Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Awakening, apparently

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

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

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

Monday, November 29, 2004


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The day's objectives:

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

  • defrost the fridge - accomplished

  • do the laundry - accomplished

The evening's objectives:

  • get an orgasm in good company - accomplished

  • forget about the damn work - not accomplished

The night's objectives:

  • do some more work

  • not forget to hang the damn laundry out to dry

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 26, 2004

Some advice to white supremacists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Writing again

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

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


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

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

Russian movies, little kittens and fearsome gays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


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

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

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

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

Monday, November 22, 2004

The strike and the snow

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

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

Musime si pomahat (Divided We Fall) - major spoilers

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 21, 2004

More foreigners (advice to government, sort of)

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

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

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

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

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

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

The weekend

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

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

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

Hate mail, or lack thereof

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

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

My favorite quote from one of those emails:

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

Thursday, November 18, 2004

A sleepless night

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

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

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

Silent fan and J2ee patterns

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

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

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Inquiring minds want to know...

...where the hell is Markku?

In the news

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 15, 2004

My first attempt at fiction

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

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

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

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

Beauty ideals

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

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

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

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

The weekend

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Van Gogh and repercussions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Good riddance

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I am not sorry

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

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

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

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

The weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Hurrah! Hurrah! No more Ashcroft!

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

Monday, November 08, 2004

A braindead geek

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 04, 2004

A prayer

Dear Lord,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Presidential erection

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

US election: early voting

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

Monday, November 01, 2004

Computer trouble

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

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

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

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

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

The weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feeling better

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

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