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3 Finnish Things I’m Grateful For

Here are 3 Finnish things I’m grateful for: non-nonsense coffee, electric kettles, and the lack of door knobs. You heard me. No door knobs.

No-Nonsense Coffee

Finns drink more coffee per capita than anyone else in the world. You might think this means they’re on the cutting edge of exotic coffee drinks, but it’s quite the opposite. When you walk into most cafes in Central Finland you will find dozens of delicious baked goods and one kind of coffee. Yes, there are places where you can get cappuccinos, espressos, mochas, cold brews and all of that. They are the exception. Almost no one gets coffee to go. You sit down, drink it from a proper cup, and enjoy it. There is one size, but you can pay for refills when you order. If you don’t want caffeine, drink herbal tea or water.

Electric Kettles

This isn’t specifically a Finnish thing, but a general European thing. Rather than microwaving a cup of water, or heating a regular kettle on the stovetop, everyone has an electric kettle. Fill it with water, click it into a base that’s plugged in, and switch it on. In about a minute you have hot water for tea, to make coffee in a press, or for any other purpose you come up with. It doesn’t whistle, and when the water it hot it automatically shuts off. Mine is stainless steel, so the water stays hot for about an hour. Fast, easy, and a small footprint on my limited counter space.

No Door Knobs

I’m sure they exist somewhere, but in six years I haven’t seen a single doorknob. Doors have handles that you wrap your fingers around and twist down. This makes them accessible to everyone, and a lot easier to open the door when your hands are full. The entrance doors to buildings just have push- and pull-handles, but a lot of those are currently being retrofitted due to COVID-19. They’re equipping the bars with a large plastic hook that you can put your forearm into and pull the door open, so you don’t need to touch anything with your hands. My favorite thing, though, is that apartment doors have no handle at all. There’s just a keyhole. You put your key in, turn it, and pull the door open with it. My appreciation for the keys here is the subject for a whole other post.

3 Finnish Things I’m Grateful For

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Today’s Ambient: A 5-Hour Epic Music Mix

Today’s ambient offering is a 5-hour epic music mix. ThePrimeChronos is a YouTube channel devoted to “epic” music — orchestral, instrumental, soundtracks, and so on.

The daily ambient offering is a selection of the music that I put on while I’m writing. It is mostly instrumental and unobtrusive, creating atmosphere without becoming a distraction.  The goal is to find something that’s energizing but not overpowering. Every week I feature a different channel or artist.

There was a time when I created a soundtrack or playlist for each writing project. Not only was selecting music time-consuming, listening to the same songs over and over throughout the day became annoying. While I still usually have a “theme song” for each project that I play to get me into the right frame of mind, most of the music I select can be added to a playlist and put on a loop. I typically queue up several hours’ worth of background music so I won’t have to think about it for the rest of the work day.

A 5-Hour Epic Music Mix

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A Blog About Kindness

Someone asked me yesterday what I’d blog about if I were starting over entirely from scratch. If I had to pick a topic that was evergreen, and had the time and inclination to plan out posts weeks and months in advance. The answer was easy. I’d write a blog about kindness.

In some fashion I’d like to think that’s already what I do. Yes, I realize that I fall short, but the struggle to be kind in the current world has to be part of the discussion. I talk about productivity, in the hope that what works for me might help other people. A lot of posts reference struggles with physical and mental health, which is an attempt to reverse some of the stigma. There’s a lot of Buddhist thought thrown around. It’s disjointed, but if you were to pour though this site looking for a theme, it’s there.

So I’m thinking about some things. Ways to infuse that message into posts going forward. Steps I can take to add more kindness to my commercial work. How I can do a soft rebranding of the site to make it clear what the running thread is meant to be. Then finding ways, editorially, to stick to that theme.

I’m not going to suddenly take this on as a major project, overhaul the entire site, and start from scratch. What I did do is write “kindness” in Sharpie on a sticky note, and put it in a place of prominence next to my laptop. A reminder. I’ll be looking into meditations on kindness that I can do, to continue moving myself toward a better frame of mind. Meaningful change happens over time, after all, not as a marketing gimmick.

A Blog About Kindness

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Today’s Ambient: VANGUARD by Jo Blankenburg

Today’s ambient offering is VANGUARD by Jo Blankenburg. ThePrimeChronos is a YouTube channel devoted to “epic” music — orchestral, instrumental, soundtracks, and so on.

The daily ambient offering is a selection of the music that I put on while I’m writing. It is mostly instrumental and unobtrusive, creating atmosphere without becoming a distraction.  The goal is to find something that’s energizing but not overpowering. Every week I feature a different channel or artist.

There was a time when I created a soundtrack or playlist for each writing project. Not only was selecting music time-consuming, listening to the same songs over and over throughout the day became annoying. While I still usually have a “theme song” for each project that I play to get me into the right frame of mind, most of the music I select can be added to a playlist and put on a loop. I typically queue up several hours’ worth of background music so I won’t have to think about it for the rest of the work day.

VANGUARD by Jo Blankenburg

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Hello Friends

Hello friends. This week we’re back to the daily proof-of-life post format, for two reasons:

  • Last week went entirely off the rails for no reasons of my own. I’m trying to be positive, move forward, and not be resentful. but I still need to deal with the reality that my time and energy was wasted and as a result I am behind schedule. I have not had time to plan out any posts or essays for this week as I catch up on paying work.
  • Because of the above, I dearly need my 15 minutes in the morning to sit quietly, sip my coffee, and organize my thoughts in the form of a public journal entry.

This week is going to be a grind. I need to release two books by the end of this week. Not want, creatively. Need, financially. The book slated to drop last Thursday was knocked off schedule by the previously-referenced nonsense. So that needs to go out, as well as the book scheduled for this week.

When I’m not doing that, I need to be pulling information together for Migri. Yes, it’s that time of year again.

Any theoretical time not spent writing or fighting to maintain my immigration status will be spent idea-mining business books. I have a need right now to improve my publishing business in any way possible. I’m also consulting on the launch of someone else’s business, and gathering information on another business that I would like to diversify into.

This isn’t going to be an easy week, but it’s going to be a good week. I’m going to come out of this better than I went in, I will be in control, and it’s all in service of getting what I want. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Hello Friends

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