Rock Climbing Sunday

June 28, 2009 · Posted in Adventure! · Comment 

Rock climbing is one of the hobbies that’s pretty common in the circles I hang around in, and now and then people have tried to lure me to try it was well. I’ve been on an indoor wall once in 2003 or so, as a part of a company activity day. It was quite fun, but after that I’ve never got around to trying it again, neither in or outdoors.

This Sunday I headed off towards Haukkakallio, where Miri, Dare and assorted other people were busy crawling up a granite face. The day was excellent right from the start. The sky was deep blue and almost devoid of clouds, and the temperature was close to +30C. I gunned the car down the highway, blasting Eagles of Death Metal, enjoying the summer and the feeling that all is fundamentally well in the world.

On a tangent, Eagles of Death Metal is simply brilliant summertime music. It makes one want to strut down a sunny avenue, eat ice-cream, drink rum cola and have dirty and sweaty sex. In my opinion this is exactly what summer rock should make you feel like.

In any case, I finally made my way to the Haukkakallio rock face and found the rest of the gang busy up and around the rock wall. The forest was beautiful and the air was hot. There were big, fat and slow horseflies buzzing everywhere, but the scorching sunshine had driven mosquitos in the cool shadows of the caves, grottos and other nooks. The nature was really beautiful all around.

(The full Flickr photoset)



I got some loaner equipment and tried two different routes. First of them was pretty easy after I got past the first meter and half, but on the second one I got stuck two thirds up. I could have probably got further if I had swung my legs up and done some sinew breaking acrobatics, but my ankle was still sore from last Wednesday. I didn’t want to fuck up the joint and with it the next week’s three diving trips, so I did the sensible thing, which was to pussy out and get back down.



In conclusion rock climbing is something I’ll probably continue doing now and then with pals, but I won’t probably get hooked on it like with diving. Climbing was somehow a bit intimidating, but not for the obvious reason, which is the idea of hanging tooth and nail on a rock wall with just a rope between you staying up and plummeting to rocks and splitting your pelvis or heel bone (a completely fictional example).

In the end dangling up there didn’t bother me at all, which was kind of a surprise for me. Somehow the whole thing just felt kind of unforgiving. One missed foot or handhold and you end up with a skinned knee or elbow, and most importantly the realisation that but for the grace of the rope you’d be down in the rocks, busy counting your broken bones. I guess the division between being in control and losing it is a bit too narrow for my taste. Nevertheless, it was really fun and rewarding to get to try something new and get new experiences.

Afterwards we went to a nearby lake for a swim in a cool and surprisingly clear lake, and to barbeque some sausages. My fingertips were completely raw even after just a couple of climbs, which was a bit of a surprise. You tend to think of granite as smooth, but that’s of course the variety you get on shorelines or in buildings. In the nature it’s big grained, rough and surprisingly sharp.

When I stepped back into car, I was feeling happy, at peace and harmonious. Beautiful nature, scratches and sore muscles from physical exercise and that nice smooth feeling you get after washing off the sweat of a summer day in cool lake water. Small moments of perfection.



On Stage with Enochian Crescent @ Tuska 2009

June 28, 2009 · Posted in Band Projects · Comment 

If someone had told me 10 years ago that one day I’d be on stage during the biggest metal festival in the Nordic countries, playing theremin with a black metal band, I would have taken the claim with just a bit of skepticism.

Be it as it may, this was the exact situation I found myself in during the last weekend of June 2009. After Älymystö‘s previous gig I heard that Enochian Crescent is looking for someone to play theremin in one song medley and told my contact that I’d be interested. This Monday I got a call from the singer of the band, went to visit their band practice on Wednesday and on Friday I found myself packing my stuff and heading over to Nosturi for the soundcheck.

I wasn’t the only visiting artist Enochian Crescent had – there was actually enough of a crowd for a whole another band. Backstage was nicely eclectic with a mix of styles. There was me in my old suit jacket, white shirt and bow tie, Matt Dirty / DigitalFiend pinning bows on his scalp with hypodermic needles, Hellwind Inferion of Urn in a cape and damn cool makeup, plus of course the EC guys themselves.

(More pics here)



The Gig and the Aftermath

Right before the gig I got an unexpected additional assignment. It turned out that I had to play a 2-3 minute interlude with the theremin right in middle of the gig. Performance anxiety isn’t really a big part of my personality, quite the opposite, but I have to admit that upon hearing that and looking at the crowd of drunken metalheads pumping their fists in the air gave me a moment’s pause. Impros are notoriously unreliable, you’ll never know if they’ll live or die, and the crowd was decidedly NOT ambient.

So, did I refuse? Well fuck no!

Like always, the moment’s hesitation turned fast into enthusiasm. After I got the cue (“Come to the stage after the song where I cut myself with scissors”) I headed over to the stage and had a fucking good time. The audience looked rather baffled, but kept chanting and waving their fists. Compared to our usual audiences, it was a leeetle bit different. Well, except for Latvia and the mad fuckers at Depo, maybe.



When I got back to the stage to play on the medley, I almost slipped on a pool of blood when heading for my instrument. Pig hearts had been flying through the air to the audience and back and the stage was looking nice and nasty.

After the gig I went to pick up my equipment, a lot of it splattered with blood, though only lightly. Well, except the cables that were on the floor. The stage smelled of blood and there was a heart lying next to a monitor – and I suddenly realised I was feeling kind of nostalgic about certain movie and other projects I was involved in years ago. Can’t remember the last time I had to wash pigs blood off my hands.

All in all, the night was really fun – thanks to the audience, the guys of Enochian Crescent and all the other artist guests on the stage.

See the full Flickr photoset



Short Geotrip and a Camera Test Drive

June 27, 2009 · Posted in Geocaching · Comment 

During the midsummer weekend I made the mistake of pointing my trusty Sony Cybershot DSC-W30 directly at Jori’s face, which of course broke the damn camera. This was a crying shame, because I had really liked the camera, which I’ve used on all of my UE-trips and other adventures. It’s been durable, fast, easy to use, low on noise in bad lighting conditions and overall the best impulse buy I’ve ever done on the gadget front.

I replaced the trusty workhorse with a Fuji FinePix F200EXR which Jaana-Mari recommended to me and took it out on a testdrive on a short geocaching trip after work. I went searching for a couple of new caches and revisiting two of my nemesis caches, which I’ve been trying to find 7-12 times so far, with no luck.

The full Flickr photoset, with samples below.




Next Page »