A new thing happened that has never happened to me before on a trip. I woke up sick. Aches and a sore throat and I don't want to get out of bed sick. Still, I pushed myself, visited Porvoo and Suomolina (an 18th-century fortress on an island), and even found a pharmacy where I purchased some Ibuprofen mixed with Vitamin C. By the way, is there a product in the United States that is half Ibuprofen and Vitamin C? I've never seen any if there is.
So, for my last night in Helsinki, I'm staying in, watching some Conan O'Brien, and packing my bag.
Fifth observation: Soup is hard to find. Maybe it's because it's summer, but I never did find any plain old chicken soup for sale anywhere.
Another day of hotel inspections. The one that appealed to me the most is the Hotel Klaus K. Just opened this year, the hotel is artsy, chic, and features three totally different themed restaurants. Check the link for more information about the place. If you're into staying at boutique hotels, I highly recommend it.
Tomorrow, I leave the city to visit Porvoo. It's a medieval town, so it should be interesting.
Fourth observation: Everyone looks like that go to Mystic Tan, if they have a tan. I noticed this in Stockholm, as well. It must be a Scandinavian trait. Or maybe they really are going to Mystic Tan. I doubt it though.
Today, the tourist board set up a ticket for me on a bus sightseeing tour complete with audio information. Now, I know some people think sightseeing tours are cheesy and mainly for tour groups just passing through a city; I'm usually one of those people who thinks that. However, I really enjoyed the one I took today. If I hadn't taken it, I would have missed some sites and not known the historical significance of some others. The tour wasn't really that long (90 minutes), and it included two stops for pictures. Another great thing about the bus tour was that it helped me figure out the lay of the city. If I want to go back to a site that the bus drove by, I know exactly how to get there. Now, if only the bus tour showed me where all the cool bars are, I'd really be happy.
All this wining, dining and touring comes with a price: work. For the curious, here was my schedule for today after the bus tour.
12:35 p.m. Transfer to Marina Congress Center 12:45 p.m. Inspection of Marina Congress Center 1:05 p.m. Transfer to Finlandia Hall 1:15 p.m. Inspection of Finlandia Hall 1:45 p.m. Transfer to Paasitorni Historic Conference Center 2:00 p.m. Inspection of Paasitorni Historic Conference Center 2:35 p.m. Transfer to Hilton Helsinki Strand 2:40 p.m. Inspection of Hilton Helsinki Strand 3:15 p.m. Transfer to the Palace of Nobility 3:30 p.m. Inspection of the Palace of Nobility 4:00 p.m. Transfer to hotel 6:45 p.m. Dinner at the Kulosaari Casino
Tomorrow is pretty much the same, but with more hotels and less conference centers.
Observation number three: Everyone that wears eye glasses here has cool, stylish, artsy-fartsy ones. I feel like I'm at a never-ending art show opening.
Oh, and I finally found a convenience store. It was in a mall, underground and by the bus stops. It was closed at 10 p.m., FYI.
I'm currently in Helsinki, Finland, and I'm hungry, jet lagged, and seriously in need of some ice cream. Those who know me know my love for ice cream. I have a ferocious sweet tooth. But here in Helsinki, I've yet to come across a convenience store. I've walked all around the city center and have found several bars, design stores, McDonald's, a grocery store in the mall, etc., but not once have I walked past the equivalent of a 7-11. Maybe they're not located here in this area. Maybe I need to walk a couple a miles away from my hotel room. But I'm jet lagged and tired, and I'm just going to have to wait for some sort of pastry in the morning at the hotel breakfast buffet.
First observation of Helsinki: It reminds me of a smaller New York City, but more blonde.
Second observation: There are tons of people younger than me walking around. It's almost like walking around college again.
What is up with 40-50 year old men wearing Hawaiian shirts? Seriously, everywhere I turn nowadays, a guy is decked out in one, with the top button unbuttoned just enough to expose his graying chest hair. Is this the latest fad for middle-age men?
Sure, the shirt looks comfortable and loose and casual, but I can think of several other types of shirts that exhibit those qualities. Why Hawaiian? And get this: some of these men even wear them with pleats.
I've been waiting awhile to document this, and I feel it's finally time to print it publicly.
This past weekend, I visited a swinger's club with the plus one. Let me just get it out the way: We did not swing with any couples. We were purely voyeurs.
The club is actually a private party. Normally, couples have to pay US$55 to enter. Our friend is dating one of the DJs, so we got in free, which made the opportunity to watch people have sex even more appealing.
Yes, people were having sex in front of others. Not on the dance floor or at the tables, but upstairs in--for lack of a better name--the sex loft. The loft had some bed cushions pushed together and some huge sofas. On the beds were couples making sweet sweet love to one another, while on the sofas, several varieties of oral sex were taking place.
What struck us as odd was the fact that there was actually no swinging going on. We expected to see group sex or at least some mid-coitus swapping. Nope. Didn't happen. Couples stuck together (no pun intended), whether eating, dancing, drinking, or fucking.
We did see three couples that we termed "the beautiful people." They were younger than us and more fit than 99.9 percent of the room. Visually, their sex acts looked hot, but we kept asking ourselves if they were really enjoying themselves. Not once did we hear a moan, scream or grunt. It was almost as if they were paid to come have sex in front of people. I guess they weren't paid to show emotion. Another couple to our left were emotional. Even though they weren't as good-looking as "the beautiful people," their sex act was much more appealing because you could tell they were into one another.
After our fill of up-close sex, we finished our beer (which we had to bring ourselves, by the way) and finished off the night at another bar, known more for its strong drinks than its libido.
Things we learned from our visit to the swinger's club:
Swingers like hot dogs. And store-bought cookies. The buffet table wasn't large, but hot dogs were well represented.
Several clean sheets were available for the beds upstairs. And they were nicely folded and held together with ribbons.
We think we saw Janet Reno dancing. Topless.
Swingers don't smile. Or like jokes about llamas fucking you in the ass.
Two live rattlesnakes were released in an Arizona theater during a showing of the new film, 'Snakes on a Plane.' The snakes were released after the film began rolling in the dark theater at the AMC Desert Ridge multi-plex at Tatum and the 101 in north Phoenix.
The two baby diamondbacks were actually slithering around the theater while the snakes on a plane were slithering around on screen with Samuel L. Jackson.
A bit of a panic ensued, the theater was emptied and the Arizona Herpetological Association was called in to remove the snakes.
"People are carrying them in - we believe - in backpacks - and releasing them from a container," Tom Whiting of the Arizona Herpetological Association said.
Baby rattlesnakes are even more dangerous than adult diamondbacks. A report online from James Q. Jacobs notes that baby rattlesnakes are very venomous.
"They're very deadly, very, very dangerous right from the start. Babies actually will eject all of their venom, as opposed to the adults that will eject some of their venom some of the time."
Baby rattlesnakes also can't warn their victims as they do not have rattles; rattles develop after several skin 'sheddings.'
No one was bitten by either of the snakes and the baby rattlers were captured and released into the surrounding desert.
The western diamondback is one of six rattlesnake species found in the surrounding deserts of Phoenix and one of the most common snakes in Arizona.
Snake experts in the valley are suggesting that theater owners check any backpacks that are carried into the theater for containers that may carry the snakes in case any copycats try the very dangerous stunt.
"Snakes on a Plane" captured the weekend box-office title with a take of $15.2 million.
London, 18th August 2006: Steorn, an Irish technology development company, has today issued a challenge to the global scientific community to test Steorn’s free energy technology and publish the findings.
Steorn’s technology is based on the interaction of magnetic fields and allows the production of clean, free and constant energy. The technology can be applied to virtually all devices requiring energy, from cellular phones to cars.
Steorn has placed an advertisement in The Economist this week to attract the attention of the world’s leading scientists working in the field of experimental physics. From all the scientists who accept Steorn’s challenge, twelve will be invited to take part in a rigorous testing exercise to prove that Steorn’s technology creates free energy. The results will be published worldwide.
Sean McCarthy, CEO of Steorn, commented: “During the years of its development, our technology has been validated by various independent scientists and engineers. We are now seeking twelve of the most qualified and most cynical from the world’s scientific community to form an independent jury, test the technology in independent laboratories and publish their findings.
“We are under no illusions that there will be a lot of cynicism out there about our proposition, as it currently challenges one of the basic principles of physics. However, the implications of our technology go far beyond scientific curiosity: addressing many urgent global needs including security of energy supply and zero emission energy production. In order for these benefits to be achieved, we need the public validation and endorsement of the scientific community”.
“We’re playing our part in making that happen by throwing down the gauntlet with today’s announcement – now it’s over to the scientists to ensure that the real potential and benefits of our technology can be realised.”
Following the validation process, Steorn intends to license its technology to organisations within the energy sector. It will allow use of its technology royalty-free for certain purposes including water and rural electrification projects in third world countries, details to be announced later.
I signed up to receive the scientific results. If this turns out to be possible, it will rank as one of humankind's greatest discoveries. After that, scientists should work on teleporation.
Song of the Day "Drinking Beers" by Miguel Mendez (The song is on his Myspace site; just click on his name.)
In case you've been living under a rock, I'm hear to tell you that Conan the Barbarian is real. He's not made up like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Osama bin Laden, etc. It's true. I read it right here.
He was a member of the Cimmerians, an ancient nomadic people who liked to ride horses. I bet they were total bad asses.
My friend, Stephen, will be the father of a child very soon (or maybe he already is; I've lost touch with him), and I now know the perfect gift for his new little human. As a huge fan of music, I'm sure Stephen will love to put his child to bed with the soothing sounds of Rockabye Baby!.
"Rockabye Baby! transforms timeless rock songs into beautiful instrumental lullabies. The soothing sounds of the glockenspiel, vibraphone, mellotoron and other instruments will lull your baby into a sweet slumber." (From the Web site)
I believe my day has just been made.
And mad props (yes, I just used the phrase "mad props"...work with me people) to my friend Cherry. She brought a delicious chocolate muffin with a candle (thanks to Dana for the idea) to my gig last night in celebration of my blog's birthday.
Song of the Day
Go listen to those Rockabye Baby sound clips, fool!
Exactly one year ago today, Long Division convinced me to start a blog. Hesitant as I was at first, I now enjoy the discipline of publishing something (however lame) every day. It's like athletics for the writing brain.
And just like Long Division, I've decided to change my template for my year anniversary. I'm not particulary fond of the header, so if someone can steer me in the direction of cool header designing, I'd appreciate it.
Here are some stats from the past year about my blog and other blogs.
We Shot JR accounts for more than 18 percent of my referral Web pages.
"John Wake Cardiff" is the number one search phrase after "pimplomat." "Wet Butt" ranks kind of high, too.
Today, my latest visitor, as of 1:30 p.m. (Central Standard Time) came from Boston, Mass.
Thanks for reading my blog entries the past year. Now, where's my cake?
Eric and I had one of our parties again. This time, the theme was Back to School. We had people bring school supplies, and we conducted an art contest. The school supplies will be donated to a needy organization. The art contest was for fun. Participates had to create art using only school supplies. Winners were awarded swank prizes.
This was the winning entry (based on one of my Myspace photos), made entirely out of construction paper by our friend Ben.
For more pictures and tomfoolery, click on this word.
So, while I agree that men and women are wired differently, I have a hard time believing this statement:
"Thoughts about sex enter women's brains once every couple of days; for men, thoughts about sex occur every minute."
It came from this article about a new book called The Female Brain.
Seriously, female readers, do you only think about sex every couple of days? From my experience, females think about it just as much as males. Or maybe I just hanging out with the girls my parents warned me about.
When the We Are The 80's tour came through town on Sunday, we (the plus one and friends) couldn't pass up the chance to see and hear some retro gods--Scandal, Eddie Money, Loverboy, and the still-rocking-at-56-years-old Rick Springfield.
We arrived either at the tail end of Scandal's set or right in the middle of a three song performance, which ended with "The Warrior" and "Goodbye to You," appropriately enough. Once I heard Patty Smyth say "groovy" and "dig," I totally lost my shit.
Up next was supposed to be Loverboy. Unfortunately, their plane was delayed because of the weather, and then we were told that their lead singer was AWOL. What a letdown. I was ready to turn it loose after a long week of working for the weekend.
So, instead of lovin' every minute of it with Loverboy, we got the Money Man, Eddie Money. Let me tell you, this guy as two tickets. To what? He never said, but he told us repeatedly that he has two tickets. He also told us to slap his ass. You know, there's just not enough lead singers out there asking us to slap their asses. It's a lost art, kind of like the art of being a spokesperson.
And then the headliner, Rick Springfield. Not only did he bounce around the stage like an kid on Ritalin, he also roamed through the crowd, talking to strangers, getting them to help sing his songs. But it was one song that had us jaw dropped: "Jesus Saves (White Trash Like You)." Was this a serious song? Has dreamy Rick Springfield gone contemporary Christian on us? Surely, Jessie's girl wouldn't fall for a nice, Christian boy. She's a harlot, loving her boyfriend with her body and watching him with those eyes. In the end, we were just hoping it was a joke. Maybe Rick Springfield was making fun of himself just a little bit. Surely, someone of Dr. Drake's stature can recognize jump sharking when it's presented to him.
Just because I'm introspective and I walk among the shadows, it doesn't mean I can't hear you
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Due to an offsite work meeting, there will be no blog entry tomorrow. Now, now, don't get upset. I know you rely heavily on my daily musings to get you through your day, and I've taken that into account. So, I leave you with this. Hope will help you put your life in perspective.
Song of the Day
No song of the day yesterday, today or tomorrow. Meh.
Last night, I was able to see a screening of Little Miss Sunshine (thank you Angelika mailing list!). Just to get to the juice, all I'm going to say is GO SEE THIS MOVIE! In the theater. With a large crowd, if possible. Pay regular price. You should even support your local theater for showing it by purchasing some of their overpriced edibles.
The movie is directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who are well-known for their music videos (e.g., "Tonight, Tonight" by the Smashing Pumpkins; "Wolves Lower" by R.E.M.), and they were attendance at the screening, answering audience questions and explaining the ups and downs of releasing an independent film.
The story's narrative arc pushes and pulls you along to a satisfying ending; character development is well-rounded, allowing the audience to bond with the different personalities; and the script is believable with a slight touch of farce to keep it interesting and entertaining. Finally, the soundtrack was done by Devotchka, who have released one of my favorite albums of the year.
When I first saw the preview, I didn't think the movie was going to be very good. Then I saw the preview again, and I became a little more interested. The movie delivers; for once you can believe the hype.
One more thing: My blog's birthday is coming up soon. I'd like to change the template in honor of it turning a year old. If anyone has any ideas or links for free, cool looking templates, please send them my way. Thanks.
I remember seeing MTV for the first time in 1982. I'm not sure if the first video I saw was for "Rio" by Duran Duran or the video for "Land Down Under" by Men at Work. They both had sand in them, and I vividly remember sand. I also vividly remember being disappointed when a commercial came on. I thought cable meant no commercials.
At MTV.com, you can watch the first full hour of the channel's broadcast, commercials and all (I want the Bulk!), in celebration of their birthday.