Olden days - the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2008


Summer's always a bit quiet.

  • 4.8.2008 -What's punk and whatnot-

Just like the title says, I'll be discussing motorcycles and music - and get this - at the same time! I hope you remember my earlier topic on the emotional undercurrents regarding motorcycling... If you don't, you should read the 14.1.2008 entry 'Girly Motorcyclist' before you continue. But if you're in a hurry, don't - it's not essential. Let's focus on today's subject: what's punk and what's plain old predictable pop.

The inspiration for this writing emerged from a debate with my brother, who's now been studiously contemplating whether or not to remove the muffler from the after market exhaust he bought for his Suzuki SV650 (that's him in the photo). Right... A trivial subject for a layman - and even that is a massive understatement. Not for the bikers, it isn't. Only they can truly appreciate the low, mind-blowing hum or alternatively roaring four-cylinder whining thunder that erupts from the exhaust. And I mean it - incidentally they're the only folk who do appreciate it. I've yet to see a non-biker bystander who falls in love with those exhaust notes. Mostly they hate the noise.

The most regular of readers might know by now that I've decided to buy a motorcycle. And you should've heard already that it's going to be a BMW. Now, you'd think the maker was a triviality as well. But it isn't. Oh, no, it's everything but! I've learned that many times at my workplace. During one single shift, my superior or my workmates remind me, say, three to four times that BMW is for oldies and not for the goodies. They come to me asking, some in earnest while others purely tongue-in-cheek, why is it that a young lad would ever choose BMW voluntarily. See, the photo above shows you exactly what they think about when they hear those three letters - nothing else. Talk about lack of imagination! Again, I'd love to be the young rebel, here, enjoying the unwanted attention... But to tell you the truth, it does bug me.

Oh, and by the way, that one on the left is the one I'm going for. It does look a bit like a bike for the elderly, no? Well, no.

This all begs for one serious question... Why are they making fun of "the youth who chose to go BMW"? Now, I know they're mostly light-hearted jests, but nonetheless it goes to show just how deep those stereotypes lie.

Isn't it curious that all my young co-workers as well as school mates who are "in the know" think just like the old ones? They all think alike. All! No one dares to stick out. And now we've come to the crux of the matter. Think twice of the traditional belief (or legend) of the young rebels who are supposed to think outside the box and do things differently - those who make you ask "You can do that?"

Yeah, I know!!

You don't see them anymore. Everyone's bound to belong to a group that already exists. Here's a prime example: one group of drivers are hell-bent on riding beyond the law. They do think they're the real bunch of misfits and rebels... Really. For what, breaking the law? For arousing public anger? Causing real danger? Gimme a break...

Well, here's what I love to do - comparing these groups to music. These rioters are obviously the worst, generic, run-of-the-mill heavy metal bands. You know, those whose only artistic ambition is to be the loudest, fastest, toughest band on the planet. When they want to out-heavy the others, they play harder. Some of them try to play even faster, now closing in on the sound barrier. Then the others start to play even harder, faster and stronger. And it all becomes a bit inconsequential. The art becomes a race. When they have nothing to say, they make a huge number of themself. Think about what's happened to mainstream rap! While you're at it, ask yourself how cool is that. :~)

Now, I'm skipping the others and jumping right into the newlyfound territory, the adventure tourers. They're not into impressing fellow bikers with their bikes, exhaust notes or apparel. Sure, their bikes look ugly, but the reason is that function rules over fashion. Well, sort of, anyway, since the functional design has become the new fashion... What can you do...

So, what music are they? I mean, they look hideous, do what they want and desire to put a meaning to what they do... Maybe they even dream about making a difference? It's simple, really... They are the first punk rockers! No-nonsense is the key! Take a fresh look at what we've got, make your statement and change the world! Of course, I know I'm being a bit more than just a romantic, but you get the point, I hope.

Here's what I wish to be in the future when I get a hold of my BMW F650GS... I'm only too glad Arcade Fire and Bowie played this song so I can get it all out of my system. This is exactly what I want to say to the motorcycling community and why not the rest of you: Wake Up!


  • 24.7.2008 -There is Life On Mars!-

SPOILER WARNING! If you've watching Life on Mars, the TV-series, please stop reading NOW! Following write-up could expose you to secrets of the storyline. And I'm sure you don't want to know just yet. So stop. Now!

But if you do choose to continue reading, you'll need to put this on first. It's David Bowie and Moonage Daydream (from the '73 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars). Now we're set.

So, the show... It was great. Wonderful!! Simply astonishing! Heartfelt... Oh, and awe-inspiring, too! Warm and fuzzy... What's more, the final episode was so thrilling, I just had to down a pint of Karhu along the way (that's a Finnish beer, perhaps the only one in the world worth consuming, at that). Oh, and a curious thing happened! I thought I'd celebrate the event by pouring meself a proper dram of malt whisky (a pint lasts only so long)... Then, while sipping my Talisker, Sam Tyler gets into a pub and asks for a bottle of... get this, whisky! Now, what are the odds?! Oh, I know. They're British, after all. Anyway, let's see if I can make up something sensible...

Come to think of it, now, the last episode is over. It just hit me. The funny thing is that I'm actually very, very happy about it. Sounds silly, perhaps, but there's a good reason. See, the ending was just so perfect. The right time, right place and right way. It's like hearing Mick Ronson's guitar solo at the end of Moonage Daydream. There's something almost simplistic about it and yet you can't hold it against it. Both were surprising and endlessly daring - I didn't expect this to happen.

It wasn't too long a series, but what an impact it made! First, the moment Sam Tyler finds himself in the year 1973, I fell in love with the setting. At the same time it's escapist and still we all know it's exactly what has happened - quite possibly during the lives of ourselves or our parents, anyway. Having said that, a nice milieu alone won't carry a storyline, that's for sure, so Life On Mars had to do more.

And it did. For the first time in my life did an imaginary tale get me so thoroughly immersed. From the get-go it's quite obvious that the main character, Sam, is unwillingly becoming attached to one of his new colleagues, a Woman Detective Constable - you guessed it - Annie Cartwright. It's hard even to begin to say how much more enjoyable and lively the story gets when you actually grow fond of her, as well. I certainly did. What makes it more interesting is the fact that Sam already has a girlfriend "back at home", in the 21th century, and he doesn't want to let go of her.

**If you don't want to know what happens in the end, stop reading now. This is the last warning. :~) **

The ending is something that'll make your eyes water, let me tell you, at least if you have the same kind of feelings towards Annie as Sam and I have. But I don't think it's all about love, in the end. What I think are equally important themes in the series are chance and change. Chance in a sense that Sam is brought into another time period purely by accident - a car accident, at that - and against his own will. He wants to go back - escape the time of racism, sexism and, shall we say, generosity in the legal system which he so firmly believes in - and because he can't, ends up seeing his way of life and outlook on his career as Detective Chief Inspector in a whole new light.

Change seems to be difficult for Sam, even thought his earlier life in 2006 wasn't going quite the way he'd wanted. He still wanted to go back - and he does, during the final moments. He wakes up from his coma and everything seems like a bittersweet dream. Just as he sees today in a different light, so did I. It's a cold place with little of the spontaneity, kindly anarchy or passion for life of the old times. So Sam decides to throw off his life. By doing that he finds out which one of the times was the reality. And no, I won't be telling you that. :~)

The world is a better place now that we have Life On Mars. Really, I mean it!
You can imagine that I'm eagerly awaiting for the sequel, Ashes to Ashes.


It's thus perfectly fitting that we hear another song from Bowie... Curiously enough, the song 'Life On Mars' wasn't the first single from the '71 album Hunky Dory. It was 'Changes'. Reinforcing my interpretation on one the inherent messages in the series, this particular song plays right at the very end, at a comfy pub...

Here I am at work dreaming about going to
the nearest (comfy) pub, ordering a pint and changing my life.
Yeah, forget all the ramble about comfort zones and all that
and change my life - that I'll do.


 

  • 21.7.2008 -Quick word on photography-

Whoa! It's been, what, nearly a month since my last entry. Someone could be fooled into thinking that I haven't done anything during the summer. Of course, that assessment would be a wrong one. You see, I've been at work. And then waiting for getting back to work. After a long day one must sleep, and then go to work. That's what I'm doing - otherwise it's goodbye motorcycle, goodbye motorcycle trips with my brother and friends, goodbye petrol for my car and, of course, in the future, my motorcycle. And goodbye Nikon D700 (DPReview.com preview).

I've had this constant fear of forgetting how to photograph - anything! I don't get to go to places at all, because I'm working and my brother works at a difficult shift so we don't get to see each other that much outside of work. I haven't had the chance nor the stimulus to get out there and take photographs. Take this for an example, I see a common hedgehog and I rejoice at the possibility of capturing funny shots... Only to see that I fumble with the simplest of camera controls. To add insult to injury I managed to scare the hedgehog away, as you can see. Not really National Geographic material. :~)

I'm only too glad to notice that my passion for photographs (and other visual arts) hasn't gone down one bit. On the contrary, my head is full of ideas (and little strength to realize them). I've now even decided to buy three books on photography, I'll take the opportunity to do a bit of advertising:

- Molly Bang, Picture This (link)
- Freeman Patterson, Photography and the Art of Seeing (
link)
- Charlie Waite, Joe Cornish, David Ward,
Developing Vision & Style: A Landscape Photography Masterclass (link)

I hope I'll have the time to write up brief reviews of them.

It's getting late and I've got an early morning tomorrow.
This image was shot on a beautiful stormy afternoon and
no matter how tacky it is to commend one's own photography,
I simply must admit that I somewhat like this myself. There's movement.

   

  • 26.6.2008 -Looking back, now and then-

What do yo do when you know you've missed a chance and there's nothing really you can do about it? You know, in real life where there's no 'restart' or 'load' options to choose from? (Man, would those come in handy! :~)

Well, your best hope is to forget the whole affair, isn't it? If not, then perhaps you hope to have learned something. Chances are that you won't, but the thought is kind of reassuring. You decide that you'll 'carpe diem' next time, right?

Just to make a reminder to myself for all the 'decisive moments' in the future I decided to tell you a little story... First of all, I'm sure you all know it's one of those laws of the jungle that innocent crushes come and go and very little is left to remember them by. That's human nature - no escaping the fact. I've had dozens of them during the last 24 years, to be honest, but there's one that won't go away. You see, I was at upper secondary school (at the agile but fragile age of seventeen) when we had this young substitute for an English teacher... Man, she really seemed like a tiny bit of sun having just landed on the planet. Oh yes, you could've said that she was hot and all that - and I would've agreed - but that's not exactly what I meant, at all. :~) Oh, and yeah, she lectured two courses and both times she gave me a ten - on a scale from four to ten, mind you. But that wasn't why I liked her so much...

The sad ending to the story is that that's more or less all there's to it. After all, her temporary post lasted only few months. There was really nothing I could've done, I remember thinking (on a certain level of honesty I still do). Telling her about my fancy would've probably rewarded me with a sympathetic look on her face - aside from snide remarks and giggles behind my back from my friends. A year passed... Then, on one lucky day she came to our school again! I don't know why, exactly, but I presume she was after another offer of surrogacy - but it didn't matter. What mattered to me was that in a fairly crowded hall she saw me and waved with that smiley face. I mean, she remembered me and out of fourty, maybe fifty noisy youths she waved at me. Did I feel the luckiest guy in the world!

Still, I only waved back at her... And then nothing. Feeling good was enough at that time, and besides, I thought it was just a stupid teenage crush. Seven years later I think it was "a bit" more than a simple affection. And how foolish I feel now! :~)

I bet she wasn't older then than I am now...

I'd like to thank the nice photographer who, with
this photograph here, could aptly underline
the crux of my story. I owe you one!


 

  • 18.6.2008 -Peter Jackson is the King-

   We all know Peter Jackson from the Lord of the Rings movies, right? What many of us wondered back then was just why this relatively unknown and, quite frankly, quirky film director had been given the chance to film one of the most legendary of all the legendary stories ever sprouted on the planet! But we all saw he pulled it off. What about another one of the timeless classics, then, the King Kong? I just finished watching it... Whether he pulled it off or not remains a bit of mystery to me, since I haven't actually seen the original. So I'm just going to say that he's created an adventure that'll keep you holding your breath until the very end - by which time, along with all the panting, you'll be wiping off tears, too.

But let's not get carried away. Let's start with assuming that you all know the story on a basic level. A party of chequered people arrive on an uncharted island where they - after an interesting chain of events - capture a humongous ape that is carried back to New York and eventually finds its way on top of a tall building. And the rest is up to anyone's guess, this time...

One would be forgiven for thinking there's little room for surprises in a such a classic story. There aren't many to be found - small wonder - but that's precisely what makes all the nuances stand out so well. You can't invent the wheel and not make it round, really, and I'm glad Jackson and all the writers thought so, too. It's about taking a well-known story and making us see it in a different light.

And boy, how beautiful that light is! You'll learn right from the start that Jackson's not fooling around. He's picked the best actors there are. Naomi Watts is, I think, the star of the film. The film would be stumbling without her and the profound, earth-shattering infusion of sex (no, not that kind of sex, but the kind of which people like Mick Jagger, Audrey Hepburn and Ziggy Stardust zimply ooze, you know). The uncertainty about the motives of all the creatures on the island, especially the Kong, is, even though a bit unsettling, one of the driving forces of the story. Other primaeval instincts do pop out, but where - you'll have fun time figuring it out yourself. Even though the issue is never raised, you'll instinctively begin to draw lines between the actions of the humans and other creatures.

Should I say it? Err... Well, yes, I believe it needs to be said - the ultimate cliché. The other one of the more significant characters and actors in this film is... A computer generated image - the Kong himself. When the Lord of the Rings debuted I was all but fed up with the constant hype built around the character of Gollum, which was one of the first serious attempts at creating a CGI actor. It did nothing but further alienate the viewer from the character. This time it's the same thing - Andy Serkis plays the part of the Kong via facial and full body motion capture techniques. But this time you won't even notice it. It all works so well. I must admit he's really quite impeccable as a giant ape, nothing less.

Get this, they also hired (and this is the part about the movie that caught my attention along with Jackson, of course) two of the most fascinating actors I know of - Adrien Brody and Jack Black! Both are brilliant actors in their own distinctive ways. Granted, Brody isn't really given the chance to shine much, but the part of the humble playwright suits him very well. Jack Black conveys a childish affection towards filming that later on turns into something totally different... This is another aspect of the film that really made stop and think about it all over again. Is this a childhood fantasy come to life? After all, Jackson said the original King Kong from the 1930's was the main reason for her passion for filming. He was free to choose the right project and I'm sure the right actors were more than willing to partake in Jackson's love affair. A beautiful thought, anyway.

I'm having tough time trying to come up with a half-decent approach to the story, here. We all love the Mickey Mouse stories where the scatty professor puts Mickey and Goofy into the time machine and all the wondrous ages and landscapes spring back to life. It's easy to make the association when Black's character starts gathering people around him to go on a mysterious adventure. On the way to the island a whole lot of sub-plots emerge. It all adds up to an atmosphere which can only be described as the childhood dreams of all the young boys and girls. It's a story about heroes and princesses - and it's worth mentioning that they both swap places quite effortlessly. More dark and profound issues are raised than would've felt comfortable when you were standing on the box office, which by all means is a massive plus. When the film ended, I knew I'd seen an epic story unfold in front of my eyes but at the same time I was feeling fiercely about a lot of things. There's simply so much to react upon.

The three-hour spectacle feels just that, but The Rings trilogy aside, I can
think of no other film that has put me through so many emotions.
I'm not sure how I ended up falling in love with the whole package -
Jackson, Campbell, Serkis, Brody, Black, the storyline, the island
and perhaps the most important ingredient, the Kong.
And all the seasoning as well.

My primitive instincts tell me to give the film four and a half balls of fire.


Next in line is the review of Indiana Jones and the...
err... the Crystal Skull thingie.  :~)



 

  • 7.6.2008 -Summer happens-

   Since my last entry a lot has happened. First of all, the summer has finally arrived here in the cold, faraway north. What it means in practice is much more than the sum of its parts. As I've never been a summer person (that's to say I love snowy winters and... well, the summer's far from a snowy winter, if you catch my drift) it's been quite a nice experience to actually enjoy everything from the warm sunshine to the occasional showers. The colleagues at my workplace are all very friendly and the pay cheque is... err, quite a handsome one. I'm a lucky bloke.

Having said all that, I must add that I can understand perfectly why I haven't been able to write much during the past summers. Simply put, the light gets everywhere. It doesn't get dark at all if you live up here, you know - not even during the nights. And that's kind of been the whole point of this diary - to have something to do when the night comes and life around you quietly ceases. It's a subconscious thing, I guess, that if you can see light coming through the window, you think you should be out there having fun and definitely not leaning over the keyboard writing your thoughts down... I'm not sure how to feel at the moment, if I'm being honest.

Now, turn up the volume. You'll soon see the point of all this. It's Nerdee and they're singing about Broken Glass. Those synth melodies - they're awfully familiar, no? And the singer, now she's a cutie.. If only she didn't have the silly lip ring, though. Oh, shoot, I shouldn't be babbling out loud like this! I mean, the singer's voice is much more important - and the song itself... Right? Yes, of course they are.

Everything's well, then, right? Not exactly. The life seems to have wondrous things to offer. First one of my best friends graduates and moves to another city, far from this one where I met him around eight years ago. Then another one of my best friends does the very same thing, although this time it's even further south, around 700 kilometres away. I'm not sure when I'll see him again. Travelling isn't exactly cheap nowadays - nor is it too practical. And a third one does the same...

What am I to do? Weeping about it on my own little blog would never do, that much I know. The answer is simple: I'm going to have to listen to some music and make the best out of what I'm being offered. This song's not bad at all, for instance. Okay, I'd be lying if I didn't say that a big part of my affection towards the band is due to the keyboard player... Come on, you know her! If you don't, scroll down this page a bit, to the previous entry. Yeah, that's her. Here, I'll give you a refresher - photograph by Vuokko Salo.  :~)

Their record from way back, Diamond Station (available at your local record store - or one of those P2P networks, if you're feeling criminally inclined) seems to reflect my feelings quite well at the moment. Sombre themes narrated in cheerful, inventive and downright jumpy melodies - that's the way to do it! It doesn't really matter if their attempt falls a bit short of ones expectations. I'll be the first to admit the whole album is a bit shallow and that it's more or less your job to fill the songs up. But once you do, they work pretty well, trust me.

I'm baffled, really. How and why exactly do I downright love this kind of music when I've just finished listening to some of the old Rolling Stones classics and downloading the new Opeth album (believe me, it's heavy stuff). To me this has all to do with the season. The summer has really got a hold of me, it seems. And I don't mind, as long as it makes me feel this good during these otherwise challenging times. 

Yes, I still think I'm a lucky bloke, in the end. I truly hope this summer
brings me a bit more than just good music, though...  :~)


 

  •  19.5.2008 -Beautiful things, part 3-

   Just as I thought I'd made a promise so vague that even I can't break it!  :~)  When I said I'll be back the next day or the day after that I didn't recall that my summer job started the next day. Evening shift, all the fuss, you know - no? Oh well, better late than never, they say, and for a reason. It's the time to announce two the cutest girls in the whole wide world!

First we have a special lady who's a complete stranger to each and every one of the foreigners reading this - for that I won't apologize. You'll understand the reason just about... NOW!

Nuppu Stenros, she is!

Yes, I know! She's absolutely gorgeous - if not wonderfully lovable (to borrow the common phrase that I made up last week). Not only am I blinded and made biased by the fact that she was the hostess in perhaps the best video game TV show ever - including all the foreign ones that I know - but I'm also enthralled by her being a musician. Great sense of humour, relaxing personality, timeless beauty and strong ties to - shall I say - the undercurrents of life, the art and culture.

Yeah, they're gloomy pictures, for sure, and only bring out one side of her. The doctor orders more cheerful and uptempo photos, so here's one!

Mind you that I do know who took these photos but unfortunately (for them, at least) I've completely forgotten their names (dang, I usually love to advertise photographers that I find capable). Thanks, girls and guys, for borrowing them! They really make the world a lot more beautiful place, so I can't thank you enough.

Onto the next cutie, then!

Now, what we have next is actually someone you all should be familiar with. And "should" as in "you really, really should, and if you aren't, stop wasting your time and do something about it"! I'll give you a hint... She's the main supporting actress in one of the most fascinating and addictive TV series' in a long, long, LONG time. She's a Briton - and we all know there are pearls to be found on that island. And she is, simply put, at the moment the cutest woman I can find on the face of this earth.

Get ready for...

Annie Cartwright, from Life on Mars!

Ooh, she takes my breath away, let me tell you.. She's *the* most wonderfully lovable girl that I know of. No, really! Why'd you question what I'm saying? Because I'm sure you were expecting your run-of-the-mill super model. Or you haven't, if you've been following my writings at all. ;~)

Now, her name is really Liz White and Annie's just her character. I don't know much about miss White, but I can only admire her for her talent as an actress. But the more Life on Mars episodes I'm watching the more I'm beginning to think Annie is the ultimate nice-loving-warm-beautiful-individual-did-I-say-loving-already girlfriend that one could ask for. Oh yeah, and the 70's flair in her wardrobe looks stunning - although it makes her look a tad older than she is in the photos. Blimey, come to think of it, she's only four years older than me! Maybe it's time to jump under a truck while listening to some David Bowie and Hunky Dory? Just kidding... Well, one must have dreams, wright?

But really, you've got to love the outfits they're wearing in the series. I wonder where they found all these shirts, jackets and coats. It's like dropping into a set of a Granada production (an inside joke known to people who value excellent TV entertainment, so google it up)! Might not surprise you anymore, but I'm actually anxiously looking for the kind of leather jacket you can see Sam Tyler wearing. So, if you own one and are aching to sell it on, email me, please! My size is around 46. Okay, 48, but that's my last offer.  :~)

Oh, and lest we forget who really is the most wonderfully
lovable of them all in the end, let me hear you shout...
Annie Cartwright!

 
 

  •  14.5.2008 -Beautiful things, part 2-

  Now, where was I? This week's topic... Oh, right! I can hardly restrain myse...

She's gorgeous!! Cute, she is!

Sorry 'bout that. I'll try to calm myself down a bit. Beautiful women and girls are today's topic. Err.. Sort of, anyway. Let's just say that I'm talking about fictional characters here and not real life people. Why? Because, heck, I know diddly-squat about the actresses themselves - but you kind of get under the characters' skins when you're watching them on TV.

Now, you don't know who she is, right? Well, if you've been reading my site last December when I wrote about cute ladies the first time, you've already seen her. She's Dr. Allison Cameron from House, played brilliantly by Jennifer Morrison. This is easily the cutest picture I've found of her. That white woolly and the warm light are only overpowered by her smile. I'd be almost willing to say she's cuter than Julia Stiles in the Bourne films...

Mind you, I'm not comparing the girls here. That wouldn't be fair by any stretch of the imagination! I'm just finding them wonderfully lovable - each at a time. Julia was "wonderfully lovablier" last time and now it's Jennifer's time. Honest, neat and polite? Yeah, I know!

So, who's next? Who's been making my heart flutter lately? Well, there's one whom I'd actually well-nigh forgotten. She was one of the supporting actresses in the film Enigma. Hester Wallace, played by Kate Winslet. Oh, and she is a model example of what I said earlier about the actresses versus characters. See, I didn't like her at all in Titanic, but simply adored her in Enigma.

Hester is the bespectacled shrinking violet, so to speak, at first having little room to blossom when standing next to Saffron Burrows' haughty character. When the story unfurls, it becomes less about looks (the last time I wrote about engineering and art - well this is the engineering part) and more about what's beneath (i.e. the "art", if you catch my drift). The other one's as shallow as she is hollow while the other seems filled to the brim with warmth and kindness. And forget what I said about looks - you must admit Kate is around a dozen times more pretty than Saffron, anyway!

Ohh, shoot! The clock is ticking and I've got to get to work tomorrow. I'm sure the wonderfully lovable ladies will remain wonderfully lovable (if not wonderfully lovablier, which would make them awfully close to being wonderfully lovabliest) for a day or two. I simply must continue on this subject. Maybe tomorrow, perhaps day after tomorrow. But you can rest assured that the cutest girls are saved for last.  :~)


 

  • 6.5.2008 -Beautiful things're going on, Pt1-

   It's such a beautiful thing to be able to see beautiful things... Yeah, I know! Now, what I also know is that opening the story with that kind of wisdom is just plain silly and - what's more - in general, writing a public diary is kind of sissy thing to do, too. And here I am, doing both. It'd only be fitting if doctor ordered me a healthy dose of kicks in the butt and to make a serious statement acclaiming my masculinity. Well, that I can do, in a pinch.

You read the heading. We're going with that.

First, I'll tell you a strange little fact about my interest towards the union between engineering and art. I'll start by asking you a simple question. What do you get when you mix them in 10 to 1 ratio? The answer's a bit obvious - a grey Toyota Corolla, that's what you'll get. Well, what about 1 to 10 ratio, then? I think you'd be left with a Ducati Monster motorcycle. You'd still love it, mind you, but you'd have to learn to live with having your knees oiled every once in a while.

The question remains - what happens if you have 10 of both? If you had a product that's not only engineered by ingenious minds but also had artistic value, how to describe it? There's only one fitting adjective for it that I can come up with. You'd have something beautiful in your hands. And isn't beauty one of the things that make the world tick? There, I've said it. It's to say that a photograph or a painting that was good-looking but had no real meaning or function, is a poor work of art. And the other way round - a finely crafted car or any piece of engineering is utterly boring and uninspiring if it has no soul - a touch of art.

Go on, I engourage you to ponder, contemplate and deliberate on what you think is beautiful. And what rocks your boat. I'll give you the gentle nudge by telling you what I consider being truly, unbelievably beautiful. Here we go, bring on the motorcycles!!

First off, it's the BMW R1200GS. Now, if you're a Finn, you'll
definately remember the old song 'Juokse sinä humma' by the legendary
Tapio Rautavaara, no? Anyhow, the song's about a lone traveller who really
has nothing - and still has everything he needs, for his horse remains his
friend. And this is as close as you can get to a dependable horse, nowadays.

Now, I'm not going to leave it at that! Beemers are certainly beautiful works,
but there are others, too. If you're more inclined to value the artistic
viewpoint, fear not. Here's something that will have your socks flying out
the window. And what a cool name it has - Moto Morini Granpasso!

You guessed quite correct.. It's built to do the same work as the
aformentioned Beemer - to take you around the world on two wheels.
Not a small feat, I'd say - having only watched Long Way Round for n times. :~)   
Of course, there's a handful of other motorcycles that rev up my socks, although
maybe not as effectively. These two are just the creme of the crop.

Why motorcycles and not cars, you ask?

A good question, undoubtedly. There's been a huge change in my opinions especially on the 'cycles, I think. Say, a year ago I'd have complained they're little more than extensions to men's private parts. And even today I think they *are* just that to many, many people. But you can't really blame the motorcycles, can you? I've learned to appreciate people using their motorcycles to see the world around them - to feel the dimensions of the country they live in - enjoying the nature by experiencing it ten times more intimately than they'd do if they drove around in their cars. Or buses or trains...

Think about it for a minute. Do you think there's something missing when you step onboard an aeroplane and you consciously try to get some sleep and... Bang! You've just arrived at you destination, safely and soundly. You have absolutely no idea what's been going on below you in the countries you "pass". Even a car offers you loads of experiences and chances to meet people. Again, let's think about a roadtrip on a car. Really, you pack all the stuff you need - and then some - in the boot, close all the doors and... What do you hear? Nothing, until you turn up the volume on the radio. Then you're off, again, safely and soundly, dozing off behind the wheel being the worst of your fears. Rain? Yes, please. A storm? You don't mind. Gale-force crosswinds, perhaps, to season the soup? Bring it on, the car doesn't mind, either.  :~)  Exactly how much do you experience what travelling is about? Don't take me wrong - I quite like driving a car on long trips. I've done it many enough times to actually know what I'm talking about. But I can't find a reason why I wouldn't love driving a motorcycle even more.

Seriously, think about it.

Motorcycles are masculine stuff, I know, but it is simply not enough to make me feel like a manly man. Next time I'll showcase you, again, women that I find thoroughly beautiful. Brace yourselves, because I'm not going with what looks good - alone. Prepare to be surprised!

PS: The camping photo was "loaned" from the people who run the www.aperturefirst.org. I'm very grateful, thanks, mates! Great photos you've got there. Who took the motorcycle shots, though, I have no idea. Sorry.  :~)

 

 

  • 3.5.2008 -Forget spring, it's summertime!-

   First of all, my ability to write understandably took a massive hit today, I think. We had our very last exam for the whole semester - and that alone is worth celebrating! I had been studying the course material for around a week and just wrote down seven or eight pages of technicalities on paper making. You can imagine what kind of chore it was... Being totally, completely, utterly, thoroughly and overly exhausted by the end of the exam meant that returning the paper and opening the class room door made me realise that summer had caught me by surprise. What a shock it was! Can you believe it, a week ago we had snow drifts practically everywhere and today the thermometer seemed completely grazy - 22 degrees Celcius, and for all of you metrically challenged folk it's 72F. Yes, that's freaking hot!

Yep, that's our university, right there. It's been a long time since my last writing, but I'm sure you can see the difference in weather? Okay, I'm keeping the story short because I'm planning on another one, quite soon. Maybe even tomorrow... Bye, now!  :~)


 

  • 17.4.2008 -Last signs of winter-

   I think Tom Waits didn't even know how right he was when he sang the words: "You can never hold back spring." I mean, what are the odds of yet another spring? And right after winter, just like the last time... This is getting spooky, let me tell you. The end of the season and my love towards snow and everything white that nature offers dictates that I have to document the last signs of it. And so I did.

It was getting rather funny, watching this heavy snowfall that lasted around two days with just a few clear moments. Everything was covered in snow again and it's April already for heaven's sake - what a joy! I almost forgot what errands I had to run in the first place when I did nothing but marvel the white trees and verges of the road. I decided it was yet another great photo opportunity. Here's one from the road. I especially like the subtle effect the wind screen heater makes - you see, the Jaguar has the resistor in the glass itself. Now that's clever engineering and also helps in creating a sense speed in this photo. Don't you think?

Now, here's probably one of the best photos I've ever shot with a phone camera - and easily the best photo shot while driving a car! The cold blue atmosphere is just that, a bit cold, but I think it also makes the viewer more aware of what it must feel like walking a dog in a snowstorm like that. Heck, it must be freezing!

Also, the interplay between a warm place, the car, and the outside is interesting. And I love the fact that they both only barely show in the picture, the dog being behind the railing and the man behind the A-pillar of the car.

The final image was actually shot before the blue one, but I thought a nice, warm sepia toned image would be perfect ending, just so you don't get a cold. There's a huge UFO that likes to visit Oulu, quite often, actually. It's just a rumour, mind you, but it's been said that the Starman that David Bowie wrote his song about in the 70's originally came to our solar system on that ship. Well, I'm not qualified to say anything for or against, but it seems quite likely. I mean, why not? It's got a name, by the way, as I've heard it being called "Vesi Tor'ni". That's definately alien language, which also supports the rumour, I think.


 

  • 15.4.2008 -Pheelings about phull phrame-

   Enough with the silly F's, already! Well, it was just too tasty and I promise this is the last time... Okay, so let me explain exactly what the full frame is. You can find it in some of the latest professional DSLR's (digital single lens reflex camera) and, quite simply, it's the digital sensor that captures the image. What makes it 'full' is that it's the size of the old 35mm film frame. The sensors we nowadays have in our DSLR's are more like the size of a stamp, which is too small and, frankly, not good, at all, if you ask me.

I'm not going to explain all the intricacies in camera technology or the terms you might need to understand it all. I'm just going to assume you know how modern day compact "point&shoot" digicams, DSLR's and film cameras of old days work. Because they do work in a totally different way.

Let's start with the picture here, which was kindly borrowed from Lloyd Chambers - without permission, of course (do visit his site at Diglloyd.com - the blog in particular is a great read). You can see from the perspective that it's a wide angle lens. It's a 28mm f/2.0 Carl Zeiss to be exact. Now, you wouldn't normally expect to see any amount of background blur in a wide angle shot, would you? That would be because you've accustomed to the way digital cameras (with their small sensors and lenses) inevitably draw the scene and the area outside the focus point in particular. Nowadays we see holiday snaps where the whole scene looks (almost) sharp anywhere you look. You simply can't truncate the area of focus enought to render the background blurry.

With a modern DSLR you can do just that - but only to a point. Below you can see a photo (please click it, otherwise it seems rugged and small) which couldn't have been taken even with a DSLR (with a stamp sized sensor). It's a film shot taken by someone called Julian and the lens used was Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 (I presume full aperture was used on this one) - so that's being on the edge, even in the film world. I hope you see the advantages in controlling the depth of field?

And that point is what's irking me. It actually forced (well, that's relative) me to buy an ancient film camera, where the sensor is bigger and we can use longer focal lengths in order to obtain same fields of view we had with our DSLRs. I know, that's kind of backward thinking, but you'll have to forgive me because I was introduced to photography in the DSLR era, so I'll keep it as the baseline. The good news, however, is that all the three biggest camera manufacturers, Canon, Nikon and Sony are either offering these full frame digital sensors in their line-up or have plans in doing so in the very near future.

So, there's no doubt the full frame is the future for pro and semi-pro DSLR cameras. That's what my cousin Mikko told me two years ago and I was on the fence of believing.


PS: Oh, you might be wondering what took me so long with this writing and for a good reason given that I've kind of promised to update the diary once a week. Well, I had it half written four days ago, when a curious stomach disease caught me. Even yesterday it was too hard to concentrate on writing. And it seems it's still quite tough. Some wordings seem awfully funny although I can't seem to come up with anything better at the moment. Otherwise I'm doing quite well now and I've got a few stormy pictures to show you the next time. So, until then... Bye!