Should I?

Hello.

I’m in Australia. We’re in Australia. After just 4 years and a month, I’m home again. Nothing much has changed except that my old friends live even further away from me now and we have a new mad cat.

The flights were ok but waiting in airports was horrible. Leaving Estonia was sad but getting out was easy, after all that stressing. 55 hours of transit was all it took until my parents picked us up. Anna-Liisa survived her journey by tagging along with us. Somehow she bought the exact same tickets we did but for half the price, 2 months later. I’m never booking early again.

The weather when we arrived was miserable and cold. Marika didn’t appreciate the contrast to Estonia’s currently sweltering summer. Mum and dad picked us up from the airport and then began the reaquaintance-with-everyone-and-everything process for the next week or so. We saw cousins and friends, I had my haircut by a professional, I applied for a job and got it almost by accident.

Originally I was meant to work on a helpdesk for this company, although I wasn’t really shown a lot of stuff and spent most of my time feeling awkward and confused because I had no work to do but no one seemed to mind nor make a big effort to direct me. Not long after that, though, I was assigned to do on-site warranty repairs.

So, I get a ute with a petrol charge card and e-tag, an iPhone with some business phone contract including 2 gigs of data transfer per month, a GPS to help me navigate around the city (which I just got funded on expenses) and I cruise around all day fixing computers. It sounds pretty laid back but actually it’s a little bit hectic. I’m still new to the role and learning all the intricacies of each machine (computers really are annoying to take apart, fix and rebuild, particularly laptops) and I’m all on my own now, so when the work piles up it really piles up.

I’m sure with a bit more time I’ll get it all under control and be faster at it when I’m more experienced. Even when I know what I’m doing things still often go wrong. It’s frustrating being stuck on one problem machine for 90-120 minutes at a time for something that should be fairly routine. I guess that’s just part of the job – factoring in delays due to stubborn machines and unforseen problems.

Sadly, Marika and I haven’t had either the time, weather or money to do more things before I was commited to employment. We visited the Koala Park and Newcastle/Marks Point. We’ve been around the city and Newtown a few times and although I still like it, it isn’t as good as I remember it, nor as cheap. Fucking city. I hope to visit Melbourne with her some time next month. Scott also wants to show me around down there and even try to introduce me to his boss in the hopes that it will help me out down the road. That would be good.

I think living as a poor bum in Estonia for so long has turned me into a bit of a penny-pincher. I find it more sensible to cook for myself these days but I don’t really have the desire to do it at the moment, since I’m still getting used to returning from work in the evening. Mum and Marika are usually taking care of that situation, anyway.

Since I’m too lazy to go jogging, we’ve taken up skipping. Actually it feels like I’m the only one doing it any more since Marika sleeps in during the morning when I’m exercising and doesn’t seem to enjoy the outdoor temperatures for exercising. Never mind. I’d attempt to do some weight training as well but unfortunately the equipment has either been sold or banished to some mysterious place known as “the lock up”. Sit-ups and push-ups it is, then. Meh.

We’ve just finished watching the first season of Treme and while I like it, I don’t find it as… engrossing as Deadwood (which we’ve also just finished watching the whole series), The Wire or even Rome. I guess it’s due to not really having a strong underlying plot (although there are lots of common and reoccuring themes), since the show is grounded more in the mundane reality of ordinary people and their own mostly unrelated stories.

I probably look like some mad HBO fanboy but I assure you that it’s not deliberate, it’s just that they’re the ones making the good shows. I must admit that it’s kind of strange seeing the same actors popping up in different shows. It’s hard to not have them typecast in my mind as the first character that I saw them play. I have the first eason of MST3K to watch, as well. That might be a challenge. I may just hop straight to season 2.

I can’t think of anything more to write at the moment. Yes, I know, I should have updated earlier and continue to do so more regularly. I was just feeling shy, ok?

Oh, I’m reading Catch-22 still and getting simultaneously worse and unluckier at poker the more I play.

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May as well…

Kopli life is alright. Not having a supermarket (although I’d hardly call Säästumarket “super”) next door means I’m dieting quite well.

Since I’m eating less I’ve had more time to watch television shows. We’ve finished watching Rome. It’s a shame the series was cut short as it had this rushed feeling to it that left out a lot of what would have probably been fun scenes/arcs.

To head in a completely different direction, we went through Black Books in its entirety. This didn’t take long as there is only 18 short episodes. It’s strange that they were produced so far apart and that there are so few of them. I was a bit concerned that the quality of the show was heading downhill when I began watching season 2 but thankfully it picked back up again in the third season before abruptly ending. Never mind.

We tried watching The Mighty Boosh but after 2 episodes our interest has completely been lost. While it has its moments, I find it somewhat painful to sit through. Perhaps it picks up later on but I’m not about to find out.

I’ve finally managed to sit down and watch seasons 4 and 5 of Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! at tofu’s persistence. I never liked them at first after only seeing clips out of context on YouTube but after a while it grew on me and I decided to give it a go.

The hard part now is deciding what to watch next. I still have to try Deadwood but I fear Marika won’t be interested in it, which makes it difficult to get through the whole series alone. Not that it wouldn’t be worth it, if it’s as good as people say it is. I watched the entire series of The Wire on my own over a few weeks and didn’t regret it, so perhaps that’s what it will come down to again.

There’s also Treme, which has some of The Wire‘s cast and crew in it. I also need to see Oz, Breaking Bad, and possibly The West Wing and Entourage (I enjoyed the first 3 or 4 episodes). Looks like I’ll have to avoid employment for a while longer. I doubt that will be difficult.

As for vidya, I’ve just been going through 3 day rotations, as always. I picked up some random titles on GOG.com that killed some time, but meh. Nothing special.

I’m reading a lot more books lately. I finished the first novel in the Dune series and I wasn’t really impressed. I’m not going to go into a review of it but it seemed pretty… lame. Perhaps it was more entertaining when it came out about 50 years ago.

I’ve also completed the four Dexter books. They’re very disappointing. The TV show is a whole lot better (and I know it’s usually the opposite). The third book goes off the rails and makes no sense, all four books offer no characterisation or insight and they always end absurdly quickly, within a few pages. Not to mention that Dexter actually comes across as somewhat useless as a stalker in the stories. Meh, indeed.

I’ll briefly criticise any other books I get through in the future. I have a feeling that I completed another one or two but I can’t recall what they were. Nevermind.

Next up, people:

Pete and Liis had a baby boy, Jack. He’s about a month old now. We saw him a few weeks ago. Seems like a fine chap. Marika gave them a kettle. Hoorah!

We saw Hugo on his birthday. I don’t remember much of it as I got drunk alone before I turned up to the party. All class. I think we had an ok night, though. A week or so before we went to Von Krahl for a concert but didn’t last into the second act, unfortunately.

Marika got some funny job handing out flyers. In the cold. It’s good money, though. She also gets to wear a silly sailor’s outfit, so I find it entertaining.

I’m getting more exercise than ever as I tend to walk the dog, Fredi, a couple of times a day. I usually attempt to read at the same time. Now I just need a haircut.

My poker game is improving a lot, I think. I try to restrict myself to only playing 2 tables, although I occasionally sit at more if I’m trying to find a good seat. It’s helped me to concentrate more and rationalise my decisions. Playing a bit of heads-up seems to be helpful, too. I really enjoy it, actually. Anyway, I still tend to spazz out unnecessarily at times but my self control is getting better all the time so I’m feeling fairly confident. Unfortunately I ran 2.5 buy-ins below expectation today on top of about three bad decisions/plays that I not happy about (I’ve really got to trust my instincts more). Nevertheless, with all my bad luck and the odd counter-intuitive move, I’m still profiting for the month. Here’s to more of that.

So, there’s only about a month or so left until I’m meant to leave. As long as there isn’t another volcanic eruption we should be fine. The news suggests otherwise, I’m afraid. I really should find out what will happen to my plane tickets if our flight is unable to depart. I don’t really want to be stuck here longer than I need to be, both for the inconvenience and expense.

Fingers crossed.

April Fool

For the whole month, it seems.

I’m quite bored. No games are holding my interest, no job opportunities to earn money from and no desire to go out drinking or anywhere else. I have a lack of appetite, become horribly unfit, unhygenic and frankly uninspired. I’m feeling irritable for no real reason other than what I assume to be my subconscious protesting against the rut that I’ve slid into. The only positives are that I’ve been driving a little bit more (wow…) and that I’m not gaining any weight (but a lot of muscle has atrophied).

It’s not that I’m having a hard time, it’s that I feel like I have absolutely nothing to do. I should study more Estonian, read more books and force myself to exercise, but I’m too comfortable wallowing in my own apathy.

Poker has been a joke this month – mostly due to my mental state, I believe. I’m consciously making an effort to improve in that area, but why not in others? I don’t know. Maybe I find it more challenging.

Marika’s busy studying for her exams. I hope she passes. I feel pretty lousy because my mental downswing has nothing to do with how she’s behaving (it’s just me), yet I’m sure I’m putting out weird vibes that are affecting her. She’s still being her delightful self as usual, thankfully. She also seems to be coping well under the pressure to simultaneously complete her bachelor’s work and cram for exams. Perhaps it has something to do with leaving her favourite song of the month on permanent loop (or maybe that’s why I’m in a sour state).

I think part of my mood is due to feeling rather… isolated. There’s not really a lot for me to do here and I feel kind of excluded from a lot of things due to my lack of Estonian fluency and being a foreigner who finished school years ago. Sure, our flatmates and local friends are nice and I like them but something seems to be missing. Some kind of common ground. I’m looking forward to moving back to Tallinn for a few months and I’m also looking forward to returning home. I don’t think home will be particularly exciting, I’m just getting nostalgic. I’m concerned Marika will have a similar experience in Australia to my current one. I will need to find a way to remedy that if it occurs.

I’ve lost contact with a lot of friends from Australia or they’ve moved elsewhere, so the social side of life will be a challenge. I still don’t know what I’ll actually do when I get back. I’ll probably have to just go with the flow. Like always.

Well, don’t I sound like a lot of fun to know?

On a lighter note, here’s a list of things beginning with “I”:

  • I’ve begun reading the Dune series (yet again). I’m still not very far into the first book (yet again).
  • I’m also reading Darkly Dreaming of Dexter and have had more progress due to keeping it in ebook form on my phone.
  • I powered through the entire series to date of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia with Marika in about a week. We both enjoyed it.
  • I watched the first episode of TV series, Rome, last night. I intend to watch the rest, although I find the British accents on Roman characters distracting.
  • I’m trying to sit through all the classic western movies. I’ve only gone through about 3 or 4.
  • I’m swearing off all store-bought beers except Walter. It’s cheap, reasonably tasty and effective.
  • I can’t think of anything else worth writing.

Juno is shitty and beyond overrated

Really. It is. Why are so many people so far up its arse?

Apparently these are the only reviewers with any sort of sense.

Sure, it had funny parts but it really does try too hard. Read the reviews above, they sum up what I think.

Also, while I’m on it, I Am Legend was actually decent until the fucking woman and kid turned up, even if it did drift a mile from the book of the same name (which I enjoyed, by the way).

Lastly, Starship Troopers (the book) was interesting, if somewhat hollow. Bugger the movie.

Yes, I do read!

Shaping up

It’s been about a week-and-a-half since we joined the gym. I’m starting to feel a bit of muscle growing back, albeit ever so slowly. Hopefully I can bulk up a bit just so I look nicer in my Spider-Man t-shirts when the weather warms up again.

Speaking of weather, it’s actually snowing again today! Yay. The snowflakes are rather large at the moment. I can see their shapes and patterns with relative ease. Tallinn looks so nice when it’s covered in white. I’m sure it looks nice when it’s bright and sunny too, I either just can’t remember or came here too late. Summer will return soon enough.

The worst thing about actually exercising regularly now is that I seem to be eating a lot more. It kind of defeats the purpose in a way but I’m not really eating too badly, either, so hopefully I’m still shedding a little bit more day by day. Except for today. I had popcorn. A whole bag. To myself. It was good.

I watched Ghost Rider last night. It wasn’t as bad as I expected. Sure, there were a few cheesy lines (ok, awful) and Cage looks really strange when he points but it was still fun. I don’t know a whole lot about the character but he seemed pretty cool in the movie, plus his bike looked funky.

Time’s going quite fast these days. I don’t feel like I’m doing a whole lot but I somehow seem to be. It’s hard to work out. It’ll be no time before the 12 bottle of juice we bought in a crate runs out. We thought they were on special for 70 EEK. Turns out they were actually going at 200 EEK instead. Whoops. We were too embarrassed to take them back from the register when we discovered the truth after it was swiped. Never mind.

I’ve started reading The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham. I’m only a few chapters in but it’s enjoyable so far. Unfortunately it’s an old, paperback edition that is literally falling apart. If I speed read it might completely disintegrate. Wish me luck.

Distracted.

I love 4chan. I know a lot of people think it can be of poor taste, but that’s pretty much me in a nutshell. There are some safe-for-work forums on there but where’s the fun in that?

Anyway, I’ve been lurking on that site for quite a while now. It’s a great way to kill time. <3 /b/.

One thing that turned up that some of you might like to play with for all of 50 seconds: Sand Art. Try it out.

This one lasts about 10 seconds: Google Logo Maker.

I found this page linked once, too. I think it was from 4chan. I can’t remember now. It’s an entertaining (in my mind) browse: For Sale By Mental Patient. Strangely, I haven’t seen that page turn up anywhere else before. It’s worthy of at least some kind of cult following.

Lately I’ve been clocking up some hours playing the PC version of Final Fantasy VIII after (again) failing to get past disc one of Final Fantasy VII. I don’t mind FF7, but I don’t like most of the characters. This was the third time I’ve attempted to play through it (I still haven’t gotten past where I was up to the first time) and after I read through the complete plot/storyline on GameFAQs I didn’t think it was worth it. The “shocker” at the end of disc one and the ending itself would have just irritated and/or disappointed me if I’d injected 100+ hours in to playing through the whole game. Sure, you can finish it in under 40 but I’m one of those annoying people who has to get 100% of everything done (within reason), meaning I kill a lot of time doing stuff that isn’t really required. Maybe the FF7 “sequel” Advent Children will be cool. Bah, of course it will be. I know I’ll end up playing it, somehow.

So, having found out exactly what happens in FF7 and feeling tired of it anyway, I fired up FF8 after Scott started playing his PSX version on his PC with an emulator. The PC version of FF8 is good enough, although I really miss having the save state and frame skip functionality that you get from an emulator. I’m coping, though. It’s definitely a fun game. It has its own specific annoyances, but which game doesn’t, right? Right.

Sorry to bore everyone with all that gaming talk. God forbid.

What else is on the agenda? Let’s see.

I’m still plodding through Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon. I’m enjoying it, but it’s just taking me forever. I think it’s about 1150 pages and I’m up to about 750, give or take a few dozen. I started reading it last semester during my 2 hour breaks on Fridays. Over the holidays I didn’t really touch it too much and now I don’t have any breaks at uni (since I’m barely there), so I’m reading it before I go to sleep and when I can’t be arsed playing any games.

Oh, yeah. I’ve decided I’m going to find some good old 70s funk music and throw a party. 70s porn-groove-funk style music. Something to get people shaking. It’s actually hard to find good porn music, as Scott and I found out last night. I’ve been going through hundreds of CD samples on various music sites trying to find appropriate tracks. If anyone knows anything catchy, let me know.

By the way, I finally got around to trying out Google Earth. It’s certainly better than Google Maps. It’s kind of useless, really, but I did title this entry as “distracted”.