Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Irish abortion laws are about to be reviewed

When it was revealed to the public that the death of Savita Halappanavar, on 28th of October, was because health officials declined to carry abortion, it gave a lot to think about for the Irish society.
Protesters outside Leinster House in Dublin


All started on the 20th of October, when Savita felt back pain so disturbing, that it was decided that she and her husband would go to hospital. At that time she was pregnant and on her 17th week. Next day they went to the hospital, but only the persistence of Halappanavars got them signed in to the hospital. First, after a series of tests, they were told that nothing was wrong, and the same thing happened when they returned just a half an hour later after being released to go home. It was when they were appointed to doctor when it was realised, after further examinations, that the cervix was dilated. Seven days later Savita Halappanavar was dead. She could have been saved if the pregnancy would have been terminated.

Some say that it is legal to have an abortion in Ireland, and this is based on The Case X. Although it is illegal to have an abortion in Ireland, there is a basis for it, if mother's life is in danger. Ireland has been in juridical vacuum since the Supreme Court ruling in 1992. In this case, 14 year old rape victim was allowed to have an abortion since there was a risk of suicide. Supreme Court's reasoning was that if the mother was suicidal, the fetus' rights are contingent of the mother's rights.

Now the Irish abortion law is probably going to be written again, but that won't be an easy task. Telegraph reported yesterday that Maria Steen of Iona Institute stated that "Irish law already allows the ending of a pregnancy when there is no other choice and there is a clear threat to the life of the mother." Clearly this was not the case in the death of Savita Halappanavar. Iona Institute is an Irish think tank of conservative nature, that is to say, it produces material, which is aimed against same-sex marriage, abortion, morning-after-pill, etc. (Pro tip: I don't recommend using their search engine, located on their website, cause it works as slowly as an christian anecdote about freedom of conscience concerning matters of choice. You'll find the information your looking a lot faster by using google and adding your keywords plus Iona Institute). Here's more of Maria Steen in Newstalk.

At the moment it seems that the new law is going to be based on the Case X. With no disrespect to anyone, it is fascinating to be following how this political struggle will end, with regards to Irish distinctive history in matters of abortion. This debate might explode to have a law that also includes abortion by demand, which in itself is abomination to orthodox Catholics. I think that if the law is going to be a compromise, that nobody wants, it's going to allow abortion on medical reasons (for conservatives it's the same thing as on demand; for liberals it's the same thing as still illegal). Even this kind of compromise would still give a lot wider framework for pro-choice people. There is always the possibility that medical reasons could be widened to include suicidal tendency qualified by the standards of the conceived. Which could in fact end that people who want an abortion by demand, just say that they are suicidal.

Draft of the law is bound to be published New Year, according to Enda Kenny, and the legislation should be ready by Easter. This could be one defining moment for Ireland. So I would recommend that people follow this case with a keen eye, cause this is history in making.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Independence day of Melancholia

It is another sad day in human history and it is also the independence day of Finland.

So gather around, you little pear cheeks, while a very disturbed person tells you about the miseries of life, history, death and everything.

One of The Sad Stories of the north is the tale of The Winter War (Talvisota). Finland and Soviet Union had some disputes with the borders and it suddenly escalated to war. Finnish casualties were great. More than 25 000 soldiers were left dead and more than 50 000 wounded, some for life. That's almost fifth of the army's strenght of  350 000.

It was also a sad ending for many young lads of the Soviet Union too. Soviet Union lost more than 100 000 men during that cold winter, and almost 200 000 of the Mother Russia's children were somehow wounded. That's about a third of almost a million soldiers.

So that page of history probably left some bitterness on both sides. War never changes, only the people who speak about it.

Bitter bard takes a little break now. Here's a clip of Studio Julmahuvi's art movie "Roudasta Roospuuttoon" (lenght 4:16), with English subtitles for those who like to talk and otherwise socialize all the time.


Frozen bard comes inside and continues the story, now enlightening the mystery of Finnish melancholia with some world known facts.

They say the wiser you are, the more worries you have; the more you know, the more it hurts. There are two depressing sides on that rusty coin. First of all, being the Lutherian state that Finland is, every quote is full of dark submission to the soon coming death of all life. Did I mention the suicide rates? No, I'll come back to that later. Anyways,  if one at least  takes seriously "the wiser...more it hurts"-statement (from Ecclesiastes), one understands the suffocating pain of knowing too much, cause Finns know it very too well. That's the other depressing side: Finland's literacy per cent is 100 %. That means every dark truth, that can be read and understood, can be done so by the Finns everywhere. Just listen to this love song.

join me in death by H.I.M. on Grooveshark Him - Join me in death (best Finnish love song ever in circulation)

Maybe Finns are not the heaviest drinkers by European standards, being outshadowed by Czech and Irish. Latter being the low self esteem counterpart of Finns by it's own merits. You still have to remember that Finns drink it all at once and have a bigger suicide rating per capita than the early mentioned two beer states.

Here is Rich Lyons making few comments about it


And here's a quick version from Swedish poet (Anglo sax may refer to him as a comedian) Robert Gustafsson to those with shorter attention span (also with english subtitles).



How do Finns celebrate this day? Well, president throws a party to his closest friends, protegees, mentors and campaign benefactors using taxpayers money, and the rest of the country gathers around a television to watch that party live. It's covered by the national broadcasting company narrated with two languages (Finnish and Swedish). Before that there's a big military parade which still fails to one done in North Korea. Between those two spectacular shows, Finns watch war movies about the The Winter War.

There is some irony in that celebration; The 6th of December is also the St. Nicholas day.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Decembeaver time



Sarah Cooper starts this month with video promoting decembeaver: cancer, beavers and hairs. This should keep you warm during the winter.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Place for a Finnish bar in Dublin?

I was thinking about posting an entry about the Lithuanica in Blanchardstown. But there is also a another need. Lithuanica sells great rye bread of sorts, but what this country needs, at least for the Finnish involved, it's a bar where you're ordinary shot will not be Jägermeister. Don't get me wrong, I have had a few of those, and Jäger is good.

But a bar or a pub, which would sell these particular things:
1. Jallu (cut brandy)
Caramel-colored vodka with some brandy or cognac in it.
2. Lonkero (long drink)
Originally made for the foreign guests (from Finnish point of view) during the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.  It's basically Gin mixed with Grapefruit soda or Bitter Lemon (latter being the one usually sold as the 'house's long drink' [talon lonkero])
Vodka and Turkish Pepper mixed togerher. Vodka is supposed to be Koskenkorva, a Finnish spirit, which has no comparison anywhere around the world, ever, period. It's just that bad.
4. Fisu
Fisu is the same kind of mixture than Salmari, just change the Turkish Pepper to Fisherman's friend. Note from a bartender: if you know how to make Salmari, you should use less of Fisherman's friend.
5. Laku
Same as previous two, except this time the mixture with Vodka is Salmiakki, or as we scientific people call it, ammonium chloride made for eating. Also the Turkish Pepper has some of it inside. It's poisonous in large amounts, but hey, paraphrasing Queen: Too much ammonium chloride will kill you.

Other things are well covered here. One thing still keeps me curious. It is that we, in Finland, at least us professionals, think that Kopparberg is the most least attractive cider in the world, as it is so sweet and so full of sugar, that bars sell it here as an exotic option. More of an exotic substitute for cider. But hey, nobody is a prophet on their on land. Meaning that Bulmers is usually sold in Scandinavian countries as the prestigious Cider, that should be consumed with at least a pride of getting treated like a royal. And it usually costs about 5 euros per third of a liter in a bar. In Ireland you get the whole pint for that price, and you still get out with a little bit of change.

So get rid of that shite and bring in the good stuff. Or at least, never, ever, take Bulmers away.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

9-year old girl prosecuted for Piratism in Finland

I know and I've heard of restrictions stated over children's computer use, but Finland's authorities may have set the new boundaries of how far can you go bullying children. Two of the major Finnish newspapers reported of a case where a child's computer was confiscated by the police, because of downloading a song from a locally well known musician called Chisu. Hufvudstadsbladet (biggest newspaper in Finland targeted for swedish speakers) tells that Electronic Frontier of Finland (Effi) and Pirate Party (Piraattipuolue) criticized   Finnish authorities for going to far.

Scandinavian's biggest Newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported also that the local Copyright Information and  Anti-Piracy Centre in Finland TTVK's director Antti Kotilainen answered the critics by saying "of course we review every situation individually, but that in this case, it was better to let authorities to investigate what has happened." According to Helsingin Sanomat, Antti Kotilainen stated that it is not possible to load illegal music without knowledge.

Events started when last year's october family's daughter tried to preview to Chisu's new album. According to child's father, searches took her to the Pirate bay. Next spring the father got a letter from TTVK demanding 600 euros. TTVK's letter also demanded a nondisclosure. Father didn't oblige, but instead, wrote a letter back to the attorney. Letter included photographs of the bought album, and the tickets to the concert, which her child attended.

This case has been the story of many Finnish newspapers today and also it has gotten a lot of attention through facebook. As the father's story started to circulate, it seems that the piracy movement gets a lot of sympathy because of this. At least after this, anti-piracy movement might be more attuned to use softer means to fight piracy for a while.

Unfortunately there are no links in English at the moment, so you have to trust author's translations, or use some translator device. You will probably get more using Swedish links, because Finnish doesn't really translate to English using automatic translators. If I find some links in English, concerning this case, I will try to remember to update this blog.

Update #1. Today there seems to be few english stories. Here are few links that might be enlightening.
Technocrunch: Finnish Police Seize 9-year Old Girl's Winnie the Pooh laptop for Using Pirate Bay
Torrentfreak: Police raid 9-year Old Pirate Bay Girl, Confiscate Winnie the Pooh Laptop
The Inquirer: Finnish Police Raid 9 Year Old Girl for 'piracy'

Update #2. In Finland people under fifteen cannot be prosecuted. So this blog entry starts by throwing people a bit off. Sorry for wooing people. Girl's legal guardian, in this case her father, might still face trial.

Update #3. According to Torrentfreak, TTVK's english abbreviation is CIAPC.

Update #4. Electronic Frontier Finland seems to have made an English release stating that CIAPC is doing blackmaling in Finland.

Update #5. Boingboing seems to have used this entry as a part of their story. I might have had a good upper hand covering this story, because I can read Finnish newspapers in two languages. So I'll just crosslink their story here.





Sunday, November 18, 2012

Abortion or death - Right for abortion raises it's fist in Dublin

In a country, where many think that god himself wrote the Bible, leave the choice to men shaving their beards, but don't leave a choice to women to decide what their fetuses do, is something that I refuse to accept. I'll probably have to explain that in the third of Moses, it is very clearly stated that any man who shaves his beard is to be stoned. After that I can continue with fetus, where there is no mention of it all in the Bible. At least I'm pretty certain of it, because I'm one of those rare people, who have actually read the book. Not the original, but one that is said to be the true word of God.

I'm very sad to call the passing of Savita Halappanavar a victory for something that should be legal in any case where you put human's life and choices in front of total destruction. I'm very sorry for using words of human and destruction in the same sentence, but I believe I have a very strong ground for it. Thousands of people gathered in the centre of Dublin yesterday to support the cause of at least giving people choice to decide for themselves what's happening in their body.

There's a good video on Irish Times giving a picture of the shock that locals are feeling here.

Independent: Pro-choice activists got tip-off on tragic death

Saturday, November 17, 2012

How to make a perfect title about blogging about your nipples, wonder the publishers

What comes out if you throw a bucket of paint down the stairs? Do you expect it to be a beatiful painting or a symphony compared to a deaf artist like Beethoven? It could be either, at least if you're into John Cage. That is the feeling when I sometimes get when reading the so called poetry which I wrote when I was just starting to know what it feels like to be a teenager.

To make art, there has to be a purpose for it, an intention that makes you throw the bucket down the stairs. Otherwise is just senseless violence against either the bucket or the stairs. That is also why I love to read Steve Buttry's diary. He is a professional journalist, who also has the tendency to read everything he writes just to doublecheck his Craig's list. That kind of a journalism is dying, because everywhere, where journalists are preserved as the national heroes of the truth (or money, because in every country there is also approved the commentary against the mainstream journalism), an and journalists are to be expected to bulletwrite, bulletread, doublebullet-timeread, and go back in time again and read their to-be articles before they are already released. Common saying is that internet is killing journalism.

Is it?

I know there is some kind of a crisis going on in publishing houses. And it's not because there aren't good journalists in the world. It's because publishers don't get enough money to pay for journalists who can make money for publishers. The crisis is real. Specially when most papers do a lot of their income by advertising. But for some reason the big game is in the daily papers, even though there are journalists in papers which come out only once a month or so, and their journalists are being paid about the same, unless they work for BBC or FOX NEWS. Latter being, of course, the dream job of a playwright. 

Coming back to Buttry. He is a professional, who also does his blog because of, as I believe, enthusiasm (and to make a brand of himself, but that's what bloggers do) for good, written English, which is a skill I am trying to (still) learn. 

My points is that, even when you're an amateur blogger, you can always do better than just throwing your keyboard down the stairs when you actually have something to say about blogging.

I don't. Read Steve Buttry.

Friday, November 9, 2012

American Idiot in Dublin

This week Broadway's sensation American Idiot, based on the album of same name by Green Day, has been playing in Grand Canal Theatre also known by it's familiar name Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. According to Musicscene.ie's article it's set around Green Day's two albums "American Idiot" and "21st Century Breakdown".

Few of my collegues are going there tonight. Here's a clip from American tv-show Live with Regis and Kelly promoting Broadway week in 2010.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Jump in The Liffey

I've heard and read a few times the saying of it's never too late - to jump into The Liffey. I somehow understand it as a way to see the bright side of things. The saying works well when everything seems to be too dark and it seems that there is no way out. There is always the Liffey.

During summertime it's actually a nobrainer if you're offered 50 euro for jumping in The Liffey. That's what happens in this video. The guys are next to The pint, nice two-storied pub in the central (with bands playing punk and metal upstairs - at least when I happen to be there). The jumping place is close to Tara Street station, and it's a good place to jump as the ladder is very close.

Monday, October 22, 2012

After the IPO weekend: trouble with Boylepoker and the final table pronounced

This year IPO missed one decent player, who should have been there playing: me. I had trouble registering to Boylepoker, which is the only way to buy tickets. Hindrances in the development of social security system has also a few drawbacks when it comes to proving your own identity. Although customs in most countries around the world, including Ireland, use passports as main proof of identity, here in Ireland that is just a perk which opens you doors a lot faster. I have opened my account in Boylepoker few months ago and I got my account suspended because I could only produce a copy of my passport, but no proof of address. When I finally got my proof of address delivered to Boylepoker's customer service agents, it didn't do no good. Why, you might wonder. Well, the proof of address I produced is for my current address, but not to the one which I gave when I registered. I had also an understandable excuse for this, for I had moved to a new address and my previous address would have been invalid anyways. But for some reason, this was not good enough for the good lads of Boylepoker.

IPO is probably the Europe's biggest poker tournament with lots of amateurs playing. This year's final table didn't give any surprises. The table is full of amateurs of sorts and no famous poker pros. There aren't any big winners in the final table, but people with lots of experience. Some of the players have been playing poker for ten years with one exception; Colum Horan, an accountant from Dublin, says he has been playing poker for 11 months, not ten or twelve, but eleven months. Maybe the subtle knowing of numbers gives an edge to the newcomer of poker.

10th of November the new champion will be pronounced. Maybe I'll get my identity cleared by the IPO 2013 or else there is going to be a very sad pokerpanda.

Last weekend I mostly played Mass Effect.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Desperate-Dex

And the story continues. We're did we leave off? Oh yes, the girl was finally ready to confront her true feelings. Careerminded man was out in the dark. Everything hadn't been going well at work. There we're even some financial issues mentioned, but appearances we're kept well.  There was a tragic ending to marriage. Marriages sometimes end bad. It was a fairy tale gone bad. There we're even children involved.

If you're looking for a great antihero, then you should get interested in Jeff Lindsay's work: the books and the tv-series based on Lindsay's work. Although the similiraties with the book and the tv-series is like comparing Christian Bale's Batman to Adam West's Batman. Mostly, I mean in the good way. The book series offers great sense of humour to cerial killing. The newer version of the tv-model stands mostly on it's own merits like earlier mentioned Batmans. Even though the tv-show never really shows the dark humour which infests in Dexter Morgan's mind, but it still gets of the ground, just to say that the tv-series has a great cast. For my kind of a boring and a passive guy, it seems easier to not let your imagination ruine great characters. And just to spoil most of the stuff already: most of the cast in tv doesn't live to see the next sequel. And those who die in the series continue to live in the books for what their limbs are worth.

Now after seeing the first two episodes of Dexter's 7th season and after reading first three books of Jeff Lindsay, it feels like experiencing two parallel universe of fiction. It's like you've been thrown from this life to another and you feel two perfect universes joint together and neither one of them is the reality.

On my behalf I must say, I'm a new fan. I started watching the show during last spring. Then I heard that the books are bit more wicked. I just wanted to read the first one, just to get the idea of how these two art forms with the same topic differ from each other. Having to say that, if you are feeling going to the dark side, you have to feel both sides of the dark passenger. One cannot simply just read a few books and watch couple of seasons of Dexter.

I don't know how much this season differs from the books, but it seems that I have three more books to be read before next week. Dexter Morgan is still a mystery to me, but I like the way that big budgets sometimes like to take risks with storylines. The show reminds me a lot of Desperate Housewives. Those who have taken to like Desperate Housewives, will probably find something comfortable in that sinister world, where you can never really take sides with anyone.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Preparing for IPO

It seems Poker is alive and kicking in Ireland with several casinos and pubs arranging games. I've been mostly attending games that are handled by Dublin poker nights. Usually it's on thursday at The Bell. Thursday is a good day to go out, because most people get their weekly paycheck on thursday. Today's event is as followed:
"€110 added and double league points tonight by Dublin poker nights tonight @ The Bell Pub Blanchardstown. 8.30 start €40 freezeout plus €3 per player to €3000 DPN league. Complimentray Hot Food on the break. Cash table later. Dealers we play and deal if we cash it carries over to following week. Text or phone rob 0864046570 to book your seat"
 It seems I have already ranked in Poker night's league as 57th. 24 of the players will qualify for 3000 euro tournament and the winner gets an IPO ticket. I think that is bit faraway to reach, but it would be nice to improve my ranking.

Poker nights also arrange monthly deepstack tournament with East coast pub poker tour, and this month's tournament is set to start at 3 pm in Clarion hotel on saturday. Entry is 80 euroes including 15 euro registration fee. If there is any consistency the tournament will end at about 7 am next morning. So it doesn't just take skills to win, it also takes a stamina, which requires a goodnight sleep and a good breakfast.

There will also be a satellite tournament starting at 9 pm. Winners get tickets to annually IPO-tournament, which is said to be the Europe's biggest poker tournament when counting participants. Previous years attendance has been somewhere around 1500 players. That is the big event, which required me to use two of my holidays. I must post something about that event as it will be my biggest tournament ever.

According to Irish Poker Boards the deepstack event has already 70 pre-registered players. Promoters are expecting 150 players. Last month's attendance was more than 200. 220 if I remember correctly.

"1. Who is running the event. Dublin poker nights and East coast pub poker tour.
2. The purpose of the event. Commercial.
3. Date. 6th of October 2012.
4. Location. The Clarion Hotel, Dublin Airport.
5. Any guaranteed prize pool. €3000.
6. Registration and start time of event. 1.30pm game starts at 3pm.
7. Any prerequisites. None.
8. How can tickets be purched and is there a maxium number. On the Day.
9. Type of Tournament. NLH Freeze-out.
10. Cost of entry. €80.
11. How much of reg fee is made of registration fee. €15.
12. If a rebuy, cost of rebuy/top-up. N/a.
13. How many and what duration are rebuys available. N/a.
14. % of entry fee/rebuys/top-up going into prize fund. 100%.
15. How many places been paid. 10% of the feild.
16. Is any money from the prize pool held back for future tournaments. None.
17. Any tickets for future events given out as prizes. None.
18. Any additional prizes given out. None.
19. Starting chips. 25,000.
20. Re-buy and top up amounts. N/a.
21. Blind Levels.
25-50
50-100
75-150
100-200
150-300
150-300 ante 25
200-400 ante 50
300-600 ante 75
400-800 ante 75
500-1000 ante 100
600-1200 ante 200
800-1600 ante 200
1000-2000 ante 200
1500-3000 ante 300
2000-4000 ante 400
2500-5000 ante 500
3000-6000 ante 1000
4000-8000 ante 1000
5000-10,000 ante 1000
6000-12,000 ante 2000
8000-16,000 ante 2000
10,000-20,000 ante 2000
12,000-24,000 ante 2000
15,000-30,000 ante 3000
20,000-40,000 ante 4000
25,000-50.000 ante 5000

22. Blind time frames. 30 minutes.
23. Are there going to be dealers. Yes high skill.
24. Will there be a documented list of rules. Yes.
25. Is there a tournament director. Yes.
26. How are disputes handled. Tournament director has final say.
27. Are there cash tables on offer. Yes 5% capped at €15."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Here's to you Mr. Guinness

My first time, as I recall, drinking Guinness, was when I was thirteen or fourteen. We we're on a cruise from Finland to Sweden with my mother and stepfather. They had an evil scheme to deploy me back to Sweden because I had behaved worse than most people of my age. There was an idea to soften me up for the trip that could be the end of me. We were in a bar, and as I used to look a lot older then I really were, we drank all evening and perhaps small part of the night with my stepfather. At that time I didn't know Guinness was really a stout, not a lager. Not that it mattered at all. Next day my mouth tasted like old cream.

Years later I learned the beauty of the Irish brewermanship. I did a very long career in bars as a paid worker and as a paying customer. During this path I collided with an old forgotten friend, which I wasn't that fond of.  I used to work in a big beerhouse where they had 120 different brands of beer for sale and one of those brands was Guinness. As a first step working there I had to learn how to serve this black beast. Officially Guinness is supposed to be filled up to three fourths of the pint's size and take a 119,5 second break and then pour rest of it in the pint. My interest grew during the work hours. I tasted it again and the black beast was turned into a black beauty.

It's 27th of september and today at 17:59 we'll all drink one for Arthur. Just in case, we could make it again on 28th. Arthur Guinness' real birthday is still a mystery, but historians seem to very certain that he was born on dates between fall of 1724 and early 1725. So if we'll really want to celebrate the guy who gave us the black stuff, we should drink one every day. Just in case.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Spiderman's almost amazing reboot

When it comes to superhero stories, I'm a real fan. Specifically Marvel syndicate's Spiderman and X-men have been my favorites since I was a child. I remember how I connected to unbreakable and self-healing Wolverine and the nerdy, but loud-mouthed Peter Parker alias Spiderman.

I think I've seen most of the Marvel universe's movie adaptions, even the infamous The Punisher (rated 5.3/10 on IMDB) starring Dolph Lundgren, the Swedish megastar of late 80's and early 90's. Punisher's only connection to comics were characters with a same name, which can not be regarded as a plus for an antihero, who brutally kills mobsters without mercy, and seems to be enjoying justice as a revenge only served with as much as pain as a man can inflict on another.

Marvel has had it share of excellent characters, story arcs and stories shining on the silver screen as well as adaptations which have brought shame to the makers and is solely the main reason I hate big production companies which turn things that should be loved to things that get despised. And in some cases I don't believe the producers are so much interested in artistic integrity as they are of money.

For me, Sam Raimi's Spiderman trilogy should have gotten it's fourth installment produced and I wasn't very happy with the idea of a new Spiderman reboot - specially so soon. But that was just prejudice on my part.

Last weekend I went to see the movie's 3D version. My only disappointment was that the movie didn't let me hate it and rant about it all over the internet, which is my true ranting arena. I could say Andrew Garfield is somehow missing a bit of Tobey Maguire's silent charisma, but he still does a magnificent job as a sarcastic wise guy superhero and a shy but scientifically unique young boy with hormones splashing through his body while he also has to deal with tragic childhood and surviving teens.

*Here starts spoilers* (if you're not familiar with Spiderman comics in full - you might just want to stop here)

With the new Spiderman movie you get introduced to many of the original things that differentiated in Raimi's trilogy. First of all, this time Gwen Stacy is introduced as Peter Parker's first teenage love. Second of all, Spiderman doesn't have a mutation to web. Instead he works on a webbing machine attached to his hands, just like in the original comics. It might have seem like an easier way to explain Spiderman's webbing ability instead of portraiting the process of Peter Parker getting the idea for webcannons.

Also it might have been seen as a great groundshaking idea to introduce Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) as the greatest love of Spiderman-Parker, but for someone else it might have felt like the necessary nuisance to keep the story short in a sense that the Spiderman story has been continuing for decades with a big family of characters, which would have been easier to be introduced in a tv-series lasting for several seasons.




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

One Bell for the cards

Unlike in so many other developed countries, Ireland has next to none regulations concerning poker. It's almost a national sport. There are cash games, tournaments and freerolls in every district of Dublin.

I've been now twice in The Bell (Blanchardstown), where they organize a bar tournament of 40+3. First time I came last and the second time third. So there's my baseline so far. I can get through the bubble and I also have the amazing ability to finish just before the second last.

I found the place through Dublin Poker Nights. They seem to be handling a few tournaments on weekly basis. I haven't made sure that the information on the site is valid, but that's on my checklist.

Amy and Bono in heaven

When Amy Winehouse died, she went to heaven, which is a subject that some people might feel strongly about. For being raised in a jew family for instance might be a distinguishing characteristics for some to believe that there's no heaven for likes of her. Also doing an airfield full of drugs before turning 30 could be another distinctive reason for other's to believe that Amy is going to be given lots of reasons why she cannot enter tonight at the gates of heaven. Some people have a very strong belief that her not being a suitable role model for children and teenagers is reason enough to ban her from heaven and hell altogether. Anyways, she went to heaven cause of the popular belief that god is an all-loving man, who doesn't give a rat's bottom about how mortal people like to mix their beliefs and politics together.

In heaven, there is a special place for rockstars, and Amy for being one was naturally accepted to this 24h party people's club. That's the club where there's literally a band playing the best of rock and all the other genres as well 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and everything is free, there's no queues to the bar, no sexually transmitted diseases (or any other diseases), beer cold as hell, err, cold as heaven, no injuries for falling down intentionally or unintentionally. Place which could be by many indicators defined as the Greatest Invention of God.

At the heaven's heavenly rockstar club, Amy was given a tour by St. Peter and Jesus themselves. "When we looked at your record, we thought that this would be your final resting place so to speak."

Everything seemed swell. There we're beer that didn't make you sick for days and a lots of famous rock stars. "There's John Lennon", said St. Peter to Amy. "He is still preaching about Utopia, but that's allright here in heaven." "Oh, Kurt Cobain", said Amy. "Live and well so to speak", replied Jesus knowingly, "and there's Jimi Hendrix, Wolfgang Mozart, Elvis Presley, of course, and Freddie Mercury."

"Oh, but who is that?", asked Amy. There was a man in a black suit rounded by the elite of the heavenly rockstar groupies. Man was wearing sunglasses which reminded a bit of honeybee's eyes. "I didn't know that Bono was dead", said Amy.

"He is not. That's just my dad, the god almighty, thinking that he is Bono", said Jesus and went back to his room.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Local not-so-proud

Every city, town and metropolis has their own distinctive landmarks of a sort, where to plan meetings. In Dublin centre, they have this thing called The Spire and for 4 million euroes Dublin got their share of local people sharing their opinions. International public may be aware of the statue as the tallest sculpture in the world, but locals sometimes define it as "The Needle Statue Of The Drug Capital Of The World", "Far From Grand", "Just The Needle" and they also use some other names that you shouldn't use for someone or something you like.

If you want to make international comparisons, you should take The Eiffel Tower as a competition. Eiffel Tower was meant to be the highest building in the world and stay that way forever. The Spire had similar meanings when they started building the tallest sculpture in the world in a city of documented history close to 2000 years.

Also Eiffel Tower is a world famous building with top engineering involved. The Spire may have some of that. Considering that 21st century's engineering is prone to be hidden away from plain sight, The Spire may have had just wrong timing. It has a mass dampener to counteract the sway and the stainless steel is modified to reflect light smoothly, but you cannot actually see the technology. Oh, and The Spire had something to do polishing the central too.

O'Connell street, where the Spire is located, had trees old as century harvested, local shops were prohibited to use plastic signs (more like anything regarded as a cheap looking) to attract customers and the traffic lanes we're simplified.

The Spire was sold to the great public as a self-cleaning sculpture, but for some reason it has 200 000 euro maintenance budget. But it is not unusual that politicians may redefine the meaning of words. The Spire was self-cleaning before it was built and afterwards it was just illogical to believe the stainless steel tourist attraction would clean itself (quote is from nowpublic.com's article "Cleaning The World's Tallest Sculpture Is An Expensive Process").

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Foggy water

People take personal hygiene very seriously in Ireland. Sometimes people take a shower a three times a day: one when going to work, one when coming back from work and sometimes one at home. If it's a day off, or a person is otherwise not connected to work life, going out can be labeled as taking shower.

There are three types of rain in Ireland: fog, rain and water. Latter is when rain comes horizontally against a person's face and wearing an umbrella is more like a joke than actually useful accessory.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

How to get a PPS number

One of the main issues of living (or at least working) in Ireland, is attaining a PPS number. Number is a personal number for Tax office to calculate person's taxes. Number is also needed if a person wants to get a pension later on as well as all the other social security and health related issues.

Attaining the PPS number is basically really simple process with right documents. You need to have a valid identification like a passport or a driver's license (of course, this seems to be mandatory in every developed country) and a proof of address. The latter one is a bit trickier process. What substitutes for a proof of address is a matter of opinion, but a rental agreement, a letter from a landlord or a room mate, a some kind of utility bill (electricity, gas, garbage disposal) or a letter from your employer is kind of proof, and so valid, but these letters are put into consideration. You also need some easy to use leisure products like portable videogames, mp3 device, a book, a paper or your yoga mat. I'll come back to that later.

So your morning starts 9:25 at Kings inn street social welfare office. There are loads of people with lots of concerns awaiting with you and when the door opens at 9:30 they will all run upstairs for reasons unknown to man. Theory of Collective Intelligence might give us a hint of this behaviour. But your main concern is to avoid letting your instincts to push in and to stay downstairs. There's a perfectly normal desk calling for you on the first level and when this happens, you can let your instincts finally go loose. Use your muscles to achieve the desk and you will encounter two well behaving customer representatives ready to give you a ticket number as soon as you tell them that you're here for the PPS number and you have your ID and forementioned proof of address readily at your hand.

Now comes the hard part of using leisure products. Time usually seems to be in bullet time (see references from Matrix or any other action movie made in the next five years after the original matrix) when you're waiting. Hopefully you understand how to use your leisure products or that you at least have that special happy place located somewhere in your brain, where you can go anytime when a moment calls for it.

After almost using all of your leisure products, your number is up and you will have to locate yourself in a appropriate small booth. Process from there on is supported by two lovely officials which will give you two small papers to be filled out. If you get into any sort of trouble because of lack of understanding, the officials will help you anyway they can, or if the situation asks for it, you will be appointed to guardian, who will take care of you until you are suit to satisfy your basic needs on your own.

The first letter is about your personal details, like your name and a place of birth, mother's maiden name, etc. As stated before, if you can't fill out these for any various reason, there really should be somebody to take care of you. You might label me as a supporter of sustainable equality, for I think that is a good thing. The second letter is all about security questions which will be used if you need to be in contact later on about your PPS number.

After you are done, you will receive a letter delivered to your home address stating your PPS number in five days. You can also call the Head Office of PPS numbers the following day. Here you will need to recall your security questions, because that is the way you are identified from now on - ALL THE TIME.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Packed packs

You know those movies where getting relaxed involves of  untieng a tie and getting socks off. It also includes a comfortable sofa where to lay down and where you are allowed to a have a big bag of potato chips. If that kind of movie (or a tv-series) were made in Dublin, it would require a props manager making special orders, because potato chips in Ireland are basically sold in small packs weighting about 25 grams.

There are bigger packs sold in Ireland. But, here's the catch, they are actually just bigger packs containing those smaller packs. Here's a pro tip for somebody learning the ropes of prop managing. Buy the bigger pack, take out the smaller packs and empty them pack to the bigger pack. Or just let the actor have the bag, but don't let him eat anything from the pack. Prop pack might as well include cat food, and you know actors. They are intelligent people who think with their hearts instead of their brains.

Good side is that you never eat too much with too much ease.

Author would like to apologize in advance for all the prop managers reading this short blog. You've probably figured all these things out or else you wouldn't be a prop manager. If this pro tip was actually useful, then remember to credit the author.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Irish courteousy - something to look for

Have you ever felt that somebody is rude to you? Or that somebody just tries to make fun of you and you don't know it? Here in Dublin it feels that you get the right answers to both of these questions.

Being Finnish as I am, I have hard times saying please and thank you to every dead space of a conversation, but not all the time as being such a sexually fantastic cosmopolitan. But here, in Dublin, it just gets to you. Even when you forget to say those complimentary words, somebody reacts to you in a certain well-placed-thankyous and takecareofs. It's hard to explain if you're not ever been to Dublin. It's like meeting your personal reaper at the wrong time, and the reaper asks you if this is a bad time.

It seems that it actually doesn't take a lot of time for somebody to just start repeating some common courteousies even if that somebody is just trying to ask for a lighter.

I think this is the basic dialogue that happens then:

- Aye, how you doing?
- I'm quite fine and the weather is fine, like, don't you think?
- Grand, and could pass me some fire, please?
- Grand, and ouh, grand, perhaps, grand, I got some from my, grand, friend, can't actually remember her name, but emm, grand
- That's okay, but you were brilliant, I'll just ask somebody else, but you were a great help, thanks.
- Yeah, and the stadium, that's just great, and oh, here's my lighter, there you go.
- Thanks a million.
- Yeah, you take really good care of yourself and we'll see each other again. Take care and bye.

In finnish that would be:
- Any light?
- No
(dead)


Friday, June 8, 2012

Airports

Airports. Airports never change. Nobody knows who built the first one, but we know they exist.

Lennart Meri Airport, named after the former president of Estonia, is a small airport with just one runway. Nevertheless, while I was there, waiting for my flight to Dublin, I discovered that while Saku, Estonian brewery, has had a few Estonian sounding brands, but it also has had a few brands of beer which are not assosiated with Estonia very often. 

Brands like A Le Coq (sounds french to me) and Dublin (creamy dark beer, which is for me like Saku Tüme with some creaminess - but does get the meeting with the floor when against Beamish or Guinness) remind me of other places excluding  France and Ireland for reasons of being diplomatic. It could be that Estonian history hasn't had those remarkable events that curve history, so that they could sell beer on their own. Unless somebody wants to google Saku Karl Friedrich.

Or perhaps it's the Estonian way of saying that they are a part of Europe, more or the less than Russia. As far as I know, there hasn't been beers called The Stalin or The Iron Curtain either. Perhaps Saku, or some other brewery, could start a new beer brand called Lennart Meri. Hopefully it will give some justice to the name.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

As cheap as it gets - in OSLO

I'm an immigrant and I know people basically think that us foreigners are taking YOUR jobs and taking your YOUR apartments, and so on, etc.

As I see it, Dublin is actually pretty cheap place to live. If you want to understand how it feels for me to move to a developing country like Ireland, let's see how norwegian people feel about finnish people. My first encounter with an actual Norwegian was when I was about 19-20 years old and we met in a centerpub where it cost like 25 marks (inflation not included - 6 euros) per a 0,5 litres of beer and he paid for me and my ladyfriend the whole night. His idea was that it was cheap in Helsinki, when in Oslo it cost about 100 marks (inflation still not included - 16 euroes) to get a beer in a restaurant.

So I try to understand, when moving to south, from my point of view, I am moving to a developing country. And Ireland is probably getting Spotify in there too.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Would you like to walk on The Ernest Walton Bridge?

Siliconrepublic.com reports of a movement led by The Institute of Physics (IOP) in Ireland aiming to have Dublin's City Council to name the planned Marlborough street bridge spanning over the River Liffey as "The Ernest Walton Bridge" after the nobel-prize winner.
 
I think it's a great idea for a city of such a long history to brand new projects with a sense of pride in history. In Helsinki, a city where I have lived more than a half of my life, the main street is named Mannerheimintie after the president and a military leader who fought on the side of the Whites in the Finnish Civil War. Although Mannerheim's greatness is a matter of debate in Finland even after 90 years since the Civil War, Walton himself doesn't have a cloudy past which could be a burden to a new bridge, unless you want to blame him for discoveries that lead to Manhattan Project.


You can sign the petition at the surveymonkey.


Learning to talk like politicians - lesson learned from Enda Kenny and Michael Noonan

Ireland is having a referendum about the new fiscal treaty in two days and according to some polls the Yes side is a little bit ahead. It seems that diplomacy ain't the first thing in mind when it comes to politics. Irish Examiner quoted Taoiseach Enda Kenny that he will not "be shoved around" by Sinn Féin. ""I am not going to give a platform to somebody who I don't regard as the leader of the Opposition to [propagate] what are blatant lies and hypocritical assertions", Irish Examiner's article ends up quoting aforementioned Kenny.

On this notion, other countries should learn about Irish diplomacy when it comes to the highest form of political debating. Forget lines like "there seems to be some kind of misunderstanding" or "we still have some issues that we need to work out to get to the approvable level of compromise". You have to be strict and call your fellow companion a liar and a bully. That's how political differences are worked out in Ireland.

But also other kind of behaviour can be found in Ireland. According to the Independent, the finance minister Michael Noonan promises easier budget, if the Yes side wins. Noonan's worries seem to be concerning Ireland falling down on credit rating. There's is also a lots of worries about Ireland's public sector, growth and sustainability of the social welfare. The carrot that Noonan is offering seems a little bit obscure to me in a sense that I don't understand how economical forecasts are made in Ireland. But that's my problem.

Perhaps after next week (or next year or next decade) we will have more of that hindsight concerning what should have been voted, which in my humble opinion is the only exact science.




Monday, May 28, 2012

How to travel cheaply from Dublin to Helsinki

Travelling between Dublin and Helsinki can cost a lot of money when prices are ranging around 300 euros. There are even trips which cost close to thousand euros even if it's just a oneway trip. It goes without saying that you'll have a very nice flight with a k.

I've been using Momondo, halvatlennot.fi and ebookers.com to try to find out the cheapest flights. They all seem good sites, but Momondo has a nice graphical output. After you've inputed the date, where you want to travel from and to, Momondo shows you, not just the prices for that day, but also the prizes for every day of the month. This is done with a chart that shows the lowest prize from the first day of the month to the last day. Underneath it you can find the actual planned flights.

Sometimes it's even cheaper if you fly from Dublin to Estonia and cross the Baltic Sea with a boat. Flight between Estonia and Dublin can cost as low as 70 euros. But there's a cutback into it. Path goes via Latvia and Latvia's pitstop takes about 10 hours.


Bad news for comedians: You can still get convicted for blasphemy in Ireland

Freedom house's last year's report gives good scores to Ireland for almost all the concerned fields (legal, economical, political, press freedom) except matters concerning freedom of speech.

It seems that Ireland is at the same time highly secular and highly religious. Blasphemy is regarded as a criminal offence in Ireland, although it's unclear to me, how the grounds of blasphemy are judged. Wikipedia's article "Blasphemy law in Republic of Ireland" gives some insight. The article states that somebody got fined thousand pounds and got convicted to jail for a year for denying Divinity of Christ. This was about 300 years ago, but the law is still in effect and a few years ago Defamation act was reformed. Reformed Act, according to Wikipedia, states that uttering "material 'grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion', when the intent and result is 'outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion'."

I'm not indenting to test the limits of the law, but I would be curious to know how to get accused of blasphemy. In Finland there was (and still is in some form of) an Act which included blasphemy. Two Finnish artists got convicted and later pardoned by the President.

First case was when an author called Hannu Salama published a book called Juhannushäät (Midsummer dances) 1964. It included a scene called Pilkkasaarna (mockery of a christian sermon). It didn't help his case that he was known for his affiliation with working-class. He got a three months of parole in 1966, but got pardoned in 1968.
Second case happened in 1969 when a painter Harro Koskinen got convicted for a painting called The Pig Messiah, which featured a crucified pig.

Perhaps these two Finnish artists gives some ideas to people in Ireland how to provoke on the limits of legal boundaries.

Spotify thinking of moving to Dublin

Spotify might be locating in Dublin, if we are to believe Irish Central's headline - and why won't we. Dublin might be a good place for an international company operating in digital business. Dublin already accommodates firms, which you've probably heard before, like Google, Twitter, Facebook and Zynga.

Spotify is a music streaming service which has about 20 million subscribers. Spotify's revenue model is based on subscribers paying a monthly fee to gain access to millions of music tracks on Spotify's servers. There are also free accounts, which include advertisements broadcasted between tracks.

Dublin has a significant amount of foreigners (13 % according to CIA - The world factbook) which gives companies reasonable amount of language specialists, which is sometimes required for big companies to appear local where ever they offer their products. I can talk from an experience, for I am about to start at one of these big companies, and although my work language is english, my daily duties will involve a lots of finnish.

The irony of Spotify possibly basing their operations in Dublin, is that Spotify, although available in UK, is not available in the Republic of Ireland.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I am armed and gonna kick you in the face - with my fist

I sometimes feel it disturbing to use certain english words, when there is probably a high probability of getting misunderstood. For instance there are many jokes among finnish-english-speaking community of how to translate idioms or phrases from language to another. For instance the word arm is 'käsi' in finnish and the word 'käsittää' is "being understood' and therefore 'I am being understood ('olen käsitetty')' can be translated into english in a sentence of "I'm armed".

To help me get by these common mistakes, I sometimes remind myself of Jon Lajoie. He is canadian actor/comedian/performance artist whose "Guns don't kill people" is a good reminder of how to get others get your point and get UNunderstood at the same time.

"I'm gonna kick you in the face - with my fist"



Few reasons not to leave Dublin - or come to Dublin

Totally Dublin (TD) produced 200 reasons for not leaving Dublin. It's mostly written for somebody whose family line might be located close to Dublin for generations (at least one).  The list is not in any fashioned form emphasizing better reasons upon worse.

So here is a short list of reasons put into different categories.

Respect your shoe polisher
The use of chemical substances or the otherwise lacking respect for things considered gratious are treated differently in Dublin than let's say in Buckingham palace.
  • "If the Lady Liberty was here, it’d be called The Clown In The Crown."
  • Alcoholism. "There’s actually serious social stigma attached to that in other countries"
  • Referring to politicians by their first name. Michael D. Higgins is Michael D. 
  • Cheeky kids. If a kid tells you, he likes your hair, he thinks your hair looks stupid and you're an idiot. "The city’s children are amongst the world’s most sarcastic." Author of this blog is just being diplomatic.
It's just like everywhere else, but better
It's not like people invented potatoes in Ireland, but they are better here than anywhere else. If you're unsure where potatoes came from, then please visit google maps. It's that big island few thousand miles west of Ireland.
  • Burritos are "everywhere, but they’re probably full of fancy stuff and complications. Stick to Boojum, Pablo Picante and Burritos & Blues."
  • Vikings. They needed parking space for their boats before going on rampage stealing gold and burning monastries. "That’s way cooler than pilgrims", reasons TD.
  • Salted butter. "The disappointing, colourless slop that passes for butter in every other country in the world is a disgrace to bread."
  • Low risk of invasion. Basically it's like Switzerland except on an island.
  • Pubs that are institutions. "-- each better than any pub in any other country. Science fact." A bit like Tavastia or Juttutupa in Helsinki.
  • Poker. Different game and you have to be sober. Otherwise it's the same game.
Actually worth mentioning
This category is probably the most important, if you're really into the distinctive nature of Dublin, otherwise it's just some concepts people are copying around the world.
  • Pints of Guinness. I won't copypaste TD's review. I'll just point out that there's a difference.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Richard Evans won the poker title in Dublin

Last week would have been a great chance to enjoy UKIPT in Dublin. Doesn't those letters sound fascinating? Well, they are, if you are into the world of poker. UKIPT stands for UK and Ireland Poker Tour, which is sponsored by Pokerstars, one of the biggest poker tournament promoters and probably the biggest poker site on the internet.

This time the winner was Welshman Richard Evans who was about to drop out of the tournament on the 4th day with no more than 1.2 chips in front of him. You can read about the final table on Pokerstars's blog. If you're unfamiliar with poker, watch this video where Phil Hellmuth (a.k.a. Poker Brat) blows up after losing a hand.



If you missed this bigger event, don't worry. There are lots of poker going on in Ireland as far as I can tell. Even in Dublin there's a poker room practically in every district. Basically you get the idea by opening Google maps and inputing "Dublin" and "Poker".

update: I included Mick McCloskey's Poker In Ireland link in "Useful links in Dublin/Ireland"-tab, where you can locate bigger tournaments played in Ireland.

Dublin theatre festival offers like 500 shows in a month

For being credited as a playwright in Finland for several occasions, I'm pretty excited about the Dublin Theatre festival.  I consider myself a drama enthusiast with a skill to sense comedy behind even the darkest play, even if you actually take in count that I have written few scripts which have made their way on stage with actual actors yelling lines wrought by me. For that reason I cannot actually wait for the festival to begin.

If this year is anything close to previous year, we will be seeing more than 500 performances on a couple of dozen venues in a timeframe of less than a month. That's like 30 shows a day.

Unsure what they will play there and what my budget will be, I decided that if I would work for the festival as a volunteer or as a trainee (fancier name for a worker who doesn't get paid) I could probably get free tickets. I have previously volunteered at Helsinki International Film Festival (Rakkautta ja anarkiaa) in a very simple job of guiding people in cinemas and making sure that people have right tickets to right shows. If it would be that simple, but this year it probably ain't. Dublin theatre festival's homepage sites that "The closing date for seasonal positions has passed."

Next year, if I still live in Dublin, I'll be prepared for applying long before the summer. Perhaps they could use a languagespecialist for finnish tourists?




Before Jedward

Just before you get to see the Eurovision finals, you should see this. Before Jedward there were John and Edward performing in the X-factor 2009. Here they are performing Ghostbusters. I have to grant, that they have attitude, which probably appeals to certain kind of stereotypical Eurovision fans.

Eurovision: Jedward should take David Bowie and Teletubbies on the stage

Ireland's this years contestenders for Eurovision song contest is Jedward. When I saw them earlier this week performing to get their shot at the finals I thought they were some kind of a mixture between David Bowie and The Teletubbies.

Let's see what they performed at the Eurovision semifinals.





Okay. They are full of the right kind of cheerfulness. Now let's see David Bowie performing Starman decades ago.



As you can see, there is that same kind of glittery and colourfulness in Bowie's act as well as in Jedward's act. But there is something still missing. Now let's see The Teletubbies and you try to figure out why I see the connection between Jedward and Bowie-Teletubbies-hybrid.



I actually think that Jedward's performance is a good one, but they should enhance it with little more Teletubbies and people will hear a lots of twelve-points-goes-to-Irelands tonight.