DIARY 2002















Sun, Dec 29

<03:25> What is it with my diary (refusing to call it 'blog' or something fancy schmancy with 100% buzzword compliance) and film/book reviews? Doing the latter sometimes feels a bit forced, and I sometimes decide not to, but this time I feel like I must get my opinions out there for the world even if they're not too nice.

The Two Towers. Looked forward to Ents kicking some shiny metal ass. I'm pretty impressed and satisfied. Ditto for Gollum. In fact the entire "Episode Two" was a brilliant implementation faithful to the original story. With imagery I couldn't deem false when comparing to my personal reading-induced mentals.

It's almost too perfect. All of the originality goes back to Tolkien, not to the film crew IMHO. It was a perfect, sleek implementation with little personal touch. Which partially relates to the fact that it's cinematically sub-impressive -- you need to enjoy the story to enjoy it at all. How many ways can I put this in? The film relies on the story only, even if it has the potential to go beyond.

I can only restate what I thought last year this time: the main point about the film is to get people reading the novel. It's quite obvious that it works better in the book.

Sun, Dec 22

<17:47> This is pretty hypnotic stuff. A speech synthesizer reading the Linux kernel 2.4.18 aloud. True geek art.

Another geek-kewl thing I've come across is DOSBox, a DOS emulator designed for games. Works better than dosemu because of its specific focus.

Sun, Dec 15

<04:58> Not synchronicity but a strange coincidence anyways -- quite apt for these Fri13 days (it's bad luck to be superstitious). I've seen this fascinating Finnish film called Hysteria, and a major part of it is reproduced in the following excerpt of an Ultra Bra song:

"Olen eksynyt Latviassa
kävellyt kaupungin reunan yli
luulin katoavani
mutta pääsin kuitenkin takaisin

Ensin vieraiden ihmisten juhliin
ja lopulta kaupunkiin
jossa minut tunnetaan

[I've gotten lost in Latvia, walked past the city limits, thought I would disappear, yet I returned. First to a strangers' party and finally to a city where people know me from cafés.]

However, the atmosphere in this song (to me) is a bit different from the movie, mostly because the movie's hero has company for most of the time. Yet there is a disturbing similarity.

Plot summary -- Sam the Finn goes to Tallinn to meet his Estonian girlfriend, who has a big responsibility in a movie production. They have to remake because the film was ruined in postproduction. Starting from the task of acquiring some raw film, they go about a convoluted adventure around the Baltic countries, with annoyances kindly provided by the Russian mafia and a resisting actor. It's filmed in B/W which makes for a difficult recognition of era, but adds that special Soviet touch. No further analysis except I love these kinds of film.

Thu, Dec 12

This page was generated by a Swarm of Positive Surprises for TeknoHog (164938).

Well, not really, I'm positively pissed off because I was notified that the PCMCIA-IDE adapter I ordered a whole month ago is out of stock. I'd been expecting the delivery any day now.. like they couldn't figure it out earlier. Sheesh. If anyone knows where I could get a PCMCIA to 2.5" IDE HD adapter, please let me know. I need one. Now.

The positive surprises come from Juhani Aho's Panu novel that I've just read. It describes the battle between the Christian church and Finland's native religion some hundreds of years ago. Being something of an anti-christian I grabbed this old dead tree from the shelf, but it turned out the writing and overall style were more interesting than I'd expected.

The one novel I was constantly reminded of is Lord of the Rings. Not the exact plotlines, but everything else, including the interluding songs. Thus we have one of the many proofs that Tolkien's work was not exceptional. It stems quite naturally from the national romantic atmosphere.

Equally important is the way the book shows that the native religion and the new Christian one were not as different as they are sometimes portrayed. There was no indication of Christianity being better or more correct than native beliefs in the natural spirits. It was a rather personal question which one to choose -- and they weren't even fully exclusive as some people had thought.

Sat, Dec 7

<03:07> Fixed the printer's paper feeder. Turned out a rubber wheel which picks up the paper had worn into a slick. After some sandpaper work, it feeds just fine. No remaining problems I can think of. Imagine they had thrown it away.

Fri, Dec 6

<03:59> It's huge, taking up too much desk space, it's noisy and quite slow. Probably draws too much power (not that I'm paying it now). But I got it for free so I'm not complaining.

This old inkjet printer, HP DeskJet 870Cxi, was salvaged from my dad's employer as they were getting rid of eJunk(TM). The paper feeder required a bit of hacking and it's still somewhat unstable, but it works. A really kewl thing is that HP now makes opensource drivers. The inside knowledge shows in the speed and quality. Colors are just right, unlike the usual drivers which require endless calibration. The 600dpi mode is grayscale only, it's a hardware limitation, but the quality is laserlike and it's much faster than color. I.e. great for text.

Risto A. Paju