3-year AN-niversary

Three years ago today it was Wednesday. At 6:45 I was sitting in the lobby of Töölö hospital right here in Helsinki, waiting for the lab to open so I could have my final labs taken before the surgery. At this time, 10:45 I was already way under, my head open, maybe two hours into the surgery. After everything went dark due to the anesthesia around eight, nearly ten hours passed before I opened my eyes again. I was already two hours out of the surgery, lying in the ICU, when I woke up to the urgent thought that I need to make dinner for the kids. I opened my eyes to a bright fluorescent lamp practically blinding me, thought “oh, nevermind then” and went back to sleep.

The next two, three days were a blur. I mostly slept, waking up enough to eat and talk with visitors for maybe five minutes at a time. Eventually I was forced up, to the toilet and to the shower and walking more and more each day. I was terrified at first, since simply sitting up gave me vertigo, but with each try, everything gradually got better. After five days in the hospital it was time to return home, to our house of three floors, where I could not avoid walking stairs if I wanted to. In retrospect, that was probably a good thing, recuperating my balance faster.

The first weeks were tough, the first of everything making me dizzy, but slowly but surely it all got better as my head got used to everything again. In no time I was taking our dog for walks again, I was driving again, I was going to the store again, I was able to shower properly again. Truly it felt to me like I was learning everything in life again. No part of normal life was a given anymore, and sometimes it felt like I’d never be the same again. I was reading about the new normal and tried to adjust.

Now, three years out of surgery, I am almost completely recuperated. My new normal is almost the same as my old normal. My balance in everyday life is as good as needed – sure, I gave up dancing from frustration due to balance issues – and the biggest nuisance is the SSD, the single-sided-deafness, but even that doesn’t bother me too much generally. I notice things like if I have been doing physical work (home renovations, yard work etc.) for a full day, I get so tired physically that I start to stumble and trip. Then again, I have always had the skill to trip on flat surfaces and bump into doors and whatnot. My mom used to call me “konkkelokoipi” when I was growing up. Basically it means clumsy in a bambi-like manner. I guess my AN just enhanced the skill ;)


As for the SSD, I remember the early weeks like yesterday. After the surgery my head had a constant hum inside, like there was a huge truck on idle inside. I thought I might just go crazy if it persisted, but it didn’t. Now the truck only visits my head after a particularily noisy or exhausting day. Sure, there is tinnitus all the time. but mostly I tend to forget all about it, ignoring it fully.

The first time I tried to watch a movie after the surgery, in our nice tv room with full surround 5-speaker home theater system, I burst out crying when I realised I could not make out a single word of the movie dialogue due to the separate speakers all around the room. I needed flat sound and even then, subtitles for support. Now, I have gotten used to watching everything with subtitles (English for hearing impaired or Finnish if the English is not available) and I don’t really think twice about it. I leave the volume adjustment to the fully hearing family members and that’s ok. Surprisingly enough, movie theaters are a pleasant experience and mostly I can actually follow the dialogue without reading the subtitles there.

I have also gotten used to asking people to switch places with me at lunch so that I can be at the correct corner to maximize my hearing abilities. With friends from work, I usually don’t even need to remind them of the reason, and even if I do, it’s enough to touch my deaf ear. Many of them remember anyway, sometimes even better than I do myself! I am not bothered by needing to tell strangers about my SSD either; I do it rather matter-of-fact and people are ok with that. And, when it gets real noisy and I simply cannot hear, I let the others know that now it’s impossible for me to hear. What happens then depends on the situation and how important it is for me to hear what they’re saying.

Maybe the most annoying thing about SSD in my opinion and experience is the inability to understand where a sound comes from. Like when I lose my phone (which happens frequently for I am aloof and just set it down *somewhere*) and I need other people to help me locate it even when I hear it ringing. Once this happened in a store… Or when I sit at a doctors’ office in the waiting room and then the doctor calls my name, from behind a corner (very bad practice in my opinion, by the way – note this if you happen to be a doctor!) and I have to ask the other patients where the call came from. Or when I call some family member at home and even they don’t bother to elaborate on their location. Highly frustrating!


Yet, all in all, like I already noted, I mostly feel completely recovered. I can walk, I can work, I can climb (walls and trees), I can dance (if not really able to advance like before), I lead a completely normal life. My stamina is not what it used to be – I tire very easily – but hey! at least I sleep way better than ever before, thanks to the bright side of the SSD: when my good ear is against the pillow, I don’t hear all those disturbing noises that used to wake me up before, as I am a very light sleeper by default.

The good, the bad, the meh and the books of 2016

Vuosi valuu kohti loppuaan. Aika katsoa taas taaksepäin ja poimia vuoden hyvät, pahat, ompahavvaan ja kirjat esiin. ** This year is nearly over, so it’s time to take a look back and pick out the good, the bad, the meh and the books of the year.

Tammikuu ** January


+ Harvinainen illanistujainen Stadissa teinien toimiessa koiravahteina ** rare occasion of going out with husband while teens were dogsitting
+ X-Files season 10 <3
+ Star Wars: The Force Awakens

– R.I.P. David Bowie
– R.I.P. Alan Rickman
– Auto juuttui lumiseen ojaan ** Car stuck in snowy ditch

* Kauniit lumiset maisemat ** The beautiful snowy nature

Kuukauden kirja ** Book of the month: Serpent (by Clive Cussler)

Helmikuu ** February


+ Puhdas pään MRI ** Clean MRI ogf head
+ Kissakahvila Helkatti ** Cat coffee shop Helkatti

– Kehä ykkösen nopeuskamerat ** The speed cameras on Ring 1
– R.I.P. Uberto Eco

*  Työmatka Harjavaltaan ** Businesstrip to Harjavalta

Kuukauden kirja ** Book of the month:  Daughter of Narcissus (by Lady Colin Campbell)

Maaliskuu ** March


+ Boulderoimassa eli seinällä pitkästä aikaa ** Bouldering, ie. wall climbing for the first time in years
+ Tallinna kaveriporukassa ** Tallinn with friends

– Brysselin lentokentän pommi-isku ** Bomb at Brussels Airport

* Työmatka Brysseliin ** Business trip to Brussels

Kuukauden kirja ** Book of the month: Luostarin varjot (by C.J. Sansom)

Huhtikuu ** April  


+ Aloin maalata ** I started painting
+ Escape Room ensimmäistä kertaa ** Escape Room for the first time
+ Sain iPhone SE:n ** Got my iPhone SE

– R.I.P. Prince
– North Carolina diskriminaatio-lait ** North Carolina discrimination laws

* Nuorimmaisestakin tuli teini ** The youngest one became officially a teen

Kuukauden kirja ** Book of the month: Viipurin kaunotar (by Kaari Utrio)

Toukokuu ** May

2016-05-11 16.16.39

+ Ilmavoimamuseossa vierailu ** Visiting The Finnish Airforce Museum
+ Äitienpäivä ja Mamma <3 -muki ** Mother’s Day and Mamma <3 mug
+ Seikkailupuisto Korkee ** Adventure park Korkee
+ Hanami-juhla ystävien luona ** Hanami party at friends

* Työmatka Jyväskylä/Tikkakoski ** Business trip to Jyväskylä/Tikkakoski
* Työmatka Pori/Yyteri/Rauma ** Business trip to Pori/Yyteri/Rauma
* Sokeriton kuukausi ** Sugar free month
* Tyttärestäni kuoriutui poika ** My daughter grew up to be a son

Kuukauden kirja ** Book of the month: The Pursuit (by Janet Evanovich)

Kesäkuu ** June

2016-06-17 21.23.13-2

+ Esikoinen pääsi peruskoulusta ja pääsi haluamaansa lukioon ** Oldest kid graduated from “peruskoulu” (sort of like junior high, which in Finland ends the mandatory school) and was accepted to the high school which was his first choice
+ Tosikoinen pääsi ala-asteelta ** Youngest one finished the elementary school
+ Rakennettiin hieno workbench autotalliin ** Built a sturdy workbench for the mancave in the garage

– Myrsky, jonka seurauksena tosikoiselta jäi partioleiri väliin ** Storm, that caused the youngest one to skip scout camp

* Mökkireissu teini-nelikon ja koiran kanssa ** At the summer cottage with four teens and a dog
* Brexit

Kuukauden kirja ** Book of the month: Scar Tissue (by Anthony Kiedis)

Heinäkuu ** July

2016-07-18 14.19.08

+ Kesäloma ** Summer vacation
+ Lapin reissu ** Trip to Lapland
+ Grillibileet kavereiden kanssa ** Barbecue with friends
+ Seikkailupuisto Zippy omien teinien kanssa ** Adventure park Zippy with my teens
Valkealalaiset tytöt pelastivat pikkupojan hukkumiselta ** The two girls who saved a little boy from drowning in Valkeala

– Liki päivittäiset ukkoset, jotka pelotti Meggieä ** Almost daily thundering that scared Meggie
Surullinen ja pelottavakin uutiskuukausi ** Sad and even a bit scary month of news

* Pokemon Go

Kuukauden kirja ** Book of the month: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (Gabrielle Zevin)

Elokuu ** August

2016-08-20 17.24.19

+ Ystävien ihanat häät ** The lovely wedding of my friends
+ Viikonloppu kummitätini luona ** Weekend with my godmother

– Räjähdyksiä Thaimaassa ** Explosions in Thailand
– Sähköisten lukiokirjojen hankinta ** Buying highschool eBooks
– Kahdet ylinopeussakot parin viikon sisään ** Two speeding tickets within two weeks
– R.I.P. Gene Wilder

* Työmatka Pori/Yyteri/Rauma ** Business trip to Pori/Yyteri/Rauma

Kuukauden kirja ** Book of the month: Tyttöteurastaja (by Riitta Lehvonen)

Syyskuu ** September

2016-09-23 19.00.34

+ Lyhennytin hiukset optimaaliseen mittaan ** Had my hair cut short(er), to an optimal length
+ Rapujuhlat landella ** Crawfish party at our summer place

– Surkea hotelli Iisalmessa ** Sucky hotel in Iisalmi

* Työmatka Iisalmeen ** Business trip to Iisalmi
* Työmatka Rauma/Pori ** Business trip to Rauma/Pori

Kuukauden kirja ** Book of the month: This is a Call: The Life and Times of Dave Grohl (by Paul Brannigan)

Lokakuu ** October


+ Firman “pikkujoulu”matka Seefeldiin, Itävaltaan ** Company trip to Seefeld, Austria

* Aika mitäänsanomaton kuukausi noin muuten ** A pretty uneventful month otherwise

Kuukauden kirja ** Book of the month: The Book Thief (by Markus Zusak)

Marraskuu ** November

2016-11-14 16.28.05

+ Konferenssimatka Wieniin ** Conference trip to Vienna
+ Ilta kummitädin seurassa ** Evening with my godmother

– Viikkojen kamppailu flunssaa vastaan ** Weeks of struggling against flu
– Parin päivän äänettömyys ** Being voiceless for a couple days

* Työmatka Iisalmeen ** Business trip to Iisalmi
* Työmatka Heinolaan ** Business trip to Heinola

Kuukauden kirja ** Book of the month: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (by Ransom Riggs)

Joulukuu ** December

2016-12-27 14.56.35-1

+ Tämäkin vuosi loppuu ** This year will come to its end
+ Joulu ja loma ** Christmas and vacation
+ Ei työmatkoja ** No business trips

– R.I.P. George Michael
– R.I.P. Zsa Zsa Gabor
– R.I.P. Carrie Ficher
– R.I.P. Debbie Reynolds
– Miehen jatkuva työreissaus ** The many business trips of my husband

* Saara Aalto (X-Factor Britain)

Kuukauden kirja ** Book of the month: Kenkäheinistä kännyköihin (by Riitta Lehvonen)

The world post-truth

Post-truth, Oxford dictionary:
Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief:
‘in this era of post-truth politics, it’s easy to cherry-pick data and come to whatever conclusion you desire’
‘some commentators have observed that we are living in a post-truth age’”

wolfdoesntlosesleepPeople like Trump play with what they consider as weakness in other people: emotions. They are like the wolves that don’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep. Being sensitive, being sensitive to other people, being emotional, is often times considered as a weakness by people who believe that they can do just because they can. Nevermind the smaller ones, who, in their eyes, are too weak to fight. Like the sheep. Those people tell the sensitive person that they are disgusted by their butt-hurt over something. They believe their standard of cold and bold is the standard by which everyone should be judged.

Being sensitive is ok. Being hurt is fine. Reacting to hurtful things is ok too. It’s the bully who is weak. So weak that they cannot take it that someone is different than they are. So weak that they have to put others down in order to make themselves (appear) big. So weak that they cannot afford to consider other people’s emotions in fear of losing themselves and what fragile ego they have. Kindness is not a weakness, it’s a virtue and only the truly strong ones possess it. Strength lies in the ability to be there for other people (too), not just for yourself. True strength is when you are hurt, but you still go on and not only go on for yourself but for others as well.

So, people are easily manipulated because of their ability to feel and because their actions can be affected by affecting the emotions. Just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s right. So, many people are like sheep or cows, following the herd mindlessly or half-mindedly, especially if there is the promise of a reward that will make them feel good. Be it a free bucket or discount on pizza or a president who supposedly will make your life great again.

The gullibility of people does not mean that they should be taken advantage of. On the contrary, it calls for a responsible leader who will take care of the people in a responsible way, guiding them to truth and goodness instead of selfishness and feel-good lies. Utopia, I know. Unfortunately those who want power, don’t usually really regard truth very highly. Unfortunately those who have it in them to make it to the top of the political game, are those wolves, those bullies without virtue. For those who would make the best and most righteous leaders, fall off early even when trying. Weak, they are dubbed, too kind and nice. When did that become a flaw?

Why do we look up to the crude and ruthless for guidance? Why not to the Mother Theresas of this world? Why do we look up to the selfish to care for us instead of looking up to the ones who actually care about others? Why do we call emotions and sensitivity a weakness? Why is a Shrek-y kind of abrasiviness called strength?

There’s a lot of talk about harrassment in schools, bullying and how to stop it. It won’t. Not in a society as ours in this western world where the adult world around the kids constantly shows the example that the bullies will rule the world. That the sensitive and kind are weak and that it’s ok to put them down, just because you can. As for those bullied around, adults tell them to grow a thicker skin. Sure, it’s good to be able to protect yourself from the bullies of the world, but I would still rather see a world where bullying is frowned upon, not hailed.


Up until the social media took over the internet within the past ten years, people didn’t have the forums to affect others in such vast and global ways. We relied on newspapers for the truth and mostly they delivered the truth. With social media enabling anyone anywhere to post articles that look like truths, the full-blown manipulation of crowds has become way too easy. Anything that can be used, can be misused. The world is ruled by the unethical people willing to lie for their cause. A cause that requires lies is not a good cause to begin with.

You ask me, we don’t live in a post-truth world only, we live in a post-ethical world. A world where ethical is an ancient word with a faded meaning. A world where it seems more important to hold on to your own beliefs than to see the person next to you. “So, when was the world ever ethical?” you ask. A very good question. Perhaps it never was. Perhaps the philosophical era of ancient Greece was closest to it, closest to a utopian world of acceptance of difference, of true discussion between different beliefs.

BothAreRightMy rebuke goes to both parties. The conservatives and the neoliberals, liberals, the supposedly permissive people. Both parties believe in their own cause and refuse to engage in a real discussion with the other party. The liberals who preach tolerance, but are more intolerant than any when it comes to people who have a different opinion and belief. There’s good and valuable on both sides and everywhere in between where most of us fall.

If only people could lose a little bit of sleep over the others’ opinions, in the way of allowing them to mold their understanding of the world. If only people would understand that their truth is not the absolute truth. If only peopl understood that in human life, human world, there often times is no absolute truth. There are as many sides to each story, as there are people involved in it.

It is only human to forget this, of course, and many times actually the most empathetic people are the most easily swayed by one side of the story only. I get reprimanded by my husband quite many times for this exact “sin”.  That is exactly what makes people so easy to be manipulated. That is exactly the reason empathetic and sensitive people are considered as weak. Because the “strong” and ruthless can so easily take advantage of them.

I believe, however, that the real strength is in the sensitive and gullible people because they continue to go on and believe in people even after getting hurt so many times before. Take that, you abrasive beings who need to shield yourself from feeling in fear of breaking.


An der schönen blauen Donau

Bored on board
Somewhere above Europe, Mon 14. November 2016, 10:00 EET

I have a book. The flight’s not even that long. But I’m bored. Too tired to read, yet too awake to nap. I’m not really even able to nap in airplanes (or trains, or buses, or…) unless Im unearthly exhausted and fall asleep despite myself.

Just had my third cup of coffee, together with a blueberry juice. My diet this morning has been rather liquidy. At home, I had a cappucino and a glass of red grapefruit juice. At the airport a cappucino and a blueberry smoothie. And now, well, you already know now. The snack cart is just about to reach me, but I think I’ll save my hunger for later and eat when I get to Vienna.

So I left the snowy Helsinki for a few days again. Last week I spent a couple days in cold but snowless Iisalmi and another couple of days in semi-snowy Heinola and then the weekend at home, trying to avoid needing to go outside or do too much inside either. I was determined to rest, but I AM the mother of a family and I HAD been away for most of the week, so really, dream on.

I did get to sleep in, though. Usually I do. Even our dogs don’t harrass me out of bed until closer to noon; they have quite efficiently adapted to our late and lazy life rhythm. Around one pm on Saturday I shook my teens awake and left the dogs in their care while I slightly reluctantly accompanied my husband to the stores. It was MY dad coming to visit on Sunday, after all.

Looking back on Saturday, I didn’t really do too much after we came back from the store, just the usual: hanging up laundry, cooking for kids, taking dogs out, warming up sauna, going to sauna, etc. Still, I was struggling to get one lousy movie watched from Netflix. Interruption after interruption even though the teens were mostly glued to the TV with Playstation Minecraft. I know, I can’t do the math here either :D

Sunday was Father’s Day. None of our kids were with their own dads for the day. No cards, no Father’s Day gifts, just text messages or a brief phone call to wish their dads a Happy Father’s Day. I had a card a a gift for mine. One I made myself, for that matter: one of my watercolor paintings photographed and then printed on canvas. I told my husband that he’ll probably get a Father’s Day gift from his daughter again, when SHE’s 41 in turn.


The things and people you take for granted. Your parents are supposed to be there always and only after they start passing away, do you realise how precious it is to have them. My grandma was supposed to outlive me (you know, supposed to be invincible and immortal) and my mom’s life was cut quite short. The rest of my grandparents have been fertilizing graveyards for a long time already. It’s only my dad and his wife left anymore for me, of the older generation, that is.

I’m so happy my sister and I have been talking regularily lately. Many years passed when we talked only a few times a year, not out of spite or anything, just out of busy lives. Now we have a weekly Skype date and it’s great! This week I probably can’t make that date, though, what with being in Vienna and not knowing if there’s any possibility or even time for it.

An hour to go still, almost. Maybe I’ll try to read some more.

Glühwein, apfelpunsch and the beautiful city of Vienna
On the soft bed in my decadent hotel room, Mon 14. November, 2016, 18:06 CET

The flight came to an end in due time, and I scrambled out of the plane with all those people who seem to have ants in their pants when it comes to getting out of the aircraft (seriously, it would all go so much more smoothly, if everyone would just remain seated until the row in front of them has got their carry-on stuff and is getting out instead of crowding the aisle and pushing forth and whatnot) and made my way to the CAT – the City Airport Train. It took me to the center in 16 minutes exactly, exactly as promised (Helsinki, really, there’s something to learn from here!) and I spent those minutes contemplating between walking and taking the U-bahn.

I was almost heading towards the U at the central station, thinking that I’d probably rather make my detours in the city without my luggage (tiny carry-on roley-poley, but still), get to the hotel as fast as possible to leave the extra baggade behind and actually head to the conference center for this roundtable thing, when my eyes hit the prize. If there is one thing, one single thing that I indulge in on every trip I make outside of Finland, it is allowing myself an approx. 100€ purchase in Desigual. No Desigual in Finland, and I resist the online stores. There was a Desigual there, right there at the central train station, right in front of me.

Luggage or no luggage, I went inside to take a look and immediately saw way too many wonderful things. After some wandering around I selected two dresses for fitting. Right at that moment my phone rang. Call #1 from my youngest teen. There I was, talking on the phone, trying to figure out some school stuff, telling the girl to take care of the school business with her dad or step-dad while I’m away, and holding those dresses in the other hand. The clerk came along to my rescue, taking the dresses to the fitting room for me. I followed soon and tried on the dresses, thinking that they’re both way too nice.

Finally I made my decision with the help of the clerk, bought the dress and a scarf and stepped out of the store and out of the station. Somehow the Desigual had given me such a euphoria that walking seemed like the only reasonable option. I typed the hotel address in googlemaps on my phone and set to walking. I knew my hotel was pretty much in the center, a rock’s throw (couple km) from the central station, but I did not realize my walk would take me through all those nice shopping streets and Weinachtsmarkts and by beautiful churches and all that jazz.

For a while, I was lost in Vienna. Not lost lost, I mean I knew where I was and all, but I was lost in the beauty and the atmosphere and the stores :D Although, I visited only H&M for a shirt (how stupid of me to not have packed a long sleeve other than a hoodie) and “tuliaiset” – gifts – for my teens, and I only stopped once for some apfelpunsch at Stephanplatz (the jul-boot-mug was so cute I had to take it with me!), but I felt like the city was drawing me in and I could just lose myself there.


Finally I wound my way to my hotel, a little past noon. I hadn’t really taken so much time walking there, it just felt to me like time had stopped or something. My room was not ready yet, as I had anticipated, so I left my bag in the luggage room and set off to find my way back to Stephanplatz to take the U to the conference center from there. I thought I had my compass calibrated, but when I checked googlemaps, I was way off. A little detour it was then, but a pretty one. Anyhow, I was at the conference center sometime around 1pm. I registered, got my pass and asked about that roundtable thing but nobody knew anything about it. We looked for it for a while, until I thought to check my emails and, duh, it was canceled.

My whole day plan was kinda cancelled with that and for a while I felt lost in a different way, wondering what to do next. Sightseeing? Back to the hotel to see about my room? Walking a bit? For lack of a better plan, I started walking towards the shores of Donau. The bridge that showed in the map was not there, so I walked to the one where the U1 stops in the middle of the bridge. Donauinsel. Sun was shining sweetly and I already planned to walk all the way back to the hotel. Only three km or so. However, on the other side of Donau, my backpack started to feel a bit heavy on my shoulders and my feet started to feel a bit tired in the boots. I had already walked several kilometers with the extra weight of my backpack. So I hopped on the U again.

Back on Stephansplatz and I was hungry. It’s all kind of fancy there, design stores and modern looking restaurants and bakeries with extravagant chocolate masterpieces on display. I wanted a nice small restaurant, not expensive, no white tablecloths, no pretense and preferably a meal that would keep me happy until tomorrow, or at least late evening. I walked in circles, scanning the shops and restaurants and cafés and finally settled on a simple enough looking place that offered simple Austrian cuisine. I had some schweinkoteletts with fries and a coke (water was expensive there, and I have this principal about how much I’m willing to pay for water) and left happy.

Stopped by the Starbuck’s for a Grande Cappucino (ah, the warm feeling of safety in an international chain when it comes to coffee), visited a couple stores for a little bit of something for the kids and myself too before heading back towards my hotel again. On the way, though, I got lured to another Weinachtsmarkt for some glühwein, and then there was the call #2 from youngest teen.


When I finally made it to the hotel, I was handed my room key along with a “the wifi and minibar are free of charge for the superior room” and the bellhop brought my luggage all the way to the room for me and asked if there was anything else he could do for me before he left me in my room. I had barely settled when the phone rang, the room phone, and in my confusion I lifted the receiver to my deaf ear and wondered for a split second why the sound was so muffled. Switching ears, I heard the lady from reception asking me if everything was good and whether I was lacking anything. Slightly bewildered, I told her everything was just dandy. And it was, still is!

Here I am, feeling like a princess, or something. I mean, it’s not out of this world luxury or anything, but way finer than the Sokos hotel in Iisalmi, let alone that Seurahuone dump I stayed in the first time there. Here I am, exhausted but thrilled to be here, missing my family, but feeling as good about this kind of a trip as one can possibly be. I’m just so happy I’m not staying in any of those colossal hotels closer to the conference center. This here, perfect!


P.S. To my husband, who is probably worried: no, I have not spent hundreds of euros here. Just some very moderate shopping. And Desigual.

Sucker for the story-behind

In graphic user interface based software development there is the UX layer, the interface the user interacts with, and then there’s the functional layer with all the actual code in it. Probably somewhere there is also the data layer, that holds all the information the entirety of the software needs, the data the code intearcts with and then relays messages and actions to the user. Without the fuctional code, the user interface is just a pretty (in best cases) but dead picture. This code behind the user interface is referred to – quite logically – as the code-behind file.

This is pretty much how I view the world. Every image we see, every song we here, every person we interact with, everything we experience in daily life is just the superficial, just the user experience layer. We reeal a polished image of ourselved to other people. We receive and interact with a similar honed image of others. We watch a movie, we listen to an awesome band, we wonder about the kid who slapped another kid in school. Kids are not polished yet.

Often times, especially in the age of the Facebook, it’s quite easy to feel the sting of jealousy. Look at the perfect wedding and honeymoon photos of this person! See, how beautiful children that one has! Oh, these people are so perfect, they have it all! Just listen to this song, he is so talented and successful, his life must be a ball! Many people blame Facebook for this jealous behavior induced by perfect looking lives of other people, but even though I said “especially in the age of the Facebook”, I believe this is a very core trait in us people.

Who wouldn’t want to look good, even perfect in other peoples’ eyes? We show others what we choose to show, we tell others what we choose to tell, we share only what we choose to share. Whether it be in Facebook or in “real life” (I hate that term, by the way, because it indicates that communications in FB aren’t real), that’s the way we act. We show the nice UI, hiding the ugly looking story behind, into a story-behind file only a few people are allowed to access.

Some people are more open about their story-behind and some lock it down more tightly. Celebrities often times gain from opening up the story file to all the curious fans of the world. Some celebrities go on to fabricate a life more interesting than they really had, hiding the story-behind even deeper and actually reveal another image instead of revealing any reality behind it. Some people write their stories just for the sake of writing it, maybe hoping that reading it will some day help someone else who is going through similar things, or maybe to shine light on some otherwise hidden larger story.

The world is full of stories. Every person has one, a quilt of stories made of different story patches. Ecery place has one, woven in history by the people who lived there and passed through and stayed a while. Every object has one – maybe not the cow bell you by from a souvenir store or the brand new winter coat bought from Esprit, not the things straight out of a factory, but after they see life for a while, they get their story too. Like the cow bell. Maybe one day when I am gone, my daughter will want to keep it and tell her children that granny brought it from Seefeld. Maybe my winter coat will keep someone else warm some day like my grandma’s winter coat keeps me warm now.

I am a sucker for that story-behind. I love to hear the stories behind objects, places, people, music and books. Understanding – hearing or reading – these stories attach me to the *thing* with a special bond. Like Purnumukka. I needed to go see the place, when I heard the story of this brave woman who lived there. Later on, I read her book and felt like she had become a friend. Like Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl or Chili Peppers and Anthony Kiedis. After reading the stories behind, the music caught up a whole new intensity and feeling for me.

Even though I think this trait is in me somewhat stronger than average, I don’t think it makes me unique in any way. Isn’t this exact trait the reason for all the biographies and making of [movies] -documentaries etc.? The very human desire to understand the story-behind of other people, of incidents, of things and places. The story behind the movie, the rock album, the band the small town, the little object you bought at the flea market. Isn’t that the very essential that makes something dear to us, knowing the story-behind?

I come from a family of story tellers. If it wasn’t for modern technology, if it wasn’t for the ability to write things in books and blogs and whatnot, my family would be passing on tradition by the camp fire of the village. My grandfather –  as a teenager I loved to sit with him and listen to his stories – my grandmother, my dad, my mom, my mom’s parents, me, my sister, my kids. Story tellers. Tellers of the stories behind the appearances.

My best friend

dogThreetooWhen I was like eight years old or so, on second grade or so, we had this school assignment to write and draw a story about our best friend. I chose to write about my grandma’s dog, a wire haired fox terrier. She was my best friend while growing up, before I had any other real friends. We spent summers together at our summer place with my grandma, playing and asking for snacks and whatnot. I wanted to have my own dog, just like almost every kid wants at some point, but I lived to be almost forty years old before that happened.


My best friend

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Now I’ll tell you what I did with my best friend. I tell about some of the days.

My dad’s mother and father have a dog named Delilah, but we call it Della. It isone year older than I. It is a girl dog. We play together most of the summer days. Now I’ll start the real story.

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My best friend

One summer morning I woke up eight o’clock because a dog was barking. It was not Della, I knew it. I looked out of the window. The dog that was barking was brown and much bigger than Della. The dog was lost.

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My grandmother woke up, too. She gave me some meat so that I could give it to the dog. The dog ate so much , I thought it had been many hours eating nothing.

The dog was light brown. I took the dog to my grandmother’s house. She wrote to the newspaper that a light brown dog is found.

The dog was with us two or three days. Then the dog’s owner came. She thanked us for taking good care of the dog. I was so little that I wanted to play dog. The owner had a little girl.

The dog was nice, but still Della is my best friend. We play so that I trhow a stick and Della gets it and brings it to me.

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Do you know that I’ve always wanted an own dog, but I know I won’t get one.

I was four years old when that happened.