Friday, January 30, 2015

SnowCastle Opening Ceremony 2015!


This post is a few days due, but I've honestly been busy and it took a while to go through 100+ photos and edit them. OTL Okay so, with that said let's get on with this post!

So on the 24th January I got a call from mom around afternoon something "The SnowCastle's opening ceremony is today and Sonata Arctica is playing there, do you want to go?" she asked. The choice was very easy to make. I mean, one of my favorite metal bands were playing and I haven't been to LumiLinna (aka SnowCastle) in ages; last time was around 2002 or 2003 maybe? I don't even remember. xD

Wait a second. What is this whole SnowCastle thing?
Ah, yeah. Well, I'll explain. :'D

Okay so, LumiLinna/SnowCastle is literally exactly what it sounds like a castle made out of snow. Surprise! It's a very popular/famous tourist attraction in Kemi (northern Finland) and a lot of people go there, Finns included. *thumbs up* It's something that can't be found anywhere else in the world, it's a really unique experience magical. I warmly recommend visiting it at least once in your life, if you ever take the road to Finland. ^_^
The thing with SnowCastle is that, because it's made out of snow, it will also do what snow always does it will melt and disappear when spring comes. So yeah, basically saying that the castle is rebuilt every year and it's a huge job; this is also why it's never the same one year to the next.
One of the special things is that every year SnowCastle has a different theme that the castle is circulating around and this year it is 'suomalaisuus', in other words 'the Way of Finland'. Yep, this means that the castle's design and snow sculptures are all related to the Finnish life. It takes a long time to build and design the whole thing and there's talented artists from all over the world making the ice and snow sculptures.
But now I'm gonna stop rambling, so if you want more information just head on over to the official site. ;)

SnowCastle entrance.
I went there with mom, stepdad, Jäätynyt Enkeli and Hasakitsuki. Menimme harrastamaan kulttuuria! I was really curious because, as I said, I hadn't been to the SnowCastle in ages and I barely remembered anything of what it was like! :'D We bought our tickets, saw the scene for the band being empty and went inside to check out the castle, meanwhile we waited for the opening ceremony to start.

Now up ahead are some photos that I took of the wall art!
All pictures can be opened in a new tab/window/whatnot to view full-size.
I apologize ahead for the photo quality.. 

One of the first things we were met by the Finnish Lion.
... and Moomins. What did you expect, death metal?
Don't forget the Angry Birds! They're Finnish!
Michael Monroe (front figure of Hanoi Rocks band).
You saw it coming, right?
Famous Finnish ice-hockey players, including number 8 in the middle.
When we walked through this first corridor there came a hall which had the cafeteria in it. It was really comfy and had some wonderful light effects and by light effects I mean that there were northern lights and a fireplace.. of ice. That was red.

One of the cafeteria hall walls, so cool!
Cafeteria feat. northern lights, well, lights. They changed colors!
We didn't buy anything from the cafeteria.
There was a huge tractor carved out of a craplot of ice blocks in the same hall too, it was really cool.

Next we headed to another corridor, this time one that showcased the Finnish forest and fishing industry.

Fishing time, fishing time ~
Onpas äijällä kala!
At the end of this corridor was a swan made out of ice. Swans are Finland's national bird.

Ice swan!
We took a pic next to it.. and I was the photographer. Ari pls. xD
There was also a church room and in the altar was an ice statue of Christ. 
Seemingly you can book marriages and such in this church room.

The obligatory church cross.
Frozen roses.. roses in ice?
Kirkkolaiva anyone?
In another corridor were snow sculptures of sauna images, a moose, a bear and some other Finnish stuff. In the same corridor were also the hotel rooms. Yep, you can sleep over in the SnowCastle if you book a hotel room. I bet it's not exactly warm.

One of the hotel room beds.
 Actually all the rooms had different artwork on the walls. One had an angel theme, another one had something that I wasn't sure what it was and the third one had vikings.

The angel room.
The viking r--!! BRO, Y U DO DIS? xD
Have at least one of the viking guys.
At this point it was time for the opening ceremony to start so we hurried back outside to the scene. There were a lot of people in front of the scene and at first I had a really bad standing place I could barely see shit! D: So I showed Hasakitsuki a sign and we started worming and elbowing our way more towards the middle of the human collection. I happened to get a spot where fairly short people were in front of me, which meant that I could even see something of the scene, success!!

It was snowing and we were waiting, waiting and waiting. Finally something happened and Sonata Arctica came up on scene. <3 First song was Shamandalie.

Scene pic.
Close-up on Tony Kakko and his different outfit.
Second song I honestly had never heard before shame on me so it must have been one of the newer ones. It was a calm love song. The third song though was White Pearls, Black Oceans! It's one of my favorites. <3 They did a faster and slightly more aggressive (?) version of the song but it was obviously still cool. I don't know if it was just me though, but I guess I was standing too close to the speakers because the music was so loud that I could barely hear Tony sing. :'(

During White Pearls, Black Oceans some moving lights
were shooting to the sky, as if symbolizing lighthouse lights.
It was really pretty and magical. ;A; <3
During the last song there were a looot of special effects in the form of different fireworks and such.

When the long final song was nearing it's end there came a huge fireworks show in the sky just above the audience!!

I had so many photos taken in quick succession so I just made a gif
out of them, enjoy! x)
Final moments of the song! Come on audience!
And then it was over.
After Sonata Arctica had finished playing their three songs there was this epic voice in the speakers, talking about the start of LumiLinna/SnowCastle and the Finnish theme of the year. Next you would notice that there were some men in the roof of the castle (where the lights and fireworks came from just before) and they were shooting flaming arrows up in the sky! :O I had a bad position so I failed to see most of the arrows because they were behind the scene but the little I did see was really fantastic. Sorry no photos. ;_;

After the 20th opening ceremony was over everyone and their grandmas were cramming back inside into the castle. I stayed outside and tried to scout for familiar faces I found mom and stepdad and then quickly the rest. We decided on going to eat hamburgers in town meanwhile we waited out the rush.
Later we came back like 15 minutes before closing time because I had a scratching in my butt that we had missed something inside. And oh thank god for that if we hadn't gone back we would have completely missed the Kalevala Finnish mythology room (I wanted to see it the most!) and this one was by far the most beautiful, if you ask me. Kalevala is Finland's national epic and yeah, it is truly epic. There is a reason many famous fantasy writers have been inspired by it...

But now, photos!

The Kalevala hall.
Yep, that's an ice table with reindeer pelt wooden chairs.
And now for the Kalevala artwork on the walls. <3 I don't know enough about the story to feel confident in telling what is happening on all the photos, some I just don't really know so I didn't write anything on them.

Seppo Ilmarinen, the smith who forged the golden maiden, the heavens,
the Sampo and a lot of other things in Kalevala.
This is probably the Sampo, a magical artifact
made by Ilmarinen that gave good fortune to its holder.
I assume this scene depicts Väinämöinen (the hero sage) when he
was fishing and threw away a small fish. The fish was actually Aino, the
beautiful maiden, and she fled from him. She later drowned herself because
she didn't want to be forced to marry Väinämöinen because he was, well, old.
Väinämöinen the hero, defending the Sampo from the evil witch Louhi,
who had taken the form of a giant bird.

Väinämöinen singing and playing on his kantele, a traditional
Finnish string instrument.
I assume this is Väinämöinen's magical kantele; he
shaped it from a great pike's jaw, which he slayed.

I think that's about all that I had to say. I really enjoyed being in the SnowCastle again; I should take it as a tradition to visit it every year.. it's not like it's far away either. It's just a really cool place to visit.

Heipattihei ~

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pokémon nostalgy waves, sadness and reunitions!

Hiya hello.

A few days ago I got lost in Tradera aka the Swedish equivalent of eBay and then I suddenly remembered a horrible experience from my childhood while browsing the site. I remembered that one fateful day, many years ago, when I was spending summer vacation at my dad's in southern Sweden. Yes, prepare for a story about a day of my life ahead.

It was during this time when Game Boy Advance especially GBA SP, which I had was still fairly new and everyone were playing Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen etc. Back then I used to carry my GBA games in a bag around my neck and well, during this specific day said bag had been washed and it was hanging to dry somewhere; meanwhile I had put all my GBA games on the table thingy in the room me and Jäätynyt Enkeli used to sleep in, aka where the Gamecube was. Yes, it was the gaming room.
Now, you see, me and bro weren't the only kids in the house dad's wife has two kids that were only a few years younger than us and we used to play Gamecube together a lot, back in the good old days. Ah, "Big Big" in Mario Kart. <3
So yeah, remember that I had put all my games on the table while I waited for the carrying bag to dry? Well, this decision was one of the biggest mistakes in my childhood life... AND I REGRET IT SO FUCKING MUCH. EVERY DAY. AAARGRGHGHHG!!1! *heavy breathing*

Guess what happened? :-DD

This one day the two other kids had invited their friends over for some Gamecube gaming. I didn't know said friends but little did it cross my mind that my room was invaded by kids of which at least half were complete strangers, I wasn't there watching over my belongings and most important of all I had my most precious games completely visible on the table. I should have known better!! 8C 
Well, guess.
When the kids had left for the day and I came back into my room I noticed that... both my Pokémon games were gone!! ;_; WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY---
It was Pokémon Sapphire and LeafGreen the main reasons I even had a GBA. What makes it worse is that Sapphire I had even bought with my own money, which, of course, meant either birthday or Christmas money because I almost never got money otherwise; I had been saving up my cash for Sapphire and LeafGreen was one of the last Christmas present from dad a few years prior. To make matters worse both games I had played a lot and I had some really good and rare stuff in them and well, they were my favorite games back then. GUESS IF I WANTED TO FIND THE THIEF/THIEVES, FORK THEM, GRILL THEIR SKIN ON AN OPEN FIRE AND THEN EAT IT?? 8C I was really sad but even more so I was boiling angry and just wanted to find the bastard who basically stole several hundred hours of playtime, irreplaceable memories and joy and just something that belonged to me. Fucking dipshits, if I only knew where you live I'd haunt you forever.. 8C It sucks because me and bro always played Pokémon games together (best childhood gaming moments! <3) and suddenly my games were gone and he still had his. :< Actually, his FireRed was "stolen" too but we later found it in a place he never put it in.. and his save file had been erased.

So yeah, ever since then it has always bothered me that my collection wasn't complete; all my childhood treasures weren't there. :C It felt like there was a hole inside me that needed to be filled back again.
And so, a few days ago, I saw that someone in Tradera was selling LeafGreen and Emerald for fairly cheap. I decided to bite and buy them even though they were used. 
Thing is that I absolutely wanted PAL/EUR versions of the games and obviously authentic ones. The amount of bootlegs floating around... It was too much to ask for new/sealed games because those cost ass and, secondly, weren't the Europe versions which I wanted. :< So yeah, I had to settle for used ones at least it was better than nothing, even though it will never be the same because they weren't the ones I originally bought and played for hours, the ones tied to all the memories... I had to start on a blank again. Hnng my shiny Rapidash and Magneton, all gone! ;_;

Yeah, so today I got an envelope in the mail with two retro games that I've longed for so long. ;U;

It's time for some nostalgy gaming! ;w; <3
I know that I bought Emerald even though I originally had Sapphire. Why?
Well, I would have wanted Sapphire but ever since I read that there is a bug in the game that makes it so that Latios/Latias will always have set Nature and IV's that suck, well, I decided to buy Emerald because in this one the bug was corrected. Yeah, I freakin' love these two Pokémons. Also Emerald has some extra stuff that Sapphire doesn't have. *coughbattlefrontiercough*

Now it's time to go back and play these two babies all over again; I've missed playing the GBA games for so long, hnng! </3

See ya around the geeky districts, bye!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pokémon X & Y games!

Whazzaaaap? ;)

I just wanted to say that I've finally bought me the Pokémon X Version game for Nintendo 3DS! Fun fact: I don't even have a 3DS yet.
Yesterday I checked prices online for where within Sweden the games would be the cheapest to order and surprise surprise it was in Elgiganten! Honestly, didn't see that one coming.. Funnily enough online both of the games only cost 299 SEK each, which is reaaally cheap for a Pokémon game and especially for a fairly new one; the reason I say 'funnily' is because in the physical store the exact same games cost 369 SEK (which is still cheap because Pokémon games are almost always 499-599 SEK in stores, but yeah) and I knew this because only a few days prior from the online purchase I had been into the Elgiganten store in town. So yeah, I placed the order online and then choose the "pick up in nearby store within 24 hours" checkout option wohooo, no shipping charges! :'D Well, I would have gotten free shipping with the slowest option but that would have meant a waiting time for 3-5 days and I'm in a hurry because of le Gengar event code expiring soon..

A few hours later I went with Jäätynyt Enkeli to pick up our games.
I purchased both versions Pokémon X for me and Y for bro!
Yep, since the very first Pokémon games for Game Boy Color me and Jäätynyt Enkeli have been taking different versions and we never had any fights over it we both just have different tastes!

Front covers of the PAL/EU versions
Back covers of the PAL/EU versions
I'm excited to get to play Pokémon X! <3 I'll borrow bro's 3DS until the New Nintendo 3DS releases so that I can buy my own, mufufufu ~ I'm pretty sure that I will take Fennekin as my starter, it's cute!

Nothing else to say, I'll go geek somewhere else! Pika pii!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pokémon themed wordplay gifts!

Hello guys!

Today me and Hasakitsuki received some small joke surprise gifts from Jäätynyt Enkeli. I didn't see it coming at all but he had made this kind of Pokémon themed wordplay cards, it was awesome!

I got a Surskit themed one and Hasakitsuki got the Koffing themed one.
Both wordplays are in Swedish but I'll provide translations!

"It's sour but hopefully it doesn't taste SURSKIT"
note: Surskit literally means 'sour shit' in Swedish, no joke. XD
And here's the other one!

"Tired? Take it chill!
There's always time to catch a KOFFING"
The SURSKIT one I was prepared that it would be some kind of sour candy but the KOFFING one was tricky. At first I thought it might be 'coughing' but that didn't seem likely at all. I mean, if we assume that both are candies I don't exactly think that cough medicine tastes good enough to be considered a treat... xD

Both joke presents together!
We opened 'em up and what did we find inside? :-DD

A sour watermelon flavored Swedish straight candy cane!
Hasakitsuki's coffee chocolates!
Ah, "Coffeeng". Clever. xD
Nothing else to add, surprise present are fun, w00p! o/

Monday, January 12, 2015

Saving a little bird!


The 12th January started as any day.. until Hasakitsuki came home from her studies and when I opened the door I saw that she didn't have her fur hat on it was on her hands and in it was a frozen poor little bird, barely moving. :'(

The bird is a Bohemian waxwing, also known as Tilhi in Finnish and Sidensvans in Swedish. It's one of the prettiest small wild birds that we have up here in the north, if you ask me. It's fairly common here and during winters you can see it eat rowan berries.

Hasakitsuki moving the seems-dead-but-is-alive bird from the hat into a cardboard box.
She had found it on the ground close to the bus stop near our apartment; it was almost -30 °C outside. The bird had just been lying there all alone, likely on the brink of death. Surely it would have died had no one noticed it... 
   Hasakitsuki decided to be a bird savior and took it with her back home to Jäätynyt Enkeli's apartment, where we are currently hanging; the poor thing didn't resist at all. There I called my stepdad who's a bird watcher and quite knowledgeable about nature stuff and he said to put it in a some kind of box with a lid so that, if it gets better, it won't fly all over the house and be impossible to catch. He also said to try feeding it some rolled oats or berries and maybe put a small cup of water for it, even though it seemingly doesn't need to drink much at all.
We moved it over into an Angry Birds cardboard box and put some paper napkins in the bottom.

At some point we also tried to figure out if it was a male or female bird and it seemed to be male, according to the quick research we did still not sure and so we named him Sir Bird. :'D I'm sorry if you're Miss Bird! ;_;

Sir Bird in his Angry Birds box after he had recovered enough to "sit up".
For the first five or so minutes it barely moved at all, just breathed. :c We put some food (fruit musli with rolled oat) and water to the birdie but realized pretty quickly that it didn't care about them. After a while Sir Bird finally sat up and started to come around. It started moving slightly in the box and so we decided to try putting some red- and blackcurrants in the box instead these it ate up immediately!
So we kept giving it more berries because it seemed to have a black hole as a stomach and we took turns watching over it, making sure that the lid was open enough to let in light and air but not enough to let Sir Bird fly out. It would have been easier if I had had my cage here lol; I used to have several pet birds as a kid because I've always been fascinated by these flying critters. Yes, I'm a bird lover.
Oh, and of course during the whole thing we all were very careful with our hygiene, in case the bird was sick.

Seeing how it was freezing cold outside mom called and recommended that maybe it's better to keep the bird inside over the night and let it out the following day because the weather would be a bit warmer, hopefully.
   Sir Bird doesn't really seem to be sick or hurt though so we don't know how come it was in such a bad state when Hasakitsuki found it maybe it had eaten too much rowan berries, got a bit drunk on them (not sure how true this is but it seems to be a common belief/rumor with some truth in it over here) and then flew into the glass walls of the bus stop, lost consciousness because of the hit and fell into the snow. Maybe.

Several hours after we first took the bird in it started showing signs of being able to fly and so it broke free from the box while we were making food for ourselves. It flew around a bit in the apartment but it kept flying into the windows, oops. We caught it in the fur hat and decided to set it free a bit earlier than planned because the bird seemed to have no noticeable problems flying. I've had a pet bird once that with age lost the ability to fly...

The bird caught in the fur hat, ready to be put free.
We let it go fly away on the balcony. It was so hard to let him go though, as soon as he was outside he went to sit on the windowsill outside and watched us, almost as if he regretted breaking out of the box and just wanted to get back into the warmth again and have some more berries. ;_;
He just sat there, motionless, looking into the apartment... I felt so cruel. *heart breaks* I had to knock lightly on the window to get him to fly away because otherwise he might have sat there until he froze to death again; poor thing, please be alright... </3

Sir Bird outside on the windowsill, looking back inside.
"Hey let me back in again bro, I want more berries!" xD
It was still cold but at least now we've done what we could and given it a second chance at life. Best of luck to you Sir Bird, I hope you will survive on your own now. <3
Bye bye!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Celebrating New Year 2015 twice!

Belated Happy New Year to everyone! <3

This didn't quite turn out as planned but I somehow still
like it, hahah. XD
During the year shift I actually had the luxury to celebrate new year not once but twice. You wonder how that's possible? Well, it's because I happen to live between two countries with different timezones Finland is one hour ahead of Sweden. ;) So yeah, I totally first went over to Finland together with Hasakitsuki and le bro Jäätynyt Enkeli. We went to Rajalla shopping center that's obviously in the border and there we arrived 30 minutes before midnight and year shift Finnish time that is.
There was a totally awesome fireshow at the border!! *O* My photos don't do it justice at all because my camera kept being an ass and I had to resort to flash photos...

But here's at least a few pics so you get an idea of what it was like!
Sorry about the photo quality!

Firshow beginning *insert mighty Chinese song and moves here*
The guys even threw and juggled with multiple of those flame staffs high up in the air! o_O
There was also this woman who at one point used a fire chakram that she danced with!
 Towards the end of the show all of the three fire artists (two guys, one girl) used different sparkle rocket shooter thingys (no idea what they're called, sorry! xD) and oh boy without exaggerating it was among the coolest performances I've ever seen!!

They just took bigger and flashier launching equipment and spinned it around so graciously, it was magical. The sparkles blasted high up and all over the performers and it was just such an amazing sight that I have no words my eyes are unworthy! xD At some point there was so much smoke around that you only saw the sparkle blasts amidst the thick gray air and I started coughing. </3 But it was so worth it!!

When the fireshow was over the countdown to New Year began and to make it even cooler the fireshow performers had this kind of bright glowing spinnable sticks that read the countdown and then the text "Happy New Year" in Finnish, Swedish and English as well as "2015" and pictures of fireworks.

The quality is shit but this was the only photo I managed
to take of the countdown performance.
3... 2... 1...
Happy New Year 2015 Finland!!

There were of course more cooler/bigger fireworks too but my camera refused to cooperate and by this time my fingers had turned all shades of blue and were about to fall off (they friggin' hurt!) so I kinda just ragequitted. XD It was kinda raining/snowing and moist outside, my camera wasn't always responding and my fingers lost precision control, oops. Also my memory card got filled and I didn't want to plow through 2000+ pics and choose which ones to delete while there was a fireworks display in front of me. Also the delay when taking flash photos made me miss photographing all the best moments. -_-

After the fireworks were done and Finland had entered 2015 we time-traveled back to 2014 and one more hour to go before New Year Swedish time!
There was a I assume Swedish band playing a rock version of Euphoria along with other famous songs and soon enough we got to see the fireshow again!! It was mostly the same with a few different tricks/moves and more sparkle launcher action! 8D
After that it was countdown again and time for a second celebration in...

3... 2... 1...
Happy New Year 2015 Sweden!!

As per usual when it's about Finland and Sweden there is a need to compete and see who is the best of course it applies to firework displays too just as well as it does to ice-hockey championships.
Even though I'm Finnish at heart I have to admit I'm sorry Finland, but this time Sweden had better fireworks. x) Sweden just had more of the flashy and big fireworks (like on the photo above!) and it felt like it lasted a bit longer too. So cool, I had a blast hihi!! >w<

I already know that 2015 will be a very big and important year for me when many things will finally happen, things that I've longed for my whole life! <3 I really can't wait! I'm so excited to see what this year will bring with it changes, events, promises, experiences and adventures!

Thank you for the past year and let's embrace the current one together! Bye bye!