Sunday, 28 August 2011

Fairytale gone bad, part I

♫ Indica – Lilja's Lament

I'm surprised to see I've got some new readers again. *gasp* You are all warmly welcome aboard.

Today I'm going to write about some revamped fairytales. I really liked fairytales when I was a kid, and basically I still do. However, having heard the traditional variations once or twice or too many times, I've got more and more interested in their alternative versions. Certainly, these ideas are not particularly new. Traditional stories have been used as an inspiration source in literature, movies, game industry... You name it.

One of my favourite titles is Ludwig Revolution, which I already briefly mentioned in my A-B-C~! post. It's a manga series by Kaori Yuki (whose most famous series is Angel Sanctuary, which hasn't yet got me on my knees). To cut a long story short; I was a much more avid anime and manga fan at teenage, and back then I went through hundreds of unknown titles. I never knew mainstream particularly well. However, I read many somewhat-entertaining titles, but after all these years, I can only remember a few which really stood out from the rest. Ludwig Kakumei, in other words Ludwig Revolution, was one of those.

The main character Ludwig is basically a prince, or the prince of many well-known fairytales. However, not all the stories revamped included a prince in the first place in their original versions, but what-bloody-ever; why not make Little Red Riding Hood run into Ludwig anyway?

"My face isn't my only useful feature. It's magnificent when I take off my clothes too."
"From the moment birth flings them unprepared into this world, humans are lonely creatures. Don't think that you'll gain anything just by sitting around waiting for something to be handed to you. So long, 'sleeping beauty'." 

Another title I really truly like is probably also much better known; Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. On the other hand it doesn't question the course of Alice's original adventure in her childhood as it tells a story of what happened when she returned there on the threshold of adulthood.

And the Wonderland turns out to be entirely mad, doesn't it? At least it's probably much darker and more violent than it was in Alice's childhood.

Some people said that the movie probably proved that Tim Burton had been cooperating with Johnny Depp for too long. I can barely agree because I liked Depp as the Mad Hatter. He was probably the strongest character – I mean, the most harmonious, the most interesting personality, the strength that kept the movie in one piece. While Alice was a bit flat, Mad Hatter saved the day.

Colleen Atwood won an Academy Award for best costume design for Alice in Wonderland, and in my opinion she truly deserved the award. Mad Hatter and the Red Queen looked amazing and imaginative. On the other hand the movie won the best art direction award as well – and it can barely be denied; it's full of eye candy.

Since this theme is of great interest to me, I'll probably delve more into revamped fairytales and eventually write more blog posts about them. I wonder if the new movie Red Riding Hood is worth watching? I think I read it got a bad reception. In 2012 Untitled Snow White will also be released – maybe it's something to look forward to?
So long (sleeping beauties)!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Living dead corpse pride

♫ Mägo de Oz – Molinos De Viento

On Saturday there was a Zombie Walk event in Tampere! Or, like I saw a mate call it, Zombie Pride. :D However, a funny event with a funny idea. So many participants, several hundreds!

I didn't have that much time to prepare for the event – I didn't come up with a role or a carefully-thought full attire. It's a pity, but I didn't have the time to tinker with zombie props or even buy some fake blood. The best preparation I had was a night shift on Friday – a very unlikely thing to happen when you work in an advertising agency. However, one project required me to work on Friday evening instead of the normal office hours, and I was quite dead on Saturday. I might have looked zombie enough without any white face powder or dark rims around my eyes, but nevertheless, I applied some.

For mere amusement and illustration purposes I can provide you with photoshopped images, so well yeah... The photo on the left is right after I finished my makeup, on the right I'm with my finished look, which is barely even zombie-like; it just made me seem like I had the worst hangover ever. On the other hand I took that photo at night, when the make-up had partly worn off already. Anyway, I didn't want to look too grotesque because I figured we might end up spending the night somewhere without a flock of zombies around us, and... I don't know, but somehow I feel more comfortable looking like a freak when I don't have to do it alone. But on the other hand it's mostly about feeling like a freak. I'm quite sure someone conventional thinks I'm a freak in my everyday attire, but I don't feel like one – thus I don't feel uncomfortable.

On Sunday I also went to Chilifest Finland with my brother. :D I'm not really their target audience – I can barely even touch a chili pepper! For real – years ago I chopped a few mild chili peppers and couldn't touch a thing for two days. Needless to say, I don't eat those things. But the world cup eating contests was interesting.

The internet connection I ordered was supposed to start working today, but surprise surprise, it didn't. To be honest, I'm not the least bit surprised. Either way, the day's been tough and I'm quite sure tomorrow will be too. I'm looking forward to several things worth blogging about; the Ofelia market sales event, the 80's party, and a bit of this and that... And oh, I started reading The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Cheers!

And OH! I have a few new readers! You're warmly welcome aboard! ♥ So long!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Kraken came home!

♫ Excalion – The Wingman

I've been so very exhausted these past few days, having slept too little for no real reason. I haven't been busy or stressed, but I just "stay up late every night and realize how bad an idea it was every morning".

However, what cheered me up after work was (yet another) parcel waiting for me! I had gone Etsy-shopping, having found out how good their search engine actually is... Etsy is a dangerous site.

The main reason for me to go shopping was this Kraken necklace, which is simply adorable. I've noticed I certainly have a thing for octopi and well... piratey things. *whistle*

But I didn't want to buy only one piece, and the same seller had this dead lolita cameo, so well... Since I hadn't yet joined the crew of miss skeletons, it was probably high time. I guess every other goth has accessories with the same cameo, but well... What-bloody-ever.

The merchant's tag. Go find the shop!

Since I like my Photoshop and my new Kraken, I hereby present a picture of meself showing off the little creature. And now, I suppose I should try to go to bed as soon as possible. With some luck I might have a night shift coming on Friday, just as strange as it would be in this field... So long!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.

♫ Ashbury Heights – Christ

I have finally got around to writing a blog post which might actually be interesting at best! This time I shall babble about Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) and my everlasting interest in his literature. And well, persona too.

My first touch with his literature was in secondary school, at the age of fourteen, when we read a short Finnish translation of Berenice in a Finnish class. Quite soon I started to read his story compilations in Finnish, starting with The Gold Bug.

Today I own four books, one audio book and Lou Reed's concept album The Raven. Two of the books I have are in English: Tales of Mystery and Imagination; and The Complete Illustrated Works of Edgar Allan Poe. Considering that I have all of his stories within the covers of the latter, I would barely need anything else. However, I don't personally like holding and reading a book with nearly a thousand pages, thus, if I want to read a certain story and can find it in a lighter book, I opt for it.

Other two of the books are in Finnish; one contains Finnish translations of his less-known stories whereas the other comprises translations of his poems and a long introductory article.

Translated poetry is quite a controversial subject. On one hand I think that poetry is such a play with words and their carefully chosen placements within sentences that it's not a good idea to translate poems. On the other hand, the Finnish translations of Poe's poems are good, for real. I've read at least two different translations of The Raven, and years ago I could also recite the other by heart – yes, the whole long poem. I still remember very long parts of it. However, naturally his poems are at their best read in English, but I'm not a puritan telling you NOT to read any translations. The stories within his poems might still be worth it.

"'Prophet!' said I, 'thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—" (The Raven)
"And neither the angels in heaven above, / Nor the demons down under the sea," (Annabel Lee) 
"A blood-red thing that writhes from out / The scenic solitude!" (The Conqueror Worm)
Edgar Allan Poe wrote mostly short stories with only one full-length novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. I have to admit, shamefully, that I haven't yet read it although it's been included in that full collection I own (d'oh!). I certainly should...

I've enjoyed many stories, and it's difficult to choose my favourite ones. Some of them, however, are The Pit and the Pendulum, The Fall of the House of Usher, Ligeia, The Black Cat and The Masque of the Red Death. Those are all relatively well-known. He wrote many intriguing science fiction stories the plots of which I might remember, but not the names! :D If you have never read anything by Poe, I could recommend starting with one of those titles.

Poe is known for his "gothic horror stories", but I think that can be slightly misleading. That cannot be used to describe his whole (fiction) works. I think the name of the book I own, "tales of mystery and imagination", describes his works better. Sure, some of his stories are "pure gothic horror". Very many of them are not. He's sometimes considered to be the inventor of the modern detective story – so go figure; he's written stories of that kind. Some of them are science fiction. Some of them are just, well, the results of a dreamy mind wandering here and there, depicting strong humane emotions from anxiety to passion. If you're looking for actual gothic horror, you might not want to start with The Balloon-Hoax. The Murders in the Rue Morgue might not be that rewarding either.

And what was that CD I had? Lou Reed's concept album The Raven. I bought it merely because of the concept, and back then I didn't like it much. I haven't listened to it probably after that... I might like it more now, so I might need to try again.

"I have no faith in human perfectability. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active - not more happy - nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago."
Ever since I found out about Poe, and at least until the end of high school, he and his stories were a great inspiration source for me. In Finnish classes I wrote several theses of him or his works and in art classes I depicted the world of his works (and even his personal life) in various ways. His effect on my personal works has been smaller in and after university, though my love for ravens will never fade. :}

"If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered."

I think Poe's simply genius. The sad story of his life is also very interesting, and I think it explains many aspects of his stories and poems – not literally, but many of the emotions he must have undergone.

"Science has not yet taught us if madness is or is not the sublimity of the intelligence."
"That man is not truly brave who is afraid either to seem or to be, when it suits him, a coward."
"The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?"
"The true genius shudders at incompleteness - and usually prefers silence to saying something which is not everything it should be."
"There are few cases in which mere popularity should be considered a proper test of merit; but the case of song-writing is, I think, one of the few."
"They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night."
"Were I called on to define, very briefly, the term Art, I should call it 'the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul.' The mere imitation, however accurate, of what is in Nature, entitles no man to the sacred name of 'Artist.'"
"Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality."
Pardon me for the spam of Poe quotes, but I couldn't just choose a few. And still I omitted many. But I chose the ones that I found the mots inspiring and well, I hope other creative minds do so too.

I'm not particularly interested in visiting the US in general, but the Museum of Edgar Allan Poe is a place I'd like to go to! I wonder how many hours I could spend there if I went there... And how much money I could spend buying unnecessary shot glasses with his face printed on them etc. Oh well, maybe one day... I guess this is all for now. So long!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Baby's fighting

♫ The Cure – Burn

Ah well, my summer vacation ended and I returned to work. This week was quite... quite, well, horrible? Yeah, that is the word I'm looking for. It was not horrible because of work, but death came a bit too close to my dog on Monday. She was diagnosed with pyometra and was operated on in the middle of the night. Thus, I barely slept, and on Tuesday I was dead tired at work. Even a work mate said he noticed immediately that I wasn't my usual cheerful self. I could barely concentrate on work on Tuesday because my dog didn't begin to recover at the expected pace after the surgery. Then they diagnosed anaemia. Then my dog got a blood transfer... After that she began to recover. She's doing better now, recovering well, I suppose. But well, she certainly gave me some anxious feelings and a few skipped heartbeats etc.

Otherwise the first week at work after the vacation wasn't that bad, I kind of like my job anyway. I don't like getting up early in the morning and this week it was particularly difficult – both because of the daily rhythm I had on my vacation and the issues with my dog which kept me awake.

On Sunday, when I was still happily enjoying the last day of my summer vacation, I was being somewhat lazy, but still wanted to make myself look somewhat humane so that I could go downtown. (Yeah sure, I could go without making myself up, but it's no fuuuun...)

For someone with a SLR camera and a proper tripod, I'm bloody lazy when it comes to taking photos of myself. Setting up the equipment is just so troublesome..! Anyway, I found the mini vest at UFF the other day, and I think it was quite a good find! (If you think you see a jar filled with cigarette stumps, well, yeah, you do. But I don't smoke myself.)

The Cure's Burn is quite a nice, somewhat a hypnotic song. I haven't seen The Crow, but it's fascinating me. I wonder if it contains too much gore for someone like me? For someone, who doesn't watch movies which have been rated R for graphic violence?
So long~
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