Monday, January 30, 2017

Rage on ski trails

In Finland we have thousands of kilometres of different trails and paths for everyone to use for recreational purposes. In the summer these trails are really meant for everyone: people who walk, jog, walk their dogs, do Nordic walking etc. Also cyclists can come along as long as they are aware that there are other people using the same trails they are, and don't cause any danger. In short: in the summer there are lots of people on these trails and things seem to work out just fine.

In the winter it's a whole different story. You see, a new phenomenon has emerged in our country in recent years. It's called laturaivo in Finnish, and it refers to situations where a cross-country skier has become absolutely enraged to somebody else on the same ski trail -or close to it.

First some cross-country skiers just got mad at people who were walking on ski trails. They said that walking on the ski trails ruins them, and then it is difficult or even dangerous to ski on bumpy trails. Okay; I can understand that. But, this is by no means the only thing skiers became upset. Even if there was someone walking a dog alongside the ski trail, this was also wrong, and the poor dog owner was often told to 'go away' or even to 'f*** off'. I've been one of those dog owners, so I know what I'm talking about.

Well, things have gotten worse over the past few years, and this winter I've read about several cases where skiers have said very nasty things also to other skiers (!) So now it isn't enough that cross-country skiers have banished other people off 'their' trails; now they can't even stand each other?! According to newspaper articles, slower skiers (elderly people, children) have received some very negative feedback from super-skiers, and for example if someone has fallen over, he/she has been told to get out of the way and the message has been accompanied by a bunch of nasty swear words. In some cases, the one laying on the ground has even been spat at or stung with a sharp ski pole by someone passing them!

I don't know if this kind of behaviour says more about cross-country skiers or our times, but it's ludicrous and bad behaviour anyhow. It's also saddening to think of how little some people respect others and their right to exist, think or do things differently. Live and let live is an excellent principle, and it wouldn't hurt to bear this in mind whatever we do. People with a one track mind are always problematic to live with, and selfish people with a one track mind are even worse.

And besides, even though I don't ski myself (in any shape or form), somehow I thought that skiing was supposed to be fun?  Hobbies and recreational activities are intended to help you relax, calm down and feel good. I say, if cross-country skiing makes somebody so enraged that they need to yell, swear and rage to others, maybe it would be wise for them to change into some other sport or hobby altogether. Like needlepoint. If something goes wrong there, they can only blame themselves.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Väärin urheiltu

This time the heading is in Finnish, because it is an adaptation of a Finnish saying "väärin sammutettu". Translated literally, it means "fire put out the wrong way". In Finland we use this phrase when we refer to things or situations where someone has done exactly the right thing as such, but where somebody else is criticizing the way it was done. The heading refers to a situation where working out has been done the wrong way. Is that even possible? Yes, it seems so.                                

You see, I got the idea for this posting after reading a blog posting of a personal trainer who shared her thoughts of working out and people who work out. I felt like posting her a comment or two right away, but then, after taking a deep breath and counting to ten, I didn't.  Since I still feel a bit bothered and annoyed about the text a few days later, I'll write some of my thoughts here.

In this blog this particular personal trainer perhaps wanted to point out that a healthy, muscular type of (female body) is better than too skinny, but if this was meant to be the main message, it was not conveyed very well. You see, she wrote that women who go jogging know nothing of nutrition or what makes a woman attractive. That's because if they did, they would not go jogging, they would go to the gym! And -get this- the most important reason for going to the gym is not to stay healthy or anything futile like that; it's getting a beautiful, round ass!

Okkaayy.... So, it does not matter if somebody prefers running or swimming or badminton to going to the gym; the gym is automatically the way to go for everyone..?

And what if a woman likes jogging or running, has a flat ass and still is perfectly happy with herself, does she still have to change her ways and start going to the gym so that she could become more attractive to men..? According to this blogger, yes she does. And isn't it possible for a woman to be attractive without a huge, muscular bottom? According to her, no it isn't.  And one more question: What is in the heart of doing sports; feeling good, staying healthy, or looking good? According to our dear blogger, the answer is looking good.

I don't know about you, but somehow I feel that these kinds of blog postings don't do much good for women, even though this blogger wanted to educate us into realizing that thin women are not beautiful. I felt that her main idea was to make also slim women feel bad about themselves; this same has been done to overweight women a long time ago. According to her, only muscular women with tight asses will do.

Why is it so hard to accept that we all (women as well as men) come in different shapes and sizes, and as long as you are healthy and exercise in whatever way, that should be enough for everyone?

So, I'm not sure if this blogger is a bad writer or just stupid -or maybe both- but at least for my part I'm gonna continue jogging no matter what anybody says, and if someone has a problem with my ass, they can close their eyes or turn away!

Friday, October 07, 2016

My stupid, miserable life

A few weeks ago I attended a lecture where the lecturer pointed out an interesting characteristic that appears to be in common with many people. It seems that in times of crises we easily start looking for quick fixes or answers to our problems from external sources, not necessarily from within.

When a person's own life is boring, unfulfilling or has caused disappointment, people often react in ways that on the outside seem different but actually might have similar reasons. Some people quit their jobs and move across the globe to find themselves, others get divorced and try to find solace or a fresh start with somebody new. Some turn to religion, and some even join extremist movements. Different reactions, but is it really so that all of these choices stem from the same source; the feeling that my life as I know it now is so stupid, miserable and insignificant that something just has to be done?

For earlier generations misery was okay; the present life wasn't supposed to be happy or fulfilling, happiness was reserved for the afterlife. It was easier for people to accept hardships because it was thought that they were given to you to be endured; also the difficult times and misfortunes had a meaning.

Maybe one of the most difficult things for us modern people is to withstand ordinary life. Many people don't believe in heaven or life after death anymore, and that is why you'd have to make the most of this life. Maybe this is why we are afraid of losing time or opportunities, the "so much to experience, so little time" -attitude seems to be pounding in our heads. It is difficult to be content with what you have if there actually could be something better around the corner...? Is the worst thing that could happen to a modern person that he or she would have to settle for something less than brilliant? There is always the problem of not knowing;  how will I know if this is as good as it gets..?

I suppose the wise realize that sometimes the difficult times in our lives don't have to do with any external factors but rather the inner discontent that we (all?) feel at times. I guess the real question is to be able to separate inner temporary turmoil from real, actual problems that have to be resolved.

Monday, September 05, 2016

"Hell is where the cooks are English..."

There's a funny anecdote about cultural differences. I'm sure you've heard it before, but I'll write it down here anyhow:

"Heaven is where...
the cooks are French,
the policemen are English,
the mechanics are German,
the lovers are Italian,
and it's all organized by the Swiss.

Hell is where...
the cooks are English,
the policemen are German,
the mechanics are French,
the lovers are Swiss,
and it's all organized by the Italians."

Even though this text is filled with generalizations and stereotypes, it still says something about people in different countries, their characters and habits.

I visited England again about a month ago, and I must say that there is some truth to the belief that the English cuisine may not be the best in the world. It's actually fine by me, since I'm not a 'food enthusiast' myself. I'm satisfied if there is enough healthy food on the plate; I don't crave for culinary experiences all the time. Naturally, sometimes it is nice to spend an evening enjoying good company and a good meal at the same time, but like I said, I don't need new, exotic dishes in which the cook has invested huge amounts of time and effort. The "naked chef -philosophy" appeals to me; simple basic ingredients, easy recipies, full stomach.

Eton mess; my kind of dessert. Easy recipe, easy to make, delicious!

That is why it is such a relief to go to England! I don't have to pretend that I am interested in spices or sauces or different kinds of meat. Fine dining is not mentioned, thank Goodness! Eating is just something that has to be done, and it's perfectly okay if you just want to get it over with. In Finland cooking is veeery much in fashion these days, and it seems obvious that everyone is completely into food and cooking and everything related to it. With my not-so-passionate relationship with food, I feel like the odd man out when this topic is concerned. That is why for instance Eton mess is a brilliant dessert in my opinion. Just whisk and mix and put them in a bowl and that's it! Who says cooking or baking has to take hours and require dozens of pots and kettles and boiling and cooking and frying and baking?!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Sarcastic people, bring them on!

This time I thought about contemplating about humour. Lately I've come across with the fact that humour is actually a very difficult and delicate matter. Things that are extremely funny to some can be incomprehensible, or even in some cases, insulting to others.

Take Monty Python, for example. Or The Fast Show -one of my favourite BBC comedy sketch show programmes. The humour in both of these series is so unique that I guess it divides people sharply into two categories: you either love them or hate them. Understand them fully or not at all. Laugh all the time or just don't get the jokes. It's the same with comic strips, stand up comedy, and -naturally- the most difficult forms of humour, irony and sarcasm.

I myself am prone to both sarcasm and irony, although I am fully aware of the risks they entail. Irony can be misunderstood, and sarcastic people are often perceived as mean and intimidating. That is why one has to bear this in mind, and use these fine forms of humour sparingly and only in selected company. I have a small poster on my office wall saying: "Sorry! The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock." I've noticed that most people don't get the joke. Those who do make it instantly to my 'A Potential Candidate' -list. Those who make it this far have a good chance of getting to my 'Favourite People On The Planet' -list. Needless to say, this list is not terribly long (quality over quantity!), and all the people on that list have gained my friendship, access to my thoughts, as well as my utmost respect.

The same type of sense of humour is not a bad criterion to choose friends, I think. Like I mentioned, I like sarcastic and ironic people, and I've noticed that almost always these people are like me; sarcastic on the outside, but sensitive and vulnerable creatures on the inside. Usually these people also know how to handle other people like them, and don't use their sarcastic wit to hurt their friends. It takes one to know one, and with sarcastic people it's "us vs. the inequality of the world" or "us vs. stupid idiots", but not "you vs. me". In that sense, it seems funny that even though sarcastic people are often seen as scary, I always feel safe around them. It really does take one to know one.

To conclude, I just want to say that yes, I realize that someone having just read this text might feel irritated about my listing people in my mind. Well, you might wanna consider the possibility that maybe this was just sarcasm on my part...