Sleepy but searching

It’s 4:15 AM and I’ve been looking for new electronic (as always) music for the past four hours. It’s ok, though, because I had a 4 hour nap before I started. I think it was four hours.

Anyway. So far so… potentially good? I’ve only been hearing samples so far, but soon I should have some tracks to check out properly. Jolly good. I needed to add some stuff to my iPod, anyway.

Unfortunately I’m a real anal prick when it comes to organising my iPod. Really, really anal. I can’t help it. I can’t stand seeing lower case names and unformatted ID3 tags. There’s just something criminal about it. I think Media Monkey might make it a bit easier, but I’m yet to try it properly. I do like it, however, as a general media player. It’s like a more power-user-friendly version of iTunes (not that I like iTunes that much, it’s just convenient).

The last couple of weeks have been pretty standard. I made it back down to Tartu for the first time in months, then got rather sick for the whole time I was there. Jolly good. It wasn’t until I had to leave that I started feeling better. Perhaps it’s an omen. I hope not.

Lots of old time slaves and staff are leaving the hostel, or have already left. Fortunately we have two more who’ve just signed aboard recently. Tim the Englishman and Thomas the Belgian. Maris and Britt are leaving at the end of next month, so we’ll need some lovely, talented cleaners to replace them or all hell could break loose. Fingers crossed.

I still want to increase the Internet speed here. There’s quite a few laptops floating around and they all suck up the bandwidth rather effectively. Besides, it’s nice to have fast speeds, ain’t it?

My credit card expires next month. I have to get it replaced ASAP. Ahhhhhhh.

Oh yeah, I didn’t read anything about the Oscars. Maybe I should now. When is the Olympics, by the way?

Happy New Year!

Ok, maybe it won’t be so happy. I suppose we’ll find out as it unfolds… Yay for optimism.

I know I shouldn’t bother saying it, but yes, I realise it has been a while. Sorry.

Another roundup:

  • I got my new passport ($330 later, that is)
  • I got my new license ($130 later, that is)
  • The new reception is all for nothing, as we’ve been kicked out by the owners. We’re moving down the street.
  • I still haven’t been back to Juuksur.
  • Rob came to visit.
  • Suvi and Heli came to visit.
  • Emily came to visit.
  • My parents came to visit.
  • John came to visit.
  • Teo came to visit and didn’t do any magic tricks.
  • A friend from high school, let’s just call him McKinnon, came to visit.
  • Someone stole my iPod from the basement when I wasn’t here. I bought a new one. 160 gigs, woo!
  • Christmas was very quiet and boring.
  • New Year’s Eve was very loud and mental.
  • There’s still no snow but the temperature is finally sub-zero.
  • Marika and I are still together, even though I didn’t buy her a Christmas present. Old habits are hard to break.

I still haven’t learnt much more Estonian. I will have to try harder. Marika’s family gave me an Estonian/English pocket dictionary for Christmas. Subtle.

Yes, we’re moving out of Lai and down to Olevimägi. That’s right, opposite Levist Valjas. Uh oh. The building is great inside – newly renovated in fact – but probably won’t be very quiet during summer. Never mind, nothing ever is.

Our basement bar has also completely flooded with water and smells like death. Fortunately we managed to move out all the furniture just in time. Moving everything to the new building (everything that will fit) has already proven irritating but there’s not much left to take any more. Except heavy things. Like foosball tables.

At least we won’t have to carry the DVD player, since some stupid Erasmus students (I think) stole it. Idiots.

I still haven’t had a hair cut. Not for over a year-and-a-half now. I’m so wild. At least I cut off my beard every 2 weeks or so. Now for my fingernails…

We have a fourth Estonian working here now. Another young one. She’ll be remembered eternally for her New Year’s performance, but let’s not get into that on the Internet. Today there’s meant to be another girl coming to volunteer for 2 weeks. She arranged it months ago, when we thought we’d be staying in this building. I’m sure she’s going to be surprised.

In other good news: I don’t seem to have gained any winter fat. At least nothing obvious. Too bad I haven’t lost any, either.

Yes, I'm still alive (and dancing)

Ok, so I haven’t really been using this thing much and I know no one really reads it anyway, regardless I’m going to write a bit.

What have I been up to? Well, the run down is something like this:

  • Left Finland at the end of September
  • Loved Tallinn (Estonia) as soon as I arrived
  • Visited Riga (Latvia) with some kids I met in the hostel
  • Came back to Tallinn and started working in the same hostel
  • Visited London for 15 hours a month later on a stopover for Amsterdam
  • Complete inability to recall my time in Amsterdam apart from knowing it was fun
  • Visited Vilnius (Lithuania) to take a photo of the Frank Zappa statue
  • Bussed back to Tallinn for another few weeks
  • Went back to London for 5 nights to visit palmy and Dilly and some other buddies
  • Came back to Tallinn and kept working

Of course, there’s plenty more to it than that, but they’re the kind of stories where you really had to be there to appreciate them anyway, so bugger that.

One thing I should mention is how cool the hostel is. Well, I think so. Unfortunately the website doesn’t seem to display properly in Firefox but it’s fine in IE, Tallinn Backpackers.

I never want to leave Estonia! It’s scary. I really dig it here.

Another thing I dig is listening to music off the Internet because I’m too lazy to keep pulling out my iPod. I started out on BlogMusik but I prefer Radio Blog Club. Enjoy it.

Bus drivers: universal arseholes

Time for a quick Seinfeld impersonation:

What’s the deal with bus drivers? Why are they always in such bad moods? You’d think you’d be happy if you got to cruise around all day in a vehicle so big only a monster truck or a semi trailer would mess with you. It’s not like they’re frustrated with traffic; they’re not trying to get home in a hurry.

Ok. Hopefully that set the tone for this piece.

I’ve never had good experiences with bus drivers. The only memories I’ve ever had are of them being aggressive and mean, horrible people. I never really took the bus to school when I was young but I remember everyone had to have a bus pass. I also remember that the bus drivers would act as if they were working border patrol as customs officers whenever an 8 year old would hop on without the correct papers. What’s the big deal? Who the hell cares if a couple of schoolkids hop on a bus without a pass? It’s not costing the bus driver anything and the kids only need to ask their school to give them the pass and they get one. They still don’t pay for anything. The same goes for trains, but I’m not going to go into that here.

Even after my schooling days, they still run around as if they’re upholding some important station in society. I got verbally assaulted once by a bus driver because I didn’t have small enough change for my ticket. I believe the fare was meant to be $2.40. I only had a $10 note but I did have $0.40 in coins on me, so to be considerate and make the drivers job easier for me I handed him $10.40 so that he could just scrape up my $8 in change without having to think about it. Boy was I wrong.

Apparently I was out of line. I was meant to have THE CORRECT CHANGE. Taken aback, I stammered something out about how I didn’t have any change and couldn’t help it. Livid, the driver yanked the cash out of my hand and with a red face and steaming ears, went to all the trouble of picking up a $5 note and two little golden coins and threw them at me along with my ticket. He then continued to complain about how I was somehow fucking up the system because he didn’t have enough money in his till to break $10 notes… Even though he did. To cut a long description of a pointless argument short, he was a prick.

I’ve had other ridiculous experiences in Sydney but there’s no point rehashing them now. I will, however, share a brief whine about one of my Finnish bus mishaps.

Being a good commuter, I arrived 15 minutes early at the bus stop, eagerly waiting for my ride to the city centre of Lahti in order to frolick down to the main bus terminal and take a 2 hour trip to Tampere for a night of fun and alcoholism. Again, story short, the bus was 10 minutes late and drove straight past me while I stood in front on the bus stand. I waited another 20 minutes for the next bus even though it should only have been 10 and in frustration decided to simply walk to town. Of course, I’d already missed my scheduled bus by then and had to make my friend wait for me and watch our bus drive off, as he was there on time. I think he got a lift or something.
The good news is that while bus drivers may be pricks, they’re also stupid. When I finally got onto the bus headed for Tampere I managed to down a whole bottle of vodka in the back seat while I listened to my 80s pop collection on my iPod.

It’s not easy being this hardcore.

So hot it's worth carrying

It’s taken me much longer than it should have (being the self-confessed geek I am, of course), but I’ve finally started playing with portable software.

Normally I’d have no use for portable software as the only computer I’d spend serious time on would be my own desktop. This hasn’t been the case ever since I started travelling so I’ve typically been at the mercy of net cafes and their (usually shoddy) installations.

I’ve cranked up portable versions of Firefox, GIMP, OpenOffice and a few others onto my iPod along with VLC Media Player, just in case there’s no decent music player. Now I have practically my own computer housed on my 60 gigabyte iPod with my software, settings and music!

The best part is that none of my details or settings ever (well, shouldn’t) get saved on the actual PC I’m using. Of course, I run the risk of bloating up the poor little guy in the future. For the mean time, I’m enjoying it.

Hopefully I’ll be able to find even more fun things to run off him.

Crap.

The hot water tap in my shower broke so that it won’t turn off. I’ve decided that’s a good enough reason to not go to work. I managed to turn off the water main which is conveniently located inside the wall beside the front door, behind a panel held on by four screws that take approximately 2 minutes each to remove. I’m not built to be a handyman.

Heli and Krista have returned to Sydney in preparation for their departure back home next week. Ross wove a web of deceit around all of us so that we all bumped into each other “accidentally” at Subway last night without telling anyone what was actually happening. I was meant to meet up with them again tonight on my break at work with palmy but I’ve graciously decided to let him fly this one solo so that I can stay home.

Staying home is actually going to be more work than if I really did go to work. This place is really quite a disgusting mess. It’s messy enough that it’s just depressing trying to comprehend cleaning the place, if you know what I mean. I suppose I’ll have to make some effort very shortly if I’m to evade the painful whine of my father when he arrives.

I’ve been procrastinating well enough that I have a big fat list of things I’m meant to (and can completely) do tomorrow. They’re all relatively boring tasks, mostly related to tying up loose ends. Things not really worth mentioning except for future reference so that when I whinge about not having done them you’ll understand when I was planning to do it. I hope that made sense.

Today I went on a little splurge on eBay and ordered some accessories for my new (inherited) phone from palmy. Just a spare battery, USB charger, headset, red cover and a car charger for my iPod. AUD$25.28 + $11.90 express postage (including $2 insurance). Cheap. On Monday I bought a data cable for the phone from Hong Kong, too. Now I just have to work out an efficient way to cram it all this shit into my bag. My survival kits rock. I bought a acrylic “unbreakable” mirror that slots in beautifully. Vanity, here I come!

Speaking of bags, I believe I’ll be getting one of these from somewhere. I played with one in Paddy Pallin’s on Kent Street on Sunday. They’re pretty hunky. Oh, the fun I’ll have living out of a bag!

I still need to book accommodation in Paris. Technically that’s on my list of things to do tomorrow, but I figured it’s something interesting to share. I figured I’d spoil myself and avoid hostels for the first couple of nights, just to get familiar with everything and recover from the 29 hour trip. It’d also be nice to have my own room to sink into and cry inside of when I realise I’m all alone and can’t speak French.

palmy’s moving out soon. I don’t know when. Neither does he. Probably the week I depart. I wonder how he’ll cope back at home? I’m sure he’ll complain about it to me. At least when he’s gone I won’t find tools that he hasn’t put back in the toolbox lying around all over the place, or every glass in the flat left somewhere, or empty drink bottles rinsed out and dumped in the sink, or containers of Thai takeaway sitting on the kitchen counter, or breakfast bowls left on the coffee table, or boxes and his uni shit left all over the computer room floor, or other crap I haven’t thought of. I feel better now. I won’t when I still have to take out the garbage on my own again while he’s playing Counter-Strike or World of Warcraft. Don’t worry if you’re reading this palmy, you know I’ll be over it in no time.

Things with Emily are going well. Too well, in fact. It’s really going to suck when I leave. One of her co-workers keeps hitting on her and it’s pissing her off. I got to meet him the other day. He’s a deadshit. I keep thinking his name is Gil. How appropriate.

While I’m on the topic of deadshits, apparently I am. It seems I made (what my hazy memory tells me) a good-natured drunken comment somewhere on the Internet that caused a lot more grief than I expected a standard passing comment to make. Oh well, shit happens.

ARGH.

Happy Mardi Gras. I smell like cask wine (since it was poured all over me about 7 times).

I lost my fucking phone tonight. Somehow. I wasn’t even that gone when it happened, I just didn’t notice. Yeah, sorry if anyone tried to SMS me, I think it’s still on the grass of Hyde Park since no one has fucking answered it whenever I ring it. Sounds like Optus is getting a phone call tomorrow.

Joel’s dad tried to kill Ross and I last week with glass. This week he’s been packing up to move out. FUCK WIN.

All the jobs I’ve applied for/had phone calls about haven’t gotten back to me at all.

I’m booking my flight to France to meet up with Benecke on Monday.

I’m getting a 2 year working holiday visa for the UK which only allows 12 months of actual work for ~$200.

I bought a 60 gig iPod and conformed along with headphones worth $300 (but cheaper – thanks eBay [what’s with the second letter capitals?]).

I’ve been eating a wee bit of garlic lately. Makes my breath stink but it makes my soul happy.

I’ve also picked up a nasty habit of being a near-chain smoker when I’m drinking. I know it’s bad for me but I enjoy it, so bring on the downfall.

The other bad habit that’s come to play is that I’m eating again when I’m drunk. I blame Andrew for not having any self control. I can do it solo but not when someone else wants food. Bah.

At least I’m occasionally brushing my teeth at night again these days. How exciting.

That’s all, folks.

P.S. sorry that I only seem to update in the early morning when I’m drunk. At least it makes me more honest. I’m proud I still come across as (reasonably) coherent and with (seemingly) accurate spelling and punctuation. Good times.

P.P.S. go nuts.

Talisyawn.

Yeah I made a bad joke for my subject. Great. The joke is about this movie. I probably should have explained that first. The longest 73 minutes of my life. I even fell asleep halfway through it. I think that’s impressive. We’ll still keep the DVD.

tofu just told me he thinks furry porn is hot. For fuck’s sake. I’m glad he’s moving to Melbourne.

Christmas was alright. I got a video camera. Expensive, but bottom of the line for its type. Good enough for the amateur, annoying stuff that I want to record. I still think I’ll try and pick up a good digital camera in a few months. Particularly for when I’m travelling. I might get one in Japan.

I ate way too much food over the weekend and during the last day or so and the majority of it was (of course) junk. My diet’s been put on hold for the holiday season it seems. I’m still trying to resist but there’s just so much tasty stuff out there to eat at the moment. Mmm, piggy.

New year’s at the shack should be good. That is, of course, as long as people don’t soft out. It’s going to be a little weird anyway I think but I’ll make sure I enjoy myself and everyone else can either join in or get lost. That’s right. I’m playing hardball.

I’m disappointed that it looks like I’m going to need an iPod or equivalent before I go overseas next year. I’m not used to having a large assortment of music available that I actually want to listen to. I’m going to have to adjust.