/var/log/orava

Petri Wessman's weblog

Survived vacation

Well, I’m back at work, after a (short) 2-week vacation. It’s nice and peaceful here, as opposed to the hectic (but very fun) vacation schedule. And the office has air conditioning, which is a win these days.

We spent the first weekend in Joensuu, at Isosaarirock. Very nice rock festival, and nice trip overall. The hotel was an “eco-hotel”, which proved to be bad on Friday when we arrived: “eco” meant no air conditioning and poor ventilation, resulting in a room temperature easily in the 30s (C). We finally managed to sleep without dying of overheating by (also) leaving the room door open to the corridor. The temps dropped a bit the next days so it wasn’t so bad, but… that place really wasn’t built to handle heat waves. Nice enough otherwise.

The festival itself was good. Nice selection of bands and a wide cross-section of genres. We listened to everything from big band jazz to heavy metal and (Finnish!) rap. I primarily went there to see Imogen Heap (she was good), but many other gigs were also very much worth seeing and listening to. My feet were killing me near the end; 12 hours or so of standing / bounding about in soleless shoes (Feelmax) starts to get to you. We got a bit of a sunburn, but nothing too bad… and the beach there was awesome. You could wade in the water or go for a swim, while seeing and hearing the band on stage at the same time.

Imogen Heap seemed happy about the very positive reception she got (she hasn’t been here before), so I’m hoping she’ll do a “proper” tour with a Finnish concert at some point. It would be great to see her in a more focused environment.

The following week our house started filling up with guests. A lot of EVE players were coming to Finland for Ropecon, and we housed some at our place. Actually, we still do, I think the last of them leaves tomorrow. We also got well-known VTES “celebrity” player over (I’ve met him before at ECs), who got crash space on the floor on a mattress since our guest bedroom and sofa were already occupied my others. Fun guys all, and it’s fun to have the house full of people. Well, now and then it is, anyway ;)

Last weekend was Ropecon, of course. I ran the big VTES tournament on Friday, and it went very well. Excellent turnout with 93 players, and we also had a record number of foreign players attending. The win went to Otso Saariluoma, with the final round ending around 3am. It was a good final round too, with lots of stuff happening all the time. I’ll write up a full tournament report during the next week or so, with details on all that.

On Saturday I played in the VTES draft (fun, but only got 1 VP total), then caught some random program events and finally stumbled home to sleep for an all-too-short while. Sunday back to the con area to listen to Guy Windsor’s traditional “Realities of Steel” thing, and then an 8-hour info desk shift. So the con went well, though this year most of it went towards VTES for me.

…and now it’s (slowly) back to normal routine. That’s not a bad thing, as such. The kittehs will miss having a million people around the house, though, they’ve grown used to always having a human around who has time to pet them.

(Vaguely like) Scorchio!

The tipping point for “summer”, for me, is the point where I can sit outside on our patio and read in the sunshine, without needing winter wear. That point came last weekend, where it was almost hot there for a while. Granted I was wearing a fleece jacket, and the moment the sun vanished behind clouds the temperature dropped fast. But who cares, it felt like summer, or at least like a proper spring.

The cats approve, too. Despite the still lingering huge piles of snow all over.

Managed to switch to summer tirer on the car, too, though otherwise the car is still in an immobile state. The radiator leaks and (I think) the thermostat is also a goner. That, or the water pump. Hope it’s just the thermostat since that’s a fairly cheap replacement. Anyway, the thing started overheating recently and I just barely got it home. Now have a new radiator as a spare part and garage time scheduled for next week, we’ll see what the mechanic says. Hope it’s nothing too serious, the weather is starting to look like I can finally drive with the top down. Whee!

Published on by Orava, tags , , , ,

(Vaguely like) Scorchio!

The tipping point for “summer”, for me, is the point where I can sit outside on our patio and read in the sunshine, without needing winter wear. That point came last weekend, where it was almost hot there for a while. Granted I was wearing a fleece jacket, and the moment the sun vanished behind clouds the temperature dropped fast. But who cares, it felt like summer, or at least like a proper spring.

The cats approve, too. Despite the still lingering huge piles of snow all over.

Managed to switch to summer tirer on the car, too, though otherwise the car is still in an immobile state. The radiator leaks and (I think) the thermostat is also a goner. That, or the water pump. Hope it’s just the thermostat since that’s a fairly cheap replacement. Anyway, the thing started overheating recently and I just barely got it home. Now have a new radiator as a spare part and garage time scheduled for next week, we’ll see what the mechanic says. Hope it’s nothing too serious, the weather is starting to look like I can finally drive with the top down. Whee!

Published on by Orava, tags , , , ,

Scorchio!

Looks like summer is here, if only for a while. The weekend was quite the scorcher. Saturday we went shopping for plants and spent most of the rest of the day doing gardening and related stuff (yes, it’s fun, when the weather is good). Sunday was sports day; first 2,5 hours of rapier basics, then another 2,5 hours of smallsword basics. Very fun seminar, but of course the weather was hot and the salle was a bit on the warm side too. We survived. Smallsword was weird… intuitive in some ways due to rapier background, totally bizarre in others (possibly due to same rapier background). There are things you can do with the smallsword that you just can’t with the rapier (well, not without breaking your wrist in the process, anyway).

Feeling mostly ok now. The “flu” bug turned out to be streptococcus strain “G” (whatever that means). More or less gone now, anyway, though now I know what medication I’ll ask for if it decides to make a comeback. Didn’t medicate this bout away, since medication helps against this strain only when taken while “sick”, and by the time I got the lab results I was already ok. My throat is still a bit raw, so it’s possible the thing is still lurking in the background. Die, bug, die.

Published on by Orava, tags , , , , , ,

Weather-challenged weekend

The weather acted up a bit over the weekend so we ended up mostly staying inside. I had planned on going swimming on Sunday, but the cold weather plus rainy drizzle didn’t make that option too tempting. Saturday was (partly) nice and sunny, though… but it was a bit cold, still. I tried reading outside a few times, but had to come in after a while due to the cold.

We want our summer back, dammit!

A not-too-bad weekend anyway; we made some experimental food (hot sweet-sour chicken on Saturday, Indian-style vegetarian wraps on Sunday) and did lots of “indoor rest and relaxation” stuff. I read a bit, played around with the newest (alpha) version of Ruby on Rails, and watched the second season of Torchwood and the latest batch of Doctor Who episodes. To my surprise, the Torchwood stuff turned out to be the best of the bunch; Doctor Who has been pretty mediocre lately, while Torchwood seems to slowly be getting into stride. It’s still not brilliant, but a lot better that season one imho.

Published on by Orava, tags , , , ,

Summer is almost here

Nice weekend. We managed to do some “useful” stuff (such as getting a newer dishwasher to replace our ancient one, and doing some garden stuff) in addition to just enjoying a nice, sunny weekend. First time this year we used the grill, too, whee!

The most brilliant bit was being able to sit outside on the patio, basking in the heat, and drink a gin&tonic. Felt like summer, even though it’s still a bit cold and the plants are still considering this “should we grow now?” thing. I guess that’s one of the reasons I’d really hate to go back to living in an apartment… sure, it can be convenient, but there’s just no replacement for having your own yard, some place where you can go lounge in the sun whenever you feel like it and listen to the wind in the trees.

We need to do a bit more work until the yard is really cat-proof (including felling one tree) – at the moment we do let the cats out into the yard now and then, but need to keep an eye on them.

In general it’s been life as normal, without too many serious hassles. We tried to buy a new fridge, but it turned out to be mislabeled at the store: claimed to be 175cm tall, when in fact it was 179, something that won’t fit in our kitchen. Not without renovation, at least. So we continue to hunt for a 175cm high model, in the 90cm wide form factor and preferrably with a brushed-steel look and an automatic icemaker. The models do exist, but of course we’d prefer to not pay ridiculous amounts of money. We’ll see.

Tempest the cat is now healed of his urinary infection, the antibiotics kicked in efficiently and did the trick. Just got a call from the vet to confirm that the check-up lab results now confirm he’s fine… so that’s one lesst thing to worry about. I’ve cut down on dry food in general for the cats, though, both to reduce risks of further infections and to maybe cut down on weight gain problems.

Published on by Orava, tags , , ,

Espooification

Good weekend, if a bit strange; I didn’t have anything scheduled, but it still feels like I did a ton of stuff. Most of that was very “mainstream Espoo home owner” stuff… mowing the lawn, doing some garden work, painting some parts of the patio with wood-protection oil stuff, etc. We raided a hardware store and now have 10m of steel netting (meant for mink cages) rolled up and waiting for us to start the cat-proofing of the yard. Halfway intended to start that yesterday, but with one thing and another never got around to it; too many other things to do first. In addition, some people came over last evening and we just sat around on the patio, eating grilled stuff and drinking wine. Life could be worse.

The yard cat-proofing may be a quixotic endeavour, but what the hell… it might just work. We intend to follow a basic algorithm:

1) plug the obvious holes
2) release cats into yard
3) follow cats and find point where yard leaks cats
4) go to step 1

After a while, we hope to have a relatively cat-escape-proof yard. It may resemble Alcatraz at that point and the neighbors might start to complain about the razor wire, guard towers and floodlights. We’ll see.

Other tidbits:

  • Watched the end of season 6 of “24”. Not bad, a fairly solid “part 2” to season 5. Leaves things open for another series, but not as blatantly as season 5. Good entertainment, though the series is starting to repeat itself a bit – only natural, I guess.

  • My copy of Reign has now shipped from Lulu.com. Should be here by the end of this week. Greg Stolze now has a Reign supplement up for ransom here. I’m not sure if I’ve commented on how cool Fundable is… but if not: it’s cool. It allows anyone to set up a ransom model publication (or whatever), allowing people to pledge money to various projects in a safe fashion.

  • Like what happened with Promethean, the more I hear about the new Changeling (from White Wolf) the more excited I am about it. Also like Promethean, initially the whole thing didn’t spark my interest much at all. There are now some teasers about the new game premise on WW’s site; it sounds like the WW guys have now written a game about the darker side of the old fae myths, instead of the “bouncy fluffy fantasy creatures” all too evident in the old Changeling. I’m all for that. Also, I’m told by one of the game designers that this clip captures the ideal intended feel of the new game quite well (while having nothing directly to do with White Wolf or their games): Never Woke Up. (by Katy Towell). Much coolness.

Card tech, melons, summer

Things come and go in waves for me. I haven’t touched EVE for ages now (or other computer games, for that matter). At the moment I’m (still) doing a lot of VTES deck tech, trying to figure out new decks that are a) competitive and b) interesting or unusual. The first isn’t that hard, if the only thing I was interested was tournament scoring I’d just put together a stealth power bleeder, a Parity Shift/PTO stealth voter, or one of the other staple “power” decks. Sadly, winning with something like that wouldn’t give me much satisfaction, so I’m stuck with tinkering with weird card tech and trying to figure out something that works. It’s a testament to the flexibility and balance of this game that there’s lots and lots of stuff to play with, but very hard to put together a deck that flows and actually does what it’s supposed to. Especially since every game is totally different and the table position so important.

Been tinkering with my current decks some more, and last night I put together a !Salubri rush deck. Or, to be more precise, a !Salubri wannabe rush deck; I found out that I’m seriously lacking in Sense Death – I would have liked 12-14 in the deck, but found out I only own 7 copies. Sigh. The deck turned into something more toolboxy that I had intended and probably won’t work at all. I’ll try it out once and probably dismantle it until I get more Sense Death. Annoying that LoB was such a huge set that getting enough copies of even the commons can be a chore…

I also have a new(ish) idea involving a certain !Malk, the Nagaraja clan, and other components. It uses some unconventional tech but might even work. We’ll see.

Totally unrelated to card games, I planted my melon seedlings in the ground, hoping that the weather will now stay warm enough. Never tried to grow melons before, this will probably end in disaster but what the hell. No harm trying, unless I manage to grow Zombie Mutant Melons From Hell – I’m assured by multiple movies and tv series that this is always a possibility when playing with biotech. I’ll need some sort of covering to keep the things warm (until they flower, after which the bees need access). I’ll also need to trim them according to the instructions on the packet – which read like gibberish to me. Why don’t these things come with color PDF instructions, with pictures and diagrams?

So yeah, summer is slowly here. That means I/we need to slowly work on the summer todo-list: decide if we want our house warming on Juhannus or not, clean and oil the patio wood covering, get some wire netting so we can catproof the yard (yeah, right), do something about the cumbersome current physical Internet connection, start proper regular exercise again, get plane tickets for Gothenburg, get Burning Man tickets and associated plane tickets… the list goes on. One thing at a time.

Would help if I had lots of money, but atm I don’t… so that needs some balancing, too. Lots of stuff we’d love to buy for the house, but they will have to wait in the priority queue for a while.

Published on by Orava, tags , , , ,

Failure is always an option

Nice weekend. Even though it was pretty busy and at times exhausting, I had a lot of fun. We headed out Friday evening to Janne’s summer place, packing some VTES tournament decks and lots of card trade folders. Sauna and swim in the lake (about 10 C, brrr), was nice – first lake swim this summer for me.

Anyway, after an soundly slept night at the cabin and some breakfast, we headed to Turku and the EC qualifier tournament. Lots of people there (56 players I think), with people coming from all over Finland.

All in all, I did poorly; only got 0,5 VPs due to a timeout – a combination of my deck not being quite good enough (yet) for that tournament environment, some bad luck, and some mistakes on my part. On the other hand, all the games were lots of fun and the general atmosphere was nice and relaxed. I also got lots of ideas to improve my deck, which is also good.

I was playing my Serpentis/Temporis Temptation machine, which might have been a mistake (or not, hard to say). The first game started up very nicely and I was just about to get to speed when my predator (who had looked about to get ousted by a Lasombra s+b deck) suddenly played Palla Grande and I found myself facing 5 minions, all of which bled for 2 at stealth. In hindsight it was obvious, but I really didn’t see that Palla Grande coming. I had also overextended myself a bit, should have played a bit more conservatively. Oh well.

The second game had me in a nightmare position: predator was a pure Obf/Dem stealth bleeder, and prey was a Tzimisce intercept wall. Between a rock and a hard place, I managed some delaying action (partly thanks to some nice Banishment action from across the table), and almost managed to hold on enough for my Temptations to activate on all of my predator’s vampires (which might have changed the situation a slight bit). Almost doesn’t count, and I got ousted. No real mistakes on my part here, it was just a really crappy starting position for this deck.

The third game went on the longest and gave me my meager half VP (which almost became 1,5 VPs). It also uncovered my stupidest mistake: I had misread a certain Temporis action mod and hadn’t noticed that it also requires Auspex. Head, meet wall. Since my bleed power was based on that card and it was suddenly partly unusable (bleed reduce still worked), I was badly lacking in forward momentum. My predator was Teemu’s Imbued deck, which went on to win the whole tournament – and to my suprise my deck did pretty well against him, staying in the game until timeout. However, because of my lack of bleed power I was unable to oust my Dominate bleed + voter prey, even though I had him on the ropes and he was down to 2 pool when the game ended and I had Temptations ready to activate on his minions; had I gotten my turn, I would have ousted him without problem.

This game also had me do all sorts of mistakes, some stupid and some sort of understandable:

  • I forgot to take pool from the edge twice. Stupid.
  • I forgot to put Temptation counters on the cards once. Slightly stupid, but no big deal in that tactical situation.
  • I totally forgot about Carlton’s special ability (burn Carlton to burn diablerist), and went on to diablerize Marcus Vitel so I could get his Helicopter. Poof goes Hesha, next round. Annoying, but I don’t blame myself that much for it – not many people remember that special, and at least it got rid of both Vitel and Carlton.
  • I tried to steal one of Teemu’s Imbued with an Entrancement, even though I fully knew that he had the Conviction card that prevented stealing. No idea why I did that, total brain fart. Stupid waste of an action and an Entrancement that I could have used to bleed.

Sigh. The good thing is that I probably won’t make the same mistakes again soon. Some different ones, sure…

Kudos to Teemu for excellent play, as always, and especially for playing Memories of Mortality on my Synesios. Due to the card wordings, it actually prevents Touch of Pain also, which Teemu realized when he played it and I found out when I tried to use Touch of Pain. Nice (well, not nice for me, but a clever thing to realize).

Janne also did pretty poorly (1 VP total I think), so we decided to call it a day and head back towards Helsinki instead of staying to watch the finals.

The next day I slept pretty late, did some stuff in the garden, and then headed toward town with Janka. We tried to go to see Footlight’s student show (some friends had an acrobatics performance there), but it turned out we had the wrong place; we were at Aleksanterin Teatteri when we should have been in Hakaniemi. Duh. We didn’t have time to make it across town, so we went to Plan B and walked to see the remnants of the “World in the Village” festival, had a few drinks at the Kaisaniemi terrace, and finally walked to Jäähalli to see Placebo in concert.

The concert was ok, but not great. The song selection was ok; Janka liked it but it was missing many of my own favorites and concentrated on their newest album which is ok but not my favorite. The biggest problem, however, was the volume. Either by mistake or by some misguided purpose, everything was turned up way too loud, and Molko’s distinctive voice tended to get drowned under the distorted wall of guitar and drum; the end result was a sonic mush, much of the time. Earplugs would have been a good idea. Some nice moments, though, I really like their version of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”, and at times things rocked nicely. Mostly, however, I much prefer them on CD compared to this. Nine Inch Nails proved last time that you can do a wall of sound without everything getting distorted into mush, at precisely the same concert venue. For generally melodic stuff like Placebo, I think going the “this one goes to 11!” route is/was a mistake.

In any case, it was a fun day and it really felt like summer in many ways. When the concert ended the heavens opened, with a major thunderstorm and heavy rain crashing down. We got a taxi after some small hassle but were still soaked. Soaked and not minding it much, since the rain was warm. Another sign of summer, I guess.

Published on by Orava, tags , , , , , , ,

Powered by Publify – Thème Frédéric de Villamil | Photo Glenn