Archive for September, 2006

Update and SketchUp

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

I’ve progressed somewhat in the fitness game. It’s mostly noticeable in the speed of recovery after a run; I breathe easier. I’m trying to add one minute to the run to make it six, but yesterday my legs began to cramp up and I had to stop early. I suspect it’s because I ran faster than what I’m used to. It may also be lack of intake of fluids, coffee notwithstanding.

Regardless, I’ve managed to stick to my every other day -plan. Also, my social rule has stood. This week’s “dosage” is still in the air, though.

And now for something completely different

I was thinking where I’d put this, but I suppose I’m not going to publish a separate “arts and hobbies” blog (aside from gaming), so here it goes. I read about Google’s SketchUp in Edge. It’s very near revolutionary, I’d say.

I’ve dabbled in various 3D software packages, but they’ve all been so hard to use that I’ve given up. SketchUp is designed for normal people. I guess it could be easier still, but the basics are very easy to grasp and the presentation is not intimidating – on the contrary, it invites you to model.

Movement of the mind

Monday, September 18th, 2006

Running is fun. I didn’t think it would be so much fun. The weird thing is, it gets inside your head. I’ve now ran on four consecutive days, and I feel energized – my mind is on the move. The physical act of propelling yourself forward is just very enjoyable. This is coming from a couch-dweller, mind, maybe this wouldn’t be such a revelation to many people.

The five minutes of walking followed by five minutes of running (jogging), followed by five minutes of wind-down walking seems very good to me. I get mighty sweaty, but my muscles don’t protest at all, and I don’t have real trouble breathing. My plan is to keep doing this every other day until it feels too easy, at which point I’ll likely look into a ready-made running program for beginners. Or I’ll just start increasing the running distance a little bit every week.

I’m enjoying my runs so much that I’d like to run every day, but unfortunately even the fifteen-minute exercise is too much of a daily dose. Since yesterday my butt’s been aching, even though I’ve stretched my legs post-running. And I had trouble running softly yesterday, probably due to muscles being tired. So every other day it is.

Initial efforts

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

In which I bring you an update in two parts.

One: friends

I reached two old friends of mine in one day. Effort taken: 30 seconds on writing an email, 172 seconds on the phone. Seemed like a worthwhile endeavour; I met with one of them the following day. The other one is living abroad, but we agreed on seeing each other when he visits Finland the next time. We haven’t seen in, oh I don’t know, around three or four years, despite being good friends in high school.

It was about high time, too: his old university email address wouldn’t've worked in two weeks’ time. So don’t just sit there thinking about maybe trying to reach your old mates one day – do it today!

Sitting down with my college buddy yesterday, I took it upon me to arrange a meeting with the rest of the class, too. Well, the ones we can still reach, anyway.

I’ve actually set myself some social rules to ensure I don’t lapse back into a working coma any more.

Two: sports

I told everyone at work that I’d go running yesterday, just to generate some pressure on myself. In the end, I didn’t, as I couldn’t bother to after a heavy dinner and a couple of beers. I did go today, though.

Sticking to my plan, I did a 5-5-5 running routine. It turned out that it takes me exactly five minutes to walk to the park and warm up in the process, another five minutes to run around the park, and of course a further five minutes to walk back home. With the shape I’m in, it’s enough to start with. I was winded, but not exhausted.

With such a quick exercise, I’m thinking I might get into a habit of running before work. For now, I’m sticking to a twice a week minimum, but I’m really pretty psyched about this.

Life-marked music

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

Sometimes a record or a given song gets imprinted with life. There’s like a permanent stamp on it, something that sends me back to a moment in life. Everyone must be familiar with this phenomenon – yesterday my wife told me that for her, some songs associate with smells and tastes. She always had a better sense of smell and taste than I do.

I’d like to share some songs I have strong associations with. If you have similar examples, I’d love to see you post them in the comments.

Paradise Lost – Enchantment (from Draconian Times): this brings me back to the gig at Tavastia in Christmas 2004 (I think). It was a great show. I also recall many scenes from my teenage years; Draconian Times has been with me since its release in 1995. (Damn! That’s eleven years already!)

GarbageVersion 2.0: the whole record brings to mind my long-gone pet dog, Piki. He was a miniature schnauzer. Especially the track The Trick Is To Keep Breathing really hits me to this day. I wasn’t living with my parents anymore – I think it was 1998 or 1999. I visited my parents to say my good-byes to Piki. My mother, a veterinarian, had decided to put him to sleep the next day – he was just so old and tired. Returning to my wife-to-be later in the evening, I borrowed the album from my sister and listened to it on the road. I was overwhelmed with grief, and the album really got inside my head from that single listen-through.

James Dean Bradfield – An English Gentleman (from The Great Western): I first listened to this album the same evening in summer 2006 when I heard that two of my best friends were going to move away – yes, one of the events which also sparked this blog. I have a feeling that the song will bring me back to this still continuing phase of self-growth, which I believe is going to be a great time of change for me.

Alphaville - Forever Young: This is something I rather wouldn’t mention, but I’m going to anyway. I succumbed to junior high peer pressure and hosted a house party when I was fourteen or fifteen years old (1992/1993). It was a disaster: my parents’ just renovated house was a wreck. The next morning, floating somewhere between surrealism, being hung over and despair, awaiting for my parents to return home, I remember this song playing on the stereo. That was one of the few days I wish never dawned. It was also the last time I drank apple wine (eugh!).

The Cure – Burn (from The Crow OST): The movie is one of my all-time favorites and the scene in which this song plays does come to mind everytime I hear this, but I also get a warm memory of the best times from my (goth) teenage years (around 1994-1997).

Push the button

Monday, September 11th, 2006

“Push-button publishing”, they say. Blogger won’t let me rearrange the right-hand elements, so until I can indeed push the “Save” button, bear with me.

(Edit: okay, the ol’ sign out – sign in did the trick.)

That said, I did choose Blogger, again, to set up this blog, even though I’m in the process of getting a shared server with friends, which will in turn enable me to set up WordPress, for instance. I don’t know what I’ll do with the server, really, but I’m all giddy about owning a domain.

(Edit 2: The Blogger Beta this thing’s running on isn’t entirely co-operative. I can’t figure out how to make a clean footer section, it wants to make it all huge and ugly. Will be beautified someday.)

The grind

Monday, September 11th, 2006

I got a couple of wake up calls over the last few days. I guess this happens to everyone at some point: you lose people you’re close with, you suddenly realize your loved ones won’t be there forever, maybe you just barely escape with your own life. Life has been trying to teach me these things before, but only now it’s really hit me.

Reflecting upon these recent events made me understand, among other things, that I’d completely wasted the summer. We talked about stuff we should do in the summer, and we did none of that. Now my best friends are moving away: it’s too late to do those things, at least for the time being. Of course, us all being internet-savvy young people, we can still be connected, but I’ll miss the closeness.

Instead of despairing (I did a fair bit of that already), I wholly intend to not let my life become like this again. Sure we worked all summer and I was really stressed out, but we still had the weekends. There was no real reason to not socialize in the evenings. Being “too tired to hang out” equals “being alone when the dust settles”. I’ve now experienced loneliness, and it’s something I want no more of.

Related to this is a bigger issue, one I haven’t really talked about with my friends. I don’t know most of you nearly as well as I’d like to. As you might guess, I wish to change this while I still can. It’s funny, really – we’ve been thinking about how to improve things at work, and it’s always “communicate, communicate, communicate”, and I’ve failed to grasp that in my own life.

As sad as I am over the departure of my friends, this just might be a lesson I was sorely in need of.

Sports

Monday, September 11th, 2006

We talked about running the other night. I went on a “let off steam” type of run a couple of weeks ago and discovered that I’m in rather poor shape – no big surprise there, I haven’t had any exercise in ages. I must’ve been winded for an hour afterwards. I did go to the gym during last spring, though, but somehow I dropped that along the way.

This is precisely the kind of “numbing” I meant in the introductory post; stuff just flows into a routine, where the loss of some detail or other – sports, friends, acquintances, hobbies – doesn’t feel like much in the day to day grind, but you end up much poorer. I’m hoping that since putting these developments up here means that I need to process them, maybe I won’t let it all slide.

Now, some of my friends have picked up running this year. They’re doing this interval training program where you begin with only a couple of minutes at a time, gradually working your way to 10 km (6.2 miles. Get metrical already) runs. That sounds like my kind of thing. I can spare half an hour or so (to begin with) a couple of times a week. As it happens, there’s a nice track through the woods and a park right outside my front door.

So beginning this week, I’m going running. At least twice a week, preferably three times. My first goal is to be able to run to the nearby train station and back, a 3.2 km roundtrip.

A life

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

Introduction

Everybody gets a life. I have recently realized that it would be best to not just sail through it with a blindfold on, but to make it a journey worth taking.

Since things (“life”) have often dwindled to a numbing routine, I’m guessing I might find more motivation if I make this public. (Even though I expect even less traffic than with my primary blog.)

Some background

I have another blog, 71/78: A Gamer’s Blog. It’s all about playing videogames. Lately there’s been more and more stuff I’ve wanted to post about but which have felt out of place in that context. Today I noticed that someone’s listed 71/78 as one of his favorites and I got the feeling that it would best serve my audience if I separated my life stuff from my hobby stuff.

The title, then. I was born in 1978 and it felt logical to tie the title to the year, like I did with my other blog. Continuity, you see. It’s important in life.

About myself

My name is Joonas. I have always lived in Helsinki, Finland, though I spent my childhood in the city next door, Vantaa. I am married with no children. She studies egyptology, which I think is cool as hell.