Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bears on Ice, field recordings, buying pillows.

This weekend was my first 'Icelandic weekend', which I of course could not even make it through without naps, going to bed earlier than most people, and having a rollercoaster of emotions. It's been over two weeks now since I've been here so some things are beginning to feel familiar (buying milk, going swimming), and then other things are still very new, like going out to eat or shop somewhere new each time and not knowing what to expect, or trying to catch a bus to a new destination.
I did go to an organized event this weekend, which was mostly for visiting tourists, but it did include several night parties at local bars and clubs so I had a good excuse to go out and be social, and see the gay spots. The gay scene here is so well-intergrated into culture that nowhere is particularly exclusively gay, but there are currently two gay-ish bars in the city that hosted the weekend's festivities. Did I mention the event was called Bears on Ice? It was pretty amazing. I didn't do the tourist stuff during the day like many of the other guests, as I'm sure I'll have many chances to do that this year. Still, it was a great chance to be surrounded by so many great beards and friendly gays. I did end up meeting a couple locals and worldly travellers; I went dancing, out for drinks and ate a delicious brunch; I got to stay out late and watch girls just beginning to go out on the town at 4:30am, when I was ready to come home. I also learned the term 'Disco Nap', which I will be taking frequently when I need a little pick-me-up before the night begins.

I attempted some actual 'work work' the other day and took my digital recorder out to record some water features and bird noises, thinking I'd get some field recordings as tests of outdoor sounds before I go on a weeklong trip around the country soon. Well, silly me. Not only was it too windy, it also started raining. So my recordings consist of rain noises with about a half-second good bird-squawk, but basically 98% unusable wind corruption. Lessons learned: timing is everything, construct a really good windscreen, and store the recorder in a watertight container. Or make a piece entirely consisting of wind sounds, I suppose.

Here is a boring story! Once I recovered from the weekend, I decided that it was time to get a real-boy pillow and upgrade from the borrowed one I've currently been sleeping on. I will also want a second pillow for any guests that might come to visit! Well, I'm trying to plan ahead for meeting my still-undiscovered Icelandic Husband To Be, but this also means you! Hótel Midnight Shoveler is open for guests, and I can't wait to be a good host for visitors. Inconveniently, there is no store in the downtown area that sells pillows. Or if there is, it is going to be a fancy pillow for your fancy mod chaise lounge. I successfully made it out to another part of town to find the discount home stuff store, or Rúmfatalagerinn. Despite being a hike from the bus station, you do get to walk through a park that borders the 'botanical gardens' and 'zoo' on the way. Rúmfatalagerinn was across the street from Hagkaup, which is Iceland's answer to a Walmart, so I also got cheap socks and a teeshirt, cheap writing paper, some lunch, a pen, and a CD. One-stop shopping. Then I had to lug back two pillows and everything else on the bus, and I looked like THAT GUY. Whatever. Bottom line is, now I have seasonings, two clean pillows with pillowcases, and you will be able to come visit for a good sleep and a well-seasoned fish dinner.

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