Goodbye, Michael

Things run out. Last time I checked in, I was slapped onto the departmental payroll in some sort of short term project. That ran out when March ended. I then had a deal to come work for a wonderful, down-to-earth professor for half a year, still in the same place, but things were looking pretty bleak perspective wise. So I hang around for a few more months, and then what?

As 2016 bled into 2017, a coworker on the project that ran out was job hunting. I wasn't occupying myself with that as I figured I'd look after my half year thingamabob was up, but then he found a surprisingly promising looking position. Very cutting edge technology, phenomenal institution, a dream job really. Applications were open for a long time, with the clause that the offer would be taken down once a suitable applicant was found. What did Rumpy do? Apply immediately? Hell no. I only felt 80% qualified, so I waited until the very last day the ad was up and applied then, knowing they didn't get anyone good so they might take me. A coward is me! They somehow ended up taking me on for the job, in spite of me messing up every single thing I could during the interviews. At least it's a simple case of caveat emptor, I let them know of every last one of my shortcomings along the way, so they can't pin it on me when I fail spectacularly at something I warned them I have no predispositions to do. Nevertheless, this job is somewhere else.

As such, it is time to relocate. Today marks the beginning of the final step of that trek, which involved struggling with a competitive housing market, all sorts of bureaucracy, a visibly disinterested and sloppy referencing company, strep throat, furnishing a flat for the first time in my life... a van is going to roll up around 3pm, I'm going to load up the worldly possessions I didn't fill the bin with, and we're going to go. Tomorrow I get internet and a van full of IKEA packages to ram into functional furniture. It's all militaristically planned. I'd lie if I said I wasn't stressed, but it's a calm, collected sort of stress. They know what they got into, and I've got a track record of handling prior professional arrangements just fine. Ironically, the thing that's causing me the most pain (apart from the fact I absolutely despise moving), is the fact I have to leave my current town behind.

It's a bit of a cruel twist of fate, really. When I came here in 2012 I hated it. I imagine it's largely a psychological thing because I was also making a mountain out of a molehill (easy to say that in hindsight, though) and thinking I was barely keeping my head above water in a raging storm as I did 80% of my PhD in my first year. As such, I developed a hatred of the archetypical British red brick house, and never noticed the niceness around me until like 3 years in. I was beyond miserable until the lab mates lured me out of my corner and into some form of social interaction. And then, once I got a job and not a PhD, I calmed down even more. Things really "clicked" once I found a lovely little bakery and had good bread for the first time on this island about half a year ago. And just as I settled in, roof windows and everything, I have to up and leave and repeat this process? What sort of hell is this?

You could liken my current feelings for my surroundings to the middle of season 7 of The Office. That part where it becomes apparent Michael will have to leave. I never really cared for the character, but only around that part in the series does it become apparent what role he really has, in no small part thanks to some rather gratuitous writing that paints him in a better light. After having taken my current "Michael" for granted, I only begin to appreciate it as I have to leave it all behind and go to a new place again. I'm reasonably sure I'll settle there quicker than I settled here - I won't have the deep psychological turmoil (documented all too well on these pages) of the beginning of my UK excursion, and the new lab mates went to get a bite to eat with me the very night I arrived in the city for a meeting earlier in the month. It'll probably take a couple months to get everything in order, and I'll likely be fine. Still, it's kind of bittersweet that this godforsaken shithole which I used to loathe so much has actually made its way into my heart and I'll actually have somewhat fond memories of it. Time heals all the wounds. I won't remember screaming at walls at 3am, shaking, disassociated from reality. I'll remember learning to cook, making my own band who played my songs and liked them, getting decent at small talk over steak in a little rural steakhouse. I'll remember the weird, dried up charm that swoops over even the ugliest of UK red brick streets towards the end of September, the very time of year I arrived, dog tired, from a super early flight. And then proceeded to get lost on the way to my house, having my knees buckle in a supermarket as I found out that I was given directions for the wrong street all along. Back then, it was hell. Now it feels like a fun little adventure in hindsight. I'll likely have many other "adventures" like that, but armed with the knowledge that things tend to work out allows me to approach them with a slightly clearer head and stress less. It will all be fine in the end.

Other developments? I've started actively losing weight. In the summer of last year, I hit triple digit body mass and decided that enough is enough. I'm now 20kg lighter, and have stalled for the past few weeks as I've stress eaten like a motherfucker over this whole move and new job period. I'll get back on track. I found some cool music. I got an underground as hell band to make a bandcamp page with their music on a name your price basis by writing them - a wonderful little variation on the old Paraxism story (although I did write Paraxism like they were gods, while I wrote these guys like they were just everyday humans). I recorded guitars for an album. Things aren't bad. But excuse me, for now it's time to continue hopping over to the other side. Later gator!


The Dream is Dead

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? I'm not particularly active on here, seeing how my audience is me there's no real point in trying.

So, stuff that happened since the last post on here. I got my PhD. Well, not formally, I'll get my PhD while dressed as an assclown in some massively overblown joke of a ceremony in January. But I did pass my viva and dealt with the minor stylistic corrections. I have entered the realm of employment, sticking around the same department for the start of my postdoctoral trek. Live the Poland life, never move, stay in the same place forever. I already breached the rule by shifting to the UK for my PhD, I can't possibly breach it further. I grew some semblance of self esteem for the first time in years as I realised I actually have a use. Don't get me wrong, on the whole I still think I'm a freaking joke of a human being, but a little less so than previously, making day to day life more bearable. I ate lots of food, including developing some cool recipe ideas which I might put on here, might put on a separate culinary blog which will inevitably get no traffic, or might not put anywhere because why bother.

Also, crucially for the perspective of the blog, I let the dream die.

Without sugar coating it, the music existence I dream of just doesn't exist. In the end, in order to survive, you need money. You acquire money through shifting units. You shift units by playing what people want to hear you play. Barely anybody would show up to Electric Six gigs if they didn't have Gay Bar in their repertoire ready to go, certainly not enough to survive from being a band. As is, they're probably not living massively exuberant lives, as they churn out records and tour like clockwork in order to make ends meet. You can see this starting to take a toll on them, as the past five years have been a relatively steady decline in record quality, which is even mirrored in their recent set lists. The very band who I viewed as the against-all-odds example of making it on your own terms is actually a slave of the system.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have Kabanos. The guys have started making money off music and are well underway to being a household name among kinderrebels of all ages in Poland. All it took was embracing writing about haters, being beautiful and meaningless kinderlove for it to happen. I'm sure that the 30-something year old frontman is loving every second of this exactly as much as the 15 year old "THIS IS ME NOW" dyed hair chicas in the front row of the gigs. Don't get me started on Biffy Clyro either.

And there's also the issue of even the greats not having a particularly fulfilling time either. You might have heard of a certain Scott Weiland. You know, the guy who was the singer for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, that one. Out of both bands, having to tour with nameless stand-ins, having to cash in on former glories night after night because of some insane alimony settlement or whatever. No wonder he relapsed, if he relapsed. He died earlier today.

As such, the plethora of different examples just go to show that there is no valid approach to dreaming of music. "Making it" is hard enough by itself, and a sufficient crapshoot to make for a dream closer to the unrealistic side of the spectrum for those of us not named Tom Hess, and when you start tossing in elements such as artistic integrity, creative fulfilment and happiness to the rider then you're gonna have a bad time. My aspirations were misplaced, the thing I wanted just doesn't exist. As such, the music dream is officially dead. That doesn't stop me making music, mind you, as I can do that freely on my own terms in my own time. Just that I can stop feeling like some misspent artiste who's wasting away, and become reasonably content with the surrounding reality when compared to, say, selling parsnips at a local market.

Since it's been so long, a brief mention on current band/music state of things would be nice. Nakpat was, in all honesty, a flop. We got some guy who was super popular in the Battle of the Bands society circlejerk to be our singer, and he carried us to fourth place in the event. In the end, nobody cared about the music at all, singer guy included. Then he moved, and the drummer moved, and the bassist-turned-drummer found some insanely good bassist who speaks and thinks musical theory and schematics a bit too much. But when we let loose and just jam everything works out fine. It's probably going to be a good time.

Other than that? Well, not all that much. Another reason for me finding some more inner peace is moving. I now lack my own personal shower, but I have gained two enormous roof windows which offer me what might well be Britain's highest amount of sunlight in a single room ever. The slanted attic walls of the room, combined with the sunlight, make me feel the most comfortable I have felt in this country. Every now and then I find women attractive. Sometimes I try to act on the impulse, usually I don't. Thank heavens for Facebook letting me reasonably easily assess whether there's any point to storming the gates whatsoever. The most recent damsel in Rumpy distress doesn't appear to have pictures with male companionship outside of larger scale group shots, so I'm going to send her a cowardly email which she'll probably ignore. The norm, really.

So, uh, a-year-in-a-wall-of-text more less done. I probably missed some important stuff. Ah yes, I have had gaming under control since that massively preachy post into nothing, so there's that. This post can double as a massively preachy post for letting the music dream die. Off to... I don't know really. Guess I'll eat some cookies and watch the third Hunger Games movie. Peace!


Operation Sellout is go!

Hello dear mentlegens,

I remember I wanted to write some whiney shit while I was in Poland but I forgot what that whiney shit was. Doesn't matter. I'm far removed from 100% mentally, earlier this week I had another one of those spastic stress freakouts that result in me getting absolutely no sleep during a given night and set me back quite a bit in energy and overall well-being. Those usually tend to happen before early meetings for some reason :P but yeah, I slept it off, I suffered some sickness to compensate for the overall turmoil, and now I'm done with it (hopefully).

So what's the big news? Nakpat is go. The original second guitar dude is busy as nutsack, but I managed to assemble a full line up anyway. Half of the guys seem very keen, which just makes this all the better. I'm incredibly rusty guitar wise, but I was just as rusty when I started playing in last year's band and all ended relatively well. I'm about 1000% more pumped for this than I was for that, so there's also that.

The Nakpat track list is finished, has been for a while now. There's a decent amount of continuity, evolution, throwbacks throughout the duration of the record. I'm content with the tracks featured, even the more accessible moments evoke the kind of sellout music I enjoy and not the kind of sellout music that I don't enjoy :P There's also some deep end stuff, mainly locked within interludes.

Ah yeah, I remember what I wanted to write about in Poland now! I'm stuck in 2007 in my head, unsurprisingly. That was when I made Dawn and Beneath, arguably the two best things I ever penned. So I went back through my old CDs (I switched to HD for musical storage around late 2008) and took a look at what I actually tried listening to back then. I thought that my poserdom stopped when I admitted to myself Blind Guardian, Dimmu Borgir and Pantera aren't for me. This was not the case :P There's tons and tons of drivel on there that's completely unlistenable in a manner that I know I'd have hated back then too. Apparently I was trying my hardest to get myself to like metalcore and grind. Thank heavens I stayed true to myself and whatnot :P

So yeah, back to what triggered this little flashback - it's kinda funny how the 2007 me ended up defining the two records that I wrote since then - Turnip and Nakpat. Back then the two tracks were to go on the same CD. Now Dawn's collecting dust on the Turnip freakouts that nobody wants to play and I'm selling my soul for crackers with Nakpat :P

I kinda lost my trail of thought as I started noodling on the guitar again. Gotta get back in shape. I'm kinda ashamed of how rusty I am, but I guess it's natural as I'm trying to let the dream die most of the time, no? Gotta get dressed and hit the city center for the weekly chinese. Peace!


John Rumpy vs. Games

Yes, I have "rechristened" myself to John Rumpy. This way I can go "Hello my name is John Rumpy and I'm very pleased to meet you". It's quite possibly just a phase, but the concept is cool.

I'm writing this in the wee hours of the morning, as I'm post-transatlantic transit and my daily rhythm is down the shitter. Hey, at least somehow I managed to make the to-Europe time change feel like the to-America time change, so I'm not late for everything. I'm early for everything. This is supposedly easier to deal with. It took me like four days on the other side of the pond, but I feel a little less like I got churned up in a washing machine now, so I should be okay.

Why'd I go transatlantic? Because reasons, that's why. The reasons being conference. I flew for 10 hours, spending tons of my budget to stand next to a poster demonstrating my crappy "research" for a few hours. Woop dee fucking doo. I also got to listen to others talk about their stuff, and there are tons of cool things going on. Maybe I'll apply for a spot to some of those labs, assuming I successfully finish this part of my life beforehand. Yes, I'm down in the shitter, how'd you know.

I also met a Finnish girl who was strategically positioned 3 metres from me during the poster session. She seemed just as out of place as me, and that felt nice. I don't think she's interested. I know I'm a little interested. I'll bug her a bit anyway, you never know, maybe shit will work out. I'm not sure I should even try, I'm just a waste of space, plus I don't have a good history of long distance stuff working out.

Anyway, time to get preachy and write a thing that I've been wanting to write for a while now. Think that I'm in a good position to do it now, as I seem to have freed myself quite well... namely, video games. Just like just about every other kid ever, I played some while growing up - abusing the engines of turn of the century FIFA games to do crazy shit, being quite horrible at the basic platformerness of the Nonsense games but still loving them to bits for the randomness, being quite horrible at THPS2 but still getting a kick out of it, obsessing over the original pod racer game as ZOMG POD RACERS. I was never overly addicted or anything, I had other stuff in my life.

Cue early 2012. I apply to my current university, go through the entire confusing situation, apply for a scholarship, get noped. I get depressed even by my standards and delve head first into Team Fortress 2. I play a whole lot, even after transferring to the UK - life's pretty stressful, and that helps me vent steam. Sort of. Eventually I get fed up of TF2, in no small part thanks to my difficult to work with personality resulting in lack of luck in competitive. I guess if I were a spineless git like JR I'd make it higher up and possibly still be playing like he is. Keep at it, docter - you're at nearly 3000 hours and such div1 wow. Pardon the snark, it was uncalled for. Anyway, once TF is out of the picture is where shit gets real.

For you see, TF is like going out for a beer with friends in comparison to dota. Dota is like being a twitching drug addict on a subway station floor. It's quite possibly the most addictive game in history thanks to all the heroes and whatnot, and there's always a reason to play another game after the one you just played. There's always someone to play a game with. Just one more, doing something else, or trying to redo what you just did. You lost? Well damn, you need to win to quit while ahead and feeling good! You just won? Perfect, keep up the streak!

This would result in a HUGE time-suck, and I'd spend a full time job's worth of hours playing the game. Nope, I didn't neglect my work, I'd still get everything done and keep my supervisor happy. Thing is, when not working, dota would be pretty much all I'd do. Because reality sucks and dota makes me feel better, right? Nah. It was a negative-sum mood changer, because I'd feel far worse after losing than the slight mood boost from winning. I'd play a round with a friend in the afternoon, after getting a hunk of analysis out of the way. Then I'd snap out around 3am, head reeling, countless rounds with a rotating line up later.

In the end, this is still probably better than alcoholism as I'm not destroying my internal organs with it and it doesn't deplete my financial reserve. That's not to say that gaming's good, as it's pretty much the same thing. You dive into it headfirst to escape reality being bad. Eventually you surface and reality is still bad. Dota'ing won't support you, unless you're one of the fringe cases who get to be pros, but I'm nowhere near good enough, so it won't do anything to reality apart from leeching temporal and energetic resources you could allocate somewhere else. To be quite fair, I'm not sure I'd want to live off dota anyway, even if given the possibility.

So what sort of inspired advice can I offer to those struggling with a similar sort of "fuck this gay earth" reality-escaping addiction? Well, it doesn't help. It never does. It's a sign of weakness, and it just makes you all the weaker by itself. Cold turkey the hell out of the fucker. The thing that snapped me out was my visit back home early July. I figured that my life's unhealthy, and deliberately left my mouse in the UK for the trip so I wouldn't be able to dota. Did it work out? Hell no, I found a random old horrible mouse in my Polish room and tried to dota on a few occasions on 500 ping internet. Still, I was doing all I could to quit, and eventually the itches died down to a manageable level. I went back to the UK, and I dota'd some more. Still, I was controlling myself - I wouldn't allow myself to lose track of reality, and the vacuum-like feeling of MOAR would result in me killing the game. I was managing it. And I looked around at my life and I realised I don't need it. Yes, this is an obvious realisation to make, but a groundbreaking one for someone stuck in a shithole like that.

I think that the conference helped me the most in that department, actually. I went there sans mouse again, but not consciously. I just didn't need to dota after hours. I think that this ship has finally sailed.

Is life better now? Hell no. Reality still blows. But without this gigantic time and energy suck distraction, I've got a bit more power to face it head on instead of just claiming that life sucks and firing up dota again. I won't stop life sucking. I won't stop myself hating myself for not being musician material. Still, I'm feeling a little saner and more in control with that out of the way. Will I ever dota again? Maybe with friends every now and then, but I don't really feel drawn to it. And if I do dota, I'll have to watch out to not lapse back into the shitstate, and also be weary of it showing up from other factors.

So what's up other than that? Well, as you can tell, I'm depressed. But that's the norm. The Polish girl who I accidentally met in a mall a few years ago and can't get out of my head since then changed her profile picture on Facebook. If fate were less cruel we'd both probably be happy now. I hate myself for being a spineless git, but some things eclipse the sun, especially given my current financial situation. She no longer proudly displays that she's single, so she probably found a guy. Good for her, she really deserves one. Ever since shit hit the fan I try to distract myself, get her out of my head. It's failing. Pretty much every single song I wrote since meeting her is hers one way or another. It's an incredibly touchy subject so I haven't mentioned it here before, and I probably won't again. Just a general moment of weakness. Perfect timing, I'm about to go to a group meeting and then to see my supervisor. I guess I'm due for the annual "I'm fucking worthless" breakdown in front of her. Lights, camera, action.

Other than that, I'm eating a raspberry yoghurt. Uh-huh. Jon Auer's solo record just finished. Before that, I listened to a leak of J Mascis's new one as well. Both make for a good listen in the wee hours of monday morning when you're still supposed to be asleep. I prefer the Auer one, a lot of the Mascis one is him retreading old ground, yet again. The bits and pieces that are novel are quite pleasant though.

I think that'll do it. Huge ramble out of the way. Doesn't matter, nobody reads this shit anyway, just me every few months or whenever. It's quite possible that I'll look back at this from some future time point where I've succumbed to gaming again and I'll curse myself for not having enough strength to stay out, yet being so preachy at this moment in the time-space continuum. I feel like flinging myself off a fucking cliff. Fuck everything.


The Best Curry Ever, and other stuffs

Howdy! It is I, the Rumpy, and I'm coming to you live on location in my room. In front of me, a little bit to the right, is a bowl of the most freaking amazing curry I have made in my life. So without further ado, recipe safekeeping!

Rumpy's Creamy, Yet Intense Balti

1. rapeseed oil (I used some that was infused with garlic and chilli, not vital though)
2. 3 small'ish red onions, chopped (yes, I use red onions in curry, sue me)
3. 800g tomatoes, chopped
4. tsp black pepper
5. tsp cinnamon
6. tsp cardamon
7. 0.5 tsp cumin
8. tsp garam masala
9. tsp chili powder
10. 0.5 tsp salt
11. 0.5 tbsp minced garlic
12. 0.5 tbsp grated ginger
13. 3 green chillies, chopped, seeds kept
14. coriander-in-a-tube, or chopped real coriander
15. 600g chicken breast, diced
16. juice of half a lemon
17. large pot of greek-style yoghurt

How to:
1. Heat up a decent amount of rapeseed oil in a wok. I put a bit more than I'd typically use, but not enough to even cover the whole bottom of the wok. I'm not one of those "curry must be dripping in oil" type of people. Unless we're talking about butter chicken, that thing's name order of ingredients isn't accidental.
2. Fry up the onions for a moment, until they start to colour up a notch. Toss in the tomatoes and keep stirring until they start thinking about not being solid anymore (but not really fully liquid yet either). Toss in the pepper, cinnamon, cardamon, cumin, garam masala, chili powder, salt, garlic, ginger and chillies and stir for a while longer, letting the tomatoes become even more liquid.
3. Once the tomatoes are pretty liquid, add the chicken. In my case, the chicken was still a bit frozen, so I kept piling on the heated sauce on it, getting it to defrost definitely, saying stuff like "Come on, chicken!" to it, much to the dismay of a random housemate :P Keep at it until the chicken is cooked. A good hint that the chicken is cooked is that it's white all over, you don't see the pink meat. Just to be 300% sure, I kept it on the flame a few extra minutes after that.
4. Turn the heat off altogether, add the pot of yoghurt and the lemon juice and stir through. Serve with rice.

This thing is absolutely magnificent. It started out as me experimenting with a more "traditional" way to make a curry, using whole tomatoes instead of passata, and then it just took off on its own. Thanks to the tomatoes proper, the sauce is delightfully chunky, and the creaminess of the yoghurt (added right at the end to not degrade into white stuff and water) fantastically complements the not-quite-cookie-cutter spice mix and chilli heat. It's also easy to make - obviously, as it's a Rumpy cooking creation, it's a one-pot with nothing exuberant going on. Give it a try, you won't regret it.

So, since I'm already writing one of these things, other stuff? First and foremost - my old MSB friend Beckkill is coming over for a visit next week! We're going to be joined by JR and launch an ascent on Mount Good Times. I foresee a smashing success, as there's tons of bad movies and cider and cooking to be had. Beckkill's doing all sorts of tourist'y research, finding things worth seeing, the complete package more-less. Oh yeah, there's also gonna be a gig by that band I'm in.

For you see, I'm in a band now. The band members are pretty darn tight on their respective instruments, and they absolutely kill that minimalist doom death ballad I penned in 2007 and fine tuned for the Polish doom death band around 2010/2011 or so. The problem is that this is the only bit of repertoire by me, and the songs by the other guitar player are relatively stale, oh so slightly progressive hunks of thrash. As such, I don't foresee Beckkill and JR having too good a time at the gig. In order to make the time a bit less bad, I took some solo spots in some of the other songs, but I'm having trouble coming up with something meaningful to play. I'll have it figured out by gig time for sure though.

Nakpat should hopefully get going around April/May, when my good friend the other guitar player comes back from Africa. I hopefully found a singer in the one housemate I befriended, and hopefully the bass guy for the band I'm playing in now will be around to give me a hand with Nakpat as well. That leaves a drummer spot open. Hopefully all will be well.

I also recently made a pedalboard from an IKEA shelf, the cheap bastard I am. Here's how:

1. Obtain two-pack of IKEA Gorm shelves. I went for the three-plank version - it's plenty long, and the five-plank version wouldn't fit in any bag that's readily available.
2. Take one of the Gorm shelves and 3 metres of strong 50mm velcro. Stick the loop side of the velcro on the shelf. Stick little rubber feet on the other side of the shelf.
3. Take your pedals, unscrew any feet. Apply gaffer tape to bottom of pedals, apply velcro hooks to that. I don't wanna muck up my pedal with velcro residue, and gaffer comes clean off if needed. The gaffer was 50mm too, and white, making for an easy time with the velcro attachment.
4. Stick pedals on board. Profit.

This setup is good, as this way I don't gunk up my pedals with velcro residue and I get the same mileage out of this as I'd get out of any purchased flat pedalboard, at a fraction of the cost. I got a keyboard bag to lug this thing around. So far the velcro and gaffer have been working fine.

Okay, that's about it really. Progress-wise, I'm chugging away and my supervisor seems content. Mood-wise, there's good times and there's bad times, and I tend to swing between the two pretty hard-style. I woke up today with good-times vibes after a nice long sleep, then I got all depressed, then I made the curry and am feeling all great again. I don't understand the workings of my mood system. Feh. I made it so far in, I'll make it a bit further in too. So yeah, that'll be a wrap. Later!


Bonsai-Induced IKEA Nostalgia

Quite the blog post title, no?

The back story's pretty simple. One day a man arrived on campus, aiming to offload some plants on undergrads with parents with bulging wallets. There was the standard array of cacti etc, but also some mildly exuberant plants like flytraps and bonsais. A bonsai caught my eye as I was walking past, and I figured "why the hell not, I'll buy it". So why the hell not, I bought it (along with a tub of bonsai takeaway that will last the little bugger eight years) and took it home.

Guess what, the sly capitalist flower seller didn't include a base for the pot, which promptly turned out to have two holes in the bottom. It was a long day at uni, I did some work and went to the pool, so I failed to notice this minute detail straight off the bat. As such, the bonsai was living in the green bag it came with, and it was sloppily fed from a cup every Monday & Friday. On the bonsai's 13th day in my room, I decided that enough's enough and opted to roll to IKEA and get some sort of base for the pot.

First obstacle - what the hell is the size of the pot? I don't have a ruler, but my notebook's graph paper. As such, I took my graph paper notebook and rammed it against the sides of the pot, unraveling the mystery of its dimensions. Lifehack protip, kids - each one of those graph paper squares is 5 millimetres. Now you too can throw away your ruler and live the Rumpy life!

With that out of the way, I caught a bus to IKEA... and I took my time walking around the whole display, looking at things, thinking of things. IKEA's very international, and we have some elements from IKEA in Poland as well. I'm not saying the entire house is made from IKEA things, as my mom's far too aesthetic to let that thing slide, but last time around I caved and got the exact same wastepaper basket I have in both the Polish houses. No, I don't take said wastepaper basket with me when we go from one house to the other, there are two separate copies of said item. And now a third one is residing next to me. Now I caved and got some nice plates, with leaves and colours, to replace the cheepnis schmuck I've been using up to now. I'm gonna be here for two more years, may as well make the place slightly more comfy. Hence the bonsai and the nice plates. I take a weird sense of comfort from the fact that I could have gone to the IKEA which we frequent in Poland and picked up the very same plates.

I remember when I got all nostalgic the first time I went to the UK IKEA, as its overall smell and nature reminded me of the Polish one. Bot, who accompanied me for the trip, mocked me for it pretty hard. Screw him :P

I also picked up a little wooden bowl for the purpose of mixing spices easily. Reminded me a bit of the wooden bowl in which my grandparents kept walnuts and a nutcracker. The nostalgia just keeps on coming!

But wait! There's more! For whatever reason, on the bus trip home, I got nostalgic :P This time around, my thoughts carried me to the return bus trip from a ski camp in Italy which I attended around 2007 or so. Everybody was tired, I was kicking back, relaxing, one ear had Velvet Revolver's "Loving The Alien" and the other ear had a chick who was mean to me all camp long trying awkwardly to say that maybe "final impressions would count, not the first ones". I met up with the people from the ski camp by pure accident some time later on the standard mountain my family skis on, said chick wasn't present as she overslept. Someone mentioned that she wanted to go out with me. Those were the days when I still attracted females, I had a bit more hair on my head, a bit less on my face, and less fat on the gut :P for whatever reason, I reminisced about that in spite of its absolute lack of significance, with Slash's solo playing in my head. Screw the haters, Contraband had some really nice tracks. That record taught me all the basics of writing songs.

Music-wise, I'm working on Nakpat tracks, putting together a running order in my head. Some oldies, some new ones. Should be good.

Okay, time to end this. Got some pizza to attend to. My bonsai is looking menacing with a mildly asian-looking, curled-corner saucer as the base. Life's good, even though it's not really that amazing. I'm a big boy, gotta fly out of the nest, and be less self-centered about how every last thing is bad and how much I hate life and miss Poland. Gotta keep moving forward. See you all next time, and of course take care everybody.


Some faith in humanity restored

Well, it had to happen. The zipper in my backpack decided it needs to spice up its life and broke, rendering what once used to be a reliable source of storage into a flapping distraction completely unsuited for having anything stored within. I figured out a way to carry it around by holding it close to my chest, akin to a baby, but it's incredibly impractical, makes my back hurt for whatever reason, and would be ill-advised for the trip I'm gonna be taking tomorrow. Oh boy, the "long road" to Poland, using the further away airport. Do not want flapping backpack for this.

As such, I ditched the course I was supposed to be partaking in to find someone to fix it up for me in the city center. There was supposed to be a cobbler in the market, but no such luck. I went to the tailor I found online, and got turned down. However, the person told me of another cobbler in some other part of town, so I went there. The dude behind the register looked like your typical scenester kid - tats, the bizarre ginormous O shaped earrings, hairdo, all there. Still, he took a look at the screwed zipper, chopped off the messed up tip and installed a new one. When asked how much I owe him, he just told me to throw a pound into the charity box. I threw in two. I also gave the insufferable wailer who was banging out his greatest hits on the nearby square 50p. My backpack lives to see another day, and my perpetual, ever-advancing depression was lifted for a moment of pure feel-good.

The weather is warm and sunny, but not quite as insufferable as it was in the summer. Everything looks beautiful again, like the day I first came to the UK. It may just be my mind playing tricks on me, as I am pretty tired, like the day I came in with that 6am flight. Okay fine I was a bit more tired then. But also then the UK seemed like the beautiful land of light from a Ionesco play, and now it's merely beautiful, so it's also a step down.

I'm tired, so tired of going down... to quote Electric Six. The three complete tracks posted as previews from the new record are far superior to the unrepresentative, compressed samples from Amazon. Roll on Mustang. Peace.