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palaste
Full of hope and courage, we set forth one misty morning and...

No, wait.

The Arlöv Mini-Con was definitely a great experience for me. For one thing, because I finally got to meet around 10 to 15 NTFA members who I have known over the Internet for years. For another, for the great time I had with my old friends Inkku, Psychotron and Blackarachnia, and with a new friend Satusein.
Because of the great hospitality I had received from Heidi, Turo and Sonja, I decided to take some responsibility myself. So I took it upon myself to book both the boat trips and the hotel for all of us Finns. In the end, we were five Finns, me the nerd, Turo, Sonja and Satu the metalheads and Heidi the erm... biggrin.gif Osku wanted to come too, but he fell ill and decided to stay home instead.
On Friday, I left work early to pick up Gravebot's Stunticon repaint project from the post office and went straight to Helsinki centre to meet Heidi. Here I have to tell you how I found the meeting place: I phoned her and asked where she was. She said: "There's this big white building... with the domed roof... and the stairs." It took me about five seconds to reply: "Oh, that's the Helsinki Cathedral, it's pretty much in the centre." Now Heidi knows where Helsinki's most famous building is. biggrin.gif
Then we faced another problem. Neither of us had any idea how to get out of Helsinki: Heidi doesn't know the city and I don't know how driving a car works. So I had to phone my father and ask him: "Hello, we're at the Helsinki market square. How the heck do we get to national road 1?" He gave me the instructions on how to get to Länsiväylä, and from there, Heidi picked it up by following the signs to national road 1.
It took us a bit over two hours to reach Turku. Turo phoned me and asked where we were. When I told him we were 15 km away from Turku he asked what was taking us so long. I told him that it took us a while to get out of Helsinki. At Turo's and Sonja's apartment, I met Satusein and their petsitter Sari. I have to say I was surprised. I had kind of imagined that Satu was a thin young girl but I had no idea she was into heavy metal just like Turo and Sonja. Oh well, that much the better. I'm not a metalhead myself but I like listening to heavy metal. And I like people with an attitude.

I'll have to save this report now and write more later.
palaste
Heidi drove us to the ship terminal and we left her car there in the parking lot. On the ship I checked in my registration and we got two cabins. Turo and Sonja got one cabin, and I, Heidi and Satu got the other. During the ship trip, we ate a lunch in the ship café and went to our cabin to talk with each other. At night, Sonja and Satu went straight to sleep, but I, Turo and Heidi still went to the ship's bar for a drink. I and Heidi came back to our cabin at about 2 o'clock in the night and went straight to sleep. Heidi must have got to sleep straight away but I had more trouble sleeping.
In the morning we went to the Stockholm terminal where Path met us. He had brought his mother's car, and we all got into it with Path driving, Turo in the front, Heidi, Satu and me in the back, and Sonja all the way back (the car had two rows of back seats). Getting out of Stockholm wasn't a big problem. As the drive was going to take about seven hours, we stopped every now and then to stretch our legs. Of course, being in a car with four metalheads (Patrik, Turo, Sonja and Satu) we played heavy metal music all the way. Patrik had like 10 metal CDs already in the car, Turo and Sonja had brought a few with them, and Satu had also brought one. I and Heidi didn't bring any music, as we wouldn't have gotten to play it anyway.
We were starting to become hungry near the end of the drive, so in Ljungby, we went to a pizza/kebab restaurant and ordered food. Everyone except Satu and Patrik had kebab, Satu had a pizza and Patrik had a hamburger. Then we switched drivers, because Patrik had only had a bit over a hour of sleep and was starting to feel tired. Of course, Turo was shocked when he sat in the front and found out he was looking at Heidi instead of Patrik. biggrin.gif
In Arlöv, it was a bit of a problem to find the windmill where the convention was held, because none of us were familiar with the city, and the only maps we had were Google maps printouts of Arlöv that Sonja had had the foresight to print out. If she hadn't done that we would have had to call BigPete and ask him where the heck we were and where we were supposed to be going. Luckily we didn't have to wander much around Arlöv before we found the windmill.
palaste
The first people I met at the Mini-Con were the staff: BigPete, his fiancée Maria, Martin, his girlfriend Marie, and Lars. Lars is my old dear friend (we first met before there even was an NTFA) but all the others were new acquitances for me. Soon the place started filling up with other guests too. Of these, the only one I had met before was Tformer, all the others were new acquitances. (Well, not exactly. I and Lars had met Ultra Marcus in BotCon Europe 2002 but failed to realise we'd met him until afterwards. This time we really met him.)
I looked at Martin's Crap-o-Plenty store and found much interesting stuff, but nothing worth buying, except old G1 comics. I browsed through every single comic available and bought every G1 comic I could find, which was 4 comics. My standards for toys are simply too high. G1 only, American/European only, must be boxed and complete. There was some much more rare stuff but I was not interested in them.
Pretty soon the first organised event started: Cyber-Slammer drag racing. Martin and BigPete were simply begging people to join, so I decided to be nice and signed up as third or fourth to the first heat. I failed miserably, my Cyber-Slammer didn't even get past the starting line. So sue me, it was the first time I've actually tried to use a Cyber-Slammer.
Next, people were putting their art projects on display. I decided it was time to also put Gravebot's Stunticon project on display. I ran to Patrik's car, got the package out of my bag, and ran back. I asked Martin for scissors and cut the package open. It was the first time anyone except Gravebot had seen the project - even I hadn't seen it before. And I must say, the Stunticons are really well done, even though I only recognised three: Optimus Prime, Sideswipe, and Mirage. My interest in G1 is focused mainly on the 1986-1988 era, not so much on the classics. When the presentations came, I stepped up and said that I had come to present the Stunticon project on behalf of Gravebot, who couldn't be there. He really much wanted to come, but some other event (a family party or something?) had come up at the same time so he had to stay in Finland.
Next we got to see Transformers: Animated. It's been said before, but I'll say it again, because it's really cool. We are the first normal consumers anywhere in the world to have seen even half of a Transformers: Animated episode. And my opinion of the show stands firm: Great scriptwriting. Great acting. Utterly lousy art style. If this was done realistically instead of a funny "Teen Titans" cartoon style I'd be eagerly awaiting when it's really published. The Autobot characters were well personified and funny, but the Decepticon characters were much cooler, even though we only saw them as black shadows. What I really like is that this series, like G1 and BW, has real scripts which make each episode a story on its own worth following. Not like your Armada/Energon stuff where the episodes simply consists of Autobots and Decepticons fighting as an excuse to show off their Pokémon attacks. Like I said to Turo on the ship, if it comes to the point where you can't tell episodes apart from each other, the scriptwriting is really bad.
palaste
After the Mini-Con program had ended on Saturday, we went to the hotel to check in. Lars had to come with us, because he had booked a room for himself and Patrik. The problem, of course, was once again that none of us was familiar with Malmö. In the end, thanks to the help of Sonja's maps, we managed to find the hotel. Lars and Patrik checked in first, having one room to share between them. I checked in next, saying that I had a reservation for five people. To my surprise, the check-in employee said that meant three rooms. According to my calculations, five people in three-person rooms meant two rooms. But I was in no mood to argue, so we settled for three rooms. Turo quickly figured out how to deal them: he and Sonja got one room, Heidi and Satu got another, and I got the third one all for myself. Patrik told us he was bursting to go out to Malmö centre to get himself drunk, so I asked whether anyone else wanted to join in. Lars, Sonja, Heidi and Satu declined straight away. Turo was a bit iffy. Part of him wanted to go out to explore Malmö and have a drink with friends, part of him wanted to go back to the hotel room with Sonja. In the end, he decided to join us.
What surprised all of us was how few bars there are in Malmö. We must have walked three kilometres and only saw three bars. The first one we tried was playing YMCA by Village People. It took one second for Turo to turn back, and Patrik and I followed him. The next one was filled by an Iranian family party. Finally we managed to find an Italian restaurant/pub, which turned out to be playing heavy metal only. Turo and Patrik agreed that this was their kind of place, so I joined them. We had a beer each, and Turo had a whisky and Patrik had some kind of vodka breezer, but I was feeling very drunk, so I switched to water, and took the first chance to propose to leave and go back to the hotel.
Groundsplitter
QUOTE(palaste @ 6 November 2007, 21:03) *
After the Mini-Con program had ended on Saturday, we went to the hotel to check in. Lars had to come with us, because he had booked a room for himself and Patrik. The problem, of course, was once again that none of us was familiar with Malmö. In the end, thanks to the help of Sonja's maps, we managed to find the hotel. Lars and Patrik checked in first, having one room to share between them. I checked in next, saying that I had a reservation for five people. To my surprise, the check-in employee said that meant three rooms. According to my calculations, five people in three-person rooms meant two rooms. But I was in no mood to argue, so we settled for three rooms.
Actually, I found a possible explanation for that when I read a sign at the hotel. Their rooms can take up to three people, but regulations (fire safety?) prevent them from allowing three people in too many rooms - there is an upper limit to how many people they can allow in total, which is lower than the number of rooms times three. Of course, it's quite possible that the check-in employee just wanted to get the hotel some extra income, but it's difficult to prove without knowing how many occupants they already had, and how many they are allowed to accomodate.
QUOTE
Turo quickly figured out how to deal them: he and Sonja got one room, Heidi and Satu got another, and I got the third one all for myself. Patrik told us he was bursting to go out to Malmö centre to get himself drunk, so I asked whether anyone else wanted to join in. Lars, Sonja, Heidi and Satu declined straight away. Turo was a bit iffy. Part of him wanted to go out to explore Malmö and have a drink with friends, part of him wanted to go back to the hotel room with Sonja. In the end, he decided to join us.
<snip>
We had two beers each, and Turo and Patrik drank a little more, but I was feeling very drunk,
You must have been very drunk. You just forgot about a whole three hours! The restaurant, as you may remember. wink2.gif
palaste
QUOTE(Groundsplitter @ 6 November 2007, 22:17) *
QUOTE(palaste @ 6 November 2007, 21:03) *
After the Mini-Con program had ended on Saturday, we went to the hotel to check in. Lars had to come with us, because he had booked a room for himself and Patrik. The problem, of course, was once again that none of us was familiar with Malmö. In the end, thanks to the help of Sonja's maps, we managed to find the hotel. Lars and Patrik checked in first, having one room to share between them. I checked in next, saying that I had a reservation for five people. To my surprise, the check-in employee said that meant three rooms. According to my calculations, five people in three-person rooms meant two rooms. But I was in no mood to argue, so we settled for three rooms.
Actually, I found a possible explanation for that when I read a sign at the hotel. Their rooms can take up to three people, but regulations (fire safety?) prevent them from allowing three people in too many rooms - there is an upper limit to how many people they can allow in total, which is lower than the number of rooms times three. Of course, it's quite possible that the check-in employee just wanted to get the hotel some extra income, but it's difficult to prove without knowing how many occupants they already had, and how many they are allowed to accomodate.
QUOTE
Turo quickly figured out how to deal them: he and Sonja got one room, Heidi and Satu got another, and I got the third one all for myself. Patrik told us he was bursting to go out to Malmö centre to get himself drunk, so I asked whether anyone else wanted to join in. Lars, Sonja, Heidi and Satu declined straight away. Turo was a bit iffy. Part of him wanted to go out to explore Malmö and have a drink with friends, part of him wanted to go back to the hotel room with Sonja. In the end, he decided to join us.
<snip>
We had two beers each, and Turo and Patrik drank a little more, but I was feeling very drunk,
You must have been very drunk. You just forgot about a whole three hours! The restaurant, as you may remember. wink2.gif

Of course I remember it. I just forgot to mention it here, I was too tired. This actually is part of why I was so drunk, because I drank one beer already at the restaurant.
palaste
As Lars mentioned, I forgot entirely about the restaurant.
When we had checked into the hotel rooms, we went straight away outside to visit Malmö centre. We walked for a little less than an hour, and I saw the Malmö Laserdome hall, but I was too tired to go in there, and no one else expressed any interest, so I decided to forget about the Laserdome. We walked further away, and came back the same way. I think the only one who had any idea where we were going was Patrik, who seemed to have memorised the city map even though he is not familiar with the city.
Later, Patrik phoned Pete to ask where the restaurant Indian Haweli Or Something was. It turned out to be too far away to walk, so we got in Patrik's mother's car, and Patrik drove us there. Everyone else was there already, so we settled at the tables. I sat in the extreme right corner, in a cluster of Finnish people. I had to translate the menus to Heidi (opposite me) and Satu (next to me) but everyone else managed on their own. The food must have taken over half an hour to arrive. In the end, it was good, but not especially great or anything. The same that I'm used to eating at Indian restaurants in Finland.
Psychotron
What GREAT time we had!! bounce1.gif

I apologize for being "silent", and still am, but it's simply because I have to work big time right now. But I must thank everybody I/we met, and tell that we enjoyed every moment (ok, not "sleeping" nights at Viking Line... thumbdown.gif ) of it! Huge thanks to Peter and Martin for making this all happen, and to Patrik for giving us the ride (of our lives! tongue.gif), you dudes rock! smile.gif

I'll be writing some thoughts, and posting some pictures yet, especially the actual group shot, as soon as I can. smile.gif
palaste
I, Turo and Patrik came back to the hotel at around midnight, or a little later. Everyone went straight to their own rooms to sleep. I was the only one who did not have to share a bed, so for once I had a spacious place to sleep in.
The next morning I woke up and got out of bed very lazily, as I was in no hurry that early. I went outside to the first floor, where I found out that all the other Finns had already woken up and Heidi and Satu had gone and eaten breakfast at a nearby Statoil gas station. We gathered at Heidi's and Satu's room and waited for Lars and Patrik to finally wake up and join us. Then we ate a little breakfast at the Statoil gas station and went back to the Mini-Con. It was just starting for the second day and lunch was being served. As we ate lunch we also met some of the people who were only coming for Sunday, such as Ketchuprider. After lunch, it was already nearing 11:30, so all we had time for was voting in the artwork contest, and then we had to leave. We were now seven instead of six, as Lars was coming back to Stockholm with us, and then to Knivsta. And we had lots more stuff. Satu had bought an Optimus Prime toy, Turo had bought a movie Bumblebee statue, and Heidi had bought all (yes, all) of Martin's Micromasters & spare parts bags. And then of course each of us had a Mini-Con free promotional movie toy. We had to take Patrik's mother's car's second back back row seat into use, which meant squeezing the bags more tightly. We had to take some of our stuff on our laps. Patrik was the driver, Lars sat in front, Turo, I and Heidi sat in the back, and Sonja and Satu sat all the way back. Then we started our trip back to Stockholm at a bit before noon.
This time we did not stop to eat food at any place. We only made one stop at a gas station to pick up some snacks and drinks and candy. The lunch and the sugar in the candy gave us energy enough to sustain us all the way to Stockholm. At about one quarter of the trip, we switched drivers, so that Heidi would drive the rest of the way. Lars and Patrik also switched places, so that Patrik was now in the front and Lars at the back with Turo and me. Right at the start, Heidi started driving like there was no tomorrow. The speed rarely dropped below 120 km/h, and it must have gone past 160 km/h at some times. And this was Heidi's first time driving in Sweden!
At Södertälje, things changed entirely. We dropped straight into an amazingly huge traffic jam. The queue to Stockholm must have been over ten kilometres long, with only a few metres between each car. While only seconds ago Heidi was driving 120 km/h, now she was lucky to get to drive at 10 km/h for a few seconds at a time. Near Stockholm city border, the traffic jam cleared up, and Heidi drove us to the harbour. We were at the terminal with only half an hour to spare. Considering this, it was lucky that we decided to leave the Mini-Con so early, and Heidi decided to drive so fast.
Unlike the terminals in Helsinki and Turku, in the terminal in Stockholm, there is no publically accessible café. Also, the Stockholm terminal is located far away from the city centre, so we couldn't go there either. We had to sit in the terminal hall and buy drinks from vending machines, until it was time to check in. We said goodbye to Lars and Patrik and went aboard the ship.
gravebot
I hoped that you all would have great time at the Mini-con and now I'm happy to see that you had. laugh.gif I would have loved to come there but family things and money were on my way. Good thing that you managed to but my Stunticons on display for me. I hope that I would be able to come to the next big Mini-con where ever it would be.
palaste
The ship trip back to Turku was nice and relaxed. We first went to eat at the café and then we went tax free shopping. All but Satu had a primary goal in mind, and being Finns, you can guess what it was. biggrin.gif So I bought beer, Heidi bought cider, and Turo and Sonja bought classy expensive drinks. All of us also bought some candy, some a little, others more.
After shopping, we went to our (mine, Heidi's and Satu's cabin) to talk about the Mini-Con. We stayed there for the rest of the evening, and about midnight, Turo and Sonja went to their own cabin and we went to sleep.
The next morning we had to wake up at an ungodly hour to get off the ship in time. I had set the alarm clock to ring at half an hour before landfall. It took me about one second to turn it off, and when I looked at Heidi, I felt like she would have chopped my head off if I hadn't done so. In the end, we managed to get out of bed, and went to meet Turo and Sonja, who had already got out of bed and were as cheerful as ever. We went immediately to reserve a waiting place right next to the ship's doors, so we would be the first to disembark and not have to wait for anyone else.
In Turku, we went back to Heidi's car and she drove us to Turo's and Sonja's apartment. We stayed there for about half an hour, while Heidi got her stuff that she'd been storing there, we drank a cup of coffee, and Turo showed us the pictures he and Sonja had taken. Then Heidi, Satu and I went back to Heidi's car and she first drove to Raisio to drop Satu off, then back to Turku and towards Helsinki via Perniö or something. In Perniö or something, we had to stop at some family's home (Heidi knows them, I don't) to pick up a shelf they'd given her and walk their dog. Now I am proud to say I have walked a dog whose owners I have never seen. Then we started driving to Helsinki.
When we got to Espoo, the intra-metropolitan roads got so confusing that Heidi had to ask me for help. I hastily recollected what I knew of Kehä I and Länsiväylä and managed to instruct Heidi to Ruoholahti, but then she took a wrong turn and had to take a detour to my apartment.
Then I said goodbye to Heidi, visited my apartment just enough to put my stuff in there, and went straight to work. I was at work at about 13:00.

In fact, the weekend was so intensive, that when I got to work after Heidi had given me a ride home, and my old workmate Kristian (whom I have known since autumn 1999) said hello to me, it took me a bit to remind myself he does not know Turo, Sonja and Heidi.
Inkku
i have to say, at that was a really amusing trip.. biggrin.gif in first time in my life, i'm driving in sweden and a traffic jam.. that was also boring and interesting.. specially then, when there was some lunatic *not me* creating havoc next to me:angry: Turo knows more about this idiot driver..

and yes.. i did drive slightly faster then others.. innocent.gif but heck yeah, the car was so awsome to drive evillaugh.gif

i'm still slightly tired, because i have not get any good sleep lately.. on the ship, i did take some cider and i went to sleep late.. the last night on the ship was too short for me, and after i did drive Palaste to Helsinki, i did drive something like 300km and then i have to make short stop and sleep a bit.. then i did realice, at my jacket was still in Turo's and Sonja's place.. pinch.gif it was a very cold 20 minutes, what i did doze off yawn.gif

maybe next time, the meeting could be in summer time biggrin.gif
palaste
QUOTE(Psychotron @ 6 November 2007, 22:45) *
What GREAT time we had!! bounce1.gif

I apologize for being "silent", and still am, but it's simply because I have to work big time right now. But I must thank everybody I/we met, and tell that we enjoyed every moment (ok, not "sleeping" nights at Viking Line... thumbdown.gif ) of it! Huge thanks to Peter and Martin for making this all happen, and to Patrik for giving us the ride (of our lives! tongue.gif), you dudes rock! smile.gif

I'll be writing some thoughts, and posting some pictures yet, especially the actual group shot, as soon as I can. smile.gif

I am eagerly waiting for your report and your pictures, especially the groupshot. You are the only one who took a picture of every attendee at once.
Inkku
did anyone see, or hear when i did burn up one of my right hand fingers.. cc_confused.gif i don't have any idea when and how it has happened.. unsure.gif blush2.gif

hehe.. it looks so weird.. there is open wound what should hurt like hell, but i can not feel it at all.. tongue.gif and still, i can use that finger like there is nothing wrong in it.. biggrin.gif
palaste
QUOTE(Inkku @ 9 November 2007, 22:18) *
did anyone see, or hear when i did burn up one of my right hand fingers.. cc_confused.gif i don't have any idea when and how it has happened.. unsure.gif blush2.gif

hehe.. it looks so weird.. there is open wound what should hurt like hell, but i can not feel it at all.. tongue.gif and still, i can use that finger like there is nothing wrong in it.. biggrin.gif

Is it me, or does that sound just like something Heidi would say? biggrin.gif Sorry, no idea. I was with you the longest time, but I cannot remember any place where you'd have been near an open flame. Maybe it happened on your way back to Kiuruvesi?
Inkku
QUOTE(palaste @ 9 November 2007, 22:23) *
QUOTE(Inkku @ 9 November 2007, 22:18) *
did anyone see, or hear when i did burn up one of my right hand fingers.. cc_confused.gif i don't have any idea when and how it has happened.. unsure.gif blush2.gif

hehe.. it looks so weird.. there is open wound what should hurt like hell, but i can not feel it at all.. tongue.gif and still, i can use that finger like there is nothing wrong in it.. biggrin.gif

Is it me, or does that sound just like something Heidi would say? biggrin.gif Sorry, no idea. I was with you the longest time, but I cannot remember any place where you'd have been near an open flame. Maybe it happened on your way back to Kiuruvesi?

hmm.. i think that finger did look a bit funny already back then.. when i was napping side of the road, the car was pretty cold and my fingers also.. when i did get my finger in working order again, this one finger did not feel so good.. but hey.. i was tired wink2.gif and mind makes tircks when you are tired enough.. crazy2.gif
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