Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Dave has a habit of giving new names to everything that he cannot pronounce. The Rilke Way in Trieste is called the Rinky-Dinky way. Duino is called Deuodenum. The Sistiana campsite is called the sinister campsite. The cave in Slovina called Skocjanske jame is renamed the Jamy Scotsman. We all know what he means, and we rename everything according to him.
So we have to book the campsite at Mare Pineta and he searches for it on the web and he even comes up with a webcam of the campsite.
The road looks fimiliar. The bushes and hedges look the same. The stones and the flowers are all Italian, so he books our accomodation online.
He then arrives at Sistiana and wants to book in, and they have no record of him ever registering online. Unreal, he has emails to prove it.
Mare Pineta Trieste
He carefully explains that he went to their website and looked at their webcam. They say they do not have a webcam. He shows them the email records of his registration. They say they have not sent him anything. He is totally confused, and tells the receptionist that she does not want to see a big angry man who is drunk being refused accomodation.
To cut a long story short there are two campsites called Mare Pineta. One in Trieste and one in Tuscany. Dave had booked the one in Tuscay... but he can't believe it because of the video evidence of the webcam. The strangest thing is that when you look at the Webcam of Mare Pineta in Tuscany it is almost an exact replica of Mare Pineta in Trieste. Everyone is dumbfounded that two georaphically seperate places should look the same.
Dave is convinced that he has discovered a parallell universe. A worm hole to a new world. A break in the space time continum. He believes there is a worm hole in a trailer park in Trieste that will transport him to a trailer park in Tuscany, and when he arrives there he will be 40 years younger. He wants to step into that other world where he is a sleek 13 stone Adonis, instead of a 20 stone old man who huffs and puffs when he has to climb stairs.
He is of the opinion that with time travel that you can never get anything right. What happens is you can get the exact place you want to go to but never the right time. If he were to transport himself back to Cambridge, he would arrive there but not in the present time. With his luck he would land about the time of the black death.
The other possibility with time travel is that you get the time exactly right but the location is out of whack. So when you want to transport yourself to the Red Sea for a bit of scuba diving, you end up being blown to bits by an Israeli rocket launcher in Gaza.
I am half convinced that the Sistiana campsite really is the Sinister campsite after all, and that Dave is drinking too much water which is bad for him.
Dave wants to step on the space elevator that is the Rinky Dinky way
He just wants to be taken away from here.
Monday, June 28, 2004
Dave laid the table under the pine trees and we had youghut and muessli for breakfast, together with peaches and green hot pickled chilli peppers. We talked of ants and their sociobiological significance. The individual sacrificing themselves for the benifit of the community. Where do you get the energy or the power to do good to others.
Well Dave has discovered that the first prerequisite is to be sober. The pickled cucumbers and chillis for breakfast are a legacy from the past... something he needed to kick start the day and rid him of his hangover. This year he is accompanied by his son Paul who has a moderating influence on his excessive drinking habits. Everyone behaves better when they have children to look after. Every parent should be forced to take one with them when they travel.
Indeed I forsee a future where companies will hire out children at airports to adults who want to behave themselves while travelling abroad.
I remarked to Dave that Sandor was interested in General Carl von Clausewitz and that it was not a major battle that resulted in the defeat of Napoleon but a series of presistant small attacks over a long period of time. That is the ruin of all of us.
"Who could ever calculate the path of a molecule? How do we know that the creations of worlds are not determined by falling grains of sand?"
- Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
Instability and tension causes systems and people to collapse. There is a well known experiment where grains of sand are droped one at a time onto a flat surface. This results in a pyrimid/cone of sand particles being built up. The system is under considerable tension, and one grain of sand falls and causes an avalanche. In itself one grain of sand is a small and insignificant particle and the event of it falling is no more different from every other grain of sand that has fallen before it. Yet it causes a breakdown of the system.
The question has been asked many times. Does a butterfly flapping its wings in the Brazilian Jungle cause a hurricane in Japan. Dave says of course it does... have you seen the bloody size of those butterfly wings in Brazil?
Saturday, June 26, 2004
You arrive at the desk and they weigh your bags. They tell you that you are 15kg overweight and will have to pay £52 pounds for the pleasure of flying with them.
You excuse yourself and say that you will just pop around the corner and give some of the baggage to the wife of a colleague who will be flying out with Ryanair tomorrow.
You rush to the toilet and put on 6 T-shirts, various jumpers and tops and a couple of jackets, into the pockets of which you stuff socks, more T-shirts, aftershave, computer peripherals, shavers, batteries, backup disks, and any object that feels heavy.
The rest of the stuff, from the big heavy bag that Ryanair weighed, you transfer to your backpack, which now weighs a ton and you saunter back to the checkin desk, and give them the big bag, that is now under the weight limit.
With as much dignity as you can muster, and adjusting your balance so that the enormous weight of your backpack does not topple you over, you casually walk off, but before you go you can wink at the lady checkin attendant and say.
When Rob Harper checks in tomorrow I would carefully check his bags for overweight, because he will be carrying some of my stuff.
What do you do when you are big and fat and cannot see very well and are forced to play football at school. Well you run about in a very confused state with everybody shouting at you and calling you stupid.
Things are further complicated by the fact that you are colour blind and you can not tell the difference between the strip you are wearing and those of the opposition, so you tackle your own team members and pass the ball to the opposition.
When you do get the ball at your feet and everybody is screaming at you to do something, all you can do is kick the ball forward and in a very loud voice shout to all the other players. Get out my way fat blind boy running.
Things are further complicated by the fact that you do not understand the rules of football. You are under the impression that if you are running forward and you have the ball then if anybody is foolish to get in the way of you bulk then you can steamroll right over them. They should have the common sence to get out of the way. It is their own stupid fault if they get trampled, especially since you have given them very explicit verbal warnings
You are dismayed when everybody cries foul, and the unfortunate person who has stood in your way is strechered off with a trail of stud marks from his groin to his missing teeth. Your confusion is compounded by the fact that the person on the strecher is in actual fact a team mate who illadvisedly got in your way whilst trying to direct you towards the oppositions goal rather than your own.
Football is not for fat colour blind people who do not know the rules
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Saddam was a man who ruled Iraq. He spoke and his armies obeyed. He had palaces, he had mansions, he had untold wealth, and riches gained from oil. He smoked fine cigars.
Today Saddam no longer rules. He is in prison. He may speak, he may plead, but who will listen to him. Gone are the palaces, replaced by a prison cell. Even if he had money it would not buy him his freedom. If he is lucky he might get the odd cigarette.
This morning I woke up in my own bed in my own house. Saddam woke up in prison. I had pineapple for breakfast just cause I felt like it. I don't know what Saddam had but I bet he did not have any choice in the matter. I walked out the door and went to work. Saddam remains in his cell and can go nowhere. I will fly to Italy on Friday. Saddam will remain in captivity.
I expect Saddam spends alot of his time wondering how he, who once was so high, has been brought so low. He who once commanded poeple to come and to go, can no longer command anyone or anything. He sits in his cell powerless. He will wait, for others to determine his fate. He is a captive and has no freedom. I wonder if he lives in dispair. Does he rant and rave and demand his release. Does he abuse his guards and threaten and curse them. Does he pass the days away in a sedated coma.
Does he dream of being in the desert and releasing a hawk from his arm, to delight in seeing how it soars freely in the air. Does he long for a night by a campfire, where he can look up and see all the stars in heaven.
On the 30th of June Saddam will be handed over to the Iraqi government and will stand trial as a war criminal
Time rolls on for all of us.
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Called into the office today and told that Kimmo Mattila is coming back to work at CSC, which means I am out of a job. I was asked had I found a new job, I said no, and I explained that if there was anything going at CSC then I would be willing to take it. But I was politely told there is no budget at the moment.
So that is it by the end of July I will be out of a job and unemployed.
Monday, June 21, 2004
Returned at midnight from Football match. Put my car keys on the table. In the morning got up washed, shaved, and had some breakfast. Looked for my keys, but they were not to be found. Searched in the bedroom, on all the shelves, and flat surfaces, looked in all my pockets, of all my jackets hanging up in the hall. Hunted behind the sofa. Lifted cushions, searched the toilet and bathroom, looked in all the nooks and cranies in the kitchen. I was totally confused, since I could plainly remember that I put them on the table so they would be easy to pick up in the morning.
Maija helped me to look for them, and asked me helpful questions, that would retrace my steps. We went through everything I did from the time I came home. I thought this is ridiculous I must be getting old since I can't remember where I put my keys. This would never happen to Maija she remembers everything.
It was now past 9:00 and I was late for work. God in his heaven did not reveal to us where the keys were. I asked Maija if she had seen them when she had gone down to the laundry, or could she have pick them up and put them somewhere else. But she had not seen them, and hadn't moved them.
Then the miraculous happened. She put her hand in her pocket and there the keys were. They had suddenly appeared in her pocket. She was astonished and all she could say was How did those get there???
Isn't God marvelous?
Thursday, June 10, 2004
A letter on the notice board of the allotments said that the council would be coming to remove any unsightly "hot-houses" "toolboxes" "platforms" "benches" "constructions" so Sammy's lovingly constructed polythene tunnels to protect his precious plants have disappeared.
What is being said here is that the visual aspect of the allotments is more important than the ability to grow food. Plants need to be protected, nurtured, and cared for. With some of the Asian foods that Sammy is trying to grow, it is folly to strip them of protection.
Perhpas it is a subtle hint that refugees should only grow crops that are suitable for the Finnish climate... peas, beans, potatoes, carrots, lettuce, and to steer clear of the exotics that are not ment for this country.
I have been away from the plot for a couple of weeks and the potaoes are up and the peas are showing their heads. I noticed that the ground was wet even though it had not been raining for a few days. The Palastinian in the next plot told me he had watered my plot for me since my garlic was looking a with withered. I thanked him for it.
I talked to a man from Afgahnistan. He was wearing a dark suit and cream shirt. This is the way he dressed to do gardening. He offered me a cigarette. I said not thanks. He told me he had escaped from Afgahnistan with his wife and children over the border into Iran and had been held in a refugee camp for 2 years. At the end of that time he was given the choice of going to Canada or Finland. He choose Finland. I think he associated Canada with the USA, and did not want to have anything to do with them, because of the war that had raged in Afgahnistan against the Taliban.
I tried to put him straight regarding Canada, and how it was a glorious country with very friendly people. I think that made him unhappy that he may have made the wrong choice, and he left with mud sticking to his bright and shiney shoes.
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Vladimir Fomin: Aino
Visited Akseli Gallen-Kallela's house and was amazed by his drawing for the Kelevala. I think it was his ambition to produce an illuminated Kalevala to rival the Book of Kells He relates that as a young child, an old man came to the door of his house, with woven birch shoes on his feet and a birch rucksack on his back. He proceeded to sing softly at first and then gradually with more power and strength until his voice was shaking with emotion, his feet beating time on the floor. At this early age he understood he was hearing a song from the Kalevala which was passed on through the oral tradition, and his soul was captivated by poetry.
In his house certain runes from the Kalevala are illustrated... mostly naked young women floating on their backs in the water with their hair splayed out like seaweed. I think he had a thing about long hair.
The Kalevala has Väinämöinen singing a boat into existance so he can persue and young girl who is trying to escape from him. This reminds me of the Silmarillion where it is said that God sung the worlds into existance, and where the devil was expelled from heaven because he wanted to sing his own song. Tolkein who wrote the Silmarillion was a great fan of the Kalevala but perhaps both have borrowed from the gospel of John which says, in the beginning was the Word.
Now what are words but the expression of thoughts. It was when God spoke that he created the world. I wonder what God is thinking at the moment and what will happen when he speaks.
Vladimir Fomin: Who is bringing the Word
Vladimir Fomin is a Russian Artist who has done a series of paintings based on the Kalevala. They are bright and luminous in style. When I looked at them my heart popped with joy. If art can do that for you then it is good
Friday, June 04, 2004
Tom Pöysti is the son of Lasse Pöysti. It is strange that he has an anglisised name. He was called to give a talk at a CSC seminar. The rough title of his talk was "How to be a success by making mistakes" It was like a two hour comedy show. He was very entertaining ananalyzed the Finnish psyche. Why is Nokia a success?
At a seminar you expect power-point presentations, but he talked for 2 hours without any visual aids. All that he had to express himself was his body, face and language. He talked about shouting at your boss... something the bosses at CSC might not have been too comfortable with. He swore alot. I think it was more theatre than a seminar presentation. At the end of the session he was sweeting with his exertions. He had given something of himself.
At the dinner table people went over the things he had said. Most of them thought he had been funny and entertaining. He told jokes and used stereotypes to illustrate his points. All of the male voices that he used belonged to Finnish men who were drunk or violent, and usually both at the same time. The women's voices were like twittering little birds, and their hands and eyelashes fluttered in synch with their nervous chatter.
He told the story of men going to a cabin by a lake in the early spring, of how men take their clothes off in a strange way. Undo the buckle, unzip the trousers, thumbs in the underpants or longjohns, and in one swift movement from the hips to the ankles, trousers, underpants and socks and removed and left in a neat crumpled pile on the floor.
The same is true when they remove their tops. Both hands are raised above their heads then lowered to grab the back of the jacket, pullover, shirt, and vest, and with a mighty heave all of the garments are removed at once, and are place on top to the crumpled trousers,underpants and socks. They form small concertina like packages on the floor
Women on the other hand are able to remove a polo necked sweater without messing up their hair. Their arms are removed from the sweater one by one, so both arms are inside the sweater. They then move their hands to either side of their neck and stretch the polo neck so that the sweeter can be removed without displacing a single hair on their heads.
When it comes to going into the cold sea for a swim the men though none of them want to do it grit their teeth and jump in. The women see what they think is a dead fish, and refuse to go in, or complain about blue green algea in the water, or they have strained their muscles in an aerobics session and don't want to go in
The men laughed and the women laughed when he performed the different ways of removing clothing because we were all responding to the fact that we see little of ourselves in the stereotype. The men see the hero who braves the icey water the woman see the heroine who waits to be rescued. Both of them are untrue.
In a drunken angry voice he proclaimed that the Finns have a compulsion to succeeed but not by conventional means. Hot shit this year Finland is going to win the Eurovision song contest, and we will do it by sending a homo to sing a song about angels and demons having sex and of course they do not succeed and they slope off into the forest once again to get drunk and lick their wounds about being rejected and being no good.
He talked about many things. Ski lifts in lapland, gutting fish in Norway, of coming to the end of his tether, when he could not face acting anymore. That life did not have any taste for him anymore. It was just day after day of monotonous meaningless repetition, and then he ask himself the simple question.
Does the work I am doing really satisfy me, and if not what can I do to change it?
The talk was alot of froth... funny froth that made people laugh, and at dinner people were asking the question what was the take-home message from the talk. Some people said we had to be adventurous. Some people said we had to believe in our own convictions and have the courage to express our own ideas and carry our dreams through to completion. We should shout at our bosses. We should commune with nature and take a break from the stress of work.
For me the message was that a man with energy and wit and talent can hold an audience captive for two hours without a computer in sight, and that we are more open to learning through theatrical performances, where words roar out like the surge of the sea, and ideas are like the waves hitting a rock and throwing spay heavenwards.
He ended on a serious note. He talked about the 200 people killed in Madrid, and how the Finns felt that it might have happened at Pasila. He talked of 20 young people being killed when their bus was hit by a truck. He mentioned that he had talked to a priest from the Orthodox church who had said that he had been surprised by the outpouring for grief at a National level. That Finns were expressing empathy for the suffering of others.
To care for others is about the best you can do in this life. That is how firms succeed. That is how families survive. That is how nations are just and righteous. Those are the thoughts you get from laughing for two hours at an actor, who dredges up stereotypes, and politically incorrect ideas, and swears like a angry drunk Finn.