25 Things About Me You May Not Know, or Even Want To

January 19, 2009 · Posted in Memes · Comment 

This silly meme did rounds in the Facebook and I wasted valuable time dodging work and doing it. So, why not paste it here too, when I’m at it.


Instructions: Write 25 things about yourself that others might not know, then tag 25 people on your friends list and ask them to do the same. But I won’t pester anyone with this, join the party if you like.

1. After the high school and before my university studies I did half a term of car mechanic and metalworking school, the basic course of a restaurant chef school and worked in a psychogeriatric ward as a patient assistant.

2. I have mild synaesthesia. Numbers, letters and weekdays have pretty consistent colours, pure and clear sounds have colours and shapes and I sort of feel them on my tongue. This makes playing theremin interesting.

3. I play theremin in two bands, Älymystö & Radiokatve.

4. I love animals, although I’m allergic to most furry things. I steadfastly ignore it and play with the cats and the dogs and what have you until my eyes bleed. I’ve had fish, a lizard, a snake and plenty of rats as pets.

5. I feel weird and a little bit lost if I go to sleep without reading a few pages of a good novel while lying on the bed.

6. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t do an exchange student year and I’ve never actually lived abroad.

7. I’m a hobbyholic – I get interested in new things all the time and I just have to try them. Lately I’ve tried to limit it and concentrate on a few things at a time.

8. My initial reaction is to like everybody and I think people should almost always be given the benefit of the doubt. I live by the creed “one should never assume as malice anything that can be explained by ignorance, thoughtlessness or incompetence”.

9. I went straight from being slightly underweight to being slightly overweight around the year 2000.

10. I was unemployed for a couple of years when I was living in Tampere, right after graduating from high school.

11. I used to do a lot of martial arts when I was younger. During the time I was unemployed I had at times nine training sessions per week. This has left me with a plenty of busted joints and a memory of being in a really good shape once upon a time.

12. I like cooking and baking and find them extremely relaxing.

13. I have a .22 pistol and I do some target practice now and then. My plan is to start doing practical some day in the future.

14. I love turning over rocks, finding interesting bugs and critters in ditches and streams, chasing lizards and so on. When I cease to be fascinated by things like that, I’ll jump into a grave voluntarily. Cause – game over man, game over!

15. I dream of making my living by writing fiction. Maybe some day. 

16. The summer cabin is my fortress of solitude. I like skiing, fishing, ice-fishing & doing yardwork with minimalist equipment (ie. handsaws, axes, scythes etc. instead of chainsaws or other power tools). 

17. I have a BA on computational linguistics, but apart from a two-year stint as an university researcher I haven’t really worked in the field.

18. I used to have positively legendary hangovers, which turned out to be a variety of migraine.

19. I’ve studied Japanese and Hungarian for a couple of years in the university, but because of the lack of use both of them are well below conversation level currently. I’ve also studied the basics of a ten or so other languages (French, German, Latin, Hebrew, Polish, Sanskrit, Gaelic, Spanish, Russian etc.), but don’t really have any skill in them.

20. I get irritated easily, but it fades fast. Making me genuinely angry takes real effort and after that I can be bitter and petty for a long time.

21. I haven’t been jealous of anybody since my teens. Jealousy is just lack of self confidence, it has nothing to do with love and caring.

22. I used to do a lot of amateur astronomy when I was younger. I still check for halos pretty much automatically when I step out.

23. I learned to read at the age of four, apparently very suddenly – I just sat down at a table and started reading something out aloud.

24. If I was given a choice to either do a bungee jump / parachute jump or shoot myself in the foot, I’d probably blow my toes off.

25. I’m not easily disgusted by blood, guts, dirt, rotten stuff or other such things, but I can’t stand squashing insects, maggots etc. The bigger they are, the worse the ick-reaction. I’ve tried to get rid of the previous by eating and cooking meals made out of insects, namely crickets and mealworms. Both of which are actually quite tasty.


Online Music – Just the Way I Like It

January 6, 2009 · Posted in DRM & Online Distribution, Music, Tech & Gadgetry · Comment 

Well, I’m sad to say but the Christmastime didn’t continue in such a stellar way as it began. On 25th I started feeling a bit weird and luckily decided to leave home from the cabin, since in the evening I got what can be best described as an explosive stomach flu, which came with a high fever that made me enjoy funky delusions. All that wouldn’t have been that fun in the cabin in subzero temperatures, with just an outhouse and no warm water. So, I spent most of the Christmas holiday and the New Year’s Eve on our sofa, playing Fallout 3 – so it wasn’t all bad.

While recovering from the illness I had plenty of time to tinker around with web services, including something many of my pals are nuts for, Spotify.


The basic idea of Spotify is pretty simple – you can listen to streaming music free, if you listen to an ad or two now and then. If you shell out ten euros per month, you get rid of the ads that aren’t too frequent in any case. You can either choose the genres and the decades, pick up a single band or listen to an artist radio, which does a playlist of music similar to the artist you chose. In itself this is not that revolutionary, but Spotify has collected an impressive amount of music for the service, which means you can find both top-10 stuff and surprisingly obscure underground bands side by side.  And yeah, it Scrobbles the songs to Last.fm.

For the last year or so I’ve been using eMusic, which is also a subscription based service. It costs something like 13 dollars per month, for which you can download 40 songs in a DRM’less mp3-format. I originally signed in to download the Dr. Steel albums, but stayed for the pretty nice ambient, dub and electronica -selection.


I mainly listen the music from my desktop Mac, which is in my home office, but I pipe it over to the living room via Airport Express / AirTunes. So far this has limited my choices for a media player to iTunes, but a few days back I finally tried out and registered AirFoil, which streams stuff from whichever program to AirTunes. And yeah, it doesn’t stream the raw output of the computer, so you won’t get the incoming email / friend signed in on MSN bings and beeps, just the output of the program you choose.


The only thing I have got to say now is holy fuck. Holy fucking hell. Now I have practically endless playlists of music I like, which I can stream straight to the living room stereo.  I can pay for listening to the music, a reasonable amount too. I can find and try out new music easily, and if I want to take it on the road, I can quite often buy it from eMusic. This has been pretty much what I’ve been waiting for with on-line music services – or as close I’ve dared to hope with the fossilized record company execs still in charge. If you manage to get an invite, I heartily recommend you to try Spotify, and also check out eMusic for a month or two and see, if they got stuff in there that appeals to you.

Maybe in a few years I can stagger out of the bedroom and go “Computer, morning ambient, something noiseish, follow up with something groovy on the lines of Beastie Boys and Fatboy Slim once I’ve got my coffee”.

Now, when do the movie and TV execs get their heads out of their asses enough to make something like this for TV series’ and films…?


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