More TV

We’ve been having a crash course in Breaking Bad this week. It’s good but frustrating to watch. Not much else to say about it really as we are a few years behind the boat. I will say though that I would have preferred to begin watching it after the series concluded. Nothing is more irritating than getting “up to speed” on a series then having to grind out the week-to-week. It’s just not as satisfying to see a story unfold each chapter weeks or months apart. Then again, I suppose it gives people something to look forward to.

There’s already enough for me to look forward to that’s not on a television screen but I kind of feel like I’m just going through the motions. I need to do more on weekends. Marika’s schedule doesn’t help, since she’s usually working and I’m too… something… to chase up other people to hang out with in my free time. Then again, no one ever seems to want to chase me up either. Kind of sad, really. Maybe it’s all a vicious cycle. Maybe it’s just from getting old. Maybe it’s due to geographical distance. Maybe no one is really interested any more. Maybe it’s a bit of everything.

Well, at least next weekend is booked. We’re going to check out wedding rings. I’m glad I won’t have to peruse solo. Every time I go window shopping alone I find it tiresome and unproductive. If I’m shopping with a goal in mind it’s not so bad because I’ll usually head straight for where I think it’s being sold, take a look and then decide to buy it. Then I go home. When I’m window shopping I just see a few things I may be interested in but then talk myself out of them. I’ll often even talk myself out of getting food for lunch because I start to feel a bit weird. I actually lost a lot of weight when I was backpacking due to this. It may sound strange but I was definitely in great shape. I suppose I was also nearly 7 years younger.

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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.

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.

So here I am

Nothing much to report. I went back to Tallinn last week to see off Tim and meet some more of his family. I did a fantastic job of getting completely blind drunk and making a dick of myself. I don’t really remember any of it except that I was probably speaking way too much and being smug and offensive in a hard-to-detect-but-with-jovial-intent way.

I’ve been pouring out hours and hours watching The Wire and haven’t regretted a minute of it. Everyone should watch it. I’d heard about it before (and only heard good things) but never made the effort to check it out until recently. It’s so hard to stop watching. My eyes are becoming more red each day.

Poker is going alright, for all those that care. I’m getting better, I think. I still tend to go spastic and ruin my winnings on occasion but, meh. I’ve moved up to 10NL, finally. I hope to be comfortably floating around 20-25NL in May. I think I should be on target, assuming I can get enough hours in.

The Winter Olympics are on but I don’t give a toss. That’s about all I have to say for that.

I’m in dire need of a haircut. This is getting ridiculous. I’d take photos but I’ve put myself through enough shame in the past week.

I… am quite bored.

Itchy noggin'

I need to wash my hair again, methinks.

I’ve spent a few hours the last few days plodding through my old LiveJournal posts that I imported to this blog. Basically I’ve decided to categorise all of them. I don’t know why. I just feel like I should. It’s nice taking a trip down memory lane. There’s only 120 entries left to do. No problem.

For some reason I’ve been feeling really, really tired this last week. Maybe it’s because I’m eating shitty food. I’m not sure. Maybe a little bit of me has died inside since my beloved tofu left Estonia. Maybe it’s because we have a big group of students staying in the hostel for 2 weeks. I really don’t know. It’s nice to curl up and nap, though.

Marika has exams. Lots of exams. I hope she passes them all. I’m sure she does, too. Maybe I’ll get a chance to go down to Tartu with Tim in the next week or two. That would be nice. He’s drinking like a maniac lately. I can’t keep up. It hurts.

So, instead, I think I’ll go running tomorrow and yes, wash my hair. I like the route I take. I run around the outside of Old Town, through the park and up the hill to Toompea then back down and through the Old Town itself. It’s fun jogging over cobblestones. It’s not fun jogging up the bloody hill.

I forgot to mention I won a foosball tournament that the kids organised here. I was in a team with Thomas. He was mainly inspired to play because apparently there was 500 EEK in prize money. In the end we weren’t awarded that, but I was happy anyway. It wasn’t really a fair competition, we were all over them. I’d have felt embarrassed if ended up taking money from them. I don’t think Tom was too impressed, however.

They did, however, give us funny little gold medals. A nice souvenir.

I got drunk last night and fell down some stairs after Bella (new girl volunteering at Monk’s Bunk) asked me if I had a bed while I was walking around in the dark. It sounded like a proposition but it was only intended innocently. I realised this at the time but it didn’t stop me giggling at the situation. Falling on my arse down three stairs only made it worse.

We were drinking what I call White Estonians. It’s like a White Russian, but with Vana Tallinn instead of Kahlua. Potent stuff. Quite tasty when done right. Nearly lethal, too.

The other day I read through The Watchmen. It was cool. I should read it a second time but I’m probably too lazy to get around to it. I also have a shitload of e-books to read that I haven’t even started yet. Not to mention I got all three series of Arrested Development again so I can show people how good it is. Now that I just googled for that link, I see I could have just watched streaming versions. Fuck. Oh well.

Frosties are a fucking awesome breakfast cereal.

Berserk.

My latest violent addiction has been a manga titled Berserk. After playing the game based on the comic months ago on Scott’s Dreamcast, we finally managed to see the anime series. Last weekend we watched all 25 episodes back-to-back.

Unbelievably hyped up about how good it was, I spent some time trying to obtain the entire manga (comic book) series. The manga has been running since 1989 and is only up to the 30th volume out of (apparently) 50. The anime only covered volumes 4-13, so there was plenty more to catch up on.

Well, now I’m in withdrawals, as I’ve just read all of the available chapters from the 30 volumes. Now that I’m up to date, I have to wait for each release as they come. :(

Now I have to watch through Fruits Basket with Scott, too. I don’t think that one is completed either (at least the manga isn’t). Damn it, nothing I like has any closure!

It’s kind of good having some things to be following again, though. It’s only a few more weeks until Smallville starts up again, too.

It still bums me out that I have to wait for each installment. Boo.