Archive for 2011

December 12th, 2011

Our cabin blog

I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned this here, but anyhow, we bought a summer cabin from Karjalohja, around 75 kilometers west from our home.

This move is a bit contradictory to my dream of being a digital nomad someday, but it could act as a basecamp, too. Or then I’m just making excuses. Anyhow, kids just love the place, and I’ve found surprising amount of serenity there. In that sense it has been money well spent.

On the other hand, there is a boatload of stuff to do. Everything on the lot, except a few big pine trees, and oaks, maples, and birches will need to go. Including the current cabin and the shed. We’ve already cut down several dozen trees, junked two tractor trailers full of stuff, and burned a big pile of trash wood. The talks have been started with an architect to get the required permits — the timescale is now like five years, so we are not in a hurry.

We’ve started a new blog about the cabin, only in Finnish. If you’re interested in the development, check puhettahuvilasta.fi.

November 18th, 2011

Cambridge + London travelogue

I and the rest of the family spent a long weekend in Cambridge and London almost a week ago. The raison d’être was the wedding of Lauri and Sarah (congrats again!) in Cambridge, and then we took the opportunity to visit London for a couple of days.

We flew with Norwegian, a budget airline that has been expanding quite a lot lately. Booking was surprisingly easy and not too many compulsory hidden costs, only the checked-in bags had an additional prices. The flight was also normal, the plane was maybe a bit more crammed than usual, but we are compact in size.

We arrived at London Gatwick around six in the evening, and took a train, a tube, and yet another train to reach Cambridge. It was past ten when we were at the hotel, but the boys took it surprisingly well and we got them to sleep without fighting.

The wedding was on Saturday. The hotel (Doubletree Cambridge) has an excellent spa, so we spent time there in the morning — and we had just a couple of hours time to visit the city itself, and that was spent on finding jewelry and lunch.

The wedding was fantastic, an informal event in extremely nice surroundings, and among friendly people. We couldn’t stay too late due to the boys, and were almost the first to leave.

On Sunday we walked around the river Cam and participated in a punting boat excursion up and down the river. This is highly recommended, albeit a bit touristy, as you get to see a lot of the colleges and other historical buildings from the river. We learned a lot of charming small details (oddities) of the university history and life.

After the punting excursion, we took a train back to London. Our hotel was located in Bayswater — I used to stay a lot in the neighbourhood when I was younger, so the trip brought back fond memories. I felt quite old.

The hotel (The Cleveland) had really nice room with an extra bed and a kitchenette, so we could spend time also inside. Aapo became ill on Sunday and it got worse on Monday afternoon, so he had to stay in the hotel more than expected. Kitchenette and the dishes were helpful when I brought take-away food from a local Thai eatery.

Other than that, the rest of the trip was quite a usual visit to London, some shopping and some business.

The return flight was on Tuesday and we were quite early on the airport, as even Aapo was somewhat better, he was still coughing quite a lot and we decided not to walk too much in the town. Three hours can be easily spent with the help of Nintendos and good food. The flight itself was eventless. The boys surprised me by not falling to sleep until in our car around midnight. The next morning was hard for them.

November 8th, 2011

At LEGO fair in Ilmajoki

We (myself, Aapo, my brother-in-law and his two boys) spent last weekend in a Lego building fair in Ilmajoki, some 300 kilometers up north from Helsinki.

I’ve been building with Legos for about three years, since Aapo was old enough not to eat them. The amount of bricks has somewhat got out of hands, and nowadays we can build quite big buildings and sets without issues in availability of bricks.

Last year, we brought two buildings (2 x 32×32 studs), this year we built buildings on 15 lots (15 x 32×32 studs), so there was a lot to pack to our car. If the growth continues, I need to buy a trailer or rent a van…

The trip was a blast. Kids loved the Lego fair, and we planned all kind of children friendly activities to keep the boys busy. The younger siblings were left at home, so this was a “big boy” event.

I took a few photos and uploaded them to Flickr. Here’s direct link to my castle and to my town buildings.

October 17th, 2011

Lego exhibition at a museum

I’ve been organising a Lego exhibition together with a modern art museum cluster in Espoo for the past few months. This partially explains my absence in this site.

The exhibition was held last weekend, and it was a blast. Several hundred people visited out Lego space located next to the ticket desk of the museum complex WeeGee in Tapiola, Espoo.

To get a glimpse of the exhibition, I’ve uploaded some photos to Flickr. My models can be found on another Flickr set, photographed at home a couple of weeks earlier.

Now it is time to take a deep breath and then survey the damages my models experienced when taking them back home. The next exhibition is in three weeks in Ilmajoki, some 370 kilometers north from us, and I need to alter some of the models — as I can’t take everything with me this time.

September 9th, 2011

DrupalCon report

This post is a bit late, DrupalCon London closed its door already two weeks ago. It seems that being a week away from my desk created such a task queue that took two weeks to handle.

Anyhow, the DrupalCon was a blast. I didn’t attend to any sessions, as I was busy standing on our booth, meeting people, and discussing about various topics. I did go to the keynotes, and besides Dries’ State of Drupal they could have been better. Topics were interesting, speakers were good, but somehow they didn’t click. On the other hand, I was relieved that finally Drupal community is pushed to think about marketing, brand, image, and other softer assets — that the community is sorely lacking.

The best part of the week was the first presentation in Drupal CXO meeting by Mark Taylor. I didn’t agree to all of his topics, especially the self-development part was a bit over the top for me, but the business development part really rocked (my boat). There was a lot of stuff that I mulled over while flying back to Helsinki, and found them useful for both me personally and for my company.

The week was well spent. The next day we went to our summer house to chop some wood and spend time with the family. Weather was excellent, really atypical situation for end of August in Finland.

August 16th, 2011

Preparing for DrupalCon London

My company, www.exove.com, is focused strongly on Drupal, and thus I’m going to London next week to attend to DrupalCon.

I visited the US based DrupalCon in Chicago in March, and it was a really good trip — both in personal sense and business-wise. I’m expecting even more from this trip.

If you are interested in Drupal, then pop over to our booth (#11) to have a chat.

August 8th, 2011

Holidays are over

My holiday ended already a week ago, and I’m now in Tallinn waiting the ship to depart. If Linda Line ships were operating today, I would have been at home already, but all of them were cancelled due to bad weather. It was unarguably a rocky ride to Tallinn this morning.

Anyhow, the rest of our Finnish trip went as pictured in the previous post. We spent one night in Oulu — tested the new Scandic hotel and found it good — and then we drove down south to Tuuri, visiting some friends on the way. Our hotel room in Tuuri was a corner suite, whopping 75 square meters of space, separate bedroom, a bit peculiar sauna, and surprisingly enough a stocked minibar. During the previous stays, the minibar has always been empty. The hotel is transforming into a normal one. Except that it can’t without tearing down the faux castle facade and huge crystal chandeliers — a rare sight in a countryside hotel. Read more about the hotel.

The next day we left quite early after visiting the department store and refuelling the car. Once again, we spent almost 500 € during the time we spent in Tuuri. Veljekset Keskinen seem to know their business. We drove to Tampere and visited a couple of stores before popping over to Ideapark.

Legopark was a bit of a disappointment, I was expecting more models and less marketing material. Niilo and Sanna stayed there while I visited the shops founding almost nothing. The drive back to Helsinki was eventless.

We spent a few days in Helsinki region before the work started. Aapo arrived from Taivalkoski on Sunday with Sanna’s parents that stayed a week with us — such a blessing with small kids. Niilo started in a new kindergarten closer to our home and Aapo is anxiously waiting for the preschool to start. Our babies are growing up fast.

July 24th, 2011

Travelling around Finland

One week of holiday is left, and we are travelling on northern Finland. Yesterday, we visited Kuopio to meet Sanna’s younger brother and his girlfriend, and today we are at Taivalkoski. Sanna is attending to the confirmation of her godchild, and I’m taking care of the boys. We’ll spend a few days here, and then head towards Oulu to see a newborn and meet friends. Finally, we drive back to Espoo through Tuuri — spending a night at Veljekset Keskinen hotel that I’ve written about several times — and pop over to Legopark exhibition in Ideapark.

All in all, six days and about 2000 kilometers on the road.