joulukuuta 22, 2007

Home for the holidays

Christmas vacation started memorably this year. First we discovered that my car radio had got stolen over the past couple of days. Of course not a pleasant state of things as such, but it was still relieving that the thieves had not made away with the car itself. Well, it is a 1995 Toyota, so probably not precisely the first choice of any self-respecting car thief.

However, whether due to this or just as a coincidence the car started acting a little strangely almost as soon as we hit the road. The battery and the handbrake warning lights were on even though the handbrake was quite obviously down. At first there did not seem to be anything wrong with the battery, but ever so slowly things started dying out. The digital clock would disappear, the windshield wipers moved sluggishly as if they were pulling a ton of rocks behind them, the blinkers blinked no more... The car itself still moved, but then it too started to cough. It coughed until it could no more and then it just solemnly refused to progress another meter.

It was quite interesting really - steering the car, but the gas pedal not responding in anyway. I used to have these nightmares maybe five-ten years ago where that happened, but in those dreams the brakes would not respond either. Luckily this time they did, because it probably would have been a little too interesting had they not.

So there we sat, the car full of suitcases and x'mas presents and waited for the phoned in help to arrive. That did not take too long and after some twists and turns a shyly smiling man by the name of Markku told us that the battery had come to the end of its life and the charger (if that is what it is called) did not work anymore. In other words we had a very dead car in our hands and we were still a long way from where we wanted to be - the eastern parts of the country, that is.

Markku towed us to the nearest gas station and there we waited an hour or two for the cavalry to arrive so we could continue the journey. And so it was a couple of hours late that we got where we were supposed to be. And now the stomach is again full of food, the body and mind cleansed by that wondrous institution called sauna and the house is as full of people as it should be.

joulukuuta 21, 2007

Kotona jälleen...

I am back home - or rather at my sisters's, but back in Finland anyway.

I arrived yesterday and to my pleasure noticed that there is no snow here either. In fact it was quite warm as I stepped outside. The flight went well. It was nice to hear people speak Finnish again and to read Ilta-Sanomat. All my shopping plans on the other hand went awry. I had time, but by the time I had dropped off my bags and survived the security check the shops had disappeared somewhere. The shopping clearly should have been carried out somewhere between arriving to the airport and braving the security, but who was to know that. So there I was with just one shop at my disposal - offering the generic perfumes, Swiss and Finnish chocolates, booze and overpriced jewelry. That was quite upsetting since I had hoped to buy souvenirs for people and now I had to go back with practically nothing. It bugged me to no end. One should of course always do the shopping before the last hour, but my bags were so full that there was no room for anything else. Even now I had five kilos extra in the suitcases.

Ä came to pick me up from the airport and listening to x'mas songs in the car I was starting to get to an actual christmas mood. All the old TV shows and the familiar food in the stores were a nice thing to see too.

What, however, was quite disappointing, was yesterday's concert. Marilyn Manson didn't convince me at all. I like his music a lot, but the concert just did not work. First they needed over an hour to start to play after the support band, which did not help to build up the mood. The song that they started with didn't do that either. Even worse was the fact that Marilyn seemed to be more interested in putting up a fashion show than singing. They would play a song, then we would get half a minute of silence and an empty dark stage. If there is something that will kill the atmosphere better, I'm not quite sure what it is.

Yep, and then when they finally played a song that got the crowd really excited, they cut it in half and rapidly moved into something else via a boring solo. The sound didn't work properly, there was something wrong with Marilyn's voice, they only played little over an hour and Marilyn seemed to spend half of it speaking. And did he have anything interesting to say. Not a thing. One does not need to hear "Helsinkiiiiiii" hundred times, nor is it very fascinating to be told that we are the bestest and loudest and whatever -est public in the world. I mean, if this was the loudest crowd of the tour, then they had one frigging lousy tour. I am hoping that this was all the result of this being the last concert of the tour and therefore they all just wanted to be home. Not a moment of flow, nothing reminding elation as I walked back. Damn, I had really hoped that a concert would always be good, if I just liked the band.

Currently listening to: Simpsons

joulukuuta 19, 2007

Still so much to do...

It's over. My four months are over. Argh. Slight panic hit on the U-Bahn as I was heading back from the movies. It's back to the old life and I still haven't decided what to do to make it more interesting. Must - not - think - of - that - now.

I am going to miss this place. How cheap everything is. The beautiful, beautiful old towns. The green parks and the river and the fact that it is possible to see flowers in December. The warmer weather. The crazy way of addressing people by name, even if I never mastered it. The fact that one can spend extra two hours sleeping, because there is no need to waste it in trains and buses. The weird manner of mixing cola with beer, the tasty sausages and the schokobrötchen. The CD department of Saturn and all the bands that I never saw and who will never come to Finland to play.

Yes, Frankfurt left a good impression of itself. It may not be my favourite city in the world, but it sure beats Helsinki.

joulukuuta 18, 2007


For a while there I had forgotten how good movies are. I caught another one today, after some more autograph hunting, packing and closing my bank account. The autograph hunt went well, although I am starting to wonder how much of a formality this is. No-one asks me a single question or makes sure that I have actually returned the books or any of the other things. They just sign the form and hand it back. Of course they could all just have a phenomenal memory and keep all the relevant information neatly in their heads.

Closing the bank account was a matter of few minutes. Luckily, since I had started to wonder if I should have made an appointment for that too. But no, there was no need to fall back on the "but pleeease, I won't be in the country anymore in two days!" routine. I was quite happily surprised by the amount of money still on my account. Still nearly every euro of last month's grant left, not to mention this month's payment, which just shows that it is possible to live comfortably on a relatively few doubloons. I did proceed to spend a few of them today. I even contemplated buying a new camera, since this is a cheap country compared to Finland. Something I am going to miss very much, by the by. I didn't buy the camera, since I didn't see anything that I would have really liked and besides I am quite irrationally fond of my current camera even if the flash is out of operation.

After sitting for an hour in the Spanish place and trying out those waffles I went to the movies. A new theatre this time, a flashy one and I was afraid that they might ask incredible amounts of money for the pleasure of sitting in the plush surroundings. Another pleasant surprise as the young man behind the counter asked for only 5,50 euros. If that isn't a good deal, I don't know what is. The movies are much cheaper here than in Finland; even four euros can get you to a show on certain days. Naturally they have to get the money from somewhere to keep up the movie theatre, so this place had chosen to take it from the companies. Thirty minutes forth of adverts plus two meagre trailers, and I kid you not. Thirtyone minutes in fact, since eventually I got bored and dug out my handy to check the time. I was just about to get annoyed by this waste of time, when the movie started.

Then there was Russell Crowe and who could possibly be annoyed when there is Russell Crowe on the screen. Russell Crowe with his lopsided grin, Russell Crowe in handcuffs and chains and bleeding, which has always suited him rather well. Ever since The Quick and the Dead at least. This was another Westerner "3:10 to Yuma" and boy, wasn't it lovely. Sometimes I think that I should get all sophisticated and concentrate on these artsy films, but bugger's not often - more accurately never - that they can beat a good story with swords flashing and guns blazing. Emphasis of course being on the word good, since the trailers were again good reminders of what sort of brainless hogwash most action movies these days are.

Yep, if I have time I'll go catch another flick tomorrow. Jason Statham - who is not a bad looking bloke either - swings a sword in some fantasy oriented film, which didn't sound too bad at all.

joulukuuta 17, 2007

Hmm, it is getting quite late

Scanning is an interesting art. People these days apparently don't copy books anymore, instead they scan. Which - admittedly - is much more convenient, if you need to lug the documents somewhere hundreds of kilometers away. Much more cost-efficient. So thanks to Vera and her well appreciated advice I have just spent a couple of hours scanning articles. Also peeking into other people's folders to see what they have scanned, because even though a beneficial art in other regards, scanning is bloody slow. Two scans per minute was the going rate today.

Earlier today I was alerted to the fact, that one was supposed to give ten days notice before departing the institute. I naturally had forgotten all about that, so today I hunted autographs to show that I had behaved properly in all imaginable regards. Autograph-hunting needs to be continued tomorrow, but I think I got to a pretty good start. I also rummaged through the book shelves and returned books to the library, since an important part of the autograph hunt was to prove that one hadn't made away with any of the institute's books.

Later I went to the Montagskolloquium, since today's presentation actually seemed rather interesting. Something of a Law and Literature -type of approach with the speaker analysing a book by Goethe. It was quite fascinating, because some of the same issues that I have been thinking about lately came up there too. What is law and to what extent the question at hand needs to lie within a juridical discourse in order to still concern law, to be legal history? It was pretty clear that there were those, who thought within a stricter legal framework and those who started from a more philosophical viewpoint and therefore judged the matter differently. It was stimulating; the kind of discussions that can evolve from analysing a fictional book and a character of a mediator in it... Of temporality and the place of the Third, of the importance of silence in mediation...

Sometimes law really is almost like poetry. You feel as if there is something out there that you can almost touch. Something about the essence of law, which reminds me again to check out some philosophers. One of these days I am actually going to do it, instead of just always talking about it. Just like with writing.

After the seminar I practiced the skill of making fast decisions and decided to go to the movies, even if I had less than thirty minutes to accomplish that. This time I was actually already busily striding towards the movie theater by the time the movie was starting instead of sitting in a U-Bahn seven stations away. What made me a little worried though, was the fact that this was a different movie theater and they were not in the habit of showing 25 minutes worth of adverts and trailers before they started with the movie. I was three minutes late, but the screen was still blank. I even had time to settle down and read a few pages of my book, before the lights went out and the music started. That is all that happened at first, because this wasn't precisely the most luxurious or high-tech of all the movie theaters. After two tries they managed to get something visual to accompany the auditory output for the enjoyment of myself and the other avid movie goer.

Beowulf was the choice of today. For the first ten or fifteen minutes I was annoyed by the fact that it was one of those animated motion capture films, when I had thought I was getting real actors. Of course you could recognise most everyone and the men for the better part even looked relatively "human". The women unfortunately were much more doll-faced plastic figures. Has to do with the skin, me thinks. After awhile it stopped bothering me, because the story was actually quite captivating. But hey, if you have Neil Gaiman as one of the writers, what else could you expect? He does know how to tell stories, he does.

Beowulf also goes to the list of books to read. I actually have some books of mythology back home, all of which I haven't yet got through. I am quite looking forward to getting my hands on those again.

joulukuuta 16, 2007

letters in procession

Oh, happy Sundays. To stay in bed until you’ve nearly slept around the clock. Sit in the breakfast table with a large mug of hot chocolate, reading a good book, knowing that there is no hurry to go anywhere, to do anything.

It is not often one can reach that feeling. In fact it is only when you know that there are more of those same kinds of mornings just around the corner. It is in essence a holiday feeling.

On a regular Sunday the shadow of the Monday is always there lurking, the weight of the coming week is hiding behind your back, breathing shallowly. It is invisible, yet its urgent, hissing whispers are never far from your ear: “Enjoy now, only eighteen hours left, then it is time to work again, enjoy now!” and of course it is impossible to totally relax when you know that these few hours are laden with so much. Should be laden with so much. So you squander them away, forcing yourself to relax when you can’t force relaxation, unhappy if you haven’t done anything, unhappy if you have filled your time with activities and not stopped to have a breather.

Holidays are different. The memory of a happy mortal is short and for a while it is possible to convince oneself that this is all there is. The days follow each other in quiet procession, unhurriedly, undemanding, inviting you to just be. To sit in the breakfast table with a big mug of cocoa and enjoy a great book. To lay back in a swing on a summer evening and stare out at the lake, be one with the nature around you. Then the time stops and the future ceases with its meddling hushing and goading. You just are and the universe for once moves in step with you.

The sun is shining. It was shining most of yesterday as well as I went to Heidelberg. I went with my rucksack filled with a couple of books, a magazine, water bottle and mandarins, something warm to wear and money to spend. I was at the station early again and so I bought yet another book to take with me. I have been spending money on myself these past couple of days; sitting in cafés, buying books and a set of candles and those sticks you burn to see little wisps of smoke swirl around you and to luxuriate in the heady aromas. Such a wonderful fragrance.

My bookshelves at home are quite filled with books, but usually I only buy what I can get cheap. I do not like parting with my money and since libraries have been invented, it always feels a bit sacrilegious to give 15 euros for something that you read once and then abandon on a shelf. That is a method, which either leaves you dependent on book sales or means that you end up with a motley collection of authors, some good, some bad, some in-between. Yesterday, however, I decided to be bold and gave out 14 euros for a copy of Bill Bryson’s work. I read it on my way to Heidelberg and back, in the U-Bahns and in bed where I found my way right after having come back home. I read it in the breakfast table with a nice cup of chocolate.

Occasionally one comes across people who click. They say little things and you say “aaww, exactly so!” and smile and the universe seems a little friendlier place. Occasionally, ever so rarely, this happens in real life and you feel that someone is really able to understand you. More often it happens through books or lyrics of music and then your heart fills up and you feel a connection to human kind.

I do love books. (and music)

Thank you, Bill Bryson. (and Till Lindemann and Maija Vilkkumaa)

These cities that I have visited will probably end up being a collection of old castles and Roman ruins, parks and books to me. Mainz was the Drusus stone up in the hills, Wetzlar the old fortification ruins and Simone de Beauvoir, Darmstadt still Beauvoir and the big park, Marburg the wonderful medieval city and the imposing castle with a lovely little café up in the hill. And writing, Marburg wasn’t about reading, but writing. Heidelberg will also be a castle, half ruined, half operational, with lots of Japanese tourists and entrance fees to all possible places. Currywurst and Apfelstrudel. Sunshine, cold wind, a Christmas fair and hungry, grinning donkeys behind a wooden fence. And Bill Bryson and realising that I’m not the only one who dislikes parting with money or prefers peace and quiet to the noisiness of the modern age. Or wonders at the questionable pleasures of shopping or the crazy ideas of the architects of the 60’s and 70’s.

Smoke is beautiful. It makes little tunnels in the air, tiny tornadoes and twists into spirals, which end up in nothingness. Like Greek columns. Like time.

This is a beautiful morning.

joulukuuta 14, 2007

Less than a week left

The party yesterday was nice, even if the singing practice before that was actually more fun. I ended up sitting at the end of one table with few other relatively quiet people, which is why the conversation didn't precisely flow. The food was excellent though and the program quite entertaining.

Today I finally managed to go to the university library to copy this book for M. The place was much easier to find than I had thought and after some initial confusion I got my hands on the book itself. I had to wait a little while, since someone had originally marked the book as missing and so I took a look at the library. It seemed quite huge and very cozy. As I fetched my things from the locker I felt like a student again. I still often do, even though I am starting to agree with the old people, who say that the student years are wasted on the youth. At least all I did was study these boring subjects, which didn't interest me in the least, sat in the library for hours and hours and did hardly anything fun. No, those years haven't really left much of an impression on me.

Afterwards I went to the movies again and sat awhile in the Spanish Café, which has become something of a personal favourite of mine. I still want to try their waffles, so I think I have to head there one more time next week. Among all the other things that need doing. Tomorrow I will do none of them though, since I am going to Heidelberg. Yay! I think I perhaps need to google the sights a bit before actually hopping into the train. Yep, that is what I will do, so merry weekend to ya all!

joulukuuta 12, 2007

Cultural things

Tomorrow will be the christmas party of the institute and the custom here is that everyone needs to contribute somehow. Provide some kind of program or cooking or something. I wasn't too sure whether I was going to go, but yesterday Vera talked me into this so called "choir", which is going to perform some x'mas songs. We practiced today - I think there was maybe ten of us - and it was surprisingly much fun. I cannot really sing, but most of the others weren't that much better.

Our pianist actually knew something about singing and provided some tips on breathing and singing technique. He even claimed that nearly everyone can learn to sing. It was so much fun, you see, that I started to contemplate singing in a choir somewhere. Not a real choir, but the sort of "let's sing for fun" -type of ensemble that never even dreams of performing anywhere. It reminded me of one evening this summer when I sat in the sauna and sang make-believe songs to myself. I think I had read in a paper that day that singing releases some sort of positive energy and causes joy and happiness or some such thing. Singing yourself, not just listenig to someone else sing, that is. It definitely worked during summer. Today too, even if the idea of performing is not the most appealing. Especially after yesterday's musical performance, which was actually good.

The supply of evenings is getting quite short here, so later I went to see the Museum of World Cultures. Two German anthropologists had studied a tribe in New Guinea in the 60's and 70's and the museum exhibited the results of their work and the culture and traditions of this tribe. The exhibition itself wasn't very big, but it was quite interesting.

All in all quite a good day.

joulukuuta 11, 2007

Quality over quantity

Hahaa, I've had an actual discussion in German. I still sound like a stuttering five year old, but nevertheless.

The Tuesday colloquium had their last meeting before x'mas and I decided to go, since it was recommended and all. I'm still not hundred percent sure how appropriate that actually was, since I've never been to the actual Tuesday colloquium, but no-one seemed to mind. Vera knows a lot more people here than I do, so she introduced me to some of her friends. I talked to this girl from Berlin who waited very patiently as I tried to talk like the aforementioned stuttering five year old. It wasn't too bad.

Music was performed - Schubert and Grieg and someone else - and I saw again pictures in my head. I do that with classical music. I see pictures, even little stories sometimes: fields with dancing elves and rabbits peeking from their holes, trolls and fairies, children arguing with their parents, knights galloping and waterfalls, joy, love, death and sorrow. All sorts of things. It's quite lovely actually.

I also went out for a walk today - yesterday too. Yesterday it was particularly good. This time I didn't take it as something that I needed to accomplish - as exercise - but stopped for a while to sit at a bench and watched the preening swan and the quacking ducks. There were birds I did not recognise. Tiny little singing birds and two big black things with long slender necks. A lonely one that looked like a crane. It started to rain ever so softly and I stood at the bridge with my umbrella and watched all the objects that the rushing water had catched in its grips and refused to let go. It was very beautiful.

joulukuuta 10, 2007


The evening with DVD (Jenseits der Stille) and pizza turned out to be a longer affair than I had thought, so I wasn't in bed until after 1 o'clock. Vera is very extroverted and likes to talk, so there was no trouble keeping the discussion going on.

The evening got me thinking about friendships. The requirements, the limits and the reciprocal nature of it. Of the capability of saying no. In this case we have Vera, who needs company and would therefore like to hang out every single day. Then there is me, who needs company far less and would go crazy if she would have to hang out with someone every single day. The dilemma is how can you say "Thanks, but today I would like to spend the evening with just my book and my computer" to someone who thinks that being alone is a horror. Because they probably aren't capable of truly understanding the pleasure of being alone, they more likely than not think that you don't want to hang out with them - in other words get hurt. On the other hand I am not able to say "Sure, let's do something today too" day after day, because sooner or later - and usually sooner - I'll start to resent them and feel like I am being taken advantage of. Or I start to feel selfish if I want to do something alone. Or will start to feel that they are too clingy and as a consequence I feel like I am dominating the relationship, because their need is greater than mine, which is also very unpleasant. None of those feelings promises anything good.

Yep, yep, yep. That is one of those big issues, which needs solving. How does one maintain friendships, what to do career wise in the future, where to live, to have a child or not...

joulukuuta 09, 2007


Yesterday was a good day. I managed to get some e-mails written and went to the store to fill up my refrigerator again. It had gotten unhappily empty and urgently needed replenishment. As a result I had quite delicious creamy cauliflower for lunch and then sat down to write.

I have neglected writing in the past week or two, but I must remember never to do that again. I don't know if I have mentioned it, but writing is absolutely heavenly. Nothing like it in the world. I got nearly four pages written and the time just flew. Writing and good books are a paradise on Earth. Add to it sunshine and gardening and perhaps something good to eat and the way to nirvana is right there. Maybe a concert or two still thrown in as spicing.

I continued the evening crocheting my dragons, which was also very relaxing. Played a few games and then went to bed to read my book. I finished Glenkill already yesterday, so I continued with this novel about Roman history. It's not all that good actually: she doesn't get some basic things about Roman culture and the characters are a bit shallow. And yet someone thought it was good enough to translate. Hmm, makes you think, doesn't it? I think I have to check if literature studies belong to those subjects that are available to everyone.

Today the weather was lovely and the sun actually made an appearance, so in the midst of doing some laundry I went out for a walk. I haven't done that in a long time, since the weather has been so abysmal. I always forget how good these walks are, watching the river and the last green patches of lawn. The dogs - which the Frankfurtians seem to love - run after sticks and drink from the pools of rainwater and nearly without exception manage to make me smile. There was one cute little thing that stopped to stare at me with its huge brown eyes and sniffed my hand. Yes, I must also remember to drag myself out for walks even in worse weather.

And now I have to try and write some more mails. Vera and I planned another DVD-evening, with pizza this time, so the time to get things done is now.

joulukuuta 08, 2007

I am dreaming of my garden again

I've missed a couple of days, haven't I? It wasn't the intention, but life has suddenly intervened.

I came downstairs on Thursday and started the web surfing by ordering train tickets to go to Heidelberg. One more trip at least is in order before the German Experience is over. So Heidelberg it is, next Saturday.

I was planning to do the blogger next, when Vera suggested a movie. Or rather we had decided that we would go see one before I started with the Deutsche Bahn, but we just hadn't decided on when. Then thirteen minutes to six she suggests that we go see the one that starts at six o'clock - in a downtown movie theatre, nearly fifteen minutes on a subway to get there, not to mention the time it takes to get ready, get to the station, to the movie theatre, buy the tickets and everything else. The suprising thing is that we made it, had time to buy popcorn and even saw two trailers before the movie started.

The even more suprising thing to me was that some people can move so fast. To make decisions in a split second and then just act on them without pondering for ages whether one can do something or not. To just go without worrying about time or anything else. It must be a wonderful quality. If I only think about all the things it must be possible to do within one evening or one day, if one is capable of taking control of time like that. And making decisions like that. It's truly enviable.

So we saw the movie and then sat in a cafe near the Dom for couple of hours. That is a great thing about going out with someone else. The day doesn't have to end at four o'clock when it gets dark, but you can still be sitting in a cafe at ten in the evening like a normal person. Winter would probably not be such a drag if it would be possible to see the darkness as equally utilizable as the day light hours.

Yesterday I woke up with a headache that was not good for concentration. I tried reading this book, but kept nodding off every two pages. It was admittedly a quite boring book too, but the headache didn't help. At around three I fell asleep properly and woke up feeling much better. I had switched to reading fiction and was slowly planning to get to the blog, when Vera called and asked if I wanted to watch one of her DVD's. So instead of writing the blog, I watched "Wer früher stirbt ist länger tod" and had tea with honey. That was nice.

The book I was reading yesterday - the fictional one - was called Glenkill by this German author called Leonie Swann. Excellent book and I will thoroughly recommend it. One of the angles of the book is to look at people from the sheep perspective. The book and these two evenings have made me think about humans and whether we really are herd animals. More than one person has said to me during the past six months that they do not know how to be alone; that they need people around. And so this morning I started wondering about what it would be like: if there was someone always there you could talk to, to go out for a walk with, to sit opposite you in a table having breakfast and dinner, watch movies with... It is hard to really imagine what it would be like. I think there would be lot's of positive sides to sharing the life with someone, but on the other hand it doesn't always seem to bring happiness to people. Those who have what I don't, lack something else and are liable to different kinds of pain and unhappiness. That is what I've learned also during the past year or so. Everyone is in pain - even the ones who look like they have everything.

I think it is partly because life is too complicated. We are being torn to too many directions and are losing sight of what is important. All these ambitions and pressures to be something, to accomplish something. The soul yearns for simpler things. In our society there is just too much fear and too much need to put up protective walls. That Rousseau fellow really might have been onto something.

joulukuuta 05, 2007

Men, det var kiva

Back in Frankfurt again. Only two more weeks to go.

It was nice to have M here for a visit. We saw the christmas fair, which was a great experience, even if it rained cats and dogs. Reminded me of the one in Stockholm that I really liked. The fair in Helsinki on the other hand is not such a pleasant experience - everything is so crammed together that I have never even properly visited the park. Maybe I have to give it a try this year. Assuming of course that it is still up when I go home.

We also ate properly and I decided that I really have to learn to cook, when I go back home. As I've said before, my skills are very rudimentary so I cannot improve without recipes. Yep, yep, that is definitely a thing to do.

I abandoned M on Sunday morning and left for Copenhagen. The first step wasn't the greatest, since the airport security got me a little pissed. They took my shoes for questioning since they apparently looked very suspicious. They did get back in good health, but I found it more than a little ridiculous. Especially as they paid no attention to my crochet hook, which I assume could cause much more harm than my poor innocent shoes if I decided to go berzerk. They also never asked to see my passport. Not one single time. You would think it would be more important to check that people don't travel with a false passport, than worry about shoes. This is exactly the kind of behauviour that breeds paranoia and makes everyone look at their neighbour like they're the next mad homicidal bomber.

I eventually calmed down in the airplane. If I don't want to play their power games, I can always stop flying as the last alternative, can't I? Yes, I can. Not that I really contemplated that one, but it is a thing that has made me feel better many times in the past. Like in the university where many of the younger researchers are afraid to do this or say that, because they are afraid of jeopardising their future. I've never really worried about that. I may be worried about disappointing individual people, but I am not worried about my institutional position. Not because my position would be secure, but because no-one needs to play any power games. It is always possible to leave and do something else instead. That is what I call freedom.

Of course that has its downsides as well. You are incapable of really committing, because then one becomes susceptible to these pressures. Starting a family becomes more difficult. If you have a child then it is necessary to provide for that child. That means money is a must, a job is a must and then bang, you are a slave to the requirements of the system. If it is just you, it is always possible to go live at the summer cottage and take a job at McDonalds or something. You are free.

Except it may be that it is not possible. I think there may be some stupid law, which says that you cannot live the year around at your summer cottage. I've been thinking today about what law is really about. I don't have the most positive attitude towards law and I'm trying to find out, if it is possible to change that by thinking differently. But I keep coming back to these stupid laws that attempt to control your life in ways, which are irrational and unfair.

Okay, just checked google. There is a stupid law that prohibits living at your summer cottage permanently. Well, it is possible after a procedure if the cottage fulfills certain standards, but that is the point. What right does the state have to control what kind of living standards are enough for an individual. If I should wish to live like they did three hundreds years ago, without any modern conveniences, why can't I do that? Why is the state allowed to forcibly drag me into the society and then force me to pay for that? This law is an example of a control mechanism, which limits the right to choose an alternative lifestyle. An example of why I am not that crazy about all the laws.

Yes, but anyway, I was on my way to Copenhagen. Let's say that I have already arrived, found the metro and the hotel and been to see the city. Copenhagen looked nice; the little that I could see of it. It was already very dark, even if it was still quite early. I peeked at the Tivoli from behind the fence and walked to the sea. I like water, if you haven't noticed before. I walked around a bit more and then went back to the hotel.

We had lunch at a Chinese restaurant the first night, which was great. Almost as many courses as in that restaurant in Florence many years ago. It was really nice to see people. I haven't talked this much with the network people in any of the other seminars. I even had a talk with both of the keynote speakers the next day, which has never happened before. Part of it was perhaps the fact that I've stopped pretending that I would for instance understand Danish. Earlier I would have just sat there and smiled stupidly as if I would understand; now when this torrent of words descended upon me and I couldn't understand a word, I actually said it. So much better.

I also noticed that this policy of stating my mind and my wants is a good thing. As I said a couple of months ago, those who understand, do understand all the better and those who don't, they just have to be disappointed that I wasn't the person that they thought I was. But the net gain is still definitely positive. I still have to practice this policy of stating my desires, but I think I am getting to a good start.

The seminar itself went quite well. One of the keynote speakers mentioned lovely things like psychology, anthorology, society, ethics, morals and philosophy quite a few times, which made me happy. My own presentation went well and I got a number of good comments. I was the first of the doctorands to give my paper, which turned out to be a beneficial thing. I talked with altogether five people about my dissertation afterwards, which could never have happened if I had been the last to give the paper. It was interesting to notice that everyone had a different opinion about what I should do with the dissy. Three of them favoured a more society oriented approach and two a more legally oriented approach. It was very good to hear all these opinions and now I am again a little wiser.

I get reminded of a saying I read somewhere last week. "One sign of being an adult is the ability to make out the difference between an opinion and a fact". I thought that was very well said.

Oh yeah, it was a good seminar. We ate well, heard some interesting things, saw some interesting things, sat in the bar and had some good and interesting drinks... I felt part of the community, which is one of the most important things there is. I am starting to believe in friendship again, which is definitely one of the most important things there is. Yep. Thanks for the company waiting for the flight.

Currently listening to: the humming of machines