Olden days - the 1st quarter of 2008


The new year's here - what a surprise!

  • 30.3.2008 -A phew phresh photos-

   This time, I'm going to take it easy because I have so many other things to do and, oh, so little time. Just kidding - I could have all the time in the world if I wanted to. But here's what I've got to show to you this week: a bunch of pictures from perhaps the last real snowfall this winter. The weather forecasts tell us that it'll easily climb above zero degrees and that it'll stay that way for a bit. Now, I'm imagining the snow that we have now will largely melt during that time. Well, it means that spring's coming, which can't be a bad thing, really.

The first one was actually partly a test on how the 35mm f/1.4 handles the out of focus areas... Well, there's definitely something I really dislike and I'll have to check out what the lens looks like because there seems to be some reflections from rear element. Nothing serious, I hope. As for the photo itself, I tried to find some kind of interplay between the lantern and the shadow as well as trying to highlight the depth. And really, creating a tiny thread of a story is not at all difficult when you find a strong symbol like I did here, the heart. The rest is up to your interpretation.  :-)

Now, this is something I actually think will throw a bit of gloom and doom at you. It was certainly the goal. I thought the street lights and especially the posts seemed a bit invasive among all the snowy branches so I thought I could use that to an effect. If I wanted to express my disaffection with the architecture - even when the lamp posts are made of trees, which I find very attractive as a building material - this is one way of doing it.

That's it for now. I hope I'll be back with either better photos or better stories next weekend when my toughest exams have been dealt with and I have at least a remote possibility of thinking clearly.  :~)


 

  • 23.3.2008 -Happy Easter, Dreams and Pics-

   First of all, happy Easter to all of you! Eat chocolate, mämmi and a lot of paskha! For you Finns out there, it's English and means 'pasha'...  ;~)

Now, let's cut to the chase. It would be overly straining for me to write about anything other than my dreams for the near future. Two exams next week have kept me so busy that I guess one must dream on to remain jolly and brisk. And incidentally, I haven't had time for much else. But it's a good subject, anyway, although I'm going to have to narrow it down a bit. Let's say I'm going to reveal what my first means of transport will be? You guessed it already, didn't you! Otherwise I would've said my first car and so on, har har... But yes, it's a motorcycle. I'm going to be a badass menace of the streets, you know... Right?

Well, I kind of doubt it. But I will be the coolest guy in the town, that's for sure. Just like two of my idols, Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor (topmost photo), I'm going to get a Beemer. That's cool language for a BMW, of course - I guess. The trouble is that the one they rode on in the Long Way Round documentary, the BMW R1150 GS Adventure and its successor R1200 GS Adventure, which they used in the Long Way Down are simply too big and heavy for a skinny guy like me. As luck would have it, they made a smaller version of the adventure bikes this year, the F800 GS - and it got an even smaller brother, the F650 GS. And that'll be my first motorcycle. Here you can see it, the blue one up there. Now, when I say it's a little brother to the F800 GS, it means that the suspension is of a bit lower quality, the riding height lowered by a few centimetres, the front wheel a bit smaller and the engine's a slightly tamed version, but a 800 ccm one nevertheless. Well, tamed as in 0-100 kmph in under five seconds, easily. That's good enough for me, clearly. But you see - and I'm sure you're seeing it, too - it looks way awkward. Perhaps too small, what do you think?

It's not going to stay that way, anyway, you can count on it. I'm buying the bike for actually travelling to places, so a complete set of luggage cases are a must. It's going to be my first bike so it must have engine guards in case I fall down - I'm prepared to do that a lot, actually. So, what's left? Ahh, but of course, a longer windscreen for those straight bits of tarmac and a black nose piece from the F800 for good luck. Voilà!

Now that's the way you do it!


   I'm really hoping this dream would come true. But really, a motorcycle alone wouldn't make me happy in the least. It's pretty much like a tool, a means to do something good. Like a camera to a photographer. I quite like that analogy, really. If I didn't have the right company, I'd be miserable on the long roads.

I need good music. Just imagine driving towards a beautiful sunset without the presence of Jeff Buckley in 'Hallelujah' and Kings of Convenience singing their 'Cayman Islands'. Rolling Stones craving for protection from the storm in 'Gimme Shelter' and Nine Inch Nails 'In This Twilight' would be needed, too, not to mention Stereophonics and the 'Long Way Round' to call it a day. It would be impossible without them.

And friends, too, I need them. Man, I wish I could get my brother to join me on some longer than possible trips. He's quite a biking fanatic himself so he wouldn't need much encouragement, which is a plus. Olli would make a perfect travelling partner, let me tell you... Wait! Imagine if I found a girlfriend who'd sit on the back seat, hold me tight and keep me warm, now that would be something.  :~)

Well, we'll see. This is the perfect place to stop dreaming and start doing something to actually get there! Hard work, I'm sure it'll be. But anything's possible when the music's as good as this... It's the song I've fell in love with. Start me up, 'Phonics!!!




 

  • 15.3.2008 -One good reason to grow up-

   Oh man, one of my favourite Members of Parliament here in Finland, an old poet named Tommy Tabermann has voiced the best bills (not phone bills, but drafts of proposed laws). A good example was when he proposed that working hours should be reduced and the number of breaks increased, which, according to him, would result in people actually enjoying their work. That makes sense. Then, and this is my favourite, he came up with the idea of "love holidays". He says there should be more days off for one particular reason: for couples to invest in their relationship. That they should be allowed to spend more time with each other and "rejoin the core of the relationship on both emotional and erotic levels". Now, isn't that what makes the world tick?

Oh... Well, yes, he forgot those of us who aren't in a relationship. All the singles out there, sink not! I hope you haven't forgot the Rolling Stones. When there's a lonely heart, there's the healing voice of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' soothing blues guitar. So, when the next love holiday nears and you have no shoulder to lean on, check back on my site and listen to this...

While music pumps from passing cars
a couple watched me from a bar
A band just played the wedding march
and the cornerstore mends broken hearts
A woman asked me for a dance
Oh, It's free of charge just one more chance

Oh I,
walked the streets of love
and they are full of tears
And I,
walked the streets of love
for a thousand years

We all know one can be awfully happy without a partner. Hell, there's so much more to life - small things, big things. Things that make you smile and things that drop you in your knees. Besides, we've all got friends, family and good music. They make us all tick. So bring in the love holidays!  :~)


And now, what was the subject line, again? Think about it... Tabermann is over sixty years old and he has the guts to do something like that, knowing perfectly well - and don't misjudge, he's a bright mind - that it could be seen either as a childish or calculated attempt at drawing attention to himself. If he isn't an authentic rebel rebel, no one is! And mind you, the 'Stones are all older than Tommy and they come up with this kind of stuff? If growing up doesn't make you dull and formulaic after all, what's there to fear?

I'm sorry to have confused you with these two stories thrown at you at the same time, but, you see, they were quite inseparable.  :~)

 
  • 8.3.2008 -Watch the time!-

   I've always wanted to say that! It's not a misspelling, mind you. It's the topic of the day. Well, not exactly, but close enough. You see, I've made quite an investment - for the future, that is, not a financial one. I've bought a men's wrist watch of noble heritage, an authentic Baume & Mercier.  :~)

I'm one hundred percent certain that you have never heard of it before and I'm quite happy that is the case. First of all, let's look at the photos here. They really are nothing more than my first attempt at product photography, but they do fit in nicely with today's topic. If you're thinking that's an old watch you're quite correct. It was made around 1948, so I guess that makes it almost sixty years old. But it's still ticking.

So, I think it's time to get philosophical, once again. For starters, let's admit that I don't need that kind of watch because I have one in my phone which goes wherever I go. Neither is it too handy, for it's actually almost as fragile as a sturdy house of cards. No spare parts are available or has been in the last couple of decades, I guess. It's not sealed either, so mere sweat could do awful lot of damage in the long run. Yes, you're quite entitled to ask if I've gone mad...

A Peter Gabriel song Indigo comes to mind with its opening lines:

It's too late, this model's out of date.
Got every spare part, but there ain't much heart inside here.
 

Although I'm pretty sure the story describes a dying man rather than a watch, I think it fits in quite beautifully. My watch has obviously seen a lot of places and people, gathered dust from unknown parts of the world. I got it from England, where it's been living for the past few years, at least. To actually keep it in my wrist and having the trust in its age-old mechanics is... Well, it's kind of neat. Makes you think just how much brilliant engineering has been put inside one fancy package. Then you start to think how far we've come since the 1940's. Or should I say how many steps we've come back?

I have two other watches, too, and I don't mean to say they're less competent than the B&M, because that's not the case. In fact, it's completely the other way around. They run on batteries rather than a spring loaded by twisting the crown (i.e. the main knob). In other words, they consume valuable recources - insignificant amounts, yes, but the idea is lost. I'm overjoyed to see modern quartz watches incorporating self-winding power reserves like Citizen does with its Eco-Drive. But one could question just how long they'll last. They probably won't be around in working condition in sixty years time, I'd wager. In other words, they're not built to last. The watch repairmen I've met have said to me that they can't fix quartz watches because they're not built for that, either. When a watch breaks, you buy another one. The latest model, perhaps.

I've got a bit of a problem with that kind of attitude from the manufacturers. And yet, it's actually our doing. In the end, we buy them. That's why I decided to make a tiny, meaningless and silent statement by wearing this ancient mechanical watch. It's the best that I can do, really. Luckily, some of my friends have caught a glimpse of it. It's nice to see them so interested and quite oblivious of the inconvenient fact that I paid a whopping 500 euros for it (which is but a fraction of the cost of a new one). I'd rather they thought I got it from my grandparents or something. Whatever the case, I hope the seed of a different kind of product consumption has been planted.  :~)


Next time I have this itch I'll definately talk about cars or motorcycles. And something tells me there's a lot to talk about. It's quite positive, though, which is something new to me, I guess.  :-)

 
 

  • 23.2.2008 -When it snows, it doesn't-

   It's getting funny watching the weather forecast and hoping it would snow some day. Maybe once a fortnight we get some sort of snowfall. Once in, say, three times we do, it's actually snow and not slush. But the good thing is that you really learn to enjoy everything that comes down at us, no matter how wet it is.  :~)

I went to a sort-of job interview today and the roads were covered in soggy snowdrifts. There's just something intriguing in such a weather that I'm not sure others will appreciate as much as I do. At least I've been told that I'm quite alone with this odd fascination. I'll just show you some of the scenes from my trip to the university where I picked up my brother. The yellow student house is something I usually dislike. Why? For its ugly mustard colour, for one thing, and the downright ghastly architecture for another. Not to dismiss the late Soviet Union (too much), I still have to draw some lines between that and, shall we say, the functional design of this particular building. Having said that, I think the weather brings out the best in it! It still looks shabby but so lovely, too. My trusty camera phone was, but of course, with me and I didn't have to rely on my photographic memory (which obviously hasn't got the resolution of those 2 megapixels).

And just as I turned to the right in an instant I found myself driving next to an ancient Saab. It was black and it had this magnificient rear spoiler. I felt like I'd been sent back in time - to the 80's or thereabouts. The heavy snowfall also reminded me of the winters of two decades ago. Look, even the traffic signs seem to agree with me that it looks stunning, doesn't it? (I smudged the register plate. ;)

It was slippery, for sure, and the snow was wet and heavy, which in high speeds can cause unwanted surprises. That's okay, I thought, because I really think my driving skills are up to par. Sadly (or should I say interestingly) there are people that shouldn't be handed a car on a day like this. Here are a couple of prime examples.

And yes, I think it should be illegal to take photographs when you're driving.
Wait, it is!   ;~)
 

  • 16.2.2008 -You know Juno, right?-

   Well, it's time you did! But you're wondering what it is in the first place, am I right? The thing is, it's a movie. A sort of indie one, at that. In other words, it quite lacks in fast paced espionage action intertwined with serene moments of down-to-earth philosophy, cool male characters to identify with, light sabres or out-of-this-world fantasy backdrops. You know, the stuff I usually watch movies for.

The reason for me to make the careful step outside the box and go see Juno in a film theatre was possibly the fact that I didn't have Olli with me. Instead to accompany me I had asked a friend who didn't exactly love action movies or anything that had more than one explosion. The problem was that I kind of found myself bogged down with a small selection of Finnish dramas and had no idea what to do... By chance I saw this weird, colourful ad where a young girl had stuffed a football under her shirt. It looked fun. One quick glance at Roger Ebert's review of the film and that was it, basically. I learned that it tells a story about a 16-year-old girl and what happens around her but doesn't actually assume that I'm in my mid teens myself. That's certainly refreshing.

The football wasn't a ball, but a baby. Juno - this young girl here, played by Ellen Page - and her boyfriend had had a night to remember and an unwanted offspring to remember it by. That sounds like an oridinary starting point for a teen comedy drama, but the film ends up being so much more that I'm frankly terrified - dreaded to think of all the ones that I've dismissed because they've seemed tacky on the cover.

The plot is pretty straightforward in the beginning but quickly takes a couple of U-turns that feel instantly believable, yet slightly confusing. And I mean that as a good thing, as they make you understand both the folly and the fun in the situation and ask yourself what you would do in their shoes. New characters are introduced one by one - and surprisingly - each of them truly fascinating in their own way. You become attached to anyone the story decides to throw at you, that's what happens. Even that cheeky-looking teenager in the white shirt (above photo) ends up being likeable, if not lovable.

No point in revealing any more from the story, really. You must see this film if you're in a mood for being revealed why this truly is such a wonderful world, just like the song says. In the end, well, you'll find that it really isn't a run-of-the-mill hollywood finish. But you'll see the beauty of it all, I can promise you that much.

Me? During the last minutes I found myself suppressing the tears, actually, trying not to think about what's happening in the film too much. I don't think anyone wants to be caught crying when the lights are lit during the ending credits. That would've been awkward.   :´-)

I simply must give it a rating. Now, out of five fireballs, I'm going to give...

That's the new record!! Yes, I do love the movie quite so much. And yes, this is the first official rating I've published here, but that's beside the point. I'm also contemplating on changing into a three or four star scale, so if that really happens, Juno remains the record, too.

 

PS: I have other good news, too! I found the papers that I used as a diary during the four days of skiing in the UKK. It means that I will definately write it all down here, one day.

PPS: About those fireballs... I hand painted them myself, believe me or not! One or two of my friends will have noticed by now that they're copied and pasted from my website that I wrote around a decade ago. I'm not prepared to share the address with you, by the way. It'll remain a bit of an inside joke, for now.  ;~)


 

  • 6.2.2008 -Photogråphs are back-

   Wee hee! I finally did it. I cleaned up and updated the ragged Photogråphy section quite thoroughly. I hope it's ten times better than the last version, although you could argue that I'm still not aiming very high.  :~)

There are two new galleries, one of which is only partially full and the other practically non-existent at the moment. I've begun writing the story to the London trip and a small share of the photos are there, too. Please, have a look.

The other gallery is aptly called "My Most Bestest Photogråphs". There you'll find - in the near future (honestly!) - all the photos I've ever shown here, as well as all the future additions. A lot of them are waiting in line, believe me. Due to the strange and, frankly, inadequate layout options available here at googlepages.com the appearance might seem lacking in elegance at first, but I'll do everything I can - and then some, if I can - to make it better.


And another thing! In my last entry you saw a B&W photo of a snow-covered shrubbery - this one here, right? Wrong! Just like Uncle Adams told us, it really is true that the film negative (a raw image file) is simply a score and the person doing the printing (all the magic that happens in the Photoshop) is acting as the conductor. I felt the image really had something going on but the version I first presented was simply too flat and spoiled by too much artificial noise. I grabbed the bull from its horns once again and this happened! Yes, it is how it should've been right from the start.

 I think this is why I so desperately wanted to catch that last frame...
Which one do you prefer?

 

  • 28.1.2008 -The snowiest of landscapes-

   Here I am, just as I promised! And here they are - the last photos from "the night of comprehensive cultural education", as I chose to call it. The first one is really what originally caught my eye, a lamp in the ground, in the bushes and pointing upwards. Now, I may be a bit ignorant every now and then but I couldn't make up the reason for it.. Sending the martians a coded signal, perhaps? Well, that would only be fitting. What it does do - and effectively, at that - is cause more light to scatter above the city and thus diminish the chances of us seeing any stars. At times I really do wish I lived just a bit further away from the city.. I can remember seeing the Milky Way crystal clear with my own eyes at a small farm far away from any electric lights. If you haven't seen it, check this out: Wikipedia - Milky Way.

Back to the story (I have a hunch this wasn't the first time I've used those words)... Although Olli was quite patient watching me wrestle with the camera he evidently tried to signal a wish to get goin'. I then grabbed this shot him passing by. The strong processing does make it look like we're back in the 80's in the Soviet Union, no? Finns are truly capable of creating gorgeous architecture but apparently some individuals ran out of ideas planning this courtyard.

Now that we're had our laugh at the architects I think it's time to get back to the pleasant part, the snow.

The courtyard has an intriguingly eccentric dry stone wall which I only assume isn't ready yet and is for now supported by a peculiar wire netting. I thought it would be nice to get a photo of it just in case the netting is removed soon and later generations don't get to see its inherent "beauty". 

Anyway, I quite like that, for some reason.

The last of the bunch is actually one of my favourites from the trip. Funny how it often ends up that way. I was sure Olli wouldn't have appreciated any more delay and I knew it was one shot and that's it. I filled the frame with the beautiful snowy miniature landscape and this happened...


 

  • 27.1.2008 -The Stormiest of Storms-

   It did take a while, but now it's here. More than plenty of snow, that is! Two days ago we had quite a snowstorm, the biggest this season, for sure. Olli (he's the one in the middle in my current profile photo) and I decided to head to the city and spend a jolly evening filled with sky-high culture... The plan included a free rehearsal act at the central theatre of Oulu followed by, naturally, a brief aftermath in a cosy little bar. To make it even more cultural, I took my camera with me. Why? Because it snowed!

But first, let me show you what it looked like when the storm was setting in... This was taken at my gaff, through the window.

You can (hopefully) see the trees waving in the background. Due to the low light the shutter speed was close to 1/4 sec, so that explains why some of the treetops look smudged. You can only imagine the delight a boiling radiator can bring you on a day like this, no?

Anyway, we carried on as planned and headed to the city. The few hours at the theatre weren't really anything to write home about. The act wasn't uninteresting at all, but we - or at least I - honestly felt that we might've been in a slightly wrong place. Well, it was the first visit to the theatre stage in a decade, so that might explain some of the alienation. I'll have to visit again to really enjoy it, I think. But enough of that, I didn't take pictures of the show!  :~)

On the way to the bar I took this quick snapshot just to show that it had in fact snowed. To our slight disappointment the storm had gone away by that time. To be frank, we've had a lot more snow in previous winters, but after being so well accustomed to grey street pavements, this was heaven.

In the far back you can see the dim glow of the city library, next to which the theatre sits. They aren't exactly the most photogenic structures so this distance is more than fitting, believe me. I thought I could mention that all of the photos later on will be in monochrome. You see, the street lamps (mostly sodium vapour ones) emit an ugly, downright orange cast which looks quite bad in photos in my opinion. Convert to black and white and.. Troubles, be gone! It seems that I digress, yet again. Back to the story, off we go. I'll just spice up the writing with these photos I took later on in the night.

So, we went to this quiet little bar and decided that because the theatre act was after all free, we should celebrate it by drinking the expensive stuff. My choice has been Scottish whisky for a long time and I couldn't have gone for anything else this time. Alas, their repertoire of single malt whiskys wasn't exactly abundant. Only Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Highland Park - three island malts and that's it. The first two were already 'old friends' so I decided to try out Highland Park. Ten euros for a dram (4 cl), yikes! It had to be good... Well, was it?

Oh boy! Prior to that I had only ever tried four single malt whiskys - all of them heavy and smoky. Three of them from Islay (Laphroaig, Ardbeg and Lagavulin) and Talisker (from the isle of Skye). All of them have a distinct character, all very rugged and rich. This Highland Park is a different beast.. Actually, it isn't a beast to begin with! It was filled with honey, I remember thinking. It was certainly very light but still very bold and rounded. The strong honey flavour notwithstanding it clearly had a flowery scent to it. I'm not talking about daffodils or sunflowers, but heather - and lots of it, actually! I like the more earthy taste it brings. It was like drinking pure joy, it really was. Come to think of it, this was my first venture into the world of more sherry-like and less smoky and peaty Scottish whiskys. It won't be the last, that much I can promise to myself.

On the way home we walked through an interesting inner court where they had these lights pointing upwards from the snow. Now, I thought they'd make great subjects for photographs. And I still do, but the problem is that you'll see the photos not before tomorrow. For a sneak preview, I'll show you this photo of Olli looking at the lights!

As I promised, I'll also update the photogråphy section... There's one major problem, though. I don't have the photos from the London trip on this computer, so I might end up updating the whole shebang next week. Well, live and learn - not to promise things you can't realise.  :~)


 

  • 22.1.2008 -Finally, photographs-

   You know, it so happened that I visited this site last night, tried to take a completely new mindset and look at it like a visitor would. One of the first things I noticed was that I actually had 'photography' written on the top of the page in a way that implied that the site was pretty much all about my own photography. Well, that'd be all quite nice if it wasn't for the tiny, itty-bitty fact that those photos are kept well hidden or scrambled around where no one can find them! As I've come increasingly 'open-minded' about copyright issues and used dozens of photos taken by people unknown I found that visitors must have great difficulties in distinguishing my photos from those of others... So, what's the remedy, then?

It's quite easy, if you must know. First of all, I hereby promise that by the end of this week I will have updated the 'Photogråphs - they're mine' section thoroughly and from top to bottom. All the photos that have been shown here will be added there. In addition to the galleries from the trips to Korouoma (seen here is a photo actually set up by Olli - figures, right?) and UKK national park there will be photos from the trip we made in 2007 to London and Oxford with Kaisa, Anniina and Gwillym. I know I also visited Beijing last year, but those photos aren't ready just yet. There's such a vast number of photos to be edited before I can get my hands on the China photos that it could take some time...

One other thing that I noticed when leafing through the 'Old news - the archive' was that while the basic idea for this website hasn't changed one bit, the topics and moreover the length and depth of the writings have changed dramatically. The site still continues to be my personal diary that I wish I will enjoy reading in the future, say, thirty years from now. But at the same time I must say I'm quite proud that I took the timeout in the beginning of 2007 and decided to come back - with a difference.

Here's a tiny glimpse of the crop from the London trip. In the first, well, the autumn term at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was just about to start and much to my surprise I found Kaisa and Anniina wanting to join in the fun. :~)

Yikes! Too many monochrome images and no colours would make Jack a dull boy! There there, here are some colours of his namesake, the Union Jack.

 From London. I already miss the darn city! And the lovely underground... *sigh*

 


  • 14.1.2008 -Girly motorcyclist-

   Lately, I've been struck by the resiliency of the stereotype of a motorcyclist. It really is a stereotype that I abhor. That in itself is quite peculiar since I do tend to believe that stereotypes in general are an interesting real-world phenomenon that has a lot to do with statistics, or in another words,  mathematics. But they can transform from light-hearted laughs into a trifling burden that people tend to bear quite obliviously. And that's not fun... So, let's rid ourselves of them, shall we?

What are the common impressions of a motorcyclists, then? First of all, motorcyclists are supposed to be men. Poppycock, that is, I know, but it's the age-old concept. Second, motorcyclists are supposed to be *manly* men. Certainly not girly men, as the famous governor of California would phrase it. So, what does it mean? That there's no room for people willing to show, let's say, a somewhat girlish disposition - or any other that would indicate that the person riding the bike doesn't fit into the tight mold of a macho man? That girls are only allowed as mascots for the real drivers? That can't be right... Is it?

Well, I used to think it was just rubbish and held but little truth.

And now I know better. Due to a fortunate fact that this weekend we had a meeting with my father and brother, both of whom are quite keen on motorcycling (my dad even *has* a bike). After having watched them diligently discussing the tiniest technical details of bikes and all the necessary gear for a long time it was hard not to get intrigued! This time I thought I'd jump right in. However, as long as my knowledge on the technical aspects of biking is flimsy I'm left with what I do know and care about - the visuals. I searched though many web stores and tried to find an outfit that I'd feel comfortable riding a bike in. The search was short. It was a breeze to pick up the cherries from the vast heap of boring, run-of-the-mill and mostly - and not surprisingly - plain black clothes and helmets.

See for yourself! Look at the pictures above and try to find one colourful outfit... ;~)

But really, what's up with that? I wasn't going to accept it and I chose "my gear" accordingly. Here are just a few of the samples I found. Hang on there - there's a good reason for taking a peek at the gear and outfits, too...

Here's an X-Lite helmet that bears the signature of one of the motorcycling legends, Ciacomo Agostini. It has colours, allright. It's clean and quite handsome, I must say, and if I one day end up buying a motorbike, this might well be the helmet for me. It even has the colours of the Italian flag which in many ways represent, say, light-heartedness, passion and pretty much everything nonsensical in life. But I still think it lacks something... It's not daring enough, if you know what I mean. Here's one from a manufacturer called Suomy, known for rather eccentric graphics. Surely this will raise some eyebrows!

Now, this is starting to show a bit of the approppriate attitude for a biker rebel, wouldn't you say? So I guess it goes without saying that each and every one of the bikers and non-bikers I've shown this photo have either been completely stupified or simply laughed at the mere idea. My father, who's obviously met a lot of his biker friends, told me to be cautious of the prejudiced outlook of some of the bikers out there. He said that if I pulled up on a gas station with this "flower helmet", everyone would think I'm queer and not talk to me. The first, I could perhaps live with, but not the second. My brother told the same thing.  And get this - I actually thought bikers were a laid back bunch!

Another thing is the actual clothing. There are two main parties: the leather men and the Gore-Tex "wussies". And they both scold each other for choosing the wrong gear. Imagine that! They can make up a quarrel about such a non-issue. That's not all, I'm afraid. The range of colours usually goes from black to dark grey and dark red to dark blue. Boring, that is. But as I said before, the cherries were easily spotted. Here's my favourite outfit. Just like what Charlie Boorman and Ewan McGregor wore on their round-the-world trip! There are matching pants available, too.

But what if these wouldn't be accepted? It really is easy to dismiss it all and say "who cares" about what such narrow-minded people think. Besides, there are bound to be a lot more tolerant bikers out there... But would it be at least a tad less enjoyable, driving around in your favourite locations and meeting fellow bikers in hopes of making new friends and acquaintances, if you fear your clothing or helmet graphics rub someone the wrong way? I'm actually quite baffled and unsure as to what to think. On the other hand I simply adore the solidarity among bikers. When two of them meet in the traffic or highways they always wave at each other - just like caravaners do. That's so cool!

But then again, there are bound to be unwritten laws that say you simply have to fit in. Don't stand out and you'll be fine, I almost hear them teach in the driving schools. And that really rubs *me* the wrong way!

Fortunately, I've made up my mind about it all. When I decide to buy my first motorbike - again, if that day arises and I seriously doubt it ever will - I won't pay attention to any kind of peer pressure. Motorbikes are there to let you live up to your dreams. Frankly, one would be foolish to let anyone get in the way.

Finally, as a proof that women can ride bikes as well as the next guy, here's one of my motorcycling idols - Sylvia Stuurman, a dutch biker. Undoubtedly she's just as cool as Charlie Boorman and Ewan McGregor - and with those trousers she easily out-cools anyone! She's got a good taste as demonstrated here - I love Moto Guzzi Griso, too. Truly a thing of beauty, that is... And guess who rides one? Right you are, it's Ewan himself!  :~)

He's got a black one, mind you, but a Griso is a Griso. I'd take mine in orange, any day.

*Sheesh*  That's one long rant! At least I got it off my system... Maybe I got carried away with all the gear talk and that, but I really think such a triviality goes to embody the problems circulating the hobby of motorcycling.

But next time I'm discussing the topic of rebellion - rest assured, I will, but perhaps not in a while - I'm trying to choose a subject other than biking. It remains to be seen - even I have no clue. 

See you soon!


 

  • 6.1.2008 -It's big. It's a Magnum Year-

   It's been a long time since we last met, it has! I'm not sure how I managed to keep away from the keyboard all this time, but I did it. Now, it's important for me to tell you just how much fun I had during the new year hassle.. First of all, I was blessed with the opportunity of joining my friends on a trip to Paltamo, some 150 kilometres away from Oulu, where I live. It was a huge, yet ever so nice and comfy cottage where we stayed for three nights. Kaisa and two of her sisters were there as well as a bunch of friends, all of whom I hadn't really known before. Luckily, I do now.

I wouldn't want to show you the photos I took, if truth be told. You see, I really want them to stay between us. Having said that, I can show you this one, which, for obvious reasons, the fact that I'm in it not being the least of them, wasn't shot by me. Anniina kindly borrowed my camera and - now this is the surprise - managed to get one shot where I didn't act like a clown! Now, you might not be impressed by the feat, but those who've tried to photograph me know better. Now you might be guessing exactly why I don't want to look normal in photos...

But I digress ... and time is running! Now, I'd like to give you a brief glimpse into what I'm about to write during the next weeks and months. Nothing specific, just rough ideas. First of all, some of you might remember the promise I made, one of my "photographic goals", about shooting more and more portraits of my friends. I'm quite happy - not to mention a tiny bit surprised, even - to say that I'm on my way of accomplishing the goal! (The other photographic goal, however, is still brewing up.)  I will probably be showing you the results, unless I feel they're absolutely excruciatingly dear to me, in which case they'll only ever end up in a print. If I get the permissions from the subjects, I'll try to squeeze them here. After all, this site is about photography - and my photographs.

Another thing I've been anxiously waiting to write to you is actually quite a controversial one. It's the water of life, aqua vitae - the Scottish whisky. And what to do with it. :~)  Not only has it made me think twice about the maliciousness of alcohol, but also made me ponder whether there can be anything good in enjoying responsibly (please, read this). I'm beginning to think there's even a slight bit of something beautiful going on there that seems awfully similar to what I consider being art. Funny how people change. But for further internal debate on the subject you'll have to wait for a couple more weeks, probably.

Then there's the Long Way Down! It's Ewan McGregor's and Charlie Boorman's new motorcycle trip that took them from Scotland all the way down to South-Africa. Now, I don't know what happens because I haven't seen it, much. I'm pretty sure it'll give me more than enough reasons to come here and open my heart.

China. Now there's a nice little subject. My mind boggles when trying to understand the chinese tradition - or the lack of it, today. It's a country that's filled with controversy and troubles, I think. But more on the topic later. I'd really like to season my ramblings with a b&w photo I took in Beijing, or hopefully more of them. They're film negatives, so it won't be quite as straightforward as uploading a out-of-camera jpeg file. But I've got a digital camera as well so reproducing the prints shouldn't prove too tough, so not to worry.

What's next... Maybe... Movies and television series? But you already guessed it. :~) 

I will get more and more involved in photography, definitely, as I think I've got a boatload to say about it. First of all, I'm going to tackle my own thoughts about great photography. What is it... Who does it... Why it has to be done... And why do I want to do it? Then, I'd like to delve into the thick jungle of brand loyalty - I already hear some angry muttering, but I won't fret. It's a subject that can easily cause havoc on a web forum. Sounds stupid, you say? Well, it is. But there's a human side to it, as well.

Maybe I'll even manage to find the right words to describe how privileged I feel to own the book called the Magnum Magnum, a mammoth compilation of some of the most captivating photos taken by some the best photographers in the world, the members of Magnum Photos.

That and a lot of meaningless babble coming right up! Hope you stay tuned! And no, I wouldn't forget something like this...

 
It's the year 2008! As you can see, Anni and Ripi know it, too! 
Happy New Year, all of you! To my friends and readers.
I wish you all the best and even better!