Friday, January 27, 2006

approaching the arctic circle

finland 105
Originally uploaded by Avant Game.
On Monday, we took a tiny plane from Copenhagen to Helsinki, where I gave a lecture (yes, culminating as always with a game of massively multiplayer thumbwrestling!), met up with some of my favorite game studies people for amazing quantities of Finnish eat, drink and play, and then spent a day workshopping (and conspiring) with iPerg researchers from Tampere, Stockholm and Helsinki. Then, yesterday, a six hour train ride further north to Oulu, where I get to keynote the Sagas net pervasive applications workshop tonight. Tomorrow, Kiyash and I will actually get to visit the Arctic circle, where among other things we hopefully will go on a husky safari. Finland is beautiful. We love it! On Sunday, we fly a tiny plane back to Copenhagen, a huge plan to Seattle, and a medium plane to SFO, where we will be reunited with our little shetland sheepdog Meche, who has been on a vacation of her own. You can watch her on this doggy cam. P.S. Being immersed among all these pervasive researchers and developers has been a great way to semi-consciously work on my dissertation. Many conceptual breakthroughs and lots of exciting notes written in the margins of weird Scandinavian artefacts. P.P.S. On Monday, regular avant gamey blog posts resume, including news on future zombie village playtests, a new street corner gaming experiment Kiyash and I want to try, the release of a second and third series of latchkeys.

Monday, January 23, 2006

the Copenhagen Curse, the Helsinki Hex

We'll start with the good news. Kiyash and I arrived 3 hours early at Copenhagen International Airport this morning to try to talk our way into the back luggage room so we could find our own damn bags. It worked. We have our luggage! What a relief. We checked into our flight to Helsinki, handed over our luggage again (somewhat warily, but really--could they lose the same bags twice on the same trip? What were the odds?

Our flight from Helsinki to Copenhagen was scheduled for 9:30 AM. Our bags were ferried away for the plane to Helsinki.

At 9:20 AM, the SAS pilots went on strike.


Okay, so we had a friend in passenger service who witnessed me sobbing hysterically ("5 days in the same clothes! We are going to the Artic Circle in clothes designed to be worn in SAN FRANCISCO!") and heard about the strike in advance. He sent someone to get JUST our bags off the Helsinki plane, booked us on a Finnair flight for 12:30 PM, and paged us over the airport loudspeaker to tell us what he'd done. Then, just to be safe, he left his post and came to the waiting area to find us himself.

It was actually quite dramatic. He said, "I'm going to do something for you now. Follow me. Don't ask any questions."

It was really really crazy.

Anyway, hopefully we take off in one hour for Helsinki. Will the Copenhagen Curse turn into the Helsinki hex, or have we escaped it? Stay tuned to Flickr...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

six slices of cake, 28-dice games, and a cemetery

copenhagen 058
Originally uploaded by Avant Game.
Scandinavian adventure updates.

The downside:

Our luggage is still lost, and they do not expect to return it to us on this trip. :( We have been wearing the same clothes for 4 days now, washing our underwear in the sink and blowdrying it in the morning. How glamorous! Also, all my fleece socks, thermal shirts and other Artice Circle-appropriate clothes that I purchased at North Face and REI specifically for this adventure are in the missing luggage. So we are woefully ill-equipped for the cities we are visiting after Copenhagen.

The upsides: Okay, so our hotel felt so sorry for us they double-upgraded us to the Royal Suite, which must go for easily $500 a night. We have the most beautiful view of Copenhagen from our window. Both bathroom floors are heated for your cold bare feet, our favorite royal touch.

The snow that screwed up our flights and luggage is so beautiful. We have been tromping through it all day, we love it.

We have shared six slices of six different cakes at La Glace.

We were able to attend the public gathering at the Royal Christening.

We made snow angels in the Kirkegaard Cemetery today.

We visited the hippie island Christiania and saw a WOLF puppy playing with a German Shephard.

We had an amazing vegetarian dinner with the very dear Liz Kastrup last night, followed by rowdy, rowdy gambling dice games in Bo Bi Bar with local, Heavy Metal loving, very drunken Danes who bought us drinks.

We are going to another amazing vegetarian restaurant tonight.

So okay no luggage but we have had a beautiful time for two days otherwise.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Liveblogging the Scandinavian Winter WonderDisaster

The Latchkey Project 188
Originally uploaded by Avant Game.
Kiyash snapped this photo of me writing the blog post below. The airport has wireless internet, but not our luggage, or food, or a toothbrush--the thing I really want the most right now. :(

i did something horrible in a previous life

to deserve the past 40 hours of travel hell.


Arrived in Stockholm. 3 hours spent trying to get an SAS rep to tell us: How do we get a flight to Copenhagen and WHERE IS OUR LUGGAGE.

Got booked on the last evening flight to Copenhagen. However, SAS told us that they didn't think our luggage would make it onto the plane, and they would arrange to have it sent to our hotel sometime in the next 3 days. !!!

At least we were going to Copenhagen. EXCEPT.

Redirected to Malmo. SWEDEN!! Our second flight to Copenhagen sending us to another Swedish city instead. What is up?

I have spent so much time in Sweden! I don't need to be in Sweden! I need to be in DENMARK!

We were supposed land in Malmo. Except for snowstorm. They didn't have a runway clear. Circled. FOREVER. Waiting for them to clear snow and de-ice a runway.

We landed. The brakes of the plane. KIND OF worked. I've never seen Kiyash look alarmed on a plane before. We're barrelling down the runway at really fast speed with no sign of slowing. He looks at me like we are in trouble.

Eventually we stop. Pilot tells us a bus will arrive in two hours to take us to Copenhagen.

Okay so now I am sitting in Malmo airport SWEDEN waiting for a bus WITHOUT OUR LUGGAGE having been traveling on planes and in airports for FORTY STRAIGHT HOUR NOW okay and only 1 hour cummulative sleep on airport lounge floor

Oh and only crappy Basset wine gums to eat from a Duty Free store that was still open. MAYNARDS WHERE ARE YOU.

It is past midnight here, our hotel room has been given away, I am tired and look like hell and no food and no bus and NO LUGGAGE.

I know this is some kind of adventure and someday I will look back at it as the winter weather Scandinavian wonderadventure. Sigh.

P.S. The kid in front of me who threw up on me? He had been lying down (we were both aisle seats) and he woke up and just turned his head back towards me, over the armrest, and hurled all over my legs, feet, and floor space. SO yeah. That's the physics.

live blogging lamest flight ever

This flight sucks.

Live from SAS Seattle --> Copenhagen. Internet connecton 30,000 feet above.

Copenhagen. A fine city where Kiyash and I had very awesome plans and reservations at a 5-star hotel.

Copenhagen. Which we circled for an hour while the pilot tried to figure out if we could land in the snowy conditions or not.

Now we are being diverted to Stockholm. :( To stay the night.

And miss the Royal Christening and La Glace and dinner with friends in Copenhagen.

This sucks sucks sucks.

Also, the kid in front of me threw up on my pants and shoes.

Sucks sucks sucks.