the unstable polar bear

I got some spam today. It actually got through the spam-filters, and reason it did is that it contained some text in the end which is designed to fool spam-filters in to believing that it's genuine email. And some of the stuff in there is pretty deep:

"When you see some hypnotic reactor, it means that a grizzly bear living with the cargo bay hibernates."

"When a hypnotic football team rejoices, a briar patch starts reminiscing about lost glory."

"A fruit cake beyond a bartender competes with the unstable polar bear." is history

Few weeks ago I had to test the web content-filter (read: porn-filter) at work. The test basically consisted me going to various banned websites, like, and check whether I could reach them or not. Well, as a result, I now have hanging in my browsers list of visited sites.

Why is that a problem? Well, I have few websites I visit that start with "pla" (, and primarily), and when I start to type the URL in the address-bar, it suggests Most annoying. I could clear my browsing-history, but then I would lose all the other websites I have visited in the past as well. So, as things are right now, I'm stuck.

Life, it seems, is not only filled with little things that cause you joy. It's also consisted of little things that annoy you.

"Think of the children!"

I'm getting sick and tired of having bunch of do-gooders running around and "protecting the children". Latest case in this neverending quest of protecting the children from anything that might theoretically harm them, is the lunacy proposed by the EU Comission. In short: People/websites who publish videos on a website (like Youtube, blogs etc.) need to get a broadcast-license. Rationale being that those videos might contain material that is harmful to children, and this way the government would have some control what gets published, and what does not.

What is this crap? We need a license from the government to exercise our right to free speech? Since someone could harm a child by saying something bad to that kid in the supermarket, maybe we need speech-licenses as well? I mean, would someone please think of the children?!

And I bet that this has nothing to do with children in the end. This is a method to give the government control what can be said and where. And if someone opposes legislation like this, they can just say "why do you hate children?".

I already mailed my MEP, and I sent the comissioner in charge of this disaster an polite and courteous email, where I explained the idiocy of this proposed directive.

Living with a DSLR

I have had my Eos 400D close to a week now, so it's time to reflect.

Camera is a camera, right? Well, yes. But it's amazing how things change when moving from a pocket-camera (in my case, Ixus 500) to a DSLR. What changes am I talking about here? Well, here's few:

Control. In my previous camera I could make "suggestions" to the camera, and all I could do then was to hope that the camera agreed with me. And I could never make long and short exposures work properly. The pictures ended up being under- or over-exposed. Not so with the new camera. I can tell the camera EXACTLY what I want it to do, and it will do it, no matter how stupid my demands are. And the problem with exposures? Gone. Well, I do get over- or under-exposed pics now and then, but this time I can change the settings and fix it. I can finally take pictures that really show movement. I can finally play around with light and depth-of-field.

Feel. My old camera was silent when I took a picture. The new camera? It actually makes a real sound when taking the picture. Now, you might think that the sound does not matter. But it does. The act of taking a picture is so much nicer with the new camera than in the old, because you get real audible feedback. I sometimes take pointless pictures with the camera just because it feels so good to take a picture. Also, the new camera lets you have a proper grip on the camera (although the Eos xxxD-series does not have the best grip in the market), whereas with the old camera I just held it in front of my face. Also, the camera weights more, which is a good thing. It doesn't move around as easily as the old camera, thanks to the added weight (and better grip).

Quality. The pictures I take with the Eos look better. It's as simple as that. And I can use humungous resolutions, and I can take RAW-pictures. Hell, the smallest resolution I can use with the Eos is only slightly smaller than the biggest resolution in the Ixus!

Speed. With the old camera I could take one picture ever 2-3 seconds or so. With the new camera I can take up to 3 pictures a second. So I can take more pictures in a limited time. I can then discard the poor pictures and keep the best. With the old camera, I could take maybe 1-2 pictures of something happening. And those pictures were the only ones I had. If they sucked, there was nothing I could do. Now I can pick and choose which pics to keep. 2-3 pictures suck? No problem, since I took maybe 5-6 pics, so I still have few decent pics to choose from. So the speed drives the overall quality up.

Those are the four biggest changes I have experiences. And the camera has in many ways changed other things as well. These days I go out quite often, just so I could take pictures. The Mrs. is happy as well, since we now take long walks, whereas befire I liked to stay indoors. I also take a lot more pictures these days than I did before. I might post some as time goes on :).

In short: I still think that the new camera was propably the best purchase I have made in quite some time.

I have seen the light, and it's called Totoro

Me, Mrs., the sister in-law and bunch of her friends went to see "My Neighbour Totoro" last sunday. I had seen "Spirited Away" and "Moving Castle", and liked them both very much. Mrs. had seen them as well, and thought that they were OK, but not uber-great or anything. Originally she didn't want to go see Totoro, but two-week persuasion by me and her sister made her come along to see it.

The movie was absolutely fabulous. I was totally mesmerized by it. It was just so beautiful, and I'm not talking about the artwork alone here. The actors (we saw the original version with Japanese dialogue) did a great job, the story was very imaginative and plain great, and the artwork was breathtaking. And the Mrs., the skeptic among us, fell in love with it.

Hayao Miyazaki is propably the greatest filmmaker in the world at the moment. What else is there to say, really?

The mystery-item....

Canon Eos 400D. Oh yes. My precioussss....

So I did it. Finally.

For the last few days I have been wondering about one specific thing: "Should I buy item A, or item B? Or could I afford them both at once?" Yesterday I finally came up with my answer: Item B it is. No, I can't afford both A and B at the same time. A has to wait for a bit longer. How much longer, I don't know. But hopefully not that long.

I'm currently in possession of B, and my credit-card is still bleeding. But looking at it, it has become quite obvious to me that it's everything I dreamed it would be, and more. I haven't even used the thing yet, but I'm already thinking that "this might be the best purchase I have made in a long time". I haven't smelled it, but I bet that if I did, it would smell better than roses and Chanel #5 combined.

More to come...

Reasons why Picard is better than Kirk

# Picard has a bigger spaceship, which can separate into two spaceships.
# Picard quotes Shakespeare all the time. Hell, even the ability to speak without pausing every two to three seconds puts him above Kirk
# Picard: Not only the president of the Enterprise, but also a client.
# Picard was turned into a robot. Robots are cool.
# Picard can say "Make it so" in 43 different inflections in 6 different languages.
# Picard isn't a walking sexual harassment suit. Hiring Picard instead of a skirt-chaser like Kirk is estimated to have saved the Federation 23 billion credits worth of legal fees and hush money paid to the mothers of illegitimate children spread out across hundreds of star systems.
# Picard has an annoying techno song compsed totally of his lines. Then someone took the time to make a music video by finding the scenes the lines were from, and editing them to fit the song. Crazy.
# Picard Wasn't made an admiral. Kirk told him not to let starfleet promote him, and he didn't. Therfore Picard is better.
# Picard would never, ever tell his fans to GET A LIFE!
# Kirk was a leader of followers. That's the only reason he (almost) got away with it.
# Picard's worst episodes were originally written for Kirk.
# Picard discovers new life, new civilizations and strange new worlds, not discarded movie sets from 1950s period dramas.
# Picard can act out entire Shakespearean plays, not merely remember 5 or 6 lines.
# Picard can get his ship to orbit a planet in both directions.
# Picard would never ever date a shape-shifter who had previously morphed into a little girl.
# Picard doesn't need to wear glasses.
# Picard has so much backbone Starfleet designers had to cut out a section of his command chair for it all to fit in.
# Picard didn't have to reprogram a computer to give him better grades in order to graduate from Starfleet Academy.
# Picard has to contend with crap Starfleet Admirals. If he stole a starship only to have it get destroyed, he'd get vaporized, not given captaincy of a new one like in the easy old days.
# Picard commands his ship using the big head.
# Picard has a ship whose engines can take it.
# Three words: seven whole seasons.
# Picard never uses Grecian 2000.
# Picard has to contend with the "Prime Directive", a ruling imposed on him by Starfleet after they saw what a complete shambles resulted when they let Kirk meet new alien races.
# The only way Picard would allow Tribbles on his ship would be as hors d'oeuvres.
# Picard never met Joan Collins.
# Picard's bridge doesn't sound like an aviary.
# Picard participates in the odd archaeological dig. Kirk would make a suitable subject for one.
# One question: to which Captain would you entrust the safety of your daughter?
# Picard is far too cool to beam down to a planet, strip to his waist and wrestle with some guy in a rubber lizard suit. He lets his First Officer do all that for him.
# Picard never shot his best friend's body into space in a photon torpedo.
# Kirk probably thinks a concerto is a kind of ice cream dessert.
# Picard doesn't need hair, real or not.
# Picard's crew are too sophisticated to be taken over by a bunch of women in gogo boots and have the most intelligent person aboard controlled by a box that has less buttons than a Super Nintendo joypad.
# Picard's adventures spun off three new series, each longer than Kirk's run. Kirk only inspired a one-seasoned cartoon, and six movies.
# Kirk's First Officer played some form of Vulcan harp, an instrument that makes the trombone look like just about the most macho thing this side of Kirk's toupee.
# How many innocent yellow-shirted security officers have been killed by crazed aliens who had taken pot shots at them in the mistaken belief that they were actually shooting at Kirk?
# Kirk commands his ship as if he's driving a tractor across an Iowa wheat field.
# When Picard was 37, he was the Captain of the lowly Stargazer. Starfleet soon learned the value of "progressive experience" having witnessed the disastrous consequences of letting someone take charge of a real ship when their previous vehicular experience extended only as far as driving a tractor across an Iowa wheat field.
# If Kirk had a doctor like Beverly Crusher, Starfleet would have to relocate the command chair in sickbay.
# If Kirk was captain when Tasha Yar died, he would have tried to do her corpse.
# Picard has more than one token black person on his crew.
# Picard isn't afraid to go places without a security team.
# Picard doesn't wear pansy sailor-boy markings on his cuffs.
# Picard has shuttlecraft that can travel faster than Kirk's ship.
# Picard would never have said "He's had too much LDS".
# Picard never has to say stupid things like, " a Gr'up!" in front of young teenage girls who fancy him.
# Picard was actually in his own show's pilot episode.
# Picard never visits planets that look suspiciously like a Californian desert, except for that time he met Kirk.
# Picard won't spend his retirement writing science fiction books or making cameo appearances in Zemeckis & Zemeckis films.
# Picard was never demoted to a lieutenant in the L.A. Police Department.
# Picard is too slim to require a Kellogg's All Bran diet, and too dignified to turn up in an ad for such things.
# Picard's doctor doesn't have to keep reminding him what her job is.
# Picard doesn't have to operate his turbo lifts using hand pumps.
# Picard's main viewer is a 200 inch hi-definition TV with Nicam and Pro-Logic surround-sound.
# Picard's ego wouldn't demand $7 million for a 10 minute appearance in a movie.
# Picard can spend more than 15 minutes on a planet before being shot at or locked up.
# Picard's ship was never taken over by a door-to-door salesman.
# If the Borg had assimilated Kirk, they wouldn't have learned anything.
# Picard's First Officer eats the things that attack Kirk in alien forests.
# Picard would never blow up his own ship.
# Imagine you have to impose your authority: "This is Captain Jean Luc Picard of the Federation Starship Enterprise." Now introduce yourself as "James Tiberius Kirk, but you can call me Jim." See the difference?
# If Q had met Kirk instead of Picard he would have destroyed humanity before Kirk got two words out.
# Who ever heard of the Patrick Stewart foundation?
# One word: Intelligence
# When Picard met Kirk, only one of them survived. Guess who it was.