Friday, October 25, 2013

Week 43; dream a little dream of...?

This week we talked about dreams and the possibilities of making them come true. This quite inevitably has -at least to some extent- to do with money, so first we read a newspaper article about a Finnish game developer, Supercell, that has just sold the majority of the shares of the company and as a consequence, the owners, investors and employees of Supercell are now extremely wealthy (read: filthy rich) people. They are now in a position where they have so much money that they can basically buy anything they want and they can fulfil their dreams quite freely. Quite interestingly, the CEO and the creative director of the company say that they are not going to use the money on themselves but instead they intend to use their money to help start-up businesses. The founders of Supercell also said that when they got started and had nothing, they still possessed a naive, almost childlike belief in their dreams and to the notion that almost anything is possible if you work hard and believe in yourself and in your products.

We had a sort of a 'what if' -game meaning that we all tried to think of what we would do if we suddenly became rich. There was discussion about giving money to family members, securing one's own future and even marrying Mick Jagger, but I know what I'd do: I would set up a foundation that would do charity work, and I would buy myself a house from someplace warm! I'm a known winter-hater, so the Finnish winter with its typical features like slippery roads, freezingly cold weather and constant shoveling of snow are definitely not my idea of fun! So, if I were rich, I would gladly cherry pick; spend my summers in Finland and the winters somewhere else!

We also talked about dreams and the fact that they often change in the course of time. Someone said that it's quite natural that young people dream about things they don't have yet (a spouse, children, a nice profession etc.) Once you get older, your dreams may change. I've noticed that once you've achieved some goal or dream, you might be happy and content, or then you might notice that this thing was not worth having at all, in other words, it just wasn't your cup of tea after all. The saying (or warning) "Be careful of what you wish for; you just might get it" probably has great wisdom in it. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence, and pursuing something you think might change your life for the better doesn't always turn out to be so. On the other hand, if you always manage to get everything you dream about, what is left? Isn't it the spice of life that you have dreams regardless of whether they are feasible or not.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Week 41; a few words about books

On October the 10th we celebrate Aleksis Kivi’s Day in Finland, and it’s also a day for Finnish litetature since Aleksis Kivi was a very important Finnish author. That is why we chose to talk about books in my Coffee Mornings –groups. Or actually we discussed our preferences concerning books and films, since some of us like films better than books.

Unfortunately, I don't really have much time to read, but when I do, I usually choose biographies (=elämäkerta) or current, new publications. The books that I've read lately include the biography of Steve Jobs and Sofi Oksanen's latest novel Kun kyyhkyset katosivat. Right now I'm reading a book which is very unlike the books I usually choose; it's Stephen King's book called 22.11.1963. It's very unlike me to read something like this in the sense that I usually never read science fiction novels (I don't like the supernatural things in them), and I also don't usually read books that have to do with death or crime. As a result, I have never read a single book by Stephen King. The reason why this book seemed interesting was the topic: the book plays with the idea of ' what ifs'; what if it was possible to travel back in time? What if it was possible to stop the Kennedy assassination before it took place? What concequences would it have had if John F. Kennedy had not been murdered? This book is very thick and I'm only half way through, so I have no idea how it will end, but it's been a thrilling experience so far.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Week 40; miscellaneous thoughts

In one of my English groups we talked about how difficult it may be to listen to different accents, and how different for instance the RP and American pronunciation usually sound. Pronunciation is not the only thing, though. I found an interesting video clip on You Tube, where Hugh Laurie (an Englishman) and Ellen DeGeneres (an American) give each other words used in America or Britain and see whether the other one knows what they mean. In each case neither of them has the foggiest of what the other one is referring to. I’ve thought that people who speak English as their mother tongue have no problems in understanding each other, regardless of where they come from. Obviously I’ve been wrong, since this extract shows very clearly that for instance American slang or colloquial expressions can be just as strange to an Englishman as they are to a Finn, and vice versa. In a way it’s terribly comforting to know that expressions that are new to us may be just as new even for a native speaker of English!

On Friday the 4th October is a day when people in Finland are encouraged to wear a rose ribbon in order to show their support to brest cancer research. I also read somewhere that another alternative is to wear pink colour on Friday in order to support the cause. I had pink colour in my necklace, bracelet and shawl/scarf. I also bought a pink ribbon and a pink ribbon brooch a couple of years ago, and I particularly like the brooch. I’ve often worn it at work even though I’m not very accustomed to wearing brooches. In my opinion it's important to support a good cause even in a small way.