DIARY 2002















Sat, Aug 24

<16:24> Great vibes. Last night and the previous were short, but I woke up with an exceptional level of vigour and mindfulness. Some people have said that healthy adults only need a sufficient amount of REM sleep. The quality of dreams was indeed high. Much of the inspiration came from reading Just for fun by Linus Torvalds, the story of successware. It's amazing how Linux started as a puny terminal emulator, and Linus had no grand plans at all. In fact he admits he wouldn't have started it, had he known how much work it would mean.. but it's apparently been fun all the time. He even says, the only sensible way of getting a PhD is h.c. Guess I should be dreaming of a PhD hc in relativistic quantum mechanics. That would be pretty hc.

At work I've been playing with wavelets for image denoising. It's fun to learn new stuff, of course, but I keep noticing there's much more to the working experience than the task itself, and it's not working out quite as I'd like.

Fri, Aug 23

<00:07> Esther Vilar's Die Dressierte Mann (Well educated man, suom. Hyvin opetettu mies) is a book I'd noticed in my parent's bookshelf some years ago, but now I felt like re-reading it with some more thought. It's so close to the problems I see in people and the society. While the book focuses on the differences between men and women -- of course pointing out the stupidity in following those learned patterns -- there are more general messages between the lines: Why are people afraid of the truth? Why do they not see the real problems, even when they are so clever with many other things?

After reading it I'm not much wiser trying to correct the problems. In a way it's comforting that I'm not alone with my view of most people being stupid and wrong, but on the other hand the book is 30 years old and humankind is definitely no wiser now.

Sun, Aug 18

<23:50> Weekend's been quite restful for a delta. On Saturday I finished reading 1984, and it was not a nice read but very true. In addition to the picture it presented, I got some ideas for literary effects. That book again proves that for a classic, it's not enough to have great ideas but the style should be astounding as well. Because even if you don't give a shit about the double-lus ungood big brother picture, it has some strong moments going on.

My current physical feeling is surprisingly good after a day of hard work at the summer place. After the week of my usual geeky work, this makes me remember I still have muscles around my bones. Which is not necessarily a positive thing, because that means the possibility for pain as well, but even that's not always bad. The warm fuzzies are most notable in my feet, having spent the day barefoot. I'm already feeling somewhat bored with the knowledge of office work tomorrow. Fingers crossed to find some more challenges soon.

Saturday the film "Island of Dr. Moreau" was on telly, and I'd only heard of it from Tom's Cafe because of sartorial references: Val Kilmer is there, wearing high boots with a sarong and it actually looks cool. Otherwise his character is not very enjoyable, but funny enough. As for the plot, Dr. Moreau is conducting mad-scientist experiments on human/animal hybrids, and visually that means a fair amount of monstrosity. In fact this could have been a deeply frightening movie, but it's been made with a sufficiently light touch to just keep it on the side of entertainment. Unfortunately that means the philosophical questions don't get the attention they deserve. Which of course happened also in Minority Report, albeit for quite different reasons. On the other hand, there are acting-wise pretty delicious characters of Dr. M and the Englishman, which more than make up for the slight shortcomings of the script.

Wed, Aug 14

<23:45> Finally saw Minority Report. About five tons of delicious and deep-thought details: Peter Stormare as an outlaw surgeon, and a lady with whom he spoke Rikssvenska; chemical children and their serotonin-filled lives; wannabe cyber-futuristic props (of course, male fashion hadn't progressed in those 50 years); those several great newish actors -- though the pace was too high to give much room/need for any real acting. In fact I wasn't feeling like going to movies today, after deeply coding for several working days and enjoying the fresh outdoor air, but this was pretty much the only day I had for it, and being a Dick fan it felt like a duty to me :-).

Seeing the future brought to mind the idea of temporal convolution. Naturally because I've been working with deconvolution at work, and today I was totally fascinated by the fact that the inverse of an infinite convolution (exp. tail from 0 to infinity) is surprisingly local. Part of the fascination is because it's fairly easy to see with matrices, but almost impossible with continuous space (of course Fourier gives a good insight). This came out as an improved solution to an image deconvolution problem. There's more work to do but it's still fun coding.

Last weekend was busy touring Western Finland at Milja and Jussi's place in Tampere and the wedding of my mother's cousin near there at Sääksmäki. There was some time for shopping in Tampere and I managed to find the store I'd seen about two years before: they sell these slim nylon jeans I like. So I got another pair, this time gun metal coloured in good industrial tradition. Which goes for Tampere itself as well. On Friday night we'd enjoyed some pizza and later local ales at the old Finlayson buildings, famous for example for the first electric lighting in Scandinavia.

Thu, Aug 8

<20:57> What is it about Thursdays? Today's been a wonderful flow state at work and at home. My new ale started its fermentation, for instance. And on TV tonight there's Cube and an episode of Lone Gunmen. Also something generally cool about these weekdays:

Mon, Aug 5

<20:36> On the night of early Friday, I was having a dream of rare weirdness. It involved parties with lots of alcohol which I thought was the origin of the feeling. I was also in an alternate Cambridge I've seen before in my dreams, I was spending my final weeks there and felt really nostalgic, something I've never felt for the city in reality. Then I was lucy-in-the-skying in the yard here at home, seeing how koala bears emerged out of tree trunks.

Waking up around 05:20 was the most intense hypnopompic experience I've ever had. My vision seemeed to pulsate in brightness and zoom. I saw the ceiling glitter in crystal patterns. Traces were left after my moving arms, and the carpet surface was alive.

It was wonderful to realize what it was about, there was nothing really scary about it. Of course I couldn't sleep again. I started reading Leena Krohn's novel Tainaron which I'd started earlier, and finished it in one row, enjoying the tranquil solitude of early morning. The book is about a familiar kind of subuniverse from a fresh perspective. Like Krohn's anthology Mitä puut tekevät elokuussa, this too has a trippy scene in a botanical garden.

What a way to start the day that Antti was due to arrive in Varkaus. I finished work quite early, having started well of ahead my usual daily schedule.

Not so hard to guess the general topic of our discussions that night. We enjoyed some Chinese food, then the sauna, beer, and absinth. The local nightlife was probably stunning in its lameness. More importantly, the thoroughly industrial environment seemed to make an impression on Antti.

Saturday I had a headache, partly due to my 'allergy' to absinth (as opposed to alcohol in general). But after Antti had left, it was time for me to work off the hangover at our summer place, doing heavy timber work. It was a great exercise both mentally and physically to move around 4-meter pieces of tree trunk. Peeling turned out quite fun as well. We saw a huge black longhorned (~5 cm) beetle (Monochamus sutor, I think) on one of the felled trunks. In the evening I felt quite satisfied and ready to sleep.

Risto A. Paju