Archive for July, 2008

Weeds and life

I must say. I didn’t think they could keep it up. But I guess when other series start adding sex, drugs and half-naked people into the second or third season, weeds had it in their first. The adding of things can often turn into a pretend game, where a TV-series think they are something they’re not. They think they are luring more young people to watch by showing a tanned belly but instead they’re just missing out on the story.

Words of wisdom: when adding a naked person to scene, you are often taking away the dialogue – hence the story becomes lacking.

In weeds, however, sex, drugs and naked people ARE the story just as much as the story is the story.

Hence, the brilliant writers, who I applaud and praise and whose heads I sometimes would like to be inside, have created yet another wonderful season.

Here is the powerful Blah-scene:


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This weekend I did something very unlike me and went off on a spontaneous weekend trip to the beautiful Brussels. Mostly to meet the even more beautiful couple, David and Elvira, who were getting married.

David is a friend from my time in Hong Kong where we took Beginner’s Cantonese together. Fluent in Mandarin as he is, he had no problem learning this second language. Once, he even held a long speech on the little peeing statue that Brussels is so famous for, and if you can do that in Cantonese you can do almost anything!

His knowledge in Mandarin stems partly from the year he studied in Harbin before coming to HK. There he also met Elia, his future Russian bride.

I was so happy to be invited to their wedding. I had never met Elia or even been to Brussels before, and I must say that the trip exceeded all my expectations. I got to live and eat for free at both David’s and Anneleen’s parents’ houses (Anneleen was another exchange student I met in HK), Thank you so much for that!! and all the people I met were so friendly and kind. I had the best time ever and I hope I can come visit again!

But maybe it’ll have to wait til the baby is born – and is able to walk…

As Mark would have put it; because David is such a bastard, he had neglected to inform any of us that his future wife was 6 months pregnant. We had to hear it from his mother, who openly informed us that she was the one who had sown Elia’s wedding gown since it is “so hard to find something really fitting when you are pregnant”. It was a bit of a chock…

Here are some pictures from the happy event:

           David and Elia outside the Town hall were they were wed.

The town hall at Grand-Place, so big that it does not fit into the picture. Some of the guests: Rainer, Mark, Anneleen and Antonette.

After the wedding some of us went to do some more touristy stuff. Here I am in front of the Atomium. We were probably the best dressed tourists in the entire Brussels…

We also got to see the European parliament buildings. They were however closed since it was Saturday. Rainer, Erika, Mark and Robert are making up theories of what the picture could symbolize. A bowling man perhaps…

The party was held at David’s parents’ garden that looked something like this. The newlyweds welcoming us.

Elia dancing with her father.

Tossing of the bouquet and the garter took place with male participants more eager than female. Mark was happily unaware of what the game stood for until he himself caught the garter and we all informed him of his upcoming marriage. It was the first time in what seems like forever that I wasn’t surrounded by mere 18 year old girls when “trying” to catch the bouquet…

Russian games were also played. Here is one that is familiar for us Finns as well. The couple is supposed to dress a doll using only one hand each. After the audience showed a bit of scepticism to whether the baby would be alive after the brutal handling, David announced it to be a strong Russian who could take anything.

And beware André and Sofia – I got some new ideas!

Mark tells it like it is: David was a bastard until Elia came into the picture.

The food was amazing and we even got redcurrants (röda vinbär) from David’s father’s garden.

                              The happy couple.

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I’m going to Belgium for the weekend, so don’t try to phone me!

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Österbottnian vacation

Things you should only do in limited amounts to find amusing:

                                      Go sight seeing in Närpes.

Watch men trying to beat each other in a sport they just invented. Because someone has to be the best…

Wonder what to buy at a local auction. And you can’t bid less than 4 euro, even though the box contains nothing more than an old light fixture and some broken china.

Look at houses you’ll never be able to afford, together with 4000 others in the same situation.

Watch a house burn down.



Things you could do forever:

Watch your cousin’s beautiful flower arrangement

Watch the sun set over a misty field.

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I’m totally fascinated by today’s teenage culture. How a whole generation can be turned on by the Japanese way of living. When you go through Kamppi/Kampen (a shopping mall) you see them everywhere. The girls dressed in lolita outfits and sporting Japanese hairstyles. The latter is also popular among boys and requires loads of hairspray. It’s therefore totally acceptable to carry around a bottle of hairspray for emergency fixes. I’ve seen girls digging deep into their bags in both shopping malls and on buses to help out a friend who looks a bit droopy.

Man, I’d like to interview those guys to see why they choose to dress like they do!!

And then there’s the manga frenzy that started a couple of years back. You don’t have to adapt to the style of the country to enjoy reading these magazines, so they seem to appeal to almost all kids nowadays. The only problem might be the limited numbers of comic books published in Finnish. But then again I guess most of the real devotees know some Japanese by now.

So my thought was of course: Can this cultural form be incorporated into Christian living AND is there someone trying to reach these kids by using media that’s familiar to them?

And the answer is of course Yes! If you’ve grown up in a Christian home you might have encountered the comic book style Bible. We have one at home and I kind of liked to look through it every now and then when I was younger. An updated version has now been released and is advertised as the Manga Bible. 

The Bible should be totally perfect for illustrators as it tells stories of war, love and miraculous things – the only problem is it’s length, who could ever make the whole book into comic strips? The Manga Bible, illustrated by Siku, is therefore somewhat lacking in detail and some stories can be as short as one page. The other problem is that Siku’s style of drawing isn’t really manga, but as the word “manga” sells they’ve probably just added it to make it stand out from all the previous comic Bibles.

On the positive side however, it does appeal to a younger crowd, as can be seen by the sales figures in both US and UK. It also has a more popular language with Cain greeting Abel with “Whassup, bro?” as just one example. The Finnish version is now in stores and I would love to see how they’ve translated it! (And I just read that it has sold an impressive 5000 copies already!)

 Siku’s version is, however, not the only manga Bible on the market. One other ambitious example is the Mecha Manga Bible Heroes, which isn’t a comic book but more of a magazine which will publish the most popular Bible stories over a longer period of time instead of all at once. This seems to me to be a cooler option – maybe something to hand out in Sunday school – as it places all biblical stories in the future. So in the first magazine, David is still fighting Goliath, only that now G has turned into a big ugly robot. I think kids of today can relate to this story more than to one of a shephard boy throwing rocks at a huge man. But maybe I’m just talking about myself…

Other Manga Bibles to check out are: Manga Bible, with Hidenori Kumai as the author and Kozumi Shinozawa and Atsuko Ogawa as the illustrators. This one should be quite good as they published the entire Bible as it is and then just added 96 pages of illustrations. They even sport the word of God in red 😉 And if you like this version, you can have a look at Manga Messiah by the same authors. This is kind of a summery of all four gospels.

And if you are not satisfied with these options, there is more. For example a Manga Bible produced in Korean manwha style. In this version most characters have an Asian appearance which could be very helpful in abolishing the very Westernized look we have of Jesus! You could also practise your Korean since some of the sound effects are written with Korean characters. Five volumes are now available.

But since there are those who would consider a Manga Bible blasphemy and never ever let their kids read it. Then I could recommend something lighter:

Mangas made by Realbuzz studios. For example Serenity, about a blue hair rebellious teen who joins a bible study group. It cannot be as lame as it sounds as it has got very good reviews. Although beware, your kids may get to see her getting dressed! A half naked girl was obviously too much for some American parents who had sent in a complaint to the artists… Well what can I say, that’s US.

If you’ve only got boys alt. your kids are a bit older, they might find Serenity a bore. Then you could try Hand of the morningstar a classic superhero manga. Here, the battle between good and evil is given a Christian spin as the good guys serve a wise and powerful heavenly creature known as Morningstar.


To learn more about Christian manga you can check out The Project.


In a time when even P.O.D.are advertised in manga format (I’m not kidding!), I can truly say that Christians have embraced this new form of media.

Or are we already one step behind? Maybe our mission would be more about setting new trends instead of following those that are already dying off…


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Even though it’s old news I still want to congratulate the two families of Haglund and Pörtfors on their newest additions.

Mia with Thilda, born 1.6.2008

Anna-Karin with Levi, born 1.7.2008

(and as I’ve added these pictures without having them approved beforehand, you can just tell me and I’ll have them removed…)

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I feel obligated to write something about my trip to Ireland.Here are some of the conclusions I have been able to draw from my 8 day stay (together with Hanna F.).

                                              It’s windy in Ireland…

Ireland is a country covered in grass. There is grass eaten by cows, grass eaten by sheep and grass eaten by some of the prettiest horses I’ve ever seen. There is grass rolled into black plastic round things – this grass is later called hay, and there is centimeter high grass in front of every house – this grass forms the meticulously kept lawns. The grass is only interrupted by stone walls and small villages that seem to appear in similar intervals throughout the country. Conclusion: Irishmen are patient people, not only have they built all those stone walls but they have to cut their lawns with small scissors to keep them tidy like that…

All this I have noticed from  the bus trips we took, back and forth to Galway from Dublin and back and forth to all the sights we wanted to visit. 15 hours in total did we spend on a bus – 15 hours when we had no access to a toilet. Conclusion: Irishmen have bigger bladders than most…

Not only do they have bigger bladders but their stomachs must by made of steel. The regular Finnish breakfast of porridge and sandwiches (so good for your digestion) is here traded for a more meat-filled menu. Egg, bacon and beans are standards, but no breakfast is complete without black pudding (blodpudding), it could be good, but not at nine o’clock in the morning.

Thankfully, your digestive system does not have to falter completely since they do eat a bread that is quite rich in fiber. This is a traditional soda bread, and the only souvenir I brought home with me was a book full of recipes describing how to make this kind of bread. Yummy! And as they say: you have to be an expert to make yeast bread, but soda bread… And besides, I never remember to buy fresh yeast anyway.

Hanna and a horse + more horses, when walking on the Sky Road near Clifden.

Hanna on the edge and the cliffs on one of the Aran Islands, outside Galway.

Pretty houses.

Yes Ireland is actually as idyllic as it seems in these pictures (at least if it’s not raining). I highly recommend going, and if you can’t see it all then go to the west coast and skip Dublin and the bigger cities!

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