Oct 312007

Hakkapeliitat was again victorious, for the third week in a row. After a loss-filled start of the season, things have turned seriously for the better lately.

Two outstanding games by guys that regularly have showed up (Brian Westbrook and Derek Anderson), and a formidable return to form by the Saints’ offensive duo that’s been almost quiet for the previous weeks (Drew Brees threw four scores, three of them to Marques Colston).

Eli Manning, the opponent’s QB was drenched in the London rain, and managed to nail a respectable score only with a scramble to the Miami endzone. The Jacksonville defense put up strong numbers as well, but that wasn’t much compared to San Diego cornerbacks, who picked the Texans’ passes with an alarming regularity, and converted them to multiple touchdowns.

Position in the standings is still low, but the victory percentage of teams ranking three to eight are the same. So the margin for error is nonexistent.

Next week features the game with highest expectations thus far – the unbeaten Indianapolis Colts face the equally unbeaten New England Patriots. The latter’s offense has been on a roll throughout the season, but a lot of that’s been at the expense of the teams with the worst pass defense.

Bring on week nine.

Oct 312007

This week’s fiver is all about conspiracies, and as an old-skool x-phile (the show was OK till the movie, or thereabouts) I find it impossible to resist the urge to answer. Even though they are monitoring every keystroke.

1. Area 51 exists, that’s an established fact, but what actually happened at Roswell? Does the US government have extraterrestrial relations?
Well… Something fell in Roswell, an until someone comes up with concrete evidence to the contrary, I remain convinced that it was a weather balloon. And the tall tales behind it a nice spot of fifties’ generic xenophobic paranoia.

2. We’ve read about our own beloved Sonera’s less-than-inconspicuous eavesdropping, but what about Echelon, which goes undiscussed… Is it worthwhile to wear a tinfoil beanie and encrypt even normal conversations?
Nope. If anything, the colossal intelligence failures have taught us that the Big Brother may indeed be listening, but he ain’t comprehending what he hears.

3. Are we still using gasoline, even though better alternatives have been developed, but suppressed by the Big Oil?
Probably. The companies have been wallowing in money for a century, and there’s no sense in letting some killjoy inventor ruin it all.

4. Paavo lost in 1988. Was it all due to misplaying the media game, or was there a conspiracy behind it all?
Nope. A sudden bout of smarts by the population, that’s all.

5. Is the weekly fiver a grand conspiracy to uncover our darkest secrets?
Nope. Just something to kill time with on a bored monday evening (or tuesday, in this particular case).

Oct 302007

Red Sox swept the Rockies for the World Series.

Somehow this does not feel nearly as great as their 2004 championship did – when they rose from a 0-3 position to an unexpected victory over their greatest rivals, the New York Yankees.

So, sadly, it’s unlikely that this year’s championship will be celebrated with a new Dropkick Murphys tune. So here’s a sweet repeat of Tessie.

Oct 272007

The full song list for the soon forthcoming Guitar Hero III has been published.

The selection includes loads of good stuff from new arrivals to the genre such as Beastie Boys (Sabotage) as well as from old favorites like such as Alice Cooper (School’s Out), and Queens of the Stone Age – and to top it all off there’s One by Metallica. Though I’m not that convinced that a guitar emulation game needs boss battles. But a wireless plastic quasi-guitar is much appreciated.

Especially with Rock Band‘s european release delayed well into 2008, this will likely be one of the hits of the holiday season here.

Oct 252007

Tomorrow Apple launches Leopard, the sixth incarnation of OS X, which ought to line the company’s pockets even further (not that they’re already brimming from the sales of ipods and iphones).

Gromit the iBook has been a faithful servant for years (entry called whoopsie tells the story of the purchase), but the time’s come to upgrade.

I’m definitely settled on a laptop, but undecided between the regular and pro version of the Macbook. The former is a bit cheaper, but the latter boasts a bit funkier looks and a non-integrated graphics card. Which might actually come in handy, when the machine contains means to run windows (and games) natively. Nope, I don’t harbour any illusions on being able to kick it with the likes of Alan Wake, but Civilization 4 would be good indeed…

There’s been no indication of any serious upcoming hardware upgrades, though the extended touchpad for iPhone-like multi-touch would be a nice addition.

Oct 252007

Balloon dog anatomyA random collection of links that rose above the norm recently.

Oct 232007

Last weekend’s game was the tightest of this year’s campaign.

The game against the thus far unbeaten team ended up in a victory, with a margin of a single point, with the last points from the monday night football game.

Maurice Jones-Drew who started the season slow proved his worth by scoring the lone Jaguars’ touchdown against the Colts. Houston’s defense, on the other hand, pretty much had an open doors policy in the endzone, but fortunately managed to score on a returned fumble.

Bring on week eight.

Oct 232007

Saw Knocked Up, Judd Apatow’s lauded pregnancy-comedy. And rather liked it. Even when it took a serious turn towards being a conventional drama about two thirds in. The film slows down worrisomely, but narrowly escapes being utterly dragged down into a quagmire (a shroom-powered trip to Vegas is a decent distraction).

The dialogue straddles the fence between imaginative and way too predictable, and is certainly going to need a lot of bleeps to ever be suitable for showing in an airplane or other controlled environments, where a movie having “language” is a severe disadvantage.

Originally decided to see this movie on account of its review in hesari featuring the word “pössypetteri” twice in a very limited columnspace. And while Seth Rogen and his posse of bonging slackers is a decent source of laughs, they by no means dominate the screen.

The other actors do not drag the film down by any means, even though the characters they play tend to be heavily on the unsympathetic side. As a singular highlight Paul Rudd’s out of the blue de Niro-impersonation smashes its way through in a couple of seconds and disappears.

Not bad. But nowhere near the level the lofty heights the aggregate reviews raise the movie.

Oct 232007

This week’s fiver is a single question. Albeit loaded with five relevant links. Which I’m not going to repeat here (being in finnish and all), so here goes:

1. How do you see and experience Sally Mann‘s photography?
Well, I plan on visiting the exhibit in Tennispalatsi one of these days, once the initial rush degrades to a gentle flow of visitors. Or on a friday, when there’s no cover charge.

Oct 212007

Ravintola Kuu in Töölö burned down (if that can be said of a place in a city block) last night.

As mr. Srpnt notes, this is quite a blow. Kuu was a pleasant visit on every occasion, and their smoked salmon soup is yet to be beaten.

Looking forward to a rebirth, definitely – but feeling reasonably pessimistic at the same time.

Oct 212007

The third installment of Dreamworks’ Shrek saga never reaches the heights attained by the two previous movies.

Sadly, as I surmised back in may, the best parts of the film were shown in previews and trailers, and the additional bits are either boring, stretched-out or just not that funny.

Though the interrogation scene of Pinocchio does rank among the finest offered in all three. And the final five minutes does rise above the norm as well, though that’s only expected after all the foreshadowing.

But otherwise the film feels flat – the main characters seem strangely distant, and the secondaries are criminally underused. And the less said about the high school scene (apart from the Ramones on the soundtrack), the better. The soundtrack, even when not that great, is one of the highlights of the film – while the inclusion of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song is nothing short of mystifying, Live and let die is a way too rare touch of genius.

Fortunately the movie didn’t last more than an hour and a half – and the jokes were seriously strained even at that length.

Oct 212007

Antoine Fuqua’s Shooter was the second assassination-themed movie in as many days. And for a long time I thought that even the target was the same. The movie, based on Stephen Hunter’s Point of Impact, turned out to be very decent entertainment indeed.

Considering the patrioric undertow in Hollywood, the anti-establishment direction of the movie was a pleasant surprise. But unlike the Death of a president, no fingers are poked at the current administration, just the hopelessly murky halls of power.

Mark Wahlberg, fresh off the role of the angriest cop in the world in the Departed joins Leonardo diCaprio in the set of surprising action stars. His portrayal of the betrayed sniper is spot on, and might be a sign of movies to come. As supporting characters Danny Glover and Elias Koteas go way over the top, but Michael Peña and Rhona Mitra rescue a lot with their convincing portrayal of hard-working feds.

Altogether a surprisingly good movie – with pleasantly little clancian jingoism on board. And while there’s plenty of shooting, explosions and other traditional trappings, the film rarely stoops down to being mere gun porn.

Oct 212007

In an award-winning pseudo-documentary film about the act and aftermath of the assassination of the 43rd president of the united states (and that would indeed be the current one, for those not keeping score on paper).

While the movie spends considerable time on the titular murder, that’s just the beginning of the story told from a retrospective viewpoint. Both the investigation, the legal proceedings and the effects on civil liberties are dealt with in the second half of the film.

Indeed, the film dwells very little on the actual assassination (for still the best coverage on the subject, check out the two-part In the shadow of two gunmen episode of West Wing), but bypasses it with just some seconds of frenzied action and a collection of news reports.

So no. This is not a petty fantasy about killing the commander in chief. And it’s not a CSI:DC either, as minimal screen-time is devoted to the actual investigation.

It’s instead a movie about the people affected, and speculation about the actions of the upgraded president (thankfully there’s no image of Cheney being sworn in – that might’ve been just too much JFK).

The death of a president is a thought-provoking film, and well worth watching. And as a trivial bit of trivia: in Finland it was broadcast on the eve of the event, last thursday.

Oct 172007
Jack Nicholson in ShiningOught to have known that the innocent expression of “all work and no play” making “Jack” a “dull boy” has a much deeper etymology, reaching back all the way to 2400 BC…

Or not.

But the knowledge, or lack thereof, doesn’t really eliminate the feeling of ineffective futility that has lately crept in.

[ via kaiken pelitys. ]

Oct 172007

Nokia N810Nokia announced N810, the new internet tablet today.

While by far biggest new feature is a slider keyboard, there’s lots of intriguing additions in the device: on-board GPS, way more internal storage, and an improved battery life.

The release date: november, the biggest rival: ipod touch.

Oct 172007

This week’s fiver is all about the ongoing shelling out of Nobel awards.

1. How do you stress the name of the awardist? Noo-bel? No-bell?
Never thought about it, but I’m certainly a first syllable man.

2. Do you reckon this year’s awards went to the right recipients? Do you even know who received the awards?
Yeah… I remember some: Gore and the IPCC, Doris Lessing, … That’s about it.
I don’t think Gore and the guys did much for peace, so at least that award is misplaced.

3. You certainly remember the finns who have received the award. And the years too. Right?
Kind of.

Frans Emil Sillanpää. Somewhere in the forties.

Artturi Ilmari Virtanen. 1951?

4. Are you a fan of the award-winners? Do you even familiarize yourself with their works?
Literature, occasionally. Though Kurt Vonnegut ought to have been awarded (even if he claims that he did a disservice to the swedish car industry as a salesman back in the day).

Others, rarely. Apart from the big boys (Watson & Crick) famous from popular science, even less.

5. Any idea how old dynamite is as an invention?
Not really. From the 1860s?

Correct Answers:
Checked wikipedia: of the two finnish awards (recipients correct) the former was awarded 1939, the latter in 1945 – so off with a decent margin on both. And dynamite was invented in 1866, so the guess on that was on the correct sector as well.