Master index

IMG_0159
From 2015.

This is the master index to all posts on this blog. It will be updated at the end of each month. It is in reverse chronological order — newest posts first.

I also want to take this opportunity to mention that with each of the continuing “Let’s…” series, links to all previous entries in the series in question can be found at the end of each entry.

I made my first post for this blog on September 8th 2018, which I later realized was the 52nd anniversary of the premiere of the original STAR TREK. And lucky seven: 5 plus 2.

Statistics so far: 18 entries in 20 categories, a total of 6,418 words, not including this master index.

Here are all posts on a single page.

Master index

Chopin & Leisure Suit Larry — A whimsy: sheet music of a Chopin piece as it appears in a classic adventure game.

My interest in music — A wish or a future plan.

Transposing — An amusing consequence of doing so much music recently.

Let’s listen to Bob Dylan in Iceland: 1959 — Starting a chronological listen of all his released music, with Spotify playlists per year.

Let’s read THE GRAMOPHONE in Iceland: No. 3 — August 1923 — Some amusing quotes, and one less amusing one, from this issue, plus early music on the harpsichord.

Let’s watch THE RAY BRADBURY THEATER in Iceland: 1.01: “Marionettes, Inc.” — First entry in this series, which I am particularly happy with. A lot of work went into this, with plenty of screen captures. Mister Bradbury and this series deserve it.

The great auk and Fire Island — More about the great auk, with photos from a guest photographer.

The Settlement Exhibition, Reykjavík — A visit there, and a bit about the extinct flightless bird, the great auk.

1st day of school — My first day at the university, with photos.

“…a long, long time.” — Remembering a storyline in the science fiction series BABYLON 5.

Pitch shifting, rhythms, & a figure — What I was doing that day related to music, including a bit about my personal catalogue of rhythms, a notebook bought in Paris, and then also a little about our game SERENA.

Let’s read THE GRAMOPHONE in Iceland: No. 2 — June 1923 — Continuing the series, with more musical picks and a little about the harpsichord.

Sunset — A beautiful dusk.

Dream — An unsettling dream from the night before.

Bradbury country — Of Ray Bradbury, childhood, art, and Iceland.

Let’s read THE GRAMOPHONE in Iceland: No. 1 — April 1923 — First post in this series, with musical selections and a little random music theory.

What do you do? — A moment of reflection and a thought on creativity.

Welcome — Opening and introductory post with general thoughts about Iceland and life.

Advertisements

The Settlement Exhibition, Reykjavík

Version 2
Landnámssýningin (“The Settlement Exhibition”) in downtown Reykjavík, late August 2018. The flightless bird pictured at bottom right is the great auk. The last known members of this species died in June 1844 on the island of Eldey (“Fire Island”). Cause of death? Strangulation. By Icelandic sailors.

SEPTEMBER 16th 2018 — As part of the course Inngangur að sögu Íslands (“Introduction to the History of Iceland”) by Markús Þ. Þórhallsson, we visited The Settlement Exhibition on the Friday of the first week of classes.

The building was constructed around the remains of a viking longhouse excavated in central Reykjavík in 2001.

Version 2
The actual longhouse. It was inhabited from about 930 to 1000, so from very close to the beginning of larger-scale settlement of Iceland. But apparently vikings were not the first to try to establish a foothold in Iceland. It seems Gaelic monks got here first — or if not first, at least before. But if I recall correctly something heard during a lecture, history does not tell us what became of them. They just kind of disappeared off the pages of history once the vikings arrived, though it is not difficult to at least theorize what happened.
Version 2
Bilingual signs. Iceland is highly bilingual with English. As more than one Icelander has pointed out to us, it can be difficult to get Icelanders to speak just Icelandic to you, since they can be eager to practice their often already considerable English skills. But it dismays me whenever I hear someone from another country fortunate enough to live here express lack of interest in learning any Icelandic. To me that is disrespectful and closed-minded.
Version 2
Ancient stone tools. Stone is also a widely used construction material in Iceland, often employed to impressive effect. The reason is logical: Iceland has little in the way of trees. Once there were more forested areas, but those disappeared when the wood was used up for various purposes. But even then, most likely the wooded areas comprised very low-growing birches. Hence a well-known joke here: What do you do if you get lost in an Icelandic forest? Stand up. No rotten tomatoes, please, we heard it from Icelanders themselves!
Version 2
A panoramic display running around the wall, showing the view from this place as it existed in the old days, with animated sections showing some typical activities of the times. No really old thatched cottages survive for the obvious reason that they are naturally biodegradable.
Version 2
An interactive table display of the longhouse, with popup menus opened, scrolled through, and closed by hand movements above the surface of the table.

1st day of school

2
Veröld (“World”) on the University of Iceland campus. This building — “hús Vigdísar” (“house of Vigdís”) — was founded in honor of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir (“Vigdís, Finnbogi’s daughter”), the first democratically directly elected female president in the world. She was president of Iceland from 1980 to 1996. Whereas my own country of birth, Finland, was the first, in 1906, to give women full political rights, i.e. the right to vote as well as run for office. But Finland got its first female president, Tarja Halonen, only in the year 2000. She left office in 2012.

SEPTEMBER 15th 2018 — My studies in Icelandic as a Second Language at the University of Iceland started with an orientation week in the penultimate week of August 2018. The first day was beautiful and sunny, warm but not too warm.

1 (11)
Orientation event “The Keys to Success at the University of Iceland”.

I was especially impressed by the warmth radiated by the head of the program, Professor Jón Karl Helgason (“Jón Karl, Helgi’s son”). He spoke softly and with a glint of humor, starting his introductory talk with a photo of his newborn son. He told us this was going to be our competition for the coming year — he expects us to match or exceed the progress of the young one.

This warmth is something I have rarely felt in the presence of Finnish teachers, but in Iceland it is not uncommon. Many Icelanders know how to bring warmth to a whole room, as Jón Karl did. It made the place feel welcoming and supremely safe. Whereas in Finland, in my experience, it is more common for rooms to have a constant low-level tension. It makes a huge difference.

But I don’t mean to put down Finns, who can have fine qualities of their own. And I have been fortunate enough to have studied under several exceptional ones.

3
The menu at the student canteen Háma (“Gobble”) on my first day.

During a break I found my way to the canteen, where I ate healthily: vegetable balls in curry pineapple sauce with pasta and salad, with a vitamin drink.

4
First meal at my new “home away from home”.

Other orientation week activities included a guided tour of the campus, hotdogs and soda in the open air, and of course a student party at the on-campus Stúdentakjallarinn (“The Student Cellar”) — with free bjór (beer).

As we were told during a later visit to the Settlement Museum, beer has long been important in Iceland. In the old days, no feast would have been possible without it, and feasts were very important community-strengthening events.

5
Landsbókasafn Íslands — Háskólabókasafn (“National Library of Iceland — University Library”) is the largest library in Iceland, with over a million items, including valuable manuscripts. So valuable that the library is surrounded by an actual moat. The building took 16 years to finish and opened in 1994.

I headed home in the evening to my apartment in Kópavogur (“Seal Pup Bay”), feeling it had been a good start.

6
Aðalbygging (“Main Building”) at night. University of Iceland, late August 2018.

I would soon be moving much closer to the university, however. But that’s a different story.

1 (12)
A cool jazz trio jammed at Stúdentakjallarinn at the close of the first orientation day.

“…a long, long time.”

Garibaldi drinks
BABYLON 5: “Phoenix Rising” (1998).

SEPTEMBER 14th 2018 — Our minds work in mysterious ways. Why are we sometimes suddenly reminded of something long in the past, with no obvious trigger for that particular memory? Things just find their own time to happen.

Today for some reason I was reminded of Garibaldi’s alcoholism storyline in BABYLON 5. The actor who portrayed him, Jerry Doyle, passed away in 2016 at the age of 60.

Along with those of G’Kar (the wonderful Andreas Katsulas) and Londo (the equally wonderful Peter Jurasik), his was one of my favorite storylines in this series that for many these days seems to have fallen between the cracks between the latter-day STAR TREKs and Ron Moore’s reimagined BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, which went darker than any popular TV SF series ever.

I just think there was particularly much truthfulness and emotional resonance to Garibaldi’s story, including the story thread of his struggles with alcohol. It was introduced in the first-season episode “Survivors” — still one of the early episodes I remember liking best — and came to play a bigger part later on.

I let my complete VHS collection go many years ago and haven’t repurchased the series since, as I rewatched all of it so many times in my earlier years that I still remember most of it nearly photographically.

From “Survivors”, for example, Garibaldi’s sad, regretful, softly spoken lines about how, long in the past, after a tragic event he crawled inside a bottle and didn’t come out for a long time.

I guess characters with regrets, and the numerous ways they cope or fail to cope with them, will be around, and relatable, as long as we human beings continue to fail so spectacularly and so often at being kind to one another.

Googling some of this today, I also noticed something interesting. In a much later episode, he sings “SHOW ME THE WAY TO GO HOME”, which became one of my favorite songs long after BABYLON 5 — so I didn’t remember it had featured on the show. (More of the interesting workings of our minds.)

Specifically, I came to feel very fondly about this song after a friend posted a few years ago that scene from JAWS with the main characters singing it, badly (that’s why it’s so good), in the little boat at night. I’ve since gone back to watch it again a few times.

One of those rare songs that can bring you up when you really need it.

What do you do?

1 (3)
Tjörnin (“The Pond”), a lake in central Reykjavík by the University of Iceland campus, Sept. 2018.

SEPTEMBER 8th 2018 — What do you do when life closes doors on you?

When it is no longer possible to express to someone what in your heart you wish to express? When you can no longer give what you would with your heart wish to give?

If you are creatively oriented, you may try to pour the feeling and warmth into your work. Beauty and love and sincere feeling are things this world can never have too much of.

Maybe someone who really needs it will find it and make it through another day or dark, dark night.

Art can be the greatest leap of faith of all, taken blind and deaf, with no reasonable hope of an echo back. A message in a bottle, hopefully carrying meaning or unexpected help.

Welcome

1 (2)
Faxaflói (Faxa Bay), with waters of the Atlantic, northwest Reykjavík, Aug. 2018.

SEPTEMBER 8th 2018 — I came to Iceland to escape from a life I had outgrown and to run towards beauty and meaning.

My first visit to Iceland in 2016, for six very special weeks, left an indelible mark on me. Iceland and Icelanders captured my heart.

I started learning from them what was missing from my life.

I learned that the most beautiful things in life are human warmth and family and friendship and caring. Icelanders have these values in their hearts. They have to, living in one of the harsher climates on this earth.

I grew to love that climate too. The wind and the rain, and the occasional moments of sunlight and rainbows, have a way of cleansing your soul of unnecessary perplexities that other countries foster.

And I learned that more than anything else I want in this life to share my life with a special someone and to start a family with them. I am alone, understand, but this is my dream. There can be nothing more beautiful in this life than giving a child a good, safe childhood and start in life.

And it was driven for good into my soul, even more than before, that art and creativity in all their forms are things I need and want to have in my life as much as possible.

So I came to Iceland and started formally studying Icelandic so I could live in the most special place on earth — a land of youth and beauty and a land where childhood is still possible, Bradbury country and my own remembered childhood country (though that was elsewhere and the feeling no longer exists there, but does here), where the magic has not been driven away — and I came to create music and stories and poetry, some of them in Icelandic.

I hope to one day find what I am looking for. I followed my heart here and even though as I write this I have experienced a terrible personal blow, I have to try to keep going. In this blog I will talk about all the things I am doing and pursuing, especially creatively.

I wanted to put my dreams into words, so the rough winds of the moment wouldn’t sweep them away into eternity. And perhaps someone will read them one day.

Is there enough magic out there in the moonlight, a character in FIELD OF DREAMS asks, to make that dream come true?