Saturday, February 28, 2009

Seasons In The Sun

Argh, this has been an insane week.

On Wednesday I weekly welcomed myself well into the early hours the next morning, enjoying good company in the new location - Cuba. It is amazing how I've been to this particular event so many times and never learn to go home early. It was good fun, though. Thursday Movie Night hosting went out the window when the maddest work week ever claimed another victim in form of the evening spent in the office, and Friday morning it felt like I'd never even left. Thankfully that was the last day of the month, so when my old Distribution team got together for Tori dinner and WGB beers in the evening the scene was all set to party and dance into the wee hours once again. How am I still alive to be writing this? I do wonder.

I wish summer would hurry up. Today has been a very lovely day in Finland, but I so long for the sun to add some warmth to this frigid year. Spring will be very welcome indeed.

Last night I was contacted by a friend I have not seen in what must be close to five years. Apparently, he's coming to Helsinki on Wednesday for a day of work, and I sense Bar 9 chicken, Cuba drinks and another tired Thursday ahead. Saturday I board my flight to Seattle and will be free of all work related shackles for a full week :)

"Now that the spring is in the air,
pretty girls are everywhere."
Terry Jacks - Seasons In The Sun (single, 1974)
I realised _after_ publishing this post, when humming in my kitchen, that this track shares the above line with the song that titles my last post. How funny, I have to figure out if was intentional from PR's side. Also, I _am_ aware that Terry Jacks was in fact not the creator of this piece of music, but this is the version I subscribe to. Kiitos :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pretty Girls Are Everywhere?

On July 4th 2007, Times Online published a list of the, in their view, 50 all-time worst footballers in English football's top division. In second place of this very entertaining read, you will find one of my teenage heroes, Tomas Brolin;
"Hard to imagine that Leeds United, normally a model of fiscal probity, paid £4.5m for the Swedish meatball in 1995. A good footballer treats his body like a temple. Brolin’s was a bouncy castle."

Brolin was part of Sweden's -94 World Championship team. I had a summer crush on him and Niklas Strömsted (the crush on the latter actually lasted for years) after the GES music video for När Vi Gräver Guld i USA (the Swedish World Cup anthem that year). That was before Brolin turned into a total meatball.

Why this piece of football crush trivia all of a sudden? In addition to extensive amounts of time with friends, this weekend brought with it a bit of beer and two football games. Arsenal vs Sunderland and Man U vs Blackburn on Saturday were both rather dull games, the first one in particular, but my girly crowd of companions managed to find plenty of consolation in the very handsome goalies in the first and ridiculously beautiful Ronaldo in the second. Lo and behold, pretty men bridged yet another gap :)

The list also holds this quote by a fellow Gunner and favorite author of mine, Nick Hornby:
“... painfully, obviously, out of his depth ... he looked like a rabbit frozen to the spot ... and then he starts to thrash about, horribly and pitifully...” (referring to Gus Caesar).

"Open your eyes and look around,
you'll always find pretty girls are everywhere."
Pleasures Remain - Pretty Girls (Magmatears - 2004)

Friday, February 20, 2009

See The World In Green And Blue

My summer holiday request has spent three weeks on my manager's desk, and today he signed it. I've not had more than two consecutive weeks of holiday since 2004, but this summer I will have four, in South America :)

"Reach me,
I know I'm not a hopeless case."
U2 - Beautiful Day (All That You Can't Leave Behind, 2000)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hold Your Breath And Count To Ten

Not only are Placebo and Editors both releasing new albums this year, they are playing in Finland on Provinssirock! I almost fell off my chair just now :D

"Hold your breath and count to ten,
and fall apart and start again."
Placebo - English Summer Rain (Sleeping With Ghosts, 2003)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is There Anybody Out There?

Today's topic is a blog post theme I have not explored in a while. Who are the readers of this blog? Some of you I know about (let's call you group A), and the room it gives me to tailor my contents soothes me a little and makes it more fun to blog as it works as a memory pad of sorts. We discuss things, I blog about them, and vice versa.

Then there are those of you that I know about, but that have not acknowledged the fact that you read my blog (you would be group B for the purpose of this exercise). You guys are harder to relate to, as you might actually not want me to know that you read the blog. Fortunately you form a small group, and I'll be very pleased the day you decide to drop me a comment and confirm your existence in my virtual sphere.

The last group (C), which is still by far the biggest one, consists of all the people I have no idea who are. You guys are the second most fun, as you often quite randomly stumble in and have no reason to expect anything from my ramblings. Some of you know me, some of you think you know me, some of you are complete strangers and come here looking for a good-looking picture of a gorgeous actress or reviews on Recipes for Disaster.

Why the return to this topic? Last night, during a spontaneous (and hilariously brilliant) girls' night out, Miia commented that she can't always follow my blog references to movies or books because she will rarely have heard of them, but that every once in a while something pops up that she recognizes. Also, she has seen some movie with Marilyn Monroe that I have not even heard of, so ten points and hats off to that :)

After this again, I got into a conversation where the following chain of events was revealed:
A couple of weeks ago I posted an entry in which I expressed no small amount of disappointment with myself on the personal development arena. It has since been taken down, as time sometimes allows me to remember that anger and resentment will only move me backwards and hence I should let it go. Before I removed it it was, however, read by some of the people mentioned above.

Two separate entities, let's call them B1 and C1 read said blog entry and felt a need to investigate as to the general state of affairs. To do so, they contacted a third party, let's call the person A1, who had not read the post, and I do not know if the three of them managed to get anywhere in their ponderings. Subsequently, as this apparently roused the curiosity of said A1, the chain was further prolonged to another one of my friends (A2), who then last night went on to mention all of this to the source of worry, myself.

Now, I have no problems understanding why such a complicated chain of people would come into existence, as people are better aqquainted with some people than others and are not always comfortable with asking questions if they think it will offend. It does, however, become rather weird for me once the chain is revealed. I mean, come on people! We're not passing notes around the class room anymore, and I don't want to start blogging undercover again :)

I'm fine. Someone I cared deeply about and still do has chosen a different path than I had anticipated, and although I am not ok with that nor will I ever be, it does not throw my entire existence off balance. I left my life in Oslo more than three years ago and have built a new one with new people, new memories and new behavioral patterns, and although I cannot rid myself of my ghosts I know how to live with them. If this particular ghost should at some point want to join that life, it will be welcomed with open arms. In the meantime, it is just a ghost that sometimes comes out to say "Boo!".

I would be so much happier if you after reading the blog posts that are about my day-to-day life would leave me a comment or send me an e-mail and let me know you're out there and thinking of me every once in a while than I am by knowing you worry without being comfortable enough to contact me. I've already accumulated enough bad karma through the years, so no bad worry-vibes please :)

"Woke up this morning and my head was in a daze.
A brave new world has dawned upon the human race,
where words are meaningless and everything's surreal.
Gonna have to reach my friends to find out how I feel.

And if I taste the honey is it really sweet?
And do I eat it with my hands or with my feet?
Does anybody really listen when I speak,
or will I have to say it all again next week?"
Shakespears Sister - Hello (Hormonally Yours, 1992)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Do You Need A Woman To Look After You?

I'm on a roll, blog production wise. In a few minutes I will head out the door to go to an international second hand bookstore in the city. I've not been there before, but this evening they have a session on the English translation of Tove Jansson's material. Now, I'm no big fan of the Moomin mythos, but it seems like an excellent way to get to know a new bookstore. I've lately been nurturing a poorly hidden, but up until now secret desire to come across some more of Sartre's works, or possibly a good-looking hardback edition of Masoch's Venus in Furs. (In the end the evening didn't really turn out like that, but somewhere out there there's a shiny, new powerpoint presentation on a memory stick!)

Last night, as I was trying my damndest to finish one more knitting project before laziness comes back to seize me, I had Tori Amos' music video collection Fade To Red playing on the tv. I am a selective fan of Tori Amos, meaning I do not believe everything she has touched to be gold, but part of her repertoire is bliss (pun intended, if you didn't get it never mind). It was the first time I watched the dvd, as all of her videos are already on my computer and I prefer to put on a record when I just want to listen. I put on the commentary audio track to see if she had any interesting trivia for me to connect with any of the songs.

A couple of pieces of interesting information I did get out of last night's hearing.
1) she's no stranger to over indulgence. Good for her!
2) the video for Spark is heavily influenced by Twin Peaks (can't believe I haven't caught that before, she practically _is_ Laura Palmer in those woods).
3) the shaving of the legs in God is meant to be understood as a ritual of cleansing. Huh.
4) Tori Amos is an off-the-charts feminist. Seriously, you should hear this commentary! If you've seen the Friends episode where the girls go on about how men steal their wind, you will get a good laugh from the Caught A Lite Sneeze video comments, where Tori (or Myra Ellen, as her real name is) goes on about how she felt a need to steal fire from the men and find her voice and oh my God, I am so not that kind of feminist and have huge difficulties relating to it!

All that said, I still love the songs I loved before, and she is so pretty I can easily forgive a bit of new age feminist empowerment mumbo jumbo. Don't get me wrong, I am _all_ for equal rights and standing up for one self, but I think it can be done using a language all women can relate to without wanting to chop mens' private parts off with rusty knives.

Now, a little trivia she did not embroider in her commentary, to my vast disappointment:
a) her friendship with Neil Gaiman (there's shitloads of stuff on her friendship with various hairdressers and make-up artists, however).
b) the fact that Reznor contributes with backing vocals on Past The Mission was not even mentioned, she only ranted on about how the women on the set recognized the deep, inner strength her mother possesses.
c) in general her issues with Reznor. She's been quoted to say that what Trent really needs is a blanky and hot chocolate with marshmallows, which I find hilarious. She has also done a cover of Hurt where she goes on about how he's this little boy who hurt himself to get attention. (My friend Vidar in Oslo will no doubt agree with her on that, he pretty much thinks Trent's a whining bitch.) She put the phrase "made my own pretty hate machine" (reference to a NiN album) into the lyrics of the above mentioned Caught a Lite Sneeze.

Ok, that's it for now.
Man, my geekiness is really getting the best of me these days. I guess I should have taken the philosophy class I was planning on this spring, as it seems I have more than enough time to ponder various connections on my free time :)

"God, sometimes you just don't come through."
Tori Amos - God (Under The Pink, 1994)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

That's The Long And That's The Short Of It

Placebo is to release a new album in June this year. They have a new drummer onboard after Hewitt left them a couple of years back, but I doubt that'll have much impact on the sound. As I had Once More With A Feeling on in the background while ironing shirts last night, I unexpectedly rediscovered my love for one of their lesser known tracks - Twenty Years. It was the only new song on their 2004 Best of release, and is rathar similar to Protect Me From What I Want, my favorite song by the band (alongside their brilliant cover of Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill).

Another of Placebo's truly great songs, Without You I'm Nothing, was improved vastly when David Bowie wrote a harmony for it and requested that the band release a coop single. Which brings us onto The Thin White Duke's brilliance in artist collaborations in general. 1985 track Dancing In The Street (w/Mick Jagger) and 1992 track Under Pressure (w/Annie Lennox) excluded, I love it when he mixes it up with other artists. Especially the Pet Shop Boys remix of Hello Spaceboy and I'm Afraid of Americans (the Reznor remix) are amongst my favorites, and if you haven't heard his live performance with Arcade Fire of the latters' Wake Up it is definitely worth checking out. To make this paragraph EVEN MORE interesting (as if that was even possible, and I'm not kidding when I say that) Bowie also did backing vocals on the on several occassions previously mentioned Scarlett Johansson cover of Tom Waits' Falling Down.

With a few sentences I have drawn a line from David Bowie via Mick Jagger and Annie Lennox (who did Love Song For A Vampire for Bram Stoker's Dracula, the movie in which Tom Waits plays Renfield), through Pet Shop Boys (also releasing a new album this year, in March), Nine Inch Nails and Arcade Fire down to Scarlett Johansson and by that tied it all back up with Tom Waits and David Bowie.

Without planning to I just now let this blog into what is more or less the core of my music related geekiness. Add a couple of connections, tie up some red strings, and you have my undivided attention. If all artists were better at collaborating and sharing projects, I would have no free time what so ever. I am a geek. Whoddathunk?

"You're the truth, not I."
Placebo - Twenty Years (Once More With A Feeling, 2004)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Make Me A Pretty Person

The music disorder continues. After Mayer I had a brief flirt with The Corrs' 2000 album In Blue, followed by days of Tom Waits collection The Asylum Years, and then last night my eyes fell on Garbage's Version 2.0 (1998). This record was one of two (the other one was NiN's Downward Spiral) that in -98 broke me out of my Celine Dion era and into what developed into my taste in music. I was introduced to both by my high school sweetheart Eivind, so I guess I owe him one or two(alternatively he owes me the thousands of Euros I have standing around in the form of records ;)).

The main reason for loving Version 2.0 was, of course, the lyrics. I like Garbage in general, but this was my introduction to them. When I Grow Up, Push It, The Trick Is To Keep Breathing, Sleep Together and You Look So Fine were regular parts of my soundtrack for years, and I guess I'd still throw The Trick Is To Keep Breathing and Sleep Together in there for good old times' sake. I also had a minor thing for Shirley Manson at some point. Not sure why - in the video for Push It she shoves her entire fist into her mouth, and that's really not very sexy. Apparently she is now acting in a TV series called Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (a bit disturbing), and she's done a duet with previously mentioned Gavin Rossdale as well as an unreleased Human League cover with Marilyn Manson. Interesting trivia indeed!

This week has been a mess. Tuesday and Wednesday I was supposed to spend the days in Financial Awareness training, which I was looking forward to as it presented a welcomed break from business planning. Tuesday was great, but on Wednesday morning I had to excuse myself to make a phone call, and after taking ten steps all hell broke loose. The planet was spinning, I couldn't breathe, and suddenly I was on the second floor and just plain ill. Spent the rest of the day and Thursday at home.

Thursday evening I braved the exhaustedness to take a 13 people Movie Night to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and boy am I glad I did. I expected it to be an ok movie, I like Brad Pitt and have no problems with Cate Blanchett, but this I just did not see coming. The movie is beautiful! Some of the scenes are so gorgeous they will break your heart and mend it all at once. Definitely recommendable, both men and women will like the film (not only because of the lead actors and how beautifully they have been airbrushed, but because it's a really good story).

I've finished four knitting projects this week (I shit you not, ladies and gentlemen), including two pairs of socks that have been laying around since spring. I've also finished reading The Keep by Jennifer Egan, a book that really did not live up to expectations. An inmate at state prison starts taking a writing class, and falls in love with the teacher. He has a weird cell mate who listens to dead people in a carton he believes to be a spiritual radio. Or is the book actually about an ancient castle somewhere in Europe where a bunch of Americans are disturbing the peace by attempting to turn it into a hotel? I did not find it boring, don't get me wrong, it's just not... very memorable.

As mentioned, some weeks ago I also finished Breaking Dawn, a copy of which I finally secured after dragging Deb a bit around Akademiska. The disapproving of its twists and turns sounds a bit hypocritical of me - I claim to like fiction, but do not approve of books taking twists and turns outside my liking? Well, that might be so, but there you have it. I do not approve.

This morning I will gather together some material for a new knitting project and set course to Vantaa to hook up with Deb. Am still quite exhausted from the week, so I have a feeling that will be about it from me this weekend. Next week is business plan hearing and I think there'll be some late nights. Might ditch Movie Night to have an evening for myself, but then again that might change as there are many critically acclaimed movies on at the moment.

how would it feel?"
Garbage - Sleep Together (Version 2.0, 1998)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Split Screen Sadness

The Spirit was not very good. Although visually quite interesting, the story, the dialogue and the characters were mostly horrible. I'll not say the actors did a poor job, because I seriously doubt anyone could've lifted this film from the deepest sinkholes of misery.

Last night Movie Night went to see Valkyrie, Tom Cruise's take on German resistance during WWII. I'm not a big fan of war related movies as they usually make me cry, and although for a different reason this movie didn't do much to win me over. First of all, it's extremely Hollywood'y, and the British/American/Australian accents of the German soldiers made that studio production feel stronger. Most of my dislike comes from my imagination, however. I like not knowing how things will end. Both books and movies only really grip me when they speak to my "could've been". This one did, of course, not. Fiction, not facts, is where I get my kicks :)

It again seems to me I'm living from weekend to weekend, the workdays flying by in a grainy mist. During the course of this week I've finally managed to get my March trip to Seattle ok'd by my manager, and can't wait to see Quinn again. I've also made a request for a full month of vacation during summer, as I want to go to South America and want to do it properly.

I've started using the gym downstairs at work (ok, me and Kjersti have only been once so far, but my muscles are really sore and we're going back tomorrow), and finished reading Breaking Dawn. The story took some weird twists and turns and ended up in something I don't really approve of, and hence I am pleased to say I am for now cured of my Twilight saga obsession. Wouldn't mind getting me a bit of Carlisle, but I guess I'll have to stick with real-life people instead.

Music wise I am still not moving in any sort of alphabetical direction. The other day my eyes fell upon John Mayer's Heavier Things (2003) in my shelves. Can't remember where or when I bought it, but I know I never listened to it. Although I can't say I see what women like Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Aniston see in this man as far as his looks are concerned, this record is quite good. Split Screen Sadness has me on a massive repeat roll that I expect to last for another couple of days.

Be nice to each other, you guys. If there's an afterlife you don't want to spend it paying for all the bad karma you've accumulated by making other people feel sad.

"I'll check the weather wherever you are
'cause I want to know if you can see the stars tonight."
John Mayer - Split Screen Sadness (Heavier Things, 2003)