Friday, May 30, 2008

I´m (half) blind!

Woke up today with a terrible headache, feeling pain in my left eye. Couldn´t see nothing with it. The sight in my right eye was a little foggy, too.

I had no choice, had to see a doctor. Luckily the eye specialist my local doctor recommended had an opening in the afternoon. He told me what I already suspected: too much computer display lately.

According to him, there is or was no foreign parts in my eyes, no infection. He found out that my reading glasses, which I use when working with a computer, are too weak. It means my eyesight is getting worse. I got the reading glasses about six years ago and was told then my eyesight otherwise was really good. Today I heard I should absolutely not drive a car anymore without a complete check and new glasses. This time not only the reading ones, I´m going to need glasses all the time. I guess this hobby of mine is over now, at least for a while.

At the moment I´m seeing nothing with my left eye and not very good with the right one. It hurts to try to watch the display or television so I think it´s better if I finish now and write more when my eyes are feeling better.

I just hope the drops I got will help!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Alone again

The weekend was as nice and relaxing as I had hoped. Angie arrived late Friday afternoon and left yesterday to Rome, Italy. She´s back here in about two weeks, and then we´ll drive home together. My village here, this small second home, is really a nice place to be and to work but enough is enough. I miss home in Leipzig. Sunday lunches with my mother-in-law, my friends there, the most beautiful Zoo, the pulse of a big city after weeks of small village life and intensive working.

Like I said, we really enjoyed each others company. Bobi from Paparazzi cooked us a marvelous dinner Friday night, as well as Pedro from Casa Pedro on Saturday. Nice walks and talks, a good movie (DVD) with a couple glasses of heavenly wine. Long periods hand in hand, close. Quality time together; I even managed not to touch my computers nor made I any work related calls during the weekend. I know Angie likes that.

Our village had a also special happening this weekend, the 11th "Classicar" old timer race. It is a meeting of old timer enthusiasts, organized by a local automobile club. Here´s some photos:











Friday, May 23, 2008

Nice weekend ahead

Over a week now without Angie. Because of my work situation, I´ve not been home in Leipzig in three weeks. On the other hand, Angie´s mother has been needing her help and care there. We´ve met weekly, of course: two weeks ago two days in Nijmegen, Holland, and last week she was here from Monday to Wednesday.

The project I´m working now keeps me occupied until mid June. Angie could now have a couple weeks off, so she said yes when an old friend from Rome asked her help. She wants to move back to Germany and Angie goes to help packing.

But first we have a full weekend together. She drives here (Solingen) tomorrow, bringing back my laundry which she took home to be washed after her last weeks visit. Doing the laundry is always a problem when I stay here longer. Home in Leipzig Angie keeps always an extra stock of clothes for me so I just change my luggage when staying home before returning here.

I guess you can see that basically I have nothing to say now. Cant´t concentrate, can´t sleep, can´t read, nothing in TV. Always the same feeling when waiting Angie or closing this "home away from home" and heading towards the real home; I love and miss "Mein Schatz" (literally "my treasure") very much and can´t wait to see her on the doorstep.

Almost everything is ready. Fridge full, tables for dinners for Friday and Saturday reserved, apartment cleaned. Tomorrow only fresh sheets, fresh bread from local bakery and some flowers. And a long wait: she can leave home about noon and 500 kilometers on Friday afternoon traffic takes almost five hours; no speed limit is a nice theory but on Friday and Sunday afternoons autobahns are really full.

Sunday afternoon Angie starts her two day drive to Rome, where she stays at least 10-12 days. I am missing her already. I hope I don´t ruin our weekend by thinking the next two weeks separation too much. I must really work with myself to prevent that feeling to come between us this weekend.

I want to have fun with my wife this weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Writer´s block"

Writing code for a website or software can sometimes be very frustrating. That was the case today. A project should be presented to a client tuesday next week, but nothing came out from my brain this morning. A total block.

Luckily I know the medicin for this problem: "Autobahn", the highway. Pointless driving, very fast, no plans. Maybe a cup of coffee in some service area, then back home.


It worked. Inspiration is back.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Still problems with videos

Videos still not available, but at least we now know where the fault is. Blogger´s service team told today: "Blogger is currently experiencing problems with video. We're working hard on a fix and we'll post an update when the problem is resolved." (info from http://status.blogger.com/)

THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2008
All videos seem to be working now.

Being sentimental

As I have told you here I can now see Finnish television over the Internet. I´m using this service mainly to watch news, a couple of my favourite series and an occasional film, mainly when wanting to see and hear the original version instead of one dubbed in German.

Yesterday evening I found something that made me cry. Yeah, I know. A chauvinist, ugly middle aged man, should not be sentimental but I just couldn´t help it. I found a film called "I´ll be there" (UK, 2002). The story is set around Cardiff in Wales, where an aging rock star is trying to find himself but instead of that finds a daughter he´s never been aware of. Nice and harmless story, nice to watch and storyline actually quite good, but not worth of buying the DVD.

So I thought. Until this scene:

The singer is Charlotte Church. In the movie she plays the role of Olivia, daughter of rock star Paul Kerr, who is played by Craig Ferguson. WHAT A VOICE! She sings here "Summertime" from George Gershwin´s folk opera "Porgy and Bess".

I can not understand why my reaction was so overwhelming. Maybe because I´ve always loved Gershwin´s music, maybe because I´m home alone in Solingen and Angie in Leipzig (She´ll be here on Friday!). Or, maybe, she just has the most beautiful voice.

Enjoy!

About my nickname

"Beloved child has many names", according to an old Finnish saying ;) In school, in my early teens, I was called "Kaapo" or "Anselmi". Both names are old, typical Finnish names and behind both names is a story too long to tell. Besides, only my mother still sometimes uses "Anselmi"; nobody has called me "Kaapo" since I was 16.

My ex-wives call me shortly "Idiot" or "Stupid". Good names, nothing against. And really deserved!

Since 1988 I´ve been known as "Larry Laffer", or "Larry". Here´s the story behind the name:

Sierra OnLine, an American computer game publisher, published a game called "Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards" in 1987. It was the first of a successful series of computer games introducing a beer and whisky loving computer nerd called Larry Laffer, seeking for female companionship in (several) wrong places. Larry´s movements were controlled with a mouse. If the player wanted Larry to do something like pick something up or sit or say something to other characters in the game, you had to type your instructions. Maybe this picture from the first Larry-game explains it better:

The game found it´s way to Finland just before Christmas of -87, I got mine early 1988. First weekend I played it through and the rest happened almost automatically: my mates and friends started to ask me about game tips. How to find a certain object Larry was supposed to find to advance in the game and so on.

Keep in mind that a graphical computer game was something new then. We had Amigas, Ataris and Commodore 64:s; IBM had published the first PC-computer only 5 years earlier but nobody could afford it, the price was (in Finland, that is) about 25000 Finnish marks, when a normal worker was making about 3000 marks a month. "Leisuresuit Larry Laffer" (Teryleenipuku Larry in Finnish) was almost instantly a cult.

I do not remember who was the first person to call me Larry. I didn´t like it at first; who likes to be named after a beer licking womanizer who is all the time on the run, chased by the police? I got the name and it stayed, whether I liked it or not.

Today I am OK with the name. When I meet new people socially outside my professional life I present myself as Larry. My blog carries this name, as well as my other private web projects and albums.

Satisfied, Jukka & Sarah?

P.S. Interested to learn more about "Leisuresuit Larry"? Check him out in Wikipedia

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Problem with videos

At the moment the videos are not working. I have checked everything, and don´t find the problem. I´m working on it, though. Patience, please!

Some blog statistics

To see who has been visiting my blog, I use Sitemeter free counter and statistics. It gives me all the information I need. From which country and city my visitors come, which pages they read, how long they stay.

ve been happy to see the results. Starting this new blog, deleting the old one, I was sure I get about 2-3 readers a week. Family and closest friends checking in once a month, that was my idea. This is not a commercial website nor is it advertised. Still, I get an average of 4 visitors a day, each visitor stays about 8 and a half minutes.

And the visitors come from all over the Globe. Just check this picture, taken today from Sitemeter statistics. It shows the country and the city of the last 20 visitors:

(Click the picture to see it bigger)

It´s nice to know there are people in Argentina and Iran, in Canada and Belgium, reading about my life as an immigrant. Thank you.

You anonymous visitor: please send me your blog address. I´d like to know who you are. You will find my email on the profile page.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Schwebebahn

The Schwebebahn (schwebe = suspended, bahn = rail, railroad) is something to see when visiting this part of Germany. It is a suspended monorail tram in Wuppertal, neigbouring city to our Solingen. It´s track is build above streets of Wuppertal and the river Wupper that runs through the city.

Photo here shows the Vohwinkel Schwebebahn station.

Here´s a video I shot a couple of weeks ago on my way the to the Main Railway Station of Wuppertal.

video

Official opening of Summer 2008

Past weeks the weather has been really beautiful here in Gräfrath. It´s been like in the middle of the summer. This weekend when our village had it´s annual 3-day fair, the weather gods decided to show we people should never take nature and weather for granted. Temperature dropped 15 Celsius grades, sky has been gray and rainy these past three days. Fair ends tonight, forecast shows warmth and sun are back tomorrow.

Early this morning. Cold and rainy, people still in church or home in the bed.

An hour later looking out from Kaffeehaus, my local pub.

Gray sky. Bier, bratwurst and brass band. So typical German!

I am really happy these ugly bear stands and tents disappear tomorrow.


I also made a short video with my mobile phone. If interested, click the video to play it. Video is quite big (86 MB), so you need a good, internet connection. First minute or so shows only the brass band from behind, so you might want to skip it. (TIP: With a slow internet connection, videos can be quite jumpy. When you pause the video, your computer continues to download it to a buffer. The longer you pause, the longer you can then watch it without annoying breaks.)


video


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hello again

I just noticed I haven´t updated this blog in over a month. Have been working really hard, slept more nights away than here at home.

This time at home in Solingen. Looks like the right place to be right now. My computer´s weather station showed this information a couple of minutes ago, 21:10 o´clock (9:10 PM, see the picture):

Helsinki 7 grades Celsius and cloudy. Our former hometown and still our mutual favourite Rome 16 grades and rain. The other hometown Leipzig 18 and sunny, but here in Solingen 21 and a beautiful sunset. Keep in mind I am talking about 9 o´clock in the evening!

Summer is finally here!

No time to write more, our village market square with it´s pubs is calling.