Aug 312006

Saw Poisonblack at Tavastia yesterday evening.

Walked in after the warm-up band, April, had finished and thus missed their entire gig.

Recognized songs from the first album, but the new ones were entirely unfamiliar. None of them seemed to be instantly hooky, but the album ought to grow on listeners.

Was without much cash, so couldn’t pick up the album at a very reasonable price.

Aug 292006

Saw Michael Mann’s Miami Vice. Had greater expectations than what the film actually delivered. I still refuse any accusations of a bad Mann-film, but after the elegant Collateral, this was a disappointment.

Visually the movie bears little resemblance to the classic eighties tv-series. Pastel clothes are absent, sunshine is substituted by grainy blue night, and no wrong-colored Ferraris are in sight.

The aural environment differs from its predecessor as well. No Jan Hammer appears on the soundtrack, but powerful instrumentals abound nonetheless – both Moby and Audioslave are represented by at least twice.

The plot of the movie does not seem like a 150 million dollar story – it’s a plodding tale that never really escapes the premises of a garden variety tv show episode. An even bigger disappointment is the lack of care given to the characters, they remain cardboard cutouts from the beginning to the end. And in a buddy movie the utter absence of any interplay between the leads is just inexcusable. The relevant wikipedia article places the blame on Jamie Foxx, who seems to have evolved to quite an unpleasant figure since the Oscar victory.

But occasionally the movie shines. The few gunfights are done with appropriate fireworks, and some of the supporting characters turn out to be far better defined than the leads.

Definitely a decent movie – I just kept expecting it to powershift to a bigger gear and start zooming. Sadly, that never happened, and the handbrake was left on for disturbingly long intervals.

Aug 282006

After Michael Quarshie’s recent injury, Klaus Alinen was the lone finn remaining on the rosters of the national football league.

One that sadly did not make the cut into the final lineup of 75. Yes, the team can nominate no less than 75 players, but has to cut down the field to 53 before the actual season starts.

Still haven’t set up this year’s draft for Yahoo’s fantasy football. Haven’t really read up on previews on the web (the relevant magazines oddly have utterly failed to materialize in Helsinki. Guess I’ll run Peyton Manning for the first spot – he’s been pretty much indispensable the last few seasons, and with Edgerrin James gone, the team may have to rely on passing game even more than before. Or not, maybe the Colts have developed a running threat inconspicuously, just like they evolved into a defensive powerhouse last season.

Aug 282006

Took until now before the first thunderstorms materialized in Helsinki. And even they were pretty lame, as storms go.

Saw the first (and thus far the only one) lightning bolt on saturday – and nope, haven’t got a photograph of that. Accompanied by a couple of distant rumbles, and very little rain, it still was the most advanced storm of the season.

Last night another dry thunderhead crept up on Haaga. Saw a reflection of a bolt on a window and felt the crack of thunder overhead. However, the storm was again a dry one, and died down almost immediately. But it reminded of far more violent summers. Ones that we’d gotten used to.

Aug 262006

The plan to go see Miami Vice was again foiled. And I spent the evening waiting for a plumber. No: it was not Mario, and I haven’t developed a new fetish for drainage professionals.

It’s never good to step out of a shower into warm water. Warm water at a depth of two inches covering the floor.

A blocked drain was the culprit, and very uncooperative to layman approach (which mainly consists of swearing, trying to flush Real Hard, and wishing the water would just disappear).

A plumber on call showed up, and took care of the problem. Whose root cause turned out to be a ball of string that had got stuck in an intersection a couple of floors below.

Apart from wasted time, no real damage occurred – after all, clothes in the hamper were going into laundry anyway, and I’d read the magazines that were lying on the floor. I’m just glad that I took a brief shower as opposed to a leisurely one, since there was not enough water to spread to other rooms.

Aug 252006

Where n is 9.

Aug 252006

Vertigo comics has made first issues of some of its most celebrated comics available on-line. In PDF-format, sized around six megs or so.

DMZ looks interesting, and I remember some credible folks enthusing about it – and with the first collected edition clocking in at less than ten bucks, it’s time to take a look. As soon as I’ve picked up the remaining 100 bullets collections.

Aug 242006

One of the two finns trying to get a spot in the NFL, Michael Quarshie, was injured in practice (scroll down down on the page), and will likely miss the season with tears to both the ACL and the meniscus.

Having endured a similar injury some years ago (though in less athletic circumstances), he sure has my sympathies and wishes for a rapid recovery and rehabilitation.

Now it’s up to Atlanta Falcons’ Klaus Alinen to score a place in the lineup as the sole finn in the league.

Aug 232006

Not really, just a wikipedia author.

Been an occasional editor for a while, but put in my first brand-spanking, created from scratch, article the other day.

The subject?
Some obscure interactive fiction game. Nope.

A catfish species. Not that either.

How about some doom metal record?

Yes, that’s the ticket, broke the zero with a short article on Cathedral’s Ethereal Mirror-album.

No-one has thus far screamed bloody murder about non-neutral point of view or typos in song titles.

Aug 232006

E!, the barrel-scraping vulture of celebrity media had a bright idea: it’s been more than a year since the on-stage murder of “Diamond” Darrell Abbott, so it’s about time someone made a dramatized re-enactment of the act.

Thankfully, the management and Darrell’s family agreed that the idea is bad beyond belief. And said so, in public, and request that the gross tastelessness of E! is to be spread around the web.

Consider it done.

Aug 222006

Continuing from the literary meme, here’s one on music. Originating from the silent polevaulter.

1. One record that changed your life
Metallica‘s Ride the Lightning. No comebacks after the state-of-the-art speed metal record. It took me years to pull myself back from the metal ghetto.

2. One record you’ve listened to more than once
Pretty much all on the shelves. Achtung Baby is one of the few with most spins, I guess.

3. One record you’d want on a desert island
No easy answers to this one. Audiobook of Dummies Guide to Surviving on a Desert Island is a cheap answer. Still haven’t tired of Nirvana‘s Nevermind, and played loud enough would attract rescuers…

4. One record that made you giddy
Ramonesmania by the Ramones. On the very first round on the platter. Especially Bonzo Goes to Bitburg-song. Which still brings out a wide smile.

5. One record that wracked you with sobs
None, really. Of the recent, I’d say Sigur Rós‘ newest album comes close. And not because of boredom, but due to the massive crescendos within.

6. One album that you wish had been recorded
A Metallica live album from the era when Cliff Burton was still alive.

7. One album that you wish had never been recorded
Anything by David Hasselhoff. Yeah, that’s a quippy answer, but I don’t actively hate any single album.

8. One record you’re currently listening to
Draconian Times by Paradise Lost.

9. One record you’ve been meaning to listen to
Miles DavisBitches Brew. It’s been a while since the last time.

Aug 212006

Seems that I’ll soon get my first ever movie in triplicate, as Richard Linklater‘s finest hour (thus far), Dazed and Confused, gets the Criterion treatment.

Who would have guessed – went to see the movie back in ’93 just to while away a boring evening, and ended up discovering a definite lockdown on a top-ten movie.

The three editions in my collection have an increasing amount of extras. Seems that this one is the final stop in the evolution – you can’t really beat the Criterion guys at their own game.

Aug 212006

Bah, looks very certain that I’ll miss Nevermore’s gig in early september.

Haven’t been an exactly huge fan of theirs, but at least their albums are never boring.

Was much more partial to the predecessor of this band, Sanctuary. And this would be a good time to start seeking out their output on cd – the twin vinyls haven’t been out of their sleeves since the first digit of the year changed…

Aug 202006

You have been sentenced.

Aug 202006

A recent announcement by an irish company called Steorn has raised lots of eyebrows. They claim that they have accomplished nothing less than the invention of an eternal source of energy. In their own words:

We have developed a technology that produces free, clean and constant energy. This means never having to recharge your phone, never having to refuel your car. A world with an infinite supply of clean energy for all.

Quite a bold statement, right?

To back up their invention, they have now issued a challenge to the science community at large to pick their proposed microgenerator-based idea apart. In public. The challenge was issued in this week’s economist, and it has brought in the crowds – both of scientists and lookenpeepers in general. Ought to be entertaining.

On the other hand, the finnish company claiming to have invented an universal compression algorithm has been met with appropriate disbelief. The whole exercise smells like a guerrilla marketing stunt that got out of hand.

[ Steorn-link via kasa. ]

Aug 202006

Visited Finncon again briefly today.

The crowds were as thick as yesterday, when the organizers apparently had to turn away lots of people due to hovering close to the fire hazard limits.

Like yesterday, spent most of the time listening to panel discussions.

First up was one about alternate histories, and it was quite a good session. Occasionally the participants got stuck on a subject (like “what would have happened if Hitler had won WWII“), but most of the time the discussion was free-flowing and filled with pointers to more or less interesting novels of the genre. Noted a couple of books I’ll have to look up in the future, but nothing truly earth-shattering came up., the grand seam of alternate history-ore didn’t come up in the session, but was conveniently included in the program-booklet.

Second session was Starbuck is a woman?, a panel about how science fiction-franchises have been updated (mainly in television and movies). The new (and much-improved) Battlestar Galactica was the lead item, but by no means the only one discussed (King Kong kept cropping up at an unbvelievable frequency). Updates were noted to be mainly good things – bringing old series to the mainline by making them more realistic (and occasionally darker). The final topic “update another show” got the panelists jamming on how to bring Knight Rider to the 21st century, and sadly eg. Sapphire and Steel was left almost untouched (“like, the invisible enemies in the new show could be even MORE invisible with the aid of ILM”). Learned that J.M. Straczynski (of Babylon 5-fame) has attempted to reboot Star Trek and that the ever-green Robin of Sherwood is being considered for a remake.

The costume play-crowd was even more numerous than yesterday, and the organizers had put up special routing to get the queues to the “group cosplay”-session in kosher shape. Managed to sneak through and briefly visit the dealers’ floor, while listening to shouted advice to the dressed-up kids. Bought a short story collection from Johanna Sinisalo, J. Pekka Mäkelä’s first novel (a bargain at six euros, I presume), and old translation of Michael Swanwick’s Iron Dragon’s Daughter and finally (and unexpectedly) a kids book: Walter Moers’ 13 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear.

Was a good con, though the huge crowds of anime-persuasion seemed to be irkful to the panelists as well. Nothing wrong with them, obviously, but the sheer number must have been a surprise for everybody. A big chunk of the attendees had worked out their dresses meticulously, and as such the area was full of characters (and critters) from comics, tv-shows and movies. Didn’t bring a camera – would have felt like a dirty quasi-old man snapping photos without being able to hide behind a badge (and anyway, the S3 would have been a hindrance in some of the thickest crowds). There were lots of people with cameras, and the crop of the con has been collected in (at least) flickr, with the finncon-tag.

So, Paasitorni sure was a lot more packed than I expected – when Finncon returns to Helsinki, it’s time to split from the Animecon-collaboration, introduce non-trivially priced tickets (which would exclude random passers-by, which is not good) or look for a bigger venue. I’m betting on the last option. But it’ll take a detour at least once, since the next one will be in Jyväskylä next summer (no link yet).

Browsed through the history of previous cons during a lull in the activity, and noted that since becoming aware of the even back in the late eighties I’ve missed only one that has been organized in Helsinki (the one back in 2000). And am definitely looking forward to the next one (and may even consider a trip to the countryside next year if the timing works out OK).