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.

The OMY-European Tour – Day Two – 24th of October

The First official program number. We have arrived – through rain and twisting streets – to the DG Competition. (DG btw stands for Directorate-General – thank you Google again for your generous assistance. I’m not familiar with the Union slang, so I assumed it to be something along the lines of general department.)

Someone from the Merger Policy and Strategic Support Unit is here to tell us about Merger Review. The guy seems really nice, but I’ve never personally had the slightest interest in competition legislation. It’s all very technical and market oriented. Okay, now he said the word which is actually the interesting thing about mergers: consumer-protection. Regulations, measures, requirements and exceptions, conglomerates and vertical mergers don’t move me; what is interesting is why we regulate mergers, what it says about the interests and values of our society? I am rather certain we won’t be discussing that today.

Hmm, he does speak of the goals, but the viewpoint here is efficiency: administrative efficiency, reduction of costs and better allocation of jurisdiction so these could be achieved. Very commission-, state- and company-oriented. Naturally, of course, but I need the individual or community to be involved to get seriously interested myself. It’s intriguing to look at some of the others though and see how excited they are of this theme. That is as it should be: some – however strange it is ;-) – actually prefer spinach soup to chilli chocolate.

I like the informality of this room. Duffy Duck stands in the corner on a windowsill next to a plastic bulldozer and from the other corner a female saint smiles benevolently at both of them and the football in a glass case in the middle. On the wall there is an ad for the movie “Invasion of the Ants” and on the hallway we were greeted by a poster for an Astrid Lindgren-movie. I bet they don’t do their more important negotiations in these premises.

It’s still raining. My feet haven’t dried yet, but they don’t squish anymore either. I liked walking in the rain, even though buying the umbrella was a good idea. I mean really, who could possibly live with panda-eyes, bird’s nest for a hair and clothes soaked to the bone!! ;-) Makes me thing of the time when one was wetter than ever. Thunder, curtain dropping, slow strides to the front of the stage… Okay, back to the reality. No insane grins, when there’s talk about “review and consolidation of the Notices on jurisdiction”.

Coffee-break. I notice that I’ve been working too many times as a seminar secretary. There I go again arranging the coffee table. They had brought in the milk-portions, sugar, tea bags and spoons in a paper bag and left it on the table. Now I definitely like unofficial, but I’m not sure whether this is not just a tad too much. I also notice that in certain situations I like tidiness. As in throwing empty milk-portions to the thrash can half a meter way. ::cough, cough:: girlish, I know.

For some reason I am again wondering if some people here might think that I’m bit of an idiot – you know: harebrained, big blue eyes, decent at organising things, but not necessarily blessed with too much brains. I’d like to think that I’m not an idiot. But, really, would an idiot know that she isn’t an idiot? Or that she is? Would an idiot have knowledge for knowing? Knowing of knowledge? Non-knowledged know-how...

But seriously, I am not capable of expressing my opinions properly in the presence of some people – for various reasons. Sometimes I’ve been known to adapt the wide-eyed, brainless “ooh, aah, reeaally?” attitude, which is why I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if someone did think that I was an idiot.

I am not an idiot – honest. But still I have to ask myself if that harebrained “woman” is truly a part of me. If she is, should I embrace her or try to change myself towards something/someone I am more comfortable with? Is there again a middle way – being more articulate, knowing one’s own mind, but giving up the desire for perfection; the need to know everything, the fear of saying something without thorough knowledge? Having an idiotic opinion, making an idiotic statement always now and then doesn’t make you an idiot.

- Really?
- Yeah, really. Otherwise we would all be idiots.
- Maybe we are.
- Is that your definition of an idiot?
- Mine? I am not worried about being an idiot. I am perfect. Perfection itself. You’re the one moaning about idiocy. So ask yourself what for you is an idiot?
- I don’t know. One who never questions the rationality and sensibility of their thoughts and actions? I don’t know.
- So perfection is idiocy?
- Did I say that? Yeah, maybe.
- Well, then you don’t have to worry. You are not an idiot.
- Oh, bugger off.

Okay, time to move on. The second presentation of the day. Is there something to be drawn from these lectures for my own research? Some questions about uniform applicability, control of national / local courts, being the ultimate guarantor of....(insert your choice of value), parallel competence. Same questions being talked over and over, century after century. Efficiency again. That is what they were mad about already in the 18th century too.

Transparency is also an interesting theme; as a viewpoint to the eternal “legitimation of power” –question. What the attitude towards the need for – the right to? – transparency tells of the state, the rights of and the importance given to its citizens. Yeah, we can think about that for the rest of the evening. I bet.

The OMY-European Tour – Day One – 23rd of October

The European tour is about to begin. I am standing on the bus stop and waiting. I did not write letters earlier today nor clean. I dropped the cat at my sister’s, checked all the relevant websites and spent an eternity packing. I’m only taking a smallish carry-on luggage with me and it’s naturally quite impossible to know what to take along without trying some clothes on. I was absolutely forced to model for myself a moment or two. I know I tend to bitch about people dressing up, but still it’s just so bloody nice to look a bit more ladylike now and then. Makes one feel almost beautiful.

I needed that – looking pretty. Yesterday, after writing that bit here, I couldn’t tear myself away from the net immediately. So what did I do? I ended up checking the web-sites of some of the forum-people and although some of them made me feel relieved not to be seventeen anymore, some of the others…well, quite an humbling experience, let me tell you that. How can some people have such a way with words, be so artistic, have such interesting lives. It made me troubled again for a moment: that familiar feeling of who do I really want to be. Could one possibly be wasting one’s life sitting on the couch doing puzzles? Not possible, right?

Not that far from the airport now. (I am skipping some stuff I wrote. Moaning that you do not need to see; I’m not actually that slow a writer nor is the ride from my house to the airport that short.) Yup, but it’ll be nice to see people again. Hardly anyone coming from Helsinki though – that, I must say, I find a little disappointing. Interesting how this trip will turn out. These days I try to not have too great expectations, because great expectations mean great disappointments. We’ll see how it goes. Alright, let’s go meet everyone.

On the plane now. Olli Rehn, the Finnish EU commissar, is onboard too. We are going to visit his cabinet on Tuesday, but I don’t know if we are going to meet him. Remains to be seen. He went and waited patiently on the line like everyone else, which was nice to see. No VIP-treatment here.

The food-carts are approaching. Great. I’m seriously getting hungry. Food. I want food...

I am a weird person and usually like airplane-food. This time Finnair doesn’t get full points however. Beef in honey-rosemary sauce sounds good, but wasn’t. The potatoes were wet; you know when you take fried potato-pieces from the freezer and then warm them up. Wet and raw. We were also served plain rye bread, the taste of which can be summed up in one word – dry. And for dessert: one piece of chocolate candy. Well, I am full, fed and feel better, so one can’t complain too much. And the tea was good in any case. I have developed a liking for tea – with milk. Don’t you think I would make a fine Brit?

No-one will ever read this entry. I’ve read some blogs and even if they are funny, one tends to get bored by long entries. Maybe I should just shut up now, since I have nothing exciting to report anyway and start reading my book. Yeah, will let you know more when we reach Brussels – the power capital of the Union.

(later entry) Well, we made it to Brussels and found our hotel. An oldish, smallish, nice one near the centre. We settled in and left to meet famous locals: mussels in Brussels. I’m afraid that I turned out to be a touch finicky and left others to have their mussels and went for something else instead. K let me taste one though, and I must admit that they weren’t half as bad as I thought. Mussels could be new good friends. Or at least acquaintances to be tolerated.

I also promised to take care of the seminar arrangements in the Helsinki end for next year’s Lammi seminar. I should try and keep that from P’s ears, since she rather threatened to hit me on the head, if I would do another seminar instead of concentrating on finishing my dissertation. But I’m really bad at saying no, and it won’t really take that much time. For the work on the first Lammi-seminar I spent weeks, but last year it was only about twenty hours. That’s nothing. Really.

Tonight I have also drunk my first glass of beer. Yes, I admit it; I’ve never done that before. Okay, lemon beer and blackberry beer and something like that, but only and exactly because they don’t taste like beer. I don’t like beer. But tonight I had a real beer – by accident, since the waiter was supposed to bring me a raspberry beer, which he didn’t and since I don’t really believe in complaining... New experiences are good for you anyway. And a blackberry beer afterwards in the bar ;-).

This was not a “wet” trip, for anyone I think. And I definitely belonged to the section which drank less than most, but everything is relative. I never drink much, since coming from an alcoholic family I have problems with drinking and drunks, who can’t behave. There was none in our group, but you never know with other people in the bars... Does that sound Victorian and prudish? Well, I don’t think I really care if it does. Personal history, personal experiences, personal responses. And don’t take me wrong, if you can behave when drinking, there is nothing wrong with it. But anyway, twice to bars this week, other times back to the hotel straight from the restaurants, in bed by midnight every night, if I remember correctly. So thank you, fellow roommate, that worked rather perfectly.


Dii-da-daa-daa-daa, this has been such a rosenrot day… We came back from the European tour yesterday and I am still editing my “journal”. I’ll post it when I’m done, which is hopefully tomorrow. I started today (meaning Saturday, since I note that it’s actually past midnight), but only finished Day One.

I was up early today – relatively, anyway – and already at Myyrmanni at around nine o’clock. Not much later I had my copy of Rosenrot (the limited edition, you will note) in my hands and still a little later I had popped it in the CD-player and my ears were being caressed by the most beautiful voice in the world. I decided to leave doing the groceries and headed towards the forest. A wise choice since dear fellow customers would have thought me an idiot, for the insane goofy smile on my face. Effing brilliant. I love nearly all of the songs. Mann gegen Mann, Rosenrot, Wo bist du, Feuer und Wasser, Zerstören, Spring... The man really sounds better than ever. I’ve listened to the record now at least five times and I think I may have to do the same tomorrow. Dear people, if you don’t have an obsession, go acquire one. Now. A harmless one would be very good. Guaranteed to make you smile or your money back.

Okay, I think I have to leave the computer now. The cat, which I remembered to go and fetch back, seems to have a cold and keeps glancing at me with the sort of “time to go to bed” –look. Probably a good idea.

lokakuuta 22, 2005


Kind of a slightly boring day; one of those when I was planning to do all kinds of things, but ended up doing nothing but cleaning up a little, translating the articles I was supposed to and sitting in front of the TV and doing puzzles. All the more to do for tomorrow then. I need to take the cat to my sister’s, pack, do some more cleaning up, preferably try to write a letter or two and be at the airport by 3.30. We’ll see how that will work out.

It’s raining outside and the wind is rattling the windows. At least it isn’t snowing. There were pics in the news from up north and there were plenty of snow there already. Disgusting. 22nd of December or thereabouts is a good day for it to start snowing, no need for snow earlier than that.

My brains are frozen tonight. I think I’ll just go back to my puzzles now. I very much doubt that I will be able to write from the European tour so I’ll be back again after a week.

lokakuuta 20, 2005

I want to go home

I am cold, tired and I have a headache. It feels like a draft coming from somewhere and a wicked little goblin has moved inside my skull to play “squeeze” with my brains. I want to go home, I want food and something hot to drink, a warm blanket and a movie. I think today is the day when I will finally load the DVD with “Goodbye Lenin” and see if it is as good as everyone says.

Yep, I’m gone as soon as I have written this. Off to see whether the bus or train is today’s choice of transport. I wish I would live as close to the University as my sister. I like their apartment. It’s ten minutes walk from the Uni, you can see the sea from their living room window and it’s all beautiful old buildings, boats of all shapes and sizes, parks and just generally peace and quiet when you go out and walk the dog at night. Okay, my neighbourhood is relatively peaceful too, but there is no way anybody could ever call it beautiful. It’s your typical 70’s suburb, which says it all. Yeah, next time I move, it’s definitely back to the centre or then properly to the country. Now I only have to win the lottery, or I’ll either end up living in a kitchen closet or a hundred kilometres from Helsinki.

Cannot...write...anymore, the goblin has moved into my stomach and has started to devour it. I need food. Apparently three mandarins, one chocolate cookie and some chocolate raisins is not enough for lunch.

lokakuuta 19, 2005


I’m at my sisters tonight. They left for Barcelona earlier today to visit my other sister and I’m minding the dog for a day. My youngest sister will take care of her for the rest of the week, since I can’t be away from home for so many nights. The cat would never forgive me.

The dos is licking my neck which is slighly annoying. She usually does that only when she is tired, but she seems active enough. Not as insanely energetic as usual, but still active enough. Hmm, spoken too early, I see. She’s actually fallen asleep.

Alright, so today I did prepare myself mentally and went shoe-shopping. In the end I got two pairs of shoes, two handbags and some make-up, since I didn’t really pack properly for this nighting out. Shopping is always a weird experience, since I’m still not certain of my style. There are the opposite ends of the feminine-elegant and the makeup-less, worn jeans and old t-shirts -style. Something in the middle would probably be good once again.

Oops, seems like not everyone else knows how to dress either. Andrea Merkel in TV right now in an absolutely hideous dress. A pink princess-dream, which an adult woman who wishes to be taken seriously should not be caught dead in. Hmm, that was perhaps a bit too categorical, but certain type of women really should not dress in little girly princess-dresses. Not that it really matters how a person dresses, but still clothes are part of the image and message you give out. If you are a public figure, you pretty much have to think about that kind of things too. We mere mortals are luckier.

I’m watching DW, since my sister has cable, which I don’t. There’s some program on about People & Politics and they want to know what the viewers think on the question “Do women approach politics in a different way than men?” They seem to think that Germany’s politics are going to turn into a “softer” direction just because Merkel is going to enter the chancellorship. Do they really think that women can’t be hard? Merkel or no Merkel – and that woman is hardly the softest in the world to have gotten so far – just the fact that the Green party is out and the Conservatives are in should tell anyone that the direction is not going to turn towards anything “softer”.

News in German. I can actually understand some of this. Excellent. There’s the Forum Junger Rechtshistoriker in Frankfurt next May; if I really put some effort into it, maybe I would actually be able to speak German there this time. That would be lovely.

There’s no point to my ramblings tonight, is there? Maybe I should just wake the dog up and take her out for a walk. Jep, Maija, wakey, wakey... Out we go...

lokakuuta 18, 2005

shoes and infanticide

I’m feeling lazy. Last week went by so fast and this one is threatening to do the same. I have a number of letters I should write, books to read, articles to translate, shopping to do for next week… We are going to Brussels, Luxemburg and Strasbourg, you see. Does that infamous triangle sound familiar? Yes, it’s the EU-tour of the research school and I am thinking I should be wearing something else than my jeans and sneakers. I have no shoes. I can regress back to the clothes I bought for my short spell in the ministry, but I have absolutely no shoes. Shoes are not my thing, which is why I end up wearing a pair until they disintegrate around my feet. For the current time of the year I have my sneakers and a pair of something brown, which used to belong to my sister and which say “woosh” when you walk around. Both of those options look alright only with my black jeans, which is why I have been wearing my jeans a lot lately. Aargh, I hate shoe-shopping. Shoes are ridiculously expensive. Seriously, if shoes look decent, they either cost a fortune or they will end up killing your feet. Maybe that’s why shoes exist: they hate their lives and get all they joy out of torturing feet. Or it’s a revenge thing against the smelly toes and all their wiggling. Oh well, no hope for it, I guess. But I’m not going shopping today; I’m just not mentally prepared.

What have I been doing today? Reading the general court records from 1800. I’m getting quite familiar with Carl Fredrik Krabbe who keeps asking the court if this or that person convicted of homicide can ask the king for clemency. These records won’t tell what happened to those people. Well, there was that one entry with an order from Stockholm to proceed with the execution of the death penalty: a maid convicted of killing her child. Most of the women who appear in these records are unwed women charged with killing their newborn babies. You didn’t want to find yourself pregnant in those times if you weren’t married; I can tell you that. It’s not just one or two women who decided to kill their little ones and risk the death penalty instead of raising the children in the society of those days. Different times, different values. Were you villains or victims, maid Carin Philipsdotter Philpula, maid Catharina Huttutar, crofter’s wife Maria Mattsdotter Klemola, sailor’s wife Maria Elisdotter Krook and you Valborg Tihotar, locked into a spinning house? Hmm, wives too – does that make you guiltier? What made you do it, Marias?

Those aren’t really my questions dissertation-wise, but I could actually do that. A micro-historical study – an article – about infanticide and the criminal reforms of the enlightenment era, taking the case of one of these women as the starting point. Or a more mentality-oriented study, maybe a sort of a discourse-analysis thingy – the court records and what they tell of the establishment’s / society’s attitudes towards women having children out of wedlock. Oh whee, I’m seriously starting to see the point in doing research still when I’m a gray-haired old little granny and surrounded by a cat-farm.

I will write that article. Not right now, since I have a million other things to do and the dissertation to finish before they stop paying me, but I bloody well will do it. Another ooohhh, if this Norfa-thing is still about practicing to write international articles I know what I will be talking about in April in Iceland. Yay.

Happy, happy joy joy. Okay, enough rejoicing, now home. But first I must wrap up my gorgeous Tilly-pictures, so I can get them home safe and sound. And dry. I put one up on my wall here at work. I must admit it is a weeeee bit distracting, but I’ll give it a chance.

lokakuuta 12, 2005

Hullut päivät

”Hullut päivät” are here again (that’s the biannual sale of one of the biggest department stores in Finland for those of you, who have never seen the people take to the streets with their yellow plastic bags). I remembered again why I never venture beyond the first floor during the Hullut päivät. I am not that keen on crowds and during the three days there are always plenty. I got some CD’s – S.O.A.D. and Maija Vilkkumaa and...da-daa...Benzin. Having listened to it once I can say that the re-mixes are even worse than I thought, the original is fine but I already had it, nice pics on the booklet but had seen those too and the booklet itself is a cardboard (?) one. The Apocalyptica remix is still called Kerosinii, so no answer to the question whether that is a misspelling or a deliberate choice.

I also got the latest edition of Soundi with a long article about R+. It’s nice, with some good snippets of information, but not the best of interviews – Paul talks a lot, but doesn’t say terribly much this time. I promised to translate it, too.

I also bought some books: Umberto Eco’s “Foucault’s Pendulum”, which sounds fascinating, The Chronicles of Narnia, which I have managed not to read this far, and...a second da-daa...Kalevala, which I also haven’t read. Such gaps in one’s education. I’ve read more of Iliad than of Kalevala, tschk, tschk me. Another question is of course when I will have time to read all these books.

So music, books and chocolate, and some more chocolate, and still more chocolate, and lemon liquorice. Who needs anything else?

lokakuuta 11, 2005

process writing

It was so foggy this morning that I could hardly see anything from the window. For a moment I wondered whether it was snowing outside. But no, still as warm as it has been for weeks. It is – as the venerable newspaper tells us – so warm that this kind of weather in October occurs only once in about a hundred years.

I went to work a little later than usual and walked to the railway station in Myyrmäki. The teenagers of the local junior highschool were on recess and I had a sudden horrid 80’s flashback. Some of their clothes were really…..weird. Or maybe I’m just getting old.

This was again one of those not the most productive of days – I had lunch with E, coffee with H and practised my Swedish. That’s useful isn’t it? Languages are always important. Right? Even if the practise consists of translating you know what. The net community was happy. ;-)

Thankfully we did also have the post-graduate seminar today. Nothing strictly scientific, but a lecture on process writing instead. Some excellent suggestions, which I am going to try out tomorrow. Let’s see if I can draw mind maps. Maybe I could figure out whether there is some point in my idea for the third, appeal-chapter; I had thought of concentrating on the process of establishing the correctness of a court case and on how during different times it has been understood to be possible to arrive at the truth. What is the “measuring stick” against which you scrutinise an appealed case during the era of law of nature? How do the changes in the epistemology of truth – can one say so – affect the superior courts? It’s such a mess in my head still. First thing I should do is probably to read Kevät’s book again and see how much exactly she has written about all of that already. I don’t remember, but obviously I can’t be redoing what she has already done.

There is always talk about time management during process writing -courses too. It got me seriously thinking about my working hours on my way to home. I am completely free to decide when I work. If I would wish to sleep during the days and work at night I could do that. That’s not what I want, but I could live more accordingly to my natural rhythm. During holidays I tend to go to bed after midnight and get up later. I could do that. And I have trouble concentrating on reading at work, which is why I could read at home. It seems to be the easiest for me to read during the evenings, whereas writing is better in the morning. Afternoons are not so good for me concerning anything that requires brains. Maybe I could seriously try that. Get up a little later, go to work for maybe four hours, then do some sports, fiction, have a life, and then read for another three to four hours during the evenings. Ooh, that sounds rather brilliant. I would try it already tomorrow, but there’s the compa-seminar on the afternoon and I’m going. I can’t do it on Thursday either, because there is the movie and on Friday we are going to Imatra again; well, next week then.

Ok, I’ll try to do some translating again before I fall asleep.

lokakuuta 10, 2005

The Archive pics

Here is finally an example of the pics I took at the Land-archives in Vaasa a couple of weeks ago. I've just spent a couple of hours trying to decipher few of the pages. Somewhat slow going I must say ;-).

lokakuuta 09, 2005

daydreaming and decisions

One can’t be busy and dutiful all the time, can one? I was yesterday; I read a book about history of human rights and part of an anthology – can you call a selection of scientific writings an anthology? – about enlightenment (Horkheimer, Foucault, Habermas, those dudes). More than 350 pages altogether – I was rather pleased with myself. I had the best plans to continue today with another 300-pager about the intellectual foundations of modern culture, but somehow I haven’t managed a page yet.

I got up at ten, fed the cat and spent nearly two hours having breakfast, reading the paper and generally day-dreaming. Then I was slowly heading towards the couch and the modernity-book, when my sister sent me a SMS and asked whether I’d be interested in going to my other sister’s this evening to make pizza. I contemplated for an entire second and replied promptly that sure, I’ll come. I looked at the watch, realised that there was no way I was going to be able to read that entire book today and decided that I might as well do something more relaxing first and possibly skim the book later.

This entire messaging and decision-making had interrupted a terribly important and lively discussion going on in my head. I can’t remember anymore what exactly it had to do with, but as a result I was forced to open the computer and go through most of my Rammstein-picture collection. I think it probably had something to do with men and how they can look at their best. Since now there was no way I was going to be able to get knowledgeable enough about Mr. Dupré’s ideas about enlightenment’s effects on modernity, I decided to watch a couple of concert shots too, and both of the long MTV Rammstein-specials. And the VIVA-one so it wouldn’t have felt neglected.

And now it is nearly four o'clock. I have managed to feed myself, enforce my Rammsteinian-addiction, finish a number of Japanese puzzles (another obsession in making) and... well, I suppose that’s it, but does one really need to do more on a Sunday? Even if there is a seminar one is supposed to be teaching Monday at 8 o’clock? But it’s not like I actually HAVE to give the students this book to read. They have plenty already and this is definitely another one of those “old, dead, smart guys” books. The course is supposed to be history, not philosophy or theory after all. Yeah, they are not getting this book! I’m keeping it; I’ll just read it for myself later. You can thank Rammstein for not having to go through 300 pages of Kant, Lessing, Heidegger and Herder, children.

- Oh dear, just because you are drooling after...
- Ouch, woman! Save my ears! What’s the big deal, everyone knows that...
- Everyone knows nothing. And let’s keep it that way. Did you have a point?
- I was just commenting on the fickleness of your decision making. How on the basis of your...on the basis of something so completely irrelevant you make decisions like these.
- So?
- So nothing. I just thought it was interesting.
- Well, life is.
- Fine.
- Fine.

lokakuuta 07, 2005


Rammstein’s new single was supposed to be out today, but the stores were a big black hole. They told me to come back next week, around Wednesday or so. Buahaa, I wanted the single today, not next week. I don’t particularly like singles, I have no interest in remixes and I have heard Benzin already a number of times. It’s not even among my favourite Rammstein-songs by a long stretch, but still I wanted it.

So no Benzin; one good interview though, with Schneider. He has such smart things to say.

In addition to this being the day of Benzin with no Benzin, today was also about the last day of the drama course. The plays were excellent again. My group had gotten their togas out and I think they had managed to incorporate the legal elements into their play better than any of the groups I have seen in three years. It was still funny, and so was the play of the other group too. Theirs was about bastards, murder and an inheritance in 15th century Florence. Drama courses are possibly the best form of teaching there is – at least they are the funniest by far.

We also decided to switch the cases for the Enlightenment course since I won’t be here during the last session. So that means that I have to have my second case ready for Monday. I wrote the first version today, so that’s no problem. What is the problem is the fact that I haven’t really read anything about the human rights -development or the entire modernity-discussion yet. If I wish to do things properly I ought to read three-four books before Monday morning. I think I know what I will be doing this weekend.

lokakuuta 06, 2005

non-heteronormative violence

Not the most productive of days, but I try to get something read still today. I have a big stack of books just waiting for me... I think they are getting lonely and bored all alone.

Kristiina Insitute for Women’s Studies and a few other organisers had arranged a seminar on non-heteronormative violence and I went to listen to the first session. The guest speaker was Lori Girshick from the States who was talking about her book "Woman-to-Woman Sexual Violence: Does She Call It Rape” which was as the title suggests about sexual abuse in a Lesbian context. It was a very good presentation.

She’s a sociologist, so she had of course some interesting case data. What got me thinking though, was what she said about the need for concepts and context through which to interpret something that has happened. She was talking about women who had been sexually assaulted by other women and who could not properly deal with what had happened since – at least prior to her book – the whole issue was more or less ignored. There was no terminology for lesbian rape. Does that mean that if there are no concepts, no context, an event “has not happened”; that what has happened is something that the pre-existing concepts do cover? Because we value things through concepts it is not totally irrelevant, whether we talk of abuse or rape, teasing or bullying, improper behaviour or harassment and so on.

She was also talking about the need to acknowledge the fact that women can be violent too. That there are women, who are just as capable of jealousy, obsessive behaviour and violence as men; that being in the company of women does not guarantee that you are “safe”. This may not be very PC (that’s “politically correct” – did someone say you won’t learn new things reading Rammstein-interviews), but I started to wonder whether we create “the violent woman” in the process of acknowledging women’s violence. With men there is the tendency to start from the assumption that many men are prone to violence and accept that with a sort of “boys will be boys” –mentality. Isn’t there the danger of doing the same for women in this process? Do we create something new or do we just acknowledge what already exists, but is hidden and unspoken? Would it be possible by acknowledging women’s violence to put the focus on non-violence as the norm for both genders and see the violent behaviour as a real deviation? No more of the tacit acceptance that the media spreads?

I haven’t processed that thoroughly, but maybe you get what I mean. I also had an idea during that seminar for a possible story. I think I’ll write it. If it ends up being a short story, then it will, but I want to see if I can write something with a real plot. Beginning, middle and an end; something other than just random thoughts.

I actually found one of my old random thoughts –writings today. I was looking for an old version of my licentiate thesis and I came across it by accident – I had completely forgotten about ever writing that. I rather liked it, but it reminded me of the days when I wasn’t that happy with life or myself. I had already posted it on my other blog, but then I went and deleted it. I'm practising self-criticism in a good sense ;-) Sometimes it's good to remember to keep some things to oneself.

Alrighty, if I am going to still read something today, it has to be now. What is there...

lokakuuta 05, 2005

Cats and dogs

I had a good day again today. It was a beautiful day too – really warm considering the time of year.

I met Rasmus – the most adorable little puppy in the world. He’s a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier (now isn’t that a mouthful). If I were to get a dog, I think I might just want one like him. Somehow I doubt that the cat would be very happy to get a dog for a friend though. And my days are too often too long, for it to be fair for a dog. Cats manage better alone, although I can tell that the cat likes company too.

I finished the book about the Enemies of Enlightenment and started an article about legal certainty, which gave me an idea for the third chapter of my dissertation. I also started to appreciate more the need to really process what you read. I am not incapable of producing ideas if I take the time to think. Gives one confidence, that kind of thing. I really am glad to be back at the university.

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy just started. I just realised that I’ve never seen this from the beginning. I think I’ll stop thinking now. Queer eye and Japanese puzzles for tonight. And tea with honey. Yay!

lokakuuta 04, 2005


Hot shower, tea with honey, apple pie with whipped cream – what could be better? Half of the Enemies of Enlightenment read and I am feeling good about myself. A girl in the TV who sounds like me. I have started to like documentaries. I am feeling happy this evening.

I started to think about what I wrote earlier today. About rumours and spreading them. Is it enough to mention that a thing is a rumour, if you pass it on anyway? Especially as publicly (potentially) as here. Is one allowed to trust in the readers and their capability to question and weigh things for themselves? There have always been people who believe that something is true if it is written down. No matter if it is written critically and questioned, they still think that there must be an essence of truth behind it. In this one may safely assume that the human nature is not very quick to change.

Does that mean that the writer must always take responsibility for those of her/his readers who do not read critically? Maybe it is not possible to answer that categorically one way or the other. One has to weigh the reasons behind spreading rumours with the consequences that accepting them uncritically or misunderstanding them can cause. The reasons, the intent can also mean the difference between spreading rumours and discussing them. It is impossible to judge the validity or invalidity of the rumour without investigating the arguments for and against its truthfulness. If you do not do that, then we are closer to just spreading rumours and in order for that to be acceptable, the reasons behind the action have to be acceptable as well.

...The cat IS interested in the animals on TV. There’s a program on about smuggling of dogs or something like that and she is watching it again. How weird. And I’m weird because I feel guilty changing the channel when the cat is watching the dog-program...

Yeah, but back to rumours. Is it enough that one’s intent is not malicious in spreading rumours? That is such an easy excuse: “I didn’t really mean anything bad by it...” No, I suppose that’s not enough. What then constitutes an acceptable reason? It is very difficult to speak of spreading knowledge when passing on rumours, since the accuracy of the facts is questionable in the first place. One may perhaps speak of spreading information, since information does not have to be correct. That is not really an answer though, since what is spreading rumours by that kind of definition other than spreading information. So again it is acceptable only if your intentions are acceptable.

One of the most important reasons for spreading rumours in the sense of gossiping is said to be the strengthening of a group’s solidarity. But what about spreading rumours when there is no social group? Or is there always one, even if it is an imaginary one? Do we create the group in our mind, even when its existence is not apparent?

Does any of this lead anywhere? Except the moral lesson that one ought to be more careful when talking about things, which accuracy one is not sure of.


There is an evaluation of the university’s research activities going on and we’ve been asked to stay at work until 17.00 in case the evaluators will come to visit the institute. I doubt I would be here otherwise anymore. I came early again because of the enlightenment-course and even though I took the time to write a non-work related letter after it, I still think the day has been long enough. I could use the time to read, but I’m so tired again that I start to fall asleep as soon as I’ve managed a page or two. I doubt the evaluators will even come, but who knows.

I hope that they are at least being thorough with the rest of the faculty. I heard a rumour today, that one of them wouldn’t be taking the job very seriously and would be using this opportunity basically for tourism and advancing own research interests. Their report has an influence on how much money we will be getting, so it’s rather troubling if one of the evaluators won’t take part in the whole process. I wonder if it would be good or bad for the faculty if I should mention about this in the odd chance that I should ran again into some of the people in the money-distributing end. Is it the task of the university to control that the people evaluating them are doing their job properly? Hmm, maybe it is just a rumour, a misunderstanding, and the person in question is busy evaluating and not taking sightseeing tours. One may hope.

Another fifteen minutes and then I’m going home. I have Bernhard Schlink’s the Reader with me and I think I will be able to finish it in the train. I remember that French girl speaking about it in Frankfurt. When was it, three years ago? I don’t remember her name anymore, but I think it must have been that afternoon we went to visit the Goethe-museum. She had heard a rumour – always rumours – that Bernhard Schlink was really M. S. Or was it that M. S. was really the man in the book, Michael Berg? Yes, I think that was it, that Schlink was writing the story of his friend M. S., when he was writing about Michael and Hanna. I doubt it’s true. I cannot see anything of the book’s Michael in the other one.

I like the book. It doesn’t flow easily and it is not always easy to lose oneself in it, but I think it may be partly the translations fault. I’m sure it would be better to read it in German, but I don’t quite trust my language skills yet. I’ve read two books in German by now, but they were rather easy ones. I’m still at about page ten with that book by Imre Kertész I started months ago and I think Schlink is probably more in his league than the other two. Oh, who knows, who cares. I’m reading it in English and that’s all there is to it. The book is about dealing with guilt (personal and collective), building identities, feeling abandoned and hurt by love. One of them books that deserves contemplation. I probably ought to finish it though before I start analysing it too much.

Yup, it’s five o’clock. The evaluators – I hear – were here for about two minutes, but they never made a tour or wanted to talk to the researchers. It would be interesting to know if they were all here or not. I’ll ask tomorrow – maybe – but now I’ll go home, see what else I got from the library yesterday and eat some of the apple pie I baked.

- Tschk, girl, you were supposed to finish that book about the enemies of Enlightenment!
- I’ll read it tomorrow. There’s still almost two hundred pages to go and I am too tired to read it today.
- You’ve been too tired for the past five days, you lazy buffoon. Take it home! No touching Schlink or apple pie before you’ve read at least half of it.
- Come on! I’ve been at work for almost nine and a half hours already.
- Yep, out of which you have spent more than four doing something that doesn’t really smack of work. Right? Am I right or wrong? Huh? Right?
- Fine, I’ll read half of it, but not a word more.
- That a girl.
- OH, SHUT UP!!!

lokakuuta 01, 2005

Interior decorating

The cat just spent about twenty minutes watching a nature documentary. I don’t know if she was interested in the sounds or the animals. I thought it was the birds at first, but she seemed to like the elephants and foxes just as much. Detective stories clearly aren’t her thing; she left as soon as the documentary was over.

I shouldn’t start to watch this either. It’s almost eight o’clock, so it’s time for sauna. Well, it was later than I thought. I’m back now, all fresh and clean. Going to sauna is always just as good and relaxing – well, figuratively speaking anyway: it can hardly be just as good and relaxing every single time. The sauna in our building isn’t the most comfortable in the world; it’s clean, it’s functional, but it has kind of clinical, cold feeling about it. Well, it’s still a sauna.

There’s a Jude Law –movie on TV tonight, but I don’t know if I am too tired to watch it. We did have the party yesterday and it was just after one o’clock before I was home; before I was ready for bed it was closer to two. I didn’t have anywhere to go this morning, but I couldn’t sleep anymore after nine. So I got up, discovered that there is something wrong with my toaster, that most of the tomatoes had already gone bad, read the newspaper and had to tell the cat to move just once. The kitchen table is almost the only place from where she can look out, so she is allowed there. It’s slightly annoying only when I’m trying to read the paper and she feels like she absolutely has to be petted. Or when she gets interested in the food.

We went to Ikea today – and were not the only ones there. The lines were still moderately short and I don’t think we stood there for more than 10-15 minutes. I didn’t get anything big: a small rug, light bulbs, batteries, that sort of stuff. I haven’t managed to come back from there with so little in a long time. My apartment is really starting to look like a model case for Ikea.

I think I need to do something to my house, but I’m still not really sure what my style is. The living room especially needs something, since it’s where I spend most of my time. I need a proper desk, an armchair or two and paintings, maybe. The aquarium might look better as well, if there were actually water and fishes in it. And a stereo, I need a stereo. Maybe I ought to spend a little. New curtains for the kitchen and painting that section above the window, I think that might do the trick there. The kitchen can be the new red room, not the living room. I’d planned it to be blue when I moved, but I never got around to it, since my couch is red. But that’s no big deal. I don’t need a new couch, since it is one of those Ikea-ones the fabric of which you can change. Other than that I don’t really need to get rid of anything else. Yeah, I do think I will spend a little.

Yaaaaaawwwnnn, getting...more...tired, but I think I’ll try to watch the movie anyway.