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Petri Wessman's weblog

Scorchio!

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Even though it’s hard to believe it now, with rain drizziling down from a leaden sky, last weekend was “Scorchio!”-tastic around the Turku-Hanko seaside (Kasnäs, to be more exact). Even though there’s a lot of trip prep stuff to do, we decided to take the weekend off and go sailing for a few days on a friend’s boat (well, boat belonging to a friend’s parents, to be more exact). We drove down there Friday after work, arriving at the marina a bit after 9pm, after which we settled down for a quick onboard dinner and some drinks. The marina had wifi connectivity, which was a new feature for me even though I’m told it’s quite common nowadays. Somehow, sitting in a sailboat and browsing the web on a netbook was a bit strange. I got over it.

The next two days were hot. Unfortunately they were also a bit on the overly calm side, so we just motored around on Saturday. Sunday the wind had picked up a small bit so we unfurled sails and did some actual sailing. Nothin fancy, but it’s always more pleasant to move on windpower instead of marine diesel… at least when the weather is nice.

Good short trip, and it helped reduce pre-vacation stress levels a bit. Now we’re approaching the point where we actually have to start packing soon; so far we’ve just made checklists of stuff to bring and have done some shopping along the same lines. I got a new camera bag (well, two actually), a new carbon fiber tripod, a small Gorillapod, and some other stuff. Photowise I should be all set now, and I also tested the workflow from CF card to card reader to netbook (Lightroom) to home workstation (Lightroom with some actual processing power). Seemed to work fine. Also cleaned the camera sensor (long overdue and cause for angst on previous Lapland trip) and updated the camera firmware to latest.

It’s always the same thing before a long trip abroad. The few weeks before are hectic; you try to tie up loose ends at work, you try to think of all you’ll need, you try to finish off the most critical parts of your “todo” list. Once you actually get on the plane things lighten up, before that it’s always a bit of a hassle. All this is magified a bit, since we need to do some “extreme packing”: first we go hiking in Iceland, in an area in which there is a real possibility of snow even at this time of year. Then we go to the Nevada desert and Burning Man, where temperatures around +40C are quite possible. Oh, and everything needs to both fit in the airplane loggage allowance and be as portable as possible. We have some experience at this already so it’s not as bad as it could be… but it still needs quite a bit of planning. This will also be the first actual field test for our new high-tech Hilleberg Nallo 3 GT tent, both in Iceland and at Burning Man. If our trusty Terra Nova Ultra Quasar has managed Burning Man, the Hilleberg should too. But we’ll see.

Flee to France!

A quick “what’s up” note, this. Ropecon 2008 came and went, I had a lot of fun despite getting very little sleep. The traditional big VTES tournament was a success once again, I now have a tournament report available for that. The other highlight of the con, for me, was managing to attend Greg Stolze’s demo of his new game, A Dirty World. It was actually the first convention rpg game that I have ever attended, and boy was it worth it. Besides being a kick-ass game designer, Greg proved to be a very cool guy and extremely competent GM. I had a ton of fun playing a heroin-addicted femme fatale…

The rest of the week has been spent in recovery, of sorts. Janka and I are both on vacation now, so we’ve just taken it easy for a while. That said, it feels like it’s been an extremely busy week, I’ve continually been doing something and feel that I managed to only do a small portion of the stuff I had intended. So it goes.

We decided that we needed a short break from all this, so we booked a flight to Paris – leaves tomorrow morning, back on Saturday. It’s been… what, 30 years since I was last there, so I don’t remember much anything, and Janka’s never been there at all. So we’ll spend three days doing the tourist things (Louvre, Notre Dame, the Catacombs, etc) while trying to get by on our extremely limited French vocabulary. Should be fun. I’m trying (in vain) to remember the basic rudiments of French verbs…. and since I know that’s doomed to failure, I’m taking along a phrase book and trying to resist the urge to go for a Monty Python French accent.

Back by the weekend.

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Finncon weekend

Rounding up a week of vacation for me was Finncon (the annual Finnish science fiction convention) at Tampere. No “must meet” authors there this time around, but since our summer place is near Tampere anyway we decided to go, spending the nights at out place. Glad we did, Finncon was ok but nothing special and the merged Animecon meant that the place was crawling with (mostly very young) anime/mange fans. I joked that my “Finncon ‘91” t-shirt was older than the median age there…

…but that didn’t really stop me enjoying the con, mostly as a “relaxing weekend away from home”. Attended some entertaining talks and panels, saw a few nice short films and met some people I don’t otherwise see all that often – and we must not forget the artistic highlight of the con, the no-budget short film “Atlantiksen Jumala” from Petri Hiltunen and the gang. Horribly and intentionally bad as always, but also entertaining because of that.

Nice vacation week otherwise, too. Time sped by fast, I managed to do a very small fragment of the things I had intended to do but that’s normal. Now it’s back to work for a couple of busy weeks, then two more weeks of vacation right after Ropecon.

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