Jun 282007
 

And that’s the NBA Draft, not the genuine one by Miller.

This year’s proceedings are spiced up by a potentially high-placing finn among the draftees. Petteri Koponen is the first finn expected to be drafted early since Hanno Möttölä, and he enters the draft without having spent four years in the NCAA.

In mock drafts his star has been rising steadily, but a first round pick is still unlikely, even though Fox Sports has Clips choosing him at #14.

The draft is a lottery, nothing more, nothing less. SI lists some of the greatest steals and busts. Some familiar faces, but a lot more (especially in the latter list) buried in the annals of the league.

Jun 282007
 

Flint Marko walking through a windowSaw Sam Raimi’s third installment of the Spiderman-franchise. And walked away disappointed, this was a definite letdown after the first two movies.

The plot is way too busy – the three villains are just too much to tackle alone, and on top are several B-plots (most of them conveniently sheared of their origin in the comics) that consume their own good slice of screen time. It’s not too hard to follow, since the target audience consists of sugar-rushed kids, just pointlessly busy. But there are plot devices (such as Venom, Gwen Stacy and the twist sprung by the Osborne’s Jeeves-clone) left completely in the cold.

Like with the previous movie, it’s not the main cast that takes top honors, acting-wise. Topher Grace is surprisingly good as the opportunistic rival to Peter Parker’s workingman ethos, and Thomas Haden Church blunt as Sandman. And Bruce Campbell, the series mainstay, is present again, again as a foil for Spiderman’s civilian alter ego. But, as usual, he’s present in one scene only – and, as usual, J.K. Simmons as Bugle’s despotic editor is also chronically under-used. The less said about Tobey Maguire’s presence, the better – one trick can only take a pony so far. And the emo/badboy-scenes were just taking him beyond his ability/comfort zone, and were painful to watch.

While the movie has some great moments (most of the occurring near the top of Manhattan skyline), it’s the bad stretches inbetween that drag the film down. At 140 minutes it’s a long movie, and like with the newest Pirates-episode, the going gets very boring at times.

The attached image is from the Sony store in New York – a promotional Sandman statue climbing through the window.

Jun 262007
 

Ice Cream Summer - Photo Thursday week #52 challengeThis week’s photo thursday challenge subject is ice cream summer.

My take on the subject is the attached image, the old-schoolest of finnish ice cream enjoyed on the bridge to Seurasaari. The piercing calls of seagulls and the droplets of the quickly melting ice cream obviously cannot be captured on photograph.

(As usual, the full-size photograph is available by clicking the attached image.)

Jun 262007
 

Blade Runner’s been near the top of the lists of films in need of a definitive dvd edition.

A five disc monstrosity will be offered later this year, and the four different edits in the box should suit the most serious Deckard-o-philes amongst us.

Of course, the advent of the high definition discs means that an even more ultimate edition will be offered sooner or later.

Jun 222007
 

Sunset in JollasMeh. Never got a real hangover from yesterday, but seemed to enter bouts of cosmic nausea occasionally.

Which slightly marred an otherwise very enjoyable barbecue evening in Jollas.

Two excellent cuts of steak, greatest salad I’ve eaten in months and dessert worth beheading a few french nobles. Of any of which I took zero pictures, proving that an omni-present camera is no good if not used.

Missed out on most public transport on the way out, and walked a couple of kilometers through the still very well-lit, but completely deserted Jollas. The picture is taken off a ridge, just before the sun slightly dips below the horizon.

Jun 212007
 

Nokia/NSN summer party in full swingAnnual company summer party was held traditionally on the wednesday before midsummer.

Actually, this was a doubleheader party, as both Nokia and the brand-spanking new Nokia Siemens Networks had a joint shindig.

On account of the usual location being a humongous crater, the party had been moved – to Kaisaniemi, closer to downtown you cannot easily get a playing field for thousands and thousands of attendees, that’s for sure.

Yeah, the location. Not bad at all, featuring such components as non-level ground, grass and trees. Almost enough to shield the participants from the goings on on stage.

You see, this year’s occasion continued the cluelessly cruel selection of artists. And in 2007, the headliner was the finnish tango king emeritus: Jari Sillanpää. Who, thankfully, did play other stuff than his zillion-selling schlagers. Katri Ylander (runner-up in finnish idols some years ago) was missing in action, and replaced by Nina Autio, another artist who took the “I’ll sing harmless classics”-option out of a potentially hard situation.

View from Lux's balconyBut music has never been the main idea in these parties. And neither has the freely flowing beer, though this year’s crop did service as a useful social lubricant for the thousands of variably repressed engineers. Nope – it’s the meeting of friends – those whom work has tossed into other niches in the company, schoolmates, and just people with whom occasional encounters do not regularly turn into flaming agony. Lots of friends sighted, though a couple of conspicuous omissions happened.

Nachspiel took a turn for the weird – visited Lux not once, but twice. First shot was a “quick” in-n-out trick (using the word quick in the loosest and most inappropriate sense, since merely queuing in took almost half an hour), but on the second ended up in the private section, away from the hoi polloi, music pumped out too loud, glass shards on the floor and just plain the things why I purposefully avoid Sedu Koskinen’s oeuvre in general.

Jun 192007
 

It’s been a while since the listing of interesting new blogs that crossed the event horizon. Here goes, the choice to browse is yours. All yours.

  • Jari Lindholm, the essential angry man of the finnish media. Writes well, and keeps kicking conformists in the shins.
  • Sexkidsrocknroll – the life of a single mother is not my #1 topic, but when the content is as well-written (and prone to rants), it’s worth the price of admission.
  • Marc Andreessen’s blog (the wunderkind of the Bubble1.0 writes well).
  • harmaahattu – I’ll have what he’s having.
  • n95 Plaza – because codename deep plum just is a bit on the complicated side.
  • Koposkyttäämö – A brand-new blog about Petteri Koponen’s looming career in the NBA.
Jun 192007
 

Looks like O’Reilly, the publisher of quality computer books is looking to expand. Big time.

They’ve kicked off two conferences on topics even further removed from their fare than usual:

Tools of Change, running in San José as this is written is a lesser departure. After all, it’s a short step from publishing books to speaking about publishing books.

The conference on Enery Innovation, on the other hand, is something else altogether. Expected to see Al Gore as one of the keynote speakers, but thus far the prophet of climate change du jour is absent from the program.

And someone might find the ability to purchase books chapter-by-chapter useful. Me? I’m happier with whole books, physical ones by preference. Though in the age of almost infinite storage capacity a fully searchable copy would be a nice bonus.

Jun 182007
 

Why, certainly!

teh

  • One more great map from strangemaps, this one showing which US state matches with which country size- and GDP-wise. Finland = Colorado, which ain’t bad at all.
  • Photographs of speed. Some seriously great snaps.
  • The end is nigh: multicore programming is hard.
  • With candidates like these, the seven new wonders are bound to be boring. Where’s teh internet from the list?
  • Been a happy google reader user for quite a while, but with their recent data loss issues, having another RSS-reader might be worthwhile. Or not. Anyway, seems that there’s quite a selection of the tools available.
  • Sushi books.
  • Editing CSS isn’t exactly the best fun available, a good editor makes it less of a chore.
  • Airlinemeals, just the thing to check before a transatlantic crossing in the cattle section of a 757.
  • The 65 million dollar pants-case makes it to the court. By the description the session was high on surreal, and fortunately low on understanding the accuser.

[ image nabbed from goopymart's photoset on flickr. ]

Jun 182007
 

Saw the last episode Gore Verbinski’s Disney theme park ride-inspired pirate trilogy yesterday. And didn’t like it much. Stars-wise even less than part two a year ago (which probably snuck in an extra star based on the great makeup on Davy Jones).

Indeed, this is not a very good movie. While it has some great moments, they are separated by wastelands of meaningless action, most wooden dialogue north of the antarctic, and very little of the unexpected charm that made the first part the hit it deservedely is. The plot turns, but the arcs are slow, and signposted for the viewers to catch. Some of the plot devices are unexpectedly clumsy – good/bad Jacks talking back to Captain Sparrow come to mind first – but some raise the bar significantly. Though the chillest moment is at the very beginning, when the pirates and collaboratiors get to understand what martial law really means.

Johnny Depp is surprisingly subdued in his third outing of Jack Sparrow, and as such the other pirates run rings around him. Especially Geoffrey Rush’s Barbossa, who has earned a lot of swagger since the first part of the trilogy. Chow Yun-Fat is criminally underused, but his scarred head does make an immediate impression when he hits the screen.

Quite a waste, really. With deft cutting and splicing, the two parts could have made a single good movie – now we’re left with two very mediocre ones.

Like last time, there’s a post-credits scene – this time more meaningful. But worth the wait? That’s for you to decide, especially when hesari spoiled the contents in last week’s nyt.

Back for more? Probably – the end is left sufficiently open for the franchise to resurface when the Disney magic starts running dry again.

Encountered my first case of cinema rage in the theatre. Sat in the very last row of Tennispalatsi 1, and noted that a bunch of annoyingly loud and talkative folks sat to the right of me. The volume was loud enough to mask most of the noise, and the guy sitting next to me was thankfully the silent one of the group and functioned as isolation once the film got going. The woman sitting on the other side of the group clearly wasn’t thus protected, and let her annoyance show in a verbal lashing when the credits started rolling. Way to go, seriously, and worth a late and remote thank you. It’s simply wrong to shown up in a cinema merely chat with your friends.

Jun 182007
 

The first trailer for Wall*E, the ninth Pixar movie is out.

And the trailer is not your usual kind (although it does feature a snippet of the movie), the lunch described sounds like one that’d been interesting to witness. After all, it’s not often that a single meeting over a meal ends up producing several billion dollars in gross revenue.

Jun 182007
 

Tuska is sold out.

Despite a not very interesting cavalcade of bands. Had a few I’d have wanted to see, but that’s not likely to happen, unless there are vast numbers of expiring reservations still.

The only date with tickets available is sunday. The one with the lowest number of anything meaningful on the agenda.

Jun 172007
 

Wah? No Jack Bauer until next spring (if the previous scheduling decisions hold).

The fifth season was by far the best of the bunch, and finished with a well-placed cliffhanger, leaving the book wide open for the sixth season to pick up. CTU remained as dysfunctional work environment as ever, and the early episodes had a pronounced workmate-thinning effect on the agency. The hobbit throwing hissy fits was just an added bonus. As was the unexpectedly less bloodsheddy finale.

And now, for something completely different, the lottery struck the first of this summer’s threequels: Pirates of the Caribbean.

Jun 172007
 

Had the semi-monthly gamenight at Lemmy’s place yesterday.

The new addition in the family was immediately obvious: a Scared Stiff pinball machine. It’s a 1996-vintage game, which I’ve confessed liking before. The experience was even better now, repeated games allowed experimenting with shots. Lodged a ball in the spider scoop thrice in half a dozen games, a feat not reproduced by anyone. Either got phenomenally unlucky, or my timing is odd.

Video games-wise the new guy on the block was Virtua Tennis 3 on x360. Our doubles games got off to an odd start, with the game resembling the original very little. After a couple of experiments the balls stayed alive for more than two hits, and the game got the appreciation it deserved (especially of the graphics, killer visuals on the big screen).

The regularest of the regulars, Pro Evolution Soccer, took its good time as well. Low-scoring affairs, with the vast majority of goals firmly in the ugly-end of the scale. True to real life, then.

Halo 2 proved that my FPS-fu is weak (the amount of hits scored over three games was laughably negligible).

Noted that:
a) I need a bigger better television,
b) I ought to pick up the Vice and Liberty City Stories on PS2, since the gameplay is smoothed up even from San Andreas.

Capped the evening with a decent round of Twilight Zone, still my favorite pinball machine. Started off real bad, with around 30M after the two first balls – got two extra balls with the last, and prolonged the game considerably. Though missing a couple of good scoring opportunities kept the score from advancing much beyond 200 million.

Jun 152007
 

Had the first post-work beers on the cliffs near the office of the summer.

Firmly in the can-mode, the evidence of careless dachshund-walkers is prevalent in the nature, with brown glass and cardboard carelessly strewn around. We took out what we brought.

  • Hours of sunshine: Just about right.
  • Rabbits sighted: Three (at least).
  • “Man, that’s a nice camera”-moments: Definitely.
  • Re-orgs discussed: Yes, at length.
  • Worrisome clouds: Not very many.
  • “Like, are there any worthwhile bands at {Tuska/Ruisrock/*}”: Probably, but no agreement on any was reached.
  • Descriptions of recent cluelessness: Many, very many.
  • We’ll be back: Certainly.
Jun 142007
 

Visited the S60 marketing event in the Nokia flagship store on Aleksanterikatu.

The catering side of things was good – decent red wine and plentiful nibbles, but the devices side was a bit underwhelming – apart from the new gen communicator (E90), no funky new gadgets were shown.

Talked with the designated Vertu sales guy for a while, and was surprised how well the world’s only luxury phone is selling. Especially considering the difficulty of bringing anything non-vanilla in the jantelov-dominated Scandinavia.

Pimped my brand new n95 (yes, syvä luumu was delivered exactly on schedule) with a screensaver, but more about the phone when experiences warrant some discussion. The screen is pretty, keyboard a bit fiddly (with convex keys, that’s only to be expected) and the GPS-functionality untried.

Jun 142007
 

Sound - Photo Thursday week #51 challengeThis week’s photo thursday challenge subject is sound.

My take on the subject is the attached image, a didgeridoo playing aborigine on the Circular Quay. The amplified sound nicely reverberates throughout the area, and around noon the soundscape was free of dance-oriented external elements that crept into it after dark.

(As usual, the full-size photograph is available by clicking the attached image.)

Jun 122007
 

I’ve been a participant in the weekly photo thursday for thirty-odd weeks now.

The web is full of photography show-n-tells, but like the DPChallenge the rules tend to be on the harsh side (photo must be taken after the challenge is announced), and the crop is usually very good.

The discovery of Photo Friday last week (from benrope’s blog) provides a second location where to exhibit, without the spectre of too much competition or too restrictive rules.

No picture leaps out off the albums that screams “Purity”, the topic of this week’s challenge, so the first participation has to wait a little.

Jun 122007
 

Watched Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino’s half of this summer’s grindhouse double feature. And while it’s easily dismissed as a homage to the low budget/high speed flicks of the seventies, it turns out to be a pretty decent movie on its own.

That is, if the viewer is not bothered by a simplistic script, profuse swearing, cardboard characters and bouts of ultraviolence. Fortunately, that’s not all there is, since the characters end up being a lot more than the initially apparent set of paper dolls, and camouflaging amongst the regularly repeated seven words you cannot say on television there’s long stretches of pleasant dialogue. The script doesn’t really get any better, and the violence is an integral part of the film.

So yeah, this is a simple film, and that is by no means a cause to disrespect it. Just tone down the expectations from a Reservoir Dogs/Pulp Fiction- level masterpiece, and all’s well.

But despite it being simple, it’s very much on the enjoyable side. It’s like a steak properly served in a posh restaurant – without garnish. There’s the main plot, and nothing else. And the plot servers a good ride – so a penchant for car chases should be added as a criterion, since they form a good slice of the movie.

The movie neatly simulates an old, badly worn copy. There are scratches and hairs on the film, color balance is a tad unstable, and missing frames are used as an excuse for not bridging scenes.

Apart from Kurt Russell as the badass stuntman, there are no major league stars in the cast. Of whom a lot seem to be present in the second half of the set, Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror. Which, unfortunately, doesn’t premiere here until late july.

And an even worse omission is the fact that the set of fake trailers for further grindhouse-mayhem shown inbetween the movies will most likely not see the silver screen in Finland.

And I so need to see Vanishing Point, referred to multiple times in the dialogue.