Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Laying off

Best friend of mine, actually resident here in Finland for some time now, just had a rough day at the job.

Or maybe it was more a rough moment at the job, the rough comes, when finally realizing what really took place at work earlier today. Or if realizing it is taking longer, maybe, what yesterday took place at work...

She was a about 6 months ago promoted to head of office and got the appropriate pay rise to go with the amount of working hours required. At beginning of December she was told she would keep her salary but was demoted and got a new boss. Today an hour after having arrived on the local she was fired without notice.

She was told to just pack her things and leave as they wanted to become more cost efficient.

Having called her after her e-mail where she told me about her notice I told her it was better today, as she still has until end of January to get a new job and being a single she is easily relocated to any city in Europe. Her being a homesick girl I told not say the world but I meant it with all of my heart, and she now has two more weeks to play with compared to having had her notice before Xmas. So, something good with hearing the news. More time. So now she is leaving the city in order to get some forest cleared out of small bushes growing, one hell of a good way to let go of any aggressions, I must say with a thorough sauna to relax with afterwards.

So this is really the reality of the Finnish people, and according to recently done Gallups, most people are afraid of becoming unemployed or getting laid off for some time.

At the same time the prime minister is asking people to consume as much Finnish produce and products as possible.
And here finally comes my question, with what Euros are we to consume anything?

Friday, 26 December 2008

Surreal awakening

I woke up this morning dreaming of an acquaintance of mine that had been murdered and was being sawed and severed into bits and pieces for better disposal of the carcass. No hold on; do not analyze this dream as yet as there is a perfectly sane explanation to it I’m just about getting to it.

The thing is that I really woke up to the sounds of sawing, serious sawing went on in some neighbour’s apartment early in the morning and now thinking about it, it must’ve been someone getting rid of their Xmas tree, sawing it to bits in order to get it out in more reasonably easy. As for the part about my murdered acquaintance, it is also simple, as such one exists, a woman I knew years ago, though not very closely, was actually murdered and dismembered. The case in question was quite sensational and made the papers, at least in northern Europe. The offspring knew her better as she used to occasionally babysit, though probably they have no what so ever recollection of it today.

Anyway, having had this dream with real sawing sound effects looking out the window really got me hair standing. Since we moved here the view out of the bedroom window has always looked the same but today I wondered what UFO, or in the next moment of drunken sleepiness what a car had its’ headlights straight on the huge old fir trees outside. Only realize that this was the first time in over a month with an overcast sky I have seen the blue sky and the sun is shining.

Xmas always brings back memories of our childhood in a nice, comforting way as well as in a not so nice way, as in bad memories. For me Xmas always has been a lot about food, and having periodically had tendencies for compulsory overeating, not as in bulimia and throwing it up, but eating more than enough and getting over stuffed, I have after years of work got my eating in order. I eat when I’m hungry, and don’t over do it anymore, only Xmas seems to bring me back a compulsory urge to over eat. But as the delicacies I prepare for the season only gets served in this household once a year, I guess you have to make best use of them, and this morning’s surreal moment when waking up seems to be an effect of eating more than supposed to in addition to the offspring keeping me awake until the early hours of morning, resulting in way too few hours of sleep. And according to the Norse tradition, you were supposed to stuff yourself at midwinter time in order to preserve the good fortune for the year to follow suite.

Still the fir trees are a funny shade I am not used to, as in their normal colour, but I guess I can live with a little sunshine for a change. And yes, this Christmas was a white Christmas!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Marrying for money

The weather forecast now promises subzero temperatures for Xmas, but whether there will be snow here in the south, that still remains a puzzle.

This year the first snow arrived later than the two previous years. This year there was no snow until end of November, whereas the previous years we had a snow blizzard that hit the country hard in change of October and November, still we had two black Xmas’.

So in the meantime, enjoy the picture of last Xmas’s snow!

Anyway, seeing a Finnish woman walking in the street with an outlandish looking man always makes people talk.

Comments such as: “what a shame she did not go for a decent Finnish man instead” or “she’s so ugly she had to buy her a man” are spoken out loudly in the street.
And this is in no way my own opinion; this is only what I have heard people say in the street.

Still, the general opinion about these mixed marriages seems to be, that they come here and live on Finnish welfare after their divorce. This may be true or may not, they might be as hard working as any Finn, or even more, but fact is, that these marriages have become a most lucrative business as you might obtain a permanent permit of residency here in Finland.

This gives an entirely new dimension to the expression: “marrying for money”.

The media say that these marriages of convenience are arranged for between thousands of Euros up to tens of thousands of Euros, and most frequently the other part comes from across the eastern border or from Africa or Thailand.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Safety glitch

The offspring has lately been amused by using neighbours’ wireless Internet connections. I have been very doubtful about the sanity of doing so as I want to try keeping my PC as clean as possible and up and working at all times, instead of catching virulent malware, viruses and what ever they all are called these days. It is hard to keep up with all the terminology of the high-tech world if you are not in the business.

Anyway, getting into your neighbours wireless Internet connection is not that hard, I have noticed myself. I have on several occasions just checked up the availability of WLANs and you would not believe the number that usually turns up on the list on my screen. Surprisingly many leave their access totally, and completely, unprotected and left originally named default.

I have avoided trying them out of safety reasons, and today I got an even better reason for it. Microsoft just announced that their 7 version of their net browser Internet Explorer has serious safety glitches in it and that phishers are able to phish secret info like banking data and passwords etc. from your PC.

Just one more of Mr Gates’ products that has not been up to promised standards.

This gives us one more reason on top of all the previous ones for not being too dependent on the biggest software manufacturer of the world. Not only that their software is more often targeted by malicious hackers hence being more vulnerable, but the default reason for avoiding Mr Gates’ products is, that they apparently keep on promising more than they can deliver.

A thing that sadly has become a routine over the last few decades.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Missing addresses

Today is the last day to send off the Xmas cards with the postage of 60 cents per card, if you want to have them delivered in time before the holidays.

The cards will still be delivered in time before Xmas if you send them later, but then you have to spend 90 cents on each card instead.

As many people want to send their Xmas cards off today, it has been the busiest day of the year of the phone companies with numerous phonecalls about missing addresses as stating the wrong address on the card will definitively delay it, if not even make it go entirely missing.

And Finns do move houses quite a lot according to recently published statistics, Finns move 13 times in their life time.

Having just recently moved house myself it got me thinking as I have been through my fair share of moving houses. 18 times already to this day, most of them when still in school and living at home, and only 8 of them after having left the nest.

Anyway, the most tiresome thing about moving, and now especially just before the holliday season, is the seemingly never ending cleaning and washing that all gathers up and has to be done, getting things in order for Xmas to take them down in just a few weeks.

Still, there is no Xmas without all the decorations and trinkets, so I have worked hard to get things ready for all the decorations to go up and better get in gear for some serious cooking that needs to be done.

One thing is still not yet to be determined, whether this will be the third black Xmas in a row or not. But that you never know until Xmas itself.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Absolutely knackered

I, the absolute opposite to computer nerd have solved the problem with the broad band connections that were supposed to be in every room of the new apartment we have relocated to, got them working as supposed to.

The moving apartments came quite all of a sudden as a surprise and I am not sure how I am to get things in order to celebrate Xmas this year. There are cardboard boxes stacked all over the place with all our belongings, and as usual, no one is interested in getting things into habitable order, we just try to avoid seeing the boxes without treading on them.

And of course on top of all that the washing machine gave up and has to get repaired, now with all the washing that has to be done. So I better get off to the look up the laundry room in order to survive with all the dirty linen, towels, clothes and curtains to wash. Fortunately I had the good sense of sending the rugs and mats off the to dry-cleaners in order to have them out of my hair, or rather feet in this case, right this moment.

Actually, I'd rather just put my feet high and have a nice cup of tea, but duty seems to be calling more than the tea cup.