Sunday, February 28, 2010

We Wanted the Bronze All Along

My faith in hockey is restored. The Finnish team managed to do a MacGyver and, using the Slovakian team as leverage, they were able to duct tape their pride back together again. Apart from the absolutely horrible first period in the USA game, the Finnish team has done okay in this year’s Olympics. Especially considering the fact that they’re actually old enough to have fathered the US team.

As the Finnish team goes into not-so-early retirement, I am going to celebrate the bronze with this awesome picture of the President of Finland. Tarja Halonen knows what’s important in life; keeping Russia happy – and hockey.

Now all that’s left to do is to look forward to tonight’s game. Two things I can say for certain: Either Canada or the USA will win. And it will be good. *

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Finland Still Scored More Goals Per Capita Than The US

The Finnish hockey team can now double as a vacuum. Usually they don’t manage to suck this hard unless they have a solid lead to get rid of, but this time, they managed it right from the start. I think they might have dressed 25 monkeys in hockey gear and sent them out on the ice. I can’t tell you how many Finnish TVs went flying out the window at the 6th goal. It couldn’t have been worse if the figure skating team had been sent out there with the American hockey team. Blood, guts and dignity went flying.

I’m thinking about taking up crocheting as a hobby. Or fishing. As long as it isn’t an Olympic sport, it’s fine. Although, in all honesty, the US team was simply better this time. There’s no getting around it. My little Finnish heart is bleeding. The US team ate us up, spit us out, stomped on us, got the truck, drove over us, backed up, drove over us again, made us bend over, only to set fire to us and then throw us in the Atlantic. I feel used.

Good thing I don’t care about hockey. *

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ziva - Female Chauvinist Pig

I saw Dani today and she told me she had read my post about women’s hockey. She told me I was wrong to write about women’s hockey the way I did and that as a woman, I am supposed to celebrate women’s participation in everything from voting to hockey to peeing standing up.

And as it were, I have seen the error of my ways.

Women’s hockey is not only awesome; it is a game of skill. The women are barely allowed to touch each other. (Except in case of a goal when touching is very much recommended.) They are not allowed to ram each other or push each other or even pull each others’ hair. They have to follow every single rule and have tremendous skill and be in great physical condition.

Whereas in men’s hockey, it’s all a question of how much steak you can eat. The one who weighs the most is also the one who gets to take the puck. And I don’t think I have ever seen a male hockey player skate all the way across the ice without being rammed by someone along the way and stopping for a power nap on the ice. I’m not even sure they’re in good enough shape to skate all the way from one goal to the other.

Dani was right. Women rule. And shouting “Quick, give the girl a Barbie!” when a female hockey player fell on the ice, was very wrong of me. I will never do it again. And with that in mind, I now sit down with a huge bowl of popcorn to watch some hockey. Male hockey this time. Finland vs USA.

Let the games begin. *

Thursday, February 25, 2010

You're Looking A Little Feminine There, Satan

So, I’m sitting here, watching hockey. Except, something’s wrong. The players aren’t really as big as I’d expect. And they’re not quite as violent as I like my hockey. And the screams coming from the ice are decidedly feminine. And that’s when it hits me. This is NOT real hockey. It’s girls’ hockey. A little slower, a little prettier. Why girls would play hockey, I don’t know. They probably have some daddy issues or something. Or maybe they weren’t quite thin enough to make it as figure skaters.

But it’s Finland vs Sweden and they’re playing for the bronze so I decide to give it a go. I lean back and try to enjoy a good tea party game. The first thing that stands out is that everyone is called Michelle and Sarah and Candy. When men play hockey, they are called Ovechkin, Satan and Igor. That’s what hockey players are supposed to be called. When Satan comes at you with a puck and a stick, you tremble in your shorts. Maybe even pee a little. When Michelle comes at you with a puck and a stick, you kind of want to give her a doll. Maybe tell her that her mascara is running.

When men play hockey, they go all the way. Lots of body contact, lots of violence. If you come home with all your teeth it wasn’t a good game. I think I heard Candy ask Sarah if it was okay to shove her a little with her stick. Candy said it was fine as long as she didn’t break her nail.

So I was sitting there, marvelling over the fact that they were actually wearing boy skates, when Finland scored the first goal. And suddenly, it made sense. There is one good thing about women’s hockey. When one team scores, they all hug and you almost get some girl on girl action right there on the TV screen. Awesome! Let’s do it again, girls, and this time with some feeling! And did I mention they’re Swedish??

Turns out it wasn’t a complete waste of time. Girl on girl action and a bronze medal to Finland. Maybe I should start playing hockey… How hard could it be, after all? Like selling snow to Canadians. *

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's Snowing

Suddenly I have a perfect understanding of why the Inuit have 200 words for snow. It’s not like we Finns don’t have a ridiculous amount of swear words as well.

In related news, I’m kind of happy this isn’t my car.


Monday, February 22, 2010

I (Probably) Don't Have Appendicitis

Yesterday morning, my body realized it was way too long since it saw the inside of an emergency room. It immediately tried to rectify this by giving me a fever. Add a fever of 102 to the stomach pain that still hasn’t gone away completely, and you get 5 more hours of fun emergency room experience. They tested me for everything, removed most of my blood and prodded my stomach until I felt like screaming. Luckily, the surgeon still didn’t think I have appendicitis, just some random infection that’s causing the fever and the elevated blood values. They wanted me to stay the night for observation, but I kindly declined the offer and went home so I could watch hockey all night.

And what good did that do me? Nothing. Russia did okay, Canada fell all over themselves when USA proved better, and Finland forgot everything they know about hockey and lost to their archenemy. Suddenly hockey doesn’t amuse me as much. And I feel a little like kicking a Swede.

Oh, and one more thing, I have a message for the weather: “Enough! I got the joke, it’s not funny anymore.” You know how they had to truck more snow in to Vancouver for the Olympics? We’re trucking snow away from our ski resorts. That’s how much snow we have. Enough, I say.

Also, I promise this was the last post about my stomach. Unless I have to go back again, of course, in which case I will surely once again try to bore you to death while trying to make you feel sorry for me. *

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Beware, Sports Content!

The time for miracles isn’t over yet. Slovakia beat Russia in ice hockey and Switzerland gave Canada a very hard time in the first rounds. It seems like the two giants are having a hard time. I’m suddenly feeling a lot more confident about Finland’s chances, even though our team is mostly made up of guys who are older than my dad.

And in figure skating, the ultimate diva Plushenko had to submit to the American they call Lysacek. I hear Plushenko was so depressed after the loss that he actually considered cutting his hair.

I realize now that not everyone is watching the Olympic Games, but you really should be. I also realize that if you don’t really watch the Olympics, you don’t really have any sort of idea of what I’m talking about. That’s why I have decided to help you out a little. I am now going to introduce some of the key winter sports that make up the winter Olympics.

Fist off, we have ice hockey. I love ice hockey. There is nothing like grown men beating the crap out of each other and calling it a sport. Here’s how it works. The puck needs to go from the middle of the ice into one of two goals. Preferably the one that’s Swedish. The puck manages this an average of once every 15 minutes. The remaining time is spent fighting. The puck is useful for many things, not only scoring. It could, e.g., be used to help the other team’s players to get rid of their teeth – no-toothiness is very popular on the hockey scene.

I love curling almost as much as I love ice hockey. One player throws a rock on the ice and the others try to steer the rock in the right direction by waving a brush at it and/or screaming at it. For some strange reason, curling players have yet to realize that rocks don’t actually work that way. Newton’s third law of motion states that to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. Unless the power of your voice is a force to be reckoned with, I highly doubt it will affect anything at all. (I took physics in college, can you tell?)

People who ski are usually okay. At least when they keep to level ground and don’t break any bones when they crash. Unless you’re Majdic, of course, in which case you’ll break a couple ribs and injure your lung and still go on to win bronze in the women’s sprint. But still, skiers are not always smart. You see, there is this one sport called “Downhill”. Now, the name itself should give you some idea of the sport. It’s downhill. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put on his skis and ski down a mountain at 60mph while trying to avoid colourful flags along the way must have been dropped on his head one too many times as a child. I guess the adrenaline rush is pretty awesome while you’re doing it, but you’d think that the sense of dread when you’re flying through the air to certain death would outweigh the rush.

Downhill skating is pretty similar to downhill skiing. It’s fast and dangerous. I’m pretty sure downhill skating isn’t an Olympic sport, but if it were, I would rename it “Suicide.” In Suicide, you take your ice skates and walk up a mountain. You then put on your skates and, along with three of your fellow Emos, you skate down the mountain while pushing and shoving at your friends. The one who accidentally manages to slit his wrists with the skate blades is the winner.

Bobsleigh is the rich kids sport. Your parents pretty much had to buy you a mountain to enable you to play. You also had to have 3 friends with rich parents and too much time on your hands. You run like hell for a few yards then jump into a nicely lit and pre-heated sled that could fit your team, your family and your local broker, and race down the mountain in a nicely carved track that keeps you on your course.

Skeleton is the poor man’s bobsleigh. It’s called Skeleton because that’s how you’ll end up after you fly off the track, break your neck and never breathe again. You do it alone and you do it by night when the rich kids aren’t using their track. You take your old toboggan, run like hell for a few yards and then race head-first down the icy track of death. Darwinism states that these kids shouldn’t live long enough to reproduce.

Figure skating is where men got it horribly wrong. At one point in time, one man said to another man “Hey Bob, let’s go down to the ice rink and check out those chicks figure skating.” Bob said “Sure, Jack, lemme just get my coat.” Bob got his coat and off they went. When they got there they sat down and watched all the pretty girls doing pretty stuff on the ice, all dance-like. And this is where Jack said something that would doom men for all eternity. “That looks like fun. I’m going to try it.”

Now, Nordic combined, that’s a sport for real men. Living up here in one of the Nordic countries, no one knows the dangers of the North better than me. Almost every single day I am forced into a situation where I quickly have to put on my skis, race down a mountain, take off from said mountain and fly 140 meters through the air, only to set a perfect telemark landing. This is almost always followed by a leisurely 10 kilometer cross country ski. Originally this practice was developed to escape the hungry polar bears roaming the streets, but nowadays we do it just for fun. Actually, it’s even part of my daily job commute. The second part of my commute involves something that doesn’t even have an English name. It consists of a big hole in the ice and a very cold swim. If you add a sauna it also doubles as the national pastime in Finland.

Well there you have it. I hope this will make it easier for you when you tune into Vancouver for a nice evening in front of the TV. Today’s highlights are the ski jumping event and the women’s Super G. Happy Olympic Games, everyone! And whatever you do, don’t forget the hockey with Canada-USA and Finland-Sweden tomorrow; otherwise you’ll miss a ton of really good fights. *

Anything To Get Out Of Work

Today I spent three glorious hours in the emergency room. I was at work when my stomach suddenly started to commit hara-kiri. I had to leave the room, and the patient, and go to another room so I could pass out in peace. The nurses I work with made me lie down on the floor, legs up in the air. After I told them I was going to throw up from the pain, they also gave me a nice little bucket. I lay there for a while, probably looking a little pale, until someone said that they’re going to take me to the emergency room. That made me realize that the pain wasn’t so bad after all and that I was totally okay to work some more.

Regretfully, my stomach wasn’t quite agreeing with me even though I ordered it to stop making a fuss. I really hate it when my internal organs can’t take orders. When it became clear to the nurses that not only could I not work, but I actually couldn’t even stand up on my own, they decided to call an ambulance. At that, I shot up from the floor and started doing jumping jacks. Or more accurately, mostly just screamed “NO!” and stood up very slowly. Imagine, if you will, a very old lady who has trouble standing up and is bent at the waist and fighting to keep from passing out or throwing up. Yeah, that was me. I’m younger, though. Hardly old at all.

One of the nurses drove me to the emergency room and left me there to be manhandled taken care of by the doctor. He poked me and prodded me and interpreted my gasps of agony correctly as “some discomfort”. I wanted to tell him that a Chihuahua eating its way out from inside my body wasn’t just “some discomfort” but pretty much Alien in the making. I sort of lost my train of thought, though, as the doctor decided my stomach didn’t hurt quite enough, so he punched me in the gut to make it feel real. Then he shot me up with drugs and suddenly all was right in the world. It was like discovering Reese’s again. The little ponies that ate rainbows and pooped butterflies had suddenly been joined by fluffy bunnies with pink bows on their necks.

I had the privilege of peeing in a cup and then I got to go to sleep for an hour or so before the doctor came back and punched me in the gut again. This time, however, I was feeling no pain and laughed him in the face. I might have told him about the ponies and bunnies, I can’t remember. I slept a little more and then the doctor told me to jump up and down a little. I did, and apparently I passed the test because he then told me to go home and to come back if I suddenly developed a fever or the stomach pains got worse. He didn’t think it was my appendix, but I should still jump up and down every now and then to make sure. I can only assume that when you have appendicitis you are suddenly unable to jump because the appendix has taken over control of your jumping muscles.

In other news, true to my predictions, I’m considering an imminent relocation to Libya. Ever since December we’ve had steady cold-as-hell weather with a couple feet of snow. As I was watching the news today, I was greeted by a perky weather girl who said that on Sunday morning winter will start for real. The weather will get colder. I’m assuming it will reach absolute zero since it’s been pretty freaking close to that all winter. Just the other day I took a walk with my thermos of nitrogen, and when I opened the thermos the nitrogen had turned to liquid form. Yes, it was that cold. Also, on Sunday morning a new snow storm will arrive. Today’s snow storm that buried my car in snow in under an hour apparently didn’t count. I need a bigger snow brush. *

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Work Out Goddess I Ain't Either

So… I didn’t clean the apartment. But at least I went to the gym. Zelma and her little sister joined me and we made complete fools out of ourselves worked out a little. Had I known how Zelma and Marie would behave I probably would have started them out with something simpler. Like a walk.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not fit or anything, but I’ve been to the gym once or twice. Now, I’m not saying Zelma and Marie have never been to the gym before, I’m just saying that if they have, they were probably blindfolded at the time. Zelma thought we had entered a medieval torture chamber and after 5 minutes on the crosstrainer she hadn’t changed her mind. Marie did a little better and actually operated some of the machines. Although, she could have just been petting them and speaking German to them. I can’t be sure; I was busy making sure Zelma didn’t throw up.

Luckily I was able to get in a decent work out before Zelma had a heart attack and we had to take her to the hospital. Marie was kind of bummed at that, though. She had just discovered the butt machine and was loving it. She was also looking very attractive with a beet red face.

And now I have to leave for the airport to pick up M, who’s arriving from Barcelona. Finally. I need someone at home who knows how the vacuum works. *

A Domestic Goddess I Ain't

There is nothing like a good root canal to start your day off nicely. If you weren’t awake before, that first needle to your gum will sure wake you up. The electric chair was actually invented by a dentist. For some reason, that doesn’t surprise me at all.

My mom once told me I was going to make someone a very good wife one day. I think she lied. I’m not his wife yet, but I am his girlfriend and I am definitely not good. M has been gone since Sunday morning and the apartment is a wreck. A mountain of dishes, the bathroom full of laundry, dust everywhere and the plants that were green on Sunday are looking more brown and yellow than green. I have until tonight to clean the entire apartment and buy new plants water the plants, because that’s when M’s plane is due to land. Wish me luck.

By the way, did you know that ancient Egyptian priests would pluck every single hair from their body? That seems a little strange. And time consuming. I might take it up as a hobby just to get out of cleaning the apartment. *

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything...

…is 42. And unless my math is horribly off, which it very well might be, this is my 42nd post here on Ziva’s Inferno. 42 is also the approximate length in kilometres of a marathon race and the angle of degrees for which a rainbow appears.

Coincidence? I think not.

42 is also the atomic number for the Group 6 chemical element Molybdenum. Now, this is where it gets interesting, Molybdenum was discovered by a certain Carl Wilhelm Scheele back in 1778. Now 1778 also happens to be the year when the poet and novelist Clemens Brentano was born. Clemens Brentano was born in Ehrenbreitstein, Germany. Now, Germany went through a little bit of a rough patch with the whole Third Reich and everything. This means that back in 1942 Germany was ruthlessly led by the F├╝hrer, Hitler himself. In 1942, something else extraordinary happened. Another Great Leader was born – Kim Jong-il of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. (Unless we believe the Soviet records, which state that he was born in 1941, but the Soviet Union never got anything right anyway so we’re probably better off believing the North Korean records.) And speaking of Kim Jong-il, today is his birthday! Now if that’s a coincidence, I’ll eat my hat. I don’t actually have a hat, but that’s irrelevant. This day is a national holiday in North Korea and therefore the perfect day to celebrate this, my 42nd post on Ziva’s Inferno.

Sadly, M is away on business in Barcelona and can’t celebrate with me. Some sort of congress or other. Therefore, to honor Kim Jong-il’s politics, and celebrate 42 posts, I am going to post this IM conversation between Zelma and me that fits the occasion perfectly.

I have to warn you before you read this, though. IM conversations between Zelma and me have a tendency to get a little strange. We start off like normal people, talking about the weather, discussing politics and religion and best ways to groom a dog. Then something goes wrong and this is what happens:

Ziva: Everything I ever needed to know I can find on Google and Wikipedia.

Zelma: Yeah, and all my friends are on Facebook, what more do I need?

Ziva: A toilet at the computer and life would be perfect.

Zelma: Damn, we need to get that idea patented, we’ll be rich!

Ziva: …cause that’s exactly what I want to be rich and famous for…

Zelma: Do you really want to flush toilet? Yes/No

Ziva: ABORT flush, ABORT flush

Zelma: Your toilet is now flushed...There is an update for your flushing system...

Ziva: A problem with your flushes has been detected and the system had to shut down. Do you wish to report the problem?

Zelma: Your monthly flushes are about to expire.

Ziva: Fatal error with bigflush.exe.

Zelma: A virus was detected in your flushing system.

Ziva: Initiating smellbetter sequence.

Zelma: Your toilet is unflushed, what do you wish to do? Remind me in 10 mins, remind me in 1 hour, never remind me.

Ziva: You're out of toilet paper, please refill toilet paper and try again.

Zelma: Wow, it would be way too complicated with computer toilets.

Ziva: Clearly.

Congratulations Kim Jong-il! *

Monday, February 15, 2010

In Case of Emergency - Don't Listen to Zelma

First off – does anybody know if walking sticks (the insect, not the walking aid) have stomachs? Zelma and I are wondering.

Secondly – do you have any idea of how hard it is to sleep when you’re on a boat that has to force its way through 170 miles of solid ice? The Archipelago Sea is frozen solid. Usually that’s fun because you can walk and skate and ski and drive on the ice. The first time I ever drove a car I did it on the frozen sea. It was actually very practical – I was more worried about drowning than I was about how to work the clutch properly and when to shift gears.

But I digress. The sea is frozen and when a huge steel monstrosity is forcing its way through the ice, it sounds like, well, it sounds like hundreds of thousands of pounds of steel forcing its way through solid ice. It is impossible to sleep in a cramped little cabin while listening to the boat doing its own impression of Titanic, over and over again. The no sleep deal made Zelma and me a little tired. And when you’re tired, you start thinking about weird stuff. Like locating the nearest exit in case of the ship actually perfecting its performance of Titanic’s last moments.

Luckily, Zelma had very elaborate emergency plans, which, coincidentally, almost never coincided with the official emergency plans. Her plans included, but weren’t limited to, hanging in chandeliers and railings when the boat tipped over and then jumping away on ice blocks to reach the floating emergency phones. The fact that floating emergency phones don’t actually exist didn’t seem to deter her. She also laughed her ass off at my emergency plan and told me I’d be mangled by huge blocks of ice and, oddly enough, crushed to death by a falling trash can. I’ve known Zelma all my life and yet I had no idea she had such in-depth knowledge of how to survive on a sinking ship. She says she learned everything she knows from the movie Titanic, but I think she’s taken it a little too far. At one point she was staring at the ceiling and murmuring to herself: “Yeah… The ceiling is definitely the only way to save ourselves…”

In other news, Zelma also developed magical powers during the cruise. She simply spoke the words “I bet someone is going to fall down these stairs soon.” And lo and behold, a little boy immediately came tumbling down the stairs and landed at our feet. I think he knew it was Zelma’s fault because he looked at her like she’d just pushed him down the stairs.

Most of the cruise we spent eating and drinking. I had lots of wine and even more food. The cheesecake was to die for. And I almost did. I think I might have had a small heart attack when I forced that last bite down. And in the restaurant there was a guy walking around, singing ‘O Sole Mio while wearing a fat suit dressed as a chef. Walt Disney himself couldn’t have done it better.

You know how they say that you’ll always hear the truth from children and retarded people? Yeah, well I don’t know what this says about Zelma and me, but we were stoned by a 2-year old. And not get-high-on-weed stoned either, but proper let-he-who-is-without-sin-cast-the-first-stone stoned. His follow-through wasn’t great, though. We survived. The kid should probably have used something bigger than pebbles to get the job done.

All in all it was a pretty uneventful cruise. We saw a little boy on girl action. A little boy on boy action. A LOT of girl on girl action. Fucking Line held true to its reputation and love was in the air.

Happy Valentine’s Day! *

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hide Me, That's My Mother!

Every year Zelma and I go on a cruise to Sweden. We travel on one of these boats:

Actually, they might be called ships. Or ferries. I wouldn’t know. I do know that they house a couple thousand people, most of which for some horrible and inexplicable reason are always and inevitably Russian, and that they travel between Finland and Sweden twice a day. The trip to Sweden and back takes 24 hours unless you get off the ship and spend a day shopping in Stockholm. We made that mistake once and almost froze to death. Turns out shopping isn’t great in February. Imagine that.

Mostly we just get on the boat, ride it to Stockholm and back and get off in Finland 24 hours later. I bet you’re now wondering to yourself “but what’s the point in that?” I’ll tell you. Absolutely nothing. On the boat there are a few restaurants, a few bars, karaoke, a tax free shop and many drunken people, most of which, again, are Russian. The boats belong to a company called Viking Line, but, for a very explicable reason, people like to call it Fucking Line. When people get on board, they take a look around, find their cabins, have a couple drinks, shop a little in the tax free shop and after having spent 2 hours doing that, they realize they still have 22 hours to kill before they are let off the boat. They immediately go off in search of someone to have sex with to pass the time. Most of the time they end up with a Russian.

Zelma and I go on the cruises for one reason – to restore our faith in the human race. This has yet to happen. It seems that Zelma and I are magnets for freaks. One time we were stalked by a middle aged man who was there with his old mother. We spent the cruise hiding from him and he spent the cruise hiding from his mother. Another time we spent the night in a cabin with the local troubadour talking about rabbit burgers and limestone. The key to a good rabbit burger is all in the sauce. Or so I’m told.

In a couple hours we’ll once again be off on our quest to restore our faith in humanity. Although, we’ll probably just end up getting really drunk and having existential discussions with a dwarf who’d rather be called a midget. *

Friday, February 12, 2010

You're Not Allergic, But You Sure Aren't Smart Either

This week we vaccinated old people for the Swine Flu and as usual I was playing the role of secretary while the nurse was playing the role of evil incarnate with a huge syringe in her hand. Ever since I started working with the vaccinations for Swine Flu, I've come to appreciate the small things in life. Health, family, personal hygiene, easy access clothes, people who know on what day they were born and people who know whether or not they're allergic to eggs... It seems like when people come to get a vaccine they are slightly nervous and if you ask them a question they weren’t really expecting, they are incapable of giving you a straight answer. Usually it goes a little bit like this:

Ziva: Are you allergic to eggs?

Patient: I don't think so.

Ziva: But you've eaten stuff with egg in it, right? Like cake?

Patient: Ohh, yeah, sure. And I eat eggs too.

Ziva: Then how can you not know if you’re allergic or not?

Patient: Well it's not like I've ever given it any thought... I mean, I could still be allergic, right?

Ziva: When was the last time you had eggs?

Patient: Yesterday.

Ziva: And you didn't go into anaphylactic shock and die?

Patient: Uhh,, No.

Ziva: Congrats, you're not allergic.

At this point the patient usually laughs a little and you can see that he feels a little awkward. Now is when you tell him to take his shirt off, cause apparently the day you’re getting the vaccine is when you decide to wear a button down shirt with tiny buttons, a vest over that and a long-sleeved undershirt that all have to be removed before we can introduce his arm to the business end of a very sharp needle.

When the clothes come off, the stench is released. 1 out of 20 old men will smell like they've spent the last few days marinating in cow manure and rotting squirrels. Old tobacco, sweat and dried urine give off a very pungent smell that saturates the air faster than Chernobyl went “boom”. If you breathe it in you’ll have to make sure you’re up to date on your tetanus shots. And that you have an emergency bucket nearby.

While this is happening, the patients, who are still feeling a little dumb on account of not knowing if they’re allergic to eggs or not, will make small talk to ease their awkwardness. This is a conversation I’ve had 35 times today:

Patient: So, this is the Swine Flu vaccine, huh?

Ziva: Yes.

Patient: Well then it’ll suit me perfectly/Does that mean I’ll become a pig now?/So I’ll go “oink” when I get home then./I’ve always wanted a pig’s tail.

Followed by a throaty laugh. Hilarious is what it is. Our patients should all have gone into stand up comedy.

Every patient has an electronic chart that comes up on the computer when we enter the vaccine details for that particular patient. Usually there’s also some sort of warning that pops up first. Mostly it says that the patient in question has allergies and will swell up to the size of a pregnant elephant if given penicillin. Sometimes it’s something else. Today the warning text for one of the patients read: “Paranoid schizophrenic, do not agitate.” Well then. That makes me feel all warm and fluffy inside. Add to the fact that he stood perfectly still and stared at me. His movements were jerky and abrupt and he kept shaking his head the way you do when the voices tell you to attack someone and you just want them to shut the hell up. It felt really safe to be in the same room with him while he had a huge needle sticking out of his arm. But except for the schizophrenic maniac, the horrible stench, the old man boobs and egg confusion, it was a really good day.

Tomorrow Zelma and I are going to go on a cruise to Sweden and back so I imagine I’ll have something to write about come Monday. *

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hello, my name is Ziva and I'm a chocoholic.

Many, many bad things have come out of the United States of America, cheeseburgers and Microsoft being a couple of those, but I am very happy to tell you that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are not one of them. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups actually validate the existence of the entire country. If it weren’t for Reese’s, I’m pretty sure the USA would cease to exist solely on the grounds that there isn’t any decent chocolate in the entire country. Much in the same way that Switzerland was just a big mountain with lots of cheese and weird accents before they invented Toblerone and were officially promoted to divine holiness and will now forever hold a position of no-war zone and happy chocolaty goodness.

The last time I visited God’s Promised Land (USA, not Switzerland), my life was forever changed. Everything I knew was turned upside down when I for the first time ever had a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. It could be compared to the first time I realized I can actually count to a million if I wanted to. For the first time I stepped out of the dark and into the light. Angels sang the Hallelujah chorus and suddenly my world was filled with little ponies that all ate rainbows and pooped butterflies. Kinda like going from black-and-white TV to color TV. A color TV that spews fire. That’s how awesome Reese’s are. They’re the Death Machine of color TVs.

When I left America I thought for sure I would never see a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup again. So naturally I stocked up on them. I had the regular kind, the kind with the creamy insides, the kind that comes in a bar and the king size cups. I even had itty bitty mini Reese’s. I went totally MacGyver on the Reese’s store. My suitcase weighed about 10 lbs more than was allowed, all of it Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. As you can probably guess, the Reese’s lasted about a week. Ever since then my life has been dull, all black-and-white non-fire spewing TV again.

Until today. M and I were walking past the “America shelf” in our local grocery store. (Yes, every store in Finland has an America shelf that is full of the unhealthiest things ever in life and people stand before them and stare in awe for hours.) And there it was.

I have never seen anything as beautiful before. I got tears in my eyes and I felt weak to my knees. I of course had to buy some. And I’ll probably need something from the store again tomorrow. And the day after that. My only question now is: how long can a human being survive on nothing but Reese’s? *

Saturday, February 6, 2010

So, who do you go to for quality drugs?

No, this is not a post about spam.

Lately I’ve been suffering an agony worse than death itself a toothache. I’ve contemplated pulling every last tooth from my mouth and replacing them with something less fragile. Like itty bitty pieces of titanium. Covered in diamonds. And steel. Jaws is my new idol.

When I haven’t been lying in the fetal position on the floor, whimpering in pain, M and I have been playing the New Super Mario Bros Wii game. And we have finally, after hours of blood, sweat and tears (and a new TV after a slight misunderstanding over where the Wii remote needs to be and at which speed it needs to get there), found every single star coin. Those of you who have never played the New Super Mario Bros Wii game (don’t you just love that name?), probably won’t understand the magnitude of that statement, but trust me. This is bigger than the wheel. And penicillin. I’m just saying, if the New Super Mario Bros Wii game had existed back in -69 we would never have landed on the moon. And if we actually had landed on the moon, people would have been too busy hunting down that last star coin in 9-3 to give a damn.

Tomorrow M, Muschu, Muschu’s boyfriend, my brother and I are going bowling. I’ve done it once before and I think I managed to get the ball all the way down to the pins once. It rolled down there, said hi to the pins, and rolled right past them to slide into the gutter again. I think the elusive strike is a myth. Like tax returns and women’s rights. But it’s a lovely sport. Very rewarding. And with any luck I’ll catch a bowling ball in the face and won’t have to pull out my teeth myself.

I’m starting to gain back some feeling in my mouth so I better go find some pills. Preferably many and strong and labelled “Morphine”. Too bad morphine doesn’t come in tablet form. But at least I have my star coins. *