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Alive 4

                  Alt party - Helsinki Finland January 2002

Neatly reformatted from the Acorn Archimedes A4 Laptop generated original by
me, and made by various contributors. Well done people! CiH, Jan 17th..

Principal contributors to this farce..
'CiH', Chris Holland, the so-called "editor".
'Asteroid', John Hayward, who kindly donated the Archie laptop host. 
'Felice', Rich Spowart, now we finally know the story of your scene nick! 
'Q-Funk', Martin Eric Rachine, a very persistent viewpoint!
Various smaller contributions from the likes of Mr Pink, MSG, and a very
cute Finnish babe called Heli.


(Asteroid kicks off..) 
Let's get on with the RTA..

I  am  sitting  using the A4 in the cafe area  of  Stanstead  airport  after 
finishing  off  a  plate of standard egg,  bacon,  sausage and beans  affair 
supplied  in  most of these places.   The A4 decided it didn't want to  boot 
initially,  despite  me  pulling the battery out and complaining at it,  but 
after a few times of turning it  on and off it sprang into life. This should 
be  interesting using this little machine as the basis for RTA and for  some 
Archimedes demos,  but also at a party where many weird flavours of computer 
will be seen, a lot of people probably have never seen this one =o)

2.05 Unfortunately this little Archimedes laptop was heavily abused from the 
school  who used to own it.  The screen sometime decides it doesn't want  to 
work  sometimes,  the  battery has seen better days,  and often the  machine 
shuts  off  without  much warning.   Anyeeway,  we are now in the  departure 
lounge and I've found a power socket!!  Over to CiH..

We are running on stolen Stanstead Airport electricity. Mains sockets rule!

But  seriously,  some  American person with a loud voice and a mobile  phone
doesn't have any irony about his person.

This is the first contribution to this latest and fully electronic  realtime
text, typed in the departure lounge, more later, and time to let Felice have
a go.


I wonder just how long this electric thing is gonna last before someone 
comes over and politely asks us to stop using it. Hmmmm.... 
anyway, just chilling out at Stansted after a dump, waiting now for 
boarding, which should occur in a few minutes. There's a flight off to 
Amsterdam just now, it'll probably not be as cold there as it 
apparently is in Helsinki atm :)


(A  long  pause follows,  whilst aircraft hurtle through the void,  and time
differences are made up.  The text resumes at the residence of the Q-Funk, a
previous ALT Party survivor, and wannabe Finn?)

21.37 Ok,  we are now at Q-funk's place,  interesting journey, requiring two 
bus rides, and a longish walk in between.

Came  across  at  least  6 different McDonalds along  the  way,  in  several  
shopping  malls.   Not as many interesting historical buildings as I've seen 
in previous cities which have hosted parties like Gdansk,  Dresen,  Utrecht, 
etc,  but  there is a huge impressive railway station with large clock,  and 
museum also overlooking a square.   Almost everywhere is covered in snow, it 
looks  very  spectacular  covering road sides,  and steps on the  fronts  of 
buildings. Q-Funk's flat is thankfully nice and warm but the concrete stairs 
on the way up look very dangerous. :o/


Usual  Finnish joke no.1,  played on all unsuspecting Alt Party goers  every

Let's  walk  them  across  town,  carrying an armful of heavy  stuff,  in  a
reenactment of Napoleon's 1812 Russian retreat (the lite version!)

So  it  proved to be the case this time as well.  On a trivial note,  not as
much  winter as we were led to believe,  I'm not disappointed!  We're at the
residence of Q-Funk,  with Linux (PeeCee) and Atari TT with Mint, in a slow-
booting race.  In a corner,  Felice is playing with himself, (With his phone
of  course,  what WERE you thinking of!?) I covet this laptop John,  beware!
(Bwa ha ha ha! (Evil laughter etc.))

CiH, Frankly, I think we were better off with the toilet paper?!

Hmmm, sounds like neither of our phones here are working properly atm. We'll 
have to get that sorted out fairly soon if we get the chance.

Q-Funk  is  currently  reading his way through a  WispaBite  chocolate  bar, 
which are not available here in Finland. Amazing, no ?



What  was scary was whilst sitting on the bus,  Q-Funk was telling us  about 
his  flatmate who had been drinking a lot lately and seemed to  be  paranoid 
and was accusing Martin of hiring someone to kill him,   I was thinking when 
we got into Martin's flat what 3 strange British guys would look like to him 
especially  one  with  a odd-looking  rugged   case  which  might  contain a 
high tech weapon a specialist European assassin may carry!


L-l-l-ate l-l-log entry!

Mcdonalds,  of  burger  fame are prototyping their answer to  Burger  King's
'Whopper'.  This is known as the 'Mcfeast'. There is clearly still some work
to  be  done,  as it cannot be eaten whilst staying whole,  and falls  apart
disastrously apart in your hands,  messily.  Indeed, they have to serve them
in a protective cardboard collar, which only serves to disguise the eventual
denoument for a short time.

They  also trademark their fries carton,  and fiercely defend their right to
it with a handpicked team of lawyers, who are highly paid to do this. What a
bunch of arseholes!

Looks  like we're in for more unfocused wandering around with bags of  stuff
tomorrow morning. O' what fun! Okay, all for the minute.

CiH, but Hesburgers DO rule still?

After  Maccy  Dee's  we  went into the  neighbouring  Esso  station  to  get 
chocolate  and whatever,  I noticed all the drinks were covered by tarpaulin 
and  I noticed local beers in chiller cabinets had padlocks on them.   Damn!  
Have to get booze just before we get into the party venue :o)


23:52 -- Q-Funk's intro philosophy 

It was nice to greet the Maggies again and to finally get to meet John  too, 
especially after such a busy and somewhat depressing afternoon trying to get 
yet more Microshaft shiite talking to one another to no avail.  

In  a sense,  it felt like Turku all over again,  with the added pleasure of 
several  more  years sharing stories on IRC over the years.  Even though  we 
only  see of each other maybe once a year,  it really does feel like meeting 
old school mates one hasn't run into since childhood or something. 

As  I have said several times over previous years,  IRC really is quite  far 
from this cold,  impersonal computer thing;  it really is a social gathering 
of  global proportions,  where people separated by borders or continents get 
to  know one another better than they might know their next door  neighbors; 
IRC  really is the first sight of a growing world community and pretty  much 
the only remaining interest I have in Internet.

Indeed,  whatever  else  I might have once seen into it has  vanished  under 
corporate America's mercantilism or wannabe world politicians' senseless new 
anti-hackers, anti-crypto and anti-freedom-of-online-publishing laws, not to 
mention  the  gigantic  failure  the dot-com business  has  been  in  recent 
years...  Hmmm...  Wait, I take that back: even though Linux and Open Source 
Software  have yet to conquer the desktop,  there is still something  almost 
magical  about the quality and variety of software that has emerged  out  of 
the  whole  movement  and,  while it sometimes in a very  crude  state  that 
produces  unexpected results,  I am incredibly enthusiastic about how nicely 
things are progressing.

I  guess  that's gonna be my stance at this 3rd  installment  of  Alt-Party:  
Atari  might be dead and Linux not there yet,  but hell isn't it amazing all 
the  neat ideas that come out of there and how great the folks one meets  in 
the  process?   So,  yes,  it's  more  about  cool people with great  ideas, 
progressively  forming their own world community and building the  tools  to 
unite  it  --  completely outside from any  previous  traditional  legal  or 
commercial   framework  --  not  about  a  bunch  of  no-life,   emotionally 
disconnected  nerds  terorising everyone and their granny by  cracking  into 
their bank accounts using evil tools of network terrorism.

Noo...  I  guess more to come tomorrow,  after my workday if done and I meet 
the folks at Gloria.  -- Q-Funk

 FRIDAY JAN 11th, or Day Two of the party.

"We are the dead of night."
"We're in the zombie room.."
But  seriously,  it's  morning,  it's too feckin' early,  there are too many
typos, and Q-Funks screensaver is too damn tastefully nude! And now John has
come to join us..

CiH, I can't feel my face, what's going on, helllp!

Here I was thinking I dreamt of a tiger,  until my GSM's alarm clock woke me 
up  and  made  me realize that CiH roars louder than  the  lions  at  night! 
Perkele...  Oh well,  it's still nice to see them Brits again, but goddammit 
when  do I ever get any sleep this week?  Between the schizofrenic  roommate 
who  thinks  I've hired the mob to get him mugged and  the  various  turmoil 
resulting from juggling between 3 equally demanding dayjobs...  *yawn* Unkle 
Q  really  wishes  he'd miraculously end up in a  massage  parlour  for  the 
weekend, wind back the clock and THEN spend the Alt weekend as scheduled.


It's a bit early yet, but we are all up and deciding what to do about how to 
plan the morning ahead before the party starts.  We live in hope ...... YAWN 


(Another  lengthy  break  in the text as we wander out,  all  over  Q-Funk's
workplace,  where  the availability of free fast internet distracts us until
we finally get to the Alt Party place..)

Had  lunch  in the canteen in Q-funk's office,  food is  superb,  definitely 
could get used to working there.  :o)


We're at Gloria, and typing in the dark!

But seriously,  we spent some time at Q-Funk's workplace,  a shiny metal hi-
tec  affair  with a plaited blonde reception-babe.  Spent the  morning  web-
surfing  until  my web-shorts were full of gritty particles  of  loose  HTML
script.  Then  lunch  at a high quality works canteen.  Fortunately,  excess
walking  with  heavy  equipment didn't feature prominently,  as  Q-Funk  saw
sense, and we got a taxi here.

Felice  is setting up his Falcon,  it seems to be missing a few keys!!  Upon
this discovery,  misgivings about Q-Funks energetic drag through the cobbled
streets of Helsinki yesterday resurface.  At the very least,  Felice's Falcy
chipset  will  have  been  thoroughly reseated  by  the  pounding  that  its
travelling case took last night!?

The  Res  Gods are in the house,  they are clustered around Mr  Pink's  Sony
laptop, impatiently awaiting monitors for the rest of their stuff.

John H. is off to listen to Felice's Falcy....


Well,  it  seems to be mixed news with the Falcon at the moment -  hopefully 
later  on when we can get a screen,  even if it's a TV of some sort,  we can 
sort out whatever problems there are.


The true test of how good a party place is,  is in the state of its toilets.
The  loo's  at  Gloria are funny,  in a strange kind of way,  tiny  cubicles
showing  scars of possible past misdeeds?  and an ultraviolet light!  So I'm
sitting in a blue loo!  Actually, I preferred to give my eyes a bit of peace
and quiet and sat in darkness.  It could get very,  very, interesting if the
staff don't keep up with the cleaning?

CiH, I'd leave it for ten minutes, if I were you.

In this mid-afternoon phase, the party is creeping up gradually. Most of the
afternoon  has  been  very  quiet,  but more people  are  showing  up,  more
computers being set up, and some stumbling attempts at tuning various exotic
8-bit hardware and synth combinations are also going on.

We've  been  a bit light in demo showing so far,  but there is  the  saddoes
consolation standby,  the net connection in the main reception,  if the semi
darkness in here gets too much.

CiH, put some lights on!

A  slight update to the last entry,  got to see some unreleased new  effects
on  Baggio's  Falcon.  These  are  very  nice looking,  and  very  advanced,
including  some  slick  transformations.  Don't think there is going  to  be
anything  from them for this party though,  not unless it features the  twin
concepts of "Boys" and "Spice"?  In fact, I don't think there is going to be
a  lot  with  an Atari theme coming out,  just a lot of coding  to  progress
things a a bit further?

The  same  seems  to go for events in Pinksville,  otherwise  known  as  the
Reservoir  Gods  Grotto,  their  latest  project,  Godpee seems to  be  very
advanced,  but as you all know,  it 'aint finished until after the party.  I
also  caught  sight of the collaborative project with a  well  known  French
group (not sure if I can mention this by name as yet?) This is playable, but
clearly incomplete.

Still, we've got the impending Chosneck issue to look forward to.

CiH, first with a tiny fraction of the news?

Fifteen minutes to the opening ceremony...

Some  of the live musicians,  the power tool specialists,  have got in there
way too early!

Q-Funk  has  arrived,  and  robbed his monitor back off MSG,  much  TT-based
mayhem now follows...

CiH,  got the T-shirt, yet to see the party?


Nearly  time  for the opening ceremony and things are  starting  to  bounce. 
Where's Pahartik ?


Q-Funk  has  got  this  idea  of relocating  upstairs,  which  may  be  more
comfortable,  if  you include concepts such as 'isolated',  and it is rather
too  out of the way of the main action.  There is an excellent view from  up
there, but not of the main screen.

It is getting to the stage where we're starting to get settled in now?

CiH, up stairs, and down again?


Turns  out  Pahartik  belated his departure from Tampere  and  won't  be  in 
Helsinki until about 19:00, so we'll have to wait before we setup our subnet 
and go fetch my Debian box back in Espoo.   Still,  had one heck of a crappy 
working day and am happy to finally be back in Gloria. Q.

Pizza and forced march back home. The route back was o'er slippery hill, and
ice-covered dale.  John H.  had the best job of the lot,  which was carrying
Pahartiks monitor with him.  Both it and John made it back home intact. Yes,
we  picked  up  our  favourite hippy cowboy dude  person  from  the  railway

Live  music  is running,  an interesting combination of a nuclear  emergency
alarm, and the sort of squeaks and groans that you get at an SM parlour?!

CiH, let the odd times roll!


Yep, one or two slippery hills but not too bad. I am still wondering where a 
screen  is  gonna come from so I can use my Falcon,  pondering the  idea  of 
maybe  picking up a cheapo TV from here in Helsinki,  just to have something 
to do ....  Not that I'm bored or anything,  but it's gonna be a big pain in 
the butt if we've carted all this hardware with us and were unable to use it 
at all.


(Guess who forgot the time!)

Trying to use some of the plentiful  games and demos for the Acorn but they 
all seemed  to be saved as ADF images, to unencode  them I need use of a PC 
and some  720k disks as the only software I know to extract them is a basic 
DOS util which  then writes the file to individual sectors of the disk. Not 
having any luck so far.

Party is now pretty busy with every table covered with something, 

The amount of cables going everywhere is scary. It is inviting an  accident 
of some kind =o(


Ple-e-e-ase can I have an accident, pleeeaase!?

CiH, inviting trouble, and a friend...

A Vectrex invader attacks our table space,  needless to say,  he is welcome!
(With open tentacles??)

John  H.  got  some  image  files working at last,  and even the  odd  demo.
Oldschool  effects look very bbblllluuurrryyy on this LCD screen.  Also  the
demos dated from the time where demo coders learnt to make scrolly text, but
just  before the time they learnt to make the other,  more interesting parts
of the demo...

Q-Funk,  Pahartik, and Felice have gone wandering again, maybe to bring back
a screen for Felice's Falcy? Maybe Q-Funk will settle down and start logging
some party attendance time,  as opposed to travelling time? Has that man got
restless feet or what?

Meanwhile in the Res Gods corner,  Mr Pink patiently shows Ripley what he is
doing.  She  desperately  looks  around for the Finnish  equivalent  of  the
emergency 999/911 number, but fails..

CiH, this realtime will self-destruct in......

About a minute after the last log entry, the live C64 music starts.

It  scrapes  in  my  head and pierces my ears,  in a really  cool  way.  I'm
starting  to get that proper 'party feeling',  impending fatigue,  eye level
headache,  and  an  underlying grimyness that screams for deep cleansing.  I
know this feeling well from past parties, so have learned to welcome it as a

Plenty  of time for resting later,  after all,  it is only ten past eight in
'back-home' time.

CiH, they come for you, with their broken milk-bottle fingers, and white lab
coats, they do!

(Err John, try not to forget the time???)

Out  of the machines here,  the C64 seems to be the dominant non Intel based 
platform,  and  as  well as the original beige "bull-nose" and later  whiter 
units, there are the more esoteric 128s and a slightly odd smaller C64 which 
looks like it's been cut in half and glued together!!

There are two Vectrexes (should that be Vectri?) now,  and personally myself 
I  have a soft spot for this little toaster console,  there is just  nothing 
like it,  and Vector graphics are just so damn cool, even though the colours 
are made of the transparent plastic sheets that clip over the 10" screen =o)

Weirder  still  are two Finns who have been given a Silicon  Graphics  Indy, 
this  purple  semi  tower cube thing has an odd  looking  removable  chassis 
holding  the  motherboard and cards,  on the graphics card there is a  'cast 
list'  containing  a  credit to the engineers who made the  thing.   At  the 
moment  it's dead,  and they have been given a challenge to to resurrect it, 
if  they  can they can keep it!!   At the moment,  they have desoldered  the 
NVRAM battery as it's close to 10 years old,  replacing this would be a good 
idea,  would  cool  if  they can get it running,  as those machines  are  so 
horrificaly  expensive new.   Guys if you are reading this,  and still can't 
find anywhere that does a battery,  try, they are good for 
specialised batteries for old machines. Asteroid

C64 live music rumbles, or rather, growls on..

"If it's too loud, you're too feckin' old!" or,

"If it isn't very loud all of a sudden, then you've feckin' well gone deaf!"

CiH, Monty on the Run was NEVER like this, surely??

The midnight hour approaches..

We've been taking cover in the lobby area for the last hour, as the act that
followed the C64 live music was definitely too feckin' loud!

Felice  returns with telly/monitor/rgb thing for his Falcy,  moment of truth
as  to whether the damage it took last night is more than skin deep or  not,
approaches. Felice got wrong video lead, so moment of truth goes away again,
more than slightly narked at being prodded awake and dragged out of its warm
and comfortable bed.

Never  mind,  it's nearly the midnight hour,  and time for Saturday morning.
Just hang on a little bit longer.

CiH,  ah, wait a minute, Felice returns...

Felice's Falcon.. It works.... Yaaaay!!! SHE RIDES!! (Or boots.)

    Saturday 12th Jan, or DAY 3

0.00 DONG!! Cih informs me its midnight!!

Felice  has  a pretty young Finnish girl asking him what he's doing  on  the 
Falcon, he showing her Maggie #20.

I  am  playing  Star fighter 3000 on the Acorn A4 and  it  looks  very  very 
impressive but I want to plug it into something better  than  greyscale.   I 
hijack  a  monitor off a PC running some Linux command  shell  which  hasn't 
really done anything all day.   Trouble is that I change modes to RGB to run 
some  other games and the screen goes blank,  and I can't use the PC monitor 
or LCD display.  I head off to bed and decide to sort it out in the morning.

I  sleep for oh,  4 hours and get woken up by Mr Do music,  the MSX is being 
used on the projector screen and is pumping out the same bleepy tunes.

After much searching on the net I manage to reset the NVRAM on the Acorn and 
she runs again, and I catch up with the RTA.


I've had an interesting, not to mention annoying night.

Quite  apart from the normal hubbub,  there was a continual soundchip racket
coming from the big screen,  and even bigger speakers. I got up for a while,
and  chatted with a couple of the organisers and a nice bloke from a  PeeCee
crew who works at Housemarque, Wiztom's place of work. Got his business card
in my pocket, but I won't reach down for it right now, as I might hit one of
the  sleeping Reservoir bodies crumpled on the  floor by accident,  and have
their eye out, or something.

All  alone  with an internet connection,  I even got as far as typing  in  a
brief  mid-party  report onto the DHS bulletin board,  based on  the  Friday
night  rumours  and innuendo.  The things we do when we can't sleep and  get

I  went  back to bed shortly before 6am,and I might even have  overcome  the
soundchip  racket,  but for the extra noise factor coming from an inacessent
fat bloke with a King Henry IV pudding bowl styled haircut, bellowing "Otto"
from the balcony,  quite close to where we were. Alcohol is believed to be a
strong candidate for an explanation. (For the haircut, at least.)

At this present moment,  I'm up with John H. fiddling to get my SCSI working
with  Felice's  battered but proud falcy,  what next?  breakfast I  suppose?
Someone  has  just  triggered the Castle Wolfenstein alarm  clock.  Nice  of

CiH, we're in the noisy Zombie room?

Cappuchino  rules.  It  does  less  damage on the  way  down  than  Gloria's

CiH, we're in the coffee room...

Checked out Q-Funk, still working away.

Two  command  line windows open,  and just a hint of nipple on the  desktop?
What do Linux programmers do in their spare time? - Lust ineffectually!

CiH, can anyone tell me where to find this keyboard?

We  went  out  for some food,  but found the slackers version  of  Mcdonalds
instead. Not open until 11.00hrs, tssssk!

We came away with something a lot better tasting,  and prepared with  loving
care. The local supermarket does some brilliant hot dogs. Perfect! To make a
good  day  even  better,  some lights have come on,  and the Reservoir  Gods
banter stream has resumed.

CiH, Reservoir hot dogs are essential.

morning: mrpink/rg and msg/rg on da keyz

greetings 2 all sc3n3rz.

fuckings to disco mobile, ddt and rally driv3rs.

we have lites! no more RGB 000 in the RG Grotto!

passing the keyz on the left hand side to MSG a worm bag..

well the 5 ours sleep was good and it back to msx on ssdesigner...

it's far too dark for AGBz so the /|\atari will have to be used more...

greetz to all gamecube owners..

I was sitting with Wiztom earlier, and started to feel very tired, As Wiztom
isn't really such bad company,  I figured that my brain was starting to spin
down, so I crashed out. Just where the controls for the very big screen are.
So when people with loud Finnish voices start to climb over me, it's time to
get the ferck out.  I relocated to a better neighbourhood, in the corridor..
Ho humm.

Now we're talking to Twilighte, the other UK person, and big Oric fan.

CiH, always in the way...

C64 demos are still winning friends and influencing people..

Why away so long?

Well a few things. Firstly a longer session and demonstration of Twilighte's
world of Oricness.  Including some of the games he's written, also including
the  combined  co-production  demo with D-Force,  which picks up  where  the
STNICCC  intro  left off,  including even more awesome  screen-mangling.  He
didn't  have an actual Oric with him,  but the Euphoric emulator did  pretty
well.After considering Felice's Falcy case mangling escapades from Thursday
night, this is a good move.

Afterwards, watch John H. crash and burn in Starfighter 3000, often.

Then to Mcdonalds,  who had figured they had better stop slacking, and start
serving food again. Here, I discovered the 'safe' way to eat a McFeast. This
is  simply to take the cardboard collar surrounding it at birth,  fold it an
half,  and contain the lower, leakier part of the burger in it, This is over
90% more effective than the previous method of letting it slip through  your
fingers. But why don't they make a good job perfect by printing instructions
on the side of the packaging??

Okay, I'm off again.

CiH, I'll sort the typo's out later, alright?

We're watching a strange combination of laserdisk and MSX. And it is used as
a  case study for software developers in how not to do multimedia games.  It
has a general farty smell about the place, which can be summarised as "Great
background, crap game."

The background spools off the CD, has been pre-rendered, and looks gorgeous.
The game has been stolen from a 2600 VCS.

CiH, oh hang on, here comes the title sequence, AGAIN!

Another  laserdisk  epic,  I  think this one is called "The many  deaths  of
Cowboy  Jake" It has a wild west setting where the player/hero is  given  no
time at all to react, and he dies, in several horrible ways, the end.

These laser disk games are great, why didn't they ever catch on?!

CiH, he's BEHIND you!

16.07 Just had a brief play with the Pioneer PX-7, with its Laserdisc add on 
box  on the big screen the stereo sound and motion video looks  stunning  on 
the  screen,  but  the games are heavily watered down Atari VCS  games  with 
extremely blocky sprites.   But its an interesting novelty, the discs are in 
their sleeves and look mint and the big chunky arcade controller feels nice, 
and appears to be imported from Japan, albeit the system has extremely short 
term playing value.

Many of the Laserdisc films and games were often hyped as 'motion  pictures'  
now I know why, motion = as in shit. =o)

The URL for pictures from this very party :)

The games compo has drifted by, the C64 live music makes a swooping return.

A  little  'design' feature from upstairs.  A fast asleep,  or more probably
dead(?)  drunk person,  has been left covered with chairs,  Is this Q-Funk's
alcoholic paranoid delusional flatmate?

And no, we've checked and counted carefully, it's not one of ours...

CiH, at the running out of things to say stage of the evening.


Just  had  the games tournament which I signed up with a few  of  the  gods,  
playing some snake like game on the Atari 2600 only to get my ass whipped by 
one  of the Finns,  as he had a proline Atari joystick compared to my clumsy 
looking joystick.  Tash suffered a similar fate and so did some of the gods.  
Those  who  got past the first stage were invited back to play Tank  on  the 


(Biggest  factual error of the party coming up,  what was shown at the  demo
competitions was alright, but less overwhelming than we expected.)

Present rumour state.  There are up to eight good quality demos for the demo
competitions,  not  to  mention  all the little joke  intros  and  semi-live
performances  wrapped  around  a dozen lines of BASIC  code  that  made  the
previous  Alt  party  competitions  so  memorable.  Indeed,  Setok  is  even
suggesting that  there  may have to be a cull of  the  more  inconsequential
entries. From what I saw, they seem to be dominated by Commodore 64 entries,
with  a  Macintosh demo to hold up for the high end.  Also,  if my eyes  are
working correctly, a Vectrex demo?!

Not  to  mention  the  possible return of the Vic 20.  For  the  Atari  end,
buggerall really,  apart from Wiztom's little effort, which is going to be a
record  breaker  of  a sort that is of interest to  other  coders,  but  not
otherwise  setting  the world aflame?  A more general return to proper  demo
coding  has been suggested by Wiztom,  so we await future developments  with
great interest.

It's going to be a long but very interesting night,

CiH, demo rumours mongered here! Get 'em whilst they're hot!

Got to see a fake demo,  without a computer!!

Consisting of clever manipulation of a set square, several sheets of acetate 
on a overhead projector!!


First live act nervously setting up on stage.

Home brew Vectrex carts are being putting together hastily by the chaps next 
to  us.   The laptop  they are using can emulate a cartridge using a  hacked 
cable,  or blank cartridge board is filled with a game EPROM chip.   RJ says 
Hi,  (The 'RJ' in Question was the guest speaker, Robert Michal, the creator 
of the Amiga and Lynx, who was here this evening!)

dem dem,  dem dem.  Dem, dem - DEM dem dem!!!  (The veccies start up tune if 
you didnt know!!)


Yeah John, they wear vector vegetables on their head!

Yeah but its difficult drawing brussel sprouts om a 10" vector screen.

Aha, this is where things start to fall apart...

Just talking bj{\246}llocks, Scandanavian style :o)  - Asteroid

We had a guy mixing Drum N Bass and a digeridoo, apart from the fact that he 
didn't appear to have had much practice,  seeing as he was only able to blow 
it once in a short while.   I know playing Sax and trombone is difficult,  a 
metre and a half drain pipe many times more,  so I guess. (Asteroid)

Tiredness and confusion rule...
And many, many typo's...........

I've  been  away for a while,  sort of a half-hour 'microsleep' to keep  up.
People  were very funny during the live music compo.  Setok has been  taking
singing lessons from a whale, with indigestion. The bloke with the digeridoo
seemed to tragically cut short.  Almost saying "Wait,  there's still another
minute  to  go!" Coming up next,  the hell on earth modfile compo  (with  no

Sample Reservoir Gods joke overheard earlier:-

"How  did the Swedish weatherman bring an Atari demo crew into their  winter

"He announced that there were 'New Sleet Developments'!!"

KERCHINGGG! Ladeeez an' chennulmun, thankya veryy much!

CiH, now John's taking an (unfunny) turn.


Having  noticed lately we have a lady who maybe of indifferent gender.   She 
appears  to be well dressed but had a large square chin and more  worryingly 
carries  a pair of handcuffs on her handbag and appears to be  wandering  to 
and fro from the toilets and cloakrooms.   It wouldn't appear she is here to 
do  coding,  music,  or  general  social banter amongst computery  talk  and 
politics.   Hmm.

A big Amiga picture appears on the screen it appears to be Workbench 1.2-1.3 
or  something,  I  think the bar should be selling rotten fruit and eggs  to 
chuck at the not so great entries. =o)


If I stare long enough at this screen,  something will form out of the milky

22.50  Funny the reservior gods have disappeared somewhere.  WHO LET DA GODS 
OUT?   WOOF,  WOOF-WOOF, WOOF WOOF!!  (sorry memories of that song whilst in 
Utrecht last year :o)

Just realised the guy who was playing with the Vectrex next to us,  was none 
other than RJ Michal, who designed the Amiga and Lynx!!   (John)

And he talked to us, said jokingly that he had flown thousands of miles from
California,  just  to see his precious Amigas in action here, but that was a
lie really,  as the reason for being here was actually to do with work. This
was  when  the  early stages of the live music compo were  running,  and  we
explained to him that things were likely to get very silly from here on!

He  was  also interested in our Archie laptop,  and I ran the Fishtank  demo
just to show it could do cool graphical stuff, which he said was 'awesome'.

And  all  of  this  was  without us realising who  he  was.  Oh  the  missed
opportunity for getting the real inside dope on the bad old Atari Corp days,
and  the Tramiel family.  He was also very interested in the Vectrex next to
us, and spent quite a bit of time there as well.

CiH, where opportunities skip gaily by...

****party top tip!!****
Discarded pizza cartons make useful packaging for PC motherboards.   Plus 
if  any food matter is accidently left inside,  when the board is taken  out 
and  put in the PC,  when overclocking,   any small bits of mozerella cheese 
cooked  on  the  CPU  may make a tasty snack for  those  late  night  coding 
sessions. (John)

The final leg, waiting for the demo compo.

We were treated to camcorder excerpts from Felice's STNICCC 10th anniversary
bash,  just over a year ago.  Quite a short,  sharp summing up of the whole
STNICCC experience. Ah, those memories, the luxury accomodation, great FREE
food, and sleepless nights, so some things do remain constant from party to

RJ Michal to speak now..

Felice on the ball camcordering him.. Good move mate!
I'll sort this lot later!

 Among other things, he said:

There  were  an  estimated 500,000 Amigas still in use (out  of  10  million
sold.) This was gratifying for a system created over 15 years ago.

He unsurprisingly described Microsoft as soulless and corporate.

The  Amiga was intended to be creative,  open and with full low level access
right from the start.

He considered if something like the Amiga might ever happen again?

His  follow-up  designs,  the  Lynx  and 3DO were encrypted,  and  not  open
systems, these were 'corporate' decisions, which he fought against.
ALthough lately, the Lynx encryption has been broken open, with the
possibility of more open homebrew development raised.

He  lamented the loss of a grass roots input.  (What might now be called the

For  the  best  chance  of  a  revival  of  the  'Amiga'  ideals,   portable
comunications  devices with computing and gaming capabilities is where  it's
going to be at.  With the current Wintel duopoly, personal computers are now
'settled' in their form and function.  He did express great hopes for Linux,
and easy to use versions such as 'Lindows' opening up a grassroots community
and homebrew development again.

His  last  project  'Redjay',  was  intended to  give  Playstation  standard
graphics on a mobile device,  but this failed and went under. This was going
to  be  left as an 'open' system.  He said to watch this space,  in the next
year or so, in this field, for the next 'Amiga'.

(Midnite - It's Sunday the 12th Jan!)

He  took  questions after the prepared portion of his speech.  One of  these
concerned Atari, and his dealings with them.

He  used  to  make snide remarks about Atari,  apologised for neglecting  to
mention  the direct competitor hardware to the Amiga,  the Atari ST.  He now
recognised  this as valid as the  Amiga.  The initial  Amiga history started
with Jack Tramiel,   forced out  of  Commodore,   first seizing on the Amiga
as  an Atari badged C64 killer.  This was going to be the Tramiel revenge on
Commodore.   However,  Commodore  got  there first.  Both the Amiga and more
especially, the ST were rushed to market as a result.

Robert  is a lively and intelligent speaker,   still with lots of enthusiasm
for his field, and twice as much tonight, sensing a receptive audience.


00:45 Q-Funk

Interesting  to hear from an ex-Atari then Amiga designer what we had  known 
all  along:  that  Atari's founding family (the Tramiels) were  nothing  but 
rotten  businessmen on  a vengeance stroll at their previous employer.  This 
explains why Atari corp never gave the impression that they had any  passion 
in  what  they  were doing and why they ended up hiring  an  ex  user  group 
co-ordinator  (Brady)  as their PR guy at some point and,  even then,  Brady 
always gave the impression that he was fighting Atari management.

Tramiels  could  not be brought to bother marketing their products  at  all, 
even if their lives depended on it, for one good reason: they only wanted to 
get even,  not to impress and amaze. Thus, as our guest speaker pointed out, 
a LOT of corners had been cut as the first ST was rushed out.  (we obviously 
all  cursed  at  one point or another why the hard-disk port  was  80%  SCSI 
compatible  but then not quite,  why the screen modes were almost compatible 
with PC equivalents but not quite, etc. 

In  retrospect,  Power Without The Price has meant that Atari cut corners in 
the  wrong  spots.  Lucky  for them they had MIDI ports and  got  the  music 
market,  ironic  that  these  ports  came in because Atari  wanted  to  save 
themselves the troubles of developing sound chips.

In  a  nutshell,  Atari  users have seldom been passionate  at  their  hobby 
because,  yes, there was not a damned thing to write home about, while Amiga 
users  AND  designers  enjoyed  their ride.

(Ed-Note:  Not  ALL  of  us non-passionate,  surely?  The ST series would be
entirely  dead and buried a long time before now,  if the cynicism ran  that
deeply and completely.)

(QF  adds:   let's  be  honnest,  if it weren't for the MIDI port  magically 
handing the electronic music market to Atari,  the ST would be as exotic as, 
say,  a  TI99/4 or Spectravideo!)

(Ed  note  again:-  You  might  be  right  from  a  North  American/Canadian
perspective,   and   you   are  100%  right  about  the   Scumiel   family's
mismanagement,  but  you're  forgetting  the large take-up in  Europe  as  a
mainstream home/gaming machine from 1987 to the early nineties, and a lot of
Germans  did  get  ST's  and the later members of  the  family  for  serious
professional  purposes.  So they must have seen something worthwhile  there?
The  ST  MC68K  family  seems  to  me,  to  have  survived  the  unfortunate
circumstances  of  its conception and birth and done quite well  since.  Was
this something to do with the "passionless" Atari users perhaps?

Oh  yeah,  I was forgetting that you share a birth nation with Leonard Cohen
(grin!) Lighten up Q, it's not always as bleak as you paint it.

New headline for the day - "3 Alt Demo Compo delayed by Amiga designer!"  It
was interesting in his speech, that he was able to mention and discuss Atari
by  name,  something which he couldn't do for a long time,  but he was still
not able to mention Jack Tramiel (the original pointy-headed boss) by  name,
unless specifically asked.

For  the record,  since the Tramiels sold out the remnants of Atari Corp  to
JTS,  they have effectively completely retired from business life, the scars
from their Atari experience proving too much? There is no Tramiel revival to
come. Which might be a curious kind of relief to the rest of us!

CiH -  At last, acting like some kind of journalist?

Time for the demo compo..

Well what a demo show.

Pretty much no piece of old school hardware was left untouched.

We had demos on the C64 and 128, Vic 20, MSX, Gameboy, Vectrex.

RJ  Michal  gave a big talk on the golden age of computing,  his dislike  of 
Microsoft   attitude  towards  no  competition  and  unnecessarily   bloated 
hardware.   There were many,  many questions asked and answered and too much 
to mention here.   It was amazing to be privileged for us to listen to a man 
who  has been directly involved with some much loved platforms,  the  Amiga, 
Atari Lynx, and the 3DO.

Felice  has videotaped most of what RJ spoke,  but he spoke to a load of  us 
for  a long time.  I think it will be a good idea to get the audio put  onto 
MP3 so most of the active Atari scene can download it.

Competition impressions.

Well  it's  the usual ALT Party eclectic mixture,  the ass kicker,  the joke
demo, and the 'What the f#ck was that?" release.

The Ass-Kickers,  there were three this time. Viznut was back in town with a
Vic 20 demo even better than his first one, where he seems to have  invented
an  entirely new screen mode called 'truecolour' for the basic Vic!  But  he
has  got tough competition from a well executed if difficult to see  Gameboy
demo.  Then  there  was a Vectronic demo,  which got lucky off some stunning
blue lense-flare when it was shown through the video projector. This made it
look 10x cooler than it would have normally done.

The  Commodore 64 and MSX occupied the middle ground,  with a memorable joke
demo for the C64,  and more or less 'Basic' designs on the rest. The sole PC
entry (class of 386) did reasonably well with an ST'ish release as well.

The demo which had people guessing as to whether it was real,  fake,  or the
showing  of it  got completely  bolloxed,  was  the  Mac demo.  Setok  swore
afterwards that the preview he saw was completely different!

But nothing for Atari or Amiga,  although there was a hint of something from
Wiztom earlier. What happened to that?

CiH, an Altparty demo showing, isn't really happening, until the Vic 20 demo
shows up!


Well,  what an interesting night,  seriously :) RJ Michael,  one of the guys 
responsible  for the Amiga,  Lynx and other stuff over the years arrived and 
gave  a rather interesting talk,  pictures of which should be included  with 
this  mag  all being well - with hopefully the full talk  itself  minus  the 
questions being hosted on Altparty or Fishpool's servers. It was good to get 
an official (ie, minus Future Publishing's imaginary ranting and raving a la 
ST/Amiga  Format)  report  of just what happened and how he,  as  a  founder 
member  of the computer industry,  sees things today.  He'd also been to the 
Alt Zone at last year's Assembly party, which must have been good !

People  around  here  are busy with stuff,  the guy  and  rather  attractive 
brunette have been coding all night so far.  On our left, the Reservoir Gods 
are  still  going strong.  Tash seems to be looking a little bored ...  (QF:
doesn't she know that Unkle Q is the remedy to girly boredom? ;-)


(We all collapse for a while, attempt sleep again..)

We're back, and we've had just enough sleep to numb our lips and disable our
motor co-ordination!

Sleep  note for next Alt - Why not have more space for sleepers,  less space
for freeform expressionist nocturnal drunks,  and make sure the two are more
effectively segregated the next time!(QF:   I second that!  Been woken up by
rampaging  drunk arses whose feet bumped into me not once,  but twice,  each
morning! The alcohol prohibition should be more tightly enforced, IMHO.)

Around  4am,   the  omens  were  not  encouraging.   My  airbed  pillow  has
disappeared,  and  possibly  one  or two other things  from  that  corridor,
judging  by  the over-active search party which was doing its  thing  around
5am.  There was a lot of other foot traffic as well,  most of it quite happy
to leave the big doors to the noisy central hall gaping open.  Eventually, I
don't  know when I did get to sleep,  and slept to around 9am?  Got up for a
while and cleaned up, went back to bed for a bit, and now, I'm back again.

Chosnek,   the Polski Falcon only diskmag has made it out,  but at 7 meg for
the download, we need to organise something serious. We have a good internet
connection, but not enough blank floppies! Aaaagh! The few disks we have got
are  ex-Windowze  95 installation disks,  which might give you a  good  idea
about the basic lack of quality (g!)

CiH, I'll buy the person who pinched my pillow a drink, but only if I get to
piss in it  first!

12.00  woken  up a tad disoriented,  its kind of later than I hoped,  but  I 
think  I  have  slept well.   The Vectrex guy next to us,  has a  small  LCD 
display  running  on single board computer,  the Vectrex is running a  short 
looped  demo with a bouncing square which he admits is similar to a  windows 
demo  but  he says it's his first demo on the Veccy and I think it's a great 
first try being such a unique machine.  - asteroid

12:27 Q-FUNK

Well,  yesterday  evening went smoothly and saw some progresses to the TT030 
Homepage  layout  and  content.  I  went for a short  stroll  downtown  with 
Pahartik  to fetch some food,  fine-tuned my Debian setup on the Lintel box, 
generally  stuffed my belly with all sorts of healthy goodies  while  typing 
mails  and improving the Web page and enjoyed Pahartik's sporadic but  funny 

I  said before that this party is mostly a social gathering to me  and  this 
really is so.  Getting to spend a few days with friends one hardly ever sees 
outside  IRC  really  is quite nice,  but I really wished there  were  fewer 
drunk,  fucked-up  arseholes and more girls like the one sitting by Felice's 
side.  As  Bela  Fleck & the Flecktones so brilliantly put as a song  title: 
Mars needs more women! 

Speaking  of  that,  let's hope I'll get more lucky with the  Russo-Estonian 
girls in Narva, than with the proverbialy drunk average mentally ill Finnish 
girl  who  spent  her X-mas holidays as a bachelorette (like  about  60%  of 
Helsinki  females,  according to a recent poll) because she was too proud to 
say yay to any guy asking for as little as a the evening's last dance on New 
Year's eve...   (Ed note:  When you say "dance",  surely you mean "f*ck"?!)  -

No, I mean the evening's last slow dance at discos, where bachelors make one 
desperate  last run for it.  Finland doesn't put much of any slows any more, 
like everywhere else, but they do keep the tradition of lining up 3 slows in 
a row to end the evening.

(Ed-Note:  But  when  it comes down to it in the end,  it DOES still mean  a
f*ck!! Dancing is horizontal foreplay, after all!)


Finally  back in the land of the living again after a while - maybe about  7 
or 8 hours,  I don't know. Having a drink of hot cocoa right now, it is very 
nice  - all credit to the bar staff here,  who,  whilst they haven't exactly 
sold  a great deal on the food side have had nice stuff  available.   People 
are in the process of leaving the party,  but there's still a fair bit going 
on, which is good. The guys with their collection of old 8-bit computers and 
other rare stuff have their table open for viewing - there's some nice  gear 
there as well.  It's good to see that kind of stuff has a good home to go to 
- it's all in excellent condition!


Some  music is being played as we just come back from McDonalds,  which  has 
some strange stuttered voice through a vocoder, giving a very similar effect 
to the mid 1980s hit "Nineteen"  - Asteroid

Packed up my stuff,  found the inflatable part of my pillow again, it was at
the  top  of the constantly disturbed sleeping corridor,  so obviously  some
drunkard  spotted  it, thought "Huurrr,  sleeeep!",  and borrowed it for the
night.  Had a brief missing clothing scare with a shirt that I had forgotten
from the balcony and the previous night.  It was a shirt bought for me by my
girlfriend,  for  Xmas,  so it was the last item of clothing I would want to
misplace by a long shot.

Music  note  for Felice;  "N-n-n-n-nineteen" was written by  the  Hardcastle
Paul, rather than the McCartney Paul..


Still waiting for the competition judging/results.

Setok presides over the party remnants to announce the results. No surprises
for the demo compo winner, it's Viznut and his magical Vic 20 again.

The proper results in full will follow in the main report. I'm too tired and
lazy to do it all myself. Thoughts slowly turn to going.

CiH, but it 'aint over until the boring bugger sucks!

(Another  big  gap,  John H.  fills in the elapsed time nicely with the next

There  is a twinge of sadness as everything has been packed away,   I  thank 
the Amiga people on the next table for lending us their VGA monitor. 

Q-Funk  phones for a taxi to take us back to his place,  and for some reason 
the taxi controller doesn't  seem to understand we need a larger car to take 
5 of us and all our gear along, and the car they supplied us wasn't adequate 
to  take us all.   It takes two hours to get a mini van with is suitable  to 
get all of us in.

Back  at  Q-Funk's place we phone for a pizza and then take  a  sauna.   The 
Scandinavians have these saunas not just for health benefits but as a social 
get  together,  and interesting excuse to sit bollock-naked with your  mates 
inside  a boiler room.   I am not sure exactly how it improves your  health, 
but  if  it cleans your skin it must be a good thing,  as I  don't  remember 
seeing any Finns or Swedes with spots.



Yep,  as  Asteroid  said,  it took a while before the taxi finally arrived - 
something about some confusion between the taxi controller and whatever else 
was going on.  We got back to Q-Funk's place,  got all the equipment carried 
back into the warmth of the apartment and then went for a sauna and pizza in 
that  order,  ordering the pizza in from a firm called PizzaTaxi.  Very nice 
actually, they stayed hot for a long period.

It's  gonna be interesting to see just what happens regarding the sauna  for 
the after-party celebrations, after all we have Ripley (Tash) with us - as Q 
wrote  earlier  on the alt-party realtime stored on the web,  she is  pretty 
cute  even  clothed !  We'll have to see what happens - whatever  does,  I'm 
pretty sure she's seen it all before anyhow.

Atm  we're just chilling,  talking about various topics such as Linuz,  BSD,, flights - most topics under the sun. We'll probably be off to 
bed in a while.


It's  time for Felice to move and let me have my turn,  in the shufflebottom
Pizza cafe acorn keyboard thingy.

His stark-bollock-nakedness himself,  Q-Funk has got dressed, and we are all
thankful.  Q-Funk's  sauna  is very small and compact and we were all  close
together  (Jeez' this gets worse!) Pizza followed,  in satisfactory,  rather
than  snack  quantities,  and now the independently running  process  daemon
called 'tiredness' is starting to catch up, and overtake...

Much  sleep,  then  the post-party sauna tomorrow,  a big fella called Setok
will  groan  "Boring buggers suck!" at irregular intervals,  and much  more?
Probably some skilful sauna avoiding flinnying from the Gods, how close will
it get this time?

CiH,  boring buggers sleep?

(QF:  solution  is  that,  since  Leon seemed to believe that going in  with 
Wiztom's  sister might convince him to give a try at social nakedness  in  a 
boiler  room,  a  close  alternative  is:  heya mate,  wanna see yer  sister 

14.01.02 10.16

What  a  weird night,  hey I can type this on the A4 without getting out  of 
bed, laptops are just great aren't they?

Firstly CiH's loud storing as at full belt,  although only for a short time, 
I  drift  off to sleep only to wake with the lights on,  my worst fears  are 
confirmed as Martin's flatmate has come back unexpectedly, he is talking non 
stop,  and  keeps  asking if we have any alcohol or weed we can give him,  I 
tell him we have neither as I assume all the beer is all gone,  but he finds 
half  a bottle of it in the fridge.   He is telling me got beat up in a  bar 
and doesn't know how he provoked the guys,  he doesn't look too bad,  just a 
couple of cuts to his face and hand.  It's quite clear that he is out of his 
tree, but  he  seems harmless if a little scary at first, he's not the first 
choice of flatmate for anyone.

At 9am his mobile goes off several times,  when it gets to the 7 or 8th time 
I  get out and try and answer it but I can't see what the buttons are in the 
dim  light and I can't seem to answer the call,  eventually I manage to wake 
him and he answers 2 or 3 calls.

It's light outside and I am the only one awake so far.

(Another  long  gap,  and time filling to pick up the trail in the next  RTA

We  slept  to  1.30,  or  13.30  if  you  must,  apart  from  the  memorable
interruptions,  firstly at 02.00,  then at various times later on,  from the
mobile ringtone from hell.

When  we  did  eventually get up,  and got to meet the  errant  flatmate  in
question,  by daylight he seemed to be alright. but I'd agree with John that
he's not the best person to be close to, for if/when he does blow up, you've
got a good chance of catching a lot of the pieces in your face!

We  got  into  the centre of Helsinki,  and made  necessary  phonecalls  (Hi
Nicky!) and ate even more necessary food,  ending up at Molly Malone's for a
while.  Now we're in the pre-post party mood (hope you understood that lot?)
and waiting to reacquaint with Setok and co.

CiH, and no I haven't got any weed or booze!


I've  not  seen  you with any whisky yet Chris ?  Maybe some of  Teque's  is 
possessing your mind a bit .....

But seriously, it was an interesting night, having managed to get a fair bit 
of sleep caught up with,  it was time to meet Q-Funk's interesting flatmate, 
Mark.  We  made  it  into Helsinki city centre,  taking in a drink at  Molly 
Malone's  and a small meal at some pastry restaurant,  similar in fact to  a 
few places in Cambridge that I have been to over the years or so.

Managed  to  phone  Mum from the same line as Chris  phoned  Nicky,  left  a 
message  on the answerphone so that should pacify her a bit.  We're awaiting 
now the post-party, coming up in a short while from now ....

Felice, and nope, I've got no weed or booze either ! :)

The Q-Funk forced marched nightmare resumes. To get to the post-party sauna,
it  was suggested that it was going to be an easy walk "of two  kilometres".
The  latest  theory has Q-Funk as the reincarnation of  some  Japanese  WWII
prison camp commandant  who  makes his prisoners walk  through the jungle to
the cries  of "You build Railway!!" or some such thing.

The summary of the journey might go something like this:-

Easy  stretch  half a mile gently uphill,  cross multi-lane  highway,  slide
perilously down a grass bank covered in deep slushy crud, fall arse first in
deep grey slushy crud.  Force march through shopping centre,  dodge buses in
shopping  centre car park,  go along bit of road where there strictly  isn't
any pavement,  more general forced marching.  Then up some stairs which gave
us  a  false ray of hope,  but we are deceived,  and the infinite  blackness
stretches  forward  once more.  Eventually we get to the  apartment  complex
where the party is located,  but finding the exact place proves "complex" as
well.  After several attempts at the wrong place,  we finally get there,  at
the bottom of a 45 degree angled skating rink.

O' what fun.  As far as I can tell, it wasn't just 'two kilometres' either!

Things  to do right now:- Make Q-Funk find another way home,  at gunpoint if

CiH,  has this dude ever heard of the nursery rhyme about the Grand Old Duke
of York?

Whilst we were at the shopping mall,  I learned something new,  the cult 70s 
kids TV show the Moomins is a Finnish creation,  so much in fact, there is a 
store  selling everything on the things!!   Who cares about Harry Potter  or 

Now  in the pine panelled building and I am not sure what  entertainment  is 
planned for the pre-post party, saunas are interesting but I don't think I'd 
want to do one for more than 10 minutes.  Reading my little book of Helsinki 
and mentions Finns are very technology savvy sort of people and everyone  is 
chatting  and playing with their mobiles, there's about 20 of us here so far 
and I am not in the best of moods for partying but I did enjoy the couple of 
beers  I had at lunch time but the odd times I have been sleeping as  making 
me  feel  a  bit funny,  but I expect things will be pretty  cool  soon. 
- Asteroid

21:25 Q-Funk

Well,  OK,  one thing I've learned during this weekend: while Finns consider 
that  walking  a  few kilometers is no big deal and actually  good  for  the 
health  and  to find time for reflecting upon whatever,  most  foreigners  - 
especially anglophones,  as Mikko B.  who happens to come and meet us at the 
after-party  place,  points  out that Canadians also avoid walking  whenever 
they  can - simply cannot handle the idea of walking more than a few  meters 
at  a  time;  anything  beyond explicitly requires the involvement  of  some 
motorized vehicle. Well, alright, lesson learned. Chill out, guys!

This  asides,  I  am still a bit shaken by my alcoholic flatmate's  behavior 
last night,  but it seems we might make it out of it in one piece after all. 
Asteroid  and  Pahartik  have  volunteered to  support  my  recommending  he 
volunteers to go for alcoholism treatment or, otherwise, agreed to come with 
me  to  support  my filing a complain to the  police  about  the  flatmate's 
involvement with drug dealers resulting in a brawl at the local dive.

Let's  hope  something good will come out of this.   If not,  I guess I just 
might relocate to Narva alltogether... if push comes to shove.


Down at the after-party party now,  things are swinging a bit ..... 2 ladies 
have also joined us, one being Ripley and another who I don't know, but they 
both  look pretty cool so that's OK.  A lot of crisps have been eaten so far 
(one packet with the amusing name of 'MegaPussi' - nope,  not referring to a 
certain  part  of  a woman mind you - but still they taste  good.  Maybe  we 
should have stopped by some store on the way here to get some stuff in.


Now Pahartik can't manage all those potato chips on his own, can he :)
Where's the coke?

CiH, rapidly putting back the fat he lost on the way up...

Did  the  sauna thing again,  smaller room than I expected so only 8  of  us 
could get in, so small groups of us went in at a time.  What was strange was 
when farting in a sauna with your whole body muscles relaxed,  farts produce 
a  much  more  different noise then in any other situation  :o)  -  asteroid 
feeling rather refreshed

I  mentioned to Q-Funk I was hoping the guy with the video  camera  wouldn't 
come  in,  and then I was horrified to see QF wrap around his towel and dash 
off exclaiming "That's a good idea!" hoping he was joking,  in we went. What 
was slightly worrying was sitting on the pine benches,  as some hairs in the 
lower half of you get trapped between the slats. Ouch!!

You're  an idiot for giving Q-Funk that idea!  Hope you got a good price  on
the film rights "Hot in steamy in the Sauna!"

Sauna suspense surrounds some suspected Flinnyites?  Will the Res Gods go in
or  not.  There's  a nice blonde Finnish babe sitting next to us,  so  we're
explaining the workings of this realtime to her.

CiH, he washed, but he won't go...


Yep,  been in the sauna and hmmmm, what an experience !! Now we're wondering 
when Tash and Henrietta will go in ....


Oho, so you've been talking to her beforehand? You got her name, but did you
get her phone number???!

CiH, pushing his luck further than advisable.


Well, I think that's her name .... not that I know for sure :) 
Malc has refused point-blank to go into the sauna ...


Ah  well,  must  be  something to do with one of the party  games  that  was
discussed. "See who can hide the sausage the furthest"!?

CiH, but only if we get to go to the ladies sauna!

22.50 Strange to see Malcolm from the 'gods so quiet and not wanting to join 
in.   Looks  like they will get their legs pulled for next  few  parties  to 
come. :o)  asteroid

23.00 I was just chatting with these English guys for a minute and they  are
nicer than I expected at first :) (They just talked about being Brittish and
I called them English and maybe they won't like it but...  oh well) Hei hei,
pitaa  varmaan  kohta menna kotiin ja  valmistautua  huomiseen  duunipaivaan
opintoneuvojana, siis heti syopakaareen jalkeen piti sanomani. - Heli

We don't mind being called English, we've been called much worse things than
before. :) Nice to have you on here, Heli!

CiH. pint of Koff please!

You mean 568ml?? - asteroid

568mm?  Thought  we'd  agreed not to get involved in the "Hide  the  Sausage
furthest" competition!?

11.28  It appears after a fair bit of persuasion, Tash has gone in the sauna 
with  Particle  guarding  the  door making sure no  one  else  goes  in.   - 

23:44  ..and  fellas were questioning Partycle's way of being  bit  too  far
polite.. :) -Jyrgen Uah! WTF? RTFM! bukkake! I know, I suck.. ;)

DAY, Errm, It's Tuesday the 15th of January.

It's  a long time coming for this log entry,  but we managed to pack a  fair
bit in today.

Q-Funk left us for dead at 08.00, we slowly roused ourselves sometime later.
Eventually hitting upon a mostly conscious Mark to let us out,  so we headed
downtown into the city centre.

After  stopping for food,  we hit the Computer club bookshop,   with a large
selection of Linux stuff,  Windowze getting a grudging look-in.  Afterwards,
we  went onto an experience all its own,  the museum of modern ars ("ars"  =
"arts"!) Immediately, a series of weak arse related jokes flowed out on cue.

"Do you want to look at my ars??" Perhaps the least worse.

John  H.  reaction  to a moment of highest high culture,  gazing out of  the
window  of one of the most avant-garde places in Finland,  looking on at the
Finnish  House  of Parliament,  he spots a railway track,  and cried out "Oh
look at the pretty choo-choo!" as a train rolls past. (Nice one John, remind
me NOT to phone you, the next time I feel like a trip to the Tate Gallery!)

A  lot of the Arts were 'Ars',   but all of it was interesting.  Some of it,
including the 'Tower of Babel,  made up out of decomissioned radio and audio
players of all ages, was very interesting. There was one filmed installation
which  owed  a  lot to some of the cheesier older  techniques  of  our  demo
coders. Recursive sprites, anybody!?

After  we  were  all  cultured out,  we eventually found  Q-Funk,  and  then
encountered one of the last remnants of Soviet Union era retailing,  when we
went to pick up his cable modem.  There was a very long wait attached, which
the shop attempted to mitigate to some extent,  with internet terminals, and
a  selection of films and tele programs on the big screen.  They could  have
done more perhaps, a cafe, some toilets, a place to sleep??

After  some more semi-coherent wandering around the centre of town,  evening
drew on,  and  we retired back to Q-Funk's place,  not too long ahead of the
man  himself.  Now  to bring us almost up to date,  Q-Funk has got his cable
modem  going,  and someone may well get around to making that crucial  phone
call to the Pizza Taxi before long??

CiH, hurry up, I'm blummin' starving!

22.15  Yep, I reckon this place was inspired by Jim of the British TV series 
'The Royle family"   the art show was "my arse" indeed.

It  was full of lovely bits of technology like DVD players,  40" plasma TVs, 
projector monitors snow-flavoured iMacs, etc displaying completely pointless 

There was a few interesting things,  VW Beetle hung upside down with bits of 
it  strewn around the room,  and an interesting futuristic model village but 
little you could call art, in fact the most enjoyable piece of art the whole 
day  was the yellow tropical fishies tank in the computer book and  software 

- asteroid


Getting hungry now .. seems like the pizza-place stops delivering after 10pm 
or so ... hmmm, weird or what eh ? One of those things I guess. Gonna go out 
shortly to get some food, probably from the garage or somewhere like that.


Wednesday 16th Jan - FINAL DAY!

And we're off back to the sunny(?) UK today, at least it might be sunny, but
if we're landing in the dead of night, how can we tell??

Q-Funk  was so pleased that he got his new cable modem,  that ordering pizza
slipped right out of his mind until it was too late. So we went and got some
frozen  pizza's and sated our hunger in the oldschool fashion,  cooking them
ourselves.  That,  and  some  heavy IRCing meant we didn't get to bed  until
sometime after 01.00hrs.

For now, a taxi to the airport (to deposit heavy luggage) and a swift return
to  Helsinki  centre for our last few hours is on the  cards  (punch-cards?)
Meanwhile, in the outside world, the next bugfix for Chosnek slowly winds to
a conclusion

CiH, so who got the video rights for the sauna party in the end?


Got  up  after much farting from all corners of the room :o)   Breakfast  is 
yesterday's pizzas and coke,  using Q-Funk's nice shiny Motorola cable modem 
on  a  Compaq  486 which seems to cough and wheeze its way  around  the  net 
sometimes, whilst the TT is happy as a IRC terminal.

15.55   Spent  many too long getting lost with Paavo's  not  quite  accurate 
directions,  so  we did our own thing back into town and found McDonalds and 
thankfully spent time eating in the warmth,  although the toilets required a 
funny token coin to get it which was slightly strange.   After a quick phone 
call  to Martin we are rendevousing at Molly Malones,  which I am typing now 
whilst drinking a coffee.   - asteroid

My watch says 15.55 as well?

More wandering in the land of the lost, we left Paavo to find Q-Funky on his
own,  so  we buggered off back to town to retrieve the situation.  Now we've
recharged our food batteries, and are waiting in the congenial, if expensive
locale  of  Molly  Malone's,  to make a second attempt at  meeting  the  mad
Canado-Finnish bearded person with a wry outlook on life.

Strange  moment from the party that pops back into your memory unbidden,  as
it wasn't properly processed in the first place, because it happened at 4.30
in  the  morning,  and I'm still not sure if I was hallucinating  things  at
that time of night.

One  of  the drunk guys was wrapped in a binliner,  the top half of him.  He
hopped around, sightless, whilst the others led him about.

Now what the hell was going on there?

CiH, and it's nearly all over?


Nearly all over, yep, it's been pretty good week away all in all. Managed to 
get plenty of sleep as well for a change - bit noisy at night but  generally 
not too bad.  The best memory I have of the party itself is pretty much from 
talking to Wiztom and Baggio towards the middle - they were showing off some 
classic  stuff  and smelt like they'd been smoking something weird  as  well 
.... classic.


Memorable  things?   hmm,  Being  slightly  worried about Martin's  flatmate 
coming home unexpected,  and he did!!  And being asked "do you have any weed 
or  alcohol?"  in a dead-pan,  deep Finnish accent,  the guy could of been a 
comedian.  Chatting with nice blonde Finnish babe, the fake demo done with a 
pen  and  acetate,  jokes about arse and megapussii,  seeing Helsinki's snow 
covered  buildings and landscapes,  drinking in Molly Malones,  listening to 
techno at the party created on a circular saw and Commodore 64.

This  is  my first trip to Finland and it's been a great experience,  and  I 
really do like this place.

- asteroid

16.01 17:30 EET / Q-Funk

Getting back from yet another excruciating day at the school, where yet more 
apparently unsurmountable ISDN problems prevented me from achieving  contact 
with the outside world from the science lab's Linux gateway. Perkele! It has 
to  be said that ISDN support in Linux truely sucks big  bananas.   Compiled 
the  kernel with the correct device driver for the card's chipset,  included 
every PPP support option,  installed isdnutils and... nothing. The damn IPPP 
wrapper still complains that PPP support doesn't appear to be present in the 
kernel. Pahartik tried to help as much as he could while dropping by with my 
stack of Debian CDs, to no avail. 

Anyhow,  finally  made it to MollyMalone's to enjoy one last drink with  the 
Brits,  before  going to have supper with them and accompanying them to  the 
return flight.  There. Today's news. Getting meself something drinkable then 
returning to finish this bit.  /nick QF-Kalja.

Mine's a pint, Q-Fey!

CiH, and it won't be better in the morning!

17:21 Q-Beamish

So, yes, as the Brits correctly pointed out,  finally getting my  cable-modem 
delivered  and  set  up was  really  a  nice feeling;  being  without my  own 
connection for so long felt worse than a whole year of abstinence  (I kid you
not!)... well, OK, coitus deprivation  IS also a burden,  but that's an issue
I am not likely to verbose here, thank you.

One really cool image was yesterday,  looking at the Maggies and Pahartik all 
tethered  to  either  available  networking  device  (Felice: TT on vconsole, 
CiH:  Debian on X,  Pahartik:  VT connected to the  Debian's serial console),
with gloomy slime-green glow lighting the room. 

This is where  I  hereby introduce the slogan  for this year's  party and its 
proof-of-concept, as demonstrated in my very own bedroom with these
visitors' help:  


At the risk  of repeating myself,  my own take  on this party has  less to do 
with technology  than  with  people:  P2P an Internet see their true power in
uniting  people  physically distant  from one another.  I've met Pahartik and
the Maggies  thru  IRC  ages ago,  became  acquainted with folks from various
places  around  the  globe  and  even  got around  deciding  on Finland after 
discussing  each   other's  customs  and  possibilities  on  the  dating  and 
employments aspects, not to mention political systems. 

Internet  empowers the  individual and  opens up  possibilities,  my own life 
certainly atests to that;  meeting people who  made this all  possible  again
almost feels like one of  those days where  a child acknowledges his parent's
contribution in their  upbringing and realizes,  looking back, how far things
have progressed and what improvements has found their way in.

I probably cannot ever  be thankful enough to people like Felice, Pahartik... 
and several  others too  numerous to mention,  for the doors my meeting  with 
them and relocating to Europe has opened.  Given this,  I cannot but strongly 
disagree  with  whoever  said that  the  'Net   is  a  cold place filled with
networking criminals;  my Internet has been filed with nothing but friendship
and new  possibilities,  possibilities  that never cease to augment with ever
new person I encounter along my journeys over the cyberspace.   Oh sure, what
common interest  holds us together is a fascination for old computers and all
things electronica, but that is just an excuse for group identification.

Hackers are just  yet another  social group with ideas of their own and, come 
to think of it,  some pretty creative and sane  ones at  that.   Alt-Party...
Feels good  to be home  and surrounded  with my best  friends again.   Have a 
safe trip back home,  Maggie team;  nice to finally meet  Asteroid too,  come 
back any time mate.

/nick QF-suru

Feeling a bit  sad that we have come to the end of our stay here,  first time
in Scandinavia for me, I've enjoyed the Finns fun attitude to life, a mixture
of old fashioned  and futuristic buildings,  snow and ice covered landscapes,
countless McDonalds plus it was great to meet Martin for the first time.  

Although the flight  home  was  two  hours late , this gave us a bit of extra 
time to natter in the airport bar and  sample the Czech beer  that Q-funk was
telling us about.  Eventually when it was time to say goodbye  and we were on 
the plane there was a group of Finnish businessman who were giving the flight
crew some  hassle by  laughing loudly  and ignoring the seatbelt instructions 
and drinking beer they had brought on hidden in coke bottles, when confronted
by the not too happy stewardess who had sussed out what they were up to.

Once  we landed and said  goodbye to Chris  and Rich and  planned to book  my
journey home not realising exactly  where Stansted was in relation to London,
it appears we were  quite some  distance  away from  the tube network anyway.

I glanced at the  screen in  the airport  which mentioned the last train went
at 11.59 and my  watch says 5 past 12.   I decided to hang around the airport 
until the small  hours when the first train would come.   This wasn't too bad
as it was well lit with plenty of  security staff about  and other travellers
sleeping on the chairs,  there was a few times I had to quit sleeping  when a
Spanish bloke  on  a little  electric  car  adapted with two spinning buffing
things decided that  3am was an ideal time to clean the floors which involved 
chucking everyone  off the seats,  him  and  his colleague struggling to drag
the heavy seats  across  the floor making  a loud and annoying grating noise,
driving the car around  in a  zig-zag fashion around where the seats were and
then doing the same with the other 3 sets  of seats with similary annoyed and
sleeping passengers.   After drinking expensive airport  grade coffee waiting
around while this chap to  finish  his  job,  thankfully it got closer to 6am
and I got down a  long and winding tunnel  to the railway platform to catch a
train bound for London then Portsmouth. 

Asteroid - powered by caffeine

                      ---------->The End!>-----------

Alive 4