Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A day off to troop for Episode 1!

Today I got a day off from work to be part of the trooping here in Helsinki for Star Wars Episode 1 that is coming out in 3D the 10th of february.
A donation was given to UNICEF, so it was important to do as good of a job as possible.
But this troop was a bit different than usual.
I got up at 5.45 in the morning and headed for a studio where we changed into our armour before going on the Helsinki metro line with a small team of sound and camera people tagging along.
We shot a small viral shortfilm to be used for PR, and I of course, being the only rebelscum had to be hunted down by Count Dooku, Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper, infront of an audience with cameras of theyre own.

After a repetetive small fight that seemed to be going on forever, it all ended with me with Force-choked by Darth Vader and taken away by a Stormtrooper.

After changing and hanging out at Jouku's place watching parts of "Star Warriors", I went to the center to meet Simo. We went to see my art teacher's exhibition that's going on right now, that I have to say is really good. Then we went to buy some art supplies for me, before continuing the day of trooping at the cinema here.
We basically stood around taking pictures with people and having a "Shoot-the-trooper"-game where winners got a free Episode 1 poster.
All in all a very good, but tiresome day.

Now going to bed.

Friday, 27 January 2012

The great one.

Robert Downey Jr.

Youre first though might have been:
Sherlock Holmes
or maybe even
Tropic Thunder.

For me it's CHAPLIN.

He is one of my favourite actors of all time. And not only because of his long eyelashes and extreeme acting talent, but because he is a person whith a REAL story. A person who has been as far down as you possible can, unable to get out of the swirl of drugs going all around you.
Only he wasn't unable. He did it.

Not only is he an actor, but he is also a singer and have given out one of my favourite albums "The Futurist". When he was in prison in the past he painted a lot too. I have to say his paintings aren't my cup of tea though.

But one of my absolute favourite films with him in it is not any of these new ones, the ones coming after he gave himself a second chance, it's "Chaplin" from 1992.
In my opinion he's perfect for portraying Charlie Chaplin!

Check out the trailer here:

Monday, 23 January 2012

Hitting the wall...

I had a great time today with my friends Anna, Laura and Henna, practising our archery skills, that seemed to hit the walls, quite literally.
Laura has her own bow which is for more experienced people, and when I tried a similar to hers at the end of our time there, I shot it straight into the wall behind the target. The bow felt heavy and was difficult to control. It was a bit embarassing, but I guess I have to practise again soon - it's great fun!

David Nordahl!

David Nordahl is probably my favourite painter.
I "discovered him" when I was about 11, and had bought Michael Jackson's poem book "Dancing the Dream". In it, there's many pictures of Michael of course, but actually it wasn't them that cought my eye, it was a beautiful painting called "The Storyteller". There were several art works in the book, but from the moment I saw that painting I had a great desire to be part of it somehow, and I don't know how many times during my childhood I dreamed that I could also sit under that tree.

Although he was Michael Jackson's personal painter, he has also done many other subjects, among them the Apache Indians.

Over the years I have become a great fan of his work and also lucky enough to form a friendship with him. I'm really happy to see his webpage up and running now, and I think you should all have a look and see more of his wonderful art!


Sunday, 22 January 2012

An unusual cinema experience.

Yesterday, I went out to meet the Michael Jackson-gang here in Helsinki for an unusual cinema experience.
Michael Jackson's 1988 film "Moonwalker" was showing in a small cinema, and ofcourse we all had to go and see it.

First we met at a restaurant for the hungry people who wanted to eat, while I had a cheesecake that was delicious!

Before going to the cinema we decided to buy some snacks, since it's so old that it doesn't even have a vending machine.
I bought my Coca-Cola Zero and a bag of spicy chips imported from America and was ready for action.
Little did I know that the action would mostly be the burning in my mouth caused by the lying bag of chips that claimed it was "medium"!

It was fun to see Moonwalker on the screen, and a littlebit of screaming and "ooh"'s couldn't be avoided in a cinema packed with fans.
However I did feel that there was some unnecessary noise from time to time from fans who seemed to forget that there we other people in the theatre as well...

We left the theatre to go out for drinks after the film, and we had a great time out as always. So much infact that I completely forgot the time, and I thought is was really early still when I went home around 03.00

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Congratulations grandmother!

It's a bit late to write about now, but it was a great experience, so I'll do it anyway.
Last weekend I was in Norway for a really quick visit to my family and my town Gjøvik. The reason was that I already knew that my grandmother would recieve an award from the Mayor at the annual New Years Concert for her work for art and culture in Gjøvik throughout her life. She has driven the theatre for children for 24 years without taking a penny for herself, and the awards was well deserved!
Of course I wanted to be a part of that since it's a very important award, so Henrik and I came there for the event. After the concert we had a closed dinner with the Mayor and the people organizing the event.

It also gave me some time to visit my friends of course, who I miss a lot, and eventhough it was a short visit, it was a good one!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Sodamachine for addicts!

So after some careful thinking ever since I visited my friend in Sweden who presented me to Aqvia sodamaker, I've been thinking about getting one of my own. Everybody who know's me (in real life) knows that I'm a heavy Coca-Cola addict.
I drink more of it that I'm proud to admit, and will probably continue to do so since I use the excuse that it's my only lodd in life...
BUT - the bottles pile up, and it costs quite a bit, so I finally decided to invest in this.
At first, as any Coca-Cola (or Pepsi) addict will agree on, I was like "hm, it doesn't taste right". But after only drinking the Sodastream Cola for about 24 hours now, I can see myself getting used to it.
Buying a REAL Coke from now of will be to let my hair down!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Pictures and videos from Egypt!

Before I leave Egypt completely, I will post some more pictures and videos here.

There was a man weaving in our hotelgarden.

On Christmas Eve would could enjoy good food and entertainment at the party that our hotel hosted.

We visited the El Gouna library quite a lot for cheap internet.

Simo reading in the El Gouna library.

We enjoyed a Egyptian Folklore dance that's called Tanoura. It was amazing! Have a look!

Hard Rock Cafe in Hurghada.

Our pool at the hotel we stayed at: Rihana Inn in El Gouna.

Happy to be in Luxor!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Coming home to weekend!

This day has gone to absolutely nothing except writing here, taking Milla out and eating pizza. Oh, and peeing. Yes. That covers it.
We came home yesterday, late, after our plane was delayed already in Egypt. We waited there for over and hour and spent the time well; haggeling prices. I found a perfume that is out of production in Europe. I had given up looking for it (for over two years) until I saw that they had other out of production perfumes in a different store there. I found mine later; Femme de Lacoste.

I hated the Hurghada airport.
When we arrived the lines were so long that they started outside the building. When we came in, the x-rayed all our luggage including the cargo luggage. On the x-ray they saw something weird in Simo's suitcase. They asked if it was lots of medicine, but its was three big bags of different types of nuts.
They asked him to open it so they could see. Then then put their hands into the bags and grabbed a handful of nuts each. Simo just stood there, a bit shocked.
- "Do you mind", they asked.
With this corruption you just don't say no.
- "Sure", Simo laughed, "but don't take all". They chuckled and waved him on his way.

We went through 3 differend passport controls before we came to the gates and shopping area. We managed to kill some time with looking at all the shops and and so on, and I found my perfume of course. When I was in the line to pay (and at that time we were in a hurry since we were gonna board soon), in what I thought was a proffesional perfume shop, one of the workers there and the cashier were trying to force a really old russian man to buy a perfume. He could barely stand and certainly not speak well english, and he was gonna buy something completely different. When he payed the cashier gave him some perfume samples and said "Here, it's a gift from me". Then the other worker went away and came back with a perfume and said "here, you need this also!" The old man tried to explain that he didn't need it, and showed so clearly. When the cashier took the perfume and was about to scan it to be bought, the man took it away again and said that he didn't want it. Then the cashier said "but I gave you gift, now you have to buy it".
All this happened when I was in the line waiting to pay. In the end I just had to say "excuse me, but can I pay now?" When I payed I noticed that they had put the price 5 dollars over the amount it really was. They said that it was the price for...I can't even explain it. For them being there. "Doing their job". For me. What a joke.
That is the one thing I REALLY don't like with Egypt. Except for at the hotel, it seems like almost anywhere you go, nomatter what kind of store you're in, the people there will ALWAYS try to screw you over, and it's exhausting.

Safe in the plane, a sanctuary with set prices without a chance to bargain, the pilot tells us that we have 9 minutes to settle down and nothing more, or we will lose the take off slot that is given us. Since we were already late, people moved in speed that I have never seen on a plane before. We took off on time (the new one) and arrived tired, but happy at home and to Milla.
And weekend.

Visiting Luxor!

After visiting the Karnak temple we could all feel (and hear) the rumbelings of our stomachs and headed for the hotel where we would eat our lunch. The food was a mediocre buffet, but the company at the table was very nice as we we sat with a young travel-happy couple.
We went to the Valley of the Kings after the lunch, and I had no idea what to expect there, since you're fobidden to take photos there.
It was quite a trip into the mountains in the desert, and it is located under a mountain that looks like a pyramid. That's why the Ancient Egyptians chose the place.
We walked through a bazar on the way to the burial places, and were told that there would be no sellers after that point. Except for the sellers who might know somebody who might bend their law slightly...and that must be many of them. The place was loaded with sellers and at this place they were actually HARASSING the tourists!
An unfortunate Finnish lady in our group had made a big mistake which was basically glancing at the item one seller had and ended up being harassed by him for the whole duration of our guide's informationbriefing.
It didn't help ofcourse that the lady AND her husband seemed so terrified of not being nice and polite...you have to learn not to give a shit about that if your gonna survive in the Egyptian Bazar-jungle.

With our ticket we could visit three tombs of our choice except Ramesses VI and Tutankhamun, which costs extra.
After visiting our selection of three, we decided that it would probably be worth paying about 6 Euros each to see Ramesses VI which was said to be spectacular. The first hallway of the tomb wasn't so special, but as soon as you got further in, the artwork was absolutely beautiful, and the icing of the cake was the top of the actual outer sarcophagus laying in it's natural resting place, battered and broken - but still royal.

This is a picture I found of the tomb on the internet.

After some tomb-headache and some rude-arab-teenagers-with-no-respect-for-their-elders-or-infact-actually-DEAD-so-why-not-scream-in-tombs-headache, we went on to the Hatshepsut temple.
Simo in particular was looking forward to this, 'cause he really like mathematical structures.

It was an amazing temple, because it's built at the base of a mountain and the feeling you get when walking towards it is that the mountain will consume you and the only escape is to run into the temple and pray pretty much.
Hatshepsut interessts me, 'cause besides Cleopatra, she is the only female Pharaoh, and she ruled for 22 years. She came to the throne after her husband and brother Tutmosis II died. While his son and her nephew Tutmosis III was to young to rule, she claimed that she was the daughter of Amun-Ra (the main God) who had impregnated her mother. Since the Pharaoh were the closest incarnations of the gods, she claimed the throne.
When she died, possibly in her 50's and probably because of diabetes or/and bone cancer, Tutmosis III who became Pharaoh destroyed many monuments that she built and especially her faces on her statues, and even painted over her names in her buildings. He hated the fact that she "stole the throne from him" and even more that she was a woman.

It was a really cool temple actually, and sadly we didn't have enough time there. But we managed to see the most important parts of the place.

There's rows of majestic statues of Hatshepsut lined up all across the temple. Some of them has been detroyed.

Visiting Luxor: the Karnak Temple.

On wednesday, the day before we went back home we went to Luxor. I was really exhited 'cause I've never been there and it's been a dream for a long time to see the Karnak temple, the Valley of the Kings and Hatshepsut's temple.
So we got up around 3.00 in the morning and took one of two busses packed with Finnish tourists and headed for Luxor.
It took about five hours or so, and the first thing I noticed when we got closeer to the center of Luxor was how green it was. It was much nicer than Cairo in many ways, eventhought the poverty was still as visible.

This trip would offer many historical sights, and we started with the grandest of them: the Karnak temple.

It was built during the Middle Kingdom, but most of it's famous buildings are from the New Kingdom. It's a HUGE complex with statues, pillars and art that has been sanded out by time, and it's easy to get lost there, especially in time. The artwork is beautiful, and it's important to have good time to really look at it.

The entrance is guarded by sphinxes.

Ramesses II has contributed a lot to the art of Ancient Egypt. Here a statue that shows him dead, as in the afterlife. If the Pharaoh has his left foot forward and the arms down on each side, it shows him as living.

The big coloumns inside the temple.

Simo telling a bit about the Lake in the temple.

And a little good old superstition doesn't hurt does it?

The thing that I really liked about this place was that the temple was closed off with guards at the enterance, so there was no sellers of any kind allowed into it. Outside there was a bazar that you had to go through to get to the exit, so it was a win win solution for us all. We got the chance to really enjoy what we were there to experience, and they got the chance to try to sell us some stuff in the end.

Monday, 2 January 2012

The thing about Cairo...

I think that if you expect an adventure similar to Indiana Jones or The Mummy when you book your trip to Cairo, you've got it all wrong.
Cairo is NOT a beautiful mystique place, with cobras lurking in every spice basket or an interessting beduin man around every corner asking you to help him with an ancient secret. And I have to say, there's no jumping from one shiny white rooftop to another in escape from scary men once you've agreed to join his quest!
Some people that were with us on our trip there seemed to think so. A father with two teenage childen were constantly complaining, and when we were driving through the ghetto (which is by the way everywhere) HE, a grown up man who has seemed to have travelled quite a bit said to his children "This is the most terrible place I've been to, we're NEVER going back here"!
"Was it worse than the other terrible places you've been to", the daughter asked. "Yeah", he answered.
There you have a parent stopping his children's joy of travel right there.

Yes, Cairo is an ugly city. In fact, probably the ugliest place I've ever seen. However, if you let your own cynisism go for just one minute, you might be lucky enough to be reminded of something we forget way too often.
How lucky you are.

Thank you Cairo, for reminding me. I love you.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

A trip to Cairo!

Yesterday we went to the forbidden place of Cairo.
Ever since I told people that we were going to Egypt, I think most people have waved the news infront of my nose with a DON'TGOTOCAIRO attached to it. Well I DID go to Cairo and I can proudly say that I'm here! And I'm ALIVE!

The trip started extreemely early (or late, whichever way you want to put it...) at 02:45 in the morning actually. We were a group of Finnish unentuastic people travelling by bus, and starting with a visit to the Egyptian Museum, which is the one thing I think I looked the most forward to. I'm a complete museum-nerd AND an Ancient Egypt-nerd so it's perfect. First we weren't supposed to go there because of what has been and is still going on on the Tharir Square, but it's relatively calm there now, so the guide didn't see any problem in it. I was very happy.

After the museum (and a small dissapointment finding out that their shop was being renovated...) we went to eat at a restaurant in a boat on the Nile. I have to say that the food was sort of boring, but the atmosphere was nice and the place was cozy.

Happy and full, we continued through the shitty (seriousely) streets of Cairo, on our way to the Pyramids, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
I was there eight years ago, and eventhough I've already been there, I can't express the awe you feel when you walk through the ticket area, and the Cheops pyramid is right there in front of you, on top of the hill, massive.

The only negative thing about the experience this time though was the amount of seller in the area. Last time I was there it was only a couple of beduins offering rides on camels, but they kept their distance and wasn't at all imposing. Now, as soon as you walked through the tickets gates sellers horded around you so fast that you saw them before even seeing the pyramid, and that sort of killed it a bit for me, I have to say.

Even the guards there that have weapons and everything made it hard for me to take them seriousely when they offerend to take your picture for money.

However, it was a wonderful experience, and I would gladly return another time. It's one of those places that brings you inspiration. If you let it.

See you later, Cairo!