Sunday, June 29, 2008

Could Use A Miracle

I don't like games, but sometimes I nevertheless find myself in the midst of one. Sometimes even by my own design. *sigh* It takes a hell of a lot of energy to keep it up, I have to say, and I don't know if it's ever been worth it. I mean, this business with men should be getting easier now that we're all adults and know how to express ourselves, right? We should be wiser than to drag ourselves through idiotic schemes and überfancy daydreams before mustering up the courage to realise we should get a grip. As usual I have no idea how I got myself into this one, nor how to get out. Blargh. I could use some assistance here. Or hard drugs and a loaded gun, whichever is closest at hand.

I had a minor crush on Andreas Johnson back when he released Glorious. It used to drive one of my friends, Torbjørn, crazy because he didn't like Johnson at all. I never did have a crush on Tobben, but looking back that certainly would have made more sense. I wonder what happened to Andreas Johnson, he had an ok voice.

Big week coming up, with some major decisions to make. I don't know when my life became this complicated, and I'm not quite sure I like it. It annoys me no end to find that I'm becoming one of those people who makes cliché statements along the lines of "it was all so much easier back then", but have no idea how to stop it from happening. Man, am I the most confused person on the planet or am I just feeling totally over the top sorry for myself today?

Until the next time: Make someone's life easier by helping them figure out what's going on, will you? And preferrably let that someone be me. ;)

Let Me Love You To Death

Yesterday evening me and colleague/friend Paul went on a spontaneous beer drinking spree in Black Door, and even ended up dancing a bit in We Got Beef. As a result I was a bit slow started this morning, but have now managed to get a little bit closer to finishing up what I'm working on. When I thought this weekend would be relaxing my clairvoyant abilities were definitely not very up to speed with what would be going on.

Oh, and the funniest thing happened. Paul was off buying more beer, and suddenly a guy leans over to me and starts talking. We get the usual "I don't speak Finnish and he freaks out" verbal dance over with rather quickly, and it turns out he recognized me from our office building. Now, his English was a bit shaky, so I chose not to be scared when he said he had been staring at me every lunch break for two and a half years. He was funny, though, and had a friend with the most gigantic nose I've ever seen.

NIN's The Fragile has been keeping me company all weekend, but this morning I craved Type 0's October Rust. I'll be damned if I could locate it, though. Thinking back I am afraid that my copy of that record and me parted ways years ago, and I can't believe I haven't reacted before now. Fortunately, me and Amazon were able to correct the unfortunate situation and it should soon be with me again. October Rust is train rides through Norway in autumn, with too many daydreams and too much energy for anything to make much sense. Don't know why the urge for it came over me, my music taste also moves in mysterious ways.

Am going to see Carrie tonight in Orion. Looks like it'll only be me and a girl I don't know, but that's fine, I haven't seen the movie in years. I saw The Mist when I was in China, and must say it was not as bad as King movies usually turn out. The ending was very, very King, and hence not surprising at all. Haven't seen 1408 yet, have to get around to that as well.

Now: Finish work and meet up with Deb for Bar no 9 chicken!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


It's close to half past ten in the evening and I'm still in the office. Christ.

I want the sky to fall in,
I want lightning and thunder,
I want blood instead of rain,
I want the world to make me wonder,
I want to walk on water,
take a trip to the moon.
Give me all this, and give me it soon.
The Cure - Want (Wild Mood Swings, 1996)

I so wish I had the guts to be great outside these walls.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Did You Come Here To Play Jesus?

I am coaching my best friend through his process of finding a new job after ten years in more or less the same business. An interesting exercise, especially the part where someone you know very well is selling themselves based on qualities you are not really familiar with. I'm sure we'll land him with a kickass job, though :)

On my side I'm having a weird week at work, and as the end of the month, which this time around is also the end of the quarter, is drawing near, my stress levels are off course increasing rapidly. Am very much looking forward to the weekend, with the Pride parade and time to relax before closing up the quarter and going to Arvika with Lotta next week.

Went to see Dogville in the SEA movie archive theatre yesterday, and it was still very good. I like the rawness of it, how von Trier has picked up on what he perceives to be parts of every single human being that we can not escape from. With Tom, you all the way through feel he's a bit off in the head, but Chuck... coming off as the rough, but basically good, could be-hero who in the end also gives in to the same impulses and disgusting animal behaviours he so hates the other inhabitants for. And I love the end. I think that's what it all comes down to, we are what we are, and in the end it surfaces to the world no matter how well we manage to hide it from ourselves. There is beauty in everything, but once people start messing each other up we all have the same capacity for ugliness.

I finished Chuck Palahniuk's Lullaby on my Oslo trip last week. I was not totally blown away by the author's genious, but I rather liked the story. It has been praised for the ridiculous amount of story ideas he manages to squeeze out throughout the pages, but to me this rather seems a bit unfocused. It's like he's trying to cover up for lacking something by showing off his enormous imagination. That said, this is a good book. I love the turn it takes towards the end, although it didn't manage to take me completely by surprise. Recommendable.

In Gardermoen I realized Lullaby was coming to an end, and proceeded to go on a massive shopping spree in the airport bookstore. Ended up with a total of 9 titles (taking my to read-list to 50+ titles), one of which I started reading on the flight. After Dark by Haruki Murakami is my attempt to familiarize myself with an author I've been dodging for quite some years, although friends have recommended Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore. It is a little bit too artsy for my taste - but on the plus side the similarities to Auster's style in Travels in the Scriptorium are strong. I'm only half way through, and if it picks up a bit I will revise my verdict at a later stage. Last minute turns seem to be the trend with everything I touch at the moment, so you never know :)

Today I am going to do zip. Nada. When I get home I will open a beer, sit on my balcony and enjoy the silence.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Daffodils Looked Lovely Today

I am not much of a poet, so I settle for enjoying the work of others. I tend to prefer words with music, but come on, what alternatively minded girl has not had a slight crush on Brandon Lee reciting Poe's The Raven in The Crow? My favorite poem has always been Wordsworth's I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud, possibly because it is one of the few I ever bothered to learn to recite by heart, and because it reminds me of Cranberries' Daffodil Lament. I wanted to blog about this during spring, when my street was beautifully lined with yellow daffodils. The opening page of my first ever homepage back in -98 was an ode to this poem, pagan symbolism and Nick Cave. And no, I was not on acid while building it.

William Wordsworth is part of the reason why I at some point grew into such an anglophile, and the early romantic and romantic era as such was the time period during which most of the classical pieces of both writing and music I love were created. Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt and off course the powerful Wagner (I once saw a "trailer trash" stage version of Lohengrin in the Oslo opera, and although unusual it was very good - I've yet to see a traditional production of it, however). Writers like Wordsworth and Coleridge, the before mentioned Edgar Allan Poe, Hawthorne, Goethe, Lord Byron, Keats and off course William Blake. Sometimes I wonder if I was born a couple of hundred years too late...

Wow, what a rant. What I wanted to communicate was as follows: I've seen O Brother, Where Art Thou? in the movies today, and liked it. One of the sirens looked so god darned familiar to me I had to ask Erin what her name was... googling it I now find out she's Musetta Vander, and I don't think I've ever seen her before in my life. She does, however, look very much like Justine Joli, which would explain why she caught my eye.

Driving home, I just missed the opening hours of my local K-Market, and hence I had to improvise dinner this evening. And for once with excellent result (should you not yet have heard of my broccoli smoothie or tomato sauce wok blunders, feel free to ask). I haven't needed to shop much since returning from China, and hence my fridge was scarcely populated with things not containing, or intended to mix with, alcohol.

wild rice
minced chilli
minced ginger
spicy sesame oil
chicken in red pepper and garlic marinade (from freezer)
Heinz Garlic Sauce (yes, Heinz as in the ketchup brand, their garlic sauce is brilliant on hamburgers)

If you're thinking "Oh no, she didn't!" at this point, yes I did. 1.5 dl of wild rice takes about 18 minutes to finish, and in the meantime I had fried 1 table spoon of minced chillies with 1 table spoon of minced ginger in olive oil in a very hot frying pan. When the smell of ginger started clearing my tear ducts, I put in the chicken, poured some sesame oil on it, and let it fry for a while to settle in with the spices. I then proceeded to pour a good amount of garlic sauce over it all, and thinned it out with some skimmed milk as I wanted it to simmer for a while without becoming all lumpy.

This sounds weird, and I was thinking "Why did I think this would work?" as I almost managed to wait until I had cut the cucumber before I drowned it in pesto and ate it in large chunks instead. But alas, it turned into a lovely, lovely marinated chicken dish and I will make it again - I think with creme fraiche and water instead of skimmed milk, but apart from that it didn't really need anything more.

For oft, when on my couch I lie,
in vacant or in pensive mood,
they flash upon that inward eye
which is the bliss of solitude;
and then my heart with pleasure fills,
and dances with the daffodils.

W. Wordsworth, 1804

Kiss The Rain

Friday, June 20, 2008

Älskling, Vi Ska Alla En Gång Dö

Greetings from Oslo! Kent are also playing at Arvika this year, it'll be the fifth time I see them live and I am still as excited as the first time.

At work we are currently heavily concerned with brand perception and becoming ambassadors for our brand. In between coffee and cakes I had a very interesting discussion. The topic of conversation was what frustrates us in life, and afterwards I was all worked up even just by talking about it.

I am at times an easily frustrated person, I set high standards for myself and expect others to live up to the same level. It usually blows over quickly, though, as people are different and I can not always expect everything to run as smoothly as I wish it would. The one instance where I give no allowances, however, is where stupidity and/or ignorance is concerned. There is nothing, and I mean _nothing_, that triggers my lack of patience more than people who will not widen their horizons, think outside the box and try to find solutions. Sitting on ones ass and hiding behind lack of knowledge is not only unacceptable, it should be outlawed, punishable by eternal damnation. Ignorance is not bliss, it is the root of all evil.

Off course we all have different selective criteria when it comes to what we want/need to learn, and some people are just not very capable. The ones that get to me are normal, breathing individuals that just can not be bothered to or do not even see the point in using their minds to develop in life, be it workwise or in private. There is no excuse for self-imposed moronity. No excuse what so ever. Please consider this first if you at any given moment should feel like going all stupid on me, because you _will_ fall from grace like a stone in water.

On happier notes, I am reading Lullaby and loving it, and in Norway they've passed a law allowing same sex couples to marry - making me weirdly proud of my home country. I got to hang out with one of my friends that I haven't seen for a year yesterday, and will now leave the office early to go shopping in real music stores before my return flight to Helsinki. Have a lovely midsummer's weekend :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Destroy Everything You Touch

Ladytron's single from a couple of years back was part of the soundtrack of my moving to Finland. The liverpudlians are now out with their 4th studio album - Velocifero, and it's done a few rounds on my player. I'm not quite sure I like this as much as the previously mentioned single from Witching Hour, which leads me to conclude that it was probably mainly the lyrics that got me, not so much the band in general.

Thinking of my moving to Finland soundtrack, I had to dig it out. These are the tracks from the mix cd that stayed with me during the first three weeks while I was living in the Crowne Plaza and waiting to get settled to a degree where I could be bothered hauling CD's around:

Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch St. Etienne - He's On The Phone
Mesh - Friends Like These
Nine Inch Nails - La Mer
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms
Eskobar - Even If You Know Me (their A Thousand Last Chances record is great! Haven't heard the latest album, have to get around to that.)
Lenny Kravitz - If You Can't Say No
Mew - Snow Brigade
Placebo - Protect Me From What I Want
Kent - 747
Joy Division - She's Lost Control
David Bowie - The Heart's Filthy Lesson
Röyksopp - Only This Moment
Sarah McLachlan - Possession
Crowded House - Fall At Your Feet
Interpol - Take You On A Cruise (they are playing at Arvika, yay!)
The Cure - Plainsong
Toad The Wet Sprocket - Something's Always Wrong

Looking at the track list now I realise this is a truly excellent mix cd! I must say I still mourn the loss of the music scene in a city where listening to, loving and breathing this music was part of daily life. Oslo might be small, but it does know its' music.

The Bon Jovi concert was good. Even though the accoustics are usually crap in stadiums it was fine where I was sitting, and the selection of songs was just fine. They played a couple of tunes I don't care for at all (Raise Your Hands and Captain Crash & The Beauty Queen From Mars), and not a couple of songs I was hoping for (Just Older and Make A Memory), but other than that the set was just fine. The jet lag caught me in the last thirty minutes and I think I was sleeping before my head hit the pillow.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Grey Would Be The Color...

I am back home again, and not sure I'm liking it. Being on holiday is good, no doubt about it, and I wish I could just leave again. I hope it's the jet lag talking and that it'll pass in a day or so. I've promised myself to spend far less time in front of computers and have more time for myself in the weeks to come.

Today I'm going to see Bon Jovi, and must say I'm looking forward to it. Will probably be dead tired and un-talkative, but the music should be good. Other than that I'm going to Oslo on Thursday evening to work there on Friday, and hence I'll postpone my mid-summer day off to sometime when I actually need it.

Sometimes I am baffled by our extraordinary ability to ignore what is right there in front of us. This can partly be explained by the limitations of language and lack of ability to read minds, but sometimes we really do choose to put on rose-colored (or sometimes deppressively grey) glasses and not face facts. I am in a situation like that myself at the moment, and even though I _know_ it's happening I just can't stop myself. It's like a bad case of short term memory loss of the senses and total paralyzation of all self preservation logic.

Tracks to take note of on DCfC's Narrow Stairs are Bixby Canyon Bridge, I Will Possess Your Heart, Grapevine Fires and The Ice Is Getting Thinner. After another couple of days with this record I'll move on to Mozart's piano sonatas, a project I've put aside for quite some time. When I was a child, my mother would refer to Mozart as the pop of classical music, and I tend to agree. His pieces are in general a bit too upbeat and "happening" for my liking, but I'll give him another shot. The Naxos web subscription scheme is excellent if you like exploring classical music and don't want to by the physical records, by the way.

I finally finished Out by Natsuo Kirino. I complained a lot about this book, because to be frank it's not my genre and not a very good specimen of a crime novel either. It did, however, somewhat redeem itself with the ending. From being a little bit too irrational and trying to make a lot out of shallow characters, it suddenly took a dark and rather perverted turn in just the last ten pages. Thumbs up for that, but still not a book I'd recommend.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

No Sunlight

I went on my last yarn shopping expedition today, and am now rather confident I will have to keep knitting until the day I die to get rid of all my new stash. Would be typical of me to tire of it come August. Also spent several hours on the Bridge rooftop terrace (they have apparently decided to expand into the neighbouring rooftop as well, because they were tearing the wall down) with Anne Sofie, but the sun left us after the first hour - not because of clouds but rather the permanent grey layer that covers this city.

Today I am expected to once again drink too much beer with the Norwegians (the band in D-22 were very out of tune, but the beer was good both there and in Cava, and hence yesterday was a very slow and rather hung over day), but I'll try to keep it at a minimum. Tomorrow I have to go to the super busy and extremely exhausting Wu Dao Kou clothing market to get silk thread and a dress or two, and that is likely to kill my last lust for shopping this time around. Saturday will hopefully be sunny and relaxing, so I'm all set to go home on Sunday. It will, as usual, be good to get back home.

Have planned a bunch of SEA movie nights in the coming weeks, have loads of ideas for road trips, and will go swimming as much as possible. I've missed being this energetic, weirdly enough it would seem bad air does me good :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Run With The Dogs Tonight

Yesterday marked the end of the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival, a three day celebration giving people a slightly longer weekend than usual. For me, on holiday, it didn't really mean much except I was fed some brown, sticky rice in banana leaf wrapping Sunday which didn't taste very good. I was, however, also presented with a very nice mexican meal and enjoyed it with good people, including the lovely hosts of the evening Goa and Mark. The evening also brought with it Norwegian aquavit, lousy football between Kroatia and Austria, and a ten yuan puzzle of the worst quality I've ever seen.

Throughout the weekend I have enjoyed the sun and noticed that while the front of my legs are now nicely tanned and healthy looking, the back of my legs are still very, very white, the result of sitting down in the sun in a city where you never get a chance to lie down and tan your hindside. Never mind, just an excuse to sleep in parks when I get home to Finland :)

Am almost done knitting a pair of very bright, red socks in a floral pattern that to be honest looks more like strawberry bonanza in the color I chose. Tried to watch Juno last night, but boy was that movie not for me. Halfway through I was very thankful to throw the piece of sh*t movie in the trash as the sound quality gave out, who on earth came up with the idea of making this pro teenage motherhood crap? And _why_ do people think it's good?

Erlend's housekeeper has organized his liquor bottles according to size, and it cracks me up no end. Apparently she once did the same and included two bottles of cough medicine, off course shorter than all other bottles and hence at the very end of the shelf. Bless her heart :) On a not so funny note, she has put my favorite bra through some weird washing machine programme and it's now all bent out of shape.

This evening I'm going to an indie gig in a place called D-22, should be interesting. Another group of Norwegians flew in during the weekend, giving me even more company to play with. But first; dress shopping and a final visit to the tailor's.

Friday, June 6, 2008

...And I'll Become The Sea

I have watched a couple of great movies over the last couple of days. Atonement (I know I shouldn't have watched it before reading the book, but the colors lured me in) and Stardust (again). Have also watched a bunch of films I am more ambivalent about; Sex & Death (Winona Ryder definitely peaked in Bram Stoker's Dracula), Abandon (Katie Holmes ventures out of her Dawson's Creek persona), Number 23 (don't really like Jim Carrey in anything other than Eternal Sunshine...), Southland Tales (trying a little too hard to be Lynch here, are we?) and Cherry Crush (has a couple of good scenes, but the story's been done a million times before).

I want to be a lighthouse keeper. Just for a week, to be in the middle of the sea and to be away from the smell of society. I never write about the ocean. I should, more, because it's important to me. But then again, I rarely write about what is important to me except music, now do I? Let's leave it at stating that I adore the sea.

It was surprisingly easy to unwind this time around. I suppose it's all in the timing - we closed May ahead of target and hence there is nothing really weighing me down workwise. Left my voice in Finland, but after four days of sounding strung out on whiskey and bad cigarettes I am now back to normal. Have finished a knitting project and shopped my heart out. The weather is quite nice, with temperatures between 20-35, only glimpses of thunder storms so far.

Death Cab for Cutie's Narrow Stairs lives up to my expectations. It has spent some time with me on the subway, and does possess at least a piece of my heart. Editors and The National are also, as always, with me on my China travel.

Funny how some records become so linked with not only certain states of mind, but physical locations. The National - Boxer is for me very China, as the fundaments of my love for it were laid somewhere between Beijing and Shanghai. I off course love the record in general, but it is linked to China. The Magic Numbers wonderful record Those The Brokes and David Gray's White Ladder are Laos all the way through, and The Fray's (single) How to Save a Life is the bus trip from Botene to the Laos border. Bruce Springsteen's Secret Garden is Amsterdam and Placebo's cover of Kate Bush's Running up that hill is South Korea. And a thousand songs are off course Oslo, like Autopulver's Sunroseblackhole or Stroke's Internal Call.

Am now venturing out to find a shop I only vaguely know the directions to. Will be a good test of my taxi Chinese to try to convince some poor taxi driver to take me there. This evening we are pre-celebrating Atle's upcoming 30th birthday, and I swear I will stay away from the goddamned baiju. Bing ping Tsingtao, xie xie. There's no formaldehyde in Tsingtao. I checked, we're in the green. (Tsingtao is the Chinese equivalent of Koff or Ringnes popularity wise, but good nevertheless.)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sie Ist Der Hellste Stern Von Allen

Oh Beijing, how I have missed you. I don't know what it is about this place that has me so enthralled, but I am very pleased to be back. Am also very pleased to be on holiday in general :)

Yesterday my favorite couple, Deb and David, got married in the UK and I hope their day was of unparallelled beauty. Am looking forward to hearing about it all over a beer or five when we're all back in Helsinki.

I have so far had ridiculous amounts of gan bian nio rou si washed down with more healthy amounts of Tsingtao, restocked my movies with the past six months' newcomers and laughed a lot. I'm about to give my Japanese crime story another go before I head out for a late chicken dinner in some Korean place. I've handed over four suit trousers to be adjusted in length, and bought belts for the coming year or so. Wednesday I'll have 3-4 skirts fitted, and that should take care of my work outfits for a while. Und ich will nie vom Himmel fallen ;)

Oh, and listen to The Kooks - She Moves In Her Own Way. It should make you smile :)