Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Choirboys vs The Camel that wept

For our wedding anniversary we went to BioCity and watched a french movie called the choirboys. It was the story of a terrible boarding school, with children that were out of control. They have a fat pudgy bald teacher who gets them interested in singing, and so begins their road to salvation, as they escape from the brutality of their prison like surroundings into the freedom and beauty of music. The headmaster is a sadistic monster. The janitor is abused and worked like a slave. The gym master tries to keep everything under control by twisting ears. The music teacher is kind hearted and although he has succes in teaching the kids to sing he is fired from his job.

The singing is spine chilling and has a countess clutching a handkerchief to her bosom and looking dewy eyed at the choirboys with angelic voices. There is no happy end and no John Wayne salutes. The fat bald music teachers does not get the girl and he gets fired for all his troubles. The soprano boy in the choir does become famous and he owes it all to the fat bald music teacher.

The other movie we thought about going to see was "The camel that wept" which was made in Mongolia. I just did not see the potential for any drama coming from a movie about weeping camels. We did see the trailer and I was halfway disappointed that we had not gone to see a story about a young camel being deserted by its mother. I think I might have been put off by the thought that it might have been a Disney type "Incredible Journey" with camels talking to each other in Bronx accents, but apparently not. Camels are big in mongolia so why shouldn't they star in their own movies?

The Camel that wept review supplied by crfullmoon on flickr

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

On the ice

Went to the lake with Jasper and borrowed papa's ice drill it was blunt as hell, and although we bored for 15 minutes we could not get threw the ice. It must be over 50 cm thick.

I remember a story told to me about a couple of Finns who went out drunk at night to fish. There was a field just next to the lake and they had no idea if they had been drilling down to the earth or down to the water, and being drunk they did not care.

The next morning they went out to inspect the holes they had bored only to discover they had been fishing on a field. No wonder they did not catch anything.

She who is to be obeyed asked us to cut down the reeds, and I sythed down a vast expanse of reeds along the lake shore. I thought while I was doing it these reeds are dead and new ones will be coming up when the ice melts, so cutting down these deadhead won't make a blind bit of difference, but it pleased she who must be obeyed and made her happy, so that was the main thing.

"Shall I beat with might and main
lay it on as a man can
or lay it as the tools allow
beat as much as is needed?"

"Kullervo Kalervo's son
battered then with might and main
laid it on as a man can
the water he stirred to gruel
beat the seine to tow
and the fish he mashed to scum"

Wasted energy is not new.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Opening a present of celebration

Today I will drive with Maija and pick up our grandson Jasper and we will then go to Lahti to see Maija's mum. We have plans to go out to the lake and while the ice is still firm, cut down the reeds that are sticking through the ice. I may even bore a hole in the ice an do some fishing.

When I mentioned to Raisa that I had bought a pilkki fishing rod she raised the question of fishing permits. I said that I didn't need a permit since my rod was so short. She told the story to her friends at college who had laughed, and marveled at what a wit her father was.

I look out my window and the sky is a brilliant blue. The flags on Lippulaiva which I always look at to see how strong the wind is blowing are not moving at all. They are still, which means it will be a great day for slow walking in the snow and sun.

This morning to celebrate going to Lahti I opened up one of my unopened Christmas presents. It was from Christopher, "The Kalevala" the Finnish national epic poem.

"This I hoped for all my days
looked for all my growing-time
waited as for a good year
looked as for summer's coming
and now my wish has come true"

"Now some music would be good
and some merrymaking right
for this new state of affairs
apon these fair farms;"

"Steady old Väinämöinen
the everlasting singer
prepares his fingers
rubs his thumbs ready.
He sits on the rock of joy
on the song-boulder settles
on the silver hill
on the golden knoll
he fingered the instrument
turned the curved thing on his knees
the kantele in his hands
he uttered a word, spoke thus
Now let him come and listen
who may not before have heard
the joy of eternal bards
the sound of the kantele!"

I still have two presents unopened. I have a feeling I may have good reason to open them very soon. This is my hope.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Food from the blind

There are two resturants in Berlin that have blind waiters and you have to eat your food in the dark. One is called "Dunkelrestaurant Berlin" and the other one is called "Nocti Vagus"

There is also a cafe for the deaf, and an ultra-trendy establishment, run by a slightly crazy Argentinean, where you eat what you're given, they have no menu, then pay what you think the meal is worth.

For some reason I like this novel approch to eating. I have had my own experiance in Italy of eating in a resturant where you have to eat what the chef makes for you. It was in Trieste Italy and the owner was "Frank the Pig"

But how do I arrive at writing something about resturants for the blind. Well it all started off as an experiment getting CD's from the library. I decided to go in to the CD racks and pull out 7 CDs at random, I was acting as though I was blind. I did not look at the covers or the artists, I just blindly took them and checked them out.

Out of the 7 CDs there was one gem by a singer from the Faroe Islands. His name is Teitur, and he sings in english. His music is very poetic and lyrical, and I enjoyed the soft melodies very much... and so it was when I was finding out more about Teitur that I found out that he wanted information about these "blind resturants" in Berlin. So a strange little circle relating to blindness was completed. Going from the blind selection of CDs to the "blind resturants" in Belin.

In our lives we hate to fly blind. Everything has to be planned, and thought out well in advance. The calories in the food we eat are all calculated. The % fat in our milk. It is almost as if our well being is weighed out for us. Excess tips the balance in one direction. Frugality tips it in the opposite direction. We leave ourselves very little room to be surprised by goodness. We miss out on good music because we are not prepared in any way to pick up a CD by someone from the Faroe islands with a name like Teitur. We are not prepared to go blindly into a resturant, and on trust, eat what the chef prepares.

The principle of our lives is one of limitations, and by having that outlook we miss being kissed by the joy of the unexpected.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Dancing fingers.

So I wanted to do a video for Noa on his birthday. A short capture from the Webcam, and the idea was to have dancing fingers. All dancing fingers should have black patent shoes so I painted my fingernails black. I stuffed a hanky up my sleave and let it hang down so that it looked like a skirt and then I made my fingers dance to the samba, and did some provocative high kicks so you could see that my fingers were not wearing any underwear.

The dancing was out of sync with the music and most of the steps were just a blur... what do you expect from a cheap webcam, but the most disapointing thing was that once it was made it was too large to send as an email attachment.

But that is not the end of the story. I didn't wash the ink off my nails and I became conscious of this fact while in the library at Iso Omena when I noticed a couple of gothgirls were sniggering at my black painted fingernails hovering over the mouse. I would have thought it was completely uncool for gothgirls to snigger. If you are pale and white and dressed in swaths of black lace then it does your image absolutely no good to snigger behind a lily white hand cupped over you mouth and nose.

Then at the supermarket checkout the cashier had a David Beckham diamond stud in his ear. I griped the pen to sign the receipt, and all of a sudden I wished I was ambidextrous. The cashier observing my black painted nails, sucked both of his cheeks in and pouted his lips. I gave him the benifit of the doubt and construed this to mean he was trying to control a snigger and not that he was flirting with me.

When I got home I took a picture of my painted nails and then scrubed the ink off my fingernails

Dancing fingers video

Friday, March 11, 2005

Singing the blues away.

Originally uploaded by niznoz.
When I was young I was always listening to the radio, waiting for the song and the words to be broadcast that would change my life. There was this expectancy that somebody somewhere will put words and music together that would transform me into something better. It has never happened, but I am still waiting, still eager for it to happen.

I ask myself can music influence things in the world, can it affect change in peoples lives. Did John Lennon's "Give peace a chance" stop the war in Viet Nam? Would the war have draged on longer if he had never written that song?

Or what of the "Singing Revolution" in Estonia when over one quarter of a million people meet in the open air to sing songs like "Koit" (Dawn Is Breakin' Through), Laulu Mõju [the Influence of a Song], Laul Põhjamaast [Hymn of the Nordic Lands] Nukurava Nukulaul [the Puppet People's Puppet Song [from the Song Cycl].

Previously in Hungary and Checkoslovakia, any attempt to become independant were brutally crushed by soviet tanks, but in 1988 the Estonians sang their way to freedom.

In the Song Fields of Tallin, night after night, thousands of people turned up to sing in the open air. The singing turned into a political rally, ending with over 300,000 Estonians voicing their demand for self-government through song. The Estonians say "We sang ourselves free."

A good song is no more than the expression of a truth that we hold deep in our hearts. The utterance of the words, the voice releasing the melody, gives birth to hope, and new life.

Puddock in a pool.

Eye with blue monitor spot.
Originally uploaded by HyperBob.
I was thinking about my father today, and more especially his love for poetry. Having been brought up in a house with no TV the main passtime was reading, and at a young age I got a fair bit of exposure to the poems of Robert Burns.

My father went for the poems that looked at social inequalities, hypocricy, conflict between church and state, the freedoms of the individual. Who would have thought Burns could sum up the problems of old age in a couple of lines

"But see him on the edge of life
with cares and sorrows torn.
Then age and want that ill matched pair
prove man was made to mourn."

When he was struck down with dementia, when he he could not remember the day of the week, and he had difficulty remembering what had been said to him a few minutes before, he would often perform these amazing feats of recitation and faultlessly recite a poem he had learnt as a boy. Perhaps he would do it to reassure himself that his memory was still functioning properly.

But the one poem that brought a twinkle to his eye and made him laugh was a very short one. I don't know who wrote it, perhaps he made it up himself.

"When Rob is in a rage,
He's like a lion in a cage.
But when his rage begins to cool,
He's like a puddock in a pool."

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Roope and Maija listen out for scrumjax

Listening out for scrumjax
Originally uploaded by HyperBob.
If Scrumjax is anything like Slack then I want you to cut me some. We all need some slack in our lives, especially when things get too tight. Some people don't have any slack and they are screwed up fit to burst.

I want slack in my trousers. I want slack in my bank account. When I am eating I want my food spiced with slack, and when I am out walking I want to do it is a slack way.

I am more that willing to give my children all the slack they want. You just can't have too much slack. It comes in handy to give away as presents. Having plenty of slack at a birthday party helps things to run smoothly.

So cut me some slack Jack!!!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Shaggy dog story #2

Shaggy dog story #2
Originally uploaded by HyperBob.
We did have a dog once. It was a ”foster-dog”. That should have set the ALARM BELLS RINGING.
She was a BITCH… a fast black BITCH.
She was officially known as a Lapland reindeer dog, and from the way her eyes popped out of her head, and her tongue hung out the side of her mouth you would think she’d eaten A KILO OF COCAINE FOR BREAKFAST.
This dog was CRAZY with a capital “K”
She wanted to RULE EVERYTHING, and I do mean EVERYTHING.
Dogs, cats, kids, birds, ANYTHING THAT MOVED
Take her to the enclosed dog park and in a second she would have rounded up all the other dogs and put them in A CORNER.
If another dog did not cooperate she would jump on their backs and KNOCK THEM to THE GROUND.
Great Danes, Alsatians, dogs twice her size had to OBEY.
She was a PSYCHO. She needed to have everything UNDER CONTROL.
She would have herded stones IF THEY HAD MOVED.
She had to have something to herd. If she had penned all of the dogs she would start on any LOOSE KIDS RUNNING AROUND.
If she had worn stockings she would have had their GUTS FOR GARTERS.
If she had played golf she would have had their GONNADS FOR GOLFBALLS.
She had ATTITUDE, and would not be messed with.

Tricks? Yeah she could do tricks especially at the DINNER TABLE.
For Ilona that bitch would SHAKE HER HEAD to get something to eat,
For Patrik she would YAWN,
for Riina she would ROLL OVER,
for Raisa she would do a FORELEG STRETCH
When we had visitor around that bitch would get in front of them and do infinite combinations of the ROLL OVER, YAWN, FORELEG STRETCH, HEAD SHAKE
What is WRONG with that BITCH they would say.
We’d say SHE’S PSYCHO.
Let’s just say me and the wife were sitting down for a meal. A Friday night together without the kids, and a nice roast chicken on the table. The door bell rings. I get up to answer it. It is somebody for Maija. I call her to the door. While at the door we hear a clatter of plates falling from the table and that BITCH is standing on top of the table with HALF A CHICKEN in her mouth and a look of dumb bemusement on her face as if to say “WHAT?”

Run? That bitch could run ALL DAY and never get tired.
Took her to the forest once, she was all the time straining at the LEASH TO BE FREE.
Released her and she shot off like a FLASH OF BLACK LIGHTENING
Called for her to come. She came within 3 metres and smiled. That look on her face said YOU SHOULD NEVER HAVE LET ME OFF HE LEASH.
For THREE HOURS SHE TEASED ME. I hate being made a fool of by a BITCH.
Every time I tried to catch her she was off like a BLACK BLUR ON THE CANVAS OF FORREST FLOOR.
So humiliating. I had no luck in catching her. If I had fallen into a BARREL OF TITS I WOULD COME UP SUCKING MY THUMB. My luck was that bad.
Sex!!! That was her downfall. Another man with a dog on a leash stopped to observe THE MAN AND HIS DOG COMEDY SHOW.
And when dogs get together they like to do a bit of BUTT-SMOOCHING.
That gave me the opportunity to grab her and put her on the leash, but the look in her eye to the other dog said TAKE ME I’M YOURS, that three hour run in the forest WAS ONLY A WARM UP.

We don’t have a dog now and if I do take a picture of a dog it is a DUMB DOG.
A dog that is wearing a HAT
Dogs that wear hats can’t be ASS-SMOKING SMART to let themselves get rigged up like that, so you are safe to take their pictures, but I always keep a wary eye on my back in case a BLACK BITCH STREEKS from nowhere, jumps on my back and HERDS ME INTO A CORNER.

Monday, March 07, 2005

efatima:colour and detail

efatima:colour and detail
Originally uploaded by HyperBob.
efatima from the UAE was a very active photographer on Flickr. Over the weekend her account was deleted, and all of her beautiful photos disappeared.

Now if you wanted to recall what she has done it is impossible. I had a few of her photos maked as favourites but even the thumnails have gone. On her blog site all the places that used to have images are now gaping holes. Only her words remain, and I thought I would save at least something she had written before her words might disappear as well. Her photos were very vibrant with lots of colour saturation and she was very interested in minute details, so the text I chose was about her vision of a small world.

If the earth were only a few feet in diameter, floating a few feet above a field somewhere, people would come from everywhere to marvel at it. They would walk around it, marveling at its big pools of water, its little pools and the water flowing between them, the bumps on it, the holes in it, the very thin layer of gas surrounding it, the water suspended in the gas, all the creatures walking around the surface of the ball, and at the creatures in the water. People would declare it precious because it was the only one, and they would protect it so that it would not be hurt. The ball would be the greatest wonder known, and they would come to behold it, to be healed, to gain knowledge, to know beauty and to wonder how it could be. People would love it, and defend it with their lives, because they would somehow know that their lives, their own roundness, could be nothing without it. If the Earth were only a few feet in diameter.

-efatima (Sunday, November 17, 2002 blog)

Black dog with blue boat

Black dog with blue boat
Originally uploaded by HyperBob.
Trawler frozen in the ice at Espoonlahti, with man walking a black dog on the frozen sea.

Painting Box
by Mike heron

When the morning of your eyes comes waking through my shadows
Leaving just a trace of twilight sleep,
I whisper to the baby raindrops playing on my window,
And tell them gently this is not the time that they should weep.

For somewhere in my mind there is a painting box,
I have every color there it's true.
Just lately when I look inside my painting box,
I seem to pick the colors of you.

The purple sail above me catches all the strength of summer.
Fishes stop and ask me where I am bound.
I smile and shake my head and say my little ship is sinking,
But I kind of like the sea that I'm on, and I don't mind if I do drown.

For somewhere in my mind there is a painting box,
I have every color there it's true.
Just lately when I look inside my painting box,
I seem to pick the colors of you.

Old Boy (did you see what I just did there)

Walking on the frozen sea at Espoonlahti is something I enjoy. I has got something to do with the vast expanse of snow, and the equally vast sky that is blindingly blue.

The other thing that makes it so good is the air. It is better than a meal, or at least when you have done a five kilometer walk and breathed all that fresh air a meal tastes so much better.

What do you see when you are out walking on the sea? Well lots of other people doing the same thing. Families out for walks, kids being pulled behind on a sledge. Old couples walking slowly over the ice, Young couples skiing fast in the skating style, middle aged couples skiing in the traditional nordic style. And then the ice is pock-marked with 15 cm holes where the ice fishers have been.

My own plan is to walk quite near the shoreline and look for a hot spot. This is a place that is sheltered from the wind, and for some magical reason is miraculously warmer than out on the open sea.

The hot spot always seems to have a huge granite stone you can lean on, or an upturned boat with a black pitch bottom that absorbs the suns rays. It is a pleasure to sit in a hot spot and watch the movement of people out on the ice. They often look like matchstick people from a L.S. Lowry painting. A hot spot is at its best when someone fires up a sauna on the shoreline and the blue smoke smell of resinous spruce permeates the air.

The sun makes young people move fast, and it makes old people sit down.