Sunday, April 26, 2009

...And So The Lion Fell In Love With The Lamb

No music this time around. Emilia was kind enough to lend me her newly purchased copy of Twilight a week back, and I've spent a fair share of hours in front of the screen gorging myself on this example of stangely addictive pop culture.

Attraction is on the agenda today. If I could bottle whatever it is that makes certain individuals so insanely attracted to each other I would probably be a rich woman. If such a thing was possible I have no doubt it would end in a horrible mess. What about then bottling something that makes the attraction go away? I'm sure we've all been there, on the sideline of our own lives, watching ourselves fall head over heels with what looks like a hopeless situation. How practical it would be to know the trick to make it all go away.

Reality is, of course, neither of the two comes in bottles. Intriguing thought, though, to be able to switch on and off that electrical current that fills the air when you meet someone all your senses tune into. I wonder, would I use it to an extent where I went numb and no longer knew how to appreciate it, or would I cleverly savour it for the occassions where I knew I would not end up broken and bruised?

Am I the stupid lamb, or the sick, masochistic lion?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Don't Know What More To Ask For

Sometimes people make me proud. A few days back, the Norwegian minister of foreign affairs decided not to follow some of his Nordic colleagues out the door in protest as their Iranian counterpart went on an anti-semitic speech spree in the UN. I have no doubt his brain was bleeding as much as theirs were, but as he was the next speaker on the list he chose to remain seated and instead spoke up against the debacle of it all when his time came. I respect that. Neither choice could have been especially easy, but the fact that he took a verbal stand in a forum where people deem it politically dangerous to critizise is a good thing. People should do that more, silence is not the way.

What about me? Do I take a stand on issues I burn for? I think I do, although I could probably do it more actively. Take animal rights, for instance, or gender balance in business. When I first came to Finland I tried a couple of times to volunteer for animal shelters, but they did not want people who didn’t speak Finnish. I think that is a bit strange, as the animals that need help basically couldn’t care less if the person who shows them love has language skills that keep her from saying much other than color combinations, “A beer, please!” and “I have red curtains.”. I’ll try again, a bit more ardently this time around. Fortunately I work in a company where gender politics are not really an issue as we have an impressive amount of female managers considering the industry we operate in.

Other times I might have too much action in me. It’s hard for me to burn for something and keep quiet about it even though I know it can create a mess to speak up. If people treat my friends wrongly, for instance, I go all up in flames and have a hard time settling down, even though sometimes I have to. I should probably let them fight their own causes in peace, but then again I want my friends to burn as hotly for me when something goes pear-shaped.

I haven’t written about individual versus society in a while, but it’s been on my mind a lot lately. Are we inherently good, and if so is it the presence of others that negates that potential in us? No matter how much I try to shake my disbelief in the human race, experience won’t let me. Someone always gets hurt, no action lacks consequence, and no word spoken disappears without a trace. So, if a certain amount of hurt will always be the outcome, is that necessarily bad? Something always has to go to create progress, right? No spring without winter, no life without death, etc.

I think that life is too short to sit on the fence. Inaction, complacency and passiveness annoy me as if they were offences against life itself. We’ve been given this tiny fragment of time to do something with, and it’s almost insulting to me that some people choose to make so little of it. I love my passion for things, it’s what drives me! I try to not be too scared to follow my ideas or to make choices that might end up bruising me. Lack of self preservation instinct, you say? I don’t think so, I think I am just lucky enough to know that bruises heal, both mine and others’, and that there is too much to earn by burning, loving, laughing and taking leaps of faith to not. After all, what else is there?

“It’s about you and the sun,
a morning run,
the story of my Maker,
what I have and what I ache for.”

Röyksopp – What Else Is There? (The Understanding, 2005)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Someone Like You

I spent Monday attending our yearly dealer award event in Copenhagen. 23 degrees C in the sun, loads of happy dealers, and good food. Even the hours spent in aiports going there and back home could do little to dampen the mood of the day. Emilia was kind enough to lend me her copy of Eskobar's A Thousand Last Chances (2004) on Sunday, a record that went missing from my collection in April 06. The influence Love Strikes has on the splendidness of things cannot even be put into words. :D

Speaking of splendidness, I finally got around to actually buying a copy of Kings of Leon's Only By The Night (2008), and have just spent a full working day working on Terms of Sales documents with Use Somebody in my ears. If I could make everyone listen to this and Love Strikes, I think world peace might just be the result. In the very least the world would be a better place.

Tell you what, let's perform an experiment:
If you never take the time to follow the links in my lyric endings, please at least click this one, turn up the volume (I mean it, and if you have headphones where you are, put them on!), close your eyes (don't care about the visuals) and just _feel_ that urge to be alive and to love. Let me know how it made you feel. And then do it again! :)

Now, dinner with Kjersti (and, as it turned out, Emilia and Miia)!

"You know that I could use somebody,
someone like you and all you know and how you speak."
Kings of Leon - Use Somebody (Only By The Night, 2008)
(Link updated to their Brit Award performance, should now work in all countries.)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Want III

Yeah, so I don't know about the mixing my blog with my fiction project. Might leave it with that one attempt :)

Today is an utterly lovely Sunday in Espoo. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and the good trend of sleeping through the full night has not worn off. I have to admit, though, that it'll be kind of nice to close this week. Heading over to Emilia's place in a short while to drop off some stuff, and then going to the movies tonight to see Moodysson's Tillsammans.

After Hanne left on Monday I spent the day moping around and staring at the walls, before deciding to hook up with Anu for Bar 9 chicken. Scott and Kjersti joined us, and Tuesday was tired. Wednesday me, Kjersti and Emilia rejoined the lovely world of the Cullens at Emilia's place, and there was no end to the giggling. I then went to Cuba to meet up with Dave and Kaisu, and of course that got way too late. Thursday was a right disaster as the NNE what-ever-it-is-that-goes-around thing decided to hit me in the face, but I was back in good form on Friday, just in time to make a not-really-planned-for appearance in Bruuveri.

Yesterday I was working on cleaning up some of my bad karma, and took Kjersti and Emilia to IKEA. Now, of all the things to do on a Saturday this _better_ earn me some points in someone's book! A short run later (Sanna has successfully managed to get me onto a running program) I was happy to be informed that Dave's Wolves have qualified for the Premier League next season. More company for football in Elmo next season! Yay :D He ended up coming over to my place for some past midnight celebratory wine, and by that my weekend without alcohol was officially without doubt a failure.

I'm trying to come up with a new obsession or two. I'm thinking jigsaw puzzles. I like'em, and I have enough floor space to do one of the really, really big ones. Maybe, if I'm determined, I'll stick with the running long enough for that to grow on me. I miss swimming, but I'm struggling to motivate myself to get up at six in the morning now that my sleeping is in order again. In any case, there's always more music, more books, more movies and more people. Lust for life, baby :)

"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)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Don't Make It Tempting

Sometimes I write fiction. It's not something I do because I want people to comment on it, so I do it anonymously on a blog that is not connected with me in any traceable way. What I write usually originates from something that's going on in my head, and I guess that's part of the reason why I don't want it to be read by people who will read to much into it or interpret it as anything other than fiction.

This evening I had a conversation that led me onto the track of wanting to post one of my old texts. The below was written in February 2008, and although the words themselves are fictional they were based on my state of mind at the time, which in a way has strong similarities with my current one. As an experiment I'll upload it here, to see how I feel about people I know possibly interpreting it wrongly. The title of this post is from When U Find Someone by Ken Stringfellow (Soft Commands, 2004), and the last line of the below text is from the same song, and my all time favorite lyric quote. I've taken the text down from my fiction blog to disable cross-referencing. Enough loitering, here goes:

Strong, independent women are we. Never shall we bow to the will of a man, of any man. We shall overcome all the hardships sent our way and prove ourselves in the world of testosterone and facial hair. But what do we gain in losing our femininity? What has women won by growing ever more like men?

He doesn't really know me, this one. He's drawn to me because of my strength, the prospect of someone who'll keep him in line ties him to me and he's not ashamed of it. Sometimes he tells me, "I'm not much for making decisions, so we'll just do whatever you want.", or "It's so sexy when women take charge.". So sexy it hurts.

The last time he left me, I cried. I managed to wait until he was out the door, but he knew I was sad. He just didn't want to see it, so he kissed me on the cheek and hurried out the door and out to the waiting taxi that would take him to the airport and far away from me. I was too female right then, too fragile. He told me once, "I hate it when you cry. It makes me feel powerless, in a way I've not chosen myself.". He likes that I am strong and that I control him, but only because it is his choice.

I will see him again in a matter of hours, and I know this will be the last time. He has drawn away from me, little by little, starting to understand that I am not the tower of impenetrable steel he first thought. Frightened that I will come to rely on his presence or his love, not wanting to be the caretaker. Self-imposed emotional emasculation.

So I will take the lead again. I'll walk him through three days of impatient sex without holding back and without showing emotion. And when I leave, for it is my turn to travel this time, I will wait until I am out the door before I cry. I do not love him, but I so long to be in his shoes.

Show me your strengths, and I'll show you what surrender can be.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Maybe You're Better Off This Way

My CD collection has a big, gaping Tool-shaped hole in it according to a lot of people, but Maynard's main project never really got me going. A Perfect Circle, on the other hand, got under my skin back in 2001 when 3 Libras was released on single, and I ended up buying Mer De Noms (2000). At some point I have also acquired a copy of their 2004 album, Emotive, although I do not think I've listened to it more than a couple of times.

Four days with Hanne got me through a good amount of records, including Emotive, and ohmygod, how have I not picked up the Maynard/Trent connection? How? It is actually a shame to put an actual blog text in a post dedicated to this song as it should speak for itself, so I might have to run it again with only the lyrics. Because sometimes, the world still burns, and songs like this makes me want to burn with it, to erase all traces of passiveness, complacency and cowardliness that rub off from others.

Every so often everyone needs someone to tell them to get a grip and remember who they are. I've slept through every one of the last five nights without my insomnia rearing its ugly head.
Enough said.

"Wake up and face me,
don't play dead, cause maybe
someday I will walk away and say;
"You fucking disappoint me!"
Maybe you're better off this way."
A Perfect Circle - Passive (eMOTIVe - 2004)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Apartment Story

Today is the last year of this year's Easter break, and what a good one it has been! Thursday morning I only did a couple of hours in the office before heading over to Vantaa to pick up the person who knows me best in this world from the airport. This was to be Hanne's first time in Finland and my first attempt at merging Oslo and Helsinki.

Thursday brought with it some sightseeing, starting with the white church and the national library (have you not been to the latter, just get your behind moving and go!), followed by a Cafè Engel lunch and a trip to the Russian orthodox cathedral (turned out to be closed). The weather was all sunny and nice, but for some reason all the winds of the world had decided to gather forces in Helsinki on this day. We also managed to squeeze in the Johannes church and a walk about the Helsinki design museum before we ended the sightseeing session to go home and get ready for the evening's adventures.

Thursday night Lotta and Dave joined us at my place for drinks before we headed into town to see Combichrist in Gloria. I was a little baffled by the amounts of people that had donned their gothest outfits - it was almost like someone had picked out all the fanciest Arvika people and placed them in the same room. I wore jeans and pink sneakers. Hm. There's a good amount of what I'd call "pink goths" here, the ones that kinda pick some neon color to go with black and stick with it, hair, clothes and make-up and all.

The first warm-up act combined industrial with accordion. Very bizarre, and the white, tight pants worn by the singer made it a little difficult to focus on pleasantness. The second warm-up act was voluntarily missed due to beeriness in the bar regions of the club. There was some good DJ'ing going on in between the two. Combichrist delivered one of the better concerts I've seen with them, although I suddenly towards the end got really fed up with their inane woman-bashing lyrics. That arrogant little prick of a man has no right flinging the vocabulary he does at a room full of strong females! (As said, I was fed up.)

Friday I introduced Hanne to the loveliness of Bar no 9, and to my great pleasure she had to admit the lemon chicken is everything I said it was. Later in the day we drove out to Deb and David's for the first BBQ of the season. Other guests were their lovely neighbours and Ellen, who I will be a little sad to see going back to the States at the end of April.

Saturday I had to make a judgement call on whether or not to continue the social attack, and ended up deciding to give us a break from new people. Well, almost. We went out to meet Anu and her friend Laura at Bar 9, which was lovely as I hadn't seen her in ages, before going to Dong Bei Hu for Chinese dinner.

Dong Bei Hu used to be located right across the street from where Scott lives. I've only eaten there once, as I was horribly disappointed by the fact that the "most authentic Chinese restaurant in Helsinki" produced the same generic crap all the rest of them do. They have moved, and something favorable has kicked in cooking wise.

I had gan bian si ji dou (dry-fried green beans), a dish that alongside the gan bian'ed beef has driven me to return to China several times, and it was spot on! They went a little over the top on the Sechuan peppercorns, but as the spiciness is exactly what has me so addicted to this dish I was fine with it. The meal was smiles and happiness all around :)

The rest of Saturday was spent in the sun on my balcony with good wine and beer, and me and Hanne ended up talking long into the wee hours of the next morning. Sunday was somewhat more tired, and we basically did nothing. Well, not entirely true... we watched some movies and I got Hanne knitting! :D

As I drove her to the airport this morning, I have to admit being a little sad that Hanne was leaving. Just like I can't imagine what my life would be like without some of my friends here in Finland, she is irreplaceable and I sometimes don't realise how much I miss her in my daily life.
Takk for besøket :)

"So worry not,
we'll be all right.
We have our looks
and perfume on."

The National - Apartment Story (The Boxer - 2007)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

When You'd Hide, Your Songs Would Die

I am still a little out of sorts, but I watched Garden State, and have had some nice hours of music therapy on the floor in front of my CD shelves. When I was a child my mother would sometimes turn off all the lights, light candles, lie down on the floor and listen to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. I don't think I ever reflected on why she would feel a need to do that back then, but I will try to remember to tell her that I loved it and that it's a great way to regain composure.

After a couple of beers with friends this afternoon I have to admit to having a slight buzz going, which is good. I'll give myself another couple of days to wallow in this misplaced autumnal feeling before Hanne's arrival to Helsinki, but then we're back to spring. It'll be fascinating to attempt a merger of my old Oslo self and the Helsinki C. Then again, maybe the two are not all that different, one just knows more about cause and consequence.

"So what if you catch me,
where would we land?"
Remy Zero - Fair (Villa Elaine, 1998)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Who Am I?

Last night Dave arranged what will go down in history as the best tasting of shitty beer ever. 14 people were experimenting their way through a total of 25 different beers, none of which were particularily good. He finally had a chance to prove his point about the quality of Finnish beer, and although lacking in good drinks it was a great evening due to a brilliant congregation of people. I really like this picture of Scott, he looks like he's up to no good :)

I am feeling blue. Hug, anyone?

"And as you were, you'll be again,
to mold like clay, to break like dirt,
to tear me up in your sympathy.
You were never meant to belong to me."
Smashing Pumpkins - Crestfallen (Adore, 1998)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Phoenix Out Of Fire Flames II

I had a very lovely e-mail waiting for me when I got home this afternoon. It reads:
"Hello dear!
If I told you I was falling in love with you, would you catch me? ..."

Apparently a young gentleman from Holland found an old profile of mine on a book review site, and decided to sweep in and f*ck me sideways with this mindblowing line. I am sure no-one will be surprised that I have decided to leave my job and friends and go to live with him in his little opium den in Rotterdam. I imagine I will be somewhat unreachable the first four-five years as I plan to enter into the serial-pregnancy phase of my life. Hopefully my smoking, drinking and testing out the joys of various funghi will not give me problems in this era. Should my beloved pass away due to unexpected (or drug related) circumstances, I am confident my good friends in Finland will lodge me once my money and health runs out.

Meanwhile, in the real world, Norwegian newspapers were happy to announce this morning that Burt Bacharach is coming to Oslo. Who would have thought he was even still alive?

"He came riding fast like a phoenix out of fire flames.
He came dressed in black with a cross bearing my name.
He came bathed in light and the splendor and glory.
I can't believe what the lord has finally sent me."
PJ Harvey - The Dancer (To Bring You My Love, 1995)