Turns out it’s possible to handle the crowds amassing at shopping centres. One simply has to carry a large chainsaw and people somehow give you a wide berth.
Actually, just kidding. I took a tranquilliser before hitting the stores because I was already anxious and getting the good old fight-or-flight feeling just for thinking of entering the madness that is the world outside. And I mean madness! Second year in a row, Finland is being covered in a thick layer of that freezing white stuff romantics like to call ‘snow’. What I call it is not appropriate for a public medium such as this, so let’s stick with the convention… Before the snow started attacking the nation in bloodthirsty hordes, the city of Helsinki announced it was not about to prepare for another super-snowy winter. I mean, dudes, how likely is it, two years in a row?
[Hello, climate change!]
So, as a result, the past week or so, Helsinki has been sinking in snow. Public transportation is a fucking mess, but it’s still offering mirth and entertainment as the passengers observe the privately motoring people trying to dig their vehicles from under tons and tons and elephants of snow. The centre has been best avoided — or if you really must go, it’s better to plough your own way through the banks of snow than standing around waiting for the tram or the bus. I can absolutely, definitely vouch for this. And then… the days when the snow takes a breather, mister Freeze Your Bollocks Off takes over and does what he does best. Ah. Winter.
I was going to write about the madness of Xmas shopping but I can actually sum it up in one word: pointless.
Masses and masses of people rush into the stores to spend money on everything they can lay their hands on, and most people I know are stressed about what to get to which person. Don’t get me wrong — I love giving gifts to people. But I love giving gifts that reflect the person I’m giving it to, and preferably something they can actually use. (Such as books. Books are good. I likes books.) Lately, I’ve started to get sick of all the junk people collect around them, and I’m finding that I’m less and less attracted to shopping just for the hell of it. As long as you keep me out of book stores and artists’ supplies…
Not counting books and art supplies, I’m actually pretty attracted to the idea of getting rid of everything but 100 things, but at the same time I’m a realist: I do love house decorating and small but surprising details. It’d never really work with me. While I tend to collect all kinds of junk as art and craft supplies (and I really mean all kinds of junk. You’d be amazed what kinds of stuff I can pick up from the street.), at the same time I’m trying to get rid of memorabilia and things I don’t need or use or aren’t “my style” anymore. I went through some of my things in storage at mum’s, and I managed to get rid of three boxes full of … things. It’s amazing what kind of things we hang on to.
So, in spirit of the season of giving (and putting my money where my mouth is), I’ve decided to give some of my unnecessary things away. I’m starting from *gasp* the bookshelf. If you want any of the items on the list below, come and pick them up (or pay for postage and I’ll mail them to you).
Ian Rankin: Dead Souls
Ian Rankin: Witch Hunt
Wilbur Smith: Warlock
Richard Calder: Lord Soho
Andy McNab: Immediate Action
Peter Haining, ed.: The Flying Sorcerers
Gerald Seymour: Killing Ground
Cecilia Dart-Thornton: The Ill-Made Mute
N. Lee Wood: Looking For the Mahdi
Barbara Hambly: The Rainbow Abyss
I might — and probably will — add to the list when I go through the rest of my bookshelves. The above books are all paperbacks in various conditions (some like new, some have covers that are fairly worn).