Thinking about gettin’ some Pussy



We did Secret Santa at work. The budget was £10 and I had to make a gift for Dan – I’ve never even spoken to him before. I was at a supermarket and spent at least an hour trying to figure out what to buy and then ended up with nothing. I was running out of time. Next day I managed to strike up a conversation with Dan. I didn’t get much useful information out of him, so decided to change my research methodology. I asked a different colleague whether he knew anything about my victim. Theo said Dan spends a lot of time on Tinder (it’s a dating app kids). I crunched some numbers and then it hit me – I had to get him some Pussy. That would be hilarious. However, then I started thinking about whether this was OK in the office, whether it’s acceptable and what if Dan gets offended or something. I scared myself out of this wonderful idea. Turns out I’m a pussy as well.

By the way Pussy is an energy drink – google it. I’ve never seen it on sale though, but I know it’s real.


So I went for the safer option and got him a book.

Turns out I’m an idiot as well. I didn’t know how Secret Santa works because I added a Christmas card to my gift which had “Best wishes, Ivar” in it. Did you know that the person receiving the present will not find out who he got her present from? I’ve always thought that it’s a secret up to the gift exchange. That’s when everybody finds out and before that it’s this big secret and all that. My colleagues found it hysterical that I managed to get this wrong. Leanne almost fell off her chair laughing about it.

You live and you learn.


We also had our company Christmas Party that day. A venue on Farringdon road was booked for us. In the beginning everybody was just talking and drinking. As the night progressed some people started dancing and then one girl pulled me in to join them on the dance floor. It felt quite weird to do that night club kind of dancing because I’m so used to zouk/salsa/bachata. And what’s the deal with girls holding their drink and purse whilst dancing – that’s just wrong. The struggle was real though – I defaulted to some very basic partner dancing but it was quite bad as the girls had no clue what I was trying to lead. A few were alright with the basics of basics i.e. shifting their body weight from one side to the other and repeat. Especially Katie – she was there at the Vinopolis wine tasting thing as well… I think she just felt a bit more comfortable because she knew who I was.

I stayed until the very end. It was entertaining to watch the men get sleazier and sleazier, gradually but surely. Oh, I feel so bad for you girls.

The party was good, much better than I anticipated. I would prefer my usual dancing parties, but hey, sometimes you need to mix things up a bit.


Merry Christmas!



The sister I never had


I could tell the plane had landed 10 minutes earlier than expected (according to the display). The display showed a plane from Rome landed before the one from Riga. I noticed the people coming through the international arrivals gate were speaking in Italian and therefore I knew my waiting time was about to end.
I was at Stansted airport waiting for Maris – my half-sister. The last time I saw her was at the funeral. Back then I didn’t really talk to her. Prior to that I think it’s been about 10 years since I’ve seen her. So, as you might guess, I do not know that side of the family tree that well.
She is considering blessing the academic world with her presence at a British academic establishment. Two interviews were planned for Monday, however Sunday was wide open to do some sight-seeing in London. That’s where I come in.

LondonI put together a highly sophisticated agenda for the day with fun packed activities such as:

  1. taking the circle line from Liverpool Street towards Tower Hill, then realizing that Aldgate was the final stop, then tubing back to Liverpool Street station and then another go on the circle line towards Tower Hill.
  2. Looking for whales and dolphins in the river Thames from Tower Bridge; spoiler alert – we didn’t see any.
  3. Checking out (from a very safe and financially neutral distance) all the cool places the Queen lives in, such as the London Tower, the Shard, the Walkie-Talkie, the Gherkin, Big Ben, the building I work in and the Buckingham Palace.
  4. Witty banter about all things London.
  5. Thames water taste-testing. I wanted to know if the water was salty or not but ultimately decided against touching and tasting that brownish-gray liquid in fear of contracting Ebola.
  6. Checking out a few buskers and scoring some massive highscores in the make-no-eye-contact-with-beggars or charity fundraisers game.
  7. Meeting Mr Squirrel and his birds – Swans, Coots and Moorhen – at St James’ Park.
  8. Seeing a corded phone in one of those red phone booths.
  9. Locating platform 9¾ at King’s Cross station.
  10. Enjoying an authentic British day with no lack of clouds, plenty of wind and a touch of rain.

I saw a lot of myself in Maris. It was clear that academics were the top priority for her at this time. However, as I’m nine years older and therefore nine times wiser, I cautioned her that there’s more to life. Traveling, living in foreign countries, starting a business, learning to dance or play an instrument etc – each teach valuable life skills which no university will ever come close to.

Maris, I wish you all the best. You’ve got a bright future ahead.

Aaaaaannnd… it didn’t work


did not work
I was not the chosen one. Jamie (the guy from my first choice rental) did not get back with any positive news. So, I had to find an alternative home very quickly. Another viewing later that day and since it was immediately available I decided to go for it. This place isn’t quite ideal (only available for 4 months) but it ticked so many of my boxes. The thing was, these guys wanted two months’ rent and a deposit – almost £2,000 in advance without a contract or anything. I figured I can trust them and coughed up the money.
As you can see, I have learned nothing from my past. Or maybe the lesson is that sometimes you get screwed, but that doesn’t mean that you should lose faith in absolutely everyone.
By the way the pigs sent me an email regarding my fraud report to get my holding deposit back from the previous new “fake home”. The message was along the lines of “we have received an unusually large amount of similar complaints/reports but will aim to respond within 28 days”. I will be very surprised if their final response is anything different from “we will continue to monitor the situation”.


About mah new crib

The good: the other co-habitants are about my age and seem to be very friendly. Pilar is from Spain and she’s a consultant of sorts, so is Romario (Dutch). Big plus, Romario is vegetarian – it’s so much easier to live with like-minded people. Plus we’re all non-British and therefore we can relate to our daily “struggles”. The location is very good, very close to Angel station – only an extra 8-10 minute walk to work from my previous home, but I can manage that. It’s closer to the supermarket and a farmer’s market is very close by as well.

The bad: The place has a very small kitchen – only room for one person. It’s tiny.

I’ve only been here a few days but I like it. I’ve noticed that Pilar talks a lot, in general. She’s always on the phone or on Skype. I will need to get used to this. Otherwise she’s funny.

I’m sorry to disappoint that I didn’t end up homeless and that you’re not reading about how I spent a weekend with my fellow dumpster-divers. Maybe in 4 months’ time. Stay tuned!


This might not work


I just got a text from the agent who showed me the allegedly available room. He said ‘it’s all sorted’ and I’ll get my money back in a week’s time. I don’t believe him. It takes a minute to make the online bank transfer, why do they need a week to do it? Besides I already lodged a fraud report to ActionFraud about these scammers. Even though I think the police won’t do anything, I figured I should still try. What can I say, I’m a hopeless optimist.

I’ve seen six  properties so far whilst looking for a new home. Here’s what it’s like to live a day in my shoes:

The first property was next to the canal and in a very quiet area. The ad said the landlord had two rules about the property, but he would tell me what they are face to face. So I met with Mahmood – a bearded man, vertically challenged, looked a lot like the Amish people. Anywho, he gave me the house tour (the house was beautiful). So far so good… until Mahmood decided to fill me in on the house rules. He said he’s an Asian muslim and has two rules. Number one – no guests can come to the property. Number two – I can’t consume any pig or alcohol in the property. Two rules became many very quickly. I wasn’t allowed to bring any drugs to his home, I could only use the washing machine once per week etc. Yeah, he actually lectured me about drugs over there. I was fine with the “no eating pig” rule but I can’t see myself living a single day without having prostitutes over and doing a line of coke and washing it down with some vodka whilst waiting for my washing to finish. No deal.

The second property was the scam one.

I had three viewings yesterday and I really liked the first one. It was very close to where I already live, near Exmouth Market and I got along really well with the tenants. I think I’d fit in well.

The second viewing was just 10 minutes down the road. I got there and I saw one guy in front of the main door waiting. He was competition. Both of us walked into the flat and were greeted by another five competitors. The place was crowded as hell. One guy showed us the flat and then said the current tenants would like to have a chat with each one of us to see if we’re a good fit. They proceeded to chat with each would-be-tenant individually and asked the other six competitors to wait outside in the hallway. I thought this was ridiculous. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better example of inconsiderate behavior. Wow… you can’t treat people like that. I just walked away.

The third flat was a bit further away in Fitzrovia – very close to the BT tower near Regent’s Park. Maria gave me the house tour and everything seemed OK. I wanted to have a chat with the other tenants – Paula and John. They were all so young – early twenties. John had this Harry Potter look going for him. I thought it was funny. Paula was very small, young and shy. I didn’t quite connect with the younger crowd and it felt like they wanted me to leave. For example: every time Maria asked “do you have any other questions,” the tone of her voice translated to “just fucking leave already”. My attempts to turn the situation around failed miserably – my questions about their hobbies, interests, work and study resulted in one word or short sentence replies. I became rather uncomfortable and gave up on the younger generation. As I walked back home I pondered about what had happened, whether I looked weird, smelled bad or what was the case?

Today I only had one viewing. The flat wasn’t anything fancy. In fact it was a dump by anyone’s standards – a lot like the place I live in right now… so it felt like home already. However, the dump part on its own is not a deal breaker – I’m a simple man, fancy doesn’t do much for me. I only met one of the tenants – Lauren, she seemed lovely. My biggest critique was that the flat did not have a living room (the available room used to be a living room a long time ago). However the place was cheap as chips and had two balconies. I love a good bargain and I think I could pimp my crib quite a bit if I moved in (get a TV, a carpet, nice curtains… you know turn myself into an interior designer for a day or two).

At this point I think I liked the Exmouth Market flat best and today’s flat would be my second choice. I remember Jamie (the guy from Exmouth Market) saying that they were going to continue showing the place to people until Friday and then make their decision.

So, the question is: do I gamble or do I not? If I say yes to Jamie and wait for him to get back to me on Friday, the second property (the cheapo place) might be gone by that time. If I go for the cheapo option I will make sure that I don’t get my number one choice. Decisions, decisions…

Then I remembered something I read from Seth Godin’s blog. He basically said that anything worth doing might not work. Who am I to argue with that golden nugget?
I decided to gamble.

I contacted Jamie (the guy from Exmouth Market) and left a voicemail and a text to let him know I want to rent the place. Stay tuned!

Ivar the soon to be homeless gambler