Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We Won't Need A Map, Believe Me

The company I work for has a financial year that starts in April, meaning today is basically our New Years Eve, only with less party and more stress. And, in true spirit, it has been a hectic one. I am starting to breathe normally now, and I think my pulse has come down to what can possibly be called a healthy level, but Christ! What a mess of a day. Let's hope the coming year treats my industry with softer gloves.

It's spring! This morning a very energetic pheasant was running around outside my building, and this wonderful bird caused me to arrive at work late. I still want my hour back, as it is difficult to wake up on time. Amazing what a difference 1 hour makes!

One thing that never stops fascinating me about spring is the rush of hormones to the head. Everywhere I go people are all caught up in new dating schemes and trying to figure out whom to build their summer around. One of my best friends in Finland is on the most thrilling adrenaline high I've ever seen from having her mojo back after a couple of rather... dry winter months, and it rubs off on the rest of us whether we want it to or not. We are so much like animals, aren't we?

Laws of attraction in general amuse me. I've previously blogged about how I figured it had something to do with the sense of smell. For me I know it's mostly down to words, which is probably why I like song lyrics and books so much. The fact that I like living in a country where most people keep silent is off course a contradiction in terms, but nevertheless that's how I operate. Others are visual creatures, and I guess there's an element in that for all of us.

How handy it would be if we could find a way to roadmap ourselves and how we relate to others. Confusion and nervousness would be a memory of the past, and there would be no need for mind games. Then again, that would negate our need for words, wouldn't it, and there would be no mystery left... so strike that. Things are fine the way they are.

Anyway, spring is here and it brought pheasants! :)

"Now let my body do the moving,
and let my hands do the soothing.
Let me show you the world in my eyes."
Depeche Mode - World In My Eyes (Violator, 1990)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Let Me In Your Window

Another busy week is drawing to an end, and Finland has finally caught up with the summer time adjustment. That means I have one hour less to get through the sh*tload of stuff I have to do today, but I guess that could easily be remedied by me not writing blog posts, so there shall be no more moaning about that.

I went to Oslo on business on Friday, and had agreed with Hanne that I'd spend a night at her place. We had a very nice evening with wine, thai food, bad tv and catching up, and I'm really looking forward to having her over for Easter. (Many Finns seem to think the name of this holiday is Eastern, not sure why or if they think it has anything to do with the direction.)

Last night Sebastian's birthday party was celebrated with a lot of noise and little sense. Because I value the way my head is attached to my neck, I'll refrain from posting many pictures, but this one of a headbanging Miia kind of sums up the general splendor of it all.

Yesterday I finished reading Wuthering Heights. I don't know why I thought this book would be along the lines of Austen's romantic works, because it's not at all. I knew little about this book apart from the fact that Kate Bush wrote her first hit based on it, with one of the world's most misheard lyrics. I have to say that although getting through it takes a lot of alone time, it is worth the effort. Some books are classics because someone decided they should be, but this one is a good book. Am going to work my way through Jane Eyre next, I might as well do the Brontë sisters properly while I'm at it.

Finland was again seized by winter and cold yesterday, but now it seems the badness is melting away quickly. I can't wait for it to be warm enough for long Sundays on a blanket in the park with a great book and music in my ears. The indoors life is getting to me this year, I feel restless and kind of like I'm in danger of wasting precious time. My limbs need a good stretch, my skin some warmth, and my mind a bit of sun :)

Oh, and I need blinder curtains and a volunteer to hang them for me!

"Out on the winding, windy moors,
we'd roll and fall in green.
You had a temper like my jealousy,
too hot, too greedy.
How could you leave me
when I needed to possess you?
I hated you, but loved you, too."

Kate Bush - Wuthering Heights (The Kick Inside, 1978)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

If God Leant His Voice For Me To Speak

After The Keep, I started reading The Name of the Wind, a fantasy thing by Patrick Rothfuss. This took me more than a month to finish, as it is simply not a very good book. The story did manage to get me interested at some point during my flight to Seattle, and from then on it was smooth sailing, but you shouldn't have to force yourself through a hundred pages to get to such a point. He has a Tolkien thing going on (he thinks), and then he mixes in all kinds of D&D weirdness. Worst thing is it's just the first book of a series, so I don't even know how the story ends.

A few days into my stay in Seattle, I was very happy to pick up the next chapter in my growing obsession with Paul Auster. Having read his Travels in the Scriptorium and The Book of Illusions, I had great hopes for Timbuktu. Aaaand, he scores! Mr. Bones is the canine companion of slightly deranged (and homeless) Willy G. Christmas, who has come down with a rather unfortunate case of being about to die from some lung related ugliness.

Now, this is no ordinary mutt we're talking about here, Mr. Bones _knows_ what's going on. He understands human language, he thinks human language, and he remembers all the things you would expect a man's best friend to recollect. Unfortunately, the world doesn't always look upon homeless doggies with the kindest of eyes, and his life turns into a veritable whirlwind of difficult circumstances. If you, like me, believe dogs to have souls and minds of their own, and even better, if you enjoy other pieces of Auster's authorship, there's no need to think twice about picking up this book.

This evening I believe I will be able to finish Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. No, I never read it when I was in school. Yes, it is bleak and depressing. Yes, I still like it.

I had another run-in with my old friend Insomnia last night, one of the worst encounters in years. I undoubtedly added to the severity of it by drinking coffee too late in the evening, after giving up on the drink months ago for this very reason. The result was lying awake until 04:30 in the morning, when I finally drifted off just to wake up three hours later in horrible shape for this morning's meetings.

"If I had one wish fulfilled tonight,
I'd ask for the sun to never rise.
If God leant his voice for me to speak,
I'd say "Go to bed, world."."

The Cardigans - 03.45: No Sleep (Long Gone Before Daylight, 2003)

Monday, March 23, 2009

I've Changed My Name Again

Saturday Miia arranged a trip to Hartwall Arena, to see local hockey team Jokerit beaten by her hometown team Kärpät. Myself, Miia, Willem, Kjersti, Emilia, Sebastian and Margus set off, some of us without any idea of what we were getting into, and a couple of us a little scared. We'd heard scary stories of the violence surrounding Finnish hockey games, but luckily we saw little of it. What we did see, however, was a very entertaining game that got me a little sold on this sport that I've always hated. How very unexpected :)

After the game we ended up in Kaisla nonsensing the night away with a lot of happy cheering and beer, and Sunday morning was a horrible struggle. As the day proceeded, however, life picked itself up quite a bit, and the evening was spent with The Magnetic Fields, candles and a lovely glass of a 2005 Rosso Conero I've been saving for a rainy day.

Sometimes the good times come sneaking up on me out of nowhere :)
There is beauty in everything.

"Are you the trouble I've been looking for?"
The Magnetic Fields - The Trouble I've Been Looking For (Holiday, 1994)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

See The World In Green And Blue Pt. II

I am now officially all booked and ready for my summer trip to South America.

July 10th I will fly from Helsinki to Rio de Janeiro a few days before my actual trip starts, and stay there a total of six days as I want to break in the jetlag properly before I start hopping around. I hope some long days on Copacabana and Ipanema with a book and a coconut will shut work out from my mind right from the start.

From Rio I will fly to Iguazu, to see the Iguazu waterfalls from both the Brazilian and Argentinian side, and by this get my first brush with nature on the trip. Trying not to think about the spiders! From Iguazu I will take a night bus out to get to my next flight into the Pantanal wildlife reserve, where I will spend three days.

After this I am heading for Santa Cruz in Bolivia, which apparently might be somewhat difficult as the trains services are a bit unpredictable. It should take a maximum of two days, meaning I might, and might not, have time to spend in Santa Cruz itself before I enter the Amazon Amboro National park.

Have I not been eaten by spiders and/or piranhas, I am heading on from there to Vallegrande, the area where Che was killed in 67 getting a history injection. From there I go by bus to Cochabamba and from there on to La Paz. This should again take approximately two days, giving me two days in La Paz upon arrival. After adjusting to the altitude, I will continue on by bus to Oruro, and from there by train to Uyuni to see the salt desert, going on to Laguna Colorada and ending up in Laguna Verde where I will reach the highest altitude of the trip of around 5000 metres.

Having done Bolivia well and proper, I'll cross over into Chile, where I will spend a few days in the village San Pedro de Atacama, and from there on I'll go by bus to Santiago where I will spend a few days before flying back to Finland.

A whole month in places I've not seen before. I cannot wait.

"Touch me,
take me to that other place."
U2 - Beautiful Day (All That You Can't Leave Behind, 2000)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Music For The Masses

The ridiculous amounts of good synthpop/electronic acts turning up in the Nordics over the coming months deserves some attention, rounding it off with the headline-heaviest Arvika there ever was.

Thursday 9th April @ Gloria - I am joining Dave and taking Hanne with me to go see Combichrist.

Wednesday 13th May @ Tavastia - I missed Client the two last times they were in town, so I guess it's about time I got going :)

Friday 15th May @ Nosturi - Bjørn & Co are playing Nosturi. Heaven knows I've seen Gothminister enough times to have served my friendly duty, but I guess I've never seen'em play in Finland.

Friday 22nd May @ Nosturi - I am going to try to get through IAMX without going all obsessed without Kiss & Swallow again.

Friday 12th-Sunday 14th June @ Seinäjoki - Provinssirock hosts Placebo, Editors and Nick Cave, and is a must for this summer. I have housing for this festival, so if it sounds interesting and you want to tag along, let me know!

Thursday 2nd-Saturday 4th July @ Arvika - Just when I had decided to miss this festival for the first time in seven years, they added NiN to their already very attractive line-up (Depeche Mode, amongst others), and I can not in any way defend not going. Project Pitchfork are playing the Lumous Gothic Festival in Tampere that same weekend, so I'm hoping they'll sweep down to Arvika as well.

Big names playing in Finland I'll be missing out on:
Metallica (sold out, but I've seen'em)
Madonna (oh, I'll definitely survive. I would've loved to have seen her back in her Vogue days, though)
Kraftwerk (I'll be in South America)

"Will you take the pain I will give to you, again and again,
and will you return it?"
Depeche Mode - Strangelove (Music for the Masses - 1987)

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'll Show You The Boom?

Had I written this post two days ago, it would be set to the tones of Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now. Today it is accompanied by Rihanna's Push Up On Me. The lyrics are infantile, but what can I say... it's stuck! I'm sorry about the extensive quoting at the end of this text, but just _look_ at it! :D

I know now why I needed a week of holiday. It must have been destiny's way to tell me there was no other way to survive the week I've just been through ;p Ok, it has actually been a great one, but if my manager ever goes on sick leave again I swear I will demand that the world stops for a while!

The Tuesday before my trip I had the pleasure of housing an old friend from Oslo, which was very nice. I haven't had visitors from Norway in... a very long time, but now Hanne has also booked her Easter holiday here, so it looks like it's picking up! I also went to a Friday night pub meeting of Norwegians in Helsinki, which was nice as it's not very often I get spoiled with sitting around a table all night and only speaking my native language. I can't say that means I actually want to very often, but for a change it was nice :)

This week I've been out for dinner with Kjersti on Tuesday, and tricked both us and Miia into thinking that it would be a good idea to go to the Weekly Welcome on Wednesday. So, again Thursday was somewhat challenging, but of course it was worth it as always. I'm spending my Friday with the CD's I bought in Seattle, a beer and a couple of movies.

Tomorrow I will go to my first ever hockey game. Hockey is not a very big thing in Norway, and not many people I know have ever been to a game. Here, it is _the_ national sport if there ever was one, and it's actually weird to have been here three years without having been to a game. I'm hoping the things I've heard about violent fans are just designed to scare small, fragile blondes and that all will be sunshine. Should I come out of it all broken and bruised, I'm blaming Miia :)

Catch you on the flipside!

"I know many guys just like ya, extremely confident.
Got so much flavour with you like you're the perfect man.
You wanna make me chase ya like it's a compliment,
but let's get right down to it;
I can be the girl that'll break you down.

The way that you stare starts a fire in me,
come up to my room, you sexy little thing.
Now let's play a game, I won't be a tease.
I'll show you the boom, my sexy little thing."

Rihanna - Push Up On Me (Good Girl Gone Bad, 2007)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Travel Just By Folding The Map

I am back in Espoo after a week in Seattle. And, I might add, not entirely happy about it.
It took me a couple of days to warm to the place. I mean, I am a little afraid of Americans, at least the crazy ones (and Seattle have a lot of crazy ones), and I was jetlagged like hell to begin with. Once I got over it, though, I have to say this is one of the best places I've ever visited.

My friend Quinn, who in December migrated back from Finland to Seattle after living and working here for a year, was kind enough to house me during my stay. From where she lives I was in walking distance to Capitol Hill and downtown, where I spent most of my week. I did a bit of seightseeing in her hood, but must admit the empty (completely dead in the daytime) streets lined with wooden houses with windchimes hanging on the porches scared the bejeezus out of me! Instant Stephen King movie flashbacks all over the place! Once I got over that as well, however, it was all sunshine and lovely :)

I went to the aquarium (I once wanted to become a marine biologist, and am still very fascinated with everything marine), and although it was not as neat as the London one it was good fun. Didn't have the guts to pet the starfish, but I did poke a lobster around a bit. I also went on a ferry trip to Bainbridge, one of the islands outside Seattle, and spent a lovely couple of hours rambling around in the tiny shops out there. The ferry ride was a nice change from the hilly streets of the city, and as I was blessed with sun most of my week I managed to get a bit freckly :)

Although I usually try to stay clear of the _most_ touristy places when I travel, the Space Needle lured me in with the promise of a great view of the surrounding mountain ranges in the clear spring weather... and I am pleased to say I was not disappointed. Even ended up having a long lunch and found a random bookreading talkative fellow on a neighbouring table to share a couple of beers with (as always with me when I travel there were healthy amounts of beer and books, the greatest travel combo ever!).

Quinn was a lovely hostess, and introduced me to several of her friends. It is very rare for me to meet people I instinctively want to attach my life to, but I was lucky enough to meet not only one, but four of these on this trip; Lovely Nicole and Mitra, Jesse and Kat will leave Quinn-friends shaped holes in my future. I hope my road will cross theirs again at some point. Also big thanks to Kyle, Mary and Dominic who kindly accepted me as their house guest for a week!

During my stay, Quinn turned 30, and this was celebrated in an artist's loft in SoDo, with formal wear (I was forced to go gown-shopping and accidentally ended up with five dresses, will upload pictures) and a lot of people. I hope to get access to some good photos from this event that I can upload, as it held a lot of gorgeous individuals in very pretty clothing :)

"I wish the world was flat like the old days,
then I could travel just by folding the map.
No more airplanes, or speed trains, or freeways,
there'd be no distance that could hold us back."
Death Cab For Cutie - The New Year (Transatlanticism, 2004)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

All The Black Is Really White

"Watch the sun, as it crawls across a final time
and it feels like, like it was a friend.
It is watching us, and the world we set on fire.
Do you wonder if it feels the same?

And the sky is filled with light, can you see it?
All the black is really white if you believe it.
As your time is running out,
let me take away your doubt.
You can find a better a place in this twilight."

Nine Inch Nails - In This Twilight (Year Zero, 2007)