Sunday, 29 August 2010


there's this girl...

she's really pretty. she works near my place of work, and we usually have similar shifts. the first time(s) I saw her I didn't think much of it, but then my colleagues pointed out the fact that she was pretty, and suggested that I should "make her [my] girlfriend".

now, I'm moving away in three weeks, and will be spending two of those weeks travelling in Europe, so I'm hardly in a position to make anything happen with a girl. this is the thought process I had initially, although as I said I didn't think much of it so even that is a slight exaggeration.

since my colleagues' comments, however, I've been thinking about her more and more and it's grating on me. firstly, I'm too much of a dork to talk to someone I hardly know without some coercion, especially while wearing my stupid work hat. secondly, the colleague who suggested I make her my girlfriend went probing for information from the other girls who work there, so I don't know how much they know, or indeed how much she knows, meaning I risk an embarrassing situation.

also, allow me to reiterate: I am a dork.

today she walked past and said hello. recognising this as a friendly greeting and potential conversation opener, I said "hello" back, then proceeded to drop a fridge on my foot and yell in pain. what an attractive prospect I must have looked.


Wednesday, 25 August 2010

apologise be sorry

Hi, all.

I've just rediscovered ¡Forward, Russia! and am very happy about it. I have also just eaten some vegetarian lasagne prepared by my new housemate and am now blogging while aforementioned housemate and his friend are playing Mario Kart on N64. It's been a while since I've blogged so I'd just like to say that things are generally good right now. I feel relaxed although apparently I'm not, because I've had 2 bouts of sleep paralysis (AGH!) and a migraine in the last 3 days.

I think I've identified why though - the triggers for the former are stress, change of environment / lifestyle and sleep deprivation, which basically describes my life at the moment. I'm still traveling between London and Leeds, living in the latter and commuting to work on the weekends. It's a bit stressful.

On a side note, sleep paralysis is the shittest thing ever. For those of you who don't know about it it's when your mind wakes up from deep sleep but your body doesn't, so if you try to move your unwilling sleeping body, you can't. I imagine being paralysed isn't ever fun, but it's probably even less so when you've just woken up, and were able-bodied when you went to sleep. Thankfully it passes fairly quickly though.

The second bout of sleep paralysis was combined with a nightmare: I "woke up" (facing the wall), couldn't move, and "heard" someone enter and walk across my room, then "felt" them climb onto my bed before waking up properly. The words in inverted commas are so because obviously I wasn't awake and didn't hear / feel anything, but sometimes sleep paralysis can mix with nightmares and make it feel like you're actually awake, which also sucks. I feel I haven't explained that very well but oh well.

Anyway, moaning over! (It wasn't supposed to sound so moany, reading back on it.)

Leeds house is awesome. There's only 1/7 of us living here permanently so far, with me living here on weekdays, 4/7 floating in and out and the remaining 1/7th who hasn't seen it yet. The atmosphere is good, we found a pub sign in the basement and adapted it hilariously, and are planning to stick it to the front of the house somehow. Probably with an elaborate system of ropes and pullies. It says "The Knowle & Strumpet". Lol.

I'm going to post this now, although it's not finished. Hopefully I'll add to it later but I make no guarantees as my internet access at the moment is sporadic at best.


Wednesday, 11 August 2010

tick tock

I've just discovered this song, and I'm really enjoying it. The link will only work if you have Spotify. If not it's called "Tick Tock" by Jack Conte but I can't find a more accessible source for it.

I'm feeling really [some word I can't remember at the moment] at the moment. The word I'm looking for is like absorbent but for the brain... Anyone know what it is? It's a nice feeling though. It feels like all the effort I've been putting into improving myself and my situation over the last year are beginning to pay off. The metaphorical pieces are falling into their metaphorical places, if you will.

Slowly I feel I'm becoming more at peace with the person I'm becoming, which is always nice. Instead of grilling myself about my "bad" characteristics, I've accepted them as part of myself and somehow that seems to reduce the degree of their expression. Shyness is the main culprit: I used to give myself hell about being shy, but when I accepted it, it (somewhat contradictorarily (new word)) gave me confidence.

My brain, as well as feeling [some word I can't remember at the moment], feels like jelly today. This is due to two consecutive nights of heavy drinking. The first of which was a farewell drinking session for my friend who's moving to France. A hunt for absinthe led us to a Scandinavian bar in London which has cheap food and drink before 8, to which we arrived at 7.55. We ordered cocktails and four random food dishes, as well as consuming several pints of beer before heading to St James' park for late night frisbee / beer drinking / Buckingham Palace moonying.

The second was my friends fourth annual Summer bbq. I consumed six beers, two Tequilas (one slammer, one stuntman), half a bottle of wine, and 'some' Vodka and Coke, and was sufficiently wankered thereafter. The monster hangover I probably earned was negated by a lovingly prepared and delicious fried breakfast by the bbq's host.

What a legend.

But yes, that's the end of today's disjointed discourse.


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Hungary #4 - insects and punctuation

I'm in a Hungarian internet café to print out my boarding pass, and decided it would be a prudent time to post. The topic of today's discussion is the various insect encounters I've had in Budapest so far, and my attempts to familiarise myself with a foreign keyboard layout.

The first happened when I was laying on Simon's bed, looking around his apartment. I noticed a middle-sized spider (maybe 3cm in diameter) chilling on his ceiling, and asked whether he knew it was there. "Yes", he replied. "That's Glenn". Apparently Glen keeps the flies in check, and it certainly seemed he was doing a good job - a respectably sized web containing many demised flies hung from the ceiling just a short distance from Glenn.

Two and three occurred when we were tidying up the apartment for guests: I noticed an army of ants parading around the room (impressive considering the apartment is six floors up). I asked the same question to Simon as to whether he was aware of them, and he replied in the affirmative once again. Whereas Glenn keeps flies in check, the ants' jobs is to manage crumbs and other debris by carrying it into the floor and disposing of it. Three was more gross - there was a dead cricket in the corner that had been torn open by ants (presumably) and had had eggs laid inside it. I quickly disposed of this atrocity.

The fourth was also a cricket, but this time it was alive and decided my chest would be an ideal landing position. I was holding a pint at the time, and very nearly threw it all over the table. I flicked it off, then some braver man than I picked it up and threw it, when it somehow defied gravity and stuck itself to the ceiling. Number five happened in the same bar - I had just finished in the toilet only to realise that there was a beetle INSIDE the bowl. Bleghhhhhh.

This is a Hungarian keyboard. Notice how the Y and Z are switched around. I keep typing Zs where I want Ys, then realising, backspacing, correctly typing a new Y, then out of impulse or some weird tick, add an unwanted Z afterwards. Also notice how there are symbols below the letters as well as above the numbers - you probably recognise these symbols as those which occupy the area of keyboard where the accents are in the picture. These symbols are accessed by holding "Alt".


Sunday, 1 August 2010

Hungary #3 - adventure

This post details the events that occurred in the hours of July 30th that were not covered by my last post.

Conversation following my arrival at Simon's flat enlightened me to the fact that he'd lost his passport on his return train from Serbia, and the guys' plan for the rest of the day was to go to the train and police stations and the British embassy to hopefully resolve the situation. First point of business, however, was the acquisition of food. As is usually (although regrettably) the case when I arrive in a new country and am presented with the opportunity to sample traditional local cuisine, I resorted to Western junk food. In this case, Burger King.

Note - it's not that I'm unwilling to try traditional local cuisine, just that I'm a frugal traveller (not always out of choice) and Western junk food is usually the cheapest option. Burger King provided me with two cheeseburgers for 400F (Forint) for example, which works out at around £1.20. (My formula for working out Forint (F) to Sterling (S) is S≈((F/100)/3)-10%)

After sustenance was gained, we walked to the nearest bus stop, looked for awaiting ticket inspectors, saw none, and boarded the first bus sans ticket. I don't really condone this sort of behaviour usually but aforementioned frugality combined with peer pressure let me do it just this once (honestly just this once). The bus took us several hundred metres up the road and past several stops where we had to look for any boarding inspectors (so we could alight if any came) to Keleti Station.

This is Budapest's main station and is typical of the buildings here (from what I can tell) in that it looks fairly grand on the outside but could really do with some work on the inside. It looked really Soviet and cool though - old trains, low tracks and a really high ceiling. Simon went to the lost and found office, was told it was closed, then to the information office who were unable to provide anything useful. A guard gave us directions to a nearby train station, so we headed in that direction.

A short walk through gypsy town (not its real name) led us to the conclusion that the directions provided to us were incorrect, so we bought some water from a petrol station (it's REALLY hot here) and headed to the nearest Metro station to save walking alllll the way back. (Just for the record we bought tickets legitimately here.)

The Metro took us from Stadionok to Deák Tér, then thirst took us to Gödör where we consumed beer from tankards (although we decided not to quaff) and consulted Google Maps (on Simon's nifty iPhone) to find the location of police stations in the vicinity. Two were identified, but both later turned out not to exist, which was frustrating. It was a nice pretence for seeing the city, though!

Eventually we located a tourist-information-office-come-police-station-that-deals-especially-with-enquiries-from-foreigners, and Simon spent around half an hour getting grilled by authorities while the rest of us returned to Gödör. Apparently Serbia is one of the worst countries for illegal passport transactions, and when Simon disclosed that he "lost" it, they were understandably suspicious of the claim. (Not understandably because of Simon, understandably because they have reason to be suspicious of a "lost" passport in Serbia, whoever lost it.)

Aforesaid grilling sparked intense thirst in Simon, so they decided to show me Moloko bar where we would consume cheap beer and play Csocso for most of the evening. (I mentioned both things (beer and Csocso) in my last post so won't go into huge detail.) Several of Simon's Hungarian friends joined us, and we spent a jolly good evening getting gradually more inebriated. I was also introduced to Pálinka, the Hungarian national beverage, although I'm not really sure exactly what it is and apparently it can vary quite a lot. The one I had was 50% volume and tasted of Elderflower.

Lack of sleep and alcohol began to take their toll on me around 1am, so I headed back to the flat and to bed while the guys and Hungarian friends went to a casino. I would have liked to go - they give you free food, drink and cigarettes (although I'm not interested in the latter) to encourage you to continue gambling. A perfect opportunity to play a quick, cheap (500F/£1.50) game of roulette while being inundated with beer and sandwiches.