Monday, June 23, 2014


Mekkar was in town to visit his youngest brother Niillas. The younger sibling asked Mekkar to come and watch him play, the next day, in a soccer (futbol) match for charity. The game would include other pro players like Niillas that supported a specific cause. Initially, was not interested and came up with excuses to avoid coming to observe the game. To Mekkar, it would be only a glorified scrimmage. He prefers to attend real matches where a victory would count for something in the standings.

So, Niillas threw out another bone by telling his older brother that there would be some former International and World Cup stars in the game. Names that he would be familiar with. Niillas also told Mekkar that one side had his favorite player Giorgio Chinaglia along with Pele, and a German goalie. The other side had one of the greatest players from Germany, as well as, others that Mekkar would recognize from all over the globe (Mexico, Brazil, Italy, England, and more). The sell job worked and convinced Mekkar to agree to go. “After all, it was for charity,” Mekkar quipped in justifying tone as if he was trying to convince himself that he had made the right decision.

The man from the Arctic expected to see a tiny member of people in the stands for the matchup. Boy, he was in for a surprise when about a half hour before the scheduled start time the crowd began to file in. There was a lot more than Mekkar originally anticipated. He then received the news why the event was happening at all. The match was put on in a rather hastily manner to raise funds for a fellow old footballer to meet medical expenses for a recently diagnosed disease. Mekkar made the assumption that the individual was a well respected in the soccer (futbol) community and some of his friends wanted to help any way they could.

However, Niillas came over to the bench to get a drink of water with a worried look on his face. Mekkar noticed this and inquired, “What is the problem?” Niillas told his brother that he was just informed that one of the players for his team was unable to get a connecting flight and unable to make it in time for the match. The younger brother asked Mekkar to play instead and said to him, “We have no subs to fill in the hole (in the lineup).” Mekkar came appropriately dressed in a t-shirt and shorts since it was a sunny day and didn’t need to change his attire. Since, the older brother was reluctant, Niillas now pleaded with Mekkar to be the replacement. He told Niillas, “I am a former hockey player, not a soccer (futbol) player!” The younger sibling responded back, “Don’t you think that I know that, but the choices were either you or that fat sports reporter over there on the sidelines. Not only are you in much better shape, you have played the game a few times and watched hundreds of top flight soccer (futbol) games, a number with me in them.” Niillas continued on, “You already know how to play this game and you don’t want us, especially me, to look bad do you?” Mekkar began to be suspicious, as it is his nature, and thought that this was all a big set up of some type, by his sibling. Even though it was not the case, Mekkar was not convinced.

The other side lacked any additional players as well with only the minimum of ten and a goaltender. Niillas influenced Mekkar by making him aware to not disappoint the crowd that had already shown up. Trouble was, it was too late for emergency reasons to turn back and Mekkar finally agreed. He decided to not make any additional enemies in a foreign stadium. Mekkar was not in the mood, at this point, to have a hostile crowd predisposed toward him. Especially, if they found out he might be the one responsible for today’s event being called off. You never know how fans might react to the news, thought Mekkar.

The Arctic Warrior pressed his relative as to what his position would be and what was expected of him on the pitch. Niillas advised Mekkar, “I know that you were a defenseman in your sport and know all kinds of tricks, especially below the waist with the hips and positioning.” Surprisingly, Niillas had never played ice hockey before and lacked excellent skating skills for the sport his older sibling excelled at. Mekkar’s brother went on to say to his older kin, “Use the tactics I mentioned to you and try not to foul too often above the waist. Do that and you will be fine. You will have to mark number six when he pushes forward into his offensive zone, otherwise you will be a regular defender. Your teammates back there on the field will guide you.” And Niillas went on to say, “During the one-on-one marking, the player you will be covering will get frustrated and probably swear at you. You do remember enough choice words to respond back in his own language, right?” Mekkar sot back with disdain in his voice, “Yes! Great, I get to be embarrassed by one of the greatest players ever and have him hate me forever by the time the match is over. Be a pest, I can do that! I was very good at that in hockey and got under opponents skin.”

Yet, Mekkar had to change his mindset because as a hockey player he could get physical by body checking, even punching opposing players. But, in the Beautiful Game (soccer / futbol) it is the complete opposite and you are unable to manhandle other players. Mekkar could not afford to get red carded and removed from the game, thus forcing his side into a shorthanded scenario for the rest of the time. Unlike hockey, down a man to spend two minutes in the sin bin would be a minimum penalty. Fortunately, it never came to that. Niillas squad, which included Mekkar, won the match with a late goal in the last couple of minutes in regulation time. Mekkar was glad there was no tie score as he hated results where there is no clear winner.

After the final whistle from the referee blew, Mekkar began to approach some of teammates on the field that day. He figured that this might be his only chance to ever interact with some them. He wanted to meet Pele right after the match was over and who was on his side, but never was able to because the superstar was immediately surrounded by a thick throng of people. Mekkar did get to chat with some of the other athletes there that he had previously watched for years. He thought it was pretty cool. Plus, Mekkar got to spend some time talking with his favorite soccer (futbol) player in the whole world, Chinaglia.

Monday, June 16, 2014


Long before the widespread public accessible World Wide Web, Mekkar’s best friend Lasse had completed his custom made computer system for use at his house. Lasse had taught himself to become up to date in his knowledge of hardware and other related issues. The two boys had used other means to hack into satellites and information databases around the world. The technology and capabilities were expanding very quickly during this time.

Many times in the past, Mekkar and Lasse had both picked Henrik’s brain often since Mekkar’s papa was considered an electronics guru. Henrik was enlisted by the national government and military departments due to his expertise in those fields. Of course, Henrik would share some helpful information and demonstrate their applications to his oldest son and his friends. Mekkar figured it would be an honor for any papa to be able to pass on something to his offspring.

The system was extensive and too up the whole side of Lasse’s bedroom wall with an assortment of tables and various separating constructs. Wires and cables seemed to be everywhere. They were marked with different color tape with written indicators as to function and where to be connected. The servers and makeshift other equipment had symbols on the back as well to identify how all of it must be set up. Lasse had other written his own software to make the whole thing operate as intended. The complete system itself was not cheap and the cost was in excess of sixty thousand dollars. Lasse had worked hard to gather the funds to pay for it.

That same day when a couple of the last parts, that Lasse ordered, had arrived he was excited. He couldn’t resist and had to share the news with Mekkar. After reaching Mekkar’s house, he waited about an hour for his best friend to finish his work in one of the family businesses. Mekkar licked his lips in anticipation upon his hearing his buddy’s news. They went back a few roads over to Lasse’s house to test out the newest prize. However, when these two get together there is mischief to be carried out.

It took awhile for Lasse to sort out the parts to set up the last pieces of equipment and integrate them into his system. Mekkar always hated that part because he expects most mechanical items to be already preassembled and ready function properly upon startup. Mainly, because Mekkar has no tolerance or patience for any nonsense. Plus, Mekkar does not sense how fortunate he was by being surrounded by individuals that are very mechanical. People that can fix or put together most things like Lasse, Alf, and Henrik are able to. Individuals that are closest to him. As Mekkar lacks those mechanical construction and repair abilities. Mekkar has other special talents. Unfortunately, contrary to Mekkar’s wants, this was the not the plug and play era of the twenty-first century. Mach of the required know-how was not common and had to be diligently researched and put into practice to understand its inner workings. Lasse was blessed with an attention to details in his character makeup. Thus, he went through every step of the instructions a few times previously before actually setting up the additional machines. Lasse didn’t want to damage what he already had.

Mekkar’s attitude is let’s play and see what we can do with it. A more haphazard and risky approach in many respects. Mekkar learns by doing it himself; not by merely reading, hearing about, or watching another person doing something. Unknown to Mekkar, his buddy had prearranged for a visitor from somewhere else to show up around that time and show them how to increase and maximize the configuration’s abilities.

Eventually after the helper left, the two boys were able to connect with other aquaintenances. Also, people they knew from hockey in other regions outside of their own. Mekkar and Lasse contacted some going to school or living, with their relatives, in Switzerland, India, Hong Kong, and other locales. There was basic interaction, new jokes received back and forth, and updated news. It was painfully slow, in its infancy, with frustrating delays compared to later online chats like the Telnet Relay, ICQ, Windows Messenger, and later more advanced programs. Another future world was opening up to the Arctic boys, Mekkar thought.

With rapid technological improvements over time, in the computer and communications industries, Mekkar and Lasse further tested the boundaries. They began to access University and United States Department of Defense mainframes, and other places via the ARPANET. They wanted freedom and this was one way for them to get it. The system was restricted for only their use, as no one else in the village knew how to operate it and left it alone. Later on, WordStar was used for creating their own documents and other tasks. There were color limits such as the word processing, messaging, and transmission programs usually had the option of orange or green letters on a black background or the reverse. The black color in actuality appeared to be a dark brownish color instead of black on some screens. Some time later, Lasse did add video game consoles to the mix. Games were not Mekkar’s focus. He observed Alf spend a lot of time playing Zaxxon and Super Zaxxon arcade game at the nearby store. Niillas was consumed by the other video game unit at the store, Donkey Kong and subsequent versions. Mekkar said that, “Those two put enough coins into those machines and played them so often, they could have bought the machines many times over.”   

Mekkar did maneuver his way into a couple of early game company sites. He had done this to help gain an advantage of a few games. Maybe, they could make some extra cash by selling secrets to the unknowing. Both of them were entrepreneurial in many respects. On one occasion, Mekkar thought that he had an answer to shrink the player spacecraft and create a surrounding force field to make the user harder to hit against the oncoming enemies. Instead, Mekkar ruined Lasse’s game after applied the new hack. On top of that, this action by Mekkar, also did minor damage to Lasse’s system. Less costly for Mekkar, his best friend was able to repair his system and get a brand new copy of that particular video game. Still, they would not be deterred.

The next day after watching a western movie from television, Lasse and Mekkar felt that they were in the computer Wild West just like the movie. Mekkar even accidently accessed into a program that was originally used for functions related to nuclear weapons. This online program could track their trajectories, if fired from a certain place to another. There were displays that showed the calculated distances, time of flight, etc. Lasse and Mekkar did play the simulated games a few times. They wanted to see how long it would take to fire a large nuke from various underground silos and reach the intended targets they chose, anywhere in the world. It lost its fascination quickly and they never accessed it again. The original program name has been changed and the former title now is a very different application that is familiar in today’s society.

This is how Mekkar and his best friend gained insights on not so well known underground sites, military installations, and information that governments hide from their citizens. The boys discovered began to learn who had what capabilities and now knew where to find them. They grasped the pervasiveness of the industry and were exposed to plans regarding future, more advanced weapons and systems. Mekkar and Lasse tried to comprehend how much more extensive the internet was by reading and examining its history, but only touched the surface. Thus, little surprised the two when they were required to conduct their own national conscription military service, later on.

The Arctic reindeer herder comments that he is spoiled now regarding the development of The Web. He decided to rid himself, quite awhile ago, of his old hacking ways along with his code and cheat books that Mekkar had developed for himself. Making it easier and shortening the time processes to access anything was important to him. Mekkar stopped hacking because it became to too tempting to steal large amounts of money online. It would have so easy to make him a very rich man. However, he did have to perform a final act before giving up his freewheeling approach in this area. Getting even with some adversaries through satellite services had to be carried out first. It was paramount that Mekkar go out with a literal bang and he did.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Mekkar, Eppu, and the guys were in the mood to get something different for themselves. Kallio mentioned that, but didn’t remember where; he saw an ad about these special colored shorts in the city. These were the 1970’s type not the baggy down to the knees ones of today. Juha heard that they were the rage at the time and thought everyone in their little group should get them. Mekkar’s sibling, Alf was not with them this time. When they finally arrived at the shop for each of them to purchase the item Juha referred to, Mekkar resisted. Mekkar implored the guys not to waste their money on a fad that would phase out quickly.

He was alone in his opinion among the group. In fact, he hated the item and disregarded the shorts as totally foolish. To him, they looked outrageous and just awful: A pink colored garment with a small yellow panther image on the lower left front side. Mekkar wouldn’t be caught dead wearing anything in the color of pink as he extremely disliked the hue itself. He would rather wear his favorite of red instead without the panther icon.
Mekkar was not hesitant to say so either, “I can’t believe any of you are buying these ridiculous shorts for this much money. Are you all crazy, drunk, stupid, or just lost your minds? Maybe it is a combination of all of it!”

The fact was that Mekkar had been previously exposed to the Pink Panther cartoon book character. Alf had some of those comic books in his room back home. The older sibling also knew that Alf was a big fan. Mekkar’s younger brother had watched a show on television and tapes of Pink Panther cartoon episodes in a host of languages. The mystery was that only a couple of people were actually aware of the source where these materials came from. Mekkar wanted no part of that and definitely not at those outrageous prices. All those in their circle, except Mekkar, bought the garb anyway over Mekkar’s objections. He concluded if Alf really wanted to buy this unauthentic apparel he would have to do it himself the next time he was in the area. Mekkar spouted off, “My brother should know better than my insane, drunk friends who waste their hard earned money on almost anything.”


After arriving back & visiting his home village for a short time Mekkar was restless. As a result he decided to journey down south to visit his younger brother, Alf. The travel distance was over 400 miles (643.74 kilometers) away. Mekkar, Karku, Lasse, & Niillas took the train to get there and hang with him like they used to back home. Alf was currently going to school in an actual city where everything was much larger. The differences were vast as compared to the village they originated from. The middle child in Mekkar’s family was also now involved in the town’s local hockey system. Alf was progressing quickly and currently playing for a top level team for his age group. They all wanted to witness him in action before surprising Alf in person.

The oldest three of this crew got pretty rowdy during their drinking session while travelling. It was fortunate for them they didn’t have their items confiscated. The gang almost got thrown off of the train for their obnoxious behavior. So, it was a good thing each of them brought extra pocket money for the trip, just in case. Like at home, they made wagers on anything and everything they could think of. Some of it was on stupid ridiculous things too as kids bet on all kinds of stuff. They had their own small version of Las Vegas. The betting that went on was limited to their clique, and always excluded any outsiders, due to lack of trust of strangers. This type of activity was considered normal and routine among their age group back home in the village. Many others observed their actions as strange behavior that should be reserved for fully grown adults. It was normal conduct in their view and they didn’t care what other people thought.

Finally the band of four reached their destination and went to see Alf play some hockey. Mekkar’s brother stood out as the star of his squad. Alf conversed with them near the bench after the game was over. He told Mekkar that he would them back there after he showered and changed. For anyone familiar with a hockey locker room, the foul odor can be overwhelming at first. You know who the new reporters are by their offense at the smell in the air. Most get used to it very soon and they are gone. The boys all played sports, so that wasn’t an issue. Arrangements for lodging had previously been made. The crew set up a time and place to meet Alf after he got out of school the next day. Mekkar thought to himself, and then the real mischief could begin. Would the town be ready was the question.

On one occasion Karku, Lasse, & the ringleader Mekkar put out a dare to the youngest in the group, Mekkar’s youngest brother, Niillas. Part of the conditions was that Niillas had to run out quickly into the middle of a four way stop light intersection. There must be a predetermined minimum amount of traffic present. Another part of the challenge was that Niillas had to pull down his pants and take a dump right in the middle of the junction. After he would finish his business, Niillas would rejoin the group nearby and cleanup with items they had available.

The promised reward if Mekkar’s youngest brother carried out this action in its entirety was that each person in the party would give him forty dollars apiece. The posse was extremely cocky in their proposition. None of them ever thought that Niillas would have the guts to actually carry it out. It was test among the adolescents. The youngest potential members that wanted to hang with them had to show their stuff. They every so often had to show a willingness to ignore their fear and accept a challenge when given. Mekkar thought to himself, this is not back in their country village where they knew most everyone. At the same time, any leading adults back home would chalk it up as a harmless teenage prank. Like anywhere else in the world, human nature takes over to satisfy a need to be a part of something and fulfill a goal to gain acceptance.

There was a risk involved. Mekkar remembered that this is a city where if the police show up they all could get arrested. Mekkar whished that he would have thought of this idea regarding Niillas first. However, Karku came up with it and took all the credit for it. Since, they all had been drinking for awhile the group lost most of their inhibitions. Despite all his concerns, the setting forced Mekkar to display his brave face. Plus, Niillas desperately wanted to prove that he was worthy of hanging out with the older ones.

The gang was drinking, joking, and laughing together, hopefully inconspicuously behind a small berm, on the side of the road. Alf arrived late and finally met them there near the scene of the alleged misconduct that was about to take place. Mekkar thought this was good timing and proceeded to fill Alf in regarding the situation. Alf was game and he wanted to get in on the action. He was in an adventurous mood and desired a piece of the gamble. The money pot increased with another contributor. The crew had basically been eating and consuming non-stop during their waking hours since arriving in town. Thus, they had come prepared and brought plenty of resources for this endeavor.

Niillas got ready and loosened his belt that held up his pants. He briefly waited for vehicles to appear in all directions. Then, he suddenly dashed out into the middle of the crossway. Next, Niillas pulled down his drawers to his ankles, squatted, and left a medium sized pile right there. Without thinking of wiping his bottom, the boy quickly yanked up his pants. The surrounding cars were honking their horns at him. Catcalls and shouts from a few of the drivers came from all quarters. Right afterward, Niillas ran back to the side of the road to the relative safety where the group was. It was hilarious and everyone in the bunch was cracking up. At the same time, all of them were amazed that the boy did complete the dare.

Mekkar spoke to the group and said, “Let’s get out of here before the cops show up or worse. First of all, we need to find a bathroom so Niillas can finish wiping himself and fully clean up.” Subsequently, they fled the scene to avoid any potential trouble and arrived at a nearby restaurant. After cleaning himself up in the restroom, Niillas was ready to collect his prize. Each individual paid the money owed to the young guy for accomplishing the dare. Niillas raked in a total of one hundred and sixty bucks.

Not one of the guys believed enough to wager between themselves whether Mekkar & Alf’s youngest sibling would complete the task in the middle of the road with vehicles there. Thus, no odds on that aspect were set up beforehand. Mekkar commented in front of the group, “Let’s face it, we all lost our rear ends on this one!” Mekkar was also slightly perturbed that he lost the bet that separated some cash from his pocket. He was always ticked off when he lost anything because he hated losing so much. Yet, he had to admit that this was a stunt for the ages and probably was worth it despite the cost. Oh! The things that occur in boys club.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


When Mekkar was living in Minnesota his friends wanted to take a road trip. They begged Mekkar to be the designated driver. He would be the perfect sober person to take their small group where they wanted to go. They all knew that Mekkar had quit drinking alcohol altogether for health reasons a few years earlier and was a recovering alcoholic. Plus, this there was some distance involved.

It was Monday and their favorite hometown NFL team was on going to be on television that evening for the whole nation to see. The matchup was against the team’s main rivals from the state next door. The game was to be played in Green Bay and the gang had planned this trip for awhile. Previous travel arrangements had been made and game tickets had been purchased long beforehand. There was an extra one because one in the group was now unable to get away from another engagement to go on the journey. Thus, they chose Mekkar to accompany them.

Mekkar thought this would be fun and have a chance to visit a place he had never been before. Having grown up and participating in reindeer treks when he was younger, he liked to travel to new places and see new things. Mekkar has a view of once that in awhile it is a good thing to break the endless routines of life by participating in new adventures. It is in his blood and background. Also, he would get the chance to be inside the storied stadium.

The man from the arctic had first learned and improved his english language skills watching old professional sports films. He had heard commentators mention the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field in a deep voice many times on football films. He wished he could speak like that, but it was not possible after taking hockey pucks and sticks to the mouth and throat during his playing days. In reality, Mekkar was from the real frozen tundra above the Arctic Circle. He thought to himself that any place in Wisconsin would be tame in comparison to winters back home.

Still, it took some time to reach their destination, yet even with the driving Mekkar was not tired when they arrived. He was instead filled with anticipation, yet the matchup was still about 1.5 hours until kickoff. They went through the entrance gates and searched for their assigned seats to see would they would be in relation to the field. It was the first row at one of the end zones and there were other Vikings fans in that section clothed in purple. All around their small section was a sea of green and yellow that dwarfed them. There were a quite a few fans that wore slices of cheese on their heads in support of the Packers. Mekkar thought that those individuals could be the invested owners of that team and cheese head gear were the identifying indicator. He read that the locals had a unique arrangement and a true vested interest in their team. Personal ownership was one way to continue the string of unwavering support of a major league franchise in such a small city, thought Mekkar.

Since it was early, the rest of his group went to get more beer to drink. Even though they had drinking on the way over, it was not enough to satisfy their desire to consume. Mekkar had his gang get him some food and snacks. They were willing to pay the ridiculous prices for those items at the stadium and he was going to accept. It was part of the price for getting him to drive in the first place. Mekkar just watched the player warm-ups on the field and spotted certain players for him to watch. He had a program but didn’t bother with it. He felt that was the easy way and wanted to exercise his mind instead. He wanted to indentify any possible factors that could affect the outcome such as injuries, etc.

This was Minnesota’s star wide receiver debut season and they were undefeated so far. The Packers were no slouch either. Along with most people Mekkar expected to get a showcase of points by two explosive offenses in this matchup. Even though the arctic native was not really a fan of the Vikings, he chose his allegiance with his buddies on this night. Plus, he was the type of person who goes against the crowd anyway because that is just the way Mekkar is. He has some contrary personality traits and is not a follower by nature.

The Vikings raced to a big lead on the scoreboard. Fans around their section did get restless and quiet. However, they did pelt Mekkar and his friends with a few items. The arctic warrior wanted to brawl with some of the offenders. However, he knew who the local security people would favor in any dispute because those individuals probably lived in that town. His gang was outnumbered anyway and would have been overwhelmed in any physical encounter. Due to this, Mekkar was secretly hoping that one of the Minnesota players would have followed the local game custom. That is, by leaping into their section of the stands after a Vikings score, right in front of the crowd.

Only players in the purple, white, and yellow uniforms would have been accepted by them. On the other hand, if a player in the green, white, and yellow colors tried this they were ready to push that athlete back onto the field as a sign of rejection. Unfortunately, neither instance happened. Minnesota met Mekkar’s expectations, while Green Bay did not as the game was out of reach. To the Packers’ credit, they did not give up and made it respectable on the scoreboard at the end. Now, the long trip home or would they risk staying overnight in enemy territory...