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Finland blog.

vikeship
I started a blog about my moving experiences so far: http://suomenjenkki.blogspot.com/

New life, new blog. I'll probably still post random things here once in awhile, though.

Cthulhu painting for sale!

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Remember that Cthulhu icon I made way back when? I'm putting it up for sale.

Please bid, so I can pay rent and buy food in Finland!

On cats

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I may have found the solution to my cats' unpleasant habit of recreational vomiting.

As I was putting up a flyer at my vet's office, a lady at the desk recommended a local purebred rescue who she thought might be able to help with Siamese. I contacted the person and told her about my cats and their peculiar habit, and she suggested that it could be a food allergy - apparently it's fairly common in purebreds to not tolerate the corn filler in cheap food. Makes sense to me, since cats are not designed to digest corn in the first place, and it would explain the inherited (rather than behavioral) origin of the problem. Their dad, Lucky, was a Siamese who loved to puke as well.

With her recommendation, I switched them to Iams, which doesn't contain the fillers and dyes used in the cheap stuff I've always fed them. They even make a food for senior indoor cats with hairball control and weight management. Sounded perfect! And it seems to be working, at least after about 2 weeks. Instead of coming home to 3 to 5 pukes a day, there have been 2 total since I switched foods. So perhaps she was on to something!

Unfortunately she is not able to actually take them in and give them a home, though. The local no-kill shelters have been next to useless since they are currently (as always) full of kittens, and won't take animals over 3 years of age anyhow. So I've put them up on petfinder.com and gotten one completely inane email which I'm not entirely sure wasn't written and sent by a bot, and I have a couple of folks offering to take them in if their only other option is to be put down. I appreciate the offers and everything, but I'd really prefer someone to take the cats because they actually want them rather than because they feel they had to, and might resent the decision later.

Once my brother is done moving into his girlfriend's house, I'm going to ask him to see if he'd consider taking them, but given that he's talked only about getting a kitten (and the fact that he's about 500 miles away) don't indicate that I might have any success there either, but it's worth asking.

Cross your fingers for me, and moreso for my girls. We're going to need all the luck we can get.

Scandinavia and the World.

SATW
To learn a little about the dyfunctional and yet hilarious relationships between the Nordic countries, you could do worse than check out the deviantart page, Scandinavia and the World. Serious issues such as the Olympics, lutefisk, saunas, historical invasions, and the location of Santa are addressed (with the occasional guest appearance of America, Canada, Germany, and others)

Oh, and it's not entirely safe for work.



Thanks to ironlord for the link to this wonderful comic.

Ack spaz

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So yeah. Finland, Finland, Finland, the country where I quite want to be, to paraphrase the Pythons. It's taken me how many years to finally find a way to get there? Four? Five? Now I feel a bit like a dog who loves to chase a car, but has no idea what to do with it once he's caught it.

The excitement of celebrating this crazy good turn of luck is a little tempered by the amount of time I've got to accomplish everything. This whole process would feel a little rushed if I had *four* months - and with two, I am left wondering if I'll even make it into the country by the time orientation starts. I don't have a day to waste.

Reading up a bit on the things like student unions, orientations, clubs, housing and health centers, takes me back to my CMU days. Only now, I get to experience the world of academia with a good ten years of Real World under my belt... I thought for sure that would make me a less desirable candidate, but maybe they know that this means there's at least one Humanities major out there that can actually make a living! ;)

The program I'm applying for is this. Basically, I'll have a second degree with a pretentiously long name and no obvious real world application. What will I do with it once I'm done? I'll have two years to answer that question - but I do have a pretty cool proto-thesis idea floating around in my head regarding digital archiving for libraries and universities, and they must have liked it too. Glee!

I've sent off my student visa paperwork which is, overall, the most time-consuming part of the process. Normally it takes 8-12 weeks to complete, but I figured I'd get it in as soon as possible (3 business days after finding out I got accepted - I can move fast when I need to) to at least get the process rolling. Supposedly the university also submits a list of accepted students to immigration to speed up the process from their end. If it truly was too late in the summer to get this done, I think they'd have chosen someone from Finland or at least the EU for my slot. I can't help but wonder how many applicants there were, but for me to be one of the nine in the program, can't help but feel pretty honored about that.

Time to make some calls to some cat shelters about finding a home or at least a foster for my cats. I had to wrestle with this a lot when I was applying - but ultimately, I decided that yes, this was an undertaking I would truly give up anything/everything for. And I might have to. It's not going to be easy, but then again, priorities for such big changes in life rarely are. I only know for certain that if I were to pass this chance up, I'd regret it every single day for the rest of my natural life.

So yeah, I'm a bit stressed out, and not eating or sleeping as much as I should - it's quite overwhelming when I stop and think about how much I have to do in the next two months. But life will settle down once I'm there and have a chance to explore a bit (student discount of 50% on train tickets? Yes please!) I expect this blog will become a bit more active again (and also more bilingual, depending on my level of confidence and/or booze).

... anwyay, Onward!

T minus eight weeks

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... until this University of Turku student moves to Finland for two years (at least)!

For now, I drown in paperwork. More later.

Wasn't I just saying...

wtfspqr
"Every three to five years I start to feel like I should really do something to shake things up for myself, and I'm about due."

Seriously? Didn't I just say that at the beginning of the month?

Big news coming tomorrow...

Insomnia

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Thoughts are keeping me up late tonight. There's a lot going on right now, and thoughts rattle loudest when the rest of the world is sleeping.

That's why we have LJ, I guess.

Tonight's NHL final game ended in a strange moment of accord between fans of Pittsburgh and Detroit - something normally unthinkable. But right at this moment, we are united by a shared hatred for Hossa and the fact that that opportunistic team-hopping bastard finally got his name on the cup. Well, third time's a charm I guess; maybe he'll retire now.

Gecko finally gave out tonight. He'd refused all food for about a week and a half and was pretty much skeletal, so I guess that was as long as he could hold out. He had a pretty sweet life, though, all told: a quiet, controlled environment with all the food and water he could manage. Perhaps I'll find another little stowaway from Texas at work someday.

Past couple of weekends were delightful. Friends and family in town, great adventures around town, dining out and about, really appreciating being social for a change. MarCon... was awesome.

This weekend some of us are going to fight in Indiana with a Vike group out there. I'm looking forward to the trip as well as getting some much-needed practice. I should really consider getting in shape again, though, so that I can put points in strength and stam really clean up on the field. Too bad I can't get fit and be lazy at the same time.

D&D continues, at least when summer activities don't rob people of their Fridays. Crescendo is level 11 and has somehow turned from being a fun cariacture of a Jack Sparrow-flavored rock star into an exercise in moral relativism (namely, How to Be Chaotic Neutral in a Lawful Good World). It certainly makes for some volatile gaming nights!

Farmer's markets are a recent discovery, and Columbus has a TON of them. There's a huge one on the weekends, plus small neighborhood ones in Dublin and (soon) Hilliard. I'm really finding some produce there that far surpasses the bland, bruised items in the grocery store - so while I'll still use Kroger and Wally World for things like paper towels and breakfast cereal, I'll be heavily supplementing my perishables from the local vendors. Dinner tonight was a Luna burger with Gretna grilling cheese from Blue Jacket dairy, and lettuce from Van Scoy farms, and let me tell you: for a vegetarian, that was a burger from HEAVEN.

Well, I'm running out of steam at this point, so I think I'll try that whole sleeping thing now.

Black Friday to Widescreen Tuesday

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I actually took part in the consumer-fest on Friday since I am looking for a few gadgets. Specifically, a monitor and a CD player for my car. My old monitor was the last piece of my first computer I bought myself back in 2001, and that old Dell CRT was still chugging along nicely and still had a beautiful, clear picture. Eventually though, you just want more real estate and shell out for something a little bigger. Newegg had a nice deal on a widescreen 23" monitor, with free 3-day shipping, so I jumped right on that, and there is quite a difference between 1024x768 and 1920x1080. WoW looks terrific and I can see the entirety of websites designed for higher res screens! But there's a part of me that still feels a little guilty about getting rid of that trusty old monitor, and it sits awkwardly in the middle of my bedroom floor since I hadn't considered where to put a 19" CRT... perhaps I'll keep it around as backup, or give it a good home to anyone who's interested.

WoW is going well. I'm ready for some new content, that's for sure. But the guild continues to rock and be drama-free, the bosses continue to drop (even Yogg!), and my dps continues to kick ass. I switched over to troll when the race change went live, because a) best racial for an arcane mage and b) bright red dreadlocks and an evil cackle. Last couple of weeks have seen me getting things done that I've wanted to complete before Cataclysm, ie. Loremaster (annoying as that was, it was a lot of fun to do Classic WoW stuff, even though I can't find enough people interested in AQ40). Fake Life is good.

As for car stereos, that's something I'm going to have to research a little more, and take a look at what's out there. I just need something basic - a single disc player is fine if it can play MP3 discs. But it also has to have an intuitive interface so I can operate it without taking my eyes off the road. And then there's figuring out what the price range is and what's a good deal...

I saw my tiny gecko eat a fly today, which is the first time I've actually seen him eat (being entirely nocturnal, he tends to come out and party when I've gone to sleep). He has an insane appetite for fruit flies and I can hardly feed him enough; any food I put in his little container is usually all gone by the next morning. He's about twice as big as he was when I got him, around 2 inches, so he's not full grown yet but definitely thriving. Maybe I'll bring him to the company Christmas party.

Now I need to pop some pills and head to bed. Apparently the combination of a shitty chair at work and wearing my wallet in my back pocket has gone and borked up my sciatic nerve, and hopefully this weird cocktail of corticosteroids and anti-inflammatories will help. Sigh.

More Finland photos

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Another hundred or so photos up. I'll throw out updates as I keep posting them (still a few hundred to go).

This is madness! This... is... FINLAND!