Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everybody!

Argh again

175 people were killed and about 350 injured in a nightclub fire in Buenos Aires that started from fireworks.

My sincere condolences to everyone involved.

I keep getting the same cynical thought all the time: would it be in bad taste to burn a candle in memory of people who have just burned to death? Not that I am going to in any case.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Don't buy X! Help the victims instead!

Yesterday I imagined that "don't buy fireworks, donate the money to the tsunami victims instead"-conversation existed only among my friends, but apparently this is some larger campaign. Aside from the obvious point that most of the people saying that are people who don't like the fireworks to begin with, one weird thing that I noticed on both sides of the conversation is that a lot of people seem to believe that sacrificing something they really care about is somehow more noble. WTF is with that? One would think that anyone in their right mind would sacrifice the things that they least cared about.

Also, there seems to be some weird "light a candle" campaign. What's the point in this? I mean, people who like candles will probably light them anyway, and why would the rest of us do so? How exactly does this help some poor bugger in Sri Lanka?

Emergency aid for foreigners, again

Not content with asking various questions in my blog, I asked the Powers That Be. The American Powers That Be said that they do indeed provide help to legal permanent residents of the USA should they lose their Green Card, Reentry Permit or suchlike, and recommended that I read the fine manual. I reread their (State Department's) fine manual and did not find the information there, although I later found it in USCIS's fine manual.

The Finnish Powers That Be haven't answered yet, but it's no rush, they have better things to do right now.


It's cold and windy and all my hair is standing on end.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Emergency aid for foreigners?

When a big disaster happens, or even a small one, all the countries immediately set up some kind of emergency aid for their own citizens who happen to be in the area. I am talking mostly about giving out documents to people who have lost theirs and arranging for getting the people home. Funnily enough their webpages and other information never seems to contain any instructions for foreigners who are living in their country. Or, for that matter, for their own citizens who are living abroad.

What is happening now to Americans living in Finland (if any) who happened to lose their documents in the recent tsunami? What about Finns living in the US? What would I have had to do if I were there? Would for example Finnish authorities have issued me some document allowing me to travel back to Finland? Or would they have demanded that I first get a similar document from the US? Or would they have been really bureaucratic and demanded that I get a real US passport before I am admitted back to Finland? Would they have let me on a flight arranged by them?

In general, do any Western countries provide any consular help to their residents who are not their citizens?

Ill-wishing assholes

There was a huge earthquake in the Indian Ocean two days ago, followed by a tsunami. The death toll is 33000, and still rising.

I understand that the death of 33000 total strangers halfway around the world arouses sympathy in some people and doesn't in others. What I don't understand is the creatures that crawl out of the woodwork after every major catastrophe to explain to others how it was a good thing.

I've seen quite a few of them now. Their reasoning for why it was a good thing, in the order of frequency:

1. It's good that there will be fewer people on earth, since the planet is overpopulated.
2. Tourists are bad people (don't ask me why, but I suppose that this is because tourists can afford to be somewhere warm right now and the speaker either doesn't have the time or the money. Or else the speaker is in fact a tourist and does not like to see other tourists around.).
3. It's good that Indians are dead, since they are taking Our Jobs.

I notice people like this after every disaster, and I can never stop wondering why the people who believe that overpopulation should be solved by killing people off never start out by killing themselves and giving the rest of us a good example. Maybe, or course, I never see them kill themselves because they have in fact already done it and are therefore dead, but seriously - has anyone ever heard of anyone killing him/herself in order to relieve the overpopulation?

My advice to almost everyone who is gloating over this tragedy (people who have lost personal enemies are excused as surely cannot avoid just a little bit of gloating): please consume excrement and expire. Now!

Contacts and Thaana script

Got new contacts today. They are supposed to be able to be worn while working on the computer. And hey, they work! What's more important, they are a bit stronger than the old ones, and it makes a whole lot of difference.

Tried to read a Maldivian newspaper and nmost of it turned out to be in Thaana script, which looks very cool. I did not even know that Divehi is written in it, never even heard about it before.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Fuck the revolution!

Russia approved new public holidays, and the Great October Revolution Day won't be a holiday anymore. Well, better late than never, I'd say. It sure did take them a long time.

Now if they would only remove that rotting (or, more likely, plastic) carcass from the Mausoleum and bury it in a rural toilet where it belongs, I would be almost ready to believe that Russia might become a civilized country in a couple of centuries.

Unfortunately they kept the Defender of Fatherland Day, previously the Soviet Army day. This is an awfully socially awkward holiday: a lot of people celebrate it as a men's day, congratulate all men and give them gifts (March 8 is the Women's day), and on the other hand a lot of men get pissed off if you try to congratulate them on that day, pointing out that they have nothing to do with the Army and the Fatherland, and don't want to have anything to do with it either. Difficult...


Had a very nice Christmas in a very good company, and afterwards had a feeling like I am never eating anything again, but now I feel like I am ready for lunch.

It's funny how Christmas ham tastes good, even though I don't like ham in general. I don't think it has anything to do with the holiday itself, it's just a different kind of ham. Used to have a different name for it in Russian, too.

I am feeling very well-behaved too, because we had a conversation about blood pressure and I managed not to mention under which circumstances I was measuring my blood pressure lately.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas, infidels

Enjoy your ham or turkey or riisipuuro, and even ohrapuuro if you are so inclined.

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Yesterday was a big storm, so big that the computer booted itself. Gaah.

I am at work, nobody else it. The Great Infidel Holiday is just around the corner, and the Great Infidel Panic has started, with people running around stores like crazy. It's kind of fun to watch. I want a tree, too, but don't have anywhere to put it in. Looking forward to the Great Infidel Holiday celebration tomorrow.

Am in an exceptionally bad mood now, I don't know why but suspect work stress. I have a lot of stuff to do today, but still would rather be in bed drinking hot chocolate with rum and reading some nice book. Probably gonna work tomorrow, too.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Blood pressure during an orgasm

For a long time already I have been wondering what an orgasm does to a person's blood pressure, and always wanted to find it out experimentally. The only problem is, it's hard to measure your blood pressure while having sex or masturbating, because there are other things then that distract you from the noble path of scientific inquiry.

This morning I finally tried. I have a blood pressure meter that works just by pressing a button and keeping your wrist somewhere below your heart. The problem is, it doesn't show how the pressure rises and falls, but just measures it at some particular moment. First of all, it's difficult to time the orgasm to that moment, and second, I am not really sure what the moment it.

I have probably measured it at the wrong moments, but I mostly got the same 120-something/70-something measurements that I get without masturbation. Only once did I get 124/93.

During one of the measurements I got a work-related phone call from one of the customers who was looking for Kaius but could not find his number. Masturbating furiously, measuring the blood pressure and answering work-related phone calls at the same time - now that's what I call multitasking. That's what I call calling at a very wrong time, too.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Buying an ADSL modem

I gotta buy an ADSL modem, does anyone have any advice? It gotta be cheap and work with Linux and not be incompatible with Saunalahti. Can be internal or external.

Sensation radiating in nerves

Why is it always so difficult to find answers to simple questions about human anatomy on the net? Let's see if some nice reader can answer these:

1. Why and how does sensation sometimes radiate along a nerve? I mean when you irritate a certain point along the nerve and you can feel it along the whole nerve. I can sort of understand how sensation radiates down - you pinch a nerve in one place and somehow screw up the data that it is carrying upstream - but how does it radiate up? I can irritate some points between my fingers and feel the nerve all the way to the neck.

2. All the site I found talk about radiating pain, and sometime this weekend when I mentioned that a pleasant sensation can be radiated this way people looked like they didn't know what I was talking about. Is pleasant sensation radiating along nerves somehow rare? I find most of the sensations radiating along the nerves of my arms quite pleasant - it's a very sharp shot of pleasure, stronger than an orgasm but much shorter and more difficult to attain - and have spent many boring lectures and meetings in my life trying to find and stimulate the right points. The points are not always sensitive to stimulation, but once stimulated properly it becomes quite easy to repeat the sensation fairly often during the next few hours. Does anyone know what I am talking about? I find it hard to believe that I am the only one doing that.

The places where I usually find these points are on the inside of the arm above the elbow, and also between the second and the third and the third and the fourth fingers, more towards the back of the hand than towards the front. These seem to be situated on the same nerves, on maybe just on the nerves that are very close to each other.

The weekend

Spent a very nice evening with girls at Kristiina's place Saturday night. Ate all their blue cheese. Bad, bad me.

Killeri's kittens have grown big and now have eyes and ears like real cats.

Went bowling yesterday and even won one game. Had an RPG session where everyone brought sweet stuff.

Finished reading Vanha Koira. Want more!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Pikkujoulut and the rest of the workday

Calories: too many to count, alcohol units 12, hours spent in a strategy meeting 3.5, impure thoughts 254, of which during the strategy meeting 86, number of total strangers in a bar wanted to have sex with 2, number of total strangers in a bar actually had sex with 0, new words learned 1 ("synergy"), lines of code written 15 or so, cups of tea drunk 1 but going to compensate right now.

Friday, December 17, 2004

2046 (maybe spoilers)

Saw 2046 yesterday. Like it usually happens when I watch Wong Kar-Wai's movies, on one hand I got a feeling that this is totally not my thing and that I don't understand it at all, and on the other hand I am glad I went to see it and will go to see his next movie as well.

I found it profoundly disturbing that the characters were speaking different languages to each other, for example there were long and seemingly natural-looking dialogues where one party was speaking Cantonese and the other Mandarin. I wonder whether it's just the version that was released in the West, or whether the China and Hong Kong versions also have these two-language dialogues.

The cast is not quite as starry as they advertise: they got lots of Chinese stars but some just for a moment. There is two seconds on Chang Chen, five seconds of Maggie Cheung Man Yuk, and a little bit more Gong Li and Carina Lau Ka Ling. Tony Leung Chiu Wai is there most of the time though, although he is wearing the most horrible moustache in the history of motion picture, and Zhang Ziyi and Faye Wong have decent-sized roles. All the cast gives a rather good performance, too.

The futuristic stuff should have been left out. The rest of it was nice.

A mole without anaesthesia

Went to remove a mole yesterday, and they did it without any anaesthesia. Then they said they'd do it I said "eek", but they explained that anaesthesia will hurt more the mole removal itself. And they were right, too, it hurt less that many anaesthetic injections that I had. Go figure.

Note to self: poisoning

Note to self: when poisoning my political rivals or any other people I happen to disapprove of I shall not use dioxin or any other poison that would make my victim look like Freddy Krueger's greenish brother and make it possible for doctors thousands of miles away to diagnose the poisoning through looking at his/her pictures on TV.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Finally a residence permit

Got a letter from the police today to come collect my passport. Heh, did not even take six months. Got a somewhat weird residence permit with a reference to a nonexistent item in a paragraph in the law that should not concern me in any way, and an unlimited work permit (meaning that can do any kind of work). That, mind you, two and a half weeks after they told me that I am not allowed to take that modeling job without an extra work permit application.

The ways of police are mysterious.

Bloody stupid terrorists

Holy shit! Somebody hijacked a bus with hostages in order to be flown into Russia, as opposed to out of there.

Wrong direction, morons! Not to mention the wrong vehicle.

What next? People coming to a bank with a pistol and demanding that the bank take their money?

Reminds me of my old neighbor who, when her son went to work in Kiev, told him: "Dear, Ukraine is a place where Jews come from, not a place they should go to".

Huono päivä, huono

En osaa mitään vitun kiinalaisia merkkejä, ja näköjään sen lisäksi koko Euroopassa poliisit ovat pitäneet jonkinlaista p2p-vastaiskupäivää. Waretanpa sen kunniaksi jotain kivaa, keitän rommikaakaota ja menen nukkumaan.


The Chinese test is in six and a half hours, and I still don't remember a quarter of the characters I should. Probably should call it quits, go to bed and see well-deserved nighmares about the characters.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The cure for computer constipation found

The computer tried to die on me again today, but ifdown eth0 cured it without any need to boot. Weird but nice to know.

Another story

Finished writing a new story. Same characters (well, some of them) as in the previous one, sex, drugs, violence, minor explosions. Same quality of writing, too, I am afraid.

Aina jonkun tytär (spoilers) and ADSL

Went to see Aina jonkun tytär (Always somebody's daughter) yesterday. It was a lot of fun, and to my rather pleasant surprise there was a lot of Somalis in the audience too (the play is about a Somali girl who gets pregnant with the help of a Finnish boy). The actors spoke mostly Finnish, and some English, French and Somalian, with no translation. Too bad - I would have liked to understand the Somalian part too.

It has a happy end, of course, where the guy gets to convert to Islam and marry the girl. Somehow they left out the bit where they explain to him that membership in Islam is forever and apostasy is punished by death. Or maybe I am just being a mean bitch.

Finally got to sleep normally without a headache.

This morning I got up all fucked in the head and decided to switch to Saunalahti ADSL. I think the last bit was that Welho again sent me an ad "Switch from Welho Pro to Welho 3M! Get less bandwidth for more money!"

Monday, December 13, 2004

Weird headache

Had a headache for more than a week. Not very bad, but unusual - the last one like that was probably five years ago.

A weird thing - I suspect that doing a certain kind of puzzles for too long gives me a headache. It somehow goes against my idea of how a human body is supposed to work, but coincides too often to be a coincidence. These are, unfortunately, the puzzles I find the most addictive.

Also I have always suspected that those mild but long headaches accompanied by a pulsing blood vessel on my temple have something to do with blood pressure. Yesterday measured the blood pressure when the headache was at its worst, and it was 120/78, so there goes that theory.

More on gods

Hope I did not hurt any other mourners' feelings with my last post, but I think it needed to said.

In general I think that if there really were a Judgement Day when all the people who have ever lived come before the Lord for judgement, they'd judge him rather harshly, and for a good reason, too, and he'd get a bloody good thrashing.

The funeral

The funeral was on Saturday. It was the first Christian funeral that I'd ever been to, and a lot of things were new to me, but it somehow doesn't feel right to go into details now. Maybe later.

One thing I wonder about, though, is the religion and how it fits into all this. Friends told me that Lutheran funerals generally contain a lot of talk about god. Merciful god, no less.

I am not a Christian, and not a very good Jew, either. Probably I don't understand something about religion, or maybe even anything. But can anyone explain to me how the concept of a merciful god fits in with a 26-year-old person suddenly dying just like that and leaving her husband and parents and friends behind? Or anyone dying, for that matter? I mean, I understand that some people want to believe in a merciful god in general, but aren't funerals as such a pretty obvious evidence that god/gods, if exist, are not particularly merciful?

I am glad I don't really believe in a god, but if I did the prayer would sound like that:

"Dear Lord,

If you are so fucking merciful then put Chuan back here where she belongs right now, alive and well with her family and friends. While you are at it I have a long list of other people who should be made alive and well again, too.

If you don't give her back to us, then I am coming to the day of final judgement with a baseball bat, and then we'll see about mercy."

Friday, December 10, 2004

A lovely ad

I found a lovely article, and the page has a lovely ad there, too. Their ads probably change every once in a while, so I don't know how long it is gonna be there, but it says "Linux Reference Center. Sponsored by: Microsoft." And that's on LinuxToday page.

The article itself is quite fun and is about software patents.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Terrorism news

The parents of an American teenager killed in a Hamas attack in Israel eight years ago got awarded $156 million by court, to be paid by a few US-based "charities" that have funded Hamas. They are not likely to see a lot of that money since the charities only have a few million and that money is frozen by the US government already, but the decision will affect a lot of these so-called charities.

The Dutch have banned the terror groups on EU blacklist. They haven't been banned before - only their assets could be freezed, but the members could not be punished. The mind boggles.

Fine as long as you are upset about it

I notice that in conversations about the morality and/or legality of abortion people who think that abortion is a decision best left to the woman herself often like to state that abortion is a hard decision for a woman, and somehow end up sounding like this is an argument in favor of their position.

WTF is that about? One can be for abortion, or against it, or find it immoral but believe it should be legal, or find it moral for people who do it, but not for oneself, or whatever. In any case, how does the fact of women agonizing over an abortion decision make it better? If a fetus is just a clump of cells to you, why would you want anyone to agonize over it? And if you think it is a murder that should still be legal, does the suffering of the murderer somehow make it better?

In any case it's not true in all cases, or not necessarily even most. There are women who find the decision difficult and cry over it, and there are women who call to make an abortion appointment as soon as they find out about being pregnant, and celebrate the abortion immediately afterwards. From my part I can promise my readers not to agonize over an abortion if I ever should happen to have one.

I have talked about it with Seanna and she pointed out one more thing: murderers are considered, both by law and our society's morals, to be more immoral if they have thought the murder over than if they have committed it on impulse; pregnant women, on the other hand, are considered less immoral if they gave a lot of thought to abortion before coming to a decision than if they dial the doctor's number as soon as they find out they are pregnant.

I've always found the premeditated vs. impulsive murder thing weird anyway. To me it's just discrimination against people who generally think about everything they do. Especially since IMO people whose impulse control is so poor that they murder others on impulse are more dangerous to others than the ones who first think it over.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Got 15 spams in an account from which I never posted anything in any public forum. Twelve "TOP quality software" and three "You need Vicodin?".

Is incitement to killing spammers illegal in Finland?

Exploding lamps

The bulbs in my ceiling lamp tend to explode. I don't know why. If anyone can explain it to me, please do so.

Bulbs burn out every once in a while, and sometimes they do explode in the process, is the sense of the glass part being torn apart from the metal part. It is, however, usually rare. But for some reason the five bulbs in my ceiling lamp tend to burn out every couple of months, and usually explode in the process. No other lamps in the house do that, and I don't think the bulbs themselves are the problem - I have changed the brand a couple of times and they still explode.

Hung over

Had a very nice evening with Seanna yesterday, with sushi and cognac, and hot chocolate with rum, but am a bit more hung over than should be. I have noticed earlier that alcohol and large amounts of rice is not a very good combination for me, I don't know why.

Missed the lecture in the morning as could not be bothered to get up, went straight to work and right into an ex tempore schedule meeting where they immediately scared me by mentioning one of the customers. Luckily Kaius is sympathetic to the hungover people and has bestowed a few cookies upon me to cure my sad condition, and then came Mio and suggested I have a little bit of cider. A little bit of cider is a good thing as am definitely in no condition for a big bit of cider.

The head is quite ok now, but the stomach is still saying "murr". Rather loudly, too. Poor coworkers, wherever the hell they are.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


A couple of weeks ago I went out on Saturday during the daytime and realized that the stores are full of people. "What the hell is going on?" - I thought, and then realized that it is Christmas again. The Great Infidel Holiday.

Every year I decide to stay out of the way of infidels and let them shop in peace by themselves, but every year the chocolate sales are way too intersting to miss. Well, at least I manage to stay away from stores other than those that sell food, drink and books.

Christmas looks a bit stressful from an outsider's point of view, but I like it precisely because it is not my holiday and I don't have to do anything at all. Let other people worry about gifts and cards and parties and suchlike. I never do anything, and people just invite me over and feed me some exotic infidel food, such as ham or perunalaatikko. They usually don't expect me to do anything except maybe bring booze or bake something chocolatey.

The only Christmas setback that I've had was at the Aspekti party, when I realized that you can't trust Christians (or at least that one particular Christian) to make a proper Christmas rice pudding anymore. This is depressing, because I got accustommed to that stuff. I guess I will just have to buy rice and milk and make some Christmas pudding like a good Jew.

Paranoia strikes again

I went to a pharmacy and bought a pregnancy test. Gonna take it in a few days.

It's a bug in my head, I know. Sometimes - every once in a few months - I feel a very strong desire to buy a pregnancy test, and feel quite restless until I do. Even though I realize that a 33-year-old woman who has an IUD, is on the pill, and is currently having her period is very unlikely to be pregnant.

One day I'll be sterilized, but I don't think the madness will end there. I am wondering until what age will I buy the tests. 60? 70?

I am sure this is some kind of a minor brain chemistry problem, but in the current state of medical science it's a lot cheaper and safer to indulge into this particular sort of madness than to try to cure it, so there.

I am thinking with horror about menopause and the time when pills are dangerous and periods are rare. By the time I am 50 I am probably sterilized, still have an IUD and go totally ballistic every time I miss a period, which is most of the time by then.

The hormone IUD, BTW, is not a good method for the paranoid.

Islamic eschatology

Where do Moslem women go after they die? Are they provided 72 male virgins each? Maybe even 72 male non-Moslem virgins?


Grr. Just checked out the calendar and it is today after all. Gotta drink hot chocolate with rum or something.

The rest of the weekend

Yesterday finally went to Killeri's place to see the kittens. They were awfully cute, even smaller than in the pictures, and had flat faces as if they ran into something, and funny little ears. They already know how to say "meow", but it's not a very impressive meow but more like the sound that I make when I cannot find my teacup in the morning.

In the evening we went to a party. It was a great party, but now I have a hangover.

Kikka made chocolate thingies. Gotta ask her about them.

Monday, December 06, 2004


It was un-fucking-believably slippery! I was dumb enough to go to Hakaniemen tori and then found myself unable to walk. Don't know how I got out of there.

Went to a bookstore to get Ville's book, Vanha Koira, and while I was looking for it three other books sort of jumped into my hand. I bought the four books and escaped.

Went to a party in the evening. The party was very good, and even the few strange people who were there were nice and not scary at all. The ice on the way there and back was scary, though.

The Aspekti party

There was Aspekti's pikkujoulut on Friday. Too few people and too little booze, but I am still glad I went there. The department got a new futuristic entrance, an underground tunnel and an elevator now.

These parties have deteriorated since the time when I was young. The department was in a better place then, and had more money, too. But I think one of the main reasons these parties have deteriorated is that nowadays they are announced only a few days before they happen.

There was a lot of nice young people there, and it would have been nice to talk to them more, but they ran away pretty early to go to the smelly Kaisla. What happened to bringing your own booze to the parties? Sheesh, the young generation...

Hanukkah, too

Shit! It's Hanukkah and nobody told me!

How come am the last Jew in the world to find out about any Jewish holidays?

Independence day

Happy Independence day, Finland.

Good thing you got out of Russia when you did. Russia sucks.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Big cat and little kitties

24 pictures say more than a thousand words.

Morning visitor

Some bugger woke me up in the morning in order to check my electricity meter. Would a note on the door saying "No visitors before noon without a prior appointment. All violators will be raped with an umbrella" constitute an illegal threat?

In any case don't have an umbrella as it has mysteriously disappeared in the northern wilderness last summer.

Got a call from a tv-lupa checker. Wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that I have checked my tv-lupa (oops, tv-maksu, or tv-vero, whatever) register during the "rekisterit auki"-events last week?

The register event was interesting in the sense that it was interesting to see how little info they keep, if they really keep so little. Tv-lupa register only has the times when I had a tv-lupa, not any info on their attempts to contact me; the credit history only says "no problems" - apparently they don't keep info on the loans that one has taken and then successfully paid back.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Exceptionally good lovers

In my writing I came to a point when one of the characters is wondering whether there are men who are exceptionally good in bed, and now I am starting to wonder about it myself.

I am talking about the technique, of course. It is self-evident to me that there are men who are exceptionally well-loved by a particular woman, exceptionally beautiful or in some other way exceptionally desirable, but are there any who are exceptionally skillful?

In the literature you often read about men who are unusually good in bed. In real life I can maybe point out (not publicly, perverts!) the best 25% of my sex partners, but the difference in technical skills among them is negligible. What makes them better than others from my point of view is good compatibility with me in such matters as rhythm and duration of the intercourse, ability to listen to and follow instructions, and a little bit of skill that can be easily taught.

This leaves me wondering whether unusually skillful men are an urban legend invented by writers, or do they really exist?

Little kittens

Killeri's cat Zenya gave birth to two kittens last night. If I am good I'll get to see them this weekend. If Killeri is good he is gonna put the pictures up somewhere.


Yksi kaveri kuoli tänään, tai oikeastaan sain tietää siitä vasta tänään. Ihan noin vaan otti ja kuoli - ei ollut sairaana eikä joutunut mihinkään onnettomuuteen. Oli vain kotona, ja sitten kuoli. Ahdistaa ja ei voi käsittää miten ihminen voi kuolla noin vaan. Enkä oikeastaan vielä pysty uskomaan siihen että se ihan oikeasti kuoli.

En hän edes ollut mitenkään hirveän läheinen kaveri mulle, mutta hän oli tosi mukava ja herttainen ihminen, ja sen lisäksi toisen tosi mukavan ja herttaisen ihmisen vaimo.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Awakening, apparently

Apparently am getting over the tired phase. Managed to write code normally yesterday, will manage today as well, went to Krav Maga for the first time in two months and it did not go half as bad as expected, called the model agency people to cancel the meeting yesterday, called a doctor and got a huge prescription of Kestine today. Gonna go to the lecture tomorrow.

Just yesterday was at Anu's place and we discussed, among other things, the absence of the word reipas in English.

I made an astonishing discovery for myself (the rest of the world probably knows already): cats have different-colored skin in places with different-colored fur. Anu's Pietari now has many places shaved, and in the places where the fur is gray the skin is gray too, and in the places where the fur is white the skin is pink.

Monday, November 29, 2004


Most of the weekend was just work and sleeping, and still did not get anything useful done. Maybe should do some more, maybe should go to bed in hope of doing something useful tomorrow. Gaah.

Friday was a nice girls' night, though. Should have these more often.

On Saturday Panu came to visit and led me onto the path of sin. The path of sin led straight into the Russian bookstore where I bought three books. All Panu's fault. Then the path of sin continued towards Akateeminen, where I bought another book, but can't blame Panu for that since I'd been considering that one for a while.

At night wanted to go the the Alter Ego sauna party, but could not make it since had a headache, did not want to go out in the horrible cold and had to read up on container-managed persistence.

Today was trying to write some code and defrost the fridge. Killeri came tonight and entertainted me in the manly way, which was fun and made me feel better and made me forget about the fucking enterprise java beans for a little while. But after that we started watching a movie, which I also expected to distract me, but during the movie the badness came back and I started being stressed out about work again.

Tomorrow gotta go to the Chinese class since skipped twice already, then to work, and in between tell some people who have offered me a little extra job that I won't be doing it since I'd need a second work permit for that. Blaah. Not that I wanted the job much, but now that they believe that I'd do it it's embarassing to say that I can't.

The job was modeling for TV ads, and in considering it I was sort of hesitating between the curiosity - I'd love to see how it's done - and the suspicion that they'd want me to do really disgusting things that I'd probably refuse to do. I really don't like being touched by hairdressers, manicure people and suchlike; these might be avoided, but the makeup people surely cannot. The thought of a stranger putting makeup on my face is really unpleasant, don't know if I can really do it for the sake of curiosity and a few hundred euros. But I at least wanted the possibility to try.

The day's objectives:

  • do work - did work, but nothing useful is accomplished

  • defrost the fridge - accomplished

  • do the laundry - accomplished

The evening's objectives:

  • get an orgasm in good company - accomplished

  • forget about the damn work - not accomplished

The night's objectives:

  • do some more work

  • not forget to hang the damn laundry out to dry

  • go to bed at a sensible time, such as before three

Hate-hate-hate! (candles in the street)

This is probably some cultural thing and Finnish people won't understand me. Killeri sure didn't.

It's winter again, and many businesses, especially restaurants, are putting out lit candles. Not any candles, either: huge fucking lit candles. OK, I am not a candle person and don't like them in any place. That's not the point. I can understand that people who like candles might want to put them up at some reasonably safe place near the entrance. What I don't understand is why anyone wants, or why is it even allowed to put them in the middle of the sidewalk, especially at the time of the year when the sidewalks are so slippery.

I asked Killeri today and he basically told me that people are expected to avoid falling on candles in the street, which on a slippery sidewalk means that people are expected to walk around them far enough. OK, it's not hard to do - what I don't understand is why the pedestrians are expected to avoid candles on the sidewalk, as opposed as candle-putters being expected to avoid the pedestrians. How big a hazard can you put on a sidewalk and still get away with it? A campfire? A really big campfire? A bear trap?

These candles are usually huge things in a foil cup, which sort of make sure that if you fall on them, even if the fire gets extinguished by your fall and your clothes don't catch fire, you still got a liter of hot wax all over you.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Some advice to white supremacists

Been working all day and all evening, and am still not satisfied with my evil plan for our software. Oh well. At some point decided to relax by reading stupid things and found the VNN forum (don't feel like linking there, but whoever is feeling silly can find it on Google).

For the most part the white supremacist forums are boring since they all say the same things. The one thing that's fun, though, is their attempts to define "white", and this particular forum is extremely entertaining in this way. They even post pictures of people and discuss their whiteness or lack thereof. Almost all the people in the pictures are by some strange coincidence young women.

So far I haven't seen them agree on anyone's whiteness. Even Miss Germany 2002, who looks perfectly white to me, was labeled as "mud". (Some of them actually use the term "mudblood", and I would really like to know whether this usage started before Harry Potter or after.) They get especially bad headaches from Björk and her looks. Usually they manage to agree that she is a Saami Inuit Siberian, who, as we all know, are plentiful in Iceland. The loveliest quote on this subject is "Many Siberians live in Scandinavia. They have reservations there as they do in northamerica for the native population."

They are also very good in describing the Jewish conspiracy. I have learned that Jews caused autism, infidelity, homosexuality and the movie Mean Girls. Damn, this makes me feel so powerful and mighty...

But back to business: a few words of advice to white supremacists on the definition of the word "white":

1. Your power base will be rather small if you cannot agree that anyone is really white besides yourselves.

2. Your power base will be nonexistent if none of you even believe that any of the rest of you are really white.

3. Any definition of white that excludes Adolph Hitler is a bit embarassing to you and insulting to the guru of your movement.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Writing again

Writing a story again, although not many people seemed to like the previous one much, and probably for a good reason. The weird thing is that the more I write, the more I think about the characters in the roleplaying terms: they have such-and-such stats, and such-and-such skills, and the thing the character is trying to do needs a throw of n dice against the character's skill, etc. No, I don't actually throw dice yet to decide what they will do.

I don't know what to make of it, but I blame it all on Ville's corrupting influence.


Awfully sleepy lately. Today woke up at 11:30, which is quite unusual, despite doing to bed at 1. What the hell?

And no, I am not affected by darkness that way, or depressed, or anything. Probably just getting some sleep back for failing to sleep a couple of weeks ago, but this is annoying.

Russian movies, little kittens and fearsome gays

Saw a couple of Russian movies with Niksu yesterday. One was Tochka, tochka, zapyataya (Dot, dot, comma), a 1972 teenage comedy. The word inhorealismi (what would that be in English? "disgusting realism"?) came to my mind many times, even though in fact many of the worst aspects of Soviet schools were smoothed over there. The movie was made with considerable talent: some on the characters reminded me of some of my former classmates so much that I started feeling sick.

The other movie was Dom durakov (The house of fools). It is set in a psychiatric hospital right near Chechnya's border. The hospital gets taken over by Russian and Chechnyan soldiers in turns, and both of them fit in very well with crazy people and even with each other. The allegedly healthy are almost as grotesque as the crazy people, and at some point Niksu had to ask me which ones are the staff and which ones the patients. It's a good movie, if one likes grotesque and somewhat felliniesque comedy. Niksu understood almost every word of it, which is really impressive: all the characters have either a speech impairment, or a Chechen accent, or both.

Was good to see all the other inhabitants of Talo, even though did not have a lot of time to interact with them. Janka's and Orava's kittens are awfully cute, even a lot cuter than one could imagine from seeing the pictures. A lot smaller, too, and with huge ears. Nelli is also a bit smaller than I imagined. The last time I'd seen her she was a puppy. Dior has grown to be a big cat, at least in comparison to the kittens. The kittens were very well-behaved too: did not bite or scratch me even once, even though Orava tried to explain to them that here is a scary person, or maybe because of that.

Also saw some show where five gay guys come to the house of some hetero guy and redecorate the house and the guy. It was an amusing show, but ugh, poor guy. They threw out most of his clothes, gave him a haircut that looked a lot worse than the long hair he had (OK, I know I am biased) and shaved his beard and moustache off, and even though I don't like facial hair on men I must say that after they shaved it off I kind of understood why he had grown it in the first place. The guy's mouth looks like the kind of thing one would want to conceal. From wife's behavior I kind of suspect that the reason the poor guy agreed to all this was because otherwise the wife wouldn't put out.

In the end of the show they encouraged viewers to tell them about hetero men who need such makeovers. I wonder how many of those whom they contact agree to do it, and how many scandals are caused by that, espacially since Niksu said that most names are given to the show by wives and girlfriends. Don't know about other people, but if any boyfriend of mine had given my name to a makeover show, I would be most definitely not amused.

Note to self: do not let five lesbians into the house at the same time, especially if they are all stangers and show up with a TV crew. I don't need stangers redecorating me, my home or my wardrobe.

OTOH, you can send me the cooking guy. His fish thingy looked good.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Joy and Krabak moved to Japan yesterday. Sniff. And they did not even have Daim cake in the airport, although they always do, because it got replaced by the vile Snickers cake.

They are alive though, and have been sighted in IRC.

Was feeling hungover in the morning in spite of not drinking at night. Probably got somebody else's hangover.

Kaius called me at 9 in the morning. I went back to bed and saw him in a nightmare. Also a fucklift.

Monday, November 22, 2004

The strike and the snow

Finally the stupid strike is over and the buses run normally. Don't the public transportation strikers understand that by striking they tend to lose customers permanently?

Snow is everywhere. I don't like snow at all - I would have liked the wet and dark fall to last until it's spring again - but I went out and took some pictures. No, the snow is not orange, it's mostly my camera.

Musime si pomahat (Divided We Fall) - major spoilers

Czech movie, 2000. Full of ugly people doing ugly things, but I like it.

The movie is set during WW2, and the main characters are Josef and Marie, a middle-aged couple who mostly sit at home and bitch about the occupation. Josef has a friend, Horst, who is a collaborator, wants Josef to work for the Germans with them, and is in love with Marie. At some point Josef and Marie reluctantly start hiding a Jew, David - they wouldn't want to get involved, but then David is not just any Jew but their old acquaintance. Horst figures that out and starts behaving in a way that is both protective and threatening at the same time. In order to avoid suspicion Josef does take the German job, after which the neighbors begin crossing the street when they see him. Franta, the father of the family across the street, is in the resistance and despises Josef, but himself tries to call Germans when he sees an escaped Jew.

The movie has no heroes - everyone is either normal or bad, and the line between the two is not quite clear. It gets quite intense towards the end, when the liberation comes and suddenly all the characters realize that now they better make up a coherent story for the liberators together, or else they are all up the shit creek without a paddle. They are awfully touching while they are at it.

The movie is quite unusual in that it offers the bleakest view of the liberation I'd ever seen. Before the liberation Josef hopes for it, and after it everyone (everyone who is still alive, that is) is glad to be liberated, but the process itself is shown as pure atrocity. The images of the liberation are the images of killing and beating up German and collaborator civilians and suchlike - a fairly powerful image is Franta's wife who raises a little girl towards the face of Josef's former boss and tells her to "hit him for Alik" (the family dog that some Germans had shot). The general spirit is "hey, let's kill them all!".

"Musime si pomahat" really means "we must help each other", and in the texts it is sometimes translated as "united we stand" and sometimes as "divided we fall". "We" here does not mean any political entity - in the world of this movie, political loyalties shift and shatter, but personal relationships somehow manage to hold, although with difficulty.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

More foreigners (advice to government, sort of)

The government is talking about how to get more foreigners to move to Finland. This time they are talking about the kind of foreigners that would work.

They are probably thinking that extending the stay requirement for a permanent residence permit from 2 to 4 years in the recently enacted Alien law is actually conductive to this purpose. Or I don't know what they were thinking. The basis for this change was something along the lines of "because many other EU countries have 4 years". So, dear government - do you want to compete with other EU countries for workforce, or don't you?

They did something useful in the new law as well. Now the foreign students who graduate from a Finnish university are allowed to get jobs and a residence permit. Before, the idea was to kick them out of the country after they graduate. Nobody has any idea why. Well, actually back in my time you could get a residence and work permit after graduation, but for that you pretty much had to be already working at that job while studying.

I can see at least two easy ways to increase the work-based immigration. One would be to open the labor market to the citizens of all the civilized world (where "civilized world" is defined as all countries where conditions are not much worse than here and whose citizens are therefore not likely to come here in inconvenient amounts) the same way as it is open to EU citizens. Apart from Nordic and EU countries, Finnish labor market is just as open to people from Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Would it be hard, or is it against some EU regulation, to also let in people from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, for example?

Another way (and these don't exclude each other, or the current system) would be to admit people who are considered likely to find jobs. Right now in order to move to Finland for work you need an actual job offer. In some countries, such as Canada and Australia, they also let people in if they believe people can find a job. They have a point system for that: a prospective immigrant gets points for education, points for work experience, points for language skills, etc. People who have enough points are allowed to immigrate without a job offer and look for a job after they come.

One more thing: there is no point in fretting whether Finland as such is an attractive place for immigrants. No matter what you do, it's still bloody cold and people still speak Finnish. If the prospective immigrants happen to want a place where there are palm trees and people speak English, they would still rather go to Florida.

The weekend

Had a really good time with Killeri on Friday, despite going to see Man on Fire. The movie was quite watchable too, but its cinematography was highly annoying: very fast cuts and somewhat unfocused images like in an MTV video.

Went bowling on Saturday, and then to Anu's place. It was snowing like hell and I took a few pictures. Anu's cat Pietari was sick, so we were drinking and watching his condition at the same time. At some point we figured that it's time to get him to a veterinarian, and went to Pieneläinsairaala. They catheterized Pietari and suggested penis amputation as the permanent solution to his problem. Poor kitty.

Today Heli came here and we talked and watched Divided we Fall (Musime si pomahat). It's a good movie, deserves a separate entry.

Hate mail, or lack thereof

Axis of AEvil writes about the hate email that she gets for her political opinions. I find it weird that I don't really get any. I think the difference might be that she has more readers in the US, or something like that.

I used to get a lot of hate email when I posted on Usenet. The posting that elicited the most hate email was, surprisingly, a 1993 posting on, where I expressed a preference for men with little of no body hair and asked for advice on how to estimate the likely amount of a man's body hair before they take their clothes off. I got flooded with hundreds of emails telling me how wrong my preference was. I still can't quite figure out why - I have never gotten so much email about any other of my preferences, and I never thought that hairiness was much of an issue for men, since there are a lot of women who like hairy men and a lot who like hairless or not-very-hairy ones.

My favorite quote from one of those emails:

"I and all men of the middle east take offense to your statement and wish that sexually uneducated individuals such as yourself would stay off of our Internet.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

A sleepless night

Gaah! Woke up many times during the night due to the computer being so unusually silent.

Then at 9am some guy woke me up by ringing the doorbell. I got up to answer the door, but he opened it with his own key about 2 seconds after ringing, and then got all scared when the first thing he saw was the naked me, and jumped out of the apartment. The guy was about 50 - one would think that one has seen naked women by that age, in a sauna if not otherwise.

The guy brought the door handle that they took away a year ago. I think we could count this as another miracle.

Silent fan and J2ee patterns

Hurrah! Bought and installed a silent chassis fan, which I was going to do for many months now. Am going to start a happy new life with a silent computer, as opposed to one that sounds like a helicopter.

Spent the last 2 days reading about core J2EE patterns. Read the whole book and now cannot remember a shit.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Inquiring minds want to know...

...where the hell is Markku?

In the news

Colin Powell has resigned. I think he was the last really sensible person in Bush administration. Bush selected Condoleezza Rice to succeed him. This is not so bad, considering what else he could have selected. At least she is aware of the existence of other countries, which is a desirable feature in a Secretary of State.

The CNN headline is scary though: "Rice poised to make history". Of course, they only mean that she would be the first black woman to serve as the Secretary of State, but it sounds scary in a "may you live in interesting times" way.

Some guy set himself on fire outside the White House. What makes people do something like that?

UK is trying to ban smoking in all the restaurants and pubs that serve food. Hope Finland will follow suit, and the rest of the civilized world too.

Monday, November 15, 2004

My first attempt at fiction

Finally finished the story I was writing. Or at least brought it to the condition in which I am not afraid to show it to particularly brave people.

Disclaimer 1: all the characters are purely fictional, are not intended to represent and do not in fact resemble any of my relatives, especially aunt Lyusya, or any other people I know. If they resemble any people I do not know, this is pure coincidence. The narrator, in spite of being an American woman living in Finland, is also purely fictional and is not intended to represent me or my opinions.

Disclaimer 2: the story features sex, a lot of violence, and extremely irresponsible use of drugs. Do not try any of that at home, except sex. It also occasionally makes light of serious topics, such as domestic violence, various kinds of mental disease and religion. It most likely insults homosexuals, heterosexuals, bisexuals, Jews, Christians, Moslems, Hindus and atheists by mentioning them in various ridiculous contexts. It also probably insults Buddhists and transgendered people by totally failing to mention them in any context whatsoever. Yeah, and the quality of writing is what you'd expect from a person writing fiction for the first time.

If in spite of all of the above you still want to read it, it's here. Constructive criticism is welcome.

Beauty ideals

At the party on Saturday there was a conversation about male beauty and beauty ideals in general.

It feels very strange to be asked what is my ideal of male beauty. (The question in Finnish sounded "mikä on sun miesihanne?" or "mikä on sun fyysinen miesihanne?".) To me, the question means "what would the most beautiful man that you can imagine look like?", and it strongly implies that I can in fact imagine a man who is better-looking than any men I've ever seen. Well, I cannot. My visual imagination is very poor; all the men whom I find beautiful and a lot of the men whom I find merely cute look way better than any image of male beauty that I am capable of generating in my mind.

Now I am wondering: how many people are capable of imagining a man (or a woman, for that matter) who is considerably more beautiful than any man/woman they've ever seen?

Another matter that came up - I've noticed it earlier but first heard it properly verbalized only at that party: some women who have a very typical taste in men consider it (their taste) to be somehow worse than the more unusual tastes. "Worse" either in the sense "shallow" (whatever that means), "immoral" or "unsophisticated". Why? I am very smug about having a somewhat unusual taste, because it's convenient, but I don't think it makes me in any way a better person.

The weekend

On Friday our Praedor group has a party. Lots of good food and booze and good people. Was feeling a bit weak in the morning due to drinking vaniljakossuglögi. Should have had more common sense and known that this stuff is bad for me. In fact any glögi is bad for me, I don't know why.

Saturday was Joy's and Krabak's going-away party. Sad. Did not get drunk on account of being somewhat hangover. Made a chocolate cake, probably should've made two. Saw some people I do not often see in person. One evil person who shall not be named shot me with a water gun and tried to climb out of the balcony to escape my retribution, but was captured and dragged away from the balcony kicking and screaming.

Sunday finally paid some sleeping debts and vacuum cleaned something and tried to catch up on my Mandarin. Then Killeri came and started distracting me from my studies in various pleasant ways. Then we watched Shiri, which was fun but not quite as much fun as I expected. Now I feel like learning Korean too.

Bought a phone card, "top 10", 10 euros for 400 minutes to the US, all to be used within one month. Gonna call the relatives often this month.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Van Gogh and repercussions

The filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered on November 2 by Islamic extremists. And apparently not just by a lone insane Islamic extremist either - there was group of people who organized it in the name of the religion of peace. The actual killer was Mohammed Bouyeri, a 26-year-old Dutch Moroccan, born in the Netherlands. He shot Van Gogh 6 times and slit his throat.

There had been threats to Van Gogh's life, but he had never taken them seriously enough to do anything about it. There were also threats to the life of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somalia-born Dutch MP who wrote the script for his latest movie Submission. Being apparently a lot more familiar with the religion of peace that late Van Gogh was, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has accepted police protection and is alive and well.

Since then about 15 Mosques and Islamic schools have been attacked and several churches. I have written about church and mosque destruction in Nigeria earlier this year. I had not imagined I would have to write about the same things in the Netherlands so soon. Wake up, people. It's not Nigeria we are talking about here, where - admit it - very few of you really care what the poor African people do to each other. It's the Netherlands, very recently known as probably the most tolerant country in Europe. Looks like many people's tolerance has just run out. It's the Netherlands, full of European people just like you, and only a just over two-hour flight from here.

What's wrong with you people - the ones who are throwing the bombs? We all know how peaceful the religion of peace really is, but that's no reason to imitate it. Yes, almost all the terrorists in Europe are Moslems, but the vast majority of Moslems are nevertheless not terrorists, and if you throw stones into a mosque you are a lot more likely to hit some guy who owns your corner vegetable store than an Islamic terrorist.

Right now the political discussion is starting in real in Netherlands, and soon in the rest of Europe. Does Europe want any more Moslems? How can they be absorbed? To what extent is Islam a threat, and what percentage of Moslem population is a threat? More to the point, how do you recognize the ones who are a threat from the ones who aren't? Who are the moderates, and why are they doing such a poor job of reining in the extremists? How many of the ones who would not participate in terrorism are the silent supporters of it? How many of the moderates are afraid to speak out against extremists, and can something be done to help them? Is it a good idea to ban Islamic scarves at schools? Is it a good idea to ban religious schools altogether? Is it a good idea to only allow the imams who had their religious education locally to preach, like the Netherlands are possibly about to do? How much is the Netherlands' failure to force all immigrants to learn the local language contributing to the problem (Finland take notice)? And then, if (probably when) Western countries decide to close borders from all third-world Moslems except the families of the ones already here, the conscience question: if Islam is really as bad as we admitted it is, how can we close the borders from the people who are fleeing it, and how can we tell the people who are fleeing from Islam from those who are spreading it?

These are all questions that need to be discussed. Publicly. Preferably with some input from the existing Moslem population. They probably needed to be discussed 30 years ago. They definitely needed to be discussed before the violence started. But hey, better late than never.

Europe does have a Moslem problem, and it's time to admit it publicly, and also to say that whatever the solution is, bombing the mosques is not it. It's also time to put all the terrorists in jail, including the ones that bomb mosques and assault random Moslems on the streets. While we still can. It's bad enough that Moslems can't deal with their extremists, the rest of us certainly don't need to let the situation deteriorate to the point when we can't deal with ours, either.

I can see some hope in the Dutch situation, though. In the fact that now they are talking about it, and especially in all the Moslems who have spoken against the terrorism in the last two weeks.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Good riddance

The famous terrorist and politician Yasser Arafat finally stopped polluting the Earth with his foul existence. He was a fairly successful terrorist - so successful that he became a politician - and, like all the successful terrorists, got a Nobel Peace Prize for promising not to terrorize anyone quite as much as before. There are conflicting opinions as to whether he has fulfilled his promise.

A lot of foreign leaders are sending their condolences. Inquiring minds want to know whether the king of Jordan is among them. Tuomioja is going to his funeral, and I can only hope that we will take some laxative in order to put something on the dearly departed's grave, but I am afraid he won't do it.

The lifetime achievements of Mr. Arafat include, among many other things, the founding of the terrorist organization Al-Fatah and an attempt to overthrow Jordanian government in 1970. He has greatly contributed to the improvement of Israeli-Jordanian relations when he started a civil war in Jordan and called Syrian troops in for support. Jordan was forced to ask Israel for support, and got it. I am not entirely sure this was Arafat's aim, though.

After Arafat and his PLO lost the Jordanian civil war they were expelled from Jordan and went to Lebanon, where by a strange coincidence a civil war started soon after that. I think we should also count as Arafat's achievement the fact that in Tunisia, where he lived for many years after being kicked out of Lebanon, he did not manage to start any civil wars.

In 1991, when Iraq attacked Kuwait, Arafat demonstrated independent thinking by being the only Arab leader who chose to support Iraq and not Kuwait.

75-year-old Arafat leaves behind a 41-year-old widow, Suha Tawil, which goes to show that if you are a sufficiently famous terrorist you can get young women without actually going to paradise. According to Wikipedia, she has told a London-based Saudi newspaper there would have been "no greater honour" than sacrificing any son of hers to the struggle. We understand her completely. Her (and Arafat's) only child is a daughter.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I am not sorry

I find the webpage both touching and funny, but I don't think I'll be sending my picture there anytime soon. First of all, I am definitely not sorry, at least not in an apologetic sense of the word. I have nothing to be sorry about - I voted for Kerry. Let those who voted for Bush be sorry, and I know that by the end of these 4 years, many of them will be.

I know a fair number of perfectly nice and well-educated urban people who have voted for Bush. None of their votes really counted, of course, because as a whole Massachusetts voted for Kerry, but that is not the point. And it's not even the point whether Bush or Kerry would make a better presidents, although if you believe that they are equally bad it would be nice to change them every 4 years.

The point is: look around and see who else has voted for Bush. Think a bit whether you really like to vote for politicians who represent the interests of religious fundamentalists and rednecks in the flyover country. I know you think that people like you are really in control of the Republican party, and the masses of redneck voters from the red states are just a force to be manipulated. You are wrong. They really do hold political power, a lot more than you do. Don't give them any more.

Damn, we should've let the South go when we had a chance.

The weekend

On Friday Killeri came over and we went to see Alien vs. Predator. Felt weird to see an Alien movie without Sigourney Weaver. The movie was OK but somehow too short, with normal-length beginning and end and short middle part.

On Saturday went to Killeri's relatives' party. Lots and lots of relatives. Most of them I remembered by face but not by name; or rather I remembered the faces and the names but was not sure I can match them to each other. On one hand big parties full of people whom I don't know well make me feel shy, but on the other hand Killeri's family's parties feel nice and peaceful like my own family's parties never are, precisely because I don't have any baggage associated with these people and don't have to tread on eggshells around any of them. Also, I believe, Killeri's relatives are more friendly than mine by nature, or at least were raised better. In fact my own parents pointed out to me that Killeri has had a much better upbringing than myself, as if it's my fault and not their own.

In the evening went to Meira's and Mikko's party. It was very nice in spite of having a suspicious acquaintance-to-stranger ratio. I did not feel like meeting any more new people that day, so spent the evening in the little room with people I know. Was great to see everybody, and it was nice to finally talk about the IRC channel split we had earlier (I was in Boston when it started then and missed most of the initial conversation, which is probably all for the better). I think the passions are finally calming down.

A few people got really good-looking new haircolor. Why not me?

Had a game session on Sunday. Would be better if I hadn't been so tired.

Spent some time with Sini on Monday. Would have liked to spend longer, but she had some stupid rush at work, so she went home early and I went to see Zatoichi. It was not boring in any way but somehow left me rather indifferent, maybe because the violence looked too fake, and maybe because I don't like Takeshi Kitano much as an actor.


Haven't written a lot lately, because am trying to write fiction for the first time, or at least it's the longest story I've ever written, and I am not done with it yet. It's a surprisingly intense experience that takes up an awful lot of my brainpower, or at least writing power. It's fun but difficult: my characters do not obey me for some reason and do whatever they want, I am never quite sure what is going to happen next, and I have no idea how to write characters who are more constructive, better with language, or have more empathy or more social skills than myself.

I'll post a link to it here after I am done, but don't promise it to be interesting - it's about 12 relatives who suddenly come to visit the unsuspecting protagonist. While my inspiration to write it surely comes from some personal trauma of family reunions, all the characters including the narrator are fictional, so if any of my real relatives are reading this, you don't need to kill me.

Hurrah! Hurrah! No more Ashcroft!

US Attorney General John Ashcroft had just resigned. Maybe now they'll have some actual justice in the Department of Justice, and maybe they will even be allowed to uncover the "Spirit of Justice" statue again.

Monday, November 08, 2004

A braindead geek

Yes, that's me. Although not getting enough sleep lately is probably an excuse.

There is an ad in the subway advertising something named Fenix. I see it and start rummaging the back corners of my mind in order to remember what it is: "Minix, Xenix, Irix, what the hell is Fenix?". A closer look at the ad reveals that it's somethin yellow in a bottle.

Wouldn't be particularly surprising, but it has happened to me four times now. When will I learn that not everything called *nix is a UNIX-like operating system?

OTOH, I think they shouldn't give soft drinks names that sound like operating systems.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

A prayer

Dear Lord,

Thank you for finally fixing the front door. Also for making the group of smokers disappear from our staircase.

Please protect the United States of America from any dangerous baboons, especially ones that might currently live in the White House. If you don't have the time to protect the whole thing, at least protect the states that did not elect any baboons. Also please protect our constitution from any amendments endorsed by said baboons.

Please smite Osama Bin Laden, preferably to death, and burn every videotape he makes with divine fire. Same goes for his colleagues and all the videotapes they make.

Dear Lord, there is apparently a lot of people in the US who consider it necessary to make laws that prevent gay people from getting married to each other. Please put them all in an extreme state of sexual arousal every time they see a member of the same sex. It might not stop them from hating gays, but at least they won't have any time to vote if they keep fucking like bunnies all the time.

Can you also replace the bombs and other weapons of Islamic terrorists with a special gas that makes people want to have sex with members of both sexes and eat pork, and prevents them from reading the Koran? I am just curious to see how many centuries it will take for them to figure out that terrorism is counterproductive. Extra bonus if that gas also makes the victim want to rape the Islamic terrorists that brought it upon them. Imagine that: a bomb goes off on an Israeli bus; nobody is injured, but some strange green gas fills the air. Suddenly all the passengers, including little old ladies, feel an irresistible urge to mate with the tight-assed 18-year-old suicide bomber who is confused and still trying to figure out whether he is already in paradise or not. He sees three 90-year-old grannies running towards him in the aisle, wild-eyed and with a bit of foam on their mouths, ripping their clothes off as they run. "Could those be the houries?" - he thinks in helpless horror. They reach him, strip him, and one of them starts spreading his legs apart as another inserts a carrot in his ass and the third one grabs his balls and twists. He tries to fight them off, but then the two burly men behind the old ladies grab him and hold him down in order to give the old ladies a chance before it's their own turn... But I digress.

Speaking about the terrorists: please let French doctors find Arafat's disease fast. Please let it be a rectal problem so interesting and rare that every single proctologist in France would want to study it personally with his or her own gloved finger.

Can you somehow bestow more funds and employees on the Aliens' Permits department of Helsinki police, so that one wouldn't have to wait in line for hours every time one goes there?

I understand that it's beyond your power to improve my grandma's personality, but thanks for improving her health anyway.

If you can spare a divine touch for my back that is still sore from last week's bowling I'd be much obliged.

You are omnipotent, so you can probably force Fazer to start making the blackcurrant ice cream again, right? That would be very nice.

I'd like to get laid too, as soon as possible, but I think Killeri can handle this if you don't distract him with any unexpected activities, so see to it that nobody gets lost on any night when we meet. In fact it would probably be nice if people did not get lost in general. In future, can you make them with GPS already installed?

Could you ask the SuSE people to finally release the downloadable version of 9.2? But be careful and ask nicely.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Presidential erection

I mean election, of course. The Clinton era is long over, and erections with it.

Damn, this is close. It used to be that you could go to bed peacefully by the morning knowing who has won, the candidates gave speeches each saying that the other guy, who was considered the Spawn of Satan until the election night, is in fact a fine and upstanding American, and it was over. Now there is counting and recounting and counting some more, and if it continues that way next time the North Koreans will come to monitor our election. All of them. And ask for political asylum.

To all of you who do not understand how one can vote for Bush: take a good hard look at Kerry and listen to him for 5 minutes. You will understand why some people vote for Bush. Of course it also works the other way around: you look at Bush and immediately feel like voting for Kerry. You can also take a look at the alternative candidates and understand why nobody is voting for them.

Can't we outsource the presidency to somebody abroad? Say, to Halonen? She could rule America a bit in the evenings, and probably would agree to do it for less money than Bush. Or maybe our allies in Israel would let us borrow Sharon for a while? He has a lot of experience in fighting terrorism, pacifying religious fundamentalists, and would probably be thrilled to rule a state that does not have any Arab country as a neighbor for a change. And what about Fujimori? The last I heard the guy needed a job. OK, he was a bit corrupt, but who isn't? And he did kick terrorist ass.

At least 11 days till we hear the outcome of the election. Blaah.

I see Bush is mighty popular in D.C. 9% of votes. Wonder what he'd done there.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

US election: early voting

It used to be that most (all?) states allowed early voting for people who had some good reason for it. Lately some states started allowing it for everyone who wants to vote early. I just realized that there are 30 states now that allow early voting, and that they are distributed geographically in a strange way: all states in the Western half of the US allow no-excuse early voting, and very few states in the Eastern half of the US do.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Computer trouble

The computer has been acting up: every once in a while, usually at night, the network would die and something would eat up all the processing power. Took me a while to figure out what it was, but on Friday night I finally realized that this was some ksoftirqd bug. Not that I have found any good advice on how to fix it anywhere, but it feels comforting to know what it is.

This weekend the computer learned some new tricks: it rebooted itself 3 times, and twice it just refused to send any signal to the monitor, so I was not sure what it was doing. It was on though, or at least the leds were on and the fan moving. /var/log/messages did not contain anything useful. If anyone knows WTF, please tell me.

I decided to update to SuSE 9.2, which just goes to show that some people never learn. I think that installing a new SuSE as soon as it comes out is some kind of instinctive need, much like food and sex, and it's quite hard to keep oneself from doing it. Anyway, they promised a release in the beginning of November, and last night I sat in front of the computer thinking that it's been November for almost an hour now, and the full release is not on the FTP site yet.

I also think that I will finally buy a new hard drive very soon now, just to install it with my new SuSE.

Maybe a new hard drive and a SuSE upgrade is the secret to eternal happiness. Or if not eternal, then at least until the new release.

The weekend

Had a rather busy and fun weekend. On Thursday we celebrated the fact that Lasu was leaving us (although it is not much of a cause for celebration except maybe for Lasu). Went to eat, then went bowling. Bowling was an awful lot of fun, but now I have really sore muscles in places where I did not even know people had muscles. Maybe should do it more often, then won't be so sore.

Three coworkers went to some music place after that, but Lasu and I wisely went home to bed (each to his own home and bed). (I treasure such acts of wisdom because they do not happen to me often.) Today Kaius is complaining about the weak and amnesiac condition he was in on Friday morning, and is sporting a haircut that looks like he did it himself during said weak and amnesiac condition. He says he did not, but I am sure he just doesn't remember. Markus and Ville haven't been seen yet, but Kaius says that at least Markus was found to be alive by phone.

Friday had a very nice evening drinking with Jari and Riitta. Should drink with them more often.

Saturday was the party in Myyrmäki. It went very well, and it was great to see a lot of people whom I haven't seen in person for a while, but I was bothered quite a bit by being unable to go to Satu's and Ola's farewell party, which was at the same time. Now they are gonna go to Australia and get eaten by wild kangaroos and I am never gonna see them again. I'll try to see Satu at least for a moment before they leave, just to tell her to be careful and watch out for wild cannibal kangaroos and not get eaten.

Spent most of Sunday in a coma, tried to clean the place, noticed that my vacuum cleaner does not suck and chose to interpret it as a message from god saying that vacuum cleaning is not desirable at this time. But probably should try to fix the damn thing.

In the evening we had a Buffy RPG session. It was fun for players but not for the characters. In short, everyone is in the hospital and the only one who isn't is posessed by some witch. Meira brought some very drinkable drink that she made herself, sort of a dessert wine with a sherryish taste. How come I never managed to make anything as good when I used to make wine.

Feeling better

Finally have achieved the state when breathing and sleeping can happen at the same time, at least for a while. Now I am starting to feel the huge sleep deficit that I ran up last week. This morning actually fell asleep in Mandarin class, but evil classmates woke me up because they wanted to practice some exercises with me. Bummer.

Am still in no condition for Krav Maga. Well, maybe on Thursday. Maybe.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The age of miracles is truly upon us

They fixed our front door. I can't believe it. Also there is a strange ring of light around the moon.

I am watching out for flying pigs, but apparently they are not here yet, or flown away already.

What will be the next miracle? William Weld winning this presidential election? US troops capturing Osama on Novermber 1st? Arafat kicking the bucket?

The world is ending, the hell has frozen over, the pigs are flying all around.

Red Sox won World Series. For the first time in 86 years, AFAIK.

What next? What kind of miracles are in store for us? Bush and Kerry both losing the election? Rivers flowing backwards? My front door getting fixed?


There was a moon eclipse and I did not see it, even though was awake at the time. How come nobody told me?

Managed to sleep 3 hours this night, again. It's not too bad.

They have Bush's and Kerry's pictures on the bus stops here. Is there nowhere I can get away from these fuckers?

Matti Nykänen stabbed someone because he lost to the victim in finger-wrestling. The mind boggles. I'd hate to think what would have happened if it were something serious like a dick length contest.

They lost 60000 absentee ballots in Florida (empty ones; they just never reached voters). Heh. We probably lose them all the time in Massachusetts, but since it's not a swing state nobody ever cares. Hope they send new ones ASAP, or else we are gonna have a scandal like 4 years ago again.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Sickness, Newton Election Commission and the joys of voting

Still a bit sick. Feeling mostly OK as long as I am up and drink tea all the time. The problem with this is that it is very hard to sleep while being up and having a cup of tea. Last night managed to sleep from midnight to 1am, from 8am to 9 am and from 10am to 11am. Luckily I have eaten so much various pseudoephedrine-containing medications that am not particularly sleepy.

Voted last Sunday (for Sirpa Asko-Seljavaara). It sure does feel exotic to vote in person as opposed to filling an absentee ballot.

I am really glad that here we don't have to put up with all the voter registration nonsense like we have in the USA. Athough I have a feeling that it wouldn't be so bad there either if I were registered someplace other than Newton. Newton Election Commission is, well, weird.

I keep registering. They keep throwing me off voter rolls, which pretty much means that I have to reregister just before every election.

For those who do not know how it works: I am registered as a voter in Newton, even though I do not live there. This is normal; this is what I am supposed to do; this is what all the Americans who live abroad are supposed to do - vote in their last place of residence in the US by absentee ballot.

On the other hand, people who do not actually live there are not supposed to claim living there on the census forms, because the census is supposed to count only the people who really are there.

Here is the problem: the city of Newton uses the census data to purge the electoral rolls from people who do not live there. I visited them in person, told them to put me back on the voter list, and pointed out the problem. They immediately came up with the solution: why don't I just lie on the census form? (Of course they used the verb "say" and squirmed when I explained to them why lying on the census form is a bad idea and is in fact punishable by $500 fine under the federal law.) Anyway, they put me back on the list (which they will surely purge again by the next election).

I requested an absentee ballot and told them that I would be staying for 2 more weeks at my Newton address and would like to receive it there, but if they cannot send it so soon, I would like to receive it on my Finnish address. They said that they would be getting the ballots by the end of the week and my ballot will surely make it on time to my Newton address, but if I don't get it by the end of next week I should call them. With that I left the premises and they hopefully felt better.

On Friday of the next week the ballot still did not come. I called them and asked to send another one to Finland, since I'd be leaving this weekend. The nice young man who answered the phone said that they cannot do that, since they have already sent me one, but that I am welcome to pick up another ballot in person at their office Friday or next week. I told him that I cannot do that (do not have a car and am not gonna be there the next week). Next the young man suggested that I should get somebody to send it to me. I could do that, of course, but I believe that a citizen's interaction with officials should generally be able to proceed without the help of family and friends, so I told him that I am trying to get him to send me the ballot. He said that he cannot help me, and after a few strong but printable words from me buggered off to find somebody who can.

He found a woman who was a lot more accomodating, took my address and promised to send me a ballot. I was lucky and did in fact get the first ballot they sent on Saturday, and used it. Of course I won't use the one they sent - or did not send - to Finland, but since they do not know it, I am still wondering where the hell is it. It's been 12 days. It does not normally take that long for a letter to reach Finland from the USA. If it does not come on time I will consider some retaliatory measures, such as complaining to some federal agency that deals with such issues. In fact probably should do it anyway.

I know I am paranoid, but when 3 ballot requests out of 4 fail maybe somebody really is out to prevent me from voting (though do not understand why since I generally vote in fairly conventional ways).

Monday, October 25, 2004


Been really, really sick for the last couple of days. Not even anything serious, some allergic reaction that causes continuous coughing. But continuous coughing is really a bad thing in a person for whom coughing causes vomiting. Two night spent on one's knees in the toilet praying to the Great White Porcelain God does negative things to one's mood and working ability. Last night was perfect: throwing up every 5 minutes, work to do before a deadline in the morning, and a dentist appointment in the morning.

The day's biggest achievement: not throwing up on the dentist.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Cleaning pays off

Hurrah! Hurrah! I found the floor!


Some bad person went and filled up all my hard drive. Need a new and bigger hard drive. Probably gonna buy it as soon as my credit card recovers from the vacation.

Maybe should move some stuff on DVDs temporarily. Bought 20 DVD+Rs for $8. Wonder if they'll work.

Holy shit (cleaning the house)

Stayed in and tried to clean the place today. The place is in such a mess that my efforts remind me of a mosquito trying to fuck an elephant.

Cleaned the makeup drawer. Found out that I own:

- 22 lipsticks (graah! graah! where did they come from? has anyone ever seen me in a lipstick? I don't think I've worn lipstick 22 times in my life)
- 3 hard powders, 5 cream powders, 2 cover sticks
- 8 boxes of eyeshadows and 2 eyeshadow pencils
- 3 lip pencils, 3 eye pencils, 3 eye pens
- 1 blush (never used blush in my life)
- 3 mascaras plus 2 things called hair mascara
- 28 bottles of nail polish (but not surprising since actually use it regularly)
- 1 jar of glittery stuff whose purpose is unknown but which is too hard to be comfortably spread on any body part

And these are only the ones in the box. The are lots more around the house, esp. nail polish.

Probably should either forswear buying makeup forever, or make a heroic effort to use up the makeup I already have. Maybe both.

So don't be surprised if you see me wearing a centimeter-thick layer of makeup sometime soon.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Still no rest for the wicked

The Mandarin test came and went and was horrible. Can't recognize any tones at all, much less half of the sibilants. Also had three pencils none of which worked. You can write Chinese characters with a ball-point pen if you know what you are doing. I am not sure I knew.

The bugs are still there, and I can't even find them.

Was gonna clean my place yesterday but wasn't really up to it.

Saw a nightmare and even remember most of it. It featured installing some weird Linux distro on many even weirder computers, a big TV with an even bigger picture that you had to scroll from right to left in order to see it all, and a fight with an unfamiliar Russian guy at a party - not a mock fight but a fight of the kind that usually has only one survivor. Woke up in the middle of it and realized that it's late and there are many bugs to be fixed. Ugh.

What I hate about such nightmares is a surge of adrenaline that just does not go away. Don't know what to do about it.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Vacation: the crazy guy

On Saturday Volodya had a birthday party. It was a very good party even though I behaved badly and ate all the carrots. I don't even like carrots, but Lyalya make some kind of a carrot salad thingie, and it was very good and I ate it all. I think I should be ashamed. Tried to eat all the chocolate cake, too, but many other people were way faster.

One of the guests at the party was a guy named Y., who is a friend of my parents', and of Volodya and Lyalya. Everybody says he is a very nice guy when one-on-one and sober. I'll have to take their word for it, since I've only seen him at parties and rather drunk.

In fact Saturday was only the second time I'd seen him. The first time was at Benka's birthday party 4 years ago. He'd rather startled me then with the most insane party conversation I'd ever heard, and I had heard quite a few when I used to hang out with people who often enjoyed 2-3 drops of LSD for recreational purposes at parties.

This time he was even better. He opened the conversation by challenging me for being a disrespectful daughter to my father. I am not quite sure whether he meant that I disrespect my father by disagreeing with him sometimes, or by not disagreeing with him enough. Oska listened in on that and was rather amused. In the end of this topic, Y. said that if I were his daughter he would try to improve my personality by applying physical violence. All of the above was not said in an aggressive tone, but in a rather neutral and helpful tone, as if advising me about some improvement if interior decoration. I did not raise the obvious question of whether or not he has ever practiced the improvement of his actual daughters' personalities in the aforementioned way.

Then he told me to describe my average day in Finland. I did; he told me I was lying but did not expand on that. He asked me how does it feel to run away from Objective Reality and hide in a Small Artificial World like Finland. I told him that we have Objective Reality in Finland as well. He said he meant running from a country that is significant in world politics to one that isn't. I told him that while there is a number of things I miss about the US, being a Global Leader in Building Democracy in a Separately Taken Arab Country (Volodya's description, not mine) isn't one of them. At that point he started a long tirade about people who live in other countries while their own country is fighting against terrorism. This reminded me of Russia and Russian attitudes and I almost started singing

Значит все мы, кровь на рыле,
Топай к светлому концу,
Ты же будешь в Израиле
Жрать, подлец, свою мацу.
Мы стоим за дело мира,
Мы готовимся к войне,
Ты же будешь, как Шапиро,
Прохлаждаться в стороне.

(Sorry to those who don't speak Russian, I'll try to translate it later.)

Then he started a lecture on how wrong and bad I am about not wanting to have children, but the lecture was not unusual in itself as such lectures go. Then he decided that he wanted us to hit each other's hands and see who is faster. He was faster, in fact he had a very good reaction. He told me that I really suck and that I should better stop doing martial arts. I told him that since I practice Krav Maga for fun and exercise rather than to become the world champion, I don't see why not being particularly good should bother me much. Or him. He responded with new insults to my personal morals and martial arts skills, but then calmed down and found a new victim.

A couple of hours later he suddenly came back to me and said that he wished to fight, and that I should come out into the living room and fight with him a bit, and that he will kick my ass. I came out into the living room, mostly out of concern for a possible fight in the dining room and flying saucers (not of the UFO kind, but the kind you put your cake in). I'd often seen fiftyish Russian men fighting between each other just to resolve the question of who can beat whom up, but I'd never imagined myself being a party in such a fight. But there I was, ready to fight and quite concerned. (The last time I'd sparred drunk at a party was 12 years ago and it was not a happy memory: I had to spend most of the rest of the night bringing various cold objects to my victim and apologizing profusely. Free sparring with a man who does not have his ball protector on is not a good idea.)

In the end it turned out all right: we did not break each other, ourselves, any innocent bystanders or inanimate objects. He protected his balls very well to the detriment of nonessential organs like shoulders, head and ass. I tapped him on the sides and the ass with my foot several times. He got some punches through, and so did I, but most of the punches were deflected from both sides. Then he started telling me that I am in fact pretty good (meaning the martial arts and not the moral character), and peace, booze, tea and cake have finally came upon us.

He is not bad himself at his martial art. I am glad for him: if he regularly talks to almost-strangers at parties that way, he surely needs the fighting skill pretty often.

In the end, however, he still managed to piss me off by repeatedly asking what kind or revenge I'd take if somebody killed my parents. And that was after he discovered that I can in fact fight him. Silly bugger. Heh.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Vacation: Anya's baby and Aquarium

Tuesday, October 12: met Lena in downtown and we went to see Anya and Mark and their baby. We wanted to buy some wine and Chinese food, but upon our arrival in Quincy noticed that everything was closed. Well, what else do you expect from a town where they ban the sales of non-alcoholoc beer to under 21-year-olds? We crossed the subway tracks to another, livelier part of Quincy, and found what we needed.

Erik (the baby) looks very much like Churchill, even more so than most babies. His eyes are very well-focused, and usually focused on Anya's breasts. He is somewhat furry, but they say that happens. He also has huge balls, but Mark says that they told him not to get excited about it in the baby class: all male babies have huge balls.

Lena looks cheerful and happy in spite of being somewhat overworked. Apparently marketing works out a lot better for her than software engineering. We talked about our careers and found out that Lena did not like software engineering precisely for the same reasons why I like it: having to pay attention to a lot of small details, and working alone for the most part.

Wednesday, Octover 13: went to the Aquarium to look at the critters. They have a lot jellyfish now. I don't know if it's just a temrorary thing, but they are cute and look rather exotic in comparison to ones I'd seen live. The rest of the critters were as usual: seals, huge turtles, sharks, penguins, etc. They let you touch starfishes, which is nice, but not half as nice as some other aquarium I'd been to (either in Blankenberge or in Scheveningen) that lets you touch rays. Rays are wonderfully soft to the touch and apparently like to be touched, or at least come for more much like friendly cats.

Said hi to the huge jewfish they have there. Three years ago the American Fisheries Society has decided to rename the jewfish, because somebody found it offensive. I assume that somebody was not a jewfish him/herself, although I can imagine a fish not wanting to be called a jewfish since this name conjures the image of gefilte fish in many people. We were all waiting with great interest whether they rename jewfish into goyfish, but they called it goliath grouper.

While in Aquarium I started thinking: what determines what people find cute? A lot of sociobiological stuff is being said about people finding other people cute, but what about animals? Is there some biological and/or social reason why people find some animals cute and some not, and why these preferences overlap quite a lot? And why are all the animal places always full of children? Do children like to see animals more than adults? If so, why? Do adults perceive children as likely to like to see the animals? Is this universal, at least in all cultures that have zoos?

No rest for the wicked

Back to normal life, back to work. Got a huge list of possible bugs to fix by Friday and immediately remembered why I was so eager to get away from fucklifts for 3 weeks.

Yesterday morning, after sleeping only 3 hours that night and not at all the night before, had to tolerate the cable guy invasion. Two cable guys came in the middle of the night (about 10) in order to install a new cable outlet, even though the old one worked just fine. They woke me up and made my place even a bigger mess than it already was, and now I have two cable outlets and only one cable modem to plug into them. They also raised enough dust to make me cough and throw up for the rest of the day. In the evening it got really bad, but alcohol, pills and good company had a healing influence after a while.

Today I came to my Chinese class without much understanding of what is going on, and was immediately told that I have missed a midterm test and have to make it up tomorrow. A listening comprehension test, no less. Gotta learn Mandarin by tomorrow, or at least learn to hear the damn tones. And quite a few characters, too. Killeri is coming over tonight, let's hope he'll inspire me. I feel in need of inspiration.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The election

With two TVs constantly on there was no escaping the US presidential election. At some point I even started crying when my parents threatened to turn a presidential debate channel on.

At least some of the comedians were good. I used to think of this election in a very pessimistic way - no matter what happens one of the fuckers will win - but some comedians gave me an idea for positive thinking: no matter hat happens one of the fuckers will surely lose. Imagine having both Bush and Kerry for president...

Got my absentee ballot last Saturday after yelling at the Newton Election Commission. (Last time they failed to send me an appropriate ballot in spite of numerous requests; they sent me two city ballots asking whether I wish to spend 5 million dollars on plans for a new high school building; I felt like putting "no" on both and sending them back, but didn't. In general the "5 million for the plan" idea makes me feel like quoting Strugatskys about the city architect being a very good friend of the city treasurer.) Hesitated for a second - Massachusetts is not a swing state, so I had a chance to vote for a third-party cadidate without affecting the outcome - but after checking out the third-party candidates I voted for Kerry.

Now the city elections are coming here in Helsinki. I haven't decided yet whom I am voting for, but I do have a party picked out. When I use the candidate search bots, they give me some National Coalition and Green candidates as the most desirable and Left and Commie candidates as the least desirable. The Green is surprising - I am probably the only person in Finland who really does not give a shit about the environment - and reinforces my perception of the Green party as a receptacle for urban politicians who do not fit in anywhere else.

New York

Went to New York with Oska for a day on a Chinese bus. Chinese buses are buses that run between Boston's and New York's Chinatowns (though lately they have left from South Station in Boston) and charge only $15 for a one-way ticket.

The bus was as good as any. There was a friendly KGB (or whatever they call it now) guy in the seat in front of us who was asking a lot touristy questions. There were trees with red leaves outside the window, and some nice lakes. More importantly there was a bathroom stop.

South Station does not allow taking photos inside anymore, apparently in order to prevent evildoers from doing evil in the form of exposing its miserable food selection to the world.

When we got there Oska buggered off to some business meetings and I went to shop in Chinatown. Went to a couple of stores, bought lots of DVDs (way cheaper than in Boston), wanted to go to a third store but then figured that neither my budget nor my backpack would survive that and went to a teahouse instead. Had some tea and a piece cake of the variety that is usually soft but in this case was hard enough to be used as hammer. I decided not to eat the venerable pastry, which later turned out to be a mistake.

Finding Chinese-language-learning materials in Chinatown is just as impossible as finding Russian-language-learning materials on Brighton Beach, and I started making my way towards Central Park, where I was supposed to meet Oska at 2:30 or so. It was really beautiful outside. Walked a bit around Greenwich Village, found a used book store the size of Akateeminen, saw a place called Cosi where I'd had some drinks with Silja and Roman 3 or 4 years ago, and those drinks were somehow memorable but I don't remember whether it was in a good or in a bad way. Went a bit north, took some pictures of skyscrapers. Bought a fairly good smoothie somewhere.

Did not go to the top of Empire State Building this time. Probably should've - never know if it will still be there the next time. I used to like the WTC towers, one of them even had a bar with semidecent beer. Now I regret all the times I did not go there, but who knew?

Times Square is always Times Square. You can take pictures but you can't make them really look like the real thing. Bryant Park is also always Bryant Park. Probably would be sitting there quite often if I lived in NY.

Oska contacted me every once in a while and said he was gonna be late, later, and yet a bit later. Finally I went to sit in Central park, where a tall, dark and exceptionally ugly man tried to convince me to move to New York.

They have some dark brown squirrels now. Wonder if the squirrels came there themselves, or if somebody brought them there on purpose. When I was a teenager there were only gray ones; I'd seen the dark brown ones only around Niagara Falls.

I figured that Oska would come and then we'd get some food. But then Oska came at 5 and immediately starting dragging me back to Chinatown, saying that we are in a great hurry. I tried to explain that it does not take 2 hours to get from the corner of Broadway and 59th to Chinatown, but later it turned out that with Oska it kind of does. He dragged me all the way to Lexington avenue to get a bus, although I told him that the subway is both closer and faster. His argument was that he does not know how the subway works in NYC. It works the same way as the subways in the other 10 or so cities where he'd used them: you go there, pay money, get into the train and eventually out if it. But no, we had to run for the bus without a lunch.

The bus actually did leave 15 minutes early. They checked that all the people who bought the tickets were there, and did not bother to wait for people buying tickets at the last moment.