Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year 2008


Have you ever heard about Bookcrossing?

It means releasing books in the wild. I heard about this concept in the radio probably 5 years ago and at the time I thought I would never find a free book anywhere. Then suddenly in February this year I found a book in the lobby of the school I am teaching in. I was wondering who had forgotten the book there. I was so excited when I found out a book which was released.

It goes like this. You can register books from your bookshelf to Bookcrossing. Then you get an ID-number for the book and you have to add labels and the ID-number to the book cover. Then you just release it; leave it somewhere for other people to find it and read it. You must also make a journal entry to the Bookcrossing webpage about where and when you released the book.

If you find a book, you go to the webpage, fill in the ID-number of the book and make a journal entry where and when you found it and what are your intentions: are you going to read it or release it again. For this you don’t even have to be a member.

When I found the first book I joined when I reported it found. I read about other books and releases. There were many interesting stories about books which were lost for a long time and then suddenly popped up far away from where they originally were released. By far away I mean the other side of the earth.

I read the book and I took it with me to London. I intended to release it there but all the metro stations and trains were filled with warnings about not leaving anything behind because it was suspected to be a bomb. I again took it with me to Israel but forgot to leave it there. My daughter took it with her and finally left it in Rome. Any entry about anyone finding it has not shown up.

You can also find out where in your neighbourhood you could find books that are released but not reported to be found. My daughter who has already released some books gave me a hint that people leave books under the huge Christmas tree in front of the Dome of Turku. I went to look and I found one :)

I have been thinking to release my own books, too. Frankly I have too many in my bookshelves anyway. I think I’ll do it next summer when I have more time to do all the preparations.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Conceptis Review Puzzle

As usual, holidays seem to consist of much shorter days than normal work days. One week left, and I feel I have not accomplished as much as I had planned. Transferring files between computers trying to figure out how they should be organized is not exactly very inspiring at the moment.

This was one Sunday in a long row of Sundays when I once again forgot to send my review to Conceptis of their weekly puzzle. I should do it right away after I have solved it, but usually I remember it only at moments when I am not anywhere near my computer.

So this time I am writing my review here:

The puzzle was a very nice colour Pic-A-Pix-puzzle and the size was just the way I like them. Somebody is riding on a sledge and a beautiful deer is pulling the sledge. I am not exactly sure who the man is. The clothing is not familiar; all I can think of are the heroes from our national epic Kalevala.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Memories and Games

Since I am addicted to puzzles, it should be obvious that I am also addicted to puzzle games. Earlier when very few games could be played online my game collection was very limited since all the shops selling PC-games concentrated on the more popular arcade games. Now the online game collections are almost unlimited and many of those old favourites can be found in new fabulous Flash versions.

To find these games I have been following, besides the bookmarking sites, also a couple of games review pages. To my absolute astonishment the other one, Jayisgames, introduced a game which was so very familiar, but not with the computer. The game was Pajatso, the game that all adults played in my childhood until they had no coins left to play. Those pajatsos were slot machines and they worked originally with 20 Finnish pennies, later with more valuable coins. The nostalgic game was mechanical at first. I am not really sure if the electrical versions still exists. I did not play much because I was not good at it. It was more fun to watch others play though.

This online version is very boring but it brings back so many memories.

The game is in Finnish, but you need only three choices and the left button.

You play the game with the LEFT-button. If the game does not fit your screen, use the full screen option by choosing F11.

Harjoittelu: Free practice. The indicator next to the hit button shows the force you are using. The light above the indicator shows when you can hit the next coin. Palautusprosentti (return percentage) indicates if you are winning.

Voittopeli: You have 5 marks at the beginning. Try to win as much as you can and end the game while you are winning (Ha! Who could do that). If you are getting a new record press the green blinking button or keep on playing :) The coins you are using are 50 pennies = 0.5 marks.

Turnauspeli: Find out who is the best. You have 40 coins to play. Try to get as many winnings as possible. The best score is shown at the top corner of the game. (Päävalikko = main, uusi peli = new game)

Well, when you soon get bored with that, you can try my last addiction. I found this game from my favourite site, Fugdale’s Funhouse. The game is Splash Back and I find myself trying “just one more game…” You could think that some improvement in playing skills would occur, but it has not happened to me yet.

Try it, but don’t blame me, if you get caught!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Finnish Christmas

The Christmas is now over. This year I decided not to stress so much and finally had a very good and enjoyable holiday. I did not even send any Christmas cards by normal mail. I said I am contributing to stopping the climate change. A very good excuse, don’t you think?

In Finland the most important day is Christmas Eve. In the morning I cooked some rice pudding and I had also my children at home eating it. We watched on TV when the Christmas Peace was Declared in Turku. It’s an old tradition in Finland and we live about 7 km from where it happens but we have always watched it on TV.

After that the children decorated the Christmas tree. The picture of the tree is what they accomplished. It is very typical; we do not use more decorations to let the tree show. It is fresh, bought from a friend of my godson.

At 4 pm we went to my mother’s place to have the Christmas dinner with my sister’s family. The Finnish traditional Christmas meal consists of pork, many different casseroles: potato, carrot and Swedish turnip (I can’t believe Swedish have got credit for that too), salads, fish etc. Turkey is very new in a Finnish table.

After the dinner we sang some songs and went together to the cemetery to light candles for my father and my grandmother and aunt. They are all in the same area, no grave stones, just a beautiful peaceful area with many candles and flowers. My brother-in-law took a picture with his Nokia phone. The picture is amazingly good regarding the circumstances.

Then we all headed to our homes to open the presents. We used to do that together too, but now that the children are grown-up, we have agreed on doing it this way. We have altogether minimized the amount of gifts.

My most amazing gift is shown in the pictures. According to the label I save 500 plastic bags a year. My daughter has found it in It is a very interesting web store. The page is in Finnish but you can get the idea by looking at the pictures. mulletoi is not official Finnish; it is spoken language and could be translated as “give me that” or “I want that”. Mulle toi does not have a verb at all and a translation is hard because of that.

Christmas Day and Boxing Day we relaxed and had fun with the kids. We played Singstars and Buzz with PSP2 and also a board game my son got as a present: Ticket to Ride. It was fun. The version was in Finnish but we played in the USA map. The game was chosen as the Game of the Year 2005 here. The bad thing was that I lost. It was my tactics: I was too cautious and did not take any risks!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My English Elf name :)

Earlier in My Elf Family I presented my Finnish Elf name. Now I found an English Elf name generator and here is the result:

***Your Elf Name Is...***
Pixie Sweet Cheeks
What's Your Elf Name?

This is just so amazing, but why? That is something I'll tell about later

Saturday, December 22, 2007

To my friends!

To the Scandinavian people this is not only Christmas time but the end of the darkening days. Yesterday was the Winter Solstice and the days will now be longer again :)

We have saved the old pagan word in all Scandinavian languages and that is why I am wishing you all, either you are spending Christmas or Hanukkah, or neither

Hyvää Joulua!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


For the last 1.5 days I have been working with my new laptop. What a task! Transfer all the relevant data and download the programs I use from the net. The old laptop has all my work from 3 years in it; school work, puzzles, e-mails,…

I want to keep the new one organized and think about how to organize everything. I have managed to take care of the most important, my Firefox with all its important extensions and bookmarks which have to be checked if they work anymore.

The programs download is the frustrating part. I had to download Skype 4 times before I got it right. I have no idea why I did not succeed the 3 first times, perhaps connection trouble…
Now I found out that my printer has not drivers for Vista yet!

I have not had time to concentrate of thinking what to post but Mee mOe came to rescue. I tagged her with 38 things and she returned the “favour”.

I got tagged by Mee mOe in Internet Lifesytle to take part in Viral linking.

I have randomly selected 5 of you below to be tagged and I hope that you will similarly cut and publish this post in your blog. You will have to tag 5 other new fellas and just keep adding on to the list. (Do not replace, just keep on adding! Yes we hope it will be a long posts!)

Its real easy and it has a multiplying effect of 5s…i.e first layer 5, then 25, then 125 etc. Tag others and see your Technorati authority increase exponentially!

The benefits of Viral Linking

-One of the fastest way to see your Technorati authority explode!
-Increase your Google pagerank fast
-Attract large volume of new traffic to your site
-Built your community
-Make new friends!
The Strategist Note Book
The Classy Life
Agenc Was Here
When Life Becomes a Book
The Haven
The FireWalker
"Addiction Explained"
Let Peace Inspire
Conceptis Addict

I tag

17. Chuvaness....Chakaness....Eclavu...,
Diary (by Liudmila),
19. Individual@home
Tanny's Blog.
22. Mökkikunta

Play along and have fun!!!
And don't forget to Technorati or rate them...Happy Holidays !!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

38 Questions

Tagged by Ivy

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night?
My co-worker Kalle
2. What were you doing at 0800?
Reading my e-mail
3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?
4. What happened to you in 2006?
My father died
5. What was the last thing you said out loud?
I an trying all the time (to silence the sound of the TV)
6. How many beverages did you have today?
4 cups of coffee, 2 glasses of mineral water spiced with pear
7. What color is your hairbrush?
8. What was the last thing you paid for?
A new laptop :)
9. Where were you last night?
10. What color is your front door?
11. Where do you keep your change?

In my pockets
12. What’s the weather like today?
13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor?
Rum raisin
14. What excites you?
Puzzles, brainteasers
15. Do you want to cut your hair?
I actually needed a haircut, but I keep it short
16. Are you over the age of 25?
Too much
17. Do you talk a lot?
Not really
18. Do you watch the O.C.?
19. Do you know anyone named Steven?
Not personally
20. Do you make up your own words?
21. Are you a jealous person?
22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’.
23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’.
24. Who’s the first person on your received call list?
My son
25. What does the last text message you received say?
Happy anniversary honey :) (32nd)
26. Do you chew on your straw?
27. Do you have curly hair?
No, it skipped one generation
28. Where’s the next place you’re going to?
Madrid, Spain
29. Who’s the rudest person in your life?
My mother-in-law
30. What was the last thing you ate?
Chicken-vegetables pasta
31. Will you get married in the future?
Don’ think so
32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks?
I have seen none in the 2 past weeks
33. Is there anyone you like right now?
My husband, children and my friends Dave Green and Gil Galanti from Conceptis
34. When was the last time you did the dishes?
Don’t even remember… I have a dishwasher for that
35. Are you currently depressed?
not more than usual
36. Did you cry today?
37. Why did you answer and post this?
I like memes and the questions were fun but a very odd mixture. Who made these?
38. 5 people you tag next?
5 randomly chosen from my communities
Heather from Heather Dugan
BellyDance Girl from BellyDancer's Diary
Rampantheart from Perceptions of an Ambivert
Susanno from How to Live a More Fulfilling Life
Mee mOe from Across this bridge

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Clipmarks improved

Clipmarks has developed since the last time I used it. Here is their new Clipcast box with the new clip I created. I found an old Gender Gap -report from
the World Economic Forum with Sweden as the leader and clipped the major report where Finland was the leader. The old Clipmark -example is in my older post about Conceptis.

This allows to browse through my other clippings also.
This is a real improvement. The old clippings were so small in the preview window that I finally got tired using them.
The best part in Clipmarks is the ability to clip only the important parts. The size of the clipping is limited to 1000 characters. Pictures don't count to characters :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My Elf Family

I got the link from my StumbleUpon friend Andy and made a picture of my family.

You can see it by clicking
I hope you have a little patience, the page is a bit slow to download.

The participants from the left Enkku Kilisointu, Mainio Muorinilo, Simppu Kilikello and Pähki Mietelaakso.
Those are our elf-names.

You can generate one for yourself here. Type first your first name, then your last name and click the red button. The elf name will appear in the box below.

It is Finnish, but you must remember that J.R.R.Tolkien designed Quenya, the language of the Elves in particular from "phonaesthetic" considerations; it was intended as an "Elvenlatin", and was phonologically based on Latin, with ingredients from Finnish, Welsh, English, and Greek. He had read our national epic Kalevala in Finnish.

Favorite Words

SavvySuzy tagged me with a “Favorite Words” meme that was initially started by Isabella at Change Therapy. SavvySuzy is in MyBlogLog.

Isabella came up with “let’s make this a meme!” — her rules follows:

* what are your favourite words, and why?
* what does that tell us about you?
* write about it on your blog and invite other bloggers to write about it.

* link back to this blog (change therapy at, and


* gather the words and contributors in a list and publish it
* stumble your “favourite word” post (as long as they meet my stumble criteria, which shouldn’t be difficult with a post like this)

My “Favorite Words” list:

This was harder than I imagined. I have been searching for the words to the last 24 hours! I would like to have found words that sound nice and also represent something nice or even valuable. I could not find any! I tried English and Finnish but always either of my demands was missing. So I decided to go for the words that have a great value to me.

1) Mathematics – since it is present everywhere. All people just can’t see it, but every object you can see around you has involved a lot of mathematics when it was planned and created. It is included in many abstract things, too, even though I think feelings should not be “mathematicized”

2) Puzzle – and especially the English word. Finnish does not even have one that would represent all the aspects. A puzzle can be mechanical, logical or mathematical and it may contain pieces, words, numbers, lines or pixels. Even life is puzzling sometimes.

3) Laskutikku – the Finnish word for slide rule (we often join the words to a compound). A neat thing, which has had to move aside because of the calculators. I remember the magic using it.

4) Concept – the idea which starts to form in your head and finally develops to something, a theory or a solution of a problem which has been bothering you.

5) Satisfaction the incredible feeling you have when you have gained something regarding words 1) and 2)

I forgot the second part of the meme, as Isabella pointed out in her comment. I maybe thought it was obvious what these words tell about me.

To a normal person I seem like a prototype of the mathematics professor from jokes. I am so wrapped up in my mathematical world that I may not notice what happens around me :) Well, it's not actually so bad. To me the most beautiful things in the world can be found in mathematics. I am a teacher and when I start teaching, my topics gets me so carried away. The students know that and sometimes laugh about it, but many have started to see the beauty themselves. The same beauty I can find in all kinds of puzzles, but I am totally into Japanese picture logic puzzles and as my blog title tells, Conceptis makes the best puzzles and feeds my addiction. The slide rule tells that I am old-fashioned and think that using calculators leaves out an important aspect of the solving process, estimating the answer!

“Isabella hasn’t posted a deadline on her meme but since she will be posting a list of all the contributers, I would imagine participating sooner is better than later.”

Anyone is free to participate. But I will tag a few using the same strategy Suzy did, people from MyBlogLog:

Bloghenge from Bloghenge Blog is Fun!
JwJ from
Ysei and
from Rants 'n Reviews

My political profile :)

Insprired by my friend Andre Benjamim I tested my political profile. Here are my result:

Your Political Profile:

Overall: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Social Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

They are very much the same than Andre's, we are both European. Maybe my odd conservative result came from my relation to taxes; less taxes - more freedom to people to choose where to spend the money!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Conspiracy against Santa?

I think there is a conspiracy going on against Santa Claus; or at least the Finnish real Santa.

First a Swedish engineering company Sweco announced that

Santa Claus should live in Kyrgyzstan

By starting his journey there, Santa can achieve the most efficient around-the-world trip to distribute Christmas gifts. He can eliminate time-consuming detours and avoid subjecting his reindeer to undue strain.

Why figure out where Santa Claus should live?
This is a good exercise, and not just for fun. In recent years we have tried to think up original ideas for Christmas cards and gifts to our clients. One year we gave our clients blueprints for a gingerbread house, to highlight the fact that we have architects in the Group. This year we have chosen to show how GIS can contribute to a peaceful holiday season.

As it turns out later, their statement did not contribute to a peaceful holiday but on the contrary. Not only we Finns did get disturbed by this.

Helsingin Sanomat reveals in its English issue the basics for the calculations:

Sweco presents an avalanche of facts to justify its shock discovery: Santa has to make it to 2.5 billion households in just one night.
For the delivery of gifts, Father Christmas can spare a massive 34 microseconds (millionths of a second) per home. And on the round-the-world delivery route Santa’s reindeer sleigh will travel at the modest speed of 5,800 kilometres per second.
Logistically speaking, all this would be easiest done from Kyrgyzstan. If Santa lived in Korvatunturi in Finnish Lapland - a place traditionally branded as the location of Santa’s Grotto for Finnish children – the presented figures would be significantly higher.
Unravelling the location of Santa’s home was not too difficult, Larsson boasts. "It took us half a day to produce the calculations."

I think there calculations took the wrong route somewhere since already earlier 606 magazine has proved that Sweco’s theory can’t be right:

Assuming Santa's sleigh to be at least two million tons with each present weighing an average of two pounds, the lead reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second, each. They will burst into flame almost instantaneously. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. So Santa clearly does not travel on earth, now does he? He must travel through space where there is no resistance and he can travel as fast as his reindeer can take him, which could be faster then the speed of sound, for all we know.

My explanation to this dilemma is look-a-likes. All celebrities have people representing them when needed, so why wouldn’t Santa give part of his enormous job to his most trusted eldest elves?

Well, who else except us got disturbed? The people in Kyrdyszstan! according to AFP-news:

Authorities in Kyrgyzstan launched a contest to track down Father Christmas somewhere inside the mountainous Central Asian state -- a week after Swedish experts reported that he must be there.
"The state tourism agency always knew that Father Christmas lived here and finally Swedish scientists have proved it," Akbar Dzhigitov, an official from the Kyrgyz tourism board, told journalists in the capital Bishkek.
"We have a lot of work ahead of us since Kyrgyzstan really wants to be recognised as the true home of Father Christmas," better known in predominantly Sunni Muslim Kyrgyzstan as "Grandfather Frost," Dzhigitov said.

In addition to chasing Santa in the high mountains, Kyrgyzstan is facing an enormous task next year. According to the country weblog of Kyrgyzstan:

The state tourism agency under the Presidency of Kyrgyz Republic and the Ministry of Culture and Information are jointly initiating the series of festivals under the name “Kyrgyzstan is the true home of Santa Claus” for the world recognition of Kyrgyzstan as Santa’s motherland.
In the framework of the festivals, the state agency on tourism is planning to implement a whole bunch of activities such as the World Congress of Santa Claus in 2008 year with participation of BBC news, Euronews, CNN and other leading mass media and the Christmas travel of Santa for Christmas gifts distribution to children around the world with participation of famous political figures, “stars” of world art and culture.

Well, that was not all. Today I tried to review the SantaTV webpage in StumbleUpon. It turned out that someone (meaning anonymous) had discovered the page and tagged it as pornography two years ago! No wonder there were no other reviews of that page.

I reported it to SU ;)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mathematical Jokes

I have written about beautiful mathematics and fun mathematics and will return to those in the future. This time I have collected humour about us mathematicians.

The problem with most jokes is that they don’t seem funny to normal people. Most of the mathematical jokes make fun of our pattern of thinking and at the same time the patterns of other scientists:

A mathematician, a physicist, and a biologist were travelling through Scotland when they saw a black sheep through the window of the train.
"Aha," says the biologist, "I see that Scottish sheep are black."
"Hmm," says the physicist, "You mean that some Scottish sheep are black."
"No," says the mathematician, "All we know is that there is at least one sheep in Scotland, and that at least one side of that one sheep is black!"

[very widely known, quote from]

I have found myself thinking like that sometimes. My reasoning is just not very widely accepted, not even among family members. The following have also some sad truth in them:

Life is complex. It has real and imaginary components.
To a mathematician, real life is a special case.

If you are thinking the same, you may test yourself:

You Might Be a Mathematician if...

You know ten ways to prove Pythagoras' Theorem.
Your telephone number is the sum of two prime numbers.

[quotes from]

At one point I had a credit card with the secret code that was a perfect square :)
I was thrilled!

The following has a note that the source is unknown. I have read equivalent jokes in Finnish and the sad thing is that this is so true; at least here:

1960's Arithmetic test:
"A logger cuts and sells a truck load of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fiths of that amount.
What is his profit?"

70's New Math test:
"A logger exchanges a set (L) of lumber for a set (M) of money. The cardinality of set M is 100. The set C of production costs contains 20 fewer points.
What is the cardinality of set P of profits?"

80's education reform version:
"A logger cuts and sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost is $80, and his profit is $20.
Find and circle the number 20."

90's version:
"An unenlightened logger cuts down a beautiful stand of 100 old growth trees in order to make a $20 profit.
Write an essay explaining how you feel about this as a way of making money.
Topic for discussion: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel?"

[quote from]

Misheard Lyrics

Youtube has lots of examples of misheard lyrics. This is one of my favourites; I am actually starting to hear the words like they are shown in the video.
I copied the real lyrics below the video. The funniest thing is that even the writer of these lyrics is not sure what the band really is singing. See the note at the end of the lyrics :)

Fall Out Boy - This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race lyrics

I am an arms dealer
Fitting you with weapons in the form of words
And don't really care which side wins
As long as the room keeps singing
That's just the business I'm in, yeah

This ain't a scene, it's a goddamned arms race
This ain't a scene, it's a goddamned arms race
This ain't a scene, it's a goddamned arms race
I'm not a shoulder to cry on
But I digress

I'm a leading man
And the lies I weave are oh so intricate,
Oh so intricate

I wrote the gospel on giving up
(You look pretty sinking)
But the real bombshells have already sunk
(Prima donnas of the gutter)
At night we're painting your trash gold while you sleep
Crashing not like hips or cars*,
No, more like p-p-p-parties

This ain't a scene, it's a goddamned arms race
This ain't a scene, it's a goddamned arms race
This ain't a scene, it's a goddamned arms race
This bandwagon's full
Please, catch another

I'm a leading man
And the lies I weave are oh so intricate,
Oh so intricate


All the boys who the dance floor didn't love
And all the girls whose lips couldn't move fast enough
Sing, until your lungs give out

This ain't a scene, it's a goddamned arms race
This ain't a scene, it's a goddamned arms race
(Now you)
This ain't a scene, it's a goddamned arms race
(Wear out the groove)
This ain't a scene, it's a goddamned arms race
(Sing out loud)
This ain't a scene, it's a goddamned arms race
(Oh, oh)
This ain't a scene, it's a goddamned arms race

I'm a leading man
And the lies I weave are oh so intricate,
Oh so intricate

[*Note: CD Cover says "Crashing not like hips or HEARTS," but it sounds like cars in the song]
[This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race Lyrics on ]

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The most beautiful Christmas songs

Many songs which are dear to me, have lost their magic when I have grown up. They told about elves and Santa and mainly they were targeted for children.

One of my favourites nowadays is “White Christmas” which has also a Finnish translation.

My two top favourites are however Finnish.

Often cited as the most beautiful Finnish Christmas song, Sylvia's Christmas Song was written by school teacher Zachary Topelius, in the 19th century. He was in Italy during Christmas-time, and acutely missed his homeland. If you want to make a Finnish expatriate cry, this is the song.

Sylvia´s Christmas song

Now Christmas did come to the north country here;
Christmas came to the snow covered strand.
Now candles are burning and shedding good cheer
Across all the broad, far flung land.
But hanging on high from the cross beam above,
A bird cage now holds captive my pretty dove,
Which, pining away, makes no sound, high or low;
Oh, who will take heed of the prisoner´s woe?

Oh, star, glowing bright, may your light shine on high,
O´er the northland´s remote wintry scene.
And then, when your radiance fades in the sky,
Your mem´ry will linger in dreams.
So dear none can I ever anywhere find
As may native country, the land of my kind!
And thanks do I offer with Sylvia´s song,
Resounding forever so splendid and strong.

(Transl. by Paul Sjöblom, © WSOY)

Sylvia (The Blackcap, Sylvia atricapilla) is a Migratory bird, which spends the winters in Sicily, and the poem tells about the wonders of the south like cypresses and Etna (the translation is lacking that verse of the song) but also about homesickness and patriotism. The original text was written in Topelius’ native language, Swedish, and at the time the Finnish version was created, someone came up with the idea that Topelius was deported in Italy because of his support to Finnishness and that is why he wrote a symbolic poem which says “A bird cage now holds captive my pretty dove” meaning that bad Russia has Finland in his claws.

The Italians in the other hand captured the birds by taking one in the cage as a decoy. Topelius was an active conservationist and one of the founders of the first animal protecting assosiation in Finland.

The other one of my favourites “The sparrow on Christmas morning” tells about Topelius’ dead son Rafael. Topelius lost two sons and a daughter at the time these poems were written.

Here is the only attempt for the translation I found for that:

The Sparrow's Christmas Morning

In the valley fell the snow,
over trees and flowers.
Frozen waters’ vernal flow,
summer gone for sowers.
Poor little sparrow mine
Ate up summer-grain so fine
Frozen waters’ vernal flow,
summer gone for sowers.

At the door, beneath a tree,
stood a girl so darling:
Sparrow little, come to me,
take a morsel, starveling!
Christmas for us begun,
sparrow little woebegone
Sparrow little, come to me,
take a morsel, starveling!

To the girl then sparrow flew,
joyful wings do flutter:
Gladly take I grain from you,
morsel from your platter.
God shall then once reward
the one who gives me a guard
Gladly take I grain from you,
morsel from your platter.

A stranger am I not to you,
though from far away.
I’m your little brother who
passed away a spring day.
The grain you brought to the poor
who had come at your door
you gave it to your brother who
passed away a spring day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tampere University of Technology students play Tetris WITH their dorm

The wall of Finland’s largest university dorm was transformed last week into the country’s largest videogame display unit. The facade of the 11-storey building, with nine windows on each floor, then served as a platform for a very impressive light-show, on a giant 9 x 11 pixel screen.Bright LED-lights were placed in the windows of all the apartments in Block D of Mikontalo. During the 3-day “Mikontalolights” event, the wall of the building was used to play Tetris and other popular first-generation video games, and to show off the computer graphics skills of the students at the Tampere University of Technology, who had been dreaming of realising such a project for years. Renovations to the building, which dates from 1980, gave them a suitable “window of opportunity”.

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More videos from the event here.
And the homepage of the Mikontalo Project here

To Natalia and Amit

MySpace Graphics

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Santa lives in Finland!

Despite common beliefs Santa Claus lives here in Finland, not in Sweden or the North Pole!

Far, far away in the north, amid the endless wilderness of Finnish Lapland, is a mysterious mountain called Korvatunturi. Right at the foot, hidden from human eyes and ears, lives Santa Claus with his wife, his elves and his reindeer. He’s in fact been living there so long that he can’t quite remember when he first moved in. He doesn’t actually say much about his home, but he does let on that, as its name - Ear Mountain - suggests, it’s an excellent place for hearing and receiving the hopes and dreams of people of all ages.

Korvatunturi lies far, far away in the wilds of Lapland, but then if you live down south, the Arctic Circle may seem a long way away. And because Santa doesn’t want anyone to be disappointed, he has promised to be at his Office on the Arctic Circle every single day of the year, ready to receive friends from near and far.
[copied from]

Santa has nowadays a webcam to follow his work inside and outside the office.

Stories about Santa Claus, animals, elves, sky and stars etc. you can find also here. Santa has nowadays also his own television channel at where you can watch videos about Santa’s departure, Santa’s summer activities or Traditional Finnish Christmas.

All the sites provided here are made thinking about children.

Have fun reading the stories and watching Santa.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Get abroad the Linky Love Train

Get aboard the Linky Love train. Jessie from Jesie's blog journey blog invited me to join her on a new linky love train. I've never been on board one before, so I'm definitely game for it. Plus this is such an easy tag, how can I not join in the fun?

The rules: when you get tagged, you have to add your name below the person who tagged you and by doing so you are letting the list grow.

The dog log
Rachel’s Soulful Thoughts
When Silence Speaks
Dancing in Midlife Tune
Underneath it All
I am Dzoi
Hobbies and Such
moms…..check nyo
Choc Mint Girl
Amel’s Realm
My Thoughts
Rusin Roundup
Juliana’s Site
Rooms of My Heart
Colin aka cotojo
A Great Pleasure MondayMorningPower

The people who are the lucky ones whom I'm sharing my nice warm coach with: Ivy form Chuvaness....Chakaness....Eclavu...
, Meghna from Delve into the Mind of A Budding Blogger, Diary (by Liudmila), Jenny Mannion from heal pain naturally, Cyn from It's a dog's life, jamy tan from Seaykopitiam and Tanny from Tanny's Blog.
So come on everyone...pack your bags and let’s get on the choo choo!