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Petri Wessman's weblog

Share the same space for a minute or two

The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground
Head in the sky
It’s ok I know nothing’s wrong . . nothing

Hi yo I got plenty of time
Hi yo you got light in your eyes
And you’re standing here beside me
I love the passing of time
Never for money
Always for love
Cover up and say goodnight … say goodnight

Home - is where I want to be
But I guess I’m already there
I come home - she lifted up her wings
Guess that this must be the place

Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view
I’m just an animal looking for a home
Share the same space for a minute or two

– Talking Heads, “This Must be the Place (Naive Melody)”

This Sunday I’ll have been married for a year. To all the people who (seriously or not) told me that “everything changes after you get married” and “have fun now, you won’t have it later”, all I can say is: you married the wrong person, sorry, better luck next time.

…but find your own, this one is mine and I’m keeping her. So there.

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Religious terrorists in training

David Byrne (yes, that David Byrne) writes in his blog about seeing a screening of a new documentary, “Jesus Camp”. I’m hoping that the film in question will arrive here in Finland at some point, it sounds like perfect R&A material and a film I’d love to see in general. Basically, it’s about training camps for children of Christian fundamentalists, teaching them to obey (their) religious leaders without question, and trying to weed out qustionable behaviour like individual thought and any sort of scientific worldview. Scary stuff.

Not much difference between Christian and Islamic fanatics, I’m sure these people would be just as willing and able to plant terrorist bombs in subways if their leaders told them it’s necessary “for the Lord’s work” and that they would be going to heaven as a reward.

In general, I have a pretty low view of religion and consider it to have done more harm than good in general during human history. The good thing about religion is that it can inspire people to act in better ways, and it can inspire great works of art. If it helps you view the world and live like a decent human being, and you keep it relatively private, religion is fine – just like most other private beliefs, sane or not. I know quite a few people who are both (more or less) religious and (more or less) sane, so it does not automatically rot your brain. I do wonder at the doublethink necessary to both believe any of the current mainstream religions and claim to subscribe to the current scientific worldview, but hey, nobody said people have to be rational in their views.

As for the bad things done by religion in general… well, open your history book to just about any bloody chapter, or just watch the news. Yes, I know that most of that is done by people distorting the actual teachings of their religions in order to generate bloodshed. Doesn’t change the fact that religion is the culprit here, the engine that motivates people to kill and repress.

Whatever bad can be said about the Finnish bland flavor of “pullamössö” Christianity, at least it’s harmless. These U.S. and Arabian religious fanatics are something else, something very frightening. Especially in a case like shown in this film, where children are indoctrinated to become fundamentalists. One day, one of these kooks may run for president, or for Congress. The current U.S. situation is scary, but it could get much, much worse. It’s not yet a theocracy or a police state, and there’s still some semblance of lip service to the Constitution.

All that can change… and I have the uneasy feeling that it’s changing as we speak.

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Car off to the doctor

All right, my poor “won’t start coz I ain’t gettin’ no sparks” car was finally towed off to the repair shop last night – it’s been sitting in the company parking area for 1.5 weeks now, waiting for the repair shop guys to get back from vacation.

The towing process proved to be extremely painless, especially since I got the good suggestion from somebody-I-don’t-remember-who to check if my insurance covers it. Well, what do you know, turns out it does (I even called them to make sure). Funny, I think this is the first time I’ve ever put my car insurance to use. Anyway, the towing company also had the nice option of sending the bill directly to the insurance company, so in the end all I had to do is say “hi!” to the guy in the tow truck and he took it from there – to the extent to dropping the car keys and a printed “fix this” explanation note off at the repair shop. I didn’t need to do anything or pay anything, which is nice. Of course, the repair guys will expect me to actually pay them and to fetch my car, it unfortunately won’t materialize at our home parking spot fully fixed, shining and already paid for. Oh well.

No idea about what’s actually wrong with the thing, except “won’t start”, or more specifically: isn’t giving power to the spark plugs, which quite reasonably then don’t do their thing. Could be a very simple thing, could be something more complicated inside the ignition system – we’ll see. There’s also an older problem with the engine fan (runs all the time, regardless of engine heat) that I asked them to fix at the same time.

Cars. Don’t know how to fix them, can’t easily live without them.

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Nobody here except us zombies

It’s over, just got home – the rest of the gang headed off toward the restaurant and GoH dinner, I was/am just too tired to go. About 4 hours of sleep last night, bracketed by turns behind the info desk, followed by a Rage tournament, followed by the con shutdown and cleanup stuff… well, let’s just say that my t-shirt says “It’s Alive!” but I consider that to be a gross distortion of the actual truth. So I’m sitting at home reading my email and waiting for the sauna to warm up, and wondering how many hours I’ll manage to stay up before I really have to hit the bunk.

Good con, as pretty much always. It’s a staple of the Finnish rpg scene, and I mean that in a very positive way. Weekend full of games, friends, people-I-like-but-see-too-rarely, semi-strangers, and general weirdness. And coffee. Oh yes.

Hamster! A Dentist! Hard porn! Steven Seagull!

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VTES tournament over, thanks all

Ok, we had an absolutely huge tournament last night, with a record-breaking 95 players in total. Was a lot of fun (yes, even just to watch) and everything went great. The final round stretched till 3am, so when we got home we pretty much collapsed on the bed. I’ll write up a tournament report some time next week, a lot of stuff I want to report from that game in detail. I’m hoping to get deck lists from the players in the finals and maybe to get some photos from the people who were there with cameras. Will have to ask around.

There are still some unclaimed EC-qualifier t-shirts and a (very) small cash runner-up prize for the guy who came 7th. I’ll post the details on the Con intenal TV, and later here if I don’t find the right people at the Con.

Now having a quick cup of tea before heading back towards Dipoli.

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Ropecon almost here, woot

Ok, Ropecon is almost upon us again. Thanks to the server crash I had lost all my normal printouts and sheets for running a VTES tournament, so I spent most of last night creating them from scratch. I think I now have everything ready, including an “ugly-but-it-works” player randomizer script written in Ruby. Looks to be another big tournament, we already have 56 preregistrations as of this writing. Nice.

I picked up the prize support stuff from White Wolf from Fantsu yesterday, turned out to be a big and heavy box. Mostly that was because this is (for the first time) an EC qualifier, so we have a pile of t-shirts for the people who qualify (top 25% based on total scores for 3 rounds). There’s also 2 new promo cards, and some boosters for the finalists. Thanks to WW for the support, once again. The EC-qualifier t-shirts look pretty cool, they have the anime-style picture from one of the new(ish) Ahrimanes cards on the back (“Ahrimane Protectorate”) . As an additional bonus, I get one too – regional qualifier game organizers automatically qualify themselves, too. Which is nice, since there is no chance in hell of both running a tournament of this size and playing in it.

At the moment my schedule looks somewhat like this:

  • Friday 16 - 16:30 - arrive at the Con, set up camp at the registration table upstairs
  • Friday 18(ish)- the tournament begins
  • Saturday 02(ish) - tournament is over, lots of bleary eyes and people running on pure caffeine
  • Saturday - do Stuff(tm) at the con
  • Saturday 19- 23 - my turn at the Info desk
  • Sunday 07 - 11 - at the Info desk again, after a luxurious 6-hour sleep
  • rest of Sunday - play in Rage tournament (if I have time), do some more Stuff(tm).

See you there.

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Rails 1.1.6

The 1.1.5 patch to Rails didn’t quite fix all the holes, so version 1.1.6 is now out, along with details on the hole. It’s good to see the Rails team take this seriously and move fast – and I really don’t understand the whiners about “security through obscurity”. Yes, in the long run that’s a bad policy, but when you’ve just discovered a hole in a popular framework, the thing to do is precisely what the Rails team did: announce the fact that there’s a potential expoit and offer a new version of the software, but withhold details for a day or two until most people have managed to update their systems. To do otherwise would be to give the script kiddies of the world a free ride. Yes, you can possibly figure out the hole by comparing diffs… but most of the script kids out there are just that: kids who will use a ready-made “hack”, but won’t bother to figure it out for themselves.

This site is now upgraded to 1.1.6, naturally. Typo is still version 4.0.0 – there is now a version 4.0.2 out which fixes some bugs and includes Rails 1.1.6, but the gem updater for that one gave me an error. I’ll try it again after Ropecon, no time to hack now.

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