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My Ropecon experience

Better late than never!

I had a good time at the con - again, no RPing, and very little of other sorts of gaming, but still great fun.

As I'm getting older and lazier, I booked a hotel room this year; sleeping in the staff dorms or in a sleeping bag somewhere has its own charm, but a good soft bed, the ability to shower when you like and a very nourishing hotel breakfast trumped it.

As always, I was working for my ticket, both as an info-desk worker and as one of the roving trouble-solvers / security guards. This year's con was unusually quiet and orderly, to the point that I (almost) felt useless at times. It beats having to deal with drunks, people who're having a drug-fueled psychotic break, and folks who illegally park their cars to block the vendors' door, though...

The RPG.net meet went swimmingly; we had a pretty good attendance, with nitessine , krfsm and his mysterious girlfriend (the Baroness), Agamemnon, Ataxerxes, niilopaasivirta , MutieMoe, and possibly some others who I can't remember right now. I'll post the photos I took someday when I've gotten hand of these new-fangled image site things. Afterwars, I went to a sortakinda room party with the Swedes, followed by a good sauna. Very entertaining.

The programs I enjoyed the most were probably the "Speculative Games" panel, where the GoHs elaborated their highly speculative game ideas (such as a Swine Flu LARP, a game of penguin ovocide played on a melting ice board, and a team-building mobile phone game about erotic librarians); a very amusing lecture on conspiracy theories, conspiracy theorists, and why they are almost uniformly wacko; and a lecture by a Finnish police officer about the reality of crime scene investigations, and how they differ from CSI:Wherever.

Also, I got myself "Trail of Cthulhu" by the inimitable princeofcairo . Seems really neat; too bad I probably don't have the time to run it.

My Finncon experience

Whew! Had a good time, but I'm glad it's over now.

The location (Kaapelitehdas in Helsinki) was just big enough for the crowds, since Finncon is also Animecon; there were a million (give or take a few) teenaged anime/manga fans, a lot of whom were cosplaying. I worry about what happens if the trend continues - not because anime fans are somehow corrupting SF/F fandom, but because Finland's starting to run out of venues to hold cons of this size!

I attended a bunch of panels and lectures, including ones about Fat Fantasy and its prevalence; the "best-guess" timeframes for uploading, AI and other transhuman technologies; and the likely near-future develompents in computer gaming. Also, GRRMartin's GoH speech on journeys and SF was impressive.

Not very surprisingly about half of the staff were people I know; Finland's a small country, and the combined RPG / SF / F / anime fandom is thoroughly interconnected. I did also meet nitessine and krfsm , the latter of whom was stopping in Helsinki before flying off to Hong Kong.

Conswag includes: a couple of early Niven books (World of Ptavvs and Protector), Doc Smith's First Lensman, two-thirds of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, the complete translated version of GUNNM and an autographed copy of Alastair Reynolds' House of Suns, plus some minor odds-and-ends.

Midsummer!

I got together with a bunch of friends for some Midsummer fun & debauchery (very mild debauchery, though). The rainy, cold and grey weather didn't manage to dampen our mood; in retrospect, if the weather had been warmer, nobody would probably have been able to sleep.

Some of the highlights of the weekend:

* Playing Pandemic, a co-operative boardgame where the players are trying to stop several epidemics from sweeping across the world. Nifty game, and especially topical these days.

* Xtreem-ish croquet across the garden, around and through bushes, and up and down some fiendish slopes. After spending twenty strikes at one wicket, the temptation to hurl the mallet at the nearest fragile thing is almost overpowering!

* Truly heroic amounts of barbeque, both in the making and eating. We also had new potatoes, pickled herring and other traditional delicacies.

* Sauna, and lots of it. What do you expect from a bunch of Finnish gamers and students?

And although the days are starting to grow shorter again, at least the weather has warmed nicely. We will have a summer this year, it looks like!

When in May, do as the Finns do!

Celebrated the May Day in very fine weather. It's the local spring carneval of sorts, because by this time it's usually warm enough that people can actually have light-hearted fun outdoors. (Not guaranteed by any means; I recall May Days with sleet blowing horizontally in the harsh north wind.)

Had a great time with friends of mine; we dined, wined, went to sauna, gamed some, sang a lot, went on a short bar-hopping tour (with some card playing interspersed) and enjoyed the weather.

The most surreal experience of the day: sitting on a bar terrace, sipping my drink, and listening to someone playing Scooter's "How Much Is the Fish" across the river... on bagpipes.

The Barbecue Season is On!

Today was an absolutely gorgeous spring day - warm and sunny, with a slight wind that was actually warm - so me and a bunch of friends went out to have a barbecue. Sausages, various slices of pork, a bit of chicken breast and marinated corncobs were scorched on the grill, a couple of beers and sodas were quaffed, and a fun time was had by all.

Summer, here we come!

Tags:

Palm Sunday fine dining

I spent most of yesterday with my friends, first cooking and then eating an early Easter dinner.

The menu consisted of the following courses:
* Green salad (cucumber, two sorts of lettuce, sweet peppers and cantaloupe)
* Ciabatta bread fresh from oven
* Potato wedges w. rosemary and black pepper
* Lamb roast stuffed with garlic and herbs, marinated in herb balsamico and served with mocha sauce and mint jelly

Served with red wine and iced water.

For the dessert (after about an hour of rest), we had:
* Macaronis (light fluffy almond cookies filled with dark chocolate)
* Lime-coconut-white chocolate cheese cake (with a marzipan chibi-Cthulhu on top)
* [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paskha_(meal)]Pasha[/url]

A good time was had by all.
I am:
Arthur C. Clarke
Well known for nonfiction science writing and for early promotion of the effort toward space travel, his fiction was often grand and visionary.


Which science fiction writer are you?



I'm not sure if I'm surprised or not; I'm definitely proud. :D

A SF dream

Last night I had a dream that presented itself as a new book by Alastair Reynolds.

It involved a female detective, and her jester-like friend, both of whom lived in a civilization of O'Neill habitats around a gas giant. (It was never clear to me whether it was Jupiter, Saturn, or some extrasolar planet.)

First half of the dream plot involved the detective trying to solve a complicated murder case, getting into more and more trouble all the way. As she got more and more evidence together, she started to suspect that her jester friend was somehow involved.

After arranging for some back-up, she confronted the jester, who admitted the murder but explained that he had very good reasons for it. Then he took her to a sealed section of the habitat, where they found a school of sorts, filled with teenage clones of both the detective and the jester, who were being trained and indoctrinated as an army of conquest.

It turned out that the detective and the jester were both second-generation clones of the real villains, who were behind the plan to take over the entire orbital civilization (there were similar clone forces being grown in every habitat), and that the murdered man had been their agent.

The second half of the dream involved the protagonists taking control of the clones in this habitat and using them to bulwark the original habitat government, even as fighting broke out in other habitats. Eventually, they realized that if nothing drastic was done, the villains were either going to win, or come so close to winning that defeating them would be horribly costly.

So they figured out the location of the villains' secret headquarters, inside the world-ocean of one of the iced-over moons, and prepared for an invasion with their own clones, backed up by the ordinary habitat forces. IIRC, their plan was to soften things up a bit by ramming a smaller, rocky moon into the global ice sheet.

Unfortunately, at that point I woke up, so I can't tell you how the plan went.

Post-Christmas Tidings

Good tidings to all interested persons.

Christmastime went nicely; good food, good cheer, lots of relatives, good food, giving and getting some neat gifts (Grimm's fairy tales as imagined by a bunch of comic artists, for example!), good food, and a beautiful, Christmas-appropriate weather, with frost and snow.

Helped my brother to move (a man with a van always has friends, relatives, friends of relatives or relatives of friends who need a hand in a move...), and reaquainted myself a bit with Helsinki. Vltava and Belge are both good places to go if you like beer (Czech or Belgian, respectively) and food that goes well with said beer (Sausage dish with red sauerkraut, and Belgian fries with mustard-mayo, respectively).

New year is looming ahead. Time to take a deep breath, stock up on the fireworks, and plunge right in!

Voted!

No, I'm not American. :) But we're having municipal elections here in Finland, and today was a good day for doing my civic duty.

It also helps that one of the candidates was an old schoolmate of mine; and even putting that aside, I think he would make a good member of the town council.

Whatever the next election where you're eligible to vote, go for it! The Sleepers' Party has never gotten anything done, so why not try one of the others? :)

Edit:
And woot, he got in!