Friday, December 30, 2005

The year comes to an end - with pics!

Another year went by. It seems it wasn't all that long ago when some of us gathered here at my place to celebrate the beginning of 2005. Twelve long months and what do I have to show for it? Ah, well. Let's see.

First, there was spring by the seaside. I borrowed dad's car, took my camera and drove to Ruissalo (one of my favorite places in Turku) to see how everything looked. This was around easter.

Then came June and I had to part with my dear old car. You can see it parked between the bright red and blue car. The pic was taken from my balcony. Buh-bye, Skoda.

Then there was the Medieval Market. Ye Olde Good Times Were Had by All.

August came, and with it work and my little goddaughter. See how well we were color coordinated already at the maternity ward, heh.

And then there were the Australian GUFFers Damien and Juliette, here seen in the local sf society's clubroom. They were wonderful people and I had a good time showing them around Turku (them and two additional Aussies, Karen and Dave). Evidence as follows.

See all those tiny Aussies in the window of Turku's magnificent medieval castle?

One beautiful early autumn evening our friends invited us all (and then some) to a great party. They had the fireworks to back up their promises, too.

Then I went to Helsinki one weekend. Met the author M. John Harrison and took touristy pics. Here's one.

And the rest of my pictorial year hasn't yet been developed... Although, as you well may remember from my previous posts, the rest of my year has included two additional trips to Helsinki, having international visitors from Malta and Belgium, working, working and working and so on. Not a bad year, all in all, I'd say.

I do have a couple of requests from the Magnificent Fates to make 2006 even better. Would you be so infinitely kind as to
a) kick my butt enough for me to get my act together and graduate
b) let me win in the lottery
c) let me fall in love once and for good
d) keep my friends happy and sane (and me along them, naturally)
e) bring peace to the world
f) choose at least one of the above for your serious consideration.
Thank you ever so much.

With this I wish you all a very happy new year. May it bring you joy, happiness and success.

(I'll see you, when I begin my new year of blogging. It'll be in about a week, because on Monday, I'm off to Lapland to ski for a few days with mom and dad. I'll be back on Saturday. No computers, no stress, just snow and nature (and about bazillion tourists in Ruka...) Whee!)

Monday, December 26, 2005


Thanks to Tigerlily who kindly pointed out this site and caused a wave of squeeing, awwwing and other funny noises. Go and melt yourself into a puddle of goo.

This was one of my favorites. There are no words...

Just how cute can a baby seal get?

Friday, December 23, 2005

It's the season to be jolly...

Tralalalalaa and so on. We have, once again, come to the point where I notice that almost a full month has gone by. In this case, I don't mind it, because it's Christmas Eve tomorrow! Yay!

This year, it seems, we'll have all our family members healthy and happy at the dinner table come tomorrow evening. Last time this was the time when I was worrying about mom who was in the hospital. Infinitely better this way.

So, getting ready for everything has been relaxing this time around, I'm happy to say. Today I cleaned up my place, baked some gingerbread cookies and went to the movies with a good friend. We saw Narnia, which turned out to be quite charming, if nothing else. I want a unicorn, too! (I couldn't help pondering whether or not Peter's unicorn was in fact the same horse that was Shadowfax in LotR, since the battle scene was at least one of the scenes filmed in New Zealand and Peter rode bareback, just like Gandalf. The horse would have to be used to that sort of thing. I may have to do some digging up of facts...) And what an appropriate name the movie has - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Me and my friend, at least, were checking out the clothes of the characters at all times. I need a dress like Susan had, so I can be a believable archer next summer... ;)

Anyhow, it's time to go and wrap up the last of the presents and go to bed. Tomorrow will see me happily listening to the Declaration of Christmas Peace, eating way too much of delicious food and hopefully opening some nice presents, too. And having said that, I must confess I'm going to try and not sit by the computer during this upcoming weekend! There'll be other things to do, books to read and movies to watch, I'm sure.

In other words, I wish you all can enjoy a warm and joyous Yuletide with your families or loved ones.

Season's Greetings from Turku! The picture isn't very wintery, but this is just a reminder that it will look like this again in about six months or so. Days are already getting longer!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

We have a debt of honor

This is what a young Finnish athlete said in an interview just a while ago. He had been invited to the president's independence day reception, thanks to his success in the world championships this past summer. He was answering a question about the meaning of independence and referring to the generation of Finns who sacrificed their youth to defend our independence in the last wars. I agree with him, today more than ever.

A veteran of the Continuation War gave a speech in our school yesterday. He told us of his own experiences in the fierce battle of Tali-Ihantala (in the summer of 1944), in which an estimated 8500 Finnish soldiers and around 18000 Soviet soldiers lost their lives or were wounded. It's the largest ever battle fought in Scandinavia and he survived it. Truly humbling story, really. My grandpa, who is also a veteran of the Continuation War, has never really told me stories of the battles he fought in his time. I think he really doesn't want to talk about that part of the war at all - and I don't blame him.

Today, however, grandma told us about her experiences, which is very rare. I don't think I remember her telling us stuff like that before. She gets to speak up more now that grandpa is getting quieter and quieter all the time. She told us how she had taken her little puppy with her to the bomb shelter, even though it wasn't allowed. I didn't even know she had had a dog then. But the image of grandma and her family fleeing from their home, because Turku was bombed heavily, is just chilling. Especially when she told that they were forced to walk towards the city to the nearest bomb shelter, because the area where they lived didn't have one. Which then meant they were actually walking closer to the areas that were bombed, rather than running the other way. It must've been scarier than I could ever imagine.

To complete my patriotic and emotional independence day I watched the old movie version of the Unknown Soldier earlier today. I absolutely love the book and I finally remembered to tape the movie for future use in school. Oh, how I cried. It's an old black&white movie, which makes it very much like the old document films we see of the war. Which then makes it feel very real and made me think about all the young men (and women) who actually were in the war... You see what I got myself into? An emotional trap. I watch a movie - movie gets my imagination running - I get emotional... Argh.

Oh well, I suppose being emotional over Finnish history is very appropriate for the occasion. And besides, I love being a Finn. I absolutely LOVE it. Anybody notice that lately?

Hyvää itsenäisyyspäivää kaikille!

Monday, November 28, 2005

All those pretty men

What a fun weekend I had. Pretty men a-plenty. Never fails to cheer me up, such a weekend.

The first pretty men were lots prettier than I am, for sure. Or at least they had more makeup and dresses that glittered more than my average costume for oriental dancing. Not to even mention the stunning bling-bling of jewelry, which I could hardly compete with, not even with chandeliers hanging from my ears.

Yes, I went to see a drag show on Saturday evening, for the first time in my life. The guys were stunning. The costumes, the impressions, the humour... All glitter, all glam. Go see here if you don't believe me. My personal favorites were the short appearances of Tarja Turunen, Tina Turner and Ville Valo (although Ville doesn't exactly count as being in drag, I suppose). The traditional Finnish singers, like Paula Koivuniemi, Katri Helena, Marion Rung and so on were also hilariously accurate. I can warmly recommend you try to catch this show, when Linnateatteri hosts the guys again. If not for anything else, then for the excellent mix and match of the dry, sarcastic humour of Jarkko Valtee (for those of you who don't know it, he's one of the judges in this years Finnish Idols -competition) combined with the delightfully perky and bubbly character of Osku Heiskanen. Entertainment guaranteed!

I may have laughed less, but last night's chick flick entertained me just as well as the Men in Drag. I finally got to see Elizabethtown. And this is what followed from it: "Huh? Movie? Was there a plot? I suppose it was good, must've been. But did you see that neckline as he tilted his head to sleep in the plane?" *omgsqueedroolswoon* Yes, yes, it's time for some completely adolescent and unashamed fangirling. Orlando Bloom rocks my world! (As if you didn't know it before...)

Seriously, the movie was nice. It was just the kind of harmless movie entertainment one needs on a Sunday evening when at the movies with good friends. Not a tear-jerker as such, but definitely endearing and amusing. A bit slow-paced at times, but on the other hand that sort of goes with the laid-back feeling of Kentucky. (Too bad I didn't visit Elizabethtown when I was in Kentucky, celebrating the New Year's in 94-95.)

And what's more important, Orlando had plenty of screen time (well, duh!) and this time without a helmet of any sort, without a blond wig or period clothing. Instead, a few very nice regular t-shirts (guuuuhhhh) and few well made suits. It really should be illegal to look that good. Normal, sensible women like myself will suffer from irrational gigglyfits and get all lightheaded from all the sighing. Not fair, I say. Not fair, d'ya hear?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Where did November go?

A long time since my last update. I can't believe it's this late in November already. You can directly see the relation between my increased workload at school (got those two extra 7th grader groups to teach from November 1st on) and the hibernation of my blog. Sorry about that, folks.

The good thing about this is that the weeks go by so fast it always seems to be Friday, which is not bad. I and a colleague of mine already joke about it. Today when she came to the teachers' lounge in the morning we didn't even have to say anything, we just both burst into laughter. Which then made the principal and other teachers look at us really puzzled. I don't know if our explanation of "Well, it's just because it's Friday!" made that much sense to them. Or maybe it did, considering the fact that (despite the probably quite popular belief) also teachers are happy when it's Friday.

But next week marks the change of study period for us. Which, for me, means a return to a more slow pace and considerably less work at school. Considerably more work at this desk, though, since I need to get my studies going once more. I've got a few more exams to pass before I can graduate, after all. However much I like teaching, it'll be relaxing to be the student for a while, even if it means studying alone at home.

High stress levels also require high relaxation levels. Last week's chosen method for relaxation was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Dum-bledore-de-dum. Excellent entertainment, that movie. I have liked the previous movies, too (although not as much as the books), but this one became the first Potter-film I'd actually like to see in the theatre again. The previous movies didn't make me want to go back, I was more than content with waiting for the dvd's. (Which, btw, I still don't own...)

The movie was mostly pretty fast paced, which served the director's purpose very well. No Dursleys, no dull classes in Hogwarts, no side-stories - it all made the movie feel somehow more streamlined. That particular 2,5 hours went by so fast that I was almost surprised to notice the end credits. "What? Already?"

I'm sure the movie wasn't without its faults, but it was spot-on perfect for me and my stress levels. Besides, the post-movie squeeing and fangirling has been almost as tasty a remedy as the movie itself.

Squeeing and fangirling, you ask? Well. We thought (I went to see the movie with Tytti and her hubby) that the teen-wizards had been doing some growing up since the last movie. First of all, check out the arms of Harry and Ron! They've clearly done some gym work, because when I think of the 14-year-olds I teach... Well, let's just say that Harry & Ron didn't resemble drained spaghetti on a stick as much as an average teenager boy does. Good for them. Let's just wait some five to eight years or so, and some of these young actors are going to be quite the heartbreakers, I'm sure. (And yes, I'll be a dirty old lady talking about them when the time comes...)

And woohooo, bring out the Eastern European team Durmstrang! What an entry. Compared to those sissy Beauxbatons-chicks, Viktor Krum and his buddies were rockin'. It might be just me, but honestly, I thought Krum was pretty yummy. Or mruh, to be more exact. Just the kind of guy that actually fits Hermione's description of him: "Viktor's more a physical kind of guy." Heehee.

The only competition the French witches won without a doubt was the vehicle of choice. Those winged horses, whee! I want some, too! The submerging ship was cool, but those horses were pretty awesome! Too bad they didn't show them more.

Anyhow, I may end up re-visiting Kinopalatsi for a second viewing of Harry and his friends. But before a second helping from the Goblet, I'll go and have eye-candy-a-lot on Sunday, when we go to see Elizabethtown... I've been Orlando-deprived for long enough now, it's time to fix the situation. :)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Book rec

I mentioned some posts ago that I'd managed to get my hands on a future favorite novel of mine. I had the feeling I'd probably like the book, based on only a short description of it. I finished reading it last week and oh my, what a treat! A future favorite has transformed into a current one, based on the excellent reading experience I had.

The book I'm talking about is Keith Roberts' Pavane, originally published in 1966. It's a skillfully written alternative history, which starts at the assassination of Queen Elisabeth I in 1588.

The author, however, doesn't remain in the 16th century for more than the short prologue's worth. In the next part of the novel it's already 1968 and the most sophisticated technology available in England is the steam engine. The catholic church has restricted technical advancements, for example by limiting the use of petrol for fuel.

Roberts paints a fascinating image. He builds a picture of a 20th century world, which in almost all details reminds me more of descriptions of the world of 16th through 19th centuries. Semaphores are clacking away all around England as the most efficient form of communication. The early experiments with electricity and communicating with its help are labelled as heresy and necromancy. The catholic inquisition is in full strength, with all the horrific forms of torture and punishment still in use. When the actions of the court of inquisition are questioned by a lonely monk, an underground movement of somewhat protestant thoughts is born - and duly hunted down by the mother church. Occasionally the reader will, however, notice a surprisingly modern detail, like among a crowd of peasants a girl wearing jeans.

Alienation works miracles in this novel. I found it extremely challenging and refreshing to compare the two worlds, the novel's reality and my own, while I read. The familiar modern reference points were so few (those jeans I mentioned, electric light very late in the novel and so on) that the world was truly strange and I was a stranger in it.

Towards the end of the novel it's revealed that there is a character, who seems to be aware of both realities, the one that could've happened (in other words, the world as our history knows it) and the one that happened in the novel's world. When he reveals this, the reader is once again amazed. Or at least I was.

Through the entire novel I had been in a way "properly horrified" by the idea of such a backwards world - a world without cars, airplanes, pop music (you know, the Beatles and such never existed in this novel) and so on, that it seemed natural to consider it the fault of the catholic church.

I have to confess I didn't think it'd be shown to me that maybe, just maybe, the slow advance of technology and science was actually in many ways good for mankind. Or what say you of a world without Auschwitz, without Hirosima, without nuclear power, without our current problems with, say, the greenhouse gases? What if the catholic church in the novel wasn't the ultimate baddie preventing scientific breakthroughs, but instead an organisation that was trying to protect people by delaying certain advancements till a time when the world would be better prepared for them. The thought made me stop for a while.

In this world of tech-adoration it was honestly a treat to get food for other kinds of thoughts, too. And even though the novel is already almost 40 years old, it's still very current and has lost none of its effectiveness. I strongly recommend you go and read it, because we all deserve the opportunity to rethink our world a bit. An excellent alternative history, in other words. I think I'm going to have to buy it for myself, so I can go back to it again later. I've got a feeling this novel didn't tell everything it had to say on this first round of reading.

In other news, my goddaughter was "officially" named this past Friday in a small family ceremony at Sarin&her hubby's home. I had been given the honor of delivering the speech, which served as the actual naming ceremony. I told Sarin when she asked me to give the speech that I would do it, but that I probably couldn't do it without turning into a sobbing mess. Unfortunately, it turned out, I know myself too well... First three words into the speech and I was already crying. For some reason this situation seemed to be one of the most emotional I've ever faced. I've managed to stay dry-eyed through several weddings now, but giving a name to a child was clearly more emotional. I suppose I knew too much of the background of the story and that made me (empathetic as I am) choke in tears.

I'm glad, however, that despite my teary-eyed performance little Aure's family seemed to like what I had to say. And I hope to god that not one of those several cameras present at the ceremony were filming video clips...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Winter has arrived

First snow today, brrr. Not the pretty kind of fluffy nice snow, but mainly sleetish wet rags of white stuff. In other words, water, sleet, snow - you name it, we got it all today.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Nothing & Much has been going on

"I haven't got a husband (or even a boyfriend), I haven't graduated from the University yet (getting there, though), I haven't got a steady job, I don't own my apartment, I don't have a dog or a nice car (but at least a car of some sort, that's good) and what else... Sounds like I'm a major looser. :) But the heck with it, I'm not! I'm just working my way up to a proper middle class life and it seems to take a while. Next year this time the situation may be completely different, which is a motivating thought."

This is what I wrote a year ago, a couple of days before my birthday. I'm finding it a bit sad that nothing has in fact changed during the past year (well, I do have a job now, but it's only for this one year). Optimism, however, seems to come to me quite naturally and that's why I'm willing to think that it might not be impossible for the things to change within the next year. At least it would be nice to find someone to celebrate my 29th birthday with, come next October 21st. Preferably someone who looks like Ioan Gruffudd, heh. Not many of those around, unfortunately. Must keep searching, then. Tune in next year for an update on this front... (Did I mention my specialty is extreme optimism combined with a peculiarly gloomy pessimism about certain things in my life?)

I did end up having an awesome birthday, though. I even managed to solve the problem I had about the clothes earlier. And to top it all, there was a member of Sonata Arctica who had his birthday on Friday too, and so I got to listen to a full Hartwall Areena singing "Happy birthday to you" on my birthday. Who cares there were only a couple of people singing it to me and not to Henrik! ;)

Nightwishing, part II

So, as is quite obvious, we (me and Maarit, Petra, Liisa and Mikko) went to Helsinki on Friday to see Nightwish perform. What an amazingly great tour finale concert they had for us. The whole Hartwall Areena was packed full and after Sonata Arctica had played their bit, the anticipation and excitement among the crowds was intense. I don't think I've ever experienced anything like it before. I believe the cameraman may have captured some good crowd moments for the upcoming End of an Era DVD (which will, by the way, be on my shopping list when it comes out - we might be on it, too, thanks to our excellent seats...) , if he understood to film the audience before Nightwish came on stage - there was a huge human wave going around the arena, started by a few fans sitting right behind us (we naturally went along with it right from the beginning). The buzz was exhilarating. I kept laughing out loud, because I just felt so happy and excited at that moment.

And surely enough, that's how I felt throughout the rest of the evening. We did have seats, but we sure as heck didn't sit down while Nightwish was playing. There were massive pyrotechnics, impressive videomaterials as backgrounds, a rain of confetti above the audience (not a wall of real water this time as there was last year), stunningly gorgeous clothes worn by Tarja, a touching performance by John Two Hawks - everything boiling down to the feeling of pure energy that flowed on stage and in the audience. Tarja even sang the heartbreakingly beautiful solo song, Kuolema tekee taiteilijan, during which I was almost in tears.

After such a fantastic evening, it was shocking to hear the news from my friend Heli this morning. Nightwish has fired Tarja and is now going to find a new female vocalist, who's going to be performing already on their next album. After some adamant clicking I was able to get to their stuffy website this morning and read the English version of the letter Tuomas and the other guys had written to Tarja to announce the fact that she won't be working with the band anymore.

I can't help but feel so sorry for them all. For Tarja, because this probably isn't how she wanted to be moving on from the band and for Tuomas (and the others), because they had to make a decision like this. I also do think the guys deserve an Oscar for their performance on Friday. There was absolutely no signs of any problems or conflicts when they played, although they knew what was going to happen after the final bows. My god, how awful the situation must've felt like to them, even though the final concert of the tour must've been a bittersweet experience in itself. And Tarja of course had no idea what was brewing in the minds of the others. Such drama, such drama.

I'm glad I was there to see the final performance of Nightwish with Tarja as the vocalist. I hope the new vocalist, whoever she might be, will turn out to be at least as talented as Tarja is. I also hope that Tarja will be able to build her own career without the band, without being known only for being the lead vocalist of an opera-metal band. I, for one, am already waiting for her solo Christmas album. But most of all, I do wish Tuomas, Marco, Emppu and Jukka will be able to continue their musical dream with Nightwish. Best of luck in the future, guys. Change is sometimes inevitable, let's hope it was for the best in this situation.


In addition to Friday's little trip to Helsinki I made the same trip again yesterday. I had a wedding to attend to and it was a bit too complicated to not come home between the two separate occasions. Yesterday the trip also included a couple of hours of shopping in Ikea, because Kaisa and Tero needed to find some stuff for their new home. I was pretty determined not to spend any money going in and was able to stay determined for at least three minutes. Dear lord, what a place that store is. Luckily some of my determination lasted and I only bought a bedcover and this year's first Christmas present, at the total price of less than 20 euros. Go me and my budget. :)

Anyhow, the wedding. Once again, a celebration that felt and looked exactly like the happy couple. The two handsome grooms (yes, this was a gay wedding) had planned a wedding reception that combined good food, nice speeches, dancing and friendship. Very relaxed and warm celebration of their union. I didn't attend the follow-up party, which was probably loads of fun, but I felt like I had a very nice evening anyhow.

What I did think about during the reception was us Finns and giving speeches. There were a couple of excellent speeches delivered, and then some slightly less excellent speeches. The better speeches were well prepared (I think the mistress of ceremonies, Mari, outdid herself this time - she spoke very eloquently) and some of the other speeches were just ad lib at the scene. Which is admirable in the sense that the person actually has the courage to stand up and speak in a public situation (not all can do that, you know). It's also nice because you know the words do come from the speaker's heart when there hasn't been any preparations.

On the other hand, though, I think that all speeches should be planned somehow. By quickly outlining whatever it is you want to say, you avoid the unfortunate rambling. And after two or three speeches that began with "Well, I don't know exactly what I could say to the newlyweds..." (Me: So why are you talking then? You don't need to give that as an excuse, because you've obviously thought of something to say since you're standing there.) and continued with "People usually speak about love and relationships in these situations, but I'm not going to since the couple is not in any way usual..." (Me: People at this wedding usually seem to not speak about love and relationships, I honestly think you could've made an exception to the rule. No? Oh well, it was just a thought.) I began to think that a well prepared speech about love and marriage would've been a show-stopper, something special. Instead we did hear many amusing tales about how different people had met the grooms, which I felt was a bit unimaginative after the same pattern had been repeated by several speakers.

Anyhow, I'm very happy for Tino and Tero. I truly hope their union will be full of love and respect, because that's what good relationships are about. And I'm very glad that they have very outgoing friends, who have the guts to speak in public, prepared or not. It seemed to tell a lot about the general atmosphere of the reception - a lot of acceptance in the air last night.

Kingdom of Heaven revisited

Ah, the ever so wonderful KoH came out on DVD and found its way to my collection, naturally. I was very disappointed because the director's cut didn't come out at the same time, because now I've got to get that version later and become what the movie industry needs - an idiot who spends loads of money purchasing the different versions of the movie. Oh well, I can't not buy the longer version of the movie, just as simple as that.

Anyhow. We watched the movie again with Tytti on Thursday evening. Accompanied by shamefully sinful amounts of chocolaty treats and coffee. The movie was as good as I remembered. And it was nice to be able to comment on different things right when the thoughts came to mind, after all we both had already seen the movie twice.

My favorite scenes remained mostly the same. I love the aerial view of Balian and his men riding to battle in front of the Kerak, as it instantly shows the desperation of the situation and on the other hand the courage (and training!) the riders have.

And the scene where Balian surrenders Jerusalem to Salah-ad-Din. All the meanings of just those few words. "What is Jerusalem worth?" "Nothing." "Everything." If that isn't at the core of the movie, then I don't know what is. It also got us pondering about the world as we know it now. There are these three major religions that all claim the same city as being holy - what would our world be like if Jerusalem hadn't had this role in history? Whose bright idea was it in the first place to have everything happen in this one town? Or to be more precise, whose smart idea was it to think that people could actually be civilized about sharing a cultural past?

I did, again, end up pondering about the character of Salah-ad-Din in the movie. I'm so glad he's portrayed as he is, without making him a "bad guy" of the story. I think he must've been a truly great person in his days, and it'd be fascinating to go back in time to meet him. At one point some years ago I did even think about doing research of the crusades from the saracens' pov, but since I speak even less Arabic than I do Italian or Latin, the idea had to be buried for now. All the more interesting I found the piece of news a friend of mine shared with me yesterday at the wedding. He's planning on doing a research about Salah-ad-Din in the future, after he's learned Arabic. (Can I just say at this point that I want his brains when it comes to languages? He made it sound so easy - and for him it probably is, too. *sigh*) And I think I can promise him he's already sold a copy of the book when it comes out. I'll surely want it for my crusader and islamic history collection. :)

Ah, but about the DVD yet. The extras, that is. Nice ones about the making of the movie, but I didn't much like the first of the history docs they have on the second disc. It was a document made for the History Channel and I got quite annoyed with it. But not so much with the contents as the structure of the document and the host of the show. Ick. The same dull graphics of fortifications and I suppose Jerusalem were repeated time and again, blech. I got so tired by watching it (I watched it already a week ago, and not with Tytti) that when I began to watch the other history doc (which seemed to be slightly better), I ended up falling asleep. Oh well, if the other document doesn't turn out to be any better after all, I won't have any problems selling my copy of the DVD to someone when I need to buy the director's cut...

So there. A proper update of random thoughts. Now I'm going to go and enjoy an evening of doing nothing. Wonderful. Next week promises to be a busy one again, as usual. Meetings, essays to grade, social commitments... Expect the next blog entry some day in December... :)

Friday, October 21, 2005


Aaagh! What am I going to wear??

We're going to see Nightwish tonight in Helsinki and I haven't got anything nice and "goth chic" enough to wear! A quick run through the stores didn't help at all. Dammit.

Oh well. I guess I'll just settle for as much black as possible. With a touch of purple or burgundy. Should be able to blend in that way.

Another year went by, I got older and my problems are still ridiculous. Go figure.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

How to prepare for the inevitable?

Grandpa is in the hospital, due to very serious heart problems. Mom and dad visited him yesterday and told me today that all of us should begin to mentally prepare ourselves for the worst.

But how do you do that, for real? Is there any point to it, really? I don't think that any amount of preparedness will make the inevitable any easier to face, when the moment comes.

In a way I hope the day isn't going to be quite yet, but isn't that a bit selfish? On the other hand, whether it is or not, I do hope grandpa has some living to do yet in this world. He's still hopeful he can get his knees operated, so I guess that as long as there is something he's got his mind set on, he'll have some strength to fight yet. Although the sad part of it is, naturally, that most likely his other health problems will prevent the operation anyway.

Time will tell.

I'll finish with a poem. Sad, beautiful and touching. And so true.

Jokainen yksinään maan sydämellä
auringonsäteen lävistämänä:
ja äkkiä on ilta.

Everyone stands alone on the heart of the earth
Transfixed by a sun-ray:
And it is suddenly night.

(Salvatore Quasimodo, 1930)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Another week went by

And made a swooshing sound as it went... I don't know how I'm ever going to catch up with time, because lately it has felt more like I'm just a twig in a rapid - and not enjoying the ride that much at all. Too much to do, too little time to do it in.

This naturally means that I currently live under the shadow of a huge mountain of dishes, among a well-doing population of dustbunnies. Annoys the heck out of me, too, but after having graded essays for 8 hours straight on a beautiful Sunday, I'm darned if I'm going to touch the vacuum cleaner at 9 p.m. after I've gulped down a whole pizza, because I didn't have time to eat before that. No wonder I'm feeling a bit dull at the moment... My brainwave must be nearing a flatline about now.

Just to get some waves into that brainwave, I do have to mention a couple of things from this past weekend.

First of all, this was the weekend of the Turku Book Fair. Marvellous! I sat behind the desk in our small booth a couple of hours, was interviewed by the local TV-channel (I didn't see the program I probably was in, though) and met a very nice author, Jeff Long. Perhaps most amazingly of all, I managed to spend only 3,50 euros during my stay at the fair. Yay me for sticking to a strict budget!

Jeff Long was invited to the Fair by Like and he was kind enough to come and attend a program item organised by the SF-society. There weren't that many people present, but nevertheless he gave a nice little "GoH speech" and then we had a very interesting q&a, which was actually a lot more like a coffee klatsch than a q&a-session (because of the small number of people there). It was definitely refreshing to listen to his opinions and stories behind his works. He had some very hard words to say about his own government at the moment, about the wars in Vietnam and Iraq and about the American corporate publishing business. And also a few words about Dan Brown. He seemed to be a person who is very widely read and aware of the world around him. It would've most certainly been fun to chat with him a bit longer, that'll have to wait till he comes back to Finland some day. (I did suggest he could maybe plan his schedule around the time when we might be having Finncon in Turku in 2008... He seemed to think it was a good idea, heh.)

So yet again, a book fair weekend during which I met a famous author. :) I wonder who's going to be on the list next year? Hmm. I'm hoping for an author whose books I would've already read before the fair...

One more thing before I go. Clothing. It's pretty funny how people seem to have a certain idea of how other people should look in certain situations. Apparently I didn't look like I was supposed to yesterday. I guess I didn't look like an editor of an sf-fanzine, but instead more like a senior high school teacher. Or something. I just have to wonder why the two have to be different since in my case the two roles are quite effectively merged into one package. However, it was kind of fun to notice that one of my friends didn't even seem to recognise me at first and when I greeted him, he just sort of stared at me and gasped something like "What the hell are you wearing?" Umm, say what? Thanks. I think it looks good, too...

So in case this means that I can't wear nice clothes and look like an sf-fan, I'm going to wear nice clothes and be happy about looking like a teacher. ;)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Go, Amazing Race, Go!

Whee! One of my absolute favorite reality shows is on again! It's the Amazing Race, all new season! Yay!

I think I've mentioned my addiction to this particular show earlier also, but I think it deserves to be mentioned again. The show's pure fun, as the teams travel around the globe - with most of the entertainment coming from pure amazement on my part: how arrogant / dumb / irritating / whatever can the people be?

Too bad there will probably never be a Finnish production of the show, because it has to be too expensive - I'd so try to get to that show with my brother. :) After selling my car, which quite effectively bans me from participating in Pimp My Ride as I don't have a ride anymore, the Amazing Race remains the only reality show I could ever even imagine taking part in. But until then, I'll just sit glued to my sofa on every Sunday evening watching who will be the winners this time. I didn't find a favorite team yet, based on the first episode. Last time there were the twin male models, who caught my eye. Ahem. Maybe I'll cheer for the two clowns this season.

Anyhow, it's been an exhausting day. Mostly for my sitting muscles, that is. I woke up at freakin' 5 a.m. in order to be ready to leave at 6 a.m. to Lahti, for my cousin's confirmation. Aarggh. Dad is his godfather and he had to be at church already at 9.30 a.m. which meant that we had to leave inhumanly early to be there on time. No fun.

So, cousin got confirmed (in a very traditionally dull service), we met some relatives, ate some delicious food and cake and I very nearly fell asleep while trying to be sociable with the before mentioned relatives. That was my day, in a nutshell. Except for the tiny detail of having sat for very nearly 12 hours today, in the car, in the church, at my cousin's home, in the car again, at my other cousins' home and in the car again. And then on the sofa and now by my desk. Ouch. My bum is numb. :)

I think I need to go to the gym tomorrow. Pace awaits, me thinks.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

How I found out that the world is indeed a small place

Hosting international people in Finland is always interesting. It gives perspective on one's own culture as well as the culture of the non-Finnish visitor. And in these days of incredibly fast communications and the general feel of a "global village" (obviously including the "blogosphere") it's always good to have perspective, because otherwise one could lose the sense of appreciation for one's own background and surroundings in general.

It's quite natural that we tend to become somewhat blind to our own life, and especially things like sceneries in it, because they're always there. The memories attached to different places aren't exactly something you can erase from your mind. Once you've lived in certain surroundings for all your life, it's very difficult, if not impossible, to get a fresh view of all of it. This was demonstrated to me once more as I hosted my Maltese friend this past week.

The different seasons are about the only other way to see the surrounding view freshly. Not a day has gone by this week when I haven't admired the beautiful colors (red, orange, yellow) of the trees - the trees that have been familiarly green for a few months now. The last time I really paid any attention to the trees was, naturally, in the spring, when the barrenness of the winter was cast aside by the light green of the new foliage. But still, even though the colors of the nature change, it's still the same old trees and fields and such that I see daily. I don't think about them that much at all. Until there's someone who voices an opinion that the scenery is something special. My response is most likely something along the lines of "Oh, you think so? Oh, wow, I haven't thought about it that way..." It's very refreshing.

Makes me want to travel so badly, though. I'm seriously lacking fresh sceneries to experience for the first time.

However, experiencing my surroundings in a new way wasn't exactly the only thing I was left pondering about when my friend's flight departed from the Turku airport. One other observation I had been amused to make was that the world is so small it's unreal.

Or what would you say about a coincidence like this. There's a Finnish person blogging about random silly things. She knows some people. Like a certain Italian professor, who shares her interest in all things chivalric. Then there's a person on the other side of the continent, who just happens to bump into this silly Finnish blog and for some reason begins to read the posts somewhat regularly. The person happens to live on an island, that once was the home for the chivalric order of knights that the Finnish blogger is doing research on (we're talking about Malta here, of course). So far, nothing too amazing, right? Such coincidences probably aren't that rare in the cosmic scale of things.

But then, let's get all these three above mentioned people together. Let's have them attend a seminar about Kosovo in Turku, of all places. They meet for the first time and very soon find out that the Italian professor knows one of the Maltese person's closest friends very well. Of all the people in Italy, Malta and Finland there are these three people (four, if you count the other Maltese fellow, who wasn't in the seminar, heh) who are connected by a very odd coincidence.

Needless to say, I was baffled. In case anyone needs to prove that the theory about all the people in the world being connected by what is it, less than six steps(?), actually works, could maybe start here. I never imagined I'd be connected to a Maltese author by such a few steps. A funny, exciting and mindboggling thought, that. But then again, I think we once figured out that some of us girls are actually connected to Orlando Bloom by less than six steps, thanks to Sarin's relations. Which, naturally, is even more entertaining a thought. ;)

Anyhow, that's not the end of funny coincidences of last week, actually. We were having a very nice dinner in a local Italian restaurant (Sergio's, in case you're interested) after the seminar on Thursday evening. There were about 15 or so of us (the conversations were carried on in at least five different languages at almost all times; English, Finnish, Swedish, Italian and German), and with us was also the Archduchess Walburga von Habsburg-Douglas (she had been a guest speaker at the seminar). She, just so you know, is very closely related to the last emperor of the Habsburg dynasty of the Austrian-Hungarian empire.

Anyhow, this makes her also a relative of the empress Elizabeth, or Sissi, as she also was called. (You may (or may not) remember the old movies about her life with Romy Schneider playing the name role.) As it happened, the musical about Sissi's life was to have its premiere in Turku city theatre last Friday. The organisers of the seminar had tried to get tickets for the Archduchess to see the premiere, but had unfortunately failed miserably and made other plans for Friday.

But what happened was that later that Thursday evening, a small group of people came in the restaurant, sort of at the last moment. I noticed one of them looked familiar, and pretty soon recognised the (very handsome) actor who plays Franz Joseph (the male lead) in the musical. It didn't take too long for the rest of our group to recognise also the actress, who plays Sissi herself. The third person we didn't know, but just to notice these two actors was enough to get a buzz going on. Mrs von Habsburg-Douglas was informed of the situation too, and so were the people from the theatre.

Which then lead to a very surreal conversation between the third person from the next table and the Archduchess. ("So, what's the story? How are you related to Sissi? Why are you here? Please explain once more how you're related to the late emperor?" and so on.) We were all, I'm sure, equally amused by the coincidence and since Mrs vH-D was very kind and polite, she didn't seem to mind the fact that the people didn't really introduce themselves and that she was asked to write a short note for the actors for the next evening's premiere. All the three people from the play did, btw, very eagerly state that they could arrange tickets for her to see the premiere. Just to smooth out the indeniably odd response from the head of the theatre, who had refused to arrange tickets earlier.

But think of this coincidence from the point of view of the actors of the play. Here they are, preparing for their premiere, coming to have late dinner in a local restaurant and who do they meet? A person who is related to their protagonist in real life. I'm thinking they probably had a few incredulous laughs when they told about their encounter with the duchess.

I'm thinking I need to reserve some tickets for myself to go and see the production. I had thought about it before, but now it seems I really do need to see it. :) If for no other reason but to ogle the handsome actor, eh. Unfortunately the show's all sold out till February, so I need to wait for my turn a while yet.

So, to wrap all this up: it's a small world after all...

ETA: No matter how little time I have to read anything, I did end up dragging three new preciouses home from the booksale. A book about the crusades (ergo, thesis related), an encyclopedia of the Third Reich (ergo, work related) and Neil Gaiman's latest novel, Anansi Boys, which I was absolutely thrilled to find in the shelf. Can't wait to dig into it in the very near future...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Too much to read, not enough time

Aaarrggghhhh! Hear me groan in frustration and despair. I've got a serious problem of not having enough hours in a day to read all the interesting books and other texts I've got piled up around my place. (Literally!)

It's not at all unusual that I have two, three or even four books that I'm reading at the same time, any given time. Take today's situation, for example. I'm in the middle of four novels (among them one book of the Lymond Chronicles that I'm trying to read very slowly so that it'd last as long as possible and one novel that I'm reading actually because of work - but it's a very good novel, nevertheless) and about as many history books. And I have zero time units to concentrate on them.

And here's a list of things that make my situation even worse:

* I know that a friend of mine has several books she's recommended to me and I'd love to get to them asap. The temptation, the temptation...

* I borrowed yet another book today, after hearing a presentation in which the novel was mentioned. The book seems to be my future favorite, at least based on the description I heard. (I'm talking about Keith Roberts' Pavane which is an alternative history in which queen Elisabeth I is murdered in 1588 and the Catholic church reigns supreme till the 20th century - sounds absolutely fascinating! I can't believe I've missed out on this one before.)

* I got a bag full of short stories from this year's Nova writing competition to go through, as the results were announced today and I'm supposed to be picking the stories that I want to publish in Spin later on. This means that I've got to be sort of quick about this, too. I don't want to keep the authors waiting.

* I've got to work! Today I've been grading even more book reports by my students. Luckily I was quite a hard worker today and I've only got a few more to grade. I'll get those done tomorrow morning and then I can give them back on Monday. Which then means that I'll be collecting the notebooks of the students to go through before their exams. Which means I've got plenty of work to do at home, too. Plenty of work that takes lots and lots of time.

* I don't have too much time to work at home this week. I've got a visitor coming on Wednesday and I need to get all of this weeks work (lesson plans and so on) done before that. Phew.

* You should see the pile of other books I've borrowed / bought and that I'm dying to read, like, right away! Extremely high pile. Many books. Shiny preciouses.

Thus, a very frustrated aaaarrrgggghhh. Goshdarnit.

On the other hand, if this is as serious a problem I can think of right now, I probably shouldn't worry too much. :) For just this once, time really will make it better.

Or will it? More time, even more books to read? And come to think of it, I've got two book fairs to visit in October and the bookstores will have their sales soon... Oh world of literature, have pity on me (and my budget and my schedules)!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A very first anniversary!

Or maybe I should say "bloggiversary" or something. Exactly a year ago I posted my first ever blog post, yay!

In my first post I wondered whether or not I'll have the energy to keep posting. Well, as this is my 138th post, I'd say I've had at least some energy to keep posting. Lately a bit less, thanks to work, but I'm still very positively surprised. And I plan to go on for quite some time, too. You're more than welcome to stay with me and continue this adventure which, unfortunately, isn't always such a thriller...

Lots going on at the moment, though. Lots of social activities, for example. Last Saturday I went to Helsinki with a few friends. We went to see the author M. John Harrison, who was a guest of honor at the Tähtivaeltaja Day (a mini sf-con). I participated in a panel discussion about current events, politics and science fiction and felt like a complete dummy. Probably mostly because I'm not an active party politician, and the discussion veered into the direction of "what color is sf" pretty fast. Oh well, it was just one panel and I survived it, so I shouldn't complain. Actually I'm pretty pleased that I was asked in the first place, so I really am not complaining either.

The day was a lot of fun. It's been a while since I went to one of these fandom events, and especially since I totally missed out on this year's Worldcon in Glasgow, this compact con was just what the doctor described.

I get a huge kick out of the general energy and atmosphere of these events. Tähtivaeltaja Day was no exception. The enthusiasm, in fact, seemed to be very contagious and we ended up making all sorts of plans about the (possible) next Finncon in Turku. Only time will tell if we get enough crazy people to join the project so that we'll actually be able to begin serious planning.

Sf-fandom is such a fun bunch of people. Really. A bit predictable, for sure, but fun nevertheless. Predictable, for example, in their fashions. :) When you walk into the con room (in this case the Dubrovnik Lounge in Helsinki) you'll immediately notice the various shades of black present in the area. I sometimes try to be a rebel and wear a white shirt or a red one, but this time I did end up wearing my black jeans and dark purple shirt for the occasion. My version of sf-black.

Next weekend will include yet another sf-event. On Saturday the SF-society will present the Atorox Award to the best Finnish sf-short story published in 2004 and the Nova writing competition's results will be revealed too. Should be a nice afternoon, if I don't get any sicker than I already am (a bit of fever and a very sore throat at the moment). I'll also be able to do some editor's work there. I need to talk to some of the writers about publishing their work in Spin. Things are looking good but busy now. :)

And because I have a pile of book reports to grade, I'll leave it at that now. From here begins the second year of the Pool. Scary how fast the time goes... Aikakärpäset pitävät nuolesta, eikö vaan?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Thoughts on the big T

Thesis, that is. Duh.

I just found out that one of the first English sisters of the Order was named Sister Johanna. :) Isn't that funny? However, I don't think she had to answer the question "Did you join the Order of St. John because your name is Johanna?" a lot. I've had to answer that more than once, explaining that I'm not researching the Order because my name is the female equivalent of John. Sorry to disappoint.

The reasons why I chose to research this Order instead of, say, the Templars, are simple. The Templars don't exist anymore, whereas the Order of St. John does (which then brings the wonderful aspect of a milennia of continuity into the research); the Templars have been studied in plenty, whereas the Order of St. John isn't as well known and finally, I know a person who actually is a Knight of the Order and can help me with my research. Funnily enough this little project of mine has even resulted in me getting a new friend from Malta, too. *waves to Rob*

So I'd say I made a fairly good pick when I decided I wouldn't want to dig into the history of the Templars, or the Teutonic knights, for that matter. Granted, both those topics would probably have been easier to research in Turku, but what the heck, I'm not well known for my lack of determination... :)

Nearly finished the background chapter today. Only nearly, because I had serious difficulties concentrating, with a million things on my mind demanding my attention (but then again, what's new?). Like for example the very exciting piece of news I heard from my professor. He told me there is indeed going to be a visiting lecturer from Malta University later this fall and that he'll make sure I get to meet him. I'm hoping meeting him will give me some insights into the topic of my thesis. Maybe I should write an English summary on what I've got so far, so I could show him... Hmm. Could be worth the effort.

At the same time my professor told me that the visit had been confirmed, he also suggested that I should apply for the Erasmus exchange program for next spring. They still have one place available in Malta University. Sigh. I'd love to go. I've been dreaming about some of the courses they teach there. But I have my priorities set for this year and I won't be able to quit my job to go to Malta for 5 months.

However, it's not in any way sure that I'll have anything to teach in Nousiainen come next fall, so maybe I can apply for the place then. There'd be the added bonus of probably being able to begin a licenciate thesis while in Malta, which is a tempting thought. But honestly, I shoudn't be getting ahead of myself. There's still about 80 pages to write for my master's thesis, so I should just concentrate really hard on that one and getting all the rest of my studies finished as soon as possible. (Which is a goal I'm a huge step closer to now, because I've gotten the results of most of my summer exams. Didn't pass the f***ing business econ exam, but passed all my history ones with flying colours. Yay for that, at least.)

Oh well. Better to go read a research. Had to skip the first dance class of the fall today, because I'm feeling a bit feverish, so I might as well use the time to study. Right? :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


As nice as my students are, they don't seem to have a clue about Finnish grammar... I've been grading papers and I'm about ready to throw in the towel. These poor kids can't tell a verb from a noun, a particle from a pronoun and they have very little idea of attributes, adverbials and predicatives. *sigh*

And that's the stuff they're supposed to know already, since there's absolutely no time in the curriculum to go over all the basic grammar rules they should know after junior high. I'm going to have to give them a little speech about how the basic grammar knowledge will be essential for them to learn any language, not just in Finnish class. I suppose most of them still couldn't care less, but maybe some of them will revise a bit...

Other than this slight disappointment, work has been good. I enjoy having something meaningful to do. I've noticed I also enjoy taking the bus to work. Gives me about a half an hour to think about things without anything else to do. Unless I decide to read instead - I've got a bunch of work related novels to read, for example. But if I don't read, my mind just basically wanders pretty idly. Which I happily allow it to do. I've got a lot on my mind these days and the time on the bus a few times a week seems like a good form of therapy. Self-reflections and other odd thoughts, with as few stressfull topics as possible. :)

Today, however, I wasn't idly thinking about random matters. I was reading a delightful novel by Erlend Loe. It's been published originally quite a few years ago, and I've been meaning to read it for some time already, but haven't gotten to it until now. The novel is called Naive. Super. and it's quite charming. In a very weird and odd way, though.

In the novel the protagonist suffers from a loss of interest and meaning to his life. He decides he wants to buy a ball and bounce it off the wall in the evenings, which basically brings him some comfort and satisfaction. During the daytime he sometimes ventures into reading a book about time. He, for example, ponders the possibility of thinking infinite amount of thoughts and is a bit doubtful whether his brains would be capable of such. He ponders this after having read in his book that if the universe is given an infinite amount of time, everything will happen. Every single thing, no matter how unprobable, will happen, if given enough time. Which, in my opinion as well, is a mindboggling thought. So it's no wonder the protagonist ends up questioning his brains - mine could get stuck trying to understand that, too.

(On the other hand, I suppose I don't really have to understand it, because it's not like I'm going to be here infinitely to see how everything happens. I just get my finite slice of infinity and I need to make the most of it, with the probabilities available.)

Ah. I really appreciate good literature for such mindboggling thoughts and I think I need to stop writing nonsense and go finish up the novel in question. :)

Sunday, August 28, 2005


This is what happens when I am too busy. I lose the track of time and suddenly notice that the whatever event I had thought about as being in the vague future hits me in the face. *thud*

Luckily no irreparable damage this time. I had simply forgotten that my cousin is supposed to come and stay with me for a couple of days starting today, because she hasn't got the keys to her new apartment yet. I had made plans of going to Nousiainen to stay over, so I wouldn't have to spend yet another 4,60 euros for a busride to work tomorrow, but I guess I'm abandoning those plans now. I certainly hope I haven't forgotten anything else...

Just watched a fascinating document on tv. It was the second part of a document in which two groups of scientists were reconstructing Leonardo da Vinci's inventions. One group was building a huge crossbow for shooting cannonballs and the other team was hoping to build a glider according to da Vinci's plans.

The crossbow was one mean piece of work. Unfortunately the team failed to get the thing to work properly. Instead of hurtling the cannonball to a distance of some 150 metres, the ball fell to the ground after flying only about 25 metres at most. Understandably the modern engineers were bitterly disappointed, because they realised they themselves were to blame. They had made alterations to Leonardo's drawings, according to more modern knowledge of engineering, and they proved to be too radical. It seemed that the kind of skill the builders had in Leonardo's time was lost to the modern engineers and woodworkers.

On the other hand, the team that was building the glider was very successfull. They were able to follow Leonardo's plans more accurately and were able to put together a functional glider. They actually broke the first flying records of the Wright brothers with the thing. In other words, if Leonardo would've been a man to finish his projects and build the machines he visualized, he probably would've been the first man to fly. A staggering 400 years before the first flight was eventually a reality. Very impressive.

My heart just breaks when I think how much of Leonardo's (and other great minds') works have been lost forever. Today it's estimated that only about a quarter of Leonardo's papers have survived the centuries. And since it's most likely that at least some of the destroyed materials included the more radical ideas Leonardo had, it's even more heartbreaking. Did he really have extensive plans on making a mechanical man? There is some surviving evidence of it, for sure. But those plans, for the most part, must've been the ones to awaken the wrath of the church, especially during the purification period of Milan. What else might those papers reveal to modern researchers, were they to be found somewhere? Oh, what I'd give sometimes to have a time machine...

I love these kinds of documents where modern men try to figure out how the earlier generations did things. It never fails to amaze me how clever human beings have been throughout history. How wrong it is for us to point out to an older culture and label it primitive, when it's obvious that we might be able to learn quite a lot from the intellectual victories of previous bright minds of which ever period in history.

Keeping that in mind, I must say I can't understand the politics of some countries. A couple of weeks ago I was watching a document about the great seafarers, the Phoenicians. In the document they also interviewed a marine archeologist who had found the remains of I think a couple of Phoenician ships. The ships were situated close to the coastline of Israel. However, when he returned to the site of the wrecks a year or so later to begin his research, he was told to leave immediately. Turned out that the site had become a part of Egyptian local waters, after some rearranging of the marine borders of the two countries. The Egyptian government stated that the research of this archeologist was "a threat to the national security of Egypt".

Excuse me? Can someone explain to me how the discovery of two Phoenician ships and the following historical research is a threat to any nation's security? I felt so bad for the archeologist who had to turn his ship around and go back to scanning the seabed around the Mediterranean sea routes between Malta and Carthage used by the Phoenicians. To scan thousands of miles of seabed, when he knew exactly where there'd be magnificent remains to research. I can only imagine the bitterness, when he finally had to give up and sail back to the States without finding any significant Phoenician remains. Poor guy.

But honestly, to be so suspicious that the excavations of a few ships a couple of milennia old would look like a threat to national security... My mind boggles. I wasn't made to understand the reasons behind such statements. I would understand if they'd posted some kind of restrictions on the time the archeologist could spend doing his research in their local waters or something of the sort, but to completely forbid the whole project? I just don't get it.

I suppose I'm going to be left wondering in my extremely naive way why we all can't just appreciate history and live in peace... :)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

No loitering

Dear me, what a week. Feels like I've been riding on a rocket. Whoosh!

First there was the beginning of work and the birth of little Aure. In other words, the week started out with me having serious issues of spinning in my head. Do this, plan that, coo at the baby bundle.

Work, btw, has been good so far. Now I'm really looking forward to settling down, so to say. To get to the daily routines of getting to work somehow, teaching the daily dose of Finnish or legal matters and figuring out how to get home in the afternoon.

It's funny how quickly I've noticed that I really miss my old car. It's so much more convenient to hop in your own car, drive to work according to your own schedules and not having to figure out which bus goes where and when. But to be honest, I'd be cursing the car (my old one, that is) to the lowest levels of Dante's charming hell as soon as the temperatures begin to sink below zero during the night. (Which, I'm happy to say, isn't quite yet.)

But the car issue is going to have to be solved later. For now I'll settle for bus hopping (at least I can get some reading done during the 40 minute drive to/from Nousiainen), borrowing grandpa's car and commuting with co-workers when their schedules fit mine. Which they really don't do that often, unfortunately. I'm sure I'll appreciate having a car all the more after having to do without for some time.

Ah, back on track. On Wednesday I got some very interesting guests. The Australian GUFF-travellers came to stay over at my place for a night and naturally there was some programming to be done to entertain them. G(oing)U(nder)F(an)F(und) is a way to promote fannish cooperation between Australia&NZ and Europe. This year's Australian winners, Damien and Juliette, had already met people in Britain, visited the Worldcon in Glasgow (obviously) and were planning on going further to Sweden, Denmark and Germany to meet the local fans.

A small delegation of us Turku fans gathered with D&J to have dinner in Harald, where the brave Aussies had a taste of weird Finnish beverages like tar schnaps. Either they really sort of liked it or they put up a very polite face, since they did admit it "wasn't as bad as one could've thought". Heh.

On Thursday after work it was time for touristy stuff. D&J had found out that two other Australians were visiting in Tampere at the same time, so on that afternoon I found myself in the company of four nice Australians instead of just two, when Dave and Karen joined us after a quick train trip to Turku.

It was so much fun to show them around town. We went to the Turku Castle, walked around and had coffee in the castle courtyard. We didn't take the tour inside the castle, because that would've been sort of expensive and taken a lot of time. After that we walked back to the center of town. It was a nice walk on the bank of river Aura. We discussed, among other things, arranging cons the Finnish and Australian ways. It was very interesting to compare them. (There were a few other interesting matters to compare between the Finnish and Aussie living. Like for example Karen told me that she thought that the Finnish bumblebees were huge. I would've thought Australian bumblebees would be bigger. I don't know why, but just feels like it should be like that, Australia being warmer and all. And it was even more fun to compare ideal winter days. For them Thursday's weather, sunny and about 23 degrees C, was a very nice wintery weather. I would consider -5 degrees, 20 cm of snow on the ground and sunshine from a blue sky to be a perfect winter day...)

I can't even begin to describe how crazy I feel when I have to admit that after discussing con organising, I'm really getting excited about possibly arranging Finncon in Turku again, in 2008. I must be flat out mad to consider a project of that magnitude now, but as we already agreed that there'd be Australian visitors (hehheh), I suppose we'll have to get down to it pretty soon. Time for a first con committee meeting, yup. No escaping the fact that it's a heck of a lot of fun (there is no buzz like the buzz I get during the con week) even though it's also a heck of a lot of stress and work, on so many levels. But crazy is as crazy does, and I think I want to do another Finncon. :) (Somebody just please shoot me now, ok?)

(Be comforted. We're nearing the end of the week in this lengthy post.) During this part of the semester I have no classes to teach on Fridays, so instead I spent my first free Friday desperately trying to find brown dressy shoes to wear with my outfit for Saturday's wedding.

Considering that brown is the black of the day in clothing, it was amazingly frustrating to try to find brown shoes to match. Grr. Ended up buying no shoes. Decided to compromise my elegance by wearing black strappy shoes instead. (Oh, woe, what a fashion disaster!)

The wedding on Saturday was very charming. Kirsi and Matti had invited some 50 guests, which was (so I was told) a compromise between Matti's idea of a wedding for 100 people and Kirsi's idea of eloping without no guests at all. :) I'm so happy they decided to have a wedding!

The ceremony was held in the beautiful, medieval church of Nousiainen. The exact same church I met Kirsi in some 13 years ago. It all seemed so appropriate. Kirsi was wearing an absolutely gorgeous dark red silk dress, just like she'd always wanted. I remember us talking about my mom's red wedding dress already in high school and Kirsi being very convinced that she'd want a red one too. So she did. It was perfect for her. Matti also looked very handsome.

The reception was held in the old railway station of Nousiainen. A beautiful old building, which created a very intimate and well, rural (in a positive sense!), atmosphere to the whole reception. Everything was just like I'd imagined Kirsi would want it to be. She did seem pleased with all the arrangements when I talked with her during the evening.

Finally, everything was crowned by the most stunning full moon rising. I can't imagine a more perfect August night. As I drove home (I had dad's adorable VW Beetle, squee!), I felt so happy for my dear old friend. She used to be so scared of not finding anyone and there she was, beautiful on her wedding day, with her husband and their utterly, completely gorgeous little daughter Amanda. It's wonderful, when people's worst fears dissolve like the mist on a lake when the sun rises. Congratulations once more to the whole family! If I die tomorrow, I'll know I've done at least some good in this world by matching you two way back when... :)

Ah, I'm getting awfully sentimental here. Weddings do that to me, you know.

Anyhow, now it's time I begin thinking about the upcoming week, which should be somewhat calmer, thank goodness. I think I may even have a "free" weekend coming up, when it comes to prearranged social events. I'm thinking of going to Kurala to watch the primitive weapons' competitions instead. :) But that's not before I've taught a few lessons to a bunch of students, heh.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

That's my girl!

She's adorable. Utterly adorable. She frowns when people take pictures (the flashes are eeevil), pouts her little mouth and likes to stretch her legs. I haven't yet seen her eyes, as she was asleep all the time we were visiting. I'm sure she'll be one charming little girl when she grows older, because she had us all cooing in less than five seconds. :)

Her parents were appropriately dazed with happiness (Kirsi probably also partly because of the painkillers she was still on, heh) and very much enchanted by the wee bitty bundle. As were we all. I bought her a fairytale book, a purple little shirt that says "I am gorgeous" and a small toy-lamb (which rattles). I thought that no goddaughter of mine will begin her journey in this world without a proper book of fairytales. :) These were the traditional Finnish animal tales, about the wily fox, the dumb bear and so on. I promised I'd also read the stories for her later.

Oh dear. I still don't have a "baby fever" myself, but as far as babies go, Aure sure was cute as a button. :) Tytti will probably post some of the pictures she took today in the hospital, so check her blog for pics. Mine will be available after considerably longer time. Unfortunately.

However cute the baby was, I have to move on with the program. Finishing touches to tomorrow's lesson plans and then frantic dishwashing and other cleaning before I fall down to bed exhausted. The Australian couple will be coming this way tomorrow afternoon and my apartment is a mess. I need to make my place more presentable so I can let them in... Although I'd much rather go to bed right now and sleep till morning... *yawn* But because that would cause me to fall into fits of sheer panic tomorrow, I won't do that quite yet.

Monday, August 15, 2005

New beginnings

What a wonderful day it has been. I began at my new workplace and became a godmother to a little wee princess.

First things first. My goddaughter Aure Eeva Johanna, Kirsi and Mikko's firstborn, saw the world for the first time today at 8.50 am. Strategic measurements are 3,425 kg and 51 cm. She and her proud parents are doing well, which makes me very happy. I'm going to get to go and see her for the first time tomorrow! Awwwww!

I got the message announcing the birth of the wee girl to work and for the rest of the day my thoughts kept wandering (and I kept smiling like a loon). As soon as I got home, I decided I needed to go giftshopping for my little goddaughter. There are sooo many utterly adorable babyclothes and stuff that it was not a quick trip to the stores. But I found some nice presents - I hope she (and her parents...) will like them. :)

Work was good, too. Today was a planning day for us teachers, or as my dad so fondly says, the day when the surroundings are optimal for a teacher. There are no students around! So basically it was a teachers' meeting and then some course planning and running about two separate school buildings for me today. Tomorrow I'll have the first lessons.

The first day did have some surprises (non-baby related) for me, too. Firstly, the course books I ordered for myself hadn't arrived to the school. When I called the publisher, the friendly lady of the customer services told me my order hadn't been completed. Why? Because the area representative who told me she would take care of the matter hadn't done what she was supposed to... So I'm going to have to begin the Finnish course without proper materials. Luckily mom's there to help - I got to borrow some of her materials.

And yes, I had been preparing mentally (and by reading a few novels!) for a seniors' course. So when it dawned on me that it wasn't the course I'd be teaching, I was a bit surprised. Turns out that I'll be spending my seven odd weeks from now on with first year students and their first senior high Finnish course. Well, it's fine by me, it's a nice course and it'll be fun to get to know some of the "freshmen".

But as it happens, I still have some lesson planning to do, so I'd better cut this short. However, I must confess that I'm very excited about this week, there's just so much to look forward to! Work, meeting my goddaughter, hosting two Australian fan fund -travellers for one night and my friends wedding on Saturday. Busy, busy, busy. Happy, happy, happy! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Just out of curiosity

There's been this "Do you read me?" -meme going around at various LJ's I read. The point of it being that everyone reading that particular lj would "turn themselves in" by commenting.

As it's getting pretty near the first birthday of my blog, I decided it's time to find out who visits the Pool. I'm sure most of the people reading my ponderings are my friends and have commented at least once, but nevertheless, I'd like to find out if there are people just lurking around. :)

In other words, if you read my blog, please drop me a comment. Don't be shy, just say hi or something. I'd be delighted to hear from you. All of you. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Raindrops keep falling

Funny times I'm living. I seem to have so much going on and so much to think about that I don't seem to be able to express myself in words. Which is somewhat unusual. Or maybe it's just that I haven't really had time to sit down and ponder about, well, anything lately.

It's been miserably grey these past few days, with almost constant rain pouring down. It's beginning to look and feel like fall and that's just what I was afraid of - this year the summer hasn't really happened for me. In the spring I was worried about not having enough time this summer to do everything I needed to get done, in June or so I was worrying that the summer would come to an end before I could get anything done and well, now it seems that the summer really is coming to an end and I haven't had time to enjoy it, not really.

I'm not saying I haven't done anything. Because I have. This is probably the first time during my years at the University when I've actually managed to take the full set of summer exams. And double exams, too, to be more exact. Usually I've planned to take all four possible exams and ended up taking two at the most. So instead of that routine, I've already beaten all my old records - if I pass all of the altogether six exams I've taken this summer. The last trial is to be on Friday, and I'm very aggravated about that one already. It's the dreaded and whole-heartedly hated accounting and business econ exam. I hate it, I hate it, I HATE it. Oh, and did I mention that I loathe it, too? Blergh. But if I manage to drag myself to the exam on Friday and somehow miraculously manage to pass it too, I'm all done with economics after that. So I try to motivate myself with the thought of no more accounting when this is done...

In other words, I'm pretty happy about the way my studies are progressing. All of the exams I manage to pass are a step closer to graduating. Which is definitely good.

Unfortunately things aren't as great with my thesis. It's beginning to really dawn on me that I simply cannot concentrate on multiple (demanding, study-related) projects at the same time. This summer began with ridiculously optimistic plans about working, studying and writing my thesis, but I should've known better. I really, really should've known better. Because I should've learned by now that if I have exams to study for and work to go to, there's just no time to concentrate on doing serious research. It's really like having three jobs (or four) at the same time. I simply can't manage that. So, no matter how much it pains me to admit that I can't do it all at once, I probably should give myself a break.

Not literally, of course. I couldn't help but to give it a little dry laughter, when the principal of the junior high I'm going to be working at this year asked me if I'd had time to have a vacation this summer. Umm, well, lemmesee. No, not really. And it's a bit too late now. I'm sure most of the teachers that I meet on Monday when work begins are going to tell all kinds of wonderful stories about "reloading their batteries" and relaxing and doing only enjoyable stuff for all summer long. They're going to be well rested and so on, whereas I'm boasting with black rings around my eyes and stress levels of hungry squirrels whose nuts have been stolen from them. Yay, me. Isn't it fun to be young - you have so much energy! Gaah. I'm so looking forward to the time in my life when I really do have 10 weeks of paid summer vacation to use just as I please. *sigh*

After all that ranting I must admit that I'm getting both excited and anxious about work. I dropped by the school today, to see if my workbooks and materials had already arrived there (I ordered all the course books and such from the publisher some time ago) and heard that I'd been given more courses to teach during the year. Yay, says I. :) More lessons, more euros. I still don't know what kind of courses I'll have in the junior high (except for the course that begins on Tuesday) and I'm not sure what extra course I got from senior high, but it doesn't matter that much. I'll find out on Monday.

It is, however, just a touch bittersweet, this change in plans at the school. The fact that I got more lessons from the junior high is just great, but the extra course I got from senior high is actually taken from mom's work. Which makes me feel oddly guilty for being there. I had nothing to do with it, it's got to do with the lesson plans the principals make, but somehow I couldn't help but feel a bit bad that I'd been given that extra course. It'll be even worse, if dad's courses are cut (for a complicated school bureaucratic reason) and those end up falling to my lap. But I'm sure that won't happen, so I probably shouldn't be worrying about that in advance. Besides, I really shouldn't feel guilty at all, because I'm not the one behind the changes. Argh, it's so frustrating...

Does it seem to you that I'm a bit wound up about all of this? Yes, my thoughts exactly...

On a lighter note, then. I spent a few hours shopping in the local mall on Monday. I had dad's car for a couple of days (folks went to Stockholm) and I decided to cheer myself up on a miserably rainy day by giving my Visa a swing. I was (and to be honest, still am) in need of proper clothes for work. What's sad about it was that I went through all the shops and ended up finding only a scarf and a jacket. (I was planning on spending on shoes and jeans and slacks, too.) Darn it, I'm even a lousy shopper... :)

But that's not what I was going to confess, really. I was going to confess that I had a serious attack of "aaawwwww, how adorable" while shopping. :) No, I didn't go shopping for my future godson/daughter's clothes or anything, but instead I bumped into one of my students from the prep course.

He was one of my favorites from the course and when I noticed him in a store I just had to go and congratulate him for getting in the uni. Here's the best part, though. After very nicely thanking me for my help (first "awww"), he said there was something he'd been wondering about and wanted to ask my advice (enter the second "awww" here). He had a few questions about his minors and the student allowance and while talking with him, I felt like a big sister / guidance councellor. Here's this young man who is pondering about his future and he thinks I can be of help! (All together now: awwww!) We did chat for quite a while and when I left, I had a warm, fuzzy feeling inside and a wide smile on my face. I had mattered to this kid (well, young man, heh) and he thought I could help. Silly me, but honestly, at that moment I felt so appreciated that I could've just burst from happiness and on the other hand I felt oddly grateful, too, for some reason. Awww. :)

That's a good note to end my ramblings on this time. I think I need to go and ponder about average variable costs and such for a while more. Blech.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Nothing much

I have a rock festival going on in my back yard. Honestly, I do. Or actually, no. Not in the back yard, but in the neighbouring park. It's an annual joy, a kids' rock weekend. Which means I get to listen to all sorts of kiddie music played very loud and even some young kids performing themselves. Just a couple of hours ago I was reading my newspaper to the sound of old Finnish pop and rock songs performed by a little girl, judging by the sound she must've been something like 12 years old. Perhaps. Very endearing, but honestly, no matter who sings them, I just don't like the songs of the 1980's favourite Dingo. Urgh.

What left me wondering though, was the choice of music that was played in between the kiddie stuff. Or what would you say to the dj who played "gimme, gimme, gimme a man after midnight" to an audience of toddlers and pre-teens? It's not like they really understand what the song is about and they probably just enjoy (at least the older kids) the sound of more "adult" music. But still. I found it somehow a bit odd.

Went bowling last night. It was heaps of fun. This was, I think, the third time ever I tried bowling and the previous two times were in the States. Ten years ago. But seems it's a bit like riding a bike. Once you've got a hang of it, all you need is a few tries and you're back on track (on whatever track that may be). At least I didn't suck at it, because I had a few moments of triumph (four strikes, for example) and I think I may have had the best score of all of us 11 or so girls that were there. Heee. Not that I'm competitive or anything... (Well, let's see. Hmm. I think I am competitive after all. *grin*) So who's up to going bowling with me one of these days? ;)

Ah, I think I may have had something else in mind, too (although I can't remember what it may have been), but my dearest brother is coming to pick me up sometime soon and I think I need to get myself ready. He tends to inform me of his schedule within 5 minutes of his arrival. And then he's not too happy to be left waiting for long. :) In other words, gotta go.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Not something I see every day

Current events (like about ten minutes ago). Eye-witness report. Here as follows:

Here I was, studying for my exam, concentrating on the power politics of Sweden, Poland and Russia in the 17th century. In other words, minding my own business in the peace and quiet of my own bedroom.

Suddenly I hear someone bellowing "hey" outside and curious as I am, I immediately went to the window to see what was going on.

And what did I see? A police car parked in front of our house. Police officers directing traffic (including pedestrians), away from "my" street. That's odd, I thought. What on Earth for? Wuzzgoingon?

Answer came to me quite soon. They were closing down my neighbouring block and quite a stretch of street because the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, was to drive by. And how did I know this? Well, he's in town today and I live basically next door to Turku's top biotech centre plus some University facilities that the President could be visiting. And as I quickly browsed through the news from the local newspaper's website afterwards, my guess was confirmed.

So here I was, peeking from my kitchen window, when the police escort drove by, promptly followed by a huge black limo with the Russian and Finnish state flags, quite a few other big Finnish and Russian black cars, a dozen or so less luxurious vehicles and a few more police cars. Wow. Not something I see every day. :) According to the local newspaper the president travels with an entourage of about 200 people, and I suppose most of those people just passed my apartment from less than 50 metres away. Waah.

They're still redirecting traffic in the crossroads - I wonder if the whole procession will come back the same way? Maybe I should go and ask the nice police officers? Although I doubt it they'd tell me anything.

Oo, what excitement. :)

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Oh the pain

Well, well. I must say last night was about worth the half a year wait. That's how long it had been since I last went out partying with my darling friend Satu. We had a blast.

Sat back at my place first, drinking wine and talking girltalk, then proceeded into the nightlife of Turku. Which there was plenty of, thanks to the DBTL festival. We decided not to stay by the riverside, since there were loads and loads of people and definitely no places to sit and have a drink. Stand and have a drink, maybe, but we weren't feeling like it. So instead we went to a new bar called Edison for a beer. A nice place, not too crowded and not too loud at that point of the evening, either.

Since we both had an idea about dancing at some point during the evening, we did find ourselves in Börs Nightclub later on. I had almost forgotten how much fun it can be. Not that I like the huge crowd a whole lot, or the pieces of broken glass on the floor or the expensive drinks, but as far as it's not something I do every weekend, I don't mind.

I quite enjoyed watching people last night. I suppose we both, Satu and I, feel a bit detached from the "scene" nowadays, so it is interesting to observe the crowds. It's really funny, how most of the people (at least in this specific club) tend to look alike out there. It's the unwritten code of club fashions, naturally. There are the guys who want to look like cool surfers (they'll be wearing t-shirts of a very specific kind, combined to relaxed jeans), the girls who strut around looking anorectic in their tinytiny tops (the obvious man-hunters) and there are the people (both guys and girls) who look like they tried to achieve a certain look (whatever that look might be), but got it all slightly wrong. And oh yes, then there are people who just want to look ravishingly gorgeous (at least in their own minds) on the dance floor, which means they try not to look like they're having too much fun. It'd spoil the ultimate cool effect, because (omg) they might smile, or worse yet, laugh with their friends.

I do plenty of that. Smile and laugh, that is. It's the combination of me and music. Causes immediate happiness. It's something people have given me feedback about after seeing me perform oriental dance, too. They say I seem to look like I have fun while I dance. And heck yes, that's exactly the way I feel. And I'm very pleased if I manage to look like it, too. :)

Anyway, the evening was a success and the blisters in my feet, my aching knees and the sore muscles are a low price to pay for a good night out with a dear friend. Although I must admit I might have said something else about the feet part if asked about it when we were stumbling home around 3 a.m. My feet were killing me and I'm afraid Satu's situation was even worse. That was one of those moments when all the elegance fades away and all that is left is torture. But hey, the shoes were sexy (with high heels, of course) so as a woman I shouldn't complain. It is a universal truth that for beauty's sake we must suffer...

Friday, July 29, 2005

Time well spent

What's there to do on a Friday night in a town that has a city rock festival going on? Well, you can always stay at home by yourself and rent a few excellent movies.

Which is exactly what I did tonight. :) I have to reserve my strength for tomorrow, because that'll be my party night. (I'm just hoping I'll stay awake past midnight... eh.)

So I rented two movies I'd been waiting for to appear in my neighbouring rental place. The first one was Stage Beauty, the other one Closer. (Spoilers ahead, so watch your step...)

Stage Beauty is a historical drama about the 17th century London and its theatre world. A story of a time, when the roles of women in all plays were played by men, and in the case of this movie, by a very eye-pleasing Billy Crudup. He is excellently cast into the role of Edward "Ned" Kynaston, an actor who specialises in the female roles. Kynaston's career is at its height as he plays Desdemona from Will Shakespeare's Othello night after night to cheering crowds. However, when the king issues a law forbidding men to perform on stage as women, he's left with talent he's not allowed to use and no will to live.

Add into this the character of Claire Danes' Maria, who has for years helped Mr Kynaston backstage and secretly adored the actor and dreamed of acting herself. The result is a situation, where Maria becomes the star, to much of Mr Kynaston's disbelief. And before the end credits roll, there are a few acting lessons both Maria and Mr Kynaston have to learn.

Shakespeare in Love has for years been a favourite of mine, but in some ways I liked Stage Beauty even more. I'm not sure I can point out specific reasons why, because the latter didn't (for example) make me cry, which is something SiL never fails to do. Nevertheless the story was on some level more touching in SB. Or maybe the portrayal of a man who is "the last one to do what he did", because the world happened to change and he got caught up in the turmoil is a bit more interesting than a "simple" love story. In my historian's world. Although I do admit that speculations about Shakespeare's life are always quite fascinating, too.

What was interesting about the film was that it did deal with the question of homosexuality a bit, too. There is a homosexual relationship between Kynaston and the Duke of Buckingham, even though later on, when Kynaston's days as the lady of the stage are over, the Duke quite coldly tells him off by saying he always thought of him as a woman. So there's one character who denies being gay. What about Kynaston, then?

I think the brave (and oh so right) decision would've been to let the character of Kynaston remain homosexual. Or at least make his bisexuality more apparent from the beginning. Because the way they handled his identity now just didn't feel quite right.

Here's this character, who clearly has had feelings (lust, if nothing else) for the Duke of Buckingham. He's dumped for a lady and ends up in bed with a woman himself. That scene, however, is one of the funniest and most endearing ones of the movie. Maria asks him what men do when they are with men. And Kynaston proceeds to demonstrate. :) Very cute, especially when he finally gets sort of confused about whether he's the man-woman or the man-man.

Unfortunately, the movie makers have decided to take the easy way out of a situation, where they'd have a movie with no female love interest for the handsome male lead and so the passion between Kynaston and Maria is what we end up with. No more slashy scenes with the Duke... *sigh*

So, in short, a delightful movie, despite some minor weaknesses. I'm definitely going to watch Billy Crudup a bit more closely from now on. I quite liked him in Big Fish, but turns out he's pretty good in period drama too! And I think I may have to buy the DVD for myself, too. Material for one of our girls' night, maybe. :)

Closer, then. Not an easy movie, that one. Full of angst, love, desperation, deceit and well, sex. The story evolves around four beautiful strangers (played by Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Cliwe Owen and Julia Roberts) who (to make the story short) mix and match and get hurt in the process.

My thoughts are a bit fuzzy about this movie experience still. I liked it a lot, but I suppose I need to ponder about it more to know why. I do know one reason, though. Natalie Portman. I'm beginning to like her more and more after every one of her films I see. I really loved her performance in Garden State and in this one as well. She's got real talent and when she's given proper dialogue and direction, she thrives. And I bet that it must've been a challenge to her to play a stripper - and oh my, does she do it well or what. (Or actually, how would I know since I've never seen a stripper in my life? Erm...)

Oops, I seem to have been pondering about movies for so long that it's sort of getting late. I can't even see the little bat flying about my window anymore. I think I need to go to bed, so I can have a good night's sleep. I mustn't be dead tired tomorrow... :)