Monday, December 27, 2004

Relatively speaking

I symphatize with everyone who has in-laws to visit during the holiday season. I only have relatives by blood to visit and that's plenty. We actually drove over 500 kilometres yesterday with my brother to visit our uncle and his family in Lahti and our aunt and her family in Loppi. That means we sat in the car for about 6 hours and in between we ate a lot. And then some. It's not polite to turn down food when you're visiting - who came up with that rule anyway?

We did have a few interesting discussions during the drive, like pondering about an imaginary scuba diver diving at the exact center of an underwater earthquake. Couldn't really decide what would happen. As it were, one of my brother's good friends was in Thailand when the huge tsunami hit South East Asia yesterday. He'd been on a scuba diving course with his girlfriend for a week already and they were getting ready for an expedition out to some island scuba resort. They'd been driving towards the beach in the morning when they saw all the people running and police shouting something. They turned around and started driving the heck away from the beach. They survived, barely.

Such a horrible disaster. Can you even imagine a 10-meter wall of water coming straight at you at about 500 km/h? That's like being hit by a solid brick wall, for goodness' sake. Slim chances, if any. Awesome powers, our lady Earth has.

She also has the power over freezing temperatures, which proved to be quite an obstacle for me today. I had planned on hopping into my car and driving to Tytti's place to watch the rest of the Hornblower-series. I thought it'd be good for the car, too, since it's been idle for a few days already. Needs to be driven every once and a while, that igloo of mine. Well planned is not nearly accomplished, unfortunately. I couldn't get in. The doors were frozen. I got the other door unlocked, but it was so tightly frozen (metal on metal, I suppose) that even the kind man who stopped and tried to help wasn't able to budge the door.

I so love it when men think I don't have a clue and they do. This guy was one of those. Very kind to try and help, but I've got several winters' worth of experience with the darling vehicle. The problem with the doors isn't solved by heating up the key. It's just not. Take my word for it. The whole darned locking mechanism is frozen solid, so the matches aren't going to help that much... This time it was clear to me that the constant rain and humidity this past few weeks has caused the poor car to dampen all over. Then, add a bit of freeze and I have a completely secured vehicle standing in the parking space. Not going to go anywhere before it warms up again. Can't blame me for trying, though. It'd be nice to be able to get in the car you own, wouldn't you agree?

On the other hand, the car may just have heard what I promised to myself yesterday. I decided I'll have to lose some weight this spring. I thought I'd begin after New Year's but I suppose my car decided I should begin right away. "You walk, girl!" And so I did, in the wonderful pristine weather. A good start for my diet, except for the delicious yummy things Tytti had to offer. At least the walks evened it out a bit. I gained a kazillion calories and used up about 800. Whee...

Mom's at home. She was released yesterday and she was very happy to be home. I can well imagine that. Unfortunately the medication she's on is so strong that she'd been feeling quite ill today. She even sounded a bit weaker over the phone than she did yesterday when I last saw her. But I'm hoping the side effects won't be so bad that she'd have to go back to the hospital. It's so dreary there. So hopefully she'll be feeling better tomorrow.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

At least I'm not hungry

Once again, I've done it. I've eaten way too much on Christmas. That's the way it goes every year. But I suppose one doesn't need to count calories this time of the year. I'll go to pace next week and work out extra hard. :)

Christmas Eve was nice. Dad, Lauri and I went to listen to the declaration of Christmas peace, which is an old tradition in Turku. I think I've missed the happening only about 5 times in my life. Once when I was sick as a kid, once when I was in the States and a few times because I had to work in the bookstore. It's the moment Christmas begins for me.

This year our other family traditions were a bit altered, as you may guess. We went to visit mom in the hospital after the declaration and took her one of her presents. She got a brand new cell phone from dad. Leaving her bedside was a bit sad. Here we were, about to go home and have the feast of the year and mom was getting a sip of soup later in the evening... We thought of her warmly during the evening - as Lauri and I drove home, we played Mutter by Rammstein in the car stereos. Seemed appropriate.

Food was delicious. Casseroles, home made cheese, turkey and what have you. I'm not a fan of fish, so I didn't touch that part of the dinner at all, but everyone seemed totally happy with everything they put in their mouths. I don't think anyone left the table feeling hungry - I sure didn't!

I think I had been a nice girl this year, because Santa brought me a delightful number of presents. I think I'm going to have no problems whatsoever spending the gift certificate at Stockmann and I enjoyed all the other gifts too. And Lauri seemed to like the stuff I got him, although it was all sort of boring, being mostly useful things for the kitchen...

All in all, a nice and peaceful Christmas. I'm so happy mom is doing better already (I've realised only after she was operated, that things were quite serious there for a while - I refuse to even think what could've happened...) and hope she'll be able to come home tomorrow. Lauri and I are going to go and visit grandma and our uncle in Lahti tomorrow, if the weather permits. As it'll mean about 400 kilometres of driving back and forth, it wouldn't be nice to drive in a snowstorm. We'll see.

So that's my Christmas so far, on towards New Year's Eve then. I still don't know what to do then. I may end up inviting someone over. I don't know. Have to think about this. :)

Thursday, December 23, 2004

No such luck

Well. Mom has been operated, everything went well, but they're keeping her in the hospital for a couple of days. At least that's what dad said when he called. We'll go and see her in the hospital today, but otherwise we're all pretty busy preparing for tomorrow anyhow. Dad hasn't even had time to get a Christmastree for us yet. So it'll be a Christmas, if a bit different this time.

I probably won't have time to blog from now on for a few days, so at this point I want to wish each and every one of you who read this a peaceful holiday season. Don't eat too much... :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Stormy night, dark thoughts

This year's worst storm has hit Finland. It's pouring rain and the wind is terrible. I wouldn't want to be at sea or anywhere outside on a night like this. Feels miserable even indoors. May have something to do with today's other events too.

Not a good day today. Started out fine, but dad called in a bit after noon and told me he had taken mom to the hospital. The abdominal pains she'd been having weren't just a common stomach flu. It seems she has appendicitis which has most likely already burst (if that's the correct term, I wouldn't have a clue) and they're going to operate her tonight. So much for a normal Christmas for me. We don't know yet when she'll get home, since she obviously has a serious infection going on. I so wish they'll pump her up with antibiotics or something so the infection will heal and she'll be able to come home for Christmas Eve.

Pretty please?

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Dust, papers and dusty papers

Atchoo! *dust settling down after vigorous cleaning*

I've been busy today and it's finally beginning to feel and look like Christmas in my apartment. Today's job was to clean up my study. A tiny room filled with papers, notes, books, binders and dust. I haven't seen the top of my table for quite some time until today.

The process is as this. I clean the living room, move all extra stuff into the bedroom and the study. Then I tidy up the bedroom and while I'm at it, I move all the extra stuff into the study... You see where this leads? Yes, a chaos in my study. I haven't got enough shelf space in here, so most of the stuff ends up in huge wobbly piles on the table. The kinds of piles that could surprise you with an avalanche, if you're not careful.

As you can probably guess I'm, unfortunately, one of those people who throw nothing away. However, I steeled my heart today and carried out almost four big plastic bags full of stuff. Four! Two bags of paper to be recycled and two bags of miscellanous bits and pieces I will never miss.

Before the ending was this happy, the above mentioned process of cleaning had to be gone through in miniature.

In order to clean up the table, I had to clean up quite a few binders. Sort out which papers were still needed and which were not. Turns out, most were not... After cleaning up the binders, I could stuff the binders with new papers. I'm sure I'll be cleaning some of those papers away next year, but hey, at least I have a clean table for the time being. I'll worry about the whereabouts of each parchment later. Cleaning up the table means that my almost foolproof system of archiving has momentarily gone into a state of deep shock, you see. Things are suddenly where they should be - the official documents from the different board meetings of different societies are actually filed away into the proper binders. Ooo, misleading...

Now I only have to do minor touch ups here and there plus vacuum the whole apartment. Then I'm ready to head towards Nousiainen to spend most of my holidays there... Seems dumb, but I have to admit that Christmas is just the kind of excuse I need to get everything done. And besides, mom and dad are going to stop by my place for glögi on Christmas Eve, after the "declaration of Christmas peace". We'll sit at my place while the traffic settles down. (Those of you who've seen the traffic around these corners about 20 minutes past noon on Christmas Eve know what I'm talking about.) So it's nice to have a clean home.

Clean home that smells of gingerbread cookies! Whee! I just got the last bunch out of the oven, yummy! I haven't made any cookies or pastries or anything for myself before. Most of the years I've lived away from home I've been working like crazy during these last two, three weeks before Christmas. This is the season of selling books. Now that I don't work at the bookstore anymore, it suddenly gives me a lot more time to prepare for Christmas. I don't think I'll ever again (before retirement) have a December like this. Some studying (and thesis writing, for sure) but otherwise nothing else. I've had time to hop into a bus, ex tempore, and go shop with Tytti or drive to mom & dad's to spend the day there. I love it. I just love it. :) If I were a millionaire, this is the way I'd always spend December.

Feeling good, Christmassy and happy. I hope the snow doesn't melt before Sunday...

Friday, December 17, 2004

Not your typical idol

"You're our idol, Johanna! May we get your autograph?" This is what my dance class students said to me (grinning widely) after the show was over last night. They had seen me perform in two dances, a khaleegy group dance and an estrade trio with my friends Heli and Satu. I told them I'd give them the autographs in January, if they still wanted them then...

The dances went surprisingly well. The stage was about the size of a stamp and a bit tilted towards the audience (always a small yikes-factor there). Made it very interesting to dance a group dance of six people. Especially wearing khaleegy dresses, which require a bit of room to handle. They really are gorgeous pieces of clothing, but the sequins and such are a hazard. If you don't leave enough room between two dancers wearing these dresses, the dresses get mingled up and then there's nothing else to do but rip them apart while sequins and beads fly about (and naturally the dance goes on and the smiles never fade)... Phew, luckily I didn't get stuck with anyone.

I love that dress, too bad there's really not that many occasions for me to use it. Of course we'll be performing that same choreography in a few shows in the spring, but after that... Khaleegy dances aren't that common in dance group repertoires. I think I'll have to suggest to Heli that we'd warm up an old khaleegy choreography we had five-six years ago.

The second dance I was in was the estrade choreography made by Sirke Seppänen - the one I learned on that weekend course in October. We'd been able to rehearse it together (the three of us, Satu, Heli and myself) only once, so I wasn't feeling that comfortable at all with that. Not only was there the choreography I thought I wasn't quite up to, but also my dress was causing me misery. I don't have a decent dress for estrade. I only have one dress, and I've been using it for a while already. I'm so not happy with it. It'd need some remodelling and some more decorations (more sequines and beads and such, that is) and it still would only be an ok dress, not a gorgeous one. So I was having some serious thoughts of self-loathing before getting on stage. I can't dance, I have an ugly dress, and so on.

The best part of the whole thing was, however miserable I felt about the dance and the dress before, that we did manage to get through the dance well enough and we got very good feedback afterwards. I don't care how objective the opinions were (or were not), but at least two people said our performance was one of the absolute best ones. Whee. That, if anything, is a boost for my lately very low self esteem. And maybe the dress problem will be solved in a while, since I'm having a dress made for me and we (Heli, Satu and I) did plan on having dresses made for us soon for occasions like this, when we perform as a trio. It's so important to feel comfortable in your dress when you perform. I'd like to be able to not worry about dress questions and concentrate on learning the choreographies... One of these days, I'm sure...

Oh well. I suppose I'll post this now. The weather outside is not very nice (pouring rain, strong gusts of wind), but I had thought I'd do the rest of my Christmas shopping today, which would mean I'll have to defy the weather at least for a while - as long as it takes me to get to the bus stop and the bus to come...

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Hoping for a white Christmas

They said in the radio just a while ago that there's about a 50% chance of a white Christmas in the whole country. If someone would've asked my opinion, I'd probably have said that the odds of that happening would be slim to none. It's pouring rain at the moment, has been for quite some time too. I would've put my money on wet Christmas instead of white. But if they say so, I'm looking forward to next week. It's supposed to be snowing then. I'll keep my fingers crossed (and my money safely on my account).

Despite the miserable weather, I've been in a pretty good mood lately. Lots of fun stuff going on (lots of Horatio Hornblower, Lord of the Rings, friends, glögi...) and there's still more to come. My infernally bad luck hasn't even been bothering me as much, knock on wood, though.

Yesterday I went to the seminar to hear the verdict on the introduction to my thesis. There wasn't a big attendance, but the discussion was nice. My works in general don't tend to raise that many questions, can't really figure out why, but oh well. In the seminar it's most likely in part due to the fact that the other people really can't be expected to know much about the subject. Which was aptly demonstrated to me by a few elementary questions about a few terms I had used. I need to provide a few explanations quite early on in my text. Otherwise the poor reader falls off the train before I even get it going properly. Don't want that, now do I?

What was really great about finally getting something done about the accursed thesis in the first place was that after the seminar gave me good feedback, I felt like I could get the project going now. I think I'm even slightly excited about the thing now. :) I still have to present a full chapter to the seminar, and I set myself a deadline for that. I'll have to turn it in in March. Before that I'll write the background chapter (I should get that done quite soon now) and hope that my primary materials will arrive from England, Malta and where ever before that. Hopefully the whole thing would be finished sometime in the late spring. Or at least one can hope. :)

Have you ever had the feeling that some odd event from your past is most likely going to come back and haunt you at some very awkward moment? Yep, me too. Ben had kindly done me a favor and copied an old c-tape to a cd. It was a tape of me, my brother and our eldest cousin Anniina (and our parents) singing Christmas songs. The tape was originally made some 20 years ago and we gave it to grandma & grandpa as a gift. They found the tape last Christmas and you can guess what we listened to on Christmas eve... Well, mom and dad then had the marvellous idea of getting the precious material preserved into a bit more reliable form, so I asked Ben if he could help and he promised. (Thank you!)

I took the cd to mom&dad yesterday and as we listened to it, mom got one of her...ermm... great ideas. We should re-record the thing now. Well, in one word - nowayinheck! I'm not singing Rudolp the Red-Nosed Reindeer anywhere near a recording device of any kind. I'm happy singing alone in the car, but that's about it. :) But the feeling of the haunting past? If I need to elaborate further, you haven't been using your imagination and I'd rather keep it that way. ;) So Ben, please destroy the file...

I'm learning nautical terms bit by bit. Oh yes, I'm referring to you-should-know-by-now-who and his adventures. I borrowed a few interesting books from dad yesterday and had a few good laughs with dad trying to understand the different terms. Luckily dad has some experience on boats and ships, thanks to the sea rescue service he's been volunteering in. So when I was desperately trying to understand which is way leeward and which windward, dad had a few good pointers. Mom must've thought us crazy, when we were waving our hands this way and that in the livingroom trying to demonstrate the direction of the wind and of the sails in relation to the wind. One of those lovely father-daughter moments there.

Oops, gotta go wash the dishes. Satu's coming to rehearse the choreographies for tomorrow's dance recital and I have a mess in the kitchen. That won't do, not at all.

Saturday, December 11, 2004


It's really quite sad. There's not going to be a Lord of the Rings premiere this year, no waiting in line for the tickets, no traces of the unique anticipation of completely new LotR footage - except for a lovely 50 minutes that I purchased (along, of course, the rest of the Extended Edition movie, plus a Minas Tirith statue and an extra dvd of the LotR Symphony) yesterday, without having to stand in line for it over night. Almost seemed too easy, mind you...

The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King Special Extended Edition dvd came out yesterday and quite obviously I went and got it immediately. This year, thanks to the paycheck from Nousiainen, I had the money to buy the collector's dvd gift set, which included the abovementioned extra stuff. Whee! Once again, I found happiness in material things, I admit it...

The magic of the movie is still there, most definitely. I cried, I laughed - just as I have done before with every single part of this movie trilogy. I don't know if I'm going to sound like a know-nothing-accept-all-without-criticism -kinda gal for saying the following about the Return of the King SEE, but do I look like I care? Well, if you'd see me, you'd see that I don't look like I care. So I can say this without any worries. I loved it. So sue me.

One of my favorite additions was the drinking game between Gimli and Legolas. ;) For quite some time I've wanted to see on big screen (well, small television, krhm) how the elves cope with the drink. Quite well, it seems. I remember once reading a fanfic that had a drinking game between Aragorn and Legolas and I thought it was hilarious. This scene, however, wasn't exactly a rotfl kind of scene, but very amusing nevertheless. Such dignity and poise on behalf of the elf. Simply endearing. As if he'd need to do anything but appear on screen to be endearing, but you know, even more so in this case. *grin*

There were some very touching additions, like the scene where Éomer finds his sister fallen on the battlefield. The cry of pain is truly genuine. Some of the additions, on the other hand, were there to explain a few gaps in the theatrical release. Like the one where Gandalf has his staff when he begins his ride towards the Citadel to save Faramir but has somehow lost it on the way, since he arrives without it. Well, duh. He had to fight with the Witch King on his way up and that's how the staff gets lost. Or blown into smithereens, if I'm to be more accurate. Even though this particular scene does explain one mysterious prop question, there are quite a few left unanswered for. For example the elven cloaks. Sam and Frodo misplace theirs somewhere in Mordor and clearly don't have them when they sit on the lonely rock right next to the massive lava flow. Do they get new ones from Galadriel later, when they've recovered, since all the hobbits have theirs in Grey Havens again? Oh well, I don't think I'll do any more of this nit-picking, it's best done with friends and with a glass of cider to the side - not alone by the computer.

Seeing this movie for the umphteenth time was still a fresh experience. I don't think I'll ever get bored of the Lord of the Rings. The spellbinding story and it's themes, friendship, leadership, love, good and evil are going to pull me towards my bookshelf time after time. Whether I'll grab the dvd boxes or the book doesn't really matter. It's all going to be there, all the excitement, heroics, gallantry, drama and sense of true wonder I look for in a good piece of the fantastic. So, finally, it's time to say farewell to Peter Jackson and his cast and crew - thanks for the wonderful movie experiences. I'm eagerly waiting for the Hobbit, now. (Here ends the part of this post where I have no criticism whatsoever, I hope.)

On the topic of my bookshelf, then. It got an addition of 3,6 metres yesterday! Whee! Now there's actually a bit of room for new books, which hasn't been the case in years. If there's anything I love, it's organizing my bookshelf. I couldn't even watch RotK yesterday, because I had to rethink the order of the books. (Well, I did have dance rehearsals too.) Plain alphabet would be too easy, you see. There has to be a separate shelf for favorite books, which then are alphabetically in order within that group. Then there is the section of professional literature (non-fiction, mainly history and such), alphabetically organized, the section of epic literature and myths, non-sf-literature, sf-literature and so on...

There's only one thing now that slows down the process of rearranging the whole bookshelf. I haven't yet had the time (or the patience) to sit down and list all the books in my "library database", which really is only a list of the books I have, but it's a nifty little piece of freeware I downloaded a while ago. I've listed a little under 300 books so far and I think I have at least as many to go through yet. I'd so love to have a fancy barcode reading device to ease the job, but then again, it'd remind me too much of the time I worked at the bookstore. It's not nearly as much fun to arrange the shelves in the store, because there are all those annoying customers who come and mess everything up about nine seconds after you've left the shelf in perfect order. It doesn't pay anything nearly enough to be a career for me. I'll be happy fussing about my own shelves, thankyouverymuch.

All in all, I've been about as happy as can be for the last couple of days. I got the introductory section of my thesis (the first draft of it) done late on Thursday and turned it in yesterday. It's going to be discussed in much detail on Tuesday in seminar, which may turn my mood for the worse, but hey, that's not before Tuesday. And since I know I've got some major gaps in the introduction, I'll be prepared for a public hanging. I'm such a good sport, aren't I?

A tired good sport. Nighty night.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

My life (or Bridget's?)

There. It's official. I've been labelled a nearly impossible case. Or that's how I think it has to be understood. Why? Well, let me tell you.

I got an sms-message from mom today. It said my aunt (her younger sister & my godmother, that is) had found me a perfect man. This of course made me ask a few short questions. Tall? Dark? Handsome? Intelligent? Available? ...heterosexual?? Which then lead to a phonecall from mom. She told me she'd called her sister to talk about arrangements for Christmas and my darling aunt had announced she had found a perfect son-in-law for my mother. A handsome, tall and dark guy, my age, successfull at his job (a salesperson for a medical company of some sort) and on top of all this, also gentlemanlike. (Oy, I think I like the sound of him!) Before I had time to ask, mom said that her sister had told this guy about me and he'd said I sound very nice, but unfortunately he lives quite far away from Turku. So... Whattheheck did she tell him about me??? Oh dear, I don't think I actually want to know. I think it's enough to know that my relatives are already trying to arrange a marriage for me, so that makes me officially a nearly impossible case, if any...

You know, this'd be perfect, if I'd meet this person one day and he'd be wearing a funny piece of knitwear... A woolly jumper with a snowman on it? Oh wait, that's Bridget's life, not mine...

As I promised, a few words about the new Bridget Jones -movie. I liked it. I loved Mr. Darcy, of course, but I did enjoy watching the whole movie, too. A harmless piece of entertainment with jokes that made me laugh, embarrassing moments that made me blush for Bridget's sake and a darned good soundtrack. I'm not so sure I related to this movie as strongly as I did to the first one (see above for the possible explanations), but I suppose this was meant to be the consolation for us singles only in our late-twenties: don't worry quite yet, you've still got a few more good years before it's waaayyy too late. :) So Satu, if you haven't seen it yet, gogogo already! And if you want to know more before you go (not the official reviews, that is), visit Tytti's blog. She got the word on this one.

A short Hornblower comment has to be made at this point. The discs (that I complained about in the post that is still missing) work just fine in my parents' dvd player, so I managed to watch two more episodes yesterday while visiting... *swoon* Did I ever mention Ioan Gruffudd is gorgeous? Now I only have three more episodes to watch, boohoo. I also finished reading the second novel today and my gosh, it's been enjoyable.

There, now I've already missed the beginning of C.S.I. so this is it. I must go. :)

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Oh, woe! - Where art thou?

Why do my posts keep disappearing mysteriously every once and a while? I get confused emails from my friends asking what has happened to my blog, where are such and such posts and so on. Not fair, I say. I've had my share of unbelievably bad luck lately, why can't this world treat me a bit better for a change? Pretty please?

I suppose I'll have to wait and see, if that lost post will reappear in a while and if not, the support of is going to get one agitated email. I could, at the same time, ask about my profile and why doesn't it update at all? It still claims I've only made 12 postings and somehow I think there are a few more by now... But until later, I'm just going to have to let this matter go, I've got to go do some real work. Blah, blah, blah. The day's not looking too great right now.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Happy 87th!

Happy birthday, Finland!

Independence day. I could say how proud I am to be Finnish and how I am, along with all of the younger generations of Finns, ever thankful to those great men and women who fought and served in the wars and kept Finland an independent nation. Men like my grandpa, who survived the war that ended 60 years ago. And I will say it. Or to be more exact, I did say it. It's all a cliché, but I don't care. I love being Finnish and there's just no place like home. :)

A bit of patriotism there to finish off the day. I've watched the presidential independence day reception on tv (some very elegant gowns tonight and obviously some not so), had coffee and cake at my grandparent's and that's about it. Just the way things in my family are supposed to be on December the 6th. Calm and quiet, that is. :)

Tomorrow sees me (hopefully) finishing a few more pages of the introduction to my thesis, so I'd better keep this short and sweet tonight. Like so. Happy 87th, Finland, and let's hope there'll be hundreds and hundreds more!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Hands wear ship!

Take a turn round the cleat, you fool! You are close-hauled on the port tack. The wind veers four points and takes you flat aback. You're dismasted. Heave to! Main tops'l braces. Helm-a-lee.

This is what I've been enjoying the last few days. Maritime jargon. I don't understand half of it, but I doubt if I would even if it were in Finnish. I'm reading Horatio Hornblower's adventures in C.S. Forester's novel Mr. Midshipman Hornblower and I'm having a blast. The stories do tend to lose a bit, when the reader (me, that is) doesn't have a clue every now and then, but Forester has a talent in telling adventurous stories. I think I'll have to buy a companion to the books so I'll understand what the characters are doing when the command "Hands wear ship!" is given by Captain Pellew or some lower ranking officer of the crew.

Besides the skill of telling good stories, Forester has truly described a completely & utterly amiable character in Hornblower. Young Horatio is such a sympathetic and honourable person that it's a joy to read about his trials. He's described as completely tone-deaf , a bit clumsy and very shy at times. Not to mention the fact that he stutters a bit, when he's nervous. Isn't that just cute for a character that you would expect to be tough and bold. He is all that, too, but the weaknesses he has make him just a bit more convincing a character.

By the way, the boxed set of all the eight Hornblower movies I ordered from arrived yesterday. Huzzah! (I even had the good fortune that the shipment wasn't caught in customs...) There's a visual companion for the books, if anywhere. Not that I'll be able to recognise the names of the different parts of the ships when I see them, either, but at least I'm going to be able to see them. So what if a piece of wooden knick-knack is called something-rather, at least I'll know what it looks like. After watching the movies a dozen times I may even learn to name the knick-knacks without help. What I've already learned (from the book, though) that on a ship, there is a place called poop. Honestly. I did not know that. Learning is fun. :)

The scripts (so far for three movies) are delightfully well adapted from the books, almost line by line sometimes. Some additions have been made, for sure. For example you can't very well have a young and gorgeous officer completely without a romantic interest, now can you? So there's a French girl in the movie version of The Frogs and the Lobsters and she doesn't exist in the book, but well, who cares. She dies anyway... :) But the point I was going to make was that it's nice to watch the movies and try to learn the jargon from there. There are no subtitles in these movies, so it takes a while to get a hold of the English that's been used. I was proud of myself last night, though, when eventually I did manage to understand even the French lines uttered by Mr. Hornblower. My compliments to Ioan for such nice and clear pronunciation!

What else... Oh, today was the last dance class in Lieto for almost a month and a half! Hooray! Now I only have twelve more weeks to go from January on, before I can finally forget about planning dance classes for at least a few years. I'll have to try to find some motivation for the classes during this Christmas break, otherwise it'll be a loooong spring. Maybe the dance recital we're going to have on the 16th will do the trick. I'll be dancing in two dances in the show, a traditional khaleegy dance and an balady number with a veil. No solos, though. Lucky me. I can now mess up a whole group's whereabouts on the stage by doing something like, say, forgetting the choreography... :)

I'm going Christmas shopping with Satu tomorrow, yay! I haven't got any ideas what I could buy for people. For my brother, to be exact. He didn't even give me any hints when I asked about it a few days ago. He says he doesn't need anything. Yeah, right. I'll have to see if something inspires me tomorrow. If nothing else gets done, at least we'll have had a wonderful day at the mall. Lunch, coffee breaks and so on. Whee!

It's going to be a busy and fun weekend. (Note to self: don't forget the thesis!) Tomorrow, shopping and dance practice, on Saturday it's time for the Turku Science Fiction Society's pre-Christmas party (with lots of good food, I'm told) and on Sunday I'm going to go to see the new Bridget Jones movie with the girls. I'm so looking forward to having lots and lots of fun with my friends. This is exactly what preparing for Christmas should be like. Spending time with your friends and relaxing. Well, I suppose I'll relax this weekend, stress the next three weeks and finally on Christmas Eve, I'm going to be as happy as ever. And not stressed out, at all. :) I'm so looking forward to a very nice and traditional family Christmas, too.

A lot to look forward to, isn't there? Oh, almost forgot. I'm so excited about the upcoming LotR - RotK extended edition, too! I'm going to get the collector's edition with a Minas Tirith miniature! Expensive as heck, but I don't care. One more Christmas present for me, from me. :) Those are the best. :)

Ok, I'm nearing a delirious state now with all of these upcoming excitements, so I'd better go and relax. Watch a Hornblower movie...