Music Shuffle Survey

So after a month and a half of job searching, I finally got a job at the pharmacy. Now I can finally say yay like Barei. Yay for some source of income. Yay for 10 hours of getting paid to get yelled at for. And yay for not having to sit in the house.

But that also means less time to write. So here’s a shuffle survey until I find the time to write something with more filling:

How are you today?  Hungary 2011- What about My Dreams?
(In my dreams, I’m great. As of right now, probably shite.)

How old are you? UK 2013- Believe in Me
(I could probably write any age above 17 and it’ll be believable because you’re never too old for uni)

Do you like candy? Belgium 2011- With Love, Baby
(I like black licorice a bit too much)

What’s your favorite color? UK 2014- Children of the Universe
(This answer doesn’t make any sense…unless it’s saying I like all colors of the universe)

Are you a boy or girl? Serbia 2008- Oro
(I don’t get it…)

What makes you happy? Ireland 2008- Irelande Douze Pointe
(I would love getting 12 points!)

What do I smell like? Bosnia and Herzegovina 2010- Thunder and Lighthing
(So…burned air it is? This is getting exciting…)

What do I miss right now? Belgium 2006- Je t’Adore
(I don’t miss Barney the Dinosaur. He was annoying.)

Am I keeping too many secrets? Bulgaria 2010- Angel Si Ti (You are an Angel)
(You’d be one for not giving them away.)

What will my last words be? Andorra 2009- La teva decision (Get a Life)
(Oh I will get one then.)

How old am I? Switzerland 2010- Il pleut de l’or
(Why is this asked twice in this survey?)

How often does my mood change? Georgia 2015- Warrior
(All the time from Amber Warrior to Nina Warrior)

How’s life? FYR Macedonia 2004- Life
(Life is life. It goes on.)

Where are you going? Switzerland 2012- Unbreakable
(Somewhere over the rainbow where people can’t break my plans)

Where is my love life at right now? Switzerland 2011- In Love for a While
(Let’s keep this because I like my SO)

Am I a bad person? Belgium 2003- Sanomi
(I’ll assume nothing’s said because it’s just mouth music syllables.)

What type of weather is my favorite? FYR Macedonia 2008- Let Me Love You
(FYR Macedonia has a sun on the flag, so I’ll say sunny days.)

Is my heart broken? Latvia 2016- Heartbeat
(I can still feel it working right, so probably not. Should I get an EKG?)

Am I mean? Sweden 2000- When Spirits are Calling My Name
(The voices in my head say I’m not.)

Do I want a drink right now? Russia 2011- Get You
(Of water. Or Arizona Ice Tea)

What was the last words I said? UK 2009- It’s My Time
(I’ll just say that when I finish this survey so the answer’s legit.)

Whens the last time you cried? Germany 2007- Frauen Regieren die Welt
(But that doesn’t answer the question at all…)

What’s my favorite food? Spain 2016- Say Yay!
(I say yay to turnip cake)

Say something scientific. Turkey 2004- For Real
(Peak heights of additives were determined by counting pixels using Microsoft Paint. #overlyhonestmethods)

Are you afraid of bugs? Greece 2008- Secret Combination
(If you combine roaches with wings and stings, then probably. I’ll grab a shoe and some Raid.)

Do I like shoes? Belgium 2016- What’s the Pressure?
(A. Read the name of this blog. B. I spread the pressure the way I want when I don’t wear them.)

What’s the last thing you read? Serbia 2007- Molitva
(I’ll read this one last time before posting this.)

What’s was the last activity I did? Ukraine 2006- Show Me Your Love
(I jumped rope? Or played with a tambourine?)

Am I free? Germany 1999- Reise nach Jerusalem
(Free enough to go on a journey?)

Whens the last time you partied? Azerbaijan 2015- Hour of the Wolf
(The last time I partied with “wolves” was in elementary/primary school when the school mascot was a wolf.)

Have you ever bought someone flowers? Netherlands 2010- Ik ben Verliefd (Sha-La-Lie)
(Someone switch the song on the Ohrwurm Network before answering…)

What song describes me? Luxembourg 1980- Papa Pingouin
(Wow, so I’m not even human today…)

Name a random song. Croatia 2009- Lijepa Tena
(Comment could not be found.)

Are you bored? Bulgaria 2016- If Love was a Crime
(Am I if I sing ILWAC every time I pass Genova Pizza Parlor on my way to work?)

Will I get far in life? Slovenia 2014- Spet (Round and Round)
(No. Apparently I’m just going around in circles.)

How do friends see me? Turkey 2009- Dum Tek Tek
(I make a lot of noise apparently.)

What’s my friends’ theme song? France 2015- N’oubliez Pas
(Don’t forget my friends?)

What’s my funeral song? Turkey 1997- Dinle
(Do people actually listen to speeches during funerals? I’ve only been to 2 and they didn’t really involve talking.)

Am I happy with myself? Moldova 2011- So Lucky
(Yes, I’m so lucky!)

What’s my motto? Romania 2009- The Balkan Girls
(“It’s time for me to unwind.”)


5 Days of Canvassing

So I haven’t been updating for a while, and that’s mostly because I’ve been looking for a job this summer. Yes, I know that I probably could have kept my job at the bakery, but I ended up really hating the place after not wanting to bake 7000 cookies a day, massage scones, or climb into the back of the -18oC deep freezer trying to find 50 pounds of frozen apple turnovers; the only nice thing was getting to practice frosting words on expired cookies after cleaning up after closing.

Anyways I still haven’t had much luck for 95% of the time. Application got in? Great! How did the interview go? Ehhh, it was okay. Did they call back? Nope. Or I got an email saying thanks for wasting 2 hours trying to get out of the house.

My family’s been using this to tell me off that nobody likes me and/or that I should try to follow others’ expectations instead of being myself. Wow, thanks, specific people. Considering that the other option is to sit at home and get yelled at, I might as well get paid to leave the house get yelled at, even if it’s at minimum wage.

So out of my entire job hunt so far, I’ve been unemployed for all but 5 days (or 6 if you count in one day that was a fluke). In those 5 days, I was out canvassing for LGBT+ rights. And while my family wasn’t very supportive for multiple reasons, it was (as of so far) best 5 days of this summer. Besides getting to stay a half hour’s car ride away from negative voices for over 8 hours, I got to do something that meant something to me yelling at people in the street. It’s not the easiest job on earth, but I learned a lot:

  1. You actually have to be passionate about what you’re canvassing for

I mentioned that I technically worked 6 days instead of 5, but the 6th day was only an observation/training day for a different canvassing position that I didn’t make the team for. At the time I applied to canvass for banning bee-interfering pesticides, but I really only signed up because it paid money. I might have been slightly interested about the effects of the pesticide due to being a chemistry major and taking a neuroanatomy class last semester, but that was about it.

After channeling my inner Sanja Vučić and sounding super enthusiastic to ace the interview and get an observation day, everything went downhill. Maybe it was that I was nervous from not memorizing the canvasser script well enough. Maybe it was that I didn’t feel that enthusiastic to go two by two, BOM style, knocking door to door and ask people for cash. Or maybe it was that I got assigned to a street where no one wanted to donate. Anyways, I wasn’t asked to return and had to wait two weeks in order to get my $25 compensation for spending 8 hours in the office and paying outrageously expensive parking fees.

Since I still needed cash I applied for a second place, the one that was fighting against LGBT+ discrimination. The interview started out the same way, but this time the enthusiasm felt more genuine. Considering that a) this affected a lot of my friends at uni, b) I’m still in the closet ace (#PurpleCakeyProblems), I was definitely more than just slightly interested. The canvassing director also noticed that I was a Eurovision fan, and considering that a lot of ESC fans are either allies or in the LGBT+ cloud, and that might have helped a little. Interview aced, I got my script, learned it well enough to freestyle it to interested people on the street, made enough donations, and officially joined the team.

  1. Yes there are people who will say no, and yes there are jerks on the street.

Unlike the first canvassing org, we didn’t walk door to door asking for cash. Instead we stood on street corners with our clipboards and uniforms, waiting for people to come to us, and that was a lot less nerve-wracking. On the other hand, our uniforms consisting of blue t-shirts weren’t exactly as flashy or as memorable as ESC stage outfits, so we needed to grab people’s attention. We would see a person, wave, and yell (without sounding threatening), “Hello! Are you interested in LGBT civil rights?”

We would wave to approximately 200-250 people a day, and most people refused; only about 30 people stopped to talk, and out of those people only 5-6 people would donate. At least those who didn’t want to talk acknowledged our presence, and I understood if they didn’t bring money with, didn’t have enough time, or weren’t old enough to vote. On the other hand, there were a few “more interesting” denials every day:

  • The person who was under an extreme time crunch: After I finished an abridged version of the spiel (something close to “Hi, I’m a paid fundraiser for [organization] fighting for LGBT+ rights, politicians around the country have introduced anti-LGBT+ bills despite marriage equality in all 50 states, we need money to fight these laws, can you please donate?”) they decide to donate, fill out half the paperwork, decide that it will take them too long, and then leaves me with a half-completed form offering to donate $15 and no money or card information.
  • The person who probably decided I would go to hell: The person saw me and slowed down enough to say, “May the Lord have mercy on your soul,” and then quickly walked away before I could even attempt to respond.
  • The 9-11 truther: The person explicitly said that they were a 9-11 truther and did not support the organization I campaigned for; according to them the organization’s intent was to cover up conspiracies. At least they smiled when I told them to have a nice day.
  • The beanie asshole: There was this troll who answered “F*** you” when I asked them if they were interested in the organization’s campaign, replied, “Oh, I won’t because you made it s***” when I told them to have a nice day. I could just shrug that off, but then they came back an hour later to blow smoke in my face while I’m coughing while their friend smelling of weed just laughed.
  • Every single person who said that “LGBT+ people have enough rights” already: Alright. So LGBT+ people don’t have enough rights? What about the 28 states where it’s legal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation? What about states where it’s legal to use religion to discriminate? And what about all the shitstorms that have occurred because some state introduced a bathroom bill? No. we do not have enough rights, especially when some of our identities aren’t even recognized.
  • The person who disagreed with my spiel but then invited her friends to listen: I talked to this person who listened to the entire spiel. They then said, “I’m a conservative and I disagree with a lot of what you said, but it was a good speech. My friends are coming over and they might be interested in what your organization.” The first person’s friends were interested, and even though they didn’t donate, it was great that I got to talk to 4 people at that location instead of just 1 person.
  • The TERF (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist) lawyer: There was a self-declared TERF lawyer who decided to harass canvassers because they did not agree with part of the organization’s stand on transgender issues. They simply walked away after the field manager told them to leave, but then they found the other team of canvassers to harass. Eugh.

But for every asshole, there was at least one person who made things better. Maybe they donated. Or maybe they didn’t know what was going on in the news and realized they wanted to help. Or maybe they or their family/friends would be directly affected by the organization’s help.  For example, there was one person who was knew almost all the details of the spiel because the laws that the organization was fighting against affected them directly: Previously fired for not being straight? Check. Harassed at a bathroom for not passing as the “right” gender? Check. They wanted to help but couldn’t do so through donating, so they signed up to canvass. I felt really bad for not being able to help directly, but at the same time it felt like I was actually doing something while working for the organization instead of feeling like a robot in the bakery.

So how did the job go overall?

  • Pay: Minimum wage with 30% commissions if we got extra donations
  • Distance: Half an hour’s drive away from the family
  • Stuff learned: A lot. I got to talk to a bunch of people, listen to their stories, improve my interpersonal communication, and speak about my interests more fluently.
  • Related to what’s going on at uni: Nope, unless you count what happens at the LGBT+ org.

If things went my way, I would be canvassing the entire summer. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. My family didn’t approve of me working there for too long, because the job didn’t contribute to my major at work, I wouldn’t learn anything (despite that not being true), I would be there too long and forget why I was even canvassing (also not true), and because parking was ridiculously expensive given that it was minimum wage (okay that might be a problem). So they made me quit and now I’m looking for another job, hopefully with free parking. But I’m still thankful for those 5 days yelling at people on the streets, and for the org’s canvassing director for giving me a chance.

Everything but the kitchen sink

When you’re an American Eurovision fan in 2016, things can get pretty frustrating after the contest ends. PED (Post-Eurovision depression) sets in, the Eurovision stream and official YouTube videos get geoblocked due to the Logo TV deal, and there are very few people to talk about the contest with.

Source: ESC-Confessions on Tumblr

I usually have to go on Twitter or Tumblr to talk to someone in the fandom, but my geography professor, who is constantly subjected to me crashing her office hours at uni and ranting about the contest, was nice enough to set up a Skype session for us to talk in person. She also teaches a class focusing on Russia and neighboring states, so just the results and surrounding events were enough material to talk about for hours.

While she hadn’t watched the contest in full, she explicitly mentioned that she didn’t like Sergey Lazarev’s performance because it appeared like “Russia just threw in everything but the kitchen sink.”  After thinking about it for a while, it did make sense. Yes, Russia definitely looked like it wanted to win, host the contest with expensive production that would beat out 2009, and possibly even set up a few positive stereotypes. And they would do anything, i.e. take aspects from a bunch of top 10 entries and combine them into a hopefully winning entry:

(Edit: Previous video had been taken down, so here’s a rehearsal video instead.)

**Disclaimer: There is more than a bit of sarcasm in here; imagine this announced by some Russian media person looking forward to a win in May.**

Having an international team

Source: ESC Today

The artist is Russian, but obviously the Russian delegation has to have the best of everything, from composers to choreographers to producers. Let’s go with the Dream Team then, with composers Filipp Kirkorov and Dimitris Kontopoulos working with choreographer Fokas Evangelinos. Just add lyrics co-written by John Ballard, a Scottish person working in Sweden, four Swedish backing vocalists/dancers, and Cypriot vocal coach Alex Panayi, and that’s a team involved in 19 past Eurovision entries, including 2 wins and 8 non-winning top 10 entries. Even if it’s not enough to win, it has to be enough to get points from countries of involved team members.

(To no one’s surprise: 14 points from Sweden, 22 points from Cyprus, and 22 points from Greece.)

Bringing a projection screen on stage

Well Måns Zelmerlöw won the entire thing with a projection screen last year, so why can’t Russia?


Interacting with the projection screen

Last year’s winner might have had a projection screen, but it just looked like an animated chalkboard drawing. Maybe it was supposed to look like that, but check out all these 3D effects!

Screenshot_2016-03-20-23-01-30 Screenshot_2016-06-08-23-23-44

Including a ledge on the screen

Belarus had ledges for the dancers on moving screens, but even without the dancers they’re still visible. Check out this wall with a ledge that’s hidden by Spandex, so you can’t see it with the camera. Not to mention this ledge is higher off the ground


Including wings on the backdrop

Well Conchita won with wings, right? So why can’t Sergey with wings?


(Or he’s using wings simply because they’re part of his artist identity, as he has wing tattoos, wings on his microphone stand, and a past Russian national final song called “Flyer.”)

Source: Wiwibloggs

*Cue Maltese commentator saying that they still have better wings*


Having dancers appear “by magic” (read: zooming out after doing a closeup of the artist)

Camera magic is wonderful. This trick has worked for other Dream Team-composed entries, so why can’t it work this year?



Climbing a wall

We still have no idea what Guildo Horn was doing back then. Don’t worry, we know exactly what’s going on here. And it should be as safe as that third grader climbing up the slide while playing tag on the play structure.


Singing while lying down

We’ve definitely seen that singing while lying down on the floor stands out. But while Loic does it on the ground, let’s up it a notch and have Sergey sing while mid-sit-up and on a ledge a meter and a half off the ground! And let’s add 3D effects so it looks like he’s falling into a black hole!


Zooming in on the artist’s face

The hosts even sing about this in Love Love Peace Peace! It has to work!


But on the other hand, they did mention “look into the TV camera so the audience can see that you’re lovable, not desperate.”

Standing on top of a box

So Ani Lorak standing on a box with a Dream Team-composed entry got her 2nd place because Dima Bilan threw in an ice rink, an Olympic figure skater, and a Hungarian guy playing a Stradivarius. What if we put Sergey on a box with a Dream Team-composed entry and involve the backdrop and screen?


Or maybe it looks like next year it’s time to sit on a box instead, because that seems to get more jury votes…


The Russian delegation clearly understands that Eurovision is a TV show and needs all the effects to get a good placing. However, maybe they might want to focus a bit more on the song next year. Considering that Bulgaria and France got top 10 with fewer effects on stage, that might actually work out.