Finland vs. Sweden

(Well I’m back writing less rant-y stuff!)

Finland and Sweden might not be the best of friends in ESC for historical reasons, but they’re still together in the Nordic pot. Most people in the Eurovision fandom would say that Sweden tops Finland, but that might not always be the case.

Relations might be friendlier now, but the rivalries still remain.

Relations might be friendlier now, but the rivalries still remain.

Points/Scores: This is what people in the fandom tend to look at while comparing the two countries. If you do that it’s pretty obvious that Sweden wins. With a current count of six victories, including one win with a record breaking 18 sets of douze pointe, Finland’s one win in 2006, 10 last places, and a 7/13 qualification rate can’t beat Sweden, at least not when considering only points.

Production: Given that Sweden’s been treated as Eurovision’s modern powerhouse since the language rule was lifted, and that Sweden’s been hosting a 6-city Melodifestivalen tour with production comparable to Eurovision, it’s not surprising that SVT excels at production of songs and performances. Camera work is tight enough that separate music videos usually aren’t needed for promotion, and there’s typically no excuse for building acoustics, so live and studio versions typically sound pretty similar. Finland is also pretty good when it comes to production, but Sweden edges out due to SVT’s over-the-top work and that they put on semi-readable subtitles on the performances.

More material to work with: Melodifestivalen has 28 songs this year; Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu has 10. If all the songs were the same, then I would say that Mello wins over UMK. However, that’s not exactly the case…

Variety: Even though Melodifestivalen has more songs, more doesn’t always mean better. Half the songs sound really similar to each other, like some radio friendly entry that I’d hear on the bus or another schlager entry. And even if Björkman and his team tried to increase diversity of genres behind the scenes, all the weird stuff (e.g. everything that involves Sean Banan in any way, shape, or form, or any of the ethno-themed entries) gets cleared out, making the sound pretty uniform once on the Eurovision stage. Schlager. Schlager. Mid/uptempo. Schlager. Schlager. Ballad. Mid/uptempo. Radio-friendly mid-tempo. Rinse and repeat. I’ve tried listening to Swedish ESC entries in the shower and more than once I couldn’t tell 2004 apart from 2006 over the sound of falling water. (This is now a great time to announce that the first half of Euphoria won’t play over the shower.) With Finland it’s really hard to predict the sound of next year’s entry without listening to the UMK selections; there’s been tango, peace ballads, rock/metal-inspired entries**, folk-y dance tunes, and ballads. There have been more non-English entries for Finland than for Sweden; even the most recent Swedish-language entry was from Finland. Within the national finals realm there’s also more stage opportunity for older artists. In Mello anyone over the age of 45 is pretty much relegated to last place in the semi, yet in UMK Eini managed to a) perform the hell out of her entry, b) qualify from her semifinal, and c) not place last in the final.

** because Hard Rock Hallelujah’s genre is disputed a lot.

There was also Sleepwalker, which beats out La Voix by 9 years.

Waiting period: One of the methods SVT uses to take up space on ESC news sites is to release only a tiny bit of information at a time. So maybe we’ll know the hosting sites in October, the names of artists in December, the running order in January, and we won’t get to hear the songs until the semifinals in February. As a result, unless someone decides to post every single Eurovizijos atranka or A Dal heat result the news I most likely to be clogged up with Mello announcements. Also, due to SVT’s reluctance to release information, incidents such as Anna Book-Gate are likely to show up instead of something relevant. My points would go to YLE posting two substantial updates about the songs, artist, and their running orders; I don’t need to watch a full live stream to figure out which entry I like the most. I’d be much more likely to just go on the Wikipedia page and check if it got updated.

Access: Now that the EBU’s decided that there won’t be any live streams on the official Eurovision website, SVT gets a bit of edge for livestreaming Melodifestivalen on both SVT Play via phone app as well as SVT Play online. However, that edge goes away after finding out that the performances are only available for 30 days, and that live performances on YouTube are geoblocked in the USA. (For some reason my Youtube account thought it was in Ireland and had access for a month to the videos. And then it decided to switch back and I couldn’t see any more Mello performances anymore.) In that case, Finland gets the edge for access because of the music videos on the UMK YouTube channel, and that performances on YLE don’t get deleted.

If people only looked at points earned or production, then Sweden definitely edges out. However, if they’re looking at variety and access to the songs, then Finland wins. I’m a bit biased because UMK is my favorite national final (and that there’s probably a specific friend on FB who’s actively booing Sweden right now), but in most cases neither country is inferior or superior to the other. I’ll probably end up watching UMK over Ikea’s free Wi-Fi and coffee (because the signal at home sucks), so I’m not going to claim either one.

Everything.

Okay, it’s a new year.

Here’s Anna Vissi’s “Everything” for two reasons:

  1. This is pulling it a bit far, but “pan” is the a prefix of Greek origin meaning “all/everything,” and I realized a month ago that I’m panromantic asexual. (Which means I’m an pancake, because ace memes are often related to cake.)
  2. I’m currently in the middle of writing application essay stuff, and I hate everything about it.

Post-Election, Day 3

All right Klemen Slakonja, while I really like your Mockingbird Man videos, the Golden Dump one hit waaaay too close to home, especially because we all thought it would only be a joke.

It’s been 3 days after the election, and I’m still shocked. The Annoying Orange has won the presidential election and I don’t know how to react, at least not in the real world sense. So much for learning how to play euchre…

I had to talk to my professor the day after, after getting only 3 hours of sleep, and while all she could offer besides commiserating with was that we have to keep fighting, we talked a bit about the election results and how they appeared similar to ESC voting results. About how I hoped that it would look a bit more like 2015, where Russia appeared to be winning at first but Sweden overtook halfway. About how the results looked more like 2009 or 2012, with a runaway winner despite being really close in the state (in ESC: countries; in the US: actual states) level with a difference of maybe less than 5000 votes. About how this is the 5th time in US history that the election results depended on 538 jury votes. About how I now understood what it felt like for Il Volo fans in 2015 and Sergey Lazarev fans in 2016, when the winner didn’t even win the televoting.  But even if Eurovision is political, it’s a more controlled system. The worst case scenario is that your favorite entry doesn’t win that year, YouTube gets a bunch of dislikes, and you tell people not to listen to the song because it’s crap. Maybe someone might get arrested for disorderly conduct after a few too many drinks. But there’s the mob here. It’s as bigger than any fandom around and has a great enough presence to cause a significant level of damage.

Maybe it’s not the literal end of the world with the Annoying Orange winning the election, but I’m definitely scared of what’s coming up next. As a female. As a non-straight person. As a non- white person dating a non-white SO. As a person who’s still in uni. As an undiagnosed something. Even if I live somewhere that’s relatively safe what about my SO? What about all my friends that aren’t straight and/or cis? What about those who don’t culturally fit in? What’s going to happen to them? To us?

On one hand, I have to keep fighting and believing that we can change things with midterm elections. On the other hand, I’d like to follow Margaret Berger’s advice and leave the planet…

I’m on a dead end mission for the outer space, I’m leaving Mother Earth without a trace.
I don’t know where I lost my faith, help me escape the human race.

 

RIP 5-for-$1 Goldfish

Whenever someone asks if I have pets, I say that I have goldfish. They’re technically not mine; officially they belong to my grandma. Or maybe I should say belonged, in past tense, because they all died. Again. I was responsible for cleaning the tank; grandma was responsible for feeding them. Unfortunately, the fish were fed too much and died of a) ammonia poisoning, b) not enough oxygen in the water, c) eating waaaaaaaay too much, or d) all of the above. (I pick answer d)

So here’s a small dedication to the 5-for-$1 goldfish that just died today. (Credit goes to Andrius Pojavis for the original lyrics/tune)

I have to tell you something
And you won’t like it — At all
I’ve got to tell you this
And you won’t like it—not at all
I thought it was ‘cause of me
But then I walked in and saw the tank

If you don’t know: Those fish eat too much
First they eat lunch then have second brunch
Since NH3 gas is not good for you
That fish is dead; the others are too

So tell me now
It’s all your fault
It’s too much food, tell me now
Tell me now
‘Cause I walk in and see them corpses float

If you don’t know: Those fish eat too much
First they eat lunch then have second brunch
Since NH3 gas is not good for you
That fish is dead; the others are too

But still you don’t know: Those fish eat too much
First they eat lunch then have second brunch
Since NH3 gas is not good for you
That fish is dead; the others are too.
That fish is dead; the others are too.

rip-fish

So rest in peace, goldfish; we’ll get new fish to remind us of you. And hopefully make sure they don’t die of NH3 poisoning.

If Love was (is) a Crime

It’s been a while that I’ve been at the Pharm, and I swear my coworkers all know me as that one person who can’t stop singing. (It’s either that or the person who gets locked out of the system at least 20 times a shift because of a stupid mis-scan, but let’s leave it at the first one).

One my favorites to sing is Poli Genova’s “If Love was a Crime.” To most of the other coworkers at work it’s just a catchy/radio-friendly song with a slightly cheesy dance (thankfully there’s no footage of me singing in the plant) that they seem to like. To one coworker (which I’ll just call C), it sucks for a very good reason:

As one of three out non-straight people (the two others being me and a coworker “A”), C knows for certain how love is a crime in the USA. Even though the Supreme Court declared marriage equality in all 50 states on 6/26 last year, it’s still not the end of the debate. In 28 states including Michigan it’s still legal for companies to discriminate for sexual orientation, and the same goes for 32 states (also including Michigan) for gender identity. So in the worst case situation, a person could get denied a job, healthcare, maybe even housing, etc., especially in states with religious freedom acts (*glares at Mississippi*). I’ll also throw in that in some cases you could say that love used to be a crime (e.g. Loving v. Virginia, 1967) with interracial relationships. Thankfully all the places I’ve worked at have had a non-discrimination policy, so that’s not an issue at work, so love itself isn’t a crime in this situation. It can, however, lead to crimes. Stuff like what happened on 6/26 this year.

And that’s what happened to C. Long story short (since he’s not telling the full story), C had a significant other for a while. The two were out to very few people, and everyone thought they were friends/roommates/brothers. One day the SO died (most likely from some person slipping something into his drink at the bar), and C’s life fell apart. The death was ruled as accidental and C’s memorial tattoo for the SO got ruined. It’s been almost a year, and it’s taken until now for him to tell the story.

I keep thinking about C’s story and what I should do with my own relationship/orientation (or lack thereof). What if I don’t tell enough people and my SO dies like C’s SO? Thankfully I don’t have to be completely in the closet. I’ve pretty much told everyone I know at school about being ace to the point that this happened on National Coming Out Day:

wp-1476632048889.jpg

Me (wearing an ace flag hat): Hey, no one’s noticed my hat so far today!
Classmate: No, everyone noticed the hat, but no one cares anymore. That would be because you wear that hat ALL THE TIME.

Most people at school have gotten the point: Love is not a crime. But at the same time, I can’t tell my family about the situation and still can’t be out, so it still feels like a crime…

You are the Only One (Good Wi-Fi on Campus)

Sergey Lazarev mentioned in a lot of his interviews at Eurovision that the staging of “You are the Only One” represented a journey to find “the only one.” Judging simply by the music video, I’ll guess that most people interpreted “the only one” as a significant other. After all, how many Eurovision artists sing about love? This year there were fewer songs about love, but you could probably say about 1/3 to ½, if you tweak the interpretations. “The Only One” doesn’t have to a significant other. Judging by the lyrics, there’s a chance that it could be about connecting to the Internet.

Well time to play T-Rex Run again...

Well time to play T-Rex Run if the Internet doesn’t work…

The uni I go to has two kinds of Wi-Fi. The first one is the typical shite kind everyone complains about: it constantly lags, it takes months to load up a 3-minute YouTube video, and it logs off every 5 minutes (yes I’m exaggerating but you get the point…). Then there’s the second one: it’s still somewhat slow compared to the library’s super-fast Ethernet, but loading times are reasonable (seconds vs minutes) once you’re able to connect and log in to the Internet once, your phone/laptop/insert device that connects to the Web will automatically connect. However, not all buildings on campus have this secure Wi-Fi, and if they do, you have to connect to the system around 8AM (when everyone is still half-asleep). In the particularly nasty case that the “good” Wi-Fi shuts down (e.g. every few months in the dorms), it’s really frustrating. Even if my stuff could connect to the other system, I won’t be able to do anything besides open files that are offline. In that case, the “good” Wi-Fi on campus is the only (usable) Wi-Fi.

Won’t ever give up ‘cause you’re still somewhere out there, nothing and no one’s gonna keep us apart: If I have to do my homework that’s due by midnight and it’s 10pm already (when the library’s computer lab shuts down), I’m not going to accept slow Internet. I will have a good connection, and I’m going to find it.

I’m breakin’ it down but I’m still getting nowhere, won’t stop, hold on: I still can’t find a good location and still have to use 4G on my phone, but I’m going to keep searching.

Thunder and lightning it’s getting exciting; lights up the skyline to show where you are: Okay fine this is probably just a good hook in the song. But let’s interpret “skyline” as “the Wi-Fi bars” on my phone… and lightning is in the electric department.

My love is rising, the story’s unwinding; together we’ll make it and reach for the stars: Once my phone connects and there are 4 bars of signal, I’ll be able to do anything.

You’re the only one; you’re my only one: You’re the only one (good/usable Wi-Fi on campus)

You’re my life, every breath that I take: How many people agree with this?

maslows-wifi

Unforgettable, so unbelievable; you’re the only one, my only one. (Syllable filler fluff; put in some big words with multiple syllables. At least it’s not off the TOEFL list…)