Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another list

A small list of products suitable for the upcoming holiday.

(DS game) Korg DS-10
(DS game) Professor Layton and the Curious Village
Tripod for my camera, about 140cm, for example Velbon DF-40/F or Velbon CX-440
(CD) Piana - Snow Bird
(CD) Piana - Eternal Castle
(CD) Yellow Magic Orchestra - Yellow Magic Orchestra
(CD) Kate Bush - Hounds of Love
(DVD) Leon
(Book) Slavoj Zizek - The Ticklish Subject
(Book) Slavoj Zizek - The Parallax View

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Update

So I decided a new look was in order.

That is all.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Down

One of the hazards of insomnia is that I tend to blow things out of proportion as I lie sleepless in bed.
But there's still an amount of truth in it; I have hit a pretty deep hole at the moment. I guess part of it comes from that this will most probably be my last year studying Japanology. No real courses after this year, and if I get the Bachelor's thesis done, then that's that.

The other, more significant part, is a feeling of loneliness. Being at the age I am with no experience with relationships; many that I started school with have already moved on to other things, be it work, other education or exchange studies, or otherwise busy working on their own thesis. New students coming in each year, and with me usually taking at least a year before I really warm up to new people, and on top of that not having the same native language as most of them, I experience a certain sense of alienation.

At the bottom of this, I believe, lies an incident that happened roughly six months ago.

I had once again found myself in the position where I was interested in a girl, but this time I thought there were signs that the interest was actually mutual. But maybe my feelings clouded my vision, for when I finally mustered up the courage to ask her out, I got a very strange response. Not a 'yes' nor a 'no', but simply... nothing. She acted like she literally couldn't get away from me soon enough.

After that followed a couple of days of very odd situations where I would try to greet her only to be met with silence. It didn't take long before I got the hint and just stopped even trying. I was apparently such a perverted being for following my feelings rather than the rational side that tells me I'm useless that she could risk treating me like a person.

A couple of months pass, and suddenly I hear I'm invited to a party she's having. So she was at least acknowledging my existence again, though it wasn't much more than that. Having gone there it felt like I had been invited only as a formality. And ever since then I've had this feeling, whenever we're in the same location, that I'm not really wanted there; that it would be best if I wasn't there at all.

要らない人間。

Edit: This is probably the most personal thing I've written here, and I know I've stated in the past that I didn't want it to turn into one of those blogs where the writer just nags about his life, but I want to stress that it felt like my head was literally falling apart. I did it more for my own sanity's sake than anything else.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My life is a Makoto Shinkai movie

Or to be more precise, the second part of 5 Centimeters per Second.

It's not very often that I come across a movie that I can identify with to the degree that I could with this. "Identify" might also be the wrong word, since we can pretty much identify with anything, even with a small waste-collecting robot. This was more like looking what a screenplay of my own life might look like.

Always looking for something beyond my reach... sometimes it feels like that's what I've been doing my whole life.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Happenings

It was my 26th birthday roughly one month ago, and with my birthday being positioned where it is in the calendar, it was pretty close to the Night of Arts. Me and a couple of friends went out on town and had a look at the various people and happenings. Amongst other things we visited Vaasa Water Tower, which wasn't as horrifying as I had thought. But what really caught my eye was the the DSLR camera that one of the company had. I've always liked taking pictures, even having a Flickr account despite not having a camera of my own.

This having to do with the birthday that followed a couple of days later which brought with it a slight economic boost. With the lure of the camera fresh in mind, I set out to find a suitable prospect. Enter the Canon SX100.

Armed with my new toy, I've hesitantly sought my way out on town and snapped a couple of shots. Here's one I like.
AnglesUnfortunately I got it a bit too late to take any good summer pictures, but maybe I will have learned to use its full potential by next summer. So far so good, the only real annoyance being with the supplied Canon software. Luckily there's iPhoto...

Oh! And I cleaned the toilet in the apartment, which was an interesting experience. Now it doesn't smell and look quite as much as a truck-stop urinal.

Friday, August 01, 2008

A list

So I was asked what I would want as present for my upcoming birthday, and thought I would make a small list.

(CD) Piana - Snow Bird
(CD) Piana - Eternal Castle
(CD) Yellow Magic Orchestra - Yellow Magic Orchestra
(CD) Kate Bush - Hounds of Love
(DVD) Leon
(Book) Slavoj Zizek - The Ticklish Subject
(Book) Slavoj Zizek - The Parallax View
(Xbox game) Psi-Ops
(Xbox game) Burnout 3
(DS game) Professor Layton and the Curious Village (which isn't out yet in Europe, it seems)
(DVD) Paranoia Agent 1 (or more)
(DVD) The Pianist (and other movies by Polanski could also be received)
(DVD) Kieslowki's 3 Colours

Etc.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Live pictures

Some pictures from the live performance we did in the band. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, have a look at some clips from the live here: Jidouhanbaiki - Kasa ga nai and Jidouhanbaiki - Ramen tabetai.)








Wednesday, July 09, 2008

New Excite Email Sucks

I don't usually do this, but I really need to blow off some steam.

I remember I got a notice about the new Excite Email some time ago, offering loads of things, though having just gotten acquainted with Gmail, the only thing I noticed was the 1GB storage. So it was with horror that I logged on to my email account on the big day of the switch only to find a bloated, non-intuitive piece of big, stinking, interweb faeces!

Gone was the clean, easy HTML, replaced by yet another failed attempt to make a web-based service look more like a desktop application. Logging in, I wasn't shown the email page, but instead a portal with 90% empty space because of all features that I don't need that I hadn't taken use of. And in a small, small box in the top-right corner, I could, after waiting for the whole behemoth to load, see that I had "New emails (wait for it while it loads...) 0". (That's right, it still says "new emails" even though you don't have any.)

Opening the email treats you to another little loading screen, after which you're free to read your email. Too bad that the default behaviour has been changed, so where before simply clicking on the email opened it, now it merely displays it in a tiny preview below the inbox. If you want it in a window of reasonable size, you have to double-click it. Pardon me, but I was under the impression that double-clicking was generally reserved for desktop applications and internet links required only one click.

And that's just for reading. Want to flag a message as spam? Choose "Junk" from the "Flag as" menu, two clicks where previously it only took one click.

But the most odd addition is that of a contextual menu. Accessed in the regular way, by the secondary button on the mouse, it displays a load of redundant options, the most mind-boggling of which is "Read", which does nothing at all, as it doesn't open any new window with the message, and it is already displayed in the preview window once the mail is clicked on. This is all of course if you can actually see the contextual menu, since the designers seem to have completely missed the possibility of browsers having their own contextual menues also accessible via the secondary mouse-button.

All in all, it is a complete mess, and the main decider for me switching to Gmail as my main account. If only there was a way to migrate all of the mail on Excite to Gmail, but with no batch-forwarding, it would take excruciatingly long, so I fear I must keep it around for the time being.

Edit: I'm not sure if it will have any effect, but here's the link to the feedback page that was mentioned in the mail from Excite about the new system if you want to try contact them via that. If they would only add the option of a "classic" GUI then I'd be satisfied myself.

Also, a comment tipped about the feedback system they have for Excite. "Give specific examples of what needs to be fixed. Don't rant, and keep your response polite and professional."

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Live

So after having done hours upon hours of band practice, we now possibly stand at the threshold of our very first live performance. It hit me for real just now as I was laying in bed, and now it's 5 AM and I'm not the least tired due to excitement. Or maybe that should be nervousness. There's so many emotions at play: fear, excitement, anxiety, joy...

In any case, this, for me, is one of the biggest things in my life so far. Maybe it's due to the long build-up leading up to it, but damn this feels cool!

If it feels like this now, I wonder what it will feel like when we finally get to do it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why racism is so dangerous

I read this comment on Slashdot, and it was just too good to not reiterate.
If you let the balance of power fall too far to the state, it's grossly naive to think it wont lead to use of that power over you, your friends and your children.
The question is, is this really true.

Consider for a moment. Do the supporters of oppressive regimes actually suffer under them? Is it not the case that those who tacitly or overtly support this kind of power imbalance actually benefit? Certainly a minority of top supporters do, but what about the silent and not so silent majority that prop up the regime? Does their support not in fact, pay off?

Are registered Republican voters who attend church every sunday, protest against abortion, call for lower taxes and "family values" really going to suffer under these DHS policies? I invoke Godwin because it is inevitable. Look at 1930's Germany. If you weren't communist or jewish, then you, as a german, probably did rather well under the Nazi's. Why wouldn't you support them? It's not like you valued abstract concepts like "freedom" and "democracy" now did you?

Most americans, no, most people in the western world, do not value these concepts. They support internment, executions, secret trials. I'm not being rhetorical here. As long as you mention the right groups; terrorists, pedophiles, minorities, lower classes, etc, the average joe will not see their freedoms as something worth valuing anymore. People do not believe in universal rights for all, only in rights for the right people, which of course includes themselves. It's sad, but that's the way it is.
-ObsessiveMathsFreak

Which is why it's so easy to fall in the "think of the children"-trap. You always think it will only affect the "bad guys".

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Translations

Lately I finished up something I had had laying around for a while: a translation/subtitle for one of the sketches from the old Swedish comedy-series Nilecity 105,6. I had originally started on it about half a year ago, but didn't upload it because I wanted to see if I could somehow make a bigger version that wouldn't lose so much quality in the transition to Youtube. That proved a bit difficult (due to various computer issues), but as I was looking through my old stuff the other day I found it again and just thought I'd at least try it and see how it looked. Turns out it retained enough quality to be "good enough".

So, without further ado, here's Greger at the venereal diseases department.


And while I was on a roll, I also decided to subtitle a clip from a Finnish news-show called Uutismixi, about the growing interest in Japan.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Marco's Pasta

Here's an interesting package of pasta I found...

Bearing a slight resemblance to a certain plumber..?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Sick

I almost thought that I would manage the winter without getting sick, but then it came over me quite suddenly on Monday. A walk to school and back again in vain yesterday (it wasn't until I was there that I conveniently remembered that we didn't have a lesson that day) didn't seem to help either, as I spent the night unable to sleep from having my nose clogged up.

With that in mind, it wasn't easy to decide whether I should go to band practice today. Eventually I decided I would go and see how it felt, and it went alright, considering the circumstances. I still decided to skip the evening lesson since I didn't feel too motivated to make the trip again in the state I'm in.

I also picked up some drugs from the pharmacy to ease the flu-symptoms: some Ibumax pain pills that I got Tuesday, and today some Toncils lozenges (used for disinfection of mouth and throat), and some Finrexin (a powder you mix with hot water and drink for "temporary relief of cold symptoms").

Monday, February 18, 2008

Musics

Going back a couple of weeks... Seeing Kent live was nice, maybe I didn't really get the full-blown concert experience when I was using earplugs, but I don't want to get full-blown tinnitus either. I really liked the faster, more electronic-sounding, version they did of Dom Andra. I came away from it with a strong feeling of wanting to do it again.

Here's a random image I found on the web.
But that isn't all the musicizing I've done lately.

It started pretty innocently during a conversation with my classmate Aino about maybe trying to play some songs from Bonnie Pink's latest album ourselves; it came up in discussions with other people from school, a couple of more jumped on, and now it seems we have inadvertedly started a band! First practice was last Friday, and having previously only played by myself, it was really exciting to get to play with other people. After the first couple of hesitating steps it started going smoother and smoother, and by the end of the first session I felt we had at least one song down pretty well! (Which was Ramen tabetai, original by Akiko Yano, but our version is based more on Tamio Okuda's cover.

Incredibly fun, and now I'm just looking for the next opportunity that fits everyones schedules...

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Concert

When I was a teenager, I was a big fan of swedish rock-band Kent. It was a time in my life when their music felt very relevant to what I was going through. Around the time of Vapen & Ammunition (Guns & Ammunition), however, they fell of my radar. I still liked the music, but there was the other, more electronic, music genres that had started to grab my interest.

Then some time ago I was visiting my sister's and her boyfriend's place and saw that they had the (at the time) new album. Having heard quite a lot about it, and due to the slightly Bergman-esque title of Du & Jag Döden (You & me death), I was a bit interested in hearing what it sounded like. Over the time I've actually come to like it a lot, thinking it's perhaps their best album.

And now, just a couple of days ago, I heard that they would be doing a live show here in the vicinity, and my sister and her boyfriend were going. What's more, they asked if I would like to come along; a very interesting suggestion! So, after taking care of the financial issues involved for a poor student like myself, we agreed that they would get in touch if there were tickets left.

And it seems there were, and I'm going to see Kent this Friday! It feels a bit strange... My favourite band from my teenage years, that I dreamt so often about seeing live, and I'll finally be able do go...