Weekly Photo Challenge: Set

In response to WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Rise/Set.

The sun set, the day is dead.

18-03-28-sunset

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Bringing Light to Instagram

Do you think this post is going to be about my enlightening Instagram? Gotcha! Of course not. You should know better now than to trust me. I bring gloom and doom wherever I go, including Instagram.

Since the last week’s power outage, I’ve been entirely enthralled with manifestations of light. Light is good, especially artificial light, because artificial light means the power is on. And so is WiFi.

So I bring to your attention another instalment of my photo-a-day project (which I’m still denying I’m doing), as originally posted on Instagram.

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19 March: Go, Cheddar, go! Cheddar didn’t but I went to get groceries.
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20 March: The grocery mission was an unqualified success. For a small fee, I will organise your fridge all neat and nice like this. I’m OCD, that’s what I do.
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21 March: This is my flat entry door. I think someone forgot to throw in a threshold. Light Exhibit #1.
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22 March: That’s a perfectly useless random window in a wall between two rooms. But, good for Light Exhibit #2.
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23 March: I wasn’t drunk when taking this. My phone apparently was. But it’s Light Exhibit #3.
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24 March: I changed the bulb. Not ideal, but I never said I was a good janitor. Light Exhibit #4.
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25 March: I specialise in low-res grainy shitty photos. Street Light Exhibit #5.

 

What Happens on Instagram…

What happens on Instagram doesn’t stay on Instagram. That sounds catchy and cheesy, right? What I mean is that I give you literally what I posted on Instagram last week, continuing in my snap-a-day thingy.

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12 March: It’s been raining and the tile on my balcony appears rusty, which is curious, given it’s not even made of metal.
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13 March: The skies haven’t fallen yet. Though doom and gloom are constantly impending.
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14 March: I lit a candle and it was red and warm and nice.
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15 March: Today was the day when I, as every day, made coffee. 
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16 March: That’s my cat’s spot. The other day I made the mistake of using the at the moment vacant spot to fold laundry. Bad idea. Now all my laundry is furry.
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17 March: Kids are fascinating creatures. They need so little to amuse themselves. These look like Star Wars kids. In the modest conditions of the tenement culture, of course.
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18 March: Light, light! I almost loved that, but I don’t have the capacity, obviously.

I Hate Being the Janitor

I present a new instalment in my Janitor from in Hell Series, which starts with my installation in the concierge function, continues with an epic flood, and I wish I could say it ends here, but the tragic story goes on.

I don’t hate being the janitor. I fucking hate being the janitor. I’m exceptionally unsuited for the execution of this post. I know next to nothing about maintenance, I’m not passionate about the vision of making the tenement a better place and, most of all, I panic in emergencies.

The other day my janitorship struck back at 10:30 PM, while I was sitting at my office-slash-kitchen table, watching people pretending to be surgeons dissecting a tumour on Grey’s Anatomy, and munching Oreos. On which the power went off. My mother would observe that it was surely a divine strike punishing me for eating Oreos for dinner. On which I’d retort that I’m Buddhist and fully confident that the universe doesn’t give a shit about my eating habits.

I finished my Oreos while the buffered video was still running on the laptop and then went to explore. I didn’t get farther than the corridor when I realised that the power was off, hear, hear, and since there is no god in this godless building, there was no light. The flashlight function on my phone didn’t turn out to be exactly powerful, but I managed to stalk my way in the street and confirm the worst.

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And there was (no) light

No, there was no zombie apocalypse, that wouldn’t have been so bad since I’m already half-dead and why not take it to the next level, right? The worst thing was that the outage was in my building only. Which is where the janitorial hero comes in and saves the light and WiFi. I’m kidding, of course. This was when I picked the phone and called the landlord to ask where the fuck were fuse boxes in this forsaken building.

The operation was much more complex than it sounds. Apparently, you can either be conducting a call or flashing the flashlight on the phone, not both simultaneously. Don’t tell me that I should’ve grabbed a regular flashlight. I couldn’t find it because there was no light, see? If you don’t see, nevermind, neither did I. So I grabbed a lighter and kept the flame on while operating on the fuse box, which I probably deemed a good idea. It’s not like it’s the main gas shutoff valve. Is it?

Neither the landlord’s instructions nor my description of the situation proved particularly productive. I spent an hour haunting the building and hunting fuse boxes, while burning my fingers on the lighter and exchanging profanities with the landlord. Then I decided that I.WASN’T.FUCKING.DOING.IT, gave up and returned to my flat to die of exposure, since the heating doesn’t work when there’s no power. Before settling down to die, it occurred to me that I had a candle, which I duly lit, because I needed to pee and didn’t want to miss the bowl. Yes, I know I’m a girl, but it was dark enough to miss the bathroom entirely.

I retired in the bed, wearing all I have. I googled generators, in case I survive, because the next time this happens, I want to be able to boil some bloody water at least. Then I decided I’d go the medieval way and prepared to start burning books. Then I fell asleep and dreamt of an electrician alighting from a white unicorn with a rainbow horn, chanting Let there be light and resurrecting me and the electricity alike.

In the morning, the summoned electrician arrived in a yellowish van, presumably originally white, which was in the final phase of entropy. He asked what happened. Dunno, I chattered my teeth. Life, I guess. The torch-bearer worked his magic on one of the switches, which was in the off position, though I swear it was in the on position when I left it. Okay, I don’t swear, I don’t know what I was doing. On which the power went on.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Favourite

In response to WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Favourite Place.

To be miniaturised is not small-minded.
To love you needs more details than the Book of Kells—
Your harbours, your photography, your democratic intellect
Still boundless, chip of a nation.
—Robert Crawford 

Guess my favourite place!

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I’m on the Beach and My Mind Is a Scary Place

Don’t be alarmed. I’m not really on the beach. Global warming didn’t escalate so quickly as to bring the ocean to Europe’s centre. Though I’d very much like it. I mean, apart from the fact that a bunch of countries would literally drown, I’d get to live on an island, and it would be the end of the world.

My mind is a scary place. That’s probably alright, since the world is a scary place. In an attempt to counter this, I am mindful as fuck. My mind is full of it. Full of crap, that is. My crappy mindfulness (or mindful crappiness) manifests itself at its best (worse) when I meditate. Again, don’t be alarmed. I don’t really meditate.

I practise an approximation of meditation. I’d like to say that it leads nowhere, but that’s not entirely true. It leads to scary places. Such as the beach. Let me explain (finally). I was trying this meditation with visualisation when you imagine yourself on the beach. It was awful. No, I don’t mean awesome. It was the worst, as you can see for yourself in said video below.

Imagine yourself alone on a secluded beach, it starts. Not with these exact words, I don’t remember how it starts, but that’s how I now imagine it starts. Obviously, this is the perfect scenario for a horror movie. Or a dystopian movie. Or a perfectly normal average movie as seen by my dystopian horror mind.

This meditation setting raises a number of disturbing questions. How am I on a beach? I’m not on holiday, I don’t do holidays because holidays are for losers (and rich people). Where is everyone? Has there been the end of the world (finally) and did I miss it because I don’t watch the news? Where’s the murderer (or, even worse, the mugger)? I say, murder me anytime (as long as it doesn’t hurt—too much) but don’t you dare to mug me (because priorities).

Imagine yourself walking on the beach blah blah blah. Okay. It’s getting weirder and weirder. Why would I walk on a beach? It doesn’t look like I’m going to get my groceries or anything. I’m certainly not taking a walk because come on, I don’t walk purposelessly, I’m not a stray kitten. Speaking of which, where the fuck is my cat? Seriously. This is terrifying. Not knowing where I am is one thing but not knowing where my cat is is another. And much worse.

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A random model beach

It’s not like I’m not trying to play along. I imagine myself walking on the beach, as per request. But, did I apply sunblock? Am I wearing my prescription glasses or sunglasses? If the former, it’s pretty hazardous because I’m light-sensitive, and if the latter, it’s pretty hazardous because I’m semi-blind. Also, where’s my purse? The guiding voice doesn’t mention a purse. How is aimless wandering without your keys and wallet (and your cat) supposed to be a relaxing visual?

I’m stumped. Wait. I’m told I’m carrying a beach towel under my arm. What is this shit, the hitchhiker’s guide to galaxy? I shouldn’t be carrying a beach towel because I don’t own a beach towel. I’m sure I wouldn’t buy it, duh, so did I steal it or what? I’m trying to imagine the incriminating evidence away but the big brother voice tells me to spread the towel on the sand and sit on it. Sigh.

Great. So I’m sitting on a dubious towel on the ground in the middle of nowhere. Now what? This is extremely unproductive. I’m being bored to the brink of my early demise. The video was supposed to be ten minutes but it’s been like ten hours already. Hey, guys, move on, I got stuff to do and bills to pay. I can’t be doing nothing. It’s killing me. I can’t even. I think I suck at this shit. The voice finally says I’m free to go and threatens that I can return to here anytime I need. Anytime I need to get more anxious? Okay, thanks.

Weekly Photo Challenge: I’d Rather (Not) Be

In response to WP Weekly Photo Challenge: I’d Rather Be.

I’d rather not be, but if I had to be, I’d rather be my cat.

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Autumn Archives

I’m obsessively taking photos, on which I toss them in the archives and forget about them. So, I’m thinking, what the fuck, let’s post some of that old stuff on the blog. Extremely topical (not), here goes last year’s autumn.

An Instagram Week

So, I’m still on Instagram and still doing this 365 challenge—though I’m vehemently denying both that I’m doing it and that it’s an all-year-round challenge—when I’m taking and posting a photo a day on Instagram and then taking a week’s worth of snaps over to the blog because—well, I have no idea why. Here’s this week’s batch, if you can live with not knowing why I’m (not) doing this.

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5 March: See the question mark on the bin? This existentially inclined bin has no idea why it’s taking your crap.
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6 March: I went out and it was raining. End of story, if a story it was.
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7 March: I deeply regret this photo. It’s what is marketed as silky smooth tofu, but it looked like frozen sperm to me and tasted like—well, suffice to say that I threw it out, though I never throw food out.
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8 March: It was a sunny day. I haven’t seen the sun for so long that I struggled to figure out what that blazing light was about. I shot this through the bathroom window. The window glass is wrinkled like this so people can’t stare at me showering. 
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9 March: I went out and met potted flowers. They left me wondering who on earth would waste so much money on flowers that will promptly die anyway. Says a person who bought her cat potted grass for chewing.
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10 March: I maintain a colouring routine. Its purposes are mysterious because it’s neither useful nor relaxing. It’s just something I do.
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11 March: The flu/angina/cold I brought home from my trip to England is persistent as fuck. A week later, it’s not going anywhere. So here’s my current bestie, the tissue box.

Second-World Alternatives to First-World Products

I have the dubious (dis)advantage of living betwixt the first and the second worlds. My ass is sitting on a second-world chair, but the first world is at my fingertips, literally, through the internet. If you haven’t heard yet, what I define as second world are primarily post-communist countries in eastern Europe, which are, just like me, sitting uneasily between world one and world three, thus logically constituting world two. Makes sense, right?

Living in the second world entails having mostly second-world problems, which are pretty down-to-earth and typically revolve around the overarching question of how the fuck do I pay the bills. Assorted first-world problems do creep in, such as, what the fuck do I do with myself when the wifi is down, but mostly, first-world problems remain the source of endless hilariousness for me. You know, most first-world problems are not a thing here. Yep, they’re virtually nonexistent. Don’t everyone move in here.

In the unlikely scenario, though, that you’re a first-worlder looking to live in the second world (whatever crimes you committed to deserve that), here’s a helpful list of how to go about it. Among other things, your strategy must cover procuring alternatives for first-world products, which are here either entirely unavailable or are no way affordable. My insider advice is based specifically on Czechia, but should be applicable elsewhere too. Here you go. Take notes.

Item to substitute: iPhone, iPad and other iStuff
Get instead: normal stuff, huh

I suspect it’s not common knowledge in the first world, but when you want a smartphone, you don’t have to buy an iPhone. (Shocking, I know, but indulge me for a bit.) Just Google cheap smartphone in the local language and you shall be surprised to see that there are plentiful non-i-items in terms of phones, tablets, computers and laptops.

Be advised, however, that a tablet is not allowed. I can spare you the waste of money and tell you right away that a tablet doesn’t do anything that a phone or a laptop wouldn’t do. See, you’re already spending less!

Item to substitute: coffee machine
Get instead: kettle

Let’s make it clear straight away. You’re not drinking fancy coffee, and even if you wanted to, too bad, there are no more than two or three cities in this country where there’s a Starbucks. Take-away coffee, obviously, isn’t admissible anyway, so get used to making your own sooner rather than later.

What you do drink is called Turkish Coffee and has nothing to do with real Turkish coffee. For a recipe, see my earlier post. It’s pretty simple, wholesome, and all you need is a tin mug (if you want to go authentic), generic brand coffee and a means to boil water. If you really want to cut spending, you don’t even need a kettle, an oven will do; and if you don’t have an oven, use the fireplace in the middle of your room.

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Congrats! There’s a railway in your place!

Item to substitute: car
Get instead: bus ticket

This is another outrageous concept, but sorry not sorry, that’s what it is: you don’t need a car. Here, I said it. It’s good news really because you can’t afford a car, obviously. You used the money you saved up to pay for your driving licence already, which is good, you might need it in case you ever need to drive a get-away car.

Look around. It might be that there are buses, trams and trains around. See them? Good. You just got yourself a means of transport. Can’t see anything? Too bad. It looks like you live in the middle of nowhere, where there is no public transport. Never mind though, you can still walk. So put those silly stilettos away in the closet, you won’t be using them here.

Item to substitute: TV and/or Netflix subscription
Get instead: nothing

I’ll let you in to a secret: if you have a computer or laptop, you have zero need for a TV. Actually, TV ownership is here associated with the lower-class (euphemism for dumb people in this case), so if you’re keen on making it (i.e., making it until the next rent is due), you won’t bee needing this crap.

As to Netflix, don’t worry about it too much, it’s probably not available in your new region anyway. Despite globalism, don’t think that you could subscribe to an US version of Netflix or anything really. You can’t, you’re now in the wrong place. The main point is, however: you don’t pay for watching anything. If you find yourself doing it, you’re doing it wrong.

There is obviously so much more, so much more that you couldn’t wrap your mind around it, which is the reason why I’ll leave you to it for now. I might bring more advice later. Or not. In case I do, watch this space. (Instead of Netflix.)