Friday, January 27, 2012

Women, Can't Live With Them, I Recommend You Live Without Them

M and I have lived in sin for about two years now, and I think the arrangement has generally been a great success. But today M did something that he’s never done before. He offered to vacuum without me nagging on him first. And as realization hit me, I was horrified. M is living with a woman, and it has broken him.

See, the thing is, I’ve lived with a woman. I know what it’s like. And I don’t recommend it. First, there’s the constant fighting over who cleans what. Women suffer from the ridiculous illusion that a house needs cleaning at least once a week, whether it’s dirty or not.

And when you’re living with a woman, slowly but surely every single surface in the house begins to fill with useless crap. In every damn corner there’s a plant in a cute teddy bear pot, and thousands of useless items meant solely for decoration, “I just had to buy this porcelain frog; it goes so well with the curtains.” And the curtains, carpets, bedding and towels all change once a week into a new and improved pastel color.

Kiss me!

The bathroom cabinets are so full with products it’s a miracle if you can find your toothbrush; there’s hairsprays, lotions, weird soaps you’re not allowed to wash your hands with, and every person needs their own towel to dry their hands with. And if by some miracle you can find your toothbrush, you sure as hell can’t find anything else, because nothing ever stays in the same place for longer than a week. You’re supposed to leave your keys in the tiny pink key cabinet, but of course you won’t be able to do that, because even Barbie couldn’t fit her keys in that cabinet, so you’re really keeping your keys in a smelly old tin (got it at the flea market) with a lid that’s impossible to open. And the tin is kept on a dresser in the hallway, but even the dresser won’t stay in the same place for very long. “Hmm, let’s try it over there in the corner... no it doesn’t go with the cat statue, how about over there? No, the feng shui isn’t quite right..”

Smelly old tins.

You can never watch hockey, because oh my god, Sex and the City is on! And on the tv there’s scented candles. Actually, there’s scented candles on every horizontal surface, but whatever you do, do not light them because then they won’t look pretty anymore.

You can never have friends over without first baking and cleaning so people won’t think your apartment is a mess. And when you have people over, you have to drink your coffee or tee from tiny little pretty cups and asking for more is rude, and so is saying no thank you when actually offered a refill. And the coffee isn’t kept in its original packaging, no. It’s in a separate jar, as is everything else. Sugar, flour, salt and rice, everything has its own little jar that is incredibly unpractical and “so pretty!” And those jars keep moving around in the kitchen until you’re just choosing a jar at random and hoping for the best. Even the content of the jars change once a week.

Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan will be your new best friends, because every movie you’ll see is a romantic comedy, and because it’s completely impossible to watch a movie without doing your nails, washing your hair or writing a blog post at the same time, you’re continuously answering questions like “Who’s that?” “What’s he doing now and why can’t that guy in Seattle just take a sleeping pill?” And while you’re watching your romantic comedy you’ll hear all about what her friends did this weekend, and why their boyfriends didn’t like it.

In short, living with a woman sucks.

And now M’s living with a woman. Poor guy.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Perhaps Awesome Was A Bit Of A Stretch

This New Year M and I decided we needed to travel, and it so happens that my very good internet friend from exotic India was in Germany as an exchange student. We got together in a dark coffee shop at the corner of the internet and hashed out the plans. We’ve both always wanted to see Prague, and this was the perfect opportunity. However, M and I were in a bit of a hurry to get back to work, and Eesha would be leaving Germany for India just a couple days after New Year’s Eve. This, of course, made things a little bit complicated. But after hours of deep contemplation, 27 virtual lattes and 14 not-so-virtual doughnuts, we had it all figured out.

Eesha, the lucky bitch, would arrive in Prague on the 29th. M and I would try to get off work early on Friday the 30th, hop on a plane to Stockholm, take another plane from Stockholm to Copenhagen and catch a connecting flight from Copenhagen to Prague, arriving late in the evening. Arranging this wasn’t easy, I’m telling you, especially since I needed a double seat on every flight on account of having 14 doughnuts in one session.

Thursday night, Eesha checked in with us, letting us know the hotel was perfect, and the city even better. I had all my bags packed, and on Friday I woke up at 6 am to go to work with a smile on my face. After work we left for the airport and set out to travel all across Europe on the death-machines called airplanes, before we could finally arrive in Prague.

The flight from Copenhagen to Prague was perfect. It was on time, and since there were so few passengers everyone got to ride in first class. The flight attendants asked everyone what they wanted to eat and cooked different meals for everyone. Alcohol flowed and the captain made jokes over the intercom, including a very good imitation of Pablo Francisco. The weather was perfect, and because of a decent tailwind, the flight arrived an hour early. In the middle of the flight, Elvis (I’ll have you know that the rumors of his death are greatly exaggerated) stood up and treated everyone to a fantastic concert and signed everyone’s plane tickets. After the performance, all the passengers decided to play the lottery, and miraculously won 72 million dollars. Each.

At least that’s what I assume happened. I wouldn’t really know, we never made that flight. Nope, we were stuck in Stockholm. Norwegian airlines apologized for the delay, gave us a hotel room, fed us and put us on a flight from Stockholm to Prague at a time when not even breakfast was awake yet. It was an extraordinarily ordinary flight; two minutes late, bland food and indifferent flight attendants. But it got us to Prague.

We arrived in Prague 12 hours later than we had planned, but luckily Eesha hadn’t run off and left us with the hotel bill. We spent about 10 minutes making sure we didn’t spontaneously hate each other, and then set out to conquer Prague together. We saw everything we could possibly see in one day, and even if I tried I could never, ever pronounce, spell or remember any of the names of the things and places we saw. But we saw a nice square with a nice statue for the late Vaclav Havel, we saw extremely deep subways and ate very good local delicacies. We went in search of a castle on a hill, found it, and nearly died from the climb up the hill. We witnessed the spectacle that is the Astronomical Clock and climbed the tower. We saw the Powder Tower and the Charles Bridge, where we together with ten thousand other people also became the very mangled audience of the most spectacular fireworks ever while sipping a miniature bottle of absinthe. We also saw a lot of furry hats and museums of torture. The Czech clearly have a thing for furry torture.

A Finn, taking a picture of an Indian, taking a picture of a building.
Searching for the castle, finding only empty streets.

We found the castle! Too bad it's too big to fit in the picture.
Around the castle a great wall ran, and beyond, the city of Prague.

Next stop, Hell.

"Don't mind me, just holding up a building here."

View from the tower at the Astronomical Clock.

Have I mentioned I hate heights?

This charming little fellow rang the bell every hour at the Astronomical Clock.

New Year's Eve at Charles Bridge, where someone standing behind me either has a banana in his pocket, or just sexually assaulted me.

The next day we woke up early and rode trains all day long. Unfortunately, so did a lot of other people, and the first hour or so was spent trying to ignore an extremely loud family of two mommies and two kids. When they weren’t screaming and crying (even the moms), they were playing loud videogames on little portable devices from hell.

Luckily we soon crossed into the country that boasts not only Oktoberfest, sauerkraut and bratwurst, but also 5 million skeletons in their closet. At the same time the Czech announcements on the train stopped and a very well-organized lady started doing the announcements in German instead. And that’s pretty much how the rest of our trip was, extremely organised thanks to the Germans and their obsession with neat and orderly. We jumped onto another train in Dresden, and yet a new one in Leipzig. We arrived in Magdeburg in the evening, and didn’t have time do to much more than take a walk and have dinner. Oh, and share quarters with a dozen ghosts or so. We spent the night in an old University dormitory that was clearly haunted. It looked haunted, felt haunted and sounded haunted. The bathroom was at the end of the hallway, and I’ll bet you anything that the clanking sound in the pipes wasn’t made by rats. And it wasn’t Casper the Friendly Ghost clanking either, no, this was The Shining, dubbed to German. Luckily we only had to stay there one night, and then it was off to Berlin.

Berlin was lovely, and just as well-organized as the rest of Germany. We had 24 hours in Berlin, and we used the time well. We saw the Bundestag, Brandenburger Tor, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (quite the fetching name for a memorial, don’t you think?), what is left of the Berlin Wall, the hugely phallic TV-tower and Checkpoint Charlie. We had some currywurst and were ridiculously happy when we didn’t have to pay extra for Wi-Fi at the hotel. We rode the subway and the trains and marvelled at the railway stations, built high above the city. And even I who have only taken basic German, ages ago, understood almost everything said. A lovely place, it was.

I looked up "haunted house" on Wikipedia, then hit "Deutsch", only to learn that there is no such listing in German. Germans are clearly too sensible for ghosts.
Not actual wall.
The square at Brandenburger Tor.

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

The one thing that really truly stayed with me, though, was the very aptly named memorial. Huge slabs of concrete, lined up perfectly over an entire block. On the outside it looked perfectly even, all blocks the same size. And then you started walking between the blocks, and the ground sank into the earth, you found yourself walking down a slope, the concrete blocks on either side of you growing taller and taller. What started as innocent blocks at knee-level grew into 15-foot tall monsters, blocking out the light, towering over you in a perfect metaphor for the deep dark secrets of Berlin. I could have walked around in it all night, but alas, we had things to do, places to sightsee.

We left Berlin the next day, and I got that familiar angsty feeling when I heard Finnish spoken on the airport. After another death-defying flight home, the bus driver’s laconic welcome made me feel perfectly at home again. We arrived in Turku at 10 at night, crawled into bed and got up at 6 am the next day to go to work. 

And just like that, the adventure was over.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Post After This Post Will Be Awesome

Yoda went completely ballistic when he noticed his parts were missing.

 Yup, that’s right, I’ve hacked the balls off of yet another perfectly good cat. Don’t worry, though, I won’t go into the details, so my male readers can now uncup their balls and stop cringing. And I do, in fact, have better things to write about than cats, although, the internet never feels entirely complete without cat pictures.

See, M and I went out searching for adventure during the New Years. And adventure we found. It was pretty easy to find it, as a matter of fact, it was just lying there in the middle of the street. In Prague. And in Magdeburg. And in Berlin. Check in again at the end of the week and I’ll brag shamelessly tell you all about our trip.

Also, tune in for next week’s episode of the Cat Blog, where we’ll be discussing the age-old question posed by every castrated cat since the knife was invented. “Can cats adopt?” *