Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Not exactly bitching about the job per se...




...but I am hiding out in the computer lab with the door locked, trying to avoid the massive drama that has the janitorial staff at each other's throats, and the possibility of getting landed with more shitty grunt work.




I spent my morning doubled over in a crawl-space under the basement stair schlepping broken computers the school can't bring itself to part with into a microscopic storage area.




This is what I went to college for?




Not that it surprised me. Its parent-teacher day at the school. So yours truly finds himself, as usual demoted to "janitor's bitch". God I'm sick of it.




Thankfully there will be a little less of it soon. I talked to the various bosses and got it set up to split my day evenly between school and AST, which should pull in more money, and equal a bit less annoyance for moi.




Still, if I get a good offer from any of those places I've applied for, my ass is outa here so fast the sonic boom will shatter all the fancy-pancy new glass partitions they've slapped up all over the school.




I won't burn my bridges for nothing, but swear to Dog, give me 180-200K a month, an 8 hour day and free weekends, and I'll napalm those motherfuckers. Thermite. White Fucking Phosphorus. Burn!




OK...now that I've got that out of my system...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Snowed In


So I went to work this morning in blowing, crazy, sideways snow. I only made it about a third of the way before I gave up and hopped a bus. the white stuff (oh oh ohhh oh oh!) is piled up in drifts around the school, plastered to the sides of the buildings and busy forming massive icicles on the overflowing eaves.


The news has snowed me in too these days. So much I want to write about, but so little time.


On the good news side, the powers that be have decided to reform the rules surrounding temporary work and residence permits, finally registering the permit with the individual and not the company that applied for the job. This allows the individual to change jobs (though not without the requisite bureaucrazy) or to get fired/laid off without risking deportation, as was once the case. They are also looking into a much needed exemption for foreigners granted residency due to marriage or domestic partnership with Icelanders. As the law stood, if they broke up, or left (even in cases of abuse, although those were usually granted exceptions) they were subject to deportation. Thankfully they are writing the exceptions into law.


Which is all well and good, but still fails to address my main problem with these laws, mainly that they are aimed more or less soley at people from outside the E.U. (and Bulgaria, apparently Bulgarians are "too brown and too poor" to be lumped in with the rest of the E.U.). While E.U. citizens can come and go as they please, without having to somehow land a job before the arrive in the country, and they don't have to take mandatory Icelandic classes (which one usually has to pay for out of ones own pocket).


In the bad news department, the Ministry of Justice (can you say oxymoron?) is lobbying to change the current prison law to allow foriegners convicted of crimes in Iceland to serve thier time "back where they came from". This raises some very interesting points. Iceland has one of the most humane (not to mention leniet) prison systems in the world, meaning that an Icelander sentenced for drug dealing is much less likely to be shived for a pack of smokes than his American or Polish counterparts. So even if the foreigner involved only has to serve his Icelandic sentence (if they had to serve a sentence from one of thier home-country's courts, they'd be in deep shit. I mean, Icelanders get maybe 16 months for first degree rape, whereas a Yank can do 5 years for posession of marijuana) they are still being subject to a more heinus punishent for the same crime.


Ministry of Justice my ass.


Meanwhile, in a stunning display of Democrazy Inaction, Rvk's got its third government since the last election, one that does not enjoy the popular support of the previous usurpers. They had to empty the council chamber yesterday due to disruptive protests, the first time that's happened since the infamous Gúttóslag back in the 40's.


The new mayor is a Libertarian, one of the more unpopular parties in Iceland at the mo', and it looks like the old mayor, ousted in part over his party's involvement in some very complicated but very very shady business deals will then succeed the Libber.


The whole get-a-new-government-without-an-election thing bugs the hell out of me. I mean, how the hell is anything supposed to get done? Its not like governments are all that efficient when it comes to "running a country/city" to begin with, but when your going through mayors or prime ministers like there's no tomorrow, or playing techno-musical chairs with ministers (so that everyone can get a nice fat piece of that pension-fund pie), not much of anything gets done, and what does get done gets all kinds of fucked up because of all the random personnel and policy changes.


I also think that if you're going to have democracy (rule by the people) the people really ought to have a bit of fucking say! How about a recall vote? National or city referendum?


Nope. They've been elected, now all we can do is sit back and watch them fuck it up.


Of course, some people don't just sit back. They storm the council chamber and shout and protest and get kicked out, at which point some pompous fuck at the editorial desk writes an column about how they should be ashamed of themselves and should have spent their time waving picket signs (quietly, a discreet distance away) writing blogs, signing petitions, and writing letters to the editor.


Because that works. Yeah.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Less is More...


I'm still job hunting, but...


Turns out that the After School Thingy (longtime blogadytes, if such strange and wondrous beasts exist, will remember the AST) pays a considerably higher wage for considerably less onerous work.


So for the sort term at least, I'm thinking I'll hop ship and throw my lot in with them for 56% of my work, which will make me a lot more money, while sparing me the ongoing annoyance of middle-school kids. I'll try to keep the my mornings in the library...but start an hour later making it an 8 hour day. I already work an 8 hour day, difference being that I loose out on the better paid work by punching out at 4pm instead of punching in a 9 and working til 5.


Now I know the mythical creatures haunting this blog remember just how much I hated the AST last year. Of course, this was when I was 1:Basically running it myself for less money than the never-present boss got and without any of the resources at her disposal, and 2: Doing such a good (though maniacally tiring) job of it that the boss started to tell people I was a drunk and mentally unstable in order to keep people from asking the logical question as to why I wasn't running the place.


The new boss-lady at AST is friggin' awesome though. So beat the old ones record for "Hopping up on a table to dance at a work party", not to mention that she runs the place less like a prison and more like a playground and *gasp* SHOWS UP AND DOES HER JOB!!!


If the school, who seem to think that I should be grateful for all the shit-work they continue to pile on me in excess of what I've been contracted for doesn't like it, I'll just work at AST and use my mornings for remodeling, working out, and writing.


Fuck 'em I say. Right up their academic little booties.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ummm...Movies?

After working myself into a righteous rage in the last two posts, I can't bring myself to get worked up about anything.



Except may Cloverfield, which The Annageek hauled me to a super-secret crouching tigger, hidden nerd Nexus sneak preview.



So.



Damn.



Cool.



The film ushers in an entirely new sub-genre, the monstermentary. Its human and scary as all shit and at times ridiculously, inappropriately hysterically funny.



Best movie I've seen so far in '08, although Transamerica was right up there too.



I also went to see Death At A Funeral, which despite some moments of truly brilliant humor was for the most part slow, badly edited, and just...plain.



Can't wait for Sweeny Todd, not to mention the incredible fun that will be hauling Embles the Historian to 10,000 BC (payback for her hauling me to Spice Girls Movie).

Mostly I've just been being a lazy bugger infected with January ennui and way too many Xmas videos and books to get anything done except hunt for new jobs and try to figure out how I'm ever going to finish the kitchen...which is enough...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A short apology...


Sorry dear blogadytes.


That last post was total shit. I not only let the rant get the better of me (especially as I really wanted to rant about how much I hate my job, but couldn't, so I chose immigration and nationalism as a distraction), but also (to my mind at least) failed to adequately convey my utter disdain and loathing for people who spout xenophobic nationalist bullshit.


For the record: We útlendingar are not stealing jobs from Icelanders. We're simply filling the void in the job market left by everyone deciding that they need to make alot more money and work at something hip og kúl like banking, or just bisness.


Which means that if an Icelander can't get a job at a fish-factory (as the ÍFÍ claim), then they have only other Icelanders to blame. Like a Parliament that didn't think about the logical consequences of joining Schengin. Like a population that thought "Cool, now I can go work anywhere in the E.U. no problem!" without thinking that the same applies to their own country. Like the kvóta owners who continue to move the work out of the small towns where most of the virulent nationalism blossoms up. Like the bosses at the fish factories, that often choose to hire foreigners because they think they can get away with worker's rights violations that way. Like the nationalist themselves, who seem to be very immature, and perhaps expect jobs to be handed to them on a silver platter regardless of whether they show up on time, sober, and work hard.


Neither are we útlendingar responsible for the majority of "marriages of convenience". Those are largely a matter of Icelandic men importing "brides" for "fun" and profit.


We are not responsible for the majority of crime in Iceland, no matter what distorted pictures the media hypes to improve its market share. That one lands squarely on the shoulders of Icelanders as well. The vast majority of armed robberies are perpetrated by Icelandic youngsters desperate for a new Wii or maybe a fix of meth. The vast majority of rapes are by Icelanders (and you can bet there are plenty of instances of Icelanders raping foreigners and getting away with it), not to mention cases of child abuse and molestation. Fraud, drugs, you name it.


Its not that all of us útlendingar are innocent little angels, pillars of righteousness and so forth. Far from it. But seeing as Icelanders signed an international agreement that allows increased immigration and then failed utterly to check the criminal records of most of those coming in, that one kind falls on their shoulders too. After all, my foreign ass can't access those records.


It's just that if Icelanders want someone to blame for Iceland's problems then they best look in the fucking mirror.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

So the good news is...


...that the government is thinking about repealing the blatantly unconstitutional, discriminatory, and, well, stupid, "24 year law" that made it illegal for foreigners under 24 to marry, and made it illegal for Icelanders under the age of 24 to marry a foreigner.


'Bout fucking time.


Of course, this isn't really a repeal, more of a reform. They aren't going to strike the law from the books, merely tweak it. Now instead of it being illegal they'll just put the couple in question through the ringer, invade their privacy and then pass judgement as to whether their marriage is "real" or not.


Its funny that for all the furor that the State Church aroused when it refused to bend to the will of the Icelandic people and allow same-sex marriage, and for all the celebrations when the government granted same-sex couples the same rights as domestic partners as unmarried heterosexual couples enjoy, HARDLY ANYONE SAID WORD ONE ABOUT THIS LAW.


It had to do with foreigners. So nobody really cared.


I personally knew a woman whose young husband was deported back to his home country, where he faced possible lynching for marrying a non-Muslim, in part because of this stupid law.


I do have to give mad props to 24 though (even if it is a sub-company of the arch-conservative Möggan), for aggressively countering the ongoing blame-the-foreigners-for-everything campaign currently raging through the pages of Frettablaðið, and the somewhat schizoid ramblings of DV (which tends to damn the foreigners, then defend them, then damn the xenophobes, then defend them...).


All told, though, this is just a small bright spot. All in all, it seems that the tide of nationalism is rising all over my adopted lava-lump, what with fuck head ignorant kids like the ÍfÍ (Idiots Fucking Idiots: Keeping Iceland inbred since 2005) actually getting face time in a major paper.


The Íf'Í, fuck. Morons. Bunch of kids too stupid to get a job, who then decide to blame the foreigners. Bunch of underachieving little shits. They're not even "good" at being nationalist, what with the standard white-kid-ghetto wear they're pictured in.


Tell you what kids, you wanna be a real nationalist? Wanna really "pure" Iceland? OK then.

No more pizza for you. No more burgers and fries, hell for that matter no more potatoes. No more rum, whiskey, or wine. Brennivin and only brennivin. No more nachos, no more pasta, no more stir fry. After all, its un-Icelandic.


No more Fifty Cent, no more Outkast. No more Rammsteinn, no more Scooter, Marylin Manson, Slipknot, or Limp Biscuit. Nope, no more. You only get to listen to Bubbi, KK, and Nylon from now on.


Oh, and say goodbye to your Levi's, your Sketchers, your Hugo Boss (believe it or not this is the web page of one of the ÍFÍ idiots interviewed in DV). Nope. Its all lópapeysur and ullasokkar for you lot.


After all, you wouldn't want to look foreign. You might have to beat yourself up.


Wankers.


Monday, January 14, 2008

The best laid plans of mice and Sams...


...gang oft doontoon to get shitefaced.


At least this weekend. Went to a lovely dinner at Inaki and Noellia's place on Friday. Ate, drank, discussed possible methods of converting a strange Jamaican "Ugli" fruit into leather of some kind, and was merry.


Instead of leaving it like that, I went downtown.


Spent the next day hangin' with the Embles, putting finishing touches on my rezzie and going through the hideous process of trying to look normal long enough for Embles to take a head shot for said rezzie.


Then went out and got wasted with Þórir.


Which I regretted all day Sunday as I fitfully tried to get work done on the apartment and fought against the certain knowledge that I was both feverish and coughing.


Its not that I'm even all that into being drunk anymore. Drunkenness generally gets dull for me at around 2-3am, at which point I've generally had my fill of dancing drunken repartee and just want to curl up in bed.
Its not even the oft-employed peer-pressure, which though effective does from time to time make me hate the people employing it.


Quite simply, its that I want to meet a nice single attractive person and get laid.


And for the life of me I have know idea how one does that in this country without the aid of booze and bad techno.


Argh.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Swim swam swum...


must not bitch about work...must fight rage...swallow the ranting bile...must not bitch....must not bitch!!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Be it further resolved...


...that I'm not gonna bitch about work on the blog anymore.


This has nothing to do with any improvements at The Children's Correctional Gulag #108. It has everything to do with getting Annageek to stop with the excruciating mocking of me.


You win, OK?


No seriously, you win!


Stop!


So now that that's out of the way, I've been enjoying my Xmas books immensely the last couple of weeks. I started out (literally on Xmas morning before I'd even finished opening the other goodies) reading Emma Goldman's autobiography, Living My Life.


Incredible! Inspiring! Fascinating! I love this book, love it love it love it!


Which, considering just how much I usually despise biography as a genre,especially the pretentious and utterly egocentric Icelandic autobiographies that every single Icelander is required by law to publish before or shortly after they die, is pretty surprising.


(Let me repeat it one more time: THE THREE VOLUME COLLECTED MEMOIRS OF AN INBRED SHEEP FARMER IN DALVÍK SHOULD NEVER EVER EVER BE A BEST SELLER!)


Oddly enough, the only other autobiography I've ever really like was also by an Anarchist and contemporary of Goldman's, Peter Kropotkin. His Memoirs of a Revolutionist was nearly (thought not quite) as good as Living My Life.


After Goldman, I indulged in a little brain-free fantasy, devouring For a Few Demons More, the fifth in a wonderfully fun series of post-(quasi) apocalyptic fantasy stories featuring bi-sexual vampires, bad-ass pixies and a the hottest (although unluckiest) red-head spell caster since Willow.


ahhh....Willow....


After that I tore through China Mieville's brilliant Perdido Street Station and his orgasmically good The Iron Council.


Yesterday I started Plenty, a book by two Vancouverites who decided to try a diet consisting of only foods produced within a 100 mile radius of their home. So far, its a fascinating read. I was hooked from the first chapter-heading quote, a bit of graffiti the author found in the city: "Man is born free and everywhere in chain stores".


Lucky for them though that they live in the hot-bed of C.S.A. that is the Cascadia. They may have a hard time getting wheat, but my ol' neck of the woods grows damn near everything else. I'm excited to finish the book.


All this reading, especially when combined with two other books I received Xmas and look forward to re-reading, E.F. Schumacher's enlightening Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if people mattered, and Kirkpatrick Sales' rowdy Rebels Against The Future have left me with a peculiar longing to go back to the States...or more accurately, to go back to Cascadia, and take an active part in the slow local revolution that's sprouting up from the home soil.


Not that I will. I just want to.


My ma, The Honorable Peggy, has been working with the Cascade Land Conservancy to protect and develop sustainable farming in the upper-reaches of the Carbon River Valley area before the last of its incredibly fertile soil gets paved over with ugly track-housing. The red-neck (not the cool I.W.W. kind, the Jeff Foxworthy kind) town I went to High School in has its own local brewery now, and the "eat local, act global" meme has even caught on amongst the folks who used to rail against "tree-huggin' faggots" and thinks that anyone who didn't like Bud was "a city-slicker snob".


I'd love to help her out.


Plus it would give me an excuse to visit my newest nephew (two in three months!!!) Nathan. Congrats Jen and Daryl!!!!


But the way things are at the mo', I'll be another year or two before I can manage anything other than the typical 2 week trip home.




That's all for now dear blogadytes...more on the flip.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Be it resolved...


that in this year of our Lord (hey ya gotta admit, that's worth worshiping) 2008, I Sma the ageing expatriot punk hereby commit myself to the following:




1: Quitting the current job (if my overwhelming disdain for it doesn't get my punk ass fired first) and finding gainful employment that meets the following criteria:




A: No Kids, No Mentally Ill, No Geriatric or Handicapped Clients. Not because I'm callous, but because I'm burnt-out and can't summon up the necessary empathy to do the work properly.




B: Pays more than my current position, or, pays the same but involves less stress and shorter hours.




C: Is something I like.




2: Finish the friggin' apartment. I need a kitchen and a shower and I won't feel like I actually have a home until I have both. Bourgeois of me as all hell, I know.




3: Write more. More bloggin', more letters, more short stories, hell, even take a swing at something longer. Also get back into making music more...which with the help/threat of Jimmy, shouldn't be an issue.




4: Save up some cash so I can finally go visit people on the mainland. Ying and Ragnar, Nín and Anna Magda, Tatja and Lasse, Andres and Claudia, Myriam and Riitta and all the rest.




5: Keep working out, but not to the point where I get all psycho about it. I get psycho enough being a kiddy-jailer all day.