Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Blackpool

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015 | Events, Travel

In September we headed over to Blackpool for the Monster Raving Loony party conference. I had never been to Blackpool before so I was curious to see what it was like. The answer was slow-going. It took us four hours to get from Leeds to the hotel. it is nice to see a British seaside town thriving though.

The conference was held at Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Who ID’ed both Elina and I, twice. The barmaid asked for our ID, which by sheer luck Elina had on her, and spent ages mulling over whether she could accept a Finnish ID card. Then, just after that, the bouncer came round and checked our ID too.

However, he does win some points because when he found out Elina was from Finland he said he had been to Helsinki. Which is actually in Finland. So many people respond to the news by saying “I’ve been to Sweden”. We couldn’t give a shit if you have been to Sweden, stop saying it!

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The party had organised an open top tour bus so we paraded round the town while Howling shouted into a megaphone from the front of the bus.

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We got some touristy things in while we were there. We wandered around the piers, all of which had 5 star health ratings. I will be honest, I’m suspicious. We visited the biggest Wetherspoons I had ever seen, across three fours with a lift in the middle. We did the sea life centre and played the free round of pirate mini golf you get with it.

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We went for a walk down the sea front, which wasn’t mega-interesting. However, where else can you randomly come across a line or daleks?

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Every time we got to a Loony party conference, which is now a sample size of two, someone is advertising discount weddings.

What I found annoying about Blackpool is how backward it is though. I can accept that not everywhere has Uber, though it is annoying. However, no where took credit cards. I am not even talking about street vendors (though a lot of street vendors in Leeds do take credit cards now, and all of them do in Helsinki), but even the restaurant we had dinner in did not take credit cards! Really frustrating.

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Yarndale 2015

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015 | Events

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These look like the creatures out of The Dark Crystal.

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That sign at the back read “chairs”.

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Why not alpacas?

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Finland wedding

Sunday, September 13th, 2015 | Events, Family & Parenting

What do you get when you book a party barn and fill it full of Fins and Brits for a wedding? The answer is a damn fine party. I like to think that is down to the excellent team that Elina’s mum Riitta and I make. Riitta organised everything, and I resisted the urge to try and control everything, and everything worked out well.

We started with a champagne reception. Elina and I even had our own non-alcohol tray. We then sat down for a formal meal and then the cutting of the cake, which involved the usual awkwardness of everyone gathering round taking photos. Then we partied.

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The barn had seating areas downstairs, including a bar with saloon doors and a dart board, and then an open area upstairs with a poker table, pool table, ping pong table, two table footballs and an air hockey table. There was also a TV with a variety of games consoles and a karaoke machine.

Oli won the book on Kieran’s arrival time after he turned up 2 hours 34 minutes late, beating out Cara’s guess with four minutes to spare.

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I don’t have many photos of the day because I was busy being the groom and everything, but some more should hopefully turn up.

Elina and I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who made the trip over from the UK, from Sweden, and from the various parts of Finland too! It was wonderful to celebrate the day with so many special people!

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Humanist summer social

Sunday, August 9th, 2015 | Events, Humanism

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For this year’s Humanist summer social we held a picnic at Kirkstall Abbey. We got lucky with the weather, enjoying a wonderful sunny day.

Family BBQ

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015 | Events

My gran’s side is quite a large family and we used to get together on a regular basis. Unfortunately, as people have got older, it is become a little too much to organise a large party, so they have gradually faded away.

That is until my parents stepped up and said they would organise a summer BBQ.

We ended up taking ten dishes – four breads (bloomer, stout, focaccia, stilton and bacon rolls), two sides (coleslaw, noodle salad), two starters (tomato and goat’s cheese tart, smoked trout pâté) and two dessert (devil’s food cake and eclairs). Most of it got eaten though due to the volume of food other people also brought we ended up coming home with boxes of new things as well!

We were reasonably lucky with the weather. There was a tiny bit of rain, but not enough to drive us inside, and the night was chilly but not survivable once we had the fire put going.

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Finnish picnic

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015 | Events

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At the end of July we attended the Finnish picnic at Temple Newsam. It’s an annual event and we had great weather last year. This year, we were less fortunate.

It rained the whole day. However, we did not let that stop us and headed into the cafe to get some food there. Despite the lack of sun there were still about a dozen of us.

Sex, Love & Marketing

Friday, July 31st, 2015 | Events, Humanism

Leeds Skeptics recently invited David Frank to present a talk entitled “sex, love & marketing”. It looked at how people market themselves on online dating and what interesting information we can gather from large scale data releases by major online dating networks.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Online dating is rapidly becoming a mature industry with wide social acceptance – most people think it is a good way to meet people and 11% of Americans have used it
  • It is predominantly used by middle-class urban dwellers with some university education
  • “Do you like horror movies?” turns out to be a really good predictor of compatibility

And some tips for using online dating:

  • Get your friends to pick your photos as you will instinctivly try and pick mirror images of yourself rather than the best photos
  • Get your friends to peer-review your profile, just like you would a CV
  • Use an interesting username that is neither boring nor contains words with negative connotations
  • Use pictures taken on DSLRs – whether it is the skill of the user, the higher quality camera or extra care taken, the produce much more liked photos than camera phones
  • If you must use a camera phone, turn the flash off
  • People love some depth of field on profile pictures too
  • Selfies are good for women, but bad for men
  • Smile with teeth is best, followed by no smile, smile without teeth. A smirk is the worst thing you can do.
  • T-shirts or casual shirts are the way to go for men – tank tops and topless are the worst ways to go
  • Showing cleavage works for women, and this becomes even more successful as they age
  • Do not talk about god in your profile
  • Basically everyone hates misspellings, grammar, and short replies

Overall a really interesting talk. There was also a section on sex and fetishes. The entire thing was well supported by stats and evidence. You can find the full slides on David’s website.

Cut Out Shapes at Wharf Chambers

Friday, May 1st, 2015 | Events, Music, Reviews

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Wharf Chambers is a new venue located where the Common Place used to be. It’s a members-only club, though membership is just £1 and we just went in. With a good reason of course, we were there for a gig. We got there just in time to see one of the warm-up bands, Secateurs.

They were very good. At first they were just irritatingly loud but as our ears adjusted I began to really enjoy their set.

Cut Out Shapes put on the usual high standard of performance, even doing an encore of a song they claimed they did not know how the play.

Solar eclipse review

Friday, March 27th, 2015 | Events, Video

Massively disappointing.

I sat in Leeds city centre to watch it and it was so cloudy that you could look at it with the naked eye (I did try with the glasses but you could not see anything through them). If you didn’t know that the eclipse was taking place, you could have easily not noticed it was happening.

I could have taken my friends up on their kind invitation to visit them in the Faroe Islands, but there too it was cloudy. The only place you could see it without cloud cover was Svalbard, which as you will no doubt know, is a fictional place made up by Philip Pullman for his His Dark Materials trilogy.

Still, at least the wonders of modern technology allowed me to watch it live on my tablet.

I have actually witnessed a total solar eclipse before as we were in Northern France for the 1999 one, which was pretty magical. Standing on the beach as the entire sky went dark. Not quite the same set by a train track in Leeds city centre watching the sky go almost imperceptibly dimmer…

Loony Party 2014 Conference

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 | Events, Religion & Politics

Last month we attended the 2014 conference of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party. Very few party conferences are start with a pub crawl.

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Or have a travelling band that follow them around.

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In my opinion, this is of the severe detriment to the other parties. It had all the important bits too of course. The cabinet reshuffle for example.

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Llandrindod Wells it quite a nice place. Rather scenic. Being in the middle of Wales, it is a bit of a mission to get to though.