Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


My Stealth Political Bid



Finland Sunrise

Finland Sunrise
Originally uploaded by Nikchick.
Finland sure was beautiful.

I'm slowly but surely getting some of my Finland photos up online.

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My Welcome Home

I guess I didn't do a very good job of reporting in regularly from GenCon. I recovered from staying out too late after the Diana Jones Awards and was a good girl every other night, going back to my room to run credit card receipts instead of hitting the industry parties and getting enough sleep so that I could work my shifts at the booth every day without feeling like misery. The result was that I had one lunch with a friend, one dinner with another, and the rest of the con I was bouncing from person to person like a pinball... never having satisfactory time with anyone. Before I knew it, GenCon was over and I hadn't even seen the whole exhibit hall.

I found out after the fact that the hall opened to Very Important Gamers on Thursday, though that is a minor detail that the entire Green Ronin staff was not aware of at the time. Not that we could have gotten set up any earlier, with four of our seven staffers unable to arrive before Wednesday evening. Still, it explains why people like this commenter at Nikchick.com felt pissed off at my inability to provide service with a smile before the booth was set up and while the cash register wasn't functional. GenCon could have made it more clear that they were going to let gamers pay for early access to the exhibit hall... had I paid $500 for early access and not been able to buy things, I would have been more than miffed. As an exhibitor, I was not thrilled to learn that we would not have late night access to the exhibit hall to set up on Wednesday and was really struggling to get set up Thursday morning. I am even more unhappy now to hear from previously happy and loyal customers that I've lost their business because of the fiasco that was "VIP HOUR" at GenCon. Super terrific.

Thankfully, that episode and the blessedly brief bout of food poisoning from Champions' really gross salad (which I was really glad I didn't eat all of or I'm sure things would have been a lot worse) were the only low-lights of the con. Overall GenCon was a smashing success, the mood upbeat, the energy level high and positive. The ENnies were fun as always and I was personally very pleased with how the awards were spread out among big and small. I really wanted to see Hobby Games: the 100 Best take the Gold this year but I'm still mighty pleased about getting the silver. Everything went by distressingly fast and before I knew it, the convention was over and far to many of my industry friends had passed through and gone without my ever seeing more than a glimpse of them.

I returned home to live and happy bunnies (THANKS to Marc and Michelle for taking care of them!) and had some bunny cuddle therapy to help me come down from the unpleasantness of screaming children and the unbelievably foul gas attack of Stinky Fart Man (who had people groaning for aisles). This summer has been unusually intense as far as unpleasant plane trips but at least once we've arrived at our destinations it's been worth it.

Of course, all is not always sunshine and roses, even when we're not traveling. I arrived home to find that not only did the state incorrectly take Green Ronin's quarterly tax payment out of my personal checking account (something no doubt my own fault, as I was trying desperately to get everything sorted out before leaving the country and being on the road for two weeks but an unpleasant problem for me no matter the fault) but then yesterday I got to talk with some neighborhood police officers about the youths with guns running around in our neighborhood. There was a home invasion and at least two other incidents involving these thugs before they were caught, but they dumped their guns somewhere around the neighborhood and the police did not find those. I hope someone responsible finds the guns and not any of the youths or small children in the neighborhood! After the excitement with the police and the K9 unit, a couple different groups of kids showed up in the park for their favorite activity of pot smoking and bragging about the violent activities they were involved in. Could be just kids bragging about things they had nothing to do with to make themselves seem big and cool, or it could be that these kids really ar no longer satisfied with stashing pot and booze in our park and leaving behind broken bottles and graffiti but are moving up into bigger crimes. Not sure, but either way, it has put a bit of a damper on our homecoming.

Kate is home on Thursday, which means summer "vacation" is just about over. We're taking her to PAX over Labor Day weekend and then she'll start school while we head to Vegas for the Alliance Open House. Then, I think, convention season will officially be over.

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GenCon First Day

Green Ronin had a pretty good day today as the hall opened but the day had to start very early as we had to get into the hall at the crack of dawn to finish the massive set-up that still needed to be done. With so many of us unable to arrive before last night, there just wasn't a way to get everything set up in time. The hall opened at 9am for some sort of VIP tour or something but as far as I could tell they were letting all sorts of people in, many of whom were pestering me before I had the cash register properly programmed or who wanted to buy things while we were clearly still setting things up in the booth area. I know for a fact I pissed off a couple of people by telling them that I could not help them until after 10am but it couldn't be helped.

I was feeling pretty good until I had a bad encounter with some really gross salad at the Champions at the Marriott. Within the hour I was ill from it (and thankfully managed to get back to feeling better pretty promptly once purged) but that little episode certainly did put a damper on the afternoon.

Had a dinner engagement tonight so I wasn't able to head to Fantasy Flight's premier of the Midnight movie over at the Imax and after dinner was just feeling extremely fatigued and out of sorts so I skipped straight back to the hotel and plan to hit the sack as soon as I finish up my blogging. I hate to miss one of my precious nights for GenCon socializing but I'll regret it tomorrow if I don't get some decent rest (and some non-boozy fluids). As we're rolling into the ENnies, I don't want to risk not being able to enjoy the event... so early to bed it is.

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Ropecon ended

Hanged zombie
Originally uploaded by mrksaari.
I did not take this photo. I did not even see Hanged Zombie in person. But this excellent photo, of this excellent costume, taken at the honest to god live action Rock Paper Scissors tournament at Ropecon (and subtitled "Hanged zombie is quite unhappy after losing rock-paper-scissors battle.") well... it'll just have to suffice for those 1000 words I don't have time or mental energy to formulate between now and leaving for GenCon about 18 hours.

Ropecon is made entirely out of 100% awesome. I miss my Finnish brothers and sisters already.

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Finland: Days 2-4

Finland has been a whirlwind of activity so far. I've been taking a lot of photos and video but I can't upload them from here so I'll have to do a more thorough reporting when I get back. So fat we have experienced Suomenlinna, Finnish karaoke, miliatary museums, the National Museum of Finland, The Finnish national air guitar championships, The Ateneum, a crazy hotdog stand concoction (comprised of a hot dog, a hamburger, and fried baloney on a bun) and, now, the opening day of Ropecon proper.

At the Ateneum I discovered and fell in love with the paintings of Pekka Halonen, one of Finland's defining artists. I feel particularly lucky to have gone to the Halonen exhibit because there were several pieces there that have never been on display before. I got to see a huge number of his paintings and many of them could have just as easily been of the area around Ely, my grandfather's property around Birch Lake, all of it.

Hosts and con attendees alike have been absolutely wonderful. Would love to blog more but I'm hoping to squeeze in a beer or two before the bar closes! Tomorrow is a packed day and I'm looking forward to the festivities.

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Finland: Day...what day is it?

After 20 hours of travel and three flights, Pramas and I arrived in Helsinki yesterday. It's currently about 5am Helsinki time as I write from the enclave of our cozy European hotel bathroom (where I've holed up because I do not want to disturb Pramas with my puttering) and we packed in a pretty full day before turning in what was, for me, a mere five hours ago.

I nearly screwed up our departure twice on Monday, so I am especially glad to be here! It was a typical case of "Nicole would forget her head if it wasn't attached" that would normally be an inconvenience instead of a crisis except that we were on a schedule and had a deadline to leave the country. My errors were compounded by heavy traffic at the airport, a very slow taxi, and one of the biggest back-ups for Northwest baggage check I'd ever seen. Things were so worrisome that I sent Pramas on ahead to the gate without me while I waited in the baggage line so we could be sure that he, as guest of honor, would at least make it on the flight. Happily we were reunited 30 minutes or so later and in time for me to make the plane. Huge sigh of relief, though I did get stuck in front of a spawn of Satan who did not shut up or stop constantly, relentlessly kicking my seat for the entire flight. I took this as karmic payback for having made the flight despite everything.

We connected in Amsterdam for the last hop up to Helsinki. I've never had such a picturesque arrival to an airport! We flew in low over the countryside for quite a long time and I was immediately taken with the interesting architecture, the lush greenness, the layout of roads and villages and neighborhoods. The airport was immense and modern and just generally lovely and comfortable and I felt a definite pull to visit properly someday. I also had the "interesting" experience of having to clear customs in the middle of my journey, where I learned that the small scissors in my medicine bag which was legal when I got on the plane in Seattle and still legal when I connected in had become illegal when I arrived in Amsterdam. I was scolded and my scissors were confiscated and thrown away as "dangerous" items, mid-trip. In fact, I'd only packed the medicine bag in my hand luggage because I was going to need my medications over the course of the 20-some hours of travel and I'd brought only items in it that I knew to be acceptable by the TSA's terms. I had no idea I was going to be sent through customs and security mid-trip or I could have adjusted. Irritating at the best of times, more so when compounded by the having already been traveling for fifteen hours straight.

Happily frustrations faded away when we boarded the last leg of the flight. The crew were funny and attentive, impressively multi-lingual and just generally pleasant. We were served an interesting "summer salad" (diced apples, green onion, mandarin orange bits, in a mustard-vinegar kind of dressing), cheese and crackers, a hot roll, multiple beverages, and chocolate bars even though the flight was only a couple of hours long. We exited onto Finnish soil quite soothed.

We were met and cared for the rest of the evening by Jukka Seppänen, with whom we've been corresponding these many months and had no sooner set feet across the hotel threshold than met up with fellow guest, Greg Stolze so we four went out to dinner and caused impressive damage to the dining budget right off the bat. Had Greg and Chris not both looked like they were ready to fall to their knees after dinner I probably would have joined Jukka for some additional vodka drinking to ensure that I collapsed properly into a sleep of the dead but I took pity on the boys and we headed home at a mere 11pm. Between the restaurant and the hotel we saw a little of the surrounding area in the last light from Helsinki's 17-hour summer day.

Now to squeeze in another hour or two of sleep if I can before breakfast and our day with our volunteer guide begins. I hope to do some live blogging from Ropecon proper in a couple of days if I can keep the laptop charged and ready.

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