Alex's Alliterative Adventures

Thoughts on Programming, Life, and Travel

Archive for the 'Sweden' Category

Easter Eggstravaganza

I decided to celebrate the successful return of my luggage by allowing myself the one guilty pleasure I’ve been craving since I got home: laundry. Which, incidentally, also means blog post. And underwear. Sweet, sweet underwear. (My underwear)

Although she probably won’t be posting about Naked Night (she wasn’t home a the time), Pinka’s blog has slowly become a better source for Alex-related updates than mine. She covers the Easter breakfast pretty well, complete with photos if you rummage deep enough. The only significant Alex-update that you won’t get from the fingers of Pinka is Sweden: part 2.

Sweden was absolutely amazing. My concerns melted away the instant I saw Nina waving at me in the airport. I’m still reminiscing about how unimaginably perfect our week was. Getting to spend almost 7 days making up for lost time is not an opportunity I expect to be given again anytime soon, and we damn sure made the best of it.

Now that I’m back on Canadian soil, I’m throwing myself into work, getting ready to move to London’s newest hotspot, and drawing triangles. And rarely, rarely blogging.



As the more astute among you may have noticed, the ol’ blog’s getting a little rusty. A few exciting things have happened recently, like a drunken Guitar Hero fest with a few future housemates, a snowboarding weekend that got rained out, an ass-picnic of dudity, and the shins live at the Kool Haus in Toronto.

The shins were particularly awesome not just because of the lead singer’s incredibly refined voice, but also due to the surprising amount of kickass offered by Viva Voce. The rock duo’s first lyrics, “Hey y’all”, caused me a bit of worry, but they immediately swept it away with a resounding “We do not fuck around”. I felt relieved. I was in the presence of professionals: there was not going to be any more fucking around going on than was absolutely necessary. They proceeded to teach the males in the audience that the hottest thing that a girl can possibly do is to shred lick after lick on her electric guitar. Seriously ladies, if you want to bag that cute guy, forget lingerie, just show him that he should salute you, since you are among those about to rock.

I’ll be leaving my guitar behind when I spend next week in Sweden. I’ll be MIE (Mostly In Europe) from the 21st to the 27th, so drop me a line if you’re in the area. My schedule’s pretty full while I’m over there, but there might be time for a cup of coffee.

There’s a part of me that wishes I wasn’t so busy (read: lazy), because I still have thousands of pictures from the EU to sort through, some of which no human eyes have ever seen. I had awesome plans for a montage, and although I feel slightly inspired whenever I hear that one South Park song, my strength of will usually overcomes a pesky amount of inspiration.

ps. watch heroes it’s awesome


Blogs on a plane

I’ve used every precious second the past week has offered up to me, and it still wasn’t enough time. There’s a good chance that my blogging will be fairly sparse until I start work on the 2nd. Happy holidays, everyone.

In the mean time, here’s what goes on in my head during a plane ride:

17:25 CEST
Never before have I had to say such difficult goodbyes. I can’t stop wishing that the people I left behind will be there when I land. One of the most important people I have ever met gave me a parting gift that almost moved me to tears – a pen and a book. I’m supposed to use the book to write my life’s to-do list and fill the pages with pictures, memories, and whatever else inspires me. I can’t bear to touch ink to paper yet; I need to be so sure of my words that it would be impossible for me to taint the sheets with anything less than the perfection they deserve. Thanks, puzzle piece, I’ll miss you whenever a sunset’s dying colours dance across my face.

17:49 CEST
The clouds below the plane stretch out as far as the eye can see. We rocket over an invisible earth, chasing a sunset that’s always just a bit further away. I feel like I’m coasting above something so fragile that it’s ethereal, yet something so massive and significant that all the hands in the world couldn’t begin to alter its steady gait.

19:11 CEST
new observations:
-the sun has set
-I left something precious to me in a city I’ve never visited
-arrested development is funnier than I remember (the WMDs were actually balls)
-I will now see every dollar I spend as a dollar I could’ve used to save up 550€
-I never did see snakes on a plane

21:22 CEST
Even though the sun set hours ago, we’re still feebly chasing the last orange streaks. It’s pretty poetic for an Airbus A340.

21:30 CEST
This week, on Fresh Philosophy From PhAl – er, me: On Optimism

I think it’s fair to say that I’m a generally happy guy. All it takes to make my day is a good chat with a friend, a plateful of cookies, or a pleasantly resonant nickel. I’ve spent many an hour explaining to people how easy it is to make yourself happy – just focus on the small things, don’t sweat the petty things, and don’t pet the sweaty things. A healthy appreciation of shiny things never hurts either. I also have a habit of preaching the wonders of optimism, which I consider to be the only useful outlook on life.

That being said, sometimes the only reaction a situation warrants is a bit of melancholy. To smile through is to dismiss, to forget is to insult. It’s not a matter of depression or needing to be cheered up; right now I just have some petting to do.

21:54 CEST
Keanu Reaves + romantic comedy (romcom for you brits) = potential for comedy plutonium

23:44 CEST
Using the city lights outside my window as my only guide, I think I’m now on the senseless leg of the journey – the bit where I’m west of everything important and still going.
I’d forgotten how limited your options are on a plane. When sleep won’t come (which is often) and you’ve watched all the movies you’d never otherwise watch but you’ve found a way to tolerate (which is inevitable), there’s little left to hold your thoughts at bay. I think of the past, of the future, of my dwindling bank account, of my ravenous ambitions, and of how goddammit Nina, you still owe me a cheesecake recipe.

00:00 CEST
The cityscapes at night look like a child’s artwork made of glue, glitter, and stars.

00:15 CEST
I’ve changed my mind; the lights look more like a neon growths on a patchwork quilt. Or I guess kind of like a bunch of buildings with lights on them.

20:14 CST
Oh god, I forgot how fat Americans are.

In other news, it’s currently -1°C in Toronto. Now THAT’S weather.

21:16 CST
It’s amazing how much easier it is to get on a plane when boarding it doesn’t mean tearing yourself from friends you won’t see again for far too long.

23:53 EST
Home. There are two things on my mind: Tim Horton’s, and an asshole.


T minus 2 hours

Bags have been packed, trees have been climbed, goodbyes have been said, doors have been climbed, rooms have been cleaned, fire escapes have been climbed, and I generally climbed a lot of stuff.

I’ll see you all soon, but no one as soon as I’d like.

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This Morning’s Exam Report

Hours spent studying: 5
Hours spent in line for the club: 1.5
Hours spent dancing, drinking, and stripping: 2
Hours spent sleeping: 3
Hours spent writing exam: 2.5
Hours spent grabbing life by the nuts and twisting: 11/14, since sleeping greatly reduces my capacity to twist nuts

I’ll leave for home soon enough when I leave my home behind.

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Make like a tree

This morning marked the departure of two more friends from Sankt Lars. The floor dinner is tonight, Friday I’ll be studying for my exam on Saturday, Saturday night will be spent poisoning my liver, Sunday morning will be full of goodbyes, manly coughs and getting unusually large amounts of dust in my eyes, Norway takes up Sunday – Tuesday, and I return home on Tuesday after a brief stint in Copenhagen. It will be great to see everyone from back home again, but I’m really going to miss everyone here. There’s a common tie that binds everyone here together in a way I haven’t really felt before, we’ve become more than just neighbours; we’re a community. Sunday is going to be a very, very long day.

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Get me my teeth, boy

I have no choice but to give Ryan Air a terrible review. Yes, the ticket was cheap. Yes, the flight arrived early. Yes, my plane was pleasantly free of snakes of any noticable size. BUT I CAN’T HEAR. My right ear has been plugged for almost 12 hours. In my last-minute rush, I forgot to bring gum to chew on for the descent. I’m also mildly sick. However, the real culprit here is clearly Ryan Air; their planes simply have shitty cabin pressure, and we all know that poor cabin pressure leads to angry passengers, which leads to civil unrest, which leads to terrorism. And so, the reason for my negative review:

Ryan Air hates democracy.
And kittens.


Drive-by arguments

Well, I’m leaving in under 3 hours to catch a bus, then a plane, then a train, then a taxi, then a couch. After that, some stuff should happen.

For those of you in the london area, give me a ring for a pint or two. This is not a request.

I’ll be back on Sunday. See you cats later.

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So I’m a lazy ass, and I still haven’t uploaded the pictures. I probably won’t get it done any time soon, since there are a lot of other things on my plate which always seem to take priority. For example, booking my tickets to London.

I’m probably not going to cause too much anarchy in the UK while I’m there from the 5th to the 10th. At the moment, I don’t know how the trip will work out. I could be crashing with any combination of family members, friends, family members of friends, hostels, and random internet stalkers. I’ve had a few choice locations and activities recommended to me as things-I-must-do-or-suffer-eternal-regret, but my actual plans consist of a vague, fuzzy picture of people calling each other chap as they spin in the lorry for a quid, tally-ho. If you guys have any travel recommendations, I’d love to hear them.

When I get back, I spend around 2 days studying for each of my exams, then I say my final goodbyes to Sankt Lars. I’ll be floating to Oslo on the 17th, arriving on the 18th, and floating back for the 19th. I’ll spend a brief morning in Copenhagen and do my best to ingrain every last memory I’ve taken from these past four months, then I’m airborne and Canada-bound. Even though I’m definitely going to return to Europe in a few years and rekindle some of the amazing friendships I’ve made here, there’s an air of finality that I just can’t shake. As a coop student, the only constant in my life has been change; when you leave everyone you know for a new city every four months, you get used to wiping the slate clean without batting an eye. I never realized it before, but what I used to think were endings were simply pauses. Just when I think I’ve left people behind for good, I’ll bump into Chris Charlton at 2am on a Sunday night outside of the Burlington go station, or I’ll pass Pratik on the street in two separate cities in the span of two weeks. It’s true what they say, it’s a small world. I guess my small world is just feeling a bit bigger.

A less melancholy thought: There is almost nothing in this world that I like better than swapping philosophies with an eloquent stranger. There’s a sense of reaffirmation that’s undeniable about knowing that other people are just as bewildered as you are, and there are few things more satisfying than helping one another pick up the pieces when you’ve opened each other’s eyes to truths so beautiful they bring your worldview to its knees.

Pip pip, jolly good, ya wanker.

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NWERC 2006

First of all, I think that going for more than a full week without blogging earns me the title of Lazy Bastard.  That’s officially my longest hiatus ever, not counting the 20 some years I went without feeling the need to tell the world my current mood and song. (In case you were wondering: lethargic, and Sugarcult – Memory (Acoustic) from Punk Goes Acoustic.  Dear christ, that song is addictive.)

I was originally delaying this post until I had all of my pictures sorted and uploaded, but seeing as I just showed an impressive outburst of intellectual capacity by deleting every picture Mehrdad had given me, I figured I’d just upload them later and let you all browse the pics at your leisure. If you’re the picture enjoying sort, keep an eye on that them thar side bar over thar. When words fail me, the pictures may still fight the good internet fight.

Team Waterlund, consisting of Mehrdad, Farzan, and myself, started the weekend off by visiting the Absolute Ice Bar Stockholm, which was quite the experience. I’m mentally filing it in the same category as bungee jumping, which I generally refer to as “incredibly awesome shit which I will never do again until I learn how to exhale pure money.” The pictures I grabbed of this place were only mostly recoverable by Undelete Plus, but in the mean time you can enjoy the latest installment of the video blog:

After a brief reexposure with a nearly-Canadian climate, Farzan and I headed for the Iron Maiden concert. Since we arrived at the sold-out concert an hour and a half after it started, my hopes weren’t high, but Farzan’s black voodoo magic had us moshing on the stadium floor enjoying a band I thought was retired or dead with what must have been 30,000 other fans. This guy seriously knows his way around a concert.

Saturday was a day of business. It was a day of

and collaboration.

Sunday was a day of abysmal failure. Team Waterlund didn’t provide too much honour to our families on that particular day. It was a great learning opportunity, though, and I’m so glad that I was given the chance to advance to the regionals with my teammates and compete with some of the finest minds I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Plus, Iron Maiden rocked hardcore.

Since last weekend, a few other events of note have occurred, such as student beatdowns, obfuscated political segmentations, the replacement of several doors with “fire-safety walls”, and a toga mosh pit.

The biggest scapegoat for my lack of blogging motivation this week was the prospect of sorting through pictures, movies, and files from the Stockholm weekend. I think that in the future, I’ll just continue to post other stuff in non-chronological order to prevent the tubes from getting clogged. As a random note, for those of you that have to deal with tons of photos or other media, what do you use to organize your files? How do you find duplicates, how do you sort and categorize them, and how do you post far too many details of your life to the content-absorbing void that is the internet?


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