A whole lot of empties, €125 in my tip jar and a Jauren Silvan weasel sitting on my bar cabinet wearing a tequila lid hat. Now that’s what I call a party.
Bar weasel! Bar weasel!
As mentioned a couple of days ago, a most excellent Saturday night was had and by all reports it was fun for all involved, with the possible exception of my Palokas sister- and brother-in-law who still have this little issue with Walder to worry about.
Anyway, things kicked off in about the most amazingly ego-boosting manner possible, with Zack and Virva turning up to reveal that Zack had put together a Zeegon Pendraegg costume, while Virva was in her “TEAM BRUCE” T-shirt. This shirt was just a happy coincidence since they’d had it made for a multiple-cancer-surviving friend of theirs named Bruce, but it was very much in theme. The Zeegon costume was flawless, with every one of the scant details I’d put in the story covered – from Boonie the jungle weasel to “PIVs are VIPs” on the inside of the shirt.
 I’ve seen too many fans complain about authors going on and on about what their characters are wearing, so I may have erred on the side of “it’s a uniform, that’s about it” when describing my team. More details will emerge but for now, it looks like life will dictate art in a lot of cases.
Mrs. Hatboy then revealed that she had created a Janya Adeneo costume, and when Mr. Fahrenheit arrived he too was kitted out in a very decent Janus Whye, complete with organiser pad with counselling notes for each character. I believe he updated this as the evening progressed.
So, my evening began with a group of fans dressing up as characters from my book and promptly and thoroughly out-geeking me with their knowledge and enthusiasm. It simply can not get better than that.
My very own group of sci-fi conventioneers: Zeegon (with Boonie), Janya (with subdermal implants and scars), and Janus (with organiser).
Not long after this, the bar really started filling up and so for a long time I was kept busy making drinks and signing books in frantic succession. I guess the legendary hospitality of Bar Äijä’s was once again confirmed, as people waited exorbitant lengths of time for their drinks, which I had usually forgotten by the time their turns arrived. Still, everyone seemed to be having a good time and I managed to down a couple of drinks myself.
There were complaints about the Bloody Mary being a bit too heavy on the Tabasco, but I sampled it extensively and I had to enhance mine quite a lot before it became a challenge. We just have wimps in our midst.
Drinking and merriment continued unabated. I took a couple of breaks to help get the kids ready for bed, and also to move Wump’s baby seat over into the Hawkins’s car so they could drive Bella and Walder to the emergency room. That’s where they all spent the rest of the night, earning them the rightful Big Damn Heroes Award for the night.
Walder had a great time.
 Mrs. Hatboy, obviously, must share this award because she basically took care of everything, from the pancakes to the child-wrangling to all entertainment and mingling outside a two-metre radius of the bar.
 The Hawkinses also treated me to a beautiful Parker fountain pen – the sort I drool over every time I go downstairs for art supplies at the academic bookstore – for book signing. So, winners.
It seems that, at some point during the evening, Wump had been in my office and had found my magnetic buckyball-clump desk toy. She likes playing with this and extending it out into a snake. The problem came when my dear anoppi decided to use the convenient floor space to change Walder’s nappy, at which point he may or may not have grabbed and swallowed one or several of the magnetic balls. We just don’t know, because there’s no trace of them now.
The USians in our crew were immediately worried because buckyball magnets are apparently one of these big off-the-toy-market danger items because kids ate them and ended up with bowel issues due to two buckballs magnetising from one loop of intestine to another. So off to the emergency room they went, and were told (presumably by a janitor) that there was no point in doing an X-ray because the buckyballs wouldn’t show up, but if they hadn’t come out in the poop in a few days they could do an MRI (because apparently highly-magnetised metal in the bowels is just fine and dandy to go through an MRI with). We still haven’t heard anything useful, but my opinion of Finnish diagnostic medicine has taken a lot of punishment over the years.
During one such absence, The Pas took over the bar and fixed a “One With Everything”, apparently because he was channelling the Booze Whisperer. It may actually have also been Heikki’s fault, but I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt since all the rest of the drinks he made were very good.
This may be the reason the Booze Whisperer did not in fact show up this night.
There was also a couple of centimetres of snow on the ground, so after a few drinks The Pas decided to vent his directionless anger in a surprisingly harmless and entertaining way – by holding a series of snowball duels out in the yard. Three snowballs each, ten paces each, turn and fling. I understand that he took down a surprising number of people (including myself) by hitting them on the left leg, before finally being hammered by Jarmo, who was enjoying Bar Äijä’s for the first time and may or may not have been looking for a reason to pelt snowballs at The Pas. I couldn’t say. Well played to him, though.
Mr. Sundahl was also well-installed at the bar, and enjoyed a variety of gin & tonics and Tequila Motherfuckers. I’m sorry that his requested Irish coffee did not pan out the way he might have wished – we will do better next time. And speaking of Irish, Gerry was in attendance and a selection of Baby Guinness, Squashed Frog and other shots were consumed before her driving status required her to stop.
There were far too many people to name, from the usual suspects among the family, role-players and Lionbrides-and-ex-Lionbrides, to newcomers Katy and Mr. Kauppinen (although the latter has visited Sotunki before, this was his first time at the bar). The drinks menu was a great success, the books I had available sold out swiftly, and the D6s rolled freely. The Pas rolled an impressive 22, which was actually a fairly standard Tequila Motherfucker but was made special by the fact that he’d hit 5 4s and a 2. We arbitrarily decided this meant the Tequila Motherfucker was going to be in big shot glasses, and was going to have absinthe instead of Kahlúa. So he had that, and kept it down like a champ. Honourable mention should also go to Aleksi for managing the “Blaran Lärvilauta” (or “Blarn Lärvilauta” on my misprinted menu) single-handedly, although he was right to point out that it was just four random shots, so nothing to really freak out about.
The trivia quiz was enjoyed by all, and won by Mr. Fahrenheit with something of an inner-circle advantage, but very well-played nevertheless. Some of the other responses were quite surreal, but it was a lot of fun.
I’m actually hard-pressed to award a Pissiest Pants this time around, unless it was me – I don’t think anyone was particularly hammered or obnoxious. Certainly by the time the crowd thinned out and Heikki told me to take a break and let him tend bar, I wound up with at least four drinks lined up in front of me and that’s when I started making up for lost ground. But even then, and even once the Hawkinses got back and also started trying to catch up, there was no great problem with people overdrinking.
I’ll go ahead and award myself and The Pas with a mutual Last Man Standing, since we ended up sitting in the snow in the back yard sharing a smoke, and I then installed him on the couch with a very, very small blanket and went to bed with icy-damp underpants, causing Mrs. Hatboy some momentary consternation.
Mr. Kauppinen, and his hairy little friend Günther, had very patiently waited for the bar to empty so he could take the couch-bed in there. The following morning everyone seemed to be in one piece and I got them on a bus towards the centre. Then all that remained was the cleaning up.
All in all, an excellent night. Thanks to all involved and my sympathies to those who missed out. Next book will be out soon, and we’ll do this all over again.