"I haven't got a husband (or even a boyfriend), I haven't graduated from the University yet (getting there, though), I haven't got a steady job, I don't own my apartment, I don't have a dog or a nice car (but at least a car of some sort, that's good) and what else... Sounds like I'm a major looser. :) But the heck with it, I'm not! I'm just working my way up to a proper middle class life and it seems to take a while. Next year this time the situation may be completely different, which is a motivating thought."
This is what I wrote a year ago, a couple of days before my birthday. I'm finding it a bit sad that nothing has in fact changed during the past year (well, I do have a job now, but it's only for this one year). Optimism, however, seems to come to me quite naturally and that's why I'm willing to think that it might not be impossible for the things to change within the next year. At least it would be nice to find someone to celebrate my 29th birthday with, come next October 21st. Preferably someone who looks like Ioan Gruffudd, heh. Not many of those around, unfortunately. Must keep searching, then. Tune in next year for an update on this front... (Did I mention my specialty is extreme optimism combined with a peculiarly gloomy pessimism about certain things in my life?)
I did end up having an awesome birthday, though. I even managed to solve the problem I had about the clothes earlier. And to top it all, there was a member of Sonata Arctica who had his birthday on Friday too, and so I got to listen to a full Hartwall Areena singing "Happy birthday to you" on my birthday. Who cares there were only a couple of people singing it to me and not to Henrik! ;)
Nightwishing, part II
So, as is quite obvious, we (me and Maarit, Petra, Liisa and Mikko) went to Helsinki on Friday to see Nightwish perform. What an amazingly great tour finale concert they had for us. The whole Hartwall Areena was packed full and after Sonata Arctica had played their bit, the anticipation and excitement among the crowds was intense. I don't think I've ever experienced anything like it before. I believe the cameraman may have captured some good crowd moments for the upcoming End of an Era DVD (which will, by the way, be on my shopping list when it comes out - we might be on it, too, thanks to our excellent seats...) , if he understood to film the audience before Nightwish came on stage - there was a huge human wave going around the arena, started by a few fans sitting right behind us (we naturally went along with it right from the beginning). The buzz was exhilarating. I kept laughing out loud, because I just felt so happy and excited at that moment.
And surely enough, that's how I felt throughout the rest of the evening. We did have seats, but we sure as heck didn't sit down while Nightwish was playing. There were massive pyrotechnics, impressive videomaterials as backgrounds, a rain of confetti above the audience (not a wall of real water this time as there was last year), stunningly gorgeous clothes worn by Tarja, a touching performance by John Two Hawks - everything boiling down to the feeling of pure energy that flowed on stage and in the audience. Tarja even sang the heartbreakingly beautiful solo song, Kuolema tekee taiteilijan, during which I was almost in tears.
After such a fantastic evening, it was shocking to hear the news from my friend Heli this morning. Nightwish has fired Tarja and is now going to find a new female vocalist, who's going to be performing already on their next album. After some adamant clicking I was able to get to their stuffy website this morning and read the English version of the letter Tuomas and the other guys had written to Tarja to announce the fact that she won't be working with the band anymore.
I can't help but feel so sorry for them all. For Tarja, because this probably isn't how she wanted to be moving on from the band and for Tuomas (and the others), because they had to make a decision like this. I also do think the guys deserve an Oscar for their performance on Friday. There was absolutely no signs of any problems or conflicts when they played, although they knew what was going to happen after the final bows. My god, how awful the situation must've felt like to them, even though the final concert of the tour must've been a bittersweet experience in itself. And Tarja of course had no idea what was brewing in the minds of the others. Such drama, such drama.
I'm glad I was there to see the final performance of Nightwish with Tarja as the vocalist. I hope the new vocalist, whoever she might be, will turn out to be at least as talented as Tarja is. I also hope that Tarja will be able to build her own career without the band, without being known only for being the lead vocalist of an opera-metal band. I, for one, am already waiting for her solo Christmas album. But most of all, I do wish Tuomas, Marco, Emppu and Jukka will be able to continue their musical dream with Nightwish. Best of luck in the future, guys. Change is sometimes inevitable, let's hope it was for the best in this situation.
In addition to Friday's little trip to Helsinki I made the same trip again yesterday. I had a wedding to attend to and it was a bit too complicated to not come home between the two separate occasions. Yesterday the trip also included a couple of hours of shopping in Ikea, because Kaisa and Tero needed to find some stuff for their new home. I was pretty determined not to spend any money going in and was able to stay determined for at least three minutes. Dear lord, what a place that store is. Luckily some of my determination lasted and I only bought a bedcover and this year's first Christmas present, at the total price of less than 20 euros. Go me and my budget. :)
Anyhow, the wedding. Once again, a celebration that felt and looked exactly like the happy couple. The two handsome grooms (yes, this was a gay wedding) had planned a wedding reception that combined good food, nice speeches, dancing and friendship. Very relaxed and warm celebration of their union. I didn't attend the follow-up party, which was probably loads of fun, but I felt like I had a very nice evening anyhow.
What I did think about during the reception was us Finns and giving speeches. There were a couple of excellent speeches delivered, and then some slightly less excellent speeches. The better speeches were well prepared (I think the mistress of ceremonies, Mari, outdid herself this time - she spoke very eloquently) and some of the other speeches were just ad lib at the scene. Which is admirable in the sense that the person actually has the courage to stand up and speak in a public situation (not all can do that, you know). It's also nice because you know the words do come from the speaker's heart when there hasn't been any preparations.
On the other hand, though, I think that all speeches should be planned somehow. By quickly outlining whatever it is you want to say, you avoid the unfortunate rambling. And after two or three speeches that began with "Well, I don't know exactly what I could say to the newlyweds..." (Me: So why are you talking then? You don't need to give that as an excuse, because you've obviously thought of something to say since you're standing there.) and continued with "People usually speak about love and relationships in these situations, but I'm not going to since the couple is not in any way usual..." (Me: People at this wedding usually seem to not speak about love and relationships, I honestly think you could've made an exception to the rule. No? Oh well, it was just a thought.) I began to think that a well prepared speech about love and marriage would've been a show-stopper, something special. Instead we did hear many amusing tales about how different people had met the grooms, which I felt was a bit unimaginative after the same pattern had been repeated by several speakers.
Anyhow, I'm very happy for Tino and Tero. I truly hope their union will be full of love and respect, because that's what good relationships are about. And I'm very glad that they have very outgoing friends, who have the guts to speak in public, prepared or not. It seemed to tell a lot about the general atmosphere of the reception - a lot of acceptance in the air last night.
Kingdom of Heaven revisited
Ah, the ever so wonderful KoH came out on DVD and found its way to my collection, naturally. I was very disappointed because the director's cut didn't come out at the same time, because now I've got to get that version later and become what the movie industry needs - an idiot who spends loads of money purchasing the different versions of the movie. Oh well, I can't not buy the longer version of the movie, just as simple as that.
Anyhow. We watched the movie again with Tytti on Thursday evening. Accompanied by shamefully sinful amounts of chocolaty treats and coffee. The movie was as good as I remembered. And it was nice to be able to comment on different things right when the thoughts came to mind, after all we both had already seen the movie twice.
My favorite scenes remained mostly the same. I love the aerial view of Balian and his men riding to battle in front of the Kerak, as it instantly shows the desperation of the situation and on the other hand the courage (and training!) the riders have.
And the scene where Balian surrenders Jerusalem to Salah-ad-Din. All the meanings of just those few words. "What is Jerusalem worth?" "Nothing." "Everything." If that isn't at the core of the movie, then I don't know what is. It also got us pondering about the world as we know it now. There are these three major religions that all claim the same city as being holy - what would our world be like if Jerusalem hadn't had this role in history? Whose bright idea was it in the first place to have everything happen in this one town? Or to be more precise, whose smart idea was it to think that people could actually be civilized about sharing a cultural past?
I did, again, end up pondering about the character of Salah-ad-Din in the movie. I'm so glad he's portrayed as he is, without making him a "bad guy" of the story. I think he must've been a truly great person in his days, and it'd be fascinating to go back in time to meet him. At one point some years ago I did even think about doing research of the crusades from the saracens' pov, but since I speak even less Arabic than I do Italian or Latin, the idea had to be buried for now. All the more interesting I found the piece of news a friend of mine shared with me yesterday at the wedding. He's planning on doing a research about Salah-ad-Din in the future, after he's learned Arabic. (Can I just say at this point that I want his brains when it comes to languages? He made it sound so easy - and for him it probably is, too. *sigh*) And I think I can promise him he's already sold a copy of the book when it comes out. I'll surely want it for my crusader and islamic history collection. :)
Ah, but about the DVD yet. The extras, that is. Nice ones about the making of the movie, but I didn't much like the first of the history docs they have on the second disc. It was a document made for the History Channel and I got quite annoyed with it. But not so much with the contents as the structure of the document and the host of the show. Ick. The same dull graphics of fortifications and I suppose Jerusalem were repeated time and again, blech. I got so tired by watching it (I watched it already a week ago, and not with Tytti) that when I began to watch the other history doc (which seemed to be slightly better), I ended up falling asleep. Oh well, if the other document doesn't turn out to be any better after all, I won't have any problems selling my copy of the DVD to someone when I need to buy the director's cut...
So there. A proper update of random thoughts. Now I'm going to go and enjoy an evening of doing nothing. Wonderful. Next week promises to be a busy one again, as usual. Meetings, essays to grade, social commitments... Expect the next blog entry some day in December... :)