1. sonofrojblake says

    Gotta love the floppotron.

    Open thread? OK. My sincere sympathy to anyone unfortunate enough to be living in the US right now, on the news re: Roe vs Wade. Its a dark time.

  2. dianne says

    I’d say the world’s going to hell in a handbasket except a brief examination into recent history demonstrates that it is already there and the handbasket has long since fallen to pieces under the strain of transporting the world ever deeper into the abyss. The song “W.Z.F”, which is all about how awful 2020 was, is starting to feel quaint. Remember when we actually cared enough about whether people died of covid or not to wear masks? Remember when huge forest fires were actual news instead of “dog bites man” events? For the USians in the audience: remember when we thought the election would be the end of the controversy about who would be the next president (okay, so maybe we never did entirely believe that)? Also for the USians: Remember when those who thought anyone with a cycling uterus should be enslaved were a minority (well, they still are, but they’re the oligarchy in charge now)?

  3. Ice Swimmer says

    The floppotron is a nifty machine.

    lumipuna @ 152 in the previous thread

    They stopped asking for my ID when I was about 25. You probably look more youthful than I do. I’ve seen a look of annoyance on the faces of bouncers when I try to show them my ID when entering a bar or a club.

    Today I went swimming in Lake Näsijärvi again (second or third time this week). The water was 17 ℃, still refreshing. I spent about 3 hours alternating between sauna and the lake.

    Tampere is very good in this regard. In Helsinki Area the problem with going swimming was always, where do I leave my keys, phone and wallet, but here, there are good places with lockers or one can leave the valuables to the cashier (who sells the sauna tickets). I think I’m able to survive this heat wave with my sanity intact.

    There was a lot of people, but luckily there is a lot of room in the lake. I could swim in peace keeping my distance to people just taking a short dip as well as to SUP boards, kayaks, jet skis and boats.

  4. says

    Hey y’all
    I need to add to the current pile of misery. While not on an international catastrophe level (the world will absolutely not notice) it’s just,, well, fuck.
    I just invited my dad to come live with us. It’s the right thing to do, since my mum is worshiping at the, altar of Jack and Daniels again, but hell, I’m not prepared for that.
    I don’t know if he’ll accept, our phone call got interrupted, but fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Did I mention fuck?

  5. lumipuna says

    Sorry about everything happening right now.

    A week ago, I was feeling extremely privileged because it was comfortably cool here in Finland while much of south-central Europe was roasting in an extreme (by June standards) heatwave. Now I’m feeling extremely privileged because a brand new air conditioning system was installed in my home on Monday, while the heatwave has arrived here with a ferocity that weather forecasts pretty much failed to predict.

  6. says

    @Giliell, that sucks. You have my sympathies. When close ones start to worship Spiritus it is always difficult for everyone involved. There seems to be too much misery all around these days, both big and small.

  7. says

    Well, at least both dad and I agree that this is a very last resort. He’s currently contemplating moving the caravan to a local campsite and moving there. But hell did that man grow small over the last months. Your parents getting old is never easy.

    It’s hard to accept that you’re less important than a glass of cheap vodka.

  8. Oggie: Mathom says

    For lunch today I had toasted homemade bread, tuna salad, and the temporary crown for one of my molars.

  9. Ice Swimmer says

    Concurring lumipuna @ 5. I’m not sure if I have aircon, but my flat hasn’t become unbearably hot.

    My sympathies for you, Giliell.

  10. Oggie: Mathom says


    I just invited my dad to come live with us. It’s the right thing to do, since my mum is worshiping at the, altar of Jack and Daniels again, but hell, I’m not prepared for that.

    I sort of understand. My mother is suffering from dementia. My sister is living with Mom and Dad. And Mom is in complete denial. And I am 1000km away and taking care of my granddaughters fifty hours a week. I don’t think any of us are prepared for any of this. Issues with parents getting older is tough enough. Adding substance abuse to that . . . I think my Dad is a high functioning alcoholic. About a handle of scotch every two weeks. And he’s the one who can remember everything.

    You have my sympathy. I really hope that you and your family can find a way to make things work.

  11. Oggie: Mathom says

    According to one of my twin granddaughters, “Bunky [Grumpy] made monkey fish sadad.” Apparently ‘tuna fish salad’ becomes something else when translated into toddlerize.

  12. lumipuna says

    This morning, as I was lounging naked in my bachelor cave, I found a newly attached tick on my right thigh, in a relatively reachable location. I rarely get ticks despite frequently roaming in the bushes, and so I don’t usually remember to do proper tick inspections on myself.

    It was time to test and review Tick Twister(R) by O’Tom, a tick removal tool I bought some time ago. It’s a plastic fork shaped like a tiny crowbar. The package includes two slightly different size forks for different size ticks. You’re supposed to slip the forked end around the tick’s body and then twist, because supposedly straight up pulling will break the tick’s mouth parts and leave them inside your skin.

    It didn’t work at all. The plastic is too slippery to get a grab of the animal for a twisting motion. It didn’t even hold for a pulling motion, because the tick was too small and flat. It was an adult, but not yet enlargened at all. Also, I strongly suspect fork wouldn’t fit under a fully enlargened tick.

    After trying for a couple minutes, I was pretty sure the tick was vomiting all its gut bacteria and viruses into my skin. That’s what is said to happen when you botch up your tick removal, rather than doing it quickly and gently, and it’s said to greatly increase your risk of contracting some disease.

    Eventually, I just grabbed the tick with my fingernails and pulled it out. It looked like the mouth parts possibly came out, too. Now there’s a tiny reddish dot on my skin, but no swelling or irritation.

    Verdict: Don’t bother buying the Tick Twister(R).

  13. says

    @lumipuna, for ticks it is good to have at home an iodine tincture disinfectant. It tends to go deeper into the tissue than hydrogen peroxide or alcohol do. I would look for erythema migrans in the area if I were you, but if the tick was small the danger should be small too.

    As far as tick removal goes, twisting is pointless. As one of our professors in University told us “ticks do not have corkscrews for mouths”. He told us that if the tick is big and bloated, instead of twisting it on should be rocking the tweezers back and forth while gently pulling.

    A friend nurse taught me a removal technique for small and not yet bloated ticks some twenty-five years ago -- grab the tick firmly with flat tweezers as close to the skin as possible and simply yank it straight out. She never had the mouthparts remaining in the skin and neither did I (I have used it on myself as well as on others).

  14. says

    Ouch. Ticks are a pest here. While I don’t seem to be their favourite snack, Mr is. I usually use flat, fine tweezers. Actually, I just removed one from his thighs this morning. One thing you should do is to take the tick and glue it onto a piece of paper with sticky tape. Write the date and location next to it. If you think that you caught something, take it to the doc. Apparently it#s much easier and faster to check the tick for nasty things than your blood.

  15. lumipuna says

    Thanks for the advice. I should probably try to buy suitable tweezers in advance of the next tick.

  16. Oggie: Mathom says

    Apparently, today is world chocolate day. In honour of said celebration, I am making pork mole:

    2 pork tenderloins

    Wash and dry the tenderloins and let them come to room temperature.

    1 chilaca chili, seeded and diced
    1 mulatto or ancho chili, seeded and diced
    1 smallish tomato, roughly chopped
    5 cloves garlic, peeled
    1/2 cup water

    Place chilis, tomato, garlic and water in a blender and process blend until finely diced. Add

    2 squares of dark chocolate

    and blend until the chocolate is no longer chunky

    Decant the sauce into a bowl and add

    3 tablespoons honey
    1 tablespoon cinnamon
    2 teaspoons salt (I use smoked salt)
    2 tablespoons of olive oil

    and mix it up thoroughly.

    Coat the port fillets with the sauce and let it sit for about a half hour.

    Bake (or (better) convection bake) on really high (450F) until the pork is cooked and the coating is a little on the crunchy and caramelized side. I am serving it with steamed zucchini and corn soup.

  17. lumipuna says

    Today, I saw a beautiful, rare and surprising optical phenomenon for the first time: sunshine reflected from falling raindrops.

    I don’t mean the rainbow, which is refracted sunlight. Reflection is like seeing the mirrored image of the sun in water or glass surface. I’m not entirely sure on how it works with rain, but I have a theory based on some background knowledge.

    Normally, falling raindrops are roundish, so they reflect sunlight into all directions. Therefore, you can’t see a single strong reflection from any particular angle, even when the sun isn’t blocked by clouds. If there’s raindrops or dewdrops on vegetation, they can sparkle in the sun at a broad angle like diamonds, which is also very beautiful. In the air, falling raindrops are usually so small and far away that you can’t see the individual sparks, and too sparse to collectively create a noticeable shimmering effect.

    However, the largest raindrops in free fall are about pea sized, and they have a relatively flat bottom, as they’re on the verge of being broken by air resistance. I was on my second floor balcony, with a view to approximately south where the sun was shining at approximately 45 degree angle. Directly overhead was a very local rain shower with large heavy drops. Looking in the general direction of south and 45-ish degrees downwards, I could see a few large sparks of sunshine reflected from the flat bottoms of the drops.

    It was very beautiful; individual falling drops were like shooting stars against sunlit vegetation in the background, lighting up and going dark in a rapid sequence.

  18. says

    @lumipuna that does sound like a sight to behold. Such unique experiences are very powerful. I do not remember ever reading about such a thing or seeing it.

    My unique experience with the weather was over twenty years ago during a walk in the late summer evening. I saw some huge clouds south of our town, in two layers. They were only slightly illuminated by the moon and, barely visible, but with flashes of light illuminating them very brightly every few moments -- there were lightning bolts in those clouds, going from one layer to another. There was no rain and also no thunder, so it all happened in complete silence. It was beautiful and also spooky.

  19. lumipuna says

    Charly -- cool. I don’t think I’ve ever seen lightning without hearing thunder afterwards.

    Late tonight we’re expecting some sort of thunderstorm here. I might go briefly out around sunset time, if there’s interesting clouds to be seen and not much rain or thunder. Mostly, I’m just hoping for substantial rain to revive the vegetation and help wild berries grow properly.

  20. lumipuna says

    Update: The rains continue skirting around Helsinki. Tomorrow morning, there should be (they say, again) some thunder and rain, but I’m growing pessimistic.

  21. says

    Damn, rain, I heard of that. I hope you’re all getting through the heatwave well.
    Did I mention that I started going to the gym?I had to admit that “I must exercise more, I#ll start next week” just wasn’t working and there was the perfect opportunity of a gym opening in my homeplace more or less on my commute, so i can put my stuff into the car, go to work, go to the gym, without taking a detour home. I’ve been slowly building up some routine and my body is hating it. I’m still hoping to get into the habit. I know I liked it 20 years ago…

  22. Ice Swimmer says

    lumipuna @ 20-21

    It’s rained here in Tampere area this afternoon. There was a heavy shower around the time I was starting to leave work (about 4 pm).

    Giliell @ 22

    I’m hoping you’ll find the satisfaction in exercise. Was your body hating it most on the third day you did it? I remember from my newspaper delivery days that the third night at work after summer holidays was the worst, the legs got really sore from climbing stairs while carrying on average 7,5 kg of newsprint. After the third night, they got used to the load.

  23. lumipuna says

    The current European heatwave isn’t reaching Finland, so I shouldn’t complain about the weather. There was even some rain early this morning, though more would be welcome.

    Sorry for anyone currently enduring more heat or drought than they’re used to.

  24. Tethys says

    We had some very hot weather earlier in the month, but it’s been perfect summer weather recently. Warm sunny days, sufficient rain, and lovely cool nights. The heat loving plants in the garden are happy, and the pansies are still blooming too.

    Raspberries are in season, but I’ve got some issues with squirrels who are snapping the canes by trying to climb them. They are also harvesting my green apples and burying them around the yard.

  25. says

    Ice Swimmer
    Thanks, I’m still actively hating it, but it’s getting better as I’m noticing progress. Yes, the second and third time were the worst. Like my body knew what I was doing and trying to stop me.

  26. Jazzlet says

    Thank you. I was there, but I am still having trouble believing he is really gone. I don’t know where I think he is, I mean it’s obvous he isn’t in the house, and I have perfectly clear memories of sctitching him as the drugs took effect, as well as after, but somehow that doesn’t translate to “Jake is dead”. Uff fucking brains.

  27. Tethys says

    My sympathies Jazzlet. I remember hearing the normal background sound of my dogs tags jingling despite him being deceased. It always took me a few seconds to ‘remember’ that I could not be hearing his tags and then feel sad because I remembered.

    Grief is a horrible thing.

  28. Jazzlet says

    Thank you.

    I’ve beeen thinking about what the way we forget a dog or a human is dead, then remember they aren’t shows us about how our brains work. I can see how wanting something to not be true could lead people to convince themselves it isn’t when “it” is something you don’t get repeated confirmation of. Which applies to so many of our current national and world problems. Which isn’t at all cheerful neither does it give me any empathy with the people that take that route. I’m a bundle of fun today.

  29. says

    My sympathies Jazzlet. I have buried five dogs and it never got easier. We still remember our last one whenever we drop some cooked pasta in the kitchen. He loved pasta and we could be certain that stray spaghetti won’t soil our kitchen floor for longer than a few milliseconds. He was a small dog with a big heart.

    At least some good came out of the extremely hot weather. I am harvesting figs like no bee’s knees, eating yogurt with fresh figs for either dinner or breakfast at least three times a week. Yesterday I started to harvest grapes and it seems there will be several kgs of those as well. Potatoe harvest will be meager, but we will get at least a return of investment on them. And bean harvest seems to be promising too.

  30. Jazzlet says

    Thank you Charly.

    Our potato crop has been extremely varied, Paul grew a new to us blue potato that said it was a salad variety, nope definitely floury, and from ten plants we didn’t get enough for a meal for two, the slugs massacred them. The next row, huge yield and all perfect, not a one with slug damage. It’s a real shame as the blue ones were blue all the way through once cooked (the flesh was marbled with red when raw) and looked incredible -- they didn’t taste different, just looked extraordinary. Ah well.

  31. lumipuna says

    Finally, the late summer heatwave has receded from my area. The temperature in Helsinki peaked at 29 C, which is almost record-breaking this late in August. Humidity was about as high as it ever gets in Finland. Now it’s a balmy 16 C in the middle of the day, with some wind and clouds, and much lower humidity.

    We also had some rain from stray thunderstorms last evening, though not enough to end the drought. Rains have been mostly skirting around Helsinki all summer, even though most of Finland isn’t terribly dry.

  32. Ice Swimmer says

    In Tampere and Nokia, the heatwave has ended earlier than in Helsinki, then. There have also been some rains, but it’s rained much more in the rural areas west of the Tampere urban area (which extends beyond the borders of Tampere, on the other hand not all of Tampere is in the urban area).

    I’m hoping I can go swimming (and to sauna) tomorrow. It seems the algae blooms could be over and the lakes are cooling down. Näsijärvi was already 18 ℃ on Saturday. Today I had to do laundry and yesterday I got my fourth Covid vaccine and had go and buy a new phone to replace the one that died, so I haven’t had the time to go to one of the lakeside saunas and swim.

  33. Oggie: Mathom says

    I need to relate this somewhere, and this seems the most (only?) appropriate place.


    Many of you know my history. I joined Cub Scouts. I was raped and shamed. I was forced to recruit and hurt others. The one time I told, I was branded a liar and had to apologize to my abuser alone and he raped me again as punishment. I was forced to hurt a little girl. Photos were taken. He claimed he was training us to be men and enjoy the girls (anyone not a man was, in his view, a girl) that god has given us. Once, when I was 12, still a child legally, morally, ethically, and physically, I let the training of his worldview come to the fore. A little before that, my abuser quit his government job and moved the family elsewhere.

    So, last night I was talking with my sister on the phone. I mentioned something tangentially about scouts. She asked if I remembered RW who was the scout leader. My stomach tensed and I said yes. After a long conversation, I learned that somebody HAD told and that the Coconino County justice system decided not to bring any charges as it would hurt those he had abused. So he moved with his family somewhere else. Apparently my parents knew about this. They knew I had been in scouts. Apparently they asked me about it when I was 11 and I denied any abuse. But they kept an eye on me to look for any issues.

    Which makes me feel nothing. I’m glad someone told but I’m sorry that he was moved down the road rather than being charged (in 1976/77, not sure what else could have happened). Other than that, its just another little bit of who I am now.

    I haven’t felt a need to see my shrink for almost two years. He helped me work through some frightening shit (shit which I dumped all over Pharyngula for about two years). I just wish I had gone to him as soon as the first memories showed up, but he says that that is normal, not to worry.

    So someone told someone who would believe them. That makes me happy.

    And RW, my abuser, is dead. He died in 1990.


    I wish that Caine was still alive. She helped me (many people helped me) so much. Even though her history was different, she had insights that helped me to survive. And thanks to ALL who kept talking me down for two years. And hugs to all those who are survivors.

  34. Oggie: Mathom says

    Well, thirty years ago, all I remembered was that I didn’t like scouts.

    It does piss me off, just a little, that apparently most of the small community knew what he had done (not sure if they knew just how many of us there were) and why he left so suddenly and just had quiet discussions on the side. I guess they didn’t want to scar us survivors,

    It feels so wonderful to be retired (albeit a disability retirement) and able to care for my granddaughters (who are currently on a ‘only pop tarts (with some fresh fruit snuck in by me) for breakfast’ kick) and be with Wife (who is recovering from major ankle surgery so I am the babysitter for twin 3-year-olds), and be able to relax and be actually happy.

  35. chigau (違う) says

    I guess that sort of thing was so outside the experiences of most people, they couldn’t process it.

    I am happy for you Oggie.

  36. Jazzlet says

    Oggie I am happy for you too, though sad that it has taken us so long to get to a place where many of us now believe when we are told of aabue.

    Chigau I hope you are able to get rid of that soon!

  37. says

    Hello my friends
    I’m back from the holidays, school has started with lots of chaos already and I’m still suffering the lingering effects of Covid.
    Apart from that, I’m fine, just busy.

    I’m so sorry to hear about Jack.

    I’m glad you enjoy retirement. I can believe that the twins are giving you much joy. Best wishes to Wife and a speedy recovery.

  38. Ice Swimmer says

    Hello, Giliell.

    I’m wishing the effects will subside. Also, Oggie and Chigau, my warm thoughts for you!

    As for the work, yes it keeps one busy. I don’t think I have nearly the level of chaos Giliell has, just normal small(ish) company stuff and random variables of testing. Also, I’m not taking my work home.

  39. Oggie: Mathom says

    Just roasted and peeled some poblano peppers I got on Thursday at the farmer’s market. Whole house smells so good. Also got about 50 pounds of tomatoes for $36 and created six quarts of sauce and 11 quarts of chunked tomatoes in tomato juice. Should keep us for the year,

  40. says

    I’m just glad I don’t have to do any canning. When we came home I was worried about the amount of tomatoes, but thankfully the kids took care of it. I also harvested our potatoes. I think I spent more calories planting, tending and harvesting than I got out of it.

  41. Oggie: Mathom says


    I read

    I’m just glad I don’t have to do any canning.

    as ‘I’m just glad I don’t have to do any caning.’ And was wondering whether that meant chairs, or bottoms.

    We do tomatoes and applesauce. I’ve done salsas a couple of times, but it is hard to use them fast enough.

    Potatoes I just buy at the store.

  42. lumipuna says

    Finally, it’s raining here! Not very much, but a substantial amount is predicted over the next few days. The growth season is about to end, so the grass might not turn much green any more before winter.

    I just saw this on Twitter:

    In my perception, the weather here in Helsinki wasn’t exceptionally cold, but maybe it was unusual that the cold spell lasted about ten days, rather than just a few. In late August, when we had an equally anomalous heatwave, I felt largely confined to my home (with the brand-new air conditioning unit!) due to the heat and miserable humidity. Then, when the weather turned suddenly cold and dry, it would’ve been perfect for my urban hiking hobby, but I got persistent cold-like symptoms from the sudden turn of weather.

    Nowadays on these heat anomaly maps, it always seems like there’s a negative heat anomaly in like one or two areas and a positive heat anomaly in everywhere else. For example in France and western Germany -- I looked at European weather map in early September, and was astonished to see day temps still hitting 30 C in the Rhine area.

  43. Ice Swimmer says

    lumipuna @ 51

    I got to swim in lake Näsijärvi when it rained today. At times, the rain was quite heavy. The air was about 12 ℃ and the lake was about 13 ℃.

    The sky exhibited various shades of gray, when the sun was setting, lighter gray in the west over Reuharinnniemi and Ylöjärvi and darker gray in the east over Teisko. Dreamy light. Also, it was fun seeing, from a distance, steaming people walk to the stairs to the water. They were steaming about third of the way from the end of the sauna building, before the rain covered their skin with cooler water.

  44. StevoR says

    SHORT NOTICE -APOLOGIES but @191. Brony, Social Justice Cenobite : LOL. Yes. I can actually see that. It should be done as a sketch on Colbert or Corden or some show like those l reckon!


    The 300th Adelaide Refugee Vigil is on tonight at 5 pm, Rundle Mall -Gawler place intersection near the giant pigeon sculpture. An impressive if very saddening milestone for an event that started six years ago. (online events during covid too.) Please feel welcome to join us standing up for the refugees still imprisoned against the sadistic ineffective cruelty of the current disgraceful, off shore non-processing torture policies against those who committed no crime, pose no threat but are treated worse than criminals. Details :


    Event by Adelaide vigil for Manus and Nauru
    Duration: 1 hr 15 min
    Public · Anyone on or off Facebook

    Vigil members invite you to join us for this week’s vigil, in RUNDLE MALL, at the intersection with Gawler Place, near the giant silver pigeon.

    Late last year the Australian Government announced its plan to abandon the 110 refugee men remaining in Papua New Guinea, having detained them there, illegally, since 2013. That has now been in effect since January 1st, and continues to cause much anxiety. A new Memorandum Of Understanding was signed with Nauru, enabling the continuation of Australia’s offshore human warehousing to continue there, into the future. Although most of the Manus and Nauru refugees medevacced to Australia have at last been released into “community detention”, the government’s own figures record 6 as remaining in closed detention in Australia. 216 remain without resettlement in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

    Please help us to keep a spotlight on this wrong, perpetrated in our name, and join us in standing for the freedom, safety and human rights of the refugees the Australian government wants us to forget. Over 200 still being held in inhumane conditions after almost 9 years of punishment on #Manus, #Nauru and now also Port Moresby PNG and Australian Immigration Detention.
    The only laws that have been broken in their seeking of asylum are those which Australia itself has an international obligation to uphold, through its signing of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.

    Via Adelaide Refugee Vigil group fb page.

  45. StevoR says

    Powerful piece by Stan Grant here :

    & another good one on the immeasurable harm of empire & the Queen’s colonial legacy here :

    Plus this may, just perhaps, posibly be the second best exoplanet for habitale life found so far? :

  46. Jazzlet says

    Well I finally got COVID, so mildly that I initially thought it was just hot flushes. Paul bought it home and got it before me, but we didn’t realise initially as the symptoms started the day after he got his booster shot, fortunately his was also mild. I’m still tiring a little more than I feel I ought to be, but otherwise back to normal I think.

  47. Ice Swimmer says

    Jazzlet @ 57

    I’m wishing for you the best recovery! I still haven’t had covid to my knowledge, but who knows. There have been friends and workmates who have got it. I’ve had my fourth shot in August and I shall probably get the Omicron specific booster shot in November. Hopefully you’ll get it also when the time comes and it it will be effective.

  48. Ice Swimmer says

    On a different note (literally):

    I’ll be going to see Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time:

    They shall play Sibelius, Saariaho and Vaughan Williams to celebrate composer Kaija Saariaho‘s 70th birthday, which is today (Ralph Vaughan Williams would have been birthday boy on Monday 10th October and the conductor john Storgårds shall have his 59th birthday on 20th October).

    I have been on a mini-holiday since Wednesday and I’ll be going back to work on Monday. I didn’t want to travel so I’ve been a tourist in my hometown. I’ve visited the Tampere Art Museum, Sara Hildén Art Museum and Mältinranta Artcenter. To further get the tourist experience, I’ve eaten in restaurants, drank coffee in cafés and walked in interesting places. Also, going to sauna and swimming in the lake have been in the programme, as well.

    I’ve been here for just six months, so a lot of things are still new for me.

  49. Ice Swimmer says

    Ok, back home now. Sibelius was dramatic on both land and sea, Saariaho was speeding* in California, enjoying the scenery on the drive from L.A. to San Jose and Vaughan Williams engaged in escapism (the 5th symphony was published during WW2) with hymns and pastoral scenes.

    I liked all of the pieces.
    * = Though the tempo in her piece, Vista, isn’t that fast, but it feels like the pedal is on the metal.

  50. says

    @Ice Swimmer, I like to hear that you have enjoyed your mini holiday. I hope that your new hometown only offers pleasant surprises and nice new things.

  51. lumipuna says

    I just learned from the news that today there’s a partial solar eclipse in northern Europe, around 10 GMT. Here in Helsinki we’ll have about 60 % eclipse and 100 % cloud cover. Rainy days like today are already getting murky in late October, but now it’ll be slightly more murky around midday. Like a rainy day in December, yay.

  52. Jazzlet says


    I have been consumed with watching the complete shit show that the Tories have been putting on, just extraordinary. Yet they expect to be taken seriously by other countries, because the UK is so important, don’t you know. Yeah right. I knew that they were divorced from how most of us live, but I hadn’t realised that their delusions about how great Britain is extended quite so far. We really are fucked.

  53. Ice Swimmer says

    Some snow was falling when I was swimming tonight. The snowfall was light enough that it didn’t feel that much. Lake Näsijärvi is about 6 ℃, while the air is below zero.

    There was also just enough snow in the morning in Nokia that the ground was white. However this was not the case Tampere (more precisely in the parts of Tampere that are on the isthmus between Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi).

  54. says

    Here it started to freeze today evening but no snow yet. First evening frost this winter.
    Three days ago I was still harvesting fresh figs and grapes from the greenhouses. I feel like this must have been the warmest autumn ever.

  55. Ice Swimmer says

    I went to Helsinki area yesterday and came back today. There’s snow in Helsinki area, but not in Tampere, but the temperatures are below zero in both places. The countryside around Tampere is slightly snowy.

    I think what happened was that the coast got some lake effect snow from the sea, due to the (south)eastern winds, but we here in the inland got no lake effect snow despite having plenty of lakes. 8-)

  56. lumipuna says

    There’s not that much snow in Helsinki either, around 5 cm.

    Finnish lakes aren’t big enough for lake effect. The Gulf of Finland is much bigger, and the main basin of Baltic Sea is bigger still. Sometimes in winter, when the wind blows from east (like in recent days), there’s really heavy snowfall along the southeastern coast of Sweden. I hear the Swedes call this snowblowing phenomenon the “Russian cannon”, though perhaps recently that expression has taken slightly awkward connotations.

  57. Jazzlet says

    Oooooh those are pretty.

    It’s still warm here for the season, all sorts of plants have decided to flower out of season, which is resulting in summer flowers but largely leafless trees -- weird.

  58. Ice Swimmer says

    lumipuna @ 72

    Wow, they are gorgeous.

    The name Joensuu means literally River’s Mouth* and the city is at the mouth of Pielisjoki, which flows from the lake Pielinen to the lake Pyhäselkä, a part of Greater Saimaa, the biggest system of lakes in Finland.
    * = joki is river and the genitive is joen, suu is mouth.

  59. Tethys says

    Winter and snow arrived in Minnesota on November 7th. I am not fond of the cold and dark of winter, but it is nice that the air isn’t full of allergens and my nose isn’t stuffy.

    I have yet to get the leaves raked and fall yard work done. Most of the leaves finally came down with the snow, because it’s been a very mild fall. It’s likely we will get some unseasonably warm days and a return of fallish weather so I can clear my lawn and cover any borderline hardy plants with leaf mulch.

  60. says

    Heya. Here it’s still too warm for the end of November, but at least we’re saving on heating. Apart from that, everybody is sick. I will make cookies. And I will write a post about it.

  61. Tethys says

    I should know better than to say our weather will be anything but arctic tundra between November and April.

    Not only has it not warmed up, it snowed about 9 inches/23 cm and is currently very windy, bitterly cold, and wintry. (and it’s not even December yet!) I have to shovel the walks free of the drifts and snowplow banks, but my back says nope, I am old and will throw my hip out.
    Luckily the snow will still be there on Friday when this horribly cold front moves on.

    Enjoy the cookies, and get well soon to Giliell’s house.

  62. Jazzlet says

    It has cooled a little her, it was 5C yesterday, but it really isn’t feeling cold.

    Hope the Giliell household all get better soon!

  63. lumipuna says

    Looking at the weather map, it now seems that to have turned relatively cold all over eastern and central Europe. Not like unusually cold (even accounting that it’s barely December), but the media hype over the possibility of energy shortages is heating up. In Finland, people who heat their homes with electricity (quite a many around here) are bitterly complaining about the rising costs, and political factions are trying to blame each other for the stalling of nuclear power construction since the 1980s. One new nuclear plant was supposed to open this year, but it keeps getting delayed due to technical problems. There might be real problems with electricity supply if it gets really cold and windless over a wide area for a while around January.

  64. lumipuna says

    Weather update: There was sunshine in Helsinki today!

    The last sunny day was almost four weeks ago; back then the weather was mild like in early autumn, the lawns were green and there were some leaves left on trees. Now we have 20 cm of snow, and more is predicted to fall in the coming days.

  65. Ice Swimmer says

    I’m not sure if the sunshine extended to Tampere or Nokia, because I was busy working in a windowless hall. It’s been a crazy week interrupted by the Independence Day. In the independence Day I spent multiple hours alternating between the sauna and the lake (still not frozen). Otherwise, it’s been long hours at work.

    The work week ended with the company Xmas party, which turned out to be quite good. Some people may have a hangover today, Not me.

    It is snowing even now. There’s 14 cm of snow in Tampere. Today I’m going to sauna and swimming again.

  66. lumipuna says

    A while ago I gushed here about my interest in Cretaceous polar dinosaurs. In late Cretaceous, about 70 million years ago, the climate in high arctic (about 80-85 degrees north) was cool temperate, combined with the same extremely seasonal light conditions as today. Nothing like that combination exists today.

    Now, it turns about almost similar environment existed as recently as two million years ago, in early quaternary, in northern Greenland:

    I understand back the then world at large wasn’t much warmer than today. However, it seems that when it’s warm enough to melt Greenland’s continental glacier and the arctic summer sea ice, the climate in high arctic kind of “flips a switch” and warms many times more than the world at large. Like, this site in northern Greenland used to be 10-17 C warmer than today. And we’re now probably flipping that switch again.

  67. dianne says

    Relative of mine has had a brainstem stroke during covid infection. I thought I was going to get away without losing anyone else, but it seems not.

  68. says

    @dianne, I am sorry for your loss. Covid has robbed many people of their health or their loved ones or both and it still takes its toll.

  69. Tethys says


    I’m sorry to hear your sad news. I’m not familiar with the condition but that sounds bleak.

    Happy Solstice to all! I am always happy to celebrate the longest night, and lengthening days to come.

  70. lumipuna says

    Happy new year for those who anticipate.

    I saw from a weather map that temperatures around 17-18 C were measured in Central Europe today, and I was like, “lol what season is it even”. Here in Helsinki, temperature peaked at about 5 C, which is mild but normal-ish. It’s miserably, damp, dark, drizzly and windy, walkways slick with melting ice. Most of the thick snow that fell earlier this month has melted away.

  71. Ice Swimmer says

    Happy New Year.

    It was slippery yesterday, and I’m not going to risk going outdoors today, tomorrow is a workday and I’ll hope that it won’t be as bad as today.

    The company I buy my electricity from (a big, partially state-owned company, that has made mistakes costing them billions) has raised the price to about 46 c/kWh from about 35 c/kWh. So today I changed my contract to the local electrical utility company and I’ll be paying an energy price that’s a few tenths of a cent over the spot market price of electricity (plus some cents for the electricity transfer charge to the distribution grid operator). I only consume about 1,8 kWh/day on average, but it all adds up. I could have taken a spot priced contract from the big company, but they would charge a bit more from that than the local utility.

  72. Tethys says

    Happy New Year to all.

    MN continues to be fairly normal, which means it’s stays well below freezing and we have snow falling on a regular basis. It has been warmer than average, but it’s hard to complain about sunny pleasant winter days (-7C) vs sunny but Arctic cold temps and snow that squeaks when you walk on it.

  73. lumipuna says

    Random weird thing I just learned from Wikipedia: Apparently, “cobbler” is an English common name for two unrelated venomous fish found in Australia, and also (for some reason) a UK marketing name for farmed Pangasius catfish. I found this particularly curious, because (as has been mentioned here before) Finnish also uses “suutari” (meaning cobbler or shoemaker) as a name for a fish, namely the tench.

  74. lumipuna says

    I just ran across this 2020 photo reportage at Yle, with lots of pretty gemstone photos.

    It’s about labradorite, also known as spectrolite when the crystals have a relatively flashy gemstone-like outlook. It is only known from a few places in the world, including Ylämaa municipality on Finland’s southeastern border. Spectrolite has long had a niche market as a gemstone; in Finland it was briefly popular around 1980s. Some Finnish traders optimistically hope it will some day become the “new sapphire”.

    The story begins with the introduction of a massive stone baptism bowl acquired by the local Lutheran church in Ylämaa in 1975. While baptism bowls are very commonly made of some pretty stone, this is supposedly the only one in the world that’s made of spectrolite.

    The Ylämaa spectrolite seam covers about 10 square km and was formed 1.65 billion years ago -- one of the younger parts of Finland’s bedrock. It was discovered in 1940 when boulders were being quarried out of bedrock to build anti-tank obstacles against a possible Soviet invasion. This was during the brief, nervous period of “interim peace” between Winter War and Continuation War, when the border had just moved to Ylämaa area, which had hitherto been interior Finland.

    When you scroll further down, there’s photos from the spectrolite quarry, some pieces of spectrolite jewelry, and again the baptism bowl.

  75. says

    Ah, the thread is still alive but it no longer shows in the sidebar and I completely forgot to make a new one. I will do so someday tomorrow.

  76. Jazzlet says

    Enjoy Mardi Gras anyone who is celebrating!

    It was dental crown replacement day for me, far better than having the root drilled out for the first crown, and my bite is back to normal -- the old crown had slipped a little, after thirty years!

    And my SiL and BiL have COVID again, they are fully vaccinated, so hopefully they will be ok, but they are also in the seventies, which of course does mean they are in more danger.

  77. says

    I must confess, I did not know what Mardi Gras is and I had to look it up -- I heard the name but that was it. I never cared about these things much and they neer were celebrated in my little town.

  78. lumipuna says

    Re: Shrove and Lent

    I recently posted the quoted text in the comments of another blog, in response to someone mentioning Pancake Day, which is apparently a common British name for Shrove Tuesday.

    Happy Shrove Tuesday to everyone. It’s funny how some vestiges of “carne vale” have remained in Protestant cultures long after Lent was abandoned.

    Medieval Catholics in northern Europe apparently celebrated a weekly carnival by enjoying pork fat on Thursdays (that is, before Friday Lent), typically as an ingredient in pea soup. Wealthier folks also consumed eggs, milk and butter in the form of pancakes. This was apparently the height of our traditional cuisine.

    In modern Finland the pea soup, often with pancake for dessert, is still associated with Thursdays. Modern Finns don’t eat pea soup all that often, but when they do, it’s usually because many school and workplace cafeterias uphold the Thursday Pea Soup tradition. For Shrove Tuesday, there’s pea soup and a special sweet bun filled with either whipped cream and strawberry jam or whipped cream and almond paste. Which filling option is the correct one and which is heresy remains a topic of some debate.

    By the way, modern people generally don’t really like either peas or pork fat, so the typical pea soup served at cafeterias, for the sake of tradition, has been quite literally watered down. There’s fewer peas per water content, and the pork is minced lean meat. There’s also a vegan version that substitutes the pork with minced soy protein, as if the peas themselves don’t have a decent protein to energy ratio.

    In my personal opinion, minced meat is a waste of meat, low fat pork defeats the purpose of pork and using low fat meat (or soy protein) in a pea soup defeats the purpose of pea soup. If I want vegan pea soup, the best option would be peas and some canola oil. Alas, I used to actually like traditional style pea soup, but my IBS has grown all too intolerant of peas.

    Aside from the digression into my pea soup related pet peeve, I remain amused by the following contrast:

    Carnivals in Latin America: Let’s have a big honking party in the streets!

    Carnivals in Europe: Let’s take the leftover eggs, butter etc. from the closet and bake them into some kind of calorie-rich if bland tasting dessert!

  79. Tethys says

    I think that the reason behind pancakes is that milk, eggs, and butter were not permitted during Lent. It is truly bizarre that at one time the Church controlled the Calendar, and it included a lot of fast days as some misguided form of piety.

    Crepes are what French Catholics consider pancakes. They are mostly eggs, plus flour and milk. You can fill them with eggs or savory fillings, and they are equally delightful with fruit or sweet fillings.

    I actually make crepes for Easter Brunch , as it’s an egg based holiday.

  80. lumipuna says

    There’s a significant aurora event going on tonight in the north, and presumably in the south, too.

    I just spent some time freezing outdoors, watching the aurora. The timing of my walk was perfect, for a moderately long if not very intense aurora sequence. Most of it consisted of quite small and pale greenish flames/arcs in the north, barely visible because the viewing conditions aren’t good here in suburban Helsinki. However, there was a brief episode of impressively bright, fast moving green flames near the end.

  81. Jazzlet says

    Despite being told we’d have nice clear skies to observe the aurora we didn’t. And it was visible at least as far south as Stone Henge so we could have seen it if only . . .

  82. lumipuna says

    Jazzlet -- sorry for the clouds. I also went out late on a couple subsequent nights, but there was a thin veil of clouds, in addition to moonlight, the usual urban light pollution etc. Usually in winter I feel lucky enough to get a good glimpse of the sun and the moon now and then, never mind the less conspicuous celestial phenomena.

  83. Jazzlet says

    I am rather in shock, my oldest brother died last night. I had called him earlier in the day, and I can’t quite believe it. Although I am already angry, because he was waiting for an appointment to look at his aorta, and while they are not yet sure what killed him he was getting angina. The fucking Tories have done so much damage to the NHS, but it doesn’t matter, he was 73, old, not worth prioritising in their eyes. My dad live to be 93, I know that I can’t know, but if he’d been treated earlier he might well still be alive.

  84. says

    @Jazzlet, my sympathies for your loss.

    I do hope at least that Britons manage to get their isht together sometime soon and finally kick the robber barons out of office. How many years of failing policies and how many deaths must the tories cause before people finally stop voting for them?

  85. lumipuna says

    What I saw yesterday on the streets of Helsinki:

    A small pug walking with its human, carrying a football in its mouth. I think the football was broken, so there was a torn edge the pug could grab. The football was also extremely dirty, as is typical for things your dog picks up from ditches during the spring snowmelt season.

    A middle-aged man dressed in a suit and a replica of Davy Crockett style raccoon cap. He also had a beard and sideburns in the same shade of greyish brown as the hat, creating a striking impression that the hat was actually his fluffy hair, with a weird-looking ponytail in the back.

  86. lumipuna says

    Here’s a couple photos of an interesting archaeological find: a late iron age (ca. 1000-1200) bird figure pendant from Lappajärvi, western Finland.

    The pendant was discovered by a local resident in the 1960s and only recently brought to the researchers’ attention. The archaeologists say it’s the central part of a woman’s necklace, depicting a female capercaillie or black grouse with half folded wings. The tail edge has seven (?) holes that were used to hang secondary pendants depicting the bird’s feet. It is quite big, and I’d think it looked impressive when fresh. It’s made of some copper-based alloy; the archaic Finnish term vaski means generally copper or its alloys such as bronze or brass.

    Curiously, there’s only one famous archaeological precedent for this type of jewelry: a pendant depicting waterfowl known as the “Scaup of Uhtua”. Commercial replicas are available here (the bronze version shown on top is supposedly close to the original):

    I think it was this waterfowl pendant that was the inspiration behind one of my favorite historical novels: Vaskilintu by the historian, novelist and feminist Kaari Utrio. The title means roughly “Bronze Fowl”; it’s not available in English but there’s a German translation titled Bronzevogel. It’s a life-adventure story of an 11th-century Finnish girl, who is initially raised to be a shaman’s disciple, but ends up being thrown by turns of fate into various Christian countries across Europe while she grows up and matures. There’s a romance plotline too, which is unfortunately a bit rapey in the typical style of 1980s romance novels.

  87. Ice Swimmer says

    chigau @ 114 & Charly @ 115

    My sympathies to both. I haven’t got any real problems, my arms just look like they’ve been clawed by a cat. I’ve been working on a prototype which has plenty of sharp edges.

  88. Jazzlet says

    We still don’t have the results of the autopsy on my brother, the funeral etc is set for 21st April, assuming they release the body in time . . .

  89. Ice Swimmer says

    Jazzlet, my condolences!

    Also, wishing for the best on the bureaucracy front, so that you can have the funeral in time.

  90. Jazzlet says

    Thanks Ice Swimmer, I hope your arms have healed up and your prototype does what it is supposed to do!

    We now have the results, he died of a heart attack . . . while on a waiting list to be treated for heart problems. As far as I am concerned the Tories murdered him. Fucking bastards the lot of them.

  91. Ice Swimmer says

    Hello, chigau and everybody else!

    This is my first proper Summer Holiday for ages (four weeks, began July 1st, took a day off on June 30th). I’ve already been at Tuska Open Air Metal Festival (3 days, June 30th -- July 2nd). I’ve also attended the last day of FinnCon (attended panels on dragons, Star Trek TOS from the point of view of new fans, AI/ML and fiction writing and a lecture on spaceraft propulsion).

    I’ve also swum in the mild waters of Lake Näsijärvi (luckily the water temperatures haven’t been too high, mostly below 20 ℃) and there have been no algae blooms.

  92. Ice Swimmer says


    I bought a diving mask, snorkel and fins. As a teen I loved to snorkel and I’ve been thinking about starting again.

    I bought the equipment and went to this small lake to try them. I managed to see some breams, perches and a small pike. Swimming with the fins was felt quite different from swimming “barefoot” and I didn’t remember how fast I would be able to move.

  93. chigau (違う) says

    For the first time since Christmas Eve Eve 2021 my building has three (3) elevators functioning at the same time.

  94. Ice Swimmer says

    chigau @ 130

    The miracles never end.

    Are the elevators old or are they having teething problems?

    Recently, the elevators in a new high-rise building in Helsinki have been constantly problematic, getting stuck, the audio signaling/speech not working or doors opening and closing the constantly etc. (see the video: Also, in the building I live in (built 2019), the elevator has malfunctioned every now and then.

    When I was a newspaper deliveryperson I was a heavy user of elevators for seven years, but rarely had problems with them.

Leave a Reply