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General

This blog had kind of a dry season in the autumn, while I was pretty busy working on my master’s thesis. However, during that time I had some ideas for doing things differently with the blog and trying to be more productive creatively. I finally got myself around to implementing some of the changes.

The most obvious update of course is the new visuals. Nothing fancy, just a ready-made WordPress theme. I just wanted something simple, effective and, well, free, at least for the moment. I also registered a domain for the blog: peniskala.net. There is a joke there somewhere, but it might not be very obvious if you don’t know me or speak Finnish and at least some English. Enough clues!

I’ll also try to do some new things regarding content. If I’m producing some content for websites or magazines, I’ll give a heads-up on the blog, just to advertise myself a bit more, and maybe throwing in some additional comments for those interested.

I might also write and publish something in Finnish here, but I’m not sure if and when that is going to happen. The main thing is, however, that I’ll be trying to write more, be it in Finnish or English.

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My most recent trip abroad took me to St Petersburg. It was just a brief visit from Wednesday to Friday, although I think it was pretty appropriate to end it on the Finnish independence day.

I had never been to Russia before, so it was an entirely new experience for me. It only takes three hours and 30 minutes to get from Helsinki to St Petersburg using the Allegro train. Considering this, it kind of feels ridiculous how you need to apply for visa filling all sorts of forms and giving all sorts of credentials. I actually did not even have the passport until the trip, so that made the process even more ridiculous – everything for just a three-day trip.

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Sunny Greifswald

Seppo Räty, a Finnish javelin thrower, once said famously: “Saksa on paska maa”, which translates to “Germany is a shitty country”. His comment came after a failure to qualify for the finals in Stuttgart in 1993. While I’ve had some negative experiences with Germany, I’m not ready share his sentiment.

I visited Germany last week for the second time ever. Last year we went to Gamescom in Cologne, this time it was the IPP Plasma Physics Summer University in Greifswald. It’s pretty relevant to my studies and my work as I’m currently doing my Master’s Thesis on fusion research in Aalto University. I’m not going to bore you with the physics details – at least not at this time, I’ll probably try to finally write something on the subject here on the blog soonish. Now I’m just trying to write about the other stuff regarding the trip.

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Twitter

I’ve been using Twitter for a few years now and it’s not unusual for me to get asked something along the lines of “why do people use Twitter” or “do people use Twitter”. I know the answer to the latter question, but the first one is a little bit trickier. It’s good to ponder why people use social media in general and maybe then consider what differentiates Twitter from it’s main competitor, Facebook. Twitter has been taking off in the mainstream only rather recently, while Facebook has been around for a while. Things might be changing in the future, however.

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This summer has been kind of a crazy summer. As I previously explained, I switched from working at IGN Finland to doing my master’s thesis at Aalto university. For the first two weeks of June I worked both jobs simultaneously and soon after that I did 10 hour days helping out at the EPS Conference in Otaniemi. I went to Oulu straight from the conference by nighttrain, practically without any sleep and already sleep-deprived from the week. But it was worth it as I got to see a lot of family and, for the first time, my recently born niece, who was named Minea. From Oulu I continued on to Kokkola, having been something like five hours in Oulu.

Soon after the short tour of Finland my relationship with Otaniemi became strictly professional as I moved to Helsinki and Meilahti, to be precise. Moving out and in is naturally a hassle. Thankfully I got a lot of help from my friends. I still had to spend a lot of money to buy stuff like a washing machine, but luckily I was somewhat prepared for that. The stress of the move is now wearing off and I’m getting back to regular life, as in chilling out and going to the gym besides working and thinking about I still need to get. Well, I still need to get some stuff, but anyways.

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I think I’ve quite often mentioned that I’ve had some difficulties deciding how I should use my time. On one hand I’ve had my studies and on the other hand my passion towards videogames and writing. We’ve now done KonsoliFIN Podcast for almost two and a half years, but in the recent years I’ve got great writing opportunities besides increased (and then decreased) responsibility in KonsoliFIN. First there was the infamous (hardly, as I don’t know if anyone ever read it) Coke Gaming Zone blog on MSN. Then I started writing for H-Twon (Pelaaja Magazine and Pelaajalehti.com website).

Late last summer, pretty much out of nowhere, I got a very intriguing offer. I was told that they were planning to bring IGN into Finland. At first I was naturally kind of confused: How? Why? What is this? This came just before KonsoliFIN’s trip to Gamescom last year. Up to that moment I had kept my studies as a top priority, even though I managed to waste a lot of time on video games and writing about them. This offer, however, was one that a person like me could hardly refuse. I knew from the get-go that there would be many difficulties and challenges with bringing a website like IGN to Finland. My studies were pretty much at the point where I could’ve started working my master’s thesis so that was maybe my last chance to really have a go at it and see how working in the games media would feel, even if not full-time but part-time and not as a freelancer.

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I usually try to keep away from matters that are more or less personal and actually involve other people because, you know, it’s hard to take things back from the Internet. But this time, I will make an exception. Maybe it’s because I was running a fever and couldn’t sleep when I wrote this a few weeks in advance, but it felt like a good idea and something important – for me, at least.

I often joke about my name: shortening Paavo Niskala tends to end up in “pniskala”, which spoken out loud in Finnish basically sounds like “penisfish”. I also often joke that I don’t know what my parents were thinking when they decided to have my second name Eino, thus completing the evil plan, but luckily I have a third name also: Oskari. As usual, they just didn’t come up with names that sound cool, they have a meaning in the family heritage. Okay, now that I asked my mother, Oskari was actually just something they thought was cool (or at least that’s what she told me) but Eino comes from my father’s family: my grandfather was named Eino.

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