Print Story The Iceland Diaries II - - Day 16
By BadDoggie (Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 12:56:07 AM EST) (all tags)
Day 16: Reykjavík
Thursday, 03 Feb 2005
1°, heavy snow briefly, turned to light rain

I'm an idiot.

I have a date with BEIG on March 24. I don't have a problem getting here but the conversation needs to be in Icelandic, not English.

I've fallen behind in fleshing out the writing and have instead, spent more time drinking beer. The result: I'll have to spend hours at workhome catching up to have it all written and posted in time. I also have to post five entries each week instead of four so that the Diaries are done before I return to Reykjavík. I think I've also gained 10 pounds.

I was supposed to go to Keflavík today but that's been postponed. I want the damned Ósoma shirts and Thursday night in Reykjavík will certainly be more interesting than anything going on in Keflavík, not that I don't want to sit around with the guys at Paddy's.

The Iceland Diaries II: Preface, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, "Food", Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16, Day 17, The End.

Breaking the law!
Do do the crime if you can't spend that dime
I went to 22 as usual but only had the coffee and water. At around 11:30 I collected my things went down to the bank with my parking ticket.

I paid it three hours before the fine went from 500 to 850kr. and did it all in Icelandic starting from asking at the Landsbanki info counter how I go about doing it. It was a guess based on how money transfers work in Germany with the payable bank listed somewhere on the ticket. The woman asked me for my national ID number. I tried to essplain I didn't have one (very badly) and she twigged that pretty quickly. I guess you get in trouble here if you're a serial parking violator.

On the way back up the hill I picked up a bus schedule from tourist info place. The guy at the counter said the Flybus doesn't leave from the bus terminal but from the IcelandAir hotel. WTF? No service from the city? So I have a walk all the way back down to bus station in middle of town with all my gear to wait for a number 7 or 110 to take me to the Icelandair Hotel, then a wait in the cold for the Flybus to Keflavík, then wait again at the airport for a ride back to guesthouse.

As I walked further up Laugavegi, I saw something that eased the relatively mild pain of my parking ticket. They hit anyone here. The driver's lucky he's not in DC. I've seen DC tow trucks take a PEPCO (electricity utility) truck while the driver was in the manhole next to it doing repairs.

Parked truck
Ticket on parked truck
So where are you supposed to park a front-end loader? Clearly not on Laugavegi.

I went back to 22 to relax and write, surfing a bit, answering mail and posting on a few forums. Lunch was a quesadilla, hold the rotten shark. Very tasty. I asked for advice in an English-speaking Munich ex-pat's forum on gifts for the girls taking care of my evil, bloodthirstsy, viciouscute little cat. Do I get these wool hats with the earflaps and braids hanging down (hugely popular here and spreading to the rest of Europe) or do I get them a couple T-shirts which look nice and have some Icelandic letters to make sure it's clear where they came from? The poll and the comments contradict each other. Meh.

I closed up the computers, dropped them off at home and went back to Listasafnið Íslands, the Art Museum. I managed not to get lost, not that it's a terribly complicated route.

It's art. It doesn't have to make sense.
Apparently, it's not supposed to, either.
The featured display was "Endangered Waters". There was a large room with a huge metal rack containing sliding metal frames. They were held in place by a type of ball & grooved clip. A few people were standing around the thing like it was the display. I pulled one of the frames out and the white noise was so loud and surprising I shoved the thing back in quickly. The others looked at me like I broke something. It hit me that it wasn't quite white noise that I'd heard. It sounded a bit like a loud waterfall. I pulled one marked with the name of some falls or another out again and the noise roared, but it was clearly the sound of rushing, falling water.

In the metal frames were huge glass plate color photos of different waterfalls that are, based on the name of the exhibit, endangered. In order to see the pictures though, you had to pull the frame all the way out, then step back and to the side so you could see it against the white wall. Inevitably people stood at both sides so that you saw the pictures superimposed on them. It's art, man. The noise was annoying but different for each photo, sometimes noticeably, but usually often indistinguishable.

I went upstairs to the paintings. Mostly Icelandic, some were very interesting. There was a big problem in Icelandic art and what the state would support, the art group being very conservative. They probably would've shot Jackson Pollack on sight back in 1930. Some of the minimalist and Icelandic impressionist works (which are nothing like Monet's pointillism) were very expressive, others I just walked by quickly. I don't claim to be any sort of art fan or terribly knowledgeable in the Important Things About What Is And What Isn't Art. I know what I like. Too bad I didn't think to write down the names of any of the artists I really liked. Worse, not a single one of my favourites was available in postcard or small poster format. I'll sort it next time I'm here.

Í deiglunni
Í deiglunni by Jóhannes S. Kjavalr
They have some better pieces of his but I couldn't take pictures.

Komposisjón by Þorvaldur Skúlason (Composition, 1962).
Some nice abstractions.

Goin' to the record store
Correct: I couldn't find anything on the P2P nets and didn't know what to look for anyway
On my way back up the hill home I stopped into the record store and asked the girl at the counter for help. What did I want? Well, I had to hear the Hera CD, I wanted to hear the Sálin Hans Jóns Mins, but beyond that had no idea what might be good. What did I like? Pretty much everything, but not the manufactured pop of Nylon or Birgitta. The girl laughed. I like metal, I like weird, and oh, which Gusgus album would she recommend.

I netted the newest Hera album (they were out of the older ones), two from Sálin Hans Jóns Mins (neither of which was the new one I think I wanted), a Gusgus album and Minus. I'd rejected Minus at first. She'd brought their first album. The music was OK but the vocals were only primal screams, not quite my thing. She swapped that out for a newer album which rocked well. I'd also said I liked weird and I got it in spades. She brought me a homemade, cover-printed-onna-inkjet CD of some 90-year-old granny playing an organ that was set to "1984 Casio keyboard". Too weird or crappy for my taste.

Most of the CDs had the added benefit of being on sale, Hera and one of the SHJM being only 639 each! All told I paid 6000kr for 5 CDs but there was something bugging me...

I remembered to call the car company and tell 'em where I'd parked the thing. Then I called Einar and asked if one more day would be possible. Absolutely. I insisted on paying for the room and he insisted on not letting me.

A niche market
It's good not to have competition
Back in my second home at 22 while reading and relaxing, Gully came in. He'd remembered me saying something about fixing pinball machines. Yeah, I own and fix 'em. He told me a friend of his had a jukebox that needed repairing. I can certainly take a look but I don't have any tools with me. We went over to 11 (very creative bar nomenclature here) and I was introduced to the manager. I think he's the manager. We had to wait for the keys to be brought over so I got a beer. Gully disappeared to pick up Þordis. The two of them run Ósóma and are planning to plaster the bar with their sheep tonight. With the owner's permission and probably at his request.

I had a beer. Some American was standing on my right. I don't remember what led us to talk but we did. What am I writing? The Iceland Diaries. As I tried to explain what I wrote about, I pulled out the computer and loaded a couple of the original series pages. The key delivery guy showed up and Mike started reading as I went to the jukebox to do see what was wrong.

It had two problems: the first was the coin mechanism. The juke, a Rock-Ola Mirage from 1996, cost more in shipping than its purchase price. Having come from the US it had a US coin acceptor, and not a simple quarter-only unit like you have in pins and videos. No, this was one of those hulking bastards like you find in food and beverage vendors although I can't understand why the hell it's necessary since the thing never accepted anything but quarters and never gave out change. It also had no service manual.

And the guys had no tools beyond a couple small screwdrivers. I had a quick look. The coin mech was mounted incorrectly but there wasn't much light to do anything by. I took a look at the flippy-panel mechanism. There's an optic sensor that might be the problem, there's the motor that could be shot... No idea yet and no tools to try anything. They said they'd have tools for me tomorrow.

While I was playing with the juke, Gully and Þordis were putting up their Ósóma sheep along the stairs, in coves, and wherever they'd look amusing. I closed the jukebox up and went to the bar where Mike was still reading. Heh. He wanted to leave half an hour ago.

I talked to the guys from 11 who said they'd have some tools so we made a date for tomorrow at 11:30. I'll take a stab at fixing their juke then and I'll have almost three hours since the last buses to Keflavík are at 1400, 1430 and 1500. I definitely want to be on the second-to-last one at the latest, but maybe I'll find the problem inside five minutes. It's happened before. They'll be here, just knock.

It hit me what was bothering me. How could I have spent 349kr for a couple of the CDs but had a total of 6000kr for 6 when the most expensive one was 1499? I grabbed the computer, went home and checked the receipt. The Gusgus album wasn't 1499, it was 2499. I'm an idiot. I went back to the record store. Girl wasn't there and guy said no refunds. I can only trade it in for other merchandise. Fuck. I didn't feel like listening to another load of CDs and decided to take care of this tomorrow.

Bargirl! There's too much air in my glass
Me sitting at a bar? Who'd'a thunk it?
I headed off to Sirkus. Fashion Boy was there and decked out as usual. We talked briefly. BEIG was there and I said hello but she seemed kind of cold. Is she busy? Am I interrupting? Is the date not on? Why am I thinking and writing like a little schoolgirl? I'm pathetic.

BEIG left shortly afterwards. I grabbed a place at the bar and started trying to rid Iceland of as much Thule as I could manage. It's a pointless battle, really, because they keep making more of the stuff, but I'm doing my patriotic duty. I'd salute that white-bordered red cross on a blue field as happily as I now salute the black, red and gold of my current home. Considering my consumption up to now and the taxes collected thereon I really ought to have a patriot's medal or something. Hell, if Gates is getting an honourary knighthood, They could spring for a gold-plated piece of rotten shark or something.

Boss lady saw me, came over and told me she didn't like the schnapps but loves the bottle. Well hell, we got lots of neat bottles here like the ones with the fruit blown inside. She won't like the contents of those either since they're also usually pear schnapps, but maybe I can find some apple, though I bet she'd prefer a licorice-herring vodka.

At around 3 or 4 I went home. I checked my cell phone for answers to the SMSes I'd sent out earlier in the day. There was still no word from that Keflavík Hottay. I also hadn't heard back from Óli even though I'd sent him a couple Messages. I'll send 'em both messages again tomorrow. Maybe the German or Icelandic phone companies are screwing things up.

< I'm content free and I'm proud! | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
The Iceland Diaries II - - Day 16 | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
dude by gzt (4.00 / 1) #1 Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 01:14:29 AM EST
If you're getting Icelandic music, totally check out Apparat Organ Quartet.

Icelandic artists. by lb008d (4.00 / 1) #2 Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 02:46:00 AM EST
One of my favorite artists is Gudmundur Gudmundsson a.k.a "Erro". A couple years ago I saw his work Pour Pol Pot at the Pompidou and loved it. His paintings should be in some of the museums there.

Fount it by lb008d (4.00 / 1) #3 Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 02:50:34 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Saaaaay... by ti dave (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:18:23 AM EST
Whatever happened to the nice Chinesisches girl your Mum set up for you?

I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do.
The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. --W.S. Burroughs

The Iceland Diaries II - - Day 16 | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback