Idol

Posted: January 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’m the opposite of moderate, immaculately polished, with a spirit of a hustler and the swagger of a college kid. Allergic to the counterfeit, impartial to the politics, articulate but still will grab a fella by the collar quick.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about the US and A.

New season of American Idol has started. And I am saying this because of one single reason that I forgot to mention last time. While waiting in Detroit airport for passport control a guy (thirties, half bold, forgettable, probably French) went before me. Officer: goal of your visit? Guy – mumbles something. Officer – excuse me? Guy – mumbles something a bit louder. Officer – oh, so you’re here for an Idol show?

Americans can’t drive. I know it’s a bit rich coming from a guy whose only driving experience was driving courses to get the driving licence 9 years ago (I passed. From the third time. With a bribe.) but just trust me on this. Sometimes they don’t want to drive. Sometimes = whenever there is 5-7 inches of snow, only Lithuanians come to the office. Fucken amazing. And whenever snow falls we see lots of crashed cars on the way to work. Sometimes snow is not even required. Cars on the roof. Cars in the bushes. Cars that broke some roadside trees. And all of this along the highway, which is… yes, you guessed it right, STRAIGHT. Fruits and vegetables that look like clones and are so shiny that you can use them as a mirror. A tavern with a pool table, Elvis-themed pinball machine and music jukebox and an old guy with a massive beard who is watching how Lithuanians are playing pool and trying to come up with a playlist for (7 songs for 2 dollars, out of which only 4 are being played later), burps so loudly that you could probably hear that in California and says “play some good redneck song”. You couldn’t make this shit up.

Been to Boston couple of weeks ago. Beautiful city. You get a feeling “yup, I could live here”. Went to Prudential tower where you can have a 360 degrees view of Boston from 50-something floor. Went to Boston Science Museum. Getting geeky with it. Haven’t been in a museum for centuries. Yes, I’m aging that well, thank you. If you’re a child (or just an immature geeky adult), you’re bound to like it. IMAX theatre with FIVE-FLOOR HIGH screen that goes beyond your visual circle of sight so you have to actually keep turning your head left and right, up and down to see the full view. A place where children can try to sneak up to a bird (a child stand in one end, and has to sneak to a bird sitting on a branch (a filmed one, not real) through a corridor of motion detectors. If you approach too fast, the bird flies away). And they have these things http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_de_Graaff_generator. They can make (and do make) lightning bolts. Just like in movies. 2 million volts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_de_Graaff_generator#Van_de_Graaff_generators_on_display. And they are even louder than the redneck guy. Museum store is awesome. Lots of funny stuff. Ice-cream powder used by astronauts in space. T-shirts that say “May the E=mc2 be with you” or “Pluto 1930-2006: Revolve in Peace”. And so on.

For the end, some phrases that I have had pleasure to encounter here. A) pigs get fatter, hogs get slaughtered; B) my dad told mewhenv I was little: Son, there are smart people in this world, and you should always listen to them and do what they say (coming from a factory worker in our plant), and C) Remember Caesar’s “I came, I saw I conquered?” Well, I prefer “I saw. I conquered. I came. I smoked a cigarette”.

Next time I will give a brief introduction into the world of scallops. But now it’s time to watch some po… go to bed.
I’m coming to Lithuania on 27th of February, will be 2-3 days in Vilnius and Kaunas each, then leave again. I’m available for venue bookings, private meetings and offers of sexual nature. And offer expires on 5th of March. So don’t miss your chances.
 

K2

Posted: January 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

So, party people in the area, as most of you already know I moved to work to the United States of America. Yup, the same ones. Continuing the same tradition as while being in Norway, I decided to write a blog. It serves several purposes: a) I am too lazy to write personal emails and updates to all of you or explain to 43rd person whether I’m eating well b) It’s my way of keeping in touch with you lot c) because I am arrogant enough to think that I am a so-so writer and I want more practice d) exceedingly simple – because I can (the first one naming the reference gets a prize. And I have a feeling I know who the winner will be).  This time the blog is in English because there too many people all over the world that love me very much. Yes, I’m that cool. And all the native speakers picking on punctuation and grammar can simply stick it 🙂 So, here we go.

So there I was, back to Lithuania after my Master studies and McDonald’s career in Norway. Looking for a job, of course. And a good one. MSc, byatch. And of course, nothing went as planned. So at the end I was in the interview process with a local IKEA office when my good old friend working on the other side of the pond wrote me on Skype on the first week of December. It went something like this: “Hey, are you working already? Nope, not yet. What do you think about the States? Potentially interested. Do you have time? Yep. I’ll call you then in half an hour. Deal”. The conversation lasted for 16 minutes, he talked about the job, I asked about the conditions and some worries I had, asked to come up with an answer on Monday (it was Tuesday), he wanted it by Friday, I said “yes” on Wednesday after a sleepless night. And here we are.  

If I was a mystical being, I would see some signs of that coming. My sleeping rhythm (or lack of it) was quite well known and documented in my thesis acknowledgements since for quite a while I was living according to the US time. Then, I started watching American football a couple of months ago. No, for real. It’s a great fun. And little by little New England Patriots became one of my favorite teams. Why is this relevant? Because I ended up in the freakin New England. I live the State of Massachusetts, town of Mattapoisett (6.5 THOUSAND inhabitants), I work in a nearby by town New Bedford, a.k.a. The Whaling City, ex-center of whaling industry (100.000 inhabitants), which are located around 100 km south of Boston. You can google about New England and those particular towns in your spare time. Which brings us nicely to the origin of the blog title. Let me quote Wikipedia:

A humorous aphorism attributed to E. B. White summarizes these distinctions:

To foreigners, a Yankee is an American.
To Americans, a Yankee is a Northerner.
To Northerners, a Yankee is an Easterner.
To Easterners, a Yankee is a New Englander.
To New Englanders, a Yankee is a Vermonter.
And in Vermont, a Yankee is somebody who eats pie for breakfast.
Thus, the Yankees.

 If you’re still with me, we get to the funny part quite soon. Just hold on.

My trip to the USA was quite something. The timing could not have been more perfect – all those snow storms on the East Coast and Europe. Yummy. The flight was scheduled for 6.45 a.m. on December 26. I met one of my colleagues at the airport. The flight was, of course delayed. Only for half an hour, though. We landed in Amsterdam for a transfer. Waited for almost six hours. Then found out that our flight got canceled. Waited till a third colleague joined us from Berlin and went to figure something out. We got an emergency rebooking to Detroit, and took the 8.5 hour transatlantic flight. After we landed we found out that the closest flight to Boston is only in the morning, so we spent a night in a hotel. In the morning – you guessed it right – the flight was canceled. So we waited for an hour in the line to find out what to do next. And you’re right again – it was the wrong line. So we went to the correct one where two Detroit sistas Jacqueline and Jamarra were at our service. With inescapable “Do you know how to do it? It worked for me. Once.” we found out that the best we can get is being put on a standby list for the 1 p.m. flight (it was 9 a.m.) and hope that there are enough free places if some passengers did not arrive. When we asked “how many people are on standby list already?” we got “Do you really wanna know?”. We didn’t. So we spent 4 more hours waiting, got no luck, and went to Hertz to rent a car. 764 miles to drive?  Nope, let’s go back to the airport to get the tickets for tomorrow. What? Everything’s sold out until 31st  of December?  Fuck it, let’s go back for the car. And so we started hour 12 hour road trip. It had everything a road trip should have – stops at petrol stations, McDonald’s, being stopped by a police officer in a fancy Dodge, Sat Nav guidance, and so on. Since we trusted our GPS completely, we encountered the weirdest part of our trip. At some point we hit yet another tollbooth, paid the money, drove couple hundred of meters and hit the que of cars near what seemed to be another toll. Nope, it wasn’t. It was Canadian border. We looked at GPS again. Yep, the shortest route (that’s what we wanted) went through Canada. Sonow I’ve officially been to Canada. Andreaa & Olga, sorry for not visiting, but circumstances (stomachs and bladders as well) dictated that we should not stop there. On our way we visited Niagara Falls. Well, more like passed them. In the dark. On the Road. Seeing nothing else but trucks, shops and factories (wtf are factories doing near Niagara Falls?). And so, at 4.30 a.m. we finally arrived home. And at 9 a.m. we were already at work. Luggages arrived only after three days, btw.  But at least they arrived,

So, a bit about my work. The company is selling scallops and various value added products. You can google what a scallop is yourself. They’re quite tasty, btw. Scallops are bought from the fishing vessels and then sold to the retail outlets and restaurants. I am a procurement marketing analyst. So far I’m living on a job-home-sleep-job rhythm, so no, I haven’t seen much of the States, no, I have no pictures, and yes, I’m that boring. I’ll finish the job segment with a joke from work. Topic of the conversation is piercing. A female colleague says – “I’ve heard that when you pierce your nipples they stay always hard”. Turns to a guy and says – “why don’t you pierce your dick then? We could make a couple, you know”.

About America. It’s very American 🙂 Big distances, big cars, big food, cheap clothes, cheap clothes. Americans are different. Back home we’re very straightforward – if you’re pissed, you make it clear. if you’re happy, you make it clear. Here they smile all the time no matter what. Can be very deceptive. Harrasment thingy is off the charts. A real story form my work – a guy said to the girl “damn, you look really ugly today. Anything happened?” Next thing she’s crying and mentiong terms “not used to” and “verbal harassment. When we heard that, we said – back home it would be considered a joke, especially if said with a smile. Arguably a bad one, but still a joke. To which we received – here it’s a lawsuit. Welcome to America. Going shopping to another town10-20min car ride away is considered “nearby”. Eating in small family-owned diners called “Dog House” where most of the customers go regularly for umpteen years or restaurants where you have to wait to be seated, get a meal that you don’t always manage to finish because portions are that big, and paying over 15 dollars for a dish is considered expensive. Aisma, especially for you – I really enjoyed this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_England_clam_chowder and this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caldo_verde. So you can sleep safe now. Ocean view from the home window, which is even closer than in Bergen. I’ve just realized that whenever I lived abroad I lived near the sea or the ocean. Riga, Bergen, now Mattapoisett/New Bedford. Still getting used that when you are asked “how are ya?” nobody really expects to hear an explicit answer about your fucked up life. Grey squirrels hopping in the yard. To all those of you who were wondering where I will spend New Year – New Bedford, Boston, or maybe New York – I stayed home and felll asleep at around 22.30. And I was sober, in case you’re wondering. Today while paying for the things in the shop after a short talk with a 100% American assistant in English and Lithuanian between ourselves she went “you’re Lithuanians, right?”. My jaw almost literally hit the floor. In freakin Dartmouth, a town of 65,000 inhabitants. Unbelievable.

I think that’s it for the moment. I hope to update this blog about every two weeks, so if you’re interested in reading it further – take appropriate measures (add the link to favorites, do the RSS thing, and so on). If you’re not interested, sorry for spam. And if I missed anyone who is interested in this piece of shitty writing, I trust the Invisible Hand to correct this mistake.

For entertainment factor – check out the show called The Sing-Off, where various a cappela groups are competing. If you like music, it’s quite awesome. Judge for yourself:

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6UMUHbnF3w

2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtDmZzNCvqk&feature=related

3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE5eye0eiYA

4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tENBT-GbwIk

5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7ziNRGLG8I (ten musu Igniuko azijietisku bruozu pusbrolis dainuoja :))

Oh, and about the post title. Nope, it has nothing to do with the mountain (for those of us who know what it is). All Lithuanians (there are five of us) in the company are called by the first letter of our names. We have D, K, V, I and me, K2.