New Year’s Resolutions: Promises, Betrayals, Tales of Lust and Daggers in The Dark

OK, so I made the stupid, stupid mistake for the first time in years and made a (semi)public new year’s resolution…

And of course I’m already behind schedule concerning some of the promises.

Luckily, no-one frankly gives a damn, my dear, so I’m the only one feeling remorseful. Still, I personally thought it would be nice to try something new so even if everything is not going 100% according to plan, there might yet be hope. Here’s a quick breakdown of what promises I have broken so far and how to get back on track…

The Fiatness Diaries #1.

I solemnly hate exercising by myself and I’m really good at giving up and choosing something else instead of grabbing the weights or the running shoes. I probably have the word “Mañana” tattooed on my lazy butt (can’t remember, I hope it was that and not “Banana”). But, this is a thing that requires attention, so I’m approaching “the fat fucking fitness problem” from all available angles.

Some progress has been made: at work the weekly floorball game has been my lifeline – incredibly fun and effective. And former studymate/current workmate/always Playmate™ of the year Tiina has been instrumental in getting the running shoes back on go out for a jog every week. She is really the best. That’s  two times a week, which is, alas, not enough so the plan is to gradually start running more and lifting weights & kettlebells at home.  Also: walking to work from home, or taking the skateboard. There are many good options, and as the weather gets better it gets easier.

But there have also been complications; a month ago when I tried in earnest to begin lifting my body pump weights at home carelessly in the mornings (“15 min. daily quick exercise”) this experiment resulted in some incredible lower back pain due to (probably) strained muscles. Like daggers stabbing at my back when trying to move between full horizontal and full vertical positions.

Yeah, so not the update I was hoping for – at this point I should’ve lost maybe 5 kilos of weight since New Year’s Day but instead I think I have gained one or two… fuuuuck.

The Short Story Project

Long story short – a bit of a dry writing period here, but I’m going to force myself to publish some results here in May so things are not hopeless.

The plan involves making some *very* short, weird and creative stories that could potentially become even a Twilight Zone -type TV-series, after I’ve sold the rights to Netflix for a couple of millions.

Musical Projects

Well, I’ve been saving this for summer anyway, so things should start happening esp. if I get my singing mate Johan onboard, then there will be some results since music is in some ways akin to exercise for me – I need someone to do it with or nothing happens. And vocals are one part I really need to make it more interesting but I can’t provide myself (or I can, but the results are not good enough to take the music to the next level). Hmm, maybe I’m social after all? I never would have thought that…

But hey, what can you expect from this project? I’ll post a sample in June. It’s going to be electronic, poppy, vocals, catchy hooks and melodies, 8-bit sounds etc. for sure, or in other words: complete garbage. But that’s the way I like it – ah-ha, ah-ha

Play more computer games

Well, this is actually one promise I have kept. “Surprise, surprise…” I hear you say but for the last 10 years or so I haven’t really played a lot of games even if I’ve amassed quite a catalogue on my Steam account and PS3 that I would actually want to play! I’m mostly fond of story driven adventure games and not so much of shooters and games requiring fast reflexes, so it’s also a semi-professional curiosity of games as a storytelling medium I have since games enable a more immersive experience than movies yet the storytelling elements in games are still often a bit simple and naive. Yet, change has happened here as well.

Well, now I’ve started forcing (!) myself to play some games again, beginning with the (2016) space simulator No Man’s Sky and continuing with the (2015) role-playing game Fallout 4, both of which are pretty excellent and I might even write up some thoughts on No Man’s Sky in particular, since the game has been a bit controversial for some.

…and the rest.

What more… hmmm, I seem to have promised to visit a family living abroad. Well, I’ve already booked flight tickets for this autumn so this is going according to plan! I don’t particularly like flying, but sometimes it is the only choice – or not going.

Also, joining Instagram – how hard can that be? Well, I need an idea first, since I mostly use my Flickr-account for photos, so not quite ready yet.

Lastly – tales of lust, well, that just sounded cool so I wrote it down… nothing to tell about that stuff, sorry!

Until next time…

Being alone: some thoughts

OK, so this post is a bit more personal yet not containing too much navel-gazing I hope (hmm… navel-gazing sounds like a great companion genre to shoegazing music).  It’s more like a snapshot of how things are currently and what I’m thinking when I’m alone and have lots and lots of time to think about why things are that way… and yes, as you can see from the screen capture of a video I made below that it isn’t hard to picture me as the kind of guy who has a hard time finding women with the compatible mindset and extravagant looks to fit my style of life.

Kriko on a sofa drinking with ET.

So, basically we’re all alone in this world – you and me both. Let me elaborate:  every individual experiences the world with their own senses, sieved through their constantly accumulating history of emotions cultivated from personal memories. We cannot simply connect with the exact memories and feelings of another human being even if we sometimes feel like we have deep connections with other people.

Consequently it is really quite impossible to know what someone else is thinking or feeling, basically, when you get down to it (one problem when you’re interested in someone, for example, and would like to know how that person feels – it’s not easy as you probably know!).  Every one of us at some point in their lives therefore feel something akin to being the only ones really existing in this whole universe and that everyone else is just a supporting role or statist in this Hollywood epic called “My Glorious Life”. (goths may opt for “My Bleak and Boring Life in Eternal Darkness” here if they want to)

Romance or a lack thereof – or, “For fuck’s sake get to the point!”

Yes, yes, what I really am getting at is this: the thing is, being alone means you have a lot more time to think about shit. How things are, why they are the way they are. Many lonely weekends, evenings and nights that people in relationships don’t experience to the same extent as they are too busy arguing or making love or cleaning up the vomit of their kids to have the time to think as much as I do. I know, because I’ve been there – It was joyful being in a relationship, not having to be alone and worry about things because there was always someone else to riff on your thoughts with and whose life you could participate in when your own was getting uneventful.

Or simply put, there wasn’t time to think because there was always stuff to do, new things to experience with someone else.

Yes, there are always friends, but they have their own lives (esp. when they start families of their own) and the point of friendship is anyway that you cannot expect anything out of it – it’s just a silent agreement with no real obligations, and that’s the beauty of it. Some people are great at cultivating new friendships wherever they go, yes, but I’m not really that kind of person – I like having a few good friends and that’s it; I’m out of energy if I try to be friends with everyone.

Being in love is usually more, and demands more energy.  It’s having a physically intimate friend who’s always there for you every second of your life (in theory if not in practice).

Not having love in your life brings about a certain problem – the lure of love at some point creeps into thoughts and ruins an otherwise nice contemplative mood when you have all the time in the world and want to think about something nice. You always end up thinking about love at some point, which is frustrating. Of course, when you find it, new problems arise but that’s like moving through the levels in a video game – not having love in the first place is like playing the first level of Super Mario Bros. ad infinitum – it’s a great level alright but it would be great to reach those caverns and castles for a change, dammit!

Be brave, make the first move – yeah right…

Why complain about being alone then, get out there and make contact? Some people have it easy finding love (or make it seem disappointingly easy) and some have it hard. Me, I count myself in the “hard”-group firmly.

On paper, I should be quite an OK catch I think (or so people say, but maybe that’s just friendly pep talk) but IRL and on the web where photos are a primary way of judging you, well, my vast life-experience tells me a wholly different story. So based on decades of that experience (for example, no random woman has ever hit on me or even initiated a conversation with me in a bar or nightclub which I find pretty alarming actually) I’ve reached the conclusion that I might not be nearly as attractive as I am funny and smart and perfect in all other ways. Let’s not forget I’m modest, too.

But unfortunately, for me at least,  it seems that your perfect personality doesn’t matter unless you first meet the looks-requirement, as a recent study has suggested [Live Science]. The same study tells us that women also historically have downplayed how much looks really matter to them, as it used to be said that it was the privilege of shallow men to just choose females based on looks  whereas females wanted a great personality even more than a thick wallet or pretty face. Apparently, men and women are quite alike in the end – looks first, personality second is the way things are and unless you pass a certain “minimum looks requirement” it doesn’t matter how good your personality is, and that’s what I think I have been experiencing in my life. But I also think that it’s just natural as well that we are focused on looks, as my background in evolutionary biology whispers in my ear it sounds quite normal and smart that we actually want to reproduce with decently good looking people because our kids will inherit those traits and become (hopefully, but not always) good looking kids. I *know* that in my case, my kids would be super-intelligent and stunning lookers always of course, but that’s quite hard to prove…

“Ah, you should just make the first move and not be bothered if you get no response – that’s what I had to do also, and countless of women turned me down,” I hear one particular friend of mine telling me loudly. “It’s all about rinsing and repeating until you succeed, forget the women who reject you.”

But the thing is, in his case the probabilities of success were always higher than mine, so he didn’t have  to take as much a beating than I might have to. Especially during the times he already had a girlfriend but hunted for others, it was kind of less pressure then of course for him as he always had a secure relationship to return to – the bastard. Maybe that’s just another thing that kids should be taught more at school or something, accepting rejection. Because I suck at it. I usually blame a vivid imagination and sticky memory for that, because I can’t seem to forget rejections and other negative stuff as easily as people would have you believe is possible – mistakes I made as a kid (stole something, lied to someone, failed some school assignment) still haunt me randomly to this day cropping up as lifelike memories now and then.

So it could be that some of us are just bad at taking risks for those kinds of reasons. Or I might just be making up an excuse here, maybe everyone must train oneself to accept repeated rejections and I do recall that my married friends did so in their youths, although they also had their share of women who made advances towards them as compensation.

So, what the fuck are you gonna do – call the Ghostbusters?

Being alone is OK, because I don’t feel lonely. But yeah, it would be great to get to the next level as I stated previously, because I’d like to see the whole game before it’s GAME OVER and time is ticking away. Yet when it comes to romance I don’t want to face rejection and am going to keep on waiting for the woman to give some signal of acceptance before making any advances – the problem here being that a clear “green light”-signal usually only happens to guys who are interesting enough, us other plebs just need to take big risks and chase women until one of them tires and succumbs to our charms. I hate that kind of chase. So, what to do then. Blame the young, handsome immigrant men for taking all the Finnish girls and feminists for having made it easy and accepted for women to work and live as they please?

Nah, blaming others has always been for losers (except blaming people who start wars, because that really makes life more difficult – I hate warmongers and dictators, only people I hate really), the only one to blame is always yourself for not trying to become better.

Jolla and MeeRunSo I’ve figured it out, basically – I’m going to become the totally better superstar-version of myself, and there are only two ways to accomplish that: 1) make the most out of my limited body, i.e. train hard and 2) use my talents to make the world a better place and myself famous and rich in the process!

With those simple two steps, I bet there will be more green lights turning on and even if not, I’ll feel better. So it’s a win-win basically, why the f-u-c-k did I not figure out this previously? Because, as much of a cliché as it is, you gotta be happy about yourself first in order to make others happy.

Just watch this space, is what I’m telling you… yo.

On the difference of feeling cool or like a fool

There are some things I saw as a kid that I thought were cool but never really got involved with myself. One of those things was skateboarding; my cousin in Sweden had this plastic board with red wheels that I liked aesthetically really much, and it was the first board I ever tried, even learning how to move forwards with it. Later on I got my own heavy, very old school & cheap wooden board, or plank more like, that all the kids had back then. But it wasn’t quite as fun or good-looking as the plastic board I so fondly remembered so I moved on to RC cars or yo-yo’s and whatever…

Now, graduated from university and having a full-time job I sometimes get these “wait a minute… “-ideas, that I can now finally do some of the things I didn’t do as a kid. Like get one of those blue plastic cruisers with red wheels.

So I got a 27” Penny cruiser, and thought it would be cool to skate to work with it. Guess what: it didn’t feel like that.



Report: Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Part 1

…in which I tell you almost nothing about Worldcon itself, skip to part 2 for that.

Worldcon 75 at Messukeskus in Helsinki

Introduction (with boring details of my non-existent fan credibility – why make it this long? Yaaaaawn…)

My first exposure to a science-fiction and fantasy convention was way way back in my high school years in 1993, when I accidentally read somewhere that Terry Pratchett  was visiting Helsinki. He was my #1 favourite author then so that piqued my interest and even two friends from school tagged along as well. The event took place in Vanha ylioppilastalo (“Ye Olde Student House”) in the city centre, and immediately as we walked into the crowded building a couple of guys dressed as Star Trek officers pushed ahead of us shouting “Make way, make way, Starfleet coming through!” Me and my friends looked at each other and were like “whaaaaat the fuck is this…”.

It was a brief but fun visit as we listened to Pratchett’s Guest of Honour -speech in which he, IIRC, was talking about fandom and made one particular comment that went something like “Star Trek fans are the lowest form of life on earth”, drawing laughter from the crowd as my friends and I exchanged cunning nods, thinking of those Starfleet guys. Fun fact: without attending that event, you’ll have a hard time fully appreciating one of the small footnote-jokes in Pratchett’s novel Soul Music.

The first real con I properly attended was Finncon in 2009, Helsinki yet again. Not that many Star Trek uniforms anymore, cosplay was now a thing and this was an anime event as well so cue all kinds of Japanese comic-/game character outfits. The scene had really changed since 1993 and it was now cooler to be a fantasy/science-fiction fan – I secretly wished I was a teenager in this new era as there were plenty more members of the opposite sex geeking around now.

Finncon ‘09 was an absolute blast, with a great evening party as well. George RR Martin, Alastair Reynolds and Adam Roberts were all very interesting author guests that you actually had time to chat a few seconds with during book signings and you saw them up close in many events including the evening party. I even talked randomly with some strangers there, which almost never happens in Finland, and I’m not a great conversation starter either so it was really rare for me – probably as rare as strangers in Italy *not* talking to each other on a bus ride.

So I had this pretty good feeling that these kind of events might actually be my spiritual home. Especially as the author talks about writing sort of made me have aspirations of actually turning some of the story ideas bouncing around in my head into reality.

(the lazy fuck I am, of course nothing much happened after that initial burst of creative excitement)

Worldcon 75 – thoughts on geekiness

Kriko at the Worldcon
Now, enter 2017 and as I for many years had followed the blog posts of the reasonably famous fantasy author George RR Martin I knew that this historic event called Worldcon was going to come to Finland, no doubt partly as a result of GRRM enjoying the 2009 Finncon as much as I did. Messukeskus in Pasila is not the most scenic location so I was a bit worried about that, but there are not many go-to places in Finland for events of this size. I really liked the old cable factory the ‘09 Finncon was held in but that place would have been too small. Still, I was actually worried that people wouldn’t come to Finland at all, but happily (and slightly unfortunately for some of my friends who were interested in one-day tickets) that proved to be an unwarranted fear.

So, I bought the First Worldcon membership and joined in on the fun. Now, what exactly happens at a convention? It’s not really different from the kind of seminar events that you sometimes attend to in the line of your studies or work – there are displays of artwork or other geeky stuff (think: posters at a science conference), a commercial area where you can buy books & stuff, rooms with panels or talks to attend and larger auditorium events like the award ceremonies or famous author interviews (“key note lectures”). And instead of, say, doctors meeting at the Nebraska Colon Cancer Research Seminar XVII, you will instead be surrounded by colleagues of another kind – fantasy and sci-fi -geeks.

It has to be said, that I had never before seen so many geeky people in one place (and some of them really old dudes!)… and it was kind of cool. I felt like I was home again. Somehow this was akin to a pathologist finally being able to enthusiastically have a conversation about dissecting dead people over a cup of coffee and blueberry muffins with strangers from different countries like it was the most natural thing in the world.

Worldcon 75 - one of those Jawa guysGeeks, nerds… now, as an aside, using those words is something I’m a bit cautionary about as there is a slight difference in the meaning of “nerd” and “geek”. Both terms describe, in my opinion, that a person is interested in something that is considered a bit outside of the Gaussian distribution of predictable stuff you’re supposed to be interested in, like sports or fashion. An interest that has a component of non-useful unrealism attached to it, very much also a certain innocent playfulness like the games of children. Or a field of interest that is just plain unsexy in the eyes of the general population, like entomology.

In my mind, the term “nerd” is just slightly more negatively perceived while “geek” is a more positive description of this kind of person with out-of-the-usual interests – meaning, 1) nerds are personalities so deeply entrenched in their peculiar interests that they can’t adjust to normality anymore and 2) geeks are nerdy but can be just like normal sociable people as well, and might even be handsome/cute. Hence, “nerd” is related more closer with the word “freak” in how I see it used in popular culture.

Now, I’m not sure if I see myself – or more importantly, if other people see me – as a nerd or a geek, but I’ve always considered myself a cool nerd/geek, nonetheless, like now attending the con dressed in italian clothing and smelling subtly of Issey Miyake. And I can talk about other stuff than sci-fi and fantasy as well, like… well, insects for example.

The point of all this being, as I watched these sci-fi and fantasy fans of all ages and countries walk around the fair centre, and while reading the – very American-style – official rules promoting good behaviour at the con (like any normal people would have to be reminded of that) I had this moment of clarity when I realized:  “Oh, just a few decades ago these people (= us) might have been bullied at school and/or considered total weirdos because of these geeky interests… and many of the people here have probably lived through those times, and *this* is their safe place”.

I just had that sudden thought. And then it was gone.

Now, where was I… ah, yeah, maybe time to go through some stuff that actually happened at Worldcon 75, like the Hugo awards!

Worldcon 75 Hugo award

(Next up: Worldcon 75 – Part 2, where I tell you about a lot of stuff except maybe you still won’t hear about the Hugo awards…)