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My Top 5 Eurovision 2018 Entries

One of my friends asked me some weeks ago if I would write anything about Eurovision again this year. Honestly, I was not so sure back then because it seemed that I did not have many songs that I really like from this year’s competition. Of course, that might also be due to the fact that I did not really follow it as intense as the previous years. But still, Eurovision songs can be a good alternative to listen to if you’re bored with all the mainstream songs. So… after some contemplations (not really 😛 ), I proudly present to you my top 5 songs for Eurovision 2018! Yeyyy (/*’-‘)/**\(‘-‘*\)

1. Latvia

Latvia was one of the countries that released their entries pretty early. And among those countries, this song was the only one that immediately captured my attention. Love at the first hearing, if you may. I did not know why. Perhaps its familiarity with the more mainstream pop songs? Or perhaps because it’s such a theatrical song? Or perhaps because it spoke about the broken heart? I don’t know. But the fact remains that this song was the only Eurovision 2018 song I liked until I re-listened to some other Eurovision songs this year.

2. Lithuania

I didn’t actually know when exactly this song was released, but I stumbled upon this song when I listened to Eurovision 2018 playlist on Spotify. And like the first song, I immediately loved it ❤ I think this is such a simple yet sweet song.

3. Ireland

I just came across this song when my friends and I gathered and watched this year’s entries. I know it might sound like a repetition but I could not find a better word for this song except sweet. And I like the choreography, as well, how they moved in harmony. I hope they would perform as beautiful on stage.

4. Montenegro

Given the fast number of non-English entries this year, I should have probably added more than this song to this list. But so far, this is the best non-English entries I’ve seen. Year by year, their entries had almost always captured my attention. This song reminded me a bit of their 2015 entry, with strong strings part (and I can never say no to anything involving the violin ^^’ ) so that probably explained why I liked this song.

5. Belgium

I always thought that Belgium’s entry has always been the most… unique. When I first listened to this song, I only listened to the chorus part and I admitted that I did not really like it. But then I listened again to the whole song and it made the whole song way more dramatic than what I was expected.

Of course, anything can happen and what we saw as beautiful in the video or Spotify might not be executed as great on stage. But based on all the songs I have listened so far, these 5 are my favourites. As usual, I have no expectation for them winning (honestly!) because it varies A LOT between entries and sometimes I wondered if we really make a fair comparison in this contest. Probably not. But anyway.

What about you? Do you follow Eurovision? What’re your favourites? Tell us in the comments! 🙂

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Self-defence training for girls

I am not much of a sporty person, honestly. All of my life, I have been trying to avoid dropping a single sweat (read: exercising). However, for the past few weeks, this has changed. I have started with the swimming lessons again, AND I joined the ground training from the ice skating club.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with ground training: it’s basically the same condition, strength, and flexibility training (lots of running, push up, etc.). But sometimes it was incorporating elements of ice skating, i.e. jumps. To get an idea of how the ground training looks like, you can watch this video. It differs for every session, but needless to say that I was about to die the first time I joined and almost fainted the second time I was there.

Now, as if that experience was not enough, I tried another physical activity yet again last week: self-defence training.

I was never a fan of the fighting sport, really. Or martial arts, for that matter. While some of my friends joined such extracurricular when we went to school, I went with scouting. So, it came to me as a surprise that I was ACTUALLY interested when I saw this ad on Facebook about self-defence training for girls. I thought this might be a good skill to learn, honestly, but I could not stand having extensive training for weeks, or years. And this one was only a one-time training, although they do offer regular training as well. So then I signed up.

It was a 3-hour session and there were around 50 girls who participated. Actually, I was a bit worried in the beginning. I mean, I could not even stand 45 minutes ground training, how would I survive 3 hours defence training???

But it turned out better than expected actually. There were 4 techniques that we learned for this basic course:

  1. Hitting with the palm
  2. Hitting with the elbow
  3. Kicking
  4. Getting out if you are pinned to the ground

Of course in this class, you learned more about building your techniques, and not as much using extensive power from the beginning to the end. There were certainly times when we were asked to hit or kick with all our might, repeatedly, especially when we were sparring with the instructors. But for me, it was manageable. And the instructors were really helpful, motivating, and certainly knew what they were doing. So I would really recommend this training. (And I am not being paid to say this!)

What about you? Have you ever attended similar training? Leave a comment! 🙂

From the session yesterday. Taken from Självförsvar För Tjejer Facebook page. Can you spot me? 😛

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Replacing my laptop with iPad

So, my laptop has been broken for some time. Not a bad broken… it’s just that I couldn’t connect to my Wi-Fi at home. You might think that it’s the problem with the Wi-Fi, but the thing is… all my other devices could connect to the Wi-Fi at home. So I suspected that there must be something wrong with my laptop. I have tried some troubleshooting methods but none work. I should probably have contacted my landlord and asked him to plug and unplug the router but it seemed like a lot of trouble ^^’ So yah… I didn’t do that.

It is not a really big deal, actually. Since I also have my working laptop with me every weekend. But you know, it is not very comfortable to use your working device for private use. No, I said I should get a replacement. My laptop was pretty old, anyway, 4 years, I think. But of course it was still in a pretty good condition (or so I thought), except for the Wi-Fi. It is strange to think that how I am so much dependent on the internet availability. But the thing is, I am going to make some trips in the upcoming month, and being the person as I am, I cannot stand not planning. And I could only do that via the laptop. I find it not very comfortable searching and taking notes at the same time using my mobile phone. And also, for the past few weeks, I have been trying to start blogging again, and it certainly is not really comfortable to edit your post from the mobile phone.

So… here we embark on the quest to look for a new laptop.

First thing first, I wanted to have an apple product. I know it sounds silly, but being surrounded by some apple fanboys had finally gotten under my skin, apparently. But, of course, apple laptop (i.e. the MacBook) is not cheap. And what would I use that for? I am not gonna work on that since I have my working laptop now. And with the same amount of money I could get a high-end Windows laptop. But I felt a bit traumatic with Windows at the moment, so that options did not seem to be very appealing to me.

What then?

Then I had this crazy idea to buy and iPad and the keyboard. So that I could keep on doing what I was mentioning above. Surprisingly, this idea was accepted by some of my friends, as well. Although honestly, I had never thought of getting an iPad for myself before now. I mean, what’s the point? I have my phone and laptop to do all the things I want. But when my laptop was broken, there are some tasks that my phone couldn’t keep up with. And of course I only got this idea after Apple released the new (6th generation) iPad, which was surprisingly way cheaper than its predecessor.

So yeah, that’s finally what I got. And I’m writing this post with the new device 🙂

How is it going so far?

I must say that for now I couldn’t get my hands off of it. Haha ^^’ #silly I pretty much like it. Of course the keyboard was much smaller than the usual laptop, but not uncomfortable for me (I have small hands, so probably that’s why?) Physically, it feels almost like using this small 10-inch laptop. But with touch screen. And more varied apps 😀

Of course I cannot say much since I only got this for less than 24 hours. And there are some apps I have been using in my phone that I couldn’t yet find in iPad. But I am trying to remind myself that I got this as a replacement of my laptop, so as not to install too many unnecessary apps 😀 I think for now it’s doing its job properly and serve its purposes right. So… I will probably keep updating if there’s any new development in my relationship with the iPad 😛

Until then!

The cherryblossoms in Stockholm have bloomed

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Watching Sam Smith’s Concert in Stockholm

One of the perks of living in Stockholm is that you have an abundance of entertainment choice. And by entertainment choice here I meant concerts. You see, people (artists) come and go to Stockholm and gave a performance here and I had to exercise a lot of self-constraint not to spend my monthly salary for the tickets. But some artists I would be more than willing to spend my money on their performances, and one of them is Sam Smith.

It was funny to think of how I got to know his works. You see, I followed this group on YouTube who often made classical covers from the popular songs. And one day, they posted the cover version for Sam Smith’s ‘I’m Not the Only One’. It was good, but somehow it made me curious to find out about the original song. It was almost a year since the original song was released, and I had to admit that I had not heard about him up until that point #shame (facepalm)

So I googled his song and… BAM! I immediately fell in love. I think it was the rare occasion when I actually like the original artist’s version better than the cover. (You know, being a hard-core classical musician (not really ^^’) for me usually meant anything with the classical music format, i.e. strings and piano ensemble, is usually a winning choice).

But not that time.

Not that time.

So then you could also imagine how excited I was to find out that he was going to perform in Gröna Lund (the amusement park in Stockholm). Of course, I immediately bought the ticket, which back then was in the form of a season ticket, with the thought that I could watch other artists’ performances as well throughout the season. Sadly, some days before the actual concert date he had to cancel it, due to some health problems. My thought back then was, ’Oh no…! He’s never going to go to Stockholm, ever!’ 😥 The more troublesome thought was, what if his health problems were so severe that he would never be able to sing again? 😥 It was a scary prospect that I am sure the artist himself had thought.

Of course, I wrong on both account: 1) he continued singing and 2) he eventually came to Stockholm!!!!!

I arrived at the venue approximately 1 hour before the concert started. If you counted until the time he actually performed on stage it was 2.5 hours. (Don’t ask me why I came so early. Out of habit, perhaps 😛 ). But of course, it was worth the wait.

He opened the concert with ‘Burning’. The moment I saw him sitting on the stage, singing, and being projected on the black-and-white screen I was all 😮 😮 😮 I couldn’t believe my eyeeeesssss!!!! He was really there!!!!!!!!

It was super awesome. I think I could burst with happiness. He moved on and sang some of my favourites: ‘I’m Not the Only One’, ‘Omen’, ‘Writing’s On The Wall’, ‘Too Good At Goodbyes’, ‘Midnight Train’, and of course, ‘Palace’. The staging was awesome, the crews were awesome. I was glad he took some time to introduce all his band members. It is always good to give appreciation to fellow musicians. ❤

He sounded just like the recordings. It was amazing. Boy, this man can sing. (of course ^^’) and he was really interactive with the crowds. I don’t know how he did that. It seemed so natural. But probably that’s one of the traits you should have (or train) when you’re such an artist. And of course, the crowds were happy to follow his cue. It was such a wonderful atmosphere. ❤

I wish him luck for the rest of his world tour. I am happy that Stockholm is (once again) chosen as the opening city for such a wonderful artist’s tour (despite the fact that I arrived home late that night and suffered from sleepiness in the class and the office the day after) . 😀

But it was worth it.

It was definitely worth it.

 

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Sam Smith, Stockholm, 19 April 2018

 

 

 

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About poetry

It’s been so long since I read a poetry book, but I just borrowed this one from the library. It’s called Memories by Lang Leav. I’ve heard about her works for years, but never really read it until now. And that’s probably a good thing because had it been, say, 4-5 years ago, I would certainly still be drowned in the sea of sadness and misery.

I used to like to write a poem. Or in an occasion or two, a song. But I did not do it so much now. Why? You might wonder. I don’t know. It seemed like the moment I got the most inspiration was also the moment when my heart broke the most. And it’s strange because there’s a prose in the book I am currently reading, that tells me exactly the same thing:

As a little girl, she would drift in and out of libraries filled with dead poets and their musky scent. She held them in her hands and breathed them in – wanting so much to be part of their world.

It wasn’t long before Emily began speaking to her, then Sylvia and Katherine; their voices rang in unison, haunting and beautiful. They told her one day her poetry would be written on the ghost of trees and whispered on the lips of lovers.

But it would come at a price.

There isn’t a thing I would not gladly give, she thought, to join my idols on those dusty shelves. To be immortal.

As if reading her mind, the voices of the dead poets cried out in alarm and warned her about the greatest heartache of all – how every stroke of pen thereafter would open the same wound over and over again.

What is the cause of such great heartache? She asked. They heard the keen anticipation in her voice and were sorry for her.

The greatest heartache comes from loving another soul, they said, beyond reason, beyond doubt, with no hope of salvation.

It was on her sixteenth birthday that she first fell in love. With a boy who brought her red roses and white lies. When he broke her heart, she cried for days.

Then she met you, and you brought her dandelions each day, so she would never want for wishes. She looked deep into your eyes and saw the very best of herself reflected back.

And she loved you, beyond reason, beyond doubt, and with no hope of salvation.
When she felt your love slipping away from her, she knelt at the altar, before all the great poets- and she begged. She no longer cared for poetry or immortality, she only wanted you.

But all the dead poets could do was look on, helpless and resigned while everything she had ever wished for came true in the cruelest possible way.

She learned too late that poets are among the damned, cursed to commiserate over their loss, to reach with outstretched hands – hands that will never know the weight of what they seek.

~Dead Poets by Lang Leav

I was talking with one of my best friends about heartache and misery. It might sound strange to you, but there is certain kind of miserable feelings that we missed now that we’re more grown up. That kind of misery when you fell in love with the wrong person, made a bad decision, being hurt, hurt the one you love… You know, things that stemmed from having too much drama in your life. I said half-jokingly that we should probably create more drama if we’re longing for such feelings again. But we agreed that it’s probably better if we don’t. After all, life moves on and we’ll have more things to feel miserable for in the future.

I still envy the poets and people who could put their feelings and thoughts into a string of words and knit them into a literary work. I still wish I could do that.

 

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Love Locks Bridge Salzburg

 

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Finding my favourite sport/physical exercise

When somebody asked me what my favourite sport was, I used to answer, “Watching football. But only world cup.” A bit older, I would answer, “Running,” although the only time I ever run was when I had to get the grades for P.E. class in high school.
I did basically no physical activities whatsoever during my 4 years of university. Same thing when I started working.

But it all changed (kind of) when I moved to Sweden. Countless of times had I listened to the lectures on physical activities and its association with various health outcomes. Not to mention that people here, at least in Stockholm, exercised A LOT. Like, I once saw a guy running in the middle of WINTER night (with snow and everything). As a couch potato, it all made me very uneasy. It became worse because I was surrounded by health conscious friends who hit the gym every now and then.

Perhaps due also to social pressure, I finally gave in. I signed up for the gym.

Gym

Now being the nerd I was, I needed to know what kind of training they offered. I had decided since day one that I would be better off joining one of the group training classes rather than trying to figure out what machine to use for what. So in the end, I found out that they recommended us to do at least 1 cardio, 1 strength, and 1 flexibility class every week. They also gave the list on which classes trained what. I decided to try the cardio/aerobic class first, because it seemed more familiar to me. I booked a bodystep class.

It was a disaster.

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My Top 8 Guilty Pleasure Songs (Eurovision 2017 Edition)

After I shared my top 5 favourite Eurovision entries, it’s time to share my ultimate guilty pleasures list XD

These are the songs that might be quite unpopular to be liked, with eccentric/strange packaging, disastrous live performance but good radio version or vice versa, or other kinds of flaws… but I still find them enjoyable at some point in my life. So… here we go!

8. Slovenia

This song came to my attention only because I was searching with ‘my’ keyword in Eurovision 2017 Spotify playlist. I was looking for ‘My Friend’ (Croatian entry) and I didn’t delete the keyword and this song was played immediately afterwards (weird story, I know ^^’ ). This is another ballad which some people might find a bit boring, but it was not that bad, actually. Well, to be honest, the one in Spotify is better than the live performance ^^’

7. Estonia

I always have a high hope for Estonia since Elina Born & Stig Rästa‘s performance in 2015, but honestly, this one is no match for that. In spite of that, I keep listening to this song over and over again. I don’t know. I like it when they sing the ‘Aaaaaaaa…’ part in the refrain ^^’

6. Cyprus

🙄 was my immediate reaction when I first listened to this song. It did not help when I watched the video clip either but somehow it helped when I finally saw the live performance: I think Hovig hit it off. I appreciate the choreography and although it was often compared to Belgian 2015’s entry, in terms of packaging, I think this entry has a better song (more melodious, probably, I don’t know). It’s still not a song that I like head-over-heels but I’ll say not bad for now (what a huge change of mood ^^’ ).

5. Ukraine

Again, another song I found accidentally through the Spotify playlist. In the sea of ballads, this song feels kind of refreshing. It certainly reminds me of The Rasmus, or Muse probably. I might not like the visual (live performance), but this is an okay song to listen to.

4. Greece

I love the singer and I wished she had sung in Greek. I was kind of disappointed when they chose this song instead of the other one. I disliked the video clip they released but the live performance was a little bit better, actually. I wish she would hit the high note, though. I think it will boost her performance, but let’s see!

3. Germany

I really feel guilty for actually liking this song because the beginning sounds like a copy and paste of Sia’s song. But otherwise, this is a catchy song – or at least easy to listen to. And thanks to the familiarity of the melody, I find myself sing along to this in no time (facepalm).

2. Moldova

I always like the song that makes me dance. And weird as it can be, it’s – always – hard – for – me – not – to – like – a – song – with – violin. So there it goes with this one. Catchy rhythm: check, killer dance moves: check, energetic team: check, dress transformation: yesssss! how did they do that?? XD In two words: sleek performance.

1. Montenegro

This entry is on top of my guilty pleasure list. And to make it worse, I have actually known (but did not want to admit) since I first listened to the song. As opposed to the entry from Moldova, I did not actually like the live performance (or the video clip, for that matter). But then again, I can never refuse the song that tempts me to dance. So yeah… this is my ultimate guilty pleasure (facepalm) XD

So here you are. My ultimate guilty pleasure list. I don’t know why I have so many guilty pleasure songs this year. What about you? Do you have a song that you like but don’t dare to admit? :p