Posted by jukkahoo
Blessed weekend! This was another hectic weekend at work, with Duke of Cambridge making a visit, council debating over paperless immigrants untul half two and myriad of other things demanding attention and brains. Also, last days of my old boss at work, with some very nice and good chats about security and life in general as he bestowed me with his plethora of documents on the subject. Thanks, Kai.
It is also very much evident that New Year is almost upon us, and simply EVERYTHING needs to be done. I'm afraid these next two weeks will be pretty loaded. But then again, after the 15th, it'll be two weeks off from the daily grind, back next year. Yes.
Still reading The Two of Swords part 1. Very good. Broad scope and cast of thousands. POV hops from one protagonist to another every chapter, to someone who is part of the previous one. The huge war is on the background all the time, but there's very little action, mostly we're treated with some delightful political manouverings, boredom of daily banality of the common conscript with nothing to do/knowning nothing, and some tomholtian dry humour. I'm really interest in seeing where all this is going.
This was originally published as monthly chapters, all together 23 installments, which I'm afraid I could never have been able to bear, Already have some doubts about starting the first book (of three) as I only have the first two ones at my disposal. Even though I did order them at the same time from Book Depository. What's with that?
Posted by jukkahoo
Easy does it. Baby steps.
I've been having somewhat rough Autumn with bouts of depression and solid burnout. I've left out all things fannish and been concentrating on work and feeling OK. It's still tough, but I think one of these days I'm fine. Or, somewhat fine at least.
With everything happening and going on, last year I didn't manage to do my traditional xmas calendar. I don't know whether this is actually a Good Idea, but since I think this might be a Fun Thing to do, and I have allowed myself Fun Things, here goes.
This year, I'll just jot down some thoughts and things that pop into my head as I write these daily notes. Perhaps I'll recommend something. Or let Sari recommend something. Be sure to read her previous post about NeNoReMo. She managed to devour quite a number of post-apocalyptic fares. I read two regulation books (must've been purchased five years or more ago) as well as some newer stuff (Jeffrey Ford's Twilight Pariah is excellent).
I finally managed to read The Female Man by Joanna Russ. I think it is important, but I'm afraid it isn't my cup of beverage. I can see why that 20+ me couldn't get past first quarter of the book, but I also feel a bit annoyed with myself that I didn't persevere. For it IS an important book, albeit a bit preachy and enamored with the style over story (not the substance). Recommended still.
Also read: Wyrldmaker by Terry Bisson. I'm certain I would've loved this one some 20 years ago, with all the fanciful whimsiness and allusions (or some such). Now it felt a bit dated (pattern?) and quaint. Solid *** still.
Current reading: K. J. Parker: The Two of Swords part 1. First five chapters: nothing happens and it is GREAT! Been waiting for a new KJP and this feels like another great read.
In all fairness, a lot happens during those five chapters, but the fun thing is, that it feels like nothing happens, while armies are battling, men are being conscripted, units are wiped out by uncaring enemies and leaders of men, and war is being all that it can be: hell, nothing, meaningless, waiting, meandering, hopelessness, banal and weird. And then some.
Posted by jukkahoo
My goodness! Where has the time gone? It's already the 19th of March and I'll be taking off in less than 10 hours! Kääk! I have so many things I need to do.
While I'm tripping the Australia fantastic, I'll try to be more active with this blog, my Facebook page and Twitter, but all that will depend on my chances of getting online. Here's hoping.
My Australian schedule looks something like this:
21.3. Arriving in Sydney at 6:50AM
Flight delayed due to broken windshield. Will miss my connecting flight from Singapore to Sydney. Everything will be revealed when we get to Chengi. I hope.
23.3 Leaving Sydney at 1:00PM
23.3. Arriving Brisbane at 1:30PM
29.3. Leaving Brisbane at 10:55AM
29.3. Arriving Adelaide at 2:10PM
2.4. Leaving Adelaide at 12:50AM
2.4. Arriving Perth at 1:40PM
4.4. Leaving Perth at 11:35PM
5.4. Arriving Melbourne at 5:05AM
8.4. Leaving Melbourne at 4:55PM
8.4. Arriving Canberra at 6:00PM
14.4. Leaving Australia at 3:35PM
Lots of miles to fly, but I'm certain all this will be well worth it all. I'm really looking forward meeting all those Australian fen I know AND all those I've never met before. I'll try to not let my Finnishness get too much in the way. I may speak more than few words. And grunt. Maybe, perhaps, a smile.
Where's me washboard?
Posted by jukkahoo
Far too tired to write anything constructive or sense-making, just a general WHEEEEE!!!!w00t!!! We did it! Worldcon 75 is reality.
Amazing race, astounding result. Thanks to everyone who has been involved so far. This is just one sector of a larger cake we need to prepare, bake and then, well, eat it. We'll be needing a LOT of help, in so many different forms. You're all invited to join in, any which way you want and can.
I'll try to write something coherent tomorrow, after I've done sleeping away all this tiredness and couple of jetlags. And I've been reunited with my luggage and some notes I did during the Sasquan. I'll be back.
Posted by jukkahoo
I'm arriving tomorrow, the 18th of August.
I will leave the following Monday, the 24th of August.
Between those days, I shall sit behind various tables: bid, site selection and parties. I may go and see a panel or two. Definitely going to check-out the Huckster's Room and attend the Hugo ceremony.
No actual programming, as you can see. I'm probably not Worldcon-program material. I may, however, do some impromptu quizzes at Helsinki-parties.
And... that's about it. My schedule. At Sasquan.
Posted by jukkahoo
Last weekend the annual Swecon took place in the luvverly medieval city of Linköping. This was my third Confuse (as they like to call their convention) and as the previous ones, this was a very good one. Nice location, good GoHs and pleasant atmosphere.
We took a morning flight to Arlanda on Friday and grouped with almost the whole of Finnish contingency for the train trip. Kennet and Jan came by boat and arrived earlier. Swedish trains are very comfortable and while we almost did jump to a wrong train, we eventually did manage to take the right one and arrive to our destination without losses.
Since we had time to kill before the con started, we decided to stroll the town a bit. It looked more or less the same, except Genghis Khan Mongolian Barbeque was no longer where it had been in 2008. Or 2002. Sad. Later, Sari managed to find the new location, past which we had actually walked when sightseeing. Very non-descriptively Mongolian their new look. I thought it was an upscale barbershop.
We had a lunch at Grekiskt och Gott, and it was Greek and good. Halloumi especially was tasty. Then the tragedy happened.
We went and bought few items of drinky&eaty from Hemköp and while I was marveling the efficiency of their self-service stations and the mechanics of exiting the store, I lost my credit card. My bad, I cannot blame anyone else, I just lost it. Which made he rest of the trip probably a bit less expensive (?) and traditional, as we had to use actual bills in order to pay for stuff. All this when we had actually talked about how easy it is to travel in Sweden, when you don't have to use cash or their equivalent Monopoly money.
Bit of dent this credit card business, and I was somewhat down about it, too. Hence the Friday night was an early one for us, though I did manage to have a nice chat with Britt-Louise and Wennerström and couple of other people at the lobby after I had closed the Bid's table. Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London -novels are really recommended.
All in all, Friday was a relaxed day of meeting old and new friends, having a few beers and chatting about trivial things. And witnessing the Spirit of Swecon - once again! - not-loosened upon the gathered congregation, as it was lost. Again.
Sari woke up at some god-forsaken hour, but somewhat surprisingly, I was also up before 7AM and headed for the brekkie-room, where only elderly Germans were making noises and stuffing their pockets with munchables. As I am not the most morning-person I know, pretty much the opposite, I took my own table, but Carolina had other ideas and brought with her this Ben-person. Nice chap, writes fiction.
Saturday was the big program day for me, four items of various seriousness levels. Before that, however, I went to see Sari's panel on Finding the Fantastic (Where do you find recommendations about what to read/see and information about fantastic literature, movies, tv?). Nice discussion, though I could see the trend of middle-aged men swapping stories, with a female moderator keeping them in some semblance of an order. Perhaps someone younger and of opposite sex might've given the panel a bit of variety.
The first of my own, What to read next? (It is not easy to find the good books) was (again) a nice book recommendation panel with Socialist-Simon leading the hers and Sini, Olov and yours truly telling a bit about the recent books we had read. I think it was a decent and varied selection, maybe a but thin on the SF-side (especially harder stuff), but other wise a very nice group of books.
After some loitering and book browsing (and possibly a beer), I talked about the Bid (A presentation of the work on the bid for a Worldcon in Helsinki 2017 and some thoughts about the politics involved) and how has it been trying to get the Worldcon to Helsinki. Well, tough and not always to my liking. But I hope this will be beginning of something new and interesting, not only for Finnish and Nordic fandom, but for the whole international field. If we win, of course. And even if we don't. That itself will speak volumes about the worldliness of fandom. Dozen people had lost their way and were listening my ranting. Some even asked questions. And chatted afterward!
I believe we went and had some delish sushi before my next program item Hugopanel with Puppygate (Panel discussion on the Hugo-nominated novels. Quality? Which one deserves to win and why? The nominations this year have been intensely discussed since two groups calling themselves the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies have succeeded in obtaining many nominations by telling people to nominate from a prepared list). Kisu took the lead, while we, four middle-aged men pontificated about the nominees and the sadness of puppies. Amicable chatter, which covered the bases and managed to talk about the novel nominees fairly thoroughly. Clearly too short a time and too large a topic, unlike at Archipelacon, where these two were given separate panels and more time.
The proper ending for the day was my Kuis?, which I hosted with my very own Osman, Fia Herself! People have said that the show was fun and since i was there and I had fun, I'm willing to believe them. And it was fun.
There is this BBC quiz show called Pointless, which I have for some time now thought about ripping off trying out myself and when I had this brilliant idea about outsourcing my research to outsiders at Archipelacon's Åmazing Race, I knew I had my Swecon-quiz. Pre-interviewed group of 60 people were asked a number of questions and then my quiz participants were asked these very same questions and if the contestants were able to answer correctly, with the least amount of answers by those 60 people, or better still, NO answers, they'd get little or no points. Which sort of is a good thing in a game called Pointless.
Dreaded Judge Fia was tough, but fair and the contestants smart and funny. Oh, Tobias, you sure know how to talk to a lady... If you're now damning yourself for not getting to Confuse and witnessing this spectacular, fear not, for I'm doing it again next year in Tammere. Suomeksi.
There may have been an actual evening party at De Klomp, but since I didn't hear about it, our late night was spent at the lobby with a ever larger group of people. And beer. Chatting away happily and enjoying the Swecon Spirit, which by now had found its way to the Frimuraren.
Sunday felt like an afterthought, I didn't see any programming, I bought only one book (!) and chatted with some of those I hadn't yet had time to do; Bellis, John-Henri, PatrickC osv. Then a train (thanks for the tip, Kennet!) trip to Arlanda, ribs at O'Learys and another 45 minutes in the air ("That can't be Åland already?" "Well, what else could it be?" "Yeah") and we were home. With one very happy Mogens.
Posted by jukkahoo
Who doesn't want to go to Australia? I know I do. I'd love to. But (there's often a "but" following thoughts similar to these) so far I haven't had the chance, time and/or money to do so. At presently, I might have the money, provided I'd stop doing this bidding business or various other fun stuff like arranging Åcon8 and being kindasorta active in Finnish fandom.
So, Australia, yes please, very much so.
However, now there is a Chance and the Means, all I have to do is provide the third part, the Time ("So, um, boss... I may need to have a long Easter holiday next year?"). I believe I'm good for that.
This wondrous opportunity is called GUFF, short for Going Under Fan Fund (when traveling the Australia/New Zealand way) and I'm an Official Candidate. It's one of those really cool things that fandom does, giving opportunities to realise a dream, to give back to the community and make the world more like a village than a series of interconnected tubes. Like the internet.
But why should you vote for me and not the other candidate? Well, I guess my main reasons for that would be:
- if you want to meet a genuine Finnish fan, who has been fanning for nigh 30 years, I'm your choice Numero Uno!
- if you'd like to see a program participant from somewhere a bit different at Contact 2016 in Brisbane, I sure would fit the bill!
- if you think that international fandom is cool recommended, choose me! (Choose me! Meee-e!)
- if GUFF sounds like a great idea (and it is!), then you definitely should consider voting for me!
- if you'd like to meet someone who loves to read, meet new people, doesn't shy away form an offered beer (or some other interesting beverage), why not give it a go and send/bring me to Australia?
- if you'd like to witness the world-renowned jollity of the Finns, you would see ALL THIS! And more.
That other candidate is a dour fellow, a tight-lipped and stingy chap, who would rather stay at home than travel to Australia. Sure, Mr. Hold Over Funds sounds like fun, but is really not someone you might have a chat or talk about fanzines, or New Weird, or creating programming for a con, or bidding a Worldcon, or talk about the finer points of cricket. Scratch that last one, I still have no idea how even the scoring system works.
Here's my official pitch:
Model 1967 recovering illustrator, editor, writer, reviewer, con runner, fanzine-fan etc, who is currently part of a bid to bring Worldcon to my hometown of Helsinki. Chaired three Finncons, been involved with a number of other conventions since 1989. Besides doing pretty much everything there is program-wise, does also mean quizzes at cons. Married, with two small dogs and an apartment filled with books. Never been to Australasia, but would love to see the place and meet the fandom. And have a pint or two with you. I might be persuaded NOT to bring Finnish candy with me!
Here is the actual ballot. I am running unopposed, which is sad, but I hope to run a great campaign nevertheless. I have great bunch of nominators: Bellis, Cheryl Morgan, James Shields, Damien Warman & Juliette Woods jointly, and Sue Ann Barber. Best of both worlds really and I want to make these people proud of my candidacy.
Where can you see me in the meanwhile? Well, I'll be in Linköping, Sweden in a week, at this years Swecon. Less than two weeks after that, I'll be in Sasquan, at the 73rd Worldcon, in sunny Spokane, USA. Then I'll come back to Helsinki and start hibernating for the Winter, since a) it IS coming and b) it's a long one in these latitudes. During that time, I may be reached via those marvels of modern technology: Facebook and Twitter. And this blog, of course.
I promise to not say mate too often and Bruce and Sheila even less. I'd love to see as much as Australia as possible, and who knows, budget and time permitting, the Hobbitland as well!
Vote early, vote often!
Posted by jukkahoo
You may have notivced by so eof my earlier notes, that I like ginger. And ginger beer, hence today, on my brthday, I'm drinking Hollows & Fentimans All Natural Alcoholic Ginger Beer.
And this is good. The nose is subtly gingery, sweet and juicy, not at all like ginger ale. The taste is semi-sweet, lovingly gingery and unlike any other ginger beer I've drank before. I did have a Ginger Joe earlie rtoday and while there is the similarity with ginger, Ginger Joe is a lot more sweeter, but also stronger. GJ is also a lot cheaper. And more meadier. I could imagine cider person, who likes ginger with alcohol, liking this one.
Since it is my birthday, I've been taking today very easy.
Taking it easy. Highly recommended. As is Continuum. Second season ending was quite an episode. Can't wait for season three! Good show, sir!
Posted by jukkahoo
Fuller's Organic Honey Dew. Very nice. Very, very nice ale. Hint of hunny in the nosey-wosey, which is a lot stronger on the taste, but not that overpowering. But it all makes this very drinkable and very easily drowned. I seem to have guzzled half the pint with two sips. This is very nice honey beer. Not very robust, but to my huble taste, a really pleasing surprise that will definitely find its way to Casa Tali again in the future.
Today's recommendation is the Lost Girl. Think of Buffy. With more sex. Anna Silk plays a succubus named Bo, who is, well... a succubus in a place (somewhere in Canada, since Syfy), where fantasy and reality meet. Lots of fae and various fantastical creatures, with whom Bo usually has sex with. Because that is where she gets her powers from, very useful, since she is not keen on taking sides in the Eternal Struggle (TM) between Darkness and Light (TM). Being neutral may have its benefits, but more often than not, she'll find herself in a fierce battle. So, like I said, Buffy, with more sex. (Yes, even more than in seasons six and seven.)
The world Lost Girl takes place is filled with cool stories and histories, and there's a number of great characters in the ensamble cast. But while you have your cool werewolf cop or dwarven warlock, or Morrigan, or a Valkyrie, despite all that, the real deal in this series is the interplay between Bo and her human friend, Kenzi.
Who is a blast! Ksenia Solo is not only cute as a button, but she is smart, streetcool, handy, funny and above all, just human. A funny sidekick that is truly funny and endearing. I love Kenzi!
No arbitrary links, since this just needs to be read by as many people as possible. I think (well, hope) that everyone reading this blog (hello to both of you!) thinks this is fucked up and that what we really should have, is a world of equality and non-assholeness.