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.