Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Yesterday, Tallinn experienced a rush among some of Estonia's Russian-speakers to sell local currency due to rumours of a devaluation. Hoards of Russians were storming the currency exchange booths, changing their kroons into euros. Upon some investigation, it turned out that it was a rumour started by the Notšnoi Dozor - an activist group of some Russophones, who also started the riots back in April. The KAPO (defense police) is currently in the process of pinpointing the person who started the rumour, as it is essentially an outside attack at Estonian economy.

From my perspective, all this incident really proves is how little Russia actually cares about the Russians in Estonia. The message from Kreml is that Estonians are bad and treating Russians poorly (no reference to the billions of integration programs and social support networks of course!), but now they are using the local Russians as pawns to screw with Estonian resources. It's not like the Estonians will be going to the "Dozor"'s website to check the daily polls and rushing to the nearest currency exchange kiosk... At this point, the repeated attempts to affect Estonian politics are just becoming more and more pathetic, creating bad press, and even hurting the Russians who the "Dozor" is set out to save. (So why even bother - do these people really have nothing better to do?)

On a slightly different note, I am going to attempt to relieve some of that nationally borne tension and stress by seeing an acupuncture therapist today. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Estonia: the days of cheap thrills are over

Estonia is quickly shedding its image as a cheap destination.
Read more about it in the Baltic Times.

It's nice that Estonia is getting its "reputation" back in terms of no longer being known for cheap booze and cheap whores. However, it's a little tough to keep up with it when your salary isn't going to change - because your boss is suffering from (a rather justified) paranoia that all of his savings will vanish in the next twelve months.

Perfect time for us to jet really - while the kroon is still interchangeable with other world currencies...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Home sweet home

Yay! I've got some bad news, some bad news and some good news.
The first bad news is that even though our boss had made the necessary arrangements, we did NOT get into cinema Kosmos to see David Lynch speak (due to the 1000 people who had gotten there before us, d'oh!). Furthermore, we did NOT get our hands on the footage even though we were promised so. They did say that they would digitize the stuff asap, and get it online. According to a person who went, it was mostly "senile gibberish about transcendental meditation" which to me sounds amazingly interesting, so I can't wait to post the link.

The other bad news is that our Estonian landlady has turned out to be the ultimate bi*ch!!! We gave her a 1.5 month notice on leaving the apartment and will be signing an official 1 month notice with her tomorrow. The problem is that the apartment was originally empty and we had to buy all the beautifully color-coded blue and black furniture when we moved in. She now wants to keep some of the furniture, but refuses to pay anything but pennies for it. In addition, she complains about every little pattern in the wallpaper, claiming that it's damage that wasn't there before, in hopes of keeping the damage deposit (which is bullcrap!).
How about the 3 years of on-time payments and the fact that we had to deal with 1. washing up the previous tenants' vomit on the walls 2. putting up curtains 3. fixing the electrical outlets 4. various plumbing emergencies that she never showed up for 5. the COCKROACHES that appear in the summertime and were never taken care of until now.

Regarding the cockroaches btw - our landlady actually claims that the entire housing community is pissed off at us for complaining about the cockroaches, because now everybody has to pay a fee to get them taken care of. Apparently everybody is "talking about us" and thinks that "we should be living in the woods".

We're going to have a meeting with the landlady tomorrow. It's going to be very difficult. She is one of those people who talks and talks and talks and when you try to say something, she just drives over you with a bulldozer. Just looking at her makes me tremble with frustration and anger.

Man, am I looking forward to the Canadian mentality in these matters!
(And yes, I WILL sue her if she keeps our deposit, and report her to the police for the three years+ unpaid taxes that she has kept by coming in and retrieving the money in cash every month.. SO ANNOYING!)

Now to the good news.
We think that we have found an apartment in Vancouver! We spent about a month replying to various Craigslist ads and have finally found one that we think would be good.
(If any of you are ever planning on this btw, be prepared to receive a billion "I am an African king, my wife has the keys" scam replies, and report them to Craigslist immediately. Be sure to create an alternative ( -yay!) account for spam protection!)
The apartment is in what they seem to call the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood, north of Broadway and Fraser. It's a very reasonable price for a very reasonable-seeming apartment, owned by a cool-seeming individual, and rather centrally located.
Should be livable and alright for a temporary option.


Monday, November 12, 2007

The Russian invasion

The New York Times released a very matter-of-fact article about Russian-Baltic relations that I thought you should read. The only comment that I would have is that this has been going on for a very long time now, as Russian influences have never really left ( - thanks to the powers in charge, and the Savisaar crew sucking up to Russia.)

Read the article here.

"Russian power is rapidly returning to the Baltics, only this time the weapons are oil and money, not tanks."
Well put. Not really news though.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

First snow

We woke up this morning to the sound of cars sloshing through the shallow river that is our street (due to the dents and canals that have formed on it through decades of neglect and poor drainage). I dragged my sorry carcass to the window expecting to see rain, but there it was - first snow. Yay. Here's the shots from our kitchen window.

Friday, November 2, 2007

BIG fish in a small pond

Today was a good day. I survived an editing session with an annoying client (not as annoying as she used to be though, she can now actually tell the difference between VHS and FTP!), got loads of Kudo's for being an efficient editor, and found out that none other than DAVID LYNCH is going to be coming to Tallinn. Not only that, but he's going to be giving a lecture on “Film, Creativity and Consciousness” and he is accompanied by the world-renowned quantum physics expert John Hagelin, who is going to be analyzing the concept of creativity from the perspective of contemporary physics. I can't wait!
The cool thing is that Lynch was invited to Estonia by Veiko Õunpuu, an amazing director whose major debut "Sügisball" received an award at the Cannes Film Festival. The guy works two floors down from our office, so if we're lucky we might get on some sort of a list for the event.
Oh, and the Estonian band Bedwetters won the "new sound" award at the MTV European Music Awards. A lot of people complain about them, but I still think they're alright for an emo band consisting of 16-17-year olds. It's the first time for Estonia to have an MTV music award, so I'm very proud of them.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Homelessness in Vancouver...

I found a few interesting pieces on Youtube, on Vancouver DTES 100 Block E. Hastings.