Dec 312006

Something to keep clicking on until the fireworks start embroidering the sky with flash and fire.

Dec 302006

In the midst of clashing and confusing news fallout, it would appear that the former Iraqi president has indeed had a final date with a noose.

One fewer thorn in the side of current regime, that’s for certain. But the act might also open the wounds between the skirmishing groups much deeper and wider, as there’s now no uniform object of hate.

Dec 292006

Mistranslated Calvin & Hobbes stripToday’s movie on television is Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, which I quite enjoyed back in the earliest days of this very blog. More than the original entry reflects, it’s definitely a four star movie on later thought.

But that movie isn’t the topic of this entry, it’s the attached slice of Calvin & Hobbes from today’s “100″-newspaper.

In which the translator failed to translate the word “hornet”, and used the english word as-is. When there’s a common and good finnish word for the insect (“herhiläinen”), such gross ignorance ought to be punishable.

Dec 292006

Two meals outside the common reference frame in a day is certainly an unusual occurrence.

Had lunch at Dong Bei Hu (no homepage that I could find) on Museokatu – it’s been a slow week at work, and lunches have been on the extended side. According to more knowledgeable colleagues this is way more authentic than the vast majority of chinese establishements in Helsinki. And the taste was not of the traditionally cloying sweet and sour, but something plainer, but certainly attractive. Definitely worth a second visit, the abbreviated lunch menu certainly didn’t show everything the place is able to offer.

Spent the evening at a long-time colleague’s farewell party in Manala. Good food, excellent company (including many former workmates not seen in years), and interesting discussions that could easily have been stretched much longer. The combination of escargot and pizza turned out to be just a tiny bit too big. But both were pleasant – and the Manala/Urho’s kitchen remains one of the very best places to enjoy a pizza in Helsinki.

Dec 272006

Kill Doctor Lucky was the first Cheapass game that I ever bought.

And was very happy with it. After all, it cost next to nothing, and dispensed with expensive components completely. The company philosophy was that houses are packed with tokens and dice, there’s no need to supply extra in every single game.

The game itself was on the simple side, and concentrates on what happened just before the start of a Cluedo game. The aim is to just off the Doctor without any of the other players witnessing the act. It’s a perfect beer & pretzels game – the inherent randomness of the game (success and failure in precision-level murder depends on cards dealt to players) ensures that no two rounds are alike.

The game was a big hit for the company, and they brought out a director’s cut of it in 2002. And yes, the director’s cut does include a commentary track in addition to a second board and rules variants.

Spotted an even newer version of the game the other week – and it has now evolved into a proper boardgame, courtesy of Titanic Games. The irony of having a mounted board and nifty pawns at a much greater expense is probably not lost on the fans of the original.

Dec 272006

The first mystery novel of this christmas season was Harri Nykänen’s return to the seedy Helsinki underworld. Raid ja Tappajat – featuring the return of Raid, the perpetually duosyllabic and occasionally righteous anti-hero, after a two year absence.

The story picks up where the previous two Raid novels left off, and ties the plotlines together into a semi-plausible whole. Not all of them, and not in a fully convincing fashion.

While the book’s nothing less than good, it feels like a pedestrian effort. It does not really add anything to the realm, just plays an extended encore for the previous two. While the dialogue clicks on confidently, it feels subdued to the occasional fireworks of the first Raid outings.

Yeah, let it be noted that I actually preferred the two books centering on Ariel Kafka to this one.

Dec 272006

Been a while since the previous exposé on which topics bring innocent bystanders to this site:

what is the worlds second biggest mammal??
The two questionmarks obviously do the trick, since the answer is readily available in the archives.
lavonardo davinci
Not exactly, but nice to know somebody made this mistake.
campus cafe lufthansa zero 33 cola
Say what?
nypykät kanuunaralli lyrics
Translated the whole album once, but only on paper. And the sheet is long lost.
dry grass
About as fascinating to watch as this blog, right?
disadvantages of buying in kinokuniya traditional bookstores
Are there any?
symbiotic tower in riga
Well, don’t hold back, tell us more!
donnie darko tapani maskula
Unfortunately the master of the single star never seems to have reviewed Richard Kelly’s masterpiece.

Stay tuned for more in a month or two (unless something truly extraordinary crops up).

Dec 262006

The annual ritual of checking off seen movies from Empire’s Top Films brought a low result – mere eight out of twenty-five. That’s four fewer than last year’s tally.

(Though for purely defensive purposes it must be stated that neither the Prestige nor Pan’s Labyrinth is not out here yet).

Didn’t fare much better in Guardian’s Quiz on the subject. 14 out of 30 is not respectable. Though some of the questions do border on pathologically obscure.

Dec 262006

For the first time in four years I did not lose the final game in Yahoo’s fantasy football league.

Seventh position in the league is no source of great joy, though. The team played way inconsistently – the offense was not reliable (on any front, be it the QB, running backs or the receiver corps), kicker stalled after a fabulous start, and the previously reliable defenses were continuously outplayed.

The season’s down in the league, but NFL barges onwards. Niners are out of playoffs despite flashes of brilliance from Alex Smith and very reliable footwork of Frank Gore. The Colts have taken the perfect season-jinx too seriously and dropped a few games – the very last and unexpected one to Texans. The elder Manning ought to get his troops in form for the playoffs, the margins are tiny at the top.

Dec 262006

LanternQuite green.

Snow did not reach Finland in time, and still has not. In the capital region it’s confined to odd clumps scattered around.

At least the grass was still semi-verdant, and prevented deterioration into a purely black christmas.

Other than the anomalous weather, the period was spent in traditional fashion. Ate a lot. Chilled out. Read a lot (as witnessed in the sidebar). And noted that even at four days, the vacation is way too short.

Dec 242006

Indeed. Merry christmas, friends, romans and countrymen.

Clicking on this Hoff on Christmas is suggested only to those strong of will (or adequately lubricated with mulled wine). Yes, it is scary – and in the interest of public safety and sanity the image is not attached here.

Merry christmas. It could be a bit whiter, but it’s christmas all right.

Dec 242006

Saw the new James Bond movie again.

The traditional eve-before-christmas-eve movie trip with high school friends ended up watching a movie that three of the four participants had already seen. A logistical masterpiece, but on account of the quality of the movie – it didn’t matter much.

Even on a second time around, it’s still a movie worth watching.

  • Had missed Richard Branson’s cameo the first time (being frisked at the Miami airport).
  • Chris Cornell’s title song sounds even better the second time around.
  • .

  • Eva Green as this round’s Bond Girl still fails to convince.
  • Hopefully Martin Campbell gets to direct the next movie, as “James Bond will return in 2008″, and he’s clearly got what it takes (having now directed two of the best Bond films).
Dec 232006

Blogs have a jargon of their own, that’s for sure. But some of the regularly seen expressions have evolved into clichés, some even way before being incorporated into the bloggers language.

According to the Gawker census of bad lingo, this very blog is slightly over 25% guilty.

Best. [ultimate thing or experience.] Ever/Evar.
Yes. The comic book guy has had his 15 second of fame on this very blog. Repeatedly. Tick one.
[undesirable counter-example], not so much.
Just say no.
FTW, O RLY, lol, FTL, OMG, FWIW, btw, PWND, ROTFL, etc.
Just say no, part 2.
[negative experience, situation, or description]; I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.
Nope. Haven’t even see it used. Which probably means that my blogroll is on the boring side.
[purposefully non-ghetto statement], yo.
Nope. My ghetto-fu is weak, and misuse would threaten to strip the last shreds of street credibility.
[undesirable conclusion]. Oy.
Nope, again.
[amazed paraphrase of opposing position]. Seriously? Seriously?
What’s wrong with my writing – why haven’t I used even this one?
What’s next? [outlandish scenario]?
Used, though only very rarely.
I’m looking at you, [example of complaint].
Nope, this list sure isn’t getting nowhere fast.
Um, [condescension]?
This one missing from the list of sins committed as well.
[Argument], wait for it, [rhetorical flourish].
Used this one live (and am probably going to suffer a serious decrease of karma for it), but never here.
[Undesirable experience] made my [sensory organ] bleed.
Been there. Done that. Tick three, that is.
[adjective]-y goodness
Uh. Guilty as charged. So, that’d be #4.
[any word]-gasm
[x] is the new [y].
Not used here, but seen daylight elsewhere.


Surprisingly, the generic english wikipedia entry on the CBG is far more informative than that on the Simpsons-specific one.

This Is The New That is a blog that tracks occurrences of the very last crime against language on the list.

Dec 222006

Following Jason Kottke’s lead, here’s my list of cities that I visited (qualifier: spent one or more nights) during the year:

  • Tampere, Finland*

  • Nivala, Finland

  • Munich, Germany*
  • London, United Kingdom

  • Boston, MA*
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Washington, DC
  • Singapore, Singapore
  • Brisbane, Australia*
  • Yulura, Australia
  • Cairns, Australia
  • Sydney, Australia

As in the original, an asterisk denotes multiple visits to a location.

EDIT 26.12.2006: Added London after prodding from mr. Srpnt.

Dec 222006

Tabu, the very finest hour of finnish television comedy, will be back on the small screen, starting on 14.1. on Subtv.

Hopefully this re-run paves the way for an imminent dvd-release as well.

Tabu was, after all, something of a rite of passage in high school. Unless you could quote several of the sketches verbatim, you were clearly of an inferior stock.

Dec 212006

Angry antsPhoto thursday is on a well-deserved break till mid-january. Standing in for a weekly image is a questionnaire from neulekirppu.

1. Which subject did you shoot the most during 2006?
Did you concentrate on something specific or just snap photos of whatever came along?

The most common subject is the rainforest canopy. Snapped dozens of images of various jungly bits of land during the trip to Australia. But pretty much was in rapid fire mode whenever carrying the camera, and subject vary greatly.

2. Did you participate in the photo thursday or other such events
during the year?

Participated in photo thursday nine times. No other events, though the monthly photo contest run by the neighboring team at work seems interesting.

3. Which of your photos taken this year is your favorite? Why?

No single absolute favorite. I’m very fond of the angry ants attached to this entry.

4. Did you learn anything about photography during 2006?
New appreciation of field of depth. Among many other things.

5. Did you buy any accessories or even a new camera during the year?
Bought a Canon S3. No accessories.

6. What do you plan on photographing in 2007?
Whatever comes along.

[ via skrubu. ]

Dec 212006

The longest night of the year will be easier with the following:

Dec 202006

Lost the consolation placement game, and will be bravely fighting for spot #7 this weekend.

This time it was pretty much three factors that settled the loss: bad play by the receivers (across the board, bench fared no better), Giants scoring only on running plays (Eli Manning had very decent yards, but no touchdowns), and a great game by the opposing quarterback (Michael Vick scoring on no less than four throws).

Oh well, time to concentrate on the fantasy basketball and hockey leagues.

Dec 192006

Hofbräuhaus coaster on a heavily defaced tableSpent three days working in Munich without access to network. TMO’s hotspot utterly failed to co-operate with my thinkpad at the hotel, and the days were just too busy for any extended experiments.

Mayerhof Hotel on Dachauer Straße was small, clean, right next to a tram stop, and apart from the niggling failure to access the net, pretty much an optimal selection.

Visited Tollwood, the humongous christmas market in Theresienwiese on sunday evening. The area is packed with both crafts and mass-produced fare – fortunately concentrating on the latter. Browsed a few, picked up a nicely challenging three dimensional wooden puzzle and settled in for a couple of glühweins with some finnish expatriattes (served with a sugarcube doused with rum and set on fire). Late dinner in the Augustiner brew-pub was in the shape of a schnitzel, and very agreeable in taste.

Monday evening’s entertainment consisted of limited shopping (the big Saturnus shop can keep their Gorillaz dvds and queues stretching to infinity), walking in the Marienplatz christmas market (crafts and eats) and trying to locate an italian restaurant. Last step utterly failed, and in the rapidly chilling evening had to resort to Ratskeller, a very centrally tourist trap. Their selection of sausages proved to be good indeed. Capped the evening with a visit to an even more tourist-catering place: the Hofbräuhaus. It hadn’t changed since the previous visit: loud, packed with tourists swilling from hefty tankards, and harried waiters carrying overflowing plates of food. Dancing brits were an unexpected bonus.

I’m pretty sure the Outlook Inbox will be overflowing tomorrow morning.

Dec 162006

Post-christmasparty lack of sleep and the farewell party of a friend took precedence over yet another missed Helsinki blogger event.

Supposedly there’s a shadow party coming up next week, and I’ve no useful excuse lined up right now. Operative words probably being: “right now”.

Dec 162006

The first batch of Carl Barks Collected EditionsPicked up the first batch of Carl Barksin Kootut today.

The first, eleventh and twenty-first volume out of the thirty to be published altogether were a pretty hefty package to lug home from the post office (conveniently open on a saturday on account of looming christmas).

Haven’t but briefly browsed the books, but the quality seems to be exquisite. Paper, coloring, translation – all have had significant improvements over previous editions. Editions, that while not as thorough as this one, have published the output many times over.

Stay tuned for a proper review.