Monday, June 27, 2005

When the sun never sets

Ahh. I had a most wonderful and relaxing long weekend at mom&dad's, very quietly celebrating the midsummer festivities. We ate a lot (dad is the best cook!), drank sparkly wine called Chevaliers de Malte (how very appropriate) and talked about all kinds of stuff, ranging from the paper workers strike to my future. I enjoy those discussions a lot.

In this atmosphere it didn't even seem a bummer to study for an exam on midsummer's eve. Sitting in our terrace-turned-into-a-summer-livingroom I managed to enjoy myself immensely. When reading for the exam, it did help that the study at hand was Intellectuals in the Middle Ages, which was a very interesting little book by Jacques Le Goff. Here's a quote I liked. In it Abelard ponders about teaching and the need to understand what one wants to learn.

"...of what use, they asked, were words devoid of intelligibility? One cannot believe in what one does not understand, and it is ridiculous to teach others what neither oneself nor one's listeners cannot understand through thought."

That, my friends, is the essence of teaching! Very wise words, indeed.

A post-midsummer entry wouldn't be anything without some utterly summery pics. Unfortunately I haven't taken these myself (and they were, in fact, taken a week before the midsummer eve), but these are just beautiful. Mom and dad took these pics while they were staying over at lake Saimaa. Two of the pictures have been taken around midnight, the third shows how a thunderstorm is coming and chasing away the sun. Pretty!

See the tiny moon? And how the lake is like glass? Just beautiful.

Wouldn't you want to be there? I sure would.

On the left, sunshine and on the right, thunder.

Finnish summer at its most beautiful.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Midsummer fun

It' s time for me to shut down my computer and move my lazy bum to Nousiainen with a huge stack of books, to celebrate the midsummer festivities. Or to be more accurate, to relax, read and eat a lot of bbq food because midsummer provides a perfect excuse for it. Ahh. It's good to be Finnish. ;)

Siispä: rentouttavaa juhannusta kaikille! Ja ne teistä, jotka menevät jonnekin muun kuin kraanaveden äärelle, pitävät sitten huolta siitä, ettei vene keiku. Tai laituri katoa. Uppopalloakin leikitään sitten vain valvotuissa olosuhteissa. Nih.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I've got it again

Heee, a lot better day at work today. Luckily so, because another day like yesterday and I would've been quite ready to think about other ways of making money... :)

Well, that's not exactly true, now is it? I think of other ways of making money all the time! Too bad I don't get paid for blogging. Or sleeping. Or for studying for exams. I'd be rich already, were these three my sources of income. If they paid well, that is. *grin*

Monday, June 20, 2005

I've lost it

What a short joy it was to be able to sell mags. Today was the ultimate low point of my salesperson career. One lousy mag sold in four hours, sheesh. I've lost my golden touch or something. Boohoo. It might have had something to do with the fact that probably every single nice person was out of the reach of a phone (imagine the odds of that happening in this wonderland of Nokia...) and only the muttering, grumpy and rude people answered. And they were grumpy and rude probably because they had gotten sunburns or a heatstroke or something in the lovely weather today and they had forgotten to turn off their phones. Dumb sods.

Hopefully I can make up for my losses by selling at least 10 mags tomorrow. :) Optimism rules, even though I've had a bit of a headache for hours now (thank goodness I'm not one of the migraine suffering people, so I can cope with this ache) and today was no triumph in the telemarketing front.

However, I have to say I'm fairly happy about how the day turned out to be all in all. I found all the books for my next exam, and they seem to be very interesting, indeed. One about intellectuals in the middle ages, one about the early growth of European economy (meaning the period of seventh to twelfth centuries, which makes it more interesting than the topic seems) and one about using pictures as historical resources. I'm going to have a nice two weeks studying this stuff. I have higher hopes (and ambitions) for the result of this exam, since this is one of the last exams I'll ever have to take for my major. Whee.

And as a relating note, I have to say I did something to advance my thesis today, too. Go, me! :) I sat in the university library and read a thesis about the Finnish terminology that is appropriate when translating some of the terms that the Order of St. John uses.

It was quite useful, since there really aren't that many researches or studies about the Order available in Finnish and I've been struggling with the translations already. It's not like I can snap my fingers and come up with a credible and correct translation for a title like "a knight of magistral grace" just like that. Honestly, I can't. I'd love to, but I can't.

The Order's titles and the whole terminology is somewhat archaic and not very familiar in the context of Finnish history. Since there is virtually no chivalrous traditions as such in the Finnish history, most of the terms have never been properly translated and all kinds of terms have been used without any specific "rules". Which then makes it a problem I have to tackle before I can really get any further. Sometimes I think I would've been better off writing the darned thesis in English in the first place, but I suppose I'll have to translate it later, if need arises. :)

Oh, and more news on the same subject. Sort of. At the university today, I bumped into a professor of mine, who told me that in the fall there's probably going to be a visiting lecturer from Malta. Not only that, but this lecturer has apparently some plans that involve researching the Order of Malta and the professor thought I might like to meet this person and maybe even get involved in the project somehow! Yay! If I understood correctly, the guest lecturer is going to be someone who specializes in the history of the Order. Dear me, how I hope the professor was right and I get to meet this person.

I shouldn't get my hopes up too high, though, since this professor is very nice and helpful, but some of his plans don't actually have anything to do with reality. One of those academic oddities, hehe. However, I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that this would turn out to be something I could get involved in. You never know.

Uagh, now I've gotta go and get some sleep.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Blues over a red car

I don't have a car anymore. I sold my darling today. I hate to admit it, but I feel a bit sad. It was my somewhat loyal companion for nearly ten years and now it's gone. *sigh*

On the bright side, though, it couldn't have been bought at a better moment. I can go and buy some food now, which is always good fun. Eating, that is. I can even afford an ice cream. ;) So thank you, my irritating, endearing and surprising Skoda for this last service. (Personificating a car? Who, me?)

The buyer seemed nice enough and he'd had a car like that before, so I'm fairly confident that he'll take good care of it, at least for a while. It's really, really odd how I somehow think that's important...

So, my friends, no more Therapy-Skoda services or round trips to Ruissalo beach. Services will begin again when the resources have been renewed.

I'll go and stare out of the balcony door now, feeling carless. The guy said he'd come and pick the car up in a while, but it's still there in the parking lot. *snif*

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Feeling like a good mom or housewife today. Baked some bread rolls myself. I very rarely do that, but this time I did it basically to save some money... Doesn't that sound sad? ;)

They turned out very yummy and my brother, who suddenly popped by to have a cup of coffee, ended up eating so many of them that he's probably about to burst now. Heh. Mom and dad aren't at home now, so there's no free food in Nousiainen, but at least he won't go hungry today. Aren't I a little darling feeding my brother?

Speaking of mom&dad. They're in Puumala, spending a week in a rented summer cottage by the beautiful lake Saimaa. Mom called me today and told that they've been having wonderful holiday weather up there. I'm so envious! I want to go on a holiday trip, too! To swim in a lake (ok, it's bound to be freezing cold still, but after sauna it wouldn't matter), canoe around listening to the birds singing and the water quietly splashing... I'd so love to have that option available for me right now. It'd be the relaxation I so desperately need.

Because, to be frank, I'm sick and tired of trying to study for my exam (as you can guess, I haven't been too efficient on that front), because the subject matter basically couldn't interest me less. But since I'm going to need that information when working as a history teacher, I'm forced to take the exam anyway. But I have nil motivation and just as much ambition considering the result of the exam, as long as I pass.

And what's even more annoying is that I now constantly feel like I'm wearing the headset from work. I've sold mags for ten hours this week and seriously, my ears seem to think I didn't leave the headset on the desk when I left. Annoying as heck. However, I've been getting decent income, so I suppose I'll have to count this to the hazards of work.

Ah well, I think I'd better go and try to get at least a few pages read yet. Blah, blah, blah.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Couch potato weekend

I meant to do a lot of things this weekend. Mainly study for the political sciences exam I have next Friday. Well, total pages read for the exam is less than ten at the moment, plus some 20 articles of the Finnish constitution...

I don't know what got into me, but slacking has definitely been the theme lately. What I have been doing, is watching tv. I rented a few Jude Law -movies on Friday after work and watched them. Liked both of them, too. Alfie and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, that is.

After seeing Alfie I understood why my little brother liked the movie so much. The beginning of the movie would seem to be some sort of dream life for him. Very nice clothes, beautiful ladies and so on. I think I recall him saying he'd like some of Jude's clothes - well, he could pick a worse wardrobe, if I may say so. I quite liked Jude's clothes, too. ;)

Besides the nice suits and shirts, my brother set his eyes on Alfie's Vespa. Dear me. My brother's a dandy of some sorts. Heee. Were we born in a different era, I suppose he'd be the little lord entertaining a huge society and I'd be the older sister, who never gets married and settles down for a life of teaching history or something rather to my younger relatives.

Oh wait. That's us right now. The only thing missing is that I don't live off his income and the kids that I teach aren't of any relation to us. Duh.

Well, what can I say. He's my brother and I love him. Even though he knows half of the population of Turku and has money to buy nice tailored shirts and so on. I'll get to that point by the time I'm 60. By then I've taught so many kids in my life that I'm bound to bump into some of them all the time. Hopefully I'll have money to buy expensive clothes then, too. I don't think I should count on that, though, considering the salaries of teachers in Finland...

I digress. Sky Captain turned out to be a bit more interesting than what I had expected. I had heard some comments that weren't exactly praising, but as I said already, I did eventually like the movie. Sure, the plot was a wee bit thin (ahem), but I found the visual look very fascinating. The old film noir sort of style combined with a distinctively cartoonish visuals made the look of the film refreshingly different.

Hopefully I'll get something done about everything tomorrow. Because now I'll go and be a slacker to the end, since Spielberg's Taken is on tv right about now and I don't want to miss the beginning. Catch you all later. :)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Hooray for the victorious me!

You have to forgive me for ranting about my work once more. I just have to boast a bit. I won the competition for selling 20 mags! I set out to sell nine mags today, and by gosh, I did it. Me, stubborn? Me, goal-oriented? Me, motivated by money? Heck yes. ;) Now I'm just going to wait for my gift certificate, whee!

Having said that the following test result may seem a bit out of place. But I can explain it. I'm usually like Yoda or Qui-Gon, but on some nights at work I seem to find my inner Watto...

Monday, June 06, 2005

Why water in the bathroom isn't always a good thing

Problems with water today. Problems with everything but work today. In other words, a pretty lousy day today. "Blech" is the word to describe my feelings before work. Or maybe "blaah". Or possibly "yngh".

So why is water a problem in the bathroom? It's a good question and the answer is: the problem is the location of the water. You know you have a problem, when the paint in the ceiling bulges and feels like a water balloon. With water inside it, duh. Yup, my bathroom ceiling did just that today. Fun, fun.

Luckily it's none of my doings, but my new upstairs neighbours are the ones to blame. They're renovating their apartment and apparently they had managed to burst some kind of pipe somewhere, which then resulted in water seeping into all kinds of wrong places. Like under the paint in my ceiling, under the paint in the hallways downstairs and so on. Which then, most likely, results in renovating in my apartment.

I have thought about how nice it would be to renovate my bathroom, but to be honest, I didn't plan on doing it right now. If I'm lucky, all that needs to be done is to dry the ceiling and repaint it, but if I'm not lucky, the walls need to be redone, too. On the other hand, were that the case, I'd get the expenses paid by the insurance company of my neighbours, right? Not altogether a bad deal, either... ;) Ah, well, I don't think the watery accident was that serious, so I'll just get a newly painted ceiling, then.

Talked about the whole situation with my downstairs neighbours (who I know from the Uni, too) and we ended up pondering what kind of thick-headed morons the board of this apartment building consists of, because someone (with very little or no brain capacity at all) did make the decision that the small useless hallway balconies (the ones that are very rarely used when someone is dusting their carpets like once a year) were fixed last fall, but the pipes in the building are still the original ones from the sixties. It'll be a lot more expensive job, when the water pipes totally fall apart and have to be fixed after we all get that nice watery & floaty feeling in our apartments. Sure I like to canoe and swim, but I'd rather go outside for it...

Oh well. The neighbours responsible for the damage did already inform us that the inspectors from their insurance company will come and evaluate the damage. I hope this isn't going to be a difficult case and I get my bathroom fixed. I don't want to end up with a moldy wall. Not good for your health, moldy walls.

I wouldn't have thought that selling mags on the phone would be the thing to cheer me up today. But oddly enough, it was. I got some nice customers and even some nice customers who bought something. Whee. I'm apparently doing pretty well in the job, because even before I had started today's shift I was offered a possibility to continue in the firm later in the fall, too. I kindly said "No thanks", because I'll get a steady pay from teaching from August on and shouldn't be needing extra income. However, if this selling thing turns out to pay reasonably well, who knows when I'll need more money. If I don't get any courses in the spring, I might consider returning to the telemarketing business. I might. I could work silly-long days and save up for a vacation or something... :)

I'm only 9 orders away from winning the gift certificate for 20 euros, which was set as a prize in a competition for us beginners to motivate us. I'm thinking I'm going to sell those nine mags on Wednesday and get me some money to buy food with! :) Yay. I just have to hope that this isn't just a fluke and that I can keep up the steady sales.

Life is really odd sometimes. It really, really is. Not in a million years would I have thought I could be blogging about telemarketing in a positive way. And what do you know, here I am, doing just that. I suppose stranger things could happen, but I can't think of any right now. No, wait, I can. But what are the odds of me bumping into, say, Mr. Dream Guy tomorrow? Slim to none, I'd say. I think it's more likely that I get those nine mags sold on Wednesday. *sigh*

What does that tell you about my life? Well, not much, really. ;)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Oddities of life

I'd say I'm a fairly happy person. I'm not saying my life is perfect, but whose is? I'd say I'm content with my life as it is, most of the time, but I wouldn't mind if some things were to turn for the better. But it's not like I go around wailing and whining about being miserable, because I'm not. Miserable, that is.

However, once again, I was reminded by dreams that I may be missing out on something. I dreamt I was in love. Seriously, madly and completely in love. I'll spare you from the details of the dream (there weren't that many to begin with), because they aren't the point. The point of the dream for me was the wonderful warm feeling I had in the dream (I think I was quite recently fallen in love in the dream, which probably made the feeling even more warm, knowing how I react in such a situation). I was accepted as I am and I was so proud to have a significant other who was kind, loving and well, yes, handsome. I'm sure he had all kinds of other great qualities too, otherwise I wouldn't have loved him so much, but unfortunately, the dream was a bit short, so I didn't get to know the guy too well... :)

It's really been way too long ago when I felt anything like I did in that dream in real life. I don't fall for anyone too easily, but from the few times I've really had a serious crush on someone, I can vaguely remember what it felt like and this was that and then some. I miss the feeling, to be honest. And however odd it might sound, I think I miss the feeling I've never had for real. Or maybe the proper term would be "to long for" instead of "to miss", but somehow it doesn't really describe how I feel about the whole thing. Or something...

I don't really mind being single (as I've probably said before), because I like to do things my way and sometimes I think I'm too busy to even think about a relationship, but there are moments I wished things were a bit different. I still don't go about my life whining and wailing about the miseries of single life (when I do, I'm either very tired, hungry or in the worst case, both), but the occasional reminder of the additional happiness there is to be found in this world tend to make me feel a bit blue.

Having the blues isn't the worst part of it, though. The worst part is that sometimes I wonder if I'm too stuck with my own routines already and if there ever was a budding relationship, I'd panic and flee from the situation. I suppose I'm slowly becoming very, very skeptic about ever finding that dream guy from the waking world. I haven't given up hope, that's not it, but somehow I just don't see me writing wedding invitations in the near future - nor in the more distant future either, for that matter.

It'll be a happy day when I can proove to myself that I was wrong about all of this and that there was a real version of that dream guy after all, but until then, don't be holding your breath. ;) It won't be a fun wedding if I'm freshly out of the blues but half of my guests are blue ad infinitum. So the deal's this, you breath, I breath. No one stays blue. Ok?

Enough of that for now. I'm going to finish up with two things that I found odd or just plain curious today. First of all, and this is the oddest thing by far, I think I'm getting the hang of the whole telemarketing thing. So far I've sold 5 orders for different mags in about 2 hours of calling. I'm told that's a pretty good average. In any case I'm the "top seller" of us beginners, who have just begun working at this firm. Whee! And in addition to being able to actually sell something on the phone, I'm finding out it's actually somehow fun to talk to people. I'm guessing it can be a bit addictive on a good day. I never thought I'd be caught alive saying this, but here it is. I think I can be a good salesperson, too. Odd, odd, odd.

The other thing was just a fun detail I found out when (ahem) surfing the net for information on KoH's Hospitaller (you remember, my favorite character after Balian), David Thewlis. It turns out he lives in Clerkenwell, London, on the exact site where the 12th century priory of the Order of St. John (a.k.a. the Hospitaller Order or later the Order of Malta) was. That's also the place I'd need to go to do some research in the Order's archives. So if I ever get to go to Clerkenwell, as I'm sure I will, I may bump into Mr. Thewlis, too. Heeee. I could ask him a ton of questions about the making of the movie and how he prepared for the role. Not that I'd really dare to bother him with such questions, I think I'd be trying to be the "cool Finn" and not fuss about seeing a famous actor and definitely not intrude upon his privacy by doing anything at all... :) But it's a fun thought. Besides, I have already had lunch with Neil Gaiman, so I guess I should be thinking anything's possible.

Humm. Aren't I contradicting myself now by saying that? ;) Ah, the moment I learn to apply all these important principles in all of my life, I'll be the best possible sample of perfect happiness there ever was.