Mischievous Muse

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Location: Austin, TX, United States

Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Bond. James Bond.

I went to see the new James Bond Film, Casino Royale, with a bit of trepidation. Bond movies of the latter years have left me somewhat cold, and I wasn't sure how I would feel about Daniel Craig as Bond.
      To my delight and relief, my fears were unfounded: Craig was an excellent Bond — he was more like the James Bond written by Ian Fleming than the last few actors. Craig is in unbelievable physical shape, and it's not hard to believe him a lethal weapon. I was fairly pleased to see that he had acting chops. There are a few scenes in the movie, where Bond could be portrayed very straightforwardly, and instead Craig is able to bring lovely depth and multidimensionality to the character and scene. I unreservedly approve of him as Bond. While Connery to me is still Bond, Craig deserves to wear his mantle.
      About the movie itself, it is great — in feel as the good old Bond movies, down to the hokey beginning titles, this movie returns to the premise of James Bond as a secret agent, who can charm, fight, and out-think his enemies. In this movie, it's mano-a-mano, instead of gadget-vs.-gadget. There are great, very real-feeling fight sequences, where it's who can punch and be punched most, who has the most stamina, and so on. There are no insane gadgets, no martial arts happening, just good honest fighting (omg, do I sound bloodthirsty!). What also is nice, that instead of James Bond saving the world in every movie, in this one, it's clear that there are smaller and bigger assignments, and that each is as important — the stakes may seem higher, if James Bond has to stop a nuclear bomb (one of the last movies, forget which one), but a modern audience can't care as much, because it's pretty obvious he's gonna emerge victorious. When the stakes are more fathomable, there are chances Bond might fail. The fact that Bond does fail and make mistakes a few times in this movie actually makes Bond much more accessible and engaging; there's a guy who's just trying his damnedest, and most people can get behind that.
      And yet, while returning Bond to his roots, the filmmakers have very consciously brought Bond to the 21st century, which really pleased this female viewer. The few times that Bond tries to make a chauvinistic or patronizing move towards the leading lady, Vesper Lynd, she matches him and patronizes him right back. While there is eye-candy for the men in the beginning with one gangster's girlfriend, and another gangster's girlfriend Ivana Milicevic rising from a swim, dripping with water, the leading lady, played by Eva Green, is never objectified, or seen A) in a bikini b) otherwise half-naked (although that one evening gown is cut sooooo low). I liked that in a shower scene, she is fully clothed, and when we get to a requisite beach scene, instead of Ursula Andress rising from the waves like a modern Botticelli's Venus, it is Bond himself who is the eye-candy (did I mention he is in unbelievable physical shape?). Between the characters of M. and Vesper, the movie says women can be powerful, intelligent and tough, and stand on their own two feet, and be even more desirable than brainless bunnies. The warriorwoman inside me liked that.
      The movie is 20 minutes too long, plain and simple. There were a few scenes which could have been removed, a few which could have been shortened by better editing, and *boom* they would have had an A-movie. Even so, it's still very satisfying. Casino Royale was Ian Fleming's first Bond-book, and the way they made this movie, I'd say they've revitalized the Bond film franchise; it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. I'm gonna give this Bond movie a strong A-.


Friday, December 29, 2006

The In-Between Days

Buongiorno everyone! (yes, I just woke up)

Pardons for the few days' radio silence there, I was just busy busy, and thought everyone else was probs too. Christmastime is wonderful, isn't it? And yet, somehow one feels in need of vacation afterwards. I need a vacation, if from nothing else, HAM. There's still so much of it. Freezing it today.

Madeline (who has now moved to MySpace, and I don't actually know the address) came down from NYC on Saturday night for Xmas (the night I ended up watching the Christmas Peace at 5 am, while cooking casseroles which are part of the Finnish Christmas foods). She was ravishing in her new boots and her slim NYC shape :)

Sunday morning, the 24th, we watched every muppet-related Christmas video on YouTube, and wrapped Christmas presies. In the afternoon, we visited Andy and Caitlin and opened presents with them, and then came home and had our Christmas Eve dinner. I had smoked a rainbow trout as well, and while it tasted fine, it was filled with tiny tiny bones. The casseroles, though, (rutabaga and potato, respectively) were delish, and the ham was yummy, and as tradition calls, we ate far too much.

Christmas is celebrated in Finland on Christmas Eve, and presents are opened then as well. Madeline had decorated the Christmas tree beautifully, and the packages were underneath. Wilbur and Ariel were looking at the tree expectantly, and they knew they had many packages waiting. Oh, the joy Ariel took in ripping each present! Wilbur, on the other hand, didn't want to open his (he has been told so often that ripping paper is a no-no, that he couldn't stop feeling anxious), so Ariel helped him too, and then they played Tug-of-War and Dissect-the- fluffy-Bunny so that stuffings were flying everywhere: in other words, the presents were a great hit.

Such thoughtful presents! My mom and dad had given me all their presents when my mom was here earlier in the month, and they included a train station clock (not up yet), a pretty shabby chic chandelier, a wrought-iron book stand, and so many other things. If you tell my mom "this year no presents, ok?" she can limit herself to 10 or so. My sister sent Moomin troll Christmas spoons, Winnie-the-Pooh and the Heffalump glasses (!) and DVDs of French films. Katja had made me beautiful white mittens for the winter with her own hands (!) and sent liitulaku, a Finnish candy I have been craving for what feels like years (I didn't even think they made it anymore, she must have sought high and low). Madeline had gone all overboard, and bought too many presies: a gorgeous hair clip with a blue stone, a Starbucks gift card (WHEEE!!), and Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess' Stardust for bedtime reading. And David, David gave me a star from the sky. Yes, literally. Somewhere in the Leo constellation (my sign), there is now a star that forever bears my birthname. The nights have been too cloudy, but as soon as there is a clear night, I will try to find it (there's a little map). How's that for immortality?! Thank you everyone, for your thoughtfulness :)

On Christmas, we watched Madeline's new short film (where she plays a Jersey housewife who has an affair with a Hollywood hotshot, based on Neil Simon's Plaza Suite) and it was funny, and Madeline was excellent. Our time with Madeline was fun, but much too short—New York and work required Madeline back on the 26th, so in the evening Madeline had to leave. Next visit longer, you hear, M? :)

On the 26th, St. Stephen's Day, or 2nd Christmas Day, as we call it in Finland, Andy, Caitlin, Steve, and Ziz came over for dinner, and much food was consumed. And cheesecake from the Cheesecake factory, made with Splenda, so Ziz could have some despite her diabetes. We had a lovely time!

I hope everyone else had a good Christmas as well. I'm off to work on the other half of Katja's Christmas present (the fabric didn't arrive on time to send the finished product to Finland). More blogfoolery later.


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Monday, December 25, 2006

It's a Wonderful Life

Merry Christmas! As only Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart can say it.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Declaration of Christmas Peace - Joulurauhanjulistus

At noon on Christmas Eve, every year since the Middle Ages (save for interruptions caused by war), the town of Turku, Finland, has celebrated a tradition called "The Declaration of Christmas Peace." It consists of the chief officer of the city reading the traditional declaration to the citizens gathered in front of the "Doom Church", the Turku Cathedral, which also dates from the Middle Ages. By tradition, crimes committed during the Christmas Peace (12 noon on Christmas Eve, and the days following) get punished at double the usual punishment. At home, this means no fighting with your siblings after noon. After the declaration, the National Anthem is sung, the "March of the Men of Pori" is played by the orchestra, and the bells of the Doom Church ring, dispersing the populace to their Christmas celebrations. The event has been televised in Finland since 1983. And now, Finnish expatriates around the world can join in via the Internet. 5 am here, and I got up to hear it — traditions, you know.

Here is the text, courtesy of The City of Turku:

"Tomorrow, God willing,
is the graceful celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour;

and thus is declared a peaceful Christmas time to all, by advising [people to] devotion and to otherwise behaving quietly and peacefully,

because he who breaks this peace and violates the peace of Christmas by any illegal or improper behaviour shall under aggravating circumstances be found guilty and punished according to what the law and statutes prescribe for each and every offence respectively.

Finally, a joyous Christmas feast is wished to all inhabitants of the city."

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

No Christmas without John Denver

Every Christmas I miss John Denver, and say a little prayer for him. He has been inextricably tied to my family's Christmas since I was very very little. I was indeed so little, I don't remember John Denver: A Christmas with the Muppets, which was probably shown in Finland some years after it aired in the US. However, my parents managed to find the LP of the music, and every Christmas we'd play it—we knew it by heart, especially Miss Piggy's parts.

In the eighties, John Denver and Placido Domingo took part in the Julie Andrews Christmas in Salzburg, and John Denver sang the most beautiful version of What child is this? I have ever heard. This show we had on video tape, and we'd put it to play in the background while we were making cookies, or Christmas foods.

So, for me, there is no Christmas without John Denver. Some lovely soul has put up some clips from the Muppets Christmas — and I get to enjoy them, even though I'm far from my home and my family this Christmas. I hope everyone has a very special Christmas, wherever they are.

12 Days of Christmas with the Muppets

Alfie, the Little Christmas Tree - Denver's poem

What child is this? John Denver, Placido Domingo, Julie Andrews

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Pottering Around - J. K. Rowling has Nightmares

J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, has started having strange nightmares as she is nearing the end of the seventh, and final, Potter book. And no, I don't mean nightmares of Michael Gambon replacing lovable Richard Harris as Dumbledore, or meeting Emma Thompson as Professor Sybil Trelawney in a dark alley. She's actually dreaming of being Harry and the narrator at once.

In other Potter news, Harry made it once again to the Banned Books List this year, and the Potter books were also the most frequently challenged books of the 21st century (!), but readers voted it their favorite banned book on the ALA poll.

But in the biggest news of all, courtesy of Katja, the title for Harry Potter Book 7 was announced officially on December 21. It is going to be "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," a title that, according to Rowling's own website, came to her while she was in the shower. On the website, be sure to click on the magical hairbrush for some cool tidbits.

That is all we know for now, for sure that is, though speculation about everything runs rampant. How to survive till next July? Well, I'm gonna get my Potter fix on by re-reading all the books, starting right after Xmas.

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Get Your Own Weird Aristrocratic Title

Had to find out! via Ancrene Wiseass.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Exalted Highness Duchess Anniina the Winsome of Giggleswick under Table
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title



Luminarium Margaret Atwood Site Goes Live!

Ladies and Gentlemen: after a month's worth of relentless work, the Luminarium Margaret Atwood Site is finally live. I've enjoyed making the site very much, since Atwood is an author I never tire of reading. If you're an Atwood fan, check it out:

Luminarium Margaret Atwood Page


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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Diversions: Apple Trees and Librarian Worship

Sometimes, one stumbles on the most delicious articles. On the blog Storyteller's World, where you absolutely must see the most gorgeous photograph of an appletree with apples in December (!), I found a link to the Librarian Avengers blog entry Why you should fall to your knees and worship a librarian.

I'm feeling under the weather today, so browsing blogs is a comfort-activity.

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Pan's Labyrinth Full-length Trailer

The director was on Charlie Rose tonight. Movie comes out Dec. 29th here. I can't wait.
Visit the Pan's Labyrinth website for the full story. OMG! OMG! OMG!

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2006 Reading Recap

Okay, considering my previous post on book addiction, it probably goes without saying that I read quite a bit. So I'm not gonna rehash everything I read, the Medieval and Renaissance texts or studies, the chick lit I read while on vacation, or the ones I've already forgotten I ever read. I'm also not gonna include the books that don't deserve their 15 seconds of fame. But here's a few folks might like to know about, as they're thinking about what books to grab while they're browsing the stores for holiday reading:

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
by Umberto Eco
In the book, an Italian bookseller wakes up in the hospital after a stroke, and he cannot remember anyone or anything from his past — but he can remember intimately everything he has ever read. He goes to the old family house, reading through everything he can find there, while slowly piecing together the mystery that surrounds certain parts of his past, which nobody else can tell him about. It's written as only Eco can, and illustrated with book covers, magazine covers, newspaper articles, etc. Geoffrey Brock's translation is absolutely brilliant, leaving just a few hints of French, German, Italian, Spanish, when appropriate. This is a literate, scrumptious read. I wish I hadn't read it yet, so I could read it for the first time.

Roaring Boys: Shakespeare's Rat Pack
by Judith Cook
This one, as the title implies, covers the heyday of Elizabethan theatre: Cook provides a wonderfully interwoven narrative of the lives of all the main players, the world of late 16th century London, how the people influenced each other, etc. She covers virtually all of the current knowledge about these guys, and provides the context. And yet, it feels like reading a novel almost — none of that dry, pretentious, important-sounding stuff. For those intimately familiar with the subject matter, it's a fun read; for those who aren't familiar, it's a fantastic introduction and explanation. I was thoroughly pleased with the book.

The Labyrinth
by Kate Mosse
This book consumed me — I could barely eat or sleep, I had to get to the end. There are two storylines intertwined in this book; that of Alice, on an archaeological dig in Southern France in 2005, and of Alaïs in the nearby medieval town of Carcassonne, in 1209. The women are connected somehow through a drawing of a labyrinth, which leads Alice on a quest to find out the secrets surrounding the Albigensian Crusades of 1209-1229; the first time the Catholic church sent crusaders to eradicate other Christians, on European soil. Chilling and thrilling, immaculately researched, yet at the same time a passionate and adventure-filled novel, I can't think of a better way to pass the time than this book. I can't wait to return to Carcassonne (near Toulouse, France), to see the places with different eyes.

Now, my loves, my eyes are closing, so you'll get more another day :)
Night, night!

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Much Ado about Nerves

Okay, my nerves are starting to jitter a bit. I've been auditioning and acting since I was...7? Why does this still happen to me? Not every time, mind you, but when I really want the part. And it's not a fear I won't do well — I'll give it my 100%, and if I don't get cast, then I just wasn't what the director had in mind, or I don't fit in the scheme of the rest of the cast. I've cast enough things to know that casting depends on so many factors, and ultimately the director's job is to cast whichever way serves the play the best, from the people one has to choose from. I know all the relaxation exercises, but they only help so much when you have 5000 cc's of adrenaline coursing through your veins. Okay, so send good vibes my way at 7pm EST. I'm about to go effect a miraculous transformation from Princess Fiona (troll version) to Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz version) and then, off I go. *jitter, jitter*

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Quiz: What Kind of Poetry Are You

via Scribblingwoman

This quiz is really hot,
I liked it quite a lot,
The questions were quite witty,
They told my form of ditty.

I am:

I'm terza rima, and I talk and smile.
Where others lock their rhymes and thoughts away
I let mine out, and chatter all the while.

I'm rarely on my own - a wasted day
Is any day that's spent without a friend,
With nothing much to do or hear or say.

I like to be with people, and depend
On company for being entertained;
Which seems a good solution, in the end.

(If I weren't Terza Rima, I would be Blank Verse.)

I am, of course, none other than blank verse.
I don't know where I'm going, yes, quite right;
And when I get there (if I ever do)
I might not recognise it. So? Your point?
Why should I have a destination set?
I'm relatively happy as I am,
And wouldn't want to be forever aimed
Towards some future path or special goal.
It's not to do with laziness, as such.
It's just that on the whole I'd rather not
Be bothered - so I drift contentedly;
An underrated way of life, I find.

So folks, What Poetry Form Are You?  And to all you silent lurkers, how about telling me in the comments? :)

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Poetry of Finland and Finnish Christmas Songs

I finally extricated myself from LibraryThing, and set to work on a site I started back in 2002, but never finished. Not that it's finished now, but version 1.1 is ready.

Over the last few years, due to Luminarium and my name being so obviously Finnish, I've received repeated requests from Finns, or people whose ancestry is Finnish, for translations of Finnish poetry into English. Not enough has been done, or published, in my opinion. The main reason may well be, that translating from the Finnish is a *insert any favorite expletive*.

In 2002 I had translated some poems from two Finnish poets, to which I added the Kalevala excerpt I posted here in May of this year. And, since it is Christmas time, I translated two of the most beautiful Finnish Christmas songs as well. Since I could not find sound files for them, I crooned them a cappella myself. My apologies if someone suffers serious emotional or physical injuries from listening to them. Listen at your own risk. Without further ado, here is

Poetry of Finland.

I'll add more poets and poetry as inspiration strikes.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

A Book Addict Comes Out

Hi, my name is Anniina, and I'm a book addict.

It's true. I just didn't quite realize it until tonight, when I spent the whole night cataloging my books on LibraryThing — there's nearly 400 there now, and that's not half of them.

Want to hear something even scarier? I checked out my wishlist on Amazon — there's 88 books on it at present. I don't think this is normal. Does anyone else have this problem?

******** edited an hour later******
Umm, I should also probably mention that I have several in my shopping cart on abebooks.com


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Saturday, December 16, 2006

10 Things I Love - A Meme

On Stefanie's blog, Stefanie Says, she had posted a great meme about "Things you love"—the trick is, that you get assigned a letter (Stefanie's was 'L'). I de-lurked, and screamed "Me, me, gimme a letter!" And benevolently, Stefanie threw a letter at me. Mine is 'T'— so, without further ado,

10 Things I Love, that Begin with the Letter 'T':

1. THEATRE.  As an audience member, there's nothing like the lights finally going down, the hush that comes over everyone, and another reality spreading before one's eyes. For a few hours, one can get involved in a story not one's own, and experience thoughts and emotions one might not have had that day otherwise. In movie theaters, a similar thing occurs, but somehow the experience is a bit blunted, because it is polished, finite, without the element of surprise and danger that is always inherent in a live performance.  As an actor, being able to live other lives, in a shared 'unreality' with the other actors and the audience is also very special—on nights when everything really comes together, a bit of magic is created, and it is that feeling that draws everyone back to the theatre time and again.

2. TRUE LOVE.  And by this I don't only mean The Princess Bride variety, although I do love that too. I think 'True Love' can range anywhere from the Tristan and Isolde and Romeo and Juliet kind of passionate amour to old couples who hold hands and can take each other for granted, to the wonder of puppies, babies, to the first roses in the spring, to the best friend's voice on the line, to the calling one's mom after a sad movie, to an old lady's surprised face when you hold a door open for her, to saving an ant from drowning in one's coffee cup. I'm a hopeless romantic, perhaps, but I think true love is something that one feels for mankind, womankind, nature, everything. Except when I'm driving. Then, stay out of my &^#$@& way :P

3. TANGERINES.  Tangerines come to the stores about a month before Christmas—so for me, they always speak of the expectation of Christmas, which is my favorite holiday (to answer your next question, yes, I believe in Santa). If you get the ones from Morocco, they're sweet and without seeds. I can eat about 10 at a sitting. This was problematic when I was a kid, because I was very allergic to all citrus fruit; I still am a bit allergic (I get a pink rash on my face that makes it look like the world map), but I wants me my tangerines!

4. TUPPERWARE.  Heh, as corny as that sounds, it's true; must be a remnant from my childhood—my mom had a big collection, and there was always just the right dish for leftovers, mixing bowls for making cookies, containers for lunch meats, jams, you name it. I loved to 'burp' the lids when I was little, and I still do.

5. TONY MORRISON BOOKS.  Truth be told, at the end of each Toni Morrison novel, my first reaction is, "HUH?"  But that is part of their fascination—they don't open up easily, and trying to find one's own answer to them is an interesting journey. Plus, her prose is rigorous and rich, the characters captivating. No moment reading Toni Morrison is a wasted moment.

6. TRAVEL.  New places, languages, cultures, people, foods, sights, sounds, art, nature, cities! So many fresh ideas, such a chance to breathe!

7. TOLKIEN.  I don't think this needs any clarification. Tolkien. *reverent silence*

8. TUDOR HISTORY.  There's a subject one could study all one's life and never get to the bottom of it! I had a great professor, Professor Horle, once for a Tudor History class, and he could throw amazing amounts of knowledge at you, but make it so interesting you felt like you were listening to him spin a yarn, and you never knew how much you were actually learning. Henry VII defeating Richard III at the battle of Bosworth Field, marrying Elizabeth of York and thus ending the Wars of the Roses, and going on to resuscitate the English economy. Henry VII's unfortunate son, Prince Arthur, dying before he could become a king, his younger brother Harry becoming the epitome of all sleezy bastards as King Henry VIII, divorcing and beheading his six wives, and spending the treasury on frivolous wars and a life of luxury. His sickly son Edward becoming King for a few years, only to be followed by his sister Bloody Mary, who took a hard Catholic line and executed every dissenter in the kingdom until her death from ovarian cancer. The Tudor line receiving its crowning glory in Queen Elizabeth I, who, taking a country on the brink of bankruptcy and civil war, ushered in an era of peace and prosperity, which afforded the arts to flourish, bringing us Shakespeare, Marlowe, Ralegh—at her death England was arguably the richest and most powerful country in the world. *cough* I got a bit carried away there, which brings me to...

9. TATTLING.  That is, talking, prattling away on subjects near and dear. *blush*

10. TWILIGHT.  My favorite word in the English language, as well as my favorite time of day; "the magic hour"; "the purpling hour"; the twin-light, the half-light. Always makes me think of fairy wings.

Okay, so perhaps my list was a bit dorky—'T' was harder than I expected. Everyone else's turn. Holler and I'll throw a letter your way :)
P.S. I can't believe I left out Tim Gunn, Toys, and Two-for-one Sales!

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Nine Questions about Poetry - Poetry Meme

Via scribblingwoman

1. The first poem I remember reading/hearing/reacting to was...
Pikku-Minnan Mollamaija, a Finnish poem about a little girl who has neglected her forgotten ragdoll, made of green fabric. My most beloved doll ever was my own green ragdoll, and I wasn't always a good mommy, ignoring her for days... once I decided to give her a haircut, and my aunt had to give her new yarn-hair. I still can't hear this poem without crying my eyes out. You KNOW I cried in Toy Story 2 when the little cowgirl doll sang about how her girl forgot about her. My sister and I were a weepy mess for the next 15 minutes of the movie.

2. I was forced to memorize Poe's "Annabel Lee" in school and........
I lost my heart to poetry then and there. Later, my love for the poem was further enforced when I read Nabokov's Lolita for the first time—some of you may remember I included it in my post on "The Great American Novel."

3. I read/don't read poetry because....
I do read poetry—mostly of the Renaissance and 17th Century. Editing Luminarium, one could call it an "occupational hazard." But I also love more recent poems. In the 20th century, I love Yeats best, and of the current poets I most prefer Alice Walker, who wrote:

Africa on a Tiger's Back

There are no Tigers
      in Africa
You say.
I know. I say.
But they are
      very beautiful.

4. A poem I'm likely to think about when asked about a favourite poem is .......

When You are Old
by William Butler Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

4.5: There are some poets/poems that I don't like or don't understand...

Yes. I don't like Wallace Stevens. Don't flame me—I'm allowed not to like him.

I placed a jar in Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.

The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground
And tall and of a port in air.

It took dominion every where.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,
Like nothing else in Tennessee.

If that's not scandalous enough, I will go on record by saying, "I don't like Walt Whitman." I'm sure that's like blasphemy to some. It's not that I don't appreciate his merits, I do—but appreciating and liking do not always go hand in hand. Likewise, I don't care for Beat poetry (apart from Mike Meyers' inspired "Woman" from So I Married an Axe Murderer)

5. I don't write poetry, but...
"maybe I do. Loving is so short, forgetting so long." (Pablo Neruda)

No, you know I do. As John Donne put it:

I am two fools, I know,
For loving, and for saying so
In whining poetry.
—Donne, The Triple Fool

6. My experience with reading poetry differs from my experience with reading other types of literature.....
I was just talking about this the other day with someone, about how poems are like puzzles, or logic problems. How on the one level you just "feel" it, but how on another level, you can do detective work on construction, word choices, imagery, etc. This is especially true of, say, John Donne, whose poetry affords endless delights in decryption. But perhaps the greatest difference between poetry and other forms of literature is the intense subjectivity and introspection, both of the poet, and of the reader. It's a message written down by one, out of a primal need, and received by another, who will experience it very... privately, is the best way I can put it. Poems are like secret love notes passed down over centuries.

7. I find poetry...
...and it finds me, even if I try to hide at times. My Muse, who is part harpy, part friend, never leaves me for long.

8. The last time I heard poetry...
was Dame Judi Dench reading the Middle English Lyric, The Corpus Christi Carol" on CD.

9. I think poetry is...

Yes. I think poetry IS.


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I found this quiz on scribblingwoman's blog, and I just had to see for myself. Hahahah! Teehee!

Your 'Do You Want the Terrorists to Win' Score: 100%

You are a terrorist-loving, Bush-bashing, "blame America first"-crowd traitor. You are in league with evil-doers who hate our freedoms. By all counts you are a liberal, and as such clearly desire the terrorists to succeed and impose their harsh theocratic restrictions on us all. You are fit to be hung for treason! Luckily George Bush is tapping your internet connection and is now aware of your thought-crime. Have a nice day.... in Guantanamo!

Do You Want the Terrorists to Win?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

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WIRED for Extremely Short Stories

Hemingway famously wrote a short story in six words:

"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Beautiful, eh? Inspired by this, the folks at WIRED asked popular authors of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, to write their own six-word stories, which also made fun of themselves. They were printed in the November 2006 issue. I thought these were the best:

Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so.
— Joss Whedon

Longed for him. Got him. Shit.
— Margaret Atwood

I’m dead. I’ve missed you. Kiss...?
— Neil Gaiman

The baby’s blood type? Human, mostly.
— Orson Scott Card

Failed SAT. Lost scholarship. Invented rocket.
— William Shatner

Leia: "Baby's yours." Luke: "Bad news…"
— Steven Meretzky

Don’t marry her. Buy a house.
— Stephen R. Donaldson

Heaven falls. Details at eleven.
— Robert Jordan

Bush told the truth. Hell froze.
— William Gibson

To read all the "stories", visit Wired.com

*Throws Down Gauntlet* Give me yours!


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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Much Ado

I got a callback, whew. Next Wednesday, Dec. 20, 7pm. Fingers and toes still crossed.

Still working on the Margaret Atwood site. Have spent the day in the company of her poems. This woman can WRITE!


All those times I was bored
out of my mind. Holding the log
while he sawed it. Holding
the string while he measured, boards,
distances between things, or pounded
stakes into the ground for rows and rows
of lettuces and beets, which I then (bored)
weeded. Or sat in the back
of the car, or sat still in boats,
sat, sat, while at the prow, stern, wheel
he drove, steered, paddled. It
wasn't even boredom, it was looking,
looking hard and up close at the small
details. Myopia. The worn gunwales,
the intricate twill of the seat
cover. The acid crumbs of loam, the granular
pink rock, its igneous veins, the sea-fans
of dry moss, the blackish and then the graying
bristles on the back of his neck.
Sometimes he would whistle, sometimes
I would. The boring rhythm of doing
things over and over, carrying
the wood, drying
the dishes. Such minutiae. It's what
the animals spend most of their time at,
ferrying the sand, grain by grain, from their tunnels,
shuffling the leaves in their burrows. He pointed
such things out, and I would look
at the whorled texture of his square finger, earth under
the nail. Why do I remember it as sunnier
all the time then, although it more often
rained, and more birdsong?
I could hardly wait to get
the hell out of there to
anywhere else. Perhaps though
boredom is happier. It is for dogs or
groundhogs. Now I wouldn't be bored.
Now I would know too much.
Now I would know.

Margaret Atwood

This poem raises in me the same kind of feelings as "Winter" by Tori Amos:

Snow can wait
I forgot my mittens
Wipe my nose, get my new boots on
I get a little warm in my heart
When I think of winter
I put my hand in my father's glove
I run off
Where the drifts get deeper
Sleeping Beauty trips me with a frown
I hear a voice:
"You must learn to stand up
For yourself
'Cause I can't always be around"

He says when you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
'Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses are still in bed
I tell you that I'll always want you near
You say that things change, my dear

Boys get discovered
As winter melts
Flowers competing for the sun
Years go by
And I'm here still waiting
Withering where some snowman was
Mirror, mirror
Where's the Crystal Palace
But I only can see myself
Skating around the truth who I am
But I know, Dad, the ice is getting thin

When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
'Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses are still in bed
I tell you that I'll always want you near
You say that things change, my dear

Hair is grey
And the fires are burning
So many dreams on the shelf
You say I wanted you to be proud of me
I always wanted that myself

When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
'Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses have gone ahead
I tell you that I'll always want you near
You say that things change, my dear
Never change
All the white horses
Have gone....

Tori Amos

Click here to listen to "Winter"



Having no-one
      with whom
            to pull apart
                  the wishbone.

Tags: Anniina's Poetry

Think Pink...... NOT!

Alrighty, here's the follow up to my hair-raising adventure.

I got the color, and thank goodness, hair is now sexy instead of just downright freaky. I had the audition, which was solid, but not... inspired. So we'll see if I get a callback.

I did get to have french fries with my "Macbeth" director afterwards (he was just helping run the audition, he's not directing or casting this show himself), so that was good, and to see some familiar faces, which was also good, considering I've been in hiding from the theatre world for the past half year. Hiding in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, which has been good for the soul and the brain, but it was time to enter the world again.

In the happy happy news, Madeline is coming over for Christmas!! Yay!! Awesome!! We're going to bake cookies and go see "Charlotte's Web," and very possibly "Eragon". Fantasy and kidlit movies are also good for the soul! Yay!

Where is everyone, by the way. Are y'all just lurking, or have you deserted me entire?

Here's the trailer for "Charlotte's Web" - I like Dakota Fanning's line, "He can't help being born small," and of course, my Booboo's name is Wilbur (although he wasn't named after this piglet, but still). Also, how funny is Steve Buscemi as the rat. Tee hee!


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Seeing Red

HAHAHA! I've gone and done it now, tee hee!

I got a call from the guy who directed me in "Macbeth" this March, and who now works at the theatre where I did "Proof", asking me to come for an audition tomorrow night. Big part, big audition, really really wanna do it. Soooo. I decided to color my hair, since my dark blonde icky roots had come in with a vengeance—contrasted with the reddish brown my dyed-dark-brown hair has faded to, oy vey!

*pause for effect*

Yeah. You know it. The previously dyed hair is a luscious reddish brown. The blonde root growth is every shade from pink to fire engine.


So. 8 am, I am going to buy more hair color, in a flat medium brown, to stick on the bright roots and then, fingers and toes crossed. Wish I could find my digi-cam, so I could share this purty-purty with y'all. HAHA! That's what you get for being a crazy-woman, and coloring hair in the middle of the night when no drugstores are open.

Will report back. *exit, whistling "Beauty School Dropout*


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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tickle IQ Test

Riykere, my bodyguard in Final Fantasy XI, told me to take this IQ test at Tickle.com — it was fun. The only thing is, they don't tell you A) if/what you got wrong nor B) how you rank among others (age, sex, etc.), nor C) if the test corresponds to the "real" IQ scale. I guess if you buy the report, they would tell you. [*Late Correction: They email you a link that takes you to a page that tells you all the answers, what you got wrong, and how you compare, if you sit through 3 advertisements]  But, if you feel like doing it, here it is:

The Classic IQ Test

I got 140, whatever that means, and this piece of flattery:

"Your Intellectual Type is Visionary Philosopher. This means you are highly intelligent and have a powerful mix of skills and insight that can be applied in a variety of different ways. Like Plato, your exceptional math and verbal skills make you very adept at explaining things to others — and at anticipating and predicting patterns. And that's just some of what we know about you from your IQ results."

Oh, and if someone could explain the question with the dude who likes the numbers... the 3700 threw me off, so I just wagged (wild-ass-guessed) that the dude would like 1200. But if someone knows what the gist behind that question is, lemme know, driving me crazy. Thanks :)



I was bored with the old look, not that there was anything wrong with it. But, since I haven't colored my hair in a while, I guess I figured I'd color my blog. Ha!

I've entered a red phase. Picasso can keep his "blue period" — red all the way here. Does anyone else go through a thing where they feel extremely attracted to one color above others for a while? Lately, I'm attracted to all things red. I bought new curtains, new lamp shades, and new kitchen chair cushions in red. Wonder what it signifies.

I made the background from scratch, and I'm kinda proud of it, but I think it may be too busy. Thoughts? At least it's Christmasy. And red  :P

Margaret Atwood's "Letter to America"

For the past two weeks, I've been working on a website for poet and novelist Margaret Atwood, whose most famous novel is The Handmaid's Tale (1985). The Handmaid's Tale is a book I admire very much, with its dystopian (some would say "Orwellian") view of a future where women have become property, dehumanized into walking wombs. More than its subject matter and vision, I've always delighted in how Atwood writes: the book is rife with veiled references to literature past, from Marlowe to Milton, Bible to Shakespeare — I like the discovery and detective work, and in that The Handmaid's Tale provides almost Nabokov-like pleasure.

While making the site, I've scoured hundreds of web pages via several search engines, to find quality materials for linking. A delightful find was Atwood's "Letter to America," published in The Nation in 2003. Atwood being Canadian, she can view matters partly as an outsider, partly as an insider. How alarming that 3.5 years later, things in and about America have only changed for the worse. The letter is more timely than ever, and I will post it in its entirety.

The Nation (April 14, 2003 issue)

[In order to provide international perspective in the debate over US foreign policy, The Nation asked foreign commentators to share their reflections. This is the seventh in that series. —The Editors]

Letter to America
by Margaret Atwood

Dear America:

This is a difficult letter to write, because I'm no longer sure who you are. Some of you may be having the same trouble.

I thought I knew you: We'd become well acquainted over the past fifty-five years. You were the Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck comic books I read in the late 1940s. You were the radio shows—Jack Benny, Our Miss Brooks. You were the music I sang and danced to: the Andrews Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald, the Platters, Elvis. You were a ton of fun.

You wrote some of my favorite books. You created Huckleberry Finn, and Hawkeye, and Beth and Jo in Little Women, courageous in their different ways. Later, you were my beloved Thoreau, father of environmentalism, witness to individual conscience; and Walt Whitman, singer of the great Republic; and Emily Dickinson, keeper of the private soul. You were Hammett and Chandler, heroic walkers of mean streets; even later, you were the amazing trio, Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Faulkner, who traced the dark labyrinths of your hidden heart. You were Sinclair Lewis and Arthur Miller, who, with their own American idealism, went after the sham in you, because they thought you could do better.

You were Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront, you were Humphrey Bogart in Key Largo, you were Lillian Gish in Night of the Hunter. You stood up for freedom, honesty and justice; you protected the innocent. I believed most of that. I think you did, too. It seemed true at the time.

You put God on the money, though, even then. You had a way of thinking that the things of Caesar were the same as the things of God: That gave you self-confidence. You have always wanted to be a city upon a hill, a light to all nations, and for a while you were. Give me your tired, your poor, you sang, and for a while you meant it.

We've always been close, you and us [Canadians]. History, that old entangler, has twisted us together since the early seventeenth century. Some of us used to be you; some of us want to be you; some of you used to be us. You are not only our neighbors: In many cases—mine, for instance—you are also our blood relations, our colleagues and our personal friends. But although we've had a ringside seat, we've never understood you completely, up here north of the 49th parallel. We're like Romanized Gauls—look like Romans, dress like Romans, but aren't Romans—peering over the wall at the real Romans. What are they doing? Why? What are they doing now? Why is the haruspex eyeballing the sheep's liver? Why is the soothsayer wholesaling the Bewares?

Perhaps that's been my difficulty in writing you this letter: I'm not sure I know what's really going on. Anyway, you have a huge posse of experienced entrail-sifters who do nothing but analyze your every vein and lobe. What can I tell you about yourself that you don't already know?

This might be the reason for my hesitation: embarrassment, brought on by a becoming modesty. But it is more likely to be embarrassment of another sort. When my grandmother--from a New England background—was confronted with an unsavory topic, she would change the subject and gaze out the window. And that is my own inclination: Keep your mouth shut, mind your own business.

But I'll take the plunge, because your business is no longer merely your business. To paraphrase Marley's Ghost, who figured it out too late, mankind is your business. And vice versa: When the Jolly Green Giant goes on the rampage, many lesser plants and animals get trampled underfoot. As for us, you're our biggest trading partner: We know perfectly well that if you go down the plug-hole, we're going with you. We have every reason to wish you well.

I won't go into the reasons why I think your recent Iraqi adventures have been—taking the long view—an ill-advised tactical error. By the time you read this, Baghdad may or may not be a pancake, and many more sheep entrails will have been examined. Let's talk, then, not about what you're doing to other people but about what you're doing to yourselves.

You're gutting the Constitution. Already your home can be entered without your knowledge or permission, you can be snatched away and incarcerated without cause, your mail can be spied on, your private records searched. Why isn't this a recipe for widespread business theft, political intimidation and fraud? I know you've been told that all this is for your own safety and protection, but think about it for a minute. Anyway, when did you get so scared? You didn't used to be easily frightened.

You're running up a record level of debt. Keep spending at this rate and pretty soon you won't be able to afford any big military adventures. Either that or you'll go the way of the USSR: lots of tanks, but no air conditioning. That will make folks very cross. They'll be even crosser when they can't take a shower because your shortsighted bulldozing of environmental protections has dirtied most of the water and dried up the rest. Then things will get hot and dirty indeed.

You're torching the American economy. How soon before the answer to that will be not to produce anything yourselves but to grab stuff other people produce, at gunboat-diplomacy prices? Is the world going to consist of a few mega-rich King Midases, with the rest being serfs, both inside and outside your country? Will the biggest business sector in the United States be the prison system? Let's hope not.

If you proceed much further down the slippery slope, people around the world will stop admiring the good things about you. They'll decide that your city upon the hill is a slum and your democracy is a sham, and therefore you have no business trying to impose your sullied vision on them. They'll think you've abandoned the rule of law. They'll think you've fouled your own nest.

The British used to have a myth about King Arthur. He wasn't dead, but sleeping in a cave, it was said; and in the country's hour of greatest peril, he would return. You too have great spirits of the past you may call upon: men and women of courage, of conscience, of prescience. Summon them now, to stand with you, to inspire you, to defend the best in you. —You need them.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

The Archetype

I am the tide that drags to death
I am the willow weeping
I am the land that time forgot
I am the dream without sleeping

I am the magic storm of the skies
I am the silver-tongued lark
I am the tear on the wing of the dove
I am the cry in the dark

I am the path ever twisting
I am the labyrinth door
I am the hunter's arrow
I am the heart of the boar

I am the fruit and I am the wyrm
I am the right and the wrong
I am and am not, the beginning, the end
I am the silence and song.

The seed for this poem was planted in 2003 when I was at RADA in London, for the professional program "Acting Shakespeare."  One of our brilliant tutors, Peter Oyston, had us working with archetypes... a strange and mystical experience. "I am the tide that drags to death," the first line of this poem, was one of the archetypes he gave us, and one that I used for "Hamlet." Szélső Fa's post reminded me of that experience, and all of a sudden the poem welled out.

Tags: Anniina's Poetry


Introducing A Tree in the Forest

Hi Folks,

treeYou may have seen Szélső Fa posting in the comments, but if you haven't yet visited her blog, you should. She writes rich and powerful poetry, takes gorgeous photographs, and has interesting entries, such as what a Hungarian Christmas is like, features on Hungarian art, and so on. I've been visiting regularly, because she has a unique voice which is very inspiring to me.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Little Known Fact #5

Katja has just reminded me of one of my favorite characters from childhood: The Little Mole. Created by Czech artist Zdenek Miler, The Little Mole was the hero of many a tale, both in book and cartoon form. When I was about 3, one of my favorite books was "How Come Little Mole Has Trousers?" or, as I knew it, "Kuinka Myyrä sai housut." Katja posted this YouTube clip of The Little Mole and the Snowman.

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Sonnetsday 27


O, HOW thy worth with manners may I sing,
        When thou art all the better part of me?
   What can mine own praise to mine own self bring?
        And what is 't but mine own when I praise thee?
Even for this let us divided live,
And our dear love lose name of single one,
That by this separation I may give
That due to thee which thou deserv'st alone.
O absence! what a torment wouldst thou prove,
Were it not thy sour leisure gave sweet leave
To entertain the time with thoughts of love,
Which time and thoughts so sweetly doth deceive,
      And that thou teachest how to make one twain,
      By praising him here who doth hence remain!


Tags: Sonnets | Sonnetsday | Shakespeare

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

"The Holiday" Movie Review

Tonight, my mom's last night before going home to Finland, we went and saw "The Holiday," which had its opening night to packed theaters. And for good reason.

It tells the story of Iris, an Englishwoman, and Amanda, from Los Angeles, both of whom find themselves in less-than-
satisfactory love situations. They decide to swap houses for two weeks over the Christmas holiday, and find that sometimes it is easier to rediscover oneself when removed from one's customary surroundings.

Here's a movie that could have gone two ways — it could have been a Hollywood let's-cash-in-promise-big-deliver-small chick flick, with mediocre writing and everything flat to the formula. Few so-called chick flicks in the past few years have delivered a quality movie-going experience, so the fear of this being another one of those was prevalent.

Happily, the movie actually delivers! The movie is deftly written, both plot and dialogue-wise by Nancy Meyers (writer/director of "Something's Gotta Give" - the 2003 Diane Keaton/Jack Nicholson pic). It avoids clichés, putting a fresh, more human, and quite a tender spin to the relationships; few of the relationships are simple, and there are little surprises everywhere along the road. The script also has nice nods to movies and leading ladies of the Hollywood Golden Era, and subtle visual and verbal homages to heroines of the past. Keep an eye out in the beginning of the pic, when Iris crosses the same bridge across the Thames as Bridget Jones did; delish little nod.

Nancy Meyers also directed, and her direction is deft. The superb actors are handled lightly; Meyers obviously could recognize their strengths and how to best feature and bring the actors to their top form. Kate Winslet, an actor whom I like more each time I see her, gives a very honest performance, acting-wise; no gimmicks, no cheap tricks; her scenes are wonderful because you don't see the gears. (caveat: there are two scenes of actors doing the "it's a Hollywood movie, so we have to have people dance when they're in a house alone"—a prevalent curse since "Risky Business"). Eli Wallach, as an aged screenwriter, also has a multifaceted performance. Jude Law is surprisingly scrumptious, and Jack Black plays a nice-guy straight-man well. I wish, however, that folks stopped casting my beloved Rufus Sewell in "jerk" roles—to me he's a leading man.

The movie is an extraordinarily pleasurable experience. It deserves a solid A.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

First Snowflakes

The first snowflakes,
like dreams in miniature,
danced a nimble round,
fluttered an airy moment,
vanished with a touch.

Tags: Anniina's Poetry

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Lyrics to "Finlandia" by Jean Sibelius

Everyone was really interested in the Finlandia Hymn, so I thought I'd share some background.

The music for the Finlandia Hymn was written by composer Jean Sibelius in 1899, while Finland was experiencing a rise in nationalism, beginning its rise against Russian oppression, and grappling toward independence as a nation.

The lyrics which are now most often associated with the work were composed in 1940 by V. A. Koskenniemi, when Finland had just finished fighting Russia in the Winter War. Finland had been independent since 1917, but in November 1939, Russia decided to "take Finland back" as part of World War II. After all, Hitler and Stalin had agreed that Finland could be part of Russia's piece of pie.

Everyone in Finland who was battleworthy went to repel the invading army — consider that the "everyone" was 250,000 (mostly civilian) men with 30 tanks and 130 airplanes trying to hold off 1 million soldiers, 3000 tanks, and 3800 aircraft.

That means for my generation that ALL our grandparents were in the snow-filled trenches in the forests, fighting for their lives and for the freedom of a little country with no allies of any kind. Almost everyone was missing at least one grandfather, because he had died in a snowy forest in either the Winter War, or the continuance war after. I was fortunate to have both of my grandpas — but neither would ever talk about what they went through in the war. My great-uncle recalled swimming away from the Karelian fortress of Viipuri (Viborg), when the waters ran red with blood. Someone once told me they had heard Peter Gabriel say in concert that a story of the same had been an inspiration for "Red Rain," but I've never been able to authenticate that any further.

Finnish ski troops 12 January 1940. (National War Museum Archives).

Somehow, against such odds, we retained our independence, unlike so many other nations. A novel called "Tuntematon Sotilas" ("The Unknown Soldier") was written by Väinö Linna soon after the war, and was followed by the movie. In it, the "band of brothers" whose story has been followed, are in a snowy woods when the sun breaks. The "Finlandia Hymn" plays in the background — armistice is announced. The nature so beautiful and yet so bleak, because their fellow men who were protecting home and family, lay strewn around them.

All our men still go through the armed services, +/- 1 year of training, including skiing and shooting, like their fathers before them. Growing up in the 70s, the fear that Russia could decide to try again, any day, was ever present. Every school, every office, every apartment building, every public building in Finland had, and has, a bomb shelter. We were taught from almost as soon as we could walk, where all the nearest bomb shelters were, what an air raid alarm sounds like, and what to do if bomber planes came. The fear of war was always on the back of my mind as a child. I remember thinking when I was on second grade (age 8), that I would not have children — how could I bring children into such a bad world. I've since learned to think differently, but I still remember having nightmares about bomber planes in the dark.

I don't think there's a person in Finland who doesn't get goosebumps at the first notes of the song. I tried singing it to someone who asked me a few months ago — I didn't make it through the first full verse before I was sobbing so hard I couldn't continue. It holds special significance to us Finns, especially on Independence Day.

Lyrics: V.A. Koskenniemi

Oi, Suomi katso, sinun päiväs koittaa,
yön uhka karkoitettu on jo pois,
ja aamun kiuru kirkkaudessa soittaa,
kuin itse taivahan kansi sois,
yön vallat aamun kirkkaus jo voittaa,
sun päiväs koittaa, oi synnyinmaa.

Oi, nouse , Suomi, nosta korkealle
pääs seppelöimä suurten muistojen,
oi nouse, Suomi, näytit maailmalle
sä että karkoitit orjuuden
ja ettet taipunut sa sorron alle,
on aamus alkanut, synnyinmaa.

trans. A. Jokinen

Oh, Finland look, it is your day that's dawning,
The threat of night is banishèd away;
The morning birds do trumpet in the brightness,
As if the heavens themselves did play;
Night's powers are conquered by the morning's lightness,
Your day is dawning, oh birthland mine.

Oh raise, oh Finland, oh raise up on high
Your head that's crowned with deeds of bravery;
Oh rise up Finland, all the world doth know
How you have banishèd slavery;
You bent not under the oppressor's throw
Your day has dawnèd, oh birthland mine.


Finland's Independence Day - 89 years

I tried my hand at my first ever video - it's more of a slide show. I had no clue how hard it was to make one of those. Anyway.

Here's Finland as I see it. The audio is flawed (starts and ends abruptly) - but it was the only file I could find. Hope you like my slice of Finland.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Happy Feet - Pure Penguin Pleasure

Happy FeetWe went tonight to see "Happy Feet," the long-awaited animated movie about a little penguin, who has no talent for singing, but dances as well as penguinely possible. The movie was lovely—I can see if I had been, say 6 years old, this would have resulted in major penguin-mania. Without saying too much about the movie, the animation was incredibly well done, the baby penguins adorable, and the voices were pretty good. And I still don't understand.... how do you start with a blank screen, and somehow end up with a penguin that looks exactly like Elijah Wood? Man, I missed out on that whole talent queue. I must have been standing in some other line back when that talent was being meted out. I can't call myself a dancer by a long stretch, but I got tappety feetsies after this show — I did a few twirls in the parking lot. Go see it, it's a nice evening's entertainment. It gets a cool A- (the plot coulda used a teensy bit of beefing up)


Monday, December 04, 2006

Lazy Sunday :)


Friday, December 01, 2006

My Mother is Coming!

My mom is coming from Finland on Saturday. She's staying for a week, and I'm nervous, 'cause this place leaves a lot to be desired. I really empathize with a poem written by Alice Walker (author of The Color Purple):


My daughter is coming!
I have bought her a bed
and a chair
a mirror, a lamp
and a desk.
Her room is all ready
except that the curtains
are torn.
Do I have time to buy shoji panels
for the window?
I do not.

First I must write a speech
see the doctor about my tonsils
which are dying ahead of schedule
see the barber and do a wash
cross the country
cross Brooklyn and Manhattan

Make A Speech
Read A Poem
liberate my daughter
from her father and Washington, D.C.
Recross the country
and present her to her room.

My daughter is coming!
Will she like her bed,
her chair, her mirror
desk and lamp
Or will she see only
the torn curtains?

—Alice Walker.


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The Magic of Elfwood

Writers, as all artists, find inspiration in many places. If I'm feeling melancholy, I like to wander around the magical realm of Elfwood. I've featured a few artists here before, and I would like to introduce you to some more of the artists who tell stories with their images, and whose beautiful works are like dew on a parched soul. I will link each image to its original; if you click under the image, you get to see each artist's current Elfwood gallery.

Annah Hutchings. The Wall
Jenny Dolfen. Direwolves
Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. Dreamweaver
Pui-Mun Law
Jeff Lee. The Portal
Eric Martin. Land's End
Ursula Vernon. Giant and Fairy.

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