Category Archives: Nostalgia

Dead People

One of my favourite Finnish authors, Veikko Huovinen, has died. Veikko had prose that had a distinct deliciousness to it. I always wondered about the apparent success of another Finnish author, Arto Paasilinna, who’s prose is so much poorer compared to Veikko’s.

My first contact with Veikko’s work was when there was a tv-series based on his short stories. One of them involved two men, quite bent on drinking alcohol, with the other one being somewhat older and richer. At one point these men left on a roadtrip together, stopping every now and then to buy some more booze. And not just your ordinary gutrot but more refined stuff.

The younger man grows more impatient during the trip since they are not touching the alcohol. He is left to imagine the drunkage taking place when they get to their destination, a recluse log cabin in Lappland or something. Instead of staying at the log cabin, the old man takes the younger man into the woods, which are a-plenty here in Finland, for long hikes. Instead of drinking all the alcohol, the old man proceeds to bury them! In the middle of nowhere! Expensive stuff!

All the accumulated booze is scattered in to the wilderness. Shortly after the trip, the old man dies and leaves the younger man the locations of all that booze… The younger man soon becomes a skilled orienteerist and a cross-country runner, with the occasional prize of a nice bottle of single-malt, instead of slowly drinking his brains out in his flat.

All the above paraphrased from memory. That was the story that sparked my interest (way-back when I was a kid) and made me ask one of his story-collections (“Matikanopettaja”) for Christmas. I was pretty much sold. I’ve been reading his stuff over the years, not really extensively, but enough to keep the fan-flame alive. Pretty much a year ago, one of the finest gentleman in the world, Sam The Bedrock, held his graduation party in Sotkamo, where Veikko lived all his life. We went to get a view to his house, overlooking a river. I took a photograph or two and in one of those photos, if you squint your eyes, you might just imagine seeing Veikko in the window looking outside, pondering… hmmm… pondering… about what…?

Loomed Anniversary

I don’t think I could have wished for a nicer day. I just got back from a fireworks display at the amusement park after spending a good few hours there on the day that was just enough to ask for for this time of year. Sunny and pleasant all day. A nice retribution for yesterday when I got literally soaking wet on a cycling trip.

The day went as planned. Some light computer gametry and coffee in the morning. Day at the amusement park. Retiring home for a pizza in the evening. Catching a fireworks display at night. There’s still some pizza left and a spot of heavy cider in the fridge.

It is shame that the supposed humans I know are such a bunch of pussies…

Yet Another Anniversary Looms

As faith (and not just faith, but to be honest, a whole bunch of natural laws and the accumulated experience of human kind to this moment) has it, I will turn 3-fucking-5 just week from today. My initial plan to celebrate this occurrence of maturing process is to spend it at Linnanmäki, the local amusement part down the street, after which I will promptly denounce sobriety.

If anyone of you bots out there would like to suggest something else, or even better, engage in the above mentioned activities with me, don’t hesitate to contact me. I have some monetary means at my disposal to take part in various kinds of arrangements. You have exactly one week! Can you handle it?! No! I asked CAN YOU HANDLE IT!?!

“That’s OK, we make new ones”

Way back in the 90’s a somewhat renowned Finnish sci-fi author and comics writer Johanna Sinisalo visited my local library as a guest for the local Friend’s of the Library Association. The visit was informal with around ten people present. She told us among other things about her career, telling us that she nearly graduated from something, missing only her thesis work and I remember thinking that that doesn’t count and I still agree…

She told also about her views on sci-fi and how she felt that it’s not supposed to foretell future, but to tell something about this day and age by projecting things somewhere else. She also said something I fehemently disagree with, if I remember correctly, that sci-fi’s role is not to entertain first but to ‘say something’. My memory faulters and that’s the clearest I can put it. In my mind the purpose of all art is first and foremost to entertain and if you disagree, I’m sorry you have such a narrow view of entertainment.

Johanna Sinisalo has wrote what I think is the best Finnish sci-fi short story called “Suklaalaput”. It is a story of a generational spaceship with a carefully crafted and balanced economy/production/economy system and how it crumbles when tokens for chocolate-rations are introduced (hence the name). Since not everybody enjoyes chocolate as much as everyone else, those tokens have value, and thus become the local currency. I didn’t have the guts to confess my admiration in that meeting, even though it was informal and quite intimate. Sometime around then a friend of mine described her looks saying “she looks like a feminist”. That should net him a few hundred years in the purgatory.

I had a second chance when she published her first novel and was giving an interview in an art festival. I didn’t have the guts then either. Her novel went on to win the most prestigious literary award in Finland, the Finlandia Prize. I could have bought the first edition and gotten a dedication for it too…

Johanna Sinisalo is one of the nominees for this years Nebula Award with her novelette “Baby Doll”.

It’s Called Football for a Reason

I underestimated the amount of food I’d require today so at one point I found myself hungry. I proceeded to make my way to the pub around the corner (literally) to get some pizza. As is often the case in these establishments, they were showing football on the television.

As I waited for my order to arrive, this display brought back some memories from when I used to play football myself. This might come as a surprise to people, including me, who are aware of my lack of interest in football. It was one of those things that your parents dragged you into (literally). I have no bad memories of my experience in the field, just a certain feeling of confusion. I never really knew the rules that well, or who against we were playing. I don’t even remember why I quit playing. I don’t remember the coaches or anything they ever said so I guess I sort of slipped through the fingers. A few distinct pieces of memory are stuck in my mind.

I remember when I started, we were given proper jersies with our numbers and teamname printed on them. At some point they were replaced and we were given rather thin shirts instead. I remember one late-summer day, riding my bike home, in the pouring rain, with that thin shirt cold against my skin. At the beginning of one game, I started on the bench and was substituted to the field at some point. As I ran to the field, I passed my substitutee and we promptly exchanged mid-fives. I remember this because it sort of hit to me after that thats what you’re supposed to do that in that situation and the other person responded correctly!

In one game I remember getting some kind of huge inspiration and ran after the ball like crazy! At some point I tripped somewhere and was quite disappointed when nothing came out of it. I was hurt! We never practiced any tricks, just played. That was a slight disappointment.

Even with premium football experience like this, it took me some 20+ years to understand what an off-side is.

Ideas For Future or Present Time Travellers Who Lack Imagination

It was exactly a year ago that I set my foot in Helsinki. This and the New Year (of which, I wish Happy for my readership) has prompted me to write some words of advice and inspiritation for any future or present time travellers.

Before anything else, a few words on building a time machine. First of all, your time machine will need to accommodate for travelling between parallel universes. If it doesn’t, your enjoyment and options are severely limited. If you have only one universe and you go back in time in it, you have changed it forever (from the moment you entered the past). You can’t go back in to the future and return to the set-up that you left. This is a consequence of the butterfly effect in practice and the further back in time you go, the more the moment you left from, will have changed if you are to return to it.

People make mistakes and this kind of situation is not a favourable one for a time traveller. What you want is the ability to change from parallel universes (of which there are practically an unlimited number of identical ones with this one) to another. This means that you can return to the point in time where you left and have it appear (in any conceivable way) identical to the one you left, regardless of what happened in the past.

Once you’ve built your time machine or modified your existing one to accommodate this feature, we are free to explore the fun stuff you can do with it! There are other things that might be beneficial for a time traveller, such as immortality or the ability to make a back-up of yourself, but I won’t go into them here.

1. Seduce a celebrity

Most celebrities are normal people before they became celebrities. With the knowledge you’ve learned about them during their public career, you can go back in time when they still weren’t famous and seduce them using that information!

2. Obtain unbeforeseen-works from your favourite artist.

Thanks to the butterfly effect, you can go back in time to a suitable moment and make any change in it, really, appearing there is enough of a change. Your favourite artist will live in a different universe than the one where you originated from and will produce works of art that differ from the ones you know. They might show similarities with the one’s you’re familiar with, but it’s practically impossible for them to be exactly the same than in your original universe. Subsequently, this is pretty much what KSAI offers as well.

3. Get rich

Pretty much the standard thing to do. Lottery won’t do it, thanks again to the butterfly effect but buying the right stock would almost definetely work. Locating lost treasures, works or art works as well.

4. Make sure that Babbage gots his act together.

Is going to have gotten? I don’t know, but Steampunky world is too romantic to ignore. Steam-powered mechanical computers? Come on!

5. Live the perfect day/week/month/year over and over again.

This is the Groundhog Day -method. It’s your payday, first vacation-day, your SO is running hot, the weather is beautiful, whatever the circumstances are that make a perfect day, you can rewind and have another go. There won’t be any surprises though, so my take would be to concentrate on satisfying basic needs. The longer the time you spend reliving the higher the possibility of something unexpected happening.

Of course there are plenty of other choices, but these are those that tickle my fancy the most. I didn’t get into the ethics of these situations or time travel in general since it probably makes a boring post, but you are free to engage in that discussion in the comments! If there are any time travellers reading this, it would be nice to get a ‘hi!’ from them. No posers!

Complete Peanuts

Every now and then, some things happen that make you take note and remember when you have one of those why-does-everything-always-not-go-well -moments. Fantagraphics books are printing all the Peanuts comics in the existence. They have been for a few years actually, but only last year those books started to appear in Finnish. The pace is two books per year, with each book containing two years of comics. Even at this pace it will take 10 years to reprint them all. This pace is much more moderate in Finnish though, one book last year and so far, one book this year. Impatient as I am, I have opted to collect the originals.

I have been a friend of the Peanuts for a long time. At some point I noticed that the pocket books they were printing here in Finland didn’t contain all of the strips, not to mention none of the Sundays either. The existence of which I didn’t come to learn until much later.

Therefore I find it a priviledge to get to read all of the strips in order, to get to see Snoopys transformation from a yipping dog to an “internationally renowned hockey-player” and “the first beagle on the moon”. Not to mention how ‘the bird’ turns into ‘Woodstock’ and how Lucy cultivates her bitchness and how the whole universe of Peanuts builds up. I also enjoy reading about Charles M. Schultz himself.

There’s far too little of Complete anything in the universe. Especially in comics. The works of Carl Barks are re-printed in dozens of different packages and when they do reprint the whole of it, the print is limited. But as I implied at first, I feel I am lucky to exist in the same universe as the Complete Peanuts.

Lean, Mean Birthday Entry

I turn 33 years old this day. Jesus (according to many) died at that age, as did Alexander the Great. Not that I’m comparing myself to these gentlemen nor making a prediction, just bringing up historical facts to your attention.

Those who know me are aware that I’m something of a nostalgic. Tommipommi had dug up some opening themes from various tv-series from the 70’s which has been an inspiration for this entry. These are all tv-series that have made an impression on me in my childhood, via continued exposure or other means.

Matka maailman ympäri was a Spanish/Japanese co-production and although it was later neutered with a Finnish dubbing, it has left it’s mark in my brains in Spanish. I think I even preferred the ending titles with it’s clock-theme.

Arsène Lupin is the prototypical rogue-character to me thanks to this French series. I don’t remember much about the series itself, except I recorded the theme of it on tape (a popular past-time) and thus it followed me for a good part of my childhood. Again, I prefer the ending titles.

Galactica was the best thing ever! It defined how a spacecraft should look like for a long time. Everything sci-fi was compared to it, including Star Wars. For some reason at some point I was forbidden to watch it, which for me has stayed as an example of a cruel and unusual punishment. In pre-school we were denied a certain type of toys because “you would construct Galactica ships with them”. I don’t know why I’m not more bitter a person today.

Salaperäinen Saari was a show I have only a few memories of. It did introduce me to Jules Verne though and coupled with the programme mentioned just above lead to our pre-school teacher going to a tv-show called “Sydämeni pohjasta” (Transl. From the Bottom of My Heart) to express her worries about the effect of tv on kids. I landed my first tv-appearance on the intro of that particular episode.

Olipa Kerran Avaruus was another sci-fi (animated) series that defined in turn what things should look like. I now own the series on DVD (which actually left me wanting in the nostalgia department), but it remains as a golden childhood memory. This one I was allowed to watch.

Robin Hood was a series that provoked endless plays of, well… Robin Hood. All the other attempts at portraying the myth have been somewhat disappointments, maybe apart from the Errol Flynn one. I think this series planted a seed that found a perfect soil in Lord of the Rings.

One more! Chocky was about a boy who meets an alien that manifests itself as a spinning pyramid. I honestly think I could watch it today and not cringe over the cheesiness of it. The last episode was fried gold.


Looking back that list, I guess I have to admit that I was brought up on sci-fi. Of course this isn’t exhaustive list. There are some memories that I’d like to find the source for.

Does anyone remember a *ahem* sci-fi -series from somewhere Eastern Europe, perhaps Hungary, from the 80’s. It dealt with time travel and it might have been about timetravellers being stranded on our time and trying to get back? I remember one slice of dialog from it, an older man is explaining to a boy how circle and roundness is found everywhere in the world, when you throw a rock in to water, the ripples are circle in shape, the bust of a woman when she’s lying down… Does that ring any bells to anyone?