[menial] task force

Cleaning toilets, mopping floors, dusting and busting, all in the name of baby Jesus. At least there is the Christmas dinner to look forward to – which I is why I just spent hours pulling the skin of hundreds of tiny filets of Baltic herring. Yes, a big bowl of garlic Baltic herring will be fiercely attacked, elbows out, come Sunday dinner time.
And have I ever done so much gravlax – salmon, trout and whitefish – like this year? I think not – to think that raw spiced fish can be this good! Oh, I will cram until I resemble the shape of something round.

I even ventured out into the frosty forest for the first time in two years to find the perfect Christmas tree. It’s not easy to walk in the forest with these chronically aching ankles of mine, but it was well worth it, as me and lil bro proudly returned with a mean green sprouting thing.

Well, I’m probably not even halfway yet, so I better stop writing and get going again. Just remember, soft Christmas packages can be good too… [not!]

travis is elvis

I was talking, praying and hoping about this some months ago. My polished crystal ball head has once again shone bright…

Subaru Rally Team USA press release

(December 13, 2006) – Subaru Rally Team USA (SRT-USA) announced today that it will enter its 23 year-old star rally driver, Travis Pastrana, in select World Rally Championship events in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Pastrana, in only his second season of rallying won the 2006 Rally America National Championship, becoming the youngest ever American champion. In addition to defending his Rally America title in 2007, Pastrana will drive a Subaru Impreza WRX STI–based rally car in three World Rally Championship (WRC) events in the Group N class. Then in 2008 and 2009 SRT-USA will officially enter Pastrana in the Production World Rally Championship (P-WRC), a support series that runs concurrent with the top tier World Rally Championship.

Yes, everybody’s favorite motocrosser, the Wonder Boy, is coming along to singlehandedly save WRC. Gosh golly, I have a feeling rallying will never be the same – and for the way better. Now, all I need is a little bit – a few years – of patience to watch him crash, crash, crash… and crash, and then finally bloom. Although I shamefully doubt he will ever have the speed of monsieur Loeb or one of them incredible Flying Finns, I know that he will, symbolically, die trying. Believe me, this is one buddy who is not afraid to go über-fast in a car…

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the unbearable weight of the surface

Hello, I’m Andy, and I am addicted to all things estethical. I believe surface is everything. Attention to detail is my religion. I may walk with my feet, but I veto and vote the direction with my eyes. My whole function is based on parametres established by an amassed archive of design associations.

Beauty is not only skin-deep. Beauty is skin-deep. I have to assume you pronounced that sentence like it was a bad thing, but THINK: could the thickness of beauty matter any less?! As long as what’s underneath is even half-ignorable, I do. And in the name of beauty, I forgive, too.

I realized all of this as I was buying soy sauce. It had to be Kikkoman – I mean, it just had to be! There was no way I was buying the other brands! And do you know why? Because the etiquette on the Kikkoman bottle is very stylish. Soon I was wondering whether I was buying red onions because they look better than the yellow, or just because they taste better in a salad. And I couldn’t quite give an honest answer to that question…

Do you know, that every time I drive past ugly buildings in my hometown, I wish I had the financial power to tear them down and replace them with something by Frank Lloyd Wright. When I see a garden in disgrace, I want to knock on the door, and demand action. Or call the fashion police. Special edition DVDs in original language? Don’t get me started. I’ve bought books judged by covers, several times.
Whenever I’m about to purchase anything, even the most mundane of things, I spend hours weighing design values, and imagining how it will look in relevant context. Frustrated service-providers will hear a lot of “Does this also come in…?”

Just look around: there is the slinky Pioneer playa in satellite silver, there is the shiny black Pixma printer, the wafer-thin titanium Sony Vaio, the funky Tivoli Audio iPal, the blood-red LaCie Brick… what’s worse, I don’t care so much if these things are any good, cheap or expensive, as long as they please my eye.
When a layout is just right, my eyes channel the perfect surface to my brain, in turn responding with warm euphoria, and spreading it throughout my entire shivering corpus.

These are the confessions of a sensitive aesthete addict. Forms and shapes and colors and shiny reflections keep me locked in a cage. I’m a slave, reduced to a gimp. Worse yet, it’s getting harder and harder to tolerate the halfbaked, the bland, and the messy.
Unfortunately, there is not enough money in the world to feed my habit, and it’s near-impossible to break free, so I must deal with it. And I do, every day, everywhere I go… beholding, beholding.

I know I’m not the only one. Come out, come out, in whichever closet you are.

he’s back

Backer than the backest back, blacker than the blackest black, my bestest imaginary friend in the whole wide world, how I missed you! Oh how I missed you! Can you, from that sentence, tell that I’m on the verge of fucking fainting from the giddiest druggiest diggiest most devilish dr. feelgood feeling I’ve ever experienced since I saw Bond on the big screen for the first time as a young kid and said to myself, assuredly, now there is possibly the only guy I’d ever switch lives with…

And he is yet again, and more importantly, still, the only guy I’d want to switch lives with. It’s been a long time coming, but as I’ve suffered from a ten-year black-out that started from Goldeneye’s Irish prick and ended today 22.22, I can just say that, hello. Hello. Hello! We are returning to the surface! We see light, we feel breath, we taste life. And hey, peach, cherry, and applepie, whoever cooked this one up is a general, because that’s how many stars I see.

As from now, I strike ten years from my life, and start afresh. I’m twentytwo, how about you?

And there I was, afraid that they had turned Bond into an action hero without class, afraid that he was the new GI Joe gung fucking ho. I feared for my life, thought the final nail to the coffin had been shot, package sealed and caterpillared deep underground. And there I was again, rising from the rubble through the Venetian window to the sky, whooping hard enough to break blood vessels.
Daniel Craig is the new Sean Connery. Wreak havoc, baby, wreak havoc on everything and everyone!

One should not allow me to write posts in this feverish frame of mind and heartpumping celebration. But one is never there to shackle me and my bleeding fingertips. They just keep on running like I’ve got ten, eleven counting the brain, twelve counting the cock, minds of my own, and everyone wants to find space for punch, punch, punch. My whole body is a platform for pukingly pugilistic extensions. Watch my shadow on the white wonder wall, unh unh unh!

Right now, nothing else matters than these four words that came right at the end of the credits to Casino Royale…

James Bond will return.

“youur that seecret aaagent! that Eenglish secret agent, from Eengland!”

Sheriff J.W. Pepper from Louisiana said it best, while spitting tobacco. Therein lies Bond’s biggest problem, of course – he’s the least secret agent of them all. He is in fact so well known, that we know ALL about him.
I was never a proponent of ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ – while the rest of the world kept on changing in radical fashion, I found it strangely alluring that Bond was always Bond, the materialist boozer, womanizer and killer.

Never you mind that women all over the world burned their bras and then turned feminist, Bond bedded them with a twist of the eyebrow. Never you mind that men turned into metrosexual sissies with feelings, Bond was still the ultimate playboy who killed and – hell yeah! – enjoyed it. Oh, if he’d only smoke a white-filtered afterwards…

The tallest hurdle the Bond-series faced was the end of the Cold War. For a short period of time, about 1990, it looked as though we had seen the end of history, and with it, the closing to the story of the secret agent. But niet. Real-politik kicked into action, and the profession is once again blossoming. These days they probably have to speak arabic, thou, and that’s not nearly as glamouros as the vodka and mink fur of the evil Russians. Well, that’s another story for another day, and for another movie. I’m sure Bond speaks Arabic, anyway, seeing as he was always a ‘cunning linguist.’

As far as double entendres and innuendos go, that one is wonderfully brave – perhaps even braver than Pussy Galore.

Not that Bond was ever staid, no, on the contrary. While the character was stuck to his character, so to say, the movies always tried to incorporate the burning issues of the day. Remember Moonraker – responding to Star Wars! And wasn’t Bond snowboarding in A View To Kill, a whole decade before I bought my first snowboard? Cutting edge. Just ask Q.

Eventually Bond had to change – but the first attempt went pear-shaped. Am I the only one who thinks that M should be a man, and not a bloody Judy? At least Bond had some difficulty in taking orders from a woman on top… which was a saving grace, but really, I miss the old M dearly. For the sake of stereotypical film – because Bond is above all a stereotype – men are the ones plotting the destructions and resurrections of worlds, dammit!
This is a minor detail, really, in comparison with the direction Bond was taken – straight to Hollywood, in other words, competing with fucking Bruckenheimers and Woos. I can only weep and ignore.

The second attempt at changing Bond seems to bear better fruit. I’m talking Casino Royale 2006, with hardman Daniel Craig in the black tux by the chemin de fer, and I’m also talking the ‘shaken, not stirred‘-line, once the very epitome of a man who knows what he wants, and gets it.
Now, I intend to watch the new movie later tonight, but I read and hear, so: When the bartender in in the neo-Casino Royale asks neo-Bond if he wants his vodka martini shaken or stirred, he replies – gasp! – “Do I look like I give a damn?”
Ruthless. I wasn’t sure if I liked it at first, having always enjoyed Bond’s fancy-pants approach to all things decadent, but the more I think about it, the more genius it strikes me. This must be Timothy Dalton times ten, people!

There were times when Bond went overboard with enthusiasm. Think about the amazing amazon Grace Jones coupling with a very old and frail-looking Roger Moore, and you see what I mean. Casting has been questionable at times, acting was rarely incredible, and once in a while it was too funny, too sloppy.
But it was always enjoyable, always accompanied by fantastic soundbites, always stirred my pants. The everyday-escape these movies provide is unequalled. The shot of male chauvinism – a rare vaccin against political correctness – is priceless, buzzing you with vitality. Bond movies scream “Let me entertain you!” I holler right back, “Go for it!

Thanks for reading about my personal relationship with James Bond. I’m about to find out if it will continue.

Once again, I find myself staring down the barrel of the gun, into the curtain of blood.

every man’s alter ego

Bond, James Bond. Every man wants to be Bond, and every woman wants to be with Bond. Or has time finally caught up with dear ol’ double-OH?
After appointment with M, it will be my secret mission for the next week or so to find out whether Bond is still relevant. The climax will be a movie analysis of Casino Royale, the latest addition to the Bond agent tree.
Already, this much is clear: Daniel Craig has broad shoulders – but are they broad enough to carry my hopes?

In the meanwhile, I want and need and beg and plead for some answers to the most critical questions in the world. These questions, none of which concern the cure for cancer or the third world famine, go as follows:

007. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE BOND-ACTOR?

002. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE BOND-BABE?

003. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE BOND BADDIE?

004. WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE BOND MOVIE?

005. WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE BOND QUOTE?

Motivations will be allowed, appreciated, adored, even. Lemon Prizes are bonus. If for some reason you don’t speak Bond as fluently as I do, and thus have problems with, say, agent-question 005, cheat by using the internet. Oh, and if you find it difficult to get started, just imagine the Cold War is still going on… that always gets me into suitable nostalgia.

This is my personal model solution to what’s wrong with the world today:

007: Sean Connery, licensed to kill, the baddest man with the hairiest chest and the sexiest accent. No one else comes close. [Lemon prize: Pierce Brosnan, the stumpy Irishman who nearly obliterated my passionate Bond-fascination.]

002: Daniela Bianchi, as Daniela Romanova in From Russia With Love. Strange choice, I’ve heard, but she’s cute and I want to marry her and that’s all I can say about that. I also have a thing for Jane Seymour, as Solitaire in Live And Let Die. And frankly, I also have a thing for just about every other Bond Babe – [except for Lemon Prize loser Izabella Scorupco. Ridiculous screaming. Bläh.]

003: Telly Savalas as Ernst Stavro Blofeld. I think I relate to his wonderfully bold head. Oddjob and Blofeld’s angora cat get honorary awards. [Lemon Prize goes to that lousy nobody Jonathan Pryce in the totally forgettable Tomorrow Never Dies.]

004: It’s a tie at the top – From Russia With Love and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service are explosion-free, gadget-less, plotdriven, wonderful stories. And play with this thought: Imagine if Sean Connery had done On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.. ho snap!
Anyhoo, I love all Bond movies with a passion, apart from the last three: [Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day… damn, I wanted to die the same day. A trio of Lemon Prizes, s’il vous plaît.]

005: Connery pats Shirley Eaton on her bottom, and says “Run along dear, man talk.” I wish I had the guts to do that someday… harharhar! Silver award to this one: The girl with big, hrm, lungs [Lana Wood] says “Hi, I’m Plenty.”
Of course you are” Connery replies.
Plenty O’Toole.”
Named after your father, perhaps?

No Lemon Prizes in this category – I’m too busy falling off my chair…

quirky; my favorite adjective

My unbridled love of Captain Cousteau’s amazing underwater adventures is well known in the buroughs I move in, and it has manifested itself in many of my friends recommending the movie The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou [2004] to me. And I listen to my friends – on occasion, anyway.

So, after paying attention, I bought said film this summer on dvd, but as so many times when there are exceptionally high anticipations riding along, I wait for the stars to align just right before I can endulge freely. That was last Sunday – and had I written a film report late that Sunday evening it would have resulted in GODs and exclamation marks… let’s see if I can stay more level-headed now, half a week later.

GAWD, I LOVE THIS FILM!!! Sorry. There are still some outbursts left bubbling – I am an emotional dude, and I tend to (let myself) get caught up in the moment in a big way. GAWD, I LOVE THIS FILM!!! Sorry. But I do extract the most from films this way…

Interestingly, this remarkable film received mixed reviews when it was released 2 years ago. Some think it is plain odd. Not me, because I call it quirky, and I use this word in the most positive and best way possible. Quirky as in charming, wonderful, ingenious, creative, fantastic, witty, original, sparkling, humorous, clever, jocular… ah, I should buy a Synonym Dictionary, so I could go on and on and on and on and on. Not off.

I have always rated director Wes Anderson, proof being The Royal Tenenbaums [2001] in my tallish dvd pile, but until now, I would have used quirky in a lesser way about good Wes. Now, I’m convinced he’s a genious. Rushmore [1998] is next on my must-see Wes Anderson list.

I derail. Deep breath, back under water. The actors, “Oooh!”, I fawn. About Bill Murray, what can you say? Is he the greatest actor alive right now? Shit yeah! And what about Willem Dafoe, as Klaus, iiiih hiii iii he made me laugh like a hyena. Owen Wilson is great, Cate Blanchett, ditto, Anjelica Huston as well, even Jeff Goldblum, forever the fly.
It’s simply a complete and hysterical brain party to watch this movie, and it is filled to the brim with totally crazy plot twists and madcap ideas – without falling apart on its own brilliance.

Why stop there when you can have the soundtrack? There are actually two soundtracks, if you are on the move – like me, who downloaded them instantly. Ever heard what David Bowie sounds like in Portuguese? Neither did I, but Seu Jorge’s tunes are a match made in heaven. Moreover, Seu Jorge actually has an amusing role in the movie, as the laid-back guitarman Pelé who sings Bowie in Portuguese all the time…

As I said, QUIRKY. Perfectly. I think I’m still laughing and crying.

who is the greediest man in Finland?

Mikael Lilius, Fortum President and CEO.

Who is the most humiliated man in Finland?

Mikael Lilius, Fortum President and CEO.

[I am rollickin’ n’ frolickin’ in Schadenfreude. The little people have spoken, and for once the big man had to bend over and take it from behind. Normally, on a daily basis, it is the other way around; BUT THIS only happens once in a thousand years, so enjoy it! Live it! Love it!]

unpretty

You must see this. But I hope you haven’t just eaten, or is just about to eat. The excerpt goes like:

Today, to the day, it has been two years since motorcycle boy came tumbling down from outer space. And landing hard.
By publishing these pictures, I celebrate my second life. I’ve been very blessed, because man is usually restricted to one only
.”

Can you guess what kind of pictures? Then, sit up straight, make sure you have a bucket by your side, and click on The Pyton Horror Picture Show!

[Pages-column to the right!].

teenage adolescence; a short visit

You always remember your first time.

It never seizes to amaze me, the things you can dig up on the internet. Zum Beispiel, just recently I happened, by pure chance, to stumble upon THE defining video of the 1980s: the trashiest of eurotrash, the popcorniest of Italo disco, it can only be sultry Sabrina’s über-camp ‘Boys’. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance of downloading this treasure… chest.

You need to understand that this video made me feel all kinds of otherworldly and interplanetary urges in the 1980s – a fact I instantly and vividly remembered as I stared the 67mb file in its face. Oh, I rejoiced, heavily. Here it was, a rare opportunity to go back in time and visit my sweet adolescence over again – if not for more than 3 minutes and 47 seconds! What bliss!

The video itself is among the worst ever made, easily. But back then, as an impressionable youth of the happy-go-lucky 1980s, my one-track mind certainly didn’t notice any flaws in directing and editing. DUUH – it was all about the casting and the acting, believe you me!
Do pick it up if you can, because it is me-mo-ra-ble to the maximus. The many images of Sabrina, again and again stepping out of the very wet swimming pool, her excuse for a bikini not quite following her movements, well well Derek Bell, such are the very things you build a lad’s life on.

[[Bonus cocktail information: ‘Boys’ was banned in many European countries. Sometimes they used to show cut versions on the Top Forty Lista in Finland – talk about reasons for anarchy!]]

So, did this sensational landmark of pop history stir me up again, all grown up and living in the future – also known as the 21 century? Well, a little, admittedly, as I couldn’t close my mouth or stop smiling. Strangely enough, I never did see any hints of humour in the video in 1987.

More than that, I saw a certain young ghost… I saw the likely lad.