Mar 30, 2024

The Friday Five for 29 March 2024

The Friday Five for 29 March 2024

1. Rice or potatoes?


2. Fish or red meat?

I don’t prefer one over the other, but I only eat like two kinds of fish (smoked salmon and fish sticks and the kind of fish used in “fish and chips” in the UK). But really, both fish and red meat are mostly too expensive these days to eat things like steaks every week. But minced meat in a macaroni casserole that lasts for 4-5 days is okay price-wice.

Smoked salmon is very expensive so it’s in the treat department and I usually only buy it once a month, and still only if the price is under a certain amount.

3. Salad or cooked vegetables?

Salad and I need to be able to choose which vegetables go into it. And still I prefer them laid out separately, instead mixed together in a salad. I don’t like cooked vegetables (texture and feel) except when they are made into a smooth soup.

4. Cake or ice cream?

Really depends on the kind of cake it is! If it’s a bundt cake, probably ice cream. But if it’s a layer cake with whipped cream topping and whipped cream + fruits or strawberries filling, then the cake.

5. Water, soft drink, wine, beer, or hard alcohol?

I don’t drink alcohol, and soft drinks can get boring if I drink them too often, so water it is. And water is best when I’m qenuinely thirsty.

Mar 28, 2024

Question of the Day – March 2024 Edition

Question of the Day – March 2024 Edition

By [personal profile] spiffikins  at

1. Can You Separate Art From the Artist?

I try to, but it’s sometimes difficult. I hate it when some negative-to-me information about an artist mars my enjoyment of their work, especially if the work is an old favorite of mine. That’s why I don’t go looking for celebrity gossip/info except for the few actors I love.

2. How Do You Know if What You Read Online Is True?

Source criticism, common sense, looking at the sources such as research myself, listening to various experts while considering their political, commercial etc. affiliations.

3. Do You Always Have Your Phone or Tablet at Your Side?

My phone is never far from me. My tablet lives the drawer of my bedside table because I mostly use it for reading ebooks.

4. Is Student Debt Worth It?

If it’s the only way to finance your studies and you can be more than reasonably sure you’ll find work quickly once you graduate, then yes. Debt in general is considered a bad thing here in Finland, at least if you aren’t rich. I personally didn’t have to take student loan and have been very glad about it – I wouldn’t have been able to pay it back. Continue reading

Mar 25, 2024

TV Thoughts – 3 Body Problem

It’s been about 2 years since I read The Three-Body Problem and its sequel The Dark Forest, which are the first two novels of the trilogy Remembrance of Earth’s Past by Liu Cixin. I started on the last novel, Death’s End, but didn’t get much past the first 70 pages or so. I loved The Three-Body Problem and The Dark Forest for their ideas, philosophical questions and hard science that are explored, but in a way the books were a lot harder read as far as the characters and writing style went compared to Western scifi and crime novels I’ve read. I thought the writing was, dry? maybe is the word, and I had trouble keeping track of the characters – which partly stemmed from the fact that I’m not familiar with and used to Chinese names so I had to keep checking back “is this the person who was in the first book/a bit in a chapter 20 chapters ago? or someone new?”. I mostly remembered the characters but not fully their names. Combined with the dry writing style and lots of hard science explanations, by the time I was starting the last novel, I found I couldn’t take it in anymore. I didn’t have plans to read the last novel but now that I’ve seen the tv series, its re-kindled my interest and I’m going to try again. Maybe a break was all I needed! I read the English translations.

Now, about 3 Body Problem the tv series…. I don’t know if I liked it or not! To me it lacks all that made the novels special and interesting: the philosophical questions, doing science, and because I had already read two of the books its based on, also the new ideas! I think I would have liked it a lot had I not read the books, but the series itself has made some questionable choice I’m baffled about…

– suddenly 60 years of proven and re-proven science stops working or gives out gibberish as result and our main characters’ reactions are completely off! They have a casual conversation about it in a cafe, with all the intensity and wonder belonging to something like a grocery run – which is to say none at all!
– all in all, all through the series, all the characters emotional reactions seem off to me. Always too little and too small, considering what’s happening and why. They’re scientists – shouldn’t they be driven, passionate about their work and curious? None of that came through. I don’t remember the character being “whatever” in the books!
– one character was completely superfluous to the story – a teacher who had pancreatic cancer. He was just floating there, a member of the four main characters group, doing nothing and having no effect on anything. In addition, he was annoyingly  whiny and self-pitying, so not even fun to watch. Some reviews say that he is the emotional center and anchor of the season, but that completely and totally failed to work for me.
– another character was also just there until the last episode, making sarcastic remarks and supporting the useless cancer character. I think he was written in too early, and the writers didn’t know what to do with him. Would’ve been tighter if he’d been written in only a little before he was chosen as a Wallfacer.
– where’s all the science the books are full of?! All the advances and discoveries made are presented as the end result – not a single time is the work on the concept shown. People just walk in and present a ready solution.
– so much focus on personal relationships! Where the science ?!?
– I’m disappointed that it was so westernized and many of the main plot lines took place in London/England etc. In the book, there were more Chinese and other international locations instead of the London or other staples of Western fiction.
– Happy to see Rosalind Chao! I haven’t seen her as a regular after TNG/DS9 so it was good to see her again 😀
– almost all of the BIG. MOMENT. moments of the book, were just regular moments here. I remember in the book, as an example, the moment you realize that there aren’t two suns in the game, but three suns and that that means there cannot be prediction of stable and chaos eras, and that eventually the three suns will destroy the planet and civilazation dies permanently and what a civilization might do to avoid that fate. That was a HUGE. MOMENT. in the book for me! Here, in the tv series it passed with barely a shrug.
– same thing with the countdown some scientists saw – it was a huge thing in the book; a fairly small, unimportant thing in the tv show and not at all treated with the attention it should have been.
– also, as a whole the whole series was a kind of speed run, without stopping to breathe and think about what is going on – a small handful of scenes even switched to the next scene too quickly – but at the same time, there wasn’t much to think about because the philosophical and scientific ideas and concepts from the books are missing.
– I think the game was the best done part of the show – it evoked the feeling of the novels the most, and posed actual scientific questions and showed characters trying to solve them.
– I didn’t find most of the characters that likable – some of the actors did a good job, but they are actors who always do a good job. The only character I genuinely liked was the one played by the actor who played Samwell Tarly in Game of Thrones, and he died quickly. Another one I liked was the detective played by Benedict Wong who played Kublai Khan in Marco Polo.
– Auggie, one of the characters who had the most screen time, was played by a very pretty but very boring actress who seems to have only one expression and tone of voice.
– I found the 1960/70s parts the most compelling, in addition to the game portions.
– probably the biggest plus for me as far as the series go, is that it got me interested in reading the trilogy’s last novel!

So like I said, my over-all feeling is that I would have liked this tv series much better if I hadn’t read the books. Now there are just too many aspects missing which made to books work for me. That said – new scifi! I’m still going to watch season 2 if there is one!

Mar 22, 2024

The Friday Five for 22 March 2024

The Friday Five for 22 March 2024

The Friday Five for 22 March 2024

1. What is your native language?


2. Do you speak any other languages? Which ones?

I read and write English fluently, and speak it less so (don’t need to speak it much so I haven’t had the practice to get fluent).

Learning Swedish all through the school and vocational school/university is mandatory, but I can’t speak it and can only read it with very great difficulty, with a dictionary, up to a certain point. Nowadays, after having watched so many Swedish crime tv series, I can understand enough to get the gist of the thing, say, when I watch the news, but for anything longer and more in depth, I need subtitles.

I also studied French for two years in school in 1988-89, but other than saying my name or asking what time it is, I can’t speak it or understand it.

3. How difficult is it for you to learn or understand new languages?

English was very easy but Swedish was very difficult and I never really got the gist of it. French was somewhere in between and the pronunciation was the most difficult part. Our French teacher was very particular that we’d learn to pronounce it well.

4. If you were going to study a new foreign language, which would you want to learn?

I’d re-start learning French. There are a couple of books that I’d love to read which haven’t been translated to English nor Finnish. Once of them has been translated into Swedish, but I can’t read the language well enough to manage to get through the book – I tried!

5. How are you at reading subtitles in foreign films?

It’s the norm for me. Subtitles for foreign films and tv shows are the norm here (except for the movies/tv shows for babies and kindergarteners which are dubbed in Finnish). The majority of (fictional) tv shows and movies shown on television here are foreign here, so you learn to read subtitles as a tiny kid if you watch practically any television almost by accident. I also want subtitles for Finnish things because the actors always mumble and/or the audio work/sound effects drown out the dialogue. I generally use English subtitles for English and other language things because they are often easier to find than Finnish subtitles (and the Finnish translation is sometimes really bad on more obscrure things).

About 20 years ago, YLE tested dubbing The Bold and The Beautiful in Finnish for two weeks (an episode was shown every day), and the outcry was loud. Nobody wanted dubbing! Everyone, including me, thought it was horrible – original audio always, please!

Friday 5 for March 22: Initial here

1. What do you remember about your first camera?

I’ve only ever owned one camera myself and only had it for a few years before phones with cameras became a thing. The only thing I truly remember is that I took a lot of photos with it on my first trip to London in 1997 or was it 1998. I’m not sure – I might still actually have it lolling around somewhere. I have no memory at all whether I’ve gotten rid of it or not.

I never took much photos before the phone cameras.

2. What do you remember about your first cell phone?

The very first cell phone I ever used was my best friend’s Ericson – I had it for about a year before deciding that yes, cell phones were cool and wanted my own. My friend loaned the Ericson to me in 1999, as she had gotten a newer cell phone from her family as I recall (her father was something of a technology enthusiast), also an Ericson, I think.

The first cell phone I actually owned was a Nokia 3210 (mine was the silver/gray color pictured in that link), and I asked for this particular model as a birthday gift from my Mom! I LOVED that phone – it’s was the best cell phone of the basic three cell phones I had before I got my first smart phone and probably the best I’ve ever had. It just fit perfectly my hand and was so comfortable to hold, and the calls never had any trouble and I loved the way it looked and the color. The other two basic cell phones I had were the Nokia 3510 (the beige/orange color shown in this link) which was my second one, and I think the third one was a Nokia 6300 but I’m not completely sure – it looks like the one I had quite a lot but not entirely but that just might be color in the picture (mine was black/silver) and the model number feels familiar and the buttons certainly look like it. I didn’t like this third cell phone at all! It was too thin, too narrow, too short, the buttons were situated too low and it was just damn uncomfortable to hold and use. The previous two phones I had for 3-4 years, but this one I had only for 1,5-2 years, unhappy with it the entire time and that spurred me on to get my first smart phone in 2009, a year or two sooner than I otherwise might have.

3. What do you remember about your first radio?

Nothing. I had my own radio/casette player as far back as I can remember as a kid (I listed to music literally every waking second) – I do remember we had to buy a new one every few years because they’d would always start to break my tapes and ruin them. I used them so much.

I’ve never actually bought a radio for myself! I don’t listen to radio, and my Mom bought a stereo tower for me, with an LP player, radio, 2-casette decks and a 5-cds player. I still have that stereo tower and all th parts except for the casette decks still work great, so what with that tower and smart phones and computers and laptops, I’ve never needed to buy a radio. Not to mention, I never ever listen to radio. I don’t even have the stations saved in the stereo tower.

4. What do you remember about your first countertop kitchen appliance (or device)?

I’m not sure what this means? The first I ever kitchen appliance bought myself was an electric hand mixer and I bought it pretty much the first week I ever lived alone, after I had moved to Vantaa while starting the library studies. But the hand mixer never lives on top of the counter, but in the cupboard. On top of the counter, I have a microwave oven, an electric kettle (and a broken stand mixer I should get rid of). But the only reason they are on the top of the counter is because in a small apartment there aren’t enough room in the cupboards for them. If I could, I’d put them out of sight. I’m pretty sure that my previous microwave oven was the first one to actually live on the top of counter – I bought it when I moved into my apartment in 1998 from my childhood home and it worked great for about 20 years. I lived alone in my childhood home for a couple of years because Mom moved in with her SO; we had a microwave oven in my childhood home but it was from 1980s and so big, that we saw that my new home didn’t have enough countertop room for it (there was too little right from the start – the curse of small apartments). So I bought a new, smaller one immediately after the move.

5. What do you remember how to do from your first job?

My very first job ever was wrapping Christmas work-place-gifts for my Mom’s then-work-place’s employees. This took 3 nights of a week in November/December, about 4-5 hours an evening and I did it for two or three Christmases. My school day would end at either 2pm or 3pm and I’d go straight from school to Mom’s work by bus, gift wrap their gifts until 8pm and then take the bus home. It was a nice income for a few hours of easy work for a teenager! It was in 1988-1989 but I think I still benefit from having to wrap so many presents in such a sort time even to this day by having more agile fingers and having the forethought to think about what I’m doing first before doing it to streamline the process and make it sensible.

Mar 21, 2024

Shōgun (2024) – Thoughts

I’m really enjoying Shōgun, the new tv series starring Hiroyuki Sanada! I’m enjoying all the actors and characters so far. The other, Western main character makes me laugh regularly – his defining character trait seems to be: “Fuck this bullshit! I am the master of my own fate!! Do or die!!!” So far, he has done and not died. The show’s been very entertaining and I’m very much looking forward to future episodes. The costuming and scenery and the way it is shot is very pretty. I’ve seen the first three episodes so far and can’t wait to see the rest!

I read the novel the show is based, Shōgun by James Clavell, back in the late 1980s when I was a teenager, but I don’t remember anything about it except that a Westener goes to feudal Japan and that I loved it. I also have a faint memory of reading other of Clavell’s works after it, but not loving them the same way.

I kinda, but not really, have faint memories of watching a Shōgun tv series, starring Richard Chamberlain. Richard Chamberlain seemed to be every tv series shown on tv for several years in the mid-80s and when I started watching this new Shōgun, I kept thinking “b-b-but Richard Chamberlain?!!!” out of the blue. According to IMDB, there indeed was a Shōgun tv series made in 1980, starring Richard Chamberlain and I recognized the posters for the series immediately!! I don’t really remember anything about the series itself, but I must have loved it because Shōgun is exactly the kind of thing I would’ve loved as a kid/teenager and I remember loving all the tv series Richard Chaberlain was in back then.