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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bookparade

Today is UNESCO World Book Day and to celebrate this the Bookparade was held in the old city of Zürich. Last year about 200 book aficionados took part in the first Bookparade.



This year the hopes were high to reach up to 500 people, with simultaneous Bookparades held in St. Gallen, Luzern and Biel. Unfortunately, Saint Peter had other plans and so it rained cats and dogs just when the Bookparade was about to start.



But die-hard book lovers cannot be stopped by rain and so around 50 people accompanied this second book parade which was accompanied by recitations from the Poetry Slammers Lara Stoll and Simon Chen.



And so it once again was a unique experience and I'm looking hoping that next time the sun will join our little parade again :)

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Ill Niño, Labia & A.S.P. @ Salzhaus Winterthur

Yesterday marked a special day for Labia. It was the first time they were the opening act for an internationally famous band. Admitted they already played at several Festivals in front of big crowds, but a club show where everyone is there for either the main or the opening act is definitely another pair of shoes.

A little bit of back story: Ill Niño wanted to make a stop in Switzerland during their European Tour but were lacking support acts. The organization of these supporting acts fells to the manager of the Salzhaus in Winterthur, where the gig took place. He remembered seeing Labia in a concert and thinking that they were pretty cool. So he phoned Labia's guitarist to check if they were available and if they knew of another supporting act which could join them. The band was very pleased by this offer and accepted swiftly, proposing Aggressive Sound Painters (A.S.P.) as additional supporting act, having already played with them in Davos.

So that's the story how Labia got hold of this special gig. Now to the concert itself. A.S.P. were the first to play and even though they had a tough start, with many people still queuing outside or lingering around the bar, they played a solid show which slowly drew the people closer to the stage and could even animate some to dance along. I liked their performance a lot and was a bit sad to see them go after only 25 minutes. But that's show business. By the way, if you were wondering what A.S.P. sound like: imagine the first album of Disturbed ("The Sickness") with occasional and brief visits of Serj Tankjan. This time I was fast enough after the concert and I got hold of one of their CDs.

Next up were Labia and they started without warm-up directly with their harder songs. By now the room was decently full and around 400 of the 500 expected visitors were observing the show. Labia played a cool gig, showcasing all their best tunes and they were well received for it. The audience participation was very good and many people clapped, (tried to) dance along and there was even a small moshpit during two songs. During this gig I became aware of a peculiarity of Labia's sound and its effects on the uninitiated. Many people were dancing along, jumping around or headbanging but they were frequently distracted by the breaks and tempi changes in the songs. For me as a long time fan this was no problem, I knew where change my movements, but the newcomers to Labia's sound had a harder time. However, this variety is what I like most about Labia's music and I wouldn't want to miss it and I'm sure that this gig was a big success for them and hopefully brought many new listeners.

Last up were Ill Niño, obviously the main act of the evening because the Bar was now completely deserted ;). All in all they played a good concert including all their greatest hits and a couple of cover songs from bands such as Sepultura and Slayer. These cover songs were my personal highlights of their show, however, they couldn't convince me to buy one of their CDs. Yet the majority of people seemed pretty pleased.

And so ended the day which featured my 33rd Labia concert :)

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Lenzburg

Yesterday brought me to the castle in Lenzburg where I participated in a Renaissance dancing class. The whole thing was a blast, accompanied by live musicians with traditional medieval instruments we learned four different dances. The easiest only had two different steps (Branle double and Branle simple) and the most complex an English country dance called Picking up sticks had three complex figures which were sandwiched between simpler steps. The coolest thing was when at the end of the day we went out into the park and receive spontaneous applause from visitors of the castle :). Now I'm very much looking forward to the next class on June 8th.
As you may be able to imagine I was way too busy to take pictures whilst dancing. But I did take a couple of pictures of the castle itself.

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Oberschan

Last week I spent in Oberschan, a small village right on the border with Liechtenstein, my cell phone only got a connection to phone providers in Liechtenstein :(. We stayed in the Hotel Alvier which is situated at 975 meters above sea level and offered a nice view of the surrounding mountains. Now you might wonder what brought me there, it was this year's training camp of our business unit. Throughout the week we worked in groups on topics such as Aspect Oriented Programming (especially with AspectJ), Software Tomography and FMEA (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis). In addition we profited from a one-day Business Knigge seminary. The only low point of the week was the weather, which brought us rain on most of the days and even snow on Tuesday and Wednesday!
As usual pictures can be found in my gallery :)

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

After seeing the Final Cut of Blade Runner I decided the time has come to read the original novel. Blade Runner is based on Philip K. Dick's 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?'. However, the term loosely based would be more appropriate.

Both the movie and the novel have the same starting situation and roughly the same plot. Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter is called in to track down a couple of androids who illegally landed on earth. His research takes him to a multinational company who manufactured these androids, where he hopes to prove the effectivity of the test used to detect these androids.

An analysis of the differences could fill a book all by itself, but I’ll try to cover some of the important ones.

Most importantly the world that the story is set in: Whereas Blade Runner shows us a future where overpopulation is still a problem and even though people might not be happy it is still possible to live on earth. In the novel earth is a wasteland, which is covered by a radioactive cloud caused by a devastating World War and thus most people have fled to colonies on Mars and other planets. To make life more bearable on earth the people have turned to Mercerism and empathy boxes, which simulate feelings.

The character of Rick Deckard also shows significant differences. Whereas in the movie he is a loner, a retired and respected bounty hunter who is called in because of the severity of the situation, he is married in the novel and more importantly always standing in the shadow of Dave Holden, the best bounty hunter in the city, he is only charged with this case because Holden was almost killed by one of the androids.

With all these differences it is surprising to find sequences in the book that have found their way into the movie almost unchanged, and even more surprising, when the consequences of these scenes stand in complete contrast.

What I’m trying to say with this is that I loved the book and that it is a worthy read even if you have seen the movie. You might even enjoy the story more knowing what happened in the movie.

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Sun Certified Web Component Developer

A year after completing the Sun Certified Java Programmer Certification I felt ready to tackle the next certification.

The Sun Certified Web Component Developer focuses on Web Development, obviously ;), with Servlets, Java Server Pages (including Tag Libraries, Scripting and Expression Language) as well as a couple of Design patterns.

After working in a Swisscom project for a year where we used JSPs and Expression language I thought, it would be easy to prepare for this exam, however, there was so much I didn't know yet, especially everything concerning Custom and Simple Tag Development. And so I've been studying since January till I finally felt ready to try the exam.

And yesterday was the day. Overall I was well prepared and I could answer most of the questions easily, still there were a couple of tough questions asking details I've never heard of such as the DynamicAttributes interface for Tags. Since the passing grade was 70% these questions didn't pose a serious problem. And so I now can add another title to my CV ^^.

Now I'm done studying for a couple of months :)

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Juno

I've seen Juno on Monday (as usual I'm a day behind with blogging ;) ) and I loved it. It's a realistic and funny comedy filled with snappy remarks and awkward scenes that provokes loud laughter. I can recommend this movie wholeheartedly to anyone who likes the Royal Tenenbaums and Amélie.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Vogelfrei Larp 1 - The journey begins

The first LARP of RSV Wasserschloss took place this weekend. The play was meant to introduce newbies to the wonderful world of Live Action Roleplays and so the Oriosen, my LARP group, were asked to step in as experienced LARPers and help the others along in case they needed any pointers.

The story is quickly told. We were part of a caravan on its way to the next big city to restock its supplies. Since the caravan leader received an urgent letter from a friend, we undertook a small detour. On this journey we had to face crazy hermits, a corrupt tollbooth, a group of bandits and finally an evil necromancer who wanted an artifact we were transporting. After the necromancer's defeat we all retreated to our camp and celebrated our success with a big party, unfortunately Saint Peter had other plans and a heavy downpour made us return to our tents prematurely. In all the hubbub of the final battle and the return to the camp I completely lost track of the artifact, lets hope it's in the right hands...

The pictures can be found here.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Surprise Movie: We Own the Night

It just so happened that I had nothing planned for the last Wednesday and so I spontaneously decided to go to the Surprise Movie. I was surprised that it was almost sold out, this stood in stark contrast to last August, when I last was at the Surprise Movie. Contrary to last time I had no clue which movie they would show, and so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that we would see We Own the Night a crime thriller with Joacquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg. The movie was terrific, very atmospheric and gripping till the very end.

Rating 10/10

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