Jun 292006

Watched the third (and probably final) installment of the X-Men movie franchise. Directed by Brett Ratner, instead of Bryan Singer (who’s busy with the reworking of the Superman mythos, out in a couple of weeks). By Ratner, whose career thus far has been as close to the center of mainstream as possible.

And he executes the movie in a quite decent fashion – the gravest mistakes are in the script, not the direction. The script is quite dire, containing both logical holes large enough to drive trucks through, as well as severe detachment from the original source material. At least my meager superhero lore-skill states that this is not how the Phoenix-saga was supposed to happen. The danger room puts in an appearance, as does the fastball special-move.

Like the second, and by far the best, part of the saga, this is a cruel movie. It does not shy away from removing characters by force, and doesn’t really give much hope for sequels. But you never know – the ending hints at more troubles/hope to come, and with the reception in the box office, Marvel would probably keep milking the cash cow. The first spin-off movies have already taken lives of their own.

Jun 292006

Killer Pike

Killer Pike Strikes! Film at eleven!

It’s not hot enough to qualify for deep summer, but today’s yellow rag proves that it’s already a slow week when it comes to news.

Bruno the bear was distant in Bavaria, and shot to death already – so it was a matter of time before the annual “scary animals”-schpiel got turned on.

And anyway, a pike’s a bit more credible threat than the conveniently un-photographed “Lion” that plagued Ruokolahti a decade or so back.

Jun 282006

Recently, the following expressions have been used as shortcuts to reach lavonardo.net.

definition of lotterying cars
Say what?
spanking movie scenes supergrass
Somehow this does not seem right. At all.
Moottörin jyrinä
Yes. Missed the gig. Rub it in.
Many, many variants of “metallica Tallinn setlist”.
As expected.
philadelphia for dummies
Which is the topic of an entry.

< dt>software for digibox to remove the finger sign of the exposed scenes

Say what, part 2. Seriously.
Jun 282006

snippet of Helsinki in google mapsSo, all of a sudden the street-level map of Helsinki (and probably of many other places) is available in google maps. Missed the addition of non-satellite map data completely. And the satellite map data seems to have vastly increased in clarity.

Looks good, apart from some names that persist in swedish (like Berghäll in the attached image). I’m sure someone has already complained.

Jun 282006

This year’s pool didn’t go nearly as well as that of the Euro 2004. Didn’t get a podium finish, not even close.

France let me down once again, but an even worse disappointment were the czechs. But managed to suck pretty much in every group, and individual teams cannot really be expected to take the blame for sub-optimal guesswork.

Missed Klose as the first-round goal king, but chanced on the Serbians as the biggest offenders.

Jun 272006

Some things to check out in case the games get boring.

  • Zork over IP, which goes to show that no matter what the platform, a Z-machine implementation will soon be ported to it.
  • Moleskine has expanded its product range to city guidebooks.
  • The deepest hole ever drilled into the crust of Gaia.
  • This must be the biggest page on the web, after all it covers the deep sky in some 8.1 nonillion pixels. Something to scroll through in a long-winded and badly ventilated meeting.
  • A draft of a history of interactive fiction.
  • Future of pinball is a forthcoming document of Williams’ Pinball 2000 project. A project that was supposed to bring the game into the 21st century, but was instead untimely shut down.
Jun 272006

A second concert has been added to the Dropkick Murphys agenda in early august. In addition to being the headliner on saturday in Ankkarock, the South Boston irishpunkers will play a gig in Tavastia on the previous friday.

Woo. This means that I can still reconsider a trip to Korso. Though at least Opeth and Flogging Molly would be nice to see.

Jun 252006

Portugal advances to quarterfinals after beating Netherlands in one of the most card-ridden games ever.

The teams finished with nine men on the field, thus Deco and Costinha will miss the game against England. And Cristiano Ronaldo’s status is unknown after an ugly tackle from Bouhlarouz. Who, incidentally, was the only one deserving a red card, the other three were awarded for lesser offenses.

Jun 242006

A lot of food, good discussions, gorgeous weather, all in pleasant company. Few things might make a midsummer in the city better, but a smoke-sauna on the coastline is not that common a thing. Unfortunately.

Jun 232006

Following Jason Kottke’s lead, here’s my wikipedia contrail:

  • Absinthe, was the featured article the other day. And a fine article it is, indeed, showing how to operate traditional slotted spoon.
  • Telltale Games, saw an interview by the CEO in B2.0 and decided to look up more data. And I definitely need to pick up the first episode of Bone some day.
  • Platypus, had no idea how big these marsupials grow and felt the need to check.
  • State quarters, no direct link to US Mint in bookmarks. Checked how many are already out.
  • Jon Stewart, the most trusted name in fake news. Already own both books written by him, checked whether there’s more. Nope.
  • Collective Nouns, a murder of crows is just a start – there’s hundreds of these expressions about.
  • The Economist, the magazine is way, way older than I expected.
  • Idempotence, forgot the term at work last week and wanted to ensure that I was using it in correct fashion.

What’s a contrail? The list of things the browser autocompletes upon seening “en.wikipedia.org/wiki”.

Jun 222006

First properly watched Brazil’s game finally showed the team playing well (was in Tallinn to see Metallica for the first one, and utterly mistimed the second game – saw just the second half).

But this game, against Japan, was of decent quality. Though the japanese attack, not known to be formidable in any sense of the word, did have some uncomfortable spearheads through the defense. But defense held, apart against a single shot – and the offense put in four. Including two from the rather maligned Ronaldo – putting him in an even position with Gerd Müller in the scoring statistics, both have now scored 14 times in the world cup.

Australia joins Brazil in the second stage – they drew against Croatia in a foul-plagued game (one croat managed to pull three yellow cards, must be some sort of record).

Not many expected this from the aussies, but then again, “experts” have repeatedly been proven wrong in the tournament. This time around I decided not to follow the pick in every game. It tends to dampen the enjoyment when score is exactly right half an hour before the final whistle, and you’d just wish the teams would be frozen on the field.

Jun 222006

My laments have been heard, and Universal officially launched the second half of the second season of Battlestar Galactica. The good version, the one without cute robots.

Like Lost and so many other shows, Prison Break gets the season split into two volumes in UK. The US-version of the show, on the other hand seems to be quality-ridden indeed. Yes, the BSG referred to above is among the few US exceptions to the rule.

But the two-volume treatment might not be a big enough deterrent to stay away from the UK-edition of Lost. After all, there’s a seven-week interval between the two. In favor of the british edition.

Jun 222006

Things to click, read and bookmark/forget.

  • The Tallinn gig is not yet available at livemetallica.com.
  • A lengthy interview with Ken Rolston, one of the gaming greats. Concentrates on Oblivion, but the interviewers sneak in a couple of oldskool RPG-questions as well.
  • First beta of flock is out. And the site’s rather overloaded. Time to experiment. And to reactivate my flickr-account.
  • Suspicious software, part n: an explanation on why Vista will be late.
  • 100 awesome music videos as selected by pitchfork. And it does have Röyksopp’s Remind Me, one of the best videos of all time. Beastie Boys’ lauded Sabotage is curiously absent, though.
  • Even more music videos, actually 1400 of them, all from the eighties. Quality is variable, and the selection eclectic.
  • O’Reilly has the Where2.0 materials available on the web. Decent rainy day reading, I’m sure.
Jun 222006

Another annual company-sponsored summer party gone by.

Decent artists (cover bands, mostly), scorching sunshine, stale beer and lots of friends not seen in ages. Pretty much what I expected.

Official nachspiel quickly deteriorated into a diaspora – ended up watching the rather boring Netherlands-Argentina game in O’Malley’s, and a few quicker visits to other establishments.

No adventures with Long Island Ice Tea and a suitably early exit meant that today was actually a semi-productive day at work.

No idea what the looming merger with the Siemens Networking bits means, perhaps we get to enjoy both this occasion and an oktoberfest-equivalent in the future.

Jun 202006

Had a very good corruption dinner at restaurant Saari, located a few hundred meters from the mainland in the Helsinki harbor.

Waited for the ferry for a while, getting hungrier by the moment. The ride’s not cheap, but fortunately the cost is appendable to the restaurant bill.

The restaurant is definitely a slow food place, the three course meal took almost four hours to finish. And not because of us slow eaters, but of non-rapid arrival of dishes. Not that we really minded, the evening was beautiful and warm, company good and discussion lively.

And there was absolutely nothing wrong with the food either. Started off with a selection of appetizers – a set containing first fresh potatoes of the season, and the first bear salami ever. Had pike perch for the main course, overcooked just enough to ensure easy removal of skin and accompanied by an appropriately spicy potato cake. Capped the meal with a glass of ålvados, a finnish (or actually Ålandic) take on calvados, a bit sharp of taste, but having enough of apple aroma to be worth the name.

All in all a pleasant experience – and the difficulty of securing a table is explained by the environment and food. I’ll be back. Perhaps already this summer.

Jun 182006

It’s yet another +25C day. So we’re now officially broken the requirement for a “hot” day.

I guess we’re sitting on top of the overflow valves of Hell, this being rather early for such warm weather. I mean, they must be letting out the heat from down below now that finns won the eurovision song contest…

Not that I’m complaining, not at all. It was indeed a pleasure to reclaim the last room of the flat for proper use. I’m actually writing this in lanternlight, sitting on the balcony. Which, for me, pretty much confirms that we’re in real summer already.

Jun 182006

Yet another monthly gamenight at Lemmy’s place is now history.

Missed the previous one, and thus the arrival of the sixth pinball machine, Attack from Mars, wasn’t news for anybody else. So I pretty much got to monopolize the machine for long stretches. And it was a very good machine indeed. Open field, shots that do not require the manual dexterity of a clocksmith and interesting modes. And large scores. Very large scores. Got over a billion points on the first go, and didn’t come close to the replay limit. That kind of defines inflation doesn’t it…

The other big event was the very traditional Pro Evolution Soccer-session. Had a two-round game with everybody teamed with everybody else. Some great moments – like scoring on a hail mary-style play on the very last second of injury time, and some not so great ones – like being on the receiving end of a five goal effort from van Nistelroum (that’s Ruud van, Konami hasn’t bothered to license all the teams).

Another quality evening amongs electronic entertainment – and I’m definitely looking forward for the next one – the newest pinball machine didn’t yet surrender its secrets fully.

Jun 172006

Finished watching the first half of the second season of Battlestar Galactica the other day. The new one. The one that’s being released in two separate halves (at least in region 1).

And it’s been rather long since a cliffhanger of this magnitude has been conveniently placed on disc. (Well, not since the season finale of Lost, that is).

And I really, really want to see the second half. Properly. Resorting to peer-to-peer tv is not an attractive option. Even with piratebay back in action.

Jun 172006

Spent most of yesterday travelling to / in / travelling from Porvoo. A company event that turned out very well. Even with the stakes definitely raised by a couple of preceding successful events.

Travelled in with a paddle-wheel ship, a lengthy four hour journey. Which wasn’t bad at all, considering the weather was pretty much perfect for boating – warm, with enough sunshine to offset the winds.

Grabbed one cache, and ogled the rather sad remnants of the old Porvoo church. It’s not in a good shape following an encounter with an amateur pyromaniac a month or so back. The surrounding scaffolding is a sure sign that it shall be rebuilt, with an accelerated schedule.

Had dinner at Timbaali, which is famous for its escargot-based dishes. Had some of those as a side to an excellent buffet. Whose single highlight for me was the best pesto sauce in ages – chunky and almost non-liquid in form, and a great accompaniment to both salad and white bread.

Missed almost all the games of the day – caught the last twenty minutes or so of Mexico-Angola, but had to resort to reading about Argentina’s massacre of Serbia from a mobile phone.

Had the nachspiel in the new-ish Virgin Oil bar/restaurant/club-complex. Unfortunately the theme of the day was samba, so the soundtrack of the evening was packed with drums and then more drums. Not even an experimental shot of cachaça was enough to latinify me enough to enjoy the proceedings. Oh well, fortunately the establishment offered some locations away from the music. And interestingly enough an ad for a release party of long-awaited Pulse by Pink Floyd on 7/7, with a gig by Hidria Spacefolk. Let’s see whether the date holds…

Jun 152006

Saw Magyar Posse in Tavastia yesterday.

Went in around eleven, and saw a good twenty minutes of the warm-up act, Silvio. Sounded interesting enough for the duration, and the vocalists use of flute was appreciated by anyone traumatized by the instrument in music lessons at school. The music was not of one mold, and would definitely benefit from additional tries. While seeking out info about the band, noted that it has quite good jazz credentials, with two musicians of famed Pohjola clan among the members.

Magyar Posse took the stage after a brief stage re-organization. Spent that watching soccer on lobby bar screens (the lonely pinball machine seemed to be out of commission). This was the first time I ever saw the band, and the experience did indeed match raves from reliable authorities. The music was nothing short of majestic, filled with complex crescendos and ambitious twisting and turning of melodies. Considering the instrumental nature of the music, I did recognize the songs, but have no idea what songs they actually were. Had to cut the gig a bit short – early mornings and short nights are not conducive to productive days.

Buying Silvio’s new-ish album wouldn’t be a bad idea, and I definitely want to see Magyar Posse again. Soon, please.

Jun 142006

Crowd in the Metallica concert in TallinnSaw Metallica for the eighth time on their “Escape from the Studio 06″-tour. On Laululava in Tallinn, Estonia.

This was the first time ever to go see a band abroad. And the trip was pretty much as painless as you can get. Took an express boat both ways, at 1:45 the trip was not too long by any means.

The stage was set on Laululava, about three klicks away from the harbor. Walked both ways. And took a wrong turn only on the way back.

Despite only three gates for seventy thousand people, the utterly failed entry like two years ago in Helsinki wasn’t repeated, entry was quick, as was the exit.

The place itself is a natural amphitheatre, with sloping hills allowing excellent view on the stage. A food court, a couple of overworked drink stands and toilets were set off by a couple of hundred meters.

Missed the first two bands by arriving late. The real warm-up act Bullet for my Valentine wasn’t bad at all. Apart from the screamy vocals the rather variable nu-metal/crossover/whatever music was pretty interesting and probably merits further investigation if albums turn up at a decent price.

The main event started with a familiar sound. Ennio Morricone’s Ecstacy of Gold still brings chills up and down my spine. After a trio of true classics (and Fuel), the band played through the 20-year old Master of Puppets in its entirety. Nope, not just the song (which is usually cut off mid-point), but the entire album. Including Orion, their grooviest instrumental and Disposable Heroes, which due to its length is rarely played live. The eight songs were backed by title-related imagery on the video screens: Leper Messiah had images of television preachers as a mosaic, while Sanitarium featured a straitjacketed guy thrashing in a padded cell.

Surprisingly the excellent song selection lasted throughout the gig, and Fuel remained the only title from last three albums.

Set list:

Creeping Death
Wherever I May Roam
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Fade To Black
Master of Puppets
The Thing That Should Not Be
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Disposable Heroes
Leper Messiah
Damage, Inc.
Sad But True
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman
So What
Seek and Destroy

Had to make it to the ferry leaving at 1:15, and decided to take off around the beginning of Seek and Destroy. Picked up a commemorative t-shirt along the way, and walked back to the ship. And noted that I’m as bad sleeping in boats as in planes – hopeless, in a word.

This was indeed the eighth time I saw Metallica live. Fourth time in an outdoors-setting. And by far the best of the four. Due to late-ish arrival the view onto the stage was limited (we were far indeed, as shown in the attached image). There wasn’t really anything wrong with the place. The weather was close to perfection as well. Around +26C, with a nicely timed sunset during the headliner’s set. Some of the catering services could have been a wee bit faster, but that’s a minor complaint – altogether the crew got off clean.

The organizers had extra base stations available for mobile phones, and a nice touch was the cell name shown on the phone screen, on some it was plain boring laululava, but on others: metallica…

Jun 122006

Nine points behind the leader in the office pool.

Not too far back, but not very comfortable either.

Scoring is simple – three points for the correct result (home/visitor win or a draw) and a point per correctly picked goals.

No five-point games thus far on my sheet, but several of the four point-kind already.

But that’s just eight games down the stretch, the forty remaining ones will alter the balance of power many times over.

Jun 122006

Early summer is finally here.

Early summer as defined by the temperature,
not by calendar. It’s pleasantly warm, around +23 degrees. And sunny. But neither going to the extremes, and both tempered by a pleasantly chilling wind.

Early summer as in the green season – before the heat, sunlight and wind dry out the lawns from their current emerald green into less pleasant yellowing straw. Season when even the birds themselves seem to be perplexed by the constant cacophony in the air.

Early summmer as “early”, when the heat is still a renewed experience after a prolonged winter and a wet spring. And not something that causes everybody to wonder whether the short warm season would justify installation of air conditioning. Or at least buying a bigger fan.

Truly the best season, whose annual appearance never ceases to amaze.

I sure ought to have some pictures here of the celebrated nature, but nope, not yet. Went frisbee-tossing after work and forgot about photography altogether. Traditional session at Tali, throwing a 175-gram ultimate disc around. Session was good, my forehand throw sure wasn’t.