Saturday, 31-Jan-04 14:31
Finnish Blog Awards

Jaakko of Fabula suggests that there should be Finnish blog awards. This is a very, very dumb idea that is certain to cause a lot of grief, tears and hate across the Finnish blogosphere, and whoever does it will completely lose all respect and will be spit upon on the streets.

How could I not do this?

Apologizes to all English readers - here's the official announcement:

Kultainen Kuukkeli 2003 - palkinto tullaan jakamaan useammassa blogikategoriassa, ml. paras suomalainen blogi. Lisäinfoa on sivulla Kultainen Kuukkeli 2003.

Ehdotuksia kategorioista voi joko lähettää meilitse tai jättämällä kommenti tähän merkintään.

Mikäli joku haluaa sponsoroida palkintoja, ole hyvä ja ilmoita itsestäsi ylläolevin keinoin.

Thursday, 29-Jan-04 22:24
What is your score?

My test result in the ultimate personality test is 184. What's yours?

Wednesday, 28-Jan-04 19:24
"Your flight has been cancelled, have a nice day"

Well, anyone who has felt envious about my travels, heads up! Now it's the time for smirking and schadenfreude!

My BA flight back from Boston was cancelled, because something expensive and hard to fix broke in the airplane (I swear I didn't touch anything). But joy! There was another plane leaving three hours later! So I stand on the queue for two hours to get a new boarding pass, in which my nice, quiet 777 window seat next to a beautiful lady is exchanged into a center row, center seat on a noisy and extremely fully packed 747. And no beauty in sight, just teenage geek-wannabes debating whether a 747-400 is faster than a 747-200.

Upon arrival at Heathrow, they look at my boarding card for a moment, and tell me with a hearty smile: "You missed your connecting flight. But it's okay - it was cancelled anyway!"

At this point, I burst out in laughter, which turns into sobbing a few minutes later when I realize that I have to stand in yet another line for half an hour to get a connecting flight to Helsinki.

Which turned out to be late as well. And again, a center seat. Hooray.

But here I am, home, sitting naked after a long, hot shower, with a nice 19 hours of travel behind me. The only positive thing about this ordeal was that my luggage was not lost along the way, even though I was pretty certain it would be.

Tuesday, 27-Jan-04 23:42

Went to MIT. Was seriously, very seriously impressed.

These guys make Star Trek technology look something that would be available tomorrow from the neighbourhood shop, if they really, really wanted to. And their new building is designed by Frank Gehry.

The green stuff oozing from the lower portion of your monitor is liquid envy.

Monday, 26-Jan-04 13:38
Northern exposure

Create your own visited country map or write about it on the open travel guide.

I'm seeing a certain bias towards the northern hemisphere of our globe. And still so many wonderful places to see! The thought is at the same time a bit depressing, yet joyful. I always hate the preparations before travel: packing, ticket hassles, looking for the passport... But once I'm actually in the plane, squashed in a space smaller than a phone booth, squeezed between an 8-year old hyperactive girl and a 200 kg fat man, eating a meal which tastes slightly better than the cardboard box it comes in, all of it becomes worth the while: Because I love traveling, seeing new places, hearing new voices, being dizzy with jet lag, fighting about living space with cockroaches and spiders, tasting local soft drinks and beers, smelling the polluted air in the cities or the clean air in the countryside, squatting in the middle of a herd of kangaroos, sweating like a pig, freezing like a penguin, ... Yah! Life!

(Via Janka.)

Monday, 26-Jan-04 03:54
Great Balls of Fire!

Well, it's kinda obvious if you look at it, isn't it? This particular ball is outside the MIT campus area in Boston, Massachusetts (USA), and for some unfathomable reason it looks like a really, really early version of a steam engine - you know, after they figured out how to make steam, but before they thought of pistons and chambers, and were just experimenting with putting different things on top of the steam.

Boston seems like a reasonably nice city: the centre is small enough to walk around, there is a wealth of restaurants, and while the architecture is sometimes horrendous, there is still enough 19th century stuff lying around to keep a traveler slightly amused.

(Whee, I just noticed that is run by Movable Type. That's a nice use for weblogging software: it does not look like a blog, or feel like a blog, but it has all the power of a good blog engine - like comments and trackbacks.)

Monday, 26-Jan-04 00:21

You know, I like whiskies, but even my passion has its limits. This bottle, found at Heathrow, is for sale at 22,000 pounds.

Friday, 23-Jan-04 17:02
Spirited away

Kolibri nearly goes ranting on the importance of doing software testing, as the Spirit-probe is now having communication troubles. I actually used to work for the space industry, testing software for spacecrafts. Even though the code was written by brilliant software engineers and tested, retested, and reretested by three times as many people as there were coders, there would still be bugs. Some of them were irrelevant, some of them were dangerous, and some simply crashed the software. Some were compiler problems, some were errors caused by cosmic radiation (randomly flipping bits in your return stack is rarely good for the stability), some were just simple "well, that can never happen" -errors, or "well, we never thought that would happen" -errors.

All software we ever make contains errors. And that happens because we are humans, and humans make errors. There's nothing complicated about that, and we just have to accept that.

It's also the reason why we have to keep sending people up to the heavens.

Someone's gotta press the reset button.

Friday, 23-Jan-04 13:20
Well, not *that* kind of a friend

Cheap i18n fun for the morning (emphasises mine):

Orkut is an online trusted community web site designed for friends. The main goal of our service is to make the social life of yourself and your friends more active and stimulating. The community site allows friends to virtually come together, find common interests, share relevant information, and organize social events.

The community will, in essence, create a closer and more intimate network of friends."

I'm absolutely sure this will help people come together... For any non-finnish speakers out there, "orkut" is a common slang term for "orgasm". "Sain orkut" = "I had an orgasm". Well picked site name, indeed. It's even affiliated with Google :-).


Thursday, 22-Jan-04 23:01

So I did finally register for Solmukohta 2004... I am not quite so sure why, because live action roleplaying is not really my thing (I've played in, like, two games total, because I am a lazy bastard who cannot be bothered to dress up for a game), but the participant list seems interesting enough.

Though in all honesty, the only stories I've heard about the previous events mostly tell how everybody was very inebriated, and how people got very stupid ideas at 2 am, that later on turned into marvelous games. While I have nothing against stupid ideas - some of my better plans started with stupid ideas - I do hope and believe that alcohol is not the main point for people to get there :-).

Wednesday, 21-Jan-04 12:46
First net test of the year

You are the pilot

Saint Exupery's 'The Little Prince' Quiz.

I liked this test a lot. I've always liked the "Little Prince", and even now some of the questions felt... just right. And I do feel a kinship with the pilot - always have.

I think I need to reread that book soonish. It has been so many years since our last common moments, and every time you read it, you learn something new. It's funny - it has sort of been an "anchoring" book all my life. I read it every few years, and every time it seems a bit different, yet I know it is the same. It shows clearly how the experiences you have change you invisibly and slightly over the years... Reading this particular book is a powerful experience, so I actually remember the previous times I read it: how I was afraid of the snake, or how I felt sorry for the lamp-lighter, and how I could not understand what the Little Prince was really looking for. It felt so uncomprehensible the first time...

I don't think I'm still going to understand the book, but perhaps it is time again to see what has changed.

(Via Juha)

Tuesday, 20-Jan-04 21:29
Small but important

Had a small revelation today: If you position your hands under a hot air dryer - the kind you find in toilets - in just the right way, you can redirect the airflow into your sleeves, resulting in a wonderfully warm and fuzzy feeling all over your upper body.

It's the kind of stuff you appreciate when it's -9C outside. :-)

Tuesday, 20-Jan-04 09:23
Sauron forever

Joi Ito has snapped photographic evidence that Helsinki is actually Mordor. Y'know, that would explain all of the orcs ;-).

Monday, 19-Jan-04 23:28
In the end, everyone loses

I personally believe that meetings that go on for hours without a single break should be banned. There's no time to do your email (which normally takes an hour or two), nor there's any chance to just... relax. So people drudge along, trying to keep together whatever strings of consciousness they still have after a few hours, and nobody really remembers afterwards what was decided, because everyone was forced to do multiple things at the same time. The world does not stop for the meetings, as much as we would like it to.

On a completely different note... I wrote a short thing about the art of letting go, after many long discussions with friends, who have opened my eyes to see whole new worlds. In a few weeks I'll consider it completely crap, and use printouts for target practice, but for the moment it says - in an awkward, clunky sort of way - some things that I have learned. Hope you like it.

Sunday, 18-Jan-04 22:09
This is how justice works

I've had a wonderful weekend. I've had time to watch four movies from my "DVDs I am going to watch when I retire since I am never going to have the time before that" -collection, I have eaten well, slept - well - sufficiently, and still managed to tick off a few "things to try before you die" -list and move them onto "cool, I'll do that again" -list.

So, however, this evening, at a business dinner (don't ask: I know it's Sunday) I make a complete fool of myself by showing up late (darn). And not only that - my cough which I thought had already vanished, decides to have its encore right at the same moment I have introduced myself and am thirstily sipping from a glass of water. And what an encore it was: in a surprising combination of sight and sound the cough (with a mouthful of water) bursts out, spraying the water across the table, completely surprising everyone. Including me.

The whole table stops, forks suspended midway between plate and mouth, and I feel the cool and curious look of Japanese businessmen fixed on my neck, as I try to hide and escape under the table. "Are you ok?", I hear my boss ask faintly - and I stammer something in reply that nearly, but not quite, sounds like "yes", cheeks burning. Oh well, there goes my professional reputation...

I guess this is how the universe collects its debt on happiness. I recall once, in a shower (I do a lot of my thinking in the shower), I had a wonderful revelation. I don't recall what it was about anymore, but it was a profound thing - enlightenment, you could say - and I was so happy about it that the soap slipped from my hand and fell right into the toilet. So I guess that was the more important lesson to be learned of the two: close the lid before you shower.

Irony. The most common element in the universe. And what a wonderful universe it is! ;-).

Saturday, 17-Jan-04 17:50
A small gem

From today's Ilta-Sanomat, the TV section:

20.15 Usko tai älä
Päähän ammutulta pojalta poistetaan toinen aivolohko. Amer. viihdeohjelma.

In English:

8.15pm Believe it or not
A brain hemisphere is removed from a boy after a shot in the head. American entertainment show.


We live in a sick and twisted world.

Friday, 16-Jan-04 21:35
I can't stop loving you. Well. Erm. Yes. Easily. Just watch me.

I am being forced to watch the Finnish qualification for the Eurovision Song Contest. Dear Lord. This is like watching Idols - the first few rounds. You know, the ones with the acne-faced idiots who actually think they can sing?

Well. The only difference that I can see here is that all of the singers are pretty (and red-haired), and that the songs are new. But why, oh why, do we continue to embarrass ourselves by thinking that someone in Europe would actually be interested in this crap? And why do we keep thinking that we have to do well in this stupid contest to be accepted? Well, now they at least have songs performed by a Norwegian, in English, written by a bunch of people none of have a Finnish name...

Who the fuck thinks of lyrics like "mouse in the misery - cheese in his memory"? WHAAAT!?! And they have one of the people from the Swedish Survivors performing, too! And someone, please kill the bloody hosts! "Du gick en pojkvän där? That was Swedish. Heheheheh." This is would be damn near intolerable, if I wasn't laughing my ass off...

Well, luckily there are few songs 16 year old Lagavulin and good company can't improve. ;-)

(OK, I'll have to give it to one performer: she can actually sing, pronounce English and look pretty at the same time. Something which seems to be very difficult for the rest of the performers.)

Thursday, 15-Jan-04 11:41

The hamburger thing is a surprisingly solid meme, since it has now spread to a few other sites as well. The end result is that this server is currently being bombarded more than ever before (about 5 reqs/second), and the poor old 266 MHz CPU is not quite feeling well. This is why this site is being so incredibly slow these days. Sorry about that.

Have to start to think about either new hardware, or just upgrading to Tomcat 5...

Update - I just dropped in new Tomcat and this thing flies. Loads have dropped from 8 to 3. Very nice!

Thursday, 15-Jan-04 08:22
How Finns work

I guess this tells something about the nature of Finns:

I was up uncharacteristically early this morning, and waiting for a tram with a bunch of other random people. The tram comes, and the driver can be clearly seen waving around, as if she had flies in her driving compartment - or as if she was simply mad. This is slightly worrying.

The tram stops, and the doors take a while to open. The driver looks at us and says "This tram will turn."

People stare at her, uncomprehending.

"This tram will TURN!" she says, sounding a bit angry this time. "There's another tram right behind us", she continues.

Nobody asks the obvious question "where will the tram turn and why there are then people in it and what the fuck do you mean by the whole thing anyway, lady", and everybody steps politely back and lets the tram go. Apparently a tram which turns is a very bad thing, and you are not to board one.

Comes the next tram, and people hop onto it. This tram follows the previous one very carefully for many minutes, until it turns out that the first one does not actually turn anywhere, but it goes straight from a crossing that it was supposed to take a right turn at. Regardless, I could've taken either route - both got me very close to where I was going anyway...

This is so highly confusing at 8 am.

Wednesday, 14-Jan-04 17:02
How come I always get to do the admin stuff?

I just realized I talk to myself only when I have a flu. Or to be exact, I talk to things and objects: I had the most wonderful discussion with a piece of Ethernet cabling yesterday, while I was kneeling under the table, trying to find a socket for it. Of course, it did not reply, but it was good to have someone listening.

Network maintenance is 40% sweat, 40% luck, and 20% magic. Of the sweat part, 50% consists of going all-fours under tables and banging your elbows and head at sharp corners.

Tuesday, 13-Jan-04 16:52
You get all the email you can handle - and all the spam you deserve

Janka speaks of spam, everyones' favourite subject. I got 4700 filtered spam messages in six weeks (and a bunch that got through). On one account. More on others, to a perhaps of 6000-7000 messages total. That's about a thousand a week, or 150/day.

There's a theory that everyone gets the amount of spam they deserve. There's also a theory that suggests that if you stop receiving spam, you don't exist any more. Or that if you read aloud all the spam you receive for a year and a day, you will be granted three wishes by the Xanax fairy. I believe that one of them must have something to do with the size of your penis, though.

Whatever the case, it has been suggested that everyone always gets more email than what they can handle - I've heard people complain that "I got FOUR emails today - I'm swamped". I get perhaps fifty legitimate emails on the average (not counting mailing lists), and I think that's about the limit I can handle. Is there anyone out there who thinks they are getting too few emails?

Tuesday, 13-Jan-04 00:13

I have my head full of snot, and my brain is no longer working the way it should. I'm using handkerchiefs at an accelerated rate - kyllä käytettyyn nestuukiin vielä kerran niistää: vanha viidakon sananlasku. --Wagner (You can always sneeze one more time into a used kleenex: an old wisdom from the jungle)

I have a number of wonderful thoughts in my head, but they flutter around like chickens on a bad acid trip. I was supposed to say something about completeness and human beings, but perhaps I'll save that to a later time. Now sleep.

Sunday, 11-Jan-04 21:31
Nothing to see, move along

My lightning go tournament in Oulu did not really go too well, even with my new shiny hair (thank you, Seppo, for the most interesting semeai/furikawari ever). Probably a combination of too much alcohol, too little rest, a slight touch of flu, and too much rank. Coming back on Saturday evening, I pretty much have have spent the past 24 hours in bed.

And I'm still more tired than what I was starting this weekend.

Still - yet I feel like I wouldn't want to trade my life for anything else right now. I'm a regular glutton for punishment :-).

Friday, 09-Jan-04 16:57

Instead of actually blogging after a visit to the barber's shop - I'm actually doing it live from the barber's chair. Hooray for broadband internet availability :-).

Update: I think I'm getting stripes. :)

Update2: "You still have a naturally dark hair." "What - what do you mean: 'still'?"

Update3: Some of the fumes here are... interesting. Delightful? Hihihihehehehe...

Update4: "Would you like some thinner?" "No thanks, a beer is fine." And I also have tinfoil in my glasses.

Update5: "Oops"

Update6: "What do you get if you combine yellow with blue?" "Green?" "Right."

Update7: Spent 10 minutes head upside down in the shower. Very uncomfortable.

Update8: Well, that was certainly the most fun haircut ever - and it even continued the next day, because there was not enough time to do everything... So, here I am, in the terrible time between inebriation and hangover, getting the final clips in order. :)

Friday, 09-Jan-04 10:34
Showing off

I'm just showing off some blog functionality to people - nothing to see here, move along... :)

Thursday, 08-Jan-04 23:16
Fear, but no loathing

A small revelation hit me today. Relaxing after sauna - the place where probably most Finnish ideas (and children) originate - I was exchanging text messages with some dear friends, and somehow it clicked together.

I no longer fear death.

I mean, I would be incredibly pissed off if I died tomorrow, since there's just so many things I haven't done and seen yet - but no, I cannot say that the actual idea of the black wall at the end of my life feels frightening any more. I don't mean that I want to go tomorrow and climb Mt Everest - I'm still scared shitless at the thought of falling into a crevasse, thankyouverymuch :) - or get into other extreme sports, but more of an acceptance of the simple fact that I will, eventually, in two, twenty, perhaps 200 years, kick the bucket and be no more. Perhaps I'll leave children behind, or perhaps I will not. I hope I do, and if I do, I leave good kids. Who knows. But regardless of what I do - the road will come to an end, and I'm okay with that now.

This thought is really very comforting. It means that my relationship to failure is no longer what that used to be either... I don't really fear it either. It is quite okay to make mistakes, too! A gigantic screwup might cost you your life, but if you fear death, you cannot really go all-out when you shoot for something you want. Fear is what keeps us grounded back in reality, and that is a good thing, but it can also hold you down. One must learn to appreciate fear for what it is (stupid people get shot first), but one should not be frightened - if this makes any sense to you :-).

"Make love, not war", it is said. But in some sense, they are the same thing: You cannot fight well, if you fear the battle. Nor can you really love someone, if you are afraid of what might happen. In both there is no middle ground. It belongs only to the cannon fodder.

Do not fear death. Do not fear mistakes. Do not fear shame. Do not fear love. 'cos in the end, it will all be okay, and death will be the final adventure.

Wednesday, 07-Jan-04 16:51
A quick test

If a lady tells you "man, you are a machine", is she possibly referring to your

a) sexual prowess,
b) emotional capabilities, or
c) go-playing ability.

Mark me down for "C". ;-)

(It should be mentioned that in go, computers play astonishingly bad in general - a mediocre club player can trash any computer program. Just so that you can put my achievements in proper perspective.)

Wednesday, 07-Jan-04 00:33
Inexplicable happiness

Do I exist if I don't blog? I have been quiet for a couple of days, because there frankly has not been much to say. I'm using my final vacation days, and not really much of interest has happened - nothing that I would say out loud in public anyway :).

I did manage to see Helmiä ja Sikoja, a rather hilarious Finnish movie about a bunch of guys who owe someone a whole lot of money, and thus decide to make a singing star out of their 10-year little sister. I wasn't expecting much of it, but somehow the fresh performances of the cast, who obviously do have some comedic talent, made it a rather memorable experience. And the song the little girl sings is absolutely beautiful. Got a tear in my jaded eye :).

Though, I did have these flashbacks to some other movie, where also four handsome brothers land in some financial difficulties and use crime and deception to wiggle their way out of it... Oh well.

Grr. Work tomorrow. A catastrophy is waiting. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air.

Sunday, 04-Jan-04 22:29
Traveling with intrigue

Weird experiences galore: sitting today on an underground carriage (Piccadilly line, if you must know), watching three ladies. Obviously a family, since they all looked alike, but what really captivated me were their completely bland faces and vacant eyes that stared at the opposite wall somewhere around my chest level. The only way I could tell they were alive were the small twitches of their jaws, as they chewed on bubblegum in unison, with the centre lady - well, a girl really - doing a pop every 8 chews or so. It was fascinating. Just like in Stomp.

My eerie feeling of displacement to another plane was suddenly doubled, as a dwarf walked in and started to play a very bad rendering of "Lambada" on a bloody accordion. The dwarf did upon closer examination turn out to be a 12-year old child, but for a moment I thought I had woken up in a David Lynch movie.

Anyway, home sweet home and all that. I'm back in Helsinki. Whee. I'm so happy I don't have to work tomorrow.

Saturday, 03-Jan-04 01:49
"Well, dip me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians!"

Todays weird experience: The Jerry Springer Opera. It's an actual opera/musical (complete with dance numbers and advertisement breaks) of the Jerry Springer show and how his magic can heal the world. Well, a satire of it anyway.

While the ending was a bit cheesy, and the second half (where Jerry descends to Hell to do a final live show with some ... special guests) noticeably worse than the first half, it still managed to get the crowd laughing out a good many times. Michael Brandon (yes, that's Dempsey of Dempsey and Makepeace) does a nice impression of Jerry, and the rollout of show "guests" was sufficiently weird to cater to even my taste :).

Now I'll just have to figure out a proper place to wear my "Chick with a dick" -badge.

Thursday, 01-Jan-04 23:09

Well, the New Year came nicely and calmly - with a few bumps and bruises along the way. We went to Westminster to see the fireworks (which were an utter disappointment - I think my old hometown with 50,000 inhabitants does better yearly), but apparently around 100,000 other people had had the same idea. Now I know what a veritable sea of people looks like (and feels like) - at one point I thought pickpockets had upgraded into organ theft, as it felt as if someone was trying to steal my kidneys by digging into them with their elbows. At points, it was rather dangerous - if you had fallen over there, not only would you have landed into an inch think layer of broken glass, you would've also been trampled by the hordes of drunken Britons.

It was certainly an experience.

(Update: I was promoted to 2 kyu due to my success in the tournament. Small "yay" - now everybody will be after my skin :)

Thursday, 01-Jan-04 00:31
Grr, part III

Whee! Seven wins out of eight games - I even beat a dan-grade player. I got a certificate and a prize and everything :).

This was a good way to end the year. See you in 2004.

(And yeah, it's really 2003 as I'm writing this. Timezone differences schmisserences)

Private comments? Drop me an email. Or complain in a nearby pub - that'll help.

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