Mischievous Muse

My Photo
Location: Austin, TX, United States

Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Importance of Things Seeming Useless

Six feet away from me
      A woodpecker
            Drills into a dead branch.

To think, I had planned
      To remove that limb,
            Cheat the little fellow
Of his breakfast.

(AJ, 5/2006)

Tags: Anniina's Poetry

Monday, May 29, 2006

Quiz: Which of the X-Men Are You?

You Are Jean Grey

Although your fate is often unknown, you always seem to survive (even after death).
Your mind is your greatest weapon, literally!

Powers: telepathy and telekinesis, the ability to project thoughts into the mind of others, communication with animals

Tags: Quizzes

Proof Positive

All things come to an end, and so did our 5 week run of David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Proof" at the Ritz Theatre.  Whenever a show closes, an actor takes stock of the journey, what was learnt, what was gained, what will be missed.

As I mentioned before, I was never crazy about my character, Claire.  The older sister who has ended up in the mother-role in the family, Claire is domineering, controlling, and believes herself to be 100% in the right in all her actions.  The audience, who naturally sympathize with Catherine, the lead character whose story the play mainly is, will easily dislike Claire for all the negative aspects about her character and behaviors.  I knew this going in, and almost turned the part down thinking I could not possibly bring enough sympathy and humanity to the part which is written to be quite black-and-white and two-dimensional.  I had read the play when it first came out in print, and seen the film version, and the task seemed insurmountable.  The words of one of my acting teachers also kept ringing in my head: "As soon as you judge a character, you can no longer play her."   And boy, had I judged her.

On the other hand, Claire was a challenge, and there was something titillating about trying to play her and make her live as a real person, instead of the bossy-bitch-know-it-all-I-only-care-about-myself who was on the page.  The other reason I decided to go for it, was that I had never, ever, been cast in such an ungrateful role — I suppose with my round face and blonde hair people casting me could only see me in the "Sweet Girl" or "Loving Wife" or "Blonde Bombshell" roles.  Since changing my hair color to Brazilian Brown out of boredom in January, I've been offered many more calculating, evil, smart, etc. roles.  And I tell you, after playing your umpteenth [temptress, mistress, pining wife, tragically wronged queen] you might go "yeah, lemme play a bitch for a change."

Except, Claire didn't end up being a bitch, and of that I am proud.  She ended up being nagging and bossy and annoying, for sure, but at the same time it did translate to the audience that she loved her sister, had loved her father, and was only doing the best she knew to keep everything together and to take care of her less-grounded-in-reality family members.  I approached Claire from the point of view of a Willem Dafoe quote when he was asked whether he preferred playing heros or villains: "Ain't no different - we're all heroes of our own story."  Also, creating an extensive back story for Claire worked wonders.  While some of the particulars did not match exactly to the script, it did not matter — there is never objective truth, and how Claire saw the 'facts' would always be very different from how Catherine or Dad saw them.  The conflict was there in Auburn's script.  My work was to find the love, the humanity, the warmth of Claire.

It helped tremendously that I love and respect Aaryn, who played Catharine.  I could feel sisterly towards her, so Claire felt it.  Aaryn and I also had immediate chemistry on stage from our first read together — we could instantly play off each other and create sparks.  Once the rehearsal process really got going, and certainly by the time we reached show, our scenes together became like fencing matches — two skilled players dancing a dangerous dance around each other, countering, parrying, striking.  It was delicious as an actor to be able to trust that no matter what I threw at her or she threw at me, we could counter.  This also kept us fresh, since every night there were slightly different nuances, and discovery happening throughout the run.

Claire has no scenes with Dad, and thus I never got to act with Steve, but we both hope we'll get the chance in a future play.  Claire and Hal have little stage time together, but it was quality time.  Chris is so effortless and sweet on stage that it was a pleasure.

We had a brilliant run and I was ready to say goodbye to the show.  I will miss dreadfully, however, the crazy fun we had backstage, volleying pretend-insults at each other, flinging movie trivia and Hollywood gossip around, telling jokes, and just hanging out.  It is rare that one has a great time onstage and offstage in the same production — usually, one or the other is less than stellar.  We were blessed on this one: we created a little family, and I will always cherish that memory.

Tags: Proof | Theatre

Mark Rylance as Leonardo Da Vinci

In 2003, the divine Mark Rylance played Leonardo for the BBC1 program on the master.  I've longed to see it, for as you all well know, he is my sun, moon, and stars when it comes to Shakespearean acting.  The Science Channel, a division of Discovery Channel, is showing the first part of the program today at 9 am (EST) and 1pm (EST) under the title of "Leonardo's Incredible Machines".   Unfortunately, you won't be able to see much of Mark and the magnetic genius he wields on stage, but it is an interesting and well made program about Leonardo nonetheless, and a treat for us MR fans.  There is also a companion Leonardo website which is quite fabulous and worth visiting.

Tags: Mark Rylance


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sonnetsday 15


Sonnet LV

OT marble, nor the gilded monuments
    Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
    But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars, his sword, nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
'Gainst death and all oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room,
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
      So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
      You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.


Tags: Sonnets | Shakespeare

Labels: ,

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Quickie Post

Closing night of "Proof" tonight.  Little time to blog.  I promise several posts tomorrow.   \(^.^)/

<3, A

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Where's Odin When You Need Him?

I want to blog, but I don't have anything cool, or interesting, or beneficial to the world to post.  Today was just one hell of a crappy day, full of insults added to injury, the most memorable of which was the speeding ticket that I got when I was a mile from home at 10:45pm, zoning from exhaustion and the desire to quickly put an end to said crappy day.

I have to believe that tomorrow will be better, that next month will be better, next year, and heck, my next life.  Just not feeling all too psyched atm.  I feel like I'm frustrated in all the things I want to do and be — I can't move to LA for my career because I don't have the money or contacts; I can't publish my children's books which are all written up (and some illustrated as well) because... you guessed it, I don't have the money or the contacts, etc. etc. etc.  So then I try to think, "What can I do?"  And at the moment, not a hell of a lot I can do but to plod on, and hope for a few miracles to fall out of the sky.

All those disgustingly sunny people who say things like, "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity" and "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade", and other self-delusional stuff, to them I say: "What if you've been prepared for a billion years and the opportunity never arrives to make your own luck?" and "Lemons? Who's been given lemons? I don't even have any lemon peels! Plus, I'm allergic to all citrus fruit, at best I'd end up with a rash all over me."

Okay, so that's it for Yours Truly's ranting and whining and bitching.  I don't expect anyone to try to cheer me up or fix these things for me, I just needed to vent.  So please, don't drop me any "aww, chin up" messages, plz, b/c I might just take badly to it.   I just need to sleep this one off.

You know, sometimes I think I must have been meant to live in the fairylands with the fae, but I was swapped for a human child, and now I live a magicless existence as a fairy changeling lost in the bleak land of Pennsylvania.  I have to agree with Aaryn (who plays my sis Catherine in "Proof"): "Pennsylvania should be levelled and turned into a parking lot for New York.

X's and O's,

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Starlight and Magic

Sommerland fairy dragon orphan
Adopt a Dragon

Starlight and magic,
      Butterfly wings
            And buttercups;
A little enchantment
      To a fantasy-starved world
            Would be welcome
As to a parched field
      A shower of rain.

Let us have
      Our pixies,
                  And elves. —
Do not tell us
      Not to believe
            In dragons
                  And in mysteries.
Please do not
      Rob us of those
            As you have robbed us
Of so many
            Beautiful delights.

(AJ, 1/2004)

Tags: Anniina's Poetry

Monday, May 22, 2006

Da Vinci Code Reviewed, Book and Movie

There is absolutely no justification for the acclaim, interest, and infamy which Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" (2003) has received.  Unfortunately, although it has a solid plot for the average work of fiction, the prose is far from any literary merit — the writing 'style' (loathe to even call it that) and the flow of the prose are hackneyed and clunky at best, the characters never come near breaching two-dimensionality, and were it not for the potential "let's get the freaky-religious folks in an uproar" factor, this book would never have deserved to be published in hard-cover, at best as a dime-store paperback.

I was hoping that in the hands of a good screenwriter, the story would be served better — Brown's atrocious prose would not be present, and perhaps the screenwriter would also improve the dialogue, and a good set of actors could breathe life to the wooden characters.  Add a masterful director and editor to serve the story's necessarily breakneck pacing, and a cinematographer and art director who between them could conjure up something of a "Name of the Rose" feel and look to the project, and the movie could easily deserve the obnoxious amount of money it is bound to make simply due to its notoriety.

Akiva Goldsman's script is not that script.  It is mediocre, not brilliant — the dialogue is never fluid, not once transcendent.  Even the film's supposed climax and denoument are curiously lacking in dramatic depth already in the writing: Langdon's final monologue to Sophie Neveu reads like a speech from a bad revival meeting.  The poor actors who valiantly try to bring life to their characters are outright vanquished by the vapid material.

Ron Howard's direction is slow and ponderous — the required speed and flow that would have been required to pull the movie together are simply not there.  The editing is by-the-book unsurprising and devoid of any artfulness.  The cinematography is commonplace, there is little beauty or awe created, no moments of sublime visuals captured — and considering what one could have done with all the locations and artwork present, it is absolutely ridiculous how mundane all these masterpieces of art, architecture, and nature have been made to look.  The art director must have been sleeping — a PBS documentary Art Director could have pulled more out of the project on his worst day.

Audrey Tautou, of Amélie fame, is a good casting choice for Sophie Neveu, and she acquits herself well in a project that is downright ungrateful due to the lack of artistry on the part of the entire artistic personnel and a screenplay which never throws her a bone.  Tom Hanks, however, is entirely vacuous as Robert Langdon, a part that might have been better served by someone like Gary Sinise — an actor of such intelligence and charisma one could buy his leaps of symbological genius with ease.  While Tom Hanks is often voted America's favorite actor, nothing about him says to me Harvard-professor-of-astounding-mental-acuity, nor does anyone buy that a police commissioner would think Hanks a murderer, whereas Sinise has that questionability.  So Tom turns in a solid but charmless, immemorable performance.  Ian McKellen is the only one who transcends the lackluster script and does a beautiful job as a zealous British nobleman/grail historian.  Sadly, nobody else in the movie even bears mention.  Their performances were so bland and weak they don't even deserve to be panned.

I wish this movie had been directed by an artist, the other aspects handled by a creative team worth their salt.  For example, had this movie been done by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Gladiator) or Anthony Minghella (The English Patient), heck, even Grand Master Hack Steven Spielberg, or any one of a number of great action/adventure directors, this project would not have been the bland, bleak SNORE it was now.

Yes, of course you should go see it — goodness knows everyone you know will be talking about it.  So you might as well go see it so you can chip in your own 2 cents about why you did or did not like it.  Bring lots of candy and soda, though, to keep you awake.

Tags: Movies | Books


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Finland Wins the Eurovision Song Contest 2006

Ahh, the Eurovision Song Contest.  Schmaltzy fun for the whole family. Won't say much to the folks outside of Europe, but trust me, it's a big deal in Europe.  I would watch it every year with my folks.  Most years the winner would be some terrible pop song in an unfathomable language, though occasionally a gem would find its way to the midst of all the chaff.  My all-time favorite winner of the contest was Johnny Logan's 1987 "Hold Me Now" — what better than a cute Irishman with a lovely voice singing a love ballad?  I still love this song.

Finland has been competing in the ESC for 45 years — we have never won, or even placed in the Top 3.  So today when I got a text message from Katja saying we'd won, my reply was "That's not possible!"  Katja's response was "I guess if you live long enough, you'll see it all."  I was in the car on my way to the theatre at this point, so I called my dad (it was 1 am in Finland) who was already asleep, and when I said Katja had sent me a txt saying Finland won the ESC, my dad said, "Is it April Fool's Day?"

Weirdly enough, the winner of the contest is indeed Finland, and with nothing less than a song called "Hard Rock Hallelujah" by a Monster Rock band called "Lordi" (tr. "Lord").  These dudes are in full Middle Earth orc gear, and the song is so unlike the upbeat pop ballads that usually win the ESC that I am wondering if
A) the contest was rigged and
B) all the judges are taking serious doses of crack (which, considering how bad the songs in the ESC usually are would be a wise course of action, the pain otherwise being intolerably excruciating).

Well, 'nuff said.  You have to see it to believe it.

The Winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2006
Finland. Lordi, "Hard Rock Hallelujah."

I thought Conan O'Brien going to Finland would be hard to live down... especially since the dogsled driver chick's name was Anniina... once this gets out, I'm going to be living in Humiliation Central.

Tags: Finland


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Haiku at Dawn

Birdsong in the dark.
Suddenly the mist rises,
I think of your voice.

Tags: Anniina's Poetry | Haiku


Friday, May 19, 2006

TGIF - Thank God It's Firefly Day 3

"There's no place I can be
Since I found Serenity,
But you can't take the sky from me..."

Here are today's Firefly / Serenity links:

"Finding Serenity" Published - Essays on Firefly and Serenity!

Firefly Season 1 Episodes via IPod ITunes

FireflyMovie.com - News about FF/S

Firefly Talk - Weekly Podcasts

The Signal #9 - Latest Podcast Episode

DragonCon - Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau & Adam Baldwin there!

Joss Whedon Video Interview - Scifi.com

Funny One-liners from Firefly - Whiskey Tango Foxtrot :P

"Burn the land and boil the sea
You can't take the sky from me..."

See below for previous Firefly posts, including the Theme Song, The Ballad of Jayne, etc.

Tags: Firefly | Serenity | Movies

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Pile of Sleeping Monkeys

LOL. I'm gonna blog for real when I have a braincell or two left. Here's a cute diversion that is so wroooong, and yet fun.

Game: Mad Monkeys

Sick, oh so sick. I only got to "Pretty Good" on the easiest level. Didn't dare try medium - did I ever mention that PacMan gave me anxiety? LOL. I prefer strategy games over reflexes, heheh.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mission Impossible III Review

It has been all over the trades, the news, the tabloids: MI3 is a box office disappointment.   I concur with the general consensus that Tom Cruise is absolutely off his rocker, and his antics and imbecillic statements over the past year have made him dislikable, as a person.   I also have to admit that the reason I didn't rush to see MI3 on its opening weekend was, in addition to the fact that I was in show, due to the fact that I somehow wanted to boycott Tom Cuckoo.

That said, I am a fan of the franchise: Mission Impossible and MI2 both hit the spot for me where action movies are concerned — good scripts, intense suspense and state-of-the-art effects, and although I wouldn't say Cruise is a fab actor, he does turn out a nice suspense-flick trick.

Mission Impossible III does not disappoint.  It is wonderful, pure and simple.  The script is tight, the action sequences hair-raising, the direction (by J.J. Abrams of "Alias" fame) and editing well-nigh flawless for the genre, and the actors, Cruise included, do a brilliant job.  Cruise is joined by the ever-enjoyable Ving Rhames, the superlative Laurence Fishburn, Philip Seymour Hoffman who has never had a bad performance in his life I'm starting to think, Billy Crudup who I have to say keeps growing on me, and in delish smaller roles Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Shaun of the Dead's Simon Pegg. Even little Felicity, Keri Russell, acquits herself well in a small but pivotal segment.

I got my money's worth. I'm giving this one an A in its genre.

Tags: Movies


Monday, May 15, 2006

Movie Mondays

With "Proof" in full swing there hasn't been much time to watch movies, but I did manage to sneak in two on DVD:
Aeon Flux
Category: Sci-fi
A virus has wiped out all but 5 million of the earth's populace, who live in the walled city of Bregna for 400 years.  A Utopian existence in some respects, but without freedom.  The reigning dynasty is opposed by an underground of 'Monicans' who want to displace them.  Aeon Flux is one of these underground agents, played by a ravishingly hot Charlize Theron.  I'm far from being a Charlize fan, but I can't say she is not beautiful.  Flimsy on plot and suffering from lukewarm direction, the movie is cool visually and has a good leading man performance by New Zealander Marton Tsokas.  Fans of the animated Æon Flux will doubtless be disappointed, for the movie lacks the edge, both visual and storytelling, of the original.  That said, it's a fun evening at home, and I'd give it a B-.

Shaun of the Dead
Category: Comedy/Horror
A strange British zombie comedy in which a man who is a bit of a loser, living with his boorish roommate, just dumped by his girlfriend, wakes up one morning to find that all of London has turned into zombies.  Grabbing his cricket bat and his friend, the two go on a mission to rescue his mother and his girlfriend, and to make a stand against the zombies at the local pub.  Slowly becoming a cult hit in the US, but not particularly my cup of tea.  Very low budget and low on the laughs, this movie gets a C- from me.

Tags: Movies


Apology to Katja

I want to apologize: Yes, glasses (regular eyeglasses) are a lot more expensive in Finland.  And, I don't think paying $500 for a pair of eyeglasses is excessive.  I would spend that for just the right pair, and I'm glad you found it :)

Please forgive me for not reading what you said right :)


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Stuff to Amuse

MarkA. of HyperLiterature does frequent "link dumps" — collections of links to items funny, weird or informative.   I've run into a few fun things there and elsewhere that I wanna share:

Al Gore on SNL - How things might have been....

Tom Hanks on SNL - "Please don't cut my testicles"...

Defamer - The L.A. Gossip Rag

J.K. Rowling's Official Homepage - Reading in NYC!


Sonnetsday 14

Queen Elizabeth with a sieve.

H Y M N E  I V.





ACH day of thine, sweet moneth of May,
oue makes a solemne holy-day.
will performe like duty,
ith thou resemblest euery way
stræa, Queen of beauty,

oth you fresh beauties do pertake,
ither's aspect doth Summer make,
houghts of young Loue awaking ;
earts you both doe cause to ake,
nd yet be pleas'd with akeing.

ight deare art thou, and so is shee,
uen like attractiue sympathy,
aines vnto both like dearenesse ;
weene this made Antiquitie
ame thee, sweet May of Maiestie,
s being both like in clearnesse.

Sir John Davies, one of Queen Elizabeth's courtiers, wrote a whole collection of sonnets to the Virgin Queen, entitled Hymns to Astræa, (lat. for 'Star') one of the more popular flattery-names for Elizabeth, (cf. Sidney's 'Astrophil and Stella', 'Starlover and star'). These Renaissance boys got really good at kissing hiney, I tell ya.

Tags: Sonnets | Shakespeare

Labels: ,

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Best & Worst Countries in the World to be a Mom

Save the Children just released their annual "State of the World's Mother's Report" for 2006.  The results were as follows:

*Countries that are tied

Top 10 Countries
1. Sweden
2. Denmark/Finland*
4. Austria/Germany/Norway*

Bottom 10 Countries
125. Niger
124. Burkina Faso
123. Mali

Quoting Netscape:
"Did you know that a mother living in countries in sub-Saharan Africa compared to that of a mother living in a Scandinavian country is 28 times more likely to see her child die in the first year of life and over 750 times more likely to die herself in pregnancy or childbirth."

Find out why these countries ranked in the top and bottom 10. Read the State of the World's Mothers 2006 Report.

The .PDF File, 58 pages of the full report, is worth a browse, even if this isn't your usual cup of tea — the study draws fascinating conclusions between literacy, educational level, and use of contraceptives directly reducing infant mortality rates.  Also, it reveals startling things about maternal and infant mortality in the industrialized world, not just in the developing countries.  Did you know, for example, that the infant mortality rate in the United States "is still higher than most other industrialized nations — 2.5 times that of Finland, Iceland, and Norway" and maternal mortality rate in the US is higher than in "Canada, Australia, and all the Western and Northern European countries in the study"? (p43).

I'm troubled.


Gosh, it does seem like this blog is turning into a love song for Finland lately.  This recent bout of Finnish Nationalism that I am experiencing is probably aggravated by feeling very homesick at present.  I'm feeling lonely, tired of coming to an empty house, eating dinner by myself, sleeping alone, having nobody in this big house but myself and my little dogs.  I think I need to go to Finland this summer and spend time with my mom and dad and sister, and with my best friend in the whole wide world, Katja (the girl who went insane and bought a $500 pair of sunglasses).


Ahh, the Benefits of a Private School Education

If you want to see what an $8,000/year education at a private high school is buying these days, check out this video which I found on Istanbultaye's blog.  Oh my god!  If these are the women voting for the next president, perhaps they are absolutely right to be signing this petition.... What the hell are they teaching these nitwits at this school, a four-time winner of the “Superstars in Education” Award from the Delaware State???  Dudes, the world is seriously going to pot.

Against Women's Suffrage

These girls' parents must be so proud of their little darlings!


Katja's Fault or, What Mythological Creature R U?

See, you know leading me to do quizzes is like giving an addict crack. Latest chapter in the insanity that is my quiz-addiction:

You scored as Mermaid. These creatures were beautiful women who tricked sailors into becoming completely entranced by their haunting voices and found death soon after. Not all stories of Mermaids are about gentle loving sea people. They are mystical, magical, and extremely dangerous. They have a way about them that brings anyone they are around to seem enchanted. They are very mysterious creatures and to meet one... Would mean certain Death. Let the song of the Sea fill your soul, for you are a Mermaid.

What Mythological Creature are you? - QuizFarm.com

Tags: Quiz


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Kalevala in English Translation, Canto XV (exc.)

Kalevala is the Finnish National Epic.  The earliest stories date back to prehistoric days, possibly more than 3000 years, and The Kalevala still survives (sparsely) in the oral tradition in parts of Karelia.  It was first collected and compiled from hundreds of runesingers in the early 1800s by a country doctor named Elias Lönnrot, who walked the country on foot from village to village to preserve our ancient mythological tales. His compilation was first published in 1835.  The Kalevala predates the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf by hundreds of years and is incredibly long (over 2 million verses have been collected so far) — and no-one knows how much was lost of the stories over the centuries.  For more detailed information on The Kalevala, please refer to Wikipedia's wonderful article.

Of more modern interest, The Kalevala was also one of the inspirations for Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.  In particular, the character of Väinämöinen, a mighty enchanter who has the power to chant a man to sink into the swamp, was one of the inspirations for Gandalf.  Of particular delight to me is that Tolkien based the Elven languages on the sounds of the Finnish tongue.

I have been seriously dismayed at the poor translations of the Kalevala that exist.  I don't even want to discuss the e-texts I found — there are flagrant errors and a lack for the feel of the rhythms of the language and the moods of the storytelling.  I haven't of course seen all the printed translations of The Kalevala, so if someone knows of a worthy one, please let me know — I will happily recant.  Accuse me of hubris, but it is on my life's to-do list to translate the entire Kalevala into English some day.  For now, here is an excerpt from the Fifteenth Poem, which probably dates from around 800 AD.

 [Nota bene: The following translation does not preserve the Kalevala metre.  I tried that, but faithfully and artificially keeping it distorted the original content of the lines, words being more often polysyllabic in Finnish than they are in English. I thought it more prudent to reproduce the content and taste of the text, rather than violating it by being enslaved by the metre, adding words for syllables' sake, which may change emphases or intentions in the process.  I may post another version in which the metre is adhered to, for those who are interested in such things.]

[AJ Intro:  In the Fifteenth Poem, the mother of Lemminkäinen (the hero whose name means "Beloved One" and also "Son of Love", and whose other name Kaukomieli means "FarMind") senses something ill has befallen her hero son.  When a hairbrush starts bleeding red drops of blood, the mother goes to find what has happened to her son.  The Mistress of Pohjola (Northtown), the gaptoothed Louhi, has sent Lemminkäinen on a quest to Tuonela, Land of Death, to kill the Swan of Death that swims on the River of Death.  Lemminkäinen has died and his body is lost in the Tuoni, the River of Death.  His mother asks the smith, Ilmarinen (Man of Air), the forger of the dome of the skies, to forge her a mighty rake of copper, with which she can seek her son in the River of Death.]

Akseli Gallen-Kallela. Lemminkäisen äiti, 1897.

Poem XV

(ca. ll. 210-608)


The mother of Lemminkäinen herself gets the rake of iron,
Flies to the river of death.  Prays to the Day:
"Oh Day, created by God, our Creator's creation, our light!
Shine one moment hotly, another humidly heat,
The third in a full blaze: make sleep the sly bunch,
Tire the folks of the Cursedlands,
O'erpower the Kingdom of Death!"

The said Day, created by God, the Maker's creation sunny,
Flew to the top of the birchtree, onto the branch of the alder.
Shone a moment hotly, another humidly heated,
A third fully blazing: made sleep the sly bunch,
Tired the Cursedland people, the young men onto their swords,
Elders against their staves, the middle-aged onto their spears.
Thence it flew, whisked away, to the top of the smooth heavens,
To its earlier resting place, to its home of old.

Then the mother of Lemminkäinen took the iron rake;
Rakes for her son in the roaring rapids,
In the rushing stream.   Rakes and does not find.

Thence she moves in deeper: wading into the waters,
Up to her garters in the stream, up to her waistband in water.

Rakes for her son the length of Death's river,
Dragging cross-current.  Dragged once, then again:
Gets the shirt of her boychild, a shirt to her heart's sorrow;
Dragged yet once more: got socks, met the hat,
Socks to her great grief, the hat to her annoyance.

Stepped even deeper from there, to the deeps of the Cursèd Lands.
Dragged once along the water, once more across the water,
A third diagonally.  And then on this, the third try,
A bale of wheat came against the iron rake.

A bale of wheat it was not: but it was the flighty Lemminkäinen,
The beauteous Farmind himself, caught in the tine of the rake
By his ring finger, by his left toe.

Arose the flighty Lemminkäinen, rose the son of Kaleva,
On the rake of copper to the top of the waters smooth;
Yet was a little lacking: one hand, half a head,
Many other members, most of all his life.

His dam at this fell wondering, thus she crying saith:
"Would this yet make a man, a male worked anew?"
A raven overheard it.  To that it replied:
"There is no man in the passed-away, nor barely in the remains:
His eyes have been eaten by whitefish, his shoulders split by the pike.
Leave the man to the waters, push him into the River of Death!
Mayhap he'll become a cod fish, or grow strengthened into a whale."

But this is the mother of Lemminkäinen, she will not drop her son.
Drags once more with her rake of copper
Along the river of Deathland, as well as the river acrost,
Gains a hand, a piece of the head, gains half a shoulderblade,
The other half of the rib bones, many other members.
Out of these she 'gan to build her son, refashioning flighty Lemminkäinen.

Rejoined the flesh to flesh, bones into bones slipped,
Joints to joints, veins to collapsèd veins.

Herself the veins knitted, the ends of veins knotted,
Vein-threads smoothed out, conjuring these words:
"Sweet is the mistress of the veins, Suonetar, graceful woman,
Lovely spinner of veins on her beautiful spinning wheel,
With her copper spindle and iron wheel!
Arrive when you are needed, come here when you are beckoned,
A vein-bundle in your lap, a membrane scroll under your arm,
These veins to knit, ends of veins to knot,
In these broken wounds, in these ripped out holes!

"Since I doubt that will suffice, there is a maiden on the air,
In a boat of copper, a vessel with a red stern.
Come, maid, from above the air, maiden from the nave of the sky!

"Row this boat through the veins, shaking up these limbs,
Row through the slots in the bones, along the cracks in the joints!

"Put the veins in their places, set them in their stations:
Mouth to mouth the greater veins, against each other the arteries,
Side by side the sidling veins, head to head the small ones!

"Thence, take a misty needle, a closing clamp at needle's end!
Sew with misty needles, with tin needles stitch:
The ends of veins tie up, knit them with silken bands!

"Since I doubt that's enough, the God of Air himself,
Harness your colts, team up your steeds!
Ride your varicolored chariot through bone, through joint,
Through the moving-muscles, through the flowing veins!
Bind bone to flesh, vein to end of vein,
Pour silver into the slots in the bones, gold in collapsèd veins!

"Where a membrane's missing, set a membrane a-growing,
Where a vein's collapsèd, set a vein a-knitting,
Whence the blood has run off, set more blood a-flowing,
Whence the bone has rotted, slip more bone in its stead,
Whence the flesh removèd, set new flesh befitting,
Each thing to its blessèd place, set in its rightful place:
Bone to bone, flesh to flesh, joints to their joints!"

Thus the mother of Lemminkäinen made the man, curried the male,
To his former being, to his ancient likeness.

Got the veins straightened, the ends of veins smoothened,
Yet the man remained speechless, wordless her child.

Thence she put it into words, herself spoke, thus named:
"Whence now can balm be gotten, a drop of mead be brought,
With which to anoint the weakened, to heal the one come to ill,
For to bring the man to words, to break him into his songs?

"Bumblebee, our bird, king of the forest flowers!
Leave now, honey to fetch, some mead to gain,
From the pleasant Forest House, from well-ordered Tapiola,
From the bulbs of many flowers, from the hem of many a grass,
As a salve for sick ones, to make the ill things well!"

Bumblebee, swift bird, by now flew, a-flitted
To the pleasant Forest House, to well-ordered Tapiola.
Pecked the flowers in the field, boiled honey on his tongue
From the noses of six flowers, the hem of a hundred hay.
Thence he arrives a-puffing, lumberingly comes,
All his wings mead-covered, feathers in molten honey.

The selfsame mother of Lemminkäinen took some of these salves,
With them anointed the weakened one, treated the one come to ill:
There were no help in these, no words for the man.

This she put into words: "Bumblebee, my birdling!
Fly over to another place, over nine seas
To a covered island, to a honey'd continent,
To Thor's new house, the roofless house of the worshipped-one!
There is pleasant honey there, there is goodly balm,
That will be fitting for the veins, agreeable to the joints.
Do bring to me those ointments, carry me those salves,
For me to place on the damage, on the wounds to pour!"

Bumblebee, fellow lightfooted, again flew a-gliding
Over seas nine, half a sea of a tenth.
Flew a day, flew another, flew soon a third,
Without sitting on a stalk, not a moment's rest on a leaf,
To a covered island, to a honey'd continent,
On the brink of a raging rapids, by the sacred river's swirl.

There was honey being boiled, salves were being made,
In the tiniest kettles, in the prettiest pots,
The size of a thumb to go in, fitting on a finger's end.

Bumblebee, fellow lightfooted, did receive those salves.
A little time passed, a tiny bit went by:
Already came back huffing, arrived a-staggering,
With six cups in his arms, seven on his back,
They chock full of ointments, full up of goodly salves.

Herself the mother of Lemminkäinen rubbed him with those oils,
With nine ointments, with eight salves:
Yet received no aid, he did not from these utter.

So she said these words, uttered this sentence:
"Bumblebee, bird of the air!  Fly away a third time
Up to the highest heavens, to above the ninth heaven!
There they do farm the mead, as much honey as the heart could wish,
With which before the Creator enchanted, chanted our pure God,
Anointed the Creator his children, by evil powers injured.
Wet your wings in that mead, your feathers in molten honey,
Bring the mead on your wings, carry the honey in your cape,
As salve for those who are sick, as cure for injuries!"

Bumblebee, bosombird, he to her words replied:
"How on earth would I get there, I, man of little strength!"

"Well will you get there, prettily you'll tread:
Over moon, under sun, and through the stars of hope.
One day's flight a-winging, to the brows of the moon,
Thence a second a-swimming, to the shoulders of the Great Bear,
The third even higher a-rising, to the back of the seven stars;
From there it's only a short trip, the tiniest tidbit,
To reach the holy God, to the dwellings of the blessed."

Bumblebee from the ground arose, the mead-wing from the meadow;
Already flew a-flapping, with little wings flitted.
Flew around the arc of the moon, brushed the hem of the sun,
Past the shoulders of Odin's Wain, by the Sennstar's back:
Flew to the Creator's cellars, to the chamber of the almighty.
There the salves are being made, ointments are being made,
In silvery cauldrons, in kettles of gold:
Honey was boiling in the middle, on the sides was melted butter,
Mead at the nose of it all, on top of the bottom greases.

Bumblebee, bird of the air, got thence plenty of meads,
Honies to heart's content.  There passed a little time:
Soon he came a-puffing, lumbered back a-huffing
A hundred horns on his lap, a thousand other lumps,
Some with mead, some with water, some with the supreme salve.

From these the mother of Lemminkäinen put in her own mouth,
Those tested with her tongue, very gladly tasted:
"These are those salves, the almighty's ointments,
With which God anointed, the Creator poured on wounds."

With these she anointed the weakened, treating the one come to ill.
Anointed through the slots in bones, through the gaps in limbs,
Anointed below, anointed above, once brushed through the middle.
Thence she put it into words, herself stated and uttered:
"Arise from a-laying, rise up from sleeping
From these bad places, from this hard luck's bed!"

Arose the man from laying, awoke from dreaming.
Finally able to speak, with his own tongue to tell:
"A week, mother, I slept, a long time, mother, I lay there!
I slept very soundly, deeply did I snort."

Said the mother of Lemminkäinen, herself stated and uttered:
"You would have lain longer, longer than a week stretched out,
Without your poor mother, without your shrewd bearer."

"Say now, my unfortunate son, tell for my ears to hear:
What brought you to the Cursèd Lands,
pushed you into the River of Death?"

Said the fiery Lemminkäinen, responded to his mother:
"Rot Hat the cowherd, swollen-eyes of Untamola,
He led me to the Cursèd Lands, pushed into the River of Death.
A waterviper from the waters he raised, an adder from the waves
Against a powerless me; I did not even know this,
Knew not the waterserpent's hatred, the sting of the tubular wyrm."

Said the mother of Lemminkäinen, "Oh, you mindless man!
You bragged the witches to bewitch, the Lappish to outsing:
And you know not the waterserpent's hatred,
the sting of the tubular wyrm!
From the waters is the viper born,
the tubular wyrm from the waves,
From the good brains of the long-tailed duck,
from inside the sea-swallow's head.
The Devouress spat it onto the waters, set it on the waves;
Water stretched it out long, the sun beat it soft.
Thence the wind rocked it, the water spirit shook it,
The waves brought it towards shore, the spray threw it onto land."

Then the mother of Lemminkäinen cradled her beloved one,
Back to bygone strengths, to his ancient form,
Even a little better, even more whole than before.


Transl. ©2006 Anniina Jokinen.  All rights reserved.

(Read: Copy or post anywhere, and I will be over you like a cheap suit). Permission granted to print for personal enjoyment or classroom purposes.  For all other use permission must be requested in writing.)


Labels: ,

I am a Major Geek

Okay, hooked on the quizzie-wizzies again.   This one is majorly cool though, it tests your geek factor (warning: only real geeks need do this test, it has a billion questions and will wither the weak-of-geek).

I scored 36.09467% - Major Geek

i am a major geek

MWAHAHAHAH.  Funniest thing is you get an extra 5 points for being a girl geek.  Embrace your inner geek, girls, and that sweet geek who is somewhere close!  Geeks of the world, unite!


Tags: Quiz

Quiz: Which Superhero Are You?

LOL - y'all know by now how I love quizzes.

You are  Wonder Woman
You are a beautiful princess
with great strength of character.

Wonder Woman 90%
Supergirl 85%
Green Lantern 85%
Spider-Man 80%
Hulk 80%
The Flash 60%
Robin 47%
Catwoman 45%
Iron Man 35%
Superman 30%
Batman 25%

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Tags: Quiz

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Happy Odin's Day

Our English word for Wednesday comes from the Anglo-Saxon "Wodensdaeg", Woden's day, that being the Anglo-Saxon name for the Norse god Odin.

Odin is the All-Father in the Norse pantheon, "one god to rule them all" so to speak, or in more familiar terms, the Nordic equivalent to Zeus or Jupiter.  He was the one-eyed god of the sky and the god of wisdom, poetry and war.

For more on Odin (some wisdom for the day of the god of wisdom) see this Wikipedia article.

If you're wondering why I'm on this Norse mythology kick today, it's because of Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" which I recently finished, and which has stayed with me.  In an earlier entry I cited it as one contender for the title "The Great American Novel" — worth a read, folks.

For some reason, while we're inundated with Greek and Roman mythology in school in Finland, we're taught next to nothing about the mythology of our Scandinavian neighbors — granted, we were never Norse, but wouldn't it be good to know our closest neighbors' ancient sacred texts?  So, I'm trying to educate myself on the basics.  If anyone has a good book suggestion on the subject of Norse Mythology, lemme know please. Thanks :)

Going to make din-din and play FFXI.

BTYL (Blog to you later, tee hee!)

[Image credit: From the 18th century Icelandic manuscript SÁM 66 in the care of the Árni Magnússon Institute in Iceland. Courtesy of Wikipedia.]

Labels: ,

Haiku on a Cold Morning

The cold morning light.
How empty would be my bed
Without these warm paws.

Tags: Anniina's Poetry | Haiku


News on Mark Rylance and Shakespeare's Globe

The Divine Mark Rylance won at the BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) on May 7th for his role in Channel4's "The Government Inspector" the equivalent of a British Emmy Award. Congratulations to Mark!

JustJosh on his blog reviews the Globe's production of Coriolanus, and it seems perhaps Shakespeare's Globe is not dead sans Rylance after all.  I'm planning a pilgrimage this summer, so you'll get my two cents on it later.

On the Globe's rivalry with the RSC, the Evening Standard has an article which to my eyes seems very RSC-friendly.  Whereas everything I've ever seen at the RSC pales in comparison to any given 5 minutes at the Globe.

I must admit, I am dying to see Patrick Stewart as Antony in Antony and Cleopatra and as Prospero in The Tempest, as well as Sir Ian McKellen as King Lear.  Must make plans.  And wait till you hear this, Madeline: they are doing "Merry Wives the Musical" with Dame Judi Dench as Mistress Quickly!  We have saying in Finland, "Live long enough, you'll see it all." (Oppia ikä kaiken)

For more, see previous post on Mark Rylance, the Globe and RSC.

Tags: Mark Rylance | Shakespeare | The Globe | RSC | Theatre

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Ten on Tuesday: Musing on Movies

"10 on Tuesday" has a meme today which is just no fun ("10 Things that Remind you of your Mom") so we're gonna do a meme today from "Musing on Movies" which also does a Tuesday meme-day.

Favorite Sci-Fi Movies:

. Star Wars: A New Hope (Episode IV)
2. Serenity
3. Gattaca
4. Blade Runner
5. The Matrix
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Sci-Fi Movies I Hated:

1. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (Episode I)
2. Event Horizon
3. Starship Troopers
4. Planet of the Apes (2001)

Discuss :P

Tags: Movies


Monday, May 08, 2006

"Proof" Review, etc.

Well, the reviewer liked "Proof" so that's something. Audiences do too. I, on the other hand, am ready to move on.  I never liked Claire to begin with, and playing her is not a lot of fun. Plus, nobody comes to talk to me after shows, because they don't realize I'm playing a bitch, it's called "acting" — I'm not a bitch IRL.   The only saving grace is that I love my cast members and crew — they are fun and sweet, and I enjoy them so much.

I've been feeling under the weather yesterday and today, like I'm coming down with a cold, but I don't have time to be sick until June, so I told my body that, and everything seems under control :P

Nothing more to diarize abt right now, so I'll blog off until I find more inspiration.

*mwah* A

Tags: Proof | Theatre

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sonnetsday 13


Sonnet XVII

HO will believe my verse in time to come,
   If it were fill'd with your most high deserts?
   Though yet, heaven knows, it is but as a tomb
Which hides your life and shows not half your parts.
If I could write the beauty of your eyes
And in fresh numbers number all your graces,
The age to come would say, ‘This poet lies;
Such heavenly touches ne’er touch’d earthly faces.’
So should my papers, yellow’d with their age,
Be scorn’d, like old men of less truth than tongue,
And your true rights be term’d a poet’s rage
And stretchèd metre of an antique song:
     But were some child of yours alive that time,
     You should live twice — in it and in my rhyme.



Tags: Sonnets | Shakespeare

Labels: ,

Friday, May 05, 2006

TGIF - Thank God It's Firefly Day 2

Wanna know just how much of a geek I am?
I waited for Friday, so I could share my latest Firefly/Serenity 'linkses', like for the rising of the moon.
["What is Firefly?"]

Here are this week's Firefly/Serenity links:

Firefly Shooting Scripts - TwizTV

Q's Geek Reputation Saved by Serenity - The Sci-Fi Guys

SerenityNow/Equality Now - Can't Stop the Serenity

Firefly Quotes - Jinkle.com

Hmm, there isn't a Firefly random quote generator engine available anywhere.  There's one for "Whedonisms", but since I never watched "Buffy" nor "Angel" it did not tickle my fancy.  If anyone knows where to find one, or how to make one, I'd love to have one on the sidebar.

Tags: Firefly | Serenity | Movies

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Happy Thor's Day!

I have a day off.  Yes, you heard me, a day off! That of course means that I am taking care of all the stuff I don't have time for on the other days: laundry, cleaning, groceries, etc.

It also meant that I got to sleep in late and to indulge in one of my fave pastimes, namely that of playing "Final Fantasy XI Online."   I just spent the last three hours standing in a cave with a party of folks slaying robber crabs.  I'm a Black Mage, which means I get all of the offensive spells — and it has often occurred to me that I chose to be that because nuking monsters is a fab way of relieving all of one's negative feelings, heheh.

I'm off to make something to eat, but will likely blog more later.


Haiku on a May Night

Once again the barefaced moon
     Mocks me with his toothless grin:
          "You're alone as I."

(AJ, 5/2006)

Tags: Anniina's Poetry | Haiku


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

On Writing

                                I used to dread
            And my Muse
Who, like a harpy,
      Descended on me
Forcing me
            To write.

      I look forward
            To her visits,
Offer her tea
      As we sit
Like solemn friends
      Arm in crook of arm

(AJ, 1-2004)

Tags: Anniina's Poetry

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Quiz: Which State Are You?

LMAO!  As you know, I am a quiz-whore, can't be helped.  The latest quiz I took was:

Which State Are You?

You're California!
In many ways, you are larger than life and almost defy description. You certainly love to shake, rattle, and roll with the best of them. You have a generally sunny disposition, but are capable of resorting to harsh extremes when pressed. You are more likely than most to become rich, or famous, or perhaps both. While you have the golden touch in so many regards, your respect for actors is a little over-zealous. This endless faith in actors needs to be terminated.

Ahh, so embarrassing, and so trueeee :P

What State Are You? by BluePyramid
Tags: Quiz

10 on Tuesday: Favorite Romantic Movies

There's a cool blog called "10 on Tuesday", which has a different meme every... yeah, you guessed it, every Tuesday! Here's this week's:

10 Favorite Romantic Movies:
(in no particular order)

1. Shakespeare in Love
2. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
3. French Kiss
4. Bridget Jones' Diary
5. When Harry Met Sally
6. Bringing up Baby (1938)
7. Casablanca
8. Wuthering Heights (1939)
9. It's a Wonderful Life
10. Never Been Kissed

Consider yourself meme-tagged.  Post your picks either on your blog, or right here in the comment field :)

*mwah* ~A

Tags: Movies


The New Globe Project

For those of us who have been trekking to London to visit Shakespeare's Globe, there is something a-brewing. The New Globe Theater project, which is trying to get enough funding to refurbish Castle Williams in New York harbor as another Globe playhouse.

Supporters include the divine Mark Rylance, Zoë Wanamaker, whose father Sam built Shakespeare's Globe in London, and several other influential theatrical and political figures.  But someone please, please, please tell me Al Pacino will not be acting there!  Cold fear clutched my insides when I read his name on the list of artists associated with the project.  Not allowing Al Pacino anywhere near Shakespeare would certainly be on my additions to the list, "Things I Will Not Do When I Direct Shakespeare."

Tags:  Rylance | Shakespeare | The Globe | Theatre

Labels: , ,

Where is Mark Rylance?

The Divine Mark Rylance.  Many of you know that I idolize this man to the nth degree.  Artistic Director of Shakespeare's Globe in London until the beginning of this year (see my blog on "Changing Guard at Shakespeare's Globe), Rylance is a force of nature as a Shakespearean actor.  Nobody who has ever seen this man on stage can forget his performances.

Since Mark Rylance stepped down, I have found nothing about his future projects — I'm constantly checking, because I want to see anything and everything he may be performing in again.  I've had no luck on that front, but have found a few mentions of him, so I do know he's still around — perhaps he is enjoying some well-deserved time off.

According to the Luxury Traveler (3/13/06), Rylance is still involved with the Globe conducting the famed Sonnet Walks.  I tend to take this with a grain of salt, but if anyone does happen to have confirmation for it, please advise.

Chloe Gallagher, a fellow blogger, posted a sighting of Mark Rylance at the Globe on April 21, 2006.  Rylance is not part of any of this year's casts (!) so we can only ponder about the capacity in which he was visiting — perhaps something to do with Shakespeare's birthday celebrations.

Mark Rylance was nominated for this year's BAFTAs for BBC4's "The Government Inspector", and BBC4 also recently re-aired the taped performance of "Richard II" from Globe's 2003 season.  I have been searching high and low for a copy of this on videotape.  If someone can get their hands on this and sell it to me, it would be worth a HUGE amount to me.  Drop me a note.

And, if anyone has any news on what's next for Mark Rylance, please let me know.  Watching Mark Rylance on stage is of enormous educational value to me as an actor and a source of utmost pleasure — I'm ready to make a pilgrimage at a moment's notice.

Tags:  Rylance | Shakespeare | The Globe | Theatre

Labels: , ,

Proof, First Weekend

Proof opened this weekend and it was a success — the Ritz has a steady audience base, so we never had less than 250 in the audience, which is a nice change for most of us who are used to disappointing numbers.

Shakespeare is a hard sell in this area, but one would think that Macbeth has enough name recognition and interest to lure audience in, but for that we were lucky to break 30 people in audience.  What a shame! So you can imagine how satisfying it was to play to real houses.

Another 4 weeks of "Proof" and then I get to have vacation :)  Not that I'm in a hurry — I'm enjoying being in a quality production with a wonderful cast.  Best of all, everyone is really fun to hang out with during and after show.  We've been going out for a snack and/or drinks almost every night.  Chris, who plays our Hal, also did the sweetest thing: I had jabbered on one night abt how much I love oatmeal raisin cookies, and on opening night he gave me a box of them and a red rose, and for Aaryn (Catherine) he gave a box of snickerdoodles, her favorite, and a rose.  What a sweetheart!

So that's all the news from here.  Oh, and added that cloudbox on left so folks can follow threads ^^

Tags: Proof | Macbeth | Shakespeare | Theatre

Monday, May 01, 2006

Movie Monday

Ahh, had the day off — such a rare luxury nowadays.  Went to the movies after yesterday's matinee of "Proof" and enjoyed myself thoroughly.

American Dreamz (2006)
Category: Comedy
Dennis Quaid, Hugh Grant, Willem Dafoe, Mandy Moore, Chris Klein

Not an earth-shattering movie by any means, but a fun romp of a satire on current state of American affairs where even the president is more informed about a show like 'American Idol' than what is actually going on.  Flawless performances by an excellent cast, the movie could perhaps have been darker and edgier in the script department, but it was still my money's worth.

Overnight (2003) DVD
Category: Documentary
This brutal documentary follows the rise and fall of Troy Duffy, creator of one of my fave cult flicks, "The Boondock Saints" (1999).  The film shows Duffy, working as a bartender in LA, being offered the chance to direct his film, a fabulous deal from Miramax, and the chance to also score his flick, and then goes to show that by being a total asshole, Duffy alienates everyone from the Weinsteins to his own brother, and screws up all of his deals.  So for those of you who never knew why the much-anticipated sequel, "Boondock Saints: All Saints Day", never happened.  Like the film's tagline says, "There's more than one way to shoot yourself."

Tags: Movies