This year I have aspirations to take a vacation. Not to go anywhere, necessarily, but to have some time off to rest, relax, and heal. I want to spend my days reading books, taking walks, and listening to music. I’ve started planning the sort of vacation that I’d like to take, and while it will seem radical, it’s entirely doable. I’m targeting July, which is when everyone in Finland takes vacation. A lot of small businesses are closed. Only essential government offices are open. Many places have limited hours, open either fewer hours per day, fewer days per week, or both. Not a week or two in July. The entire month of July. I’m learning to stop apologizing for having the[…]

Finnish is a difficult language to learn. I am also a person of a certain age, and even though there is no data to back up the notion that learning a language gets harder as you get older… Finnish is a difficult language to learn. I have made several runs at it, taking classes, doing online courses, using workbooks, and none of them has stuck. Knowing myself, and how I learn things, I decided to put together my own methodology. That’s when I started a language-learning journal. At the front of the book is the standard bullet-journal style index. Following that are pages and spreads devoted to specific topics and contexts. All of these are based on survival phrases, tailored[…]

It wasn’t until I moved to Finland that I took much notice of astronomical events. Days were a little bit longer in the summer, a little bit shorter in the winter, and that’s just how things were. Now I’m so far north that for three months during the winter the sun barely rises. Christmas — Yule — is a big deal because it means the days will start getting longer. Now the vernal equinox is here, the light is definitely back, and soon the sun will barely ever set. I know that I mention this every three months, but it truly is something that has to be experienced in order to understand. There are seasons here, in spite of the[…]

A fantasy heartbreaker is a tabletop roleplaying game that is clearly a labor of love, but not nearly as radical or innovative as its creators think it is. Quite often, it’s nothing more than a rewrite of an existing game, with some tweaks. A rule they don’t like is changed or replaced, their favorite house rules are incorporated, or they add one new thing and think that qualifies it as an entirely different game. It’s a heartbreaker not because the game is necessarily bad, but because a lot of effort went into something that ultimately provides very little payoff for either the creators or the players and readers. I have code named the roleplay game system I’m working on The[…]

In this episode, Katie and Berin talk about Finland’s new ranking as the Happiest Place On Earth. The discuss why the United Nations report bestowed that ranking, and why they, personally, think Finland is where they would happily spend the rest of their lives. Special Thanks Pertti Ankkuri Petri Nurmi Gary Weller Support Our Patreon Websites & Social Media Katie’s Instagram: Berin’s Twitter: Music Credits Opening Sting: Mature Sounds by Jingle Punks Closing Tag: Cartoon Bank Heist by Doug Maxwell/Media Right Productions