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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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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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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Jiivonen moved in with us today, yay. Most of the day has consisted of lots of people moving piles and piles of boxes into the house. I expect it’ll take quite a few weeks (months?) before things settle down, but it’s nice to have a fourth person in the house; now we don’t have two echoing empty rooms, but instead one occupied one and one gaming-room-to-be (at the moment acting as moving box storage).

Right now the house looks like a refugee camp more than anything else, but one of these days we’ll actually have cash to buy a… sofa! With luck, a nice one. And a comfy chair or two (sans the Inquisition). And… and… lots’o’stuff.

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Attack of the Killer Tick

When I got out of the shower this morning and put on my clothes, I noticed my leg had a sore spot. Thinking it was some scratch, I pulled up my pant leg and found… well, a fairly harmless garden-variety tick attached and happily sucking away at my precious bodily fluids. Not quite the face-hugger from aliens, but a pesky parasite anyways.

I didn’t really remember what one was supposed to do in order to get rid of the things, the thing I knew not to do was just pull it off with my fingers. So I asked the still-sleepy Janka, and she murmured something about “tick-pincers” and “apteekki”. So off I go to the drug store and they sell something that looks like a mini-size medieval torture implement. One which works, since I got the little bloodsucker off my skin without problems. Yay!

First time I remember having a tick in ages… one of the cats had one maybe two years back, but that’s about it. They’re not that common around here, I guess.

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Backpack revisited

Backpack is a web-based service/app run by 37signals, the same company responsible for unleashing Ruby On Rails on the world. The base/demo version is free, if you pay you get extra functionality – this seems to be a growing trend these days.

So, what is it? That’s a reasonable and simple question, but the answer is a bit more elusive. It’s something like an ultra-simplified wiki with todo (and other) list support. It provides some structure to your data (unlike a traditional wiki which is totally freeform), but doesn’t mandate a strict system or layout. It’s also extremely streamlined and simple, by design – the design idea was to only include the things people really need, and nothing else.

So we’re back to “what is it”?

It’s an sort of freeform, online personal organizer tool, a place to hang all the virtual (or physical) Post-It notes and lists that are always hanging around. It’s a place to store all the general small “stuff” and info that don’t have any proper place, and which you need to refer to often. Todo-lists. Reminder notes (Backpack provides email notifications on those). General “notes to self”. Just… stuff.

I tried it out when it first came out less than a year ago, and was mildly interested by the concept. On the other hand, my gut feel was “I could do all this myself with a wiki and some other stuff”. Which is true… except I never got around to organizing something like that, so the “I could do something like this myself” has been replaced with “well, I could, but why should I when this exists”?

At the time, Backpack was missing any sort of calendar, and that was really the deal-breaker for me – I need some sort of calendar in my organizer tool.

Well, just about a week(?) ago the bastards added a calendar to it. I tried it out, and it works – like everything in Backpack it’s ultra-simplified; there is only one view, and you can’t really configure anything. But it works, and my calendar needs are very simple. As a sneaky move, the calendar is only available in the for-pay accounts, so I was “forced” to move into the $5 per month account scheme. I don’t really mind.

So. With the addition of the calendar feature, Backpack has become a surprisingly useful tool for me. I still find it hard to describe to people exactly what the thing actually is or exactly how I use it, but… “works for me”.

While I’ve come to appreciate 37signal’s “keep it as simple as humanly possible” design method, I still think they take it a bit too far sometimes. There are a lot of things in Backpack I’d like to customize. On the other hand, I suppose everyone has their list of things, and if all were accomodated the whole app would quickly become a confusing, Microsoft-like mess. The zen-like simplicity does have a certain charm, keeping that in mind.

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We had a bachelor party (“polttarit”) for a friend on Saturday, I’m the best man so I did most of the organizing – that doesn’t mean I did all the work, just that I sent a lot of emails and worried a lot about how it would turn out. Well, things went wonderfully and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, including the groom-to-be. Maybe it’s just that we’re all getting a bit older here, but this was a fairly low-alcohol event by “polttari” standards… sure, we drank quite a bit, but all things considered not all that much. I can even call it “civilized drinking” with a totally straight face.

We started off with 2 hours of paintball, run by Pro Games. A lot of fun, as paintball usually is, and as an additional bonus most of the group were first-timers. I heard a lot of “Hey, this is actually fun!” comments from people. After the paintball, with everyone sweaty, bruised and multicolored from the paint, we drove down to the seashore for a picnic. After some bubbly stuff and snack type food, the Saunaship came to fetch us from the nearby boat harbor. It was really cool, sitting in a good, wood-heated floating sauna out on the bay, with sausages sizzling on the gas grill and the sun shining down happily… and hey, I went swimming in the sea for the first time this summer, the water was really warm and nice.

After two hours of the floating sauna, the sauna captain shuttled us to a nearby (other) small-boat harbor, where we packed ourselves into yet another small boat and went to an island holiday house owned by a relative of one of the participants. Great place, and a lot bigger than I had expected. The rest of the evening involved grilled lamb, red wine and yet more sauna. At some point we decided to call it a day, and got ourselves taxis for a ride home.

Thanks to all involved, couldn’t have done it without you :)

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