Updating Past Styles: Estonian Architect Allan Strus

Design & Designers, Stunt Double, Thumbs Up

Estonian architect Allan Strus uses historical styles as springboard in his building designs. Filled with modern features like triple-glazed windows plus high-quality insulation and soundproofing, his houses nevertheless charmingly nod towards earlier styles like Jugend and Neoclassicism. Other contemporary features in his buildings include French balconies, underground parking structures or roof terraces.

HS Allan Strus Tallinn Vesivärava 40

Vesivärava 40, Tallinn, Estonia. Design by Allan Strus, photo by Marko Mumm; via Helsingin Sanomat.

 

The design ethos is described at Arkitehtibüroo Allan Strus website like this:

“We believe that built environment should enrich the environment surrounding us, harmonize with it, depart from local customs and traditions instead of shocking the observer. We also think that buildings should tell their users and watchers about their essence and birth as well as about their owners. We hold that buildings and entire built environment should be beautiful and elegant, not ostentatious and arrogant. We hold that harmony and beauty of buildings must be clearly understood also when we are gone, not only in the perspective of a short-time trend. We are convinced that buildings must be physically and visually solid and durable, that they must certainly last longer than for one human generation, because this is the only way to restate the consistency and transmission of man-made values from one preceding generation to the following. […]

“Therefore we depart from traditional and classical architecture and try to combine it with local customs, circumstances and specific requirements as well as with latest technology. We believe in consistency of traditions and vitality of classical values precisely because they are essentially not derived from trends but stem from technical, logical and aesthetic solutions-tectonics- formulated by centuries long experience of mankind and easily adjust to changing needs and demands of a specific period.“

Strus doesn’t only design apartment buildings, though. His private residences and vacation retreats follow the same design principles.

Allan Strus Pirita-Kose Tallinn Private Home

Arkitehtibüroo Allan Strus.

As Jugend is one of my favorite building styles, I love Strus’s work a lot. The proportions of his buildings are more pleasing than those of later styles like modernism or functionalism. (Some of them ping my Jane Austen radar, too; or at least remind me of what I associate with Regency period building styles.) I wish his approach were already more widely known, for the work is so very beautiful, balanced and harmonious.

More at the Arkitehtibüroo Allan Strus website or Facebook page. (I especially recommend FB for more amazing project photos!)

Found via Helsingin Sanomat (NB. Finnish only).

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

New to Me: Illustrator Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen

Design & Designers, Thumbs Up

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen is a Finnish illustrator living in Vancouver, Canada. Her style is colorful and stylized. It reminds me of Eastern European folk tales and another Finnish artist, Tove Jansson. Take a look yourself:

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen Tumblr They Belonged to No-One

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen on Tumblr.

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen Twitter Rivals of Aether Worklmiina Eskelinen on Twitter.

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen via Twitter.

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen Tumblr Reindeer

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen on Tumblr.

Oh my goodness, the light and mood of these illustrations is incredible! I’m also struck by how Nordic the woods look. And these are just three of my favorites. There’s so much more on Eva’s Tumblr site.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Geeky, Feminist Motivational Posters for the International Women’s Day

Arts & Crafts, Colors, Design & Designers, Thumbs Up

Due to a post-winterstorm blackout a week ago, I’m still catching up on my Internet reading, so I only saw these awesome, nerdy motivational posters now. It was worth the wait, though:

Tumblr Risa Rodil Poster Shuri Improved

Risa Rodil on Tumblr.

“Just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.”

Referring of course to Shuri from the movie Black Panther. As another tinkerer, I wholeheartedly agree! 😀

Tumblr Risa Rodil Poster Successful Woman Herself

Risa Rodil on Tumblr.

“Behind every successful woman is herself.”

The posters are by letterer, illustrator and designerd Risa Rodil. She posted them on Tumblr in honor of the International Women’s Day (March 08).

Visit Risa Tumblr post for more geeky feminist posters. And while there, look at the rest of her work – such a distinct, lively, whimsical style. I especially liked this library poster:

Tumblr Risa Rodil Poster When Doubt Library

Risa Rodil on Tumblr.

“When in doubt, go to the library.”

Find more about Risa on her website, including where to buy her designs.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Finnish Folk Hop Ensemble Tuuletar Lends Wings to Game of Thrones Ad

Arts & Crafts, Movies & TV, Thumbs Up

Alku (‘Beginning’), a piece by the Finnish vocal folk hop ensemble Tuuletar, appears in a Game of Thrones commercial. The band’s website says,

“’Alku’, the opening track from Tuuletar’s debut album “tules maas vedes taivaal” has been sold for the use of one of the most popular tv-series in the whole world, HBO’s Game of Thrones. The song will be heard in the season 7 DVD and Blue-Ray [sic] commercial, which will be broadcasted worldwide. The deal was made together with Finnish record label Bafe’s Factory and ThinkSync Music from London.”

The ThinkSync news page on the sale links to a German-language DVD / Blu-Ray trailer for GoT season 7 on YouTube with Alku in the background:

GAME OF THRONES Staffel 7 – Trailer #2 Deutsch HD German (2017) by Warner Bros. DE

Tuuletar mashes up a cappella, beatboxing and Finnish folk music and poetry into a unique combination. Their debut album, Tules maas vedes taivaal (‘On Fire and Earth, in Water and Sky‘), won the prestigious Emma Award (the Finnish version of a Grammy) for the best ethno album of the year in 2016.

Tuuletar IMG_0510-1024x683

Tuuletar.

Vocalists Venla Ilona Blom, Sini Koskelainen, Johanna Kyykoski and Piia Säilynoja make up Tuuletar. More videos at YouTube or Tuuletar website.

Congrats, Tuuletar! I first blogged about the band two years ago just before they released their debut record, and am absolutely delighted to see them doing so well. And Alku is so amazing it gives me chills – always a sign of greatness!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Possible Presidential Wool Socks?

Arts & Crafts, Fabrics & Materials, Thumbs Up

My native Finland is voting for a president this coming Sunday. One of the most quirky newspaper articles leading to the election focused on the candidates’ favorite wool socks.

That’s right – their wool socks.

Helsingin Sanomat (HS), the largest national daily, asked all of the eight candidates to bring in their favorite pair of wool socks to be photographed (note: article in Finnish only). The socks were then arranged into a quiz for readers to try and match each candidate with their socks. And here they are:

Presidentinvaalien lempivillasukat 2018

Outi Pyhäranta / Helsingin Sanomat.

It’s telling that no-one refused to share their favorite socks. Like sauna or certain traditional foods, wool socks are a core part of the Finnish identity. Journalist Marko Junkkari writes that wool socks are a symbol of ordinary, everyday life, which is the image the candidates aspire to portray. If one candidate were to refuse sharing their favourite socks, they might come across too cocky and pompous.

On one hand, I was left wondering how serious the article was, but on the other I do appreciate that Junkkari thought to ask and the candidates all responded. It’s not that I really need to know what kind of socks each candidate is wearing. Rather, knowing that our presidential candidates do wear wool socks and took the request seriously is a nice reminder of our unifying humanity, especially in a small country that’s partially in the Arctic.

Another reason I loved the article is that I do love wool socks! Sock knitting is still very much a living tradition in Finland. In fact, one of the candidates told HS that her mother knitted her socks, and two more said their socks were made by supporters. Another of the three female candidates said she’s favoring a loaner pair.

Oh, Finland – never change! 🙂

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Jenkins’s Wonder Woman Movie Inspired Vocabulary Change in ASL

Geek out!, Stunt Double, Thumbs Up

Apparently, there’s been a vocabulary change in American sign language (ASL) because of the Wonder Woman movie. The 6-panel gif below shows an exchange between an ASL-using audience member and Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins.

Jenkins Wonder Woman ASL Comment1Jenkins Wonder Woman ASL Comment2Jenkins Wonder Woman ASL Comment3Jenkins Wonder Woman ASL Comment4Jenkins Wonder Woman ASL Comment5Jenkins Wonder Woman ASL Comment6

[audience member in ASL] “In the 1970s, when you have Lynda Carter, I was a little girl and I would copy it and I would sign like this.” [shows the old Wonder Woman sign that involves multiple segments]

[in ASL] “However today, because of this film, we have changed it for this.” [crosses her arms like Wonder Woman in the movie]

[Patty Jenkins, delighted] “Wow!”

[in ASL] “So these little deaf girls are signing now ‘Wonder Woman’.”

[in ASL] “And when I grew up we were doing the multiple signs, so thank you. Thank you!” [applauds in sign language]

[Patty Jenkins] “Wow! That’s so cool! That’s so cool! That’s awesome! Thank you! That is amazing!”

Wonder Woman interview with Patty Jenkins, Connie Nielsen and Lucy Davis at the Apple SoHo, August 23, 2017.

Yay & wow! To have changed language with your work really is awesome. 🙂

Found via I Bought the Airline on Tumblr.

Discoveries: INFJoe Cartoons

Books & Mags, Thumbs Up

Artist and introvert Aaron Caycedo-Kimura set up a creative persona for his insightful comics. As INFJoe, he shares the joys and frustrations about being an introvert.

I first ran into the comics through his book Text, Don’t Call: An Illustrated Guide to the Introverted Life.

Illustrated Introverted Text Dont Call

The book cover describes it like this:

“Introversion is no longer taboo, but there are still many misconceptions out there. People think we’re just shy or anti-social. That we don’t want to have close relationships, that we’re all cat people, or that we don’t like big parties. (Okay, the last one may be true.)”

And, boy, do INFJoe Cartoons deliver! As an introvert married to another introvert, I find so much to relate in the comics. Below are some of my favorites.

Introvert Togetherness:

INFJoe Introvert Togetherness

“I LOVE being alone. Together.”

#Introvert Inclusion:

INFJoe Introvert Inclusion

“Sometimes we want to be left alone. Sometimes we want to be included. Most of the time we want to be included with the option to be left alone.”

I’m Busy Working Here:

INFJoe Im Busy Working Here

“Staring off into space I’m bored. Talk to me.”

“Staring off into space = I’m busy working here.”

Love ’em! Especially the one about being alone together. There’s so much comfort in knowing at gut level that your partner knows exactly what it’s like to be an introvert, too.

Read more INFJoe comics or shop the INFJoeCartoons store.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

My Worldcon 75 Highlights

Geek out!, Thumbs Up

A random assortment of memorable moments, thoughts, views, and quotes from our time at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki.

From the panel: Always Connected, It’s Mandatory with Effie Seiberg, Fred C. Moulton, Jo Lindsay Walton, Kristina K., and Tommi Helenius

  • I missed who said it and whether there were further details, but one panelist mentioned a study with the finding that merely having a cell phone on your desk, even if it’s off, lowers your ability to concentrate by about 20 percent.

The tidbit certainly gives food for thought. If true, it gives an added bonus my decision to keep my phone out the way on a small side table. Phone out of direct line of sight: +2 to concentration roll!

 

From the panel: Pronouns, Who Needs Gender Pronouns with Cenk Gokce, Johanna Sinisalo, Catherine Lundoff, Kelvin Jackson, and John Chu

  • Johanna Sinisalo shared a story from producing the freebie anthology given to congoers, Giants at the End of the World. The translator for a story she was editing asked the gender of a very minor character that passes by in the background in order to use the correct pronoun, so she passed the question on to the author. Their reply was: “Who knows?”
  • John Chu continued on the effect that grammatical details like that have on thinking: in English you have to specify, whereas in languages that have different pronoun systems, speakers may specify the gender of their characters.
  • There was an audience comment on the 3rd person singular pronoun it used of people (in reference to a panelist who remarked that that’s possible in some dialectal uses in some languages). In the commenter’s view, people want to contain multitudes, and using it of people would be taking something away.

Clearly, defining characters’ gender matters greatly to some people and not so much to others (like the “Who knows?” Finnish author). Of course, not all writing nor all works of fiction are or should be the same, or created for the same purpose. For example, when the mood takes me, I’m delighted to read fluffy comfort lit that at other times would drive me to distraction. I think the variety that exists is fantastic, and limiting our expressions—especially in speculative fiction—is, well, limiting. We as a species do indeed contain multitudes.

Instagram Lada ladule_b W75 Fandom Is Family

 

Autographs: I got my copy of Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff signed.

Maresi w Author Autograph

 

From the panel: Editor’s Dream with Thoraiya Dyer, Masumi Washington, Katrina Archer, and Robert S. Malan

  • Katrina Archer, a Canadian copyeditor who works with both Canadian and American writers, mentioned that she creates a style sheet for each individual story. She includes, among others, notes on word selections (in consultation with the authors) and the dictionary and spellings used.

Self-evident, when you think about the pragmatics of editing. I’m going to steal that idea to apply for my various projects.

 

From the panel: Reviewing 101 with Juan Sanmiguel, Markku Soikkeli, John Clute, and Fred Lerner

  • Fred Lerner, by his own description “a recovering librarian” (yay librarians!), quoted Sturgeon’s Law (to the effect of: 90% of everything is crap) and noted that it therefore follows 10% is of use, so if a reviewer cannot find that 10% maybe they should do something different.

I’ll have to try and remember this. Not that I review things that often, but to vet other reviewers. (Also, note to self, a related critique panel mentioned Mary Robinette’s method which I believe is the one she tweets about here.)

 

In the exhibits hall: On guest of honor Nalo Hopkinson’s table, a puzzle featuring her book covers had been set out for passersby to work on. Irresistible! And a really inventive, unintrusive promo method.

Patreon Nalo Hopkinson W75 Book Cover Puzzle

 

Made it: There’s photographic proof I was at Worldcon!

Instagram Baron Dave Romm W75 Art of the Snapshot

 

From the panel: Jack of All Trades, Master of Several with Carl, Roseanne Rabinowitz, and Jani Saxell

  • Carl remarked that “external brains” (=tech) can help us branch out because looking up information is very easy.
  • Jani Saxell noted that as SF operates at the edges of the new and strange, you cannot prepare for everything; there should be a place for generalists in SFnal stories.

As a Jill of Many Trades myself, I found the topic fascinating. I’d note that finding information may have gotten much easier, but a lot still depends on an individual’s ability to sift the useful from useless and absorbing the appropriate bits.

 

Seen in person: We’ve streamed it a few times before, so we knew the routine, but it was surprisingly exciting to be able to attend the Hugo Awards ceremony.

Instagram writer_aki Aki Parhamaa W75 Hugo Awards

 

Seen in person: I also had several nice random meetings with both old friends (some of whom I haven’t seen in over 15 years) and new-to-me people. For example, on Friday we saw a Finnish journalist and fan Jussi Ahlroth on morning tv talking about the con and later that day actually met him. Cool. 🙂

 

Speaking of cool: Did you know that John Howe (yes, THAT John Howe!) was at Worldcon?!?

Instagram writer_aki Aki Parhamaa W75 John Howe

 

From the panel: Older Women in Genre Fiction with Catherine Lundoff, Delia Sherman, Liisa Rantalaiho, and Helena McCallum

  • The panel noted among other things that women’s bodily needs aren’t usually present in stories. Older women don’t have to deal with e.g. menstruation, but they do have physical ailments due to age. Elizabeth Moon was mentioned as someone who is great at describing the difficulty of getting going in the morning, for example. The panelists also talked about how, just like in real life, older women in stories are often hiding in plain sight (i.e., ignored).
  • Liisa Rantalaiho noted: Older women have sex.

Another fascinating panel through and through. Elizabeth Moon’s name came up in other panels, too; clearly I need to look her up.

 

Seen in person: Speaking of looking people up, I found a few other new-to-me authors and artists to try. I often do that if I like what someone’s said at a panel or program item.

 

The end is nigh: At some point during the con, signs for marking the end of the line (when queueing into program rooms) appeared for people to hold up and pass on. Of course it would’ve been nicer if long lines hadn’t happened at all, but it was a practical and humorous solution to an annoying facilities problem.

Instragram Tiina Vastamaa tiinatupuna W75 End of Line Please Queue Here

 

From the panel: Gender and “Realistic History” with Cheryl Morgan, Thomas Årnfelt, Gillian Pollack, Jo Walton, and Scott Lynch

  • Jo Walton said that women are left out when canons get formed; if you go looking for women in extant documents, they are there.
  • Thomas Årnfelt mentioned a few examples of women’s occupations gleaned from 12th c. Parisian tax documents: various positions in food and textile industries, barber, goldsmith, locksmith, and night guard, among others.
  • Cheryl Morgan talked about how people have been constructing gender(s) in many various ways in history / around the world. E.g. beer brewing and tavern keeping are now seen as male professions, when in fact they were purely women’s work at one point. Another example she gave is that a man couldn’t work in Nelson’s army (or Napoleon’s?? can’t make out my handwriting) if he didn’t know how to sew.

Lively discussion and many, many examples. I kept missing references writing down others. I wish this panel had been videotaped!

 

Seen in person: A live astronaut. All three presentations / panels with Kjell Lindgren were fascinating! Here’s the video of The Kjell & Jenny Show: A NASA Astronaut and his PAO where Kjell talks about the astronaut selection and preparation process.

The Kjell & Jenny Show: A NASA Astronaut and his PAO by Worldcon 75

 

Once upon a time on a lunch break: I ate at the Messukeskus Hesburger fast food joint (also fondly known as Hese) purely out of nostalgia. And was proud of myself, both as a Finn and an introvert, for sharing a table and a conversation with a total stranger. I don’t typically do that. At the same place my top half was also, memorably but unfortunately, splattered with hot chocolate. Oh well. Accidents happen, and I wasn’t scalded.

 

From the panel: Pullantuoksuinen – Writing While Multilingual with Nina Niskanen, Aliette de Bodard, Emmi Itäranta, Ken Liu, and Jakob Drud

  • Emmi Itäranta commented that juggling two languages simultaneously is sometimes a hindrance (if you find a fantastic phrase in one language but not the other), but it also makes you a better writer because it forces you to be more specific in your meaning.
  • Ken Liu noted that it’s perhaps more important to explain a cultural concept for yourself than the audience.

I have a bad habit of code-switching out of pure sloth with Husband since he knows Finnish so well. Perhaps I ought to try and stick to one language at a time. Apart from making puns; that I won’t give up. 🙂

 

From the panel: On the Care and Feeding of Secondary Characters with Fiona Moore, Carrie Patel, Mur Lafferty, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, and Diana ben-Aaron

  • “Knowing why characters exist tends to make them flat. Try not to know that.”

Really great quote. If you know who said it, please let me know! (Jo Walton???)

 

“I liked the way everyone was pleasant and polite. Panelists seemed to get along well with each other, even when they disagreed. Audiences seemed appreciative. The whole thing was good, low-tension fun. I sometimes think the discussions on the Internet leave people with a really wrong idea of what the experience of attending a convention is like. Problems are few, attitudes are positive, and people laugh and smile a lot.”

– Greg Hullender commenting at File 770

There were problems, and I witnessed some true clueless behavior first hand, but on the whole I agree with Greg. I saw so many examples of people greeting each other, sharing small moments of connection, helping each other out in general, troubleshooting tech issues, sharing tips and smiles, and giving up their seats to those who needed it or who might enjoy a panel more. Fandom definitely is my family. ❤

 

From the panel: Book Blogs with Cora Buhlert, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Shaun Duke, and Thomas Wagner

  • Shaun Duke of The Skiffy and Fanty Show (I think—please correct me if I’m attributing this to the wrong person) said some authors don’t seem to understand how the Internet works. Apparently he’s chosen not to review some people because he’s seen how they’ve treated other fans and reviewers online.

Yup. Rep gets around.

160204dingy

 

Images: Fandom Is Family by Lada (ladule_b) via Instagram. Maresi by Eppu Jensen. Nalo Hopkinson puzzle by Nalo Hopkinson via Patreon. Art of the Snapshot panel audience by Baron Dave Romm (david_e_romm) via Instagram. Hugo Awards ceremony collage by Aki Parhamaa (writer_aki) via Instagram. John Howe by Aki Parhamaa (writer_aki) via Instagram. End of Line by Tiina Vastamaa (tiinatupuna) via Instragram. Dingy bird via MTV.

Cross-posted from Co-Geeking.