Further Reports from Our Staff Meeting

Hei, this is Major Ursa. A couple of nights ago I was returning from the pub where I drank lots of glögi (a Finnish word for hot mulled wine drunk traditionally at Christmastime throughout the Nordic countries) and ended up near Messukeskus. I started thinking of happy times with my friends from the Worldcon 75 committee, most of whom I last saw at our staff meeting in Helsinki. Many had never been to Helsinki before and I thought it would be a good idea to ask what they thought of our fair city. The following is a summary of what they said.

Excellent public transport system, good service at the airport

Several people I talked with mentioned how amazing the public transport system is in Helsinki – even by European standards which is high praise indeed! I myself, being a bear, never use it though I have heard that dogs are allowed on it. One other person remarked that she would “much rather find a hotel by a train or tram stop than stay by Messukeskus”. They also added how easy our trains are to navigate.

Our airport also received high praise. One person missed his flight check-in for his return flight and still managed to make his flight with plenty of time to spare as the airport in his words is “small, friendly and easy to navigate”. A committee member with mobility issues commented on how “friendly and helpful the airport mobility staff were”. This made her experience very pleasant.

(I am a bit of a frequent flyer myself and since it’s so convenient to fly from helsinki I often visit my relatives in Norway, Sweden and Russia especially for our wintertime family reunions. The drink, the food, the festivities – I could go on forever with wild and crazy stories, but I don’t want to incriminate myself. I have my pride and those reunions already have a bit of a reputation in Finland as it is… Anyway, back to the topic at hand, Major Ursa!)

Friendly fandom at Urho’s Pub

Helsinki received compliments on being a beautiful city with active and welcoming sci-fi fandom. The S.F. Mafia which meets every other Thursday in St. Urho’s Pub was enjoyed by some non-Finnish committee members and they wholeheartedly recommend getting to know the people and the place. I’m told that one of the highlights of the pub is their reindeer meat pizza which received a 5 star recommendation from two people. Also, the pub is located in the city center which made it an easy place to get to, they said.

(Just out of curiosity, and because the question may come up on a pub trivia quiz someday, St. Urho is a fictional saint created by Finnish-Americans to celebrate their Finnish heritage.  He was inspired by Irish-Americans and their celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day. I learned this on a trip I made to the USA last year to meet some distant cousins.)

Hmm.. All this talk of reindeer pizza is making me hungry or maybe it is the glögi giving me the munchies. Oh well, I can always go on a diet in the New Year as it is now the season to be jolly. Kiitos for reading.  Until next time.

Welcome to WorldCon 75

Hei or hi, as you say in English.  My name is Major Ursa.  I am three years old(in bear years) and I live in Helsinki.  My favorite things are space,fish, robots and stories. We polar bears are avid readers and, like so many of my relatives,I am a huge Science Fiction fan.  That’s why I was so flattered when I was asked to be the face of Worldcon 75.

I am not much of a writer as having paws makes it a challenge, but challenges have never stopped me from doing things that I really want to do as that is the Finnish way.  So, I asked Jukka Halme, our esteemed Con chair, when I was at the last staff meeting, if it was okay about starting a blog and he agreed that it was an excellent idea.  Its going to be awesome, isn’t it, Jukka?

Jukka: Yes, of course, maybe, you should tell everyone what you plan to write about?

Major Ursa:  Why did we have to start with such a hard question?  Just thinking about writing a blog makes me want to go hibernate or something.

Jukka:  Calm down, I’ll help.  And I am sure some of our many friends can help too.  They can provide you with material and if worse comes to worse, even help you write entries.

Major Ursa: Phew.  I was really worried there for a second.

Jukka: Why don’t you write about what you would like to read about like fish, space, Science Fiction, Worldcon 75, your friends, Finland and Helsinki?

Major Ursa:  You know, I think i am starting to get this.  My first blog topic is going to be an interview with you, Jukka.

Jukka:  Anything to help, Major Ursa.  You can start now, if you like.

Major Ursa: What is your name, con position and home town?

Jukka: I am Jukka Halme and I am the Con Chair of Worldcon 75. My hometown is Helsinki, Finland.

Major Ursa: Why are you involved in Worldcon 75, Jukka?

Jukka: I want to make this the best possible convention possible.  Having been involved with Finnish fandom and cons for nigh on 30 years,this is is my other family and I want to showcase it to the rest of world’s fandom.  I was a part of the bid from the get-go, and feel a sense of responsibility to make Worldcon 75 a success.

Major Ursa: What are you most looking forward to to do with the con in the summer?

Jukka: To me, fandom is love.  Having the world of fandom here, in my hometown, is pretty spectacular.  I look forward to everything.

Major Ursa: What would you most like to share about Helsinki with the rest of the world?

Jukka: The ease of our public transport.  The safety and compatibility of our city.  Our markets, parks, food and fen.

Major Ursa:  Kiitos, Jukka or thank you as you say in English. That was a huge help.  And, you know what, I just thought of  name of my blog, Major Ursa to Ground Control.  I am so psyched to be doing this.