tammikuuta 10, 2008

It's so quiet here

Dum, dum-da, dum; dum, dum, daa... What should I write about today? I've had a very nice day, but I haven't actually done anything all that specific. I'm just so generally enjoying myself. Enjoying people. There are some very nice people around here in this faculty, I can tell you. For instance coffee breaks can be a fun thing.

I've been trying to boycott television and internet. Did I write about that already? Well, I have been watching Simpsons, since one needs some entertainment, but otherwise no telly. I've been going to bed after nine like little children, so there has hardly been any chance for it either. This is also a fact that has led me to notice that all the good shows and movies start very late. I've never paid attention to that before, since I watched them anyway, but now I have become old and want my eight hours of sleep.

I've also noticed that the days are very short. Even though I get up at six, I am never home before 5.30. Go to get some groceries and it takes an hour more. Something to eat, reading the paper for which you had no time in the morning, perhaps doing the dishes... There isn't that much time left after all of that. Boycotting the television - except for the Simpsons - and the internet makes it feel longer though. I've had time to read and write and even make attempts at meditation. Makes the week feel longer in a good way.

Jep. Yawn. I'll go home now.

tammikuuta 09, 2008

Why is it so late already?

The colour of the city snow is grey;
I wonder if it thinks
that it is more sophisticated
than its untouched country cousin.

tammikuuta 08, 2008

Nightly activities

The cat and I are still on much better terms, but I am starting to remember the downsides of having a feline in the household. One of them being the nature of cats as creatures of the night. Except apparently they are not - at least dear Wikipedia claims that they are instead "crepuscular"; meaning that they are primarily active during the twilight.

I would not call four a.m. twilight during this time of the year, but that is approximately when the cat likes to be on the move. She eats, she plays, she pays a visit to the litterbox when I would prefer to sleep. The problem being that she hardly ever manages to do any of these activities without waking me up.

Usually I fall back asleep soon enough, but all this waking up still disrupts sleep and assumably makes it much less inefficient. The only benefit of waking up so abruptly is that I can actually remember some of my dreams.

Weird stuff.

tammikuuta 07, 2008

Snow, snow, snow

This coupling of research and the assistant business is working real well so far. Doing practical things keeps one content and feeling useful. It is important to do things that also benefit someone other than myself and doing research obviously doesn’t. The assistant business on the other hand does. I have made three students a bit more content already today and that is a day well spent. Two of them actually sounded very pleased.

My new plan of writing three pages per day is also going quite well. It’s my new schedule: three pages per day, sixty pages per month and therefore 300 pages by the end of May. I can reuse all the pages that I already have, if I want – as long as I have a finished manuscript ready in five months. So far so good; I’ve been writing today about poor blind Anna Margaretha and her greedy uncles. Mwahwahwa. I like my new approach. The methodology book one of the Norwegians sent me is also proving quite useful. It is full of grammatical errors, which bug me – I’m discovering a happy little editor in myself – but the content is quite promising.

Yep, yep. Now I need to go and do some shopping again.

tammikuuta 06, 2008

questions, questions

I am faced with a moral dilemma. One of my neighbours is using an unprotected wlan and therefore I could use their internet connection. The question is, should I? Could I? On a more permanent basis that is, since I am obviously using it now. Just to post this though, since I did use Word to write it.

It is not illegal. If they wanted to protect their connection, they could. Easily. Either they just haven’t bothered or they have left it unprotected on purpose.

It is not illegal to use someone else’s connection, but is it immoral? The speed of the connection has so far been either poor or extremely poor, so it probably wouldn’t slow down the owner’s connection that much. Which, of course, is the most important criterion of an action being moral or immoral – does it harm another person?

It would harm the companies offering the net connections, since one of them would lose nearly 300 euros per year. But the aim of the companies is commercial, to make money, not to help people in any way. Not aiding them in making a profit doesn’t feel too immoral.

The problem, I suppose, is the fact of someone – in this case me – getting something for free when others are paying. At least that bugs me slightly with people who don’t pay for public transport or for watching television. Not in a moral sense as such, but in the “why do I have to pay, when they don’t” sort of whine – especially as we who do pay, have to pay more because of the people who don’t. That argument probably doesn’t apply to this situation, since there’s no public service involved, but big commercial businesses instead.

Is that then why I do pay for transportation or television? The involvement of a public service? Nope. I pay for the peace of mind, since it seems preferable to worrying about someone catching and “fining” me. That is why the non-payers don’t bother me that much. They – theoretically at least – do have to worry about getting caught. And they know that their non-paying means that others pay for them. That potential worry and shame seems like a fair exchange for the money they save.

Does that mean that I have to pay with worry and shame too, if I wish to take advantage of this opportunity? And is it a shame, which would be worth 300 euros to avoid?

A moral dilemma.

tammikuuta 04, 2008

Alles Gute zum...

I am having one of those days again. You know, when the thought suddenly strikes that something clever ought to be written instead of "I went to the store and bought a hat and three new shirts". Shopping is not a subject that inspires all that cunning contemplation.

Although, I did start to wonder yesterday whether I would be more inclined towards shopping if I had more money. Is my aversion to shopping partly a "defense" mechanism? Since I don't have enough money to buy whatever I want - and still have enough for the rainy day - have I convinced myself that shopping is unnecessary? That new clothes and spending money is something akin to superficiality and extravagance?

The question of course is - or one of them anyway - that if I have so convinced myself, can I unconvince myself? Should I? Does this have anything to do with the fact that I saw a preliminary assessment of my new paycheck? Which, if the amount promised is true, has made me a happy supporter of UPJ (uusi palkkajärjestelmä). If the amount promised is true, my new salary will almost reach the average Finnish wage. Which is actually kind of sad. I am apparently going to get a 40 percent raise and I still won't make the average salary. I would bitch, but I am still looking too much forward to the monthly couple of hundred extra euros on my account.

Now I will go home and continue that quite interesting book on methodology in the train; get ready for M's gig tonight and come back to grading papers next week.

Currently listening to: the voices of children in the hallway

tammikuuta 03, 2008

Let's see if I can keep the blog alive

I am home again after the holidays. Have been for two days now. Or actually, in fact, right now I am still at work, since I have no internet connection at home. Cursing at this crappy computer, which gives the university a bad name.

I am also wondering whether I would be able to survive without an internet at home. It is such a time thief, bloody thing. On the other hand it is perhaps my most important method of communication and do I want to hang around at work blogging on evenings? No, I do not. On the other hand I don't necessarily have to, if I do what I did today. I was at work already at bloody 7.30 and spent even the bloody train trip reading on past legal texts. It's only 2.30 and I have already worked for seven and a half hours. And bloody productively too.

Yesterday morning did not look too good workwise. I trudged to the university through hail and wondered again at how ugly Helsinki is. I spent probably couple of hours staring at my papers until J turned up. She gave me some lists and files and updated me on all the assistant stuff - after which I had to start immediately preparing an examination, which will take place tomorrow. And that, I tell you, was a very good thing. I've always rather liked preparing exams, making questions, usually I even enjoy grading the papers. It feels useful and one can immediately see the results of one's labours.

Somehow because of that I started to look at research more optimistically too. I didn't feel like writing at all yesterday, but I decided to read one of those articles I scanned in Frankfurt. A little thing by Regina Ogorek, which was wonderful. She finally explained what applying natural law can mean in practice. I had been wondering about that now absolutely for ages, but had remained as ignorant as a duck in a shoe shop.

And today, today I have written. I have managed nearly four pages and I think that this approach may even work. And I've done all sorts of assistenty thingies and been to the library and to lunch and chatted with people. I have - in fact - rather been enjoying work for the past two days. Now we just have to see how long I can keep this positive attitude going on this time. In the past my after-holiday work euphoria has never lasted more than two months at the very most, but we'll see.

Now, methinks, I will soon head out to do some shopping. I definitely need a hat of some sort. It was only -3 degrees today, but counting in the wind it was still positively freezing. Yesterday I didn't have time for anything other than grocery shopping. My fridge was totally empty after the German Experience, so I went and spent some dineros on food. Things I learned in Germany. "It is nice to eat well". Very, very cheap, but well. Or not necessarily even well, but more like...regularly. Something other than sandwiches and chocolate every day.

After that I went to pick up my cat. Living with people who aren't gone from the house all the time seems to have been rather good for her. She is much more trusting of people now and I think we are going to get along a little better. I was starting to get a little tired of her, since she did nothing but hide and run away. I haven't had the time and opportunity to concentrate on writing lately, but one day she will become a character in a story. Someone with a tragic childhood. Yep, yep.

Big thanks to all the people who looked after the kitty while I was gone!