31 August 2006

Arachnid guest

Today I spent most of the evening writing emails and letters. I like writing. It gives you a chance to reflect on things, think things through properly and phrase things much better than in speech, giving a more meaningful exchange of ideas and thoughts. A lot of conversations today are all about being witty and giving rapid-fire responses, often resulting in comments that are not entirely well thought through.

Huh... Cool! Just as I was typing this, a spider decided to drop by for a visit. It looks like a Yellow Sac Spider. The name is kind of weird, since yellow sac spiders are usually not yellow. It climbed down my wall from the open window, so I caught it in a plastic can to have a closer look. These guys can bite if cornered and are venomous, though not deadly. At most it hurts a lot and you get a swollen rash resembling a large pimple for up to eight weeks, which in some people with already existing medical conditions might cause tissue necrosis similar to that of the bite of a Brown Recluse spider, though there doesn't seem to be any documented cases of that in Canada. Yellow sac spiders are nocturnal hunters that crawl around looking for something to eat, and are often found indoors in homes. This particular guy only has seven legs. I don't think it particularly enjoys the plastic can full of salt and cashew nut crumbs, so I'm going to go let it out outside now.

There. Now my arachnid visitor is happily crawling around outside again. Thanks for stopping by! I completely lost track of what my original topic for this post was... Oh, whatever. I need to sleep now anyway.

30 August 2006

Stupid...

I went climbing again today, which was a rather stupid thing to do. I didn't give my shoulder enough time to heal, and after the first ascent it started hurting like hell again. I did learn a new technique though, so I couldn't keep from practising it a little bit anyway. If you have a good grip with your hands, you don't need anything to step on. You can climb up a flat wall with your feet for a little bit. It makes it easier to reach grips you would otherwise need to really stretch yourself or jump to reach.
Mwuahahahahaa... Progress is so much fun...

Not much else to write today. Same ol' stuff.

29 August 2006

Ponderings

So... I was thinking. Since heating stuff up to a certain temperature kills the bacteria in it, does that mean that you could eat rotting meat if you cooked it well enough?
Not that I would even if you could... This is just another example of the random kind of crap that pops up in my head. I have a strange brain indeed. I'm beginning to see why my friends so often ask me what planet I'm from... Yum... ellipsis points...

This day summarized: Woke up, talked to a not so cheerful swedish girl too long, got to work one minute late, tested an interesting game, came home, went shopping, bought ridiculous amounts of meat, cooked bizarre meal with Thai chili sauce, chicken, bananas and bacon in it, went to my boss' place and had a beer, came home, wrote stupid things in my blog and then went to sleep.

Note that the last part hasn't happened yet. But I wrote it anyway because I can see it coming. I can see the future. I'm psychic, you know. I dreamed of a candy bar once, and the next day I got punched in the face. See what I mean? Huh? huh? huh? Nah, didn't think so.

Yeah. I should finally get to sleep and dream in technicolor. Then think of all the insects that are sleeping, and wonder if the animals are dreaming.
Thanks, Brad. You rock, man. Keep on crashing.

28 August 2006

Talkathlon

Yesterday we went climbing again. Stephan came along this time to try it out and ended up doing pretty well at it. We dropped my brother's girlfriend off at the train station in Montreal, and then went to check out two comic book stores. I found two mangas that looked interesting, Death Trance and Jing: King of bandits. The first one also exists in the shape of a movie with the same title, which I saw last night. Horrible movie. The lead actor Tak Sakaguchi was pretty cool, his character 'Grave' had a funny but weird kind of humour integrated into the part. The action choreography was sorta almost decent in a few scenes, but a complete mess in most of them. Overall this must be one of the dumbest things I've seen so far. Swords with handles that look like big, throbbing dicks? What the hell is the point? No explanation whatsoever for that in the movie...
Anyway, climbing. We had a quick lunch in town before going over to Laval for climbing. It went well at first, but then I took a fall off the 5.8 trail and hit my leg against the edge of the side wall.
Nothing broken, I just scraped a bunch of skin off. I also pulled something in my shoulder in the fall. It hurt quite a bit, so I didn't do any more climbing after that. It's still sore, but should be fine with a couple of days of rest.

Today was a very lazy day. Got up at 11, went online and then spent the next eight and a half hours on skype, talking to the girl in Sweden. She finally got her webcam working. Last time I saw her was about two and a half months ago. It's funny how memories tend to get kind of subjective after a while. I remembered her being very pretty, but seeing her on the webcam again made me realize she's even more beautiful than I remembered. *sigh...* Grrr... fuckin' Atlantic ocean...

But yeah. Sitting in front of a computer screen like mine at a desk like mine, on a chair like mine... Just plain stupid. I had quite the headache afterwards. She's so worth it, though...

I finished putting wick on the second short firestick. Now I just need to wrap the handle and then I can start using them.

26 August 2006

Roswell

Actually not tired today, yaye. Slept well last night. Went to work and tested this flash game online. Not bad, a simple, yet fairly entertaining game. But buggy. Apparently I found so many bugs that the developers just went "Oh, fuck it... just tell the guy to stop testing, we're going to rewrite the whole thing..." I thought that was pretty funny when Alex the project manager told me. :)

Talked to my severely hot friend again. That's always fun, I like talking to her. Too bad she's in Sweden. Stupid Atlantic ocean... I did some juggling too. I'm getting better, my record stands at 46 catches right now. The starting and stopping are the critical moments. Once I get started I can keep it going pretty well. Still need lots more practise before it's solid, though.

I'm going climbing again tomorrow. I can't wait... I wanna try the red and white 5.8 again.

I bet you're thinking "What the hell has any of this got to do with Roswell?" Well, I'll tell you: Nothing at all, actually. I just wrote Roswell as the title because it sounded cool. It's my blog so I can do whatever I want with it. Take that...

25 August 2006

Fatigue...

Today was a long day. I couldn't sleep last night, I don't know why. Just couldn't seem to fall asleep. I got up at 7.30 and I really didn't feel like going to work, I just wanted to sleep more. Work was eventless, I worked on a game for about three hours, it had to be done by lunch. There wasn't really much to do on it, it was a simple game for kids. After that I didn't really have anything to do for the rest of the day. I sat outside, did some poi spinning, and just waited for five pm so I could go home. Tomorrow we're getting a new game to work with, I hope there's more to do on that one.

My brother's girlfriend and her sister are here visiting now. They're going on a 9-day cross-Quebec tour and are staying in Sainte-Adele for two days. We stopped at this restaurant in Blainville on the way back. I had lasagna. It didn't taste anything like any lasagna I've ever had in Europe. It was more like two layers of pasta with a slice of meatloaf in between. Very weird, but pretty good.

Sooo tired... must... sleep... now...

24 August 2006

Funnyness

A quote from a conversation:

-I wanna have a farm when I grow old, with horses and shit. Wanna move to Finland?
-Okay. Do grapes grow in Finland?
-No, it's too cold there. Why?
-I wanna grow my own grapes and make wine.
-Well, they have all kinds of berry wine in Finland. You could make berry wine?
-Okay. Does pot grow in Finland? It grows in Scotland and Canada...
-Pot grows in basements.

Yeah. I've been thinking about comedians. Comedy is tricky. You get up on a stage and talk about random stuff that people can relate to, but with a twist and in a really funny way. People can make anything funny if they just tell it the right way. I read this quote by the great comedian George Carlin:

New rule: just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn't make you spiritual. It's right above the crack of your ass. and it translates to "beef with broccoli." the last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to god you weren't pregnant. you're not spiritual. You're just high.

It just cracks me up... Being funny seems so easy. 1. Get up on stage 2. Say something funny 3. people laugh. But have you ever seriously tried to write ten minutes worth of funny things to say? Like a short stand-up routine? It's freakin' impossible. You walk around all day with your head boiling with ideas, you see all kinds of things you think would be hilarious if you just wrote it down, and you're absolutely convinced you're going to become the next Robin Williams. But the instant you get home and find a pen and paper to write stuff down, your mind goes completely empty and you feel like a tourist in the sahara desert with a map made of sand paper. No clue whatsoever. Why is it so hard to write stuff down? You can talk to people on the phone or over a meal for hours on end, and sometimes you even feel like you've reached a really clever conclusion about something (which you of course can't remember the following day), but just try sitting down and writing something really clever. You know, the kind of thing you can put up on your website so you can nudge people and proudly say "Hey, how's it going. Oh, by the way, I'm the guy who wrote that." You'll draw a complete blank. It's like Murphy's law. Things will always go to hell in exactly the way they can.

So why is it so hard? Maybe I can't be hilariously funny because I don't really have that much to say? I don't really talk all that much, generally. Doesn't seem right, I think everyone has things to say. Some people go ahead and say it, while others don't. I don't know why the people who don't, don't. Maybe they think that what they have to say isn't interesting enough for someone to want to listen to. I dunno. Things don't have to be interesting to be funny, nor funny to be interesting. Sometimes things don't even need to be interesting to be worth reading or listening to. Someone might want to read it anyway. Take this blog entry, for example. I bet this probably isn't the funniest or most interesting thing you've ever read. But you still read this far, didn't you? So there.

Cats are often funny. And ducks. According to a survey, jokes are always funnier if they have ducks in them instead of other animals. Go figure...

23 August 2006

About Manda

So, some of the more avid readers out there (Ha!) might have noticed that a person named Manda sometimes posts really bitchy comments to my blog entries. I figured I might introduce her, as she is definitely a person worth introducing.

Manda lives in St Paul, MN, and is my best friend. I've known her for over eight years now, which is a lot longer than I've known any of the other people I call friends. She was also my girlfriend for about two years, but long distance relationships suck ass. We broke up on good terms, she has a new boyfriend now and we're still best friends.

Manda is crazy. Nuts, bonkers, insane, deranged, kooky and batty. And in a very interesting way, too. The first time I met her was at a music camp at the International Peace Gardens, on the border between North Dakota and Manitoba. I got to know her because she decided that since she hadn't gotten to know any of the foreign kids in the previous years she had attended that camp, she would by golly do so now. So one lunch break she confronted me, backed me into a corner by standing too close to me and staring at me, then started talking to me. I was completely freaked out by this loon at first, but then I noticed she was really cool and we became friends. I've talked to her on the phone quite a lot during the past eight years. In fact, I have probably spent ridiculous amounts of money on phonecards to talk to her. She is the reason I have a vaguely North Dakotan dialect when I speak English.

So if she posts mean or insulting comments to my posts, it's not because she's being a bitch. It's because she knows me really, really well, and well... is being a bitch to me, but in a friendly way.

In other news, I saw Bon cop, bad cop tonight. A lot better than I though it would be, though some of the dialog was kind of clichéed. But it was hilarious. I'll leave it at that. If you want a longer review of the movie, check out Matrixdancers blog. I'm going to bed now, I'm fuckin' tired...

22 August 2006

Escalade

I went climbing again today with Antoine, it was great fun. I almost made it up a 5.08. I had to stop and rest halfways and try a couple of times, but I got up. Next time I'm going to climb it without cheating, I hope. So much fun! Ha!

I finally have a bike. One of the German testers at work is going back to Germany on wednesday so he sold me his bike. Coolness. It's going to save me a lot of time. He also seems to have taken really good care of it and adjusted the brakes and gears. Judging by what little I've ridden it so far, it's in a whole lot better shape than the new bikes I've tried, even though they're the exact same kind of bike. Excellent deal. Thanks, Gabriel! And good luck in Germany!

My friend in Sweden sent me this link, check it out. It's about how to make a Kiwi dessert.
http://www.jhn.se/images/kiwi.jpg

21 August 2006

Rain rain rain

Today was a really nice and relaxed Sunday. It rained pretty much all day, I think it's the first time since I got here that that has happened. There was a thunderstorm at around one pm, but it didn't last very long.

I stayed home all day and spent about four hours on skype with my friend in Sweden. Oh, man... She's intelligent, funny, interesting, not to mention one of the most beautiful people I've met. And we have so much in common, I would think we were twins if I didn't know better...

Damn you, academy of music, damn you very much!

Ok, so that might need some clarification.

Before coming to Quebec, I applied for a teachers program at the Malmö academy of music. The program was set to start in January 2007, so I had to figure out something to do between graduating from the performance program in May and going back to school in January, assuming that I got in. So I looked around on the net, trying to find some kind of job. I found the ad from Enzyme testing labs. They were looking for linguistic testers with skills in scandinavian languages. I applied and got the job. This was at the end of May and the job would require me to start working on June 15th. Not knowing if I had gotten in at the teachers program, and even if I did, it still being 8 months away, I took the job and moved to Sainte-Adele, thinking I could always apply for the teachers program again after I get back to Sweden. If I go back to Sweden. All good and dandy. But about a month after coming here, I receive a letter from the academy in Malmö, saying that I was accepted to the program, and that they had moved the program to start ahead of time in August this year instead of six months later in January.

Words can not explain the explosion of rage that went through my mind that particular moment.

If the people at the academy had just let me know six weeks earlier that I got in and that the program was starting in August instead, I would not have come to Quebec. I would have stayed in Sweden and gone back to school instead. I could have stayed home, living in my own apartment, having a nice and relaxed summer vacation until school started. I could have gone to the Urkult festival with friends, and to the Medieval week festival on Gotland. And I could have spent the entire summer hanging out with this wonderful girl! Oh, cruel fate, pray tell: why dost thou torment me so? Oh, woe is me!

"Now wae to thee, thou cruel lord,
A bluidy man I throw thou be;
For mony a heart thou has made sair
That ne'er did wrang to thine or thee!"

Robert Burns, from Lament for Culloden

20 August 2006

Storm damage in Sweden

A friend sent this link to me. Check it out!

http://www.sterilecreed.com/weather/

Real live wire

I electrocuted myself today. There was a thunderstorm outside, so I turned off my computer and went to unplug it from the wall. I grabbed the plug and pulled at it, somehow getting my fingers in between the plug and the wall far enough to touch the metal connectors. BZZZZT! 110 volts up my arm. That did not feel entirely good... My arm hurt a bit and was all weird and tingly for hours afterwards.

I went to Saint-Jerome to listen to a Tribute to Coldplay-consert. This Quebecois coverband played Coldplay songs. Not bad, though the singer seemed a tad bit pretentious on stage and didn't sing in tune all the time. His guitar was also pretty badly out of tune, at least at the beginning of the concert. Bluargh... Untuned instruments make my brain itch... But overall the band was pretty good, they seemed proficient enough with their instruments and the level of synchronicity between them was high. They sounded like a band that has been playing together for a while. It was pretty funny to hear them sing Coldplay with a quebecois accent, though... :)

19 August 2006

IQ test hoax?

A couple of days ago I found a website for an organization called International High IQ Society. They have two different kinds of IQ tests available, and by scoring higher than 124 in either of them you get invited to join the society of people with an intelligence quotient within the top 5th percentile of the population. I scored 129 on this test. The test if pretty fun to take, a not very long quiz thing. So I gave the web link to Stephan and Antoine too. Stephan took the test too, also scoring 129. We figured it was kinda odd that we both scored the same just like that, so we took the test a few more times. First seriously, scoring 128, then just by randomly clicking on answers without caring about the answers, scoring 95 (the supposed average of the population being between 85 and 100), and one more time deliberately getting all the answers wrong, scoring 76.
This seems very strange. I wrote them an email asking about the matter:

Hello!

I took your iq test online and I was a bit curious about a few things. The result I got was 129, and I was given the option to join the club. However, my computer glitched and turned itself off just after I had finished the test. So I took it again. Since you have a large pool of questions, enabling 2.4 billion unique tests, it shouldn't matter how many times I do the test, right? Oddly enough, I got some of the same questions as the first time. Quite the coincidence, I think. If one of the questions reappears, then sure, but three? The probability for that must be pretty low. So after completing the test and scoring 128 this time, I took the test a third time, this time just picking the answers randomly without trying to get them right. The result was 95. Seems somehow odd to me that one can just click randomly, and still end up in the average range, doesn't it? As an experiment, I took the test a fourth time, this time making sure to pick the wrong answer for each question. The result: 76. Worse, indeed. But it strikes me as very odd that even with no way of doing worse in the test, the score is still rated as only one category below the average range. And yes, the same questions appeared several times over these four tests. It would seem to me that this whole society a scam. A hoax, designed to give everyone who takes the test high scores so that they will be fooled into buying a membership. Is this kind of activity legal? If this is not a scam, and is indeed a test as legal as you claim, I would be very interested in a comment on the matter, or an explanation for these abnormalities in the scores.

Sincerely,
Sami Ylinen

I really hope they write me back, it would be really interesting to see what their answer is. The url of the website is http://www.highiqsociety.org. If you feel like it, take the test and write your result as a comment to this post. I would be most interested in hearing how you score on the tests so we can compare results.

18 August 2006

Not so sober

Today was nice. I finished the stuff I had to do at work, but they didn't have anything else for me to do after that. So I sat down and wrote a long letter to a friend in Sweden. We got a new version of the Playstation 2 game though, so tomorrow I will have stuff to do. Yaye!

I went to a small party at our neighbor's place this evening. One of the project managers at work moved into the house next to ours. Sweet deal! She's a cool person. Anyway, me and Stephan went over to her place and had some beer and various other alcoholic beverages, and watched an exTREMEly crappy movie called Exit to Eden. Wow. That movie sucked...

I'm not entirely sober, and I need to be at work in about six and half hours, so I'll make this post end right here.

17 August 2006

The good pain

My body hurts all over today, probably because I didn't stretch well enough after climbing yesterday. One one hand, pain sucks. On the other hand, this is a good kind of pain since I know it comes from doing something that is good for me, something that will eventually make me stronger and more fit. Ah, yes... There is indeed a certain amount of pride attached to this pain.
It still hurts though, and I can only blame my own stupid self for not stretching better.

In other news, I actually did something at work today. They sent a build of the game I was supposed to test on Xbox 360, and I spent most of the day working on it. Feels kinda nice to actually be busy at work for once. Partly because the days get really long and boring if I have nothing to do, but mostly because I feel like I should work when I'm at work. I don't want to get paid for doing nothing, it makes me feel like a lazy slacker. I don't like that. When I'm at work, I want to keep myself busy and do a good job so I can go home and feel that I'm happy with what I did. It's probably the performer perfectionist bitch in me speaking, but I hate doing a job half-assedly. I want to be good at the stuff I do and do it well.

I finally figured out how to put a background image into this thing. I rock.

16 August 2006

Spider girls

I went climbing today at Action Directe in Laval. Cool place with lots of walls, although the walls could have been a little higher. But I feel like I'm making progress. Feels great! The trails that I started out with a few weeks ago now seem easy to climb. 5.7 still holds a few challenges for me, but they're getting easier too. Mwuahahaha... Maybe it's time to attempt the shimmering and no longer as unattainable craggy peaks of 5.8 next time? By my blade, I shall make the effort!

Yeah. Right now it feels like the biggest thing missing in my climbing is sheer strength in my fingers. I'm simply not strong enough yet to be able to hold on to the smaller grips. But I'm not worried about it, I trust that problem will solve itself in time if I just keep at it.

Girls who climb are hot. Seriously. Apparently climbing gives you the Divine Body. Wow.

A random thought occurred to me in the car on the way home. This "true love" thing... People who believe in the concept of mr Right, "the one" or the perfect match, whatever you want to call it. If there is one, just one person that is perfect for me, how big is the chance that that person will happen to live in my area? Or even my country? It's ridiculously small!
What if the perfect girl for me lives in Sudan? Or on Iceland or in China? Wouldn't that suck quite a lot? I can't afford to fly over there and look. The population of the world is now roughly 6.6 billion people, about half of them women. That's 3.3 billion women! For the sake of argument, let's assume that the average age of the earth woman is 65 years. Let's also for the sake of argument assume that I was only interested in dating girls who are exactly 24 years old. 3.3 billion divided by 65 is almost 51 million people. Of course, out of these a bunch is going to be either fugly, gay, taken, dying, not interested or otherwise not available, but it still leaves freakin' millions of young women! Just getting to know all of them well enough to get the slightest clue about whether this might be the "real thing" would be completely implausable.
Miss perfect for me? Pretty busted theory, if you ask me. Just find a girl you really like who likes you back and work out the rest. No pain, no gain, as they say...

15 August 2006

I need a haircut

Ah, Monday. The bitch queen of the week, always there to greet you with a big grin full of sharpened teeth, week after week. Seriously, there should be a law against Mondays. I should be able to go from a nicely relaxed Sunday straight to Tuesday and skip the whole "Oh, crap... I need to get up and go to work again..." part. No matter how much I like my job, the getting up early in the morning thing always has and always will suck ass...

Work was incredibly low-key today. I did absolutely squat all day. Apparently the company that makes the game we're testing now hasn't quite figured out how the whole thing works, so they keep messing it up. Sending us versions that don't work, fixing bugs and causing others, sending us the wrong version, etc. So I didn't actually get to do anything at all today. I just waited for a version that never came. Oh, the joy... I tell you, though, these kind of days are absolutely great for my all-round education. I spend hours and hours looking random stuff up on wikipedia just because I have nothing better to do. If this keeps up, I'm going to be super-knowledgeable a year from now. I could go on Jeopardy and become a millionaire!

I put a grip on my new fire staff today. Now, if only I could find a drill to make holes in it with...

14 August 2006

Lazy sunday

I woke up this morning with a massive headache. Unable to fall asleep again, I got up and dug through every corner of my room trying to find some ibuprofen. I found one. Thank god. Only one left. Must buy more... I don't have headaches very often, but when I do, it sucks ass to be out of pills.

I checked my email and noticed that our internet connection was behaving strangely. Then it stopped working altogether. Crap. One of the guys I share this house with called Bell and found out that internet was down in all of Quebec and Ontario. Fuckin' Bell... I was hoping to see a friend online and talk to her today. She lives in Sweden, and with the time difference she usually goes to bed when I get home from work, so we don't get to talk that often. But no net - no dice.
So with no internet to entertain us, we all went to Montréal instead.
I found a nice anime poster for my room in Chinatown. I saw it there last time I was in town but I didn't have money to buy it then. A quick lunch at McDonalds showed me that their stuff sucks even more here than in Sweden. Bluargh... We're loving it! My ass...
After walking around some more I went to this really nice Tibetan restaurant for dinner later in the evening with my housemates. Never had Tibetan food before. Tasty!
We drove to the top of Mont Royal before going home. It's a beautiful view over Montréal from there. I bet it's a really popular make-out spot... I know if I had a girlfriend I'd take her there.

13 August 2006

Wtf...

I was on my way to work the other day when I started thinking... Where am I? What am I doing? What the hell am I doing here?

I spent 16 years playing the flute, only to have the joy of playing sucked out of me by the rigidity and stiffness of the people teaching me. I love music, and I love playing, but I just couldn't stand the tiny little in-bred world that my playing was boxing me into. Bach must be played like this, Mozart must be played like that... No, you can't do that because nobody else does that... Where is the creativity? Where is the joy? Bach wrote insanely good music! He wrote pieces that makes you want to dance around when you listen to them! But over and over again people seem to find some kind of self-sustaining purpose in framing themselves with unwritten rules and laws about how you MUST play the music, resulting only in the stagnation of the expression. We remember the great composers because they dared do something different, something that nobody could teach them, something that they were the first ones to do. But when playing their music? We are taught to be copies of the people before us, always playing it the same way... I was thoroughly sick of music after I graduated. I did not want to get a job in an orchestra and spend the rest of my life playing the music the way someone else told me to. Besides, with jobs as a musician being as scarce as they are, I probably wouldn't have gotten a job even had I tried.

I applied to a teaching program, thinking I could get a job teaching kids music. While waiting to hear from the college, I surfed around online, looking for a job. Any job I could find. I found an ad from a game testing company in Canada, looking for people with skills in Scandinavian languages. I speak finnish and swedish, so I figured I'd give it a shot. What did I have to lose? Less than four weeks later I was in Quebec, starting my first day at work.

It all happened so fast, I didn't really have any time to stop and think about it. It only hit me when I was sitting in a car on my way from the airport.

I'm in Canada. I left everything behind and moved to freakin' Canada. What the fuck am I doing here?

And the very same thought occurred to me on my way to work the other day. And my conclusion? I like my life right now. I'm in Canada. Things are weird and unfamiliar, I have barely touched my flute since I came here two months ago, and I go to work each day to proofread video games. But I like it. I don't know if this is the kind of work I want to be doing for the rest of my life, or even for more than a year or two, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. Right now, this is a pretty nice spot to be in. Life is good.