Thursday, 29 December 2011

The New Death and others : eBook review and a GIVEAWAY

This time my blog post will be an actual book review of an eBook which is available for purchase here and here.

The New Death and others, written by James Hutchings, is a collection of short stories and poems with dark, amusing yet slightly macabre twists.

The book consists of 44 short stories and 19 poems, varying in length from a piece of flash fiction to poems with dozens of verses. The themes of the stories are comprised of dark fantasy, science fiction, remarkably dark humor, mystic fairy tales and twisted viewpoints to our reality. Diversity of the stories in this collection is vast.

The fantasy stories combine divine beings, sorcerers, demons and mystical creatures, placing them in temples, palaces and strange cities which are likely to bring about recollections of One Thousand And One Nights. Many of the stories revolve around a city called Telelee.

In the aforementioned city of Telelee there stood a temple to Averna. She was a goddess of dancing and athletics, and her followers possessed an athlete's vigor and zeal.
– The God of the City of Dust
Although dark and bizarre humor is a part of the majority of the stories, those which have harnessed probably the best of it are dealing with abstract things being humanized. In these stories characters such as Death, Destiny, Fame and Justice are presented in a way that makes them seem almost approachable. The wit in these stories is admirable, giving the reader some new viewpoints to such phenomena which are part of our everyday lives yet still only remotely familiar.
Those suitors who failed to win Fame often ended up with Death. Sometimes this made Fame jealous, which is why many only find Fame after Death.
– The Doom That Was Laid Upon Fame
Many stories utilize references to particularly modern phenomena, such as reality TV, online dating, fan-fiction and social media, and quite often these things are handled with mercilessly black humor and even cynicism. Quite often the stories leave one utterly confused at first, but a second thought given to what was just read, the pieces turn out extremely cunning and very convincing. Not just once was the initial impression of “what the hell” quickly replaced by some strange certainty – the moment when one realizes that even the most absurd thoughts presented in the stories can actually make sense.

The humor in the collection is best served black, a good example being Everlasting Fire, telling a story of a demon called Lilly with twisted jokes following one another and very amusing footnotes completing the slap-up piece. Sigrun and the Shepherd is an example of a piece with a more serious style of storytelling with a bittersweet and amusing ending implying utter disappointment of having one's dreams crushed in an instant.

The language in the stories is remarkably rich with hilarious puns, and the style of dialogue varies a lot depending on the theme of the story.
He had exposed the secrets even of the mysterious ninjas (although he been attacked by them, and suffered a ninjury).
– The Adventure of the Murdered Philanthropist
While the short stories are exciting and ingenious at best, their quality varies and the weakest ones don't stand out nor will be imprinted on one's mind – yet on average the stories are very entertaining and interesting. However, each less polished story can be excused with the brilliant poems of the collection. Each poem is a masterpiece with magnificent verbal style – and with rhymes nearing perfection. Yours truly rarely finds poetry which is equally enjoyable. Some of the poems are remarkably long with dozens of verses and fascinating tales – and some of them are based on stories by such authors as H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard and Lord Dunsany.
And truth to tell they seemed to share
all virtues that a blade could bear:
as sharp as spite yet light as smoke
and longing for the killing stroke
– Diamanda and the Isle of Wives
All the stories are relatively quick to read as even the longest ones comprise just a few thousand words. Their entertainment value is high and many of them are worth reading more than once. Although some of the stories are very similar to each other in atmosphere, the overall spectrum is so heterogeneous that the factor which unites the separate pieces into one book is probably their diversity. The wit in general may remind one of that of Terry Pratchett's, while some details resemble Tim Burton's style in poetry. Some of the pieces are very deep and thoughtful – also very thought-provoking, while others are light prose, raising little bursts of laughter.

The book is a must-read for lovers of dark fantasy and speculative fiction, and all those who are eager to find out what McDonald's restaurants in Hell are like, what means Death resorts to in an attempt to train another Death to become more frightening, what could be done about the bad behavior of the construction workers in the city of Telelee, what is so suspicious about a typical festival dragon team costume and what the hell Todd actually went through in the drains. The collection is certainly worth reading – and not a waste of money.

And now, are you interested in reading this eBook? Mr Hutchings agreed on arranging a giveaway and one lucky winner of a draw held on January 6th will get to read his work.

In order to participate, comment on this entry with your email address enclosed.

Being my regular follower on Blogger is not required. Also, the book is available in various formats and thus no actual eBook reader device is required.
If you want to improve your chances of winning, link this review to your own blog and leave another comment with a link to your post. With this you may earn another entry for the draw (max two per person).
Good luck!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Jolly holidays!

With this quick mobile update I wish all my dear readers, old and new, a very merry Christmas, or whatever you are celebrating!

I have no idea what these mobile posts will look like - especially the uploads, but I will enclose a photo of my Gingerbread Pirate Crew! Arrr, jolly holidays! And thank you all who have been reading my blog!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

When the morning comes we'll kiss the day goodnight

Apologies for a long silence again. Laziness struck me.

I will quickly update now to tell about a band I went to see live yesterday. It would be Greenrose Faire, and they had a gig in a local pub last night. I cannot remember how I had originally found out about them – somewhere on the internet anyway, and I had got interested since to me they seemed and sounded like Blackmore's Night. And I guess they really have been a source of inspiration for GF since they played a cover version of The Circle.

So yeah, basically they play folk rock/pop in a medieval style. Very much like Blackmore's Night indeed. The gig was very enjoyable although I had only heard a fraction of their songs – and somehow I'm the type who often has trouble enjoying live music that isn't familiar.

They released an album in the autumn, and I can say it's quite nice, with some very catchy tracks such as Beggars and Thieves, Dance 'Til Morning Light (oh yeah why not!) and Witchdance. The album seems to be available in Spotify, so I recommend you to go check it out if that kind of music has ever been of any interest to you. Personally I really enjoy listening to Blackmore's Night when I'm roleplaying (or just playing) something with a touch of medieval fantasy, and I guess Greenrose Faire will be added to my gaming playlists (although certain gaming scenes require folk metal instead – or should I say, battle metal).

Finally, I shall embed a video of the album opening song. Although the video consists of mere still images, I think they're quite impressive as well, and fascinating with their mystic atmosphere. Enjoy, so long!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Properly coated

I'm participating in another theme post by Sophistiqué Noir. This month's theme was outerwear, which isn't the easiest topic for me as I'm not satisfied with the jackets and coats I have. In fact I've been hunting for a proper winter coat for long, as well as an autumn/spring coat – but to no avail. I'm very picky; most of the coats and jackets sold in the regular clothes stores are too boring. When I move onto alternative fashion brands and their outerwear lines, the products are often too fancy; too full of mismatching details, cut in a way that doesn't flatter anyone, too edgy to be worn to work...

Thus, I'm not showing photos of my own clothes. Instead, I decided to draw a few rough sketches of the kind of jackets I'd like to find. (Stress on the word rough – I can draw better, yet maybe not fashion illustrations as I'm not a fashion designer.)

Steampunk and pirates inspired me a lot, but I had to tune down those styles in order to achieve designs which could go well with my many diverse outfits and especially work outfits. I know there are many stores which sell steampunk and pirate style outerwear, but most of those are, although very beautiful and nice, still too complex to suit my everyday style. It's a shame, but I would really need something more practical than what a stunning pirate-credible jacket with a fixed vest would be. Besides, I would need a winter coat for extreme weather after all (when it goes below zero in Fahrenheit too).

"Gather lords and ladies fair"
– Blackmore's Night
I might like a simple jacket with vertical stripes. And if it was in neutral colors, it would be easy to mix with colorful clothes and accessories (as if I wore such).

"Tilt the galley over for no emperor
nor chain will stand in my way!"
– Turisas
The drawing is barely flattering my idea, which I think is better than the sketch. I'm not sure what would be the best way to carry it out though; maybe a pirate ship embroidery somewhere in the hem, or with the right type of fabric it could be a print too.

"We’re the terror of the skies, but a danger to ourselves now"
– Abney Park
A simple jacket could be fancified with a leather harness.

"I stand here alone on the bow of the ship
counting the hours 'til I die"
– Alestorm
A few military/navy inspired details would be enough, without making the whole piece in such a style.

I wouldn't mind being directed to a good web store selling something nice that would be at least a bit in-keeping with my idea of a stylish jacket. However, the most important part would be warmth – I live in Finland after all, and I certainly need a winter coat with full lining and such. Suggestions are very welcome.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Dress, dressed... or not

♫ Turisas – Sahti Waari

I've been talking about some clothes I need to show off, and now it's about the time I do just that. Some of them are new, some of them are just special outfits I never showed when I wore them. I'm not into these "today's outfit" posts because it's troublesome to set up a tripod and take a proper photo, with proper meaning not only a photo in which the lightning is appropriate but also a photo in which I look at least semi-humane. And I rarely have the time to take such photos when I'm going somewhere in a hurry.

Now, photos will follow!~ I kinda like to distort the colours of my photos (in the originals the white balance and temperature were actually quite natural!), especially since the clothes are monochromatic quite black to begin with...

This is a rather new dress which I have mentioned in a subordinate clause some time before. I ordered it from H&M and it took long before it actually arrived. It's nice, but designed for a person with just a bit shorter back. My eternal problem with short dresses, really. So far I've worn this once, to a *cough-how-should-I-put-this* game geek party.

The dress isn't new, the fishnet top is. This is what I wore with my sugar skull make-up on Halloween and All Saints' Day. It's a comfortable party outfit, and a better option than a corset if you actually have to eat something.

Oh hello there, I'll be Finland's next top model, I know how to pose and all. [/sarcasm] This is what I wore to Stratovarius' gig. The dress is the same as in the Halloween attire, paired with a different top + the boots with high heels. Another comfortable outfit.

I was supposed to have a dress theme, but well... My Ensiferum gig outfit. I didn't feel comfortable there. :D Yet I suppose it was just... well, bad luck, the clothes aren't that painful. I kinda liked this outfit, though, yet it's certainly reserved for a certain type of club events.

Finally, something I haven't even worn yet (all the pieces separately, yes, but not the outfit). So yeah well, when and where is the next party I can attend? Anyone?

Sunday, 20 November 2011

I raise my head and find my own way out of the dark

♫ Heavenly – Carpe diem

Oh well, I'm trying to move onto more positive things than the sorrow I described in my previous post. I have contradictory feelings on how I should actually spend the time while I'm alone – one voice in my head tells me to concentrate on grieving, while some voice of reason tells me I shouldn't do that. I feel like ignorance meant indifference, yet I know it won't do any good if I stop to mourn for too long.

I'll try to deal with as many events and topics which I've ignored lately in this blog post. A summary of what has happened during the past few weeks, then I can probably keep up with the things worth blogging about without stuffing them all into one single post.

First of all, All Hallows' Eve and All Saints' Day. I had the same idea for both parties I attended – an idea I had had for looong... Sugar skull make-up!

I don't have photos of my clothes, but they were quite simple. I wore the fishnet top which you can see in the photos, and a simple, short, strapless black sheath dress. Since I really liked this attire, I'll probably wear it again to some event, so maybe I'll also post it here eventually. If I just had the chance to take some photos with the daylight, but no, I'm in the office when the sun is up. I have some dresses to show off anyway!

Last night I went to see Stratovarius live. And I was surprised to see how "good" the photos taken with my cell phone can be. The concert was nice and long, a part of their tour to bid farewell to their drummer Jörg Michael. The headline of this post if a line from their song Darkest Hours. It's a good one, yet not my favourite, but I feel it suits my current mood.

Stratovarius – Darkest Hours

I also finished my Poe piece for the photo frames I bought recently. Inspired by The Raven, here's the result:

What else? Material needs I satisfied a while ago already, I guess. Many people know the Polish webstore Restyle, which sells funky gothic stuff cheap. I bought a few things too since the prices were so ridiculously low compared with what they would have been if I had bought them in Finland.

Firstly, two pieces of bone shaped hairpins. See the product in the store here. The item description confused me a lot, as well as the photos. In the first product image the surface of the bones seems smoooooth, doesn't it? As you can see in my photo, it isn't, they're quite roughly painted. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but I actually expected the bones to be made of plastic and only the pin parts being metal (as described) but they're fully metal (makes sense). The "Clips are automatic" part confused me even more, and my idea of "automatic" clips would be something like this, not this. I may be totally wrong, but I'd think that those pins which close by themselves with their spring are automatic while those which you have to snap close are not. I find the clip type impractical and was somewhat disappointed with it.

Then I got a nice brooch with a rib-cage. I could also attach a chain to it to turn it into a necklace, but I kinda like it as a brooch too.

And more rib-cages! These are very, very heavy, to the point of stretching the earlobe downwards with their weight. They are pretty, yes, but I think the weight they put on ears has slightly unaesthetic effects. But I guess I'll live with it.

I also got a Star Gazer lipstick in the shade of dark berry, but haven't worn it much yet. I don't wear lipstick daily, I'm not used to it. A bit newer purchase is a pair of Tamaris boots which escaped my hands once, but with some insane luck, I found my size again (or to be precise, I might have survived with a size smaller, but they didn't have that size). Although their quality is only satisfactory, they're pretty and COMFORTABLE. I've never worn high heels which feel so good even after hours of standing! I didn't have any problems standing through the Strato concert with those.

I guess that could be it for now. I'm getting hungry and could concentrate on something else too. Either way, I guess I have something interesting coming up sooner or later. So long!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

And I miss you like hell

My dear dog passed away on November 11th, exhausted by hemolytic anaemia.

Due to these few depressing weeks, I have neglected my blog and I will still put off my Halloween posts etc. I have many things to write about, but they'll have to wait. Please be patient.

I will dedicate this post to my best friend, as I think writing this is an important part of my grieving process. I will certainly never forget her, but I also want to make sure I will remember each and every detail of her that gave me so much joy during our twelve-year-long journey together.

May 11th, 1999 – November 11th, 2011

As you can see, she was twelve years and a half to the day when she died. In a way I feel slightly bitter – only twelve and a half years! Dachshunds's life expectancy is from ten to fifteen years! And we all had quietly decided that she would become the oldest dog in the country – and she had all the requirements for such, being healthy, strong, with enough exercise and good nutrition... She should have had many more years to live! If it just hadn't been for the insidious illness which struck out of the blue... It feels so unfair.

However, I know that's not the way to think. Life is not fair, and who gets to determine their own days? No one. The same applies to the days of our loved ones. It's a sad fact that all the time someone loses a loved one too early; many of those being too young to die, totally innocent or otherwise not deserving their fate. But it's just... life. Oona and I got to spend over twelve healthy years together. Some people have lost their dogs young, after being run over by a car or even worse – having fallen victim to a dog hater's malicious violence. Our first dog died at the age of eleven, but her death was mysterious – she went from being normal to fighting for her life in less than eight hours, and we never found out why since we couldn't get a vet in time. However, later a vet suspected she might have died of rat poison. Back then, in my early teenage, I took it to heart and became very bitter. Now, however... I cannot blame anyone for Oona's death. I feel that there would have been so many more moments for us to share with each other, but I also know that during those twelve years we already gathered so many memories that I have a lot to cherish. This may feel unfair, but I have to accept it; death comes for everyone, and rarely with a good timing.

I won't go into the details of her death much, but to cut a long story short; in spite of being "officially" my dog, she lived with my parents. Not taking her to live with me in a city was probably the best favour I could do her. As she was always terribly timid, she would never have learnt to enjoy a life in a city. And especially after she fell ill, I could never have taken care of her well enough – living alone and working full-time... No, she was certainly doing better at my parents' place as I know they take extremely good care of our dogs. And this said... I saw Oona for the last time eleven days before her death. I would have liked to be there next to her when she quietly passed away, but on the other hand... I already said farewell to her when I last saw her alive as I knew it could be the last chance. And well, although I wasn't there, I know her end was as good as it could.

Some time ago I said I'd write about what is so special about Oona – besides the fact that she was my dear, own dog. Some people's reactions to the sad piece of news of her death have been quite touching as it's obvious Oona had managed to melt many hearts during her lifetime. My opinions are mostly subjective, yet there are a few things which make her seem somewhat objectively special.

Lil' miss happy new dog owner (looking stupid)

I already mentioned she was very timid. We noticed this immediately after taking her home. She was always afraid of everything – children in particular, but people in general... Yet she was not angry, I cannot remember her ever showing her fear by growling let alone by biting whenever someone got too close to her. She used to bark under a couch when we got guests.
Somehow, unsocial animals have always fascinated me more than those who are particularly friendly to anyone. When it comes to horses, I always preferred those that were a bit difficult because it was very rewarding to eventually see how they began to trust you. And this applies to dogs too, although I naturally established my bond with Oona very early and then she never questioned my trustworthiness. However, I felt important, being one of the few people she ever showed any love to.

Despite being so timid, Oona got slightly famous. We didn't try to promote her, but "rumours" leaked and eventually she appeared in a local newspaper and on a local radio channel. And strangely enough, I later encountered people who remembered her.
The reason for her fame was her dear and very active hobby which she started at the age of about six months and continued as long as her condition allowed her to. Simply enough; she loved playing the piano, and singing at the same time.

Now you might think that I taught her to do that, but oh, I certainly did not! I would never have thought she'd learn something like that! Not that silly puppy who seemed to have serious trouble understanding the concept of newspaper spread out on the floor. Yet one evening it happened – she was alone in the living room when we suddenly heard the sound of piano keys being pressed – once – and went to see what on earth had happened. We didn't expect to find an embarrassed puppy sitting on the chair in front of the piano. That's how it began, and she never seemed to get enough of playing.

Her motive will remain a mystery, yet it was obvious she knew how to get our attention. I know she's not universally unique with her hobby, but I guess many of the dogs who do something similar have been taught or encouraged to do it, and at least I've never seen any video of a dog doing it with the same enthusiasm as Oona. She had her major and minor tunes, depending on the mood – the editor who wrote the article of her for the newspaper described her style as experimental jazz.

I've been pondering over this for years – well, for twelve years. I think that was innovative of her, whatever her original idea was. And that's very fascinating. Taking up such a hobby is quite exceptional for a dog, and it makes me wonder what equally exceptional I could achieve in my life. It certainly inspires me to try to think out of the box, to see beyond my own limits.

My loss makes me feel desperate. They say, "friendship is one mind in two bodies", and I think that describes our bond very well. She was my best friend – and on the other hand will always be. Whenever no one else understood me, she always did. We shared the same wit, we understood each other so well. While others described her timid nature as being prejudiced, I always thought she was smart for not being too gullible. And somewhere deep inside, I'm just like her; suspicious, timid and uncertain. I guess that's why I always felt she was my soul mate.

I would love to embrace her once more, stroke her soft fur, ask her to give me a kiss (something I had taught and something she agreed to do to me) and look her in the eyes; those gentle and understanding eyes. I would love to share my secrets with her, go for a walk in a forest with her, cuddle up with her... But those times are over. I have my memories. And I already got her back once – when she disappeared in 2007. Being quite far away from home, the situation seemed quite bad and we were sure we would never see her alive again. However, eventually she was found, in a good condition but tired. Back then I was lucky.

Although I am very sad and still keep crying daily, I'm trying to go on. I've been neglecting my own health and the people around me while worrying over Oona. The anxiety is gone now – nothing can harm her anymore. Sorrow won't leave me any time soon, but I'm trying my best to avoid total depression. I know that if Oona could still tell us something, it would be something like:
"Please don't be sad, I'm alright now."
And that's true, although it hurts. The illness didn't probably cause her pain, but it slowly made her weaker and weaker. And still; her strong heart probably was the reason why she managed to hold onto life that long.

I wanted to do something in order to honour her memory, and thus, I went to get my ear pierced yesterday. Does this sound absurd? I shall explain. I got my first two ear piercings on the day Oona was born. It was a coincidence, but I doubt I would have remembered a piercing date without such a happy event. At some point I thought I'd just go get another two piercings to my left ear lobe, but then I figured that since I had my right ear lobe pierced twice in the spring for no reason, similar piercings on the left would seem just as pointless. Thus, I decided to get a real hole to the cartilage because it'd be more remarkable. With a ring with a ball-shaped lock, it actually represents Oona in many ways. The ring is like the letter O, and she used to like playing with ring-shaped rubber toys. She also liked playing football (soccer) and the ring, being of a cold and hard material, resembles stones, which she loved. She didn't play with wooden sticks, she always picked up a stone instead.

"The first two holes on the day you were born, and one painful stab for the wound your death tore into my heart."

Oona meant a world to me. She taught me so many things I ever needed to learn about life. She was a small dog with a huge soul, and a spirit that never dies. I will keep mourning, but I will also try to keep looking back on all the great moments we shared together.

A song that will always remind me of her:

Rednex – Wish you were here
"And I miss you like hell,
and I'm feeling blue."
Sleep well, my dear friend. Someone will always love you.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Cover your hands – monthly theme post

I decided to participate in Sophistiqué Noir's monthly theme post for once, maybe because the theme, gloves, is pure love. I love wearing gloves! Armwarmers too, yet I wear them much less these days than I did a few years ago. But I certainly like to add gloves to party outfits! Nowadays I rarely think gloves or armwarmers would suit my work outfits, but they're nice to wear on special occasions. However, for someone as glove-obsessed as me it's strange how boring I am when it comes to keeping my hands warm! I wear old, shabby mittens (yet I have a cute pair knitted by my mother) or something otherwise inelegant. Maybe I should seriously start looking for a pair of warm and stylish gloves for the upcoming winter? But now, let's take a look at what I found in my cache...

"Maybe that's why you don't see faces like mine every day"
– Emilie Autumn

Short, lacy gloves are most of the time light and easy to wear – even in the heat of the summer. They're elegant and still they can be used in a ragged rock outfit as well. Sadly, they are quite vulnerable to Velcro straps I have in some of my bags...

"Learning to fly, touching sky on my way"
– Stratovarius

These are very long armwarmers that can come up to close to the armpits. Most of the time I add them to those more ragged outfits, but I have worn them as a part of a more classic, simple outfit too. They've been to many gigs, and goth clubs in particular!

"Obsessions need to swell, a genius in his cell"
– Twilightning

Classic, long gloves are, well, classy. Such gloves made of silk or satin are usually quite expensive – mine are cheap, made of some... synthetic fibres? I'm not sure, but I bought them in a costume shop. The material may not be that elegant on a closer look, but nevertheless, the gloves work fine in an elegant clubbing outfit. I think they are my only gloves (that I wear for the looks) which actually cover the whole hand.

"I'm not your china doll, I'm not your geisha girl"
– Cristal Snow

I don't wear these armwarmers much anymore, they're quite old. I had them already in high school and used to love them back then. They can seem pretty, but they are a bit impractical. I would like to have similar ones which would be much longer.

"Or should I go and change my point of view for other ugly scenes"
– Alphaville

These are my newest gloves, and since they haven't yet been introduced here as a "new purchase", I will do it now. Fishnet gloves with a finger loop; nice and light to wear, yet I'll already have to repair one of the loops as it's very close to snapping. Perhaps I should stop writing and move on to sewing?

Gloves in general are probably the reason why I don't own that many bracelets. Of course they could be worn together, but I'm not used to that, and if I had to choose, I'd probably always go for nice gloves! Gloves, gloves, give me more gloves... So long!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Fear and trembling... and battle metal

♫ Sonata Arctica – Tallulah

Damn damn, I wish I had had time to update my blog earlier during the week so that my post subjects would be more in-keeping with real topical issues... such as Halloween. But I guess I will now write about what happened last weekend, and I will probably have to skip Halloween for now. I'm going to a Halloween party tonight – having been over-enthusiastic about my Halloween style for a month or so. I've already tested my idea and it seemed to work well – and I took some photos too, but I think I cannot publish them yet! I might be attending another Halloween party (with totally different people) on All Saints' Day, and I cannot let all those friends stalking my blog see what I have planned. ;D

Last weekend was all about partying, probably in order to celebrate my birthday. There was an event called Very Possessed: 20 years of Spinefarm records in Tampere, with MyGrain, Profane Omen, Metsatöll and Ensiferum playing there. I went there merely because of Ensiferum, which was also the main act. We did not even go there early enough to see MyGrain, whereas Metsatöll, playing second, was entertaining. They are from Estonia, singing in Estonian, and it probably sounds more amusing to Finns than it would to English-speaking people, for example. I like Estonian although I basically don't understand it (much). However, the vocalist pretty much spoke in Finnish, yet it was obvious it was not his first language.


Please excuse the quality of my photos again. I didn't want to concentrate on taking photos so I only had my little compact camera with me, and hence, the photos aren't breathtaking.


Unfortunately enough, I began to feel very bad before Ensiferum's turn, and by the time I was standing as close to the stage as possible, waiting for them, I no longer knew whether I would faint, vomit or just crack up. And the feeling did not go away during the night anymore. However, as stubborn as I am, I couldn't bring myself to leaving my spot and looking for a place to sit – I thought that since I had come to see them, I would be listening to them as close as possible; that's how I usually enjoy my gigs. Violent mosh pits behind my back didn't help at all, and whenever I couldn't see a single friend I felt a bit vulnerable, wondering what would actually have happened if I had fainted there.

However, I stood there for the whole time, and I guess it was worth it. I got to shake hands with two members of Ensiferum, and such little details are the things that make gigs unforgettable to me. Like this. 

I also want to embed one Ensiferum song here – one of the less well-known old songs. I've been listening to it quite a lot lately.

Ensiferum – Battle Song

Onto other matters then... Fear and trembling (see the post title) is a novel by Amélie Nothomb, which I have read long ago – it's entertaining enough if you're interested in Japanese culture. However, what I was actually referring to with those words was probably the feeling – or feelings – which I have been going through lately.

Although this is not a ranting blog, I could explain the situation a bit as it affects me so much, and probably kills my blogging mood every now and then too. My dog's condition has kept me downcast for a while now. She's just so very tired... And so very weak. I'm afraid of losing her any time now, although she could live for years still with her medication. However, no one knows how she's doing for real. Now, I certainly have to point out that she is most likely not in pain, and receiving such treatment a vet recommended. I'm saying this because I don't want to hear anything about being cruel for not putting her down. However, it's heartbreaking to see that a dog who was active and happy back in July is now very slow, inactive and tired. And I'm taking the whole issue particularly hard. I've been crying so much lately, especially when I go to sleep. The other day I started to cry at work only because I was thinking of her. I know I cannot do much to her. Then I feel bad if I try to think of something else or even have some fun. I know I shouldn't refrain from living as she's not dead yet and might not even be dying any time soon. But she means a world to me. Maybe I'll make a post of her some time in the future to explain these things better – to elaborate on what exactly is so special about her. Naturally, each and every pet should be very special to its owners, yet my dog has quirks that have been relatively "widely acknowledged".

...I should start making myself up for the party soon. Should probably eat a bit before it too. Yet I'll still mention one thing, my newest creative project. Recently I purchased four photo frames; one decorative and three simple ones of the same style. Yet I won't be putting photos into the frames but I'll pull myself together and draw/design something to fill them with. The single frame will be reserved for something Edgar Allan Poe inspired, whereas those three... Well, they will all have the same theme, maybe you can guess what it is.

Already got this far with the Poe piece!

Now I need to attend to other things. So long, and happy Halloween! And welcome aboard, my newest readers! ♥

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Come sing along with the pirate song – a pirate party playlist!

I think I never talked much about my playlist for the pirate themed party I held in July. Now that Halloween is approaching, I figured I would make a post about my picks for a piratey playlist – especially since I know I am not the only one who's into pirate parties! Maybe they are even trendy these days? When I was in a costume shop before my own party, a 30+-year-old man came in looking for some pirate attire.

Anyway! I will recommend some ten~ piratey songs which should really appear on a piratey playlist for a piratey party. I must point out that I'm into heavy music in general, and I haven't delved much into piratey songs of totally different genres. However, the songs presented here have 100% pirate credibility.

1. Running Wild – Pirate Song

Running Wild is basically the first "pirate metal" band, and it sounds like what it is; 80's heavy/power/speed metal with piratey lyrics.

2. Alestorm – Shipwrecked

Alestorm is my favourite piratey band, yet this is not my favourite song. However, I chose to present it because of the music video, and the song is good too. Alestorm dominated my party playlist because all of their songs are about pirates, and so many of them are perfect for such a party! I truly suggest checking out some others in Youtube or elsewhere. My favourite song is Captain Morgan's Revenge (must embed it as well!), and other must-have tracks for a party playlist would be Wenches & Mead, Pirate Song, Keelhauled, Nancy the Tavern Wench, The Sunk'n Norwegian, Rum and Back Through Time.

Alestorm – Captain Morgan's Revenge

"At sunrise we'll all dance the hempen jig
So raise up your pint of rum and take another swig"

3. Turisas – Hunting Pirates

I know I have already shared this song in my blog, but here it goes again. Okay well – maybe it has an anti-piratey twist since "...when the soldiers of fortune hunt for pirates", but isn't it just natural for pirates to have enemies? Otherwise Turisas' lyrics are battle/viking inspired – worth checking out too. Go listen to Sahti Waari.

4. Tierra Santa – La Cancion Del Pirata I (&II)

Some Spanish for now! I don't understand it at all, yet still enough to know what these songs are all about! The parts of the song are combined on the video, but at least in Spotify they're available separately. The first part is my favourite.

5. Hans Zimmer – Drink Up Me Hearties

Naturally, from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End soundtrack. Even in a piratey party, you will need a moment for an instrumental song so that your guests can down their rum and everyone gets to catch their breath after all that singing. Besides, the song still comprises some very lively parts too. The PotC soundtracks have other nice party tracks too – such as Two Hornpipes from Dead Man's Chest OST.

6. Orden Ogan – We Are Pirates

Presenting this one with a video too, since the video is awesome, and this just might be the best piratey song I know. It's just so epic, you must watch the video (fullscreen!).

"A black sky above, our kingdom beneath
Die in the waves or live on your knees"

7. Pirates of the Sea – Wolves of the Sea

I have already embedded this one in my blog once, but it should be listed here too. Latvia's Eurovision Song Contest entry in 2008. Alestorm has a cover version of this song.

8. Blaggards – Drunken Sailor

The song is a traditional shanty, Blaggards made it rock. Check out Irish Rovers' version too.

9. Lazy Town – You are a pirate!

...yes, I've embedded this in the past too. Watch the video and practise the girl's dance in order to be hardcore. A tip: Alestorm made a cover version!

10. Yo Ho Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life For Me)

It was annoyingly difficult to find a proper version to embed here, and I was also looking for another pirate shanty, Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum (Fifteen Men on a Dead Man's Chest). It seems no one has made any cool versions of them! The latter has been released on a Pirate Party Music CD with the name The Pirate Song, though. You will find it in Spotify.

If you're into techno, try..:

Toy-Box – The Sailor Song

For Finns (and naturally, non-Finns as well):

Hevisaurus – Kapteeni Koukku

If your inner pirate would prefer flying:

Abney Park – Airship Pirate

And a few more...
I will not embed the rest of the songs since they are not exactly piratey. However, some of them will certainly suit such a theme party, and at least we listened to some of those in mine.

Korpiklaani – Vodka
Korpiklaani – Tequila
Ensiferum – Twilight Tavern
Dingo – Kiinanmeri
Metallica – Whiskey in the Jar

I hope this post was of some pleasure to you captains out there! Come raise the flag of the fallen and have some joyous pirate parties!
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