vahinkoelain: Text: Turn up the bass (turn up the bass)

In Finland we have this thing called...

The Nightmares of the Bench.


Well, not seriously. But we have this thing called penkkarit, which is short for penkinpainajaiset, which most likely means "an occasion where we press the bench" but could also be mistranslated as The Nightmares of the Bench.

( The big occasion that we celebrate is that we have no more courses to complete in upper secondary school. No more school! In about a month though, we'll have to do our abitur, which is sort of like the French baccalauréat, or SATs or A-levels. And then we're out of this school... except for me - I'm staying for another year because I've got so damn many subjects to study. But it's alright, I like it here.

Anyway, the day was... Fucking brilliant.

I dressed up as Morgana. Nobody recognized the character (It figures, the show hasn't been aired in Finland yet) but I got lots of compliments from people saying that they didn't even recognize me, they just thought I was some beautiful young lady dressed up as a medieval noblewoman :D

As per the penkkarit traditions, we were driven around in trucks and threw candy to little kids. Yay! We threw it at adults, too, but none of them tried to catch it or pick it up. Pfft. Such bores.

In the evening, I went partying at a night club for the first time. (I don't drink, so I haven't seen any reason to visit bars before.) The place was pretty horrible - constant loud noise, bad air conditioning, drunken people all over... At the end of the night, the dance floor was filled with spilled beer and shards of broken glass. But we still kept dancing - and I had the time of my life!

Basically, this post was just to tell you that it was THE AWESOMEST DAY IN THE HISTORY OF EVER.
vahinkoelain: Follow your dreams CANCELLED (follow your dreams)
Just watched a Québécois movie called C.R.A.Z.Y. Didn't understand a word of their French!

I liked it rather more than I had expected. I'm not usually that into men's coming-of-age stories where they have difficult relationships with their fathers etc. Seen too many of them. But this movie was actually quite good! It was funny. The characters were likable. The clothes were groovy. The guy who played the main character had quite a pretty face. And body.

I'd recommend it to anybody who likes French, the 60's or the 70's or the 80's, pretty boys, LGBT coming-of-age stories or quirky, non-Hollywood movies. Or all of the above.

Like you can guess, the movie was about (among other things) being a gay boy growing up in the 70's. I don't know why, but somehow seeing how bad he had it with his parents made me intensely grateful for my parents. I don't like feeling grateful - I should be able to expect being treated well despite my queerness. And, well, my parents weren't THAT easy either. But still I can't help but feel grateful that they never made me fear them because of who I am. Damn it.

vahinkoelain: A picture of Gwen and Morgana with text "Stupid sexism, Gwen and Morgana do not approve" (stupid sexism)

Some time ago, I watched The Sword in the Stone. I should have done it sooner! Some SPOILERY notes I made about the movie:

AHA! moments:
- So that's where the Marvin thing comes from! In the movie, there's a king who can't seem to remember Merlin's name, instead calling him Marlin or Marvin or what have you. (And this has been transferred into fics.)
- That's where the Archimedes thing comes from! In the movie, Merlin has an owl named Archimedes. (I've seen Archimedes in one fic on the kinkmeme, unfortunately I cannot find it right now because I can't find delicious' search function. FAIL.)
- That's where Madame Mim made her first appearance! I thought that she had been created for the Mickey Mouse magazine.

Compare/contrast with Merlin the series:
-The Sword in the Stone has a strong theme on how destiny doesn't bind you.
- Arthur made a speech about how magic is good.

Stuff that sucked:
- Merlin compared heterosexuality to gravity. Seriously.
- The "Girls are soooo strange!" trope was invoked when female squirrels harassed squirrel!Arthur and squirrel!Merlin. Also, harassment is funny. Especially when it's girls harassing boys.
- Madam Mim called herself ugly :( I thought her character looked like a pretty normal middle-aged woman... with additional lilac hair. Also, if I remember correctly, she was the only woman in the movie. (Well, it's a Disney movie from the 60's, what did I expect.)

vahinkoelain: A picture of Morgana LeFay, played by Katie McGrath (Default)
I had a somewhat amusing, but strange dream about Merlin. It's a shame that I've forgotten most of it already.

In that dream, Arthur and Merlin had been forced to marry. They had had a whole day of ceremonies and celebrating, and now they were really tired and just lying on Arthur's bed. (There were no plans to consummate the marriage, or anything of that sort, really.) Merlin was complaining: "Now that I'm a prince consort, I'm gonna have so little time to myself or my research. I'm so sad! I really, really wanted to read that one book about apes!"

Anthropoid apes and monkeys were Merlin's passion. He had a pet monkey, except it was a magical, mechanical monkey. It followed him around almost everywhere. Merlin had even made some sort of secret vow to apes, in order to be allowed to study their secrets. Two of his canine teeth had been taken away in a ritual and twisted around a twig in order to make some sort of religious ornament. This was a big secret, though, and Arthur was to never know that some of Merlin's teeth had been very recently grown (in order to substitute the ones that were taken away.)

Even though Arthur didn't know all of this, he knew that ape research pretty important to Merlin. He took pity on him and said "Well, at least I have read that book. Maybe you can ask me questions about it?"
And Merlin asked: "When a human encountered a monkey the first time, what did the monkey say to the human?"
"I don't remember. Was that really in the book?"
"Yes. It said..." And then there was a really bad punchline. And Merlin told "Why did the monkey cross the road?" type of jokes for the rest of their wedding night while Arthur just rolled his eyes.

I'm pretty sure that I had this dream because I've recently read "With This Ring", a A/M tale about being forced to marry: (its author is anonymous at the moment, but will be revealed at the end of the fest) and "Steam" by [ profile] new_kate:, a steampunk story in which there is a mechanical, magical bird. But for the rest of that dream, I blame my own subconscious.
vahinkoelain: Glee: "You think this is hard? Try getting a slasher to stop thinking about gay sex, THAT'S HARD" (hard gay sex is hard)
This week I've started a Swedish course, after not having any of those for about a year.

The Good: Our teacher made us do a listening exercise that was part of a few years old matriculation exam. And guess what? I got 17/20 right! I haven't forgotten as much as I thought!

I've been practicing German lots lately, though, and that shows. I kept trying to pronounce "sjukskriven" (= on sick leave) but it always came out as "sjuk"-schriewen *rolls eyes*

The Bad: Trigger warning for spousal abuse )
vahinkoelain: A picture of Gwen and Morgana with text "Stupid sexism, Gwen and Morgana do not approve" (stupid sexism)
Why, oh why, can I never remember that reading the newspaper is a bad idea? And that I should never read the letters to the editor, even if they're in the biggest and "most reputable" newspaper of this country?

Brief discussion of rape culture )
vahinkoelain: A picture of Morgana LeFay, played by Katie McGrath (Default)
"Business" and "ridiculous" don't rhyme.
vahinkoelain: A picture of Morgana LeFay, played by Katie McGrath (Default)
When I biked to school today, there was fog over the pond. (Or the little lake, I'm not sure about the English terminology here.) It was such a surprise. Yes, I've seen fog a few times before and once in my life I've seen fog that was thicker, but it was still quite delightful. I could see clearly for, let's say, about 70-100 meters in front of me but no more.

I've always been excited by fog. I think it's because when I was a child, I used to read books about Scotland, with its moors and heathers and fog. And exciting adventures had by the partisans in 18th century Britain. (There was... a queen. And another queen? Possibly someone called Mary? It's all a bit hazy in my memory.) There's a lot of action potential in battles where you can only see a few meters in front of you.
vahinkoelain: A picture of Morgana LeFay, played by Katie McGrath (Default)
Being in the Merlin fandom and shipping Arthur/Merlin has made me really interested in the Middle Ages. I've read some books about medieval women's status, work and everyday lives, which has made me realize that the show's depiction of Morgana is really historically inaccurate. What first made me think about this was meta on somebody else's journal, but it's been a while, so I can't find it. Here's [ profile] adarog 's journal entry that mentions it: and reminded me of it.


I've also read parts of "Rakkaus samaan sukupuoleen: homoseksuaalisuuden historia" (Love towards the same sex: a history of homosexuality) by Robert Aldrich and Veli-Pekka Ketola, which is a good general source if you're a Finnish-speaker. Today, I read an essay titled The Experience of Homosexuality in the Middle Ages by Paul Halsall.

Stuff I've learned that can be applied to Merlin: The European attitudes towards homosexuality changed radically around the 13th century. Before that, sodomy was of course a sin, but sort of your own business. Sodomy could refer to sex between men or heterosexual sex acts that were not aimed towards procreation (I don't know if it referred to lesbian sex, probably not) and basically, everybody sinned in some way anyway. Just confess it to your local priest, say a few Ave Marias and you're good to go! But around the 13th century, new laws were created, old laws were written down officially and started to be enforced. People started accusing monarchs/important people they didn't like of sodomy. That was a good excuse to get them executed.

So, how does Camelot view its adorably gay Crown Prince? We don't knooow! *wail* We'd need to know when the show is set. If the real King Arthur had existed, he probably would have lived around the 6th Century. But the show looks like it's set much later than that. I've personally thought the show is set at year 1300 or later, any thoughts on that? Also, Christianity is mysteriously absent from Camelot, and in the real world, Christianity was the basis for persecution of gay people.

Paul Halsall talks about homosexual networks/subcultures but also a lot about homosexual sex. Fact: pretty much everything that's done today has been done then. Also, interfemoral intercourse aka sex between the thighs was, for a lack of a better word, popular. (Which it might be today, it just doesn't appear in porn, erotica or popular culture that much.) Which, incidentally, reminds me of this really hot fanfic: It's NC-17 and contains SPOILERS for 1x10 of Merlin.

What I've also learned: I feel pretty silly reading an academic paper about sex. And a bit embarrassed writing a journal entry about it.

I laughed when I read this in Halsall's paper: "One of the reasons people have sex is usually overlooked. They find it pleasurable." O RLY? People overlook that all the time? Well, I guess that in academia, anything's possible.

Trigger warning for discussion of rape culture )
vahinkoelain: A picture of Morgana LeFay, played by Katie McGrath (Default)
So, woman hating. I'm going to name just one woman-hating practice which makes our lives shitty: ridiculing women artists & authors. I've got two examples right now.

1. Andrea Dworkin
I'm pretty sure that the first time I heard her name, it was in relation to something like "Feminists have often been perceived as sex-negative, in part because of the more radical feminists like Andrea Dworkin." Either she gets called crazy or she's neutrally described as "controversial". Everybody always forgets the most important thing - her talent.


She's such a good writer, she blows my mind. She's like fresh spring air after spending your whole life in a murky, moldy closet. Read her book Intercourse. It's a nonfiction, literary analysis book about the cultural attitudes surrounding heterosexual intercourse, virginity, romance and marriage. Those attitudes are so pervasive that they often seem invisible to us. Dworkin reveals them in all their dark, disturbing unglory. Seriously, read it.

2. Courtney Love
So, the chick who was Kurt Cobain's wife. The one who had a band. The one with a drug problem, probably. Who wears strange clothes and still has the nerve to exist. Wait, does she still exist?

Whenever she's mentioned, she's either ridiculed or pitied and honestly, I don't know much about her. I'm only guessing about the drugs - somehow the media coverage of her has made me lump her in with the other junkies from the 90's. But the thing is: I don't care about that.


I never had a mind to check out her music. Turns out, now that I have heard her music by chance, I really like it. I love Love's voice. It's just so amazingly raw.

Go listen to the song Violet by Hole:

PS. Melissa Auf der Maur used to be Hole's bassist. Her solo work is fantastic, it's sort of similar to Hole but more sophisticated and modern and not very grungy. I've got her album Auf der Maur and listening to it never disappoints me. The music seems to fit every mood. If you're interested, you can check out her song Real A Lie:
vahinkoelain: A picture of Morgana LeFay, played by Katie McGrath (Default)
Right now, right this moment, despite the whole spring and summer - I like who I am becoming.


vahinkoelain: A picture of Morgana LeFay, played by Katie McGrath (Default)

February 2011

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