Saturday, January 31, 2004

Yesterday's party

Been to a birthday party yesterday and saw a number of people that I rarely see nowadays, and even some that I'd never seen before. It was a good party, and I had fun even though I had a PMS from hell and didn't feel up to partying. Kirsi and Harri were there, and Ikis, along with other usual suspects, and Juha Tretjakov, and some German-English band. Satu made fairly nice punch, even though I don't usually like punches (not of the drinkable type, anyway).

Juha has a braid that hangs almost to his knees, and every time I see him at least several people are joking about cutting it. I've heard it so many time that I feel like strangling them every time I hear it; I don't know how Juha avoids strangling them- well, he is a calmer person than myself and probably accustommed to it. I see red because to me it's a representaion of a certain destruction drive in people that I seriously dislike (the destruction drive, not the people). People, every time you see somebody with an extra-long hair and want to joke about cutting it, remember that the person has already heard all the jokes on the subject 3786 times. And that's only during the last week.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Site meter: more fun than a barrel of monkeys

This blog has a proper counter, where I can see a lot of statistics about who reads it and when. No, don't worry, I don't really see who you are: hit show up as "", or "", etc. BTW, you who are reading this from, you probably used to know me IRL anyway, so you might just as well drop a line.

Anyway, apart from hit statistics and domains I can see time zones, operating systems (76% are using Windows, which is scary), and, most importantly, referring URLs. Usually they are Pinseri's blog list, other people's blogs, and my homepage. Sometimes, however, they come from a search engine. And look what people are searching for:


Although considering what kind of things I sometimes search for maybe I shouldn't make fun of them.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

In the news

Scientists in the university of Colorado created a new form of matter, sort of like Bose-Einstein concentrate but made of fermions. More on CNN.

In Jerusalem, a suicide attack on a bus. 10 killed, at least 50 injured. This week's terrorist attack has been brought to you by Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and the suicide bomber was Ali Yusuf Jaara, a 24-year-old Palestinian policeman from Bethlehem. Having terrorists on police force probably makes it a bit difficult for Palestinian Authority to fight against terrorism.

Colombian army killed 20 rightist terrorists. Oops, I mean members of paramilitary militia. A good start. What they really need is a battlefield. A real field, sort of like football field but a battlefield. With concrete walls. Put all leftist and rightist terrorists together and let them have a go at each other. If you run out of leftist terrorists you can import some more from Peru.


Thanks to Rhiafor reminding me that I am not really a real Westerner. This is not sarcasm - this is a fact that I sometimes forget and it does me good to be reminded of it from time to time (though not too often).

She writes about the low (and, apparently, falling) levels of happiness in the first-world countries. No shit. When people's life doesn't suck in any urgent and immediate way and they have lots of free time they have an opportunity to think and realize that life sucks in general. When people have to struggle not to be eaten by the enemy soldiers, or even not to be sent to a kolkhoz for the upcoming weekend, they get some sense of accomplishment and victory (except for the ones who actually got eaten by the enemy soldiers, who are unlikely to be answering a happiness level poll because they are busy being digested), and they have no time to think that ultimately they will lose. Western people, on the other hand, have a lot of time on their hands and a lot of opportunity to think that they will lose in the end anyway, that they will die and rot, that before that they will probably become old and weak, that if their medical tests came out clear today there will be a point when they won't come out clear, unless of course they get run over by a bus first, that we'll all die, and most of us will get old, that every life story is basically a tragedy, that people never get what they want, never get to keep whatever they have, are never really safe and secure, that everyone they love will die too, unless they already have, etc.

All of the above nonwithstanding, I really don't miss the times when instead of all of the above I had to think about how to temporarily get rid of a "labor and recreation camp"'s political counselor yelling at me for not weeding rows of turnips fast enough under pouring cold rain despite the fact that I couldn't really tell turnips from weeds and neither, I suspect, could the political counselor.

Whatever the happiness levels reasearch shows, people are very consistently trying to move from the happy third world to the unhappy first one.

BTW, why do they call third-world countries "developing countries"? Are they developing in any positive way?

Krav Maga

Ugh, lots of bruises. Should be more careful (both myself and other people).

Had various hand grip breaking techniques today. They teach people to break a one-handed grip in the direction of the gap between the tip on the thumb and the tips of the other four fingers. It works but can be a bit painful for the person who is trying to get free if the person who holds their wrist has long nails. I prefer breaking the grip in the direction of the base of the thumb, which hurts the other person and not you.

Thanks to Panu

Panu, in response to my earlier question, explains how mingreli, lazuti and svanuri can exist without a written language. Thanks, Panu, that clears it up a little. Thanks for insulting Hitler in response to my earlier request, too.

Happy Together (here be spoilers, maybe a little)

Just saw Happy Together by Wong Kar-Wai. First of all, it was typical Wong Kar-Wai, in the sense that you could know it without looking at the titles. The movie is a story of a Hong Kong couple in Argentina, who, the title nonwithstanding, are not particularly happy together even though they are passionate about each other. Yiu-Fai: working, faithful, more or less stable for the most time, very homesick, somewhat controlling and dominating. Po-Wing: does not work, occasionally steals stuff, screws anything that moves but jealous at the possibility that Yiu-Fai might do likewise, very impulsive (Yiu-Fai is not exactly a poster child for impulse control, either, but he is much better at it), always ready to make up and start over again. They break up and make up all the time.

I found it strange that the story of their relationship, although central to the movie and very well-acted, has not awakened any emotions in me, whereas I could relate extremely well to Yiu-Fai's homesickness. I know that I have just seen a movie that is a story of an unhappy relationship, but I feel like I have seen a movie about a guy who is stuck halfway across the world from home without the support of family and friends, and in a really bad relationship.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

What the fuck?

Bush has warned Taiwan against independence, Chirac has warned Taiwan against independence, and EU is trying to lift its embargo on selling weapons to China. What the fuck?

Good luck, Taiwan. You are gonna need it.


Pinseri's list's most entertaining blog is back. Welcome back, Ilkka.

I got myself finally listed on Pinseri's list, too. Not sure if it's really a good thing, but probably isn't harmful either.

A bit of everything

Lisp sucks. Really sucks.

The toilet door is working again, which demonstrates once more that sometimes when you ingore a problem for a sufficiently long time it will go away by itself.

Lisp, however, won't go away until I do something to the damn code.

Our Kerry won in the New Hampshire primary. With a little bit of luck he might become the Democrat candidate, and maybe the president. He is a bit too leftist for my taste, but considering who we have in office right now he'd be a welcome change. I generally like having a good mix of Republicans and Democrats in charge of the country, which means that they mostly fight among themselves and leave the nation in peace.

Hmm, if Kerry becomes the president, who is gonna be our senator when he is gone?


Managed to do several (7-9 in a row, several times) pushups yesterday, thanks to Janka's advice both in her blog and IRL. Now I wanna know how come Janka can explain in half an hour what an army of sports teachers have failed to explain in so many years.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004


My cousin Borya, who lives in Haifa, called me right after the New Year. That was the first time we were talking since 1988, I think, and it was nice to hear from him.

His first question was "when are you getting married?", which was a strange question under the circumstances, and strange timing, too. I answered that I have a boyfriend that I like very much, and no immediate plans of marriage.
We talked a bit about life, but not very successfully since my land line was not working and ever since switching to Radiolinja talking on the cell phone to anyone outside Finland has been difficult.

Yesterday we talked again, and this time I had a land line. His first question was "when are you having a baby?". (He does not know that I don't like them.) "Never," - I answered cheerfully. "Why?" - asked Borya, being clearly unsure of whether to offer condolences. "Don't like them." He read me a lecture about how I was so very wrong, which went one in one with the lecture I have once received from aunt Rimma, whom Borya probably doesn't even know. In the end he ordered me to tell Killeri to work on it. I told Borya that I absolutely agree that Killeri should work on it as often as possible, but a baby is still quite unlikely due the pills, the IUD, and the abortion that I'll have should the pills and the IUD simultaneously fail.

Baby lecture nonwithstanding it was nice to talk to him. Should do it more often.

Monday, January 26, 2004

What do Somalis smell of?

Most Somalis (most of the ones I've seen in Helsinki anyway) have a very strong and very distinctive smell, sort of like Indian incense sticks. I've always wondered what it is, but never actually came up to anyone and asked - I think I might have been understood wrong if I did.

So what is it? Some spice they cook with? Some perfumelike product? Or do they actually burn Indian incense sticks a lot?


What would happen if teleporting were invented and were cheap and affordable? Let's assume for the sake of the discussion that there were a teleporting device, easily affordable to any people living in a industrial country, and that it would be able to teleport people anywhere in the world, or at least anywhere that is not locked.

What would happen, apart from people locking their windows? Would it be possible to control any borders anywhere? If not, who would go and where? What would happen to terrorism and war against it? What would happen to tourism, to hotels? Would anyone pay for a hotel room in Paris if it were possible to teleport from Helsinki to Paris in the morning and go back home to bed at night? Would I? What would happen to plane, train and automobile industries? (Nothing good, I am sure.) What would happen to oil industry?


Hmm, how do I make the damn map redder?

My problem is that I have pretty much visited all the countries I wanted to visit in Europe, and some of the ones I didn't particularly want to visit. The only ones left are Ireland and Greece (also Andorra, Lichtenstein and San Marino). I have nothing against visiting countries outside of Europe, but it's a longer flight and requires a longer vacation.

What would be nice to see next? Mexico sounds good, also Costa Rica. Brazil, Chile and Argentina sound interesting. I'd love to see Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan. China sounds interesting in principle but I am suspicious of communist countries. Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia sound bad. India does not sound exciting either for some reason, and neither does Bangladesh. Turkey might be fun. Israel would be interesting if not for the terrorists (why don't they hire Fujimori now that he is out of job?). Most Arab countries wouldn't even let me in - not that I'd try. The rest of them are probably not safe either. Malaysia and Indonesia sound interesting - maybe someday. Not now. I can skip Africa. Australia sounds like a smaller USA with kangaroos and is very far away, but might be fun. Same for New Zealand, minus kangaroos.

I am surprised by the number of people wanting to go to New Zealand to see the mountains. If you take a 2.5-hour flight to Zurich and then a train to Interlaken you'll see perfectly good mountains there without spending lots of money and flying 20 hours each way. So, if any of you have been both in New Zealand and Swiss Alps, tell me: does New Zealand have significally better mountains? (Damn, I should've asked my Swiss New Zealander ex-roommate Xenia when I had the chance.) And yes, of course I understand that there are other things to see in New Zealand besides the mountains.

And then of course there are countries that I've seen already, and many of them merit another visit or several. I think I've been in West Flanders 4 times, and still haven't run out of the things to see, and that's just one province of Belgium.

They should invent teleporting.

Travel map

This is a map that shows what countries I've been to. It's surprisingly red, probably due to having been in some fairly big countries. I suddenly realized that it is not likely to become redder this year, and found it upsetting.

create your own visited country map
or write about it on the open travel guide

Holy shit!

The women's toilet's door just fell off.

It feels really weird when you try to open the door and notice that not only the handle side but also the hinge side is moving towards you. It did not completely fall off, the upper hinge is still connected but the lower one isn't. I thought for a second about trying to fix it but I am afraid I'll break the upper hinge too.

I think I'll file it under the heading of Not My Problem for the next few hours.

But who the fuck broke the damn thing?

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Into thin air

Just finished reading Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, in Finnish no less (an English copy was harder to find). Uh-uh. The old question "how many angels can fit on the head of the pin" immediately came into my mind in the form of "how many crazy fuckers can fit on top of Everest".

The book is about the spring 1996 season on Everest, and most of the people in it are not particularly sensible. I sort of understand the desire to climb a big mountain just because it's there, but these people's lack of any self-preservation instinct is unbelievable. OTOH, the people with well-developed self-preservation instinct probably don't go climbing Everest.

I started reading the book from the end and (or because?) I was afraid that Krakauer would end it with something like "even though a lot of people died or froze their asses off and everything sucked, it was really worth it", but in fact he didn't. Interesting that Krakauer, who actually reached the top of the mountain, got back and did not lose any body parts in the process, thinks that the price was too high, while people who lost their hands and noses apparently thought it was worth it. Makes me feel like playing an analyst, but I'll abstain.

I like mountains very much, in fact. The kind where a little cogwheel train brings you to the altitude of 3000 meters and then you walk around and take pictures. I even understand climbing something like Matterhorn (4478 m) as a hobby, even though it is not my cup of tea. But what the fuck posesses people to climb somewhere where they need extra oxygen to breathe and are constantly in danger of freezing all the protruding parts off?

I'd love to see Everest, BTW. From no higher than 4000 meters. Or alternatively from a plane.

Alps are nice from a plane, too. Booking plane tickets that fly through Switzerland is quite rewarding, especially if you get a window seat.

Saturday, January 24, 2004


While I am on the topic of irrational social rules and laws: why are incestuous marriages still forbidden? Is there any reason for this, except that the number of people who would be interested is very small, the number of people who think it's disgusting is very large, and no politician would be caught dead tackling the issue?

Yes, of course it increases the chance of genetic disease. But, first of all, not all people have children, and there is no point of refusing marriage for eugenic reasons to people who can't reproduce anyway, such as gays and hetero couples where the woman is post-menopausal. Second, if a brother and a sister decide to have a kid, they can do it without the benefit of marriage, and there is not a damn thing that anyone can do to stop them. Third, and most important: this society - any Western society - is currently extremely opposed to the idea of the state telling people not to have children - let alone not to marry - for some eugenic purpose. A couple where both partners are carriers of Tay-Sachs are not prohibited from having children, let alone marrying. Women who have HIV are allowed to have children even though the chance that the kid will be positive as well is very high. Even the people who conceive 7 fetuses at a time due to misuse of fertility drugs and then refuse to abort some of the fetuses are not forced to do so, and mostly not even ostracised much. So why is a child of siblings such a scary thing that we have to ban them from marrying just in case?

Friday, January 23, 2004


Recently I've taken part in a Usenet discussion where some of the participants were of the opinion that Israel's policy of allowing unlimited immigration of Jews is somehow more discriminatory than Germany's policy of allowing easier immigration for ethnic Germans, or Finland's policy of allowing people to immigrate because they are ethnic Finns, etc. Of course they are wrong, but that's not the point here. Here is the question:

A lot of Western countries have some kind of relaxed immigration rules for people that they consider ethnically "theirs". This comes in many forms: Finland admitting Russians whose passport and/or birth certificate says they are ethnic Finns, Ireland admitting anyone who had an Irish grandparent, and giving citizenship to anyone born in Northern Ireland,
Israel allowing unlimited immigration of all the Jews and their families, France and Spain having different immigration rules for people from French-speaking and Spanish-speaking countries, etc. It is considered absolutely normal and very few people ever question it.

Why, then, would everybody be so pissed off and screaming about racism if a country had a special immigration program for whites (or black, or asians, for that matter)? Not that any civilized country has tried it recently, but I am pretty sure there would be an outrage if anybody did. Hey, my own first emotional reaction would be "argh, fucking racists". What is it in giving preference to whites that pisses us off more than, say, giving preference to the Irish?

Another interesting detail here is that it is considered completely kosher to make immigration easier for people who are citizens of predominantly white countries, as long as they are not actually selected by race.

Movies: Twins and Elephant

Twins (De Tweeling) is a movie about twin sisters separated by relatives in Frankfurt in 1926. The girls are about 8-10 years old, Anna is healthy and Lotte has tuberculosis, and Anna gets taken by poor Catholic relatives in Germany and Lotte by rich Protestant relatives in the Netherlands. The movie goes back and forth in the sisters' lives. Good movie if you are in the mood for crying a lot. The message of it: it's not nice to live in interesting times.

Are we, incidentally, living in an intersting time now?

Elephant is a movie about a high school shooting. Minimalistic and very predictable, but quite watchable. It also goes back and forth in time, showing people's interactions several times from different characters' points of view. The acting is fairly good since the actors are regular high school kids who play regular high school kids, except for the two bad guys who are not very believable.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Natasha's haircut and nazis

In case anyone is wondering what was the haircut that VG yelled at Natasha for, it was nothing special. Pretty much like regular long hair with bangs, except that the bangs were much wider than usual, right to the temples. I have no idea why VG thought it was a nazi whore haircut, I don't think I've ever seen it on nazis or whores.

Another thing that always made all our teachers' naziwhoremeters click was safety pins in clothing. Which was inconvenient if one had to fix a torn skirt quickly without being yelled at for an hour for being a nazi whore. I remember a biology teacher Rimma Mihailovna spending a whole lesson yelling at a girl who had a few safety pins in her skirt, and the girl would not take them out because the skirt was falling apart otherwise (she'd had some accident earlier that morning that damaged the skirt).

If Rimma Mihailovna were a dog, she'd have been put down on a strong suspicion of rabies. But she was a human and therefore allowed to teach us biology.

The biggest school bully I've ever known.

I think she deserves to be mentioned, by name if I still remember it. Her name was Veronika Georgievna (in Russia you address teachers with first name and patronymic). Her last name was Romantsova, I think, but not 100% sure anymore. She was a teacher of Russian language and literature in school number 238 in Leningrad during the years 1983-1985 when I was there, and probably for a while before and after. She was also a patriot and a communist, at least in action - I am not sure she really was a party member.

Here is the most memorable scene from those times. The kid, Raphael, was the only black guy in class (very rare in Russia), the only one whose father was a foreigner (almost unheard of) and the only one whose family was openly trying to leave Russia (not as rare, but considered very bad by people like V.G., especially if people were very open about it, like Raphael was. She often said nasty things to and about him. One day, during a lesson:

VG: "And among you, children, is sitting a real live enemy."
VG points at R
VG: "Stand up, enemy!"
R stands up
VG:"Are you an enemy?"
R, grinning: "Yes."
VG:"See, children, this boy will move to America, and if they'll pay him enough dollars he'll press a button and throw a nuclear bomb on Russia. Will you press the button?"
R, grinning: "I will."
VG, howling on a brink of stroke: "You eat Soviet bread, you drink Soviet milk, and you hate Soviet Union!"
At this point Raphael gently reminded her that he'd gladly eat bread and drink milk somewhere else if the damn Soviet Union just lets him the hell out of there, and then the conversation went downhill from there. VG said everything she thought about Raphael, including describing the process of his conception and the alleged loose morals of his ancestors and predicting that he'll grow up to be a criminal (he eventually grew up to become a software engineer and a very nice person, and now lives in New York far away from crazy communists). Raphael seemed to take her with a grain of salt and a lot of humor, which pissed her off even more.

Not everyone she bullied had Raphael's good humor. She made somebody cry in her class at least once a week, and that's only our class. I remember her spending one perfectly good literature class telling a crying girl named Natasha that her (Natasha's, not VG's) new haircut meant that she is a nazi whore, and everyone else that Natasha will surely put out for them. She spent another lesson telling us how Olga's mom was a prostitute (which was AFAIK not true). She yelled at me for thinking bad thoughts more times than I can remember, and at many other people, too.

She died in 1991, right after the USSR fell apart. I think it was very symbolic. I heard it from Raphael, who was not gloating as much as I, even though she was much more evil to him. But then Raphael is a nicer person than me.

Bullying in school

Recently a lot of people have written about the bullying in schools and what not to do about it. (Basically, do not ignore it.) But what to do about it? More specifically, what can a parent do?

I've been bullied at school every once in a while, but not very often. That is, physically. Now that I am looking back at it, there was an attempt at emotional bullying too, but back then due to a slight lack of social skills I totally failed to notice it. Emotional bullying is kind of hard to define (for example, kids who nobody wants to hang out with are usually hurt by the rejection and consider it bullying, although I don't think it is).

I have found that for physical bullying violence is usually a solution, if the kid is capable of implementing it (putting up a good fight works even if you lose). The downside is that if the kid cannot do it the parents cannot do it on kid's behalf. Teachers could do more, since they are there, but they don't usually want to. Why?

I read Rhia's entry on this and also realized that the worst school bullies I've ever known were teachers. More details and names later.

It's also interesting that as an adult I know (both live and online) a lot of people who used to be bullied in school and no people who used to be the bullies. Were bullies that much fewer? Were they of a social class that I don't see much as an adult? Are they so ashamed that they don't admit anything? Have they genuinely forgotten everything? Have I? How often is it an issue of varying viewpoints or selective forgetfulness? Does Natasha who organized about 20 people to chase me for a couple of blocks (never ran that fast in my entire life - ugh) remember only the beating that she received afterwards when I found her one on one? Did she organize the chase in the first place because of some legitimate grievance against me that I have forgotten?

Krav Maga

Had a real problem getting up and getting my ass to Krav Maga today, on account of seeing nasty nightmares all night. Why do other people see nice dreams and I only see nightmares? Luckily this does not happen very often, but still.

Getting my ass there was worth it, it was a good session. I could almost do a push-up, too. We were taught to fall down backwards and take most of the impact on upper back and shoulders, but I and many others kept falling ass first. The teacher remarked philosophically "the heaviest part hits the ground first". But it does not hurt much to land on the ass: my ass has a lot of muscle, a good fat layer, and many years of experience of me falling on it.

The falling position that they teach is one that is very easy to get up from, but they teach to fight lying on the ground from there. Sort of makes sense, since a kick from the ground up packs so much power, but it's hard to keep your feet towards the attackers if there is more than one.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Germany: ich komme, ich komme!

Made some plans for a vacation in Germany later this spring. Southern Germany, mostly, or at least I am flying to Munich. I've been to Germany twice before, once for a business trip in Saarbrucken and Frankfurt, and once on vacation in Karlsruhe (not actually vacationing in Karlsruhe, just checking out the city on the way from Luxembourg to Brussels). I did not like Frankfurt much, and Saarbrucken and Karlsruhe even less, but I absolutely loved everything that I've seen from the windows of the train and the car in between the cities. I want to see more.

See, that's the problem with Germany. Our boys (here I mean both Russians and Americans) and girls (in case of Russians, anyway) have bombed all the big cities in Germany to the ground so well that they have no proper old buildings left at all, and all the interesting architecture is in small towns, therefore one needs a car, which is a pain in the ass. On the other hand the countryside, or at least what I've seen of it, is some of the loveliest I've ever seen (the only serious competition being the Dutch and Belgian coasts, for which I have a very soft spot, and Valais Alps, which are, well, Alps).

Frankfurt was restored after the war with boring modern buildings. I used to think all the bombed-out cities are like that, but then I read somewhere that Vienna had been bombed to the ground and then restored to its former glory, and Vienna is indeed very beautiful, so I have high hopes for Munich, too. At least I've seen nice pictures of it.

Would be nice to hear German again, too. I like the sound of it, especially as spoken by Austrians but I think Bavarians will do.

If anyone has any advice on what to see around Munich (say, within 200km) I'll be glad to hear it. Do not limit the advice to Germany, Austria is right there too and I like it very much. I like seeing all the kinds of cathedrals and castles and nice old streets and suchlike. Can see some nature, too, but not too much. Mountains are nice. I might visit an art museum if somebody drags me there, and this time someone surely will.

I don't expect this trip to be a very rewarding gastronomical experience, but I'll at least try some local sausages. As long as I don't have to eat sauerkraut. Advice on good local things to eat is welcome too.

Home for the day

I woke up, looked at the meteorogical center's webpage (works better than thermometer, usually), saw the number 19 (that's -19 Celsius) and decided that going to work would mean going outside, so working from home today. I generally prefer working from work, but working from home has its advantages: don't have to wear clothes, can have a coffee frappe, can put a longer working day in because don't have to spend time on commute, and the computer is better.

Frappe is the Massachusetts word for a drink that has milk, ice cream and possibly something else (in this case coffee) mixed in a mixer. The rest of the English-speaking word calls it a milkshake, but I can't bring myself to use the word. What we call milkshake in Massachusetts is a frappe without the ice cream, and it is nasty - don't order it if you happen to be there. I have run into drinks called frappe in Helsinki, but they have always turned out to be something unthinkable.

The magazine called Anna has sent me its advertisement. A friend has once told me that its Swedish version's name is "En Anna".

Tuesday, January 20, 2004


Jim Summers wrote in a.p.nationalism.white:

"Everytime a White Christian insults Adolf Hitler, somewhere on Earth a Dirty Jew has an orgasm. I didn't come into this world to make Race-Destroying Jews cum."

Damn. So many people insult Hitler and still I have never had a spontaneous orgasm without having to have sex or masturbate first. So please, dear white Christians reading this (and other people, too, just in case): insult Hitler as much as you can and maybe I'll get lucky one day.

Until then I just have to have sex all the time.

Krav Maga

Don't strangle people with your hands. It keeps your hands open and very vulnerable to the person who is being strangled. Use a rope or an electric cord instead.

This is not what they teach us in krav maga , this is just what came to my mind from learning several nasty tricks that one can do to a strangler.

Yeah, and kicking someone in the balls 140 times in a row really hurts the kicker, too. (We don't practice on real balls, obviously).

Grandma, part 4

Osya found a girlfriend, moved out, got married, graduated, got a baby, and three years later Lyuba, Osya and Osya's wife and kid moved together again. I don't remember the details, I was the damn baby. By my first coherent memories were of the time when we were living together with grandma.

Grandma was a formidable woman with short dark hair, a body that took two strong men to insert it into a corset, and a thunderous voice that was undoubtedly the world's second loudest (the world's loudest voice belonged and still belongs to her sister Frida. When the two sisters were together it wasn't safe to enter without hearing protection.).

She worked and partied a lot, and wasn't home as often as my parents or even my other grandma (who was at our place a lot), but when she happened to be home she always had a lot of time for me. We talked and cooked together, and baked cinnamon pies. She always thought I liked cinnamon pies and never figured out that I just liked to participate in the baking.

She was different. For one thing, she was the only strongly extroverted person in my environment. She was also the only "girly" woman who had a lot of makeup, exotic foreign nail polish, jewelry, and all of that in bright colors, too, and bright-colored clothes, and a lot of fluff decorating her room, and in that she was very different from demure and stern women from my mother's side of the family. She also had a penchant for drama. I guess all humans do, more or less, but she had more. She also liked books and music and painting and all the other forms of arts, and travel, and even managed to travel a bit in Warsaw Pact countries all the time lying shamelessly about having, or rather not having, relatives abroad.

She used to give me little exotic things that her sailors (the ones she was treating) brought her from abroad, such as colored pencils and chewing gum. She gave me a little transparent rubber ball with glitter inside that bounced like no ball I'd seen before. The ball got lost during some move, and I never found one like that again until Joy got one for 50 cents from some dispenser at a gas station last Vappu and gave it to me.

When I was 6 or 7 grandma married her boyfriend Mark and moved in with him. She did not have a veil. Mark seemed a friendly old fart like many others, but he was the only person I've known who'd actually been in Gulag for a reason, and was proud of it.

Back in 1945 USSR faced the problem of too many disabled people, which meant too few people working and too many receiving disability benefits. USSR tried to solve it in a truly communist way by denying most of them disability certificates, and therefore benefits. Doctors, Mark included, were given a quota of how many disability certificates they were allowed to write, and were not allowed to write more even if the patient had no head. Mark, on the other hand, was of the opinion that at least people who do menial labor are not very good at it if they have lost both hands. A number of handless people got over-the-quota disability certificates, and Mark got 25 years. He got lucky and served only 10, because Stalin finally died.

Mark died in 1980 (concentration camps are bad for your heart) and Lyuba was living alone again.

Monday, January 19, 2004

A poem for Monday (from My Fair Lady, with changes)

The Lord above gave man an arm of iron
So he might do his job and never shirk.
The Lord above gave man an arm of iron - but
With a little bit of luck,
With a little bit of luck,
Someone else'll do the fuckin' work!

Yeah, right.


Leena came over and we had some Indonesian food. It was nice, we should do it more often. Except for the rawit chilies. Cooking is relaxing and fun, unless it turns into chemical warfare. Which reminds me that I still have 37 rawit chilies.

Finished Jennifer Government. I find the author's vision of the future highly unlikely, but the book was a lot of fun in a dark-humory sort of way.

Hamas, the equal opportunity employer

Fearful of the competition from Islamic Jihad, Tanzim, Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade, PFLP and other terrorist organizations, Hamas has decided to give women an opportunity as suicide bombers. Previously Hamas suicide bombers were all men, and when women tried to apply for a suicide bomber position Hamas referred them to Islamic Jihad or Tanzim.

From a Haaretz article :

"Hamas has now revised this position, and some of the organization's leaders condone the use of women in terror strikes, particularly in situations where a woman can carry out the assignment more easily (since she is likely to cause less suspicion at crossing points), and when the woman has transgressed moral norms. In such cases, a woman's "sacrifice" atones for the "stain" she has caused to her family for violating moral codes.

Reem Raiyshi, the woman who blew herself up last week at the Erez crossing, was the married mother of two. Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday that Raiyshi was compelled to perpetrate the terror strike to atone for having betrayed her husband. Relying on IDF sources, this report claimed that Raiyshi's husband, a Hamas operative, knew about his wife's plan in advance, and even encouraged her to carry it out. "

Israel: the mind boggles

Yigal Amir, the murderer of Yitzhak Rabin, wants to get married while serving his prison term. Everybody is pissed off. WTF? If Israel allows all other prisoners to get married and have conjugal visits, why should the murderer of the prime minister be an exception?

The really funny part is the bride. From a Haaretz article:

"Amir's bride-to-be, Larisa Trimbobler, is an ultra-Orthodox new immigrant from the former Soviet Union, a doctor of philosophy and the mother of four children.

Several days ago, Amir and Trimbobler informed their families they wanted to wed.

The two began exchanging letters and speaking on the phone one year ago, based on Trimbobler's ideological support for the convicted murderer. Trimbobler was married when she first met Amir, and subsequently divorced so she would be able to marry him."

The mind boggles.

Panic, money, and war archive

Panic, panic! Somebody is reading this log from Germany and it might be my relatives! :)

I wish I were rich now. Really rich, with many billions of euros and/or dollars. I want to buy a very expensive toy and I have a feeling NASA might sell it to me if I have enough money, but I don't, so they won't. A very big telescope in the sky.

Been to the war archive this morning to get a paper for aunt Sonya that'd prove she was a prisoner of war in Finland during WW2. Aunt Sonya always had very nice and somewhat wistful memories of the time. Well, it's nice that at least one person actually liked being a prisoner of war.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Live people for a change

I really should stop posting drunk.

Uncle Yefim (my maternal grandfather's brother) went to visit his parents in Senno in June 1941. His sister Genya was there already with her little boys Osya and Misha. When the war started he promptly sold most of his parents' property for a horse, loaded the whole family onto the horse, and together they rode off into sunset, oops, I mean into the sunrise until they were far inland and the Germans were far away. They all survived the war.

In the unlikely event that any Germans are reading this, please appreciate the irony: little Misha who rode so fast and far to escape your ancestors has now become one of you.

The world is strange.

Dead people, or rather killed people

Don't know why I am writing this, there is a lot of dead people in the world and mine aren't special in any way. Lots of people were killed during the last century in the Holocaust, Dresden, Leningrad siege, Hiroshima, Chinese Cultural Revoltuion, Stalin's genocide and Pol Pot's genocide, Congo's civil war, Rwanda and god knows where else, and many more will be killed in this century. Many of you reading this probably had relatives who died in the Winter War or Continuation War.

I feel like listing my father's relatives who died an unnatural death. I'll list my mother's relatives too someday, but I'll need more time and disk space for that.

So here:

My grandpa Mulya had a brother Iosif who died in the war. His wife Amalia and daughter Lena were killed by Germans.

Ester-Dvoira Gurevich, my grandma's mother, had a brother Grigory who starved to death during the siege of Leningrad in 1941.

Faivish Gurevich, my grandma's father, had 11 siblings. I don't know what happened to all of them, but here is the death toll for their family:

Brother Azriil had a son, whose name I don't know and who died in the war in 1941.

Brother Shneur was a communist, changed his name to Sergey Gorsky and publicly denounced his father. He died a death that was natural to such people: communists arrested him in 1939 and killed him in prison.

Brother Zalman was a pediatrician in Daugavpils. He hanged himself in a concentration camp several hours before the camp was liberated. Too much hurry is not good for you.

Brother Lev was an engineer in Kiev and was killed by Germans.

There was a sister whose daughter Maria and grandson died in a concentration camp.

Ethnic relations

After an IRC conversation about ethnic relations in Israel I started thinking... it's been 60 years, and I still wouldn't trust my grandma Riva around Germans with a semi-automatic weapon.

Distance helps. I remember my grandma's stories about how a couple of Polish officers were torturing her brother in front of her. These people could, in theory, be Yoe's or Joy's great-grandfathers, although they probably weren't. It does not matter, and does not affect the way I relate to Joy or Yoe. Even if we actually found out that their great-grandfathers were indeed the officers that tortured my grand-uncle, we'd just marvel at the coincidence (at least I would, can't speak for Joy or Yoe) and have a drink. But I think it would have been different if we were both still living where our ancestors were living at the time. We would have inherited the enmity, at least in all probability. I would, anyway. I don't know why it works this way.

I thought about this before, when Oska (my father) and I were stopped for a chat by some magazine-selling Palestinians on Kärtnerstrasse in Vienna. They were completely normal people, and did not want to live in Palestine any more than we wanted to live in Israel, and it was strange to think that maybe some cousin of theirs will kill some cousin of mine tomorrow, or maybe even the other way around, and here we are peacefully chatting about life in Austria.

Grandma, part 3

After the war Lyuba and Mulya returned to Leningrad, along with little Rimma and the rest of the family, except of course the ones who were killed in action, in Holocaust or in Gulag. But more about those later. Mulya went back to his work as an engineer, and Lyuba started working in a sailor clinic. She worked there for the next 50 years or so, eventually becoming the chief of internal medicine there, and that was about it for her career. There was a lot more to her job than career, though: she liked working with people, she liked her coworkers and her patients well, and they liked her too. A lot of her social life was there. And there were material rewards, too: sailors whose ships visited foreign ports were fairly rich in Russia, and tended to bring exotic stuff from abroad. One more little detail of her career: the powers that be once wanted to give a medal to some "work hero" and asked the clinic to recommend one. The clinic recommended my grandma, to which the powers that be responded "for goodness' sake, not one with a name like *that*!". And so my grandma was left without a medal

After the life got back to fairly normal, at least as much as it could be in Stalin's Soviet Union, Lyuba and Mulya had a little boy whom they named Iosif (Osya). Soon thereafter Stalin decided that it was a good idea to send all Jews to Siberia, which was not particularly unusual since he had a lot of experience sending various ethnic minorities in their entirety over there. This time he wasn't very fast, first starting a media campaign against "cosmopolites" and then against Jewish doctors. Lyuba did not much appreciate patients who were asking her not to poison them, and feared things would get worse. They would've, too, but then Stalin decided to start the killing with his own doctors, and therefore promptly kicked the bucket without medical help but with a little help from uncle Darwin.

With Stalin dead everything got better all over the country, which is no surprise. The life went on. Rimma grew up, became a chemical engineer, got married and moved out. Lyuba, Mulya and Osya stayed. Other family members occasionally living with them were Osya's elderly nanny and a cat that terrorized Luyba by trying to bestow dead mice on her. Every time the cat brought her beloved mistress a dead mouse, Lyuba perfomed a very athletic hop onto the table and stood there screaming until one of the men confiscated the dead mouse and flushed it down the toilet.

In 1967 Mulya died. I never got to meet him. Neither did my mother, I think.


If any recipe, ever, tells you to put 6 rawit chilis into anything, don't do it. Don't put even 3 rawit chilies anywhere. I just made rendang paste with 3 rawits (the recipe asked for 6) and it burns like hell, and I haven't even touched the paste yet.

I think there is a world market for mabye five rawit chilies at a time. Seriouly. I can't figure out why Vi Voan sells them in packs of about forty.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Grandma, part 2

Grandpa Mulya's position in the army during the war was pretty good: he was somewhere near Ufa (I think the name of the town was Birsk but I might be wrong), close to Ural mountains and very far from any front lines, teaching soldiers how to use radio equipment. Grandma was there too. During the war all the doctors of both sexes were drafted to the front lines, leaving behind only the old, the disabled and the mothers of small children, and therefore Lyuba, 23 years old and 2 years out of medical school, got to be the chief doctor of a small local hospital and the only doctor of the local Spanish orphanage at the same time. (Russians took the orphans of some Spanish Civil War participants for some reason.)

Grandma's parents were living in Ufa at the time, about 50 kilometers away. Apart from their work and army duties, my grandparents and my greatgrandparents had to watch over a mob of kids (not sure who was watching whom): Mulya and Lyuba's baby daugher Rimma, Mulya's little brother Peysakh, Fayvish's nephew Vova and Ester-Dvoira's nephew Matus. The babysitting was apparently not going very well, because one fine day Vova and Peysakh got tired of school, locked the school after classes with teachers inside, poured some fuel all around it and set it on fire. Luckily they did not have a lot of fuel and the teachers all made it out of the windows without any injuries, but the school was burnt to the ground. Poor Mulya had to run around different offices quite a lot whining about the poor children whose parents are at the front lines, so that the poor children were not thrown in jail but merely expelled from school, which was not much of a punishment considering that the school was gone anyway, and, I suspect, would not have been much of a punishment for Vova and Peysakh had the school been still standing, either.

At some point Fayvish could not stand the crazy relatives anymore and figured he'd be safer in the army, and signed up. He was right too, because they made him a colonel and made him the chief inspector of military hospitals of the 3d Ukranian Front, which was far enough from both Germans and relatives.

One hungry and cold winter Lyuba and Mulya managed to steal a truckload of frozen peas from somewhere and decided to take half of it to Ester-Dvoira in Ufa. Halfway there their truck broke down. The temperature was minus forty Celsius, the night was coming, the cell phones were not invented yet. They managed to walk to a forester's cabin that they had passed a little while ago and knocked on the door. The forester and his family did not want to let them in, fearing that they were criminals. My grandparents said they were not criminals, they just wanted some shelter, and they were ready to pay for it in frozen peas. The forester still did not believe them. Lyuba and Mulya started shooting through the door, all the time claiming to be decent folk, but the forester still did not believe them. After a while they managed to shoot their way in and then stopped shooting, forester figured they were not trying to rob him, everyone went to sleep and in the morning they fixed the truck, the forester got his peas and the rest of the peas were delivered to Ester-Dvoira without further mishaps.

The other grandma

Having finally got my land line phone back, I called my grandma yesterday. Not the one I was writing about, the other one. She gave me the usual lecture on my wrongful life and then suddenly also a lecture on how I should have a baby. I have no idea why. She knows I don't like babies, and, more importantly, she doesn't like them either, so what the hell?
She even offered to help me raise it, which was expressed as "have this baby and then we'll take it away from you and raise it here".

Poor woman. My mom really did not turn out the way my grandma wanted, and grandma probably thought that it was because of the lack of effort on her part, while in fact it was simply because of some rather severe inborn differences in temperament and personality. Then she gave it a second try with me (she was retired already and had time and energy to devote to me) and I turned out even worse. Is she hoping for the third chance? I am raising my hat to this shining paragon of optimism.

To think about it, what kind of sprog did she really want and does such a person even exist?


Why do all the real people have proper no-stick frying pans, and all my no-stick frying pans become stick frying pans so fast? Why? Why?

I need a new frying pan. Recommendations are welcome.

And no, I don't use metal utensils or perform any other unnatural acts on them. Although I am starting to suspect that frying eggs counts as an unnatural act.

Grandma, part 1

I am writing about my grandma, for no better reason than that we got drunk with Anu and Anu told me to. Was gonna write about her at some point anyway, in loving memory, of course, but also rather irreverently.

OK, folks, meet Lyubov Izrailit nee Gurevich, born in Vitebsk on March 23, 1918, and dead in Boston on July 20, 2001. Daughter of doctor Fayvish Gurevich and dentist Ester-Dvoira "Vera" Gurevich. (Guess who I was named after?) And no, Fayvish and Ester-Dvoira were not siblings, first cousins or second cousins. Gurevich is just a common name over there, or rather was. Fayvish was known in his time for being a doctor, a rabbi's son, a head of a department in Vitebsk university and a voluntary participant in both world wars (quite unusual in a family where all other men have
always promptly become temporarily gay upon hearing of the army). Ester-Dvoira was a dentist and at some point a KGB officer. Well, at least somebody tortured KGB with a drill. But more of them later.

In 1918, when Fayvish was 30 and Ester-Dvoira 25, they gave birth to the little Lyuba. Not having learned from experience, 6 years thereafter they gave birth to the little Frida, too. After that they apparently figured it out.

Grandma lived a reasonably happy childhood, eventually went to high school, spending free time with a girl named Mira Ratner who lives nowadays in Pennsylvania, and a guy named Samuil "Mulya" Izrailit, who eventually became her boyfriend. After the high school they both moved to Leningrad, Lyuba to study medicine and Mulya engineering. One day in 1939 they both sneaked out of their respective classes and went to the population register office where some office workers figured what they were up to without asking and showed them which office registers marriages.

Sometime during the same year grandma got pregnant and arranged for an abortion. Abortions were made illegal by Stalin a while before, but it was no trouble for a medical student to arrange for one. At the last moment grandma changed her mind due to fears of a possible future infertility, and thus I got an aunt. In later years when grandma was arguing with her offspring, including me, her ultimate argument was "I could have had an abortion and then you wouldn't even be here arguing", although it was obviously too late for that. Her penultimate argument was, incidentally, "I am a doctor and I know better". I don't know whether she also used that on people who were doctors themselves.

She got a bad grade in some class on account of giving birth during the final exam, even though she did not actually give birth in class. The next year she and grandpa graduated. And then the war started.

Friday, January 16, 2004

On selfishness

There was a conversation in IRC today about wanting and not wanting children and selfishness thereof. Why is that so many people equate selfishness with badness and apparently believe that people should not be selfish, or even that people could be somehow un-selfish?

Selfishness is not bad or good, it's human nature. Everything we do is selfish and will always be. We do things for ourselves. When we do thing for others those others tend to be an extention on ourselves in some way: either the people we know and care about, or the people we care about because we can identify with them somehow, or the people we care about in some other way. Every time we do something for somebody else it is because it makes us feel happier. Everything we ever do is, ultimately, for ourselves.

Corollary 1: Declaring selfishness to be a bad thing is a good way to declare everybody to be a bad person.

Corollary 2: Making people really believe that selfishness is a bad thing is a good way of making them always feel guilty.

All bad things are done out of some selfish motive, but that's not why they are bad. All the good things are also done out of some selfish motive, but that's not why they are good, either.


Shit, I forgot the old Russian New Year. Oh well.

Lasu did write about our ordeal yesterday, and did it a lot better than me. The three year old nude calendars that he mentions are not calendars depicting three-year-old nudes, but three-year-old calendar depicting young adult women who are seem to be nude, but if you put your glasses on you can see they are wearing g-strings. (While typing this I accidentally typed c-strings. A freudian slip?)

Janka does not know what aluellistaminen (thank god there is not appropriate English term) is for. Well, neither do I.

I think I managed to produce a mini-Lipson-craze among my friends. (Mini-craze, of course, not mini-Lipson). Lipson was a professor of Russian in the USA and in the early eighties he published several Russian textbooks with a very linguistic approach to learning the language and highly surrealistic texts. I have the first one, and I think I gotta get the other two.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Hostile working environment

Imagine a huge warehouse building in the middle of nowhere. Imagine a server for embedded applications that is connected in a wrong way. Imagine that after an hour of fucking with the damn thing they finally find out that it is connected right after all. Imagine it is cold, and the toilet is half a mile away across the building. Imagine that three people are smoking all the time inside the room, and moving in a way that makes it difficult to avoid them. Imagine that a fuse blows. Imagine that you are trying to debug an application while one of the aforementioned three people is cutting metal with a fiery thingie that emits a most horrible screeching equal to at least 30 insane toddlers.

The only upside was that I wasn't the one debugging. Poor Lasu, he'll probably write about it too.

Down With Love

Yesterday I went to see a movie with friends, and something has posessed us to choose the one called Down With Love. It was bad. Really bad, even though funny at times. Dialogue was horrible, the attempts to lower the quality of cinematography to 1960s levels went far beyond 1960s levels, the costumes, make-up and hair did not look authentic 1962 (the year the film is set in) at all, and McGregor's attempt at Southern accent was too painful to listen to. Ugh. In spite of the fact that I generally like both McGregor and Zellweger, the movie was not really worth seeing.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Krav Maga

Another day, another lesson. I still can't do pushups. Most of the techniques were the same as the last time, but we got a bit of practice kicking balls (nor real ones of course) and blocking knives (works pretty much the same way as blocking fists).

My sparring partner was sometimes sparring harder than necessary, but it was not a problem for me. He seems to be doing or have done some other martial art as well, I wonder which.

It's scary to practice ball-kicking with men, never know when you hit too hard. I try to err on the safer side.

Sini came over yesterday, and we made a lot of hot chocolate and talked about things: politics, bad service by banks and phone service providers, Russian, terrorism and Mkhedruli (the Georgian alphabet). Sini's Russian pronunciation is fairly good, but she makes some of the normal mistakes of Finns and other Europeans speaking
Russian: [l]s are a bit off, the palatalized [l'] is good but the non-palatalized [l] is a bit palatalized too, and other palatalizations are a bit too strong. Russian palatalization should not produce a [j]-sound between a consonant and a vowel. And most unstressed vowels should get reduced. Really reduced. [u] remains the same, pre-stress [o] is reduced to [a], other back vowels, including [o] on the other position are reduced to a schwa and front vowels to an [i].

We found it hard to find out whether Georgian minority languages (Mingreli, Lazuri, Svanuri) are also written in Mkhedruli alphabet. Ethnologue lists them as "no written language" but I have always been unsure of how the "no written language" thing works in a more or less modern society. In any case I am not going there to find out, that's for sure.

Sini did not like the story of what Fujimori did to Tupac Amaru. Not that I expected her to, of course. I sort of understand (on the intellectual level, anyway) her distaste for killing surrendering people, much as it was useful under the circumstances, but I was surprised at her saying that this only perpetuates the cycle of violence, in the face of rather overwhelming evidence to the contrary. (Tupac Amaru has learned from killing of 14 of its leaders in 1997 and has not committed any significant acts of terrorism ever since.)

Anyway, I am not saying all this in order to continue the argument with Sini (we'll do it in person over more hot chocolate) but because I have a feeling that this belief is rather common.

Monday, January 12, 2004

The weekend was nice: an evening with Heli on Friday, diskurssi (a bi-monthly event in which a group of friends gets together, brings and eats too much food and listens to the lecture by one of them) on Saturday and a Buffyverse game on Sunday.

Saw Battle Royale, it was good, now I want a copy of my own. Gonna buy the extended edition in Filmifriikki and
then find out that all the extras are in Japanese with Chinese subtitles.

Oh well, maybe that's just another incentive to learn Chinese faster. Maybe Japanese too.

Saturday, January 10, 2004


How many times do I have to remind myself that lactose is a really bad idea?

Lactose is usually not an issue in my life, simply because I don't usually eat enough milk products for it to be an issue. A bit of fresh cheese on top of bread; a bit of sour cream in a salad; frosting on a cake; a portion of ice cream. And then I eat something made by somebody else of milk and milk products and ouch!

Friday, January 09, 2004

Sex and talking about it

Meira is asking how come talking about sex (as opposed to joking about sex) is such a taboo among our friends that they find it impossible even to mention having had sex with their own SO.

Is that really the case? I know that one thing that inhibits people (or at least me) from talking about sex seriously is that they assume that their partner(s) wouldn't like them to talk about it, and can't bother to ask permission, at least not if the conversation involves some intimate details.

I think that the reason why people don't talk much about sex even without revealing private things about the other person is that sex with one's partner is usually not an event that is interesting enough to mention. I do sometimes casually refer to sex with Killeri in the context of "are you coming with us to see that movie - no, we'll just stay in and have sex", but I don't usualy talk about our sex life because there is no new information in it: everyone who knows us knows we are having sex, and we are not doing it in any unusual way that would be worthy of reporting.

Now, if I went to an orgy with 15 people, or if Killeri and I had sex under the table during the meeting of the board of IKI ry, that would be newsworthy. Or if something else unusual happened. I still whine sometimes about that one time when I tried to have sex in a forest with my then-boyfriend and got bitten in the clitoris by a mosquito.

The previous post has a really weird timestamp. Does this thing timestamp posts when the posting window is first open and not when the post is posted?

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Had a really nice evening with Kristiina yesterday, and am not even hung over. We talked about this and that and were going to watch Happy Together, but by the time we got around to it it was a bit too late and we just talked. From what Kristiina says about RotK I was lucky not to have reread the book just before watching the movie.

Should I get a better blog program? The one Janka uses looks nice, but I don't think I have a server to put it on. I want some possibility of comments, too, but I don't know how to do it here. RTFM, of course, but where is the fine manual?

Feel free to link here if anyone wants to, BTW. I am mentioning it because I have told a number of people specifically not to link to the other log. This one is fair game.

Israel and taking things personally

Just today a friend of mine (not in the sense of being a close friend but in a sense of being a person from the same social circle whom I occasionally see and generally like) said a really nasty thing about Israel that I don't care to repeat here, at least not without his permission, which I don't currently feel like asking. But never mind the content and the person...

I found it difficult not to take it personally. It does not bother me in general that people hold an opinion of Israel that is different from mine (perfectly nice people can still be wrong, after all :) ). But anyway: even if one chooses to consider Israel a bad guy, or even the only bad guy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (that is, if one chooses to consider everything that happens in the area Israel's fault, which it isn't), as bad guys go Israel is fairly tame. Which always makes me wonder about the motives of the people who say extremely venomous things about it. Especially ones who say them even out of the context of a political discussion. I don't consider opposition to Israel's policies to be anti-semitism, but in my experience most of the people who express such opposition unusually strongly tend to be anti-semites and at some point move from talking about Israel to talking about Jews in general.

This particular person, however, is generally nice and sensible and in every way deserving of the benefit of doubt.

OK, now I got a blog. A really real blog.

Why the hell? Now I have a public blog (this one), a private one (which you are not gonna see) and a semi-public one which is on the web, is AFAIK not linked to anything and is not really supposed to be read by people who don't know me in person. And I am usually too lazy to update even one log, let alone three. Oh well.

First Krav Maga lesson, and in the morning, too. Was fun. Was not as physically demanding as karate though. The teachers are fun. "Seisoo kuin mulkku häissä" is an expression that I want to remember. I think I'll continue in the morning group even though doing sports in the morning is probably an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.

Let's try to post this and see what happens.