Reading: I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell – Tucker Max

Posted by jswt | Posted in General | Posted on 29-09-2009


Thanks to Tim for the book recommendation that I can’t justifiably recommend to anyone else in my life, cuz I have too much respect for them. Read it on flight over, and on top of the Ativan, it was the perfect collection of confrontational articles that brought great glee to my narcissistic side.

Random amusingly tasteless snippet:

“It was the coolest thing involving alcohol I had ever seen. Being OCD, I had to see it again. And again. And again. Six rounds of Flaming Dr Peppers later, I was fucked up and we had nearly set the bar on fire.

People, heed my warning: That stuff is Special Olympics in a pint glass. You thing they are harmless and not very strong, and the next thing you know it is an hour later and you are in the bathroom of the bar with your pants off, surrounded by five girls, giving your boxers to a bachelorette party because one of the girls is cute and told you that you had a nice butt. Be forewarned.

After that little fiasco, we head across the street to a dueling piano bar. We discover that one of the two piano players is blind. We are basically jackals who walk on two legs, so true to our nature, we focus on the weak one.

We must have given him about 20 notes with song titles on them. Finally, the blind piano player stopped his music and said, ‘HEY IDIOTS! Stop giving me written song suggestions. I AM BLIND! BLIND! I CAN’T READ THEM!’

One of the helpers came over and took the song suggestions over to the piano player who could see, and he broke out laughing so hard he couldn’t even keep playing. He kinda stopped the music and said into his mic, ‘Well, I would love to play these songs, but unfortunately I don’t know any of them. Let’s see if you know them Phil. They are:

-Please Kill Yourself
-I hope you trip on your furniture and die, Ray Charles
-I’m gonna steal your wallet because you can’t see who I am
-Have you ever fucked a goat by accident?
-You are blind because you masturbated too much as a child
-I’m gonna set you on fire
-Come to the bathroom so I can fellate you
-I bet you fuck ugly girls because you can’t see their faces
-I pissed on your shoes when you were at the urinal

And so on, and so on. Phil, you know any of these? I’m stumped.’

It was awesome. The irony was that while most of the crowd was aghast, the blind guy was laughing his ass off right along with us. I guess crippled people can be useful sometimes.”

If you’re not laughing by the end of that, I don’t think I can be your friend anymore, and you definately shouldn’t read the rest of the book


Turku? Turk me!

Posted by jswt | Posted in General | Posted on 29-09-2009


So we’ve been in Turku, Finland for a few days now and I’m still trippin on Euro-bliss… Seriously – everyone’s well dressed, polite, speaks better english than most people i know, and the food is fantastic.

The cities here have evolved as proper livable communities with neighborhoods each having a market, a butcher, a fish shop, cafes, fantastic non-chain clothing shops, arty cultural thangs… You don’t have to drive anywhere, and there’s bike paths on every street. It’s really a contrast to the majority of NA mall-land living where even your local Quik-E-Mart is going to be a 5 minute drive away.

We had yesterday off, so spent the day wandering around exploring the city. We’re staying right across the street from the big open city square that fills up every morning with vendors booths selling fresh produce, fish, meats, flowers, breads, and other foods. We’re also half a block from a giant market that provided the means necesecary for a fantastic lunch. Lattes on patios, riverside wandering, and ubershopping… Nice italian dinner of fresh pasta and good wine, and as we’d maxed out on Finnish for the day, we curled up in bed and binged on some (really fantastic) English media.

This isn’t so much a vacation, as I’m treating it as part of life and I realize that there’s gotta be a proper balance maintained. In contrast to maximizing our days off, I’m also trying to settle into a work routine on the days Chris is working where I lock myself in the hotel room and bang away at the bytes… Tho still having a hard time sleeping thru the night, I managed to get out of bed for breakfast, and then came back and knocked off the tail end of a project for a client back home and worked a bit on a side project I’ve been working on for myself which I hope to have finished and ready to launch by the time I head back home in a week and a half.

Work sorted, I went for a great run and came across a pool, so I swam some laps and made the body happy. Lookin foward to a lazy night where I’m hopefully going to finally crack the jetlagness and settle into a healthy balanced routine.

Sorry the posts aren’t gonna be all chaotic frivolity, but I promise there will be more cheeky tales to come 😉

Random pix from yesterday’s wanderings…

Helsinki -> Turku

Posted by jswt | Posted in Finland - Turku, General | Posted on 27-09-2009


Last night was the 4yr anniversary of when my partner and I met (different than when we started dating, which we count as our actual anniversary), and since it was our last night in Helsinki we went out on the town to check out a few things…

First, we went to what might have been my favorite thing in Helsinki – the Yrjönkatu Indoor Swimming Pool. It’s this beautiful turn of the century indoor pool that’s seriously old and classy with marble arches and tiled floors. We paid the extra for the upstairs floor which gets you a cabana thing (with your own balcony and table overlooking the pool area) and access to the steam baths and the authentic wood sauna. Saunas are a serious part of the culture here, and there were families and groups of friends hanging out as a kickoff to their Saturday evening. It was rediculously civilized to be able to hang out and get served a beer at the f’n pool.

We went for dinner at a really nice multifloor place with a restaurant on top, then out for some sleazyfun clubbing, and while Paul van Dyk held appeal, we headed home for an early night.

It’s transfer day for my partner, so after a nice breakfast, I caught a train to Turku, Finland with the cutest little brazillian girl who’s suitcase was bigger and heavier than she was. Checked into the hotel, and walked around a bit to get a feel for the area… Definately different than Helsinki (less eastern euopean feeling, but not as much flash and cash)… Our hotel is right on the main square, and it’s cool to look out and see a living city.

Gonna just take it easy this evening… Jet lag is still kicking my ass really bad. I keep waking up at 4am and can’t get back to sleep, so I haven’t really slept more than a few hours since I got here. Think it’s gonna break today tho, since I’m battling to stay away in a big way… fingers crossed.

Europeans are better than us.

Posted by jswt | Posted in Audio, Finland - Helsinki, General | Posted on 26-09-2009


It may have been because it was a Saturday…
It may have been because it’s the tail end of indian summer here in Helsinki with unexpected blue skies and sun shining…
It may have been the sleep deprivation…
It may have just been the novelty curve…

But, gal-dangit, Europeans are better than us.

They appreciate the unique vs. the mass manufactured.
The food is fantastic.
You can walk/bike to everything.
There’s public transit available anytime, anywhere (that doesn’t just look like an aquarium for poor people)
They make time for taking time out (Sitting at a cafe is a spectator sport)
Comparitavely, we dress in metaphorical hand-me-downs from the special needs thrift store.

Sorry North America, but today’s pseudo scientific study has them winning.

Please feel free to comment to this and let me know anything superultra awesome that I might have forgotten about NA that will redeem us in the rankings!

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Lesson one…

Posted by jswt | Posted in Finland - Helsinki, General | Posted on 26-09-2009


Got into Helsinki this afternoon rather beat down and battered, and opened the trip by almost knocking myself unconcious climbing into a VW shuttle.  The other passenger was a guy from the US, who had found the coolest retirement gig: once a month or so, he volunteers to be the transport for bone marrow. Once bone marrow’s been donated, it’s cheaper, faster and safter to just have someone courier it personally, and so he gets on a list or signs up for some trips, and gets randomly picked to fly somewhere with a suitcase o’ bone goo, drop it at a hotel, and then hang out there for a few days in a hotel they cover.  Hello awesome retirement gig!

Anyways, his instructions on how to find where the dropoff point was weren’t exactly… specific, so I got to tag along on a rather comedic version of the opposite of a heist film, while he was trying to translate vague nonspecifics through the driver who didn’t speak english, while we navigated Helskinki’s maze of road construction.

Once the bone marrow and the smiling American were dropped off, it was a simple pop over to the hotel, where I checked in and found myself unable to avoid the pull of the mmmmmmsoft bed with the mmmmmmsoft pillows and the mmmmmmmmsoft sweet beckon of silent slumber. But! Being the smart cookie that I pretend to be, I didn’t want to sleep halfway into the night and completely jack my sleep schedule, so I called the front desk for a wake up call…

JetSet Euro Lesson One: When making a wake up call in the EU, use the 24h clock. “Please call and wake me up at 4” doesn’t have the same effect as “wake me up at 1600h”

Woke up a little later than planned, but was perfect timing to meet up with the crew and head out to a lounge for some drinks, and then to “scandanavia’s biggest gay bar” named DTM (don’t tell momma) which was more of a mixed club with a few floors of varied tunes (ironic? Aqua – Barbie Girl back to back with Abba – Dancing Queen).  Revelry and mayhem ensued, late night kebab was slaughtered in offering to the gods of hangover prevention, and sleep was fallen deeply into.

A rather fine start to things…

While passing thru Frankfurt…

Posted by jswt | Posted in General | Posted on 25-09-2009


Currently sitting in the Frankfurt airport suffering from some sleep deprivation and disorientation at some time of day that resembles morningish… Killing time before I catch my next (and final) flight for the “day”.

Was weird getting ready to leave — I’ve been battling a serious mental block for weeks: some strange pull was resisting my departure.

But, when it boils down to it:
Cat? check.
Housesitter? check.
Everything housesitter needs? check.
Ability to work on the road? check.
Work stuff set up with 3 levels of fallback? check.

So… wtf? Why’s it so difficult for me to pull back and pop off? It’s been long while since I’ve gone away for a stretch like this, and I guess I’m in a very different place. The past couple years have really seen me nesting and locking into a routine, broken by fits of revelry and creativity, but overall, nothing terribly outside the norm. I’m hoping the mental block was just the weight of the dust that had piled on top of my unused variance and adventuresome spirit.

Did have an interesting encounter the day before I left… someone quite affectionately ingrained in my history wandered by, and as we had almost 5 years of catching up to do, we spent the better part of the day surfing waves of discourse. In the to and fro banter, it came apparent in my mind that the timing wasn’t coincidental, and that I was being offered a Catalyst reminding me that not everyone’s a dreamer, but of those dreamers, it’s the ones that can actually follow through that step up to their capabilities. Having big dreams is key, but staring down that path you’ll never start or get anything done — you need to define all the milestones to get to that dream, and then break those down into manageable tasks and just keep chewing through em until ya suddenly look back and it’s done.

Sleep deprived babbling ends here for now… off to catch my next flight.

Leaving… on a jet plane.

Posted by jswt | Posted in General | Posted on 23-09-2009


So tomorrow, I start my international jet set adventures.

My partner’s got a job travelling and I’ll be tagging along… we’ve been doing back and forth thru the states as he’s finished up his “asshole of america tour”, but now that they’re doing a eurpoean leg, visiting just got a little more serious.

Nervous. Excited.

Now boarding…

Posted by jswt | Posted in General | Posted on 23-09-2009


Testing, testing… one two three.

Is this thing on?