Wednesday 23 June 1999


Pic of the day: Picture taken at 23.05 tonight. Not too shabby.

Tonight is Jonsok, John's Wake. The Danish name St.Hans is also used around here, but there is little or nothing saintly about this millenia old tradition. It was originally a celebration of Sun's Height, though by now the shortest night of the year is two days earlier. Large pyres are burned, though by now there is nothing valuable on them, much less animals or people. In days of old, it was believed that powerful forces of good and evil was afoot on this night, and the fires were meant to let humans throw in our lot on the side of good.

Not only mythos but also eros is afoot in the pale summer nights. According to old traditions, there were ways in which a young girl could find out on this night who she was going to marry. (A rather important thing in an era where marriage was for life and shaped your entire destiny.) Not a few others took the matter in their own hands, as the bonfires were a place of gathering for the young people of the area.

But times are changing, or perhaps it is just our perception of them that change. In the village a few kilometers from my Chaos Node, the later years have brought a tradition of celebrating the midsummer night with insanely loud music, minor vandalism and rabid attack on the police. I fully expect the tradition to continue this year too.


Rant time! Generally, I think it's fine to discriminate against smokers. As a kid, I had some kind of asthma, and smoke was among the things that could actually put my life in danger. Asthma is growing more and more common, and I really think people should be able to leave their home without being part of other folks' suicide.

But no smoking in bars is ridiculous. There is a reason for that. Namely, smokers are genetically tailored to be the ideal customers in such places. Well, a lot of smokers are, because they have what is called a "risk taking gene". These people don't just smoke. They also drink and are more likely to try other pleasure drugs too. They drive without a seat belt and they drive fast. They are more likely to have random, unprotected sex than others of their age and gender. In short, they thrive on strong stimuli.
Now, these people don't really believe that bad things will happen to them (or rather, it does not feel that way). Bad things include unexpected bills and losing your job and such, so they tend to not exactly pinch their pennies. This, and them drinking more overall, make smokers ideal customers for any bar owner and most restaurants too. (Veggie restaurants probably won't feel bad about losing the smokers.)

Workplace music of the day: Largo by Vivaldi. Sorry, I don't know which largo. I'm not a classical music buff. I just listen to the stuff I like. I do however know that Vivaldi wrote a lot of stuff, some of it pretty good. This was on a CD called Baroque Favourites. And, um, it was a closure sale so it was cheap.


Bought a small battery recharger (Varta) and 4 rechargable Nickel Hydride batteries for my cam. These should be particularly well suited for digicam use, with a higher output. (The previous generation of rechargeable batteries were a bit weak for such applications.) It was either that or another 4 alkalines. The last ones were flat now again.

Blasts from my past:
Back to my June page.

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