Jun 092012

In the sadly prolonged series of seriously overdue posts: a gig report for a change.

Saw Iced Earth in Nosturi on the World Dystopia-tour back in late 2011.

Iced Earth live

The band’s new vocalist, Stu Black, had injected a lot of energy into the group and he blazed a quite decent trail through the long history of Iced Earth. His takes on the originals by Matt Barlow or Ripper Owens didn’t leave much to be desired.

The gig was long, and included plenty of classics in addition to material from the newest album. Split during the encore, and thus missed the extra song. But a quick exit instead of a thirty minute wait in the coat check was probably worth it.

Set list (as provided by setlist.fm, I missed quite a few songs):

Burning Times
Angels Holocaust
Slave to the Dark
Stand Alone
When the Night Falls
Dark City
The Hunter
Declaration Day
Days of Rage
Watching Over Me
Dante's Inferno
Iced Earth
My Own Savior

Saw half of the the warm-up band, Fury UK. Their old school metal was much better than expected, and I ended up picking up their record on the way out.

Jun 092012

Ford Fairlane posterI like plenty of embarrassing movies.

One amongst many is Renny Harlin’s first big budget Hollywood film, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane.

It’s an exercise in questionable taste, that according to reports was not really under the director’s control.

It was Andrew Dice Clay’s big chance to make it in the movies, but the attempt was sadly sidelined by accusations of political incorrectness and chauvinism.

Quite rightly, but that never stopped half the mainstream movies in the nineties.

Movie Monday #51: An embarrassing favorite.

Jun 052012

7 Wonders Leaders logoOne of the most common boardgames lately has been Antoine Bauza’s 7 Wonders. The basic game plays very well, and its totally random nature guarantees that no two games are alike, and no single strategy surpasses others.

The author’s expansion plans are indeed impressive, but the release pace hasn’t been exactly fast thus far. The first, Leaders, has been out for more than a year, and the second, Cities, still has not arrived.

Leaders is a great addition to the game. It adds new elements at a very little extra complexity. The titular leaders are just another draftable resource, and the extra rules are simple and short. The individual leaders influence the game in various ways, and as they are brought out at a slow pace (one per age), they do not overwhelm the board. As the acquisition of leaders is entirely random, they tend to work very differently – in some games they seem to bring in very little, in others they effectively decide the game’s winner (three science-related leaders brought in almost twenty extra points to the eventual winner).

The sole new wonder of the expansion, Rome, is very leader-centric. Thus far it has been far from a decisively victorious wonder, but its powers do allow the owner a lot more room in playing the leaders than the wonders from the base set do.

The sole concrete demerit of the expansion set is its coinage. The first finnish edition shipped with wooden coins, and sadly the Leaders opts for cardboard as material instead.

Even if the first few games with the Leaders included are longer than the commonly quite fast bouts (as the individual leaders take quite a while to become familiar with, some of the symbols used are initially on the impenetrable side), the game picks up pace fast after the familiarization period is over.

Jun 052012

Traffic sign in San FranciscoBeen very lazy reporting travel bits lately (where “lately” covers approximately last fourteen months).

Went to San Francisco last spring for the second and last MeeGo Conference. Of which the less said, the better. Such a bitter occasion. And probably the one where I’ve felt most out of place. Did survive the presentation without boos or rotten vegetable-treatmemnt. Did not have much of an audience, either.

Did things that you’re supposed to do in the city by the bay:

  • Was really jetlagged.
  • Saw Golden Gate from both sides of the bridge.
  • Visited Fisherman’s Wharf and shopped like a tourist does.
  • Ate plenty of seafood.
  • Drank plenty of Anchor Steam.
  • Was dismayed that there are no bookstores in the city (apart from City Lights).
  • Walked a lot.
  • Forgot how steep and common the hills are.
  • Rode a cable car.

Still one of my favorite cities, and I certainly hope to be back after a shorter interval than was between the two trips (six years and change).

(Yeah, I did publish a preamble of a day-by-day treatment, but that, unpredictably didn’t really go anywhere).

Golden Gate from the Marin side

Jun 052012

Planet Terror posterThere’s been plenty of memorable heroines in the history of film.

One of the semi-recent ones that firmly embedded herself in my brain is Rose McGowan’s Cherry Darling in Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror.

After all, not many strippers can function as well as zombie harvesters with a prosthetic assault rifle.

Movie Monday #50: They’re called breasts, and every woman has them.

Jun 042012

Don't tread on meI’m skipping Metallica on their “Black Album 20 Years” tour.

There’s many reasons for this.

First of all, the piglet is only three weeks old and an evening-long absence is definitely not appreciated (the most interesting of the warm-up bands, Ghost, started at 1700).

Second, I saw the Master of Puppets-nostalgy tour back in 2006, and there’s no way this can be a better experience. The Puppets concert was in Tallinn, in a great natural amphitheatre with a very relaxed officials, this is on nothing but asphalt.

And, third, it’s organized by the Sonisphere guys who did their utmost best to ruin the 2009 gig in Pori.

Fourth, Metallica’s not that interesting any more, the on-stage raps feel canned and the band tries to accommodate a much wider audience at the expense of their long-term fans.

But yeah, I’ll still check the setlist tomorrow, and may end up picking up the official bootleg anyway.

Jun 042012

OS X Lion logoFinally installed OS X 10.7.

The installation process (over the long-served Snow Leopard) was smooth. The only damages were the loss of a functional Rails installation (easily rectified) and my inability to go back to a gentle swipe on the trackpad waking the machine up (nowadays it requires a click).