A Little Book in Thimbleweed

So, Thimbleweed Park is out, and it is an amazing point-and-click adventure game that anyone who was a fan of the old Lucasarts style of games should pick up. If for nothing else than an easter egg for all of you who might be going through the grand library in Mansion mansion. In fact, if you happen to peer really hard at the 1.6 section, you might find a little story called "Serpentstones of Essick" by some strange author named Teo Kuusela.

For those who aren't willing to go through a whole adventure game just to read what I wrote, here's the original text that I submitted to their open roll-call for books.

 

Serpentstones of Essick

"You have fallen into my devious trap!" the frail looking man cackles. "There is no escape from certain doom now!"

He hops from one foot to the other, the dust between his sandal and the balcony floor crunching. You glance down at your body covered in full chainmail, and grip your shield and sword, when suddenly the old man hacks and coughs, pausing to bow and place his head between his legs to help take in deep raspy breaths.

"Whooee," he wheezes and takes another struggling breath. "You have not a clue as to how much trouble you are in!"

You watch as the frail Grand Mage Bringledin wheezes and puffs, then glance at the large mummified serpent curled in the middle of the floor. While being trapped in a pit with a giant snake seems quite the formidable task, it appears that the trap is well past its use-by date.

If you wish to climb up to the old man's balcony, turn to page 68.
If you wish to rummage through the mummified snake for treasure, turn to page 92.
If you wish to try and open the door, turn to page 65.

A Wall is a Wall is a Wall

I've been quite silent since the US election cycle about most things America. I haven't gone too in-depth about the election in social media or forums I frequent, or here on the blog for that matter. I saw Bernie's rise in popularity, and his quick an painful downfall, and I saw Clinton's non-campaign as an alternative choice to Trump. I can't say I was shocked when I saw Trump won. I was surprised, but not shocked - I had been watching the US media devour with glee the rise of groups such as the Tea Party and give untold hours of airtime to far-right conspiracy theorists during the eight years of the Obama presidency, being shocked would necessitate having hope in the American public. Any smatterings of hope have been quickly extinguished by the "you lost, deal with it" crowd of conservatives that have popped up everywhere in the aftermath of the election, despite the more recent protests against Trump's executive actions and orders.

The United States doesn't make sense, no matter if it's blue or red politically. To great degree, I believe, that is because the world's greatest superpower is reaching - after less than a decade on top - the point of no return in it's decadent downspiral. The infrastructure network is in shambles, the political system is infested with lobby groups with practically bottomless pockets, and the services afforded to the general public are utter self-defeating crap. Not to mention, the general public is also infatuated with a cult of individuality: everyone is best, everyone can pull themselves up if they really want to, everyone can be rich and damn the rest. This downspiral is going to happen eventually to each great power, and now it's the turn of the "land of the free and home of the brave" to suffer that same fate. How they cope with that is for everyone to find out.

See, walls can take many shapes and sizes. They can be as high and deep as you can make them out of whatever material you want, or they can be words of a paper, but there is always one singular goal to them: to limit movement. When you limit the movement of one or more groups, you limit the movement of all groups. There is no such wall that does not have two sides to it. Either the wall will contain those it should be protecting, or simply the act of erecting the wall will make those outside of it more hostile towards those coming out of the gates. It's as simple as that.

In the coming years, if Trump gets what he wants and promised during the campaign, we will see an increasingly protectionist and isolationist USA. It might also become more belligerent at the same time, which will not lead to anything but grumpy allies. It will also lead to increasing defiance of the current global order. Russia has already started by reigniting the proxy war inside Ukraine, Iran is conducting in missile tests in direct defiance of the Trump administration's warning not to, and China... well, who knows how China will be enforcing their claims to the South China Sea from now on.

My concern is no longer on the United States' internal issues and politics. Well, they are, but not directly. My concern now lies much more on the response to the internal politics. An emboldened Russia is a direct threat to all countries that surround it - mainly the Eastern European countries and Turkey in this part of the world, but also Finland and Scandinavia. I do not fear is not one of Trump picking the wrong fight, it's Trump choosing not to pick fights where it matters. My fear is that during the next four to eight years, I will have to plan for the very real possibility that I might need to rush to the airport and fly back to Finland because the reserves are being called up, and no matter where I live I will always go back to defend my homeland if that is necessary. You may think that Russian hostilities are unlikely to happen, but Finland and Sweden stand directly in the way of Russian hegemony over the Baltic region, and they have already been prodding a lot more than usual ever since the war in Ukraine began.

Use of Force

North Miami police shot an unarmed black man who was on his back with his hands up

 

I need to try and clear my mind of some thoughts that this kind of an incident brings to me. Take it as you may, since I come from a society where the relationship between citizens and law enforcement is very different - for a multitude of reasons.

Let's assume that in this instance the use of lethal force (by US law enforcement standards) was legitimate. Let's assume that the autistic man did not follow what the police told him to do. Let's assume that the toy truck was identified from a distance as a weapon. Let's assume that the police identified this as a suicidal man with a hostage.

We are still talking about trained police officers, who I would assume have had extensive training with each and every one of the firearms that they might be liable to fire in the conduct of their tasks. This was an extended period of time where the police obviously negotiated with the two men and called out orders to them, and the police had that time to line up shots in case of imminent danger.

Let us assume that the police in question did panic and in response did pull the trigger - which might I say on the assault rifles that I've handled requires a fair bit of pressure and cannot be done just by flinching - and so let ring what should be aimed shots. He hit the leg of the man who was lying lying down with his hands in the air. Not the autistic man providing a much bigger target and who was holding what might be a weapon, but the man lying down and making himself appear even less of a target.

Do the police in the United States get their badges after a two-week correspondence course or something? Why is it that these completely inept officers are allow to roam around and do no service to the actual people they are supposed to serve and protect? With all due respect America, get your fucking shit together.

Not Best of Us

Alright, enough time has passed so I can finally address the very small elephant in the room that is my new gamebook. While the reviews have been (overall) mixed, with many of the written criticisms pointing out the short length and abrupt ending, I can call the gamebook a critical failure.

This isn't me beating myself over the head with it, it is addressing the truth of it - a truth that I knew already by the point I turned it in to Hosted Games, although I hoped that the public would accept it as it was. Of course, they didn't and shouldn't be expected to.

To me, Best of Us was always an experiment in storytelling and literary conventions. It was both an experiment on finding where my limits run as to the kind of prose I am able to write, and an experiment on going against the tropes and conventions of the superhero genre. Needless to say, I found the going difficult and there is a reason behind that - I was neither having fun writing a majority of the story, nor was I comfortable in the story. In addition, I was from the very beginning thinking about the story from the absolute worst angle, as when I was trying to keep away from the tropes I was also dismissing the very heart of the genre. I failed to capture the story idea I had and contain it in a way that would prove both interesting and enjoyable.

While the story itself was definitely not something I was very good at fleshing out, another issue of testing the way I wrote it is also apparent in the reviews. In the way that Best of Us is laid out, it is the widest gamebook I have so far worked on. Lords of Aswick was fairly linear, with a few major branching points that trickle down all the way to the very end of the story. Best of Us is much more open in the way it branches, with only one major branch while the others are branches of a few pages in length. In addition to this, I also attempted a dungeoncrawl style for a fairly significant segment near the middle of the story, which nearly drove me insane. This branching, unfortunately, ends up contributing to the feeling that the story is short.

Overall I have mixed feelings about Best of Us. I feel it was a story I wanted to tell and it was good to get it out there, but it has many flaws in the way I told the story and in the way I constructed the mechanics around it. I will fully admit that towards the end I was rushing to just get it done, even as the final scenes remain something I am proud of from a core plot significance. Best of Us is a major step forwards in the way I write and think of the stories I write, as well as the sheer step up in grammar and code. I will be taking the lessons learned into everything I write currently and in the future. Every failure is an opportunity.

Education

Okay world, it's time to have a talk.

What is it with this wave of anti-intellectualism? Really. Why is it that conservatives across the globe have suddenly decided that education is the perfect place to cut from in order to make small savings to government expenses now. Great, savings. A few hundred thousand euros away from an already underfunded and extremely important part of our society, in return for... what? Defunding schools only works to take away from a future generation, and limits growth in the future, crumbling the basis of our wider economic stability a few decades from now - all in the name of not going that extra hundred thousand euros into national debt this year. Is that really worth it?

While we're talking about education, let's talk about school systems too. Why is it that commercial school systems should be brought over everywhere? Tuition fees and ever larger school corporations? At some point that is going to end up blowing up on our faces when these school conglomerations decide to put money before the service they provide. that's already happening in the United States, and to a lesser extent in the United Kingdom. How is this a good idea? How was this a good idea ever? Was this another decision made to save the government a few hundred thousand in upkeep fees? Urgh...

A couple of years ago during a New Year's celebration, I was sitting around with my fiancée's aunt, and the conversation leaned towards the Finnish school system. There are a lot of teachers in the extended family, and many others work in schools doing office work. It is very strange to discuss it with someone who only knows the Finnish school system from all the reports and studies "proving" that Finland's system is one of the best because hey, look at the students scoring well. Okay, the system may be good, but that's probably mostly thanks to good and dedicated teachers, as well as regimented school days. The system itself is old, inflexible, and keeps growing more and more strapped for cash, which also meaks it grows more and more outdated. One way or another, it needs to change. It needs to adopt modern technology, and modern teaching methods.

I'll be the first one to admit that I didn't care much for school. I love to learn, but the education system itself felt more constricting than anything else. After the foundation was laid down, everything started to feel more and more like they were walls being built around me. I understand the need for hard sciences and even languages, even in cases where I disliked or didn't enjoy them as subjects, and they should of course be taught in a regimented and stable way. But outside of those, I cannot understand it.

Why teach history based on numbers and locations, instead of broadening the horizon? Why teach analytical facts about religions and cultures and refuse to debate them so students might better internalize the knowledge being gained? Why rely on a single official set of books throughout the entire course of education, instead of teaching critical thinking from the very beginning? I know the answer. The answer is money, time, and the fact that the system still works. If a system is working so well as to gain praise from global studies, then surely the system must not be broken, right? Well, at some point someone has to start looking forwards, so those who enjoy learning don't have to default to becoming autodidacts on top of everything they learn in school.

I didn't learn the English language in school. I had classes for it, but I was constantly several years ahead. That's because I went out there, used modern technology and found the Internet. With the most basic understanding of the language, I forced open my horizon and strove out, and now I strive to make it into a profession. This road needs to be lauded as a path open to students, and schools must learn to utilize the modern global network.

There is no going back to dusty books, and the technology at our fingertips means students must learn critical thinking. Just because the coming of a new age rustles your image of the world doesn't mean you get to attack the school system and defund it, it means you must be responsible and help evolve it. For the sake of our race, and for the sake of the generations that follow us.

Terrorism Works

Terrorism, by its nature, is the intention to terrorise. We've now had a little bit of time to breathe from the Paris and Beirut attacks, but the message all across social media remains the same. Enough to make me want to remove myself completely from social media.

"We need to kill these sand niggers!" or "We need to go to war, bomb them all to the dark age!" or maybe "Shut the borders and kill every refugee that comes to us. They're all terrorists anyway!"

Violence against all Muslims, no matter their nationality, is once again widespread. I remember this from my childhood. I remember hearing this same message after New York, I remember this message after Madrid, I remember this message after London. Muslims once more are reduced to cowering and hiding in the face of a western blitz to toss them aside as if they were not also human beings.

Dehumanizing your enemy is the easiest and most assured way to rile up your citizens to war. By dehumanizing the enemy, you allow yourself leeway to the extent where you may bomb a kindergarten or perhaps a hospital without consequence. Yet dehumanization of the enemy has been ingrained in western media for so long that it has spilled over as an overarching bigotry against all Muslims, and even non-Muslims Middle-Eastern people. By dehumanizing them, we are willingly introducing an approval for citizens to violate the basic human rights of refugees and immigrants simply based on the colour of their skin. After all, "Islam is a religion of war" and "not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims", so who truly knows where the enemy lies.

Here's the hard truth to swallow for our short-sighted cultural memory. Terrorism is not somehow beholden to Islam. Yes, extremists in the Middle-East claim to follow the Qu'ran and claim to wage religious war against particularly the western nations. Yes, they are in many cases terrorists and in many cases their guerilla tactics are emblazoned as terrorism. But they are not the only terrorists on this planet. Buddhist terrorists are rampaging throughout Asia as I write this blog post. White Christians shoot up camps in Norway, schools in the USA, rampage with a sword through a school building in Finland wearing a gas mask. Are these not terrorists as well? The IRA were unabashed terrorists, they did not somehow just stop fighting in Ireland and sell off their trademark to the Middle-East. That is simply not how things work.

A terrorist is anyone who seeks to terrorise, or who uses violence in pursuit of political aims. Terrorism - according to the Oxford English Dictionary - is "unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims."

And what do terrorists want from us? Do they want to trample us all into the dirt beneath their boots or drown us in our own blood? Maybe. But perhaps more aptly, they want us to be afraid, to be angry, to cause an oppositional force that will enable them to achieve their own goals. How many Al-Qaeda and ISIS recruits have turned to these extremists because one of their close family members died as a result of a drone strike, or perhaps an old-fashioned aerial bombing campaign? Children in the Middle-East are afraid of the sky because of how much firepower the western coalition has rained down upon them throughout the last decade and a half. Some children do not remember a time when they did not have to look up at the sky to make sure they can cross the street without being blown "back to the dark ages".

Brash and ruthless action on the part of individuals and governments will end up fuelling a fire we are meant to be putting out. By shouting at refugees from Syria, who are escaping ISIS, we are doing no good in the world, instead only reaffirming the words of the terrorists who are painting us as the enemy.

Much like with western populist political movements rising up from the mud, the only way to defeat them is by detaching ourselves from an immediate knee-jerk emotional reaction. By being realistic about unfolding events, and by being realistic about any and all goals we may put forth in the aftermath, we will be able to formulate a deliberate response to terrorism. By not allowing ourselves be governed by fear, by not allowing those prejudice-tinted lenses to cover our eyes, by not allowing ourselves to dig our heels in and cover our ears with comforting words of hatred, we will foil the goal of the terrorists.

Love your fellow human, refuse space for anger and fear, show the terrorists who would cripple us with emotions that we will not be manipulated by them. Prove resilient, prove open, prove welcoming. The refugees will soon become our allies in this, like non-radical Muslims have always been. Prove the terrorists wrong.

Distance

I watched a playthough of The Beginner's Guide today. It's from the same folks who made Stanley Parable. They keep messing with minds, and I'm glad they are. The Beginner's Guide made met think, which is less and less frequent in modern games. It made me think about the value of distance. Not physical distance, although there are theories and studies revolving around the psychological effects of physical distance, but of emotional distance.

In the last decade or two, a discussion has risen around the antisocial behaviour of young people - teenagers and young adults - that keeps revolving around the psychological and economic impacts of a new wave of societal and cultural change. Internet allows us to have relationships over the internet that may not in fact be there at all. Looking at a Facebook or Twitter feed, seeing all these names that you know scroll past with intimate stories or glimpses into another person allows us to project a friendship with these people. These so called parasocial relationships will be there even if we don't actually have any connection with the people that we see in our feeds. I don't mean to rail against the culture of social media again - not this time - it is simply a result of a shifting culture.

There's a lot going on in our current cultural shift, from the symptom of isolation all the way to the very opposite; the symptom of latching on to others. We are losing certain emotional cues by interacting via an emotionless screen, but at the same time we are perhaps gaining a greater resolve to connect to others. When you are unable to read certain emotional cues, there will be a lack of understanding that some will want to fill. I know I have had this before in my life. I would argue that we all want to be happy, and we want those around us to be happy. When there is a problem, we want to fix that and move on as fast as possible. We fail to realize that trying to fix something can often end with the problem being magnified. And when we fail to realize that the problem we are trying to fix isn't in fact a problem, we are in fact ending up creating a problem by the act of fixing.

I feel like I'm slowly ending up writing in nonsensical circles. Let's pull this back. As always, I'm sure from this point onwards this will devolve into some kind of a faulty self-reflection.

I have, for most of my life, kept people at a distance from myself. Some would probably call me antisocial and I wouldn't necessarily say that I'm not. I enjoy the act of creation, I enjoy freedom of being inside my own head and painting these magnificent worlds that I can then try to translate somehow onto a page. I enjoy sitting in a room by myself, doing absolutely nothing with myself. It is a strange feeling when you have the freedom to do that, and the confidence of your family that you know what you're doing, yet somewhere deep inside feeling lost and confused. Wearing a mask of confidence ended up breaking me and spinning me into a depression, because all of a sudden I felt like I couldn't handle that anymore. For more rambling about that, you can start my blog from the start. This was originally my place to vent all the frustration and insecurity, when all of this was still on blogger.

Attempts at trying to fix me, to make me normal, were met with extreme resistance, and still are. To me, I am normal, and no matter what anyone says I will work for the rest of my life to keep up being my own, unique normalcy.

My fiancee continues to struggle with anxiety and depression. I've been sitting here, watching the spiral and then the slow climb back up for over two years. I've seen my fiancee completely immobile in bed, paralyzed by overcoming anxiety and fear, I've seen her starving herself, I've seen her lash out at everyone who has tried to fix her. I have seen the very personality that I fell in love with crumble, get stomped on and then slowly put together like a broken mirror. There will always be gaps there, there will always be fragile lines that will never heal and which I will forever know as coming from this period of her life. I want to so desperately to just fix her, and it's been all I have wanted since she started spiralling out of control. The saddest thing is to discover time and time again that you cannot fix something like this, and to realize you must back away from the attempt before you make things worse. The best thing you can do is to try and mirror what they need most, and to be some semblance of a symbol of motivation for them. It is another mask to be put on, in order to hide all the deep fear and sorrow. A mask that, at some point, will need to shatter as well.

The Cycle of Outrage Culture

It's been about a week now of ups and downs with the Ahmed the Clockmaker story. A young 14-year-old took an LED clock assembled inside a small case to school to show his engineering teacher. Fairly innocent, right? Until the clock beeped in English class and the English teacher upon seeing the circuitry decided it looked like a bomb. Fair enough, it looked a bit iffy in that case, but it did have a major design flaw to be a bomb: a critical lack of anything explosive attached to it. Principal got involved, police got involved, a clock became a "hoax bomb" and an excited kid was expelled for four days.

Now here's the truly impressive and interesting part of the modern construct of outrage culture, where news stories get 120 characters to get to the point and where every response is immediate. There's no time or space for facts, and thus only emotional knee-jerk emotions get through. This is not the fault of social media per se, I would rather say that it is more the fault of people demanding snappy headlines in favour of actual news. A story about a Muslim adolescent getting expelled for four days got riled up into a storm by social media, and then escalated by news outlets who are desperately clinging to try and report on the fast fluctuations of social media.

Ahmed got invites to the White House, Universities, Facebook; he received computer parts from Microsoft. The four day detention became a matter of race, equality, human decency, and ultimately a grab of corporations to seem human. I don't fault them, they were trying to stay on top of the upswing of media attention, and the fact that the kid seemed to be oppressed in this case was definitely a plus. Good job looking human. Ahmed made a public speech about wanting to keep on making and thanking people for support. Soon after, a backlash started picking up momentum.

Right now on the imgur frontpage, someone has posted a .gif of someone dismantling an ordinary LED clock and showing that Ahmed's clock was thus a hoax the whole time. It wasn't. It was stated the whole time by news outlets that this was either a LED clock kit that he put together, or a clock that he took apart and put back together, depending on which outlet you read. On social media, this fact never came across on most people. Hell, even Dawkins is questioning the kid's motives now! What is going on in this world?

We need to encourage young kids to make things, experiment, and live a life of questioning both social constructs as well as natural laws. This is the way science works, this is the way our society adapts and evolves. To have an adolescent boy raised up onto a pedestal, worshipped for two days as a hero and then jackhammering down that pillar because he doesn't somehow deserve being a hero for two days, is absurd. He brought a clock to school, we as a collective raised him up into some kind of a symbol. He is not at fault for the cycle of outrage in this case, and everyone now outraged at him for having some ulterior motives should be ashamed of themselves.

People get treated unfairly. Our job is to latch on to that, figure out the source of that problem and change it for the better. When we personalize the problem into a single person, we are only hampering ourselves.

August 2013

I think it's quite normal to look back on things you have written, said and done and think of how insecure and odd of a person you used to be. In this case some two years ago. I haven't been blogging since my trip to Norway way back in 2013. I honestly don't even recall the details of that trip, but I feel the emotions that were going on in my head at that time. Now, not so much. I've moved to Norway on a permanent basis, established a life here, put a ring on Trude's ring finger and agonized over the past year over her depression and eating disorder issues, only to come to trust her in a way I never thought I would trust anyone. Every day is better than the last and life is on the upswing once more.

Then that begs the question, why did I suddenly have the need to blog something? So far my blog has been full of sob stories and self-loathing. Well, no more! Well, not as much in any case. I think my urge comes from the fact that I have now become a nearly full-time storyteller.

Several times a week (when possible) I either play or run a Dungeons & Dragons campaign on the streaming service Twitch. That is a community that is growing and striving for great things, and in many ways (although I hate to think of it as such) a good business opportunity for myself as well. There's no harm to be had in getting your name out there, right?
I am also working on my second literary venture. If you have happened upon an icon with a roughly drawn medieval-style knight on a yellow parchment-ish background with the title "Lords of Aswick" written somewhere in the vicinity, then you may have happened upon my first commercially published story. While a sequel for that will be coming at some point, right now I will work on a somewhat lighter project that is nonetheless in the same vein. With hopes that this will carry me to at least some semblance of success. Putting effort into this is keeping me sane and keeping (for the moment) a boring dayjob at bay.

Perhaps that will give me some time to get back into spewing my brainfarts on the internet as well.

When Home Doesn't Feel Like Home

So I was in Norway for roughly two and a half weeks. I got back this last Sunday, not even a week has gone by and I find myself loathing home. I'm still sad I had to leave, possibly even a bit angry about it. I feel sick and drained every day while I'm trying to cope and get back into the pre-trip routine. There were a few days during the trip I felt like a real outsider, nothing major but still enough to make me want to come back home early. Good thing I didn't give those thoughts much room to grow, since the last weekend was so amazing through and through that I can't even put it to words. I went there for one reason and one reason only: Trude. I don't even remember anymore what I thought I would discover when I got there, seeing her for the first time since 2009 made my mind go completely blank and my heart skip a few beats.

I had hesitations going in of course. I never promised not to. And after how much the break-up between us hurt at the time (as you can see if you go back in the blog a couple of years) those doubts even during the trip managed to pop up and hit me across the head with a mallet. Having none of those doubts or hesitations fed during the trip is possibly the worst thing that's happened to me emotionally for a long time. I found myself being so damn happy with her that I don't feel like home is where it should be for me...
I honestly do not know if it's the worst thing to happen to me or the best thing. I used to think Finland is everything to me, even with the many faults it has. Now I'm thinking about going back to Norway for a bit more permanent stay at some point. Although first, I have a month-long trip there in September which I am looking forward to much more than I did for this last trip or the one I made in 2009.

I think this is the part where I should say "don't get me wrong" and list all the things that felt right on my trip and how it was the most amazing two and a half weeks of my life. But I honestly can't find the words to describe it with words. It's just an overwhelming flood of very positive emotions. The trip made me realize two things that had been nagging at me for years; it's not just a teenage fancy, I really, truly and deeply love Trude; no matter what happens in the future or what happened in the past, I will always love her and she will have a special place in my mind and heart. I wish to share my life with her when the time comes, leaving everything I have and building a new life for myself with her in Norway. It's all clear to me now and I'm willing to commit to it.

I also now have the feeling, which I beg to be correct, that I don't need to defend my spot next to her as a boyfriend. From previous experience, I was dreading I would have to do so. I dreaded that I might have to be the jealous boyfriend, something I never ever wish to be. I trust her and won't stoop so low as to undermine her or try in any way to cage her. I care for her too much to ever do so. I've learned during my still rather brief existence such trust comes at a risk with a price I don't wish to pay, but in this case... I'm comfortable with taking that risk.

Wait, What'd He Say?



Now this is an interesting feeling. I feel up and down at the same time.

I’m happy being together with her again, despite my initial hesitations. I went through my own personal hell when we broke up, I suffered and picked up habits I now wish I hadn’t. The army kept my mind preoccupied but I fell into the same kind of slump afterwards that I’d been in before it. Life didn’t taste like anything for the two years when we had pretty much no contact. Honestly I don’t think all that has passed yet, but knowing that she wants to spend the rest of her life with me is something I honestly don’t know how to cope with. It makes me too happy.  I guess that’s why I’m feeling down as well, I’ve grown accustomed to the fact that I’m not happy that I don’t know anymore how to deal with the positive emotions.

I was seriously contemplating asking her to marry me some day before we broke up. I could see myself living happily with her, not caring if it was in Finland or Norway or wherever as long as we were together. The trip in 2009 was the sealing deal for me, I just knew after that I wanted her in my life forever through ups and downs, in sickness and in health. Guess that’s why I crashed so hard after our break-up and went into depression. I even felt ashamed I had put so much effort into it and had planned ahead so far. After that, I only made short-term decision, every last one being the wrong one in the long run. Now I’ve ended up in a situation without a job, without a useful education and … once again with her. And I’m actually happy despite all the shit that’s going on.

I find myself wanting time to pass quicker so I can see her again. The initial plan is for this July, but who knows what might happen. I hope July sticks, I want to see her so desperately.
And honestly, the old thoughts are coming back to me. I don’t know… I really do want to get on one knee when I see her. I don’t know how long it will take or what kind of effort and compromise must be done that we could be together for more than a few weeks in a year or that we could actually live together. But I’m willing to figure it all out. I’ve even figured the best place to do it. It feels that I’m rushing into it, but I’ve been thinking about it for years… I don’t think I’m good enough for her, but she seems to think I am. So I might actually end up going through with it.

Unable to do the Languages



There are words that you can’t explain in any language. For someone who is blind and has always been that way, you cannot explain what exactly is red or blue, or light and dark. For someone who has never experienced something, you cannot explain what something feels like in such a way that they could truly feel it for themselves. I’m sure there’s a fancy name for it that comes from Greek or Latin…

Love. What is it? Why do you love someone? Nearly everyone has someone that they love may it be family or friends, or even romantic love. You can explain what kind of chemical reactions are going on in your body when you are in love with someone, but can you truly explain why exactly it is that you love someone?
You can always list character traits or visual and vocal traits… but is that ultimately why you love someone? People can be in an abusive relationship either in a physical or emotional level, there can be major mood swings that bring out what could be described as personality changes. Still there can be love there. You can hate someone in every rational way possible, yet you can love them at the same time. Religious people can love God.
You can know the feeling so well that you can identify when you’re in love… but how do you explain it to a person who has never felt the emotion of loving?

I’m sure there’s bound to be someone somewhere who can positively explain why they love someone and what it feels like. I’m not that person.
When someone asks me “how can you love me” or “why do you love me” I do not know the answer. I know I do, I feel the emotions and I observe my own actions being different from whenever I’m with anyone else.  I can list traits they have and I can describe their appearance, but ultimately that’s why I like them and enjoy spending time with them, but it’s still not quite why I love them.

I hate how I can’t explain stuff like that. My life goal is to teach myself more and more stuff and to learn from everything I can, but I can’t even explain why I love someone to the extent that I would like to.


P.S. It has been quite a while, I know. I have for a long time thought of writing something, but I haven't had anything really to share that I felt was worth typing out.
However, now that I finally did figure out something to write about, I might as well place a well-situated plug for my Youtube channel here. It's some gameplay commentaries and showcasing some games to the best of my capabilities, but there is and will be other stuff as well. Right now the main alternative to gameplay is my drawing videos, so if you like easy listening with a timelapse of me drawing stuff, check it out. Either way, any views are highly appreciated.
www.youtube.com/DarthGoshMan

The Author

Since it seems my blog has been getting a far wider audience than I expected, I suppose it's better to put up some of the more essential information of myself here. Who I am, where I'm from, where I'm heading in life and so forth.

My name is Teo Kuusela, I was born in Turku, Finland back in 1991 and have lived in the very same place since.
I still live with my parents and with the family dog. I have three brothers, each and every one of them older than me, the youngest by a mere eleven years.

As far as my education has gone, I went through elementary in Särkilahden ala-aste and middle school in Turun Klassikon yläaste as an average student, went on tenth grade over in Topeliuksen Koulu to raise my grades and then decided to head off to Turun Ammatti-Instituutti for vocational education as well as high school education in the double examination program.

I'm hoping the future will see me jump at the chance of enrolling in a foreign university as a history major, but I'll settle for Turku University. My ultimate goal is to somewhere in the future teach history in a school on either a high school or elementary level.
First though, I need to go into military service. I finally enter service in July 2011 and hopefully I get to be a full year.

I'm horrible in Swedish, have forgotten most of my Latin and can't pronounce English to save my life. It all gets rusty when you never use the language. Despite this, English and Finnish are my most used and favoured languages, in that descending order.

My hobbies include writing (as one can see. Perhaps some day I'll include something fictional here) and through that roleplaying as well as collaborative writing. I sketch, I draw, I airbrush. I motorcycle (mainly to lounge, not for speed or tricks) and especially like to bicycle around during those hot summer days. I listen to all sorts of music, but reggae and heavy metal are the ones closest to my heart.

Politically I align with the left. I have done so since before middle school and I see no change to this in the near future. Of the Finnish parties, perhaps Vasemmistoliitto (Left Alliance) is the best choice for me.
Religiously, I call myself an atheist. I'm a very liberal soft atheist. For me the term means that I don't believe, but I don't have to care if you believe or not. You have every right to. However, I'm also antireligion and think that a corrupt central church hierarchy should be dismantled and forgotten. So in my mind, you can have your god(s) and worship them if you wish, as long as it doesn't limit or harm the society around you, which is what a centralized church would do on the long run.

Contact Me

E-mail: teo.kuusela@gmail.com
E-mail #2: thorondor27@hotmail.com
Skype: black.knight.of.keno
MSN: thorondor27@hotmail.com
Xfire: Goshman
Steam: demigod838

You can also find me on Facebook!

Autodidacticism

What are the staples of being accepted in the culture of today?

Is it that you know something about everything, can fix things that are broken and strive for learning things you have no previous skills in?
No, I don't think so. The conversation of today when you apply anywhere may it be a job or an education is what kind of papers and previous experience do you have. Willingness to learn is a secondary positive once the prerequisites have been met.

How many times have you spoken to someone who seems to know a lot about any subject you may throw at them? How many times have you thought of them as pathetic no-life geeks or nerds?

It used to be that people learned the skills they needed by work and experimentation. It served not only yourself but the people around you as well. People like Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers, Benjamin Franklin, William Blake, H.P. Lovecraft, Terry Pratchett, Charles Darwin, Gustave Eiffel, etc. were all self-educated. You'll throw the trump card of course in saying that some of those were noted professionals in a field or two and had studied it for a long time and I'll give you that. However, Darwin did not get his degree in natural history and biology, Edison had only three months worth of official schooling. I could explain each and every one of those names and why it is that I find them such an inspiration, but I won't. You'll have to teach yourself the facts.

Why has our society gone to the point where education is the most important thing in the world, yet one who is self-taught and oftentimes more in touch with not only the world but also the knowledge pushed on the unwilling at school will be shunned just because he doesn't have the credentials?

There are plenty of self-taught people even in this day and age of course. Mostly labouring in dead-end minimum wage jobs while waiting for their time to shine while the idiots, without any kind of knowledge in any field but how to apply make-up were you a female or male, rake in the cash by appearing on one reality show or another and then seek to extend their spotlight moment for as long as possible with the eventual horrible no-talent album of them singing - no sorry, brutalizing their favourite hits from the 80s.

Before you ask, yes I am extremely cross that no-talent hacks who go through life with their biggest worry being which party to attend and what to wear and how many times to change their clothes within 24 hours get the easy life. It can't be that those people who want an easy life get an easy life with the snap of their fingers while those who take the world a tad bit more seriously and seek a real meaning get left off with the scraps.

The other choice is of course to make yourself into an entrepreneur and make a job for yourself that you are happy doing. And that, if anything, is the real path to self-learning as you learn from your own mistakes and attempt to make your job lucrative enough that you can survive on the income you get from it. But that's the dream isn't it? The freedom to learn as you go along without the kind of peer pressure that comes with you being a subject of someone higher-up in a company.

I was thinking of condensing this into a simple point or thought of the day, but I won't. You'll have to look for it yourself, search for the knowledge and form your own point to this blog post. Teach yourself, FFS, it's not my job to do it for you. Not yet anyway.

Brain Bottom Burp

Right, this is it right? I'm twenty-one years old. 2012 is nearing it's end. I was born around the time the massive Soviet Union collapsed and former soviet republics started building their own nationstates and identities, I remember the 90s pop scene, the fall of the twin towers in New York, the C-cassette, floppy disks, the coming of PlayStation and the time when Apple was big on the scene because Mac had opaque sleek back panels for their monitors. All sad things upon themselves when you look back on them and what came in their aftermath. There's been a huge amount of technological progress in the 21 years I've been around and the people made the awesome decision that neon-colored attire wasn't cool. Is this it though? Seriously? Should we be proud of this? Nine-year-olds going into court for pirating one album, despite going to the store with his dad the very next day to buy the same album? Every piece of modern technology is built to die relatively fast so you have to buy a new one? Really? Really? I can't complaint about technology though, not a lot at least. I met the person who would become my first love while in elementary school via the internet. At the time I didn't realize it of course, that came much later, but it's a good example of what you achieve with technology. Sure there have been pen-pal love stories throughout the ages, but the growth in international love stories must be exponential with the internet and instant messaging part of the daily life. Internet knows no stigma, peer pressure or cultural bindings. That's why it's free and should always be free even though racism and sexism blooms in that kind of environment. The mind can be whatever it is on the internet and much more advanced thoughts and ideas can be relayed over thousands of kilometres without the danger of your peers becoming the thought police as long as you follow at least some common sense in your internet behaviour. I'm a different person on the internet than in real life, that's something I discovered early on. The only other place where I could be that person was an environment where I didn't have to keep walls around myself or act a part; the military. I don't exactly yearn to get back there, not at all. However, it is a place where the rules and hierarchy binds people together in a fashion where peer pressure is not an issue. The unique culture inside the barracks and the camp is one where you do not have to worry about the normal cultural bounds, taboos and stigmas even close to the degree that you would in civilian day-to-day life. Right, that was an interesting brain fart. When I started, I was actually thinking about what'd happened in the last 21 years in my life, about stuff I though I'd never do that I now am comfortable with, about stuff I would like very much to experience such as a stable long-term relationship and a bit about kids of my own in the future now that I've seen my nephews a lot more and in a different way than before. But what the hey, this is what came out so thar she blows I guess.

Well Played

Pessimism sucks ass, yet I'm once again stuck at the narrowest point of a funnel through which it's being poured. The situation is as follows. We moved to this new place in early August, dad being a constant pessimist over the entire thing although he slowly started to feel more comfortable here. Not like it was his home, but more comfortable. Now the paperwork clanks through our mailslot, saying that the rent is being raised at the start of next year. Our income is raised by ten euros, the rent going up five times as much. We can't afford. Needless to say, this started a spiral in the household. From first looking at a new place with the same kind of amenities (of which there actually is one that's much cheaper and larger than this apartment, but for some reason or another that's not even being discussed) to the decision that we're moving back to the old Pikisaari house despite the fact that there were pretty simple and straightforward reasons for moving out of there. One of them being that they'd cut dad's pay for taking care of mom, making it impossible to stay there as well. The way I see it, there are two options and one of them I'm not even going to say out aloud because of what would ensue after I said it. Either we drop the house in Pikisaari, saving the several hundred euros a month from renting the place, or we find a new cheaper flat. Going back to living full-time in Pikisaari isn't really an option, since that will get the local authorities on our backs again because mom doesn't have the amenities that they want her to have. For me it's a lesser issue really, although bearing down heavily right now. I'm more concerned right now with getting a job for next year. Something that could support me getting my own apartment in the near future. What I discovered from about a month or so of living mainly by myself in this new flat is that I'm actually independent enough to do it. I just need the cash to do it with. If I had the money right now, I would have a couple of choices that I actually quite like. Unfortunately, I don't. So there we go.

A Quick Bit of Religion

And lo, the blazing bush began to speak and Moses though it was spiffy, rolling a new joint.
Oh wait, that's not right. That's just silly. On with it!

Throughout the ages, humankind has resolved to put it's faith into many things. The sun, the moon and the stars have all been gods at one point, from this has evolved the various pantheons of world from classic Scandinavian pagan gods to the gods of Egypt and Greece, even those of Hinduism. All those gods have provided a link and answer to the human psyche, the seasons of Earth, natural catastrophes and indeed the creation of the world, the universe and intelligence. The current religions most prominently at the tip of our tongues are probably the various Christian sects and Islam. The sad irony of it all is that Islam is derived from Christianity and Judaism, it acknowledges Jesus as a prophet of God, yet to Christians Islam is like a whole different religion while to my understanding the major difference with the Christian and Islamic cultures is the fact that Muslims live what they preach, whereas many Christians have become to see their religion as a forced Sunday trip to church and a guaranteed salvation thanks to Jesus coming down to absolve mankind. And there's also their younger brother religion, Baha'i Faith, that preaches tolerance of other religions while still holding onto one single God and his commandments to the man. But I'm getting well off-track here and ahead of myself.

There are the monotheistic religions on one side and then there are the other religions we sometimes hear about in school or the news; Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto. All of which are more philosophical in nature rather than being about following the directives set by one god. There's reincarnation and personal enlightenment, walking the golden path, really philosophical thinking about human existence that is not just confined into books and single-minded preachers. Especially Buddhism, which I recently heard for the first time being called a religion compatible with science because it is a study of the self and one's own mind (which is rather odd since science abhors sample sizes of one).
There are neo-pagan religions such as Norse religion with Thor and the likes, there are Druids and Wiccans who would have been burned some centuries ago for witchcraft by the inquisition. There are even the Satanists who believe, and correct me if I'm wrong on this one, that Satan released humans from their chains set by God and gave them ultimate free will to do as they pleased and not just within an extensive set of rules laid out by God.

And then there are those who do not have religion in their lives but have faith in science, a group of which I am a rather proud member of. There are the Hitchens and the Dawkins who wage their personal wars against religions, spewing out overused examples and speeches that does no real good for some atheists while being a waking call to others to fight the system as well.


And here's the personal opinion bit of this, although that prelude was sprinkled with it a bit already. I do not honestly care what you have faith in, I respect humans enough to know that waging my personal war against someone's faith is wrong on so many levels. I do not wish to be the target of a war of conversion into any religion, so I do not try to convert others to my views by force. If it comes up, I can state what I believe and don't believe but it remains on the person to make sense of it all and see if it's right to them. However, as much as I tolerate the freedoms of others, I have a very hard time tolerating the religious organizations who say they are the middle-man of god who is infallible and they should be followed while he is concerning himself with other business. The first objection I have is that as much as god may be infallible and sacrosanct in religion, the middle-management is not. Religious leaders are humans, often elected to that position by a small group of humans. And humans are even by religious sources fallible. When people take the holy book in one hand and the dogma of a religious institution in the other, they cannot seek a golden way in the middle because that more often than not goes against the dogma of the institutions. It needs to be either or.

It is my firmest belief that humanity has the best hope when a majority of the people with dogma in one hand and the holy book in the other discard the dogma and rely on the holy book. Because humans do cherry-pick things from holy books, that's simply natural since every holy book has commandments and rules in them, half of which contradict the other half. When people actually get to that crossroads in their faith that they look at things critically, even if they still believe in something greater and infallible, they can discard not only the dogma, but they can also look at the holy book and pick the commandments and rules that are morally and ethically the right choice for the modern day and age. If they choose at that crossroads to discard both, that is equally fine because they will find a whole different kind of beauty. The beauty of not having all the answers, but that you must think for yourself and rely on yourself for a moral compass and the right ethical choices without hiding behind an umbrella of religious tenets. The beauty of all things science has ultimately given us a comprehension of that no holy book could ever relay. You don't have to be able to do the maths to be able to find the awesomeness that's often hidden beneath it in astrophysics, quantum mechanics and even the marvels of engineering.

If we can get out of this whole religious downturn of civilizational growth, we may even take a look up to the skies and do something about the asteroid Apophis that will come very close to Earth (well below geo-orbital range in the worst case) on the 13th of April 2029. And if it then hits a 900 mile "keyhole" perfectly, it will plummet into the Pacific Ocean on April 13th 2036 and cause 40 five-story tsunamis that will come in at 50 second intervals.
And since you probably won't believe me, believe the astrophysicist community who has actually done the math. I give the floor to Doctor Neil deGrasse Tyson:

Fresh Chic

Right, so. This past week has been marking some significant changes in my life that will actually realize themselves next week. I am now officially moving to Ilpoinen, a district in the eastern part of Turku. My parents are supposed to move into the same place, so it's not quite the bachelor pad yet, but I'm getting the sense right now that they will be living more in this old place in Pikisaari than the new apartment. At least taking by the amount of packing that has been going on, I'm the one that's packing up my essentials while they pretty much limit themselves to the basics. No personal items that I've seen yet.
Maybe they're doing it the smart way, but frankly, all my stuff goes in one ride over so I can get this move easily over with.

I don't really comprehend what's going on in my head right now about the move, but I am quite anxious to get there already. The only thing that limits me right now is the fact that power is switched on Friday and internet is connected Monday if I remember correctly. So on Monday or Tuesday I could pretty much grab my stuff and get it over with.

On related note, I've been looking over some computer desks and chairs for the apartment. I'm not going to move this writing table I have now, because it weighs a goddamn ton. I've pretty much settled on what I'm going to get and from where so that needs just a trip to Raisio at some point. God how I wish IKEA wasn't so cheap and simple... I got enough of the assembly thing last summer and now I'm thinking of doing it again...

I have also purchased a new better-ventilated case and a more powerful PSU for my computer to avoid overheating and power supply issues I'm getting now. They haven't been too bad, but my nephew sleeping over last weekend took it's toll on the computer. As much as I booted him off the computer once in a while, it made me realize how varied my computer usage is in the end. The only thing he did for the time I allowed him on the computer was play a computer-heavy game, followed about an hour later by another game and then maybe the first game or a third game after that. He literally played like five games over and over and over during his visit. And whenever I booted him off to play something a little less heavy or do something else, he nagged me with all kinds of questions about what I was doing and why and how and what the NPC in a game said and... well, you get the point. I counted about ten times when I was ready to blow up at him for the annoying questionnaire. Trying to translate while someone is continuing to speak and with the nephew, who asked for translation, cutting me off all the time with more questions for which answers were not given in the speech or I missed because of the constant questions... Well, it gets a tad annoying at some point.

Woah, that turned into a slight rant... Anyway! The downside with the purchases right now is that I'm due some thousand euros for a car project I did and finished. It didn't have the best finish, I admit. But taking the conditions where I and my father were working in his expectations were way too high. Frankly, after working on the car for about two months, mostly on-and-off because I still had military when I started it, and with now two paintjobs that aren't satisfactory to the owner he can go suck a big fat one. His expectations were way too high for me and the conditions. He should know, he's 'painted as a hobby once in a while'. Hah...
In any case, it's better than what it was when I started so I expect him to pay up. If he doesn't, well... There are ways to get the car back in the shape that it was. What was it, roughly fifty hits with a nine iron.



Also, quick announcement! I have opened up another page for the blog. You can find it by clicking "The Artist" tab at the top of the page, under the banner. Commentary on my art pieces is welcome. I'll be adding pictures there when I get some done.

The Artist

You've just stumbled upon the third page in my blog, which will include a lot of the art that I do. Mainly black and white pencil art because that comes naturally to me but sometimes airbrush work and colour pen and ink works. Ink is a new medium for me and will take some time before I get the idea of it, although I've owned the set for some years now. I'll make an effort to try and increase my production in the near future.

Comments are very welcome and supportive critique is also awesome.

Meet Baphomet. He's a pretty cool guy. Not as a person, but as an inspiration for a drawing.


The fourth ever rose I've drawn. An experiment in shadowing technique and dedicated to the peer support group.

A possible tattoo idea I had. Didn't turn out quite the way I wanted it to, but the best phoenix I've drawn to date. Slight plagiarism of the cover art for Deep Purple's Phoenix Rising record.

This and the next picture were drawn back in the day for my then-special someone. She asked for a coloured version, which is below.


Friend was thinking of a tattoo and asked me to draw him a tiger tattoo. I refused, still drew this some days later. He eventually never went through with the tattoo.


The Honda CBR 125cc of a friend. Asked me to paint some flames and an eagle. My first proper airbrush work on a vehicle. The lacquer finish wasn't the best in the world.

Don't Call It a Comeback, I've been Here For Years

Well hello there. Long time.

Yes, the activity will start picking up as of this post. I have three days left in my military service. As much as I promised and hoped at the start of the year-long service that I would keep my activity up, other engagements often came up during the time I spent on-leave that I couldn't regularly update.

So the cliff-notes of what's happening with me.
On friday entering reserve as an alikersantti (undersergeant/corporal).
I have a car project I need to finish, which will net me some money to survive the next couple of months. Also semi-actively looking out for security jobs for gigs and events in and around Turku during the summer.
I will be entering my old vocational school on the 20th of August to finish up my studies there. It will be in the form of a single car project, after which I will get my degree for vocational studies and matriculation papers.

Depending on how long that will take, I may be out of anything to do for quite some time. Six months or over. I will seek to get into university when I get my papers and start looking more actively for a new place to live. As much as I love my home right now, it's about time I started moving on from there. Flew the coop so to speak.
My parents are also looking at a new place to rent as a second home right now, so they have a place where mom'll be more comfortable and it'll be easier for her to be and live. Their plan is to keep our old house as a second home for summers and so long with me as a subtenant. I don't know if I''ll fly with that. I hate the feeling that I'm leaving them in trouble if I leave, but I also hate that their plan came about without talking with me first and without any consideration to how I have planned my near future. they probably expect everything to return to the way it was before I entered military service, but it just won't. I'm a different man now, in many aspects.