train back to Växjö. I'm pretty sure I'll be heading back sometime soon; four days is not enough to see everything in the best city in the world.

(The giant street with a plethora of shops)

(The Royal Palace)

(Rachel and I at the Ice Bar)

(The Vasa Ship)

Thursday, October 15, 2009


is my middle name. I even procrastinate packing for a trip. That's dedication, my friends. I'm leaving for Stockholm in less than an hour, and haven't even started. Sure, when I arrive in the big city I'll remember something I had forgotten to pack, but such is the life of a procrastinator. Almost all college students know what I'm talking about.

Looking forward to the big trip. I've wanted to see Stockholm since I was 11. That's right: 9 years. Not joking, either. I believe our agenda (wait, we have an agenda?) includes, but is not limited to: Skansen, Gamla Stan, Vasa Museum, and Royal Palace. So far. It's crazy to believe that less than a year ago I had to give a presentation on the Vasa ship and museum, and here I am visiting the actual site myself. It's going to be awesome. You'll definitely be reading a great post when I return; I'm sure with my luck I'll make a fool of myself or others in public in the big city. You just watch.

Today I had a Swedish presentation. An oral presentation. Been dreading this day for about a month--however, I wrote the paper on Sunday and memorized it all from Monday until today. Needless to say, while most of the class was reading from cards/typed papers, I recited the whole presentation by memory (she did say she did not want us reading off papers). I'm hoping that by not reading the report off a piece of paper, she'll give me extra points to make up for my lost points due to mispronounciation and such. Make sense? To summarize: I'm pretty sure it went pretty well, considering the level of Swedish I'm at now in comparison to the rest of the class. We'll see. I'm probably dead wrong.

Got my score on my final exam for International Marketing this week. Remember how I didn't study for it until the night before? Yeah. You'd never know--a 90% baby! Passed the class with a high B, low A (on the ECTS scale..meaning it's higher on the American scale). I love this school.

But, I suppose.. I should probably begin to pack. I'm pretty sure this whole procrastination thing is going to kick my butt when I return home to the states. Dangit. And I was really getting good at it, too.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Night Of Firsts

Last night was a night of many firsts for me, which some may consider pathetic, while others may be (hopefully..) proud. Here we go:

I had my first experience with sushi. Never really had a deep, burning desire to try it, but when in Sweden, right? And, to my surprise, it was actually good. California rolls are the bomb. Pricey, but the bomb.

On a similar note, I had my first experience with crab meat (which was in the sushi... two birds, one stone my friends). Again, pretty tasty. This foray into the sushi world also gave me my first experience with seafood in general; I'm pretty sure tuna does not count as seafood, so crab was the first seafood I've ever tried. And it was pretty good.

First time I ever went into a grocery store and came out with two containers of Ben & Jerry's ice cream at the same time. We won't discuss this.

First time I celebrated National Taiwan Day. They sure know how to party and make awesome food.

First time I purchased a physical (not digital) CD in over 5 years.

First time I wrote a 2 page paper in under ten minutes. Personal best, baby.

First time I had wasabe (see sushi experience above).

So, if you couldn't tell, last night was quite a new experience. While I'm probably not going to race out and buy sushi every night, it was still good to try. And it wasn't bad, either. Rachel, Roma (her awesome roommate), and Madison created a top ten list of foods I have to try before I leave; I'm incredibly nervous about that. The list includes, but is not limited to: calamari (sick... just, sick), nectarines, mango, and numerous other somewhat nasty things. Already tried a falafel (spelling?); wasn't half-bad! There's no way I'd be able to become a vegetarian though.. Absolutely no way.

I think I'm officially burnt out on trying new things. Time to fall back into my routine of eating ramen, ham sandwiches, and rice with meatballs for every meal. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Update To The Previous Post

So, looking back, I forgot to include one movie that I watched this week in my movie-review-marathon:


Hamlet 2: How could I forget to review this one? Many have not heard of this film, due it being picked up at an Independent Film festival, but it's amazing. The first hour or so sucks, but the last half an hour by far compensates for its quality-lacking first half. The plot is simple: a sterile man, who is trying to become a father, has to face the fact that the school at which he is employed is closing down the theater department. He's a washed up actor who only had a tiny role on Xena, Princess Warrior, and with a plethora of new students who are forced to take his class, writes a play of his own (his previous productions were all adaptations of feature films--like Erin Brokovich. I'm not kidding) about Hamlet going back in time to stop the deaths of his family members. Needless to say, it's hilarious. Plus, the musical at the end contains two distinct songs: Raped In The Face and Rock Me Sexy Jesus (a throw back to the do-wop songs of the 50's). Look them up on youtube. With songs such as these, how can you go wrong? (B+)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm Not Roger Ebert Or Anything...

but seeing as how my weekend was entirely spent playing Half-Life 2 and watching movies, I've decided to dedicate a post to my ratings of all the movies I have watched in the last week. Oh, by the way, there's a considerable amount. You have been warned.

Star Trek: I'm going to admit it: I've never been a Trekkie. Ever. In fact, I've never seen an episode or movie of the franchise before this. But when you hear that J.J. Abrams is directing a new movie, it doesn't matter what the movie is about--it's J.J. Abrams, for God's sake! With hit shows like Alias and Lost, not to mention Cloverfield and Mission Impossible 3, the man has made a name for himself. Star Trek was great; it's no Star Wars, but it's still good nonetheless. (A-)

File:As It Is in Heaven film.jpg

Så Som I Himmelen: A Swedish film that was nominated in the states for a Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards. Granted, I've seen it once back home in Swedish class, but it just felt different watching it over here. Probably because I recognized all of the little things that people do/eat/say over here. I dunno. Definitely check it out--it's got English subtitles. (B+)

File:Jennifers body ver2.jpg

Jennifer's Body: Bad. Utterly terrible. Megan Fox, be glad you have Transformers and your hot looks to fall back on. Oh yeah, be glad you have Amanda Seyfried as a co-star. She's the film's only saving grace (in terms of acting ability) in this film. Diablo Cody, take note: Juno sucked almost as much. Stop trying to make things cool by incorporating current teenage phrases and trends in crap movies. It doesn't work. (C)

File:Hotel Rwanda movie.jpg

Hotel Rwanda: An incredibly good movie. Don Cheadle deserved an Academy Award for this. Really shed light on the Rwanda genocides; acting was well-done by everyone. (A-)


Adventureland: Wow. Just.. wow. Note to Kristen Stewart: you can't act. You never could. (Well.. maybe in Panic Room you could. But you had help from Jodie Foster.) Your smile? Nonexistent. Touching and playing with your hair in every movie does not constitute as acting, just to let you know. But I will give this to you: your acting was much better than Jesse Eisenberg's. The storyline was inredibly weak, the acting was terrible, and I'm getting annoyed with seeing Bill Hader in every comedy. You're not funny, dude. Terrible, terrible movie. (D)


Transformers 2: I'm warning you right now: this review will most likely skew the validity of the rest of my reviews. I highly enjoyed Transformers 2. The acting was terrible (I'm looking at you AGAIN Megan Fox.. although this time, from what I've read, is Michael Bay's fault), with the exception of Shia LaBeouf. It was downright bad. But in all seriousness, who goes to a Michael Bay film expecting top-notch acting? No, what the man does extremely well is destruction and explosions. Which this movie contains a plethora of. And they're awesome. Add to that, fighting robots. Fighting robots, people. I was a fan of the first one, and I'm a fan of this one as well. The CGI is top-notch. Looking forward to Transformers 3. (A-)

File:Schindler's List movie.jpg

Schindler's List: I have absolutely no idea why I decided to watch this film again. It's an amazing film, but one viewing is enough to last a lifetime. Whatever the reason, it was an incredibly melancholic film. The cinematography and acting were awe-inspiring; the grotesque images of inhumane extermination of innocent people are ones that stay with a person for a lifetime. Steven Spielberg once said it was an emotional hell making this film, and I'm going to counter that by saying it's an emotional hell watching it. There's a reason why the film is regarded by many critics as one of the Top Ten movies of all-time. Everyone needs to see this movie at least once--an amazing depiction of The Holocaust and the bravery of Oskar Schindler. (A+)

So, as you can see, I spent the entire weekend watching movies. I should point out, however, that it was due to an illness, not because I don't have a life. Now I have to decide what movies to watch the rest of this week--what a hard task.

Yes--school here is that hard.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jag tror det..

att jag ska inte passera Svenska. Google translate that, and then read on.

Yeah. Definitely sure I won't pass. And here's why: today our professor decided to have a small chat with each of us individually. And normally, everyone thinks that'll be easy. But no. Not me. Let's just say my speaking skills are not up-to-par with the Germans (or Finns for that matter.. that's directed at you Madison). So some students get the oh-so-common "What are you going to do this weekend?" And what do I get? "Have you seen any good movies lately?" Now, I know what you're thinking: that sounds like an easy question, Jordan. What are you, lingually challenged? And yes, it is an easy question.

The only problem is, is that I had two movies to describe--a Swedish movie (in which I had no idea what was going on... throughout the entire movie), or Star Trek.

And for the record: trying to describe the plot of Star Trek in Swedish is ridiculously difficult.

As you can see, I chose Star Trek. Why, oh God, did I choose Star Trek? Needless to say, I looked like a complete idiot in front of the class. Also for the record: space is rymd in Swedish, and crew is besättning. We're all learning something new today, aren't we?

Anyway, it really didn't affect me all that much, seeing as how after that class ends, I don't have any class until next Tuesday. So naturally I've been sitting here since then watching movies on my computer and Facebooking. And, to make myself feel even better, I bought a frozen pizza and a pint (or quart? I dunno.) of Ben and Jerry's Cookie Dough ice cream, and have more Sunny In Philadelphia episodes to watch. I'm pumped. Oh, I also bought some Kex candy bars; I will someday post an entire post dedicated to the best candy bar in the world, so get excited.

I have no idea what my plans for the weekend include. Tommy, Madison, and I will probably do something; it's decided on a day-to-day basis, I think. I know I'll be sleeping a lot; I had a final on Tuesday (a 5 hour written exam... ouch.) for a class that started 4 weeks ago, and I'm still recovering from it. Waking up at 6:30 in the morning is something one never quites get used to; I have a tremendous amount of sleep debt to catch up on.

Madison and I are in the stages of planning and booking a trip to London--I hope it works out, as I've always wanted to visit that city! We also booked a trip to Stockholm in the middle of October; Madison has to stay home with Fido and Richard, so it's just Tommy, Rachel, and I. It should still be awesome. Also booked an 8-day trip to Russia (St. Petersburg and Moscow) and Finland (Helsinki). That's right: my passport is slowly but surely being filled up. I hope these countries have some cool stamps, unlike America.

That's pretty much it for now, I guess. I have a lot of doing nothing to catch up on, so I should probably get started on that.

Hej då!

PS: Oh yeah, I forgot to mention--Star Trek is awesome. If you haven't seen it, wait for the DVD. It's that good. God Bless J.J. Abrams.