Nyt on yö. Minä kuljen yksin tyhjiä katuja. En tiedä, mihin olen menossa, hyvä kun tiedän mistä olen tulossa, ja ruumiissani soi tuhat kaunista ja voimakasta sävelmää, minun koko menneisyyteni, ja silmissäni loistavat tuhannen ihmisen silmät, silmien takana tuntemattomuus, tätä naista ei tunne kukaan, se ei ole vielä täysin syntynytkään, ei kukaan tiedä mitä se on tulevaisuudessa.
- Mirka Lattunen
El a întins spre mine o frunză ca o mână cu degete. Eu am întins spre el o mână ca o frunză cu dinţi. El a întins spre mine o ramură ca un braţ. Eu am întins spre el braţul ca o ramură. El schi-a înclinat spre mine trunchiul ca un umăr. Eu mi-am înclinat spre el umărul ca un trunchi noduros. Auzeam cum se încetineşte sângele meu suind ca seva. Eu am trecut prin el. El a trecut prin mine. Eu am rămas un pom singur. El un om singur
- Nichita Stănescu
Kunst ist nicht ein Spiegel, den man der Wirklichkeit vorhält, sondern ein Hammer, mit dem man sie gestaltet.
- Karl Marx
The Hermit’s Song
A hiding tuft, a green-barked yew tree Is my roof, While nearby a great oak tree keeps me Tempest-proof.
I can pick my fruit from an apple Like an Inn, Or can fill my fist where hazels Shut me in.
A clear well beside me offers Best of drink, And there glows a bed of cresses Near its brink.
Pigs and Goats, the friendliest neighbours, Nestle near, Wild swine come, or broods of badgers, Grazing deer.
All the gentry of the county Come to call! And the foxes come behind them, Best of all.
To what meals the woods invite me All about! There are water, herbs and cresses, Salmon, trout.
A clutch of eggs, sweet mast and honey Are my meat, Heathberries and Whortleberries For a sweet.
All that one could ask for comfort Round me grows, There are hips and haws and strawberries, Nuts and sloes.
And when summer spreads its mantle What a sight! Marjoram and leeks and pignuts, Juicy, bright.
Dainty redbreasts briskly forage Every bush Round and round my hut there flutter Shallow, thrush.
Bees and beetles, music-makers, Croon and strum; Geese pass over, duck in autumn, Dark streams hum.
Angry wren, officious linnet And black-cap, All industrious, and the woodpecker’s Sturdy tap.
From the sea the gulls and herons Flutter in, While in upland heather rises The grey hen.
In the year’s most brilliant weather Heifers low Through green fields, not driven nor beaten, Tranquil, slow.
In wreathed boughs the wind is whispering, Skies are blue, Swans call, river water falling Is calling too.
This is the air vent in the shower. It leads straight out, and it rains in through it. All kinds of stuff fall into it, as well, as you can see. Anyway, the blues and whites in this composition just blew me away, that's why I took the picture.
This is our pet fly Aznavour. It's the least blurry picture I was able to make of him before he took off and started flying in circles under the lamp again ... He's a well-behaved fly, albeit a little crazy.
Today I found a very interesting book by Judy Chicago and Edward Lucie-Smith at the library: Women and Art - Contested Territory. Chicago writes in one passage about the challenges faced by women artists confronting the iconographic traditions of art history: "Am I the artist or the model?" one wonders, "the gazer or the gazee?"
Yesterday I had been browsing the 'portrait' section of the Russian photography site photosight.ru (my favourite destination when hunting desktop wallpapers), looking for suggestions on what my comics heroine Eva could look like if she was a real human being. While I soon found two possible looks (1, 2) for Eva, I had no luck at all regarding her brother Aeron, because ... there were VERY few *male* portraits.
On the five first pages of the 'portrait' section right now, there are 160 pictures, not counting the four 'most popular today' at the top. They feature:
18 children 36 men 4 couple or group portraits where both genders are represented 102 women
... Needless to say, the crushing majority of these portraits of women show women that are 'beautiful' (or 'beautified', as in this interesting article at tegmentum.net). It is noteworthy that there is a section at the site called 'glamour', with more 'glamourous' fashion-style portraits, and a section called 'nude', with 'erotic' photographs, and that those in the 'portrait' section should be considered more 'down to earth' or 'neutral' than the ones in the two other sections mentioned.
At photosight.ru, refreshing exceptions exist, but they are more like exceptions that confirm the rule. The same photographer that made the photograph behind the link has in her other portraits for the most part pictured women, often naked and/or 'beautified'.
Whereas I would much rather beautify men and only men, heterosexual woman as I am ...
We were going shopping, but since Mihai had not been outside the apartment for a couple of weeks or so, we felt like taking a few detours. First, we played bicycle tag on a big, empty parking lot, and then we went to the swan pond near Gunnesbo, in the vicinities of which we had found Rudolfo back in May.
The black one was particularly stunning. I'm amazed at how my camera (Olympus C-765) was able to make sharp pictures even with full 10x zoom and no tripod ...
The last time we were here, the swan mum was brooding on eggs, and the swan dad was protecting her ferociously. Yesterday, we were pleasantly surprised to see that they had raised five kids from those eggs.
Apparently irresponsible (?) people were feeding them, because when we went to a place where the rhubarb-like vegetation on the edges of the pond was thoroughly trampled down, the swans immediately started swimming towards us. The children were still swimming in a line, although they were almost full-grown, sizewise ...
When they had gotten near us, they waited around for us to throw them something to eat, and looked a bit confused when they didn't get anything.
Thistles & wheat.
Mihai the environmentalist visionary.
The duck children are learning to fly. (I tried to make the picture a bit darker, so that you would actually *see* the moon. That's why it looks so crappy.)
DN På Stan har som fortlöpande inslag "Hej Konsument", en enkät där diverse borgare talar ut om sina senaste impulsköp och favoritlyxartiklar. Och då måste jag ju bara besvara den också.
Hej Konsument: Tinet Elmgren
Senaste impulsköp: Jag minns inte. Det måste ha varit åratal sedan. Okej, kanske "Sovjet i Bild", en fantastiskt rolig bok från 1946 som jag hittade på Tradera någon gång i maj. Bästa promenad: Med gräddbullen Misu på Orust. Favoritdryck: Vatten. Mmm ... Äter lyxmiddag på: Hemma. Favoritgata: Ehh ... Zvezdnoi bul'var i Moskva? Fast det är kanske ingen riktig gata i den bemärkelsen, även om åtminstone rymdfartsmuseet (i monumentets sockel) torde ha en adress på den gatan. Bästa förfestmusiken: Förfest? Vad är det? Vad gör man då??? Reser helst till: Platser där jag inte har varit förut. Bästa mikromaten: Potatis? (Övermikrad, så att den är hård och torr som ett massivt chips, och Mihai tycker att den är cancerframkallande.) En bra gå bort-present: Jag håller inte på med sånt där. När folk får presenter ska man verkligen mena det. Favoritlyxartikel: Jag har inget sånt borgerligt skit. Senaste upptäckt i Stockholm: SPX05. Favvosajt: Det växlar med årstidernas och intressenas skiftningar. Just nu kanske midnighteye.com, schweinefreunde.de eller kommiekomiks.com ... Favoritförort: Hjällbo. Fikar gärna på: Det egna hemmet, eller hos min kära syster, som dock är i Finland just nu. Favoritgrönsak: Gurkan är oslagbar, men det är inte alla exemplar i Sverige som smakar gott. Tyvärr. I Ryssland och Rumänien (och förmodligen många andra länder där folk odlar dem på ett vettigt sätt) brukar däremot de flesta gurkor smaka helt underbart. Favoritfärg: Svart. Favoritdjur: Svårt att välja. Jag identifierar mig mest med de intelligenta och känsliga grisarna, medan hundar är roliga att ludda med, hästar är kul att rida på och katter är galna i mig när jag jobbar som tidningsbud. Det är styggt att tämja vilda djur, så jag beundrar kråkor och korpar på avstånd. Bil: Nej tack. Världens bästa just nu levande konstnär: Argh ... en omöjlig fråga. Det finns så många som är bra på sitt eget sätt, och som inte går att jämföra med varandra. Rockstjärna jag vill träffa: Jag vill inte träffa några rockstjärnor. Även om jag skulle gilla deras musik inebär det inte att jag automatiskt kommer att tycka att de är intressanta som människor. Favvoskor: Hmm ... Mina getas? Fast de gör oväsen när jag går nerför trappor. Och a) jag bor på femte våningen i ett hus utan hiss, b) jag ogillar oväsen ... Mina kinesiska skor i röd brokad då? Nja, de är väldigt fina och bekväma, men de stinker tjära. (Och väcker mer eller mindre ångestfyllda barndomsminnen hos Mihai, eftersom alla gympaskor i Rumänien före 1989 var tjärstinkande billigimport från Kina.) Okej, jag har inga favvoskor. Modeförebild: Historiska kung fu-filmer. Mest överskattade affär: Jag orkar inte svara på den sortens kapitalistfråga. Börsen? Det dyraste jag köpt: Min dator kanske (sex papp). Mode jag aldrig vill se igen: Det är väl upp till var och en hur man väljer att klä sig, oavsett hur modet ser ut. Alltför många klär sig utan stil eller personlighet, och det är jäkligt tråkigt. Favoritprodukt från Systembolaget: Jag har ALDRIG handlat på Systemet!!! Ha! Bästa fyllekäket: Jag har ALDRIG varit full!!!! Ha!!!! Dansar helst till: Nirvanas "Smells Like Teen Spirit" och Jimmy Eat Worlds "Pain" får mig att *snudda vid tanken* att mosha loss. Jag dansar aldrig, om inte någon faktiskt lyckas övertala mig. ("Någon" = Mihai) Senast gnolade: "Bob Dylan's Dream" Senaste fyndet: Herrbyxor i grå tweed funna i ett soprum vid Delphi. Stank kattpiss, men det gick ju att tvätta bort ... De är tragiskt nog slitna på cykelsadelytan, men annars är de hur coola som helst. Favoritprodukt på apoteket: Aspirin! Mmm ... Fulaste färgen på kläder: Allt beror på person och stil. Skitbeige, marinblått och jeanstyg ser enormt motbjudande ut på folk som klär sig i ekonom-borgar-business-politiker-stil, men kan se helt okej ut i andra samanhang. Vita skjortor är skrämmande på svenska slipsnissar, medan den här japanske ynglingen ser hur attraktiv ut som helst (kanske för att han påminner om Mihai, som också ser väldigt attraktiv ut i vita skjortor).
Since my theme of the moment seems to be Japanese cinema, I might just as well mention another excellent film I watched the other day. It's directed by Katsuhito Ishii this time, based on a comic book by Minetaro Mochizuki.
People who don't like (or understand) it say it's "just another Tarantino rip-off", but while there might be a certain influence, it's surely a good and unique film as it is. (Be that as it may, apparently Tarantino really liked this film, and suggested that Ishii direct the animated episode in Kill Bill.)
The story in Sharkskin Man and Peachhip Girl is about two people on the run – the nerdy hotel receptionist Toshiko Momojiri (her last name literally means 'peachhip') wants to escape her perverted manager, who wants to force her to marry him, and mobster Samehada (= 'sharkskin') has stolen syndicate money.
Their paths cross when Toshiko (Sie Kohinata) is driving away from the hotel, and spots an almost naked man* – Samehada (Tadanobu Asano) – running along the road. This distracts her to the extent that she has an accident, ramming the car of the mobsters pursuing him.
Samehada's former gang is made up of a bunch of eccentric personalities. For instance, boss Tanuki (played by Ittoku Kishibe, as usual) collects enamel posters, and is very sensitive about people making fun of his hobby, while Mitsuru (Shingo Tsurumi) has superior smelling skills, but doesn't like going in the water, because it will ruin his special suit (which he claims is bulletproof). Samehada's best friend Sawada (Susumu Terajima, whom I swear I've seen in almost every Japanese film I've watched during the past year or two**), who is also forced to help in the chase, seems almost too plain to really fit in among the other yakuza …
The film is bizarre and wacky, but also beautiful and sad. I was still crying days after I had watched it ... In these damn Japanese stories, people really do die – and not just the 'bad guys'. As a matter of fact, there aren’t really any entirely bad guys.
______________________ * Yes, Tadanobu Asano is pretty hairy for someone mostly Japanese!! ** This is not only true of Terajima. In modern Japanese cinema, the same actors seem to keep acting in the same kind of films over and over again. In an interview, Tadanobu Asano was asked whether his frequent appearances in several dozens of films and commercials isn't a bit overkill, to which he replied: "In Japan unfortunately our movie audience is not big enough for my performances to become overkill. Not enough people go to see Japanese movies for that to happen."
Due to a misfocused trailer and some misunderstanding reviews for Ichi the Killer (making its violence seem dead serious and ubiquitous), I had long been hesitating to watch any of Takashi Miike's films.
Having finally dared to watch Ichi the Killer a few days ago, I was even a bit angry that I had let myself be influenced so much. Yes, it *is* pretty violent. But while there is some sexual violence that isn't the least funny or entertaining in any way, a lot of the film is really hilarious. Kakihara (played by Tadanobu Asano) is one of the funniest and most sympathetic characters I've seen in any film for quite some time. I felt genuinely sorry for him when Ichi didn't want to kill him in the end ...
Yup, watching Takeshi Kitano's Violent Cop was infinitely more disturbing than Ichi the Killer, because the former film really was dead serious, while the latter was funny, albeit in a sick way.
So, anyway, I also watched Miike's The City of Lost Souls. Since a lot of Miike fans seem to hate it, I figured it would be a good film to watch early on in my exploration of this director's works, so I wouldn't have any too big expectations about how it *should* be.
It's a fast-paced and (literally) explosive love story about the Brazilian gangster Mario and the Chinese hairdresser Kei (who is a really tough gal), who get into trouble with insane yakuza and Chinese mob bosses obsessed with ping-pong and bondage. It's the kind of love story I like.
Most of the film is set in Shinjuku, which in this film is depicted in a kind of reversed-Amélie way: while the fantasy Montmartre of Amélie is as ethnically homogenous as possible, the fantasy Shinjuku of The City of Lost Souls is as ethnically diverse as possible.
The last line of the film - "Must be Latin blood. Hot tempered." - could be seen as an interesting view from 'the other side'. Usually, it's the Japanese that are perceived as strange and inexplicable, but here, it seems that the feeling is mutual - Japanese might not always understand, for instance, those mysterious Latinos.
Yeah, and Mario is played by Teah, whom I wrote about earlier in connection with 1-Ichi. He is equally good-looking in this film, although it seems his private parts are kind of small (you can't see anything of them dangling around from behind). *sigh*
Kei is played by Michelle Reis, also very good-looking. She has previously played Jet Li's love interest in Fong Sai-Yuk, and I must say that the role as Kei becomes her a lot more. She kicks major ass.
A moment ago, I suddenly heard a noise from inside my computer. It could have resembled a small explosion. It could also have resembled what I always imagine a gun with a silencer to sound like when it goes "PAK!" in the comic books (the sound is from the hammer). In any case, I prepared for the worst.
I shut down my computer and opened the side. At first, I could see nothing wrong, except this little piece of plastic (about 1 cm wide) on the floor:
I looked around some more, until I realised one of the straps holding the cooler in place was hanging loose.
Hmm ... I wonder if I have a guarantee on that one. I had to exchange the original cooler for this one, because it made a terrible noise, and I kept the paperwork for it ... except it's all in my basement in Kävlinge.
I guess it could also help if I, hrm, removed the dust from the computer's inside a bit more often ... this is an old and very dusty apartment.