Discolor Online

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



A shout out to all my Finnish brethren, happy Vappu everyone!

Here's a little about Vappu in Finland:

From Finland.com
From Wikipedia
From Metafilter

Importantly: Vappu without drinking is like Christmas without presents.

Unfortunately I don't have any student caps and I think I'm short on overalls, too. However, since it's game night around Chez Ronin this evening, drinking shouldn't be too hard to manage. In fact, I still have some of the booze I brought back from our Ropecon trip and have been hoarding. What a perfect time to break it out, hot on the heels of having "oily" Finnish beer and Salmiakki drinks at Copper Gate (careful, link contains boobies) in Ballard last week!

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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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No Finland


A year ago, Chris accepted an invitation to be a guest at Recombination in Cambridge, so we've had to turn down an invitation to go to Ropecon.


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