toukokuuta 30, 2006

The move is approaching

The faculty will be moving to Porthania in a couple of weeks, now that the renovations are done. Or nearly done. We went to see our new wing today and the building was still full of people trying to get everything ready in the remaining three weeks.

Porthania does look all shiny and light now. I've never really liked Porthania as a building, but I'm almost ready to change my mind. Everything looked so much better even though they haven't really done all that much to the place. Especially the rooms looked nice with the new shelves and big window ledges. I'll be getting a room all for myself, which is great. I'm very much looking forward to decorating it - pics on the walls, pillows on the window ledge, flowers and a quilt or something for the couch, which I am apparently getting too. And yay for that, since couches are the best place for reading.

I'm almost sorry that the summer vacation is coming to interrupt the enjoyment of the new room.

toukokuuta 29, 2006

light, dark and heavy

I've returned from Vaasa and Imatra and it's back to business. The first day at work since my change of style and I did get a few "OMG, what have you dones?" and also plenty of compliments. I am liking my new look.

We had the monthly legal history -lunch and I presented my "work in progress". That went quite alright. I also heard a piece of sad news, which I had managed to miss, since I didn't watch the news yesterday and had already cancelled the paper for the summer.

One of our professors was murdered last week and his body found yesterday in his apartment. I didn't know him personally, had only said hello to him maybe once or twice, so it wasn't a big shock on a personal level. Not a pleasant thing at all though, especially as the way he died was apparently rather gruesome. They've already arrested two men for the murder since he was seen leaving with them from a local gay club on the night it happened. Strange the things that happen every day. You go out to have fun and by the morning you've been manhandled to death. Why does it feel like that is something that only happens in books and movies?

On a far, far lighter note - today I weighed for the first time in many, many, many years less than sixty kilos. Healthy life is going good.

toukokuuta 23, 2006

It's still raining

Greetings from Vaasa! The Guest house now has an internet connection, so one no longer needs to forgo the pleasures of surfing.

I have taken already nearly four thousand pictures. Like this one. You'd think it was a piece of cake, but after few hours I could really feel it in my back. The pic needs to be steady, taken from far enough to fit the entire text into the shot, but close enough to be able to read it properly, the light needs to be right so you need to lean in and peer through the camera but can't sit in order to avoid the shadow... In effect it kills your neck and shoulders.

The hazards of archive work.

I think I'll make some tea now and read the tabloid (a.k.a Ilta-Sanomat). Lordi is still the news of the day - and not just in Finland. Google news -search gives you 736 hits for Lordi. Some of those claim that we are a highly self-conscious nation. Like in that joke about the elephant - one version of which goes like this:

A Finn, an Italian and a Frenchman met an elephant in Africa.
That would make a fine steak, thought the Frenchman.
That would make a nice bag, thought the Italian.
I wonder what that elephant is thinking of me, thought the Finn.

I'm sure everyone wonders at times what others think of them. But are we as obsessed with the idea as to be "highly self-conscious". And if so, why? Don't we already in this year 2006 have a good and clear enough image of who we are? Or do we still need the others as mirrors to form our national self-image?

Individuals need others as mirrors to form a healthy self-image and self-esteem, especially as children. But we are not a child anymore as a nation, are we? Or maybe the image that we had formed of ourselves in our infancy was no longer to our liking. Now we are trying to re-form it to something that appeals to us more and for that we need the others' opinions as mirrors. In order to believe in ourselves as a nation capable of success we need to see that image reflect from the eyes of the others.

toukokuuta 21, 2006

Sunday morning

We won! Who would have thought that? Our monsters actually won. They liked us. Or rather they liked Lordi, but by association they liked us, the crazy Finns. Lovely. Now we have to keep an eye on the news and see if they have discovered life on Mars or that the hell has frozen over (both of which were said to happen before Finland would ever win the Eurovision song contest).

Oh well, back to reality. What should I do today? Except go for a long walk since I put on half a kilo during yesterday's "Eat and root Lordi to victory" -fest. Hmm, I'm going to have to pack. I'm going to Vaasa for three days, you see, to the Archives to get some more material. That'll be nice. It's somehow very relaxing to be cut out of the world for couple of days.

I think I could try to do some writing today as well. I haven't written anything in such a long time. Now which story should I continue with?

toukokuuta 20, 2006

Rain, rain, rain

It's raining. Water from the sky. We were supposed to have a picnic today in Suomenlinna (nice island just outside of Helsinki with a fortress from the 18th century), but since it is raining and just +8 degrees, we decided not to.

Instead we are going to gather tonight at my sister's to root Lordi to victory in the Eurovision song contest. It's a national duty after all. I haven't watched the Eurovision song contest anymore in years; we used to when we were children, every single time. It was really quite an event. I can still remember when The Herrey brothers won with "Diggiloo-Diggiley" in 1984. It brings to mind a summer day in Rovaniemi, where we used to live then; me in our balcony blowing soap bubbles.

Eurovision song contest is a little like bying a lottery ticket. Every time you get ready to win and everytime you get nothing. In the end you don't believe you can win anyway and so it becomes a bit of a masochistic experience.

toukokuuta 19, 2006


Well, I have new hair. I haven't quite decided yet how pleased I am with my decision. I was happy with it at the hairdressers, then despaired during the day. When I got home I just had to put on some make-up and try different hairstyles to convince myself that I had made the right decision.

The thing is, you see, that the new style is a touch eighties. Much more eighties than I had planned. "Needs a bit of time to get used to" -eighties. The problem with the hair is also that if not combed right it makes my head look like a big ball. It also - as short hair always - makes me look fatter than I actually am. It's good that my healthy life is at the moment progressing well.

The hair doesn't tolerate skipping make-up either. That's actually one reason why I decided to go for short hair. The fact, I mean, that I had been feeling beautiful enough to go to work for a couple of weeks without makeup. That's always a good sign. This hair though makes me look tired and sickly pale without make-up (see pic to the left). Short hair draws attention to one's face and reveals all the little and not so little imperfections.

Short hair does also offer more possibilities of trying out different styles. At least for a lazy person, who won't do anything with the hair unless it is absolutely necessary. And with short hair it is. Now I just have to get used to all those different possibilities.

toukokuuta 18, 2006

watching TV

I ran into a nice wicker chairs and a couch combination last Saturday. It was on sale and so I decided to buy it for the balcony. Now it has arrived. I had to find space for one of the chairs in the living room, since my balcony is really quite small. It does look nice now and I'm hoping that the weather gets warm enough soon, so I can have breakfast on the balcony.

It has been ridiculously cold after our short spell of summer. One day earlier this week it was only +6 degrees. Very annoying when you have to be wearing gloves in May. It is beautifully green though. I went out for a walk in the morning and it was gorgeous in the forest. The birds were singing and sun shining. Lovely.

I also find it lovely that I was thinking about my dissertation all the way through the walk. I've finally found the approach to it that really interests me. That makes me want to get to work in the mornings. Before this week I had never experienced flow when writing work stuff. Now I have. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that the stuff I'm reading and writing now is sort of anthropological and theoretical stuff. What do we learn from this - do the things that interest you, not what others expect of you.

toukokuuta 15, 2006


Today I've spent the day running in libraries, getting books on rationalism, relativism, theory of knowledge and primitive law. I was planning to finish von Wright's book on "Science and Reason", but instead I've spent the evening reading on what is my right colour (I'm apparently a summer type) and wondering whether I should cut my hair. Really, really cut it and go for the short, spiky style. I have a really long hair, to my waist, over 60 centimeters and in a way it would be a shame to cut it. But it is the sort of wild nature girl -look and lately I've been thinking that it is perhaps already time to grow up.

Yeah, but if you see me next time with a short hair, don't scream. Oh and just so you know, as soon as the autumn comes I'm going to get a tattoo. I decided that already some time ago. I'm not getting it now, because you have to avoid the sun for about a month after taking the tattoo and there is now way I'm going to risk any sunbathing opportunities. I'm thinking of a tribal tattoo on the lower back. I've seen some on people at the gym and they are very beautiful.

This was the update on the on-going work on my New Year's resolution to find my own style. Thank you for listening and good night!

toukokuuta 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

It's been a busy weekend. Yesterday we went to Svenska Teatern to see stand-up comedy in Swedish, André Wickström in "En kvälls grej". I was a little worried about being able to understand it all in Swedish, thinking that stand-up comedy would probably use a lot of clever wordplays and verbal tricks. But no, it was quite easy to follow and I only missed two or three jokes.

It was absolutely fabulous. I had never been to listen to stand-up before and I hadn't expected to be laughing with tears in my eyes. My previous experience of stand-up was from my exchange year in the States, where my first host-family used to watch a lot of stand-up from TV. I remember not liking it at all then. I experienced it as vicious instead of funny, lot's of malicious seeming jokes on the expense of minorities like gays, blacks and jews. No, not to my taste then. Yesterday was completely different, funny and smart, and I can't remember when I have for the last time laughed that much.

Today we went to the movies. Woody Allen's Match Point. I'm not a huge Woody Allen fan, but this was quite a good movie. It was, I assume, trying to be some kind of modern version of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. On the way home I was trying to remember which fate befell Raskolnikov and if that was an indication of what eventually lay in store for the "hero" of the film. It was such a long time since I had read the book that I couldn't remember for sure though. Thanks to Google and Wikipedia my memory has now been refreshened - leading me to wonder whether Allen is trying to say something with his movie about our time's egoism and (in)capability to feel remorse as compared to the 19th century. Maybe it's a statement about the "end justifies the means" -approach to life and, with leaving the question open to different interpretations, he is trying to force people to think for themselves. Hmm, it's perhaps a cleverer movie than appeared at first sight.

Oh, and I just found an excuse for all my sudoku playing. I was googling a word to check the spelling and I found this. We do always believe BBC, don't we?

"Doing 'brain exercises' such as watching Countdown, playing Sudoku or taking a shower with your eyes closed can make us all up to 40 per cent cleverer within seven days, according to research by a BBC programme this week."
Guardian Unlimited

toukokuuta 12, 2006

Friday, the 12th

We had an unofficial recreational day at work today. Bowling, dinner at a Chinese restaurant and then drinks at a bar nearby. It was fun. I was wearing my Rammstein-shirt and more than one person confessed to liking them. They do have a very large academic fan-base. It's nice that people who actually understand German are able to understand and appreciate the irony, humour and intelligence in their lyrics.

I've been taking the bus to work now for a couple of days and walked over from Vantaa to Helsinki to catch the bus. It saves money and provides some much needed exercise. Twentyfive minutes to one direction, about 3000 steps. Can you tell that I finally got around to buying that step counter? Healthy life didn't progress all too well in the past couple of months due to all the traveling and stuff and I needed a bit of extra motivation. With the exception of one day I've reached my daily dosage of 10 000 steps and am back on right track.

Very tired now. Can't write anymore.

toukokuuta 11, 2006

postman came calling

I have a sponsored child.

There was an excellent article in the last week's monthly supplement of Helsingin Sanomat about a reporter, who had gotten a cow as a x'mas present. The cow in question was donated to a family in Uganda through the World Vision organisation and the reporter had travelled there to see how his cow was received. He managed to convince me that one cow truly made a huge difference to a family down there, so I did some useful surfing for once and went to see how much donating a cow would cost.

I didn't buy a cow in the end, but decided to become a sponsor through World Vision instead. I was a little hesitant about World Vision, since they are a Christian organisation and on their english website you can't avoid noticing that. For obvious reasons I don't want to promote converting people. The Finnish site on the other hand emphasised that they are a charity organisation, not a missionary one, and I decided to take their word for it.

I got a package from them today.

And so now I have a sponsored child. Her name is Sheila, she is seven years old and from Kenya. In the picture she doesn't have any hair, but she is very beautiful. She smiles like Mona Lisa, as if she knew all the secrets of the world.

Beautiful child.

toukokuuta 10, 2006

Since I got started...

Look at that, three posts in two days. I just hope I can keep this up. ;-)

It's been a long day. I went to work early and ended up going to this seminar in legal anthropology, which lasted until eight o'clock. Very fascinating. Different cultures and social groups, their values and practices can't really fail to be interesting. The speakers had some excellent points on cultural relativism, on how a subject is constructed culturally and on how legal order defines identity. I have to find out more about anthropology.

And then it ended up taking about fifteen extra minutes to get home, because the train decided to lose its brakes in Pasila. Better then than in full speed, ay? You can believe that the next train was full.

I'm going to watch Dr. Zhivago now. The tv-movie version from 2002, which means that there are a few too many plastic-faced pretties and immaculately dressed workers, but I'm hoping that the story is good enough to cover that.

Edit: This is pretty hopeless. Lot's of quite decent actors, but still this doesn't feel real. Well, leaves one time to do some extra surfing on the side. I've been checking the application information of some of the faculties for next year. Social- and cultural anthropology, history and literature... Oh just imagine having studied one of those, how fabulous that would have been. Now if one could choose, which one of those would one pick?

toukokuuta 09, 2006

Pics from Iceland

By request, a few pictures from Iceland...

The Gullfoss falls. These used to belong to an Icelandic family of farmers some hundred odd years ago. At that time there were lots of foreign businessmen in the country trying to purchase different falls so they could turn them into hydropower plants. Some of these businessmen - British, methinks - came to the farmer Tomas and asked to buy Gullfoss from him. Tomas refused to sell: the falls had been in the family for as long as anybody could remember and he didn't think it was right to sell them. The businessmen then asked if he would rent the falls to them for a hundred years. Tomas considered, decided there would be no harm in that and rented the falls.

When he got home he took the time to read the contract thoroughly through - note, dear people, that this is something you should do before signing contracts or you can find yourself in a heap of trouble! Tomas noticed that in the contract there was a clause, which gave the businessmen the right to turn the falls into a powerplant and which effectively meant ruining the falls. This upset Tomas mightily, but since he was a man of his word, he didn't think there was anything he could do about the situation. His daughter Sigríður however was of a more stubborn kind and swore to save the falls. She put on her shoes, packed her bag and commenced her journey towards Reykjavik.

She walked through the difficult paths until she reached the capital and spent weeks looking for someone who could help her. Finally she found a young lawyer who listened to her. They went through the contract and the law books and found a rule, which stated that if the businessmen should be late in paying the rent, the contract would be null and void. The businessmen had already by this time fallen behind in their payments and so Sigríður managed to get the falls back to her family. And so, happily everafter, they remained free for the future generations to take pretty pictures of.

The crater with a lake. Not too far live some of the "hidden people". The short version of the story here is that God went to visit Adam and Eve one day. Eve had been busy and had had the time to wash and tidy up only some of their children. She didn't want God to see the dirty ones, so she told them to go on and hide. Then God comes along, visits the family, admires the children and asks Eve if these are all their children. Eve is still embarrassed and tells God that yes, these are all of them. But God is not to be fooled and he then utters that what is hidden from his eyes, shall be hidden from the eyes of humans as well. So the dirty, unwashed children are turned invisible and they become the "hidden people", who live in the rocks and hills.

They geysir Strokkur, which is the most active of the current geysirs. It erupts about every four minutes. The biggest of the geysirs is called...da-daa...Geysir! It's on its way to becoming dormant so these days it goes off only about once or twice a day. Didn't get to see that. The geysir-area is very impressive even if it does slightly smell of rotten eggs there.

The big Geysir didn't look very impressive as nothing was happening, so I'll just give you little Geysir. It was boiling away quite happily.

And last, but not least another falls, which name I never came to know. But I liked the look of them, which is why you'll get to see them.


It's been forever since I've been here last time. So long in fact that I've started to avoid even checking the place (this falls under the good old rule that if you can't see it, it doesn't exist). To get even more exact I haven't written anything here in a month. Blimey.

I have on the other hand had quite a productive month. Easter came and went. I spent most of it at Imatra (nine days altogether), enjoyed the arrival of spring, practised my old pastime of throwing the remaining snow around and once again noticed how lovely it is to have a yard and a garden. I had planned to dedicate one of the Easter days to telling you all of the connection between Easter and Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, but then I never got around to it. Maybe next year, ay?

I also went to Iceland and enjoyed six days in Reykjavik and surroundings. Got to see geysirs and mountains, craters and water falls, Icelandic ponies and plenty of rocks, moved from the American tectonic plate to the Eurasian and spent an hour getting steamed in the Blue Lagoon. Again, if you remember my photobucket address and want to take a look, head that way!

The trip to Reykjavik was a work-related thingy, a Nordic seminar in legal history. I had a workshop paper about legal professionalism as I mentioned before, and, well...I guess it didn't go altogether badly. Quite a few people actually said that they liked the presentation and after some consideration I'm liable to believe that most of them did mean it (this falls under the good old rule of don't believe everything people say, since often they are just being polite, want to make you feel good or are afraid to hurt your feelings). I actually do like the paper myself, but the problem is that I'm not sure if it is good enough. And here, of course, we come to the essential question: good for what, good enough compared to...what?

I've been reading books again, you see. Psychological books. The sort of why-are-you-not-happy-with-life -type of books. They speak of comparing yourself to other people and thereby either feeling miserable or happy with life. As in let's say you are relatively smart (who me?) and you decide to compare yourself on a daily basis to people like, say, Einstein or Kant or whoever is the chosen geeky name of your field. This is not a productive comparison, counteractive even some might say, and likely to make you feel like an idiot, even if you're really not. Like comparing yourself to Bill Gates would make you feel like a pauper, even if you had a million to your name (definitely not me!). So the lesson - one of them - is to choose more carefully your points of comparison.

Well, actually that still doesn't help terribly much. Even if I compare myself to people who are professionally at about the same level, I find it difficult to judge my own skills. In some things I'm behind, since I'm a lazy buffoon and haven't really done enough in the past few years; in other things I can measure up quite nicely.

The Reykjavik-trip was also rather instructive in teaching me why it is that I've been a lazy buffoon for so long. You see, there were two quite interesting presentations there - or to put it in other words, the other one was brilliant, the best I've ever heard, the I'm-still-excited-about-it -type of fabulous. The other one was just ordinary good. Now, the thing is that neither of these guys had their primary background in law: the one came from the field of literature, the other from theology. They spoke of things that are really interesting in law - values, morality, human interests - and I remembered again what interested me in the law in the first place: justice, protection, getting even. All the wrong reasons (considering a career in law), but I think that story can still wait. For the story in question the important thing is that I realised that research can truly be fun, but that one has to be genuinely interested about one's research questions.

And so, now for two days I've gone to work excited and eager to hit the archives. And, whether thanks to this newfound excitement or the book I'm reading, the evenings have expanded and slowed down. Yesterday I was sitting at the balcony, reading a book and I realised that I have hours every evening to do things. Not just watch tv and surf the net until it is time to go to bed, but do things. Opportunities are endless. Like last Saturday I backed my bag and went to sunbath on the backyard of our apartment house (the summer has decided to pay us a temporary visit) and for the first time ever I felt that summer and the city is perhaps not a totally impossible combination after all. Don't take me wrong, I still intend to head to the countryside, but I do believe it is perhaps, maybe not impossible to enjoy being in the city during a summer.

Gosh, now was that...interesting? Let's read that through again and see, if I'll hit the publish or the delete button.