DIARY 2005















Sat, Apr 23

<22:47> Recovery from the wisdom-removal operation is going extremely well. I'm back to eating and drinking almost like usual, though I still avoid the toughest of foodstuffs. It's fun to feel the ends of the stitching thread dangling from the socket ;-)

I've been meaning to node in relation to a documentary series I watched recently: Around the World in 80 Days by Michael Palin. The Python retraces the steps of Phileas Fogg, avoiding modernities such as airplanes to maintain authenticity.

I started it two weeks ago, when my friend Maija, who currently lives in Amsterdam, was on a brief visit here. She spent the subsequent week returning to the Netherlands via continental means, i.e. bus and train, through the Baltic and Central European countries. It was a nice incidence to have the series available, and while she was on her way, I could much better relate with her experiences as I watched Mr. Palin struggle along the equator.

I keep having mixed feelings of such old-fashioned travel; on the other hand, it is something I definitely want to get done some day. For example, the idea of taking the train to Vladivostok has crossed my mind a number of times over the years. On the other hand, it seems like a dream beyond reach, with the associated waste of money and time — somehow I feel that long and luxurious train journeys belong in the other world that was around a hundred years ago.

Wed, Apr 20

<23:55> A bit of geekiness is gone from me, as the number of teeth in my mouth is no longer a power of two. I had one of my wisdom teeth removed. Since the operation yesterday morning, my life has become more sedentary than usual, but I quite like it. I even had yesterday off from work, and the dentist suggested I eat a lot of ice cream, which is nice as long as the taste isn't mixed with that of fresh blood :-E

With all that time and the doctor's order to take things easy, I've had a good excuse for distractions such as watching the fan film Star Wars Revelations. The one reference in SF fan films for me is Star Wreck, and this is not too bad either. I think it has better acting, but it is technically a little inferior in some ways; though with all I've said about Star Wars films being old-fashioned, it might just be intentional.

As for reading, I finished Clarke's Hammer of God that I'd started a few days before. Like the back-cover puff says, it's "vintage Clarke" for better or worse; it's so much reminiscent of old Clarke stories from the 1970s and beyond, while being actually written in 1993. This is not a good thing IMHO. Wonder if it might have been possible to maintain the oldskool SF style while making the characters and story a little more interesting.

Something that really struck me as surprising when reading the book was how the style had similar elements to my own writing (again, this is not necessarily a good thing). I guess it shows how my style has been affected by reading "vintage Clarke" books as a teenager. In the reading experience it showed in easy and fast readability, but also by being full of cliches; I would have thought the jokes about zero-gravity sex were over. It's a real contrast since before this book I was reading LeGuin's Left Hand of Darkness, which I did not finish. That text was very detailed, poetic and enjoyable for slow reading — which is probably why I didn't grasp the overall picture of what was going on.

A few notes about my tooth operation: the actual procedure was really fast and painless, and I haven't had any notable pain or swelling even later (I did spend yesterday in painkillers though). I'm sure the ice cream helped a lot; I even found soy cream with green tea taste, to combat the abstinence from hot drinks :) I slept soundly with no bleeding, and woke up without pain, contrary to the E2 horror stories. Today at work was a little awkward, as I had to keep relatively quiet and still, but it's perfectly manageable.

Sun, Apr 17

<20:38> Yesterday I woke up with an eerie feeling of detachment from reality, and a two-day bracelet for Moomin World around my wrist. I could swear I had not been to that theme park of anime trolls. It must have had something to do with Stalwart, Jimi Tenor and their likes who messed up my mind at Jyrock this weekend.

One of the more interesting bands was indeed Stalwart, who seemed to continue the vague tradition of instrumental rock in 'Gypsy scale' in a heavier direction as compared to Hidria Spacefolk or Kingston Wall. Popidiot also deserves a mention with their camp attitude.

Probably the most curious and talented band this weekend was 500 kg lihaa (meat), starring Kauko Röyhkä and Maritta Kuula. The scale I love, complemented with mysterious female vocals and extreme but controlled distortion in guitars, was a killer combination.

A major disappointment of the festival was Rättö & Lehtisalo. The lead singer of Kuusumun Profeetta had for this particular gig joined powers with Tomi Leppänen, the drum machine that Aavikko uses. Their songs were uninteresting in most ways, and Metronome Leppänen was not being used to one tenth of his abilities. The all-time low was a completely playbacked encore. I imagine most of the lowdowns were meant for some kind of artistic effect I failed to comprehend.

On with more geeky matters, I've been trying to install the Unichrome version of on hoo with little actual success, but with nice side effects. Tweaking the configuration file, I've managed to improve the display quality drastically even with the plain X server. This happened merely by removing manual timing options, so that the X server automatically adjusts the frequencies.

Thu, Apr 14

<21:13> I
am nerdier than 97% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out! :-/

Actually, one of the fun new things I did yesterday is probably more geeky than nerdy in nature. I was at Teak's place and we read Tarot cards to each other. Predictions of my future were interestingly plausible, for example there was a certain element of new work and adventures coming up, but obviously they can be interpreted in many ways. Teak beat be in chess once again, which must mean he's at least as nerdy as me ;-P

Wed, Apr 6

<23:54> In the past few days I've been hacking on the guitar preamp. It now has a new and improved power supply, and a case. I've also been relatively busy with other aspects of the play Fandango! which is feeling increasingly more concrete each time we work on it in Ilokivi.

Tue, Apr 5

<00:09> Saturday there was dance and music onstage in a bigger scale, with Kramppi performing Alice in Wonderland in the city theatre. Once again I happened to get free entry from a friend of mine :) It was titled "a musical dance trip" and indeed it was full of dance and music, if not a typical musical in form. Overall I'd rate the play pretty high, considering it was aimed at children. I particularly enjoyed the music, but it was not particularly memorable; on many occasions I noticed similarities with a variety of sources like Cleaning Women, Fiddler on the Roof, and Bon Jovi.

Sun, Apr 3

<03:19> Author Liisa Laukkarinen explained in a recent interview about the rule of monastic life: one third sleep, one third work, and one third prayer. She said it applies to modern prosaic life as well, with leisure time taking the place of prayer.

Right now I feel this works well in my life. I've found myself a little detached from yoga and meditation. On the other hand, my musical practices often get quite intense in a somewhat spiritual way.

In this current wave of doing drama, I've also had the pleasure of seeing other people in action. Thursday night was the premiere of Kafka's Metamorphosis by the student theatre, and Rigorist had a dancing role. Dance-wise, the play was impressive, and there was a lot of strong personal acting in many other ways. Curiously enough, dance themes were chosen from Cleaning Women. This had the side effects of extra coolness, but also of distraction as my mind was taken back to their gigs. More unfortunately, I have a feeling that the whole, the gist of the story, had been forgotten beneath all of the technical glitz. I have little idea what it was all about, not being familiar with the work beforehand.

Risto A. Paju