Many years ago, I used to go to filk sessions at conventions — I still vividly remember one session at the first Westercon we went to at the Sheraton Palace in San Francisco, when we were moved out of the hallway and into the ladies’ lounge (which shocked a few mundanes who wanted to actually use the restroom). I’ve forgotten most of the filk songs from that era, but I’ve suddenly been reminded of the old classic, “If it tastes like cardboard, it must be skiffy”, sung to the tune of “Shine On Harvest Moon”:
Cylons, Cylons carve up moons
Out of the sky.
They killed all the colonists
on Aries, Sagittarius, and both Gemini.
Microns aren’t as small
As microns used to be.
Oh, Cylons, sigh along with me
For you and your show.
Why do I mention this song now, you may ask? It’s because I’ve noticed that the connection from this meeting is in the sci.fi domain, which I find enormously amusing.
Oh, yeah, and Battlestar Galactica has been revived. Fortunately, it’s better this time around.
I’m back in the DBE meeting today, having been formally introduced as a member of the Strategic Advisory Board for the project. It’s cold in Tampere, currently -17C (but at least it’s above zero Fahrenheit!), but since I’m inside, that doesn’t matter much. The sun was out for the first time since I’ve been in Finland, which was nice; I say was, though, because they’ve just closed all of the curtains in the room, so now it’s dark in here again.
At least I’m on the same side of the room as the reviewers, so I can follow what’s happening better — that’s good, because today’s session is for the Computing Domain of the project, which is the part I was brought in to advise. Time to concentrate….
By the time I got back to the hotel, I was tired enough that I didn’t want to go out for dinner. Instead, I went back to the hotel restaurant — Piazza Foodfactory — where I had what I guess must be a typical Finnish meal: tapas as an appetizer, and “salmon wok” for the main course. The food in the restaurant is good, but there’s definitely no sense of place — the decor is that of an upscale food court, and the menu features curries, wok dishes, pastas, pizzas, and burgers. There doesn’t appear to be any reindeer or bear available, either — plenty of turkey, beef, chicken, pork, tuna, and salmon, though.
At least they do feature Finnish beers; I’d had Lapin Kulta on draft the first night (as well as in Helsinki), which was pretty good. But I wanted to try a different beer this time, so I had a bottle of Karjala. It was nondescript. As it happens, both beers are brewed by the same company, Hartwall, which is now owned by Scottish & Newcastle of the UK. I’ll have to check out the beer menu at the restaurant to see if they feature other S&N beers (perhaps Newcastle Brown Ale), but I’ll probably go back to the Lapin Kulta.
The house wines, by the way, are from Ernest and Julio Gallo, speaking of a lack of place.
To be fair, I should mention that the breakfasts at the hotel are more localized; they have Finnish porridge and rice cakes, as well as smoked salmon, smoked trout, tasty breads, and much more. Breakfast is definitely worth the time!
Sundown here was about 25 minutes ago (3:50pm local time), and now having lots of windows in the meeting room is a disadvantage, because it feels later than it is (4:15pm local time). I guess it would be better if the lights in the room were turned on.
The good news, though, is that the discussions have turned from project management to technical issues, so I’m more interested. And there have even been some questions raised, unlike the earlier presentations, so there’s some energy in the room, too.
But it’s hard to overcome the darkness.
Today, I’m paying for yesterday’s sightseeing. I’m in Hermia, which is a suburb of Tampere, at the Technology Centre, attending the second annual review of the Digital Business Ecosystem project. This is a three-day meeting; I’m here as a member of the project’s Strategic Advisory Board (as a result of reviewing some proposals last year), and so I’m learning a lot and meeting many people.
There are about four official EC reviewers here, and the presenters are speaking directly to them; unfortunately, I’m on the opposite side of the room, and no one is using a mike, so paying attention isn’t easy. Add to that the fact that this is my third day in Europe, which is usually the worst day for jet lag for me, and that the meeting room is quite warm, and…well, the fact that I’m blogging probably speaks for itself.
At least the room has lots of windows, so we’re getting some natural light. Not much, because it’s cloudy; in fact, it’s snowing lightly. And the exterior temperature has been going down all morning; it was -2C when I left the hotel, and now it’s down to -6C. I went out for a few minutes during the break, and the cold cleared my head nicely — but then when I came back in, the fog set in again. Somehow, -6C seems colder than the equivalent of 21F — which is cold, but not ridiculous. Tomorrow’s forecast, however, is for a high of 6F and a low of -4F; that is ridiculous!