maaliskuuta 13, 2006

Gone for a couple of days

Just a short note to say that March is indeed turning out to be as busy as I predicted. I will have to get back to guest lectures, parties and concerts (another tomorrow by the way) in a few days time, since now there is just too much to do. I'll be back!

maaliskuuta 11, 2006

Congratulations K!

Life is busy. I’m at work and should start to prepare for the party soon.

The public defence of K’s doctoral thesis took place this morning. His opponent was from Yale University and was not totally aware of all the traditions of the Finnish style public defence, so it didn’t last as long as usual. It was quite entertaining though, since the foreign opponents usually have more eye for the show-aspects of the occasion instead of badgering the debater about spelling mistakes in footnote 145. Good, relevant questions, which were not too specific. Even people who were not legal historians said that it was easy to follow. The contemporary concerns and biases of Roman Law scholars in the interpretation of ancient Roman legal history was basically the subject of this morning.

And it was the first dissertation ever (the book, not the defense this morning) in which my name was mentioned! ;-) It is common to write a page or two of thanks in the beginning of the dissertation. K had thanked quite a large amount of people by name, so I was there too.

But anyway, it was a good occasion. A couple of us went to have lunch afterwards, which was nice too. One of the Swedish quests came along and I noticed again my limitations with the language. I had absolutely no problems understanding Swedish when the Finns spoke it. I even found myself speaking fairly fluently. But when this guy speaks… I have to concentrate like crazy and I still miss a considerable deal of what he is saying. He is from Skåne, which kind of explains it. (skånska is an insane dialect from Southern Sweden, for those of you not in the know.)

I didn’t see any point in trying to rush home to prepare for the evening, so I took my clothes and accessories and make-up with me here and will start prettifying myself in an hour. Have done that before and I’m sure will do it again in the future. Sometimes it is nice to dress up – although expensive. I’m using my old evening dress, but I decided that I needed at least some new jewellery. So, I went shopping yesterday evening and ended up spending 100 euros on necklaces, ear-rings, scarves, a handbag and a couple of other things (including MGM! Finally!). Insane. It’s kind of good that we are using euros these days, because in the old days I would never have spent 600 marks on things like that. Argh, I don’t even want to think about that.

I have lots of new pretty jewellery now though. All I have to do anymore is to learn to use them. ;-)

Yeah, but it’s been busy. K’s opponent gave a lecture yesterday, about the separation of Church and State and compared the situation in US and Europe (North of the Alps). It was actually really fascinating and it was interesting to hear about the fundamental differences in here and in the States. In the States, you see, there is a clear separation of Church and State and they think that they are a bastion of religious freedom. Don’t laugh yet, since there is an explanation to this. The point is, that whereas they have this institutional strong separation of Church and State, what they don’t have is a separation of religion and politics. So in the US the government is not allowed to for instance fund the churches and all religious symbols are forbidden in state schools – which is not the case in Europe. However, there religion is present in politics, government and law in a way that would unthinkable in Europe. The politicians appeal to god, in court it is possible to use the bible as an authoritative source and religious arguments are used in legislative activities. He gave an interesting example of a case where the issue was to decide whether a murderer ought to be sentenced to a life in prison or to a death penalty; the result being that he was eventually sentenced to death because of arguments based on the bible.

He explained the difference with the different role of the state in US and Europe. Here the state has taken over church functions (for instance: religious charity --> welfare state) and so the church has lost most of its power as a political as well as a moral and charismatic actor. In the US the same thing hasn’t happened and so the role of the church is far stronger, the state is not allowed to intervene in church functions (hence the strong institutional separation of church and state) and religion plays a far greater role in politics.

He stressed the fact that you can’t say which system is better than the other. From the European point of view the US-system of course sounds a bit worrysome. Especially as he said that there is this strong tendency in the world right now that religions are becoming more and more important worldwide. George W. and the republicans represent this of course, but what was interesting was the democratic party’s response to this. You would have thought that they would be putting forward an alternative, liberal, secular view, but no! Instead they are emphasising their own religious world view. Both of the parties in US are now competing on which one is the MORE religious. Scary!

Damn, I’d love to continue with this, but now I have to go and put on some lipstick and pretty jewels. Priorities. ;-) I will continue tomorrow though, because he had another good example about the principle of proportionality and the US.

maaliskuuta 08, 2006

The cat has a cold

Yesterday I failed to read my fifty pages for the first time. I was just about to fall asleep when I remembered that I was still about twenty pages short. It was past midnight and I was feeling far too tired to even form a sensible thought anymore, so I didn't scramble up to find my book.

We went out to eat yesterday after finally treating my sister to her "birthday-surprise". We had - thanks to the imagination of M - gotten her an hour at a floatation tank - or a sensory deprivation tank as they are also known. Around the world those are an old thing, but in Helsinki there's only been one since last September. It looked like something one might want to try sometime. Eating out was fun too and something I haven't done in awhile. How about a new plan? Eating out at least once a month?

Today I stayed home to work again. I got around to fixing the part of my dissertation, which is still the biggest mess and despaired a little at its condition. It will be good eventually, but right now it definitely isn't. It's a big jumble of questions about the development of royal jurisdiction, about truth and the means of finding it, about appeal procedure and functions of higher jurisdiction and who knows what. I should fix that. And I should be drawing conclusions from the judgments of the 1780's. And I quite definitely should be already working on my seminar paper for the seminar in Iceland. I am going to be talking about Legal Professionalism in the 18th Century and using the judges of The Vaasa Appeal Court as an example of course. I'm also hoping to rewrite the seminar paper later and publish it as an article in one of the Finnish legal periodicals. Oh, and then I definitely, definitely should be already educating myself about the history of mentalities. I'm supposed to be giving a two hour lecture about it to the post-graduate students in less than a month. Okay, so I've been doing that already for two years, but I'm not particularly happy with how it went last year. Have all the intention of improving.

I dug the car out of the snow earlier today and got it moving eventually. The ground had gotten a little icy, since I hadn't driven the car in awhile and, well, you know how it gets. It was the same thing last time so at least I was prepared. I went to the post office to collect a package and now I am a happy owner of two Rammstein-shirts. ;-)

They are very purty. And luverly. And I honestly think that I am going to be wearing one of them tomorrow to the concert. Finlandia Hall, Torsten Rasch and Mein Herz brennt, remember? I'm really looking forward to it. I'll let you know how it was - probably not tomorrow though.

maaliskuuta 06, 2006

Life is so good.....

I am going to Spain! Barcelona!! Muhahahahaa!!!

My sister's in Barcelona for this student-exchange thingy and I've been sort of thinking ever since she left last fall that I should go and visit. The operative words here being "sort of thinking". As in my usual "I really should" -kind of way, all the time making excuses as to why I can't really go. I don't really have the time, Spain isn't really my favourite country, it's really too expensive, I don't know if I would really enjoy it... Bullshit!! I've just been worried about doing something new again. I do have the time. I have like the most flexible job in the world, Barcelona is beautiful, it hardly costs anything and besides you can't put a price on experiences.

Jeez, I'm so excited. And jeez, I'm going in two weeks. Another muhahahahaa!

You'd laugh too if you knew my usual level of spontaneity.

Jep, but I decided yesterday that if I was going to go, I'd better dig up my calendar and do something about the "But there's really no good time to go" -argument. I didn't want to go in April, since then is Easter and after that I'm going to Iceland. Did I mention about that? I am going to Iceland!! Yay! It's a work-related trip, so basically all costs paid (I'm staying for an extra night at my own cost to do some sightseeing) and I'm mucho, mucho happy about it. I've wanted to go to Iceland for a loooong time. But anyway, that's why I couldn't postpone the Spain-trip to April. And I didn't really want to do it in May, since then the summer is so close. So I am going now! And escaping a week of snowy, cold Finland!! So fabulous!!!

Damn, I've nearly wasted this months supply of exclamation marks. I think I have to call Punctuation-r-us to order some more.

Oh, who cares? Spain!!!! Barcelona!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Warm weather and sun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

maaliskuuta 05, 2006


I finished JM Coetzee’s ”Life and Times of Michael K” today. It’s not a bad book by any standards, but somehow I find his books a little “distant”. It’s like looking at things from a surface and seeing people move underneath, but never being able to reach them or touch them. And yet it is not a superficial book. Coetzee is South-African and he wrote it in 1983 to protest against apartheid. So not a light book, but despite the subject it failed to really move me on an emotional level. I did notice that my knowledge about South-Africa’s past is a little hazy. They kept talking about a war and I had no idea which war there was going on then.

I played a little again and nearly have one song memorised. ;-) I remembered that I borrowed some “self-help” books from the library a couple of weeks ago and dug them up. I read about how to “Be your Best” and found out what Linda Adams thinks you ought to do to stand up for yourself and be less nice. She has some points, but if one was to carry on discussions like she suggests one would sound like a guiltifying bugger, who could not read other people’s emotions and intentions at all. So I don’t think I’m going to be following her advices.

Her style of writing is quite fluent though, so I think I’ll go and finish her book anyway.

...If I can get connected to blogger first...Damn, they are slow sometimes.

maaliskuuta 04, 2006

Walls and windows

I've spent hours cleaning up today (which wasn't so bad). Also went to the store to get some more healthy food. I've noticed that these two months of living healthily - more or less - has changed my sense of taste. Pineapple juice tastes almost too sweet to drink. Evenings with chocolate, chips, lemonade and others of the same sort have been replaced by evenings with rye-bread, cheese, tomato and honeyed tea. And which one do you think tastes better? Yup. The idea of rye-bread and light cheese makes my mouth water. These days I miss those evening meals of chocolate cake with whipped cream only once a week, if even that often.

There was a long story in the newspaper (or its montly supplement) today about Finnish people living in Goa - some there for good, some only for the winter months. It's a cheap place apparently. With 400 euros you can rent a house and live handsomely for a month. Gazing out at the ocean from your window, taking long walks on the beach - and suffering from diarrhoea-causing amoeba. Amoeba and hippies aside, it still sounded rather wonderful. Would anyone like to spend the first two-three months of the next year in Goa? Or somewhere else equally cheap and warm?

maaliskuuta 02, 2006

Menace in Europe

I've been reading some stuff from this coughcrazycough American lady, who is a religious conservative with a big chip on her shoulder. Religious conservatives are a bunch of people, whose way of thinking is almost as far from my one as possible. The ones definitely included, who believe that America is the saviour of the world and everyone who doesn't think and act like they do, is automatically an enemy.

Reading stuff from people like that can be an extremely frustrating experience. Sometimes it can be hilarious too. Let me quote this particular woman: "All that said, there is one surpassing reason for Europeans to feel hope: The existence of the United States."

ROFL, I am still laughing at that.

But it's not really funny, is it? There are millions of people out there who believe exactly like she does. And that is why the wars of this world will never end.Very, very frustrating. And sad.

maaliskuuta 01, 2006

The month of Mars

March is here - and promises to be a busy month. More things in my calendar than in a long while. In order to survive this busy, busy month I have been eating today like a huge famished hog - and naturally not exercising in order not to lose any of those extra calories. Did I mention that when we had that seminar in Lammi a couple of weeks ago, I gained a kilo in two days? I rather fear this might be one of those days too.

It's bloody cold outside. Okay, it's only around minus ten, but it feels like it was a lot more. You would think that as it is already March - even if only the first of the month - it would slowly start getting warmer. I guess one has to wait another month still. I don't actually mind winter as much as I did a couple of years ago, but I still wish the spring/summer would hurry up and get here soon! Still one has to start making summer plans, since the days go by so fast. To stay in town or not to stay in town, that's the question.