Those 18 and a half lines of text never happened
Aides of congressmen have been caught whitewashing their employers' wikipedia entries.
The office of the most famous finnish copy&paster has engaged in similar activities.
None of the wielders of Big Eraserstm seemed to know that every action is logged, and easily revertable. Where the finnish entry seems to have settled on a truthful account of the events, there appears to be a constant buzz around the most controversially changed entries, leading to a temporary blocking of a large chunk of IP addresses.
31.1.2006 / 22:04 EET | permalink | | wikipedia, politics, stupidity
Nothing lasts forever
But you'd expect shoelaces to take a bit more punishment than is dealt out in mere two weeks. There must be some exquisitely sharp bits among the lace-runners in the shoe, as it's invariably the same shoe whose lace expires first.
Oh well, yet another virtual mouse for my sister's cats. They're much happier with tossing shoelaces around than tackling rodent-shaped toys. Hope they get more mileage out of this baby than I did.
31.1.2006 / 21:00 EET | permalink | | haircut
Yet another corruption dinner, this time in the lapland-themed restaurant Saga on Bulevardi.
Had sautéd reindeer (poronkäristys), which was quite a bit better than just OK. And the accompanying mashed potatoes were a reminder that the facsimile thereof that sodexho produces is indeed an abomination. Skipped real dessert, and had a few pieces of dark cranberry chocolate instead.
This was my first visit to the restaurant, and I don't think that it's worth all the bad press it has received due to cliche-ridden interior design. True, it has some odd elements, but them being closer to home than dime-a-dozen elements in, say, italian or russian (especially the latter seem to wallow in nostalgic details) restaurants probably just makes them stand out.
And luckily I was not the last man sitting, as Seppo notes from his traumatic cab ride back. Usually I don't mind talkative cabbies, but a topic like this is bound to bring out the worst in every passenger. Thankfully the drivers are not dependent on tips. This guy would have a hard time making ends meet.
31.1.2006 / 20:51 EET | permalink | | restaurant
Da Vinci Code meets Lalli, place your bets
The artist of the message-wise sub-optimal, but technically good recent copyright-propaganda album, Anssi Rauhala, has been prolific lately.
This week's suomen kuvalehti describes how a forthcoming comic album will tie together both global (Mary Magdalena, as expected) and local (Lalli and Henrik) histories of the church.
Sounds interesting, and the few frames of art seem good enough to maintain interest. The style is close to belgian classics from the seventies (Spirou, Natasha), which is definitely a merit in my book.
So it all depends on the execution of the story. If it manages to add something to the well-chewed legend it might be interesting indeed, but in the post-danbrownian era of biblical conspiracies everywhere a new point of view might be a bit too much to ask for.
Surprisingly enough the publishing company's site has no mention of the album at all. Suomen kuvalehti was a bit premature in pushing information about the last Tintin-album, as it took several weeks as opposed to just one for that one to materialize into the shops.
29.1.2006 / 22:55 EET | permalink | | comics
Indeed. Pink Floyd's long-awaited live-dvd is badly delayed.
While the original release date on thanksgiving was quietly passed by, the new one is surprisingly far in the calendar: extending the schedule to september sixth probably gives the record company enough time to mix and remix the dual disc release a few times over.
29.1.2006 / 22:41 EET | permalink | | music
Status Quo, part 2
And Tarja Halonen, the current president, shall continue for six more years.
In the end the margin between her and the challenger turned out to be unexpectedly wide. At 51.8 / 48.2 it's not close from any perspective. Not sure whether the old adage "the center never holds" hit home again, at least in the nine o' news it was stated that participation percentage in rural communities had been on the low side.
And Conan O'Brien will now have yet another thing to gloat about.
29.1.2006 / 22:22 EET | permalink | | politics
Second round's democratic duty completed.
With the difference between the candidates well below the margin of error (especially when considering the amount of people who "cannot say") it looks like a tight race.
And who knows, maybe Tarmo Ropponen's illustrious career as the chief political commentator on tv will finish in an election that is not a landslide, but sees lead changes throughout the evening as results from various regions stream in.
We'll see that in about ten hours or so.
29.1.2006 / 11:00 EET | permalink | | politics
Paging Dr. Moreimages
Despite a resolution to the contrary, this blog has pretty thoroughly remained an image-free zone for the most part of january.
Not that there's anything wrong with good old plain text, but an occasional photograph would definitely spice up the page.
In the absence of any local images, Worth1000 has hosted yet another good contest: among the dozens of anachronistic images are some true pearls, such as pairing Oliver Hardy with the naggingest wife of them all as well as the Beatles crossing Abbey Road on Segways. Of course, the usual warnings apply: the crop is of an uneven quality and there's quite a bit of repetition (there's only so many times the idea of a modern tank in the civil war seems fresh) among the authors.
28.1.2006 / 23:32 EET | permalink | | blog
24, season 4, one third down
The fourth season of 24 has been exceeding expectations for most of the time during the first eight hours of the storyline.
First of all, mtv3 is showing two episodes per week, which naturally increases the pace of the story. And the pace has not been slack lately, several major plot devices have already been seen and even closed.
The fictional CTU seems to be one of the most dysfunctional workplaces in the world. Indifference and enmity seem to be the order of the day, not to mention the frequently encountered moles. The personnel has seen a few changes since the last season - and most of them for the better. Especially Kim Bauer's absence does the show a lot of good, the believability of the world's most accident-prone girl was strected too thin during the first few seasons.
Jack Bauer keeps resorting to violent methods over and over again, and the scenes with torture seem well-placed after the reality show in Abu Ghraib (and probably in quite a few other undisclosed locations as well). Arabs are (again, like in the second season) the villains of the tale, but it's likely that the conspiracy will be uncovered in an onion-fashion, with other groups being revealed as the 9mm retirement options are liberally distributed.
28.1.2006 / 21:20 EET | permalink | | television
Disney bought Pixar
This deal was rumored for a couple of weeks, but still somewhat of a surprise when it went through.
After all, in ten-odd years Pixar had established a thorough chokehold on the animation-front. While the other players (such as Dreamworks with Shrek) were successful as well, their output, bot quality- and business-wise never achieved the same level of consistency.
Disney's own animation production has been in doldrums for a long while - recent releases such as Home on the Range didn't excite the punters nearly as much as classics like Lion King and Aladdin. So the deal was probably a last straw approach for Disney, especially when their own first CGI-feature slunk in with a none-too-promising score of 48 in metacritic.
28.1.2006 / 10:19 EET | permalink | | movies
Those long Dubrovnik nights
Major office party in Dubrovnik lounge. Good food, plentiful good company, a great movie and several sessions worth of accompaniment by a good band, what more could you ask for.
Escaped with minor damage only, as got hastily bored in the nachspiel in (once again) Bakers. Somehow that place's just not compatible with me.
28.1.2006 / 10:10 EET | permalink | | haircut
Veni, vidi, re-imaginati
Never doubt the power of a good parody to undermine the best-laid plans of mice and men. It took less than a day before the overly moralistic anti-piracy comic funded by the perpetually clueless copyright advocates had been skillfully remixed into a much more believable, yet smugly twisted spoof.
26.1.2006 / 22:40 EET | permalink | | comics, copyright
We need to talk about your TPS reports
Saw Mike Judge's Office Space on sale the other day. And refrained from buying despite having been hankering for a copy for a long time.
Because a Special Edition is out and about. Not that there's much difference inbetween this and the vanilla version, but the five deleted scenes are hopefully worth the extra effort and price.
It's been a while since the last fight against recalcitrant printer-machinery, but not so long that the ritualistic massacre of an evil fax machine wouldn't still be appreciated.
Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about about mission statements.
Oh yes, I so need to watch this movie again.
26.1.2006 / 20:35 EET | permalink | | movies
The last untranslated Tintin-album finally made it to a finnish edition, as the 24th album Tintin and Alph-Art was published this week.
The publication omission may seem curious, the albums have been steady sellers for decades. That is, until the last volume is picked up and browsed. It is very much an unfinished product, with most of the pages filled with pencil sketches and snippets of dialogue. Hergé worked on the book until his death in 1983, and it was posthumously published a couple of years later.
I bought the book in french a few years back, but have never got around to reading it (and it's by no means the only comic book waiting for me to pick up studying french again). The finnish version is an update from the original edition, and is supplemented by further material (such as an ongoing typewritten narrative on alternate pages - the original only had Hergé´s scribbled text) than what was originally available in 1986.
Pirate editions, with finished artwork, of the album exist, and I've even seen a finnish version thereof available on the web. It was located on a slow server, and the translation was suboptimal, hence I never bothered to browse beyond page four. But now's the time to curl up on the sofa and read the last pages of the uncrowned master of adventure comic.
26.1.2006 / 20:25 EET | permalink | | comics
Norman Spinrad's "He Walked Among Us" available in shareware
Norman Spinrad has been one of my favorite authors for a long while. He captured a place in the all time top 10 with his post-cyberpunk Russian Spring, and has remained there since. While his late output has been rather genre-hopping and not that highly thought of, I've been looking out for a complete set of his books (and short stories as well, since those tend to be even less restrained than the longer form products).
He got into a major fight with his publisher about his biggest book to date, He Walked Among Us, which is either a show business satire or straight science fiction, depending on the reader's perspective. The fight got so severe, that the book was published first in Germany, and languished for years without an english edition. An odd electronic release was followed by a print edition by eReads.com, and the small number of printed books was quickly consumed.
For quite a while the author himself has offered the book for download, unfortunately in the .rtf format. Expected payment is mere five dollars, and even that is doable via paypal.
I will download it, pay for it, convert it to pdf-format and look for a print-on-demand service in Helsinki. I know there used to be one such in Lasipalatsi, but haven't paid any attention to it lately. Why bother with a physical edition, I can hear a hundred souls querying silently? Well, it's close to 700 pages in length and I prefer my books as tangible objects and not something browsed on a laptop screen.
26.1.2006 / 20:11 EET | permalink | | books
Blini x 4
Yet another corruption dinner. This time enjoyed the blini-week's output in restaurant Lasipalatsi in the very center of downtown Helsinki.
Decided to go for the as many blini you can eat dish, with six toppings for maximal variety.
The blini were good, and the toppings plentiful - ranging from the classic roe and pickles/honey to mushrooms and reindeer. Despite their deceptively small size, the blini are quite filling. Managed almost four. Almost, in the sense that decided that some room must be left for the dessert.
Which was yet another strangely twisted variant of a classic, crème brûlée that had some crushed spruce sprouts in the mix. The basic taste was too strong, there was an occasional hint of something foresty in the yellow goo, but it was not pronounced at all.
The meal was definitely a good price at 23 euros, and the popularity is reflected in the almost consistently sold-out status of the evenings, and so the maître d' advised us to book a table in advance if we have a hankering for more. I'm sure I will, one of these days.
26.1.2006 / 19:38 EET | permalink | | restaurant
How to order wine
Waiterrant has a nice guide on how to order wine.
It's a decent guide, but there are definitely other rules and corollaries that apply to the ordeal.
n. When in doubt, delegate. But never, ever complain about the suboptimal choice the volunteer made. You had your chance and chickened out.
n+1. Don't be an ABC-bozo. It might be cool to resort to "anything but chardonnay/cabernet"-cliches, but it's not worth it. Unless you're desperate for strained laughter from tablemates.
n+2. Buying by the glass is OK. Unless the restaurant sells by the bottle. Don't try this in Italy.
n+3. Never spill red wine. And never, ever send the laundrybill to the restaurant if you do.
n+4. Anything that's successful in a testdrive by hesari will be sold out the same day. Unless it's available in industrial quantities.
n+5. No matter what Sideways says, Merlot is not a terrible choice, and Pinot Noir is not always divine.
24.1.2006 / 20:51 EET | permalink | | .misc
Long time, no meme. Rectified with this, picked up from Visa Kopu.
Four jobs I've had in my life
Four movies I can watch over and over
Four places I have lived
Four TV shows I love to watch
Four places I have been on vacation
Four of my favourite dishes
Four websites I visit daily
Four places I would rather be right now
Four bloggers I am tagging
Nah. Not gonna bother.
24.1.2006 / 20:35 EET | permalink | | haircut, meme
West Wing cancelled
Well, this was to be expected after Jed Bartlet's tenure ran out.
Really liked the first three seasons, wasn't too adverse to the fourth and fifth season where the plots started wavering, and went back to "really liked" with the sixth.
But the death one of the lead actors (John Spencer, whose character suffered a heart attack as well in the beginning of the sixth season, but recovered) was a blow that the show never recovered from. Too bad. I don't think the Geena Davis-fronted equivalent soon to premiere on finnish screens as well will be an adequate replacement.
24.1.2006 / 20:21 EET | permalink | | television
Short Bus rides to Detroit
Finally, one of the most reliable short yard gainers ever, Jerome Bettis, makes it to the superbowl. In Detroit, his hometown. And capping a season where he wasn't exactly the first, second or even third rushing choice for the Steelers.
But despite the less than lofty beginning of the season he has now scored a touchdown in all three playoff games. And pretty much cemented his eventual entry into the football Hall of Fame.
Steelers played an efficient game against the Broncos, haven't yet watched the Seahawks beating the Panthers, but according to reports, it wasn't boring to watch either. So, here's looking for an entertaining bowl on the fifth of february.
(Yeah, I ran Bettis in both this year's and the previous year's Yahoo! football league. Despite being both carried by his achievements and dismayed on his less than good days, there's just something right about a guy who, in his 14th professional season just keeps ploughing through defenses, unhampered by three inches of snow on the ground.)
24.1.2006 / 20:06 EET | permalink | | sports
As noted in the attached temperature gauge stolen from the pages of the finnish meteorological institute, the temperature was far from a constant thing today.
At its quickest, the temperature climbed from -22 to -8 in some three hours, which is plenty quick in my book.
Did stay above zero, which means that mr. Slush stayed away. Which is always a bonus. The rest of the week the weather's predicted to be less wintry, with temperature hovering around -5. Still decent, but not as great as the two bright days of arctic glory.
23.1.2006 / 20:44 EET | permalink | | weather
NFL conference finals on tv
Whoo! MTV3+ (the digital channel) shows not just one, but BOTH NFL conference finals today. Live. With the original commentary, and not the usually lame finnish offering.
Whoo indeed. Will watch the first game, and record the second to be consumed at leisure later.
Too bad I don't really like any of the remaining teams. With both Niners and Colts out of the picture, my only wish is to have as high-scoring and entertaining games as possible.
22.1.2006 / 19:19 EET | permalink | | sports, television
Visited the annual Helsinki travel fair. Only walked through the non-domestic hall, and that was quite on the large side by itself.
Bought no trips, most of the airlines were selling cheap-o flights whose last usable day is the mayday eve, and I was looking for something to use in may. Oh well, I'm sure they don't stray too far from the current prices (both DC and Edinburgh sounded very interesting as targets).
Grabbed a bunch of brochures, but apart from the lemur-visiting trips to Madagascar offered by quite a few local agents nothing really stood out.
22.1.2006 / 17:44 EET | permalink | | travel
Awright. It's been below -20 for several days now (and that's below zero for the folks scoring temperature on the fahrenheit scale).
And not only has it been really cold, but the weather's been quite amicable otherwise as well. Snowfall has turned Helsinki into a white city, the frozen sea now pumps no humidity in the air, and sun's been shining. A lot.
Mamma Gaia is supposed to turn up the heat today night, and tomorrow's expected temperature is a puny -1C. Right now it's -22 in Haaga, so it'll be an interesting bit of hot air that turns this arctic weather into such balm.
22.1.2006 / 9:45 EET | permalink | | weather
IQ-test (not really)
This online-test is supposedly mensa-originated (at least the domain name points in their general direction), but seems quite well-tied to christian anglosaxon culture as opposed to measuring abstract intelligence.
And yes, I don't believe the "get 19 and you're, like, a genius"-bit either.
21.1.2006 / 18:20 EET | permalink | | meme
For amusement purposes only.
19.1.2006 / 23:15 EET | permalink | | links, comics, sports, books
W. in GUE
Aviator, 3.5 stars
Watched Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, yet another in a long line of movies I planned to see in a proper environment, but didn't.
It's not a bad movie at all. Entertaining for the most part of its 2.5 hour duration, with good visuals, decent cast and a script that reserves its best punches to almost the very end.
Leonardo di Caprio is great as the tormented Howard Hughes. Though the depiction of Hughes' fear of disease is way too underlined, but that's the script's fault. At least according to the (probably a wee bit embellished tales of) James Ellroy, Hughes was quite mad towards the end of his life, but whether he retained his manic ways from earlier days I have no idea. And the really weird bits of his life (obsessive-compulsive disorder-dominated hermitage in Las Vegas) are not shown at all.
The female bits of the cast vary from decent (Kate Beckinsale) to overexposed (Cate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn) via underused (Gwen Stefani). Smaller male roles are well-cast as well, with Alan Alda as the outplayed dirty senator as the brightest spot. Willem Dafoe and the guy who played Mr. Data in Star Trek put in minor, but rememberable appearances.
Visually no holds are barred in the movie. The twenties/thirties Hollywood is recreated believably, and the eponymous aviation scenes are rendered with enough variety to prevent boredom from settling in.
But the movie never really engages the viewer. It's nothing more than a tale of a eccentric rich guy, without tying any bonds between the character and the audience. Hence the low score. It's been a while since I saw a movie that was as interruptible as this one.
19.1.2006 / 22:47 EET | permalink | | movies
Ooh, could the silence finally be breaking?
A fellow devotee of the long wait provided a link to a Rolling Stone story, which is pretty explicit in stating that Axl and the boys will publish Chinese Democracy this year. This is, of course, not the first time when there's been a strong date given to the release, but this is the first from the sole remaining gunner.
19.1.2006 / 22:11 EET | permalink | | music
My Web3.0 can beat up your Web2.0
Ran into a tag called "web3.0" somewhere on sunday. Or maybe I was just seeing things, and putting them together in highly unexpected and incorrect ways. It was indeed that kind of a morning.
I am still discovering features of Flickr. Not new features-old ones. You find some by clicking in empty white space. This is like reading the news by pouring ACME Invisible Ink Detector on all pieces of paper that cross your path until you find one that has words on it.
Yes, I'm a big fan of flickr as well, and I do like some of the snappy and useful next-gen sites. But slightly increased usability (while losing out important abilities like bookmarking application state) is hardly worth the hysteric hoopla that is approaching the Bubble2.0-companies.
(And yeah, had to google for the "Web3.0"-term, and it was in existence well before it broke the news threshold yesterday. So scratch that proposition of hallucinating on a sunday morning. Or that of thinking up a whole new and appropriatelyt ironic new term. Shame. On both counts.)
17.1.2006 / 23:40 EET | permalink | | web
Back to normal
The first wind of the winter blew from the north, and it had ice and rime on its breath.
It was dirty and sharp and it cut like a razor...
Neil Gaiman, Sandman #14
Where "normal" is equal to "cold" as is common in mid-january. "Cold" as in "I really missed my beanie walking home the one and half miles from work".
Not really connected to the weather report, but interesting reading nonetheless: Ilmastonmuutosblogi tackles the warming from a decidedly green perspective. Worthwhile reading even to a non-practicing climate-change sceptic like me.
17.1.2006 / 22:00 EET | permalink | | weather, links
Conan Halonen makes it to CNN
The odd endorsement from Conan O'Brien in the ongoing finnish presidential election made it to CNN today.
While I don't really think this is going to swing the vote one way or the other, the real media-massacre would ensue if the remaining candidates would be paired off in Uutisvuoto next saturday. But I guess the finnish electoral legislation means that such a battle of wits will not happen.
17.1.2006 / 00:38 EET | permalink | | politics
Tekijänoikeuskaappausten valvontakeskus is a site that lists the actions taken by unscrupulous companies, organizations and individuals to appropriate a copyright to something the entity has no right to.
17.1.2006 / 00:15 EET | permalink | | copyrights
You slow, old man
Nelonen has been lucky with its recent acquisitions. During this, and the '05 fall season they've managed to pick up no less than the following: desperate housewives, lost, Deadwood and carnivále (and the new battlestar galactica remake, though it's nowhere near as important commercially).
Big releases all. Launched with a lot of hype. Set off to an expectant audience.
To an audience that can flit away from the screens easier than ever before.
Why? Early access to the material, that's why. And I'm not referring to p2p-tv, but boxed sets of the series. Both Deadwood and the housewives are already out as localized releases, all five are trivially available as imports. As imports from R2, so no fiddling with region codes is needed. Of course the lack of finnish subtitles is going to deter some potential buyers, but that's a risk the importers are willing to take.
Where will this all lead?
And yeah, do check out the remake of Galactica. Despite the fact that they will not show the two-hour pilot/miniseries. Quality science fiction, which is way too rare these days.
16.1.2006 / 23:46 EET | permalink | | television
Very late in an eventful game veteran kicker Mike Vanderjagt missed an opportunity to tie the game at 21 with a 46 yarder. But it wasn't to be, as the kick swung wide right. Quite an inconvenient time to miss. To shoot for the understatement of the week-award.
So both Colts and their perennial nemesis, New England Patriots, are both gone from the playoffs.
Steelers smothering defense did the trick obviously, shutting down Indy offense for the most of the game. But it was an entertaining game nonetheless, with lost fumbles, interceptions and rulings overturned all in place.
Bah. Now that my favorites are gone, let's hope for a shootout in the superbowl as opposed to two tight defenses clashing (which might just happen if it's Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears that meet in Detroit).
15.1.2006 / 23:24 EET | permalink | | sports
And we're off to a second round
Looked worrisome when the preliminary votes were calculated (she held 49.6% of the total), but votes cast today changed the numbers for the better.
So, we'll see which way the country turns in two more weeks.
15.1.2006 / 21:38 EET | permalink | | politics
Cast my 1/4500000th of democratic expression. Painless as usual. Though the powers that be had changed the voting venue in Haaga.
And am definitely not going to spend the evening checking the results.
Except to ensure that we ARE getting a second round when no one candidate is able to score 50% of the populat vote.
15.1.2006 / 11:55 EET | permalink | | haircut, politics
Of a decidedly non-bloody variety, to misquote Molly Hatchet.
Amazing how little people change in one and a half decades.
15.1.2006 / 02:26 EET | permalink | | haircut
Worthy blogs and a tiny local cleanup operation
A few that seem interesting enough to warrant a second look.
Incidentally, the entry numbering in Lavonardo headquarters got screwed up, this creatively renumbered entry picks up the slack. Do not worry about the missing entries. They are nothing like the missing 18 minutes of Watergate tapes. Yes, I am thinking about plunging into the waters of a properly managed blog, database backend and all. Thinking, not doing, for the time being.
14.1.2006 / 14:09 EET | permalink | | blog
Gromit's picked up Bad Habits
Just experienced the very first (and hopefully the only) utter lock-up of the iBook. The Beachball of Doom happily kept spinning on screen, and application selection seemed not to work at all, and the offending program (firefox was active at the time of the jam-o-moment) could not be force-quit from the dock either.
No idea what kinds of post-mortem tools there exist for OS X, and how they could be used. And I don't really intend to find out, either.
13.1.2006 / 21:45 EET | permalink | | gadgets
Well, the regularly scheduled St. Jobs worship session is over for the time being. And idle speculation on what's going to be released can be shelved for the following few months.
The intel-CPU based iMacs look powerful indeed, and it seems that a dual-boot windows machine is out of the question at least until Windows Vista makes it to town, the new machines happen to use Intel's brand-new BIOS replacement, EFI (extensible firmware interface), for which there's no support from Redmond. Linux, on the other hand, probably slithers onto the machines quite easily. But, as the OS X is a full-blown UNIX, what would you use yet another UNIX variant for?
The new laptops pack a lot of power as well, but the name "MacBook Pro" just won't be catching on like the perennial favorites iBook and PowerBook. Bad marketese, definitely.
Software-wise there's nothing truly earthshattering. I will, like any good Tiger-owner, pick up the 10.4.4-update. iLife does not seem too exciting, iWork on the other hand might come in handy in those few occasions when a proper office program is needed. The new iTunes has been claimed to be spyware, and the claims have been defused almost immediately.
No new iPods were released, and the remote/FM-tuner does not work on my ancient 4G-machine. Too bad, the radio-bits in the updated on-board software looked nifty.
13.1.2006 / 21:30 EET | permalink | | gadgets
Your culture increases
Stumbled into the sale in the akateeminen today. Crowded, and not very enticing.
However, spotted a selection of Ian M. Banks' novels. And bought no less than three of them, one of which turned out NOT to be a culture novel (that is to say, a novel set in his culture-universe). But it's still published with an "M." in the author's name, so it's sci-fi and not proper literary fiction.
Been reading Shakespeare's Hamlet for ages. And I do mean ages, as in several months - an irresponsibly slow page rate. The story just simply does not agree with me. Neither the tiny font, nor the long soliloquys in ye olde english make the experience truly enjoyable. But I figured it's better to read and understand the motherlode before moving on to Rosencrantz & Guilderstern are Dead. And if all else fails, the web-equivalent of cliff's notes is just a single click away.
12.1.2006 / 23:11 EET | permalink | | books
Mai Thai, seemingly not worthy of all the accolades
(Yet another late entry.)
Had a dinner in Mai Thai on monday. The place's been praised every which way in the local media for the last foo years. I beg to differ, while the food was good, it was nothing special.
Appetizer was more than decent, and very promising of things yet to come - shrimp soup that was hot, extremely hot. And plentiful, these bowls are quite voluminous indeed.
Main course was a letdown. Mixed seafood seemed to consist mainly of bell pepper slices, as there were two chunks of squid as well as mussels and shrimp in proportions that normally would cause cries of anguish from the local wwf-residents. Spice-wise the main course was a distant second to the appetizer, even though they nominally had the same amount of hotness.
Dessert (icecream and coconut milk) was OK, as was the Singha beer on offer.
The place's quite popular, the six or so tables were packed the whole time, and the waiters were hard pressed trying to dissuade additional customers from barging in.
I've heard many good things about the place, so I'm willing to put this experience down to bad luck. And will try again, definitely. The menu's wide, the place's location is about as good as you can get. Just have to settle down and make an uncharacteristic table reservation or strike lucky on a random entry.
12.1.2006 / 23:02 EET | permalink | | restaurants
Shipping shirts at the speed of light
Nokia 770, persistently a no-show
Well, like the entry equal to the number of the beast, this baby was marked from the very beginning.
The nokia internet tablet, known to the hoi polloi as the 770, is still not generally available in Finland. Neither in shops nor in the Nokia's web store. According to unreliable reports, it is available in the states, but how widely - that is not really explained.
Why would I want one and why wouldn't I?
So... Will I get one?
Don't really know. While the screen is pretty indeed, and the connectivity great, I'm not really sure I need one. An opinion that's bound to change once the real killer applications roll in. But by that time the production capacity ought to be increased to an acceptable level.
10.1.2006 / 22:57 EET | permalink | | gadgets
Taking a que from Visa Kopu, here's a !(id%100) dump of the blog's entries thus far.
The 100th entry [29.7.2004] was written under the influence of jet lag.
The 200th entry [7.11.2004] was all about having attended a weird chronically misplaced Halloween party and seen the very second gig of a friends' band.
The 300th entry [16.2.2005] was written when it was clear that the NHLPA would carry out their threat and wipe out the hockey season.
The 400th entry [30.4.2005] was a meme. An alphabetical overview of the browser's recent history.
The 500th entry [6.7.2005] was quite a happy one. The EU parliament had just turned down software patents with an almighty majority.
The 600th entry [12.9.2005] is a review of Rule of Four, one of quite a few mystery novels breezed through in the lazy days of summer.
The 700th entry [21.11.2005] contains some decent phone camera pictures from a day trip to sunny Kirkkonummi.
10.1.2006 / 21:41 EET | permalink | | blog
LED keyboard soon available
The awesome optimus keyboards will be availabe in february.
No exact answers about price or resolution.
Yes, resolution. Each key in the keyboard consists of multiple LEDs, and thus the keys can reflect the state of the shift key, or actually show what a given key does in the current application.
Didn't think that this would materialize this soon.
8.1.2006 / 21:41 EET | permalink | | gadgets
The usual disclaimers apply. All safe for work.
8.1.2006 / 21:32 EET | permalink | | links, games, travel, fishkeeping
Davidbrent at six o'
Surprisingly enough, I'd never seen the second season of the genial BBC comedy The Office. Picked that up from a sale on saturday.
And decided to watch the first season again before leaping into the new material.
Did not recall how wickedly cruel the characterizations were. Despite the back cover advertising them as being familiar from work, I've been lucky not to have worked with or for anyone of the caliber. Some individuals come close, but fortunately not on the davidbrent-scale.
And I'd sure appreciate a snide remark if I turn out to exhibit behaviour that would fit in the show.
The annual christmas specials are sadly not included on the discs, but are, of course, available separately.
8.1.2006 / 21:24 EET | permalink | | television, work
Forthcoming movie year
Guardian published a nicely thorough preview of the cinematic offerings gracing the multiplexes (and dvd shelves after a further few months).
Highlights: Brokeback Mountain in january. V for Vendetta in march. The X-Men franchise has delivered thus far - and part 3 in may ought to, as well (even when Bryan Singer has abandoned the saga). In July Pixar's Cars is a shoo-in for a CGI-junkie like me, and I have moderate-plus hopes for the Johnny Depp-led sequel to Pirates of Caribbean. Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly ought to be good - it's one of Philip K.'s best stories, and being animated, even Keanu Reeves' presence should be unable to spoil the party.
The most dreaded event (which may turn into a surprisingly good movie) is the return of Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther prequel (out in march).
And probably there's a lot more to look forward to and avoid - but that's what the monthly Empire is all about. The best movies-related magazine just turned out its 200th issue, and shows no signs to slow down.
8.1.2006 / 21:09 EET | permalink | | movies
Liberty City Stories to be published for PS2
Sony PSP loses its one of its two worthwhile platform-exclusive games. The newest installment of the Grand Theft Auto franchise will be ported to PS2.
No proper reason given, but then again, finance-centred press releases often hold no great nuggets of wisdom.
8.1.2006 / 20:57 EET | permalink | | games
First order from threadless
Gave in. Ordered a first batch of shirts from threadless.com. Let's see how long their arrival takes, and what kind of interest mr. Customs Man has. Hopefully none at all, since mere two shirts do not break the barrier. No reprint of Carbon, still.
Hadn't checked out preshrunk in a long while. Site seems to be back on the beat after a few slow months.
7.1.2006 / 18:44 EET | permalink | | t-shirts
New (and old) blogs on the block
Some that I've found interesting enough recently.
7.1.2006 / 18:21 EET | permalink | | blog
Joss Whedon and the future of television
People with Photoshop and time
Cream of the crop of amusingly retouched pictures from 2005 at fark.com.
Not nearly all are good enough to warrant a position on the list (and it's a big page to load), some are downright horrible from both technical and articstic viewpoints. The first image on the page, a brilliant take on Carpenter's under-appreciated They Live, alone is worth a click.
7.1.2006 / 10:24 EET | permalink | | art
(This is a late entry - saw the play last year already, but it's been a busy busy week.)
Capped off the year with a bit of culture at the very end. Saw the penultimate evening of Terry Johnson's Hitchcock Blonde in the Helsingin Kaupunginteatteri.
And ended up liking the show better than expected. The story is good, two un-interleaved tracks proceed concurrently. As are the characters, whose number is not that big. Combining the two is the dialogue, which was effortlessly written, and well-localized into the post-millennial finnish (I don't think the original text refers to Hennes&Mauritz).
The story plays multiple aspects in history of cinema. Usually the viewpoint depends on the speaking character, but roles tend to get twisted. Themes vary from good (picking up themes from the few serious interviews Hitchcock gave), to bad (equating movie enthusiasm with trainspotting).
The characters are effectively drawn, all with secrets that get unleashed during the two and a half hour the play takes. Some of the secrets are well-known in advance, some get decently foreshadowed, but a few turn up quite abruptly. The roles are filled out well. Mikko Kivinen is great as the appropriately repressed and corpulent director. Carl-Christian Rundman and Sanna-June Hyde play the movie restorers with clockwork precision. This leaves out only the eponymous Blonde. Not great, but by no means bad either. And full nudity does net some extra points.
Props are minimalistic, and used well, allowing for rapid scene changes inbetween the two narrative threads.
Been a Hitchcock fanboy for a long long while, so I probably was a dream audience member for the play. And appreciated it fully, to the extent of buying the program and looking up the script in amazon. Yes, it's available. Nope, haven't bought it yet. But will, soonish. And will also look for other plays by Johnson, this was a great introduction.
Would recommend, heavily. But from the Helsinki perspective it's too late already.
6.1.2006 / 00:36 EET | permalink | | culture
Maya - decent latin american food
Had a late dinner in Maya, a smallish restaurant on Rautatientori. They advertise themselves as a "latin american restaurant", no clue whether that's really a deserved moniker, but the menu seems to be rather bold in selections: from tortillas to chimichurri - so it's definitely not confined to a single contry's cuisine.
This was the third time in the establishment, two first ones having failed due to the good old "we're packed, maybe another time" excuse. Was full this time as well, scored a table after a minimal wait at the bar and settled in. Table was close to the door, so it allowed observation to a decent stream of hopeful patrons, most of whom found the half-an-hour wait for a table too long.
Food was decent - nothing too flashy. Several small appetizers, best of which turned out to be corncob with diable-butter. Main course was chicken in chimichurro, which, while decent, was a bit on the bland side. The jalapeños, on the other hand, turned out to be very feisty indeed.
Recommended. I'll look forward to a second visit, but not in the immediate future.
6.1.2006 / 00:11 EET | permalink | | restaurant
The best blonde-joke in the world
He throws, he scores - a trio of NFL-things
Alex Smith finally threw a touchdown. In his ninth game. Not the best of a start for a guy who was thought to be the saviour of a franchise, but by no means the worst either. Still, unless there are major additions to the niners offese, he won't compete with the top-flight quarterbacks in next year's fantasy draft.
The first finn was signed on to NFL. Michael Quarshie will play for the Raiders next season, and Klaus Alinen is widely thought to be signing with the Falcons. Hopefully the finnish presence will entice the local channels to show games next season, these days the Superbowl is the only one. Even the commercial channels shy away from football, expecting the ad-turnover to be too low to bother.
And finally... Looks like Doug Flutie will be capping his career with a flash, just like he started. This time it's not a half-the-field hail mary as time expires. Nope, this time it's the first dropkick score in more than sixty years.
Kainalopallokorneri seems to be the best (and probably the only) finnish blog that concentrates on football, recommended for anyone interested.
3.1.2006 / 23:41 EET | permalink | | sports
Quality increases by some %
Re-linked all archives.
Fixed the blog and the main page to be legal XHTML.
Complain in the comments if any of the claims seems to be too bold.
3.1.2006 / 23:31 EET | permalink | | blog
24 back on
Jack Bauer is back. The fourth season began today. No idea how much off-sector he is this time, as I missed the first episode.
Thankfully subtv will re-show that on saturday.
And will in fact show two episodes in a row, as mtv3 has moved onto a twice-weekly schedule.
3.1.2006 / 23:24 EET | permalink | | television
First link batch of the year
In no particular order. Or of any particular use. Consider yourselves warned.
1.1.2006 / 18:50 EET | permalink | | links, web, stupidity, art, games, news
Reason enough for a visit to NY?
Pixar: 20 Years of Animation-exhibit just opened. And closes on february sixth already. Without mention that it will move elsewhere.
Haven't been to NYC in a long while. But definitely would want to visit at a warmer time.
Saw the trailer for upcoming Cars, and it seemed to retain enough of the magic to be put on the "to see"-list immediately.
1.1.2006 / 18:34 EET | permalink | | travel, movies
2005, best of
Only positive things listed, no use recalling sucky issues.
1.1.2006 / 18:24 EET | permalink | | annual, haircut
2005, in review
This is how I remember things. Which means that there's probably a few stray facts and loose interpretations. Not going to link to individual entries, browse the archives if really interested.
1.1.2006 / 18:10 EET | permalink | | annual, haircut
George R. R. Martin: A Feast for Crows
Lawrence Lessig: Free Culture
Stephen Baxter: Reality Dust
Nick Hornby: Polysyllabic Spree
Paul McAuley: Making History Tim Powers: Strange Itineraries William Shakespeare: Hamlet Terry Pratchett: Thud! Charles Willeford: Miami Blues
Cho Chikun: Go - A Complete Introduction
David Brin: Kiln People
Hergé: Tintti ja Aakkostaide
Leena Lehtolainen: Rivo Satakieli
System of a Down: Hypnotize
Incredible Brainshells: collected output
PMMP: Kovemmat Kädet
Green Day: Bullet in a Bible
Ministry: Psalm 69
Radiohead: Pablo Honey
Bob Dylan: 1975 Live - the Rolling Thunder Revue
Flogging Molly: Swagger
Stanley Tong: Supercop Sydney Pollack: Three Days of the Condor
Shield, season 4
Carnivále, season 1
24, season 4
the Office, season 1 Martin Scorsese: the Aviator
Battlestar Galactica, season 1
Ubisoft Montreal: Price of Persia: Sands of Time
Mythbusters, season 1
David Cronenberg: A History of Violence
Jim Jarmusch: Broken Flowers
Fernando Meirelles: Constant Gardener
Peter Jackson: King Kong
Mike Newell: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Markus Selin: Matti
Ang Lee: Brokeback Mountain
Sam Mendes: Jarhead
Real (visible) permalinks re-linking of archives
topic tagging the archives