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Subject: Geek of the Week: Mikko Saari rss

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My Geek of the Week week is over, and I've chosen my successor.

All rise for Mikko Sari!
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/user/msaari

Here is Mikko's biography:

Quote:
I was born in 1980. I've got used to being young, but I notice I'm
getting to a point where I'm not the starting player if the youngest
player starts.

I live in Tampere, Finland, with my wife Johanna and our new baby boy
(three days old as I'm writing this). I am graduating from university
this fall, majoring in information studies. That makes me a
librarian/information wizard.

I've been a gamer since I was small (we got our first computer when I
was four and of course the standard board games were an essential part
of my childhood). I've always loved games, though the focus has shifted
from computers to roleplaying to live-action roleplaying to euro board
games.

Most of you know me from Gameblog, I suppose, and some might've read my
reviews here at the Geek, too (I think I've been in the tail end of the
top ten active reviewers list or almost there most of the time). In
Finland I'm better known as the owner of the Lautapelaaja.net web site,
which is probably the best known Finnish board game hobby site. Five
years and 150 reviews is no match for Tom Vasel, but still something.

I've also been quite active in the Finnish Board Game Society, which has
been fun. Finnish board game hobby is doing strong. One reason can be
seen at my GeekList Gamer's games published in Finnish
(http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi...).
Mikko, a few questions for you.

1. Congratulations on the recent birth of your son. What is his name?

2. I've never done any live action role playing, but have nervously
watched people with swords running around conventions.
What sort of live action roleplaying did you do?

3. Was there a boardgame that was the "trigger" that moved you into
euro board gaming?

4. I see you have Antiquity in your BGG "hot 10" at the moment. I
think this is a marvellous game that deserves more exposure. Are there
any other games that you consider "hidden gems" that deserve more
exposure. Any games of Finnish origin?

5. You say Finnish boardgaming is strong? How strong? How many would
attend your local club on a typical evening? What are the popular games there at the moment?

6. I worked with a Finnish lady for several years and she used to
bring in snacks from Finland. I remember something she called
"mocassins". If I were a guest for dinner in Finland, what would be a
typical meal I would be served?

7. I love watching motor racing, especially formula 1. Kimi Raikonnen
and Mika Hakkinen are both well known. What other sports stars are
famous in Finland?

8. I have my recently viewed games listed on my Boardgamegeek front
page. Do you? What are the games you've most recently viewed on BGG.

9. Please tell us two truths and a lie.
You can reveal what is the lie at some point during your week

Enjoy your week, Mikko. Have fun!
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Mikko Saari
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dougadamsau wrote:
1. Congratulations on the recent birth of your son. What is his name?
Right now he's Kolmonen, which means "the third" (me and my wife being number one and two). He has a name, but it's a secret that'll be revealed later. The official name celebration is in September, but since that's so far away, we'll probably leak out the name sooner. But not yet =)

I'll just say that even though we're not religious, the name is biblical, like many Finnish names (including Mikko - derived from archangel Michael - and Johanna - derived from John).

Quote:
2. I've never done any live action role playing, but have nervously
watched people with swords running around conventions.
What sort of live action roleplaying did you do?
Mostly medieval low fantasy stuff, with plastic swords, pointed ears (never wore a pair of those, though) and fancy costumes. Some cyberpunk, as well. Finnish LARPs are a different species than the the stuff they do in England (and States, I think). It's a Scandinavian thing, more freeform than at least the bigger stuff abroad.

I even organised two myself; one was political plotting, an election of Emperor. Another was an avantgarde fate LARP (a LARP mechanism invented by some Norwegian guy, where certain characters had "fates", stuff they had to do at certain time).

Quote:
3. Was there a boardgame that was the "trigger" that moved you into
euro board gaming?
I'm part of the Settlers generation. I read the 10/10 review from Arcane (an UK rpg magazine) and few years later bought a faded copy that had spent some years on the top shelf of a local RPG shop, all alone and unwanted. That's where it started... Diplomacy was also instrumental in getting me in the Finnish board gaming scene.

Quote:
4. I see you have Antiquity in your BGG "hot 10" at the moment. I
think this is a marvellous game that deserves more exposure. Are there
any other games that you consider "hidden gems" that deserve more
exposure. Any games of Finnish origin?
Antiquity is great, though the reason for its obscurity are pretty obvious. I paid over 100 euros for my copy (66 euros for the game, 34 euros for shipping). Worth every cent.

There aren't many games of Finnish origin. Afrikan tähti is the most famous. It's a decent game for kids, but nothing more. Tactic (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/publisher/964) is becoming a fairly significant player in the board game publishing scene; they're doing pretty good stuff, at least from mainstream point of view.

Looking at the games I like but which don't have lots of rankings or low rankings, few games pop up:

Spinergy is a riot if you have a bunch of literally creative people. I love it, but it takes a rather limited audience for a party game, so I don't actually expect to play it. Also, it definitely needs some house rules (the Finnish localisation isn't quite satisfactory, they missed few points regarding the nature of Finnish language).

Schloss Schlotterstein has huge amount of toy potential. It's a great "make your own game" set, and I expect to have a lot of fun with this and our baby once he grows up.

Bunte Runde is fun, little abstract from Knizia. It isn't a great game, but definitely good, and the nice bits lift it up.

Flix Mix is one of the games where the gap between my opinion and the general Geek opinion is the widest. It's one of the better speed games, since it's actually quite slow and ponderous. It's also superintuitive, which is a quality I like.

Quote:
5. You say Finnish boardgaming is strong? How strong? How many would
attend your local club on a typical evening? What are the popular games there at the moment?
Well, the latest game of the year awards went to Carcassonne (family game 2004), Ticket to Ride (family game 2005) and Alhambra (adult game 2005). Carcassonne beat Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride won That's Life! and Alhambra had to beat Bohnanza.

For this year's family game award, there's Cluzzle, Pirate's Cove, Einfach Genial, Samurai, Hey That's My Fish and Celtica, for adult game award there's Aqua Romana, Manila, Himalayas, Mykerinos, Oltre Mare and Elasund. Puerto Rico and Caylus were released this year, but didn't participate.

So, we're getting a huge influx of good new games. There are few strong game clubs around the Finland, and our board game society forum is quite active. My local club draws in three or four tables of gamers each time, sometimes more sometimes less.

Carcassonne is a huge thing in Finland - I see my Carcassonne review is getting hits from all sorts of web forums, where fans of the game are spreading the word. Take a random forum and you'll find a discussion on board games, and in most cases, someone is bound to mention Carcassonne.

Quote:
6. I worked with a Finnish lady for several years and she used to
bring in snacks from Finland. I remember something she called
"mocassins". If I were a guest for dinner in Finland, what would be a
typical meal I would be served?
I'd probably serve you braised reindeer with mashed potates and lingonberry. It's a traditional food from northern Finland, and when well done, it's superb. Fish is another traditional alternative.

Don't know about the mocassins (doesn't ring a bell with me), but the foods Finnish people miss outside Finland are salmiakki, proper rye bread and Finnish chocolate. Salmiakki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salmiakki) is kind of salty liquorice with ammonium chloride. It's an acquired taste... What comes to chocolate, while many Finnish agree that Belgium or Switzerland produces the best chocolate, most still prefer lighter Finnish milk chocolate to more continental dark chocolates.

You can't also avoid coffee, because Finnish people drink obscene amounts of it. You wouldn't have much trouble finding gluten-free food, by the way - Finnish people take those sorts of things very seriously. Gluten- and lactose-free foods are clearly marked and usually available.

Quote:
7. I love watching motor racing, especially formula 1. Kimi Raikonnen
and Mika Hakkinen are both well known. What other sports stars are
famous in Finland?
Biggest sports in Finland are motor racing (Formula 1 is big since Keke Rosberg and particularly Mika Häkkinen, rally driving is even bigger - Tommi Mäkinen, Marcus Grönholm, Juha Kankkunen, the list is long), ice hockey (many NHL stars, including Jari Kurri, Teemu Selänne, Saku Koivu and the Edmonton star of this season, Jussi Markkanen) and ski jumping (Matti Nykänen, Toni Nieminen, Janne Ahonen).

Quote:
8. I have my recently viewed games listed on my Boardgamegeek front
page. Do you? What are the games you've most recently viewed on BGG.
Indonesia, For Sale, Age of Steam Expansion #3: Scandinavia and Korea, Blue Moon, That's Life!, San Juan, Halli Galli, Puerto Rico, Thurn and Taxis, Svea Rike, John Prados' Third Reich, Mhing, Outside the Scope of BGG, The Campaign for North Africa (now there's a game for you!), War in Europe, Piranha, Carcassonne, Margin for Error, Oltre Mare, Illuminati: Y2K.

Quote:
9. Please tell us two truths and a lie.
You can reveal what is the lie at some point during your week
I hope these are devious enough:

1. I come from such an insignificant family, we didn't even have a family name until 18th century.
2. I can count to six using just the fingers in my left hand.
3. I was almost killed in a tragic tetherball accident when I was about three. I still bear the scar.
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Hi, Mikko.

I keep promising one of my friends that I will visit them in Norway (near Oslo) some summer. How much time and money would it cost to get to you and what would we play?

Yehuda
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Shade_Jon wrote:
I keep promising one of my friends that I will visit them in Norway (near Oslo) some summer. How much time and money would it cost to get to you and what would we play?
It's either about 600 euros and few hours for a direct flight from Oslo to Tampere, or probably slightly less money and 15 hours for car and ferry.

We'd play Puerto Rico with your expansion buildings. I haven't even tried the official expansion yet, so that would be hot on my list. Looks like Age of Steam, Euphrat & Tigris and Go would be good options, too. What's your Go rank, could we get a meaningful game going? I'm somewhere between 12k and 17k...
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Go rank: no idea. Most of my games have been on a 9 x 9 board.
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Hey Mikko,
Congratulations on the birth of lttle number 3...and on being the Geek of the Week.
I noticed you wrote that a traditional or common Finnish meal included venison. (as for lingonberries-Ikea cafes are the only place in Australia where I have found them unfortunately) What little I know of Finland's history includes the importance of reindeer to Finnish culture. What are some of the cultural traditions or festivals that people who know almost nothing about Finland (like me) wouldn't know about? I have also heard that Finnish is a very difficult second language to learn... even compared to English. Is Finnish education all done in Finnish (apart from the learning of foreign languages)? What other languages are common there?
I actually have three adopted cousins, Jukka, Marco and Mika, who are half Finnish (their Grandmothers were in Finland and I think Malaysia, so they adopted my Grandmother as their Grandmother) but we have never really talked about Finland. Actually Jukka is a regular in my gaming group. I know that their names are Finnish. Are they common names there? I have taught 5 Finnish girls from two other Finnish families also, Jarvinens and... I forget the other surname (9 years ago is my excuse). Are all Finnish people so cheery or am I just lucky to have met 13 Fins who were all just the most warm and friendly people? I know this is all massive generalisation but how do Finnish people perceive themselves...what personality traits do you see as representative of the national culture? Also are there particular countriues that people you know have emigrated to? What country would you like to live in if you weren't living in Finland? (and why is that?)

Finland, Finland Finland
The country where I want to be
It's mountains so lofty
It's tree tops so tall
Finland, Finland, Finland
Finland has it all.
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Critical Mass wrote:
What liitle I know of Finland's history includes the importance of reindeer to Finnish culture.
Reindeer is actually more part of Sami culture, which is not same as Finnish. The Sami were the original inhabitants of Finland - we Finno-Ugric folks are the newcomers, who have since pushed the Sami people far north to Lapland (in larger sense, combining areas in Norway, Sweden and Kola Peninsula in Russia).

Quote:
What are some of the cultural traditions or festivals that people who know almost nothing about Finland (like me) wouldn't know about?
Hmm... The main events in Finland are the New Year (fireworks, champagne), Easter (chocolate eggs, old pagan traditions), May Day (drunken stupor, originally a day for the working class, now celebrated by all in general and students in particular), Midsummer (drunken stupor, bonfires) and Christmas (gifts on Christmas eve).

Basically nothing happens in Winter, but Finnish summer is full of all sorts of events. There's sane stuff like rock festivals (pretty much every weekend) and art happenings, but also crazy stuff like the Wife Carrying world championship (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wife_Carrying).

Quote:
I have also heard that Finnish is a very difficult second language to learn... even compared to English.
That depends. Finland is pretty hard, because it's quite unlike most other languages. Estonian is very much like Finnish (perhaps a similar relationship as with Dutch and German?) and Hungarian is also related, but that's about it - some nearly-extinct languages somewhere around Ural make up the Finno-Ugric language group.

Finnish language has its curiosities, but I don't know if it's really that hard. Wikipedia says it well: "It has a reputation for being difficult to understand and learn. This, however, is probably better understood as a matter of difference rather than difficulty, per se. The supposed difficulty of Finnish is due not to any inherent features of the languages but rather to the degree its grammar and vocabulary differ from those of the native languages of most people who study it as an additional language."

Quote:
Is Finnish education all done in Finnish (apart from the learning of foreign languages)? What other languages are common there?
The three official languages of Finland are Finnish, Swedish (minority of <5%) and Sami (<1%). Swedish is mandatory for all in schools, it's typically the second foreign language. First foreign language is English, though German is possible (it used to be the first choice earlier) and Russian is gaining popularity for a good reason in the Eastern Finland.

All basic education is in Finnish, but after high school it's hard to survive without English. University studies require reading lots of English textbooks (well, unless you're studying Finnish or a language other than English, I suppose).

I still wrote my master's thesis in Finnish, though it might've been a good idea to write in English. If I did a Doctor's thesis, it would be in English, I guess. At least I'd have to write articles in English.

Quote:
Are all Finnish people so cheery or am I just lucky to have met 13 Fins who were all just the most warm and friendly people? I know this is all massive generalisation but how do Finnish people perceive themselves...what personality traits do you see as representative of the national culture?
I think that's pretty much the truth, though if you ask a Finn, you'd probably get a different answer. We see ourselves as reserved, hard-to-reach people. Finland does have one of the highest suicide rates in the world and we're not the most outreaching people, but I suppose Finnish people are warm and friendly, if you get to know them. Which might be a bit hard.

We're kind of like English in some ways (based on Kate Fox's excellent book Watching the English), like in our reluctance to talk to strangers. Enter a crowded bus in Finland and you might not hear a word. People who come to talk to you on the streets are typically drunk or otherwise scary.

Certain pessimism and expecting the worst is also important. Even though it's Swedish, Tomas Ledin's Sommaren är kort is a perfect Finnish summer hit, as the chorus line goes "Summer is short"... Like, after all, it's almost Christmas already. Finnish summer is short but cold.

Unfortunately Lordi's success in the Eurovision Song Contest destroyed a national institution of moaning and bitching about the ESC. Of course, a typical reaction in Finland to success is bitter jealousy and suspecting that the successful person is "full of it". Showing your wealth and success is considered tasteless, being modest is very important.

A typical Finnish publication is a tax-calendar. Basically it's a magazine published once a year and it lists the taxes people pay. Not everybody, but celebrities and the wealthy. Thus, you can check how much your neighbour makes and who are the wealthy people in your area. That way you know if you should be jealous. "SEE HOW MUCH YOUR NEIGHBOUR EARNS", that's how they're advertised. Of course, asking that directly is totally out of question. No way you could do something like that.

Here we're descending to the low stereotyping, but we're also a nation of drinkers. While the Finnish alcohol consumption level is pretty typical (and less than in the heavy beer-drinking countries), the Finnish alcohol use seems to be a bit more messy... perhaps more focused? You'll probably see more drunks and reckless behaviour in Finland, particularly in the summer.

What else? Finns can be stubborn and proud of their sisu, a near-mythical national trait consisting of stamina and tenacity. The Spirit of Winter War lives strong (Finland held against Soviet Union, who outnumbered Finnish four to one).

Finland has an interesting relationship to USA. Finland is sometimes called the most American country in the Europe: many features of American culture are well-received and celebrated... like Disney: Donald Duck is the best-loved comic in Finland, and it's definitely Donald Duck and not Mickey Mouse who the Finns love and connect to. There's a thriving 50's rock'n'roll and car culture, too. Still, in many situations, there's certain dislike and distrust towards American openness and grandeur.

Quote:
Also are there particular countriues that people you know have emigrated to? What country would you like to live in if you weren't living in Finland? (and why is that?)
Sweden was big in the 70's, when work was scarce in Finland (both of my parents used to work in Sweden for a while, but many people remained there). In late 19th century and early 20th, many people emigrated to USA. The northern states in particular used to have strong Finnish communities, places like Minnesota and Vermont - Finnish people used to work in the wood industry, that's what we know well in Finland.

I'm not fond of exotic countries, I love the comforts of Western civilization too much. I mean, even in England I would miss the proper water taps and dish-drying cabinets. Still, UK is where I'd head, just for the language and the culture. New Zealand seems nice, too, for some reason, though it's perhaps a bit too far from everywhere. If I were more fluent in the language, I could see myself living in Sweden, Germany or Netherlands.

Quote:
It's mountains so lofty
Highest point in Finland: whopping 1300 meters above the sea level! There's an entertaining mountain range in southern Finland in the new Hasbro Diplomacy map - the highest point there should be just few hundred meters above the sea level...

Oh, you edited your message while I was replying... Yes, Jukka and Mika are very popular names (and both are male names, despite the -a in the end). Marco is too, but it's usually written as Marko. Marco with c isn't really Finnish, but you see foreign influence here and there (and it could be Finnish Swedish influence, too). Järvinen is, by the way, one of the most common last names in Finland. Instead of last names derived from professions, most Finnish last names are related to family (Järvi means a lake, thus Järvinen is someone from a lake; Saari means an island).
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Thanks Mikko.
Yes Marko is spelled with a k not a c. OOPS. blush
I am not surprised that you like the sound of New Zealand. It is a beautiful country and from what I have heard bears some strong similarities to scandinavian countries as does my wife's state of Minnesota. Her family heritage includes Swedish woodworkers who immigrated to the US.
The Fjords in the south Island I think are called Milford Sound. If you ever go to New Zealand I absolutely recommend seeing them and the glaciers and mountains (well for an Aussie who rarely sees snow they are amazing anyway). Oh who am I kidding most of the country is very beautiful.
I would like to travel more in Europe and would definitely want to trace my own roots in the UK and my wife's relatives in Sweden.
I don't know why but I am more interested in visiting northern europe than the mediterranean areas. If someone was visiting Finland are there particular things you would show them?
What are the old pagan traditions at Easter that you mentioned?
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Critical Mass wrote:
I don't know why but I am more interested in visiting northern europe than the mediterranean areas. If someone was visiting Finland are there particular things you would show them?
Well... Helsinki is worth seeing, definitely, there's lots of interesting stuff there. It's kind of like Russia, but with a different flavour - many American movies have used Helsinki to represent Soviet Union. There's old stuff and modern architecture, all in one reasonably-sized set.

A tour in Lapland would be a good idea. In winter there's loads and loads of snow, if you like that that's the time to go, but I'd probably still suggest summer or autumn. In summer you get the "night without night", when the sun doesn't go down during the night, in autumn the trees look particularly nice with all the bright colours.

If you're into forests and unspoiled nature, there's lots of that, too. Everywhere you go, pretty much. Lots of lakes. I'm not very good with local tourism...

With board gamers, a traditional summer cottage board game event would be nice, with a weekend full of sauna, swimming and sausage. And bad sleep, thanks to all the bloody mosquitos...
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Count me in.
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msaari wrote:
It's either about 600 euros and few hours for a direct flight from Oslo to Tampere, or probably slightly less money and 15 hours for car and ferry.
That's a bit high. If you wanted to fly today from Oslo to Tampere, you could take the SAS flight to Stockholm and change to a Blue1 flight there. That would be 129 EUR, including a 1 hour flight to Stockholm, 35 minutes for the change, and then 1 hour to Tampere.
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Anttoni Huhtala
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msaari wrote:

Certain pessimism and expecting the worst is also important ... Like, after all, it's almost Christmas already. Finnish summer is short but cold.
The day's starded to shorten about 2 weeks ago, so winter is comming (The Stark family in A game of throwns reminds me of finns). Black humor gives us strength to withstand the darkness of the winter. There are lots of jokes about allways losing in whatever we are playing, be it icehockey or soccer(we are _really_ bad at that..

Finnish summer is cold and has not that much snow.
Truth to be told, because the summer is short, the wild goes nuts in the short months that it can use. You don't have such a huge blast of growth in the south. You can actually smell the grass growing..

a
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It'd be cool if we could somehow get this thing pinned on the front page... UPDATE: Fixed! Yay!

I'm sure you mentioned this before, but what manner of library stuff are you getting into? My stint working at the reference desk at school has been an...interesting experience at times. (Other times, a boring experience...)

(If there are library BGGers out there who haven't discovered Unshelved yet...do so:

www.overduemedia.com

Great stuff.)
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Hey,

First, some lyrics from Stevie Wonder. The gender is wrong, but the sentiment is the same:

Quote:
Isn't she lovely
Isn't she wonderful
Isn't she precious
Less than one minute old
I never thought through love we'd be
Making one as lovely as she
But isn't she lovely made from love

Isn't she pretty
Truly the angel's best
Boy, I'm so happy
We have been heaven blessed
I can't believe what God has done
Through us he's given life to one
But isn't she lovely made from love
1) What's the most intense music you have played so far for your son?

1a) At what age do you think you will introduce him to Death Metal (if you haven't done so yet)?

1b) What about Black Metal?

2) Quick: Name a band more overrated than Tool.

3) If you host gaming, do you play music in the background?

3a) If so, what is the most intense music you have played?

3b) Do you ever try to match the music to the game being played? (The first disc of Kesto by Pan sonic - also from Finland! - makes great background music for Power Grid.)

3c) Has anyone ever requested you change the music? (The only complaint I ever received was due to another Pan sonic album.)

4) I, like probably many other Black Metal fans, have a likely mistaken impression of how cool it must be to live in Finland. What's your take on this? Should I plan a trip to Scandanavia one day, or save my money and time?

5) If Fist of Dragonstones is so "chaotic", why do I keep winning? Or perhaps this is what makes it so "pointless"?

- d


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msaari wrote:
Don't know about the mocassins (doesn't ring a bell with me)
From memory, they were a flat pastry envelope, filled with something (rice?). I think she called them mocassins because they looked like shoes! I can't say I was that taken with them, but it did make me realise the Finns are pretty tough

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wrote:
Please tell us two truths and a lie.
You can reveal what is the lie at some point during your week
I hope these are devious enough:

1. I come from such an insignificant family, we didn't even have a family name until 18th century.
2. I can count to six using just the fingers in my left hand.
3. I was almost killed in a tragic tetherball accident when I was about three. I still bear the scar.
I'll go for number 2.

By the way, is your avatar from that Frank Branham Mexican themed trick taking game (that I can't remember the title of)?
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Psst, Doug: if you use your fingers to count in binary, you can go up to 31 on your standard left hand.
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Mikko Häkkinen
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Could we get a photo of your son in a box of some board game? I'm interested in which game you'll choose and why. (I guess Taj Mahal, but it would be too predictable!)

I can count up to 31 just by using fingers of my left hand (and up to 1023 with both hands) so I bet the incorrect answer is number 3.

And now, I have to add or correct a couple of things of another Mikko's posts:

- "Mocassins" probably refers to karjalanpiirakka, Carelian pie (not a movie), which is a traditional Finnish small pie. It truly is a traditional Finnish food. There's a Finnish wikipedia article (and an image) of karjalanpiirakka in this address: http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karjalanpiirakka .

- May Day (or Vappu in Finland) has evolved a lot from the ages when it was used to let cows out after the winter - or something like that, but it became a student's celebration day earlier than Americans decided to give it the labor day meaning.

- I have to mention our all time greatest sports icon, Paavo Nurmi, because he's one of the 4 persons who have achieved 9 Olympic gold medals. Hopefully msaari just forgot him! Nurmi would have achieved more gold medals but was banned from 1932 games because he got few lousy bucks from a couple of competitions in US before the games and was considered to be a professional. Many other Finns have also competed very successfully in endurance running. Finland has also been very successful in cross-country skiing - at least until Lahti illegal substance scandal. Finns are mad about sports and competition and we have champions in almost all sports except in popular summer ball games.

For those who are thinking about visiting Finland: come here! There's no problem in visiting this country - or perhaps the dark (24h in the Northern parts) cold (record -51°C or -61°F) long (november to april) winter or price level, which is pretty high if you're about to buy alcohol beverages, kebab, vegetables, gasoline or cars.

In this highly developed Scandinavian welfare country everything works well and you don't have to be aware of terrorists, food poisonings, or pickpockets. Here you'll get better water from the tap than there is in Evian bottles and you may consume it absolutely recklessly for e.g. flushing toilets or going to shower for a couple of hours.

Finnish cuisine, mocked by criminals Berlusconi and Chirac, comes actually mostly from Sweden and Russia, but we have some interesting things you have to taste. These include sahti (http://www.posbeer.org/oppaat/sahti/), mämmi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A4mmi), and leipäjuusto (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leip%C3%A4juusto) prepared with cloudberries and cream in oven.

Forests are open for campers and full of wildlife like bears, moose and reindeer in the lapland. Doors are open for guests - but better to knock if you're uninvited or not familiar. And almost everybody under 40 talks English - probably some other languages too.
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Mikko Saari
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alfredhw wrote:
I'm sure you mentioned this before, but what manner of library stuff are you getting into?
Hopefully something. I've done circulation desk and collection weeding so far, both are fairly boring jobs way below my level once I'm done with my studies, but you've got to start somewhere...

As a librarian or information specialist I should be above the basic routines of a library (that's for library secretaries and people with bachelor-level or lower studies). I could do information seeking or something fancy.

I'm not totally committed to library world, though. Public libraries (as opposed to university libraries) have lousy wages and, as I hear, less than interesting job opportunities. Corporate world is a possibility...
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Mikko Saari
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Dave wrote:
1) What's the most intense music you have played so far for your son?
Well, while in the womb he's heard Morrissey's You Have Killed Me over hundred times and spent several hours listening to Life Is a Pigsty, another super-positive Morrissey hit.

But nothing very intensive yet. I actually bought the two Nouvelle Vague albums - that should be a good introduction to good music. They do soft bossa nova covers of new wave hits - check out their versions of Echo & The Bunnymen's Killing Moon or Sisters of Mercy's Marian. Tres chic.

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1a) At what age do you think you will introduce him to Death Metal (if you haven't done so yet)?
1b) What about Black Metal?
Hmm... I think my wife would probably prefer never, but we'll have to see. It'll have to happen some day. I think I'll let him gravitate towards that myself. Or maybe wait until he tries to shock us by listening something soft and mellow, like heavy metal or Marilyn Manson. Like, "oh, that's nothing, this is what daddy listens to..."

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2) Quick: Name a band more overrated than Tool.
Mayhem? I haven't heard the old, original stuff, but I hear it's pretty lousy. With the exception of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, of course, but one decent album's not enough for their reputation. The fairly recent new Mayhem stuff, in the other hand... The Grand Declaration of War failed, as far as I'm concerned, both as regressive and progressive black metal.

Of course, combining a suicide by the vocalist (and a picture of the bloody mess on an album cover), cannibalism, bassist stabbing guitarist to death and having the best metal drummer ever helps to build a certain reputation.

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3) If you host gaming, do you play music in the background?
3a) If so, what is the most intense music you have played?
3b) Do you ever try to match the music to the game being played? (The first disc of Kesto by Pan sonic - also from Finland! - makes great background music for Power Grid.)
3c) Has anyone ever requested you change the music? (The only complaint I ever received was due to another Pan sonic album.)
Yes, there's always something playing. Most intense stuff is probably early Laibach or Catacombs' extreme doom crawl. I rarely match the music to the games, I just play whatever's on my iTunes library. Well, once before iTunes, I did play Tom Waits for Pirate's Cove (he's a pirate if anybody) and Aavikko for Scream Machine (Aavikko is one of those cool, odd Finnish bands, they play instrumental synth music that's a bit like circus or carnival music gone wrong).

Nobody has complained so far. I do remove the metal from the list in case one of my friends is present, as he made it clear once (in completely different context) that he can't stand metal, even on background. I can respect that.

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4) I, like probably many other Black Metal fans, have a likely mistaken impression of how cool it must be to live in Finland. What's your take on this? Should I plan a trip to Scandanavia one day, or save my money and time?
Tough call. I don't know about your local music stores, whether seeing the Finnish metal selections would impress you or not... Probably you should time your trip to the Tuska metal festival in Helsinki to see a highly concentrated bunch of metal at the same time.

You won't hear much metal on radio, though Teräsbetoni's (kind of like Manowar but with tongue more firmly in the cheek and Finnish lyrics) heroic metal hit was played a lot last summer, everywhere.

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5) If Fist of Dragonstones is so "chaotic", why do I keep winning? Or perhaps this is what makes it so "pointless"?
You tell me. I didn't get it. It's the repetition, really, there's just so little to that game, and that little is stretched too far.
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Mikko Saari
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dougadamsau wrote:
By the way, is your avatar from that Frank Branham Mexican themed trick taking game (that I can't remember the title of)?
Yes. Dia de los Muertos... excellent game, in both editions (Four Dragons loses the great theme, but has other benefits, like availability).
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Mikko Saari
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McHaka wrote:
Could we get a photo of your son in a box of some board game? I'm interested in which game you'll choose and why. (I guess Taj Mahal, but it would be too predictable!)
No Taj Mahal, since I don't have it. Since the boy can't sit up yet, it would have to be something fairly large. I think I'd go for Antiquity.

External image


The boy's a bit shy.

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Hopefully msaari just forgot him!
Nah, it's just that I have a very minor interest in sports. I do read the sports pages from the newspaper but that's just about it.
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A fan of new Knizia games
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McHaka wrote:
"Mocassins" probably refers to karjalanpiirakka, Carelian pie (not a movie), which is a traditional Finnish small pie. It truly is a traditional Finnish food. There's a Finnish wikipedia article (and an image) of karjalanpiirakka in this address: http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karjalanpiirakka .
That's it! I'd recognise those shoes anywhere. Thanks!
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Mikko Saari
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Oh, Dave: how you've been doing introducing the wonders of the extreme metal to your child? Any tips to share? devil
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msaari wrote:
Oh, Dave: how you've been doing introducing the wonders of the extreme metal to your child? Any tips to share? devil
http://deathmetalcafe.blogspot.com/2005/09/silly-lovecraft-s...

In her second year, she really liked Helmet and Fear Factory a lot; I try to avoid metal without melody. Now in her third year, she prefers soul/R&B and folk. She still likes ambient/electronica a lot; The Crystal Method's Temple of Boom brings out the serious booty-shaking. For the most part, the barrier isn't her, but the wife, who really doesn't like anything louder than Cash and Dylan.

As for Mayhem (good call, by the way), De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas sustains interest in the way that few BM albums do. I'm generally an "album" guy, but BM is perhaps the only genre where I listen primarily to playlists, as the really good stuff is so much better than the filler.

As for Finland, I was less interested in the music scene itself than the Unholy Dark Mists uncoiling throughout Ancient Majestic Forests echoing with Pagan Evils. That, and the Finnish metal chicks.

- d
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Mikko Saari
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Dave wrote:
As for Finland, I was less interested in the music scene itself than the Unholy Dark Mists uncoiling throughout Ancient Majestic Forests echoing with Pagan Evils. That, and the Finnish metal chicks.
Oh, that, yeah, well sure we have that. Not that many Dark And Haunted Castles, though, but acres and acres of Well Perhaps You Could Call Them Old Forests, full of Sinister Birds Of Prey (ruining the whole atmosphere with their jolly chirping). So, nope, the dark mists and pagan evils are few and far between. Maybe the Norwegian fjords are a better place to look for that?

What comes to metal chicks, I'm afraid most have turned into goth metal chicks and at least I'm not into that, thank you (I prefer goths as goths and metalheads as metalheads). Tarja Turunen from Nightwish has been an influence too strong, I suppose. But if that's your thing, you should definitely come here...

I think I'll start my son with some hard rock (Lordi's Eurovision-winning Hard Rock Hallelujah worked well with kids, I hear), then get him into Iron Maiden, softer doom metal (something like The Eternal or even Swallow the Sun) and see where I can take it from there.
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