Archive for September, 2008

How to (not) Kill a Snake

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

One thing I forgot to mention about the interesting trip to Lielvarde: we saw a snake!

Ilze noticed it, actually, and made me almost piss myself because as we were walking to the river we reached the path and she suddenly gasps really loudly and goes “ACK!” and all I saw was her dash away and something by me move, so I yelled, too. But then I saw it was just a snake and that I hadn’t stepped on it, and proceeded to take pictures of it. As the snake seemed more interested in crossing the path away from me than stopping and rearing up to protect itself, there was no reason to worry. So there I am, taking pictures of this snake, when this older man speed-walking suddenly approaches from the opposite direciton. He sees us standing there and comes to see what I’m looking at, then goes:

Man: “Oh, that’s just a *insert name of snake*, see the yellow on the head? It’s okay, they’re all over Latvia!”
Me: “Oh, okay.” *keeps watching snake*
Man: “No, no, they’re perfectly harmless! No reason to hit or kill it!”
Me: “…um, I-” *shifts expensive camera around in hands*
Man: “Really! Perfectly harmless, see how it’s slithering away from us?”
Me: “Yeah, I know, no one’s talking-”
Man: “Harmless!”
Me: “-about killing it.”
Man: “It’s just a *insert snake’s name again*, this one’s one of the bigger kinds. Don’t have to hit it!”
Me: “Yeah, we know, I was just taking-” *once more indicates camera in hands*
Man: *abruptly walks away, still talking about how the yellow mark on the snake’s head identifies its kind*
Me and Ilze: *kind of stand there, not really sure what just happened*

YEAH, because the FIRST thing I think of when I see a snake is to bash it to bits with my very expensive camera. Gut reaction, honestly. Forget going to find a stick, a Nikon D-60 is weapon of choice #1.

Whatever, weird speed-walking guy. Maybe it was because we were two females standing around looking at a snake that made him think our intentions toward it were anything but benign.

In addition! Since I’ve figured out that the reason pictures wouldn’t load at a normal speed was due to my choice of browser, the photos at kaija.jatnieks.com/photos are going up faster than ever, starting with September 2008.

Dirty Deal and Comic Books

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

So.

Tonight I went here to see/support this. I left after an hour and a half due to the ever present illness (though I will say that the HUGE shot of balzams the bartender put in my hot currant juice might have finally done the trick), but I enjoyed every minute of it. My time there, not just the medicinal beverage. I sat for a bit and read some comics, then nursed my drink, then bought the rest of the comics to support comic books in latvia, then watched either Zidruns or Silards play (neither the Zidruns myspace page nor the Silards stuff at presiite.org sounds like whatever or whoever played tonight) – either way they were fantastic and I miss going out to hear bands like that perform, especially in that type of local. Dirty Deal is basically one huge room (with a back door leading…somewhere. I didn’t get that far) with one bar and a few places to sit. Getting to the place made me feel like I was going to drop some kind of drug transaction at the docks, but once you get in the building that all fades away.

I’m mostly sad that I didn’t follow through on my curiosity of what “kus!” might be and find out about this place sooner – this was the last “kus!” shindig. But now I have another site to keep my eye on, as I most certainly will be going back to Dirty Deal, which, from what I understand, supports these kinds of creative/contemporary events and artists.

Cold Season

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Usually I’m one of the last people to fall into the cold season trap, but this time around I got hit first. I’ve been on the border of having a cold for the past week; Monday night it hit me full force. As such, I’ve been working from home since then. Sometime around the lunch hour I passed out for a few hours and felt like I might have had a slight fever. I also missed class yesterday, but am not worried about it – I’d rather miss class than sit in a closed, poorly ventilated room for 1.5 hours (or more, hence no going into work to work) and risk getting everyone else sick. Oh, yes, I’m so considerate. I’m also headachy and nose-drippy. At lease I managed to buy some Balzams and throat syrup Monday night. The Balzams I’ve been feeding into my system little by little by mixing it in with tea; the syrup is basically a mixture of honey and natural fruit sugars. As such I am saddened that I am only supposed to take the syrup three times daily. Last night I managed to drag myself to the closest grocery store and but dry-packet soup and lots of tissues. Good foresight!

So for now I’m working from home, sleeping when I can, drinking lots of liquids, etc. It kind of sucks.

Lielvarde

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Last Wednesday while thinking about what plans people had over the weekend, we decided to just suck it up and go to Lielvarde. And by “we” I mean myself and Ilze, since everyone else (as in Davids and Julija) had already made plans to do other things. We had been joking about going to Lielvarde for a few months, since we often see the listing for it in the train station. The joke with Lielvarde mostly revolved around the song “Daugavas krasta” and taking a trip to Lielvarde to act it out in a brilliant photo-montage. Which we ended up doing on Saturday. Ilze and I packed up our white clothes, cameras, and provisions and took the train to Lielvarde. Once we got there we bought some flowers from the market and headed to the river. We got to the shore, waited a while for people to stop suddenly and randomly flocking to the same area, and then finally got to business. Which equalled to me rolling up my pant legs , putting a skirt over my jeans and standing around in 46ºF weather white, summery clothing. This may be why I am currently ill.

The montage turned out ridiculous in a good way – things were less than historically accurate, as I opted to pair my weather-inappropriate style with grey Converse. As soon as the montage is photoshopped I’ll post it up somewhere for all to see. Who knows – this may be the beginning to a wonderful side project in visual aid folk and choir songs!

After the montage and freaking out a local fisherman as I removed the white clothing (we believe he missed the part where I got dressed OVER my existing attire), we headed to Uldevena castle, which is a remake of the wooden Lielvarde fortress. Ilze had stumbled upon the fact that there was a wooden castle while we were trying to see if there was anything else we could do in Lielvarde other than just dress up in white and tag random photos; turns out that it was the same castle we had been taken to 10 years ago when we were on the Sveika, Latvija! trip. So it was a reunion, of sorts. The place had changed a lot – there is now a fancy tourist-trap restaurant across the parking lot from the castle, and the castle boasts a horse (we thought Lielvarde was going to be a one horse town until we saw 5 other horses in a field behind the train tracks). VERY up-to-date. The castle, in a sense, is like a playground for adults. We got more information than we could handle from a very informed, very “hip” older woman (that being said, she works Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. If you ever go to Lielvarde and to the castle, go one one of these days because she knows her stuff and is very entertaining in a kind of sarcastic way) and spent a couple of hours climbing around the area. It was a nice break from big-cityness and a nice blast-from-the-past.

Now I’m sick, have many much photos to process and upload (it still takes FOREVER for the photos to load on the blog site…), and have a lot of work for, well, work, to do. Peace.

Slow Monday in Riga

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Apparently, it’s a really, really slow day in Riga. The biggest story in comprehensive news today is that there was a call made to the local fire and rescue service to come pull an iguana out of a tree by an apartment complex. Although the residents of the building pretty much knew who the lizard belonged to, because the people weren’t home, the iguana was taken to the zoo. In other news, fire and rescue service workers were also called out to rescue a cat from a tree. The cat, however, obviously irritated and frightened by all of the ruckus going on about it, got itself down from the tree and booked it out of the area. Other than that, it’s going to be raining all week in Riga. Good thing we had 26′C and zero rain yesterday — we were able to go and sit on the beach for a few hours before it got windy and chilly.

Something Else to Laugh About

Friday, September 5th, 2008

I once again had to laugh out loud at work.  I’m listening to Radio SWH and the hourly news updates. The 12:00 update once again mentioned an incident in some city in Russia, where a legless man killed three people in his apartment building and then proceded to flee from authorities. His fleeing was, quote “unsuccessful” – not because this man is LEGLESS, but because, while fleeing from the police, he dove into a ditch with the hopes of avoiding capture. While hiding in the ditch, a very large rat crawled onto the legless man. The man’s screams led authorities right to him.

I hope someone else sees the black humor in all of this.

On the Radio

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!

I just heard myself on the radio for the first time. True, I’ve had the sound clip on my computer already a month ago, but it’s much more awkward to hear it in the context of a radio programme. If you listen in to Latvia’s StarFM (www.starfm.lv) between now and September 15th, you might catch the Skrivanek Latvia radio commercial, wherein I am the English language representative, and wherein I think I sound like a cheerleader. Or a tool.

…”LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE OPENS THE DOOR TO A NEW PERSPECTIVE!!!!!!!”
…”see you there!”

Either way, I don’t think I’ve ever sounded that peppy – but there it is on the radio for people to hear. I don’t think any of my friends listen to StarFM, though :) Good for them and better for me! At least recording the bit was a new experience.