Here we go again…

Posted: 8th September 2011 by Chuck Flysh in Murphy's Law

Righty then. I’ve been back from Finland for a while now, and while spending quite the adventurer’s life over there, I’m now back to drooling over a keyboard in Germany.
So, you psyched for another thrilling episode of everyone’s favourite detective comic hero? I sure am. But it’s still a while for that new Batman film to be released… Guess we’ll have to resign ourselves to reading the first strip of Murphy’s law in a long while instead.

Welcome back to Murphy’s Law, who would’ve thought? In this issue we’ll finally meet the captain of Murphy’s precinct for the first (second) time and get a whiff of his… special style.

In other news, to create a more social network-y repository for my “art” and make it more accessible for people who just like to browse images without my endless rants, I made one of those infamous deviantArt accounts. Do check it out here, if you fancy.

So that’s why they are called BOREalis (zing!)

Posted: 4th November 2010 by Chuck Flysh in New Horizons

Found this baby left in my drafts, so here goes very VERY belatedly:

Hoo, finally arrived back from an exciting half week in Lapland, and a short trip to Tallinn before that. The latter was my first visit to one of the Baltic states, and I while I can’t speak for the rest of Estonia, Tallinn does indeed have its charms.

10 points, if you can tell me what this statue is all about!

10 points, if you can tell me what this statue is all about!

Especially the Old Town was immensely beautiful and more well kept than you would think of a city with such a war-torn background. Small restaurants with affordable food, art and antique shops, little back alleys with small but comfy cafés, you know the drill. Outside, modern office buildings stay alongside Soviet-era concrete blocks and further outside you can still find some of the old traditional wooden housing. And by “outside” I mean “in walking distance”. But I’m drifting off into architecture blogging again.
Blue... make... happy...

Blue... make... happy...

All in all, I can say the place was worth the 8 hour bus ride and ferry trip. Also the drinks being immensely cheaper on the ferry helped my enjoyment.

Lapland, now that was a trip. From Joensuu, with a short visit to Rovaniemi and it’s famous vaguely known Santa Claus Village, which proved to be as exciting as it sounds (NOTE: If it does sound exciting to you, you’re either four years old, or there’s something wrong with your head; no offence). From there it was another longish drive over the Swedish border to Kiruna, which greeted us all in white. Yup. Knee-deep snow at the end of October. All over the roads north, too, which we proeceeded to take to Abisko national park every night to look for northern lights.

Surprisingly, there WERE people on this road.

Keep on truckin'.

However, out of three nights, we only managed to catch a glimpse of them once. And by “them” I mean a thin greenish sliver, slowly growing and fading across the horizon. Did I mention it was cold? And that the very north of Sweden is mountainy and thinly forrested? With lots of gusty wind? Yea. Good times. But at least those evenings taught me the inherent value of wool socks in a Scandinavian country at the start of winter. And frankly, it was beautiful to watch. Just not for a long time. Oh and don’t even think you can take a picture of these things with a regular run-of-the-mill camera. You need one that can take in a lot of light, has the possibility to crank the shutter time up to 30 minutes and a few kilos worth of exchange batteries. Because, in case I forgot to mention, it’s cold up there.

We finally hit Norway on our second day up and made it to the Lofoten before we lost the last bit of daylight. Have to say, seeing those majestic mountains surround the fjords was the best bit of the trip; but in the black of Norwegian night the way back up OVER these mountains (in a car that had seen better days and popped a front light that very day, through heavy snowfall) was as horrific as it was awesome. Still, don’t ever make me do that again.

Our third day in Kiruna, then, was marked by hellishly expensive, but completely amazing… dog-sledding. It was the beginning of the season so the dogs were hyped beyond anything, dragging us through the icy wastes with nothing able to stop them. Just as well, since we were not the ones to steer them anyway.

in Sweden, no less.

All failsaves are off...

That was about it, except for a long, long, slightly boring drive back south. Frankly, this short update doesn’t give the whole trip due. There was a lot to take in, a huge variety of landscapes and quite a bit of culture shock here and there. And it was hellishly fun. Well, the frozen-over kind of hellish.

The Finland Road Trip Drinking Game

Posted: 20th October 2010 by Chuck Flysh in New Horizons

More than one and a half months have flown by in the icy north, and since last week it has become a good deal icier. The snows have reached Joensuu, which until now mostly blessed us with sunny (or what passes in Finland for sunny) weather. Well, the sleets anyway.
I’ve spent the last couple of non-sleety weeks exploring the vincinity…

Skipping rocks was never my strongest feat...

Skipping rocks was never my strongest feat...

… and I have to say that the chilled meditative driving down the long lonesome roads I had mentioned some posts ago does get on your nerves after a while. Trees and lakes and trees and lakes and the occiasional farm (and trees) don’t give you the feel of progressing through thise vast country at all.

Forests and lakes and forests, oh my!

Forests and lakes and forests, oh my!

It does inspire one to think of creative ways to deal with this solitude. Tough luck if you’re the driver, though:

Take half a shot for every new lake you spot.
Take a sip of beer for every time you see the same lake again after passing some trees.
Take a shot for spotting a person walk on the road.
Take two shots for a Finnish car in front of you with an actual three-letter word on the license plate.
Drink a sixpack for spotting a moose on the road. You will need it.

Indeed, the silhouette of a moose in the evening mists blocking the road in front of you is quite awe-inspiring. For about two seconds. Then yout hit the breaks and honk like a madman, realizing only minutes later what a cool photo this would have made. Then again, not getting a photo is quite preferable to having a moose up your windshield. But enough of my near-death experiences. If you can think of any more rules, be sure to let me know!

Apart from that, the motorways are quite dull. It is much more fun to take one of the endless opportunities to get off the asphalt and onto the winding country roads that snake through the forest. Avoiding potholes, driving up steep inclines and down tremendous drops just to reach a remote cottage in the woods with a couple of screaming and shouting people in the car feels almost like a rollercoaster ride. Of course, a well-balanced jeep would feel even better in there than ruining the suspension on my golf. Oh well.

Now, it may look safe, but there's potholes the size of large marmots in there! And marmots the size of small deer!

Now, it may look safe, but there's potholes the size of large marmots in there! And marmots the size of small deer!

"Sure my suspension can take that!"

'Sure my suspension can take that!'

So, what did I learn about Finland in these past few weeks apart from it mostly consisting of trees and lakes? Well, without stereotyping too much, for one that Finns are really laid-back people, which is not only reflected in their way of life but most of all in their language. If they decide to speak, which is not a given, talk is usually slow and thoughtful, but may end abruptly when there is no conclusion to be made. This can be quite irritating to a foreigner, awaiting some sort of logical end to the sentence. They do open up after a few drinks, magically so. Up to the point where you can’t get them off you. It is no wonder the alcohol prices are so high, in that regard… And of course there are exceptions to the rule, mostly in the younger female quadrant of Finns.

I also learned that this place will be really cold in winter. October has hardly come to an end and I’m already wearing the warmest jacket I have (one I didn’t even have in Germany, mind you), although on good days with just a T-shirt underneath. Which is a good thing, as rooms tend to be a veritable blast furnace when compared to the outside, as if the Finns wanted to have that sauna feeling everyhwere they go.

Ah yes, sauna. Gotta say, back in Germany I was never quite so much into it, but here I’ve been gladly taking part in it. It also embodies this relaxed lifestyle quite a bit, as after three rounds of hot sauna and a cool shower (or a jump into the lake) you do feel quite at peace wth yourself and the world. And hellishly tired.

And I also learned that Finns can’t play football. Sorry.

... why aren't these guys in the World Cup again?

... why aren't these guys in the World Cup again?

Oh, don’t take it too hard. I suck at it, too.

Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory

Posted: 6th September 2010 by Chuck Flysh in Murphy's Law

Just a quick comic post to appease the masses. I expanded a bit on the old chapter heading, as people kept asking me “what the giant blob” was. So much for pattern recognition. Not too much else to say about it without spoiling the story. Enjoy. ;3

Murphy's Law - Chapter 1, Episode 3
Welcome back to Murphy’s Law, this issue coming directly from the cold North. In this episode we are stumbling into a dialogue with a mysterious stranger. Chilling.

More on my adventures in Finland coming up soonish.