Etikettarkiv: 2007

Books of June 2012

These are the books read in June. As with May, it’s been kind of slow due to school and work.

  • Patrick Rothfuss: “The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle Day One” (2007)
    • “The Kingkiller Chronicle” quickly became one of the best fantasy series I have ever read. The first book is an excellent beginning, sharing the story of a legendary life as told much after the hero’s haydays are over. Rothfuss manages to make a very believable, almost biographical fantasy story, with believable magic and true characters, while simultaneously creating an exciting and beautiful story.
  • Harry Harrison: “The K-Factor” (1960) [audio book]
    • The book quite honestly was extremely boring and almost non-existant. I barely remember it at all. Maybe it just wasn’t for me, but I didn’t enjoy it at all.

Books of February 2012

These are the books read in February.

  • Andrew B. Kipnis: “Producing Guanxi: Sentiment, Self, and Subculture in a North China Village” (1997)
    • Except for some excellent examples of real life guanxi production, sadly not all that enlightening as I hoped it would be. Then again the real life examples may well be enough to ask for.
  • Kathleen McMillan, Jonathan Weyers: “How to Write Dissertations and Projects” (2007) [in Swedish translation]
    • A good summary of the most important things to remember, especially the somewhat short sections on scientific research and scientific conduct.
  • Richard Dawkins: “The Greatest Show on Earth: the Evidence for Evolution” (2009)
    • If someone has to read just one book on science in a lifetime, this is the book to read. Dawkins goes back to the beginning and produces the plain evidence for evolutionary theory, including magnificent examples and combating many misunderstandings and critical questions. A great book to read both if you have no clue about evolution but are open minded to understand it, and if you – like me – find it interesting and want to learn a lot more, both about what we know and why we know it.

Oskyldig till motsatsen bevisats, ett allt mer försvinnande koncept av vårt samhälle

Ett av de mest fundamentala koncepten i global juridik, rätten att ses som oskyldig till motsatsen bevisats, har de senaste åren försvunnit allt mer. Sedan FRA-lagen infördes 2007 finns nu ett antagande om att alla medborgare är potentiella brottslingar, och att bara genom att spåra alla precis hela tiden kan vi motverka brott. Detta var ett steg i helt fel riktning, ett steg som togs trots enorma protester från det svenska folket. Den 21 mars 2012, om bara två veckors tid, kan nästa steg in i mörkret tas.

Denna typ av spårning av vanliga medborgare görs bokstavligt talat möjlig om DLD går igenom.

Den 21 mars röstar riksdagen om datalagringsdirektivet (DLD), som är FRA-lagen på steroider. Om DLD införs, blir din telefon till en spårare, och all information lagras undan. All information om var du rör dig, vem du pratar med, vem du sms:ar, vem du e-mailar sparas undan i ett arkiv, för att sedan kunna granskas och avlyssnas av statliga myndigheter.

Anledningen till att detta införs är att lagförarna tror att det ska stoppa terrorism. Men de allvarligare brottslingarna är antingen för skickliga för att luras av tekniken, eller för desperata för att bry sig om de åker dit. Den som ska iväg och begå ett brott kan kringgå detta mycket enkelt – lämna mobiltelefonen hemma. De som kommer att åka dit är småtjuvar, men om vi vill få dit dem kan vi istället lägga pengarna på gatupoliser än på datalagring.

Det är lätt att säga att den som är laglig inte har någonting att dölja. Men den information som sparas undan avslöjar inte bara brott – den kan visa vilken läkare du besöker, vilket politiskt parti du röstar på, vilken trosuppfattning du har – dessa är uppgifter som en demokratisk regering inte ska ha om sina medborgare.

I ett demokratiskt land som Sverige ska inte staten ha kontrollen över folket. Folket ska ha kontrollen över staten. Kontakta dina riksdagsledamöter – idag är alla riksdagspartier för DLD, men genom folkets protester kan mycket ändra.

Nu har vi ett år…

Datalagringsdirektivet fick en minoritetsbordläggning i dagens omröstning, vilket innebär att vi får en ny röstning 2012. Detta är till enorm fördel för direktivets motståndare – vi får se om EU-domstolen anser att den strider mot mänskliga rättigheter, vi får se tydligare hur ineffektivt det är i andra länder, och vi får hjälpa Sveriges medborgare att förstå hur viktig frågan är. Jag hoppas att vi inför nästa röstning kan hålla lika stora demonstrationer och bloggbävningar som inför FRA-röstningen 2007.

Jag vill tacka Miljöpartiet, Vänsterpartiet och Sverigedemokraterna som alla röstade för en bordläggning (trots att SD:s skäl var att de ville ändra DLD innan det gick igenom, inte ta bort det helt som MP och V). Jag vill också tacka Piratpartiet, som trots att de står utanför riksdagen lyckats skriva många bra debattartiklar, blogginlägg och vidare opinionsbilda och undervisa.

Vad händer nu?

Ja, vi får inte inbilla oss att vi har vunnit. Detta är ett riktigt stort steg mot ökad demokrati och integritet, men vi kan bli av med det lika fort igen. Nästa gång detta dyker upp måste vi vara bättre beredda, och vi måste börja tidigt med att få folk att inse vad Datalagringsdirektivet innebär. Demonstrationer låter radikalt, men jag tror också att det är det som bäst hjälper.

Fast nu får vi vila några dagar tycker jag.

Music releases of 2011

Within Temptation's "The Unforgiving", coming on March 25.

I entered 2011 thinking most music releases came in 2009 and 2010, and this would be a pretty calm year. I’m slowly realising I was damned wrong.

Symphonic metal act Within Temptation will release their first album since 2007, the experimental ”The Unforgiving” on March 25. The album is released alongside a comic book series written by Steven O’Connell, and six pages of the prequel is already out on Within Temptation’s website.

In March also, Swedish thrash metal act The Haunted will release ”Unseen”, the follow-up to 2009’s ”Versus”. The song ”No Ghost” from the album has already been performed and filmed live and can be seen on YouTube already. Generally well received, I take it as an awesome return to the more experimental ”The Dead Eye” era.

Sons of Seasons' second album "Magnisphyricon", coming on April 1.

In March also, German power metal project Avantasia plan to release their first live CD/DVD, The Flying Opera, filmed during their 2008 The Scarecrow tour.

On April 1, the German symphonic progressive metallers Sons of Seasons, the project of Kamelot keyboardist Oliver Palotai, will release their second album Magnisphyricon. Judging by the cover and tracklist alone, it looks like an incredibly promising album, and hopefully with a better production than their debut Gods of Vermin.

In the third or fourth quarter of the year, symphonic power metal giants Nightwish will hopefully release their seventh studio album, the follow-up to 2007’s Dark Passion Play. I have high hopes for this, believing Anette Olzon has grown into her role as the new lead singer, and developed her voice to better suite the music.

After founding member Mike Portnoy’s sudden leave in the past autumn, Dream Theater‘s remaining members are working on an upcoming album, the successor to 2009’s incredible Black Clouds and Silver Linings, presumably with a new drummer they have yet to reveal to the public. I have no idea whether the album will be released in 2011 or not, but as I understand it they have at least entered the recording process, and so the album should be released in late 2011 or early 2012.

Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony (2010)

I have loved the strange power metal project Avantasia since I first heard The Metal Opera Part II in 2007, and they were in fact the band that made me fall in love with concept albums (alongside Kamelot and their Epica / The Black Halo albums). I loved both two Metal Opera albums, and I loved The Scarecrow when released in 2008, even though I considered and still consider it to be below the Avantasia average of earlier albums.

The Wicked Symphony is the continuation of The Scarecrow, and it is followed by Angel of Babylon which was released simultaneously. I was afraid that The Wicked Symphony would fall below the average settled by The Scarecrow, especially when it came to the poppier tracks such as ”Carry Me Over”, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Out of The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon, I place my vote on The Wicked Symphony. The album is covered with three giant epics (two of which follow eachother!) – the title track, ”Blizzard on a Broken Mirror” and ”Runaway Train” – and the latter two are easily in my top of favorite Avantasia tracks, alongside beauties such as ”The Scarecrow”, ”The Seven Angels” and ”Journey to Arcadia”. Even though ”Dying For an Angel” sound like an Bon Jovi meeting pop metal, it is rescued by the multiple heavy immediate power metal classics on the album, including ”Wastelands”, ”Forever is a Long Time” and ”States of Matter”, and ”Crestfallen” proves yet again that Avantasia easily can reach beyond traditional power metal.

The song that ends the album, ”The Edge”, is a strange song. I generally don’t like its ”kind”, if I may say so – loveydovey guitar ballads with a theme of hanging on when everything looks bleak. But this one is different. Maybe it’s different simply because I have my own personal interpretation of the Scarecrow saga and its story, and I can imagine what the song is really about. And if I am correct (don’t tell me if I’m not), it works phenomenally to end the album, and lead into The Angel of Babylon.

Quote of the Day #17

Heaven opened before me
Swallowed me into its shell and spat me out
I barely saw the world turn away
I barely felt the burning bite

They told me I am not alone no longer.
They told me that finally, I am at rest,
Not dead nor alive,
With my heart pounding in the pace of my family.
They told me to walk with them.
I was given raven wings,
Crimson, sharpened teeth,
and a new heart in this life after death.

Feeling scared, lonesome and hated
I couldn’t bare not seeing my reflection
Cracking my mirror with my very pawn
Watching the blood run through the drain

They told me the secret of paradise is sin
They told me that whatever I do, at least I’m better than them.
They told me the only key to the gate of golden ember
Is the one in my very throat.
They told me to carry on my life work or everything is lost,
That while sins not last forever so does life.

They told me hope will always be the only way to heaven.

Stab me
In this darkness
Cure me
Before I avenge myself
Kill me
Only illumination can
Cure me
To become myself again

Oh, this is the end
I will never be myself again
Oh, this is the end
Of human kind, and it’s all my fault

– Sometimes paradise is closer than heaven –

Is it true what someone once said
That reality sometimes is stranger than fiction?
Who actually believes the fairy tales?
But then again
How many people does not check under their bed
Before they go to sleep?
How many people can walk the woods
Without having to resist calling for the Fair Maiden?
How many does not really believe in us?
How many are really scared of us?

A quote from a poem of my own, Them Crimson Bites, written in 2007 or 2008 I believe.

Nightwish to release photobook: "Dark Passion Gallery"

Dark Passion GalleryFinnish symphonic power metal band Nightwish has reported their forthcoming release of a photojournal by Ville Akseli Juurikkala (photographer of bands such as HIM, Apocalyptica and The 69 Eyes), with photos from their 2007 – 2008 Dark Passion Play Tour, entitled Dark Passion Gallery. Gah, a wasteless thing, sure, but I still NEED it. €25. Cannot… afford…

Sonata Arctica fallback

After barely listening to one of my top favorite bands ever, Finnish power metal Sonata Arctica, for almost half a year, I’ve fallen back again – ofcourse resulting in listening to them almost exclusively. Especially their latest album Unia (2007) has caught my attention, and it all started as I heard the bonus track ”Out in the Fields” (Gary Moore cover) for the first time, a few days ago. Unia is also one of those albums you really don’t get the first time, but after a few listens… it’s great. Caleb is still my favorite song on the album, and one of their best songs together as well.And the fact that I’ve fallen back into Sonata Arctica is great for the fact that I’m seeing them live on November 1st as well! 

Wish I Had an Angel and Bye Bye Beautiful part of a story?

Hint-hint! I don’t think you ought to read this journal unless you’re more or less all-knowing about the story of Tarja Turunen being kicked out of Nightwish in 2005, and their new singer Anette Olzon, who joined them in 2007. I know very well I’m a geek, so shut the fuck up about telling me. Thank you.

TarjaI read in an interview with Tuomas Holopainen (keyboardist and composer of band Nightwish) that he concider their songs SpelaWish I Had an Angel (from 2004 album Once) and Bye Bye Beautiful (Dark Passion Play, 2007) as part of the same story lyrics-wise.It has also been rumoured that Master Holopainen had a crush, which was verified in an interview – even if he wasn’t deeply in love with her, he at least had a mere crush on her, ”as did almost everyone as she was a very beautiful woman”. My theory: Wish I Had an Angel is about his platonic love towards Tarja, the ”angel” which he cannot have. The subject of Bye Bye Beautiful is obvious as well as verified – it’s about firing Tarja from Nightwish. In other words, the story can be like this:Part 1 (Wish I Had an Angel):Tuomas has a crush about Tarja, yet isn’t loved back.Part 2 (Bye Bye Beautiful):Tarja is fired from Nightwish in 2005 partly due to her lack of interest in the band, and her changed attitude making her a complete bitch (my interpretation of the words in the letter (see the sources)). This doesn’t have to have anything to do with Tuomas’ crush on Tarja, but still this is a way of making the clear statement that he doesn’t want to be with the one he loves. Also, as is conspired among many fans and tabloids, the real reason of firing Tarja was because he couldn’t stand not having her. Either way, I do think this was a part. It seems like it, if Wish I Had an Angel and Bye Bye Beautiful really are parts of the same story.Sources:* Tuomas’ Nightmailhttp://www.nightwish.com/en/community/nightmail* Tuomas talks about Dark Passion Playhttp://www.tuomasholopainen.net/darkpassionplay.html* Open letter to Tarja in which she is firedhttp://nightwish.com/en/article/6

Comments: (taken from the Last.fm article)

Rozen-rot:

Hey, very interesting, I didn’t know he had said that. Here’s my possible explanation. Its hard to infere meaning because the lyrics of WIHAA don’t actually make that much sense, but lets have a go at analyzing them anyway. ”Deep into a dying day”. Here, ‘dying day’ could represent the end of the old era, meaning that the decision to fire Tarja is on his mind, and he is ‘deep into’ it [perhaps he is refering to the infamous letter, ‘deep into writing it’]. ”I took a step outside an innocent heart”. This could refer to the realization by Tuomas that as the boss he has to do something which will not go down well with the fans. He won’t be seen as innocent, in many cases he will be singled out and hated. Or perhaps Tuomas already feels guilty for what he will do, and thus his heart is no longer innocent. Or maybe this is reference to Tarja, that greed has made her heart loose its innocence.

”Prepare to hate me fall when I may, This night will hurt you like never before”. Tuomas seems to be saying this might be the worse mistake of my career – ‘fall when I may’, and at same time preparing Tarja, acknowledging that this will likely end their friendship. But a link to BBB – did you ever listened to what we played?”Old loves they die hard.” Love doesn’t have to mean ”in love”. Tuomas has stated many times that he has loved her voice, and that she was beautiful, but call me crazy but that doesn’t sound like anything more then admiration. Tarja was his muse, and he loved her. But I don’t believe he was ever ”in love” with her. [He has a girlfriend].”I wish I had an Angel for one moment of love. I wish I had your Angel, your Virgin Mary undone”. Tuomas wants an Angel? In the first line that doesn’t have to mean Tarja. Following the first versus if Tuomas is considering firing Tarja, maybe angel is symbolic of a female vocalist whom he can love [not in the dirty way] and be inspired by, as is no longer the case with Tarja. In the second part, that might refer to Tarja, he wants her angel, as the way she was before the change in her character.”I’m in love with my lust”. Lust is a sin. Like greed. ”Burning angel wings to dust”. What I infere from these two lines is, its not working out. 1. These could be representative of Tarja, she is saying I’m in love with my sin and its causing destruction, literally turning the band relationships to dust, or 2. Tuomas is saying because he is allowing the problem to remain, he is causing the destruction. ”I wish I had your angel tonight” – Tuomas really wants the old Tarja back.’Drunken disguise changes all the rule’ – Tuomas admitting he has an drink problem.Okay not going to do anymore because I’ve run out of time. Might tomorrow if this sparks up a quarrel ;P. But anyway I would agree with Tuomas that they follow the same story but I don’t seen WIHAA as an unrequired love song for Tarja, seems more like a warning to me Of course I have the gift of hindsight on my side.Also note that it ends on ‘I wish I had an Angel’ four times, rather then ‘Your angel’. Suggesting Tuomas wants an angel [new vocalist] really badly.The problem of course with lyrics is that they are completely open to intrepretation. For all we know Tuomas put them together because they were pretty.

Quispiam (me):

Thanks for showing such an interest. I don’t think he was in love with her either, I guess I expressed myself unclear. Having a crush, being in love, those are two different things. I would say that either1) He was in love with her, but knew he couldn’t have her. That’s why it varies so much between (as your theory goes) that he wants to fire her, and that he says he wants her to be his (”I wish I had your angel tonight”); he knows it’s impossible, yet
he cannot help to think ”but maybe I can have her after all…” I know since I’ve been in the same position, and it’s quite tough on you. He also doesn’t say that he wants HER, that she IS the angel, he says he wants HER angel, i.e. what she used to be and maybe still is deep inside….or…2) He wasn’t in love with her, but Marcelo destroyed her through his greed, as described in Master Passion Greed, destroyed his old beloved friend. He didn’t want this to happen, he wanted the old Tarja back. Even though he’s not in love with her, he admires the old Tarja enough to refer to her as an angel. Think of her as a shell with the old Tarja either killed long ago, or trapped inside the shell. Desperately, Master Holopainen tries to bring her out, more and more realising that he can’t. She is long gone. He realises that he if he can’t reach the angel inside the shell, he has to destroy the shell too, metaphorically. Through firing her. I would say that the song is about dealing with those strong emotions when he has to get rid of his long lost friend. Think of it yourself; you have a friend who (choose yourself if you want to see it metaphorically or not) you love till the end, yet he is trapped inside a demon. You try to find your friend within the demon’s heart, but you slowly realises that your friend has become the demon. He is not your friend any more. He is, against his will, a demon. The angel is trapped within the demon, what is there to do but to through a burning crucifix at the demon?I’m sorry I may sound rather poetic, I’ve been working on a song text the whole day… 😛Eternalwanderer:@The above: I like your second theory. In addition to making sense, it’s ridiculously nicely worded.Anyways, your whole theory makes sense to me, though I can’t say as I’m nearly as familiar with every word master Holopainen has ever spoken.Solyndra:In the biography he said however that WIHAA was written (or he came up with the idea) when he went to a bar with his girlfriend at the time and that all the guys were lusting after her. And I believe it kinda pissed him off xD His girlfriend at the time couldn’t have been Tarja because she was already married, and BBB is definitely directed at her.So I think the storyline could be correct lyricwise, but I don’t think the actual facts connected to the lyrics are connected as well.And by the way – in 2004 the band and Tarja were still friends. It went wrong during the tour, not before, if my memory serves right.Quispaim (me):Solyndra: You’re right, he have said that. That’s the one con in my theory, maybe I should have mentioned it.And yes, they have said that it was during the tourings, but also that they never rehearsed Once together. The guys had one shift, Tarja another, so they barely met. Maybe Tuomas already thought of this, and the tour was what made it worse.Rozen-rot:I think tensions had been arising for a long time, I mean they didn’t just happen over night. Look at Century Child released in 2004, Tuomas doesn’t seem to be in a good mood writing that one. Then factor in he wanted to leave. Problems were brewing for a few years prior to that release.That and the lovely Mrs Turunen stating in an interview that she and Tuomas were never friends. Nice.Quispiam (me):Rozen-rot: Little is known about why he wanted to leave Nightwish after Wishmaster (or was it after Over the Hills and Far Away?), all he has said is that ”they felt musical differences among the members”. That’s also why he fired Sami, who according to him didn’t have a similar goal in their musical life (they’re still friends though), and why so much changed with Century Child. I don’t think it has to do with Tarja, really.Solyndra:It wasn’t just the band. He has also said his personal life had pretty much collapsed at this point..BlackDahlia333:I did believe that there was a connection between these two songs. Even the music sounds somehow simalar. So as far as we know that BBB is about Tarja why don’t believe that WIHAA is about her too? Tuomas has said she was his muse so I think he loved her (I’m not saying he was in love with her) Tarja had express her willing for solo career before the release of Once so maybe Tuomas was thinking his options.Quispiam (me):Yeah, well, I don’t think Tuomas was (nor is) in love with Tarja; neither WIHAA nor BBB really suggest love (more than friendship, respect, passion etc.).And yes, I know that if I were Tuomas I’d want to kill all the fans discussing his deeply personal problems, but hell, I have too much free time. GreyWolf84:I found your journal wandering on lastfm..I hope it’s ok if I add my comment on the matter..Actually Tarja husband really stated Tuomas was in love with her (read Marcelo Cabuli answers, in Tarja’s wikipedia). And Tarja confirmed it.Now I’m not sure which kind of love was it..for sure it wasn’t just a random crush since Marcelo quoted Tuomas own words saying ”nobody was able to stop his love for Tarja” . Maybe it was platonic, maybe it was more physical..but according to Tarja and Marcelo he was for a long time in love with her.Going back to the song..BBB is surely about Tarja . I don’t think WIHAA has a connection with her..When Tuomas talked about ”sister songs” I think he meant music-wise, not lyricswise.As someone said it, the song was written after a night in a bar with his girlfriend and guys started to hit on her..and Tuomas didn’t know what to do and was kinda pissed. I’ve never understand how the lyrics are connected to the event, however this is what Tuomas said.Quispiam (me):@GreyWolf84: Ofcourse, and I haven’t ”decided” for an opinion or theory of my own, I merely debate on facts and guesses. I have read Tarja’s letter, and I know that she and Marcelo over and over again has said that Tuomas did feel for her and that he did confess this, more or less threatening Marcelo to leave her. However this is word against word, and we’ll never know who’s right. Tuomas states he didn’t feel anything more than a crush for Tarja, and that was years ago, back in the late 1990’s. I would presume he more or less admired her, felt a platonic love, but that he had accepted that he could not have her. When Marcelo stepped into the picture he was pissed of, partly in jealousy, but mostly simply because he destroyed his friend. That’s my theory.Your theory on BBB and WIHAA is very possible, and I can at least somewhat relate the lyrics of WIHAA to that event, if it’s written from their point of view.