Tuesday, 24 February 2009


Oh boy, it's been a few days now, but I'm still fuming!!! But the seething and the fire and brimstone and all that is finally losing some of the steam built up over the 5 days it took for me to finally get to the boat! This has got to be absolutely the worst crew change I've had! I think I'll leave it at that. Of course, the really scary bit is that with well over 6 more months to go here, I might be revising that evaluation on a regular basis :|.--

Onto other things, I finally decided to give the Song of Ice and Fire books a bit of a rest. Seeing how I really wasn't getting anywhere with the third book. Instead, I started with Asimov's Robot novels, something I've been planning to do for quite a while now! I'm already onto the second one, having finished The Caves of Steel, mostly waiting in airports. Actually thinking of leaving the second one for the travel on the way out, seeing how I only brought the two books.

I wish Mickey Rourke had won the Best Actor Oscar :). Having watched that pretty awesome acceptance speech of his at the Baftas, this might have been interesting :P. As for Slumdog, I guess I'm happy they won the lot, but I'm still wondering if it was really that good! What am I thinking?! These are the Oscars, when has actual merit had anything to do with who wins? :D

Currently: settling down
Listening to: Eels - Spunky

Monday, 16 February 2009

Quiet times

It's been a bit over a week since I got home. And it was a nice week, you know, the kind when you can happily lie low. Vegetate, almost :). Peace and quiet. Of course there were interruptions. But they were so few as to not even bear mention. I did make the visit to Shantiniketan, but it was a less than 24 hr kinda thing, so I was back before I knew it.I was almost beginning to get that good feeling, the comfortably settling in feeling, the relaxed feeling. I say I was, because even though I don't leave till tomorrow night, it's already long gone. Flights, visas, papers, packing... the usual. The end of peace and quiet :-<. Oh well, it was awesome while it lasted :).

I'm beginning to think, what with this almost perfectly peaceful (albeit truncated) break and the rather fun time at the office, this year might hold some promise :). We shall see. In the mean time, it's back to Angola, way too early for crew-x. God only knows what I shall do in Luanda for 2 full days :|. Oh well..

Feeling: rested, almost :)
Listening to: Explosions In The Sky - First breath after coma

Thursday, 12 February 2009

A blast from the past

Old books and old photographs. I have a few of the one, and way too many of the other... They have the bad habit of dragging you, kicking and screaming, back to a better time :-<. You laugh, despite yourself sometimes. But so much has changed between then and now, invariably, every time you look. In the end you just end up missing the good old days :).

Currently: missing stuff...
Listening to: Moby - 257.zero

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Flashbacks and conversations

Now that I've had a little time to recover, I suppose I'll get on with actually detailing some of the high points over the last 10 or so days that may have been somewhat overshadowed by intervening moments of... well, whatever :). I'm back home, by the way. And it's been a nice couple of days. Barring the reception of a neighbour's in-law's someone's someone's wedding the first night (yes I know, I knew absolutely no one!!), I've been able to sit back, relax and actually enjoy being home :). All that's about to change shortly, but what the hell, right now it's perfect :D.
One of those things that I'd completely forgotten about was that we'd gone ice skating! Yes, I was trying things, and it was too late to go snow-boarding anywhere :P. I must say I did quite well, sort of. Didn't fall even once! And I wasn't holding on to the wall all the time :D. Unfortunately, even though I managed to pretty much perfect the 'walking' on skates bit, didn't really get much skating done :). Not going back in a hurry :)).
Friday night yielded some interesting new acquaintances :). And what followed wasn't entirely a haze, but I'd probably do best to not remind myself of some of it :)). It's always fun meeting new people. Especially when they're all the type that spend half their lives bobbing along at 5 knots or less :P.
Unlike the previous weekend, we'd made somewhat more realistic plans this Saturday morning :). I was of course, hell bent on getting that bag! It turned out one of our company was in Oslo for the weekend expressly with tourism in mind. That provided me the perfect opportunity to go visit all the things I should have, but never actually had seen in and around Oslo! But first, we went in search of the only Crumpler store in the country! Found it quite quickly, and I even found exactly what I wanted! It turned out that two of the other three with me also found something they almost exactly wanted :). And these were the last few pieces of a massive sale :D. Then it was just a matter of managing to stuff the bags we were already carrying into the new ones, and we were all set!Seeing how we were already more than halfway to the famous Vigeland Sculpture Park, we decided to head over. It's ironic that had it not been for my hatred of early rising on weekends, I'd have been doing this a full 3 years back :|. But rather late than never, hey? Most of the pond was well frozen over, but some of it wasn't, so the ducks were actually fine ;).
After a very very necessary, and a very very large, hot, cup of coffee soon after and a very brief look at the waterfront, we were off to call it an early night. The next day was going to be the big one, hitting the Kongsberg slopes! That story has been told, I might only add that the following Monday morning was bad. Really bad :|. But by lunch I was already hatching plans of heading out again during the week! :D And then I went and bought myself a pair of ski pants! The absolutely most important feature? They're waterproof >:).
The rest of the week passed by in a bit of a blur and Thursday arrived! We headed off to Tryvann this time, the scene of my first attempt at taming the slopes in November! It went so much better!!! There were five of us, two of whom had never seen a snowboard before :D. One had seen it last about 15 years back. And us last two who had started our journey together in November :P. We were actually doing two runs easy for every one the other 3 were managing :D.
The thing with this is, the better you get, the more intoxicating it becomes!! And soon you're going faster and faster! I remember my fear on previous occasions whenever I'd pick up some speed, I suppose much of that was really a fear of lack of control. I firmly maintain, learn how to stop, and then you can absolutely gun it! :D We just kept going till our legs were about ready to give up. Unfortunately, when that happens, even the easiest turn seems absolutely impossible to make :). Resulting, of course, in crashes very reminiscent of my first attempt :D.
We finally decided to call it a day pretty close to closing time, which is 10pm! I was beyond exhausted, but was half-seriously thinking of going back Friday! Unfortunately, I'd had my left hand run over by another guy on a snow-board, and once out of the freezing conditions, it was swelling fast :(.
Ended up finally packing up the stuff I was going to leave behind, namely my travel companions on most of my adventures over the last couple of years. And paid a rather ill-advised visit to our usual Friday night haunt for dinner. To cut a rather long story short, there wasn't much time left for sleep before my morning flight :|. When I did get to Gardermoen, I swear, I have never seen it snowing that hard! I knew the guys were heading back for the slopes again, and I was well and truly jealous!

But I suppose it was cool watching as they actually washed down the planes before take-off, to get rid of the massive amounts of snow accumulated on the wings and the fuselage! What followed was a very long trip back with very little sleep. But yes, I was very very thankful for the absence of the check-in bag :).

Currently: missing the snow (it's 20 degrees here :|)
Listening to: Nick Drake - One of these things first

Friday, 6 February 2009

Where do I turn now?

This has got to have been the best time I've had at office in a while. And I suppose I owe it mostly, if not entirely to the fact that I am now absolutely addicted to snowboarding! Life sucks though. In ways that really hurt. The 'life sucks, period' kind of way.

I am thankful for one perfect day. I am regretting everything around it for weeks before (and probably after, and do note the plural, there's loads of weeks involved here, come to think of it).

I am aware of how little time it takes to make the awesomest of connections, with people, as with places, things, ideas. And equally, and much more painfully, aware of how little it takes to shatter it all to a million shards of blood stained mirror glass, each with a tiny fragment of you trapped in it forever. Till you lose it, or forget about it. Or till it forgets about you.

I am questioning every choice I have ever made. I am doubting every choice I'm making that will probably dictate my life in the near (and maybe not so near) future.

I am tired. I am wired. I am worried. I am scared. (Obviously. What do you think? I'm the uber stable, fundamentally not-crazy, rational being I try to make myself out to be? Hell no!!!)

I will be back here at the end of March, and the guy at the last ski slope I went to, last night, said that the snow stays put till the end of April. So there is hope yet.

Oh yes. It's all about the snowboarding.

Feeling: weird
Listening to: Moby - Live for tomorrow

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

False alarm

A fire, a fire
You can only take what you can carry
A pulse, your pulse
It's the only thing I can remember

I break, you don't
I was always set to self-destruct, though
The fire, the fire
It cracks and barks like primal music
If your world were to go up in flames. What would you want to take? And when you cant, what would you do? Would you hesitate? Stay, and watch the flesh melt off your bones? Or cut and run, knowing that there will always be a hollow in your soul?

Currently: looking back
Listening to: Snow Patrol - If there's a rocket tie me to it

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Who's the man?!!!! :D

There aren't many days you can say this about, but today was about the awesome-est day I have had in a while. And just in case you didn't get it, to say that that was an understatement, would in itself be an understatement of some significant magnitude :). And given that yesterday had already been a brilliant day in its own right, this weekend has been the best I've probably ever had here!!
We went snow-boarding :). Well, I went snow-boarding, and another 7 rather reckless people with equally little clue about sliding on snow on board type things went skiing :D. Let me tell you one thing right at the outset, crashing out on a snow-board looks way cooler than on skis :)). No tangled legs, no bits and pieces flying off all over the place, just the cloud of freshly plowed snow :P.
My first attempt at this had been during my last trip here. I'd learned from that occasion and duly had my old 'Norway' gloves handy. And boy, do I now have respect for them or what!? But it must be said, I have made significant progress. Put it this way, that last time, I only made it down the slope one time, and during the entire painful length of it, I stopped several times. Only, my version of stopping then was to merely turn back, fall face forward on the slope and pretty much drag half the mountain side down till I ground to a stop :|. Yes, not very pretty. And of course my fingers bore the brunt of that trip. I forget how many strangers asked me on the way down if I was quite alright :|.

This time, I am very proud to say, I realised I can actually stop. As in properly! And in a very controlled manner make my way down even relatively steep slopes :D. I am obviously totally over the moon :D. What I haven't been able to do yet is let myself go and gather too much speed. As they say, you crawl before you can walk.
It helped that Kongsberg has a special, quite tiny, slope especially for beginners :D. And believe it or not! I was actually approached for advice on how to stop with a snowboard!!! By a Norwegian!!! Okay so she was like 2 years old or something. Maybe 8. But again, I was totally kicked :D. This is the land where people (I refuse to call them kids on ski-slopes :|) reaching about as high as your knee go sailing past with complete control on skis and snowboards, backwards, while you are trying to get back on your feet, yet again :|.

But what I really am glad about is the fact that I actually mustered the courage to go to the top of the proper slopes, and then make my way down the 2.2 km 'easy' slope! Tell you what? Felt like 200 kms :|. But the views were so totally spectacular (when I was sprawled out on the snow and hence looking around instead of concentrating on not ending up sprawled out on the snow :|). If only my cam hadn't run out of battery half way down the slope :-<.
Yes, I am going to pay for this. Tomorrow, probably even the rest of the week :D. What with the bruised knees, ankle and wrist, and God knows how many other bruises that are yet to reveal themselves... But it was so totally worth it!! Now if only I can actually squeeze in another trip on Friday before I leave!!

Feeling: on top of the world :D
Listening to: Khaled Sara - Aisha