11 Years of Ukraine’s participation Pt.1

NTU (National Television Company of Ukraine) announced last week that they were pulling out of Eurovision because of all the conflict that’s occurred since the ehm… “Cry Me A River” incident in January. Even though I get that participating in ESC isn’t cheap and focusing on internal affairs is more important right now, I still feel a little disappointed that they’re not joining next year. They’re one of five countries that have always qualified for the final since 2004, and out of their 11 years of participation they’ve placed in the top 10 seven times.

Some of my (random) thoughts on their past entries:

2003: Oleksandr Ponomaryov- Hasta la Vista (14th)

-The guy looks like my classmate Evan. Or Evan looks like him. Anyways, it would be really random telling him, “Hey, you look like this one guy from Ukraine.”Maybe I should get off YouTube for a while…
-It’s not my favourite Ukrainian entry but I don’t hate any of them. If it’s playing on ESC Radio I’m not going to shut it off and I’ll probably still sing along with.

2004: Ruslana- Wild Dances (1st)

-17 points? Serbia and Montenegro was only 17 points from winning? What?! (After calming down, I decided that it was still a great winner. Not to mention, it actually took me a while to appreciate Lane Moje).
-It’s really catchy. Hopefully my roommate doesn’t tell me off for singing too loud while getting dressed in the bathroom…
-I’m not really sure how it spread all over the world. First there was Eurovision. And then it showed up on GTAIV. And then one of the US Women’s Gymnastics routines at the Olympics. And of course it showed up playing in a merry-go-round in the “Arabian Kingdom” section of a Taiwanese theme park…
-My friend Ned kept asking me which song won ESC 2004 when I had just gotten into ESC but had only listened to the 2010 and some 2009 entries.

2005: Greenjolly- Razom Nas Bahato (19th)

-Orange Revolution. Okay.
-I think the fire alarm went off one day when I was listening to this in the shower and singing along…
-Also, I remember listening to this on my mp3 player while waiting for our next Quiz Bowl match, when one of the parents reminded us that we had to work together to win against [pretty much the best team in the district]. We still lost, though not by as much as we thought…

2006: Tina Karol- Show Me Your Love (7th)

-It’s ridiculously catchy. But I couldn’t understand what she was saying in the refrain until I read the lyrics. The YouTube comments didn’t exactly help most the time.
-At the same time, getting someone to read the lyrics in a serious voice was hilarious. Not as good, but almost as good as listening to rap lyrics read in a serious voice.

2007: Verka Serduchka – Dancing Lasha Tumbai (2nd)

-I think my friend Anastasia’s comment summarizes how it goes: “I almost got into a car accident listening to this song.”
-Most people’s reaction: “WTF am I watching?!” Maybe this is why it’s not the best song to introduce people to Eurovision with.

2008: Ani Lorak- Shady Lady (2nd)

-I really like this song. It just felt kind of weird blasting this and Anouk’s “Nobody’s Wife” while in a relationship though.
-Outside of feeling awkward when the song was paired with relationships, it feels really empowering when trying to achieve a goal or trying to feel independent.

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Aj-aj-aj…my feet are cold…

1999 marked the beginning of the modern ESC: In order to save money, the IBA got rid of the orchestra and essentially turned ESC into a karaoke contest. They also scrapped the “national language” rule, after it got out of hand in the 1990’s, when the winners were either from English speaking countries or entered songs with as few lyrics as possible. (We’re looking at you, Secret Garden). Once this occurred, most of the participating countries changed their entries to English.

However, once the hosts left the stage and the first act started, the audience didn’t hear any English from Lithuania’s entry. They didn’t hear Lithuanian either. Instead they heard the artist Aistė sing in Samogitian, a dialect spoken in the lowlands of the country. Apparently singing a) in a language that wasn’t widely spoken and b) a song that wasn’t very schlager-y meant a lot of people wouldn’t understand what was going on. As a result, they only scored 20th out of 24 that year.

It took me one or two listens to get the song stuck in my head, and I think it sounds pretty cool. It’s not a love song (rather it’s about a song thrush complaining that its feet are frozen and waiting for the sun to come up and melt the ice), and I can feel something similar to the song in my feet in the winter after snowfooting.

Yes that's actually snow.

Yes that’s actually snow.

After I walk back indoors from maybe a minute or two of snowfooting, my feet start out as if I’m walking on a tightrope since the heat gradually sapped out of my toes. Eventually the heat comes back in short bursts that feel like someone’s splashed me out of a hot tub and back to its original temperature. But then I get bored and have to walk outside again. 🙂 (And just like the song, it’s not exactly mainstream…and it’s also illegal in the chem lab for obvious reasons :))

Building New Bridges, Repairing Old Ones

The EBU just released the new motto for next year’s contest, “Building Bridges.”

And sure, obviously there are the actual bridges (1716 in Vienna, to be exact), but there is more than just those. Considering that I had just finished watching “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” before checking the official Eurovision website for news, my mind went back to the movie and the first song, “Tear Me Down,” when the main character sings that there “ain’t much of a difference between a bridge and a wall.” And it’s pretty much true: They stand between two different things. However, the main difference would be that it’s much easier to stand in the middle of the divide if you are on a bridge instead of on a wall.

In a way, Austria and this year’s winner Conchita Wurst already are two bridges: one between eastern and western Europe, and one between male and female. (And I didn’t have to quote more from Tear Me Down!) But they’re building more bridges and fixing some of the bridges that the Marcel Bezencon and the EBU tried to build in the 1950’s when coming up with the contest: music, relationships (between people and states alike).

Maybe ESC is never going to get Europe to its 2013 motto of “We are One.” However, it could get closer and closer to the original goal: To bring the countries from fighting each other in World War II with weapons, to fighting with song, and eventually to coming together as a festival and not a competition.

A Silent Storm of Siren-Thoughts

The last time I wrote that there were “voices in my head” from the Ohrwurm Network in English class a while ago, I got sent to the counselor’s office to make sure I wasn’t schizophrenic (which I’m not). Countless online surveys and discussions later, I found out that I’m probably ADHD instead. (Note: It’s still “probably”, because there’s no way my family will ever let me get diagnosed for this.)

If by “siren” they mean “ridiculous, infinitely long train of thought in my head that doesn’t have any rule or pattern except for 6 Degrees of Separation,” then great job Malcolm Lincoln, you’ve pretty much summarized my entire week at uni. And just like the sirens in mythology, they’re great at drawing my attention away from what I’m supposed to be paying attention to (e.g. relevant classes).

Because I can’t turn them off, it turns into a major problem that I don’t know how to deal with. Papers turn into random thought processes while other assignments go by undone because something else grabbed my attention first: I think about food in the lab, every other sentence my profs say turn into song lyrics from the Ohrwurm Network, and one thought leads to the next and further on until that report on analyzing/explicating this poem turns into a recipe for turnip cake.

Something’s messed up, and I can’t do anything about it. Because I can’t get diagnosed, all I have is caffeine. A little in the form of a bottle Mountain Dew helps me to focus and tune out the siren-thoughts for 2 hours at only the price of $1.50 and a mild headache. However, if I try to up the dosage to diluted coffee (which tastes disgusting anyways), it doesn’t work. For $0.37 more I’ll get a splitting headache and want to go to sleep. Yes, there won’t be any siren-thoughts because there are no thoughts, just pain.

Give me time and give me strength, Give me strength to carry on. Give me bit of hope now, help me through the night…to stop me from being tired and annoyed at not being able to think and talk in a straight line, to calm this silent storm inside me…

And someday I’ll be calm…and not an irritable zombie working on assignments the day before…

I found something better…

Every time I hear the phrase “something better” from my family, 99% of the time the words “you could have” precede the phrase and I’ve done something wrong. It also helps [sarcastic mode] that every time I try to explain why I did something, they cut me off saying that I’m apparently the most arrogant person that they’ve ever met [end sarcastic mode]. Maybe they’ve realized that doing this might not be the best idea in the world and that it has turned their kid into a bitter zombie that doesn’t want to do anything except stress eat while watching YouTube, aka constant meltdown.

And let’s just say that pretty much everything is better than having a meltdown. That includes (for me):

  • Finding out a way to make you focus in class
  • Having people to talk to (or giving your thoughts some way out)
  • A good pot of tea (which ironically, is really bitter)
  • Being able to walk barefoot
  • Listening to Something Better (the song)
  • And so much more…

 

Food is not free (or allowed in lab)

This is the closest ESC song I could find which talks about food without copping out, using some breakup song, and trying my (not-so) hardest to convince people that it was about someone on a diet.

This year I don’t have a lunch break. Instead, I have chemistry lab (a.k.a. the closest thing you can get to food without ever touching food or eating food), where the safety manual might as well require hospital masks because nothing is allowed to go into our mouths for 2 hours straight. Sure, I do bring lunch and eat in the class before lab, but it always feels like it’s not enough; that’s called “snacking in class,” not “lunch break.”

I’m sure that my lab instructor is going to read my lab journal observations and think that he’s reading a messed up cookbook: The precipitate clumped up to resemble cottage cheese curds or poorly mixed instant mashed potatoes, the colour is somewhere between Calpis and Yakult, and it smells like vinegar. But it’s hard not to think about food after pretty much skipping (to a uni student) the most important meal of the day, especially when I can’t really cook anything except for stew made from food stolen from the canteen…

Today I noticed that it could turn into some major issue, when I saw some free food on a table. My mind couldn’t think anything other than “FOOD, FOOD, SUGAR, FEED ME!!” until I stopped on what felt like a sugar high. And then I crashed and wanted more food. Maybe it’s time to a) learn how to make better food and b) schedule it at the right time, so I don’t go crazy.

(And because it relates to not knowing how to do stuff including making food, here’s Cake to Bake too…)

Random Eurovision Sighting: Chem Lecture Version

I think the Eurovision world is gradually seeping into my life and trying to get me to attend a real final one day…especially after the fact that MY ORGANIC CHEMISTRY PROFESSOR LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE CHRISTER BJÖRKMAN.

Yes, I mean the one that placed 2nd last in Malmö (even though the song wasn’t even that bad), and the one that’s the head of the Swedish delegation.

So I get that my prof’s from Germany, not Sweden, but I’m going to have such a hard time to not imagine him singing. And even if I don’t imagine him singing, I’ll end up with ESC contest reruns playing my head….

Edit: He also looks a bit like Ott Lepland too.