DIARY 2004















Sat, Jan 31

<03:14> Gotta node this right away as it's pi o'clock and I'm returning from a pHun night of wine tasting and related activities with my colleagues in maths and science teaching. Yeah.

Tue, Jan 27

<01:49> The Whatsup Paradox is alive and well. Firstly, I've just dipped my feet into the cold of IRC once again. Previous attempts have included some random chatting in 1998/99 and snarfing Futurama episodes in early 2002. I virtually bumped into a friend of Tuomo on Sunday night when we were on a drinking binge and I had to do the typing for him ;-), so I got a good excuse to get a new addiction *sigh*.

Thursday is really the day worth mentioning. My colleague Jorma had asked me for a dinner, which would double as an opportunity to chat about teaching and more general issues. He had been on a leave for the autumn term, basically until the schlager/dance gig where he did the vocals, so I didn't know him all that well.

Jorma had recently been to Switzerland and he had this raclette oven. It turned out good that I was the first of his guests to try it out. Only after we'd prepared the cheese, vegetables and stuff, did we notice that the power plug was not very compatible with the Finnish socket. We went to shop for an adapter in the Prisma nearby, but there was none that would fit. The only way left was to do some hacking and replace the plug with a Finnish one. It also seemed like a good long-term solution. It worked of course, and the food was mighty delicious.

We had plenty to discuss, not just on teaching, but on ideas close to me like Men's Liberation Front and similar themes related to the war against folly. From these I received good advice on teaching as well. For example, being open with your opinions and emotions is a powerful way to bond with the students, if only a bit hard to get started with.

We also talked way too much about me. One interesting point that Jorma made about me was about the kind of music that would fit me as a performer. Singing with an acoustic guitar, troubadour style, telling stories and concerning important matters — as opposed to the na├»vete of rock and pop. Like Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. I mentioned this to Rigorist and he seemed to agree. I already have some affinity towards Spanish guitar music, and I can play a little, so it's not an impossible idea. Of course it goes completely against my tekno grain, but contrast is good.

Talking about Rigorist, he's been to our staff band rehearsals a couple of times now, while I've taken up the bass and some vocals as our resident vocalist is absent. The result has been a nice RDKH-Voimax hybrid with a very different style from either band alone. It's fun but also a little unfortunate that the composition seems to change every time.

Sun, Jan 18

<02:18> Watched Return of the King, and I saw that it was good. The CGI has improved a lot, compared to the large group scenes of the first movie. Saruman and the scouring were amiss, but we knew that already, along with the overly sugarcoat-streamlined end scenes.

Friday night was also pretty fun, starting with a chess match with Tuomo, which I quite surprisingly won. We had planned a clubbing night at Nunu, but it turned out there was an NRJ awards night or something, that did not sound good. We proceeded to Giggling Marlin after a little rambling, and ended up spending most of the night there. Antti came later with his cousin Mirja and her friend Kati.

This was my first time in that club, and I had mixed feelings about the music. Most of the more clubby pieces were 90s classics, which is not a bad thing. The place also has a Finnhits section where I followed the others for some tabletop dancing. I felt completely out of place in my Cyberdog outfit, but it felt quite fun to stand out once again. I ended up chatting with Kati for several hours, as the night took some unexpected turns, and it was kewl in that surreal way that I've almost come to expect lately. :-)

Mon, Jan 12

<21:09> Duh! It appears that the mobo I ordered a week ago is only available from tomorrow on, which means more days to burn before I can get my hands on it. Or, at least something to burn. Today I got the other half of the system, namely the case and the combustion device for digital vulnerable discs, give or take rewritables ;-). Booted prkl into Linux-2.6.1 to avoid using the SCSI layer. I've only toasted one CD-R so far, seemed to go fine. The drive is a NEC ND-1300, bulk piece from LJH.

Sun, Jan 11

<01:22> The first week of teaching this year 2004 has been quite tough, and I've only now found a little tranquility. As for the admin work, I've installed a network printer — which meant a little experience with DHCPD, CUPS and Samba &mdash and done various small fixes. I'm still spending a lot of time learning about the entire network, and it's not going to be too easy, but then again I'm paid to admin work for nine hours a week, not more.

On Tuesday I bottled the ale, about 20 liters as usual. It'll be a couple of weeks before any serious tasting. My hardware orders are still not here, probably in part due to Tuesday being a holiday. Next week is going to be quite busy anyway with some school-related extras.

At the sauna I met yet another teacher from this building. He's also a temp, but works at an elementary school. Funny how these discussions always turn into the frustration about teaching work. Of course, I'm not going to base my future plans solely on other people's opinions, but it's interesting to consider that many other people are finding this hard as well. It's not a very happy thought.

Mon, Jan 5

<01:26> Last night, for the first time in my life, I paid to download music: Sekicho's album Saidai for $2.50. In case you didn't check the link, this was a 'charity' sale with all profits going to E2. Since I had not yet donated to E2, this was a good deal, a lin-lin situation. Plus, the music is not too bad, it's fairly minimalist electronica which brings to mind some of my own pieces. I also noded my all-important rant on throughput vs bandwidth, getting myself back into level 2.

I've spent a couple of days in SAD and haven't seen the Sun very much, but things are getting better. On Sunday afternoon I went to the school to organize things for the new courses, and I was not alone. Besides actually preparing things, I felt the need to get into the working atmosphere, rather than going back cold turkey. The presence of other teachers certainly helped, and the final bit was smelling the aromaticities of the chemistry storeroom. It somehow switched me back into the teacher mode, and I liked it, which is a little frightening and kinky.

Later I made up my mind on the new hardware I've been planning to get, and placed a few nice and quiet orders.

Thu, Jan 1

<05:42> Just watched 12 Monkeys. That film kicked some serious ass.

This night I've also written yet another set of lyrics for Pop-musiikkia. It started out as one of my sillier parodies, but it turned out a rather psychedelic experience, something I've come across with writing fiction. After writing a passage you stop for a while to read it, briefly wondering where it came from, then realizing how it makes sense even though you didn't consciously plan it that way. The parody lyrics turned out to contain a message, which is not very profound in itself but the mechanism sure is interesting. I better get back to reading Jung, I'm almost halfway through his biography.

I had some vague plans of going clubbing for the night, and I phoned Tuomo to check if he had any congruent ideas. However, he later informed me he was not feeling well, and that kind of put me off the mood. Instead I did some meditation. I'm definitely getting more into yoga and meditation during this break from work, and I expect my professional life to stay a little more humane from now on. After all I'm only going to have two courses, i.e. 12 hours of teaching per week, plus the sysadmin duties. It's mainly the latter that has the potential to take too much time, but it'll probably be quite interesting as well.

Risto A. Paju