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Yule Tidings

December 29, 2008
By Asmodeane in Posts, Road trips

Burp. Xmas holidays are over, and the dreary days of work in between the New Year’s celebrations and Xmas are here. But I don’t mind. No. The office is quietly humming along, there’s an interesting gig up ahead tomorrow, and New Year’s eve is but a couple of days away. So hey, lemme recap what’s been happening so far.

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Somewhere between Nurmes and Helsinki.

Somewhere between Nurmes and Helsinki.

I spent this Christmas at Nurmes, at my girlfriend’s ancestral manor deep in the snowy forests of North Karelia. Nurmes is about 510km from Helsinki, depending on the route you choose to use. Google maps gives the most direct path, as the pidgeon crawls, but you can also take the route that goes along the bigger roads, thus theoretically allowing you to drive faster. We tried both. I think I prefer the motorway route we took on the way back, even though it adds a few km to the overall distance and has speed cams, it still felt quicker and has more pleasant rest stops and gas stations. I managed to drive all the way there and back without being fined for speeding even once! I also let girly drive for 2 hours there and an hour back, since I was suffering from “road hypnosis” in a bad way, and couldn’t keep my eyes open, drifting all over the road and scaring the passengers. In the end we got to Nurmes just fine, on a single tank of gas (43€ from the cheapest gas station in Helsinki), despite the truly arctic vistas, the road that resembled an ice rink more than anything else, and my girlfriend’s curb-hugging driving.

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The Great Northern Wasteland

The Great Northern Wasteland!

As to Christmas itself, well, it was boring as hell and very Finnish. We ate those weird “laatikko” foods, as well as the traditional Christmas ham and salmon. Yea, verily, I even ate the fish, marinated, salted, smoked… And I have hated fish since childhood. However, recently I have found that I seem to have lost my aversion to most fish. Strange, perhaps soon I will start liking olives as well… In case you are not familiar with Finnish xmas fare you should consult this page. Going back to the casseroles, or “laatikko” (literally “Box”, as in “Potato box”, “Rutabaga Box”, “Liver Box”, etc) foods, I don’t really understand them, and I suspect few Finns actually do, eating them mainly out of some sort of a cultural inertia. Or tradition, in plain terms. It just isn’t natural for the noble potato to be presented in a sickly-sweet, semi-digested, liquified state! Aside from the atrocities commited against potatoes, Christmas went fine. The Lord of the Manor liked me well enough, and didn’t bother me too much, so I didn’t bother him either, refraining from mentioning the fact that I do his daughter doggy-style, or that my father is a criminal, at the dinner table. Our interaction during the three days that we stayed there was limited to having a few amiable beers and talking a bit of politics and fishing. Other than that we, that is me, my girlfriend, her sister and sister’s husband, not Padre and his wife, played some Citadels, I played a lot of Super Mario Bros. 3 on my GBA Micro, read Mark Twain and trash fantasy, and took a 80Km drive further up north to visit girly’s relatives in Kuhmo, the same people we met in London a couple of months ago. So yeah, everything turned out fun and dandy. Even the drive back was nice and cheerful, stomachs full of Christmas cheer and slaughtered baby animals.

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Jengaa!

Jengaa!

So yeah, being back in Helsinki was nice, after seeing the frigid norhtern wastelands and what passes for “towns” up there. I made an unsuccesseful attempt to have fun on Saturday when I came back, failing miserably. At least I sang karaoke on a friend’s XBox360. But the following day brought fun from an unexpected source, namely a bunch of my girlfriend’s friends had a little get together at their place, and we played Jenga and some weird card game thats too tedious to explain here. Let me tell you, playing Jenga is about all the excitement this old boy can stand..! The heart races, the breath is laboured, hands shake and pupils dilate. After an hour of that you start getting jittery and hysterical! I thoroughly recommend this past time to anyone. Oh, we achieved a smashing 9 extra layers in our last game. Try beating that. After that I had to go have a quiet lie down at home, though…

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And now it’s time for links. According to tradition we should be saying good-bye to 2008, and say it we will, in for of Top Something lists! First, a look at 2008 in pictures. A suprisingly good compilation, from The Boston Globe. Then 2008 in Science! Exposing cancer genes and seeing alien planets is on top of my list too, I guess. Going along the scientific vein, you might wanna see the Top 10 space photos of 2008. If that wasn’t enough, read about the 10 NASA inventions that you probably use every day. And to finish this list nonsense off, here’s a Top 20 list of Top 20 lists of 2008! That’s some good, productivity destroying shit right there… Ok, so that was that for, uh, that. I am watching with bated breath what will the Israeli offensive amount to. So far so good though. And if you disagree, well that’s your own loss. Hamas has been picking a fight for a very long time now, and it seems like they got their wish. Now lets see what’ll happen once the ground troops go in. I can’t really imagine what will happen if Hamas is toppled though. Will Gaza once again be ruled by the lesser of two evils, i.e. Mahmoud Abbas? Something is going to have to fill the power vacuum. No matter the outcome, it sure is going to be interesting.

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3 Responses

  1. Ribku nachal kushat? fosfora v organizme ne hvatka. U men’a poslednee vremja taze hern’a

  2. You had time to do it doggy style on the dinner table over there? Wow…

  3. AsmodeaneJanuary 3, 2009 @ 18:15

    What can I say? I get around…



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