Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas advertising

I have a habit of reading the free newspaper called "Metro" in the mornings on my way to work. You might know this one, because it is widely available on many cities. Metro satisfies easily my curiosity on recent happenings in the world.

This morning was special. Some of the Christmas advertisements really puzzled me. Or, to be more precise, their change over time. What say you?:

Metro 16.12.2010 "Vibration masseur Orgasmatron"

Metro 17.12.2010 "Scalp tickler & deluxe version"

??? To soothe my bruised brain, the company tells the reader that they are / have the meaning of life. Among other cheap thingies...

It is not 42 after all?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sky on fire and other wintry visions

We are rehearsing at Cable Factory in Ruoholahti. Starting in the morning, through the day all the way into the evening. The procession of the day and light behind the windows.

Early  morning and the day outside.


From the windows of the studio we can see over the water to Lauttasaari. Weather has been genuinely wintry and the landscape has shown us many different faces. The sea is finally frozen flat. Mostly it gives you the impression of calmness and space, like everything was sleeping through the cold winter months.

Southern Lauttasaari

Today while watching out of the window, I got the strangest urge to go skiing. This is something that I didn't volunteer to do since I was 13 years old. Somehow the quality of light reminded me of my childhood skiing trips on the frozen lake. I would take hot chocolate and sandwiches with me and ski to an island or somewhere to eat my packed lunch. I usually liked doing this all on my own, the solitude of it was very important to me.

Brrrright light

Yeah, that was something special to me. But then I reached the delicate age of 13 and went to the upper high school. The nazi gym teacher we had killed all the enthusiasm in me. Didn't ski ever since. Strange how the elementary school can kill all the interest in a kid =)

Länsiväylä bridge

Perhaps now, some 23 years later I could consider to take up on my childhood hobby again. The gym teacher is only a vague recollection anymore, so maybe it would be okay?

Sky on fire
Sometimes there is quite spectacular views in the horizon. Sadly the cameras very rarely manage to capture all the splendor of the phenomena. But perhaps you at least get the idea?

Grayish and open daylight
Fiery sky in the evening

Subtlety of coffee

O'joy o'happiness! Tram stop, early morning, temperature app. -10*C, mostly clear skies.


When considering the subtlety of warm latte in a to-go cup in your hand on cold winter morning, I'm seriously lost for words. Pure happiness and definitely worth getting up 20 minutes earlier to prepare it to go.

Mmmmmm.... waiting for number 8
That's all....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Loooooooooots of snow and a cool production

I was reading the online weather forecasts before I came to Finland. I have to say that I was bit worried about it, since the temperature hovered quite steadily somewhere around -25*C, I'd freeze my butt out, brrh. But, luckily the "shit cold" had subsided by the time I got here and it was only somewhat peachy -6*C or so. Lucky me =)

Of snow we have here plenty, though. It's kinda nice, since it is all puffy and fluffy and not wet at all. It started snowing on 6.12, the Independence Day, and by the evening Helsinki region had gained some 50cm thick layer of it, covering everything. Most of it is still around, because nobody bothered / had time to clear it away. Car owners are having major problems because their vehicles are seriously blocked and the city is sending out police to hand out fines for illegal parking instead of shovel teams to help dig the cars out. Fair game...

Pikku-Huopalahti 7.12.2010

The snow kept coming down for the following couple of days. Judging by the visuals, it really is a winter wonderland here now. So pretty, and also comfortable to experience, since it's not so freaking cold just now. I already thought that I don't really care much for winter, but this is nice, I have to admit. Snowflakes are somehow friendly =)

Frosty tree on the inner yard.

I came to Finland to participate on a new dance production. It is called "On the kitchen table" and choreographed by Satu Tuomisto. Live music is by Mariska & Pahat Sudet. The performance will open on January 22nd on the Boiler Plant on Cable Factory, Helsinki, as a part of Zodiak Center for New Dance program.

Our brand new poster! (baaaad quality jpg, will be fixed)

Is this modern dance? -Perhaps, at least until snow covers it.

I'm very thrilled about all of this, since I already did one production for Raatikko with choreographer Tuomisto and greatly enjoyed the experience. This time we get to do something even more rock'n roll. Yeah!

Bicycles by the Cable Factory

I have to say that it is really nice to work with such a team of people that feed your imagination constantly. I cannot ever remember the last time I would have scribbled so many things to my notebook in such a short time. It's just brilliat and I believe the performance will turn out fine too. You should come see! Tickets are available since to day on Lippupavelu. Bring your friends too!!!!

So, it can be stated that I really like being in Finland this time around. Groovy, I even don't mind the winter and wet legwarmers =) And it's so pretty here one can only smile =) =)

Bio waste bin got a new hat on Cable Factory yard.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Some belated flavors of October @ Tampere

I know it's been ages since I managed to scribble anything here. Sorry about that... Somehow I just felt that I need bit of distance from some stuff that happened in October.

I had my breather and I finally feel ready to share some cool things that happened within the duration of my stay.

The cider
I went to a bar called Konttori with a friend of mine and did some sampling of British ciders. Each one that followed was stronger than the previous one, and also more expensive as it occurred. After a not so long a while I was happily tipsy =)

The two below were my favorites of the lot I sampled. Both of them are somewhat oaky and round in taste and don't have excessive amount of bubbles. One ice cube does the trick, they both loose all flavor if too cold.

Thatcher's Katy

Weston's Vintage 2008 Special Reserve Cider

Beautiful scenery
I got invited to a house warming party in Tahmela, on the slopes of Pispala. This is one of the most prestigious areas of the city with architecturally the most interesting (and also most expensive) real estate. Friends of friends had landed themselves a half of a double house over there with some impressive 180 m2 and open view over the Pyhäjärvi lake. We went there by the time sun was just setting and had a chance to admire one very nationally romantic view from their back yard. A view with blue sky, pine trees and sunshine glittering on the waves.

First I was bit dubious about going there, since I wasn't invited personally in the first place, but then I decided to go. This proved to be a good idea, because, as it turned out to be, I knew pretty much everybody at the party. They are all old friends with whom I used to hang out in the student parties in mid-nineties. And the house, OMG, it's beautiful!!!

House itself was quite special also, as just said. It has been built on 60's in a very functional and minimalistic style and looks still very airy and modern, but not in the 60's style modernism. I could easily imagine myself living in a house like this one, but unfortunately it's not likely that I can ever afford one =) But a girl is allowed to admire and dream, right? Anyhow, I'm very happy fro these friends, that they found and got what they were looking for.

Only thing missing is the blue-white flag on the pole.

The day Tampere disappeared
There was a day that Tampere simply wasn't there. The fog was so thick that I could barely see the next building. Somehow ghostly feeling since all sounds seemed also muffled.

Not really there. Nope.

Over the Rainbow
My dear friend Jyri invited me to go with him to listen to a band called "Over the Rainbow" at Pakkahuone. This is a band of Joe Lynn Turner,  Bobby Rondinelli, Greg Smith and Paul Morris who all used to play in Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow and Jurgen "J.R." Blackmore who is the son of Ritchie Blackmore.

I had no clear idea what I would be, but I was very curious. I know the old Rainbow pretty well and have always considered Blackmore being the only true guitarist for Deep Purple. Well, whatsoever.

That national warm up act was not much to say about, but OTR opened their set up strong. The guys sound pretty amazing still over all the years and the prodigal son plays guitarist with as steady hands as daddy. Pleasant experience.

The only unresolved questions concerning this band and this evening are the following:
1) Is Lynn Turner wearing a wig???
2) Why and how the heck Jurgen manages to look as old as the rest of the gang?
Go figure, cool concert anyway.

Halloween masquerade
On Halloween my friend Ulla celebrated her birthday and invited us all to a costume party. The theme was movies an television series. Pretty broad concept, which still managed to produce three nuns in a crowd of twenty people =)

I dressed up as Lara Croft, because I didn't want to invest in something "pink with fringes" or something, that eventually end up collecting dust in the back of the closet. Combat boots, t-shirt, boobs and the hair I already had, so I just needed to get some skimpy shorts and some gun straps with street credibility. It turned out pretty ok, but unfortunately I can't prove it to you guys just yet. I have to wait the photos from the birthday girl's camera... But I promise to post some as soon as I get some, seriously!

As a teaser for the mean time, I post the bartender's shot list. The bloody Sambuca was my favorite. For the Finnish reader's there is a dilemma to solve: What d'ya suppose it is supposed to read on the middle row bottom? Karannut? Kärynnyt? Both interesting choices, I'd say.

Everybody surely finds their cup of tea?

For the last but not least I want to post something I found pretty peculiar. I guess it's just one result of this dumb smoking legislation in Finland nowadays. The proprietor must designate the poor smokers to go somewhere, right? Preferably somewhere out of sight, out of mind... This is the result:

Storage for liquid gas and an ashtray, yep.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ismo Alanko Teholla @ Yo-talo

Yo-talo is definitely one of the nicest small rock clubs in Tampere. If it's not too crowded, that is. This time I went there on Thursday evening to listen to one of my all time favorite artists, Ismo Alanko. Ismo has strong roots in Finnish new wave punk scene with his bands Hassisen Kone and Sielun Veljet, since 1980. Nowadays he tours mostly with smaller set-ups. At Yo-talo he performed as a duo with percussionist Teho Majamäki.

Ismo Alanko
The evening was quite pleasant. There was just good amount of audience, -not too much, so that one can still move around and get a drink after decent waiting time. The second act of the evening was Danish band called Nephew, who played quite straight forward rock with some Depeche Mode nuances. It seemed though, that most of the audience had come to see Ismo, because many of them left after his concert. But I have to admit that this Nephew was sort of positive surprise, since I didn't know anything about them before.

Nice crowd
Below you'll find couple of samples of Ismo's music over the years. Just to give you the idea =). I really like this stuff.

One of the latest releases: Onnellisuus / Happiness

My personal favorite: Ekstaasiin

Oldies from 80's: Peltirumpu

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Real Special offer

Why would I buy anything for normal price ever again, if they have such veeery special offers:

Windbreaker 4 sale, Anttila supermarket, Hämeenlinna

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mainly about food in Finland

Fishing for fresh fish
For me one of the thrills about going to Finland has always been the food. I guess nothing will ever change that albeit the Finnish kitchen is definitely not world famous. But there is some things I miss while I'm away.

Since I spend most of my time nowadays in Switzerland, fish is something I dearly miss. Even if Finland is by no means never considered to be any kind of seafaring nation, the fish and related products are usually really good quality, fresh and also affordable. Whereas in Switzerland the simple salmon can cost nearly 50 € per kilo. So understandably, and sadly, one doesn't eat fish in Basel every week. My man doesn't complain about the lack of fish, so obviously he doesn't share my passion =) =)

Source of fresh products in Tampere: Kauppahalli

After settling in at Tampere I headed out to hunt some fresh products. The best and the most atmospheric place to find these is Kauppahalli in downtown. Kauppahalli is a market hall that has over 100 years of history and houses today approximately 40 local providers. You can really feel the history in there, but the products are fresh =). One can also find some bit more peculiar produces here, just look around and browse some.

I was looking for a nice piece of fish and ended up buying some plain salmon. Back at the apartment I just tossed it into a frying pan and seasoned it with simple mixture of salt and black pepper. Fish is generally just so brilliant because it doesn't need complicated spice mixes or marinades to taste good, on the contrary actually. Served with some boiled potatoes, fresh salad and remoulade sauce = pretty ok tv-dinner for one.

Sometimes simplicity is beauty.

Cabbage is foodstuff that really divides opinions. I'm one of those who really likes cabbage. Cabbage is nice no mater how it's prepared, but perhaps the most divine approach is to make traditional rolls in the oven. This is fairly simple but time consuming recipe, so most often I just end up buying them from deli =) Anyway, the basic rule is to first cook some white cabbage leaves and then make some rolls out of them, filled with minced meat and rice. Then these rolls go into a oven for a long time and they are basted every now and then with sirupy liquid. When ready, serve with some lingonberry purée and boiled potatoes. The complete recipe here, together with some other cool Finnish recipes.

Mmmmmmm..... These are something I always absolutely have to have at least once during my stays in Finland.

Traditional cabbage rolls (photo by Aamulehti)

Great Chinese food in Hämeenlinna
I've always known that there is one very good Chinese restaurant in Hämeenlinna called Dragon. We always go there with my mom when I'm in town. But this time we wanted to try something else and went to a rival restaurant one block away (Raatihuoneenkatu 13). This one is called "Orient World" and it has already been there in the same address for many years, but I hadn't eaten there since ages.

This one was as empty as Dragon always is on the early evening. I don't know if it's because we are always too late for lunch and too early for dinner or what, but there is nobody, never. I can't imagine how these restaurants have enough customers to keep the business up and running. Well, nonetheless.

Orient World was lots cozier and somehow more Asian than Dragon and the food was more imaginative and tasty. Both Dragon and Orient World are good choices, but from me Orient gets bit more points. Highly recommended. My squid was exceptionally good since they had fried it little bit before adding it to the sauce. Very much nicer texture this way.

Mum and her Kung Po prawns
Second half of my squid in black bean sauce.

Portions in the Orient World are pretty big so immediately there was no space for any dessert. So we went home and produced couple of hours later some very Finnish thin pancakes or crepes, if you like. Fill these with nice vanilla ice cream and you cannot lose =)

Dessert: homemade pancakes filled with vanilla ice-cream

I admit that I'm a culinary enthusiast of a sort and eating well gives me a great deal of satisfaction. So therefore I feel now wayyyyys more ready and prepared to go back to Tampere and face and overcome some professional challenges and obstacles . Yay.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

R.I.P. Steve Lee

Medea in Luzern

In the beginning of October I headed out to Luzern to have the last two shows of "Keep on searching for a heart of gold".

Famous wooden bridge, downtown Luzern

We performed at Südpol Theater in Kriens, which was an excellent experience. The theater is only approximately one year old and everything is still brand new. So new, that in the whole complex, we couldn't find one single floppy drive to read my show data. "Everyone has a mac laptop here..."

Südpol (Photo:

The area where the theater is located, is pretty strange. You get the feeling of really being in the industrial area somewhere beyond civilization. No matter, downtown Luzern is only half an hours' walk away, but still you feel weirdly detached. The theater has a beautiful guest apartment right there and I quite enjoyed staying there and spending some time with our team members, whose I haven't seen since the disastrous Hamburg gig in mid-July.

Working in Südpol was an absolute bliss. All the gear is shiny and new, no scratches anywhere in their Robert Juliat's and ETC's. We also had plenty of time to set everything up and the ouse technicians were all very helpful and friendly. The Swiss precision in action, I should say. They really have invested in good quality there, so the venue is warmly recommended under any circumstances.

Me and Esther went walking on our free hours in the afternoon. It was nice to just get outside the black box and enjoy the warm autumn day. The föhn wind had provided us peachy +20 degrees, so no need for dressing up like an onion there.

Downtown Luzern on the old town side we found this brilliant little take-away thai restaurant called Song Pi Nong. We landed there just in time, since one should notice that most of the restaurants in Luzern are strangely closed between 15.00-17.00 on weekday afternoons. The place can take perhaps 20 customers on one go and is very nicely designed and clean. And the food is almost as good as in Thailand and comes with all appropriate condiments. It's bit pricey (but then again; all eating out in Switzerland is), but not in an outrageous way. Well worth the investment.

Song Pi Nong

The urban legend of Swiss mountains
I was in Luzern from early Wednesday morning to Friday night. So plenty of time, and some of it free too. But guess three times if there was any visible mountains in the vicinity? The first two guesses don't count. It's been only over four years that I've tried to spot some sort of bump in the landscape on a clear day. It just doesn't happen to me, the mountains take the day off, if they hear me coming...

I just have to google them to have some proof... (photo:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fairy forest gone haywire

While I was in Finland, I worked with dance theater Raatikko again. They did a new production for small children; the kids from daycare and first elementary school classes.It is called something like "on the paths of goblins"

The story was pretty simple. All the things are turning strange and all the beauty is disappearing from the forest. The goblins have already had to leave their homes and seek refuge with the fairies territory. Goblin boy meets a fairy girl and they become friends.

Goblin boy and fairy girl meet for the first time.

Weird bug invades the space.

Daddy-fairy encourages fairy girl to do the fairy work so that the order in the forest would be maintained. Audience, all dressed up as little goblins and fairies, is asked to participate in drying the flower petals and untangling the spidernets used for sieving the fairydust.

All the work is still not done!

Why all the goblins are in the Fairy forest??

While everybody is working something strange happens. A weird whitish object falls from the sky. Daddy-fairy finally figures out that it is a seed planted to the forest by the evil Wizard of the Crystalbrook.

Work in the forest includes drying the flower petals and untangling spider nets.

Mystical object falls from the sky.

Daddy-fairy recognizes the object to be a seed.

Daddy-fairy knows the wizard, because they used to be best of friends when they were young. They would spend their days playing eerie elf music with their magical instruments, but then the wizard got arrogant and greedy. 
Daddy-fairy tells the story of the Wizard, his childhood friend.

They used to play elf-music together.

Brave goblin boy promises to fight the wizard if he comes.

Collecting fairydust - the secret weapon against the wizard.

Daddy-fairy departs to have a look into matters in goblin forest. While he is gone the evil wizard shows up and casts spells in fairy forest. First the water starts to rise and goblins try to swim in it and the fairies to fly over it. But the river is too wild. Then the wizard reveals himself and tries to take over the forest by casting spells onto the people, but they resist. Finally they conquer the wizard by blowing fairydust onto him and he escapes sneezing and promising to turn good again.

Wizard casts a spell and water in the river rises.

The Wizard shows up and tries to bewitch the fairy folk.

In the end all is well again and daddy-fairy returns. He announces the start of a big fairy party.

Fairy folk covers the wizard with fairydust and he flees sneezing.

In the end all is well and it's time for big fairy party.

Goblins and fairies are:
Script: Pirjo Toikka
Directing and choreography: Marja Korhola
Set design and costumes: Taina Relander
Light design: Minna Heikkilä
Music: Timo Muurinen

On Stage:
Musician: Jone Takamäki (daddy-fairy)
Dancers: Riku Koskinen (goblin) and Outi Markkula (fairy girl)

Premiere 18.9.2010 @ 14.00.
Shows 16.9.-27.10.2010 workdays @ 9.00 and 10.30.
Saturdays 2.10 and 23.10 @ 14.00.

Go see...