Mar 302007

Today my twelve year-long career at Nokia drew to a close.

This was neither on account of being headhunted to a more lucrative position, nor due to being tossed after all energy had been sucked out.

Nope, this was the result of the long-ongoing merger with the networking segment of Siemens.

Monday’ll show what really happens – thus far the most concrete action has been the change in the official company slide template.

Sadly, there was no wake for the old company, nor any other semi-organized quaffing of Guinness in copious proportions. To horribly misquote Eliot, my employment did not end with a bang, and even a whimper is too aggressive a term to describe the process of quiietly slinking out at the end of a day. Disappointing, that’s for sure.

Mar 302007

Saw the tail end of the Alamaailman Vasarat gig at Tavastia yesterday.

I’ve been all for earlier start times for bands for ages, but even more positive about needing a definite showtime on the ticket.

The band had played about twenty minutes when I showed up five to eleven, and played for forty-odd minutes more.

They were in good form – Stakula’s raps about as non-sequitur as they get, and the trombonist seemed to be periodically attempting to decapitate bandmembers with his instrument. Props also to the cellist for the rockstaring-est gesture for a long time – after all every Tom, Dick or Harry can toss guitar picks into the audience, but very few are willing to part with the bow.

Heard both old and new songs – the title of this entry is based on the name of a song in the latter category – Huikeuden Lieriö.

Bought the new album Maahan, and a t-shirt – both for a very reasonable price of 15€.

Mar 292007

Today it has been three years exactly since this blog got started.

Since then there’s been 1655 entries (of which 729 in the last year), a lot fewer photographs and even fewer comments.

The occasion shall celebrated, not with a lopsided cake festooned with a trio of candles, but rather with the bestest and brightest of ethnic brass funk bands.

Mar 292007

Summer Night - Photo Thursday week #40 challengeThis week’s photo thursday challenge subject is the most beautiful word in the world.

My take on the subject is kesäyö (summer night)- it’s a beautiful word, full of umlauts, and as a concept just has no disadvantages whatsoever.

The attached image is from last summer, taken in Pohjanmaa. Somwehere way past midnight, when the sky is still lit by the sun barely below horizon – but the first clouds are creeping in for contrast.

Mar 272007

Finally succumbed to a flu. Of sorts. At least there’s fever and cough – neither bad, but both annoying.

Took a day off, to avoid another period of doctor-enforced silence, and have been spending it in the way sick leave days are supposed to:

  • Reading comics (Nemesis, fresh off a library, is way better than I remembered).
  • Strenuously avoiding thinking about work.
  • Playing video games (slowly getting the hang of kudos in Project Gotham Racing 3).
  • Drinking massive amounts of un-chilled juice.
  • Lounging on the sofa.
  • Even more strenuously avoiding checking work-related e-mail.
  • Reading a few magazines that have been piling on the coffee table.

Back to work tomorrow, unless the flu really degrades a lot.

Mar 272007

Playstation 3 seems to have a lot of problems getting kickstarted in Finland. Unlike with recent other manufacturers’ consoles, there’s no shortage.

Quite different from the feeding frenzy that occurred in the states.

Where does this lack of interest stem from, it’s hard to pinpoint, but easy to guesstimate: the launch line-up doesn’t have any triple-A games (though Motorstorm does look nice), the price at 689€ is likely beyond most potential buyers threshold for pain and Sony just doesn’t seem to figure out what to do with the new console.

Me? In no hurry to buy, waiting for proper games and hefty reduction in the price. Xbox 360 is 3rd generation enough for me.

[ EDIT: Bah, the hesari games blog spotted this sales anomaly as well, and their article is far more thorough than mine. ]

Mar 272007

The otherwise very reliable digital video recorder by ProCaster has developed a peculiar deficiency: it no longer accepts guidance from the remote control, unless said gadget is held in front of it less than a foot away.

It’s not a case of dead batteries, nor of a battered remote, since the same behaviour is exhibited with a fresh set of duracells and with a Logitech universal remote (of which more later).

This certainly puts a crimp in my channel-surfing activities.

Mar 272007

Surfed less than expected, but hit some interesting pockets of weirdness that need to be shared:

Mar 262007

Saw Terry Gilliam’s newest movie, Tideland, yesterday. And my indifferent response is reflected in the less-than-average number of stars.

It’s not that I didn’t want to like the movie – the ex-Python is one of the directors whose output I’ve found to be very agreeable (even when it’s at the odds with the rest of the world, like with Brothers Grimm). But Tideland was a movie I honestly found myself increasingly disliking – though things improved towards the end.

Like the recent Pan’s Labyrinth, this is a fractured fairy tale, told from the perspective of a young girl. The circumstances are obviously different than in de Toro’s masterpiece, and Tideland never ventures truly far into the realm of fables.

And that’s probably one of its downfalls, the movie has a very boring mid-section, and only the glorious scenery – flowing gold in the form of undulating wheat – keeps from falling asleep.

Apart from Jeliza-Rose, the protagonist, the rest of the troupe is between disturbed and annoying. Jennifer Tilly, obviously, falls into the second batch.

The story on the confusing side, and very little is explained fully. Thus the watcher is left to puzzle over the dialogue – most of which are from very unreliable sources.

Like in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the recreational use of drugs is common in the movie – something that the more censor-oriented watchers found very damning, especially when it’s the little girl that prepares the doses for his Denmark-obsessed father.

Half a star as a bonus to the translator/subtitlist, whose expression “suojässi” for “bog-men” definitely was one of the very few highlights of this film.

Mar 262007

Cosy - Photo Thursday week #39 challengeThis week’s photo thursday challenge subject is cosy, homelike. The original expression doesn’t translate well into english, but the danes have a masterful word to describe this and much more: hyggelig.

My take is the attached image – scene from the spacious Lavonardo HQ, after having taken the first left after the polo court (the second left goes to the rock garden).

This photo misses out on the sofa-department, but highlights the watery abode of my scaly housemates (the funky contraption to the front left glass is a carbon dioxide diffusor) as well as the bedroom shelves straining under ever-growing load of books.

Mar 262007

The European Union turns 50 years today.

Even if Finland has been riding the wagon to Brussels only a dozen years, the ride’s been mainly beneficial.

Food is cheaper, the selection of goods much wider, a single currency makes travel significantly easier, as does the Schengen-convention, ESA and CERN are doing big things to advance science, GSM happened.

Many happy returns.

Mar 242007

The second day of the workshop was even more hectic than the first, though briefer due to the fact that there was an airplane to catch. Free time was in very short supply – and the only half an hour was consumed neatly with an innocent “let’s have a beer before dinner”-suggestion.

The karmic balance of the universe was preserved – on the way in the airplane food was despicable (barely warm beef lindström), and on the way back surprisingly decent (chicken with BBQ-ish sauce).

Unlike the two previous trips to München, Helsinki had not turned white with snow in my absence. The weather started picking up during friday, and was actually nice and warm at the end of the day. Here, it’s hard to evaluate right now, but the weekend is supposedly spring-y.

Mar 222007

selection of pork knucklesIn München for a two-day workshop.

It’s surprisingly chilly – there’s snow both on the ground and the weather forecast. The locals are full of stories how nice it was last week, and how much even nicer it will be next week. But right now the conditions are cold, much wintrier than back home.

Had dinner at Haxnbauer, a seemingly traditional bavarian restaurant. The menu was simple: you eat pork/veal knuckles, or you starve. The knuckles appeared to be not from the palms of the animal, but the shoulder joing of a foreleg. Meaning that getting at the choicest bits needed some quality disassembly work. Apart from the skin the portions were surprisingly non-greasy. The skin, on the other hand, just felt like it had accumulated all the lard roasted off during the preparation process – one bit was sufficient to deter from further culinary exploration. The knuckles were not served entirely bare: mashed potatoes and roasted onion were all right as accompaniment, but potato dumplings were just too dense to consume.

Mar 212007

zero violence blog logoAgreed:
death threats are not protected speech.

The attached nifty logo (from brandcurve) notes the fact that the only violence in this blog is either of an imaginary nature or utterly unglorified if real.

Of course the discourse shown is not that harsh, from a scarred USENET veteran’s perspective. But then again, I never got into anything worse than garden variety flamewars that never escalated beyond loud disagreement, and the exhibits provided show that some of the participants got worked up. Uncomfortably worked up.

But the fact that some people just might be able to take a blow without breaking their stride is hardly any excuse for their existence. Since violence is ruled out, let’s hope the perpetrolls just get their fifteen minutes of fame in a gigantic display of public embarrassment.

[ via Visa Kopu, and many others besides. ]

Mar 212007

Tickets to Killers and Placebo gigs in Helsinki (in june and may, respectively) go on sale tomorrow morning.

Let’s see how the local e-ticket purveyor will be quite swamped. Probably not to the depth of the recent Metallica-fiasco, but swamped nonetheless.

Mar 212007

The Playstation 3 European backwards compatibility list is out.

And it contains quite unexpected omissions when it comes to popular games – Final Fantasy VII and Gran Turismo 4 are missing altogether, as is the brand-new Okami, and the GTA:San Andreas will exhibit “noticeable problems”.

Firmware updates will probably extend the list, but it’s still worrisome to see some of the golden franchises (silent hill, metal gear solid and many others in addition to the ones listed above) handicapped from the start.

The compatibility list has 1845 games, but the list is presented in a way that renders sensible searching almost futile – the pages are rendered dynamically and restricted to twenty or so entries per page. Thus liberal searching for known titles takes a lot more work than ought to be necessary.

Mar 202007

Best enjoyed with a quality browser.

Mar 192007

Come on inCandidate made it. Not that I doubted it.

In other news the social democrat / centrist-government took a huge hit. The main beneficaries were the conservatives (attaining ten new seats in the parliament) as well as the green and nationalist parties (one and two new seats, respectively).

Excellent. Apart from the nationalist party’s increased share.

Even better is the fact that the sanest man in the parliament, Jyrki Kasvi, extended his mandate with four more years.