Saturday, December 30, 2006

Good, was it? Make 2007 a better one.

I have challenged some of you. Please tell me

- How was it, in 2006? (Locally, globally, whatever.)
- 2007: What do you think YOU should do better? Or, what should be done? (... to make this a better world. Whatever.)

Big questions, I know. But I am trying to scratch the surface here.

Before I start thinking of good deeds and promises, I list some major things of this year. (Soon to be last year.)

And before I list anything, I have to add that I think that politically, and judging the general atmosphere (in Finland, too) intellectually, and even environmentally, this year has been a bad one. Sorry to say.

Very negative stuff:

1) Unfair political systems. Lack of human rights.
- Murders of Politkovskaya and Litvinenko. Several wars; Darfur, Somalia, Chechnya, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine... to begin with.
- Saddam executed without a proper trial. Bad example. But I guess the war in Iraq has had very little to do with justice, and this equals to the both sides.
- Materazzi making Zidane crazy; the both of them ruing the final.

2) Environmental hazards. Global warming. Black "winter" in most of Finland. Total waste of energy, electricity, oil, and any kind of valuable global resources.

3) Poverty. Poor becoming poorer. Seems to be a trend.

But now the good things in 2006, and these are very private:

1) Miss Funnybunny and the rest of my loved ones. You never fail.

2) Professionally this has been the time of major changes, for the better. I have liked these changes a lot. (But as this is not a work diary I will end this discussion here.)

3) I have had time for the things I like during my leasure time: have been watching football (soccer) in Finland and in Germany, riding (horseback), travelled in Iceland (is was also business trip, though) and in Estonia (total freedom!). Let alone Prague.

4) Have got new friends. (At times I don't realise how this is even possible, at least in Helsinki: I feel I already know more or less of everybody, and the ones to become friends with me already are. But NOOOOO, there are so many wonderful new people to meet! And this year has been a success again.)

5) Hard times have connected people.


And now to the New Year. What to do better in 2007? IStori's heavy list:

1) Be good to yourself. Get enough sleep. Read good books. Avoid TV. Go out, walk and run. Eat well. Mostly organically produced and vegetarian. Those are far better for you and the environment, compaired to the meat and milk of greatly suffering animals and veggies with pesticides. If you are short of money, you do tend to eat much better and cheaper, too, if you make your own food instead of buing junk food. Listen to good music, like this kind of jazz. Best there has ever been.

2) Be good to others. This is a huge thing to do. I'll try to figure out what it means. But for me the first step is that day by day I try to spend more time with miss Funnybunny. (And, day by day she is getting older, cleverer and funnier!)

3) Demand good things. Speak publicly for human rights, equality, end of environmental destruction, or peace (and if you are a politician, do more then just speaking). Say no to idiotic stuff like wars, attacks, invasions. They are never for good. They are for cheaper oil, gas pipes or liberated drug business. Do not vote for idiots. Use your brain.

(Basically, what I am saying is that stop whining and kick ass.)

And finally, let me make your day and include here a Helsinki clip I dedicate to those of you who

a) live elsewhere, or are somewhere travelling, and to
b) all of us who miss snow.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Pay attention: Trepashkin, Khodorkovsky and Koivunen. And, have GOOD food. Like meze.

It's been some time, and I know I have to give a Christmas update.

I will. And everything is fine. The only slightly negative detail is that Ms Funnybunny is having some weird and very visible rash on her face, and Mr HP and I think it is because of chocolate.

Or, too much of it.

Gee what a problem we have. Too much chocolate. Had I only known when I was a kid that, in the future I would have problems with too vast amounts of chocolate, I would have been the happiest girl in the world.

Actually, I think I am among the happiest!

But before my real Christmas update (COMING SOON!), please pay attention to these guys and their problems.

* Mikhail Trepashkin is the ex-KGB officer, currently a lawyer, but now in jail in Northern Russia, thanks to whom the world now knows it was the FSB (successor of KGB in Russia) who blew up the worker's homes in Moscow and St Pete. The bombings were told to be terrorist attack by the Chechens. Because of the scandal, resulting to the people's fear and anger, the Second Chechnyan war starter. What a game.

But Trepashkin is not well, he is suffering from bad health conditions in jail. According to the rumours, he might not survive the imprisonment. Several Finns have also sent an appeal the the EU leaders.

As is the case with

* Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the YUKOS CEO who is used as an example of an evil and ruthless oil oligarch in the "New Russia". Well. The guy certainly made big money out of the ex-Soviet state owned oil fields, no doubt, but yet; his trial was just showbusiness, the manuscript of which was put together by other oligarchs.

(If you hate my blunt anguage, just go on and use the brain of your own! I am cutting thing short here as I am not going to write huge essays about these two. There are many articles about these things in the net. Google, google, google.)

And things might soon get a lot worse.

Last but not least. Though, this is the easiest thing as she is not in prison ANY MORE:

* Kristiina Koivunen, a Finnish writer and journo was arrested in Turkey, and ASAP escorted by Turkish police to the airport, to the next plain back to Helsinki. Kristiina's crime? Beats me. Probably the same as usual in these cases: mentioning human rights, or lack of them, in South-Eastern Turkey, writing about the rich, lively and interesting Kurdish culture, inviting Kurdish friends of hers to Finland (and they usually tend to be either journalists or lawyers...)

Kristiina is looking forward to getting more information on her case, and the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs is helping her with it.

What a pity that there are problems like this with Turkey. I know some very nice Turkish men and women, and of the Turkish culture I adore the excellent food!!!!! I love especially the eggplant stuff called Imam Bayildi, "Imam Fainted". And baclava! Let alone all those lovely garlic-tasting meze...

We had meze today, miss Funnybunny and I. But the only thing she liked was... now you will guess... rice.

But I loved all of them! Goodbye the Finnish Christmas food, like ham and sweet potato casserole, not to mention creamy rice porridge! I'm done.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Ligths out, now! Santa's little helpers need some rest.

Dear friends and fans of Miss Funnybunny

In the Photo Thursday of this week, or last, the theme is Story Without Words. So here is mine. (Better later than never.)

Guess where these were taken. The dinos are pretty cool, let alone the pig, eh?


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Great Unknown. Independence Day in Finland.

Look, there's a TANK outside!

On TV, the Finnish celebrities and politicians are being asked, every year on Dec 6, "what does the independence mean to you?"

Should I answer that, I'd say that given the current political situation on the other side of the Eastern border of our little but independent country, independence means duty to me.

We Finns have a duty to help to the oppressed. The ones to whom independence is yet a dream. We have to value peace, freedom of speech, and rule of law, and make a point in all international fora that others should value them too. (And I do not mean only Russia, but countries like Turkey or the USA, too.)

Independence in not just an achievement of wars fought in history. It is very much today, and it must be fought for again and again. Independence is a duty, and a tool.

If others can not speak up and fight for their rights, we have to.

Because we can.

When we Finns talk about "the Unknown", we are not necessarily interested in life after death or any other twilight zone mysteries. No, we discuss the book called "The Unknown Soldier", written by Väinö Linna, or the films based on the book, the best of which I am watching right know, directed by Edwin Laine.

It is a basic war story, but also like a thriller. The plot is simple: a bunch of guys, from various parts of Finland –– speaking in various funny dialects –– fight Russians, and die one by one.

But the atmosphere is so strong and the characters so well-built that I always admire its power and wisdom.

I would have missed the film, but luckily I read Sedis blog and was reminded, just before it started.

Imbi Paju was yesterday at Koko theater after Putin's Russia, the play. Imbi quoted Stalin, who used to say, "No people, no problem". How very practical indeed.

There was also Pirjo Honkasalo, who has directed a touching and many times awarded documentary The 3 Rooms of Melancholia. With these tough ladies, and a young male journalist VR, we discussed the mystery of Russia.


Miss Funnybunny and I were having halloumi cheese from Cyprus, bratwurst from Nürnberg (Nuremberg), Germany, and bad, tasteless Finnish potatoes for lunch. Cyprus was on our table because the Finnish Peace Keeping Forces were another theme of today.

No – dream on, there was halloumi because I like it.

And the bratwursts were because Odelius from Germany is in Finland now! Was good to see you, dear.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Tuomas. Russia. Maarit. And Love.

I am getting tired. So many strange things have happened this autumn. Maybe it is time for me to sit down, (inhale, exhale, meditate + more of the super boring stuff, like sip herbal tea and knit, and guess what, I already do the latter!!!!!).

Seriously, I must sum everything up and concentrate on one thing at a time, for a while.

Like Tuomas Rantanen will be doing. He, a good friend, co-worker, public figure, and highly appreciated politician will be out of the next parliamentary elections. Willingly NOT running. But instead has decided to spend more time with his family. Tuomas, that's great! (But who will get my vote now?)

There are really important things everybody always finds most important, like family, and friends. But of course.

But then, one needs to get some fulfillment from work, too, and no matter wether the job she is doing is higly cultivated outer-space-like-culturally-intellectual OR down-to-earthly-practical. (At least many of us, in rich European countries get to choose.)

For years, I have been lucky to be able to do things I find most fulfilling and important. I hope I will be able to go on in as good a situation as now, or even better. And, as Tuomas said in today's Helsingin Sanomat, he finds his work as Publishing Director of the Voima magazine worth a huge commitment. I am very happy about it.

I want to a) spend a lot of time with miss F, and that Mr HP does more so, too, and with ME, too, and b) learn Russian, and c) write a book for Miss F.

I addition to this, I do NOT want to stop having endless discussions on the current political problems in Eastern European politics. This, too, I want to do with friends, like AN and OK, and with the rest of the gang.

Then, our discussions will lead to something good. But that will be another story.


Maarit is the best singer in the world. She sang in the 40th anniversary concert of Love Records, in Tavastia, last week.

You should have been there, all of you. Mr Hp and his friend TM were there first, on Wednesday, and I went there with the bride-to-be, future Mrs. Oksanen, on Thursday.

Music is something I will never give up, never ever. But I never need to. We sing, play the piano (and a number of other instruments) with miss Funnnybunny, and we listen to good music. Very. Come Rain Or Come Shine.


Last year, at the annual crayfish party of the Book Guild, we had a bar contest: who is to draw the logo of Love Records CORRECTLY, by heart.

You just copy that now.