Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Vesivelliä siellä ei syötäis

English summary: Here’s my uncle & dad jamming away on Finnish folk tunes back in 1957 – almost 60 years ago. File under World Music, I guess. Enjoy.

Tein viime kesänä arkeologisia kaivauksia 1863 rakennetussa aitassa, jonka katto on vuotanut jo vuosikausia. Aittaan on hillottu tavaraa, josta suurin osa olisi kannattanut kiikuttaa kaatopaikalle jo vuosia sitten. Rojun seassa oli kuitenkin muutamia mielenkiintoisia artefakteja, ehdottomasti mielenkiintoisimpana kelanauha, jonka pahvikoteloon oli merkitty päiväys “24.11.57”.

Kaikuja lähes 60 vuoden takaa.

Kaikuja lähes 60 vuoden takaa.

Muistin nauhan nähdessäni, että isälläni oli tosiaan vielä 70-luvulla kelanauhuri, joka sittemmin hävisi aikamyrskyn syövereihin. Muistin myös kuulleeni tuolloin vanhan äänityksen, jolla isäni soitti kitaraa ja enoni lauloi. Yleisen käsityksen mukaan nauha oli hävinnyt nauhurin mukana. Epäilykseni kuitenkin heräsi: voisiko tämä olla kyseinen nauha? Ellei, nauhalla voisi silti olla jotain jälkipolville säilyttämisen arvoista.

Kaappasin nauhan kyytiin ja otin yhteyttä vanhojen nauhojen restaurointiin erikoistuneeseen tahoon. Nauha osoittautui kunnoltaan yllättävän hyväksi ja pian selvisikin, että kyseessä oli kuin olikin tuo legendaarinen sessio, jolla nyt jo edesmennyt eno-Matti laulelee toistaiseksi tuntemattomiksi jääneitä, osin nykyajan mittapuulla sangen “poliittisesti epäkorrekteja” ralleja eli viisuja.

Nauhalla oli siis neljä laulua, joiden nimistä tai muistakaan detaljeista ei ole mitään tietoa. Tässä vaiheessa heitänkin pallon Sinulle, arvon lukija: tunnetko näistä lauluista jonkin?

Tässä toistaiseksi parhaat arvaukset:

  1. “Oli mulla ennen heilini fiini”
  2. “Tykit takoo Kannaksella”
  3. “Vesivelliä siellä ei syötäis”
  4. “Rissasen Riikka”

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

As of today, I am officially a licentiate of technology. In case you’re wondering what that is, it’s a university degree in the Finnish system that sits between a master’s and a doctorate and, along with a fistful of euros, gets me a cup of coffee.

A pediatric patient ready for a night of not quite non-invasive monitoring.

In order to be granted this, the most auspicious of all accolades, I had to jump through a number of hoops, the main one being a licentiate thesis. A good friend of mine, who wrote one before tackling his doctoral thesis, was, and probably still is, of the opinion that “a licentiate thesis is just like a subpar master’s thesis”.

You don’t have to take his word for it though — nor mine. You can download my licentiate thesis, titled “Monitoring sleep quality with non-invasive sensors“, and see for yourself.

While doing research for said thesis, I ran across a veritable cornucopia of delightful factoids. For instance, did you know that the (male) armadillo only has erections during deep sleep? (Most animals have them during REM sleep. The armadillo paper, by the way, has a particularly excellent title.) Or, that even though owls cannot move their eyes — they have to move their whole head when they want to look at something — they still have a REM (Rapid Eye Movements) sleep phase? Before this discovery, one of the hypotheses concerning REM sleep was that the eye movements cause the typical brain wave patterns; now we know it’s the other way round.

Pleasant dreams.

Officers and Gentlemen

Talk about a blast from the past. I hadn’t seen this photo until a few days ago, when the photographer sent me a copy. What you see here is (most of) the Reserve Officer Course 107 of the Imperial Finnish Navy, 22 years ago in late ’89 or early ’90. Surprisingly enough I still remember most of the names, although I suppose I could always look the missing ones up in the yearbook I edited. Less surprisingly, I haven’t seen most of them since, and the two I still keep in touch with aren’t in the shot (one of them being behind the camera). One can’t help but wonder whether they are all still alive. I’m in the back, poking my tongue out in front of the truck’s windshield.

Unfortunately the B&W nature of the photo doesn’t do justice to the bright blue track suits, affectionately known as “Smurf Suits”. The rest of the picture is more or less just as gray as it would have been in real life.

Lions, Flowers, Monks and Old Ladies

Many moons ago, in another life in a galaxy far, far away, I used to practice karate. I did it for some time, attended a few gradings, and eventually attended a grading in the hope of being awarded the green belt. When the names were called out and I realized mine wasn’t one of them, my heart sank. I was somewhat surprised by my own reaction; after all, the belt is just there to hold your gi together. Anyway, it was the sensei’s call. A bit later on I stopped training and, as it turned out, wouldn’t see the inside of a dojo again for a number of years.


At one time before class, the sensei told two stories that have stayed with me ever since. Bear with me if I bungle up some of the details — these are stories that I heard exactly once more than ten years ago.

Running From the Lions

A man was being chased by a pride of lions. He ran for his life, but the lions were gaining on him. It was obvious that they would soon reach him. Also, he hadn’t noticed that he’d been running towards a cliff edge until he was at the ledge. He leaped off the ledge and fell. There were a few scrubs and small trees growing out of the cliff face. He managed to grab onto a branch and stop his fall.

Hanging in mid-air, the man noticed another pride of lions waiting for him on the ground below. He also noticed that there was a beautiful red flower growing on the cliff face. He leaned towards the flower to smell it. The branch creaked as if it was about to give.

As he inhaled and the fragrance filled his nostrils, he smiled and thought to himself: “What a lovely scent!”

Two Monks and an Old Lady

Two old monks were walking towards the town to get some supplies. The sky was grey; it was raining quite heavily.  As they reached the town, they saw that all the streets were muddy and flooded.

As part of their vows to become a monk, they’d promised that they would never touch a woman as long as they lived. An old lady was trying in vain to locate a dry spot to cross the street. One of the monks asked her if she’d accept assistance. She said yes, and the monk carried her across the street through the mud.

As they were heading back to the monastery, the other monk asked: “Don’t you remember what you promised when you became a monk? What has become of you?” The monk who helped the old lady said: “You’re still carrying her with you — I’m not.”


After a long break I eventually started practicing karate again, in a different country, in a different style. Last Sunday I graded to 6th kyu, or green belt.