MovableType4 Upgrade

This is just a technical announcement that seikatsu is now running on new and shiny MovableType 4.

The upgrade worked without a single visible glitch (well, I didn’t dare to touch design templates yet), but it wouldn’t be a surprise if I hurt something deeper down.

Please let me know if you find something broken.


2007 Travel Stats

Just like in 2006 I took a look back to the calendar again to recap the time spent on the road (or in the air for that matter) in 2007:
* Number of business trips: ~28
* Flight legs: 79
* Days away from home: ~95
* London: 67 days (including a ~30 day stretch stay, though)
* Prague: 8 days
* Luxembourg: 6 days
* San Jose: 6 days
* Tokyo: 4 days
* Brussels: 2 days
* Netherlands: 2 days
Now, when it almost seems that the year on year travel stayed basically flat, I also looked at family holiday trips. These four (Tenerife, Burgundy, Zürich & Dominican Republic) add to another 14 flights to get away for ~30 days. Of course, with your loved ones along, those were much preferable kind of “away from home”.
Since you asked – yes, I am laid back in an armchair at home right this very second. And loving it.


Dinner Joys Galore

Pheasant
A free tip for your next social event. Get a group of friends together in a Skype multichat. Set a date for a dinner. Divide courses and entertainment responsibilities and set no further rules.
If your friends are anything like mine you will end up with six hours of pure joy featuring:
* Three types of game sausage (boar, deer & moose)
* Pickled wild mushrooms
* Home made bread
* Thai-style chicken skewers with cucumber-coriander salad
* Veal carpaccio parmigiano
* Phaesant leg on grilled portobello mushrooms pictured above, with a topping of pomme grenade foam (latter á la El Bulli)
* Crème brulée
* Alsace Gran Cru Riesling, Cotes du Rhone Villages and 1er Cru Sauternes on side (not to mention the vodka for carpaccio)
* A pop quiz revealing the true usage of whiskey in 7th century Ireland (involving donkeys) and greeting traditions in Tibet (involving tongues)
Just lovely.


Mitchell’s number9dream

number9dream_cover.jpg

The way I met this book is quite as bizarre and coincidental as David Mitchell‘s writing itself. I happened to finger through a flight magazine (probably SAS, and probably Copenhagen-London) and stumbled on a brief book review of something that sounded like “fast-paced cyberfiction set in modern Tokyo”. Given my childhood love for anything cyberpunk and that I was just freshly under Tokyo influence, I really wanted to get that book. Alas, I immediately forgot the title.
Weeks later, I was walking down Market Street in downtown San Francisco, to get my rental car from a parking lot and drive to SFO to fly out. I passed a small bookstore and somehow the memory of that review crawled out from the back of my brain. I entered the store, still clueless on what to look for and spent probably half an hour googling various combinations of “tokyo dream 9 nine cyber fiction” type search strings on my Blackberry. Once I finally found the name of Mitchell, I also found the M-shelf with the last copy of the book.

number9dream
is all about this sort of seemingly coincidental events by themselves, set physically and situationally well apart, but building up to a great storyline of Eiji’s quest to find his father from the faceless concrete maze of Tokyo. There is a hint of technology playing it’s part (as it is in our lives), but it is not pure cyberfiction per se (if that’s what would scare you away from reading it).
If I could think of the most kliché-ridden way of describing the stylistic mix, I’d say that number9dream is William Gibson meets Lost meets Robert Ludlum meets Kazuo Ishiguro meets your favourite yakuza manga and then a black and white Japanese 2nd World War movie to top.
Mitchell’s command of detail and dialogue is stellar and his time spent as an Englishman in Japan brings a distinct angle of knowledgeable but still a bit distant outsider reporting to the whole thing. The only thing this book could live without is the sidestory of Goatwriter, which feels like an artificially attached showoff of Mitchell’s ability to also switch easily from minimalistic japanese translations to archaic few dozen syllable phrase constructs of a victorian fairytale.
VERDICT:
Must read.


Happy Birthday, Mutant Disco!

Mutant Disco 10!
Last night the Von Krahl theater in Tallinn hosted crowds from all over the past ten years to cheer for the tenth birthday of Mutant Disco.
As for many other good things in this category, we have to thank again late John Peel. By becoming a fan of Röövel Ööbik and giving them a lot of BBC One airtime in early nineties, he inevitably helped to build a strong network between the Estonian and UK music circles, with the now inseparable tandem of Raul Saaremets & Chris “Rythm Doctor” Long to start with.
MD has been so much more than another club event here. It has consistently exposed local and international top performances to the scene, shaping our tastes and values. Bringing guys like Bob Jones or Frankie Valentine or Basement Jaxx or Moodymann over to a tiny cold Northern European capital must have been extremely hard for Raul and Chris when they started, but hugely because of their pains of the early years, Estonia has become the vibrant alternative music and culture host it is now. There is a video interview with them available on how they got started (mostly in Estonian): part 1 and part 2.
Over the years, MD has innovated with not just music, but also with consistent branding, their web presence and active online community around md.com forums, creative flyers (first on paper, fully virtual these days), redefining Von Krahl from a theatre to happening, multifaceted event location, etc etc.
But most importantly, Mutant Disco has had an unprecedented effect on building a strong horizontal network inside a certain generation of our small country. Many in their student years gathering to Mutant Discos 10 years ago are now the who’s who stars of business, investment banking, government, law, technology, media and many others making things happen in arts – music, literature, visual arts, cinema, fashion. In the mixed nostalgic-euphoric vibe at the event yesterday, I couldn’t help but wonder what extremely unique value has been created just because of the out of the box mindsets people end up with here. A successful attorney hanging out with music critics or a software developer with his best friends in experimental video think much differently than their colleagues stuck in narrow professional groups of their industry. The experience of belonging to the diverse group of mutants must have released ideas and energy in places we don’t even admit.
Respect, Raul & Chris, and happy birthday again!


Kõige pehmem on maanduda mülkas

Esmaspäeval toimus minu jaoks teine (esimesest juttu siin) Informaatikanõukogu koosolek. Istungi päevakorra ja materjalide seast soovitan vabamal pühadehetkel soojalt tutvuda kolme failiga:

Kogupilt peaks eriti huvitav olema neile, kes kas jutlustavad majanduse pehmest maandumisest ja “normaalsetest lühiajalistest korrektuuridest”. Justnagu midagi välist, meist sõltumatut tuleks ja läheks – pärast tormi tuleb varem või hiljem päike välja, ilma et me ise selleks midagi teha saaks peale ära kannatamise. Vahelduseks puhastele emotsioonidele tasub minu arust siiski ka fakte vaadata, et leida neid punkte, kus majanduses ja ühiskonnas midagi teisiti tegema võiks hakata:

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Cash Hurts


NIN‘s Downward Spiral was probably the favorite album of mine in 1994.
So when Priidu forwarded me the Johnny Cash‘ version of Hurt above I had a little emotional shock wave. On one hand I can’t believe I’ve missed something this powerful made of a song that left a mark as it was originally. And on the other hand, if you see the video for the first time only today, post the passing of Cash a few years ago, you are entitled to even deeper layers of additional meanings and references from it as an epitaph.


Dominican Republic

Arrived
The virtual radio silence here is excused by a lovely internet-less trip to the Dominican Republic and the busy weeks post-return. I finally managed to sort some photos from there, at least.
Cheers to Carlos for thorough briefing ahead on where to go and what to see in his homeland and Rosendo Alvarez III, the Honorary Consul for Estonia there for his kind invitation in the first place.


Tallinna esimene OpenCoffee juba homme

Jüri on tänuväärselt võtnud vedada esimese OpenCoffee korraldamise Tallinnas, mida Saul on juba mõnda aega tagasi tagant utsitanud:

Juba sel neljapäeval kell 9.00 hommikul toimub esimene mitte-ametlik tehnoloogiaettevõtjate, -investorite, -arendajate ja -huviliste hommikukohvi vormis kokkusaamine OpenCoffee Tallinn. Ürituse eesmärgiks on omavahel paremini kokku viia tehnoloogiavallas tegutsejad, olgu need siis ideede generaatorid, tänased või tulevased ettevõtjad, tänased või potentsiaalsed investorid.

Ise ei ole kahjuks Eestis, aga vähemasti Teller ja Parasiil on siin plaaninud Skype’i poolt ürituselt läbi hüpata.
Kevadel käisin Londoni “algupärasel” OpenCoffee‘l ja ehk Eesti omale jõuan siis järgmine kord.