Fourth NotWork Bear Project

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!

I’m continuing to make items to assist the Helsinki in 2017 Worldcon bid with two kinds of bookmarks. One is your basic flat, long rectangle…

Bear Bookmarks White Turq

…and the other is round with an elastic band to loop around the book:

Bear Bookmarks Round w Book

Both, naturally, come with an appliqued polar bear from the bid logo. The round one has apparently already inspired other uses as well:

Bear Bookmark Pirate Arrrchipelacon

Unknown at Archipelacon; via Helsinki in 2017 on Twitter.

LOL! 😀

My previous projects are hanging ornaments, rosemary sachets and small book bags. (Find posts with the Helsinki in 2017 tag, or peek at my Helsinki in 2017 album in Flickr.)

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

My Worldcon 2017 Site Selection Vote Is Away!

Geek out!

I’ve blogged before about volunteering my crafting skills for the Finnish fandom’s bid to bring Worldcon to Helsinki in 2017. (Find posts with the Helsinki in 2017 tag, or peek at my Helsinki in 2017 album in Flickr.)

The site selection voting for the 2017 Worldcon has been open for a while now. Husband and I filled and mailed our ballots yesterday.

Worldcon 2017 Site Selection Ballots

My reasons for choosing Helsinki, in a nutshell, are as follows:

  • 2017 is Finland’s centennial year as an independent nation. Hosting a Worldcon would make our celebratory year even more awesome, and I bet it would be a great year to visit, culture-wise.
  • Helsinki is international, clean, quiet, and well maintained with excellent public transit (which will be free for con attendees!) and magical, light summer nights*. Practically everyone speaks English, and the Swedish-language signs help in navigating the town.**
  • I’ve been to numerous cons in Finland in the decade-plus before moving to the States. Every single one was run smoothly and professionally. Not only that, the Helsinki in 2017 bid team has more than a few experienced conrunners in it.
  • Worldcon needs more “world” in it! (See voting instructions in 7 languages at the bid site.)

The bid chair Eemeli Aro says it perfectly in his cover letter for the official bid paperwork:

“If selected, Helsinki in 2017 would be the northernmost Worldcon ever, the first Worldcon in continental Europe since 1990, and the fourth ever held in a country that doesn’t hold English as its native tongue. We believe it’s time for this, that it’s time to put more world into Worldcon, and to give European fans a chance to participate in a way we’ve not been able to before.” [original emphasis]


Helsinki in 2017 Logo

Helsinki in 2017.

I proudly voted for the bid, and would love to see the con in Helsinki!

And I’m not the only one. To pick a few I’m excited about:

“For one thing, it’ll be nice to have a Worldcon someplace where it’s not hotter than the surface of Mercury* during the summer months. For another, the free hotel breakfasts in Northern Europe have to be seen to be believed. This is a twenty-five dollar buffet in the U.S–and some of them serve tea (the meal, not the drink, though they also have the drink) as well. That stretches your congoing food budget!

“Additionally, there’s the little mater [sic] of the venue. Helsinki is a beautiful, fascinating city full of culture and history and very fine public transportation. If, like me, you have a tendency to sneak out of the con and sightsee a little, there is plenty there to view.

“I’ve have heard some concern about the language issue. There is no language issue.

“If one of your languages is English (I’m going to assume, since you’re reading this) you will have no issues at all navigating. (It’s sort of a running joke with my agent and I that while my books sell very well in the Nordic countries as imports, we can’t get a translation deal there. Because everyone speaks English…”

How to add your voice:

Lastly, a few Helsinki links for the curious:

  • A Quick Guide to Helsinki by Mel, a New Zealander living in Finland, with city walks, places to visit, cultural sites, markets, daytrips and more from the point of view of an English speaker learning the city.
  • Author George R.R. Martin’s recap of his Finncon 2009 experience and his reasons for backing the 2015 Helsinki Worldcon bid.
  • Creative commons licensed photos of Helsinki in Flickr. Gorgeous shots!
  • John Kovalic (of the Munchkin illustrator fame) reports on his experience as guest of honor at the biggest role-playing con in Finland, Ropecon, back in 2004. I had the pleasure of seeing him talk at the con. Even though held in Espoo, not Helsinki, Kovalic covers some of his experiences as a visitor to the greater Helsinki area which might be useful.
  • Randall Munroe’s book What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Situations gives Helsinki as one of the safest places to wait out hypothetical supersonic winds created by a hypothetical stop in Earth’s rotation. 🙂

Randall Munroe: What If? Via Mashable.


* Well, -ish. Helsinki is too far south for “proper” midnight sun in August. Sunset will probably be around 10 p.m., but that’s something, too.

**Swedish is our second official language; English is the unofficial third.

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

Third NotWork Bear Project

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!

I’m continuing to make items to assist the Helsinki in 2017 Worldcon bid. Small felt book bags have joined ornaments and rosemary sachets:

Bear Project Bags WhiteBear Project Bag Turq Bk

The bags were really fun to make! More info on the event itself on bid website, and on the voting process on Crystal Huff’s blog.

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

Second NotWork Bear Project

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!

You may remember that I made small felt bear ornaments for the Helsinki in 2017 Worldcon bid. For my second gift item project, I made sachets with the bear logo.

Bear Project Sachets3

The sachets are filled with organic dried rosemary from Egypt and rice from the USA. They are great for sock drawers, off-season clothing storage or glove compartment. Also, as rice is a natural desiccant, slipping a sachet into your shoes helps keep them fresher longer.

I’m also tickled by a shout-out in File 770. Mike Glyer reported on the craftiness of the Helsinki in 2017 bid, with photos of the cool items that bid supporters have made. I had heard of some of them, but there were several surprises, too. (Helsinki 2017 bear bubble wands, anyone?) The variety is quite impressive; love it! Thanks, Mike! And thank you for the link to my Helsinki in 2017 Flickr album – appreciate your spreading the word.

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

So, I Went to Arisia 2015…

After Hours, Geek out!

…and here’s the proof!

Arisia 2015 Badge

I’m inordinately proud of my Arisia membership badge, embellished with a Helsinki in 2017 ribbon, of course. 🙂

For future reference, I collected some impressions below.


My first con on the western side of the Atlantic!

First time in a gender-neutral bathroom. It was a bit of a mental jolt, partly because I’d missed the sign informing me of it, and I’m afraid I may have upset one person by acting very baffled. Sorry. I did return to the same bathroom with better manners later.


Relatively nearby

Arisia has a Code of Conduct AND takes it seriously. I felt safe.

The Friday night check-in line seemed as long as a famine year, but moved at quite a good clip. Clearly they know what they’re doing!

Top of the line programming – many, many tracks in a variety of topics, with competent, interesting, intelligent, considerate participants. (I wish I could say the same of some of the professional conferences I’ve been to.) Eating and sleeping meant by necessity missing something interesting.

Excellent on-site signage and maps. UX win!

So many other geeks!


Parking. It’s Boston; what can I say.

Overheard other members tell of Code of Conduct breaches at previous cons even though I wasn’t seeking that information. It means, sadly, that harassment is still an issue I need to be prepared for.

Very tight schedule. There were only 15-minute breaks between sessions, and no slots for lunch or dinner breaks were built in. OTOH, I do see how including more “hang-out time” in the schedule could be problematic. YMMV.

So many other geeks! As an extreme introvert, it was exhausting. (And Arisia isn’t even very big. I cannot imagine attending Pax East or other larger events.)

Other Positives:

We pre-planned large chunks of our weekend, which helped us navigate the strange environment.

The age range of members was great! From babes in arms to toddlers to teens to middle-aged to grey-haired.

The hotel tv selection included HGTV! (It’s my guilty pleasure watching when I can get it.)

Made note of several author panelists and will check out their publications. Potential new books to read!

Other Negatives:

We stayed at another hotel, not the con hotel itself. Even though our hotel was great and it was in the vicinity of the con, trudging up and down got tiresome.

Some program rooms overflowed, while others weren’t even half full. I did notice, though, that Arisia staff did head counts at the panels, so clearly they’re trying their best to estimate the popularity of the programming.

Got the interruption-dismissal treatment repeatedly from one particular panelist, and the moderator apparently didn’t even notice. Currently debating whether it’s worthwhile to contact said moderator and leave a comment, or whether it’s just a waste of my time and energy.

Didn’t have time to even peek into the Dealers’ Room.

I slept extremely poorly throughout, and had to skip the Helsinki Worldcon bid party among other things. Not the con’s fault, though.

Some attendees had abominable cell phone manners. Again, not the con’s fault.

Other Thoughts:

Having previously only been to cons that were held in convention centers (or equivalent), it was slightly disorienting at first to be at a hotel con.

Bringing my own water bottle and snacks = majorly smart. Did not end up reading my emergency entertainment book much, though.

Wearing layers = also majorly smart. Some rooms got warm, while in others there was a draft. (Note to self: another time, leave the fleece home – I got so staticky I was zapped by just about every door handle and even water from the faucets. Winter in New England, gah!)

My programming preferences fortunately meant staying in the smaller conference rooms (for the most part), which helped me manage the needs of my introverted brain. An accidental outcome worth adopting into a conscious strategy.

In the future, stay at the con hotel, unless another option offers a significant price / comfort / convenience difference.

In the future, use even more hand sanitizer if at a con in the winter. (We both got sick. Bleargh.)

Lastly, I had a bit of a deer-in-the-headlights moment getting my copy of The Killing Moon signed by Nora Jemisin. I don’t think I said anything extremely stupid, but I can’t count on it.

Arisia 2015 Author Signature


Final verdict: I would probably go to another U.S. con, although it probably needs to be non-profit-by-fans-to-fans (and not commercial) and small-ish, with a decent Code of Conduct.

NotWork Bear Project for Helsinki in 2017 Worldcon Bid

Arts & Crafts, Geek out!

I’ve been working on an exciting NotWork project! The Finnish SF/F fandom has mounted a bid to host the World Science Fiction Convention (or Worldcon) in Helsinki in 2017.

Helsinki in 2017 Logo

Helsinki in 2017.

To help the bid, I’ve been adapting the logo – a running, anthropomorphic bear – into small gift items. The first is a felt ornament.

Bear Project 2nd Attempt

After a few attempts, I got the materials and technique down to make a first batch of bears.

Bear Project 2nd Attempt Finished

Now I just need teal felt to match the official bid colors. And look – they were already featured on the Helsinki in 2017 Twitter feed:

Yay! If you’re at a convention and see a Helsinki in 2017 info table or party, I encourage you to stop by. Besides info on the bid, there’s Finnish candy (which is gooood!), fun people, photo op possibilities with Moomin trolls and sometimes even a bear by yours truly. And in 2015, when the time comes, vote for Finland! 🙂

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