Dec 162006

I don’t like the new coke, that’s been established already.

The finnish consumer advisory board has banned the commercials advertising the product.

Not due to the taste, but on account of the said advertisements being demeaning to women.

True, the ads are a match for the product, but this is rather harsh a step. Then again, I obviously haven’t seen all the variants, since the one quoted in decision is unfamiliar.

For the sake of balance, here’s a pepsi commercial that was cut.

[ via kulutusjuhla. ]

Dec 152006

Click. Click. Click.

Dec 152006

The third, and this year’s last christmas party is now history.

Botta offered mediocre food, loud music and tight quarters.

Band played loud, but their repertoire was interesting. First time I’ve heard Rammstein covered. Coming from a band whose selections otherwise quite tightly stayed within the traditional (from I will Survive to Runaway), Du Hasst was definitely a positive surprise.

Dec 132006

A musical meme, “describe your life in the names of songs”, is making the rounds again. Answered this way back in 2003 (before I got bitten by blog-bug), and mr. google still conveniently provides access to the old set.

The questions have mutated a bit in three years, so it’s time for a repeat. Using the same artist, of course, premier league football teams come and go, but the disturbed man from Arizona remains.

1. Gender?

Jackknife Johnny.

2. Your greatest dream?

Might as well be on Mars

3. What do you hate?

Fields of Regret.

4. How do you feel right now?

Between High School & Old School.

5. How’s it going in general?

Never Been Sold Before.

6. What do you like?

Sun Arise.

7. What would you like to say to your girlfriend?

Who Do You Think We Are?

8. Where would you like to be?

Caught in a Dream.

9. Describe life.

I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.

10. Describe yourself.

No more Mr. Nice Guy.

11. What would you like right now?


(And the artist is Alice Cooper, to clue in the less observant among the readers.)

Dec 122006

Some recent gaming-related links and products that look worthy of a click or even a purchase.

  • China Miéville‘s New Crobuzon will get turned into a game setting in Dragon#352 in january.
  • The third expansion for Arkham Horror will be King in Yellow (though it hasn’t yet been officially announced by the publisher).
  • Munchkin Cthulhu has been delayed till spring 2007.
  • Age of Decadence looks like an immersive and text-rich role-playing game. Without a set release date.
  • Changing Times is the first new Transhuman Space product in ages.
  • Jenova Chen’s Flow is nothing short of hypnotic.
  • Tarot of Cthulhu, Ken Hite’s followup to his wildly successful Dubious Shards has been out for a while.
  • And while continuing in the unremitting horror-genre, the brand new Esoterrorists looks like a game with a worthy subject and an even worthier author.
Dec 122006

The lead article of today’s hesari’s science pages was about renaming mammals (article not available for free).

Following in the steps of the ornithologers who have given a finnish name to all the bird species in the world, a dedicated group is on the final stretch of completing the process for mammals.

The article concentrated on two topics: renaming old friends and inventing completely new names. A lot of animals will have their official name changed to correspond to style guidelines and to reflect the animal’s place in the family tree, examples of such include critters such as leijonahylje (ex-merileijona) and saksanpeura (née saksanhirvi). But the second big topic is far more interesting. Due to the need to name hundreds of rats and bats the group members invented new foundations for such creatures, including the two shown in the title of this entry. A hiiru is a mouse with an american origin, and a lenko is a fruitbat (curiously abbreviated from lentävä koira – flying fox in english).

The work is not finished yet, and apparently not available online at all (at least casual googling picks up no hits). Hopefully the authors will take the same route as the bird-enthusiasts and publish it for free. Though as a closet taxonomer I wouldn’t mind a cheapish softback edition either (like that published of the fish species of the world two years ago).

Dec 122006

… it’s reality for the brave Hakkapeliitat.

The last game of the regular season was a defeat, and that means that a trip to the consolation row just began. On one hand it’s sad that the series of bowl appearances ground to a halt after four consecutive ones, on the other this was a long time coming.

Lost the last playoff spot by the smallest of margins, by placing fifth, after getting beaten by the team that finished fourth. The loss was entirely my own doing. Ran the wrong RBs – both guys on the bench reached the end zone, whereas Marion Barber, hero of two previous weeks with four TDs, ran a grand total of three carries. Picked up Vince Young for this round, and while he has the makings of a franchise quarterback, he wasn’t too productive this time around. Eli Manning, who had shown improvement the previous week was steady, but I misguidedly ran the Tennessee freshman instead.

So, at 7-7, it’s time to face the challenge of the consolation, and emerge at the top of that. Not as flashy as a bowl game, that’s for sure, but a decent goal nonetheless.

The Colts, who at one point looked like a sure thing were neatly trounced by the Jaguars, and they still haven’t clinched even their division yet. And Drew Brees sure has landed on his feet in New Orleans, showing with a five touchdown game that he’s not dependent on the top flight receivers he enjoyed working with in Chargers. Chargers, who are in scary form themselves, as LaDainian Tomlinson has already set a new record for regular season touchdowns – and there are still two games to go.

Dec 112006

Cory Doctorow has a good piece in Forbes on making his entire bibliography available for free.

Indeed. His novels and short story collections are all available on his website. I’ve only read his debut novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, and found it both clumsy and filled with captivating ideas.

Being an old-fashioned reader, I’m not much of a reader from screen, so the rest of the books I will be picking up one by one – though not locally as the bookstores in Helsinki seem utterly unable to stock his books.

However, Doctorow is by no means the only author who has thrown down the gauntlet of attracting more readers by giving the books away for free.

Charles StrossAccelerando has been available since last summer. And its downloadability has not been a disadvantage for its sales. It’s a novel that takes the future on a ride, and never lets up on the gas, hence the name. What begins as a conventional study of near future quickly turns completely unrecognizable.

The newest arrival on the scene is Peter Watts’ Blindsight, just out in hardback format, as well as available on his website.

Dec 112006

Sami at Überkuul amusingly massacres Coke Zero. Pretty much echoing my thoughts. The taste is a pale imitation of the real thing, and it never attempts to reach anything beyond the original. And the advertisements, especially the long one torturing the public before movies, are grounds for a week in the stocks.

The description of what a single glass of sugared up soda does to the human body is scary reading. And it’s by no means coke-specific, but reaches across the spectrum of liquid syrup.

(And yes, I’m a Pepsi Max man myself, just to set expectations right.)

Dec 112006

A new monday, a new weekly five. As per the previous, the lost in translation-moments are by me, and the originals are not to blame.

This week’s collection continues on the topically calendarial matters.

The second advent candle has now been lighted, and there’s two to go before christmas. But there are other candles than advent-related ones. Let there be light, as is appropriate on a week with Saint Lucia’s day.

1. How often do you light candles? Where?
Rarely. Usually in december. Home.

2. What kind of candles? Any favorite brand or a model?
No particular favorites. Tuikku is a perennially useful light source, and never tips.

3. Where do you pick up the candles (tips on shops much appreciated)? Or do you craft your own?

No tips on shops. The last four dozen came from Stockmann. Last candle
I created was back in elementary school.

4. Electric candles – not even by accident, or just the thing? Why?

Nope. The live fire is the real deal.

5. The first finnish Lucia was crowned in 1936. What are your thoughts on the seventy year-old tradition?
Harmless. And the buns spiced up with saffron make it worthwhile.

Dec 102006

Days of Wonder‘s Ticket to Ride has turned into a decent franchise – having spawned both expansions and spinoffs in the two years following its victory in the annual Spiel des Jahres contest.

In addition to the official expansions, lots of enterprising folks have taken up the challenge to design additional boards for the game.

The newest entry is a map of Finland, done using the pre-WW2 borders (so there is actually something to do in the eastern parts of the country).

Dec 102006

A book from 2007?Bought Jeffrey Zeldman‘s Designing With Web Standards book last week. On a whim, hadn’t planned on getting this tome.

I’m pretty much halfway through it, and it’s turned out to be a good book indeed. More about methodology than bit-level design, though the latter is present en masse in some chapters. And some of the fruits of learning shall be put to good use here. A redesign (of at least this blog) has been pending for a while.

But it’s not the sensible content that is the mystery about the book. Nope, its copyright date just seems plain wrong – as indicated in the attached image.

Dec 102006

Gemischte linke.

Dec 092006

With the decline of MTV to providing information on hiphop stars’ houses and endless variants of the Real World, it’s the music that has suffered.

With videos shoved into a minority fraction of the airtime, and the selection limited to a dozen on the powerplay-list, it’s just too time-consuming process to try and stay up to date with music videos.

Fortunately the good folks of DoCopenhagen have put together a page with their selection of the top 50 videos of the year. No metal within the collection, which is obviously a minus – but this sure is a decent introduction to the subject.

Dec 092006

Old, stodgy and occasionally frighteningly conservative finnish weekly magazine, Suomen Kuvalehti, has branched out to unknwon waters recently.

Their article on wikipedia expects the readers to be rather well-informed about the subject, which probably is too much for the majority of the readers. Finnish wikipedia gets half the article – the history bit (zero to 83’000 articles in four years) is spot on, but the rest is spent on waffling about the editing protocol, using case Sipilä as a measurement stick.

The article on old school notebooks (only partially available on the web) is far less controversial. And manages to give heavy props to Moleskine, while noting that PDAs were not a convincing replacement for paper.

While the former article gets lost in details, they both are on the decent side, and hopefully the magazine keeps up its interest in such unexpected subjects.

Dec 092006

Watched the first UEFA Champions League game earlier this week, Barcelona pretty convincingly beat Werder Bremen and advanced from the group stage.

Despite the catalans good progress in La Liga, the Champions League has not been easy – they secured a place in the next stage in the very last game. The season-ending injury of Samuel Eto’o has definitely struck them hard.

The game was a pleasant one to watch – technical football that rarely bogged down in the midfield. Two goals (first of them a brilliant trick shot by Ronaldinho) supplemented by two shots on goal posts.

Chelsea has been doing great as well, though is six points behind the Red Devils in the league. Somehow I’ve ended up losing interest in the team – and their continued moneyball game netted one of my least favorite players. Though the purchase Ashley Cole alone cannot be blamed for the decline.

Dec 092006

Planned on briefly visiting a friends’ christmas party on friday evening. Failed, and ended up spending the entire evening on the premises.

Arrived late, and without supplies, but no-one minded participating in destroying a copious supply of mulled wine.

Main entertainment of the evening was table hockey, but played with two guys on each team, both controlling three rods, alternating the position after scoring a goal. First two games were pretty much chaos, hadn’t played table hockey in years. But the old skills slowly returned, and managed to put on some decent sniping action in subsequent games (still cannot produce any effective solo play by the center).

Dec 072006

Cat-sitting in december must be one of the least stressful duties available.

After all, the creatures pretty much fend for themselves, and are not enthusiastic about spending any extended time outside in the rain.

And having one curled up on your legs while reading is definitely something that a tank full of tropical fish cannot provide.

So, sure, pencil me in for the next tour of duty as well.

Dec 062006

Yeah, it’s becoming a weekly ritual, answering Skrubu’s weekly five. Again, grievous bodily harm visited upon the english language is mine alone, and no co-defendants are to be found.

This week’s quintet concerns itself with december, and its holidays.

1. Do you have an advent calendar (and of what kind, if so)?
No physical calendar, but reading the Official One on a daily basis.

2. Any christmas parties thus far?
None yet, three to go.

3. What do you think about the presidential ball on independence day?
Harmless tradition. No strong feelings one way or the other.

4. Are you planning to watch the ball on television (why, if so), or are you among the invitees, or planning to cause commotion outside the palace?
Nope. And with the weather like this, definitely sticking to indoors amusement.

5. Have you purchased all presents already? And are you perplexed by the fact that more than 300 shops will be closed on christmas eve?
Nope, just a few thus far. And I do aim to get the shopping done well in advance, so the shops being closed ought not to matter.

Dec 062006

Another Guardian list, another uncomfortable reckoning of spotted works.

This time the count is five certain, and three possibles. Better than the books of 2006, but still pretty lame:

  • Botticelli’s Primavera,
  • Leonardo daVinci’s Adoration of the Magi,
  • The Book of Kells,
  • Géricault’s Raft of the Medusa,
  • Hokusai’s 36 views of Mount Fuji (as prints, not the originals).

Not 100% sure on the Spiral Jetty (I’m pretty sure it was submerged in 1993-94) or the other two works displayed in Louvre (the 45 minute forced march through the halls left out a lot). Many, many embarrassing “not yet”-notes, Stonehenge and the Scream at the very top of the list.