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zappo

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More ick, probably tmi [Jan. 11th, 2018|08:33 pm]
zappo
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Well, at least all this menstruating is good for the figure. Like Cordelia said in an early episode of ”Buffy” when they found a headless corpse. It’s so disgusting I completely lose my appetite.

I thought menopause would mean less bleeding, not more and more until it is pretty much constant. And no one wants to talk about it, understandably, see above about unappetising. All I’ve ever heard is coy remarks about heat flushes. I would love having one of those, what bliss not to be icy cold all the time.

Oh boy how I hate it. Must try to think about something else but am unable to.

What luck there are audio stories to divert nasty thoughts! After having listened to an old Swedish recording of ”Dickie Dick Dickens” which was great I’ve now started on the HPLHS complete Lovecraft audiobook. Mmmm, lovely...

And ”The Navy Lark” is great fun too. I’ll never look at the Third Doctor in the same way again!
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Worldcon 75 [Jan. 3rd, 2018|11:30 am]
zappo
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[Current Location |Helsinki]

In a lull between assignments at the office, I finally get around to posting this con report that has been sitting on my computer desktop since August.

Day One

After 3hr sleep I caught various public transport to the airport, where I ran into Patrik, and Jenny from SF-bok. An hour’s plane ride later we were at Helsinki airport and used more public transport to get to Worldcon 75, held at Messukeskus in Pasila. It was surprisingly hot, phew, and the bag was surprisingly heavy, especially since I sought out as many stairs as possible. I got my registration, ran into friends, and continued the train ride to downtown Helsinki to check into Hotel Torni, very central indeed, on Yrjö street, haha. (I have a co-worker named Yrjö. He is from Karelen.)

Entrance to Messukeskus

Back to the venue! using the ticket card that was part of the registration. What a useful treat! The mess area i semi-big, nowhere near as huge as London, more like Gbg, but still easy to get lost in. I attended the opening ceremony, with dances and singing and Jukka Halme, and a panel on music in SF/Fantasy – at which I kept falling asleep so next I had some food and then went for a walk in the very brutalist neighbourhood. Fascinating. Finally a fantastic choir concert with a huge women’s choir humming theme tunes.

Big women's choir

Day Two

Before going back to the convention centre I took a short foot tour of the immediate tourist district, i.e. the cathedral and the Russian orthodox church and points between. Also a big bookstore – keen on humanities, bland selection of geology and nuclears (none).

Tram to mess hall takes a lot longer than train but is more scenic. I arrived around noon and started with a presentation about NASA behind the scenes followed by guided tour of the art exhibition (but I was distracted by selling my extra membership online). Some really nice things, 85 % Finnish-made. A fun panel where the participants had to answer questions by lying, followed by buying a membership for Dublin 2019 and voting for it. Best in show so far was the next panel about the next 20 years in space, featuring astronaut Kjell Lindgren (American) who has actually been to space and who made a stirring speech about how we have to go to space as a united species not divided nations; and Guy Consolmagno, director of the Vatican Observatory and a planetary geologist. Wow! Just my kind of thing!

Astronaut in NASA jumpsuit, Vatican guy with beard

Last a presentation in Chinese plus translation about the city of Chengdu and how their next project is building a sci-fi city and having Worldcon 2020 in it. Think big! Followed by bid party for said Worldcon, with complimentary finger buffet and wine, plus sales pitches from really loud Chinese people. The Irish party next-next door was so incredibly noisy I took the train back to the hotel instead.

Chinese bid party

Day Three

I was at the ten o’clock programme item involving Consolmagno, about interesting times in science (mostly Newton and bad-boy Galileo) – but then I had to go back to the hotel to change shoes. Too hot and icky!

Worldcon 75 on Finnish morning TV

Back again for the panel about exploring extra-terrestrial oceans or at least celestial bodies containing water in any form. Moral: deliberately seeding Jovian moons with terrestrial microbes is NOT the major problem. Then I got rid of my extra membership and immediately blew some of the money on a pre-support for New Zealand 2020 – after a brief visit to the Tolkien moot where some worthy person was presented with an honorary membership. So noisy environment I couldn’t understand a thing, even when they switched to English!

Fellow Swedish tolkienist at Tolkien moot

After a quick bite of food I listened to a panel on inventions that changed SF (generation ships, ansibles, robots), followed by a fun live performance of an Old Times Radio play, written and performed by Finns in English. Last, a fun lecture from a girl with a PhD in Finnish “Donald Duck”, specifically the fantasy elements of Don Rosa’s production.

Donald Duck PhD

When most people went to the Hugos I got a beer with Henke et al and then tried to find the non-existent NZ party but instead found Louise from Gothenburg trekkers club WCT and we had a nice long talk. I dragged her back to Henke & Bellis et al but she didn’t come along to the Japanese party in the old Pasila railway station, the only wooden house in the otherwise concrete jungle. So many weird and interesting Japanese snacks! I talked to two Germans, one of whom generously gave away shots of Berlin gin.

(All these pictures came out blurred, for some reason...)

Going back to the hotel I “ran into” Charlie Stross and Feorag going out on the town. And going out on the first train journey today, two English crazy cat ladies going to the con sat down next to me. One of them kept showing photo after photo of her cats to the other. These people actually exist for real, it’s so wonderful!

Day Four

Full Stanley Tweedle costume today, including cuddly-LEXX. Quite a few people knew what it was – there was even a couple who sang the Brunnen-G song with me in the evening!

Pretty full day, spent all indoors so I completely missed the apparently spectacular thunder storm in the evening. The day started with a panel on cosmic radiation and how to shield ships (and entire planets!), next the NASA representatives did a well-rehearsed and very good presentation (more stirring speeches on us having to act as one species etc), followed by astrophysicists et al discussing current enigmas (like dark matter/energy – which clearly must be Mantrid drones). A quick lunch, very tasty, after which I listened to Charlie Stross et al talk about how near-future stories have a hard time these day, and then a presentation of “Iron Sky” and its upcoming sequel. Woo! A nice break before the Masquerade which was loooong, with an intermission in the shape of three a capella singers performing Viking songs, gosh. This was when the storm happened.

So many beards!

Instead of chancing unpredictable weather I stayed on a bit at the very noisy bar area, where I met the Lexxians who knew not only the song but K-town and The wheel it makes... But I never found Moshe the dixie cups guy!

Back home by midnight, again warm and dry.

Day Five

And so this Worldcon 75 concludes – apparently the 2nd most populous ever, after Loncon 3. Wow. What a triumph for our excellent Finnish friends!

The weather was back to warm and sunny as I lugged my suitcase to the venue. Could have taken the smaller one since I hardly bought anything. Just two SF classics and a small calendar today.

I started the day with a fun lecture on orbital mechanics by one J L Doty, who later in the day held an even funnier lecture on weapons lasers and why they are dumb. In between I gawked at the tremendous queues for the panels I wanted to attend and instead slipped into a reasonably non-full room which was about space colonies and how they might seek independence (or not). Last, an interesting panel about law enforcement in SF/F and what the panelists think of the writers’ efforts – them being all employed in law enforcement!

Surprise lecture

By the end of that panel it was time to pick up the bag from friend Thomas in the wardrobe (he has been gophering all through the con!), take one of the fewer trains to the airport, have a nice relaxing meal and eventually fly home.

So, concluding impressions from the con! Not as fantastic as the one in London, which would frankly be very, very hard to top. Partly because of inferior venue, less interesting dealers and it not being all-English (duh) – programming was excellent, though – but mostly because I felt guilty about not gophering the whole time (due to migraine), and because there was a train ride between the venue and the hotel. What if I miss the last train etc thoughts.

Now I have Dublin in two years to look forward to!
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(no subject) [Dec. 24th, 2017|11:39 am]
zappo
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Woopsie, it’s already four months since my last post. But I mean to write something every day - and then it’s work work work and I go home to the nice sofa and the brain turns to mush.

Suddenly in late October there was an unforeseen spate of field assignments, followed by hectic report writing. At least the nasty hemmorrhage I was plagued by almost continuously since late May held up for a couple of months so I could actually _do_ field work. For a while there I feared I would have to resign due to not being able to perform required work. But hey, it was just a temporary respite, now it’s back to normal again! So much blood!

Which is pretty much what I would have written every day so just as well I didn’t eh?

Here’s a picture of the 17th century fortress next to my office. I took it at 2am one morning when the alarm went off and the security firm didn’t call back to say all was OK (it was). No one knows what set it off - maybe it was bored or felt unappreciated?

Skansen Lejonet by night
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Beethoven, you say? [Aug. 30th, 2017|08:19 am]
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 From 1983 to circa 2000 I listened daily to the BBC World Service on shortwave, mostly 9410 kHz which had the best signal. The shortwaves always were full of Morse signals, as well as weird voices and languages and just noise. One such Morse source sat right next to 9410 and sent bursts of V:s: ..._ ..._ ..._ - in later years I learnt more about our recent history like for instance that V for Victory was the call sign for the BBC in Europe during the War. So of course that signal should sit right next to the World Service.

But I heard that signal so much it got into my subconscious. Like the Master ten years ago I keep drumming the bu-bu-bu-bom over and over, especially when I'm not really focussed. The Master was crazy; I blame the BBC. Which pretty much comes to the same thing.
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various [Jul. 10th, 2017|08:53 am]
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That's weird, no new "Doctor Who" to download today. I really liked this last Capaldi-season and am sorry to see him go. He's been among my very favourite actors some 35yr now and can always be counted on to deliver. Even better when he has good writing to work with!

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The current tick-score this season is: 3. Two from Nyköping, one from somewhere in west Sweden, where I was driven around all last week to look at railway rock cuttings. Tuesday became a 14hr workday, oy. But we saw much om this part of Sweden, very pretty.

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At the latest big Tolkien do in May I innocently signed up for minor management duty at this summer's Worldcon in Finland. Now I worry it will mean sitting in the same room all five days... That's not what I counted on when I bought the tickets!

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This last week I've developed a sudden obsession, brought on by trying to notice the small things in life our eyes always pass over, like lamp post decorations, grafitti and roof ornaments. And now: manhole covers! Once you start noticing them they are everywhere and in a great number och shapes and sizes. But it's a bit embarrassing standing in the middle of the road and pointing the phone at them. I try to look like I'm perusing a map, or maybe doing that poke-thing that was all the rage last year.
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ick [Feb. 7th, 2017|05:47 pm]
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My mother came down with a stomach bug on Saturday. I got it on Sunday and my father yesterday. Ugh. Thankfully the symptoms were of short duration but I still have to endure an extra day of quarantine. So dull!

I've been listening to Spike Milligan reading his war memoirs these couple of days (and sleep-deprived nights) - funny, poignant and personal. Songs and voices and noises galore.

But food? No, urgh, I tried some ramen but no more. I'll stick to water. Plain water, mind, not the sweetened tea with salt that my mother made me drink when I got a really bad case of the bugs in 1983. Guaranteed to make you puke even whem you're healthy!
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books come and go [Jan. 27th, 2017|08:47 am]
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Saturday night an era came to an end.

In 1978 my Grandmother gave me a small ledger and told me to keep a record of all the books I read. I would appreciate it later in life, she said. As with so many things both my Grandmothers said, I've faithfully kept to it ever since. And now I have filled the ledger.

The first entry was "Trälarna" by Sven Wernström, a very contemporary YA story from the 1970s. It told about the proletariat around Norrköping, through the ages, starting with the Vikings and how Christianity destroyed the paradisicial workers' commune-type living enjoyed by the pagans. Needless to say, that was my favourite bit because it was kind of like the American Indian stories and anthropology I was totally immersed in at the time. There were other books in the series too, pretty OK if I remember correctly, and they even made a sort of animated radio theatre version for Swedish television not long after I put this book in my ledger. That one was not very OK.

The last entry in the ledger was Spike Milligan's "Goon Show Scripts". Seeing the craziness on paper makes it even more wonderful. What an amazing mind to come up with all that! Wow.

So now I've gone out and bought a new ledger. They no longer sell the kind of format the old one has so maybe I'll fill this new one in less than 40 years. I doubt it though, since I don't read nearly as much as I used to. Computers take up too much time, either at work where I stay too long and go gooey in the brain, or in the form of my iPad on which I endlessly play solitaire (so relaxing for gooey brains).

But what shall be my first entry in the new ledger? There are three contenders: Paul Cornell, Lars Lerin or Spike Milligan. Who will win? Bets are open!
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(no subject) [Jan. 5th, 2017|07:37 pm]
zappo
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Brrr it's cold! How cold is it? Well, this morning I took the tram to avoid sliding on the icy sidewalks - and it was painfully slow because the tram wheels kept losing traction against the tracks! Whine whine whine goes the engine, slip slip slip go the wheels. Now I'm sipping a delicious Talisker to get warm.

***

The latest Amazon package contains Kenneth Williams books, a Goon record and two boxes of old Sherlock Holmes movies. The other day I tried to be amusing at work but the joke fell completely flat: "What is sherlock holmes?" Oy! I have so very little in common with non-geeks.
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Linda & Valentin [Jan. 3rd, 2017|02:40 pm]
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Yesterday I took a whole day off work, omg! And I spent it catching up on the latest collection volumes of "Linda & Valentin", in every other language "Valerian". Beautiful French comics, very influential, not just on "The Fifth Element", but no one wants to admit it. And for once a female protagonist who in many ways is superior to her male companion, at least after the early 1960s and 1970s albums. Soon there's a movie coming out too, really looking forward to it. It looks, to coin a phrase, fine fine fine.
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Tis the season to send greetings [Dec. 25th, 2016|09:57 am]
zappo
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Thus: happy holidays!

Party Dalek
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