syyskuuta 30, 2007


Today's travels took me to Wetzlar. If you are ever hereabouts and have any interest in places historical, go there! Very, very beautiful. Just don't let yourself be scared by the train station or the entrance to the town. Before you reach the old town you have to go through a shopping street, which makes you wonder if you've made a big mistake and come to a typical 70's town.

 But it's all just a cover, because then you go around a corner and voila! There's the river Lahn in all it's beauty and you can see that behind it there's the whole old town just waiting to be discovered.

 It's a beautiful place with lot's of houses from the 17th century and earlier. You have some of the feel of Middle Ages with the cobbled streets and narrow passages. It reminded me of Stockholm and Visby and even some of the Italian towns. There were cafes and bistros in every corner and the place in general had a very lived-in feeling. For awhile when I came I thought I would have the place nearly to myself, but the old town just bloomed during the day.

I walked around for some time, saw the obligatory cathedral and went to have lunch in a local place. There I dug out the brochures that I had gotten from the local tourist info and thought I would go see some of the museums, which seemed really very interesting. They were closed between 13-14 so I had to do some more walking around in the meantime.

I discovered for instance the house where the Reichskammergericht had sat. That was the highest court in Germany - or the Holy German Roman Empire - from 1495 to 1806 and was situated in Wetzlar since the late 17th century. There's a cafe these days in the building. It was a nice looking place, but fairly small and unimpressive for a supreme court. Not at all what I would have imagined. One of the museums that I was planning to go was the Reichskammergericht-museum.

The operative words being "was planning" since during the hour that the museums were closed I decided to go and see the ruins of this old castle, which was from the times of 12th century and Frederick Barbarossa. The ruins were on an high hill and going there I started to wonder whether this was a great idea after all. Sweaty business - but by Frederick's red beard was it worth it.

There was this old watch tour or some such thing, from where you could see the whole town and surroundings. The view was absolutely amazing, but unfortunately the pictures don't do it justice at all. It was just gorgeous. The ruins themselves were quite nice too and going down the pathway from the castle, you could easily imagine the clobbering of the horse's hooves on the stones.

The sun god was again most kind to my travels and I spent at least two hours just laying by the tower - drowsing and reading a magazine. Can you imagine how perfect that was? There was an occasional tourist there now and then, but mostly it was just these old, old ruins high above the city, birds, buzzing bugs and me. And sun, magazine and then later Simone de Beauvoir's "Marcelle, Chantal, Lisa...". Life doesn't get much better.

syyskuuta 29, 2007

Artsy stuff

It was too gray and cold today to go exploring new towns, so I went to the art museum instead. It was perhaps a bit smaller than I had thought, but there were some great pieces there: lovely portraits and landscapes by the usual old names and a few really nice ones by Emil Schumacher, who definitely knew how to use colours.

On my way to the museum I saw a nice little flea market. Germans seem to be crazy for flea markets and fairs and street festivals. I run into one nearly every time I just step out of the house. Lot's of the vendors do come from somewhere else though. One of them took me for a Russian and called "Good day" in Russian after me. One of the very few things I still remember in Russian.

And now, if you'll pardon me, I have to finish my game of solitaire.

Currently listening to: Marilyn Manson - The Beautiful People

syyskuuta 28, 2007

Musik und Literatur

I decided to buy tickets to the Subway to Sally concert too. They are playing near here in November and I'm really liking what I'm hearing. Medievalish Metal or some such thing. I was never good with labeling musical genres. Who cares what it is called as long as it sounds good, right?

I finished reading the dissertation today. I threw away ten pages more and came to the conclusion that the final 150 pages or so really are an incredible mess. I have to come up with some magical trick that allows me to turn them into something faintly resembling sensible. It also has to be something that can be done quickly. No one reads dissertations anyway. And if the next book I want to write has more to do with the mystical, magical fantasy worlds of the ancient Rhuathia then it hardly matters anyway what this one turns out to be like.

Currently listening to: Subway to Sally - Die Ratten

syyskuuta 27, 2007

Strange dreams

I love writing - truly, truly love writing. No matter how crappy day I have had, I just need to sit on the computer and write for a couple of hours and I feel like life is absolutely heavenly. I love the current story - reading is not the only way to transport you into different worlds, writing works just as well.

Yeah, I just needed to share that with someone. I'll go dream some crazy dreams now.

Heute haben wir Donnerstag

I've been trying to learn some German again today, but I don't know why the words and prepositions just won't stick to my head. Maybe I'm using too many languages at the same time. Swedish for the cases, Finnish for writing, English here and the net, both of the latter for thinking just in general... Some days I just don't need German at all.

I did today, since I finally went to the Bürgeramt to register. You are apparently supposed to go and let the official folks know your address every time you move - and in the case of foreigners they also sent the info onwards to some other official folks. For the people from the old EU countries it is very easy and they didn't even want to see any of the papers the institute told me to take along.

After that I went to the local Saturn again to do some shopping. I am now a happy owner of CD's from Apocalyptica, Subway to Sally, Diary of Dreams and Marilyn Manson. Yay.

Yep. It's been raining all day long and the autumn is finally clearly on its way. I think I'll go light some tealights now. Some tea might not be bad either.

And then I will again write some.

syyskuuta 26, 2007

Music, work and writing

I have to go and buy Apocalyptica's new album, I think. I've been listening to Helden now over and over for two days. It's a David Bowie cover featuring the singer from this German band called Rammstein. Very, very lovely.

Yup, but today I have been working again pretty much all day long - in addition to listening to some music and going out for coffee with J. For a moment there earlier I felt like deleting all of the darling dissertation, since it seemed like such a load of complete bollocks. In the end I only ended up throwing away some fifteen pages, which probably was in a long run a much better solution. I have now gotten rid of altogether nearly 45 pages, but by some miracle I have still got 297 left. I must have created a huge number of new headings, since there is no way I have written nearly forty pages of new stuff.

Still a few more days and then I have gone through all of it for the first time. There is still so much that needs to be added that it's almost scary. I mean, I basically haven't even started going through the most important sources yet! The other solution of course is getting rid of some more stuff; even with the 45 pages thrown away I still have far too many things that just don't want to play with each other like good children. Hmmm, there may actually be a way, even if it does mean throwing a LOT away and writing the beginning anew from a different perspective - once again. Less ambitious, but it would certainly speed things up... Plus didn't I already decide that sometimes there is beauty in simplicity.

Jep, hmmm, just thinking out loud here. I really have to think about that.

I think I'll stop working now. It is already eight o'clock and I think I want to write some. I abandoned my story that I started two weeks ago and started a new one on Sunday. One has to know when to kill one's darlings after all. This one is more fantasy-based, since I realised that I have to write what I want - not what I think I should. I have eight pages already and it flows so much better than the earlier one.

syyskuuta 25, 2007

ejfgep bhue

Where do the hours go? It seems that the days go by so fast and I have time for nothing. I take back for example everything I said about the letter writing habits of the folks of old.

It also doesn't help keeping hold of time, if one doesn't concentrate on the thing at hand. Like now it sprang to my mind, that I haven't followed any news in the past couple of weeks or so. I went to google a few news sites, toasted some bread while at it and fifteen minutes later I had managed to complete forgot that I was actually penning down this daily report here. Tschk, tschk.

On the other hand that really tells me that I don't have much interesting to report today. So, I bid you farewell until to-morrow.

syyskuuta 24, 2007

Alternate universes

How great would it be if you could get up every morning and start writing fiction? Go out for a swim or run or some other sporty stuff, which you now don't seem to have the time for and then head out to a cafe somewhere to write some more. And when you no longer feel like producing stories, you just dig up a book to see what others have come up with. And all of this perhaps some place where winter is an unknown concept.

When I was little I used to read all these adventure stories: I started with Enid Blyton when I was seven or eight and then progressed to read all the Tarzans and Mars books, Zorros and westerners, James Fenimore Cooper and Jack London and Zane Grey. I loved space movies and westerners and was terribly annoyed when I wasn't allowed to watch some of them in the age of ten. I dreamt of a life of adventure somewhere in the jungle or wild west or the outer space. I had a terribly wild imagination and all manner of imaginary worlds sprung up around me after I found a "magical" stick on a walk once; we were at my grandparents' house and I was eight years old.

They have been there ever since, my magical worlds, but somehow I have banished all the adventure from my real life and relegated it into this magical realm where everything is possible. I suppose the question is how much magic one can bring from that other world into this.

One thing is sure, I never dreamed of being a lawyer when I was little. A lawyer - I think - would have been the first to have been sacrificed by the beasts of Opar or thrown out of the Santa Fe train with his books clattering behind him. A researcher might have been tolerated, but that bespectacled figure with his nose in the books would have at most been an amusing side-kick. But what about being the god behind it all, the one who spins it all and wrecks it all, creates it all with just of few tiny clickety clicks of the fingers....

syyskuuta 23, 2007

Life is good

I practiced my German this morning and for a moment I thought of staying home to clean and write e-mails. Luckily I didn't, because I ended up having a very nice day. It was again incredibly warm - a total summer feeling. I was planning to go to a famous art museum called Städel and walking there along the river, since it was so beautiful.

When I got to the river though, there were a bunch of people lining up for a cruise. So on a spur of a moment I decided to join them. 100 minutes up and down the Main with the sun shining like summer was never going to end. It was nice.

Afterwards I decided to leave the museum for another day and saw some more of Frankfurt. Mostly roman remains - again - and churches - again. There is a lot to see in Frankfurt too.

Then I went to have a piece of apple cake in a nice Italian cafe along one of the main touristy "boulevards": sun shone, street performers kept us entertained and I dug up my notebook to do some more writing.

When I had sat there long enough for the waiters to start hoping that I would move along, I went to sit by the main square and continued the writing. I wrote and watched the tourists and a guy selling pretzels from an old-fashioned cart. It was again all very, very good.

Now I am sitting here and listening to a great new band called Gevolt. They are from Israel, they play something they choose to call Yiddish Metal and some of their songs sound a lot like Rammstein. This here is a band that might make it even to my top three of favourite bands.

syyskuuta 22, 2007


The traveling continues. Today I've been to Wiesbaden, which is a bit further than Mainz. That doesn't sound awfully tempting: Wiesbaden - at least to my mind that brought nothing but thoughts of industry and cars. Not that they have anything to do with Wiesbaden as such, but it just sounded like that kind of town: industry and cars. But no, Wiesbaden was quite beautiful and well worth of visit.

It was almost as old as Mainz and also boasted relics from the Roman times. That one above was supposed to be part of an old wall from the 4th century. The bridge though is a much later addition. There were also a number of churches in Wiesbaden. I sat in one for about half an hour listening to a weekly organ music concert. Not too bad, but I have to say that organ music still doesn't make it to number one on my list. Plus those church benches really enjoy their role as torture devices.

In Wiesbaden I also came across something that I've thus far only seen in Island. A hot spring. Not a geysir, but a hot spring, which in this case had been directed to bubble through this fine piece of art you see on the right. It may have been captured, but the water steamed and smelled of rotten eggs just like in Island.

There was also a group doing a choreographed "stick-dance", which reminded me of Robin Hood. The part, you know, where Little John and Robin Hood meet and proceed to beat each other to pulp, because they have issues of honour and stubbornness. I'm sure this "old martial arts turned into sports" has a proper name too, other than a stick dance. It looked quite fun actually.

Wiesbaden also had some lovely parks. The weather in honour of the weekend was again above 20, so there was nothing to stop one from enjoying the said parks. This one was next to a nice looking theatre and quite close to the local casino, which was also in an old fancy building. Already Dostojevski for instance had apparently tried his luck there. Wiesbaden had predominantly a look of an 19th century town with lots of houses that were nearly in palace-class. Queen this and Emperor that had stayed in a number of them. And yes, that is a tiny house in the middle of the lake.

In the park (that's the theatre on the background by the way) there was some sort of an autumn fair going on. There were some farm animals for the children to look at, pumpkins and decorated hay bales on display and again people selling everything from fruits to sun flowers, tractors to local wines. I bought an example of German sausage - bratwurst - and proceeded to do comparisons with the Finnish kind by the lake. German sausages - at least of this type - are nearly white and look a little weird, but are quite nicely spiced and really very good.

Yep, but that was Wiesbaden. Not a bad place at all. Worms, Wetzlar and Heidelberg are perhaps the next places on the list to go. They are a bit further away, but still within an easy distance. I also just booked a three day trip to Venice in November. Hehe. Frankfurt is just a teeny bit closer to places than Helsinki with the predictable results in prices, so one just has to go see things.

syyskuuta 21, 2007

Stories in the past

Do you know what is by far the best part about research? Going through the archive records and analysing them. Quantitative analysis is usually particularly fun, but qualitative can be good too. Analysing original written documents can be major fun as well.

Those are the sort of things that can get you to the flow. Like now I look at the time and realise that it is almost seven. More than three hours have gone just like that and I don't even feel any need to stop.

Too bad that the analysing part isn't precisely the scientific one. Or isn't necessarily. It rather depends on the questions of course. If this darling "dissy" of mine would be about historical basic research, it might actually be considered quite decent.

I wish reading the books would be fun too. But most of them are just so frigging boring. There are really books that have literally put me to sleep after two pages. Of course there are fun books too. I borrowed one today, which I'm expecting to be good. Miller's book on Feuds, Law and Society in Saga Island. That book has people in it, destinies and fates. It has stories. I suppose I have mentioned before that I need concrete events and people for things to be interesting.

Perhaps that is why I enjoy analysing the archive records and the documents. There is Gustavus III talking with all of his desires and dilemmas; there is the young judge Stenman making mistakes and arguing questions of precedence with the local nobility; the peasant Matts Andersson so horribly morally upset because his niece's husband has got him mingled in an expensive law suit. The peasants who seek justice in matters of land use and crime, the priests getting tangled in questions of procedure and execution, merchants seeking their claims...

There are stories. There was one I read this week, about a crofter whom his landlord wanted to evict without paying him compensation for all the work he and his father had done. It was like an 18th century version of Väinö Linna's "Under the North Star" - with the appeal court defending the crofter's rights against the abuses of the lower court and his landlord. That was a wonderful story, but what does it have to do with legal history? Not terribly much.

syyskuuta 20, 2007

Should I go to the store?

This was not the best of all possible days. A couple of things that I need to get done have started to pile up. They involve talking to people and finding new places and so I've kept postponing them. It's just three or four relatively easy things, but they are starting to bug me. It's annoying that even such small things can disrupt my blissfully stress free state of mind.

The other thing was this get-together at the institute, a small farewell thing for a couple of people who are leaving. I was asked to come at lunch and so I decided to go. It's just that I didn't remember how awkward social situations are when you basically don't know anyone. Especially if you hardly speak the language. I mean, those things can be dreadfully annoying and stressful even if you do know people and speak the language. Yeah, let's just say that I left very early.

I wish I had chocolate.

syyskuuta 19, 2007

I went for a nice long walk

I am making pasta. I read through all my entries here a few weeks ago and noticed that I had promised already a couple of years ago to learn how to cook. I never did, so now my repertoire is a bit limited.

I've also managed to read through the first 175 pages of my dissertation now. I've thrown away some 20 pages and by some miracle I still have about the same amount of pages as I did before I started the pruning. It's weird. I guess it eventually adds up when one adds a paragraph there and another here to explain what all of these things are actually doing in the manuscript.

The first 130 pages or so were relatively easy, since I've gone through and polished that part at least five times now. But I've never touched this latter part so we'll see how that turns out.

I did the first forty pages today and I sort of got them to make sense, but only by twisting the question around. Now they are tied to the original question, which isn't so interesting. At least it isn't all that interesting anymore after seven years. If I do become a researcher after all, I will never ever spend seven years doing the same thing anymore. Not that it is even possible.

The pasta was good by the way. Olives and onions with tomato and basil sauce - very yummy even if I say so myself. Jup. I think I'll go write now.

syyskuuta 18, 2007

First colder day

Today I've been to the movies. To see how the German Kinos work and to find out it I would understand the language. The result was that I didn't get quite all of it, but enough to be able to comfortably follow the story. Reminded me actually a little of the first time of going to the movies in the States. I didn't get all of it then either even though my English was better already then than my German is now.

I went to the movies after having just come from a bookstore, where I purchased a good grammar guide and a practise book. I can understand written German better and better, but I came to the conclusion that if I want to leave here speaking fluent German, I have to start actively practising. So now I have the books for that. We'll see how that works.

Jep, but what else. I booked the train and the hotel for the Augsburg trip yesterday. I have also tried to decide where else I would like to go, since there are lots of free weekends and quite a good amount of relatively cheap trips on offer. Oh, jeeee. It seems I am going to do all of the travelling that I didn't do during the past ten years during these four months alone. I am really going to get spoiled here with all these possibilities.

I have to figure out how it is possible to live with this stresslessness, this enthusiasm for new things and for learning in Helsinki too. It has to be possible.

syyskuuta 17, 2007

Monday, mooondaaaaaaaaaaaay

I am again very pleased with life.

I got the ticket to the Eisbrecher concert today. It found me even though I forgot to add the "absolutely necessary" order number when I paid it. So I am going to see Eisbrecher! Oh frigging yes!! I hope they do Dornentanz. I love Dornentanz. I love Rappunzel even more, but I bet they don't play that, since it is actually Megaherz and not Eisbrecher. Megaherz being the old band of the singer, so it isn't as far fetched as it sounds.

J and I signed the rental agreement for the apartment, so that is settled. Quite pleased about that too. Dear sisters, be prepared, since this means that I'm going to ask to you to go and do something about that mountain of clothes that got left behind in the living room. Will get back to you on that one.

I was also just now to listen to a Polish doctorand talking about her dissertation project. I'm almost sure that she was one of the people who I met at the summer course here few years ago. I'm not sure, so I have to go and see her to find out.

Yep, but the thing that added to the "I am again very pleased with life" was that I managed to get my mouth open and ask a couple of very basic, but relatively important methodological questions. The people who were so to say "running the show" seemed to appreciate them. I'm very big on reading body-language, you know. Difficult language, but I do claim I can interpret it relatively well. Jup, but it was not just body language. One of the organisers came to me right after the meeting was over, rather enthusiastically for that, and asked me if I would like to talk about my project. Yep, yep, yep.

I also finally re-introduced myself to Professor S - I know, I should have done that two weeks ago, but you know me, I don't like going to talk to people - and he seemed very pleased to meet me again and suggested we go have lunch someday. He also asked about common friends, so greetings from him!

syyskuuta 16, 2007

Summery days

How wonderful is summer. The weather continued great today, it was possibly even better than yesterday. According to the internet weather reports it was 23 degrees during the day and I have no reason to doubt that.

I went out earlier to visit this big city forest in the south part of Frankfurt. It's big; it's beautiful. I had a book, I had something to eat. I had jeans and a top on and it was hot. Those are ingredients for good things. Being able to sit outside and not be cold is one of life's great pleasures. If I said that already yesterday, then it is worth repeating. One of the great pleasures.

I am so going to get spoiled here and get used to a wonderful weather. Even thinking about the Finnish weather makes me shiver. Wääähhhhh...

Yup, but the food is starting to smell really good in the oven, so I think I'll go and eat now.

syyskuuta 15, 2007


Today I've been to Mainz.

Mainz is a beautiful city, nearly two thousand years old with remains still left from the Roman times. It's not very far from Frankfurt - it took only an hour and twenty minutes from my doorstep to make it to the main railway station in Mainz. All at the incredibly cheap price of 8,40 euros - there and back. Now that I call good service.

Mainz used to be a very important archbishopric from the Middle Ages on and there are still a number of impressive looking churches all around - intact, in ruins or renovated after the Second World War. There's the cathedral, which I managed to visit opportunely right at the time when a male choir was singing there. It sounded very good; the sound of their voices lingered in the air for seconds even after they had finished.

Then there was another church in ruins, where Johannes Gutenberg was said to have been baptised. It was really rather beautiful and very close to the river. I saw it right after I came from this Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, which happened to get on my way and was free. I've seen lots of beautiful objects today, I can tell you. Things that people have made during three thousand years or so - from four thousand years and more back to the early middle ages. Someone has made all those things, used them, wanted beautiful and totally impractical things around even thousands of years ago.

Yep. And then there of course was the river. Mainz is where Main - which goes through Frankfurt - meets Rein. The S-Bahn follows Main at the intersection of the rivers, so you can see it clearly. Very beautiful sight. And you can see so well how much bigger Rein is than Main. I didn't do any river cruises, but maybe one of these days yet.

Jep, but it was much, much fun. The day was - and is - beautiful: the sun shines, it's probably the warmest day in these two weeks and really feels like summer. And me do loves summer. I definitely had a vacationy feeling this time. I walked around the old town, which is much more impressive than in Frankfurt. I had lunch in a nice place near the cathedral and I sat a little while writing at the old Roman fortress. It was up on the hill, where it was peaceful, quiet and gorgeous.

I am so going to continue this travelling thingy.

syyskuuta 14, 2007


Darned, I've sat on the computer so long already writing letters and translating that Emigrate article that I forgot I haven't been here yet. So, what should I write about today?

I haven't really done anything specific today, since I thought I'd tried to diminish the pile of unanswered e-mails a bit. Not that I got hardly anywhere. But I'll get there! Eventually. One day. Take a cup of coffee and wait patiently, please.

This "no television" -thing has still made it more understandable how in the olden days the people had time for all that unending correspondence with friends and families and the odd acquaintances of aunt Mildred's third cousins' from Upper-Nirgends-upon-Avon. In the usual life at home it takes me about six months to answer a letter, here my average time is more akin to a week. That, methinks, is considerable improvement. Prithee and all that to ye olden fellows.

I think I'll go read now. I'll report back tomorrow, since I have plans for this merry day of Saturn.

syyskuuta 13, 2007

Today's opus - var så god

I'm starting to feel as if I were on vacation. Not because I wouldn't be working, because I haven't worked this productively since last February, but because the stress levels are going down. That's the best thing about vacations - no expectations, no demands.

Here it is basically the same. No one knows me - except for J - so if I don't feel like socialising, I can stay in my room and it bothers absolutely no one. If I need to see people, I can go down to the library, head out to town or go see J and tell him I'd like to join him for lunch.

A stress-free state of mind is a very good thing. It releases so much energy that you can use for other things than just wasting the hours away. I find myself sitting by the river and scribbling down thoughts about my dissertation - big bonus, since usually that thing does not enter my mind during off-office hours except as a big looming monster. Now I am starting to think of it more and more fondly.

I am starting to like the city, which is a very strange thing indeed. That I like cities in general, that is, not Frankfurt in particular. Thus far I'm quite fond of Frankfurt, but I've never liked Helsinki very much and I wasn't quite sure if I could ever see myself as a city person.

Now I am wondering whether it is perhaps possible to live a stress-free life without escaping to the country and giving up all thoughts of some kind of a career? That is something to think about.

Yep, but anyway, today I went to have lunch with J again. Some of the German doctorands turned up as well and I had a chance to get to know some of them. I had a very nice chat with one of them on the way back in the U-Bahn. All in German, which made me realise that even though my spoken German isn't anywhere near perfect or even particularly good, it still doesn't suck totally.

The guy I was having the chat with complimented me on my accent - or the lack of it. Which was nice, because even though my grammar sucks and my vocabulary badly needs improving, my accent is actually quite decent. Not that anyone would mistake me for a native, but my German still sounds much better than that of many people who grammatically and otherwise speak the language much better. I notice it even here in most of the stores. Frankfurt, you see, is very much a city of immigrants and a great majority of the shop clerks I've met so far have been non-natives.

Later I went to the Alsatian fair again. It's on until the end of the week, so I decided to go and redo yesterday. I sat there, had a glass of wine and scribbled some more. I knew it wasn't going to be as good as yesterday, so I wasn't disappointed that it wasn't. I was really happy there yesterday, you see, and you just can't purposely create those little moments of happiness.

Yep, but then I went to walk by the river for a moment, bought eight really tempting looking books for just nine euros on the way back and took the U-Bahn back home. Now I think I'll try translating an interview from German to English - to practise the language and to make a few people happy.

Oh, and J may just rent my apartment for the rest of the year. How perfect would that be. Money. No worries about someone ripping the place apart or making away with all my stuff. I could go travelling with a good conscience.

syyskuuta 12, 2007

Very happy today

I've had a wonderful day. Work continued as good as it just possible to be and then - around fivish - I went out because I needed to see some life around me.

I had thought about finding a cafe somewhere and sitting around for a bit. Before I found a nice looking place though, I found something even better. A small Alsatian fair with a band playing French music, tables under a big canopy and people selling Alsatian wine, food and delicacies.

It looked perfect, so I bought myself a café-au-lait (yeah, I know, I don't really drink coffee, but sometimes one has to try new things) and a good looking pastry, which didn't taste too bad either.

The French - or possibly Alsatian - band kept playing and a woman with a beautiful voice was singing chansons. I ate my pastry and then decided to do some writing.

I started a new story yesterday and continued with it today. It was so much fun. I sat there, listening to the music, the tourists and locals laughing around and wrote and wrote and wrote. I think I was there for almost an hour and a half.

I made a resolution yesterday to write fiction from now on every day. It can be just a few lines if I don't have the time for more, but at least something. I think today I could add to it the resolution of trying to do that on a regular basis somewhere in public - in cafés, parks, restaurants...

I think I've mentioned before that writing is something I really love to do. That if I ever won the lottery and didn't need to worry about the paychecks...

But who knows. If I do write every day then in a year I could easily have five hundred pages written, even a thousand. When writing the dissertation even one page is often just beyond pain, but when doing fiction pages sometimes just float out of nowhere. Of course some of it is always crap and would end up deleted in the final phase, but...who knows. Maybe practice does make the master and one beautiful day I have something that could be out there for people to read. Perhaps not, but I suppose it isn't the main point either. The point is that writing makes me happy.

It was really so good. Sitting under the maple trees and just letting your pen fly.

Again work related....

I love Bernhard Diestelkamp. Truly. I found this wonderful article by him (Die Durchsetzung des Rechtsmittels der Appellation im weltlichen Prozeβrecht Deutschlands), which I seriously should have read already six years ago.

He explains so beautifully in just two pages some very elementary things about the old "dinggenossenschatlich" jurisdiction and the difference between turning to an higher authority in the old system and the actual Appellation. Considering the topic of my dissertation these are the sort of basic "2 + 2 = 4" -type of things that one should really know by heart. I on the other hand have somewhere along the way made the mistake of starting right away with the higher mathematics. If you can't count 2 + 2, how on earth are you supposed to understand how derivation works? No wonder I've gotten so insanely frustrated sometimes.

I have to read a one or two of his other stuff in case he explains a few more elementary things. He writes such beautiful and simple language too, he does. Unlike Jürgen Weitzel, who has written a huge number of books that I really have to read. I'm not at all looking forward to that though, since his way of writing is totally impossible. Insane sentence structures and such language. If you are into science, where you job is to spread knowledge, you don't play with the language like that. That is for fiction, that is.

Weitzel's article was one of those that drove me insane last week. He writes basically of extremely interesting things, but the language... One of his books was the first one I ever tried reading in German a few years ago. It took me honestly an hour to read through two pages and I am not kidding or over-exaggerating here one single bit. Based on last week's experience I may have to start translating again when I finally gather the courage to pick up his works. Unlike Diestelkamp where I thus far have had to look up only one single word per five pages. Why can't they all write like him?

syyskuuta 11, 2007

Old sagas are so interesting

Hehe, always believe horoscopes. That is the lesson of today.

I'm seriously loving being a researcher again - at the moment. Due to the whole discpline and "fix things or they will become much more messier" commands of the horoscope I outlined a scheme, rough chapters, for the dissertation and then started reading through the whole thing. I decided to make things a bit simpler, because otherwise I would never have gotten anywhere. Those slightly perfectionistic tendencies of mine, you know.

But it is just possible that there may be beauty in simplicity.

I love this phase of the research, when things are slowly starting to make some sense. I remember loving it when I was finishing the master's thesis and the licentiate thesis.

I'm not sure whether it means that I am cut out to be a researcher though. If it always means years of agony for a few months of clarity, then it isn't for me.

I'll go back to it now. And then later today I'll start writing fiction. After I've gone out for a walk, since for a change the sun is actually shining.

syyskuuta 10, 2007

work, work, work

This has been a very work oriented day. I have worked and surfed the net always occasionally. Gone out for a walk so the cleaning lady could do her work. Worked and surfed some more and that has been it.

It's still been quite a positive day, since I managed to get quite a lot written. One or two quite sensible things too. I have to read through my dissertation very soon and start chopping off bits and pieces that are completely irrelevant. There are plenty of those, but I'm hopefully starting to have enough pages that the bloody thing will tolerate some heavy pruning.

Maybe I'll start tomorrow.

This makes me wonder, whether such an irrational and illogical thing as astrology might have a thing or two going for it. At one point today during my net surfing - as I was feeling just a touch more bored than usual - I checked an astrological site, which is a bit more serious than 99 % of those things. This won't even pretend to tell you that your love life is doing well today and you will win the lottery tomorrow; it's more about long term tendencies in your life based on actual astrological study - whatever that is supposed to be.

This one claimed that because of the movements of dear old Saturn, I am entering into a 2½ years period of order, discipline, determination and hard work - or some such thing. Now astrology of course has no change of working, except if you take it as a self-fulfilling prophecy. I will enter a period of discipline and hard work if I choose to believe that that is what I should do and therefore make it happen.

This is the same site that told me to have courage and make an important decision in the February of 2005, which was also pretty much the last time that I checked the site. Well, I may have been there twice since that, but no more. That decision however turned out to be a good one, so maybe I should actually try and develop some discipline. It did promise more confidence as a long-term reward. That doesn't sound bad.

It also said something about the benefits of soul searching and making important lifestyle decisions. I'll just go think about those now.

syyskuuta 09, 2007

First week is over

Atelierfrankfurt had open days today, so I went to see some modern art. They had very diverse pieces of art there, from video installations to graphics, from photography to more conventional paintings. Some very nice things and some that didn't do anything for me. It's a place where young artists work, so they had also provided an opportunity to take a look at the artists' workrooms - or should one call them studios. If one had been minded to, one could have also talked to some of the artists. I didn't.

After that experience I did some walking around in Frankfurt. There is this Green belt - Der Grüngürtel - that goes around the center of the city. I walked around for over an hour and managed to cover most of the area. I came from the direction of the Hauptbahnhof where the Atelier was and ended at the Main river. It's a very beautiful walk and I wouldn't mind doing it again some day soon.

From the river one could see the downtown with the skyscrapers. According to Wikipedia Frankfurt is one of only four cities in the entire Europe that has a greater number of big skyscrapers. I found that a bit surprising, but I suppose it's true. And understandable. Those thingies don't really fit just everywhere.

The river was beautiful. There were swans. There was a guy jogging, who looked really a lot like this actor who is in all the German detective series - usually playing the bad guy. Could have been him for all I know. There was this crazy American or British fellow who threw a ball into the river for his dog to catch. The dog jumped in in a heartbeat from a relatively high bank and really seemed to struggle against the current. The poor thing had to swim quite a way to get back to land. Looked awfully dangerous, I tell you.

Eventually I got back to the city centre. I saw some of the famous landmarks and walked slowly towards my U-Bahn station. I didn't feel like going home just yet, so I went to get the movie program for the week. I sat for a while near Hauptwache - that's the station - and watched the people running past. There was this event today for raising money for AIDS-work. People were asked to run for five kilometers around the city and there were different sort of activities going on around the Alte Oper. I ran into them while I was on my Grüngürtel-tour and managed to catch a piece of the musical entertainment. It's a lively city this one, Frankfurt is.

syyskuuta 08, 2007

Forgot the titel, but all fixed now

I found my way to IKEA today. It required a bit of extra effort, since a section of U2 was under reparation and I needed to first find and then walk to the bus stop a station too early. That turned out to be quite easy though, since all the U-Bahn and the bus stations have really good maps.

The driver of the U-Bahn even came to help me, when I was checking the map to find the right bus stop. He was really friendly and took the bother of checking the U-Bahn announcements, because he thought that I should have gotten off already at the previous station. There are announcements, you see, both on the U-Bahns and buses as to which lines you can change to. He was wrong about the bus, but that was still terribly sweet of him. In the end he advised me to take the bus they had arranged to take the passengers to the next station, but I decided to find the bus that went directly to the IKEA anyway. Which, as said, turned out to be very easy because of those maps.

I got some stuff to make the room look cosier. Candles, flowers, a pillow, a blanket - all the usual decorative girly items. I do appreciate the aesthetic viewpoints of life and like beautiful things around me. Beauty – I suppose goes without saying – is naturally a very subjective matter.

After decorating the room I checked what was going on in Frankfurt today and went to see a small street festival here nearby. There was music and food and street vendors and lots of people. I walked around a bit, listened to the music, did some shopping and came home. It wasn’t a breathtaking experience, but quite nice still. What is very nice though is how fast you can get from here where I live to the city. I had no problem going out twice today, which is something I would never do home.

Yep, but now I need to go and eat. I’m getting really hungry.

Currently listening to: Don Huonot – Pieniä sieviä sieniä

syyskuuta 07, 2007

Weekend approaching

Damn, almost forgot to write today. I was checking how to get to IKEA and the internet is such a time-thief.

Yesterday I was having a bad day, so I just didn't feel like writing. I basically got nothing done. I ended up reading a boring and badly written article and despaired already because of that. I had a meeting with the director of the institute and I was worried about that beforehand, since meeting new people always makes me nervous. He turned out to be really nice and patient though and we had an actual discussion in German, which made me happy for awhile. The other highlight of the day was reading Paolo Coelho's "Veronica Decides to Die". It was sad and a bit scary book. Few people realise so well as Coelho how scary and hopeless life can sometimes be. But in the end it made a bad day a whole lot better and confirmed my decision to decide what I want out of life. Also made me decide to read everyone of Coelho's other books I can get my hands on.

Today was work wise a good day. I also went to the local bank and now have a German account. In addition I fiddled with the Finnish account and if everything went well, I now have a ticket for an Eisbrecher concert. That band, you know, which is second on my list of favourite bands just after Rammstein. The concert takes place in late October and is the only gig they have during the time that I'm here. So I couldn't be too picky about the location, which is not Frankfurt, but Augsburg. That should be a nice, old town though, with more to see than just Eisbrecher. Hehe, I'm doing some traveling for Halloween.

syyskuuta 05, 2007

Saw a nice cemetery today

It feels like I had been here already for far longer than three days. There's been something new every day, so the conception of time changes too.

Today I went to the University with J for lunch. There's no cafe or diner at the institute, so the people who work here need to go someplace else to eat or alternatively bring their own lunch. I of course can use my own little kitchen.

One needs to take the U-Bahn to the university, but it was still closer than I remembered. We went there to eat once or twice also that time when I was here for the summer course - in 2003 if I remember correctly. It was good to have a Finnish-speaking guide, because each and every university cafe is different and it always takes awhile to figure out their policies.

I also met one of the researchers here, who obviously didn't think much of my German. He switched into English after just one sentence. He seemed really nice though and introduced himself only by his first name, which is something that I really appreciated. Means that one can "duzen" and doesn't need to use the polite You.

I realise it's a German habit and correct and polite and all that, but it seems somehow so hierarchical. I tend to cringe when people in Finnish use the polite you, too. Some sales people do that. Especially if one is wearing something bit more formal. I guess that is one of the reasons why I don't like it actually. If I go to a store wearing jeans, sneakers and a t-shirt, I don't get the polite you. Do the same in high heels and a blazer, and they pretty much always address you formally. There is something fishy about that.

syyskuuta 04, 2007

Post 2

I did promise a second post today, didn't I? This won't become a habit though. Even if there isn't a TV and I have to get a life to cope with that.

Today's work related activities went quite well - I've transcribed, I've written and I've read. I've had a minor revelation about the importance of the temporal context in the dissertation...

Yep, and then when I thought I had worked enough and the room was getting too small, I headed out. The U-Bahn station is almost directly outside the institute and it doesn't take that long to the city center either - something like 10 to 15 minutes. I did buy a Monatskarte, so I have to use it too. Wouldn't want to waste my money.

The cultural portion of today's activities consists of seeing one church (St. Katharinenkirche) from the inside and the Alte Oper and Frankfurter Börse from the outside. I've also discovered one beautiful park more and come to the conclusion that this is really a very green city. I also went shopping - bought a couple of novels to improve my German and a new CD. It's called Emigrate: the solo-album of a guitarist of this relatively well known German band. You can all guess which one.

Luckily I only had something like 30 euros with me when I went shopping. Otherwise I would have come home with much more than just that one CD. I think I've mentioned it before, but the Germans make the best music in the world by a long shot. I found a local Saturn, you see, and there was this amazing section of Metal/Dark wave/Electronica. There were all these wonderful bands and the CD's cost generally less than in Finland. I have to watch myself or I'll end up spending hundreds of euros there.


Currently listening to: Emigrate - New York City

Started work

I’m feeling very positive about this German experience today. Especially work wise. My identity as a researcher – which was already lying on its deathbed during this summer – is rapidly recovering. Lawyer I am not, but a researcher I may still want to be. I’ve discovered some nice books – all thanks to P of course. I have that little thingy of Schröder’s in my hands right now and already after one and a half pages I’m feeling terribly motivated again. He’s writing about Justice (Gerechtigkeit), you see. And I think I’ve mentioned before that law as such doesn’t do terribly much for me – that it was justice that lured me into the law faculty in the first place.

Now I have to go and see what Schröder actually wants to say and whether that opens up any new horizons so within the immediate endeavour.

I'll probably get back to you still this evening. I figured out a way to go around this "banning blogger in the rooms" -thingy, you see. I'm assuming that the ban is there for security reasons (to stop viruses from these popular sites etc) and so I just plugged the modem into my own laptop and the whole world is open to me again. I should probably go and ask if it is okay to do that. Or maybe I'll just try to get through that insanely technical "what you cannot do with your computer" paper and if they don't directly say it's verboten....

syyskuuta 03, 2007


Haha, ich bin hier. Mein ”deutsches Erlebnis” hat begonnen (angefangen ? ; losgegangen ??) und ich sollte eigentlich auf Deutsch schreiben, nicht wahr? Um die Sprache zu lernen und alles das. Aber, aber...ich glaube nicht, dass das passieren wird, nicht in der unmittelbaren Zukunft!

Aber ich bin hier. Wer hätte das gedacht?

That’s one of my favourite sentences in German. Wer hätte das gedacht? „Who would have thought of that.“ It sounds beautiful. Which may have to do something with the fact that the singer of my second favourite band (Eisbrecher / old Megaherz) has been known to have said that sentence a couple of times and he has one lovely voice.

But anyway, I am here. The first day is almost over. The flight was okay, a bit late, but otherwise fine. Finding the institute wasn’t a huge problem – just a bit sweaty, since I of course didn’t want to part with my money to the degree of taking a cab. So I dragged the 30 kilos through S-Bahns and U-Bahns. It was raining too.

I got to the institute and was shown to my room, which is not too bad at all. There’s a little kitchen, a bathroom and the actual room, which is maybe around 25 square meters with a bed, a small dining table, a desk with a computer, a shelf for the books and a cupboard for the clothes. No TV though, which means that one has to come up with alternative ways of spending the evenings. There is however plenty of free floorspace, but I haven’t found out yet what they think of guests staying over.

Anyway, after a couple of hours of unpacking and relaxing I was given lots of papers to sign and a short tour of the instute. All in German, I am happy to say. It went better than I had feared. I understood almost everything and I actually managed to say a thing or two – even if I also did a lot of nodding with „Okay, gut, genau“ -type of commentary. But Frau Z was just happy that I spoke German at all – insisting that her English was not at all good – and Herr G actually complimented me on my German. Which was really terribly nice of him, even if not very accurate.

But I think the language thing may be okay. I was reading the Frankfurter Allgemeine in the plane and could actually understand most of the articles that I read without bigger problems. Speaking is still a problem, because my grammar sucks and my vocabulary is very limited, but on the other hand I still seem to be able to communicate – even if people have to finish my sentences for me. Thus far they seem quite willing to do it too. Maybe it’s because the Germans seem to like Finns. Everytime I do the „ich komme aus Finnland“ -thing, they get a big smile on their face and repeat happily „aus Finnland?!“ Plus at the institute there is the added advantage that lots of people here are on very good terms with my „Doktormutter“ so they seem pre-disposed towards liking me too. And I of course like anybody who likes me, so that might make things easier.

After all the bureaucratic stuff I went for the first of hopefully many walks. There is quite a big park that starts directly from the institute and follows a small river. There’s some sort of smallish bird reservoir on the other side and plenty of very lovely looking places for a person to sit down with a book. Looked altogether very promising. I also found a store and discovered that at least food is cheaper here than in Finland. Germany also seems to be one of those countries, where you can get wine for less than 2 euros from the grocery stores. So I’ve celebrated my birthday with a nice mozzarella salad, a glass of white wine and some of the chocolate I got as a present yesterday. The other present is waiting for me and I think I will go and keep Paolo Coelho company now. Thanks by the way for the party yesterday and Ä for taking me to the airport. All very nice!

Now I’m going to go and see if I can still get into the library to post this. I have a computer with an internet connection in my room, but the good people of the institute have seen fit to ban certain sites. Like blogger, myspace and youtube for instance. Schade.

syyskuuta 01, 2007


The house looks like a mess. I've started the packing, but have mostly only succeeded in throwing out half of my clothes. Which pleases me to no end, since I have far too many clothes. And now luckily quite a number less of those, which I never use anyway.

I also have a new pair of shoes. I like walking and I'm planning to get to know one or two parts of Frankfurt by taking nice long walks there. It seems that in addition to the river there are lots of very beautiful parks and other natury-type areas around. I'm very much looking forward to that. It also pleases me that in Frankfurt it is as warm in September as here in August, as warm in October as here in September and so on. Some sunshine to look forward to!

What I find less pleasing are the types of shoes that are sold to women. I wanted something that would look nice, be comfortable to walk in and would not cost the world. So I went looking for something like sneaker type of walking shoes. And what do I find? All women's shoes of that type are either white, red, ultra silvery or have very strange pink lines all over. In a word they are pretty damn princessy. If one wants plain, simple, black-greyish, yet fairly elegant walking shoes one is in trouble. Unless....da-daa... one goes to check men's shoes. They make so much more beautiful shoes for men. I've noticed that before, but have not drawn the proper conclusions before today. Which is that if they make more beautiful shoes for men, BUY men's shoes! Which is what I ended up doing.

We have then also switched to Digi-TV today. The analogical side still functions too, since I live in a cable household. There were still differences though: the digi insisted on giving the radio channels to me instead of TV and a number of new channels had appeared. Channels, which are not supposed to be free, so I'm wondering what that is all about.