2018 Review: Albania

So I tried watching Festivali I Kenges. Note that the main word is *tried* and I got through 6 out of 11 songs of the 1st semifinal before running low on battery, having to run an errand, and having approximately zero motivation to watch any more. From what I remember, there was a reeeeaaaaalllllly long interval act, a lot of ads (i.e. one every two performances), and interviews before and after each performance. And the host may have said “fake news.”

He also apparently did this. I’m not sure what happened but okay then.

**This is a disclaimer that you are a not a bad fan if you don’t watch national finals. If you do have the time to follow all of FiK, MESC, and San Remo, good for you and kudos for having all the patience. If you don’t have time to watch all or any national finals (e.g. me, a pharm student who’s already terrible at time management), you’re okay.**
So I might have missed the winner but Twitter clearly hadn’t, so I woke up to people cheering over the winning entry of FiK 56, “Mall” (“Yearning”) by Eugent Bushpepa.

(Also according to dict.cc, the Albanian word for “shopping mall” is “mapo.” Fingers crossed it’s correct unlike google translate…)

Let’s start with the obvious: Unlike the past 3 winners of FiK, the performance Albania/RTSH plans on sending this year is NOT a woman belting a diva ballad. Okay sure there’s still belting and some people might still put it in the ballads category, but it’s definitely less typical of what Albania’s been sending. As for the performance, Eugent Bushpepa has definitely sold it. We know he can sing live (as shown in his covers of Rona Nishliu’s “Suus” and Scorpions’ “Still Loving You”) and can fill a stage, so we might expect something similar in Portugal. As for the tune, it reminds me of a national park documentary when the camera is taking footage of the landscape combined with a bit of Voltaj’s “De la Capat” and Common Linnets’ “Broken but Home” and some extra drums and guitars. I also appreciate that the song’s in ¾; it’s not very waltzy but “Mall” definitely has a pulse that I could obtain a blood pressure reading from.

So yeah, I really like the song; it’s currently my top ESC entry of 2018 so far XD.



Like this happens EVERY SINGLE YEAR. And then fights break out on YouTube because one person ranked their #1 as someone else’s #2. 

But I’m about 200% certain that I won’t be able to rank this song fairly due to one reason: the lyrics. While I might be lactose intolerant, the first time I read the lyrics translation I got severe feels, churning out serious Lane Moje– like vibes. Had I been single it probably wouldn’t have done much, but at the time of me writing this, I’m not. (Rather I’ve fallen so deep, I’m in too deep). The lines were relatable to the point that I could see myself again in my student apartment 700 miles/1120 km from home missing my partner, having trouble falling asleep due to test anxiety, and my pulse keeping me awake until 2:30 AM (as well as the subsequent phone call from my ex-manager reminding me to concentrate on the course material for exams and not on my partner).



Eugent Bushpepa mentioned in an interview that he wrote the lyrics when he was “away from his family, away from his better half.” But unlike me, who only managed to pull off a 2:30 AM sleep-deprived letter closely resembling a 2-page drunk text, he actually wrote a coherent poem, fit it to a tune, and won a music festival with it.


RIP 5-for-$1 Goldfish

Whenever someone asks if I have pets, I say that I have goldfish. They’re technically not mine; officially they belong to my grandma. Or maybe I should say belonged, in past tense, because they all died. Again. I was responsible for cleaning the tank; grandma was responsible for feeding them. Unfortunately, the fish were fed too much and died of a) ammonia poisoning, b) not enough oxygen in the water, c) eating waaaaaaaay too much, or d) all of the above. (I pick answer d)

So here’s a small dedication to the 5-for-$1 goldfish that just died today. (Credit goes to Andrius Pojavis for the original lyrics/tune)

I have to tell you something
And you won’t like it — At all
I’ve got to tell you this
And you won’t like it—not at all
I thought it was ‘cause of me
But then I walked in and saw the tank

If you don’t know: Those fish eat too much
First they eat lunch then have second brunch
Since NH3 gas is not good for you
That fish is dead; the others are too

So tell me now
It’s all your fault
It’s too much food, tell me now
Tell me now
‘Cause I walk in and see them corpses float

If you don’t know: Those fish eat too much
First they eat lunch then have second brunch
Since NH3 gas is not good for you
That fish is dead; the others are too

But still you don’t know: Those fish eat too much
First they eat lunch then have second brunch
Since NH3 gas is not good for you
That fish is dead; the others are too.
That fish is dead; the others are too.


So rest in peace, goldfish; we’ll get new fish to remind us of you. And hopefully make sure they don’t die of NH3 poisoning.

I’ve been Waiting for My Lunch

The distribution center for the pharmacy I work at finally opened, but it’s still in its Testing 123 phase so we haven’t filled that many prescriptions yet. I got assigned to a station which dispenses some of the less common prescriptions, so I filled a grand total of 5 prescriptions last shift. As we weren’t allowed to leave our stations for more than 5 minutes to go to the bathroom unless it was break/lunch or bring in stuff from the break room, we spent 8 hours staring at the assembly line full of almost nothing. Thank goodness our work stations had computers with Microsoft Paint next to the company software, so I’m pretty sure people are mastering drawing with a mouse right now.

One of my coworkers brought me a stack of paper to write down which drugs had scanning issues, so I grabbed a few extra sheets and started drawing. Or attempting to write stuff. This is what came out of last night’s shift:

I’ve been Waiting for my Lunch (parody of “I’ve been Waiting for this Night”)

Verse 1:
Here I’m standing bored out of my mind
Watching all the drugs come off the line
There is nothing I can do,
My attention’s falling through,
Almost gone
Here I’m standing bored out of my mind, ugh.

Filled a thousand scripts, swear I’ve lost my wits
I’m so hungry now, gonna clock right out
I’ve been waiting for my lunch
I’ve been waiting for my lunch
When I see the clock and there’s one minute left
I pull out my badge, I’m about to swipe
I’ve been waiting for my lunch
I’ve been waiting for my lunch

Verse 2:
If only I had something with to play
To get me three more hours into the day
There is nothing I can do,
My attention’s falling through,
Almost gone
If only I had something with to play, ugh.




Here I’m standing bored out of my mind

You know you’ve been watching too much Eurovision when… (pt 5/Work Edition)

So I got a job at the pharm plant, and sometimes it’s hard getting my head from ESC fan mode to Pharm mode. As a result, weird stuff sometimes happens…

Click here for part 1,  here for part 2, here for part 3, and here for part 4

  1. The first thing you notice about your general manager is that she looks like Carola circa 2006.

    My manager’s reaction to watching Carola’s performance: Wait, I look like her? Well, I can’t sing, but can I switch places with her? She looks like she’s got more money than I do.” 

  2. You get frustrated that the drugs on the pharmacy shelves are less organized than your Eurovision music folder, which you talked about in your interview to sound slightly more organized than you really are.

    And it doesn’t help that there’s blood pressure medicine next to an antibiotic which is next to a bipolar lithium drugs. At least put everything in ABC order or drug type…T_T

  3. Your coworker doesn’t understand when you tell them another coworker looks like one of the Hungry Hearts.

    Me: [Coworker] looks like one of the Hungry Hearts, you know, “The streets of Moscow with my girlfriend.” Coworker: You trying to say that [coworker] is a lesbian? Me: All I said was that she looks like one of the Hungry Hearts…

  4. You remember the drug Lisinopril (an ACE inhibitor/high blood pressure drug) with “Lisja Esenski.”

    Hmmmm…what other mnemonics can I use to remember these drugs??

  5. You freak out when one of your coworkers introduces herself as Conchita and nods when you ask, “You mean like the singer in Austria?!”
  6. Everyone at work has heard you sing If Love was a Crime.

    Manager that looks like Carola: So I heard you singing that song in the bathroom yesterday...

    Manager that looks like Carola: So I heard you singing that song in the bathroom yesterday…

  7. Ditto with Love Love Peace Peace

    Old women baking bread, a man in a hamster wheel, a flaming fake piano, and a Russian man on skates…

  8. When your coworker introduces himself as Gary but pronounces the G really lightly, you mishear the name as Jüri.

    Hang on a sec, you're the wrong person...

    Hang on a sec, you’re the wrong person…

  9. You’ve managed to get your coworkers to hold a 15-second singalong of the Ace Wilder’s “Don’t Worry.”

    I'd consider that a success at the Pharm.

    I’d consider that a success at the Pharm.

  10. Your coworker, who’s helping you train other coworkers, asks why a) you constantly space out, b) can remember all these countries/songs/artists/usw, and c) forget your lunch at least 5 times in 4 weeks

    Well I would apologize for being a Eurovision fan. But I'm not sorry, no.

    Well I would apologize for being a Eurovision fan. But I’m not sorry, no.


Why Am I Crying (over index cards)?

I got a job at the pharmacy a month ago, and as of so far, it’s great. My coworkers are mostly chill; they haven’t said anything about me singing If Love was a Crime at work, they couldn’t care less that I’m ace (considering that at least 3 more people in my squad are out), and we’re at the point of swapping lunch food as if we’re in elementary school again.

Our one major complaint? The bathrooms at work.

Since the pharmacy (technically the prescription filling plant) only opened a few months ago, there was no cleanup/custodial squad for the first 3 weeks I worked there, so we techs had to clean the bathrooms ourselves. It wouldn’t have been a major issue, had there not been a) a 6:1 ratio of females to males, b) only 4 available stalls per gender, and c) people not cleaning up after themselves.

As there were so many people using the bathroom, the stalls would stink up only two hours after we cleaned them due to unspecified coworkers not flushing, leaving residue on the seats, etc. One stall was so bad that it required its own can of air freshener and a note reminding people to flush/check the seat for residue.  It got to the point that for the drug name portion of our tech exam, we remembered the drug Lasix/furosemide (a diuretic to lower blood pressure) as: You will be furious when you see that someone peed on the toilet seat that you just cleaned 20 minutes ago. And with every incident in the bathroom, we were furious.

The higher ups weren’t doing anything, so I decided to take things into my own hands, making PSAs out of index cards and sticking double-sided tape on the back. I finally had a chance to put my chronic doodling to good use, so they were going to look nice as well as be informative and useful. My coworkers approved of the plan and were as excited as I was to tape up the PSAs and brighten the bathroom stalls the next day after seeing the cards.


A day later a coworker tells me that Pharmacist and Front Desk HR took down the signs. I ran into the bathroom and saw the original blank stalls, but no sign of the PSAs in any of the trash cans. The regional pharmacy director is visiting today, I thought, maybe they just took them down for her. And I don’t see any index cards in the trash; maybe they still have them. Maybe they’ll put them back when Pharm Director leaves…

Once Regional Pharm Director left (after a pep talk reminiscent of the “welcome to the company; now please give your 200% while you’re at work” introduction video on Day One), I asked Front Desk HR about the PSAs. She confirmed that she took down the signs because Pharm Director was visiting and PD didn’t like the signs (or any signs/flyers/handouts that weren’t from the company). That was okay. But by any chance, do you still have them?

“I threw them out.”

“You threw them out.” I repeated what HR said, reaching for one glimpse of hope that it wasn’t true.

“I threw them out,” HR snapped impatiently. “You can’t have signs in there.”

I left HR’s desk (now surrounded by Pharmacist, Manager, and Plant Director) with a straight face, hearing Pharmacist complain to HR, “Does [Pharm Director] even like anything?” I kept that face on the outside, but was shaking on the inside, sympathetics over-firing, trying not to break down/cry/look like a moron for unknowingly breaking the pharmacy’s rules, trying to remain calm and remember that I just passed my pharm tech license exam. It should have been a happy day from seeing that 93% on the screen, being publicly embarrassed congratulated by Pharm Director, and not having to worry anymore about the exam, but I couldn’t focus on anything except the 5 trashed index cards. I put work into them, I thought, do they know how bad the bathroom situation is?

Rational side started talking inside as well. But they were against the rules. And to tell the truth you just wanted to show off your doodles to your coworkers and feel warm and fuzzy for that. Shouldn’t you be celebrating your tech license exam instead? It’s just 5 index cards with simple doodles of cartoon characters. You still have 3 in your locker—and one of them is the Poli Genova one too! And you took a picture of all of them first! Seriously, it’s just 5 index cards; why are you crying?

I totally understood that it was an irrational thought, that it was just 5 index cards with marker doodles next to the “Please wipe residues off the seat” reminder written in blue Sharpie that were completely replaceable. I totally understand that like Estonia scoring dead last in the semi, it shouldn’t throw me off for the next 5 hours. In a perfect world, I would have just smiled and walked away, but instead my sympathetics started firing because another part of me was upset about artwork getting thrown out. I know I’m not thinking straight about the cards, but I just want them back. And if I ever decide to put them on the bathroom stalls again, they’ll be super glued on all four edges and backed with duct tape so HR and Pharmacist can’t take them down again.

EDIT: The day after I finished writing the section above, one of my coworkers handed me three familiar-looking, double-sided-taped-together cards dug out of the trash.

“[Manager] was looking for you, heard you wanted these back.”


I’m still not convinced that I left work today without crying. But they’re back and that’s all that matters.

Eurovision Sighting: Blue and Red (political parties)

American presidential elections can be a complete shitshow. There’s lots of mudslinging between candidates, drinking games made debates, Wikileaks has fueled the drama fire by releasing new information, and sometimes even the Supreme Court gets involved. So much for whatever reality TV people are watching right now; there’s often so much drama that people could get away with watching C-Span (live broadcast of the legislature in action) and claim that they’re watching “reality TV” (or even better: “reality”). Sometimes it’s really overwhelming, and it makes me want to borrow Maraaya’s headphones, tune things out, and focus on the Eurovision world right now. Unfortunately, there’s still no escape, no matter on the blue side or the red side. So let’s just look at Eurovision-y stuff. (I can’t say I’m from the purple side because US politics likes binaries way too much, and apparently the cake is a lie anyways.)

From the Democratic side: split voting
While there is *slightly* less televised drama (cue all the Wikileaks information that just got released about the DNC), one of the most widely complained things about the party is the superdelegate/split voting system. In short, a candidate needs 2383 out of 4765 delegates’ official votes to win the Democratic nomination. Out of the 4765 official votes, 4049 votes are assigned through popular vote (like televoting). The remaining 716 votes come from superdelegates (kind of like jury members), who don’t vote until late July. As of so far, we only have the delegate count from the popular vote as the superdelegates have not yet voted. However, given that the jury vote superdelegate vote counts for less than 20% of the total vote count, it’s not going to be as crazy as Poland’s jump from last to 8th place.

poland gets 222 points
It’s probably going to be more like the scoring at UMK, where the televote/jury split is 90/10. But given all the background noise that Wikileaks brought up from within the party, someone’s going to get yelled at for corruption in the voting.
From the Republican Side: Ted Cruz’s 17-year-old lookalike, ManuElla’s angry Republican, Slovenia’s infamous in-laws
Republican primary voting is a lot more straightforward; the total delegate count depends on televote popular vote only. Outside of the voting, there are the candidates. For starters, there’s this:

Somehow Sweden managed to send Ted Cruz’s 17-year-old lookalike, who was not the Zodiac Killer. Frans did make all of Twitter blow up when [insert any of the other 11 Melodifestivalen finalists here] didn’t win, and SVT definitely wasn’t sorry, especially after jumping to #1 on Swedish Spotify or placing 5th in the contest.

Otherwise, Slovenia had a lot of fun representing Republicans this year: In February, when there were still enough candidates for the debates to still be fun enough to watch (and make fun of), Slovenia sent ManuElla’s “Blue and Red.”

If the two colors represent the two parties, then the song can be the anthem of an angry Republican performed in the form of a Taylor Swift-style breakup song:
“And you tried to fix me when I wasn’t strong, but you are not a composer; I am not your song”
(And when your party took up the majority of congressional seats, you introduced all this stuff (e.g. Obamacare, 626 marriage equality, etc.), but you’re not in full control of the government, and we’re not going to be manipulated by you.)

“How can I mix red and blue together?”
(How can our two political parties work together, if our beliefs and values are so different?)

“You feel blue and I feel better”
(Well we’re not going to work together, so you introduce your own legislation (that we’re not going to let pass) and we’re going to introduce our own legislation.)

Let’s not forget the obvious point for Slovenia: The country now has (in/famous) in-laws that are taking over the news. And got the Republican official nomination as well.

(But more importantly, while everyone can complain about politics drama,  don’t forget to vote. You can’t complain about the results if you’re eligible to vote and you don’t cast your opinion.)


You know you’ve been watching too much Eurovision when… (pt 4)

Click here for part 1,  here for part 2, and here for part 3.

1. You look at your car dashboard and decide that whoever designed the speedometer must be a fan of Molly Pettersson Hammar.

Miles per hour? What are you talking about?

2. You’d be able to pay for your flight to Kyiv (or wherever Eurovision will be hosted next May) if you got a dollar every time someone asked if Eurovision was like American Idol.

Oh, it’s a singing competition? Like Idol?

3. You cringe whenever someone brings up “Azerbaijan” and “Kardashian” in the same sentence.

I don’t care how much Samra looks like her. Don’t say it. Of if you really have to, don’t do it on public broadcasting.

4. The last thing you’ll think of when you see the name “Für Elise“ is a singing garbage truck or one of Beethoven’s most famous works; the first thing you think of is an Eesti Laul entry that got robbed in 2014.

5. Seeing this on your TV or computer screen is totally normal:

As is this:

And this:

6. You start laughing in front of the donut case while everyone else gets confused about what’s going on.

Donut, donut, donut, donut, donut, donut, glad I may, eat nice I say. So many!

7. You buy a pair of yellow Swedish clogs (and start singing Diggiloo-Diggiley)


8. You don’t tell your SO that you love them; you give them 12 points


9. You’ve attempted to sing mid-sit-up to determine how hard it actually was for Sergey Lazarev to sing while on the screen


(It’s actually really hard if you haven’t worked on your abs for a while)

10. You are now an expert at splitting your screen and tuning out external noise to watch multiple national finals at the same time. It doesn’t matter that much with the songs because 80% of them are in English.

Not included in picture: Phone with downloaded SVT App to watch Mello

11. Your boss  wanted to ask why you could only work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during one particular week in May. (While mine knew about the contest because she grew up in Antwerp, she also knew about streaming it on YouTube so I still had to work the entire week…)

Thanks to LogoTV messing things up that wouldn’t work this year.

12. You get extremely disappointed at Pride Prom when you find out the DJ doesn’t even have “Euphoria” on their playlist. So much for “DJ, please take me away.”