Jun 302005

During june, the following flimsy excuses (among many others, some unpublishable in most of the lower 48 states) dragged in people like moths to an open flame:

{Teräsbetoni | Taivas Lyö Tulta} lyrics
Still going strong as the #1 search term.
Timo Saarniemi
Clearly an interesting individual.
eb games kamppi
Guys! It’s in Kamppi. What more do you need to know?
charles de gaulle airport usability
OK. So it is a bad airport. So?
Alice does not live here anymore.
stamp n go shanty
Good call. Shame about them skipping Molly’s this summer. Right?
the baltic badasses
Check here instead.
older man vs little boys
Definitely spooky; and nope, not here, no sir.

And tons of people brought in by the roiling Lehtovaara-case. Most via blogilista. Also image searches are picking up, with the MIT museum pictures leading the charge.

Jun 302005

AudioslaveSaw Audioslave in the old Helsinki hockey arena. And quite a gig it was.

The warm-up band was “… and you will know us by the trail of the dead”. Played quite unannounced, even today’s ad in hesari was missing a reference to them. I skipped them in march, and clearly it was no great loss to mankind. Very loud, but mostly boring. Art rock, with nods towards both progressive and regressive wings. Marred by the volume and unoptimal sounds. Fortunately they played only for 40-odd minutes. But then, they might have been vastly better in a smaller environment. Or not, considering the amount of noise the seven (two drummers, most of the time) guys on stage managed to put up. Some of the songs were interesting, so if a cd shows up cheap, I might just be persuaded to buy it.

The main event was greeted by a huge audience response. The crowd was shouting and singing from the very beginning. Set covered both Audioslave as well as the root bands’ products: Killing in the Name Of and Sleep Now In the Fire by Rage Against the Machine, and Spoonman and Black Hole Sun from Soundgarden. At least one of the unrecognized songs I guessed to be from Chris Cornell’s solo album. Altogether a great show, although not all of the songs are a great match – Cornell just cannot match the fury of Zack de la Rocha, and the ex-RATM rhythm section is somewhat wasted on the slow-paced Soundgarden songs. Played for a solid 100 minutes, which is a very respectable duration for a show. Played songs from both Audioslave albums, to which I clearly need to devote more attention to. As well as dig up the old RATM albums, had forgotten how effortlessly cool Tom Morello’s playing is.

Chris Cornell alone on stageA setlist is bound to exist somewhere in the web, I failed to recognize enough of the songs to be dissuaded of not publishing one.

Seen both originals once. Soundgarden in the great Helsinki alterna-rock fiesta of ’95 (with Blind Melon and White Zombie among others), and RATM supporting U2 in the Salt Lake City olympic stadium in ’97 on the PopMart tour. Today’s concert was not as good as either of them, but pretty damn good nonetheless. And the audience earns an extra bonus for hefty participation. Clearly there’s a lot of pent-up desire for both original bands long after their disbandings.

Jun 282005

Out of the blue (or flame red and soot black, in their case), Rammstein have announced a quick follow-up to last year’s Reise, Reise.

Imaginatively named Vol. 2. Majority of the songs are from R,R-sessions, but some new ones have been recorded. I’m sure it’s not just me whose october just got a wee bit brighter. And that’s not just the kerosene combusting on its own…

Jun 282005

Was no jolly customs man behind the counter, but a businesslike older woman.

But charges were taken, and a rather painful experience it was. To the wallet, only.

Customs on clothing is a whopping 30%, and when you add 22% for value added tax on top, the expression “bargain” cannot really be included in the same sentence. Unless combined with a negation.

Jun 262005

Sold out, according to the salesperson at the counter. For the third week in a row.

You’d expect the theatre owners to get a clue and show the movie in a bigger screen, but nope.

Grand total of ONE ticket available when the phone reservations expired, but I needed three.

This just means that the inevitable viewing and subsequent review will be delayed. Perhaps until next saturday if the tradition of weekly previews continues, perhaps later.

Jun 262005

This is the third week running when there’s a preview showing of Sin City, whose premiere has been pushed back to late july.

Missed the two previous occasions, and today does not seem too promising as the pre-reservation percentage is a blunt 100.

Well, have to go pretend to be a vulture and see whether all those reservations hold.

Jun 262005

Four t-shirts from US is probably enough to cross the “this will be taxed”-threshold. Especially when the shipping cost is factored in. At least I have to travel to the customs to claim the package.

The keyword in the above is “probably”, since nowhere in the otherwise quite well-done pages of the finnish customs pages is there an exact definition on how much VAT a shipment of clothing incurs.

Well, I’ll be wiser and poorer tomorrow.

Jun 252005

Quite. This is a conveniently compressed account thereof.

Work-filled monday and tuesday. Nothing to report.

Company summer party on wednesday. Boring artist, decent food, good occasion to bump into people not seen in a long while. Note to self: discussing long island ice tea does not mean that the drinking of one must be demonstrated.

Pre-midsummer party on thursday in Jollas. Skipped the official nonathlon (or whatever the decathlon minus pole vault is called). Excellent food – and going for seconds on steaks was not frowned upon. Noted that phone-elves had delivered a new toy via company internal mail.

Real midsummer event on friday in Pakila. More food, good lamb, interesting crustaceans. Subdued occasion. Which was pretty much what the doctor ordered. Finished the Dirt, a book that shows how self-destructive stupid people can be if given the opportunity and tons of money. Entertaining, not pleasant.

Jun 192005

The previous few races were quite interesting, but the US Grand Prix has the makings of an utter fiasco.

The seven teams using Michelin tires were forced to retire the cars after the warm-up lap, and now it’s just the two Ferraris racing the low-rung Jordan and Minardi teams.

Quite what this will do to the reputation in the states remains to be seen, but it cannot be anything good.

Bah. At least JJ Lehto finally won in Le Mans. And the football game between Brazil and Mexico from the confederation cup starts soon.

Jun 192005

I was introduced to the works of Charles Stross by Tähtivaeltaja, the best SciFi-magazine there is, about last year.

Was intrigued by description, liked the accompanying short story, waited for books to materialize.

Bought Singularity Sky in San Francisco, and was not fully convinced by the story. It’s good, no doubt about that, but very much on the strange side. In a good way, and it’s definitely good hard space adventure, not the ubiquitous new weird. And it definitely bears some scars of being a first novel (characters get seriously lost among the techno-babble), but is compact and readable.

However, Mr. Stross has been busy indeed lately, and there’s a scary amount of books in the pipeline.

The newest is now available at accelerando.org in multiple formats. Go wild. I know I will. At least to the extent of taking a sample, and then buying the actual book.

Jun 192005

Camels crossing desert Visited the newly opened photo exhibit between lasipalatsi and the old bus station downtown.

Had walked through the place on friday night already, on the way to see the Bravery, and noted that it’s a big expo all right. And the images are backlit during the night.

Didn’t count the images, but I guess they number around one hundred. And it’s a good selection, containing both classics (the sandy heart in a mangrove jungle) and brand new shots (a town levelled by the 26/12/04 tsunami). And it’s not just the images themselves that are at work here, but lengthy explanations (in three languages) why the picture was taken, and what is really going on. Some of the stories approach preachiness-threshold, but it’s a thought-provoking selection nonetheless.

Browsing got interrupted by sudden rain, so retreated into the expo tent for cover. And noted that the photographer, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, was present, signing books and photos.

Got the big book, and noted why the bookstores take a dim view of actually shipping this overseas – at five kilograms it is a pretty hefty thing to lug around. And will definitely head back to see the rest of the images. No hurry, though, as the photographs remain until mid-september.

Missed the picture from Finland, but I’m sure it’s part of the collection.

And it’s surprising how ATMs are like cops. All over the place when not needed, but utterly absent when useful. The expo tent will accept cards from next week onwards.

Jun 182005

Bought Foo Fighters’ In Your Honor today. Haven’t yet listened to it (been busy off hearing distance of the stereo, and a lot of other excuses). The reviews have been lukewarm, but as a veteran Grohl-fan, I’ve got mighty hopes for the quality of the record.

Bought the three disc version. The ever-reliable Tunnelin Levy had it, where eg. play.com cried “sold out” weeks ago. It’s a double album, but it’s the extra disc that’s the most interesting. It’s got the whole record in “extra stereo”, and the acoustic side as a 5.1 mix. Same thing seems to be happening on other fronts as well, still haven’t got the new NIN, but that is sold in a similar configuration as well.

Also bought the new Kuha album called Telekineettinen Testilaboratorio after Aaro’s very positive review. I’ll add my raves/flamage after a couple of rounds in the machine.

Also bought Markku Halme’s history of Rumba-newspaper. They’ve come a long way in twenty-odd years. Very cheap in the akateeminen’s summer sale, well-written and informative. What more could one ask from a book describing the life of a magazine I once read quite regularly.

And while checking for the validity of the link to the magazine’s homepage, noted that the country’s most vocal letter writers has passed away. Timo Saarniemi, a self-described rock’n'roll anthropologist is now gone. Never was a fan of his colorful prose, but I did admire his tenacity in his one-way communication. The finnish music press will definitely be poorer without him around.

Jun 182005

Saw the Bravery at Tavastia. The first incarnation of 1st Warning Club, sponsored by Koff – next act seems to be Juliette Lewis and the Licks in early august (Hives was cancelled ~3 weeks ago).

The place was surprisingly not very crowded, especially considering the amount of publicity the band’s had. However, there were good excuses: Kent was playing in Käpylä and the band could be seen also in Provinssirock over the weekend. So the place was not packed at all.

Warm-up band – Manboy from Pori – was just getting started when I walked in. Better than I expected, though a bit colorless. Clearly not my cup of tea, so I ain’t the optimal reviewer.

Headliner started at midnight sharp. Strange combination of punk and disco, with cosmetic rockabilly overtones. Hadn’t listened to their record beforehand, but some songs definitely rose above “this sounds pretty decent”-level. Bass player looked too much like Morrissey for comfort. Gig was short, around 40 minutes, minimal raps, some amusing interludes with a barely functional mike stand.

Will they be big? Or has the world already seen its fill of Strokes/Killers/Interpol/whatever. Hard to say, but yesterday’s music definitely was appreciated by the not too numerous audience. Me? Was OK. Will give it a couple of spins and we’ll see how things develop.

Jun 172005

Had corruption dinner at Kuu yesterday evening.

Heartily recommended, the food was very good. Best fish soup I’ve ever had (smoked salmon’s the trick), and a first proper steak in a way too long time. Only minus (albeit small) was the too sweet sea buckthorn sauce on dessert. It’s supposed to be mean.

Appropriate wine recommendations, decent prices. Will visit a second time.

Jun 142005

Ever-reliable EFF has released a legal blogging guide.

Thoroughly based on american laws as expected, but probably useful anywhere else as well. As much as left open by a hefty dose of common sense about what to write or not.

Not that this blog would ever steep so low as to get sued for libel, and I aim keep work-related facts (and most of the opinions) out as well.

But it’s interesting to see what the bloggers in the most sue-happy country have to put up with.