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Urban Exploration: Toy Monkeys Are Never Cute

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This weekend was one of the best I’ve had this year, in so many fronts. Susi and I went to our cabin for a windy and stormy weekend, which was one of trapping cats, urban exploration and interactive fiction, spiced with saunaing and a whole lot of food.

(Check out the full Flickr photoset)

Oh, look at that cute monkey toy!


The weekend was an apt counterbalance to the beginning of the week, which was made of suck and fail to an impressively major degree. Some heinous old shit managed to rear its head to a major degree. It’s stuff that has been sapping far too long the energy that could be used for living and loving, working, friends and adventures, which frustrates me to no end. Luckily, it seems like a solution is just around the corner. But that’s enough of that.

Oh, look at the blue eyes of those cute monkey toys shining through the stained plastic.

On Friday Susi and I hopped to the car and headed over to the countryside. It was rainy and stormy, but there are only good kinds of weather to be at the cabin: good for outdoorsy stuff, and good for sitting indoors, drinking coffee, reading, playing adventure games and listening to the rain. The latter was what we did through the Friday night, and on Sunday I woke up to the rain pattering on the smaller cabin’s roof and trees hissing in the stormy winds. A perfect wake up call.

I started the morning just idling around, almost not getting off my butt, but in the afternoon I decided to get active and go and check out an abandoned gas station I had heard about from my colleague.

The roof had sprung a slight leak. Barely noticeable, really.

Man, that was the right decision, since the place was in incredibly good shape, and a really atmospheric and rewarding place to explore. It’s also a small wonder, since it’s right next to a well travelled road (I’ve driven past it dozens of times), but somehow it has remained practically untouched for over two decades. True, the area is overgrown, and you can’t really spot the place when you are zooming past, but you’d imagine there would be enough stupid teenagers in the neighbouring farm houses to come break stuff up. Apparently not.

When you turn your back, they will move. When it is dark, they will... feed.

Yes... just a little closer. Of course I'm a plush toy, what else would I be?

In case of urban exploration targets “untouched” is a bit of an flexible concept. Here it means that someone had broken some windows and trashed the office, but otherwise left the place largely unmolested. There are still plushy toys in the gift shop shelves, quietly gathering mold. The kitchen still has pots and pans where someone left them to dry ages ago, surrounded by a beautiful layer of moss. The office has been trashed but computer monitors, printers and a great deal of the papers are still there, there are still tablecloths on the restaurant tables, and… well, it seems the greatest damage has been wrought by the weather that has made the ceiling collapse.

The kitchen was incredible. It looks like someone just stepped out of the place and left everything as it was.

The skylight was still in place, but it was already leaking. The gray light of the stormy day was really beautiful in the dilapidated room.

I spent quite a while just moving quietly around, taking photos and listening to the rain and the storm outside. It’s rare to find a location that’s this old and in this good a shape. This was one of the most atmospheric UE visits I’ve done in Finland, and it had a lot to do with the gloomy weather, combined with the well preserved location.

Some kind of primitive relic from the days of yore.

About the cat issue, Susi’s mother’s cat had gone totally and gloriously AWOL, having been out there to sire more kittens and live la vida Fight Club for six weeks. Just looking for the cat didn’t yield any results, so the next step was to get a trap meant for raccoon dogs. I missed the occasion of setting the trap, but I joined on one trip to check it, and also on a search and abduct mission into a forest area where the cat had apparently been seen. In the end, on Sunday, the huge rainstorm drove the cat to a nearby house, where they managed to trap it inside. A happy thing, but kind of a shame – I would’ve wanted to see the cat trap in action.

This is the trap we had for the cat. Apparently these are used in catching raccoon dogs alive.

The rainy weather was a perfect time to catch up on interactive fiction, while sipping coffee and listening to the rainstorm outside. I ended up trying or playing though bunch of games, including Rogue of the Multiverse, Masquerade, Galatea, Spider and Web and One Eye Open. As a bonus, in Sunday evening I managed to restart my game writing which had stalled for two or three weeks.

Susi and I got a few hours to ourselves in Sunday night, on Monday I was working in the closeby city, so no sense in driving to Helsinki and back. That quality time really completed the weekend, which was ridiculously pleasant, interesting, atmospheric, relaxing and romantic. They rarely come better than this.

(Check out the full Flickr photoset)

Tending the last embers of the fire before it was time to go to bed.

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