Saturday, 24 January 2009

25+ points about me.....

In Facebook, there was a mail going around amongst friends where we were supposed to write a note - 25 things about ourselves. What better material for a blog about me? (I may update this in the future with more points, but for now here goes).

1. Everyplace I have ever lived, I dreamed there was a mountain near me, and I would climb it. I rather like the far north.
2. Years later, I found a place a world away that I could swear was the same place I dreamt about repeatedly as a boy. (When my friends and I went back to the forest to find this hilltop - we couldn't locate it again.)
3. I consider myself the least funniest person in my immediate family - but to my friends, I'm a laff-riot.
4. Even though I love them to death, I've never been geographically close to my folks, don't see them personally so often, and I'm cool with that.
5. I tend to find ways to avoid bureaucratic unpleasantries. Or dealing with bureaucracies of any kind. Whatsoever.
6. Even though I've been working with technology for most of my working years, I despise debugging /troubleshooting poorly - or even well - implemented products. I have exactly *one* requirement on usability - it should work like a train's toilet! Devices, networks, drives, partitions, yer momma's anti-virus, Skype not working right- I'll have none of it. No, I will NOT fix your bloody computer!
7. I've become fascinated with mathematics - particularly calculus - to the point where I will now sit up until 3 a.m. graphing some weird function or pondering some proof. (Heim's unification is the latest). And get up at 7 a.m. to continue. I'm also intrigued by the idea of a grand unification theory which unites general relativity and quantum mechanics, but don't believe that reconciliation exists yet - perhaps with our current understanding as humans we just can't get it.

8. Among other things I believe there's a workable alternative (we haven't discovered it yet) to our economic system (y'know, the one based on money?) that would solve a hell of a lot of the problems we face as a race on this planet. (What's the biggest shortage right now in our current global downturn - that's right - money!). No shortage in the world whatsoEVER of goods, services, food, people able to do things! And yet people are sitting at home, unemployed, with no way to manage. What's UP with that?

9. Even though I live in Sweden at the moment, and am thoroughly inspired and fired up by our new U.S. leadership, I'm nonetheless thoroughly convinced that the less government there is, the better. I consider myself a libertarian.

10. When I was envisioning my current home, which I'm crazy about - even though I don't own it - I was living at the time in a early soviet flat in Tallinn Estonia. That place had an interesting latticework pattern in the floor and a tattoo shop directly below. So I held a picture in my mind about where I WANTED to live, (it was based on my current surroundings of course, what else could I do?) focused on it, meditated on it, and - guess what? Years later, I've got the same floor and the tattoo shop directly below.

11. I always wanted to create my own reality, job, career, complete with travel - and I have!
12. No use for family and kids. But thanks anyway.
13. I value my freedom over my security. Bigtime.
14. I've always believed in my own power to be the captain of my own life and destiny. But I have lost that compass sometimes - those were my darkest moments.
15. Surprised that I haven't uttered a word about my music yet?
16. I've lived on both sides of that paradox - i've been well off and broke, self-determined and dependent, completely social and totally isolated. Seems like I've needed one to thoroughly appreciate the other.
17. I often soak up other bits of people's personalities and quirks and merge them with my own. Who you see as you observe me depends very much on who - and when - you are.
18. My ex's little daughter Susanna was thoroughly convinced I was a cartoon.
19. I rather enjoy myself and my own company.
20. After I left Finland, my Finnish began to improve dramatically. Same thing with my Estonian. (Kas te järgmises väljute?) Currently my Swedish right sucks.
21. During my university years, I used to get alot of praise for my creative writing, and even published some things, travelled around to recitals, etc.. Now you couldn't get me to write a poem or short story if you put a gun to my head. I'm just far too lazy about it. I keep a blog and hardly ever update it. But I do take immense perverse pride in the voluminous technical specs I've written for some of my jobs (some in the hundreds of pages).
22. I'm compiling a book of the best pranks of my friends - "1001 ways to be an unwanted guest". Submissions, anyone?
23. I'm fascinated by how the true nature of a particle - or person - reveals itself over time. Nothing - no one - can escape that. 4th dimensional thinking?
24. Ok. About the music then. Much of what I produce nowadays (and I'm producing alot) are "experiments" with different harmonies, instruments, tambres, recording techniques, microphones, etc. I may never release any of it, although probably some.
25. I've played with some really great players. But I pride myself in how I've been able to get great results out of whoever I happened to find.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

in Madrid, thanks to Iberia Airlines strike....

As I'm somewhat new to blogging this way (the CMS at my original website,, has been broken for more than a year, and I'm too lazy to fix it), I'm simply not in the habit of reporting the circumstances of my life, travels, and travails from one day to the next. Indeed, as someone who works professionally as a writer (essentially), I'm not even accostomed to posting unedited thoughts in forums like these. Nonetheless, I have always been pretty committed about reporting crappy services and situations, as well as celebrating the good ones, so, as they say, there's no better time than the present.

I'm supposed to be in Santiago, Chile right now, giving a panel discussion for the local media, and later teaching a master's degree module on consumer product realisation. Instead I'm in a cafe in Madrid. After flying in a very dirty plane, which was more than four hours delayed from my origin, I missed my LAN Chile (a very good airline) connection.

When we arrived in Madrid airport at 12.30 a.m. there was no information point, or person at the exit gate to redirect us to the place we were supposed to get our transfers. Instead, we were forced to go out of the country, through passport control, then back into the country (through passport control) which resulted in two stamps I really didn't want in my already nearly full passport. When we finally (on our own, no help from airport staff) finally figured out where we were supposed to go, we stood in that line for more than three hours, while they issues our transfers)!

Being diabetic, I went out to ask someone (one of the iberia clerks had wandered off to talk to his buddies) where I could find food so that I wouldn't go into shock. I was then told to go stand back in line and wait for my ticket (it turned out that there was a cafe downstairs). When I finally got to the desk, and insisted on a connection through LAN Chile, rather than Iberia, it took all of 2 minutes.

Iberia finally put us in a hotel, which although it was three stars, was inflexible about meal times.

So Madrid is nice (was nicer back before the EU), but I'd really rather not be here right now.

A couple of lessons I've learned.

When travelling with a plane full of South Americans, don't do the nice Scandinavian thing and expect other waiting travellers to exercise the same forbearance and respect for lines as you have (As I already knew, but my Scandinavian friends did not realize - South Americans have none - after an asshole-to-elbows scramble, we were last in line, while our tickets were the easiest to process).

Madrid airport is a mess. Don't fly there. And although Iberia respected our passenger's rights (they have to, don't they?) they go on strike several times a year, so somethings not right there.

In Europe, Consumer's rights and integrity are clearly absolutely LAST priority, if in practice they are even considered at all, light years behind those rights of public officials, followed by trade unions.

Why do other developing countries' services (LAN Airlines, Chile; Thai Airways) perform so much better in terms of customer treatment, and those services from nations where standard of living is supposed to be the best (SAS, Denmark; KLM, Netherlands, to name a few) offer, by far, the worst customer service?

Thursday, 1 January 2009

on Fox news...

....I just had something of a revelation (or just a question?) about inflammatory shows like the O'Reilly factor and fox news? I mean what if these guys were actually doing us a favor by acting as a counterpoint to public opinion? Public sentiment being as divided as it now is.

One could argue that Fox news, while seemingly a creation of the Republican party and right wing agenda as such, is actually a reaction to it. I can see people starting to watch it and thinking "wait a minute, this doesn't seem right", while actually starting to levitate in the other direction. What if this was created to show how absolutely preposterous that so called "fair and balanced" viewpoint were, in order to get people to oppose it?