Tuesday, March 9, 2010

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010
On Tuesday evenings I like to underachieve on many fronts. I tend to mooch around the apartment, insignificantly, wondering what’s for dinner while knowing full well that it’s entirely up to me what’s for dinner, or is there a dinner at all. As the prevailing weather conditions do not exactly encourage repetitive visits to the grocery store, it’s sometimes imperative to draw open the hidden cupboard of imagination and creativity if the more prosaic and not so metaphorical cupboards of actual foodstuffs have been discovered to not contain anything much. As was the case today.

So on Tuesday evenings I sometimes like to prepare a most exquisite dish known as The Soup Of Bleakness, where all kinds of things found from around the kitchen are placed in a saucepan and cooked in boiling water until the Supper is Ready. Tonight I was faced with an almost record-breaking shortage of possible ingredients, so the soup turned out to be exceptionally bleak. The imaginary aspects seriously outweighed the nutritional ones and as no cornucopias are available for purchasing online at the moment, only option remains, to visit the groceries any day now, and ruin the perfectly barren emptiness of the fridge.

On Tuesday evenings I occasionally also like to list things, like this:

“Come Dance With Me” by Russell Hoban. Not his best book but gripping enough to make me outrageously prolong my lunch hours and coffee breaks at work, in order to finish the book as soon as possible and see how it ends. It ended very much in a manner a Russell Hoban novel often ends, and was a pleasure to read. Now starting on “Deeper” by Jeff Long. Here’s what the author himself says of the book. I enjoyed the chillingness of the first part, “The Descent”, but am not sure about this new one yet. The further I read it the more it reminds me of the way Dan Simmons’ Hyperion/Endymion novels slowly fell flat on their literary faces and good ideas got overwhelmed by not so good ones.

Lest I forget. I can’t be bothered with pedantic listing of wines anymore but these ones were too good to just let go like that.

Pata Negra Gran Reserva, a most curious and surprising red wine from Spain. Tight and crispy, yet deep with possibly hints of cherries and vanilla. Went really well with an unusual pairing for spanish red, a food not containing meat at all but sweet potatoes, feta cheese and roasted onions. Will definitely be bought again. Needs food though, the taste was a bit too much on its’ own, in all its’ nose-wrinkling and tongue-flinching glory.

Steinschaden Grüner Veltliner, a delicate and fruity white wine from Austria. Had depths to it seldom found on white wines at this price. Accompanied gruyere fondue with relaxed sureness and gave nice contrast to the pinot grigios and verdejos of late. Will be bought again and tried out in different settings. Clearly one of the very best whites I’ve had for a long while.
Monday, February 22, 2010
On Mondays I like to feel a bit unconnected and do my best to not be on the best of moods. In solitude I fume, in a directionless and vague manner, and I might also sulk, in moderation and for no apparent reason. After a while I usually get a little peckish and might then pull out a forgotten, dusty tin of something-or-other from the top shelf of a kitchen drawer, hoping the contents would turn out to be edible. Tonight it was smoked canned mussels in oil and tonight it wasn’t something suitable for human consumption.

On Monday evenings I also like to dig out music that I used to like but have long since totally forgotten about. Tonight it was an album called “Herra Mirandos”, released on 1973, by a Finnish singer-songwriter Hector, whose career has spun over way too many decades and whose discography consists almost entirely of albums I assume to be so hideous and horrific to the ear that it’s hard to find proper adjectives to describe them. Of course I can’t be sure because I haven’t listened to them all, and, heaven forbid, never will too.

This has never stopped me from loving bits of “Herra Mirandos”, though. The album starts with an intro called “Ekhnaton rakastui aurinkoon” and then proceeds on to the awesome title track. After that it’s mostly downhill all the way till the end, of the album and of his entire career.

So, here’s those two wonderful tracks, and now I’m off to dig deeper into the kitchen drawer. There must be something interesting and non-toxic I can eat in there.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Since winter clearly refuses to subside it might be a good idea to see if some allegorical alternatives for warmth are to be found from the world of music. First, the “Direct Personal Involvement”-section:

Sinisthra is currently writing new material and listening to a skeleton recording of a tune we’ve been dabbling with fills me with an undeniable sensation of warmth and general feelgoodness. I’m seriously itching to fit it with some lyrical content once the actual melody lines for vocals surface. This might take some time yet since it’s practically impossible to make rehearsals happen on as regular a basis as I’d like them to happen. So there’s some sourness to the warmth derived from this.

L.A.M.F. had a meeting yesterday where we agreed to try and write an albums’ worth of music, and if decent enough songs start appearing, see if it would be possible to release an album. This naturally warms me up a bit, but since I have no creative input in that band to speak of, it doesn’t exactly set my soul on fire. Plus, in case we actually manage to come up with an album, there’s the additional nuisance of trying to find someone to release it too. I’m not anxiously looking forward to adding another unreleased and unfinished album to my list of recorded works, alongside the perpetual-and-daily-hurting-thorn-on-my-side Sinisthra album that was started on July 2008, and the ridiculously prolonged The Puritan album, for which I recorded my drum parts on November 2006. So there’s only a limited amount of warmth derived from this too.

Moving on to “Music Not Including Personal Involvement, Making It Potentially Enjoyable In A Genuine Way”-section:

The “Template For A Generation”-album by Darwin’s Radio has been slowly growing on me, until today it suddenly bloomed, as the song in the middle, “Breathe It In”, took off, and at the same time also sunk in. The main thing that’s been keeping me from hailing them as brilliant has been my mild dislike for the vocals that are a bit on the weakish side. The singer used to be in a Rush tribute band and I’ve never been a fan of that school of singing. Today I read from their web page that this singer has now upped and left but the band has decided to carry on and find a new guitarist/singer. To me, this is good news and I’m looking forward to hearing what they come up with in the future. Listening to this album makes me feel indisputably warm inside, shame about the YouTube link below cutting off before the song reaches its’ climax.

The new Tuvalu album has been the best thing lately, though. I preordered it as soon as I found out they were releasing new music, and got a free mp3 download with it. This has been blasting away on my car sound system for two weeks now, causing delicate situations in the traffic as I sometimes can’t help tapping my foot to the grooviest parts of their music. The album is absolutely brilliant, to put it mildly. Tuvalu is in my opinion the most significant band singing in Finnish for ages, only CMX has had an impact similarly strong on me. This thing definitely warms me in a most definite way in the midst of bleakest winter.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The slow, slow ascent (or is it descent?) towards Spring. Wavering, then stumbling, grinding to a standstill, numb and frozen, cancelled. The frost abides, victorious, with arms outstretched and fangs agleam. Its’ triumphant howl echoes across the desolate landscape, I came and I truly conquered and everything you dared to hope for now lies motionless under a mass of ice.

What a change from the mild-mannered and polite start of December.

We have these winters to emphasize the inevitable and proper summers, I know, although their inevitability has been questionable to certain extent, and not-for-granted-at-all for the past couple of years. Nothing questionable about this here winter we writhe in the grip of right now though. The temperature has stayed well below zero non-stop for the last 50 or so days, with no sign of relenting, and the amount of snow has entered the realm of ridiculous and cannot be comprehended anymore, let alone measured by normal humanly means. This must be the type of proper winter our grandparents so fondly misrecall whenever someone seems to be listening, of the kind they used to have, and effortlessly endured, at least several a year in their time, and I hate it, verily and fervently and by now without exception. The first week of stabbing coldness was even slightly exotic, in a way, but the novelty soon wore off, and now it’s just unbearable and apparently neverending.

 It’s easy to slip into believing this will never pass. The days are brighter and longer now, whiter, but also fiercer and mutilatingly cold. How could something of this magnitude cease? Maybe there’s never been a Spring and it’s only a distorted memory, of a foolish dream.

On the other hand:

Time for Spring I say!