Monday, October 30, 2006

Lately

I was asked recently if I watched Weeds, which would indeed suit my profile since I do consider myself to be quite liberal when it comes to drugs (even though I don't use any myself). I haven't been watching, however, since it's on at the same time as Slings and Arrows, a drama-comedy about a theater-group focusing on Shakespeare's works struggling to survive. It seems to be the second season, as the info I have found about that says it is then they do Macbeth. (It's too bad that I'm still reading through Henry the Sixth myself... But I'm going to do them chronologically.)

In any case; choosing between drugs and Shakespeare, Shakespeare comes out on top.

***
I was also asked recently if there is anything from Japan that I would like for Christmas that would need to be ordered in time. Well, of course there are many things, but the two main ones are a couple of DVDs:
TM Network - Final Live Last Groove 5.18
TM Network - Decade
Links lead to CDJapan, I've shopped there myself many times (though always using cash).

***
Addition: I "found" Muse's latest album Black Holes and Revelations through a clever combination of internet cunning and Google. It sounds very, very interesting, with what sounds like some classical influences, too. Granted, it's not like all of the tracks are killer, but the ones that are good sound really good.

***
Winter is now upon us.
But some trees still defy the season with their green leaves.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

First snow

We got the first snow of the season last week, and it promptly melted away.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Knife

Last Friday was a huge 5-hour long special of a Swedish music-show (Musikbyrån) where they showed some clips from the last 10 years of the show, and among the clips was a live by The Knife, who had some really groovy tracks, especially "Heartbeats". Click the link to see the music video and be washed over by the awesomeness of it. (Though the Deep Cuts album that it's from is a bit uneven, I discovered after having searched it out on a local P2P network.)

Speaking of music, I haven't really played a lot while sick, but this night I felt I was pretty productive, sitting down in front of the keyboard for a bit. One section could become a pop-tune with a bit of work, and another will probably become the next piano-only piece I upload. Though both are far from completion, I feel they both have potential.

I've been wanting to learn other applications for music production other than Garageband for a while, but after having looked closer at both Reason and Logic Express I've come to the conclusion that they're both quite a bit more advanced, and more complicated, than GB. I'm certain that it would be beneficial for me to learn them, but right now it's more appealing to just load up the piano sample in Garageband and play. Maybe when we start recording some guitar I'll explore Logic along with the virtual amplifiers it has.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Bugs in my life: Fruit flies

We're having a drawn-out autumn here, but that still doesn't mean it's exactly healthy to walk home from the club in the middle of the night, as I have now gotten a nasty flu. (This could mean that my so-far perfect attendande in school is broken... Oh well, it was bound to happen.)

Another thing is that the warm autumn has brought is a recent invasion of fruit flies. I was thoroughly convinced of this invasion as I arose on Saturday only to walk into a cloud of them at the bottom of the stairs. Not being the guy who has his privacy invaded by small bugs, I decided to fight back, and found instructions to building a simple trap.

Here you see roughly how the first version of the trap looked.Though this isn't the first one, it's built the same way: clear plastic cup, topped with clear plastic sheet with a couple of holes in the top so they get in and with a piece of apple as bait. The very first version was a bit of a failure since none went in, but plenty hovered around; so I sat down and noticed they would go around the holes, but the holes were too small. A simple procedure and a few minutes later I saw the first fruits (pun intended) of my trappings.

The article that I got the build instructions from said that they wouldn't be able to find out, but I noticed that some of the did find their way out again. Cearly I needed something more secure. (Even though I caught plenty this way.)

Enter trap version 2.This new trap is larger, and instead of just holes in the plastic on top, I cut up some straws and attached them, making it impossible for them to find the exits simply by waking around in the roof long enough. With time I've noticed that this isn't entirely secure either, so for 2.1 I've planned to make the straws narrower as they lead down, and that way hopefully discouraging entering from within the container.

I don't think we'll be rid of them any time soon, but I'll fight them on the lands, on the beaches and on the seas with all my might! And when the world looks back on my life, they will say, "This was his finest hour!"

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sits

As the last effects of alcohol leave me*, I can look back on the last 24 hours with a better sense of scope.

For those who don't know, a "sits" is basically a student party, something that seems to be quite popular in these parts of the world (ie. Finland). As this was the first "sits" I have been to, I'm no expert in the subject, but that's the impression I've gotten.

*It should be noted that I'm not just talking about the sobering-up period, instead I see it as a roughly 24-hour period; before I feel completely "clean" I need to have 1) slept after the night of partying, 2) taken a dump, and 3) showered. In that order. Anyway, back to 30 hours ago.

I arrive at the scene only to find it in complete chaos. Not knowing what needs to be done there's not much I can do, so I just watch everyone else run around like headless chickens.

After a while of that everything is in order and ready for action. First on the agenda seems to be introduction of the first-years in a weird ceremony where they take some sort of pledge, they kneel and water(?) is squirted in their faces, and then they are seated not knowing it's a ploy to get them to eat something weird.

This seemed to me hopelessly pointless, as I've never been a fan of humiliating rituals.

When we were all seated a whole bunch of rules as equally pointless as the "ceremony" at the start. Fortunately whatever possible "bad mood"-seed that had planted was squashed once we got to food and drinks.

Now, when people drink, a lot of different personality traits can appear; some get are really mean drunks while others are of the jovial kind. Though it's not really proper to classify oneself, seeing as a matter you're not quite objective about, I would say that I'm clearly in the latter group. However, when in school (or generally with people I haven't spent a great amount of time with), I'm often purely business. Which means that if you've only seen the business-side, you might be in for a shock when you see the jovial side. (Being the youngest child of three, it's quite natural that I would have a bit of clown in me.)

For obvious reasons, the exact events escape me, but there was singing, drinking, more singing (which was probably increasingly out of tune as the evening progressed), and lots of games. One of the more interesting things were the scetches performed, one of them featuring me as an adolturous husband who is discovered by his wife and then performs ritual suicide. I just hope it was as fun watching as it was acting it! The only problem was that since we had so very little time to prepare it that there was no real dialogue or explanation of what was happening. (I realised later that we could have put someone as a narrator.)

After a couple hours of fun and games we headed to a club nearby where I danced my ass off! Finished it off with The Chemical Brothers' Galvanize, which took the last drop out of me, so I eventually decided I'd better be going. I was accompanied a bit on the way by Aino, who seemed very doubtful about my abilities of traversing the great distance ahead of me. But I made it, though I don't know how long it took me. (I've walked further in worse shape once on Åland, where I actually thought I would die from alcohol-poisoning.)

And what came after was quite a bad hangover and not enough sleep due to a visit from an old Finnish friend (or perhaps not "friend"), Yrjö. Fortunately I didn't have anything important scheduled for the day, so I could wallow in bed, eventually taking on my pants at 5 PM, or so.

Coincidentally, both times I've tasted sake, it has made a repeat on me. I don't have the stomach to be a big sake-enjoyer, methinks.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Running

No, I haven't started serious running (though it would probably do me good), but I have been unusually active as a side-effect of my activities.

Today I decided I would finally get some of my 8cm CDs from Japan converted into a more practical, lossless format. But due to the unusual dimensions of the discs, I couldn't use the eMac since it has a "cup-holder" tray.

The ancient iMac upstairs, on the other hand, has a snap-on tray (I think most laptops also have the same mechanism). The one small hitch is all that I have to move the files around is a 100MB USB1.1 Zip-drive. (Actually the drive is 250, but I only have 100MB disks.)

So I had to first rip the CDs on the iMac upstairs in full CD quality, then load them onto Zip-disks (one file per disk), run downstairs, load them onto the eMac, then back upstairs again. Repeat about a dozen times. Took around five hours (with a break for food in-between).

And I still haven't done any homework today.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Dreams

Tonight I had two dreams that I remember.

First I dreamt that all of my teeth were falling out, one by one. The last tooth was hanging out of my mouth by a long string of skin (supposedly). When I looked in the mirror there was only bloody gums to be seen, and I started crying at the horrible sight. And then I woke up and felt incredibly relieved when I realised it was just a dream.

The second dream was not quite so extreme. Strangely enough it seemed to be animated in the style of a Miyazaki-movie. I don't remember exactly how it went, but it was about a boy who lived alone with a bunch of robot house-servants. His father was away, as he had been for a long time (maybe in a war?), and the boy had come to see the robots as his friends, dressing them up in wigs and clothes. And even though the robots didn't in theory feel emotion, they seemed to have started caring for the boy as well. When the father returned, he was going to take the boy away to another (new?) home, and took all clothes off of the robots. Since the boy didn't want his friends to be just servants, he decided to run away. He had heard of a hidden place up north, that you could only get to with a strange train, where supposedly robots had more rights. So he set off, taking one of the robot friends with him, avoiding search patrols on the way. He had gotten to the station where the train would appear sometimes, and was waiting there when his father appeared with an army. This is where my recollection gets a bit foggy, so can't remember what happens next. I do seem to recall a train, so maybe they made it.

Sneak Attack

A bit of new music. Ourmedia is still being weird, so if you want to hear it, go straight to the Archive.org page. (Here's also a direct link for those who are confused by the Archive.org page.)

I've actually had this laying around for a while now. The composition is nothing special, I probably spent more time arranging it. (The arrangement turned out pretty good, actually.) Clocks in at just under 3 minutes, complete with unnecessary key-raising about two-thirds through.