Sunday, February 29, 2004


Finally got rewarded for this week's Lisp suffering with good sex. No beer, though, because I forgot to buy it. And not strictly "rewarded", in the sense that I think Killeri would have sex with me even if the Lisp application didn't work. Hey, the man tolerates me even though I can't take a Kalashnikov apart and put it back together in under 53 seconds!

Watched a bit more Firefly in the morning, and noticed that Wash the pilot always makes me think about sex. What is really strange is that I don't find him sexy and don't fantasize about having sex with him; looking at him makes me fantasize about having sex with other guys - the ones I usually fantasize about. A strange phenomenon, never noticed anything like that before.

Wow, look at that, Aristide ran away from Haiti. This doesn't have anything to do with sex, except that both Aristide and Haiti are screwed. Oh well, Haiti has been screwed before that as well.

Military training

Military training was a school subject in grades 8-10 in Russia, or maybe 9-10. AFAIK we had 4 hours of it a week, in 2 blocks of 2 hours. Or maybe not; my memory is not what it used to be.

Military training classes were always taught by retired officers with the rank of lieutenant colonel and with a Ukranian accent. I don't know why, but that was the case in every school I heard of. I suspect there was also a maximum IQ requirement for the job; as my cousin's school's military training teacher used to say: "they don't keep idiots in the army, and that's why I am here", meaning in school.

Our was called Nikolai Ivanovich, but we used to call him Nalivai Ivanovich, "nalivai" being the imperative of the verb "to pour". There was a girl, Sasha Grandelevskaya, who even called him that to his face. (Sasha, drop me a line if by any chance you are reading this). He was not a bad guy for a kind of person who becomes a military training teacher.

They taught us to march properly. I made many experiments on how badly should one march in order to be excused from marching indefinitely, but none of my attempts were quite bad enough. Even buying a uniform-like skirt that was slit almost up to the waist did not help. Wearing it without anything underneath probably would've helped, but I did not quite have the right spirit back then.

The purpose of the class, as stated by one of our teachers, was to give boys a taste of what is awaiting them in the army so they won't all commit suicide. Which, of course, begged two questions: what are girls in there for, and whether anal rape will be part of the class. I was not suicidal enough to ask either of them. In any case, they taught us the army rules book for a while, but then figured it was counterproductive to the suicide prevention purpose.

Mass destruction weapons were a part of the class. Of course I mean protecting oneself from them, not using them. The advice was along the line of "if a nuclear bomb falls on your head, you should go lie on your stomach with feet towards the blast". They taught us about the use of iodine in case of nuclear fallout, which turned out to be a lot more useful that they expected, about the use of Geiger counters (but not about the prison terms we'd get for ownership and unauthorized use thereof), about bacteriological weapons "boil everything and hope for the best" and about chemical weapons, describing in greal detail what each poison gas would do to us.

We were taught to use gas masks, and found out that most of them don't protect one from fart smell. Some of them, however, were very efficient and did not let any gasses through, even oxygen.

Shooting classes were pretty much OK, except that I would have appreciated some ear protection, especially for higher-caliber rifles. We had two different kinds of rifles to shoot with, and a special room in the school basement to do it in.

One of the worst things was disassembling and assembling AK-47s. Boys were supposed to take a Kalashnikov apart and put it back together in 47 seconds and girls in 53 seconds. Somehow I could never make it, ny best time was probably 58 seconds or so. The teacher ran around us and screamed that no man would ever have sex with us if we don't take the weapon apart and put it back together in 53 seconds. It seems that so far I lucked out, or maybe my sexual market value is so high that men are willing to disregard my insufficient Kalashnikov disassembly skill.

Some people tried to shoot the teacher's hat (without the teacher) with AK-47, but it disassembled in their hands all by itself. No injuries though.

Osama (spoilers)

Saw the movie Osama which describes life in Afghanistan under Taliban. Pretty good movie, although obviously sad. A young girl (12-13 years old), her mother and grandmother have a big but apparently common problem: women are not allowed to work, men are supposed to provide for them and keep them at home, but all the men in the family have died in wars. The grandma comes up with the idea of getting the girl to pretend to be a boy. The girl is rather reluctant for fear of being caught, and for a good reason.

I don't know how accurate their description of life in Afghanistan is, but at times it's rather absurd: Taliban attack women who are outside without being escorted by a male relative, but when a woman is outside with a man they don't bother to check whether the man is really the woman's relative.

The Stand (here be spoilers)

Finished reading Stephen King's The Stand. Did not like it much, though obviously liked it enough to read the whole 1400 pages. I generally don't mind it when a book or a movie has some supernatural elements, but for some reason I really don't like it when the supernatural elements appear right in the middle of it after the reader/viewer has been thinking that we are dealing with the natural world. Feels like cheating.

Friday night we celebrated Meira's new job in Vespa. Nice restaurant, and they have good wine (their house red). After that we continued in Angleterre, which has a selection of beer that does on quite suit my taste, but is a nice place with a good non-smoking section.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Some interblogisms

Kilpikonna informs us that a "feminine woman" would never admit being allergic to fish, because women are supposed to like fish. She is pissed off at this rule. Funny, I have never heard of any such rule. Maybe that's because I like fish already? Hey, look at superfeminine fish-loving me!

Birdy disapproves of medical testing on animals. How about humans? What does Birdy think of using medications and medical techniques which were developed through animal testing? In any case, her opinion of medicine is not very high.

Apparently she has not noticed that the study that links breast cancer with use of antibiotics has only found statistical correlation, not a causal link. Which is not to say that there might not be one.

Birdy also says that many young women bone density problems nowadays. She suspects use of birth control pills and asks how come there is no research on it. There really is, of course. The link between estrogen and bone density loss is well studied: more estrogen, less bone density loss. Combination birth control pills contain estrogen. If they are not considered likely culprits for bone density loss, that's for a good reason. And if they cause you to stop menstruating for years, then you are either using them the wrong way or there is something wrong with you.

Use of Depo-Provera (a progesterone-only injectable contraceptive), OTOH, has been associated with bone density loss, and it says so in their patient information sheet.

As an extra advice for Birdy I might mention that smoking has been associated with bone density loss.

All the corrections to the above from people who know better are naturally welcome.

Hang, baby, hang!

Shoko Asahara has been sentenced to death today. He was the leader of Aum Shinrikyo, an apocalyptic cult in Japan that has attacked Tokyo subway with sarin in 1995, killing 12 people, and also killed a number of other people in several other incidents. Aum Shinrikyo has changed its name and has been known as Aleph for the last 4 years, and their English-language webpage can be found here.

My position in death penalty is a bit contradictory: on one hand, I think it's better not to have any, on the other hand, I usually have very little sympathy for people who get executed, and certainly none for Asahara.

Aum Shinrikyo believed in yoga, vegetarianism, manual labor, renunciation of desire, drinking Asahara's bath water, Jewish conspiracy, American nuclear attack on Japan (a new one, not the WWII one), total obedience to the leader and impending Armageddon. Apart from Jews and American other sources of evil included, in Asahara's opinion, Freemasons, British royal family and, obviously, Tokyo subway. Probably Japanese goverment too.

Jews and Israel again

On a certain IRC channel a few friends of mine was talking about the following: one of them found some organization in Turku that was encouraging Russian Jews to "return" to Israel and was surprised by it, and the rest were surprised by it too. I did not take part in the conversation because I had some Lisp software to debug, and by the time I noticed the conversation most of the participants left already.

Folks, the organization in Turku has a point: Russia is a bad place for a Jew. It is no accident that 2/3 of the Jewish people who lived in Russia in late 1980s now live somewhere else. OTOH, if the Jews remaining in Russia need an organization from Turku to point out that other countries might be better, they are a Darwin case anyway. Israel is not the best place, I can recommend the USA or Finland instead, but the States and Finland are hard to get in, whereas Israel has it written into law that it has to admit all the Jews who want in, unless they are complete fuckers (murderers, terrorists and suchlike).

In any case I think that the Russian period in Jewish history is starting to be over.

One of my friends taking part in the conversation asked how many Israelis have been originally from somewhere else. The answer is that 2 million out of Jewish and other non-Arab population of 5.4 million are from elsewhere. For some reason the statistical yearbook of Israel does not collect this info on Arabs, or at least doesn't put it in the same place as the statistics on everyone else.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Stress and dreams

Rhia and Janka write about their own symptoms of stress. I don't need to do that, since I can usually recognize stress from feeling stressed, but there is one symptom which is a pretty good indication of stress even if I am not feeling stressed yet: I start seeing dreams.

It's not normal for me to dream. Yes, I've heard that all people see dreams every night, and maybe I do too, but normally when I wake up I have no memory whatsoever of having seen any dreams. Every once in a while, maybe once in 5-6 weeks, there is some kind of glitch and I see a dream that I can remember in the morning. If that happens more often it's a symptom of stress. In fact I can measure the level of stress by how often I remember seeing dreams.

My dreams are always nightmares, some mild and some more severe. (This probably just means that I never remember a dream that wasn't a nightmare.) I rarely remember the details, but the most common recurring nightmare involves visiting Russia and being somehow unable to get out of there.

Krav Maga

Argh, the test is next week and I am probably gonna fail it. Today we were strangling each other and doing ukemis. I can do ukemis almost right but not quite: I fall on my ass. Tried it many times and many ways, but no matter what I do the ass touches the mat first. Not that it hurts or anything.

Some of the techniques they teach are clearly unsuitable for people who are much smaller than their opponent. When we were practicing strangling while the victim is lying down on his/her back and the attacker is sitting on top on the victim, Laura (my sparring partner today) had serious problems trying to throw me off. I hope that if there were a real attacker she'd be helped by large amounts of real adrenaline.

Laura is about 20, and she said that she has never been assaulted and wondered why I have been assaulted so many times. I said "well, I am a bit older" and then realized that apart from a crazy guy in a bar 8 or 9 years ago all the assaults on me have happened when I was younger than she is now. The obvious difference is, of course, that she grew up in Finland and I grew up in a nasty shithole of a country further east.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004


Read a bit of the log called Kilpikonna maailmassa. The author is asking whether people who enjoy healthy lifestyles enjoy them for the sake of enjoying the lifestyle itself or for the sake of some cultural ideal. I am not qualified to respond on behalf of all the people who enjoy a healthy lifestyle, or even one, since my lifestyle is not particularly healthy, but the main reason why I exercise regularly is because I like beating people up, preferably through a lot of protective gear so as to avoid really hurting them. Another reason is that I am so old that my ass hurts sometimes for no reason, and I thought exercise would help with that, but I was wrong: the ass still hurts, but instead of it hurting always in the same way and place I get variety: now I never know whether it will be the left buttock or the right buttock tomorrow, and a bruise or a overworked muscle.

I can imagine stopping eating completely for the sake of pure vanity, and have done so, too, but quite rarely. Exercise for the sake of vanity would be too much for me.

She also complains that dicks do not taste as good as chocolate. The solution to the problem is obviously a chocolate-coated dick. The recipe depends on your inclinations and diet, but 1:2 combination of heavy cream and dark chocolate works well, as also does a 2:2:1 combination of sour cream, sugar and cocoa. (All measurements by volume). If you use cocoa, use real cocoa, because all the cocoa drink mixes tend to make the sauce way too sticky. And make sure to let the mixture cool before you use it.


Panu's entry about electrical measurement devices spam reminded me of the old times working at a factory named Vibrator. The factory did not produce what you think it produced, but various electrical measurement devices. It was in St. Peterburg, and my classmate Sveta and I worked there for a month right after the 9th grade because we had to - working in some nasty place was an obligatory part of the school program for that year. Of course we got paid only half of what real people were paid, but that was a great improvement in comparison to our two weeks in a kolkhoz the year before that, where I actually managed to earn a negative salary (0.98 rubles salary - 50% for food which was almost worth the price - 0.5 rubles of an obligatory contribution to Chernobyl fund = -0.01 rubles, or 1 kopeika).

Vibrator was a lovely place in comparison. The first day we came there the boss read us a long lecture about not coming near the conveyor belt. She stressed it many, many times. When we asked where the conveyor belt is, so that we can avoid it, she said "well, actually we don't have one, but we had to warn you about it anyway".

We spent a month running various errands (basically shopping) for various employees of that department. Earned about 50 rubles each. I'd rather have had that time to myself, but it was definitely better than kolkhoz.

I wanted to pinch a voltmeter from there on general principle, but forgot.

Feeling much better today, in the sense of being able to breathe without any medication. Maybe Lasu was right and I was just having a physical reaction to Lisp. That's strange, I've never had any psychosomatic physical symptoms before, not that I know of anyway. Probably just a coincidence.

In the world it's business as usual: Putin fired his government, Bush is trying to ban homosexual marriage, Haitians are looting and US troops are trying to capture Bin Ladin, preferably in the very beginning of November right before the election.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Beer and sex, or rather absence thereof

Didn't get any beer because Alko did not have anything I wanted, I had no time to go to another Alko and Alko does not carry what I really wanted anyway, which was a rather sweet honey beer. Had to satisfy myself with a bottle of Velkopopovicke Tmave that I found in the fridge.

But soon, very soon, Alko will at least lower its prices, in honor of which I am offering you the following bit of Russian folklore:

Товарищ, верь: взойдет она,
На водку прежняя цена,
И в вытрезвиловке на стенках
Напишут наши имена.

(It means roughly "Comrade, believe me: the old vodka price will arise again and they will write our names on the wall of the detoxication center", and it loses a lot in translation.)

Did not get any sex either due to my favorite sex partner having to work instead, but got a few not-so-good offers from other guys, which were all rejected. Which lead me to thinking:

Do Italian men ever get laid? If no, why not? If yes, why are they swarming IRC in such numbers asking for sex from foreign folks who have not yet developed an ability to teleport? Rarely a day passes when I don't hit upon by several Italian guys. Why do they want me? Why don't they hit on some Italian woman who at least in theory might happen to be in the same city?

I can understand trying to pick up people on IRC if they are on the same channel and in the same city, sure. But none of these Italian guys have ever been on the same channel with me. They know nothing about me except the nickname, the server and the address I log in from.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

The buggy shit, oops, I mean of course the GlobalLeaderInEmbeddedTechnology, finally works like intended! Without any black smoke coming out of the server, or even segmentation faults. Am Queen of Lisp now, and deserve a lot of sex and beer.


Janka and Rhia write on adulthood. I don't think such a thing really exists, certainly not in the sense in which we (or I, anyway) imagined it when we were kids and not in any other useful qualitative sense, except for the legal one. It sort of makes sense quantitatively: people live, age, mature, learn new tricks and become more adult, as opposed to less adult. But they don't become adult, as opposed to a child, in any sense but legal.

The legal concept of adulthood as an age when a mentally healthy person is legally responsible for everything he or she does is undoubtedly quite useful, and the fact that there are various degrees of being a child is useful too. But I find adulthood as a social concept to be oppressive, and often childhood as well.

In my experience when people refer to me as an adult, a child, a young person, etc., it's usually done in an attempt to control me. For a person who is legally a child such control is sometimes needed (I don't think it would have been a good idea if I were allowed to get a driver's license when I first started to want it at 8) but for a legal adult, and in many instances for a legal child as well it is not.

"You are too young to wear that dress", "you are too young to wear makeup", "you are too young to stay out so late", "you are too young to read that" are things that people say to children, often not because doing any of the above is likely to cause some damage to the child, but because doing it is somehow incongruent with the speaker's idea of what a child should be doing. One can argue about what degree of control should the parents have over all of the above, but I've heard all of the above also from people who were not my parents and had no genuine control over me whatsoever.

I hoped that they would stop when I become a legal adult, but they didn't. Granted, nowadays the only time people say that I am too young for something is when I bring up the subject of sterilization. Nowadays people tend to tell me that I am too old for various things, and these are usually the same people who used to say that I was too young for various other things earlier. It does not help that I am more open about my tastes now than I was 20 years ago. As a teenager I (and probably many other people) had a need to prove adulthood, or some degree thereof; at 32 I have nothing to prove anymore and can watch kung fu movies, play at being a murderer-for-hire with big sword, read bad Star Wars novels, etc., without anyone really taking me for a teenager. And when I talk about most things that I consider fun, I hear a choir of "aren't you a bit old for that?" and "when are you gonna grow up?", mostly consisting of relatives who for some reason cannot face the fact that I have grown up, and that I have grown up to be a person who squeals in delight when somebody kills everybody else with a katana in a ridiculous onscreen battle.

A lot of people have some idea of what an adult should be and try to tell other people, sometimes of the same age and older, that they should become adults, which means that they should do what the speakers says they should do. IMO that's what the concept of adulthood is mostly used for nowadays.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Uncle Darwin visits Nigeria

CNN reports that the state of Kano in Nigeria has blocked a polio immunization campaign on account if it being a U.S. plot to spread AIDS and infertility among Moslems. The story is a continuation of the story they ran in October about three Moslem states in Nigeria banning polio vaccination. (The other two states have since come to their senses.) Never mind that the rest of the world, including the rest of the Moslem world, got immunized against polio long ago and still hasn't died out from AIDS and infertility. Nigeria now accounts for about half of polio cases in the world and is spreading it to the neighboring countries.

Speaking about infertility, who do they think is gonna have sex with their children after they are crippled by polio? OTOH they might have fewer chances to get AIDS for the very same reason.

Uncle Peysakh

A few days ago Kolikon kääntöpuoli wrote about a Russian man who stuck his dick into a padlock, and today about an American man who beat his neighbor up with his (the neighbor's) wooden leg. I feel a slight twinge of panic: has Kolikon kääntöpuoli found my relatives somehow?

Uncle Peysakh used to stick his dick into his apartment's lock. It wasn't a padlock, just a regular door lock, and he never got stuck in it, and therefore he was never mentioned in any news. It wasn't a perverse way of getting sexual satisfaction: it's just that when he was drunk he always figured he can open the door with his dick. Or maybe he mistook the dick for the key.

Peysakh was my grandfather's little brother. He first earned some fame or infamy for himself when together with uncle Vova they locked all the teachers in school and set it on fire. The teachers survived, the wooden school building didn't. I am sure I have already described this joyful event somewhere.

Peysakh liked women a lot, and women liked him too. The women's husbands, however, did not like him much, and therefore his nose tended to be broken fairly often.

When he grew up Peysakh became a pilot and an alcoholic, which is a somewhat unfortunate combination. He was a jovial and friendly man when drunk, and probably was a jovial and friendly man when sober, too, but I don't recall having ever seen him sober. When he was really drunk he tried to get home by opening the apartment lock with his dick, which somewhat worked, because the neighbors (that was one of those big Russian apartments that housed several families) often heard his frustrated swearing and let him in.

He always flew drunk, which could be partially explained by the quality of the planes he had to fly (who'd get into those while sober?). His last flight happened when he and his boss sold some parts of an airplane (history doesn't say whether it was their airplane or somebody else's), bought booze with all the money, got really drunk and started flying around in a condition when they wouldn't be able to walk around. At some point they got safely down, and then they got caught. Instead of saying "oh, I am so sorry, it's all my fault, I'll never do that again" Peysakh proudly declared "hey, what's the problem, the boss was there and drinking too", after which he got fired half a year before retirement.

He died several years later, when he was having his appendix removed and the doctors forgot a knife inside him. When they noticed it, it was already too late. "They stabbed our Peysakh to death," - said my grandpa and was pretty much right.

If you are ever thinking of flying Aeroflot, please remember my uncle Peysakh. In fact if you are thinking of having surgery in Russia you might remember him as well.

Monday morning again, and political news

Here we go again, back to flu and Lisp.

Nader has announced that he is running for president, which reduces the Democrats' chances noticeably. Not to imply that Bush finances Nader's campaign, but he'd be stupid if he didn't. (Bush stupid? Perish the thought!)

Schwarzenegger thinks that the US constitution should be amended to allow non-native-born citizens to serve as a president. Not a bad idea in itself, even if it does increase the risk that we'll get Schwarzenegger himself for president.

Sunday, February 22, 2004


Tomorrow the International Court of Justice in Hague starts a hearing on Israel's security fence. Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades decided to make their own statement on the necessity of a security fence by blowing up a bus in Jerusalem.

In other terrorist news, Lord's Resistance Army, Ugandan terrorists whose main lines of occupation are kidnapping, child rape and trying to put Ugandan government out of power, has burned 170-200 people alive in an Ugandan refugee camp. Lord's Resistance Army is, BTW, a prime example of why child soldiers should be forbidden. They kidnap children, make soldiers out of them, and then they have a whole army of combatants who are too young to either have had proper conscience or empathy developed or have any real understanding of their own mortality.

People you meet on public transportation

Yesterday I was going home from Myyrmäki a bit after midnight, and three guys sat on the train next to me. They were drinking cider and trying not to get caught. I was reading and they were making too much noise, and then they started asking me about the book I was reading, which was Steven King's The Stand. I couldn't tell them much, having just read the first 150 pages out of 1400 or so. As it usually happens as soon as they heard my accent they wanted to hear the whole story of my life, althout the train trip was not long enough and they didn't have enough cider, so they got a strongly abbreviated version. Well, at least they didn't have the problem with the concept of Russian-American, as many Finns do. Unlike many drunk young Finns who switch to English after the third promille of blood alcohol content, one of them switched to Swedish, which did not contribute positively to the conversation. Other than that it was fun. They wanted to talk about politics, and we did. They tried to invite me to Baker's with them, but I figured that going to a bar with three smoking guys is not a very good idea for me.

This morning I saw a guy who looked like a haredi* on a bus: the hat, the beard and everything. I was a bit suprised, since there are no haredim that I know of in Finland and I didn't think haredi tourists ever come that far north. I thought he only looked like haredi but then I came closer and he was indeed reading Tora, or some other holy scripture (the text was in old Hebrew; my knowledge of old Hebrew is unsufficient for distinguishing between Tora, Tanach, Mishna, Talmud (is it even written in Hebrew? bugger if I know) and other holy and moderately holy books). I wanted to ask him what is a real live haredi doing on the bus 18 in Helsinki in the middle of the winter, but I think he might've understood me wrong if I did.

*For those who don't know what's a haredi: it's an Orthodox Jew in black coat and big black hat and big beard (except for women usually) who doesn't like modern Judaism, as opposed to an Orthodox Jew without a black coat and big black hat and with a smaller beard who also doesn't like modern Judaism. I don't know how you tell a Haredi woman from a non-haredi Orthodox Jewish woman, but I suppose Haredi women have longer skirts or something.

Still not well, but feeling a bit better.

Yesterday we (Leena, Sonja, me and Sonja's dog Peppi) went to visit Viu and Tapio. It's somewhere up north in the middle of nowhere (Kärkölä), and they have a lot stars there. One rather bright star was changing color between green and white all the time, and it wasn't just in my head. I wonder whether it's an illusion caused by some atmospheric phenomenon, or whether the star was not a star at all, but some geostationary satellite. I am accustommed to thinking of satellites as tiny dim things that move fairly fast, but then I'd never seen a geostationary one, or in any case never known that I am seeing one.

It was nice to finally see them (Viu and Tapio, not stars, although stars are nice too). They don't get down to Helsinki much nowadays, not with all the critters they have to take care of at home. They have 3 horses, a cow, a goat, 14 cats and I don't want to know how many chickens. Viu talks about getting more horses, but it's not easy even taking care of the ones they have now.

Sonja and Leena rode the horses for a while, but I didn't. I try to avoid close contact with animals big enough to eat me, even if those animals claim to be vegetarians. Cats are way safer, and some of them were cute and nice. One horse tried to eat Leena's jacket, but it didn't taste too good. Too many artificial flavors, I guess.

Peppi is really cute. She is a black German shepherd with huge ears.

I noticed that horses have eyelashes. Never noticed before. Not all horses though: the little one didn't.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Restaurants and boring evil me

Apart from smoking, the two things I dislike about restaurants and bars are music and candles. Music has its places - a dancing place would look pretty stupid without it - but what's the point of music in a place where people just want to sit and drink? Especially loud music. And candles, well, I just dislike them. It's not a problem usually: I extinguish the candle at my own table and it does not bother me that other people have them on theirs. The only problem is when the waiters try to light them again, and as soon as I tell them that I don't want it lit some other waiter shows up and I have to explain it all over again. I just always wonder why so many people like them: they smell, they are likely to set your sleeves on fire if you are careless and their light is not nearly as good as electric lights.

No, I am not proposing to ban music or candles. One thing that I would like to see banned though are those huge candlelike things that some restaurants have outside in winter. Huge fucking fires, right outside during the time when sidewalk is slippery and in the country where many people's balance is not very good around restaurants at night anyway. I wonder how many people actually fall on those and whether the restaurants are punished if or when that happens.

What I want from a restaurant is a nice place to sit, a good selection of booze and, if it happens to be a food restaurant, good food.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Tasteless medical stuff

Wasn't a good week for me. Lisp by days and evenings and throwing up by nights and mornings. I hate having to throw up every time I cough hard enough. Cough medicine keeps this phenomenon under control during the day, but at night when I can't stuff myself with cough medicine all the time I just wake up from needing to throw up and have to gallop to the bathroom. Not fun. And it's been like that for 9 or 10 days, which is more than my flues usually last.

My breakfast this morning was impressive: 2 cough pills, 2 C-vitamin pills, 1 birth control pill and 1 ibuprofen+pseudoephedrine pill. Should've taken an iron pill too, but I have no idea where I've stuck them. Probably should get some new ones and eat them regularly like the doctor ordered. The whole bowlful of pills for breakfast reminded me on Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Couldn't even spend a proper evening in a pub with friends, had to leave at 11 due to being unable to breathe properly. And that was the smokefree part of the pub, mind you. Hope they'll ban smoking in restaurants altogether. They did in many places in the USA, they just did in Ireland, they are considering it in Sweden and sooner or later this trend will sweep all over the Western Europe and smoking in restaurants will become as much history as smoking on planes has become already.

Yes, smokers keep talking about free choice and free market with regard to smoking in restaurants. Yes, in principle they have a point. You'd be amazed at how profoundly I do not care.

Stupid doctors

A lot of women I know have complained about gynecologists not believing they take birth control seriously enough, and about being treated as it they cannot be trusted to use birth control properly.

Don't worry, folks: the minute the doctors understand that you really, really take birth control seriously they'll tell you that you are paranoid and you need to lighten up. As soon as they hear that you want to use two highly efficient birth control methods at the same time (like pill and IUD, or pill and sterilization) they tell you that you are crazy, paranoid and don't really need that much.

My answer has been: "I might be crazy and paranoid but you are a gynecologist and not a psychiatrist, so get on with it".

Luckily not all the gynecologists are like that - the one to whom I usually go isn't, or maybe he has gotten accustommed to me over the years. I really don't understand what the others' problem was.

More on abortion, sort of

Well, this is not really about abortion. It's about having things done abroad in general. It's just that it comes up more often in abortion conversation.

When I need something done and can't have it done where I am, I automatically think of doing it elsewhere. A lot of people don't, and it surprises me. My friend Anu has once told me that it's because I was raised that way, and a lot of people weren't. I take her word for it, but I still find it impossible to understand on an emotional level.

There is a newsgroup where I sometimes hang out with my fellow child-haters. Most of them are American and understandably paranoid about the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned. I am paranoid too, in the sense that I think it would be a very bad thing in general, but I don't feel personally threatened by it, and didn't even when I used to live in the US. Apart from the obvious fact that not all states would ban abortion and Massachusetts would be one of those that won't, I simply can afford to go elsewhere to have an abortion. Canada, Europe, you name it. An unexpected abortion trip would make a dent in my budget, but I'll survive. Too bad about all those poor teenage girls who'd kill themselves with homemade coathanger abortions in North Carolina of somewhere else beyond the boundaries of civilization, their death would sadden me and piss me off, but it's not a personal threat to me. It is, however, considered a personal threat by many people, including people who live within one hour of the Canadian border and can well afford to go to Montreal - simply because the idea does not occur to them. That's what I find strange.

The phenomenon is not quite unknown in Finland either. I've heard of several people who were over the 12-week limit for abortion, really did not want the child, but had it anyway because they were denied abortion here. Hello? There is a country with a 20-week abortion limit right across the gulf, and it doesn't take a lot of money to get there, and their language is taught in all Finnish schools so you can even talk to them. Then there is UK, US...

I think that if I ever find myself over 12 weeks pregnant in Finland I won't even try to get an abortion out of the local bureaucracy but will go straight to Sweden or US.

Reopening Roe v. Wade

CNN reports that Norma McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" of Roe v. Wade fame, has asked a federal appeals court to reconsider Roe v. Wade, on the grounds that abortion is psychologically harmful to women.

Well, I am sure it is harmful to some. They don't have to have it. But in the case of Norma McCorvey herself, who at the time of Roe v. Wade (1973) was pregnant with her third unwanted child at the ripe old age of 21, wouldn't it be possible that the woman was a bit fucked in the head to begin with? I mean, I know that birth control sometimes fails, but three failures before the age of 21 at a time and place where the pills and the IUDs are available?

Thursday, February 19, 2004


Tommipommi, Kolikon kääntöpuoli and qlogger-Plöki have all suddenly exceeded their monthly limit. Has something happened to Qlogger in general?

Keyboard, Krav Maga and Praedor

A public service announcement: if you are using several different keyboard layouts, and especially if you are changing them globally with a click on some button, it's a good idea to check that the current layout is one that permits you to enter your password before you lock your screen. Seems obvious, but I just locked my screen this morning with Russian on.

Nothing much new in Krav Maga, except for threatening us with a law lecture. It is part of the course. Otherwise, still hitting shields and trying to get rid of stranglers. Also doing some perverse exercises.

Had a character creation session in our Praedor campaign yesterday. My character turned out fine though not quite like I planned from the beginning. I am glad she did not have to take a wound-healing skill, she is the kind of a person who is more into wound-making. She is a contract killer who tries very hard to be a cold and calculating killing machine but has way too many human weaknesses to be really good at that. She also has a mostly undeserved reputation as a sadist. She also aspires to manipulate men by sex and other means, and she is not bad at that, but she is better at cutting and shooting so I expect that every time she feels that manipulation is getting too hard she'll say "oh, bugger" and draw her sword.

I should probably try manipulating men by sex myself someday, it sounds like fun.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004


Kaius (my boss) was setting up one simulator for me and some guy who hangs out in our office right now came in. They started speaking English since the guy doesn't speak Finnish. At some point Kaius and the guy started pointing at the simulator and telling me "Screw it! Screw it!" It did not sound like they meant it figuratively, and I refused to believe they they actually wanted me to perform an unnatural act on the simulator, which is a small black box (not that screwing is an unnatural act in itself, but IMO it's somewhat unnatural to do it with a thing which is neither alive nor a sex toy).

Took me several seconds to realize they wanted me to turn a handle. I am just somewhat slow today.

Evil Lisp

Argh, have to write some annoying program in Lisp and it sucks, although it does gradually improve and will probably eventually do what I want, although I probably won't know it for the lack of diagnostic printouts in crucial places.

There is a game in the evening, Ville's new Praedor campaign starting. I am all excited, or at least will be after I walk out from this building and put Lisp on hold till tomorrow. But more about it tonight.

Did I mention that Praedor is a great game which you should all buy right now and play instead of reading my whining about evil Lisp?

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Japanese and r/l mixup

Was thinking about Lost in Translation again and realized that while in the movies such as this Japanese often say [r] instead of [l] and [l] instead of [r], in real life I have only heard them say [r] instead of [l]. Some books say that in Japanese [r] and [l] are allophones of one phoneme, but I have an impression that I've never heard them pronounce it as [l], only either as a "normal" trilled alveolar [r] or as a more [d]-like alveolar flap. What's the deal with this? Do the Japanese really say [l] while speaking Japanese?

Krav Maga

Flu and throwing up are not very helpful as far as martial arts go, but what can I do? I only wish I didn't throw up every time I cough strongly, but that's what usually happens. I am sure you all wanted to know this.

On the other hand, sadistically beating up three shields before breakfast tands to improve one's mood. My mood, anyway.

Being beaten with a bamboo stick hurts even when there is a 15-cm-thick shield between you and the stick. I am sort of feeling sorry for the criminals in the countries where they use bamboo sticks as punishment.

Out teachers always think up some politically incorrect imaginary enemy. Today, apart from the usual boogeyman who weights 150 kilos and is in Eduskunta, the imaginary enemy was Swedish and it was attacking people right in the ass, as befits a good Swedish enemy.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Heh, this page is what you find first if you search on google for duact+misuse.

Am I the world's greatest misuser of Duact or what?

In the news

An indoor water park collapsed in Moscow. Russian architectural design, Turkish building company. I thought that what happened during the last big earthquake in Turkey was a lesson enough about the quality of Turkish construction. I was wrong.

A new scholarship was created for whites only at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. By a student group whose leader is a Hispanic, no less. Hilarity ensued.

Middle East is taking a break from the regularly scheduled mideast violence in order to dig themselves from under snow.

TheSunOfThe21stCentury and TheMostProminentStatesmanInThePresentWorld Kim Jong Il is celebrating his 62th birthday. May he never live to be 63. OTOH, there is no guarantee that the next asshole will be better.

I am not admitting anything

Kolikon kääntöpuoli is reporting that Italian police seek a woman with huge breasts who ran off without paying after getting implants. Just in case, I would like to say it wasn't me.

Kolikon kääntöpuoli also asks how do you run with such big breasts. The answer is: with great difficulty and holding on to them with your hands. Which makes it difficult to do warm-ups in Krav Maga classes when we have to run and punch air at the same time.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Hmm, just realized that my log is the first thing that comes out when you search for Syria and Sharia on Google.

Very thirsty all the time since the damn flu started.

Just took a look at the name service page again, and found out that there are 2 Amidalas and 4 Anakins in Finland. No Darths yet, but wait till Anakins grow up. Don't laugh, you'd go over to the dark side too if your parents had called you Anakin.


On Friday after work I was lured to the Dark Side and went to Akateeminen's book sale. Bought National Geographic Expeditions Atlas, Turning the Tide of War by Tim Newmark (a description of 50 more or less important battles) and FishWorks Seafood Cafe Cookbook by Mitchell Tonks. Also ogled a dessert recipe book by Pierre Herme but then after reading a few recipes figured that Mr Herme had a lot more free times on his hand than I do, and probably was getting paid for making desserts, which I don't.

In all the excitement forgot to buy any fish to test the cookbook. Anyway first have to find out what the fuck are alll those fishes in Finnish.

Ran into Janka and from a glazed dark-sidey look on her face figured she was going to the same book sale, but didn't ask if she really was.

Saturday was nice. Went to Anu's place and we drank some wine and made and ate sushi. We both had a flu, hope it's the same virus or else we are gonna have two flues apiece very soon. Anu's cats said "meow" and wanted some sushi too, but only got some inedible (in our opinion) piece of fish.

Anu noticed my red highlights. What's even more amazing, a person who cannot possibly be reading this blog has also noticed my highlights yesterday. Wow, the smelly hair dye really works!

Had a lot of plans for today, like going to the movies, reading three books, watching Firefly, trying to make little dim sum thingies with shrimp, learning Cantonese and Japanese and further enlightening myself in Lisp, but at some point realized that the day was finite, and settled for Firefly, a book and dim sum thingies. Was reasonably satisfied with all three.

Solmukohta is starting, which is bad for my sex life, because certain people are too busy with the event, and I suspect that any man with whom I might have conceivably strayed from the narrow path of monogamy will probably be in Solmukohta too.

(If anyone who does not know me is reading this and is wondering: yes, of course I have an open relationship, otherwise wouldn't be writing about possible screwing around in a public blog. I might be somewhat crazy, but that crazy I ain't.)

Saturday, February 14, 2004


Can't bring myself to watch it. Not that I have an opportunity to do so right now, either, but I didn't usually watch it even when I did.

This is not a comment on the quality of the programming, or on having better things to do. It's just that the idea of following the program listings and remembering what's on and remembering to turn the TV on at an appropriate time is so alien to me. When I was a teenager in Boston I used to watch CNN Headline News every once in a while because I knew they were on every half an hour, but AFAIK they don't have anything like that in Finland (they do have CNN but it's on cable and has some actual programming that has to be found out and remembered), and anyway CNN has news on its webpage now, so why bother with TV?


Firefly is pretty good, too bad it's pretty short too.

It has a weird effect: I am always reading something while I am eating home alone, and now every time I make food I take it and sort of try to sit down with it and get back to reading Firefly, and it takes me a couple of seconds to remember that it is not a book but a TV series and therefore I cannot read it. Happened a few times already. It it really somehow book-like or is it just me?

Never happened to me before. OTOH since I don't watch any TV the only series I'd actually seen before were the ones friends had on DVD: Buffy and Angel. Liked them both.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Day of Purity, part two

The day of purity got very properly celebrated. I'd celebrate it some more, but Killeri went home already. So I guess I'll just have to enjoy Firefly and hot chocolate with rum without any more purity celebrations.

Day of Purity

Today is the day of purity. I think we should celebrate it with some proper fucking.

Women in Moslem countries, as promised.

Here is the long-promised text on the position of women in Moslem countries. Moslem countries in this context means countries that are officially Moslem, countries where 50% of population or more are Moslem, and countries where Moslems are the largest religious group. There are 52 of them by my count, but YMMV a little. The position of women in Iraq and Afghanistan is so much in transition that take anything I say about them with a grain of salt. Somalia is pretty much lawless and in transition, but there the position of women does not change or vary quite as much. Nigeria has different laws in different states, not all of them are Islamic but the Islamic ones tend to be very Islamic.

In short:

Sharia: Sharia is the Islamic law. It, and civil laws based on it, are in effect in most Moslem countries of Middle East, Northern Africa and Asia, except those of former USSR, and in some countries in Africa. Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Egypt, Gambia, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Nigeria (some states), Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE, Yemen are all more or less Sharia states. In the vast majority of these countries Sharia only covers matters of family, inheritance and sex. In some countries (Gambia, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Sudan, Syria) Sharia is applied only to Moslems and other people are expected to follow the laws of their own religion. Sharia varies from country to country and from Shia to Sunni. The most common points of Sharia:

  • Women are not property.
  • Women can own property.
  • Women's consent is needed for marriage.
  • Woman can be granted a divorce if she has a good reason; man does not need a good reason to get a divorce.
  • Spousal violence is illegal, rape is illegal, but spousal rape is not illegal.
  • In divorce children go to the mother if they are under a certain age; after that, to the father.
  • A woman gets half of the inheritance the man gets; here Sunni and Shia Sharias vary in that among Shias if a parent has only daughters, they inherit everything, and among Sunnis they inherit half and the other half goes to male relatives.
  • A woman's word in court is worth half of that of a man.
  • A Moslem man may marry a Jewish or Christian woman, but a Moslem woman can only marry a Moslem man.
  • Sex outside marriage is bad, and adultery is even worse.
  • A non-Moslem widow of a Moslem husband receives no inheritance.

Sharia varies by country in many things: ease or difficulty with which women can obtain a divorce, whether or not the woman's testimony is indeed just half of a man's (it is the case only in Iran, Mauritania, some Nigerian states and Saudi Arabia; in Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan and Qatar this concerns only family courts; a catch in Pakistan is that courts dealing with rape are sort of family courts there), whether or not a Moslem woman can marry a non-Moslem (usually not), and whether or not polygyny is allowed (it's allowed in Algeria (with wife's permission), Bangladesh, Burkina Faso (with wife's permission), Chad (with wife's permission), Gambia, Kuwait, Mali (with wife's permission), Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, UAE (with wife's permission) and Yemen; some of these are not even Sharia countries).

Sharia is obviously a discriminatory law which restricts women's lives in more or less semicivilized countries, but in some African countries Sharia is actually an improvement over what women would have otherwise - in worse parts of Mauritania and Nigeria Sharia's idea that women are not property and can actually own some property is novel and progressive.

Female Genital Mutilation: This is not an Islamic custom at all. It's African, very widespread among all the religious groups in Sub-Saharan Africa and widely illegal there, too. The percentage of women circumcised varies from 5-20% in Niger to 98% in Somalia. The only Moslem African country without this problem in Comoros. The only Arab countries where it is widespread are Egypt and Sudan. FGM is illegal in all the Moslem countries where it's practiced except Eritrea, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Somalia and some states of Nigeria.

Travel restrictions: A lot of Moslem countries (most of the Middle East and North Africa and a few elsewhere in Africa) have travel restrictions for women. Afghanistan, Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Nigeria,Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, UAE and Yemen are such countries. The restriction vary from mild (in Qatar and Syria a husband/father can demand to block a wife's/daughter's travel, but otherwise nobody asks) to severe (Iraqi women were not allowed to travel abroad without a male relative at all). In many countries a father's/husband's permission is only needed for a passport, but after that a woman can travel freely. In Kuwait and Lebanon only a married woman needs a permission.

Honor killings: They happen in the Middle East, but are generally considered a redneck thing to do even there. Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Syria and Yemen have laws giving more lenient punishment for "honor killings" than for other murders.

Citizenship: Citizenship is transmitted only through the father in Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon and Morocco. In most of these countries a citizen woman's husband can't get citizenship as easily as a citizen man's wife; in Kuwait being married to a Kuwaiti woman is not even enough for a residence permit. Saudi women need a king's permission to marry a foreigner, but then so do also Saudi men unless the bride is from a Gulf country.

Veil: Wearing veils is rarely demanded by law. Only Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Iran require it, and Brunei requires it in government buildings. OTOH, Tunisia, Turkey and Uzbekistan ban veils in public buildings.

Rape and domestic violence: As usual: statistics are hard to find, urban women have it better than rural women and rich and educated women have it better than poor and uneducated. Arab countries tend to be very strict with rapists, African less so. In Pakistan a proper Hadd (Koranic) rape conviction requires 4 adult Moslem male witnesses, and since people rarely rape each other in front of 4 adult Moslem men, there has not been a Hadd conviction in 20 years, but there are convictions in secular courts. Anyway, in both Pakistan and Bangladesh rape and domestic violence are rampant, and it has been my uneducated observation that anywhere on the border of Moslem and Hindu cultures women get the worst of both worlds.

Work and education: Varies by country and region, quite a lot of places in the Middle East have equal pay legislation. etc. Saudi Arabia is the only country that limits women's education and keeps them out of some fields. (Apart from the late Taliban Afghanistan, of course.)

No significant legal discrimination: : Albania, Bosnia, Comoros, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan. Also Turkey and Uzbekistan, if you don't count the ban on veils in government buildings.

Various: Mauritania is AFAIK the only Moslem country where a woman can be married without her consent. In Iran and Mauritania a marriage needs the woman's father's consent.

Segregation of public space is practiced widely in Iran and even more in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia women are not allowed to drive.

Here it is, folks. Corrections and additions are welcome.

Veil, school and dicks.

France is about to ban Moslem veils and other religious symbols in schools. Frankly, I don't see why it surprises so many now: the matter has been under discussion for 15 years or so.

I think that here in Finland the ban is much misunderstood as a specific assault on Moslems. In Northern Europe, where countries are officially Christian, and even in the States where there is an official separation of church and state but a lot of religious rhetoric in politics, people are not very familiar with the French brand of secularism.

France is a secular state. Very, very secular - perhaps the most secular one in the Western world. Their version of separation of church and state means, among other things, no proselytizing in public buildings, no religious symbols in schools, etc. They have a past full of religious strife and they have decided during the time of the Third Republic in 1905 that their way to go is a strong secular state which does not support religion or allow it in public schools. As to Islam being made a second-class religion: yes, that's right. That's what the rest of France's religions are, too, and have been for a century. Any reason why Islam should be an exception?

The French have perfectly good reasons for the ban, historically speaking. Pragmatically speaking I am a lot less sure. It might be that parents of Moslem children start putting them in Moslem schools, which might or might not be hotbeds of Islamic fanaticism. OTOH, fairly often it's not the parents who insist on veils, it's the kids themselves. Whether or not preventing them from wearing veils to school is a good way to combat their religious fanaticism I don't know. My first emotional response is that probably not. OTOH, some secular and semi-secular Moslem countries like Turkey, Uzbekistan and Tunisia ban veils in public buildings. Maybe they know something about Islamic fanaticism that we don't? Hard to say.

In Finland they have decided to have the public health system do religious circumcisions (of boys, naturally). Hello? WTF? Why is it still allowed at all, let alone on public money? Yes, there would be more damage if people did it at home by themselves, but if we go along this way we can justify female circumcision as well. And hey, I want late-term abortion too, 9th month for example. I really would try to induce an abortion with a knife or a knitting needle if I found myself 8 months pregnant - wouldn't it be so much nicer for everyone if I could have the abortion in a hospital for free?

I understand that it's traditional and everything (meaning that male circumcision is practiced by cultures that Europeans have been familiar with for a while, like Jews, Moslems and Americans, whereas female circumcision is a feature of African cultures that came in contact with Europe fairly recently), but why are we still allowing parents to cut off a child's body parts in the name of religion or tradition?

Yes, I also understand that female circumcision can be extremely debilitation while male usually isn't, but even the mildest forms of female circumcision, which can well be compared to male circumcision, are forbidden throughout the civilized world - when will the male circumcision be, too?

It would be interesting to know what position have various Western countries taken on scarring or tattooing a child's face for religious or traditional reasons.

It would be nice to ban circumcision from inside the religion (speaking as a Jew here), too. Religions change, including Judaism. We already have a standard procedure for converting into Judaism men who have already been circumcised, or men who cannot be circumcised for medical reasons. It is done with a pinprick instead of a circumcision. Why cannot that be used on all boys? And admit: how many of you who deem circumcision totally essential for our religion have eaten pork last month, or failed to observe the Shabbot?

BTW, banning circumcision makes a lovely topic for Passover Seder.


I have experienced a near-miraculous recovery due to tissues (ever notice how you nose stops running and your throat becomes sore instead as soon as you buy tissues?), vitamin C, ibuprofen, pseudoephedrine, tea and a large dose of Lisp. Now only the throat is a little sore. Got a lot of work things done, too, but am still stressed a bit.

Saw Lost in Translation and it was pretty good although I don't know why.

Got In the Mood for Love but haven't seen it yet because was working all day. OK, saw a tiny little extra where the director and the actors were interviewed. All three speak surprisingly good English (oh well, Maggie Cheung Man-Yuk grew up in UK so in her case it's not surprising). The really funny thing was that Wong Kar-Wai, who is known for working without scripts and hating scripts on general principle, said that he used to be a scriptwriter before he became a director. Anyways, I've seen the movie before. It's a very slow-paced thing about two people falling or thinking about falling in love. Well-done and well-acted.

Noticed that the skin condition on the tip of my finger (an allergy due to eating too much mangoes) totally obliterates fingerprints while it's there. A good recipe for doing crime: just eat a few kilos of mangos in advance and voila, no fingerprints. OTOH it takes weeks to heal, so maybe I'll just stick to rubber gloves if I decide to be a criminal.

Gay marriage

San Francisco authorities, in defiance of California law, have registered a marriage between a 83-year-old and 79-year-old lesbians. "But what about the children?" - ask religious groups.

Massachusetts Constitutional Convention has tried to pass 3 amendements to ban gay marriages within 2 days, failed, and is promising to reconvene again in March. Well, at least they are doing something for taxpayer's money.

I really should go to some library that has American newspapers from 1967 and look up people's opinions on Loving vs. Virginia (the case where the Supreme Court decided that states may not ban interracial marriage). I am sure that all the arguments that are made against gay marriages now were made then, too.

All in all, it looks like we are gonna be the first state in the US to legalize gay marriage. Go Massachusetts! In the undying words of one Boston Globe reader back when the court made its decision: "Hey, we beat California!"

Thursday, February 12, 2004


Last weekend a Russian guy asked me in English how to get to the railway station. It was obvious to me that he was Russian, I am not sure whether it was obvious to him that I was, too (I have an accent in English, but my "r"s are so out of the normal range for both English and Russian that a lot of English-speaking people assume that it's Hebrew), but in any case neither of us tried to switch to Russian during the conversation. I usually don't switch to Russian during a non-social conversation with obvious Russians, unless it's either necessary for communication or I am trying to make the encounter more social. I think a lot of other people do the same, and I sometimes wonder why. Maybe exactly because it makes the encounter somewhat more social and more intimate and invites more questions: "how long have you been here?", "where did you live in Russia?", etc.

OTOH I used to go to a cosmetologist named Natalya who was obviously Russian-speaking, and we had a lot of social conversation, but we never spoke Russian. We tried once but it was very awkward. Don't know why. And it had nothing to do with pretending not to be Russian, because we talked about Russia and Russianness (bad, bad word) as well.

In Boston I speak Russian freer than in Helsinki; maybe it has something to do with habit (hang out with Russians a lot there), maybe it has something to do with bad experiences speaking Russian in Finland. I don't normally speak Russian in the streets on account of having nobody to speak it with, but 8-10 years ago there used to be a couple of Russians that would go out with me every once in a while. From Finns we heard a few swear words and a lot of suggestions of money for sex; I think it got better nowadays that Finns are accustommed to seeing more Russians. The real problem, though, were drunk Russian tourists. The nastiest ones we'd seen were screaming at us, calling us whores and threatening to shoot us.


I have a flu, and can't even really go on sick leave, because there are things that have to be done. Therefore working from home. I hoped that I wouldn't have to go out in this weather, but had to go out to buy tissues anyway. Who stole all the tissues I bought the last time? Who always steals all tissues? I think those are the same aliens who always steal just one sock from the washing machine.

Luckily ibuprofen and pseudoephedrine are a person's best friend during flu. Unluckily the combination thereof is not sold in Finnish drugstores, not even by prescription , so I either have to bring a supply from the US or make my own here by combining ibuprofen with a prescription allergy medication called Duact. Such combination has an unneeded third ingredient, and antihistamine called acrivastin, but that doesn't bother me.

It never stops to amaze me how different medication regulations are in different countries. In Finland you can buy only a very limited amount of ibuprofen at a time without prescription, but you can buy pills with 400mg per pill. In the US, you can buy as many pills at a time as you want, but one pill cannot contain more than 200mg, or else you need a prescription. In the US most antihistamines are prescription medications, so you need prescription for things like Zyrtec and Duact (which has anither name there, which I don't remember right now) because of the antihistamine, but pseudoephedrine is sold over the counter. In Finland the reason you need prescription for Duact is the pseudoephedrine, not the antihistamine, and Zyrtec is sold over the counter. Etc, etc.

A friend has once told me that the reason pseudoephedrine needs prescription in Finland is that it does not combine well with MAO inhibitors and anything that doesn't combine well with MAO inhibitors needs prescription since the users of MAO inhibitors cannot be trusted to read the fine manual. Funny, I've known a few MAO inhibitor users and none of them had any problem reading. Well, maybe I never met ones who did. But anyway, I don't hear the misuse of pseudoephedrine with MAO inhibitors being a problem in the States, and also none of the doctors who have prescribed pseudoephedrine to me here has ever asked me about my use of MAO inhibitors or lack thereof. (In case anybody is interested, I don't use them and never have, but at least they could have asked.)

An what is it with dramatically different Finnish and American guidelines on safe amounts of alcohol?

A guy (the name of the guilty party is withheld) has just called me to ask who I am. He did not actualy ask the question because he recognized my voice, but he told me that that's what he called me for. Just found my number in his cell phone and wondered whose it is. For some reason I found it amusing.

I am still not quite accustommed to the Finnish manner of answering the phone with one's own name. I sort of finally learned to do it in the last 2 years, but it feels weird.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

In the news

The Russian presidential candidate Rybkin, who was lost, allegedly found, and then lost again, was found again in Kiev where he says he was visiting some friends for 4 days without mentioning it to his wife. No comment.

The woman who filed a class action suit claiming she had suffered greatly from seeing Janet Jackson's tit has withdrawn her suit. Maybe she did not suffer so greatly after all. Or maybe she undressed for the first time, saw a tit in the mirror, suffered some more and decided that Jesus said "those of you without a tit may cast the first stone".

They are making a new Bridget Jones movie, which is great. The second book was better than the first, let's see if the movie is too.

There was an earthquake in the Middle East, mostly in Israel, Palestinian territories and Jordan. The only damage in Israel was to their parliament building. Is this god's way of saying he wants a new parliamentary election? The last one was so much fun that I don't blame him.

Our Kerry is going ahead. Should I bet a bottle of sparkling wine on him against Oska (my father)? I am afraid that after I won once on Chernenko and twice on Clinton Oska won't want to bet against me anymore.

Who are we gonna have for a senator if Kerry becomes the president? Kerry was a good senator, never did anything stupid. Never did anything, in fact.

Woman married a dead boyfriend in France. Outrageous! The right of necrophiles are trampled upon everywhere, you can't fuck corpses almost (?) anywhere in the Western world, but apparently marrying a guy who's been dead for a year and a half is ok. I wonder if she is allowed to fuck the corpse now that they are married. You know that something is wrong with the world when moralists are making necrophiles marry corpses before they can have sex like normal people.

Shopping again

Finally got a new frying pan, a 26-cm Tefal Privilege. So far so good. They are pretty cheap in Stockmann this month if you have the card. They also carry Tefal Equinoxe, which differs from Privilege only cosmetically (or so the salespeople say) but costs a lot more.

Akateeminen has a big book sale. Dear Lord, deliver us from evil... Managed not to buy anything yesterday but am unlikely to continue this way. Suomalainen kirjakauppa has a big book sale too.

Ordered a special edition of Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love". Why do I keep buying his movies? I don't even usually understand what he has to say and have a feeling that most of it goes over my head. Tony Leung Chiu Wai, who stars in most of Wong's important movies, is an excellent actor and a beautiful man and in himself a good reason enough, but you can see him in a lot of other directors' movies, and sometimes with less clothes on, too, so why do I bother? And why do I find Wong's movies interesting to look at, for all their incomprehensibility? Or do I buy Wong's movies precisely because I don't understand them? Weird... In any case, this particular DVD has a soundtrack with the director's comments, so there is some hope that the man himself will explain what he wanted to say.

Gonna order the special edition of Battle Royale, too, after the next payday.

Bought and tried a permanent hair color for the first time. Eek! I knew in principle that they smell bad, but this unbelievable stench would have been enough to kill a herd of goats at 100 meters. How can people stand it? I don't think I'll be doing that again. And for all my efforts I got little red highlights which none of you would ever notice, except that now that you've read this you'll notice them just to be polite.

My CD drive ate a CD and didn't give it back until I stuck a pin into it. Even now it does not want to open without a pin, and for some reason my screen lock stopped working in connection with it. The problem would be probably corrected by booting, but is this my computer's way to tell me it wants a new CD drive? Maybe a writable DVD drive? Which ones would be good? Do they all work with Linux? How do I get them to show all regions?

Get that blanket away from me! Argh!

Why do people always feel a need to cover sleeping people with a blanket or something?

No, it did not happen tonight, just came into my mind because it was too hot in the room anyway. I am rarely in a position where people can attack me with blankets while I sleep, but when I am they always do. Don't people realize that if a person went to sleep or passed out without a blanket that might be because the person didn't want one?

I usually need less heat when I sleep than when I am awake; do other people work in a different way? Waking up because of excessive heat feels awful to me; waking up because of cold, finding a blanket and going back to sleep is not a problem at all. Maybe the next time I am about to fall asleep in human company I should put a sign on myself: "Please do not cover".

Still, the question stands: what is it that makes people want to cover sleeping people? Do they really think they are cold?

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Went to Krav Maga in spite of feeling fluish, and survived it. In fact, don't feel fluish anymore. Either the "flu" was just a reaction to spending an evening in Angleterre where too many people were smoking, or Krav Maga cures flu.

We practiced defense against baseball bat, with bamboo sticks and slowly. I think we also need to practice it with something softer, like a boffer sword, and fast. In the technique they teach it's crucial to have some feel as to how fast the other person can swing the bat.

Beer is a girl's best friend. After a few Velkopopovicke Tmave I felt totally enlightened on the subject of Lisp. Need more beer. Also need to find out whether Velkopopovicke Tmave is the best way to enlightment, or whether stronger beers like Westmalle Dubbel would do it better.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Crime and punishment

Ilkka is asking why most people would disapprove of a law that punishes every crime with a life sentence. I think the answer is simple: because most of us like to break laws if we can get away with it, and do, and we are afraid that if sometimes our judgement as to whether or not we can get away with it slips up we will be up the shit creek without a paddle.

We break laws ("we" here refers to normal people who go to work, pay taxes, don't beat people up in front of hot dog kiosks and don't steal the battery from their neighbors' car). We sometimes break the speed limit, cross streets on red light, drink alcohol in public places where it is not allowed. Most of us have posessed and drunk alcohol while underage, and those of us who like marijuana usually smoke it when they think they cannot get caught. Many of us would have cheated on our taxes if we could, even though few actually can. Some of us have had sex with underage people while barely overage. Some of us don't wear seatbelts or helmets. Some of us would not hesitate to get an illegal abortion if we found ourselves over the time limit for a legal one. Some of us don't pay the TV tax, or only pay it because it's embarassing to order cable while claiming not to own a TV. Most of us, I think, would commit murder if the circumstances were right, and the circumstances would be right if we knew that somebody is seriously planning to kill us unless we kill him/her first. Even such a crime as punching somebody in the face at a hot dog kiosk, which is usually abhorrent to all normal people because that is not a crime that we usually would do, can sometimes be "committed" by a normal person: somebody attacks you, you punch them in the face in self-defence and then you fail to prove self-defence in court.

I am not sure about the accuracy of Ilkka's claim that a normal person can easily live without committing petty crimes, but I don't think most normal people would want to.

On the other hand, when people commit crimes that we are unlikely to commit ourselves but consider a threat to ourselves, we want them punished, and punished harshly, but I think Ilkka has already covered that topic.

Good wishes to people in the news

There was an explosion in Moscow subway on Friday. Official numbers, whom Russians don't seem to trust (heh, I wonder why) are 39 dead and more than 100 wounded. Culprits: Chechen terrorists (most likely) or Putin (much less likely but I wouldn't be totally surprised). I wish speedy recovery to the wounded and slow and painful death to the terrorists, of course, though, failing that, fast and painful would also do.

Russians are tightening security, which likely means a lot of paper checks for people of Caucasian (obviously meaning natives of Caucasus and not all white people) appearance and possibly others. This is likely to cause problems to a friend of mine who is neither a terrorist nor a Chechen. I wish her luck.

I don't think that the cause of the terrorists, whether it be right or wrong, should be acknowledged in connection with the act. That is what terrorists usually want, after all. What should be acknowledged, however, is the thousands of Chechens and other Caucasians in Moscow who are either getting beaten up right now or do not dare to go out of their homes. I wish them luck too, unless they actually had something to do with the explosion, in which case I wish them a slow and painful death like mentioned above.

In other news, Israel has killed an Islamic Jihad leader, which is a good start. Unfortunately they killed a bystander too. Condolences to the bystander's family. To Israel I wish better aiming and killing the rest of the Islamic Jihad leaders without hitting a single bystander. To the Jihad leader I wish seventy-two 90-year-old virgin nuns from the Order of Eternal Virginity.

A Russian presidential candidate has disappeared and has now been found. Don't know where. Should I wish him a GPS device?

North Koreans are starving and UN's World Food Program is short of food and money. Hmm, could that be because the donors are tired of listening to nuclear threats from the country that hasn't even been able to feed itself for god knows how many years? I wish the North Koreans a new and better government. What I wish to the North Korean government I dare not write publicly for fear of being accused of being a sadistic psycho.

Valentine's day

As everyone can see from changes in the chocolate selection in the stores, Valentine's day is coming. Here they call it ystävänpäivä (friend's day) but the idea is the same. I don't celebrate it unless I have to, and luckily for me Killeri doesn't either, so I don't have to.

Valentine's day is a kind of a negative chocolate holiday: stores sell the same kinds of chocolate as usually, but it is shaped as hearts, wrapped in red paper and foil, and is more expensive than usual. Whereas Christmas is a positive chocolate holiday: new and better kinds of chocolate appear in stores, and when the infidels (sorry, Christians, my use of this word is largely humoristic but I think this humor does not come very well across in written text, and smileys in the middle of a sentence tend to look weird) fail to buy it all on time, the prices drop.

A great discovery in anthropology

Religious busybodies of Massachusetts (oops, sorry, I mean leaders of over 3000 religious institutions) have issued a joint statement in support of the constitutional amendment initiative. The amendment, if passed (which it probably won't) would define marriage as an union between one man and one woman. The "need" for an amendment like that has surfaced because the Supreme Court of Massachusetts has ruled that the state cannot discriminate between homosexuals and heterosexuals in this matter and that the legislators have 6 months to legalize gay marriage. You can read the full text of the statement here.

They say:

"We stand together today, as religious and academic leaders, and as citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to affirm a common and deeply-held conviction: Marriage must be defined in our civil law as the union of one man and one woman. Each of the traditions we represent has long upheld the institution of marriage as a unique bond between a man and a woman, a bond which is the very foundation of the family and of our society.

This understanding of marriage is not, however, primarily a religious doctrine. It is based on common sense and human reason. It has been shared by every human culture for thousands of years. The marriage of one man and one woman is the basis for family life, into which children are born, nourished, and educated. This understanding of marriage and family predates and precedes the authority of the state."

Hello, folks? Hello, fucking homemade anthropologists? Do you ever even read your own holy books? I don't even dare to hope that you ever read State Department's human rights reports to see which countries still have polygamy. Hello, Islamic Council of New England - how can you even say with a straight face that marriage as a union between one man and one woman has been shared by every human culture for thousands of years? How many wives did your prophet have again? Gee, at least the Mormons have had the good grace not to sign that paper.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Cafes in Boston's Chinatown

Don't know why I am writing about them now, probably just came to mind after yesterday's mahjong.

They are all over Chinatown, about 10 of them, and they are usually pretty full. They sell tea and pastries. None of them has a liquor license, AFAIK, but from the look of some of the customers one might think that they either have a flask of alcohol somewhere with them, or have just come from a restaurant that has a license.

There is tea and coffee. Lots of exotic pastries made of stuff that I am not sure I want to know about and I am sure I don't want to eat. Sometimes with exotic names, but in most of these places the signs are only in Chinese. Those are not what I come there for, of course. They also have various pastries made of soft moist dough, with cream or butter frosting between the layers or inside rolls. They used to have something like that in Estonia and Latvia when I was a kid. That's what I come there for. They are also amazingly cheap, just like everything else in those cafes.

Almost everyone there is Chinese, and it felt strange to be in a minority at first, but I got accustommed to it long ago. What feels even stranger is that most people are men, and senior citizens. Groups of men in their sixties and seventies, along with an occasional young boy of fifty, sit at the tables as if they spend the whole day there, and maybe they do. They play mahjong and cards and god knows what else, and talk with each other, and make indecent proposals to women.

These men are either very optimistic, or they have not heard about the sexual market value theory yet. Or maybe it's some cultural thing that I don't know about. It might be that they believe that being rejected by a woman brings good luck in a game, and go straight for the rejection. I mean, I am definitely not a god's gift to men, but what chance does a guy have with a woman who is thirty years younger, fifteen centimeters taller and has her boyfriend with her? Yet some of them try. Some just come up to tell me that I have big breasts, in Chinese augmented with gestures. When they do that they have an expression of satisfaction of having conveyed some useful information. In fact all the men who say that have such an expression, be it in Boston's Chinatown or in Joensuu's outdoor market.

The staff speaks English, at least until you try to inquire about the pastries' ingredients, and valiantly tries to explain something in English even then, although they don't know the right terms.

Sometimes I see other white people there. They are just that, random white people. Can't define what kind of non-Chinese people go to those places.


Попробуем писать по-русски.

The Russian keyboard layout sucks, but I just might get accustommed to it.

Inherent impossibility

In the journal that I mentioned in the last thread the author mentions an interesting legal concept that I'd never heard of before: inherent impossibility.

In general when a person makes an unsuccessful attempt to kill somebody, such as trying to put poison into somebody's food and by accident putting salt instead, or shooting a corpse while believing that the corpse is a live human being, the person is convicted of an attempted murder. Inherent impossibility is a defence for the cases where the method chosen by the defendant is inherently impossible from the point of view of a reasonable person: for example making a voodoo doll of a person and sticking pins in it would not be an attempted murder no matter how much the perpetrator believed it would kill the person, because of the inherent impossibility that such action would actually kill somebody.

Intent and planning is an interesting topic in criminal law. The laws of most (all?) Western countries tend to punish a planned crime harsher than a similar crime made impulsively. Is it because people who have reasonably good impulse control have a higher responsibility to society than the ones who don't? Is it because people who plan their crimes are considered a higher menace to society than ones who just "can't control their urges"? Is it just plain discrimination against the kind of people who plan everything they do, including murder?

Russian journals

For those of you who can read Russian I can highly recommend another Vera's journal. She writes very well about a number of things, from her own children to raping corpses. And no, she is not a necrophile, she just teaches criminal law.

Read a number of Russian journals this weekend and now I am considering installing a Russian keyboard. I've been considering it for a long time, but using it seems like too much trouble without an actual physical Russian keyboard.

It would be nice to have an entry in Russian every now and then, and in Finnish, too.

Judging from the logs, a lot of Russians still have some kind of a connection to Russia. I am glad I am not one of them.

Mahjong in Amarillo, and other things

I have a bad memory for faces, which is unfortunate. Today in Stockmann's grocery department I ran into a man who has earned a punch in the nose from me, but I wasn't sure whether it was him or just somebody who looked like him. He was looking at me like somebody who knows that a punch in the nose is coming or at least well-deserved, but that might be because I gave him an evil glare. I wish I knew. Of course I wouldn't have really punched him in the nose, as am a Civilized Western Woman now and therefore don't punch people in noses in Stockmann's grocery department.

Except, maybe, when they have Hullujen Päivät and several crazy grandmothers try to ram their carts through me at the same time.

A friend has invited me to play mahjong tonight, and it was fun. One of those little pleasures in life that you never know about until you run across them. I mean, I'd heard about mahjong and I'd seen old guys playing it in cafes in Boston's Chinatown, but I'd never known how to play it or how much fun it is. Want more mahjong.

We played in Amarillo, and it was a perfectly good place till about 9pm, after which it became crowded, smelly and the music was turned up so loud that we could hardly hear each other. I suppose it is no surprise to people who tend to visit such establishments on a regular basis, but it's been at least a year since I'd been in a place like that. When I go out to bars I tend to favor non-smokingness, good selection of booze, and a reasonably quiet environment where you can talk to people. Amarillo is definitely not it.

What do people usually do in places like that? (I mean the people who actually like such places and not the people who stay there by accident when their mahjong game stretches until too late in the evening.) You can't really hang out with your friends there because you can't talk, and you can't pick up guys either, at least not the ones who you want to talk to before inviting them home. I could understand it if this were a place where everybody was dancing, but it wasn't.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Alive again

Yesterday was a horrible day in Järvenpää, again. And Monday might be too (not sure yet).

Was feeling almost dead yesterday when I came home, but good friends, good wine and good steak tend to revive a person. Now feeling much better, and not even particularly hung over.

Lots of hits on this site. From Finland (thanks for the nice words, Tommi) and from various Russian-speaking users of LiveJournal. One of them has translated "vittu, mua vituttaa kun täällä on niin vitun liukasta" into Russian, and fairly sussessfully at that, although I am not sure about the word "zayebalo" as translation for "vituttaa". For me, "zayebalo" is an expression of anger and dismay at some continuous phenomenon, while "vituttaa" can be also used in regard to some solitary event. Although, of course, from the Finnish expression pronounced by the gentleman on the train one cannot be sure whether he was pissed of at slipperiness on Järvenpää's train station as a continuous phenomenon or whether he had just encountered it for the first time.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Shopping, or rather failing to shop

Went to Anttila and saw that they just got a number of Jackie Chan movies on DVD. Dubbed in English, no less. Is there really anybody in the world, or in Finland anyway, who wants to see Hong Kong movies dubbed in English? As far as I am concerned, if it doesn't have an original Cantonese soundtrack, they can insert it where the sun don't shine, and I don't mean a DVD player.

I've heard that they used to make some movies in Mandarin in Hong Kong in the sixties, but never really ran across one. For such movies a Mandarin soundtrack would naturally be acceptable.

Didn't buy anything.

Today is Runeberg Day, as I figured out from seeing runebergintortut everywhere. A runebergintorttu is a cylindrical pastry with some jam and white sugary stuff on top. Considered buying one out of pure curiosity (never tried one), but, as usual, didn't feel up to it. They just don't look appetizing. On the other hand I have once even tried a laskiaispulla which looks much worse, and survived.


The title doesn't translate well into English.

Anyway, had to work in Järvenpää today, and tomorrow too. Big building with little heat, no food, no internet connection and a misbehaving forklift. Yeah, and have I ever mentioned how much I hate Lisp?

Järvenpää is a desolate place in the middle on nowhere north of Keha III. Trains go there twice an hour. There is a lot of trees and nature and other horrible things, and snow, except in summer. I heard there are buses, but I haven't seen them. They haven't invented sand yet, and therefore it's slippery as hell. An icy hell, of course. As a gentleman in the railway station has remarked, "vittu, mua vituttaa kun täällä on niin vitun liukasta".

I would write some comments about work, too, but then my boss would kill me.

On the way back I had to wait for a train for 25 minutes, and had a rare chance to listen to an anthropologically fascinating conversation of two gentlemen who apparently belonged to what some people call "cognitive lower class". They had just got out of a cell in a police station, and looked like that, too. I did not get to hear what they were in the cell for, but one of them was complaining about having spent 50 euro for 10 shots of kossu in a certain mildly disreputable drinking establishment the night before, and about not feeling very well this morning as the result of this. They were also discussing the advantages of hiding cigarettes in their socks when put into cell.

Computer stupidity

Ilkka has posted a link to a hilarious site called Computer Stupidities. They are not accepting new submissions due to a backlog, but still I feel like posting one more story like that:

3 years ago I decided to have a cable modem installed in Boston. Here in Helsinki they just give you a cable modem and an instructions booklet, but Boston's RCN just has to send an actual live human every time. RCN webpage says they don't support Linux, and that was fine with me, but when I called them to make an appointment and they asked what operating system I have they swallowed my response without any comments.

In the morning the cable modem guy appears. He brings the modem, connects it to the cable, the computer and an electrical outlet and comes up to the computer. He sees a Linux console with a login prompt and presses "enter". He gets another login prompt. He presses it once more, with the same result, and once more. He looks up at me.

RCN guy: "How do I get to the Windows screen?"
Me: "You don't. It's a Linux."
RCN guy: "But you have Windows installed on your computer, right?"
Me: "No, it's a Linux."
RCN guy: "But you are going to have Windows installed on your system?"
Me: "No, I am not. Look, I know you don't really support Linux and that's OK, I'll take it from here. Thanks."
RCN guy: "But they told me you have Windows 98!"
Me: "They were wrong, I told them I have Linux, but that's OK."
RCN guy: "But I don't know how to install a DHCP client on this!"
Me: "That's OK, I do, and it's already installed anyway."
RCN guy: "Are you sure you are gonna be OK? No, I have to install it! I'll call my supervisor."

He calls his supervisor, talks with him for a while, the supervisor has never heard of Linux either, and apparently the supervisor asks what it looks like, because the RCN guy utters the most memorable sentence of all this exchange: "It's just a black screen with white letters on it."

RCN guy: "I am sorry, my supervisor doesn't know how to install it either."
Me: "No problem. It's installed."
RCN guy: "Oh, I am so sorry! But please call us if you have any problems with the installation."

Wednesday, February 04, 2004


Is there anyone else out there to whose eyes Hollywood movie stars (male ones, anyway), and those of the rest of the Western world, too, don't on average look any better than regular people?

Hmm, how do you say "Western movie stars" in the sense of "movie stars from the Western countries" without being understood as "movie stars that star in westerns"?

Anyway, they don't look special to me. Sometimes you see a beautiful one, but not even as often as in real life.

Asian movie stars, on the other hand, look spectacularly better than average Asian men. In some Chinese or Japanese movies there can be 5-6 attractive men at a time, which I've never seen in any European or American movie.

Well, there's not much to it - it just means that my taste in men is closer to Asian that to European or American taste, but the funny thing is how I tend to forget that average Asian men don't look like Asian movie stars, and then get disappointed when I see a lot of them and only a few percents are really good-looking.

Of all the countries I've seen Finland has the most good-looking men, but for some reason they never put any of them in the movies.

Death sucks

It's awful that people die. I could never understand any "accept death as a part of life" things that people often say when faced with the fact of mortality.

We should live forever. I don't believe in gods or in life after death, which is a good thing too, because if I ever met gods or some other inventors of death there'd be hell to pay.

If I die, I want to be buried with a good sharp weapon, just in case.

(The appropriate passage from Catch-22 should be put in here, but it's a bit too long, so here is a link. Yossarian rules.)

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

In answer to my own yesterday's question: the only country where men (some of them, anyway) can vote and women cannot is Kuwait.

I need a new globe

Just had a conversation with a few friends on whether Helsinki is the perfect place to live. Of course IMO it's the best place to live - otherwise I'd be living elsewhere - but unfortunately not perfect. There is no perfect place to live on this earth - I need a new one!

One can always dream, though:
I like Helsinki mostly because of the people, so the people stay put. If we enlarge the city we can bring some more people from elsewhere. Some of the architecture can stay, too, but mostly I'd replace it with the architecture from central Paris and central Amsterdam, preferably in different parts of town and not very mixed up. The houses would of course have good isolation and heating, like proper Finnish houses.

Several good museums can be imported from London, and a lot of bookstores from Paris. Yes, and I want that museum of natural history from Brussels, the one with iguanadons. St. Petersburg's Hermitage might come in handy, too, and St. Isaac's cathedral. Also the Reims cathedral.

Boston has a lot of state-of-art hospitals, we could have some of those too. Boston and New York have so many good restaurants that we can use them here, and also we can have some restaurants from the Belgian coast and Barcelona. Indonesian restaurants and Argentinian steak houses will have to come from Amsterdam. Never been to Tokyo, but I'd take some of their sushi restaurants, they might be good. The movie selection in theaters should be at least as good as in Paris, and maybe better.

HKL can stay, but will have to provide more transportation.

I'd take nice mild weather: +20-25 degrees in summer and +10 in winter. Can have a few proper mountains (say, Alps) somewhere nearby, within 100 km. Baltic sea could ne replaced with North sea and heated to 25 degrees. I'd make winters even darker and summers even lighter than they are now, although I'd be in a minority on that, and have aurora borealis every day when it's dark. St. Martin's Orient Beach would be a good replacement for Hietaranta.

Brugge can be taken in its entirety and moved to Kirkkonummi's place.

For the population's amusement solar and lunar eclipses shall be arranged every week. Also there would be an arena where spammers would be fed to lions every day, after first being forced to eat their own viagra and penis-enlarging devices.