My name is Alexander Ulyanov, and this humble website is where I publish notes about places I visit, both in Russian and in English.

I am 30; I was born in Yekaterinburg (about the middle of Russia), studied English and Linguistics in college (not for long), lived in St. Petersburg for six years, and at the end of 2017 I moved into the city of Vaasa in Finland. This is a small city by the sea and near vast forests, with hares running around right under my apartment windows, and I love it here so much! This is the first time in my life I begin to feel at home anywhere.

I love local history, and, to the point of geekdom, topography, toponymy, and road infrastructure. I know for example entire St. Petersburg by heart, and this is almost not an exagerration. I love travel, especially by car, especially in Northern Europe. I’m obsessed with Nordic countries, particularly Finland and their northermost parts (Lapland), and also the Sami people. I like stories and movies where evil prevails, or at least some really dark and/or antisocial good guys. I like unhealthy food, raccoons and rabbits, being a smartass, taking photos of places of interest, road trips on my Renault Sandero Dacia Duster or walking around the city, procrastinating with my laptop and drinking beer, pretty much whatever everyone does. I have very liberal views, and as Dostoyevsky said, that always makes one somewhat of a Russophobe. Nonetheless I’m of fairly high opinion about the humanity in general, and I believe there are nowhere as many assholes in the world as it is commonly believed. This still doesn’t prevent me from being as asocial as befits a neckbeard geek. Although I have no beard.

I work as a software developer in a small Vaasan company, which does P2P financial services. I’m a full stack web developer with frontend focus; I’m most experienced with modern PHP and Symfony 2 web framework on the backend, and React+Redux on the frontend. I have loads of expertise with Symfony, particularly in the area of legacy code integration, which is what I tried to write about here before I got bored. I like Java and C# and C++ a lot, but I only have small real-world experience with them. I used to really dislike frontend and Javascript, but I grudgingly admit that it has become almost tolerable lately (much more so if you use TypeScript), and somehow shifted from being a backend guy to being a frontend guy. Some of my old code is available at GitHub, but most of what I develop is not publicly available. Unfortunately I almost never engage in any personal coding projects; I prefer to travel and/or write here instead.

I’m not entertaining any job offers at the moment, thank you.

This version of my blog/website was created in August 2017 using good old WordPress, but the content from the previous GitHub Pages-based version of 2014 has been faithfully migrated. A complete redesign was also done in April 2018. The raccoon with antlers is drawn by my friend Annika Saari.

The word pohjoiseen means “into the north” in Finnish language.

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This is a privately maintained website with no ads. It does not remember you (apart from standard web server access log, deleted after a few days), does not need your data and makes no attempts to collect it. The sole exception is anonymized aggregated Google Analytics statistics so that I have some vague idea how many people actually read this stuff.