Archive for September, 2007

Listed by A-K

As I feel quite bad for not writing anything in my personal file I thought I would answer some questions that Anna-Karin had put in her blog. This is a long one folks so try not to fall asleep (I’ve translated the questions from Swedish so there might be some weird mistakes):

How many keys are there on your keychain?

-three, as my parents laughed at me when I showed them that I still had the key to their house on my own keychain, even though I need it like once every other month – so I took it of, now I have three…

What curse word do you use most frequently?

– Shit, but is that really a curse word?? I tend to say it in three languages: shit, skit and paska.

Do you own an Ipod?

– oh yes, bought in HK.

What time is your alarm clock set on?

– 7.00

How many suitcases do you own?

– one, I call it my Mac, as it looks like the computers, it is truly beautiful

Where do you by your groceries?

  at the local K-market (again, so much better than S-market) 

Would you rather take the picture or be in it?

  take it! 

What movie did you last see?

– Well, 15 minutes ago I was watching the Danish movie Babettes gaestebud from 1987. Lots of old people eating French food. It was both a funny and sad movie that I would really recommend.

Do any of your friends have children?

 yes! Now lets see if I can count them using only the ten fingers God has graced me with…

If you won the lottery what would be the first thing you would by?

– I’m still struggling with this as I think the best thing would be to just give it all away.

Has anyone ever called you lazy?

– Well not that I can recall. I don’t think it’s the first word that pop into mind when people think of me.

What CD is in your CD-player right now?

– The Sounds’ first one.

Do you prefer regular milk or chocolate milk (Ok this is how you know that the questionnaire is American)

– well, I’ll let you guess this one.

Has anyone told you a secret this week?

– my boss tells me stuff all the time that he doesn’t want me to pass on. Unfortunately for him, I’m too dumb to realize this and go and tell my co-workers everything – which I think is the best thing to do anyway.

Do you often use hoodies? (is this an American question or what!?)

– no, I have yet to find the perfect one, why is this so difficult? It’s like finding a good white T-shirt, pretty impossible

Can you whistle?

– yes

Have you ever participated in a demonstration?

– yes, to get higher student aid. I think they’ll start giving us 40 euros more each moth at the time I graduate – perfect timing or what!

Who was the last person to call you?

– My mother, and that was one week ago. I’m usually the one to call people up.

Do you think people talk behind your back?

– probably

Did you watch cartoons as a kid?

– Yes! I was sooo disappointed when we had to move from Sweden to Finland when I was six as we wouldn’t have cable TV in Finland and I would miss the next episode of my favorite cartoon. Sigh I never got to see it they found the magic city…

How many siblings do you have?

 One younger brother

What movie do you know all the lines to?

– I think Charlie’s Angels 1. It’s my comfort movie.

Do you own any band-T-shirts (again – why does everything have to originate from the US?)


When was the last time you flew?

– This July when I went to Spain with my brother. (Shit I’m ruined, as soon as I wrote that I could hear Vasileios voice in my head going “yourrr brrrother” (Greek Rs) as he winks at me)

How many chairs are there at your dinner table?

– Two, that is the highest amount that would fit into my apartment.

Do you read for fun?

– yes 🙂

Do you speak any other languages?

– I can successfully have a conversation in Swedish, English and Finnish (in that order) and say some chosen sentences in Cantonese and French.

Do you wash your own dishes?

– I am forced to, yes.

Have you cried in public?

– If you are a Christian I think it’s quite unavoidable.

Do you have a stationary computer or a laptop?

– a laptop, which is quite stationary since my brother gave me an external hard drive. Thanks Tobbe!

Do you always try to learn new things?

– Well it depends. I think I have given up the idea of learning any new surnames, they just don’t stick.

Do you want any tattoos or piercing?

  Yes. Right now I’m thinking about swallows as a motif. If, however, I would have been born a man I would have gotten a sailor tattoo, one with a half naked woman on. Those can be really cool.

Do you think the guy should be the one to pay on your first date?

– well…

Can you throw a sandwich (as in throwing a rock at the water so that it jumps several times n the surface before sinking)?

– no, I’m sad to say

Could you ever consider dating someone with a lot of tattoos?

– I’m starting to wonder if these questions aren’t part of some dating service list that you have to fill out for them to evaluate your personality

Do you have a blog?

– Now I’m getting seriously suspicious!

What was your favorite subject in high school?

– I can’t remember.

Which personality features are a must in a partner?

– Again, is this a trick to get me signed up on some internet dating site?

Do you like your living situation?

– yes, but unfortunately I’ll have to move in one year.

What is your favorite fruit?

– peaches

Do you count the calories in the food you buy?

– no, although I do look at the amount of fat – doctor’s orders

How old will you be after your next birthday?

– 26 (and I just realized that A-K answered 26 as well, it got me a bit confused as she is one year older than me, ha ha I just outed your real age!)

Are you picky when it comes to spelling and grammar?

– well it depends, my Swedish grammar is quite lousy at the moment as the last time I had to write anything in Swedish was maybe a year ago.

Who was the last person to make you angry?

– My boss. 

How did your parents pick your name?

– I’m named after my great grandmother I think.

Do you like mustard?

– Oh I see where they are going with this, yes.

Would you ever do parachuting?

 – oh yes!

Do you sleep on your side, belly or back?

– I’ve tried to figure that out, in the evening before I go to sleep, I can think that I’ll check my position when I wake up the next morning. But the next morning, all I do is reach for the alarm clock, totally unaware of my experiment. So I don’t know.

Have you ever bought anything from eBay?


Do you like hugging people?

– no, and this is a big problem as everyone in my church is always hugging everyone else. Every time you meet them or say goodbye you have to give them a hug. I have still not gotten used to it.

Would you say that you are trendy?

– no

Do you own a digital camera?

– oh yes 🙂

If someone you were interested in asked you out on a date, how would you react?

– you get my point?

Which of the Star War characters is your favorite?

– R2D2

Which books have made you cry?

– there was one – what is it called, Anna something, about a women who is tricked into marrying a guy from Åland and then ends up with a lot of kids working her ass off in someone else’s potato fields.

Do you think you are attractive?

– and the correct answer should be yes. A colleague of mine just told me I was, so for the whole of last week I felt quite attractive yes.

What are you allergic to?

– nothing

Do you get a bad conscience after eating meat?

– this is the subtle question of religion, if you didn’t notice, and no all you vegetarians out there, you cannot convince me otherwise.

What would you call your children, boy & girl?

– Well, since I was 6 years old I wanted my boy to be named Christoffer. If it was a girl – Mira, as in wonderful.

Take the closest book, turn to page 18, row 4 – what does it say?

– To have the strength to do this after answering all these questions is a feat in itself but I’ll give it a go. Varför gick han ner till Helgeå den kvällen? Hörde han sången You English speaking can try to figure this one out by yourself.

What are you wearing?

– comfy clothes as it’s already past midnight.

What was the last music you listened to?

– Hit me! by The Sounds.                  

That’s it for now, good night!


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Thoughts on a camera

Two things came to me when I took my beautiful camera to work this week:

1. How different we act when asked to be in a picture. Finns shun the camera, seriously, there is no one I know who would admit to it being fun to stand in front of a camera. So the obvious happened, none of my Finnish colleagues wanted to have their pictures taken. With my Chinese colleagues it was a different story, they patiently stood there while I tried to figure out if it would be better to take the picture with or without the flash. I don’t know if it’s just because they’re so polite that they wouldn’t refuse when asked, but I think it’s more of a cultural thing. I’ll come back to that later.

The person who enjoyed being in front of the camera was Vasileios, my Greek colleague, who is somewhat of an exhibitionist, and on the opposite end was Shinya from Japan who really didn’t let me get any photos of him at all. Well here they are:


2. When I showed them my camera the Finns did not react (other than trying to hide behind the nearest piece of furniture) but Zhao immediately asked how much the camera was worth. “Oh, it must be really expensive. How much? 600, 700??”. I tried to tell him that it was a gift and that I didn’t know and didn’t want to know. But nothing helped. I think that he finally googled the brand just to see of much he’d have to pay for a similar camera.

When even Vasileios asked me how much the camera was worth I’d had enough. I explained to him that here in Finland it is considered impolite to ask for something’s price. You just don’t do it! The person in posession of such an expensive object should appear humble, he should even try to tone things down by saying things like “this old thing, no it’s worth almost nothing” or ” no no, this is not the best on the market, it’s actually quite bad”. Vasileios thought this was the most stupid thing he had ever heard. If anyone can see that you have bought an expensive thing why can’t you say how much it’s worth. Any idiot would know that you own something good so you cannot be humble no matter how much you try. You’re already bragging by bringing out your precious possession into the light.

I think this is the problem with photography as well. In our efforts to be humble no Finn would admit to him or her being beautiful, nor would they try to look beautiful. They just tell the photographer “I never turn out good in a picture” and then they just sit with their hands in their laps, with a small toothless smile – and of course the picture is awful. Maybe if we just made a bit of an effort to show off then photography would be much more fun! Hurray for those who’re able to think big of themselves!

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Cosy up next to Bruce

I recently watched Die Hard 4 – Live free or Die Hard (and who came up with that title by the way?!) and I was yet again reminded of why I enjoy watching a bloody Bruce. I’ve probably told most of you guys this story, but it’s a shame not to repeat it:

I was sitting in an ugly hotel room in Bangkok, waiting for the dawn or sleep to kick in as my flight to Laos wasn’t due until the following morning. It was close to Christmas and I was anxious to meet my cousin in Vientiane as I was starting to feel quite homesick, alone in a foreign city. I turned on the TV and flickered passed the sweet pop-singers on Thai MTV and then it was just there: Die Hard 1, or it doesn’t even have the one after it, it’s just Die Hard. Bruce Willis getting more and more bloodier as he is shooting blond Germans with the machine guns he has taken from their own hands. And the classic “Ho ho ho” written on one guys shirt as a message to the boss himself.

And it felt like home.

There I was, on the other side of the earth and it felt like I was sitting in my parent’s living room together with my brother, the Christmas tree somewhere in the background. This is the power of Bruce!

This is my idea of the true action movie. You can shoot the guy, kick him in the head, dislocate his arm, but no – you cannot stop him. He will come after you, and you will die, and you will die hard.

Have you noticed that they do not communicate face to face in the movies? It’s always through some walkie-talkie or a mobile phone. The only time they meet is when Bruce is kicking their asses.

I personally though the last movie was brilliant. I say this reluctantly as the movie reviewer in Husis (a newspaper) thought it was crap. He/She though the computer story was a bit too much, and that a Bruce with no knowledge in the internet was just sad. I tend, subconsciously, to think that everything a movie expert says is right. They have all the answers as they watched classics like Casablanca when they were toddlers, and already then had an opinion to share about their viewing experience. I therefore feel a bit stupid for thinking that good of Die hard 4.

But as this is my blog I can say whatever I like, so this is it people: Live free or Die hard 4 is by my standards a most enjoyable film, and I especially like the jokes between the nerd and Bruce. For example:

N: This is absurd. There’s tuff and there’s stupid. You got to get to a hospital. Look at you man, I’m not a doctor but you look like you’re hurt.

B: Sexy right. We don’t need the doctor we need cops.

This is said after Bruce has finished off a helicopter and is covered in blood, limping his way to the nearest police station. I was laughing so hard at that, hmm, maybe it’s not that funny but just me who has got a weird sense of humor…


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Groovy baby!

I went to Fila’s Groovy party tonight. It was great! People dancing in the backyard of my church, others eating hamburgers and hot dogs. And the DJ was fantastic, but I don’t know what to think about someone having made a Christian version of the Umbrella song… I guess I can only laugh.



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Camera mode


I have recently come to own a Nikon 40D and today I felt forced to take it out for a test run while going out on my regular 1 hour walk. I say forced as I would much rather take pictures of human beings than trees, water and piles of stone which were the only objects available on my walk. We Finns do not stop strangers to ask them if we can take their picture just so we can practice our photographical skills…

Anyway, it’s quite normal to see people walking around with cameras in my neighborhood. This is due to the beautiful scenery of the nearby bay and the old water power station, complete with waterfall and all. I have always laughed at these people. They all stand on the exact same spot on the bridge while taking pictures of the old buildings across the bay. Or, they are birdwatchers, all dressed the same way; green jacket, green pants and often a rather big beard. They tend also to drag around a huge camera-stand, often so heavy that they have to carry it on their shoulder. Now I had become one of them.

Dressed in my green jacket with my new camera slung across my back I looked like I was out in search of that special bird. But I got some nice pictures though…

Here is me trying out the 10s shutter.



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Animal testing 3

Today I’ve been looking at some disgusting flies! I got shivers running down my spine every time my eye caught sight of one of the nasty creatures. We had expressed a mutated gene during eye development and the result was something like the picture below. The red eyed wild type is how a normal fly should look like; ours were something like the second picture on the right:


I wonder if they suffer…

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Inspired by Li-Min’s blog about the ugly houses in Taipei, as well as in HK, I decided to post a picture of the house I’m currently living in


This is called a student prison. It looks wonderful on the inside but on the outside it’s like some kind of institution for people who doesn’t really have the mental strength to care what their building looks like. And behind every window there’s an apartment, that’s cheep living for you!

I wonder what the architect was thinking. Probably: I don’t get paid much so who cares… But then again, maybe he or she thought that this was beautiful – but isn’t it an architects wish that their houses would be admired the tens of years they are standing? In ten years I think the people living next to this big piece of brick will only want to tear it down.

But then again, this is what your house would look like if you had any money:


And who would think of this as beautiful in ten years time, even though it’s got seagulls painted all over it…

Now to an other architectural dilemma: The houses you still consider beautiful but too rotten to live in. This is a big problem in Finland, there are these old building that are of  “cultural” importance and that people aren’t allowed to tear down, but no one in their right mind would consider renovating them as they are in such a state of decay. This is one of those houses:


It’s not an easy job, building a house – and it’s an even harder one tearing it down…


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