joulukuuta 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

It’s the last day of the year and I’m back home. It’s only 21.30 and the fireworks have been going off for hours already. I have no parties planned for today, but I don’t mind. New Year’s has never been a very big event in my social calendar and I’m feeling quite content sitting home and sipping tea.

One should give a moment to retrospective musings now, shouldn’t one? Weigh the pros and cons of the year 2005 and pronounce judgment accordingly. Well, it’s been an interesting year certainly in some aspects and a very ordinary one in others. I’ve discovered that I’m definitely not a lawyer, gotten to know myself better and matured a little, made new friends, fulfilled some dreams and created new ones, rediscovered my love of books and noticed that on paper I can occasionally be funny – which can be somewhat stressful, since people may actually get the false impression that I could (expectation that I should?) do the same thing live too.

- Prithee, may that never happen!! You could never pull that off.
- Oh hey, you’re back from Costa Rica, I see.
- And far too soon, I notice! I can see where your line of reasoning is going this time. “I can’t be as funny in real life as I’m on paper – which, by the by, dear girl, is not more than a three-year-old in a sugar high could manage any day – so I’ll just settle for slouching apathetically and not saying a word.”
- What?!! I didn’t say anything of the kind.
- You were going to.
- No, I wasn’t!
- Still, you’ve been slouching.
- Whether I have or haven’t, has nothing to do with this matter. Jeez, you sound like that journalist.
- Which journalist?
- The one from channel one, who is interrogating the presidential candidates and pretending - I can only assume - that he is a judge in an Idols-contest.
- My, my, are you trying to insult me? You need to practice. Make that a New Year’s resolution, girl.
- Maybe I will.
- And no more slouching. I’ll come and kick your ass everytime you try. See, I interrupt my fine vacation just to look after you. You really ought to fall on your knees and kiss my ass.
- Screw you!
- ...and your inner child.
- What?!
- Why don’t you just meditate on that. Christ, we are going to have our hands full next year, aren’t we? I guess I have to cancel the rest of my vacation too, if we are going to make a half-way decent person out of you.
- Why don’t you just worry about yourself first?
- Children these days, no gratitude. I though I had told you before? I’m perfect, I don’t need to change.
- Bugger off.

But seriously, I do have a big list of New Year’s resolutions for next year, since I have great hopes for 2006. Not that 2005 was a bad year either, but next year will be even better. It will be a busy year though, since I intend to finally get my dissertation nearly finished. To this end resolutions
no 1) I will read a minimum of 50 pages of work-related literature every single day – and I mean every single day – during next year; and
no 2) I will write a minimum of twenty pages of my dissertation every month.

I also wish to a) start a healthier life, b) learn to be a little less nice, c) find my own style, d) get more cultural, e) develop opinions and f) hold on to the reserve to kick myself every time I wish to spend an evening/day doing nothing but playing sudoku or doing puzzles. These don’t get classified as resolutions, since from old experience I dare to doubt my capability to stick to them.

- Amen to that.

joulukuuta 27, 2005


I just finished a book by Anna-Leena Härkönen. About her sister’s suicide. And two days ago another book by Jorge Semprun about his days in Buchenwald. Yeah, I know, not necessarily the most light-hearted Christmas reading, but who wants light-hearted anyway.

They may write about death and depression, but there is something terribly encouraging especially in Semprun’s books. You can sense in him an immense desire and love for life. He speaks of curiosity: curiosity for life, interest in what tomorrow has to offer. Losing that capability means losing your soul, turns you into a living dead who has already in essence left this world. Härkönen expressed something very similar when she was wondering why her sister had decided to kill herself. She lost this capability of being curious about the world.

Semprun’s book makes me ask myself, if we, the children of the privileged welfare-societies, have a responsibility towards those who have suffered and still are suffering, to enjoy our life? Be amazed at its gifts, curious of its offerings? Härkönen makes me question, if it is possible to just decide to do it? We do not suffer the horrors of concentration camps or famines and war, but more invisible pains and wounds have broken spirits and scarred souls. If too much desire for life has leaped out of those wounds, is it possible to replenish the soul by simply wishing it? Are we who we think we are: do we feel what we think, what we desire?

Feelings are fickle, aren’t they? Semprun makes me hopeful and eager, Härkönen anxious enough to drive me to both writing and to the services of my personal musical therapist. Is that the lesson of today: no matter how much life occasionally sucks, writing and Rammstein alone are enough to make life feel good? Well, it may not seem like much, but I actually think that is a lesson worth learning and remembering.

joulukuuta 22, 2005

Chrissy preparations

Sorry, I've been gone again. That is what x'mas parties do to you. Two this week and when I have finally gotten home - well, not that late I grant you, but for an old feeble woman like me 1.00 is already beyond bedtime - I haven't quite found the strength to write anymore.

Now school is out, work is done and it's time to be merry for the rest of this year 2005. I have left the capital city of our fair country behind and journeyed to the snowy Eastern borders. The dog is running around the house - or rather was, since everyone has pretty much gone to bed already - the cats are hiding and peace and quiet still reigns in the household. Tomorrow is the time for excessive cleaning, cooking, baking, fetching the Christmas tree - all those things which make the couple of days before Chrismas pretty much the best time of the entire holidays.

Once again, despite my very best intentions, I haven't gotten the Christmas cards out. I was going to send them - I was - but they are just as unsent as the years before. We'll see if I'll fare better with the e-cards. I also did not have the time to

- clean the house
- forward the bill for all the teaching I've done this year
- return the book on Historical theory to the library
- decide whether to get the cat a christmas present (the dog is getting at least seven, so I should get her something, shouldn't I??!!)
- write the letters which have started to pile up again (now I have four to write; no, bloody five! I fear my laziness is getting on the way of maintaining friendships. Ah no, I should really write to H too. That's six. Oh dear.)
- and a number of other things that I can't even bother to think about

Okay, but now I will disappear. If I should not find my way back before Saturday, have yourself A VERY MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Sing, dance, be happy and don't choke on the codfish!

joulukuuta 18, 2005


Puh, this weekend has gone past really fast. I didn't do any work on last Thursday so I took some back yesterday and today. 100 entries yesterday - in a record-time, I wonder if that had anything to do with it being Saturday - and today I read the students' papers for the PBL-course.

Yesterday also to the movies with J. Joyeux Noël or Merry Christmas - that story about the cease fire during the war christmas of 1914 and really one of the best films I've seen this year. I'll recommend it to everyone. Here's a link to some information on the Christmas Truce with additional links to more info if that isn't enough for you.

After the movie we went to the traditional christmas concert. The boys can sing although christmas carols don't really get you into the flow and make you forget time. That's the sign of a great concert - when you forget everything else and don't for a moment think what you'll be doing tomorrow.

Today I've been writing all kinds of stuff and I think it is time to put a stop to that now. I need some food.

joulukuuta 14, 2005

The cat

We were in Stockholm last Saturday and there, in one store, they sold DVDs for cats – birds flying around for two hours straight. I didn’t buy it since it cost more than 20 euros, but now I am thinking maybe I should have. The cat is watching the nature document again, making weird noises and for the first time actually trying to touch the TV. It’s not the birds though that are getting her the most excited; it’s Orangutans (or possibly Gorillas, my expertise in these matters is somewhat limited). Jep, DVDs for cats belongs to the category of utter insanities of the decadent western world, but nevertheless I think that if I ever run into them again I’ll get one for the cat. She can have dreams of living in the wild.

The cat is a talkative one. She talks to me especially in the mornings. Luckily she doesn’t get up too early, but when she thinks that it is time to wake up, she lets me know. She also comes to say hi to me every time I come home from work – who said that only dogs do that.

She only likes certain types of food and refuses to eat if I offer her something that isn’t to her taste. She’s afraid of the vacuum cleaner, loud noises and fast movements. I took the cat from the Animal Shelter so she probably had an unhappy childhood and therefore likes to hide if something scares her. Perhaps that is also why the cat doesn’t like to be picked up. She likes to sleep next to me, or on top of me, but she won’t relax if you pick her up.

And that’s the cat for you. In July. She has grown fatter and fluffier now and is starting to look like a real cat.

joulukuuta 13, 2005

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

sorry I haven't written in awhile. I guess I haven't just felt like writing really. Maybe I've been a little bored or something.

You'll be happy to know that I have got some work done in these past two days. 500 archive entries alltogether; and think that last week I only got 200 done in two days. I don't know why it goes like that.

Dear diary, I remember again why Guy Gavriel Kay is one of my absolute favouritest authors in the whole wide world. I started his new book on Sunday and I couldn't stop until I had finished all of it. Why can't I read some work-related book of five hundred pages and still yearn for more?

I have to go now, dear diary - well, I don't absolutely dabsolutely have to, but I can't really think of anything more to write. Toodleloo.

joulukuuta 08, 2005

Christmas parties

I went to the first of this year's Christmas parties. It took place at a very nice Greek restaurant and I had a good time. All paid by the Lawyer's Association, which also means that one was brought home by a taxi. I could so easily get used to these little luxuries. I guess I just need to keep reminding myself that I am a (relatively) poor post-graduate student and that luxuries have a tendency of turning people into selfish, vain, greedy little buggers. Much better off without them.

Tomorrow would be another Christmas party (our faculty's department's), but since I will be sailing to Stockholm by then, I won't make it there. Two other work-parties coming up though, so that's not such a great loss. Isn't it nice when there is one party for legal history, one for the Institute and one for the department. There's only the Christmas party of the entire faculty missing, but those haven't existed in ages. I suppose the faculty is too big to have a party of its own. Or then there are other reasons... ::cough, cough::

Mmmm, it smells like Christmas. I bought two Hyacinths yesterday. They are not necessarily my favourite flowers, but on my way to the movies the other day I walked by a florist's and the smell of Christmas was just irresistible. Lovely.

Okay dokey, if I don't have time to write tomorrow, then I'll be back on Sunday when we've returned from Sweden. Now I need to finally finish Foucault's Pendulum.

joulukuuta 07, 2005


I'm almost to my sixtieth post, dear me. Already 18 more than I ever posted at Margyarad. I wonder what qualifies as a mature age for a blog; something more akin to six years, I imagine.

Okay, girl, you are supposed to be writing the blog now and not watching C.S.I. I don't even like that program, never have. Okay, what shall we talk about today then? About the promise of the US to stop torturing their prisoners? Most of the western nations declared already two hundreds year ago that torture is inhumane. Whatever the practice, at least that was the ideal. That's the worrying thing about US today - they have given up ideals. As disgusting as it is, maybe, just maybe, sometimes it may be necessary to use unacceptable means to reach worthy goals. But you have to be very, very careful with that, since using unacceptable means makes you so easily into a monster just as bad as the one you were trying to fight.

To an outsider it looks as the US has slipped far down into the bottom of that well; there are too many voices which no longer see the means as unacceptable, can't realise that the goals have become distorted. The similarities to the formation of some very frightening despotic tyrannies in the past are quite worrisome. But luckily for humankind there are counter-forces too and sometimes they gain little victories - like now the promise to stop using torture. If it is anything but empty words, which one dares to question.

On a lighter note, here's more American habits for you. Something for inspiration if you ever felt like decorating your house with Christmas lights. Your neighbours will thank you - or their shrinks anyway... Christmas greetings

joulukuuta 06, 2005

Happy independence day!

I didn't feel like writing yesterday. I started systematising the archive information, realised it will take forever and that the answers one will get depend a great deal on the questions asked. Add to that an evening spent playing sudoku and surfing and perhaps it is not surprising that by ten o'clock I felt as if I had woken up an hour ago and the day had miraculously disappeared.

So my brilliant conclusion was that I had spent too many days in a row sitting at home and therefore I decided to head to town today. I had movie tickets which will expire on Thursday, so I spent one of them. For a romantic comedy, which I will forget in a couple of months, but for the two hours it was relaxing.

When I came out I walked around for a little while. Since it's independence day most of the stores were closed and there were not that many people on the move. It's much nicer to walk downtown when the city is quiet and half-deserted. It was kind of eerie; I was feeling sad, lonely and happy all at once after the movie.

What does one need in this mood? Music. „Immer wenn ihr traurig seid, spielen wir für euch,“ he sings. Aaah, that helps. Or is it the Bailey’s? Feeney’s, I mean, sorry. Nah, I do think it is the music. A miracle cure in a small package.

I suppose one ought to write something clever and deep about the meaning of independence now, but I don’t think I can be bothered to think anymore tonight. Maybe tomorrow if I feel more like it. Now I will sing a little and then go read something.

joulukuuta 04, 2005

Pictures, tea and uncertainty

So, a Sunday instead of Saturday today. I have done all sorts of interesting things; walked, talked, driven my sister to town, eaten, slept (badly), read the paper, done laundry, watched TV, posted on the forum, stroked the cat - all of that and washing the kitchen carpet to boot, since the cat had...well, let's not talk about that.

I had the camera with me when I went out for a walk. It was a beautiful, sunny day, so I could not resist the temptation. I was planning to go to the iron mines again, but I never made it there. My original plan was to go out for a real long walk and to come to the mines in the end. But after an hour or so, I was getting a touch cold, so I came home and left the mines to another day. I still got some rather beautiful pictures even if I say so myself. Two of them I would like to share with you.

A camera is a nice thing to have along, because it draws your eye to things that you would not necessarily notice otherwise. Especially if in your mind hovers the idea of sharing the pictures with others. Then you do not look at things only through your own eyes, but also through the (perceived) expectations of others.

Hum, dum, dum, should I do something resembling half sensible still this evening? Reading, writing? Or shall I just go and get myself some tea and watch a movie instead? Life is full of such difficult decisions. How ever do we cope?

Well, tea it is anyway. We'll see what happens then.

joulukuuta 03, 2005

A Saturday

Well, to start in a rather inane manner, what can I say of today? You see, it's been a rather ordinary Saturday and I haven't done anything particularly noteworthy. What, what, what, what have I done?

Well, I have noticed that keeping the "dream-book" works - the more you record them, the more vivid the recollections become. I have noticed that Monty Python has some very funny songs. Check here and try for example the song Finland or alternatively the song Ecky-ecky-ecky-ecky-pikang-zoop-boing-goodem-zoo-owli-zhiv: Monty Python songs.

I've continued writing my story. The going is rather slow, but at the moment I like what I'm producing. Then again I liked my old - and yet very unfinished - stories too, but now I am wondering if they aren't a little naïve. At the very least the characters in them tend to resemble each other too much.

Argh, I'm reminded of Milan Kundera again. The age of grafomaniacs is here. “When everyone wakes up as a writer, the age of universal deafness and incomprehension will have arrived,” he said. Why do so many of us wish to write? Because it is fun? Because it is stimulating? Because of the flow? I have to tell you of the flow someday, but now I will go back to writing.

ETA (that's edited to add if it only brings to mind a terrorist organisation or something else irrelevant)

In a further Monty Python spirit. Can you tell I didn't make it back to writing? Net is such a time-thief. Arrest the bugger!!

Well, u-- um, can we come up and have a look?

What Monty Python Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

joulukuuta 02, 2005


I went out for a walk today and instead of keeping to my usual paths I headed into a completely different direction. And let me tell you, folks, the things you can find by stepping out of the well-trodden paths - well-trodden by me, not others, that is.

I came across iron mines. Yes, really. Beautiful and clearly by the look of them not something that had been in operation yesterday. My dear friend Google informs me that there lived a man by the name of Magnus Linder in 1744, who found them. Now they are surrounded by heavy wooden bars - the mines are deep, you see, and you really wouldn't want to fall down into them. There are deep crevices going into the ground, with pitch black water on the bottom of most of them. Droplets from the melting snow were falling into the water and you could just hear them echo in the caves. The sound is almost magical. And there was an old look to the forest there; with all the ferns you don't usually see and the deep green moss on the stones.

It was beautiful. I'll take my camera with me next time and show you some pictures. Strange feeling it was. This just proves that it is not always necessary to head abroad to find adventures and discover exciting things. That, boys and girls, is today's lesson. Nighty night.

joulukuuta 01, 2005


I haven't mentioned the R-word in a long time, have I? They have a new video out. I'd post you a link, but there are no legal ones out yet.

They are playing priests and monks and criticising some of the practises of the catholic church among other things. And of course just generally looking gorgeous; food for eye, ear and mind. Just take a look and tell me that isn't the most gorgeous man you've ever seen.

And now they gasp and ask what the hell does she see in him? Well, let me just quote a poem from him and maybe you'll get it.
Er traf ein Mädchen das war blind
Geteiltes Leid und gleichgesinnt
Sah einen Stern vom Himmel gehen
Und wünschte sich sie könnte sehen
Sie hat die Augen aufgemacht
Verließ ihn noch zur selben Nacht

(He met a girl who was blind
shared pain and alike of mind
she saw a shooting star
and wished to have her sight
opened her eyes
and left him the very same night)

Do you get it? No? Well, no matter. I do and that's enough.

I'll think I'll go now and see the video one more time.

marraskuuta 30, 2005


Just a short note today. I finally wrote some letters and then, da-daa, I had an idea for a story that I think is worth realising. And since I’m feeling a touch guilty about not reading enough research literature, this story is going to take place in the 18th century Sweden-Finland – with side-trips to the early 23rd century – and involve some court-scenes. As well as discussion about time and matter, truth, morals, torture and assassinations, citizenship, estates and identities... There’s nothing like an extra little boost to the motivation always now and then.

Yup, but now I need more characters. I’m going to go back to inventing some and if you are lucky – or unlucky depending on whether you like my scribblings – you get to read this story in a few years time. Just take a number and wait patiently, please.

marraskuuta 29, 2005

I want something to eat

One ought to have a box somewhere – with countless topics just waiting to be written about. Then in those rare days when one doesn’t want to write about what happened during the day (stayed home again, finished recording the entries for the year 1800, read Eco and ate too much) one could just dip into the box and pull a topic out.

Now one is forced to rack one’s brains, check the TV for inspiration – how does macho guys who wish to impress you by wrestling with crocodiles sound? – or just randomly stare at the air and wait for divine revelation to strike. But alas, revelations are never there when you want them.

The TV-program is distracting – travelling in the Bahamas. Looks absolutely gorgeous. And is over just when you are about to get interested in it. Replaced by British humour. I rather like British humour. Thoughts on gardening. Why all these summery programs in the middle of winter?

- I have no idea.
- What?
- Why they are showing these programs in the middle of winter?
- It was a rhetorical question.
- And it’s not the middle of winter. It’s hardly even winter yet officially.
- A figure of speech! Darn, you’re a nimbwit, aren’t you? Where’s that nasty, sarcastic cousin of yours?
- Gone. Said that we were both damned boring and went to take a vacation in Sahara. Or possibly Costa Rica.
- Great. Do you have a topic for me to write about?
- I don’t know. Vacations?
- Vacations?
- Yeah... Is that not good? Philosophy then?
- Philosophy was where language went to take a vacation.
- What?
- Nothing. Just something someone said once. Oh, bugger it. If there is nothing to write about, there is always reading.
- Or you could talk to me. Hello? Hello? Where did you go?

marraskuuta 28, 2005


The cat is sitting on the living room table and staring at the birds and fishes in the TV again. She also likes the Christmas tree, which is a little worrying, since I think she keeps eating the whatchamacallits.

But anyway, I wasn't going to write about the cat today. I was planning to form an opinion. This morning, you see, in the paper a journalist wrote about blogs. I think he attempted criticism, but in the end his conclusion could be summarised as "I don't like blogs, since I think they are boring". Trendy, boring blogs; too many ordinary, boring people writing about their uneventful lives and not even attempting to contribute to the political/intellectual/critical discussion.

He tried to argue for his point of view by writing about his day. I didn't see it as quite as boring as he did, but then again some of us are more easily pleased than others. But why then, I have to ask myself, do I find writing this blog useful - not a boring, unnecessary exercise as the guy in the paper thought.

The first answer that came to me is that by writing about the day you create it. And I don't mean fabricate, au naturellement. By putting the day on paper you record it, prevent its slipping into the gray mass of the forgotten past. By writing you also recall events about the day that otherwise might have remained unimportant and, in that sense, recreate them. This however does not justify writing into a blog; for this there has forever been personal journals and private diaries.

Blogs are by their nature public - or at least potentially public. That means there must be an added interest in writing publicly. A practical interest or an advantage is the fact that writing publicly gives you a push to write. If I had started a personal journal in September, I think I would have stopped already weeks ago. Well, the jaded journalist says, then you probably don’t really have a need to write or anything to say, do you?

But that’s not it. I do, you see. By writing I come to realise that my life is actually much closer to my dream life than I ever thought. I do in a sense recreate my life and in reflecting about my life I see more clearly where it is that I want to go. The important thing about doing this reflection by the means of a blog is that it makes me “visible” also to others. Writing is a much more intimate and much more easier means to express one’s true nature than speech. This is who I am. By the means of a blog I am able to be who I am also to others, not just to myself.

Of course it is not interesting to everyone – I am quite sure that the cynical reporter would find my blog boring – but that is not the meaning of a blog, to reach the entire world. It has more to do with reaching oneself. But we cannot reach ourselves alone; we need others as a mirror in which our reflection is born. If we are not verbal people our reflection may become distorted. It resembles someone we do not recognise, someone we at least do not wish to be. Writing allows me to see in that mirror the other part of me, the part which makes me feel more balanced.

marraskuuta 27, 2005

Christmas decorating

This weekend has gone past very fast. Yesterday was very oriented around the OYY-seminar. I was planning to only attend the actual seminar, which still lasted from 12 to 18, but I was asked to come to the closing dinner too. I was a bit hesitant since I had planned to get some things done still that evening and was feeling a little tired. I didn’t want to end up regretting not going though, so I accepted the invitation.

I’m an introvert person and especially when I’m tired I can’t be bothered to really concentrate on socialising. In my end of the table I had previously met only J, whereas the others all knew each other. That makes it more difficult to come up with things to talk about, since you do not have common history at all and do not have part in the common history of the others. The common nominator of course in our case was research, but the others were rather more social sciences and theory oriented than I am myself. If the discussion involves criticisms concerning the imprecise use of the concept empiricism and empirical sources, and you happen to be one of the people using the concept very imprecisely since you do not actually do sociological studies and it’s rather irrelevant what you call what you are doing...well, let’s just say that you can’t contribute anything terribly intelligent to the conversation then.

So it wasn’t the liveliest of all evenings, but food was fine, the speeches were funny, the acapella choir was great and I managed to make it to 23.30 train home. I didn’t spent today digging into the books of methodology and educating myself on the things that yesterday remained a little hazy to me. I spent a good part of it dragging things to the basement, cleaning up, bringing up the Christmas tree, setting up the Christmas tree and all the other decorations, baking and then settling down to read a little Eco, who is getting a bit more conventional and conservative than I thought at first.

Alrighty, I will settle down to watch the movie now. Good-natured, harmless, romantic stuff.

marraskuuta 25, 2005

ugga bugga

We have snow – not too much, but still snow. It’s my first snow of the winter since we were in Brussels during that first snowstorm. Not too bad actually. This time of the year snow is still alright and helps to put one into a sort of Christmassy mood.

Today I’ve gotten rid of about 100 hundred mails in my inbox – still nearly sixty left though. Also went to represent the Finnish Lawyer’s Association again; there were only three graduates present so that did not perhaps quite fulfil its purpose. So much food left over.

From there straight to the last session of the PBL-course. I thought it went quite well, but the majority of students gave the course only 8/10. Some of that had to do with the practical stuff: not enough time, not enough books, which is what you get when something like 250 people try to read for an examination and there are only 70 odd books in the library. But still I’m a little disappointed.

After the course I was planning of going to the art museum, Ateneum, since today is some kind of get free to the museums day. Or more specifically it’s the international don’t buy anything day and the theme this year is apparently consuming culture. But Ateneum closed at six today and since I was there something like five minutes to six there was no chance of getting in anymore. I didn’t feel like trying some of the other museums so I came home.

And now I am watching a rather stupid movie and feeling restless.

marraskuuta 24, 2005

dreams and exercises

Basically the third day in the row at home. Or rather it was going to be. M called this morning and needed a book that I had at home, so I went to town to take it to her. I didn’t stay though; I came home via the book store – both Guy Gavriel Kay and Stephen Donaldson have new books out, yeay! Two tickets to fantasy land just waiting in a plastic bag (new btw is a relative concept here – a book being published and making it into the Finnish bookstores are two different things).

Despite this side trip to town I still got my 150 entries done – I’m feeling pleased about that. What I didn’t get done because of that, is writing the two letters I was planning to write – sorry L, sorry S. Next week at the very latest, I promise.

My mailbox is also filling up since the thing about working home is that I want to feel “nonpressured” by outside demands – which include emails. I did check my mail today and managed to delete a good number of not important ones, but I couldn’t bring myself to do anything about the ones which required reaction. Tomorrow then.

After work I went through some of the old papers I had piled on the new desk from the drawer of the old desk. Old writings and drawings, postcards, very old girly envelopes and letter papers, which now already seem so antiquated. I can’t remember when I have last written a real letter. I found my old “dream-book”, too. When I came to study in Helsinki, I lived with a woman, who wrote down her dreams. I decided to give it a try, but apparently I have given up almost immediately. There are maybe five dreams recorded in the booklet, but they are surprisingly long and vivid. And strange. These days I hardly remember my dreams at all, which makes me think that maybe I should give the dream-book another try. Remembering dreams is partly just a matter of practise and it actually seems like a waste to miss all the weird experiences one goes through every night. The second, forgotten, exciting life.

I also have to go to the gym. My back is starting to be completely cramped and when I roll my shoulders it crunches like crazy. Hey, no time to start like now, is there? You don’t need a gym to do muscle exercises - or stretches at the very least. A soft carpet and a little space works wonders, ay? Will give it a try now.

marraskuuta 23, 2005

too tired to think in English

I’ve been carrying stuff today. I went to IKEA and bought a new desk and a new work chair – 31 kilos and 15 kilos respectively. The desk was quite heavy and I did spent a few minutes contemplating whether I would be able to get it into the car, out of it and inside without any major injuries. Getting it into the car turned out to be the most difficult thing, but not a major problem. It just so happens, you see, that IKEA has helpful young men in their employ, whose job it is to help women with no muscles who have bought heavier stuff than they manage to handle.

Well, I got it out of the car and inside fairly easily, so it wasn’t actually too heavy. It took a few hours to put it together – or rather few hours for it and the chair and for dismantling the old desk. I have also sore fingers, aching back and a black and blue bruise in my elbow (unfortunate slipping of the screwdriver) to show for my efforts. But no matter, one of the fun parts about IKEA furniture is that you get to put the stuff together yourself. Gives one a sense of accomplishment even if it all happens strictly following the instructions and involves no “creation”. The not so fun part is cleaning up and trying to decide what to do with the old furniture. My storage space is rather limited, which suggests to me that maybe I should learn to throw things away.

Cleaning up tomorrow. Now watching some TV.

marraskuuta 22, 2005

things I did on the second day of the week

Must wake up to write a little. I baked today – real voisilmäpulla – and when you combine eating those with reading Umberto Eco, it’s not altogether strange if one starts to nod off.

Don’t take me wrong. I like Eco – Foucault’s Pendulum. I can’t remember when I have last read a book, which so pointedly doesn’t underestimate its reader. He refers to things without explaining them; he uses words that are not in the “need to know” -list of even a fairly educated person. He makes you want to learn more, look up things, question. And all of that by page 40 when he hasn’t really even got started.

Otherwise this hasn’t been the most exciting of days. I stayed home to work again and got 150 archive entries done. By this rate I will be done writing down the year 1800 by next week; then I need to figure out how to use the information, to systematise it, make charts and tables. After that: conclusions and writing, I hope.

I have also...done laundry, washed the dishes, baked as I said, listened to some music while doing both, played a few sudokus, mucked up one Japanese puzzle, read and nodded off – and not really much else.

Let’s see what I can manage to get done tomorrow.

marraskuuta 20, 2005


I’ve finally finished the second case for tomorrow’s PBL-course. One can always ask why I didn’t do this already on Friday. It’s not a bad question, but there are not always answers even for good questions. Done now, anyway.

I slept long, read the paper, managed to start cleaning up my wardrobe and sewed a button back on my winter coat. Then off it was to the city to watch the “Grand Opening Of The Christmas Season”. What? No, there can never be too many CAPITAL letters for the grand opening of the Christmas season.

I scraped the ice of the car and was only about five minutes late when I parked the car outside my sister’s apartment. There was not much traffic. If someone used thumbscrews or the iron maiden, I might confess that I drove a bit too fast, singing Rammstein-songs a bit too loud. But since we do not live in the middle ages anymore and all torture devices are forbidden – well, in these part’s of the world anyway – I will confess nothing.

It was a beautiful, crispy, sunny day and it was fun to have a walk downtown. The Santa and the choir were being very international – talking and singing quite a lot in English. Well, there were a fairly respectable amount of tourists around, so that was perhaps justified. We watched the procession pass us twice – Maija got a little excited about the horses the second time.

Then via the store to my sister’s – S came a little later, M and S maybe about an hour after her and M returned home with the new-made candles still later. And yes, I am using same initials for different people, so even if you think you know/assume that when using a certain initial I’m talking of you/the chap next door/the person from the town X, that doesn’t mean it would still be the same person when the initial next comes up. Confusing and totally unfair research methodologically, I know.

But anyway, where was I? Oh yes, at my sister’s. Eating, drinking, more eating, playing games, playing the piano, sitting around the table, sitting on the floor, talking, eating, surfing, throwing the ball/rock/ blue plastic dog known as Pertti/rock and ball to Maija. It was quite entertaining. We started the Christmas season early and had spiced wine and Christmas pastries (see yesterday’s entry). I realised it would be nice to have a piano. I can’t play beyond the “one finger and only the simplest notes” kind of thing and I don’t know if I would have the patience to learn. I think it might be possible to take it as a big puzzle though and learn which sign corresponds to which movement and eventually decipher it.

Dear me, I’m listening to Sister’s of Mercy from the comp and I have accidentally saved one of the live Rammstein-songs among them. Quite an amazing version of Nebel. I’m actually starting to like Sister’s of Mercy, but their music doesn’t stop me like R+. Sorry about the drooling again, but how can that man have such a divine voice.

Okay, back from the drooling. I took S, M and S home – since I had the car – and drove home (possibly a little too fast and singing Rammstein-songs on the top of my voice, but you can never be too sure of that). The cat came to greet me as soon as I came home; she does that almost always but it is possible that the thought in her mind is – as one cartoonist put it so well – “oh, the food dispenser is home”. I fed the cat, lit the candles, put Rosenrot on, started working on the case for tomorrow, took a break to make tea, checked the forum, continued with the case, finished it, switched to Sister’s of Mercy, started to write this and now I am more or less ready for bed.

It’s been a rather good weekend by all standards.

marraskuuta 19, 2005

Didn't win in the lottery again

Little things can be so good, can’t they? Like making dinner in a clean kitchen, with candles burning, apocalyptica playing and some wine in your glass.

It’s pitch black outside – no snow yet – and - 1.1 °C (written earlier today, can you tell?). It’s the first time I really realise that it is only a month until Christmas. Next weekend I will put up the Christmas tree (of an urban plastic variety) and bake Christmas pastries (joulutorttuja to put it more exactly) and switch tea to spiced wine (I don’t think there is a better translation for glögi, although I wish there were, since I always feel the need to explain that it is not wine and not even alcoholic).

I’m wondering whether I ought to go to IKEA before next weekend. I need candles and – what is tuikku in English – and I want a new desk. My current one looks a little as if it had been bought for a fifteen-year-old; it’s small and there is not enough room to stretch one’s legs under it. I hardly ever use it, except as a place to pile things on. I do nearly all my writing on the couch with the computer on my lap. Once in awhile it feels as it would be nice to have a proper desk though – good for you back and all that. Now there would be room for it too. I spent a good part of the day cleaning up and moving things around. The shelf from the balcony is now in the kitchen – along with the chives (that’s ruohosipuli; learned a new word today) that were still alive. The chair is in the living room and the aquarium – currently housing only pebbles that pretend to be sand and two pieces of dried wood – is on the other side of the couch.

Yup, but that’s all folks. Will go surf now as I wait for a file to download.

marraskuuta 18, 2005

A title

Yaaaaaaaawwwwnnnn. Dear tea-cup, could I ask you to materialise on the table in front of me? With a big splash of milk and a dash of sugar? Pretty please?

These days when one stays home to work are a little weird. I did go to the store during the day to get some groceries, but other than that I didn’t step out of the house. Somehow, sometimes, that makes it feel as if the day didn’t really exist. It’s a bit like living outside of time. There are many positive sides to working at home, but there definitely are also downsides. Maybe I ought to go to town tomorrow – check out the Mayan exhibition or something.

Is there anything decent in TV? A Canadian comedy just starting. I’ll give this five minutes and if I don’t like it I’ll just go back to reading Narnia.

marraskuuta 16, 2005


I’m feeling a touch unimaginative right now. What should I write about? Should I write about anything, if I don’t really have anything to say? This, you see, hasn’t really been what you would call the most eventful of days. Stayed home to work, but honestly said I have had more productive days than this.

I drew mindmaps and decided to incorporate the appeal-part into the other two chapters. Now I’m starting have doubts again, though. But the thing is that it is either doing it really properly or being done in an approximately decent time. If I do it properly it will take far more than a year. Damn, I am such a slow thinker. I should have been at this point already two-three years ago. But I wasn’t and now the dissertation isn’t going to end up being anywhere near as good as it could have been. But I think I’ll forgive myself.

I did get something written today as well, but only fiction. I always talk about writing, but I don’t write nearly as much as I should. I was planning to start writing a real proper story with characters and a plot. I did actually manage to create the characters and write short character-descriptions, but what happens when I start writing the story? It’s the same pseudo-intellectual crap that I always write. “There are people, who are, and people, who wish to be.” Now is that anyway to start a story.

Let me give you a better example of some of the old stuff. Translation to English, since sometimes I do actually write in Finnish too: “Does thought matter? Thinking? We contemplate matters and connect consequences to reasons, but can we say why we do it. If we get no joy out of it, is there any reason to torture one’s brain cells. They claim that the human race has to go forward – to progress – but I wish to shake them and scream “why?” Progress does not make us happy and what use is there of knowledge and material possessions, if our minds have withered.”

Okay, it’s not all like that and maybe – if I can control myself – I can really turn it into a story. Something that sounds like a novel. With a plot. Or maybe I could combine the two. Hey, the beginnings of a new idea for a story. Can you tell that if I won the lottery, this is what I’d be doing.

marraskuuta 15, 2005

One November evening

The PBL-course started yesterday and it went surprisingly well. The students didn’t really know all that much about legal history, but they managed to analyse the text much better than I had expected. But I got to tell you that they looked soooo young. That kind of made me realise that I’m not twenty anymore, but I rather liked the feeling.

Today I stayed home again to work. I managed to read a book and at long last write something too. All this teaching and going through the archive records has had the unfortunate consequence, that I haven’t had the time/energy to read and write that much. But now I intend to correct the matter.

I’m staying home tomorrow as well, but then I have to figure out where I’m at with my dissertation. I’m having a meeting with P on Thursday and I need to tell her what I’ve been doing and what I am planning to do. And I’m still uncertain of chapter three. I’ve always been uncertain of chapter three: the part about appeal. What is it exactly that I want of appeal? Do I need it as a separate chapter in the first place or would the whole book make more sense, if I tied the questions concerning the appeal to the other chapters? That’s what I will try to figure out tomorrow.

I haven’t been sitting on the couch the entire day, but did go to town too. Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila was talking about his research in the post-graduate seminar of legal history today – mostly about pagans in the 7th to 10th century Iraq. He’s a very fine speaker. Did you for instance know that Hammurab’s law wasn’t meant primarily as a code to be applied in practise, but was instead a letter of the king to the gods? Just one piece of interesting information learned today.

I also received a letter from S today. It’s strange how she can know me so well, even though we’ve never met. She pointed out something about me that I realise is very true; I just don’t know for sure what it means. I am hoping that this will again be a case of “recognising and admitting one’s weirdnesses is the first step to overcoming them”. Not that one needs to overcome all of one’s weirdnesses; some of them are pleasurable, but this one is not. But S, if you should be reading this, thank you for being my personal therapist. You’ve made me realise that it is not necessary to be perfect to be liked and accepted, that it is okay to make mistakes and to be “strange” and that it is very important to learn to trust people. I would never be writing this journal without you.

And I guess I ought to thank L and H, too. And ultimately of course Rammstein and Till. And a weird horoscope I read at my sister’s birthday party in February, which told me that if I would have the courage to make a big decision in the next couple of weeks I would be thankful for it later. I’m too much of a rationalist to really have faith in horoscopes, but this one did cause me to make the other one of those big February decisions. The less important one, but still. I really am feeling quite happy about life right now.

And I sound like an idiot. No, I don’t sound like an idiot. My brains do tell me that I sound ever so slightly mushy and irrational though. But that’s okay. I’m embracing my weirdness today. I think I better go and post this before I’ll end up deleting every word.

marraskuuta 13, 2005

Father's day

It's Father's day today.

What did I do on a Father's day?

I made a cake - a mango cheesecake. It's easy and fast to make - or at least it would be fast if one didn't check the web every other minute. But I managed to eventually get it done. Then I listened to some Rosenrot and did the dishes, checked the forum, cleaned up the house, checked the forum, cleared up the balcony, checked the forum, read the paper, checked the forum, finally managed to begin reading Fulbrook's "Historical Theory" and checked the forum.

By then it was 4.30 and E arrived with Viennetta and a Saint-paulia (also known as African Violet apparently; thank you again google for enlightening me). I like flowers. The others arrived half an hour later - with Viennetta and a bottle of red wine. Hi-ha, I have to remember to start taking something to people when going over. It's nice when people come bearing gifts (except the Greeks I suppose...). Now don't look at me like that. I know it's common courtesy to bring something with you, but we haven't been in the habit of doing it every time. We...wait a moment, I'm going to go and light the candles on the window sill...ok, now that's done. Hm, I think I have to turn off some of the lights or that was absolutely pointless. Nice. Candles are a very nice thing about autumn. What was I saying? Oh, who cares.

We had a very nice dinner. The cat was hiding in the closet on top of the linen the entire time, since Maija was running around the house. People must think that the cat is invisible since she always disappears as soon as someone comes around. And yet she does like company. To a certain degree she does follow me around and every night she settles to sleep either on top of my back or nestled close to my feet. She's playing with a ball of yarn now like a cat that she is.

This was a good day. I'm tired again, but that's good too. I will still listen to these few songs, check the forum one more time and then go to bed and read a little. Or maybe finish my japanese puzzle. Yup, that's a plan.

Happy Father's Day!

marraskuuta 12, 2005

The Day of Legal Culture

It has been a long day. The Finnish Lawyers' Association had their annual "Day of Legal Culture" today. It started at 13.00 and I ended up being home at midnight. "What?" you ask, "Now that must have been some marathon of presentations." It wasn't. The official program was over at about five, after which there was still a cocktail happening.

The theme of the day was Legal Science and the expectations of the Legal Community. Five presentations, some of them by very good speakers, then a panel, giving out the awards and scholarships, speeches by the two awardees and then a meeting of the Association. All in all it was a much better success than I had originally thought; it also turned out to be definitely worth it to stay for the cocktails. I met some people I hadn't seen in ages, which was very much fun. I met some new people, which was even more fun.

One of the new people and other of the evenings awardees asked me to come have dinner with him, his daughter J and AS. He called me "madame" ;-) I hadn't realised J was his daughter, even though they of course have the same last name. She remembered me, which surprised me a little. It surprised - and delighted - me even more that AS had heard of me. "Only good things," she said. Feeling quite, quite happy about meeting her. She was very easy to talk to, as was J.

I did end up going to dinner with them, to Kosmos, where I had actually never been before. I'm very glad that I did, since it turned out to be a very good night. I don't know if I dare to call it one of the best I've had. We talked of law and history and justice and a dozen other things and I really felt like I was part of the discussion. Well, also listened to J and her father carry on some excellent debate, but still... That is what an evening should be like. AS told me I ought to come to the dinner after the OYY-seminar in two weeks too. The dead-line for registering was already earlier this week, but she thought it should be no problem. I think I will write to their secretary on Monday and see if it would be possible to go.

Yep, but now I'm home and getting quite tired. It's 1.20 and I've been writing this now for forty minutes. Argh. The rose K gave me is in water. He got one of the smaller scholarships and didn't want the rose, so your's truly took it home. It's big, red and beautiful and no worse for wear even if it stood through whole dinner. The cat is restless, the moon is lopsided and looks as if it's about to fall through the clouds, I'm feeling tired and happy and in need of doing some thinking because of tonight. I think I'm figuring out one or two things more of what I really want. That's good.


Alright, no more thinking before morning. Good night!

marraskuuta 10, 2005

a, b, c, d, sing with me...

It's 10.30. How can it be 10.30? It was six o'clock only a minute ago. And why on earth am I still working? I stayed home today to finish the first case for next week's PBL-course (that's Problem Based Learning for those who wish to learn yet another abbreviation). Hah, this is the fourth course I'm teaching this fall. No matter, I like teaching - especially courses like this. Yup, but I read the book, which took nearly seven hours and now - admittedly amidst some heavy net-surfing - I have tried to write the case. I'm only half-done and I can't write another word anymore. Have to finish it Saturday, because tomorrow is another busy day.

From now on I think I am going to start working at home at least two days a week. I get so much more done this way.

Brains have short-circuited again. Cannot think anymore. Yeah, I better just clickety-click the "publish" button.

marraskuuta 09, 2005

Ordinary great day

Isn't it strange how by contemplation and recording things we create meanings and emotions? And by that I actually mean that "I love my blog!" ;-) Today has been basically an ordinary day, which without my blog would have got lost in the midst of all the other ordinary days. But by writing down all the good little things that happened today I realise that my ordinary day was actually a bloody good day.

I woke up without the alarm clock going off. Not because I got up so early, but because now for three days I haven't been setting my alarm clock. Yes, I am actually trying this. Hasn't made a huge difference yet, since I have gotten up every morning just a bit after seven. After I have woken up during the night to check the clock at two and five and six and... Nasty conscience. Last night I woke up only once, which is pretty much normal anyway.

I read the paper, caught the train to town, but didn't go all the way to the centre. I hopped off already at Pasila and walked to work from there. About 45 minutes walk and quite a bit of it is through the park along the Töölönlahti bay. The swans are still here! And look at that: someone had given the stonesnake horns! Or are they antennae? If I ever write a fantasy-book and it has a stonesnake who desperately wants the biggest horns in the universe, you know where that idea came from.

Work was work, but I had lunch with H. That was fun. And then I checked my blog and got the best compliment of my life. Yay and a double-yay. That made me happy. A happy little bunny. One never knows how other people see you.

We also had the meeting of our legal historical Matthias Calonius -society. I was the secretary of the society for two years, but now luckily only in the board. We gave out our third Legal Historian of the Year -award and got to hear a presentation about legal history and legal language. Does adopting a certain kind of legal language, legal terminology, mean adopting a certain type of legal thinking as well? Quite interesting.

After the meeting we went to have a drink in our usual place. Little Mikael was there for awhile and I contemplated again whether it would be fun to have a baby of one's own. Mikael was adorable anyway. I don't think I'll start with babies anymore tonight, since that is a one loooooong topic.

Ok, I think I'll watch the movie now. Or try to find out if the stonesnake wants to talk to me.

marraskuuta 08, 2005


Have you ever thought about how using a particular language affects the way you think and express yourself? English for me is a "light" language, sometimes even a touch superficial. Like the word "love": when in English one uses the word love, it doesn't necessarily mean that you would actually love something or someone. It means excitement, liking something a lot, but not necessarily, not even most of the times "rakastaa". When you use the word "I love" in Finnish - minä rakastan - you really do mean love. And perhaps that is why love is so much scarcer here.

The same goes for many other emotions. Vihata is stronger than hate; Finnish curses have power in them that the English ones can never reach.

But English is also a witty language; it laughs, teases, floats and dances like a insubstantial fairy in the air. It flows unlike Finnish. Finnish has hard edges, angles, long blunt words which topple on top of each other without mercy. Swedish is playful - in Swedish you can hear the sound of the sea, soft gentle sea, light laughter on a summer day and the sound of little children - babes with golden locks - playing on a meadow full of poppies and forget-me-nots. And the giggling of little mischievous trolls. In German I can sometimes hear the passage of time - the echo of some of the words takes me back two thousand years and I can smell the earth and something, almost magical in the air. It's a strong feeling, emotional.

I wish I knew languages better. To be able to speak German and Swedish properly. To know other languages well enough to feel them.

Well, maybe someday.

marraskuuta 07, 2005

Looking horrid

Oh frigging f**k, M sent some of her pictures from Brussels and I had to, absolutely had to gasp in the most girly manner and utter the words “OMG, I look hideous!”. Seriously, it was like looking at a big lump of overgrown white dough. So much for looking pretty for that trip. I can look good at times. ::points to the pic on the right:: I like that pic, I do look good in it – in my personal humble opinion – I mean why do you think I chose to put it up in the first place. Taken in September btw and not in some distant long lost past. But the Brussels pictures – OMT and all the other deities!

I think it is time to lose a couple of kilos again – and damn, here I was thinking of baking today. And perhaps dip into the purse and head to the hairdressers. I guess one could do that once a year. No, I’m not kidding. Please don’t scream, I have long hair, it’s quite possible to make it look decent even without cutting it all the time. Once a year is plenty; once in five years could be said to be questionable. Whaaaat, really, there is nothing wrong with looking like a barefooted nature girl. But looking like an overfed vampire in a bun that aunt-Prudence could have worn in 1880 is not the most attractive of things.

Do I sound just a touch shallow? Yes, I do. I know. But looking decent is a self-esteem question. It really is, as horrid as it sounds. Have I told you of my childhood? When I was little I had warts – yes, I guess you could call them warts, or moles? – on my hands and a one teeny tiny one on my nose. The ones on my hands disappeared eventually by themselves, but the tiny one on my nose was removed in a hospital. I was then either on first or second grade, I don’t remember exactly. But I do remember that after the removal of the wart the girls in my class would play with me; that one of them said afterwards that she didn’t want to be my friend before – because of the tiny wart. So you can tell me it doesn’t matter how a person looks, but I learned it a long time ago: no-one wants to play with you if you look horrid.

marraskuuta 06, 2005

she cleans, she reads

I really was tired yesterday, since this morning the alarm clock greeted me with the numbers 11.11 on its face. I can't remember the last time when I've slept past 11. But that's the reason why I haven't yet forgotten my alarm clock and gone to living according to my "natural rhythm". It's very relaxing to sleep as long as one likes, but nine and a half hours instead of seven per night means two and a half hours "wasted" every day. I don't know if I am quite willing to do that.

So what did I do today except sleep? I spent about three hours cleaning up the house and still didn't make it to vacuuming or doing the dishes. A mess? My house? But never! I do like it clean and tidy, but during the week I just don't have the energy to clean up and stuff keeps...piling up. Now I like the look of the place so much that I think I'll stay home to read tomorrow. I really, really can't read at work and I have to start reading.

I read today, but only fiction despite my best intentions. I finally finished In America, which really is a wonderful story of desires, restlessness, finding your place in the world and the sacrifices you are prepared to make for it. And the way she uses different literary styles - I like it.

After finishing In America I started with another book - The Chronicles of Narnia. Fantasy for children ;-). I got introduced to Fantasy and Scifi ten years ago and I must admit it was love at first sight. Not the most intellectual thing to read, I know, but you can't choose what you love. And since the other part of my chosen readings doesn't consist of Donald Duck and Cosmopolitan I think that I am still on the clear. Not that there is anything wrong with Donald Duck. Or Cosmopolitan. But still it is a good thing if a person has read a real book or two in her life. Books give you so much and life without them would be sad indeed.

Once upon a time...

I am tired. It’s only a little after ten o’clock and I can hardly stay awake. And it’s not like I didn’t already nap once today. I don’t know why I feel so tired.

I went to town today to see a movie. Brothers Grimm – a fairly amusing fairytale, even if it was rather fond of its stereotypes. I like movie theatres – you can get lost in the movies in a completely different way than at home. I am not too keen on the crowds in the theatres though, which is why I tend to prefer the day showings. There are far less people and once I’ve even had the whole movie theatre to myself. In the evenings and weekends when there are designated seats I find a place on the side with enough room to stretch and breathe.

I was originally planning to get cultural and visit the adjoining museum at the same time. But the exhibition was about Japanese Manga art and I did not feel like Manga today. So I came home to prepare dinner and finish Sontag’s book; I have only the last pages left to read.

Very tired.

Well, couldn’t post this right away, since is/was doing maintenance. Luckily I got mystically more alert when Top-40 started and they said the magic words “An interview with Rammstein”. Only a very short one with Paul and him full of normal Paulisms again: “We went to the States to get fat for the Keine Lust –video and then to Thailand to lose the weight again (not a direct quote).” I wonder if that was meant as a critical social comment or was just a joke.

Rosenrot went to number one on the album list - yay, but I would have been disappointed if it hadn't - so they showed Benzin. Naturally since it's the only video from the album this far, but a shame because Benzin really is the worst song on the entire album. The presenter was a blathering idiot and did your usual German Sauerkraut-barks. Maybe it is good that my computer claims that the DVD on which I recorded the interview is empty (it’s not, checked and tried) and I therefore can’t share the file. I wouldn’t want the others to think that Finns are brainless bimbos.

marraskuuta 03, 2005

Dogs, rocks, Feeney's and partners in crime

I shouldn't leave writing to such a late hour of time. Reflection becomes description and wittiness has left town to introduce it's Dalmatian to the Himalayan mountain goats.

This has not been the most productive of days. I went this morning to the ministry to help my successor to get started. "But wait", you say, "Didn't you come back to the University already two months ago?! Have you lazybutt waited this long before going there to help the poor guy out?" "But no," I cry. "I haven't." The guy started just two days ago - or possibly three, I'm not quite certain - so they were without a junior lawyer for two months. The senior lawyer has not been appointed yet either, so in reality there were no lawyers. Is that heaven or hell? :P Sorry, lawyer jokes...

It's difficult to know what to pass on, but I hope I were of some help. I remember how frustrating it was, when I started in March. It took quite awhile before I even realised what was expected of me. My predecessor had briefed me shortly when I went there for the job-interview, but it didn't really sink in then. Eventually though... The officeroom felt so familiar that I'm afraid I kind of took possession of it as if it was still mine and not yet his. And we got interrupted so many times - because people kept dropping in to say hi to me. They seemed so genuinely pleased to see me that I left beaming. I'm very happy that I returned to the university, but there are some very nice people at the ministry too - like my fellow partners in crime, the "drafters of the infamous Master's Degree Programme Statute".

I spent few meagre moments at the Uni before I left to walk my sister's dog. They had a long day - or at least were supposed to - so I took Maija out to the little dog park by the sea. That dog likes her rocks. She found one, which was apparently guite tasty because she had to keep licking it for quite awhile. She didn't take it home this time though, but I can tell you that her collection is starting to be already rather impressive.

My sister came home earlier than expected and so I stayed for almost three hours - to go through a decent amount of chocolate and check for summer cottages in Estonia among other things. Now I'm home, enjoying a nice dash of Feeney's - that's a cheaper, although just as fine version of Bailey's for those of you not in the know -and I'm starting to think that this was quite a fine day.

Favourite quote of the day: "Turn your bedsheets around so that the slot with the buttons points upwards, so that you don't get stuck while you sleep."
Flake Lorenz, the keyboarder of Rammstein, explaining the hidden message in their album covers.

marraskuuta 02, 2005


I took the car to my sister’s this morning, since she decided to go to Imatra. On my way to the tram stop from her apartment this completely ordinary looking old man turned to me in the lights and said something I couldn’t hear since the music was too loud. So I took my earphone off, said “Sorry?” and he says to me “Good morning”. What was that about? Did I miss something and people have started going around saying “good morning” to strangers in the traffic lights? Or did he think that he did know me?

Maybe I should do a sociological study and ask a select group of people if they are in the habit of greeting their fellow human beings in the traffic lights. Or should I ask them if they experience it as strange that someone would do that? Maybe they think that it is the most natural way to begin a morning. Or maybe it should be? Would it make the world a happier place, if we started saying “good morning” to a minimum of three strangers every morning?

I didn’t feel happier though, only puzzled. Being a polite young woman I said “good morning” back to the old man, but then I decided in an instant – or didn’t even consciously decide, just reacted really – and walked to the next traffic lights without stopping as I had intended to. I am not quite certain I want to know what that tells about me.

Ah, I don’t want to think about it.

Today. What happened today? We had the last session of the Enlightenment-course, not a real session anymore, but a one for feedback. I think the students liked the course all right; 9/10 is the grade they gave to it – anonymously au naturellement. It was certainly good enough a course to be worth doing again; personally it was also a good opportunity to remind oneself how important it is to know the subject matter one is teaching. It is much more rewarding this way. Not that I’m saying that I would ever have taught a course the subject matter of which I would not have known. No. Never. Ever. It’s just that knowing is such a relative matter.

This is again one of those days when I’ve felt the desire to know more, to learn more, to read more. S was presenting his licentiate thesis today, legal philosophy. I’ve had an interest in philosophy for who knows how long, but my knowledge of philosophy is not much better than that of an average coffee-table debater. I know just enough to think that sometimes I get hold of the rope and manage to pull myself a little above the water. I can feel the thoughts tickle the surface of my brains, expanding them. But they do not make real contact, not enough for my brains to start emitting thoughts back – not yet at least. I want to know more, but there are so many things I want to know more about. So many things I want to do.

I love it that I want again.

I hate it that I have wasted so much time.

marraskuuta 01, 2005

bored again

I’m booooreeeeeeeeeeeed.

I had a fine day earlier today, at work, but now I’m bored. That’s what happens when you get lost in the net for too long. And don’t eat enough. You get BORED.

I think I will swallow in my boredom now for a while. And watch some TV. I’m an old TV-addict, have I mentioned that? I’d say that makes me boring, but then again some very interesting people spend too much time watching TV. I’d say the R or T words again, but I think I’ll save your ears tonight. Except maybe to explain that if someone interesting enough does something boring and still doesn’t become a boring person, that means I can apply the same to myself and actually believe it. Psycho-babble.

That makes me question my own prejudices again – am I too judgmental? Do I make too great demands on people? I’d try to figure that out, but I can’t be bothered. Maybe tomorrow. Now I’m busy being bored.

lokakuuta 31, 2005

Politics and Religion

I was going to continue reading “In America”, but then I started to think about politics. This probably is again partially Rammstein-related. There are people who know absolutely nothing about them and then there are people who think they know something about them, and the latter usually seem to have the wrong, media-induced idea of them being a “bad”, even “right-wing” band. Which naturally, as anyone who really knows anything about Rammstein is aware, couldn’t be farther from the truth. It doesn’t even take reading hundred of articles – which yours truly confesses to have done – to figure that out.

Oh, and this by the by is Rammstein, so you know what I'm obsessing about.

And this is where you can hear snippets of their songs. If you don't like metal-leaning rock in German, don't bother. If you do, press "Rosenrot"-PLAYER.

Rammstein isn’t really a political band, even if they have a few songs that could be considered as “statements”: Links about their general left-wing leanings, Amerika about the dangers of globalisation and Zerstören of course can be seen as their clearest anti-Iraq-war comment. Amerika is also partly that, and for me also Benzin, even though it apparently wasn’t really meant as an anti-war statement. That obviously appeals to me, since I’ve always seen Monsieur Bush as a very frightening school-yard bully, a new-born Christian radical, with no way near enough brains to lead a country, a power-hungry hawk with no real conception of ordinary people’s lives and the suffering his actions can cause. So I did not need Rammstein to make me anti-Bush or anti-Iraq-war – I was that much, much earlier. I did need Rammstein to admit to myself my own left-wing leanings. Having a fairly bourgeois immediate background it took me awhile. Rammstein – and certain people I’ve met through sharing a Rammsteinian addiction – have also taught me to love myself a lot more than I did earlier. And loving myself has given me strength to make decisions I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

Mum, I’ve left the church.

In order to tell you why I think I’ll just post the ramblings I used to justify the decision to myself in May or June or whenever it was. As I said before, I think on paper. I was planning to write a book of Confessions then and this was to be the first chapter. Here you go...

These confessions you are about to hear, are not religious by nature. I do not wish to confess to God or his servants. I do not believe in God; and even if he (she/it?) should be out there somewhere, he (for purposes of convenience) would not wish to hear my confessions. He only listens to those who love and obey him. That is why I have decided to leave the church today; to hand in my resignation, to be rid of the bunch for once and for all; one man's (human, not male, you understand) silent protest. It feels excruciatingly phoney for me to be another name on the list of his followers when my heart is so full of mistrust. Mistrust and dislike for his church, which is a source for so much evil. And happiness too – I won't deny that many have found their salvation within the church. But the church – like its master – loves and accepts you only if you obey – conform – be a good girl and do exactly as they say. If you are different, they may tolerate you – graciously, righteously – but they will never accept you as you are. Toleration always proclaims deviant the thing that it tolerates.

And yet my heart is troubled by the decision. I hesitate to tick those boxes and click the send-button. The modern-day wonders. Separation from the church on-line. Will take you only two minutes and it is accomplished. Some would certainly call it a work of devil; I think I'd be happier to see it as a true means to practise one's freedom of thought.

And yet I am troubled. Why? Is it because on the back of my mind hover the hordes of frowning relatives. I doubt it, not anymore. I have decided that I must be me and not allow the expectations of other people to affect my life anymore. The days of being the puppet on the strings are over. She says confidently, hesitantly, with a stubborn grimace on her face and her back against the wall. No more...

I do not think it's the relatives. They will be disappointed, but they will understand. Is it that I fear the wrath of God then?

- But dear girl, didn't you just say you don't even believe in his existence?
- No, that's not precisely what I said; I said – or meant – that I find it highly irrational and unlikely that he would exist. I won't deny the possibility; I don't know everything after all.
- Oh really? ::cough, cough, you could have fooled me sometimes…::
- What?
- Nothing. So you think it's possible that he created Earth in seven days and plopped Adam on it and did some magic work with his ribs?
- Don't be ridiculous! Of course not. Earth developed and blaah-blaah... I'm not going to give you a lesson in the origin of species.
- But God was behind it and there is no life anywhere else in this universe?
- Oh, I don't know! I seriously doubt it.
- You doubt that God was behind the creation of Earth or that there is life somewhere else?
- That God was behind it. I mean, don't you think, that it would be highly unlikely that there wouldn't be life somewhere else too? It just doesn't sound rational. Not that I am saying it would necessarily be intelligent life; you are not going to make me a crazy space-enthusiast here!! Although I don't want to claim that it couldn't be intelligent life, too. It sounds a little smug to assume that we would be THE only intelligent life-form in the entire universe.
- A relativist rationalist with a problem tolerating the space-enthusiasts, huh?
- What?
- Nothing. So God didn't create Earth and chuck Adam and Eve to play happy couple on it. So what did he do? Smite the Egyptians and talk to the prophets?
- No, those are metaphors if anything.
- Flood the Earth and the, uh, Giants, and save Noah and his prolific family?
- Did you just hear what I said?
- Ok, so the New Testament then. Got Mary pregnant with a whisper in her mind? Virginal insemination, you'd like that, huh?
- Don't talk to me about virgin-births!!
- So, basically you are saying that even if there is a God, he isn't really responsible for anything?
- ....
- Well?
- I don't know. Maybe. But that doesn't mean that he wouldn't be influential. People have done so much in his name.
- Yes, people. So perhaps it isn't this abstract God you are afraid will smite you if you leave his congregation. It's the people who follow him.
- I don't know. Maybe.
- That seems to be your standard reply.
- Well, that because I DON’T KNOW! Can't you get that?
- Of course I get that. But religion isn't about knowing, it's about believing. You don't believe in God, not in your heart of hearts. You may have the last lingering remains of the atavistic fear of hellfire, but you don' really believe. And the church, his followers. Tell me this, even if there were a God, just for the sake of argument, do you think that belonging to the church would get you closer to him?
- No, no, definitely not. The church is an organisation of man, bureaucratic and power-hungry. It is there for its own sake, not for that of mankind – or God.
- We have issues there, don't we? Time for that later, maybe, but not now. So, if there were a God, still for the sake of argument, would he know your heart and your thoughts, even if you're not a member of one of his many churches?
- Well, yeah, if he were God, of course he would.
- So, what's the point in being part of the church, then? Not God, who possibly exists or more likely not, in your opinion. Making the relatives happy? Getting the church-wedding, which it seems like you are not ever going to get anyway?
- Shut up, you insensitive bastard!!
- I thought you didn't even want a church-wedding anymore?
- Well, I don't, but that's no reason to insinuate that I would never be able to find a spouse for myself.
- Hmm, issues there too, but I don’t think I want to get into those...
- Be quiet, I don't know what I want.
- I think we have established that. But the church, old girl! What's making your hesitant, if there is really no – let me just whisper it – rational reason for you to stay?
- There isn't, is there? It's just that it is a big decision and you know how I hate decisions. It's a real statement.
- You are a conservative coward, who'd rather cling to a burning tree than hop into a lake. It's a statement to belong to the church, too. It's not like we are living in the middle ages. You are not going to get burned as a witch, if you tear yourself from the skirts of the mother-church. You aren't even going to get chucked by your friends, since plenty – if not most – of them think exactly like you do. And even if they don't, it's the 21st century, girl! Religion belongs to the private sphere these days – unless you were unlucky enough to be born in the dominions of Allah, the Pope or the all-mighty Bush.
- Are you trying to talk me into leaving the church, then?
- I'm only asking if this is yet again one decision you are hesitant to make because of your unfounded fears. I don't want you to live your life controlled by fear.

Fear does control my life. A confession. An answer – of kinds anyway. I have filled the form now. It didn't take even two minutes. Your name, place of residence and social security-number. Now the decision is only that one click away. Why do I still hesitate, when I know that I want to do it? I need five more minutes to think about this. I think I'll just go to the bathroom and make my decision. Oh, the fundamental believers would crucify me for that. And why do I care, when they are so low on my list of people to tolerate? Five more minutes.

Now it is done. Clickety-click. I will be getting a letter in five to ten days that my notice has been registered. I feel so relieved that I wish to cry. I have gotten rid of one expectation more. If I ever wish to rejoin the church, it will be my decision now; not something that society and traditions expect from me.


And, dear Reader, I must say that these X months later I am still plenty happy with my decision.

Pick your choice of a title

What have I learned today? Other than that if you listen to Rammstein when transcribing archive entries you will work twice as fast as normally. As weird as it sounds music keeps you more concentrated on the work you're doing.

I got my first blog comment yesterday. :-) A real comment, the ones from the Korea Telecommunications and their ilk don't count. Thank you T, it is very nice to get comments. And a record number of visits too!

- I told you! You don't get anyone reading unless you tell them you're writing.
- You always know everything, don't you?
- Of course. I'm perfect.
- ....
- What? Not even a "Shut up!" or a tiny "Bugger of!"?
- ....
- Damn woman, that's not very nice of you.
- I'm practising being an adult and won't even deign to answer your insults.
- An adult? You! You're hurting my stomach, lass. You can't go a day without mentioning the name of that weird band. That's what fifteen years do, dear girl.
- Bah, I know fifty year olds who are more obsessed than me.
- No you don't!
- Yes I do!
- Never!
- I do too!
- Yeah, your argumentational skills really prove you're an adult.
- Oh, shut up!

I think it is time to go back to reading Susan Sontag. But first I have to transfer some songs to my MP3-player. Everyone sing along "Tiefe Brunnen muß man graben, wenn man klares Wasser will..."

lokakuuta 30, 2005


I edited my European journal today as you can see. Took forever.

Now I've been listening to Rosenrot non-stop. I love it, absolutely love it - every single song is amazing, even the ones I thought at first that don't work. I may be of different opinion in a couple of months time, but right now I think it's the best album they have ever made. Magnificient.

I listen to Rammstein and read Susan Sontag's "In America". I had never read anything from her before, but she is very rapidly becoming my new favourite author. I love her style.

Okay, just wanted to come here and share with you the fact that I'm having a wonderful evening. I have gathered pillows on the floor, have my cup of tea, Rammstein and Sontag and life is feeling wonderfully bitter sweet. Will go back to it now. Byeee.

The OMY-European Tour – Day Six – 28th of October

We are on our way to Frankfurt – sitting on a local train and enjoying the unexpectedness of travelling. We decided to switch trains in Karlsruhe in order to catch a faster train going directly to the Frankfurt airport. But, alas, it turned out to be full-booked, as was the next one, which is why a local train it is. It’s crowded, baby carriages, bicycles and people going to who knows where. The scenery is gorgeous though. One can see more this way than sitting an extra hour at the Frankfurt airport. The best place to have spent the hour would have been Strasbourg, but of course it is understandable that people want to be on the airport in good time.

Strasbourg was beautiful – the most beautiful of these three cities by far. And possibly my new favourite of the middling sized cities – you can’t really compare it to Paris or St. Petersburg since they are so different. It is a shame we had such little time to spend there. The place is really worth a visit.

We walked this morning to the European Court of Human Rights. The building itself is like a big space ship, but it’s situated in quite amazing surroundings. We walked along the river bank when we returned to the hotel and it was really one of the most beautiful routes I have ever seen in my life. Could not tear my eyes away from the river. It flows steadily – speedily – past the court and almost seems to wash away the sins like the autumn leaves which float on its surface. The graceful swans embrace the river banks and with their existence symbolise the compensation that the court distributes.

We were introduced to the operation of the court by P. The speech he gave appealed to me in a way the most of all the presentations. It brought closest to reality the work that they actually do here – as if it is something that really matters. Can you tell that human rights interest me more than internal markets and competition? P wasn’t the smoothest of all people, but his examples were very enlightening.

He was also quite endearing when he introduced himself to me after the lecture. You see, I’ve been working as a courier this trip too. I was supposed to get the proofread articles from our honourable judges to J for the Lakimies-magazine. I’m not absolutely sure that the versions I got are exactly what she wants. If not then she just has to rely on modern communication methods.

They were talking of childhood experiences in the train – one of them. I did not catch half of it, since we were sitting a bit further – Eavesdropping? Me? Never! – but J said something along the lines of sharing childhood experiences, since putting them through the group therapy would help people get rid of childhood traumas that were a hindrance to finishing the dissertation. A joke, I know, but so much truth in it as to be worth a rueful smile. What a masochistic experience that would be; one I’m certain most people would not be ready for. When everything that a person goes through in thirty years gets dropped in your lap in an hour, it is too much. It’s much better to use things like...blogs, for example, as a personal therapist. I don’t know if it quite fair to do that, but no-one is forced to read blogs.

And it takes time before one gets comfortable with the idea of the net as a place where you can come across real people. I have for example told a couple of people at the Uni about my blog and it appears that they don’t read it. I think there are limits as to how well people wish to know you. Another question is of course whether it is naïve to share all your inner contemplations on the net. It is completely possible to misuse information of that kind. I am not as naïve as not to understand that. Yet that doesn’t stop me from writing. The benefits outweigh the dangers at least so far.

Also díscussions of plans of going to Tuscany next year. That would be very lovely. The countryside there is quite amazing too – maybe not quite as wonderful as around here, but still gorgeous. To Florence I’ve been twice already and it – unfortunately – didn’t terribly much impress me, but the idea of olive-picking and wine-harvesting is absolutely frigging marvellous. I would love to do that.

The journey is almost finished. On the airplane now: the food has been eaten – somewhat better than on the way to Brussels, but still not receiving full marks – the paper has been read and the evenings educational BBC-documentary is over. Our people are talking in the rows behind me, but I’m feeling a tad too travel worn to participate. I’m not an extrovert and there always tends to come a point sooner or later – and usually sooner – when I just can’t socialise anymore.

The security on the Frankfurt airport was again relatively high. They search you when you go through the security. Our line was a bit short of the electronic whatchmacallits so only men where checked with those; women were done “manually” by a pretty brunette. She had soft hands. Aargh, life is confusing. Pre-Tillian thoughts again.

Speaking of R+, Ilta-Sanomat reports that Rosenrot is on sale in Free-Record Shops. The DVD-version for 18,99 € – just today and tomorrow. I will not be happy if the DVD-ones are sold out before I get my hands on one. It’s a limited edition and Finland has plenty of Rammstein crazy people – the only country that got Benzin to number one on the singles list already during the first week. Yes, your merry little Finland. I want to hear ‘em songs.

We are almost to Helsinki. The trip is over and we’ve been to the important EU-institutions now. That takes a lot away from their remoteness, but also from their “pomp and glory”. The offices were like offices in any building, the people just like the bloke sitting next door – could be me if I had made my choices differently. Could be anyone – at least in Finland. In countries like France or Britain it may be a different thing, but at least in Finland anybody can become anything.

R asked what the best thing about this trip was and my answer was then food, company, architecture and scenery. After Strasbourg I had to add that city – the walk from the court. The adjectives just fail there. Sometimes things and places just are so beautiful that you have to stare and let them carry you with them.

I hope there is no snow, no snow, no snow... I cannot take snow yet, especially not after the weather in Strasbourg and Frankfurt. It was frigging warm there – almost 20 °C. Those lucky bastards! Lucky bleeping bastards.

Hey, and thanks to everyone who was along. I had fun. Next year in Tuscany, ay?

Nearly here now.

The OMY-European Tour – Day Five – 27th of October

The busiest day of them all. We spent nearly the entire day at the Court and then had to hurry to the train station again to catch the train to Strasbourg. We had an opportunity to follow a hearing in an IKEA-case. The case in itself was frankly rather boring, but it was an interesting opportunity to see the court in action. There was not terribly much interaction; the three parties – the representatives of IKEA, the Commission and the Council – read out loud their statements and took over an hour doing that. One of the judges asked basically just one question and the representatives of the Commission and Council had serious difficulties answering to that.

This kind of a tour would be extremely educational for law students too; it would dispel possible doubts about being able to cope in the European circles. And of course would just generally add awareness of the opportunities here – more than one person said that they are having occasional difficulties in recruiting people from Finland. Five years ago I would have been excited by a possibility like that, but I’m no more interested in the kind of responsibility or doing 12 hour days. No thank you, not for me.

I slept – or drowsed – for most of the train ride to Strasbourg. We arrived shortly before nine o’clock and checked into our hotel, which was really the best of the hotels in the three cities. Unfortunately we didn’t really have time to enjoy its offerings. We went out to find a restaurant again – that is one of the good things about travelling in a bigger company. You go out and eat in restaurants at evenings even if it is already nine. Alone I would not have stepped out of the hotel room anymore and would have missed seeing the Petite France – part of the old town by the river. Beautiful.

The OMY-European Tour – Day Four – 26th of October

(later entry) A relatively early start this morning. We are leaving Brussels and taking the train to Luxemburg. This is again one of the easier days program-wise. The program has been planned quite well, so we do also have plenty of free time. We have scheduled a visit to the Library of the European Court of Justice (or both courts? – didn’t pay enough attention) and then later in the evening a dinner with some representatives of the courts. I’ll get back to my impressions about both a little later, but first lets jump on the train to Luxemburg. Most of the stuff about Tuesday was also written down on the train – not too many opportunities for keeping the journal, I’m afraid – but here some direct observations – okay, edited direct observations...

Alright, touristy viewpoints. Mannekin Pis is small – prepare for a Mona-Lisa effect – the main square (Grand Place/Große Markt) of Brussels is tourist-filled even at this time of the year and decently impressive. I’d have to go to improve on art history to be able to tell you which eras and styles the buildings represented. I was disgustingly badly prepared for this week and did not check anything beforehand about the history of any of the cities we visited. There were also no guided tours so history-wise I know not much more about Brussels, Luxemburg or Strasbourg now than I did before. Will do better next time.

What I can say is that among the beautiful old buildings there is an awful amount of ugly new pompous offices. Quite a number of the older houses have also been left to deteriorate – in the hope, we heard, that they would eventually be of such a bad condition, that there was no sense in protecting them and the EU sources could be induced to by them with hard cash and build new buildings in their stead. All of this added to the general south-European colourfulness and did not make Brussels the tidiest of all cities. A nice city, but nowhere you absolutely have to go, since there are plenty of other cities in the world. Try Paris for example, or St. Petersburg, Stockholm or Strasbourg.

The Belgian countryside on the other hand is beautiful. We are on the train now, on our way to Luxemburg. It’s all green hills, picturesque old villages, copses of trees, stone churches and even a castle here and there. Now this is a place where one could live. Absolutely fabulous. Now, why can’t Finnish countryside be like this? I’d be away from the city so fast.

It’s not all as beautiful of course. Reach a place big enough to have a train-station and you get ugly factories and concrete buildings likes of which you’ll see the world over. Like this place Ciney for example. Nah, sorry Cineyans, you do have some beautiful greenery and stone buildings too. But it’s just so green here that I can’t stop marvelling. Nature can be so terribly relaxing in all its “verdant plendour”. I’m a little worried about the cold, white winter approaching.

Hmm, Luxemburg. The most modern hotel out of the three, near the train station. We walked quite a lot again today. Walking is possibly the best form of exercise, but it is not a bludgeonly idiotic idea to take sneakers along. Or anything comfortable to walk in. High heels can certainly be purty, but walking up and down medieval valleys is a bit of a masochistic experience. Which is why you think twice whether you will even try; and more likely than not you won’t – even if later you think you should have. Like you think that you should have woken up at six o’clock and gone for a morning walk, gone to visit all the cathedrals you did not have time to see and the art museums, should have checked what there was in the theatres and the opera... And still you never do. Why does one have to love comfort more than all the new exciting experiences... Tschk, tschk.

But anyway, the European Court of Justice. They had quite nice premises, at least from the inside, from the outside it was again one of those monstrous, big buildings. They had arranged the best welcoming committee and in other ways too had put most effort in meeting us. The library was nice but not really useful for me, because for obvious reasons they did not have much books on legal history. There would have been stuff on appeal procedure, but nothing that could be sensibly checked out in a short time.

So most of us did not stay at the library for that long and we went back to town to take a look around and wait for the dinner in the evening. Luxemburg is a beautiful town – a valley runs through it, which gives the entire place a very specific feeling, a river and a railway follow the valley, a castle is situated higher up and walls and the bastions surround the older centre. Bridges – older and more modern ones – complete the picture. A beautiful place which is worth a short re-visit.

The OMY-European Tour – Day Three – 25th of October

Tuesday – the day to visit the Commission headquarters. Dare I call the building huge? Recently renovated, very clean and sterile – long bare hallways with some attempts to decorate the place with paintings here and there. They have a sauna somewhere too – thanks to Erkki Liikanen. We were up to the commissioners’ floor and based on what we saw, it wasn’t particularly fancy. No wasting money on external extravaganza.

The people we met were really nice, especially P from Legal Services and H from the General Secretary. They had lunch with us in the commission’s cafeteria, which was big, effective and cheap. I ate well with only 3.04 €. In general we have eaten extremely well on this trip. This far (written on Wednesday – see how you can cheat when editing your text later) – full points go to the mozzarella-avocado salad at L’Ultime Atome – excellent place, will recommend it to everyone, situated by the church of S’Boniface near a fascinating African quarter – and the hors d’oeuvres at the Greek restaurant we were at with the representatives of Seula (Finnish EU-lawyers) on Tuesday evening. Lovely.

After the lunch our boys went to the war museum. I’ve been trying to remember whether P said already at the lunch that they were going to do that or whether it was H who told us that when we came from the ladies’ room and the boys had already gone. The difference between whether we had the possibility to go along or not. I had a good day and I am not hundred percent sure I would have gone anyway, since girl-bonding is important too, but history and war... History and war as compared to shopping wins always, with flying colours; history and war as compared to girl-bonding, that depends on the situation.

One of the guys – I heard later – also had remarked something along the lines of “women prefer shopping to museums anyway” (as a reason for not asking us, because if we heard about them going beforehand, it was P who said it in passing and not one of them), and I’m not sure whether I ought to be upset about the comment. I wasn’t when I heard about it, since I took it as a joke. But what if it wasn’t a joke? Do I still have a right to be upset? I mean, it is entirely possible – even probable – that most women DO prefer shopping to going to a war museum – or any museum for that matter. My preferred way of spending the afternoon would have actually also been a visit to the art museum, not the war one. But anyway, if something is true, is it a stereotype? Am I upset – I think I am a little upset after all, right or no – because someone might think of me as a stereotype? Would not acknowledge my individuality, the fact that despite being female I could get far greater kicks out of a war museum than going through shops? Am I upset at women, because they prefer shopping to museums? Am I upset because of my own prejudices; preferring a more gender-neutral society? Am I upset at my own femininity? That I would choose girl-bonding over going to a museum? I did after all choose it instead of going to a museum of any kind.

Okay, this goes under the never-ending identity-debate, which is probably better done somewhere else than here. This journal is turning out to be completely different from what I had originally planned. Where is my light, witty, slightly EU-critical account? Nowhere! Where is anything connected to the trip anyway? This could almost be inner contemplation penned down in a bus coming from a seminar in our own faculty.