Killer Queen

For the last few weeks Limassol was covered with posters which displayed a photo of Freddy Mercury and said something about “Killer Queen”. Most people assumed that there will be some kind of DJ mixing and matching Queen songs and who has enough ambition to call himself a killer of the band. These most people turned out to be wrong. Apparently, Killer Queen is the name of the band. The vocalist looks (and behaves) a lot like Freddy. The band has a website where you can read a lot more about them.

So, I was passing by Kanika when I heard loud music, saw a stage and decided that it would be good to go and see it. I called up Hazard and so we went. Entrance was free thanks to sponsoring of the best guys ever. The concert was excellent. The Freddy/Scotty guy was very energetic and had an excellent control over the crowd. After they have finished people were shouting for more, and so they did “We are the champions” which was campaigned with Greek flags, which was all connected to Greece’s triumph in the Euro 2004.

The only thing which was setting back the enjoyment was some stupid guy, who, I think, was the host. I don’t know from which disco they took him, but he was totally out of place, which was pretty much explained by his T-shirt with big white letters spelling “LOST”. :)

I wish there would be more advertising for such and event. A lot of people missed it because they didn’t know what it will be like. Pity. Anyway, once again thanks to Carlsberg and I hope they will do more of these. :)

15 Minutes

They’ve been showing “15 Minutes” on TV. I tuned in a bit later than they started, but it is one of those cop movies where you don’t actually have to see the beginning to get the story. Actually, it’ is one of those cop movies that you can skip watching. You’ll not lose anything. It was so typical, you could predict almost every phrase spoken. Even a typical detective with the face of Robert De Niro, always smoking cigars, was there.

Everything was pretty boring and standard except for a short scene where De Niro fights two guys while being ducktaped to a chair. Pretty exciting 40 seconds. Don’t worry, he gets killed with a knife immidiately afterwards. But there is no surprising turn in the story – the investigation of the crime was already finished and bad guys known to police. They were also standardly stupid and were hanging around those places where they were the most easier to get caught. So they got caught, but then they tried to escape, so the good guy shot them all. Otherwise they had a laywer with a million bucks who could actually save their butts. Not to happen in US. Happy end.

A typical 4 out of 10.

Matt Damon vs Ben Affleck

Olga and I were talking after watching “Jersey Girl” and a funny thought crossed my mind. It is a well known fact that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are best friends and that they have been participating in the same movies for some time now. The difference though, at least in my memory, is that Ben usually appears with some hot chicks, like say Jenifer Lopez, and Matt is more frequently seen with guys. I maybe very wrong on this of course, but it’s just my perception. Another perception of mine is that Matt is usually appearing in films where Ben plays the main role – not vice versa. So I am thinking like why doesn’t Matt leave the poor guy alone? Why does he have to always show up at his shootings?

And then I remember someone quoting Matt along the lines “Ben is not gay. He is just doing a lousy job of being straight.” So, the funny thought that crossed my mind was that it was actually Matt who was gay and he just feels the need to stick around Ben. :)

Not that I care though. I really enjoy acting from them both and especially when they play together. And on the subject of “to gay or not to gay”, there is a perfectly clear anwser at Google Answers. You are free to think whatever you head is up to though, of course. :)

Jersey Girl

After celebrating SysAdmin’s Day with Olga in “Cleopatra” restaurant, we decided to go see a movie. Nothing hot is going on in the cinema recently so we settled for “Jersey Girl” which was poorly advertised, had an average rating, and Ben Affleck in it.

The film turned out to be much better than I expected. It has a rather usual story line with widow guy – a succeding businessman, who has suddenly found himself in a situation where he has to raise a child. The story is not the strong part of the film. All the acting is. First of all, the 10 year old (7 year old in film) Raquel Castro is really amazing. She is by far the most talented child I have seen in the movie. She’s even better than the Sixth Sense boy. Much better. And she is very natural. And she even looks like her movie-mother Jennifer Lopez. They are like a perfect match.

Oh, and yes, there are more stars that just Ben Affleck. There is a short scene with Matt Damon and Will Smith is talked about the whole film. He even shows up breifly in the end.

Overall it is a really nice film (nice as in 7 out of 10) with a bit mild swearing (a$$, sh!t, and stuff… no “f” word).

Happy System Administrator Day!

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Hooray! Today is the last Friday of July, which means it’s the SysAdmin day again. Congratulations go to all the system, network, database, mail, web, etc administrators. May you get all the appreciation from the users. Go on, get drunk and celebrate well today – we all deserved it!

If you have been living in the cave for the last few years and don’t have a slightest idea, then get youself properly informed here.

Comment control owns

One of the greatest things about Nucleus CMS is the number of available plugins. And one of the best plugins available is Comment Control. With a simple interface I as an administrator of the site can either Allow or Deny each and every comment made by unregistered users. Usually, I of course Allow them. Today though I’ve been under SPAM attack. Some script added lots of comments to different posts in here with links to pornish sites and other crap. All of these comments ended up in the approval interface and, of course, were thrown away. Regular users didn’t even have to start swearing. Viva la Comment Control! :)

Interior shooting

Because I have the coolest camera around, I have been asked to make few pictures for the office. The pictures were supposed to show some advanced technological achievements in our boss’s house. This came to as an excellent photo opprotunity, so I agreed immidiately.

The first thing to do, I thought, was to talk to someone who will be using the resulting images. That happened to be our designer. He explained to me that there are few ideas floating in the air about some kind of booklet, which should show all the advanced technology Thunderworx can deliver, install, configure and maintain in the comfortable house. After talking to him some more, I arrived to the following conclusions:

  • Images will be used for printed media. That means I should finally test that RAW format to save what is savable.
  • It is pretty dark inside (he showed me few pictures taken before by someone else). Easy, I thought, I’ll go for the tripod and will see.
  • Pictures should have a point and hopefully a mood, not just a factual representations of the systems installed.

And so I went to the place. I was thinking that I have everything I need with me (Canon 300D, 18-55mm kit lens, tripod, a couple of charged batteries and all the storage I needed). 5 minutes after I arrived I realised that things are not exactly as easy as I was imagining them.

The first problem was light. All the technology is installed in few large rooms with a whole lot of windows. Some of these windows could be shuttered and curtained and some not. Open windows were giving a lot of reflections and unhealthy blueish colors. Trying to overlap it with electrical light turned out to be impossible, since their were many many small bulbs which were not producing any light at all. It was pretty dark. Not to worry I said and set up the tripod. 25 and 30 seconds shutter speeds while having all the lights on and bright daylight coming from the windows were a bit surprising. Trying to add some more light I tried to use an on-camera built-in flash diffusing it with Pringles white cover. Inventive, but didn’t help too much.

The second problem was mobility. I thought that if I cannot bring the light to the subjects, I will bring the subjects to light. Boom. Wrong. None of the subjects were movable. I had to shoot nicely done racks built into the walls and a couple of digital pads, which were pretty much wired to the place where they were installed. To add insult to injury, smaller subjects didn’t have enough space around them to properly install a tripod. So I played crouching tiger a bit to get used to it. When I started to get a hang of it, I discovered…

…the third problem – subjects. :) The purpose of the shooting was to demonstrate how nicely technology is incorporated into the house. And the strongest point of that particular technology is to be present everywhere and to be invisible in the same time. Racks are hidden in the walls, numerous remotes are replaced with a single digital pad, etc. Trying to photograph something that is supposed to be invisible is a bit, well, tricky.

After few hours I was pretty sure that I did everything I could and there is nothing else to be done. So I headed to the office, where I was about to find yet another problem. Software CDs that came with my Digital Rebel are hidden somewhere in the darkest part of house and nothing else is capable of reading and displaying RAW files. Internet should save they say, so I went for a search for some tool. Googling for few minutes showed that there are half a million options for a Windows RAW software but it is all commercial or very limited shareware. So much for the designer doing the adjustment work. Search for Linux tools immidiately turned out with a free and open source program called dcraw. It is very well documented and compiles nicely. It also converts RAW files into PPM. PPMs are then easily converted to TIFFs which were given to the designer.

The result is that there isn’t actually much to use. We will go over them tomorrow once again and we will see if there is anything worth shooting. If there is, we will go back and reshoot properly composed and lighted subjects. Until then…

P.S.: Unfortunately (or fortunately should I say) I cannot upload these images for your viewing pleasure (digust?) since they are pretty much company confidential. :)

X2

It’s been a long time since we (Olga and I) have seen “X2” in the cinema. Olga wanted to see it again for some time now. I was in favour of repeating the pleasure too. Hazard was kind enough to get a copy, so we watched it on his big new screen.

This is an excellent entertaining film. Lots of effects, which are nicely and smoothly integrated into the action. There is a bit of romance, heros, friends, love, butt kicking, humour and anything else you would expect from a film like this. Sequels are really as good as originals, but X2 is every bit as great as its predecessor. Some places are even better.

Strongly recommended with 8.5 out of 10.