Thursday, May 31, 2007
So in lieu of rant...
Along with padded weaponry I've also taken to using a collection of scrap tarps that was dumped near the school to make "tents" for the kiddies. They love it, and I get further cred for coming up with fun free activities for the munchkins without having to use any of that pesky money that we have sitting around for materials. The pesky money that only my boss...who showed up late, sick, and failed utterly to schedule more than myself and another coworker to cover for her vomit-ridden ass (OK, so there's a bit of rant) taking care of 45 kids, which is totally illegal and...
Oh yeah, tents.
So I've been making them tents. Thing is, these old tarps are very light, so thanks to the prevailing winds, one can actually use the wind to reinforce structures instead of fighting against it. But the blowing about, plus the friction of unpacking and setting them up tends to build up a massive amount of static electricity, which gets transferred to me. The kids don't touch the stuff as much, being short and all, but I get pretty juiced.
I've developed a Pavlovian response to touching anything I feel might conduct electricity.
So today I decided to set up the tents away from the metal fencing that's been jolting the fuck out of me, and set them up on the wooden portion of the fence.
But today was not only windy, it was windy and dusty like the Sahara in a hurricane. And as all us science geeks know, suspended particulates build up static in the atmosphere. Throw in the fact that it was "thunder weather" today, without thunder and lighting of course...Iceland lacks those as a rule..and there was a lot of static.
A lot of static.
Now, thanks to the buzzcuttedness of me, there were no outwardly visible signs of my carrying enough voltage to hire myself out to the Texas Department of Prisons, but being a hairy bastard, let me tell you, having your back hair stand on end is a really odd sensation.
So now I'm all charged up like Ol' Smoky on execution night, and I know, I just know I'm gonna have to discharge it at some point.
I made the most of it though.
We got this kid, not as outwardly evil as Ted Jr. but not exactly likable. He's a spoiled only child with a penchant for stealing shit from the school or other people and then beating them up, making up elaborate excuses/explanations/lies for why he did it, all the while claiming that he's being persecuted by the same kids he pushes around.
I call him Lil' Dubya.
As soon as I had the tents up, the little fucker is throwing rocks at them, filling up buckets with sand and dust to throw at the other kids, and laying claim to the largest of the tents, proudly proclaiming that no one else had better mess with "his" tent or he'll whack 'em.
I call him over, look him sternly in the eye, tell him to calm down, and put my hand on his shoulder.
I am Electro-Sma!
That kid is scared shitless of me now.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
...I've become a stereotypical passive-aggressive Icelander.
For years now, one of my biggest pet peeves, right up there with the inability to plan or design anything in an even remotely pragmatic manner, has been Icelanders' tendency to smile to your face and then bitch behind your back.
Now I know this is a universal constant, but it seems considerably more pronounced over here on the Lava Lump. I've often found myself stomping on toes by actually taking things up with the people involved rather than going to the boss (or the boss's boss) behind their back.
Remember last week, when I was sick on Monday and my boss randomly accused me of being hungover?
I was planning to continue my ongoing rant about the deplorable state of Rvk's public spaces as I walked to work, but almost immediately on arrival, my boss, Satana The Sulphuric Mistress of Evil, sends me an SMS which translated to "Goddamn it, why are you always lazy and fucking hungover on Mondays!"
Now leaving off the that it is, in fact Tuesday, it is the first day of the work week. But WHAT THE GREAT SODOMIZING HELL!?!?!?!?
Apparently my boss had received an SMS from Robert, the new guy, stating that he couldn't make it this morning but would show up at the usual time. Bitch Boss thought this was me copping out again and sent the SMS of Doom.
That fucking pyscho hag can go swivel on it!
I work 70%. 70-fucking-percent and I'm still there at least 8 hours a week more than she is! And she's supposedly on full-time!
And when I'm there, I do my damned job. I come up with fun projects for the kiddies, an activity all-too-often hampered by Little Miss Tardy who is the only one who can BUY THE FUCKING SUPPLIES, not to mention that she TAKES THE FUCKING WORK COMPUTER WITH HER leaving me without means to print out schedules, email co-workers, and all the other things I have to do because she's NOT THERE!
Which is why most of the projects I've come up with are made from free/scavenged materials.
I also ACTUALLY INTERACT WITH THE KIDS, which includes playing, bandaging (our play ground is a fucking death trap), comforting and disciplining the little munchkins. She's so fucking behind on paper work that she hardly ever leaves the office. Except, that is, when she leaves the office...to go off and do more important things, like kiss up to the folks at ITR and weasel her way up the bureaucratic backside with her feet firmly planted on MY HARD WORK!
But I miss one fucking Monday and I'm a lazy drunk that deserves a dressing down by her parasitic ass?!?!
I may not be the most energetic worker on Mondays, true.
Typical Monday starts out with me walking 4km to work at 7:20 in the morning so as to get there by ten til 8 (an hour and 10 minutes before Her Satanic Majesty is even supposed to show up, IF SHE SHOWS UP AT ALL) and then either working out and playing with 5 classes worth of kiddies (with very limited break time as I'm also expected to walk them from the gym to the school and clean up the locker-rooms as well) or walking the routes they are supposed to run, in order to keep an I on them. The last time I did this I wound up walking 16km before noon.
So maybe Monday afternoons I tend to be a bit slow. AT LEAST I'M THERE! And for the record: I have never, not once, NOT FUCKING ONCE shown up to this job hungover.
Bitch can burn in hell.
But did I tell her any of this? Did I make a stand for my dignity and all that other good shit. Nope. Cause I couldn't imagine how much worse it would be having to spend the day with that insane bloodsucking parasite leach harpy COW if she knew just how pissed off I was.
I'm almost disgusted with how Icelandic of me the whole thing was.
But fuck it.
That's two strikes. One more and I'M out. No warning, no notice, I will just walk the hell out of that place and never look back.
That might be what it takes to make her do her own damn job...
Monday, May 28, 2007
So I had a mess of really odd dreams last night, everything from an elementary school graduation where everyone had to wear kilts and was sent to lock-down because of a prank to the truly bizarre.
I mean, what exactly does dreaming that you're 80 years old galloping a horse train across the Argentinian pampas pursued by a giant long-legged "Leopard Alligator" that keeps eating your horses whole in three swallows only to be rescued by very short fat people with harpoon guns and yellow hats mean anyway???
Am going to be in a daze all morning thanks to that one...
...that I'd discovered a new fetish. Namely a fetish for foul-mouthed "ethnic" female stand-up artists. You know, like Margaret Cho and Sarah Silverman.
They make me laugh until I get wood...
Then I found her.
I'm in love, or lust, or lovust....rawwwrrrr....
...in a black leather studded jacket carrying a pink cage full of mice will net you some extremely odd looks.
That being said, it weren't half as funny as walking around Rvk carrying a padded axe and two padded swords.
I lead a very odd life.
So its another Zombie Messiah Holiday here on the lava-lump, which means I've got this grey Monday free of Ebola Monkeys and other such stuff. I had planned on being all kinds of productive this weekend, but now, sitting at the coffee table with a steaming cup of its name-sake, I have to admit that that plan went down in flames.
Like The Human Torch giving a blowjob.
So what did I do this weekend?
Well, Friday I watched a whole lot of Margaret Cho, and fell asleep on the couch, cradling the padded "axe" that I made for the kiddies' "Viking Club".
Woke up the next day, cleaned up a tad, went to the pool with the roomy, met some friends downtown (they were putting on Vórhátið for the disabled youth organization they all volunteer with) and then bought beer.
Thing about the buying beer downtown is that despite the liquor store being right next to one of the only utilized parks in all of Rvk, where people tend to gather on sunny days to sip brews in the sun and remove as much clothing as they feel they can get away with, there is no cold beer for sale. Mainly I suspect because the local cafes know that should the liquor store start chilling the beer before they sell it, no one's gonna bother buying their over-priced pints at the sidewalk tables.
Later on I took the padded axe and two similar swords along with the makings for a HUGE bowl of pico de gallo and the slightly warm beer and bussed out to Sælból (home of the Notorious K.Á.R.Í) for the first bbq of the summer. It went swimmingly. Beer and wine, chicken and fresh veg, Embla, Klaus, adorable little Askur, Ulli, and Kari's cuz Heiða with her boyfriend Gunnar made up the guest list.
We ate, drank, wore silly hats and were merry. Later on some of us drunkenly fenced while the rest laughed uproariously and videoed the whole thing. Then it was a very long game of Liar, up until one guest got bored, hid the dice, and started a typically drunken argument.
At which point I went downtown to dance, only to find the clubs closing (thanks a bundle Zombie Jesus!) which led me via a circular route to a house party with Addi. Where I sat and talked about politics and the remarkable breasts of one of hosts and DRANK until nearly 8am.
Needless to say Sunday didn't involve a lot of anything. Talked to my Ma, newly returned from the Seattle Folk Life Festival (which made me homesick as all hell), made enchiladas, and eventually got bored enough to make Ragnar rent videos for me (still blacklisted, me). Lady in the Water was awesome, the perfect blend of weird and poetic and all that. Silverhawk was just crap. Not even fun crap at that...
So now I've got to do about 8 loads of laundry, scrub the place down for the impending return of Urður, take the box of rapidly reproducing mice (long story) to the pet store, go pick up the padded weaponry from the West Side, see my client for the Social Services, and maybe, just maybe get to see The Reaping before it, and every other movie in Iceland, disappears to make way for Pirates of the Caribbean 3. Which will play on every single fucking screen in the entirety of Iceland for the next two months.
God I miss independent theatres...
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I'd like to think a legion of sweaty blogadytes is out there waiting with bait on their breath to hear all about the personal reasons I became an Anarchist...but you'll have to wait. Annoyance with capitalism in general, and with the declining standards in quality it brings with it, particularly when it comes to overpriced hiking boots that start to fall apart after 10 fucking days, has rendered me mentally incapable of making any sort of sense out part three.
Chin up though, it'll come...
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
So for a long time now, I've had kinda a running gag going about why I moved to Iceland and left the Excited States of Hysteria behind.
I aways quip that "I'm a bi-sexual Anarchist Atheist, wouldn't you move?".
Now, I've already talked about my being Bi, so I figured while I'm feeling all sorts of open, I'd launch into the other two things that make me a triple-threat minority despite my white skin and blue eyes.
Now, unlike my sexuality, which I can't remember choosing and can't, despite years of trying that drove me to the absolute brink, unchoose, becoming an Atheist and then an Anarchist were choices of a sort. But they didn't feel like it.
I'd always been troubled by the faith I was raised with. No matter how many feel-good sermons I sat through, no matter how often I was told that Jesus loved me, religion was always a dark and troubling presence.
I remember being terrified to think certain thoughts, lest "the devil gain entry to my soul". Of course this made it damned near impossible not to think those thoughts. If I found myself alone, in quiet silent surroundings I would panic at the thought that The Rapture had occurred, and I, at 9 or 10 years old had been found too sinful and wicked to be taken with the chosen few.
Then there was sex.
In the religious environment of my youth, sex was bad. Not just naughty or "dirty" but flat out bad. Nudity was more harmful to minors than videos of executions (I still remember how some schools showed footage of Ted Bundy's execution in the class room) and harder to find. Sex was all but criminalized.
So there I am, going through puberty, finding out that not only am I sexually attracted to girls, but guys as well, more or less guaranteeing me a first-class ticket on the Hellbound Express.
I lived in a guilt-filled bubble of barely suppressed panic, until one Ash Wednesday a sermon actually set me free.
For most of my childhood Lent meant no candy and either no, or at least restricted TV, things like that. Sort of an Americanized Kid's Fast. But that Ash Wednesday, with our usual fire-and brimstone priest off sick and a young Irish priest filling in on the pulpit, I had the second great epiphany of my life.
I sat there, with the black ash cross streaked across my forehead and listened as the priest told his flock (I always hated being compared to a sheep) that this year they shouldn't give up the things that made them happy, the things they liked, but rather the things that made them sad, troubled, or stressed.
*I'm still trying to figure out if the priest was really Catholic, it was the least "Veil of Tears" sermon I've ever heard.*
I decided then and there I wasn't Catholic anymore. Most of the things that troubled me did so because of the Catholic/Christian guilt I felt for aspects of my being that were, simply put, human. Telling myself it was OK to be human was a major relief.
Despite this, I wasn't an Atheist yet. God had been such an integral part of my upbringing that I couldn't yet imagine existence without a deity.
So I went God shopping. Stealthily borrowing books from the library on Hinduism (I was incredibly effected by Gandhi at the time) then Buddhism, then Islam, then Wicca, then Baha'i, ad infinitum. I'd check out a book at a time, with a bunch of other, more innocuous titles, and hide the religious stuff in the cover of another book.
I studied the bejeesus out of the many faces of God.
Then, one summer, one of the more innocuous books changed everything. I read Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower, a book about a young woman raised in a religious household who finds her own path to "God". While I agreed with much of Butler's heroine's philosophy, the most liberating thing was that she found her own path.
It didn't take long after that for me to come to my own conclusion. Unlike a lot of Atheists, my atheism is not based on a denial of the existence of "God", but rather on a very simple, succinct ethical point: No being worthy of my worship would desire, let alone demand, said worship.
I just decided that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that either "God" was simply a bully, or, if as I had oft been told, "God" was "pure love", then my worship or obedience had no bearing.
Thing is, once you deny the "highest authority" it does tend to cascade.
Next thing I know, I'm an Anarchist...
More on that tomorrow.
Monday, May 21, 2007
So I'm home sick today, for once having caught something from someone other than one of the little Ebola monkeys at work. Just a stupid cold. When I called in sick my boss got all snooty with me and accused me of "just being hung over", which got me both pissed off and worried. Worried cause I still suffer from the fear of being fired for being sick.
Being home sick on this alternately sunny and snowy (wtf!?!?!?) Reykjavik Monday has left me way too much time to think, ponder, and soul-search. Not even the complete third season of Millennium seems to distract me.
The thing most on my mind is my strange reaction to flirting with the handsome gentleman Saturday night. It was fun and flattering and utterly right while it was happening, but the rest of the night, and the day after, it led to a feeling of panic I just couldn't shake.
Thing is, I've been out as Bi for a while now, especially here in Iceland.
And its OK.
People (aside from drunks) tend not to judge, at least not publicly.
It doesn't effect my professional life, if you can even consider my work-life "professional", and as I have a plethora of friends who are either gay, bi, or have family that is, it hardly makes a ripple in my social life.
That being said, my sexuality is often a source of anxiety for me. It has very little to do with where I'm at now. It has everything to do with where I come from.
Every time I'm involved with a guy, I wind up having this fear, fear of being "found out", fear of repercussions, loosing my job, loosing the support if not the love of family and friends, fear of violence.
I come from a place where "faggot" is the worst insult you can hurl, where there is no such thing as "homosexuals" or "lesbians" only "fags" and "dykes". Towns where the numerous churches thunder with denunciations of "sodomites" and "perverts". The sort of place where one of the most talented teachers I ever met was fired for being a lesbian. Even though she commuted 70 miles from where she lived, even though she never talked about her personal life. Someone found out she lived with another woman, someone else complained about how "liberal" she was, some of the students decided that any woman with short hair and a lack of make-up was obviously a pervert. So she was reviled and fired and driven out.
Imagine if she had lived there, and been open about it?
I remember when I started to realize I was attracted to men. It started early 11 or 12 years old. I remember the horrible fear that realization brought me. I remember how hard I schooled myself to not show any indications, not to keep anything "gay" around, not to speak out when they shouted "faggot" at others, even though I seethed at the injustice of it all.
Habits like that are hard to break.
So now, when I dance with a guy, or flirt, or anything, I have to fight against that instilled fear, that discipline of deception. I have to try to channel the anger.
And there's a lot of anger. Witness my previous post.
It makes me angry, hell, outraged that one of the most personal aspects of my existence, my sexuality, has become a political issue. And I hate it. I hate that something as fun and good and joyous as sex has become a battle ground.
But you know what I hate more?
I hate that there are millions of kids, all over the world growing up with the same fear and self-loathing I did. I hate that there are even more people out there who everyday, consciously or unconsciously feed that atmosphere of hate and fear.
As much as I freak out, here on this liberal island, I can remember how much worse it was back then.
It even freaks me out to write this. To talk openly about being Bi on a page that my family can read, that old friends and schoolmates can read, that the same loud-mouthed bigots I hid from all through school can read.
I fear that my family will suffer repercussions for it. That my mother's political career, a career that's doing a lot of good for my home town and hopefully my home state, will be torpedoed as soon as some right-wing Bible-bashing-bigot starts making political hay out of who I sleep with.
That my sister's will have to hear people trashing their brother, or worse suffer discrimination just for being my sisters.
I know these fears are exaggerated, I know that I'm automatically looking at the darkside.
But that's just how it is.
Hell, I'm 30 years old, thousands of miles from that place.
And I'm still afraid someone's gonna find out I kissed a guy.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Really I am.
You were in so the wrong place at such the wrong time.
When I walked out of Qbar with the terribly handsome gentleman I was still ever so slightly (understate much?) pissed about the advents of Wednesday night,
Hence, when I heard the shout of "Oi homí' (Oy Fag!) coming from your general direction, I didn't stop to ascertain that it was in fact you who shouted that stupid comment.
Instead, very shave-headed and leather-jacketed, I proceeded to get up in your grill, shouldering you backwards up Laugarvegur while berating you for your supposed vocal homophobia.
It was only later that I realized that; 1, it wasn't you who shouted the statement in question, and 2, you in fact were trying to tell me about your gay cousin and his husband and how you thought that was perfectly OK.
In the immortal words of the only good Meg Ryan movie (French Kiss for those of you wondering): "What can I say, I'm an asshole?"
Mea culpa maxima.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tonight started well and ended with me forcing myself not to scream or pick a fight or burn something to the fucking ground.
I mean, fine, call me hypersensitive, but does no one else see this shit?
Does no one else care?
I had managed to swallow my bile about the 8 or 9 fuckin' swastikas with Ísland fýrir íslendingar scribbled underneath them I encountered while beggin' for craft supplies in the commercial center near my work. Fine, so you're an ignorant teen with a permanent marker. I'll try my best to overlook it. Although, considering all the swastikas that have been chalked, inked, and painted around the school, not to mention the number of times I've been insulted for not speaking perfect Icelandic at work, I shouldn't be surprised....
And fine, I'll suffer the snideness of young men, clothed in the privilege of white hetero youth, who go to gay bars and try to cage drinks off of all the men who "so obviously want me" all the while mocking the men who hit on them and tryinging to leap-frog over the money/beer conondrun Icleand creates.
But what really hit home in the most visceral sense was seeing that fucking pick-up. Bright red Ford, cruising downtown with a big ol' confederate flag on the back.
I fucking hate that flag.
People who displayed that flag were the same people who harrased and bullied my adopted cousins all through school. They're the people who threatened my life and the life of my family in high school. They're the people who beat me up, who trashed and wrote "Die Fag" on my locker. They're the people who threw bottles at me and my freinds in the park. The people who pulled me over with badges and guns and flashing lights to enquire if I was "from around here" ten miles outside of the only home I had ever known.
And I'm not even from the South.
And now this stupid symbol has followed me all the way to Iceland. When I lost it and yelled at the guy in the truck, he and his buddy seemed suprised. They just thought it made the truck look cool and "Amercan".
How sadly true.
I'm just sick of it. Sick of living a life of under-paid and worse yet, under appreciated work. Sick of knowing that in all likelyhood, it will cost me a small fortune in fees, lawyers and advice to even apply for Icelandic citizenship, especially since the only guaranteed way to get that sought-after state is to be pretty and smart and fuck the son of a minister of something or other.
more later...am too tired now....
So I just found out that I get tomorrow off.
Some sort of Zombie Messiah holiday apparently.
So in lieu of a long and well-thought-out blog, you, my darling blogadytes, get to read the lyrics to a song I wrote at the ripe ol' age of 16. A song I can never remember the lyrics to (other than the first two verses) but recently found while desperately looking for my flutes.
You’ve come this far no further
I will not stand idly by
I will stand here at the barricade
and my defiance cry!
I will raise my fist in vengeance
I will smash you to the ground
the death knell of you avarice
is my defiant sound!
With you boardrooms and your bombers
with your propaganda lies
for the lives we have to buy.
Try to numb us with sweet poison
and march us to our deaths
forever fast consuming
til nothing else is left.
The time has come to rise up
No more fucking standing still
you cannot stand against us
you cannot fight our will.
I am one but I am many
I am stronger than the tide
I’ll blaze through your high towers
Incinerate your pride.
I will smash your heart of darkness
I’ll see you bleeding in the street
I am the roar of revolution
I’m the dawn of your defeat.
I’m the greatness in our spirit
that will never bend its knee
that will never suffer tyrants
nor their false authority.
(I have a name that you have slandered
I have a banner red and black
I am Anarchy triumphant
Now its my turn to fight back!)
I am billions now awakened
one voice rising to the sky.
Tremble you fucking fascists
at my defiant cry!
So yeah...it's more of a chant than an actual song...somehow I always imagined it with big drums and bag-pipes.
I'm a geek, what can I say?
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Quebec City Canada
Seul South Korea
God I'm bored...btw, the little girl in the pic is one of the kids I take care of. Her Dad thinks I'm "a hoot"... My thanks to Olga for the pic!
Saturday, May 12, 2007
So yesterday, after 8+ hours of running around with the kiddies in the bright spring sun, playing hours of tag and dodge-ball, climbing trees with them, teaching them exercises and Indian wrestling, and picking up broken paving stones and smashed glass from the playground, I hit the pool on my way home.
Now, maybe it was low blood sugar, maybe it was mild sun-stroke (it was warm, not hot, but I was out in the sun for nearly the entirety of the day), and it definitely had something to do with my stupid self-esteem, but as I floated in the pool, every time one of those guys walked/swam/strutted past, I was nigh-overwhelmed by jealous rage.
I mean, its easy to see the advantages looking like that grants. You'll get more sex, for starters. But you'll also be more likely to be hired for the better paying jobs, get better service in the shops, and generally be treated with more respect. You'll be less likely to fall victim to a violent crime (because you look strong and hence not easy pickings), and more likely to be given the benefit of doubt when you get in trouble, 'cause you don't look like a "bad person" oughta look.
It dawned on me at the pool today, however, that the V-shaped sixpack body is, like the silk tie and pressed suit, the Rolex, and the huge luxury SUV, just another of our fucked up society's status symbols.
Its a status symbol that's been with us for a long long time at that. The recent fetishization of abs is just part of an on-going cycle that's been around since civilization raised its snobby head in the Med.
Let's face it, rock-hard rippling stomach muscles are all well and good, but they don't occur that often in nature. When we westerners picture a "noble savage" the "natural" physically perfect man, we tend to mentally form them too look like a Greco-Roman statue. But people living aboriginal lives rarely have wash-board stomachs. Neither do people who do real labor for a living. Peasant farmers are rarely seen sporting abs of steel, neither are African tribesmen, South American Natives, etc. The reason is simple. For the most part, we don't use our abs that much when working, gathering, or hunting. In fact, as I mentally went through a catalogue of physical activities that require super-abs, the only ones I could come up (other than throwing spears) with were related to sports, if not specifically designed to shape abs.
Think about it, whens the last time your abs were sore after gardening? Building a house? Carrying heavy things?
The whole flat-belly washboard thing is a symptom of elitism. Ancient Greek and Roman ruling class men, when not busy expanding the empire or buggering pre-pubescents, would spend hours on hours in gymnasia, sculpting themselves into physical perfection. It was a symbol of their power; physical, political, and economic.
Of course today, its not just the ruling elite that's expected to look like Greek Gods. Nope, now we're all "equal", we gots us some demockcrazy. We got TV and movies and magazines. So now, everyone is supposed to look like Brad fucking Pit. To look like anything else is a personal failure, a sign that one is indulgent, weak-willed, flawed, and lazy. So the lucky few with the genetic disposition, the spare time (which is expensive these days), and the money, to achieve Greek-God-hood are elevated above the rest of us unwashed masses, and get to be a new sort of ruling class.
You could even argue that, from a ethnographic and sociological point of view, the fetishization of physical perfection and prowess increases in direct proportion to the amount of hierarchical control in a given society. So a relatively anarchistic collection of tribesmen will tend to be less concerned about having perfect abs and rippling muscles, whereas a group of goose-stepping Nazi fucks, much like their fascist fore-fathers the Romans, will be obsessed with being physically "perfect" .
So what does that say about our society and its fascination with the physique?
Point to ponder that...
Fuck it. Just makes me tired...
Monday, May 7, 2007
The last couple of weeks have seen a strange sight on the streets of Rvk, as about 20 some odd musicians began appearing outside grocery stores and along the main streets playing jolly little songs on accordions and smiling at people.
I liked it.
Rvk as a whole suffers from a horrible lack of busqueing.
I like busqueing. I like music that asks you to support it, but doesn't demand it. I like streets filled with sounds that don't come from over-grown Jeeps and honking horns.
I like people who smile.
In Seattle there is a booming busqueing scene. You've got your blues-singing vets, hippy drummers with flutes, rival Andean bands, even the occasional Chinese classical work played in the Pike Place.
But its never caught on in Rvk.
Partially this has to do with the weather, but it mostly has to do with the sheer mind-boggling bourgeoisie of law-enforcement and the ruling class of this city.
There are a few street performers, true. There's a guy that plays electric guitar and classic rock downtown, a resident juggler in the summers, and the occasional act like the incredibly silly "Indian" group that pounded on drums and Casio keyboards downtown last summer.
But for the most part, if your not part of one of Rvk's endless series of "cultural events", then, in the eyes of the law and most of the muckitymucks, you're "begging".
Its a combination of narrow-minded small-town mentality which labels anyone without a "real job" as a deviant, undesirable criminal, and cultural snobbery that refuses to see something as simple as playing music publicly, without a stage or tickets or anything, as art.
Case in point: Last summer, a group of musicians just assembled on the main drag here, in a little underused park near some of the more Indy bars, and right across from the Tabernacle of Snobbery known as Oliver. They were astonishingly good musicians, and the show they put on was a blast.
Of course, the cops spent the entire time trying to shut them down and ordering everyone to disperse. Seems that the only music allowed in Rvk is played in a bars, where you have to pay for it.
I mean, anything else would be anarchy, right?
Rvk has no problem with people performing in public spaces, but only when they are approved "artists" during one of the cities little festivals. So if you want to play a fire-spouting organ in a public park, no prob. Make giant puppets walk the streets, no prob. As long as you're a sponsored artist the city will pay you to walk around naked except for strategically placed cabbage leafs as long as your bullshit is convincing enough.
But if you want to say, sit on the sidewalk and play music for the passers-bye hoping to make a few coins?
Then they ship you back to Romania.
Which brings to light another issue, namely that Icelanders, like the old guy with the guitar, can busque. Nice pale British guys can attract crowds and cash with juggling. But "swarthy" Eastern Europeans best stick to building houses and dams and digging tunnels and dancing in strip clubs. Undesirables like that the Rvk authorities don't want clogging up their litter-strewn streets*.
Especially when they are being "sent by criminal gangs to beg in Scandinavia".
The park next to where I work has been set on fire three times this winter.
A disabled man recently had to move from his long-term home because a bunch of assholes were smashing his windows and threatening him with retribution for daring to press assault charges against a buddy of theirs. Even after repeated requests for police assistance.
There are literally dozens of unsolved rape and assault cases in Rvk.
But the cops aren't doing anything about that.
They're busy protecting Iceland from demonic dark-skinned foreigners who's evil crime-bosses have sent the to Iceland to *gasp* PLAY MUSIC!!!!!
So Rvk will be quieter this summer. Not safer. Not less scorched. But quieter.
*Here's an idea to "Green" Rvk: How about replacing all these shitty little trash cans, you know, the ones that kids can kick a few times and cause all the trash to drop on the street cause they're elevated? The little green things that fill up after a day even though they don't get emptied more than once a month? How about setting up some good old fashion big-ass covered trash cans?...There's more of this rant coming, trust me. "Green" Rvk is a feel-good bandaid that will cause more shit than it cures.
Saturday, May 5, 2007
So I started last night pub-crawling with the Ragnar. Had a beer here, a beer there, until he wanted to wander home. Then I hit Qbar.
So far just another Friday night, ennit?
But Qbar turned out to packed to the roof with cute girls last night, including my two adorably underage (for drinking, not for other stuff you perverted blogadytes you!) co-workers, who I spent the first part of the Qbaring dancing with. Well, dancing and trying to protect them from the little wanker they brought with them and the Craziest Lesbian of All Time.
First, The Wanker:
For starters, any straight guy who goes to a club wearing a white suit and skinny black tie is just sad. But it was his fucked up pick-up technique that that really iced the cheesy cake. He didn't do chat-up, didn't use lines, no! He ran up, literally tackled women to the floor and tried to kiss them. On any other bar he would have been beaten within a inch of his life, hauled outside, and then set on fire by the bouncers. But this being Qbar, the bouncers are too busy flexing in the windows and flirting with each other to notice.
The there was the Mad Dyke:
Her technique was only slightly less stupid than his, and basically consisted of running around the dance floor with a maniacal look in her eye fiercely gripping the breasts of any woman showing cleavage. Needless to the more well endowed of my co-workers had to be carefully protected from the Breast Beast.
The other thing I noticed at Qbar was that, while there was a refreshingly multi-ethic mix of people there, when it came to the women, the general rule seemed to be the darker the skin and hair, the more frightful the scowl and frown. Seriously, nice looking women, but SCARY!
Well, all except for the amazingly animated bouncing four-foot tall Japanese Dance-Dance Revolutionary.
She was having a blast.
But then something weird happened. Something that made me forget all about the co-workers and the Mad Lesbians and boogy-busting anime girls.
This rather lovely tall brunette started to dance with me.
Now, its been a long time since I danced with anyone with any sort of romantic overtones. In fact, the love-unlife of me has been non-existent since January. This caused me, the Sma, loud-mouthed camp-assed silly-bugger extraordinaire, to go all shy and fumbly. So there I am, dancing with her, and I know I have this stupid shy smile on my face, but I also notice that she has the same stupid smile on her face.
So I made a joke of it.
We went out on the deck and talked.
One thing led to another. It was unbelievably awkward and utterly lacking in grace, filled with funny moments and embarrassing silences.
It was wonderful.
Friday, May 4, 2007
So I had an epiphany this morning. Like most of my epiphanies, it didn't happen at any particularly momentous occasion, it just built up without my realizing it until it popped.
Kinda like a pimple on your back.
Only in a good and non-disgusting way.
I realized two things while standing on a hill, watching the kids play in the grass below.
The first thing I realized was that the major cause of stress, the thing that makes all the other problems seem unbearable at work is simply this: I keep doing other people's jobs.
So no more. "It's not my god damned job" is my new mantra.
The boss fucks up and doesn't schedule enough workers?
The boss doesn't show up for a week and there's nothing to feed the kids?
I can't do the projects I was hired to do because the boss isn't around to approve of and pay for the materials?
Applications and such pile up on the desk?
Emails go unaswered, phone calls aren't picked up?
NOT MY GOD DAMNED JOB!
Like all epiphanies (except maybe the one where a disembodied voice from the sky told some Aramaic chic that the guy who knock her up was "god") its painfully simple once one realizes it.
"Painfully Simple" could be my middle name.
The second epiphany was truly liberating.
I let my attempt at achieving 300-ness become an obsession.
I force myself to work out even when I know its getting in the way of more important things, even when I know I'm so exhausted that its doing more harm then good.
I've been working out like a mofo three to four hours a day, four days a week for three months and all I've managed to do is gain 3 kilos, hurt my shoulder, and stress stress stress about the lack of results.
What dawned on me is that last fall, when I started working out twice a week, more out of boredom than anything else, when I walked to and from work, and worked out at work so that it didn't impact my private time, I was getting much better results and was much much happier.
So I'm gonna go back to that. Get home by 6 and actually cook dinner in the kitchen I was so looking forward to using. Have time and energy to talk and hang out with my friends.
So what if I'm not a rippling Brad-Pit clone. I'm genetically prone to being barrel-chested and heavy and fuck trying to be a skinny-ass male model bitch.
I'm gonna start living again.
Work and working out can kiss my slightly pudgy Yankee ass.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Went and walked the May Day parade, in the company of the only two Anarchists I could find, who turned out to be pretty cool.
Didn't think much of it though.
Icelanders, bless 'em, just ain't that great at protesting. The chants were trite, and the atmosphere, with the exception of the marching bands, was somehow subdued, like everyone was slightly embarrassed and/or nervous to be out at this annual crumb thrown to the Icelandic Left.
I stayed, feeling vaguely riddik myself (there's a picture coming that should some it up, whenever Olga sends it to me) until the same old speeches started, then I wondered around town for a bit. Met some people, walked to Anna's, grabbed the Embles and we went out for Grillhúsið fish and chips (yummmmmmmmmmmmmm) followed by Next , which I'd rate about a 3 out of 5, at Háskolabío (which seemed to be in the process of shutting down, all the vending machines shut off, minimal staff, empty concession stands...)
Not a world-rocking day.
Not bad, folk were met, fun was had.
But not rocking.
Not running through the streets, not confronting the cops, not fightin the man.
Just a day nearly like any other.
Bit of a bummer really.
I've got rant built up. I want to tear into Rvk's "green" program, maybe rip into the State Church again, raise some hell about idiots who's thinking cannot dive more than an inch beneath the surface.
Just wait for it. It'll come.
Bloggin is a bit like taking a shit, after all. Not very satisfying if you have to force it.