DIARY 2005















Sat, Feb 26

<21:40> Wednesday night I went clubbing after a long break, as Teak was going as well. Club Sievä at Blaze promised retro elektro and related sounds. It was unfortunately quiet there, but I enjoyed the dance. Until a little past 1 am that was.

Today we've had another session of Conspiracy X, one that brought the Cell's first mission to an end. I'm going to finish packing now, as I'm leaving for Amsterdam in the morning :)


Sun, Feb 20

<17:16> The past week, including today, has been a series of beautiful experiences in art:

<17:22> I also watched Ringu 2, anticipating the hype on its evil Hollywood remake. It was a pleasant surprise in many ways; the story continued in new directions without being contradictory or confusing. It's very much a sequel in that it's likely completely uncomprehensible if you haven't seen the first part. I particularly liked the scientific approach to the Ringu curse that involved the psychology of fear. There's still the prequel I may have to watch one of these days.

Sat, Feb 19

<21:38> Played around with Python's audio modules. I wanted to try integration and differentiation as sound processing effects, and the major part was, nor surprisingly, learning how to interface with audio files and sound cards, rather than the actual algorithms. Both operations are essentially one-liners.

I got the most success with a file conversion script that used Psyco, the Python compiler, to speed up things. I also managed to write a direct 'effect pedal' that used Python's OSS interface for the sound card, but it introduced noticeable lag and noise. Psyco didn't help much in that case.

Hearing the results of integration and differentiation were not immensely surprising. Both were less drastic than I expected. The integral sounded muffled, as it should as a kind of low-pass filter. The derivative, on the other hand, brought to mind some kind of a shredder instead of the high-pass filter it is. The original sound had been heavily distorted, of course :)

I'm unsure of the usefulness of either effect, but I'm still planning to implement them in hardware. After all, they only need one op-amp, a resistor and a capacitor. With this in mind, the software does give useful guidelines for choosing the RC time constant, such that the overall volume is not changed much.

Tue, Feb 15

<00:15> The weekend before the last The One was on telly, and I decided to watch it just for the heck of it. I'd had the DivX sitting on my hard drive for a long time, and that was a good opportunity to ditch it. I never expected much from the movie.

It was fun and pointless, with two things going for it: Product placement of a Storm Navigator watch, curiously enough used there for navigation between universes; and hints at Buddhism and Taoism. At some point it seemed they almost got the multiverse thing right (w.r.t. our current theories, of course) but then they started confusing Everett's quantum parallelity with Smolin's black-hole-spawning universes within. Hilarity ensued never the less.

Videodrome was next on my list, of the canonical set of cyberpunk stories I've decided to see. I loved it in many levels, from the innocent early nerdy SF side to the classical dramatic progression. It was a pre-Matrix epic of a kind, though definitely not the only one. Most notably, Videodrome is not overly packed with chrome, which is why the 'classical' storyline becomes more apparent.

Last weekend I sampled the big screen after a while, looking forward to a historical kung fu adventure in the House of Flying Daggers. The premises were rather promising, but the story quickly diluted into a soap opera, which I found most disappointing. Fortunately it was visually very enjoyable most of the time, even more so than most films of this kind, making the experience bearable. The House suffered from a "classical SF mistake" of trying to make an extraordinary whole by placing a mediocre story in fancy surroundings.

Sat, Feb 12

<16:33> Spent the past few days building a guitar preamp.

Tue, Feb 1

<20:20> I've noticed a maximum lag of three movies between viewing them and writing about them. In fact, the last item concerning Thirteenth Floor was done in a hurry prior to watching another film last night, so as not to make the lag any greater :) So here goes again...

Shaun of the Dead and Idioterne (the idiots) make an interesting pairing, as I happened to see one after the other. Of course these movies have entirely different starting points, with one being a splatter parody comedy and the other a philosphical treatise in the form of a Dogma work.

Idioterne was a heavy viewing experience, and not very rewarding. On the other hand, Shaun of the Dead was orders of magnitude better than the kind of generic splatter comedy I was expecting. I daresay it worked on a number of levels.

The film I saw last night was a simply beautiful biographical piece starred by Johnny Depp. I've come to appreciate him as one of the best actors out there, though I'm sure he's often been labelled as yet another cute boy. The film was Finding Neverland, a story of James Barrie, the man behind the Peter Pan stories who never grew up. It was strangely Burtonesque for a piece not directed by him.

Risto A. Paju