Thursday, 29 July 2010

Weeny update

So I noticed this:


which reminded me of the pacman ghosts:



I think my foot deserves a pat on the back for that one.

The important difference between velociraptors and the t-rex

A couple of days ago I was out running with Jukka. We ran for approximately 40 days and 40 nights before we came to a kind of adventure playground. There was some sort of torture device which Jukka pointed to and informed me was for doing chinups. He asked me if I can do chinups. I looked at him to check if he was serious. He was.

I'd thought it was obvious from the start how little upper body strength I have. If I were to think of something that had a similar ratio of upper to lower body strength as me, it would be a tyrannosaurus rex. If you imagine a tyrannosaurus rex doing chinups, that's pretty much how I would look doing chinups. It's okay to imagine sounds. They're probably accurate.

Evidently this was not a good enough explanation. Despite acting out tyrannosaurus rex-like behaviour (you're welcome, fellow joggers of Pirkkola) Jukka confused my performance with a velociraptor. No, I said. Velociraptors run like this.

Whereas I run like this:

For future reference, here is a list of things I do not resemble while undertaking sport:

Here is a list of things I do resemble while undertaking sport:



and finally this sloth (yes, this particular one):


I have to say I've found running rewarding, however. It's not very often you grow one of these of such magnificent dimensions:
I popped it since taking the photo. It said ppptthhth.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

An ode

... to mosquitoes.



I went for a run
It wasn't much fun
Upon leaving my bed
I forgot anti-bug meds
Thanks evil bitches
My leg really itches.

What's more, I acquired another matching bite on the other leg (hey, a girl's got to be co-ordinated). For some reason I am seriously allergic to mosquito bites. In 2008-ish I spent a summer in Kannus and a mosquito bit me under the eye, causing it to swell up and make people ask if my then-boyfriend was hitting me. "No, it's just a mosquito bite" is the Finnish equivalent of "Oh, I just walked into a door". (He never hit me, promise.)

So, yeah, fuckers. Stop biting me. I'm fed up of your shit.

Update: Okay, so I knew I was more sensitive to mossie bites than a lot of people, but now I have heard that they are actually ridiculous and I should perhaps even be proud of my innate talent to grow these massive allergic reactions. I bet spiderman never went through this kind of crap.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Childhood trauma #1

This trauma is the yardstick by which I measure all other traumas.

In the summer of 1999 I went to Year 6 summer camp. I was 11. It was the last year of primary school and I'd known about the annual camp since about Year 2, and worried about it since year ..2. I suffered from devastating homesickness and cried at sleepovers across the street from my house. Spending 5 days away from my mum in the next town was going to be horrible and I didn't want to go. At the same time, perhaps the same masochistic streak that made me start running made me want to go to the camp so that I would have achieved something. If I didn't go to camp, I'd have had to have gone to school on my own, and the younger years would have known that I was too much of a wuss to go to camp. So my mum got me some camping stuff and deposited me at Kearsney Abbey in Dover and then left me there. It was like a scene from a movie as she drove off, except there was no music. I'm sure mum didn't want to leave me there because she knows what a first class wuss I was and that I didn't actually want to go. But she left, and there I was.

Awful thing #1:

The day before I had been at my mum's friend's house while they babysat me.Their dog,- which I'm sure was actually a minion of Satan since most dogs like me and I didn't do anything to anger this one, because I saw murder in its eyes – bit me in the face. The FACE, while I was putting my shoes on. I had bite marks on either side of my nose and I guess I was only lucky that I didn't lose an eye. So when I arrived at school camp, some girl I sort of knew came up to me, analysed my face and said ”your face makes me feel sick”. Thanks.

Awful thing #2:

I may have mentioned that I suffer from emetophobia, a fear of vomiting. Oddly, I'm far more afraid of other people throwing up than I am of throwing up myself. Upon arrival at school camp one kid puked into the campfire. Good aim there, Billy. Apparently there was an epidemic of some bug. Honestly, I nearly shat myself there and then.

Not awful, but bad advice, mum:

We were supposed to sleep 6 to a tent and mum had advised me to sleep at a right angle to everyone else along the side, so that when everyone came in the tent with their shoes on, my sleeping bag and stuff wouldn't get dirty.

I dutifully bagsied the spot, went to sleep feeling successful and woke up outside the tent. There was not enough room in the tent and I got moved to another tent with only 3 people in it.

What the hell kind of crazy-ass tent is this?

So I knew two girls in the tent, but I didn't know the third.Life in the new tent didn't start so well. One of the girls, Rebecca, was a hypochondriac and had bought an entire first aid kit. That's okay, but she left a tube of witch hazel open and the great heifer trod on it and it went all over our stuff. Thanks. I didn't get much sleep in the new tent either, because the first night, the girl called Rachel woke me up at 2 in the morning and told me she was cold. I'm sorry Rachel, but what was I supposed to do about it? Hug you? Let you in my sleeping bag? Also, you went straight back to sleep and left me with insomnia. Thanks.

On day three, after making sure Rachel went to sleep with extra clothes on, girl-I-didn't-know woke me up. I opened my eyes and saw her face very close to mine – you're ugly, by the way, especially at 3am – and she said ”I don't like you.” Thanks. Could you have told me in the morning? I definitely don't like you now. I said fine, and told her as much, and tried to snuggle back to sleep. But no, she had a comprehensive plan of how she didn't like me that she wanted to tell me. I don't know how the other two didn't wake up, maybe they did. But they didn't help. I listened to how her brothers were going to do me in before I sucked it up and threatened her back, which seemed to shut her up for the rest of the week. Cow. I could have taken you in a fight.

Only good thing at camp:

So there was a field nearby and it had a horse in it.


I took solace in this horse and spent free time trying to get it to come near the fence so I could stroke him. Since I was the first once to notice him, I named him Mr. Ed. Unfortunately some other kids found me and the horse and promptly renamed him something stupid like Carrot and pushed me out of the way. He definitely preferred my name for him, though.

Another good, but naughty thing at camp:

I may have also mentioned that I weighed a lot some years ago. We were playing some annoying game that involved some sort of cardio exertion and I was obviously bad at it because it was summer, I was fat and had then-undiagnosed asthma. A kid called Craig came up to me and started taking the piss. I was used to this, since I was bullied most of the way through primary school, but he wouldn't sod off. He just kept going. So I picked up a massive branch and thumped him one with it. Turns out I broke his arm. He screamed and cried, and people laughed at him. He shouted at me that I'd broken his arm and I'd go to jail. I put the branch down, and when the teacher came to see what was going on he said ”For goodness' sake Craig, stop lying. Stacy wouldn't do anything like that.” Muaha. Craig got a broken arm AND detention for lying.

Don't mess with me, biatches.

At the end of the 5 days my mum came to pick me up and asked me how it went. I told her I hated it and she let me buy a CD. For all that trauma all I got was an S Club 7 CD and a paper certificate that said I'd completed the camp. Not. Worth. It.

Monday, 12 July 2010

I can has velocity?

A while ago (11 days ago to be precise), I started to run. Not like, continuously, I’m sitting still right now, but in general. The decision was brought on by a mix of guilt for not doing enough exercise, masochistic curiosity (will my ankle take it) and to see if I can actually beat something I really hate. Also, one friend had started jogging after quitting smoking, and my boyfriend’s mum had completed a running program recently. I figured that although I have asthma, if an ex-smoker and someone of boyfriend’s mum’s age bracket (whoa, look at the skill with which I didn’t call her ’old’) can do this 10km program then so can I.

Boldly ignoring the extra 15kg that I am carrying around, my maimed ankle, a history of being inert and sedate and the fact that my asthma medicine ran out months ago, I decided to print out a program (printing it makes it real, you know) for novice runners, and started.

The first time, I went out by myself, ignoring Sarah’s advice to run in the dark so that people can't see your fail. I pranced off into the boiling sun at around rush hour, so that everyone could bask in my fail.


The program said to walk 5 minutes, run 2 minutes, take a small break and then repeat. Do not scoff at the program. Those were the longest two minutes of my life. There was a short break, followed by the shortest 5 minutes and new, improved longest two minutes of my life. Apparently a masochist, I ended up running UP a hill at the end, and arrived back on our doorstep a sweaty blubbering mess of post-exercise.

(You may remember that I mentioned it was hot here in Finland? Well it’s still hot. In fact, since I wrote that post, it just got hotter. So my running trips, though valiant, suck ├╝ber donkey balls).

Because of the heat and scale of unfitness as well as my overwhelming reluctance to run unless I’m being chased or would REALLY like to get somewhere faster I somewhat resemble an injured hippo or a sack of potatoes moving slightly faster than usual. But that’s okay. I’m (telling myself I’m) doing this for myself, not anyone else.

Running is hard. Sometimes when I’ve run before, I’ve thought ”if I can only make it to that tree, I’ll be satisfied with myself”. Then the tree becomes the FURTHEST THING IMAGINABLE and my legs are made of sandbags and I’m running in wet sand, which makes for an unnecessary surplus of sand and this mental strategy -setting myself visible goals - apparently does not work.

The program is pretty good, because I know there’s a time to run, and if boyfriend keeps the time then I can just run and try to think about other stuff like what I’m going to eat for dinner or how many people are on the toilet right now or why wasps have to exist. Unfortunately this isn’t so easy, because my brain, alerted to my exceptional behaviour and velocity, starts trying to talk sense into me:


My brain makes a lot of valid points, but I’m stubborn and would like to be fitter, and also follow through with my aim to be equally as fit as boyfriend’s mum and the ex-smoker, who also has asthma.

Luckily for me I found that if I listen to my ipod at the same time as running it not only blocks out the sound of my pathetic, asthmatic wheezing but it also makes me forget about my natural predisposition to NOT running and care marginally less about my cellulite flobbering about all over the place. I literally frolic.

With an ipod, I am able to block out reality and imagine that I look like this:


But with no ipod, reality smacks me in the face with this image:

Can’t quite tell for sure which is less embarassing.

?

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Surprise!

The surprise I promised to the people who were lovely enough to join my blog's group on facebook is finally here! Please remain calm, though, it's not that great. (I'm only one person and it's really hot.) I'm also celebrating my blog's thousandth view, so thank you for reading me.

In my haste to verbally grab people and almost force them to read my blog, I resorted to bribery and promised a surprise. Now that people actually joined the group I decided to keep to my word and actually come up with a surprise. Unfortunately at the time I didn't have any suitable ideas in mind. I thought of drawing something, but since I usually draw on my blog, it would have been a fail of a surprise. I also thought about drawing the people who joined, but there are 23 of you and let's face it, I'm not that good at drawing.

So I reverted to selfishness - what would I want?


We baked you guys virtual pulla - Finnish buns. Jukka wants me to explain that the great thing about these buns is that they have no calories, because we made them ourselves and we don't remember adding any :)

Thanks again, and if any of you are near Kuopio, we have an abundance of buns to get rid of.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Pasty is best

I have previously described myself as the kind of person who moves to Finland for the weather. For most of the year this is true - the climate here is well-suited to my pasty skin and heat intolerance. What I failed to take into account, however, is the fact that Finland is situated so far north that the continuous depression-inducing dark winter weather which I so love is balanced in the summer by continuous depressing (at least for me) heat and sun. The days in the Finnish summer are so long that the sun either doesn't set (above the arctic circle) or only sets for a short amount of time and doesn't even go far below the horizon. It's like solar ADHD. Here's a scientific diagram:

Unfortunately, when you tell people from other countries that it's unbearably hot, and the person in question knows you live in Finland (and what's more, voluntarily), the complaint elicits one of two responses:

Response #1 - the well-meaning but misguided comment
If you are wondering the same thing, please refer back to my incredibly academic diagram and bear in mind that Finland does not have polar bears or penguins, no matter how many times I've told you it has. I was just screwing with you. Sorry.

Response #2 - the surprisingly aggressive comment

I never really know how to reply to this. Please see above diagram. Perhaps I really should grow a pair and just go outside and continue living as normal despite the risk of boiling and/or melting to prove that I am definitely not a pussy (I've eaten hera), but for someone with such ridiculously pale, burn-prone skin who is half-convinced she can feel UV rays penetrating her skin I think I should probably just stay indoors.

I'm at Jukka's place, and like all Finns, he's decorated his house with thermometers so he can be constantly aware of the temperature. "It's 27 C in here!" he announces joyfully (because he knows the accurate temperature) yet follows it up with profanity, since 27C is just too hot.

"Can we buy a fan?" I plead. Unlike boyfriend, I can't really walk around topless since some clever bastard invented windows and I don't feel like flashing the whole neighbourhood. But Jukka is all

I bet his computers have fans. Hmph.

So I have resigned myself to not being in the vicinity of a fan for a while. I hope I have to go to the shop today because at least the shop is air conditioned. Until then, I am spending my time laying on the floor oozing distress. I'm laying on the floor because in a moment of heat delirium I remembered that hot air rises so I should probably be as low as possible. All this laying about on the floor feeling uncomfortable leaves me unable to lead a social life, since most other people love sunshine and heat, and choose the single hottest day of the year to go to the beach. I am sorry, other normal people, but I do not understand this practice. My reluctance to come along should not be taken personally, but I don't want to lay in unbearable heat, simultaneously committing genocide on my skin cells and dehydrating myself. But look, we're kind of doing the same thing! Laying!

What's that, sunblock, you say? I appear to be allergic to most kinds of sunblock, even the superhypoallergenicbaby stuff. My old physics teacher used to say "pasty is best" and discouraged us from reckless sunbathing. Since I can't really sunbathe (reck..fully? :D), the only remedy seems to be hermiting indoors until winter. Perhaps nature got confused and gave me summer hibernation. I'm like an inverted moomin. :o