Being An Outsider

“Feeling like an outsider is part of my nature, and it’s what makes me who I am, so I think I’ll find a way to make myself feel like an outsider no matter what situation I’m in.”

Actress and singer Zooey Deschanel, quoted in the Nov 24 2014 issue of Time magazine, when asked if she still felt like outsider in Hollywood.

“And being a teenager in this small village wasn’t the funnest thing on earth, so over the years I’ve tried to fit in and I’ve changed myself in every way you can imagine. I just wanted to be part of the game and then I realized, well–I create the game.”

Singer Conchita Wurst interviewed on The Graham Norton Show after her victory at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest in May.

Lots of makeup today

Busy day here. Got up, made breakfast, showered. Shot some photos of myself for a project, which included several wardrobe changes. I put on black eye liner on my lower lids for some of the photos.

Prepped to shoot scenes of Haruka Matsumoto, the winner of Jogovision 2011. Usually if I do makeup for a female character, it’s just liner and lipstick, but to “flatten” my face to make me look more Japanese (I’m actually half-Japanese but don’t really look it), I had to line my lids in white eye liner and cover most of my face in powder, so had to take off the black eye liner first. Filmed Haruka’s scenes and had lunch.

Got ready for the next shoot, using a new character. I decided to try covering my eyebrows (the old glue stick trick) just to look a little different. Man, I barely recognized the eyebrow-less guy staring back at me in the mirror. Had to remove Haruka’s makeup and put on foundation and powder and nail polish and so on. Filmed all those scenes. Then filmed another set of scenes with my friend Gary playing a small role.

Finally jumped in the shower when I was done. It took a while but the hot water finally melted the glue off my eyebrows. My face, having been made up and washed so many times today, felt raw, like I had a sunburn. I slathered on a thick coat of skin moisturizer on my face and an equally thick coat of lip balm on my lips. Had dinner with Gary and another friend, Garren. Came home. Gotta clean up the mess from all the shoots today, then will hit the sack. Good productive day, but exhausting.


Hard to believe this is the same person, eh?  Left:  me with eyebrows covered.  Right:  Haruka Matsumoto.

“Readers haven’t lost interest in paper and ink.”

Readers haven’t lost interest in paper and ink. Instead, they’ve been pushed away by newspapers that take every opportunity to drive them online and continue to downgrade their formats and paper quality.

From an article in Monocle (issue 78, volume 08, November 2014) by editor in chief Tyler Brûlé, in which he writes a manifesto of sorts on how to improve printed media, which is far from dead.

Eurovision Song Contest 1991

Here are my choices for best songs at the 1991 Eurovision Song Contest. Unlike many of the contests I’m now reviewing, I had actually seen this contest online a few years ago and was already familiar with several of the songs.

My Rank Country Title, Artist Eurovision Final Ranking
1 France “C’est le dernier qui a parlé qui a raison”, Amina 2
2 Italy “Comme è ddoce ‘o mare”, Peppino di Capri 7
3 Greece “I Anixi”, Sophia Vossou 13
4 Israel “Kan”, Duo Datz 3
5 Malta “Could It Be”, Georgina & Paul Giordimaina 6
6 Sweden “Fångad av en stormvind”, Carola 1
7 Finland “Hullu yö”, Kaija Kärkinen 20
8 Yugoslavia “Brazil”, Baby Doll 21
9 Turkey “İki Dakika”, İzel Çeliköz, Reyhan Karaca, and Can Uğurluer 12
10 Norway “Mrs. Thompson”, Just 4 Fun 17

While Greece did award 12 points to Cyprus, Cyprus awarded 12 points to Spain (but gave Greece 10). Did Greece do so poorly in the contest due to that horrendous sax solo? The saxophonist really blew it, but that’s not the fault of either the songwriter or the singer (who gave a very powerful performance), and Greece should’ve at least placed in the top ten. Choosing between France and Italy for my top position was tough–I really enjoyed both songs, but ultimately gave it to France because it was a little different than what one typically hears at Eurovision.

Here’s the video version of my choices for 1991!

Eurovision Song Contest 1990

Here are my choices for best songs at the 1990 Eurovision Song Contest. I’d heard the Italian entry before but not the other songs.

My Rank Country Title, Artist Eurovision Final Ranking
1 France “White and Black Blues”, Joëlle Ursull 2
2 Turkey “Gözlerinin Hapsindeyim”, Kayahan feat. Demet Sağıroğlu 17
3 Norway “Brandenburger Tor”, Ketil Stokkan 21 (tie)
4 Netherlands “Ik wil alles met je delen”, Maywood 15
5 Denmark “Hallo Hallo”, Lonnie Devantier 8
6 Belgium “Macédomienne”, Philippe Lafontaine 12
7 Cyprus “Milas Poli”, Haris Anastasiou 14
8 Spain “Bandido”, Azúcar Moreno 5
9 Portugal “Há sempre alguém”, Nucha 20
10 Yugoslavia “Hajde da ludujemo”, Tajči 7

Cyprus and Greece did not give each other 12 points. Cyprus gave 12 to the winning entry, and Greece gave 12 to Switzerland.

This was also one of the rare occasions when the winning song at Eurovision did not make my top 10 (other years include 1984 and 1987). It’s not that I didn’t like “Insieme: 1992″ (performed by Toto Cutugno), it just didn’t grab me in any significant way.

Eurovision Song Contest 1975

Here are my choices for best songs at the 1975 Eurovision Song Contest.  I’d heard the Dutch entry before but not the other songs.

My Rank Country Title, Artist Eurovision Final Ranking
1 Turkey “Seninle Bir Dakika”, Semiha Yankı 19
2 Germany “Ein Lied kann eine Brücke sein”, Joy Fleming 17
3 Italy “Era”, Wess and Dori Ghezzi 3
4 Finland “Old Man Fiddle”, Pihasoittajat 7
5 Monaco “Une chanson c’est une lettre”, Sophie 14
6 Netherlands “Ding-a-dong”, Teach-In 1
7 United Kingdom “Let Me Be The One”, The Shadows 2
8 Norway “Touch My Life (With Summer)”, Ellen Nikolaysen 18
9 Switzerland “Mikado”, Simone Drexel 6
10 Luxembourg “Toi”, Geraldine 5

Turkey made its debut in 1975 but finished in last place! Ironically, I thought Turkey had the best song by far that year. I also thought the German entry was outstanding, but it finished in 17th place out of 19 entries. What was with the judges that year?

The scoreboard was particularly smart looking–minimal yet striking, and easy to read.  It looked like something you’d see in a really cool airport.

Eurovision Song Contest 1979

Here are my choices for best songs at the 1979 Eurovision Song Contest; this was the third contest I actually saw live on television when my family lived in England.

My Rank Country Title, Artist Eurovision Final Ranking
1 France “Je suis l’enfant soleil”, Anne-Marie David 3
2 Spain “Su canción”, Betty Missiego 2
3 Israel “Hallelujah”, Gali Atari and Milk and Honey 1
4 Germany “Dschinghis Khan”, Dschinghis Khan 4
5 Greece “Sokrati”, Elpida 8
6 Finland “Katson sineen taivaan”, Katri Helena 14
7 Austria “Heute in Jerusalem”, Christina Simon 18
8 Netherlands “Colorado”, Xandra 12
9 Sweden “Satellit”, Ted Gärdestad 17
10 Luxembourg “J’ai déjà vu ça dans tes yeux”, Jeane Manson 13

It’s interesting what the passing of 35 years does to one’s opinion and taste in music. In 1979, my favorite was probably the Boney M.-esque German entry, while I really detested the Israeli entry because it sounded too “goody-goody”, like something from a sappy variety show or revue. Today I appreciate “Hallelujah” much more and placed it third in my list.

In one of the most suspenseful Eurovision votings, Spain was leading by a single point over Israel, with only the Spanish jury left to cast its votes.  Countries may not cast votes for themselves, and Spain awarded Israel 10 points and thus the victory.  My understanding is that juries vote “blind”, meaning they cannot see the scoreboard and fix the votes to their advantage.  But there is some debate as to how true this is.  In 1970’s contest, with Ireland already having enough points to be the winner, when the Irish jury called in to cast its votes, the spokesperson said, “Hello Amsterdam, this is a very cheerful Dublin calling.”  It seemed the Irish jury knew Ireland had won.  Rumor has it in 1979, Spain didn’t want to be saddled with the cost of staging Eurovision in 1980, so it awarded enough votes to Israel to give it the victory.  But surely if Spain wasn’t interested in hosting, they could’ve just sent a crappy song or withdrawn from the contest entirely.

My guess is: juries do indeed vote blind, but once the votes are cast, the numbers go to some party (perhaps the “scrutineer”) who ensures the votes do not change once the tallying beginsthus, the juries probably do watch the tallying. It’s just coincidence that Spain performed (and thus voted) last; in a different order, the tallying might not have been so suspenseful. The rumor that Spain didn’t want to host the next consest was probably just that: a rumor.


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