Monday, 31 December 2012

My 2012

So my 2012 was an eventful one full of ups and downs, but mostly ups which is all that counts and me turning 30. Edit: Okay this ended up hugeee.. sorry

Started the year with getting the new design. I swore to myself that I wouldn't change it for a long time (yes Steff I mean it!). I finally managed to get the design nice and simple and easy to navigate. Something which bugged me for ages with past designs. Though I'm still very much a beginner as I'm still "thrown into the deep end" after the guy who helped me design the blue version back in 2010 stopped contact so I had to literally learn as I went along and trial and error. I don't think I've done too bad for someone with no training :)

Then headed to Finland for some Nightwish shows, which was good fun. Was good to see them all again. Of course we did the interview with Tuomas which went down well.. and I was blanked by a certain female which no names will be mentioned but was the start of me suspecting something wasn't right with that person.
I got to meet Katharina in person for the first time on this trip which was wonderful and a huge surprise, and it was nice of Johanna Kurkela to come stand for a bit and chat while we waited for the show to start.

Then Paris happened with 3 crazy Ghouls.. and Disney, which was so fun.. though bloody cold! We need to do this again when it's warm I think. Paris backstage at Nightwish was fun, watching Sari Beastall and Liz Lowe dancing stage side made me laugh and of course I got a photo of the event. I arranged for them to have time to 'interview' Tuomas which we were going to publicize but it just turned into complete randomness so decided not to. Also got really angry at said female from before, again won't go into detail but it led to a good rant with someone else who agreed with me 100% which I didn't expect. So that put a downer on things for a bit.

By mid year I got pissed off with working at the care home. They were taking me for a ride. I ended up having to stay awake over 54 hours so I could look after son and then work on the evenings and they didn't attempt to swap my shifts, so I walked out.

Then I had a horrible argument with Tuomas about a few things . Of course all got sorted in the end (all made sense in UK why it turned into an argument)  but then the bombshell was dropped about Anette, which caused me a lot of money as the server we were on couldn't handle the traffic and the host company suspended our account. Costing me an hour phone call (of 1.50 per minute) to the states, then £170 to upgrade to a dedicated server. Stressful time that was.

So she left then as if by magic, the UK club was allowed meet and greets again. *ahem* So we frantically sorted all that out with only a few weeks till the tour. But all done and organised had the best time ever calling the winners. The time on tour was fun (if I didn't fall ill would of been better) and the meet and greets (bar Manchester *shakes fist at security*) went brilliantly and it was great to meet so many people I have spoken to for such a long time finally in person.
Then it was off to the premier in Helsinki. Good atmosphere and the best NW show I had seen to date. Would of been perfect if the crowd from Brixton were in Hartwall instead. Afterparty goodness and great to see Christian again and actually have a conversation this time :). Met twice before but only seemed to say very little to each other.

Then it was the trip to Kitee and me panicking on the train by not knowing the thing splits in two hah. Seeing Kiti, Penna, Plamen and Katharina was great and it was a lovely experience. Having my photo and mentioned in the paper was weird though. Shame I never managed to get a physical copy, but at least Katharina was kind enough to scan it for me.

With the continued growth of - official 2 years now and the improving Nightwishforum which we have had a year now, things are looking stronger and stronger all the time. Huge thanks to Benedikt for help with our new server which has made things so much easier and cheaper to run.

I think it's still weird that little old me started some typical fan appreciation site way back in 2008 and to have grown to where I am now. Got a great little web team going, the certain bunch of individuals who try to sabotage our work and write crap online seem to have started to give up. So all in all I think 2013 has the potential to be a good year.

Apologies to people I missed off, I think this is long enough to start.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Trip take 2 plus extras

I've been home for about a month now after the tour and trip to Kitee.
Tuomas' gift giving went down well, though as it's covered on I don't think I'll go into it much.

I was picked up from the apartment by Plamen and took to where we were holding the meeting. There I met up with Katharina, Kiti and Penna and fueled up on coffee. We moved everything into place then waited for Tuomas to arrive.
As punctual as ever, Tuomas pulled up in his car just before the arranged meeting time so we made sure everything was ready before he walked in.
He came over asked how I was, I returned the favour which he replied  'still hungover'. The after party was a great night and he defiantly had a lot to drink that night, but it was funny.
Unknown to me, we were joined by a reporter who took pictures and interviewed Katharina and Tuomas. The guy spoke briefly to me but didn't ask any questions, just kept mentioning Tuomas' UK fan club.. which I tried to set him right that 1) is *not* UK and 2) is *not* a fan club.. but he didn't seem to want to listen to what I had to say about the event, just Katharina and Tuomas.
Because of the reporter taking the extra time myself and Tuomas had agreed for a catch up, (a sort of 'meeting' as we had lots to go over), we had to cancel. This did annoy me quite a bit as we had rescheduled this meeting twice already and I was not asked about the reporter and since was my/our site event, I feel I should of been consulted as it changed the idea and feel of the day. This would be my last chance to sit and go over stuff with Tuomas in probably a year so for us not to be able to and have to resort to email made getting things done harder.
In the end the newspaper got some facts wrong and didn't even give the website information so I was not best pleased at that either. If it was going to be covered by media, could of been done a lot better.
Anyway gift giving over and something special wrapped well to survive the journey back to the UK, goodbyes were said, I was took back to the apartment. From about 2:30 until the next day I was on my own in the apartment. I wish I knew none of my friends had the time to spend as I would of got the train back that afternoon rather than the next day as... well I was very bored.
I contemplated going for a walk, but having to find my way back in the dark put me off attempting.
The next day, Tuomas' father took me to the train station and I started my 14 hour journey back to Glasgow.

Now home a few weeks, I have piles of stuff still to do. Thanks to flu I have to finish mailing out the Wayfarer which I emailed everyone and said it would of been this week. Late ordering a gift for someone from the site so had to spend more money on priority time rather than standard, late with my Christmas cards. Still have some TH promos to mail out.. again thanks to work load/new job/flu I think I still have half a dozen to send and some other things... but don't even mention I have not started any Christmas shopping.

However a package I was waiting on arrived this morning, meaning I can plan something I have been waiting on for a few weeks now.

Some pictures of time away:

Me in the photo pit in Glasgow with Floor's camera

Me and my boss before leaving after gift giving

Monttu studios after signing the wall

View from my apartment

Outside the apartment

Train ride back to Helsinki

Cool steam engine at Kouvola

My UK tour pass

Carol "Joulu"

Monday, 12 November 2012

Tour overview

Warning: Long blog.

I really don't know where to start with this. The original idea was to do little daily blogs and even vlogs from the road whilst traveling but schedule and the immense tiredness that came with doing the tour just took all the spare time and energy from me. So instead of that I thought I would write this big overview blog and try to remember everything important or interesting that may of happened whilst being on the wander.

The start: November 2nd - Start point: Durham  End point: Glasgow

What I expected to be a straight forward day turned into a nightmare. I woke to messages that people cannot connect to the websites. I had about a maximum of 30 minutes to look into this whilst getting ready and making sure I had everything. I spent about 10 minutes checking the account and all seemed to be working and payments were up to date, so I was puzzled. Realising I really had no time to spend chasing this, I had to pass everything onto mojo and pretty much just leave it to him.
After dashing around, I was on my way to the train station in Durham. With a suitcase and huge canvass prints in tow, I attempted to get to the platform without dropping anything. The train had a slight delay of only 10 minutes so I just stood waiting for it. Once on the train it took me an age to find somewhere to put my luggage as they all seemed to be full in the carriage I was booked in. After walking 3 carriages down I had success then headed back to Coach F to take my seat. When I arrived there was a child in my seat, the mother who was sitting on the other side said she is sorry and someone had taken their seats. I let it go just because it was a child, but the mother was too shy to ask the people in her sons seat to move. A seat cleared up after the next station, though it was a backwards traveling seat in a red hot carriage with no air.
I tend to suffer from motion sickness, so whenever possible I get forward facing to reduce the risk that I would suffer any symptoms.
For 3 hours I sat in this chair practically sweating but lucky for me as I was starting to feel unwell, we stopped at Edinburgh and about 3/4 of the carriage emptied. I used this opportunity to jump to a cooler forward facing seat for the last hour or so of the journey.
Alex and his sister met me at the station and I unloaded the canvas prints onto Alex to carry. At his we made dinner then drew the winners of the British fan club's meet and greet competition. Alex had said winners would of been announced at around 5pm, since I didn't get to Alex's till around 4:40, this obviously didn't happen on time. After we drew the winners we thought it would be a good idea to call them and record some of the reactions to a pre-tour vlog we had planned to film that night.
Calling everyone was great,  but it took a lot longer than I expected. I think our last calls were around 8:20..nearly 3 and a half hours after Alex's announcement deadline. Oh well.
After the winners were all called and dinner was ate, we set to work on filming the rest of the club vlog. It ended up quite random due to the Jack Daniels that was flowing, but all in all it turned out nice and was well received.

Day 2: November 3nd - Start point: Glasgow  End point: Manchester

This was the day of the Nightwish fan party to be held at the Hard Rock Cafe in Manchester. We travelled about 5 hours on bus from Glasgow to Manchester. Horrible journey. No leg room, really hot and stuffy. We were met by a friend Nikki, someone I've been speaking to online since roughly 2008 but this would be the first time meeting her, which of course was nice. We arrived at our hotel about 45 minutes before the event was due to start so we just thought we would get food when we were there. Fat chance! It was packed solid. Lucky we spotted Jeanette and her friend and we managed to claim a large table to the site of the bar. Others started to arrive and it became obvious that we were in for a nice evening. We did eventually get some food but decided not to touch the alcohol that night due to the lateness of when we ate.
I think around 20-25 people came and even some internationals which was real nice to have.

Day 3: November 4th -Manchester

I woke not feeling 100%. I put it down to eating too late the night before, being tired and the stress of not yet having our meet and greet schedule and being unable to contact anyone about it. I finally heard from Ewo with times so I could go ahead and tell everyone.
We headed to the venue around 4, it was freezing cold and we were all pretty much huddled together trying to keep warm. Lucky for me I got a sms from Ewo inviting me inside for a coffee and chat. I did feel bad leaving the guys in the cold but since I had stuff to sort out I jumped at the chance to get warm. I had Tuomas and Floor both say hi as I went in. Tuomas was shocked that I had my hair cut short and of course this was my first time meeting Floor. In the brief 30 seconds first impressions were good.
I had my coffee and sorted out a few things, then  I stole a 2nd cup to take upstairs to Alex along with his pass for the tour.
I then got the call to bring the meet and greeters to the meeting point, then annoyingly security decided they were going to be right arses and not let the guys in. There was even an outside courtyard and still no. Tuomas said he didn't care and walked past security into the street to meet them and soon the rest followed. The guys managed to get things signed and photos took but then the queue noticed the band and also came down to join in. The band stayed 5 extra minutes and me and Alex went around apologising for security, of course it was out of our hands and even the managements.
So meet and greet was not perfect but not a failure, so we picked our heads up and headed off inside. We went to the dressing room to have a drink and warm up. I asked if we could stay 5 minutes to warm up, it ended up being most the night till they were due to get ready to go on stage. Floor introduced herself more, quickly followed by "there is a female here now, wait", she went out of the dressing room and into her own returning with a new pair of boots to show me and show her matching nail polish. Must admit the shoes were fantastic and I'm not one of these girls who goes crazy other clothes and shoes.
She brought in a Finnish book as well and had Tuomas going through it with her. He started reading some vowel examples out and kept saying, we don't say it like this, this is crazy, saying the sentences outloud causing the others in the room to laugh with the content of the book. Then we noticed her notes looked a bit chewed, she admitted 'her dog did actually eat her homework'.
Ice broken and shattered, we headed off to find somewhere to stand for the show. It was warm inside, too warm. The amount of people + the heating was left on was too much. I kept having to leave the venue to try and cool down. I managed to catch the last two songs, Ghost Love 'Floor' and Last Ride Of The Day before heading upstairs to grab my bag and get back to the hotel to rest.
As I got to the top of the stairs near the dressing room, it felt like someone had stabbed me in the stomach. The pain went through my whole body and it was horrible. Tuomas, Marco and Troy all made sure I was okay and said to keep them informed. Being tired etc just aided the illness hit me so hard. We ended up back at the hotel around 3am and had about 3 hours sleep max before we had to get up to catch the train.

Day 4: November 5th - Start point: Manchester  End point: London

The train to London wasn't too bad even though I still was not 100%. We were not in a hotel in London, but accepted the warm invitation of Sam to stay at her place. To make it easier we just took our bags to the venue and put them in the dressing room to get when we left to save a trip to Sam's and back into the city.
We met up with the other 2 British club admins and went to Nando's for lunch. I ate as much as I could stomach, Chris being a gentleman and not leaving any waste, finished my second wrap half.  This time when we got the call for the meet and greet to start it was so much better. Security led the guys into the hall and I went to fetch the band. It went down a lot better then Manchester because they were inside and it was easier to chat and get photos etc.
I went to meet up with Pip and Sam Williams, leaving Alex with the club who wanted to be on the barrier. I didn't think it'd be a wise move for me and my stomach to risk getting squashed. We joined on the side with a good view after Pain finished their set. I must say the London show was phenomenal. At this point it was the best Nightwish show I had ever seen. The crowd went nuts on Ghost Love 'Floor', much to the surprise of the band, who actually took some steps back in disbelief.
After the show, we headed upstairs only to open the door and see Adrian Edmondson. Of course Troy plays in a band with him, but was just a shock to see him backstage laughing with Troy and Marko. I didn't talk to him really, he just made a witty remark when I tried to dodge him while carrying my case out of a crowded room.

We left the band all really happy and went to get our taxi to Sam's place. I had a great nights sleep there and started to feel healthy again. It was a relief as I had fears that I wouldn't of been able to continue the tour.

Day 5: November 6th - Start point: London  End point: Birmingham

Sam dropped us off at the train station after we fought with her sat nav and wondering where it was trying to take us.When we arrived in Birmingham, we were greeted by team member Liz who helped us find our hotel. Unfortunately the map printed off had marked the incorrect place, so we walked for ages trying to find it. In the end we got a taxi and it was in a run down area of the city and looked like a dump. When we checked in we saw the prices of the rooms and thought that we had a bargain as we paid about a third of the price. Walking out the lift towards our room proved different. The corridor stunk and looked like it was from a prison block. Our room was just big enough for the 2 single beds and the shower....well I dared not use it. It was black with mold and the whole room stunk of smoke. Frantically I got changed and was glad to get out the room and go for some food and down to the venue.
Of course we ended up in the most important place, a bar, with Roz and Sean from the UK fan club. Roz gets the nickname "Stella" online, and because of this we just had to get a picture:

The Birmingham security were good, we managed to get all the meet and greeters inside next to the dressing room and all the guys (except Troy), came out to sign and take pictures with everyone. Roz made each member their own cake, something the band adored (more on this later)

When the meet and greeters were took inside the venue, I went into the dressing room to see Jukka eating the cake with a bottle top as if a spoon. He said he loved it and would eat the rest later.
Floor then caught us and asked if we were prepared to do the interview with her now. Well we were kind of prepared but not fully so I had to borrow Floor's camera to record the interview as I had not brought mine thinking we would not have time to do it tonight. The whole thing went great and she was so lovely, we would have to bring the laptop the next night to get the footage off her camera.
Floor the joined us in going out to watch some of Pain. When she left to get ready,  we went to join the fanclub near the stage. We were not in the best place for sound but we got a good view and I got some okay pictures. Samples:

 After the show we went backstage for a few drinks. They had some guests and the tiny dressing room once again ended up packed solid. I had a drink poured by Ewo which was practically 3/4 vodka and 1/4 orange :) That one drink got my drunk, and I'm not embarrassed to say. I had some laughs with Emppu who claimed a gift from the UK club (a JD box) and said 'if it fits in my case it's mine' then proceeded to grin when his case closed without issue. Tero of course was a hoot, making rude gestures behind me, but it was just all fun.
After we left we met up again with Roz and Sean and decided that a late night snack was in order. We wondered around about 20 minutes before finding a kebab shop and thought it would do. After some good laughs and actually some okay food which sobered me up, we called it a night.

Day 6: November 7th - Start point: Birmingham  End point: Glasgow

We left early morning, thank god! Was great to get out of that hotel. We arrived at the train station and promptly boarded our train North. Settling down to try and sleep as much of the journey as possible nearly worked. I got a few hours sleep waking with about an hour to go. In  Glasgow we went back to Alex's flat and just relaxed. We had a couple of hours to get things ready to take to the show for signing, including the large canvas prints. Typically it had started to rain when we left and I was worried that the canvas prints would get wet.

When we arrived at the venue, the band were doing soundcheck so we used that opportunity to dump our stuff inside and then go back out to talk to people in the queue. We stood with them around 30 minutes but whilst outside in the rain, a puddle had gathered on the road behind me, meaning when a bus went passed I got soaked. My hair was dripping and it went down my boots wetting my socks. I decided enough was enough and went inside. Floor had sympathy for my new wet look and I dried myself off the best I could. The product in my hair went horrible when wet so I decided to wash it. The band mentioned once more about Roz's cakes and wanted to thank her again. So we decided to give her a call. I put her on speaker phone and the band spoke to her giving her thanks once more.
I sat and watched Floor and the guys playing poker dice, a fun looking game which small amounts of money is gambled and the tune of Raiders Of The Lost Ark was sung by them all when a specific combination was rolled. The first time I had witnessed this was in London, where I was sat next to Tuomas recovering from being ill the night before and all a sudden they burst into song, slapping their legs in time. I nearly jumped out my seat!
I happened to mention that I was planning to go in the photographer pit to take some pictures as I was not aware till the night before that the pass I had granted that ability. Floor then said I can use her camera as the quality is so much better than my crappy little compact digital. Paranoid about using a dslr for the first time, and it not being mine. I agreed but I never let go of it throughout the songs we could photograph. In the end, I still managed to lose the lens cap. I have no idea how I did it as I remember putting it back on the camera after the final song. I guess I did not clip it in place properly and it must of dropped back off as I walked back to the dressing room to put her camera back. I felt so bad about this, sure accidents happen but when someone who barely knows you trusts you, you just feel like you let them down. Floor was lovely about it though, and I planned to buy a replacement the next day.
The meet and greet for here ended up being the end of the show due to scheduling. Ewo was due to lead us all down but he had to leave and said the security girl would help. So when I approached security they would not let them down. They said they needed passes. She would not even let me down to grab someone with an escorting pass, so all we could do is stand and get in the way of the load out while we waiting for Ewo to return.
In the end it all worked out and the guys were ushered down the tiny stairs into the tiny, hot dressing room. I grabbed the band one by one as we had a meet and greeter in a wheel chair waiting outside. Annoyingly enough, the location didn't have good wheelchair access and this was all we could arrange. At least she got to meet them. However earlier in the day I 'paid' Tuomas my outstanding bet loss of some very nice whisky and by the end of the night he was swaying. I took him down the stairs to meet this girl outside and typically he nearly fell, causing me to catch him and pulling my arm. Rather that than him fall completely over, however funny it may have been.
End of the tour done we headed back to Alex's place and waited about an hour for a taxi in the cold wet night. When we got in, we both pretty much crashed out as we were both so tired.

Day 7: November 8th - Glasgow - Day off

I woke early as I had to go into town and get Floor a new lens cap and get it to her before they left. I knocked on Alex's door to no response, so I decided I would venture out into Glasgow on my own. I got a taxi to the camera store who's shop keepers were helpful and I managed to get a new cover. Next I had to find the hotel. It looked far on the map so I got a taxi after about 10 minutes of searching for one. Time was pressing on when we arrived at the Hilton. I asked the taxi driver to wait as I only planned to leave the cap at reception for her to collect on check-out. This is when I found out there are more than one Hilton hotels in Glasgow. Frantically I made a phone call and found out which Hilton she meant. I got back in the taxi and we left to the next location. This time I had a queue at reception to wait in and with a taxi on the meter outside, I was anxious to get going. Lucky this time it was the correct hotel. Lens cap left and taxi back to Alex's, it was time to sit and do nothing. Pizza and movies and sleep were on the cards, with a little bit of laundry to do before we needed to pack before our flight in the morning.

Day 8/9: November 9th/10th - Start place: Glasgow - End Place: Helsinki

We left around 06:30 to the airport to catch our flight to Amsterdam and then onto Helsinki. We were in good spirits and got plenty rest the day before and our plane was on time so things were looking positive. We landed in Helsinki at 17:20 local time and that's when things went pear shaped. Alex (who last trip to Finland lost his wallet- and yes he will kill me for mentioning this) was now faced with no luggage. KLM apologised and said they would get it to him on the night or the next morning at the latest.  Not the end of the world we thought.
We arrived at our hotel and then met with our friends for dinner at a restaurant called The Seahorse. It was really nice food and we ended the night at a bar till around 2am. We didn't have to be up early the next day so we just enjoyed ourselves and laughed how a round of drinks cost 25e each (4 drinks). So after we spent 100e in total between us, we called it a night and walked to the hotel passing the beautiful cathedral and I had to get a picture.
The next day we missed breakfast but stayed in the hotel for lunch. It was the same restaurant Tuomas took me when I met him last year and I ate the same thing as it was gorgeous, Salmon Soup. 2 huge filets of Salmon with potatoes and loads of buttery creamy soup. I believe the restaurant is Michellin accredited so perhaps that's why it's so good.
When it was time to head to the arena, we got a few of us to share a taxi. Once there of course we made our way to the bar and again  we were shocked with the prices. A vodka and orange came to just over 9euro! And the Nightwish wine was 7euro a glass of 48 euro a bottle. So a few drinks later and it was show time!
I loved seeing Nightwish in the UK with the small venues and intimate feeling, but this night with the screen and the pyro was just amazing. Floor was on form again and all the guys looked so happy and content. Floor's specially made outfit looked really nice and very fitting for the evening.
Arabesque featured some kind of fire dancers, I presume were booked when the night was originally going to be the full album but of course singer change caused this idea to be cancelled. Although they were okay, I would of preffered another song by Nightwish in the set than these. Pekka being onstage with his violin was really fun. It added something to the songs and stage and was something unexpected.
This night was my 10th time seeing Nightwish live and I think it was the best, closely followed by London.

Then we had to leave so they could put down the seats. Of course we went to the bar and had a shot of Salmiakkikoitso. Love this stuff. We had good seats for the movie although the temperature dropped pretty fast. My neck was aching a bit from looking up at the screen but it was enjoyable. It's something I will have to watch again as I kept finding myself concentrating on the music more than the movie itself at times. All in all, it was a great night.
In typical Ewo fashion he had forgot the wristband needed to get into the after show. Lucky Sam helped out by grabbing Tuomas who was able to help. The Backstage Bar was packed of familiar faces. It was great saying hi to people I had not seen in ages, or ones I spoke to online but never met in person. Marianne spoke with us for quite some time and was a real angel. Everyone was so accommodation and nice to each other. I didn't want to stay too long as had some stuff to do in the morning. I went to say goodbye to people and then left with Tuomas and Johanna who were also leaving.
I set some of my videos to upload over night and went straight to sleep. It's amazing how much energy I was using up by all this travelling.

Day 10: November 11th - Start place: Helsinki - End Place: Kitee

I caught my train to Kitee at 4pm. Whilst on the train I heard them say the stops and I nearly panicked as I thought I was on the wrong one. Little did I know that the train splits in two later down the route and half goes to Joensuu and the other half somewhere else. Panic over I sat to start this blog, but after an hour I could feel my eyes getting tired so I set an alarm and tried to sleep.
Plamen met me at the station and brought me to this apartment I would be spending the couple of nights. It's really nice and even has a personal sauna (not used yet).
I decided to have an early night as I had cold symptoms and wanted to be healthy for the net day of meeting with Tuomas, Kiti, Penna and Katharina.
But I'll write a whole blog on this event on it's own :) Photo teasers below.

Thank you for reading this monster...more to come!

Carol 'Joulu' Walker

Monday, 29 October 2012

Time.. something I lack

So it's Monday and the majority of the day I have been on the phone to Mother. As of now, 14:47, she has called me 6 times and I have already visited this morning. It's driving me crazy. She just calls for stupid things.

I might be lucky with my suitcase. I've got together everything I can think I need for the tour and it looks like it will all fit into my smallest suitcase. Which is great news and it's a lightweight case and since I have 2 whopping big canvases to carry to Glasgow on the train too, it's better to have a small lighter case.

It's packed with 4 UK club hoodies in so once they are out and given to who they are for, it will have even more space in it.

I had a fanatic search for my camera charger earlier. Typically it's not a usb charging one, have to take the battery out and put it in it's own charger and it took me ages to find it. I envisioned having to pay some stupid price for another. There is one charger I can't find though and that's for my portable battery (apparently holds 5 iPhone charges). So as it may be useful , I'm going to have to have another search.

Tomorrow I have UK member packs to do and mail then have stuff to do for Mother. Wednesday up to now is a free day. Thursday is hairdressers and Mother again, then Friday morning I leave so I'm running out of time to make sure I have everything done and organised.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

This is what happens when 3 people chose the same day to reply to you..

I'm looking at my white board on my office wall and there is no space left to write anything.

It's filled with what's left to organise before my trip and what is to do when I return. What to do whilst away and what to remember to take with me. A few days ago this list was not as big.

Rewind to Thursday. It was due to be my day off. I had informed the site teams that I won't be online on Thursday, me=busy that day. It started a nice day with Ethan sleeping in till 9 instead of the usual 6:30. So up and downstairs for wash and breakfast. We were not due to leave the house until 11:45 so we had plenty time as didn't rush. After breakfast I went upstairs to get dressed, it was around about 10:30. As I had turned off push emails over night on my phone I decided to check them as I got ready as I never expected anything important. I put my phone down as I got ready and then *beep* *beep* *beep*... messages. After I looked at my phone I shouted downstairs 'I have to sort some things I'll be an hour'. Typically I had less than an hour left.

So first message was from a friend John who wanted help in the train prices and times for travel within the UK and cheapest way to get to Amsterdam. I started researching the dates he gave, looking up the general prices etc and I got it pretty much finished when another email popped up. I finished what I needed to for John then read the new email.
It was from Ewo, there had been a change of heart and the UK club could now have meet and greets. Fantastic news! Only problem was time to organise and make sure all the club members were aware with enough time to enter competition to join us. Then another email.. change of hotel location, frantically I tried to contact Alex to ask him if it's fine we moved hotel.. he was in University and would have to wait till he was finished. 20 minutes left till I had to leave, cutting it fine.

Then another message popped up. This time from 'The flying Dutch Women' confirming we can sit and chat for the UK club at some point during the tour. *side note: Just read her blog and made me smile how happy she seems singing with the guys. I'm really looking forward to the UK shows and Helsinki.

Alex came online.. great! I threw all the info at him and I think he panicked a bit. He agreed to draft up the club announcements while I was away during the day and we could go over it on the night and post it. Agreeing I left to the cinema. (Go see Looper, really good!)

Back home I came online and Alex had the majority of the announcement wrote. In true Islanders fashion, we used google drive to write everything out so we can edit in real time with each other then as it went 8 o'clock it all went up. So we have to work on bits for this but can't do anything till next week now. Good bye 'day off Thursday'.

Currently it's Saturday and I'm looking at the things I have to take to Glasgow and panicking  We have a competition already running with the UK club so I have a big canvas plus my suitcase to get onto public transport from Durham to Glasgow. This will be fun!

During next week I have to find time to take my Mother to her hospital appointments, get my hair done, take Ethan to his speech therapy (though might reschedule this as it's suppose to be the morning of the day I travel), organise and send out new club memberships and renewals and a few more things. I'm soo glad I no longer work at that care home anymore, there is simply no way I could do all this and work a full time job.

To be continued..

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Blogging and credibility

Some people enjoy reading other people's blogs and some people loathe it. However celebrity blogs are commonly read by people who fall into both these categories.
I've witnessed recently a divide of people who read a celebrity blog, some claim it's nothing but attention seeking and at times childish, while others hang on the posters every word.

Do blogs really go too personal sometimes? In my opinion, yes. I've blogged for a while though not very regular and I find sometimes as I'm typing, things get wrote down without thinking too much about what I've wrote. But who am I? I'm just a Jane Doe going through life and writing stuff down which makes sense to me, but probably only the minority will understand me fully. For a celebrity, every blog is scrutinized and ripped apart. Some people seem to get caught up, and for want of a better word, starstruck when reading the celebrity blog. Meaning for them that person can do no wrong. Whatever they have posted, the reader will defend. However looking from an objective angle, sometimes you can read the posts and think 'oh boy why on Earth did you post that?'.

Sometimes you can say things you really shouldn't on a blog. As I'm writing this now, it's hard not to go in full on rant about some things I've read recently etc. For a 'Jane Doe' who cares? It's our opinion and we are only small fry so what we say really doesn't ripple the ocean so much. But when a celebrity posts something they really should not of, the ripples turn into tidal waves and then act all innocent and bemused it cause so much controversy. Some people just seriously do not think before they type. Sometime emotion takes over them and they have a good old rant and then post it publicly for thousands to read. I've done this myself and I think majority have. Perhaps its not a blog, maybe its an email or a text message, regardless of the format most of us done it. Now I know from my experience its never usually a good outcome, so if needed I use a trick told to me by a good friend. Rant away as much as you like, type type and type some more. Once it's done, read it, then delete it.

Some celebrities have made this mistake countless times over. Some say they have not learned, some say they don't care and just want the drama for attention, some say diva who gives a shit about anyone but themselves and some say they are entitled to air rants/dirty laundry/disputes in public. Personally I'm a mix, sure you are entitled to say what you want, but you have to word it the right way. There are ways of saying what you want without it sounding like you're on your high horse and you're the best and infinitely right in everything  you say and do. But some topics are a no go. Sometimes some things should not be public, these ones are usually the biggest in splitting the category of blog readers.

Whatever your 'category' of reader, I think we can all agree that sometimes you just have to keep your mouth shut.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

P-time approaches

(P for party)

Holy biscuits! It's been since July since I did a blog update!!! Erm... ops.

So last time I did a horrible, embarrassing attempt at a vlog. I can't even remember what I was going on about in it, I presume work. - I deleted it sorry it was too bad to stay up hah!

Anyway.. what has happened since my last post here. Well I quit my job, I could no longer handle working with Nightwish during the day, being a Mom and then working night shift as well. So now I work from home concentrating on the Nightwish sites and I get to see my son a lot more so that's a lot better.

It's 3 weeks until the UK tour starts and myself and co-admin of the UK club are going to all the shows and then onto Helsinki for the premier. After the premier Alex will return to Blighty and I'll head off in an Easterly direction towards some town called Kitee to play Santa Claus to 'someone'.

My schedule:

Fri 2nd Nov = Travel to Glasgow
Sat 3rd = Travel to Manchester & Fan party
Sun 4th = Nurse hangover & Nightwish show
Mon 5th = Travel to London & Nightwish show
Tues 6th = Travel to Birmingham & Nightwish show
Wed 7th = Travel to Glasgow, Nightwish show and curry.
Thur 8th = Nurse hangovers, chill and do nothing
Fri 9th = Travel to Helsinki & eat at restaurant with friends
Sat 10th = Meat Toni for a coffee & Nightwish show and iRum premier
Sun 11th = Say bye to Alex & get train to Kitee then onto where friend lives.
Mon 12th = Meet with friends, sharing of Christmas gifts and other things
Tues 13th = Train to Helsinki, Fly to Glasgow, chill.
Wed 14th = Train back home.

That's not whole itinerary, we have things going on at towns visiting so if you see me and I look a bit zombified you know the reason.

People have asked us to document the traveling for a bit of fun, so we decided we will film daily vlogs and upload them for people to watch. Hopefully the same night depending on internet where we are.

We did a really cool fanzine with the UK club. Big special feature about the movie which sold like wildfire!
We are now doing a pre-order for the second edition (why pre-order? because it costs us so much to get them printed and we are non profit so pre-order needed to actually buy the printing) If you want to pre-order or more info then look here:

I'll try post more often again, but this post is long enough for now.



Monday, 9 July 2012

Ranting, this time via vlog

Yeah, so I couldn't be bothered to type much so decided to do a vlog instead. Highly embarrassing and a bit crap but *shrug*

Yeah so I removed the vlog... sue me. But it was cringe worthy and gave no info really.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

6 month headache and thoughts from a Henchman

Ask my friends about me and I'm sure they will all say similar. Most likely something along the lines off 'she can't sit still, always plotting or working on something'. Well this isn't far wrong.
It was around November I toyed with the idea of updating yes again. If you count my very first site on one of those free site builders (which I totally forgot about until I stumbled on it a few days ago), We've had 4 designs in total.. a new one would make 5. But I had good reason. Because of the platform I use to build the sites on was due to end security updates and pretty much become outdated, I decided it was the right time to play with the idea and see what could come up with.
I spoke to the team about it who of course all thought I was crazy, but supported the idea. The main thing I wanted was to make a more pro looking site with easy navigation being key. One thing that has annoyed the life out of me with past versions was we always had 2 menus, making it more complex for visitors to find their way around the site.
So I started work on some ideas, bouncing them off the team and mostly Steffen for his notorious straight to the point opinion. It took a couple of weeks but we came up with a basic framework and design, then spent a couple more weeks adding some content and working on the details. I needed at least one professional image for the home page of the website, so I contacted various people and Ville and Denis shared some images for me to pick to use. I got to the point that I was happy with the overall look and navigation of the site. I had more content to add and then start on the other languages, but before that went ahead I wanted to get Tuomas's opinion and seal of approval to continue.
I sent him all the information and he gave some really positive feedback, so it was time to add the rest of the English content then look into adding the translations. After about another month all the English was on the site, next was the translations, and this is where it all fell apart. For some reason the language sections were not working the way they were suppose to. I tried to isolate the issue for weeks to fix it but I had no joy. I got a bit annoyed and decided to delete the lot and start again.
So I deleted the whole database and started fresh. I eventually found out what caused the error which meant I couldn't use the original template layout I had planned. I worked on a similar idea but simplified it again, just aiming more for a 'to the point' layout. When I came up with something I once again showed Steffen, who preferred the look to the deleted one. I showed the girls who said the same. This time I made sure the other languages worked and they all linked together before I put weeks of work into it. Luckily it was working perfectly, though the system of adding translations will change from the way we did it on the old site. This was a worry as the girls had gotten so used to the translation tool of he current page, I didn't know how happy they would be changing the way they work. After a quick meeting and a demonstration I received the feedback I wanted. The new system was actually a lot easier and the girls were happy working this way.
It was decided to add all the content before showing Tuomas this time. Because of the changes, I still wanted him to check it before it went live. Then we had to go through the content, making sure it was all up to date and in the correct section. We decided to add a gallery again, but only include images taken by team members as we had some copyright issues in the past gallery on the MK3 site. All the content was tidied up and put into easy to find areas:
News - Self explanatory really
Diary - A place for updates from Tuomas, something that will be mostly used when he starts his solo project.
Interviews - Another easy to guess one
Exclusive videos - Footage we've been donated/allowed to share.

Once everything was in place Tuomas checked it again. He sent some updates to the discography that we missed but he approved it. So after nearly 6 months of trying to get an updated website, we were finally ready to launch.
The new site went live on Sunday 27th after 2 hours of transferring files and hair raising moments when I thought I deleted a file I really shouldn't of. Transferring the forum database and member database tables are the hardest as they need to be renamed and overwrite the original table. But we got there and we had nice positive messages from the members.
Of course to celebrate we turned on the site radio the next day, and was a nice surprise for members online when Tuomas showed up in the chat room and just joined in with the day to day chat. He listened to the radio as well, giving us stories of memories certain songs gave him. We had him with us for 2 hours and everyone enjoyed it and look forward to next time.
So mk5 is online, and I don't intend to do this scale of things again. We now can look forward to the future and work with Tuomas on bringing news and updates about his solo album to the fans.

It was actually Steffen who said "Yo CC write a blog post about the new site, I have something to add". So I sign off from me and now give you Steffen/Mojo's essay on... welll pretty much everything!


A few thoughts from an “outsider” about… Carol and
How to stop Carol being away from the internet, creating, maintaining and running websites or forums? The answer is pretty simple: It’s not going to happen! Don’t try it! Don’t even think about it! You only shoot yourself in the food (t)! Yep!
Seriously, there’s way more behind the curtain of… let’s start with the start.
(Cool haa? I know this is a very creative cool sentence.)
Many people asked me this over the last months: How to get involved with webmaster CC?
(ChristmasCarol, internal running gag forced by Ewo.)
It’s a very good question and the only answer to that: Being a pain in the ass and don’t forget to involve some constructive criticism. Sounds easy? Nope, it’s not! Remember we’re talking about Carol here, right?

Short jump back in history:
It all began 15 months ago. Me stumbling over the link and my first honest thought was: Oh my god! Pleeeaaase, not again some bullshit girlie fansite about T. Holopainen and how great he looks and that they all want to marry him and have his babies! ZOMG!
I sneaked onto the site, looked around and went straight out after 3 minutes. It was soooo not my cup of tea to be honest. Two days later I found myself clicking the same stupid link again: No idea why I did that. Maybe the force was me? Dunno. I spent about 10 minutes, clicking around. Read a few threads. Had a lot of real good facepalm moments and finally ended up at the very first chatroom. Yes! That was funny! Hilarious. I clicked! The window opened and there is was: The php chat: The utterly most colorful chatroom I’ve ever seen. Even if you’d declared yourself colorblind at that point this could had been your treatment of miracle healing! About “120” smilies in all different colors and shapes. Horraaaay! PaintBook Style!
Yes, you’re right I left again. It was to much color in the end and only three people chatting about “meows” and “hugs” all over the chatroom. That wasn’t really my thing.
Long story short- a few days later Carol and I started talking, more or less by accident, about this, that and chatroom and whatnot. After a few sentences it came to me: Hmmm, this girl is not some pink cloud closed minded fangirl! She’s not blindly running after all what TH has to say. Hmmm, that’s astonishing! Indeed! Hmmm, she looks dedicated and not that much “loco”. Hmmm. Ok, maybe I can be of any help here. Let’s offer some.
We started talking about getting a real chatroom setup and working, including me telling her:
Ok, I’ll do this for you. Set that up, run that for a few days, maybe weeks and then I’m out handing this over to you. (Yeaaaah me, my ideas sometimes going… pfuuufff!)
Oh yes, you guessed right. The last words “..handing this over to you” ? That was such pure wishful thinking!
Chatroom was setup. We got a lot of new people joining from all over the world and it paid of that we tried to keep the chatroom as clean as possible including sending trolls back to the forest same moment they showed up. (Big thanks goes to the IRC Moderating-Team here.) Members liked it and many of them put the link of the chatroom to there favorites. Over the last 12 months it became a meet-up place for so many, just to talk about anything and everything. Fun always included.

About the chatroom Carol and I started exchanging crazy ideas about what can be done to gain more members to the website and how to make this a place where people getting the feeling: The Website-Team cares about what they are doing and trying to make this a comfy and fun place to stay spending time.
The first competition we came up with was the “Hat” comp. How to get this done and how to do this differently. Carol and I thought about this for a week which means not only 10 minutes per day. Nope, we spend hours to get this sorted.
I can tell you one thing for sure: We both were closing our chat convo more then once because we didn’t agreed and it went into heating discussions and it stopped by not talking to each other for hours.
One point that needs to be mentioned. Carol stubborn. Me stubborn. Math formula to that goes like this: - + - = +
Competition went online and was a huge success. Members all over the world took part and the feedback Carol received was great.
So that competition was over. Straight the next day my MSN popped up. Carol: So that went well, what’s next? You have an idea? (me: oooh boy, here it comes)
Ok, now you tell me. How to stop that woman just to sit still on her ass, stopping her from jumping around? I’m still working on it but believe me that solution is not going to happen shortly.
So what’s next? Carol: I have an idea (me: oh boy, here it comes) How about to change the website layout? I don’t like it anymore. It looks, dunno, not pro enough!
Soooo, that was the part where we went on for “weeeeeeks” to get a new design sorted out, getting stuff lined up and to make it easy merging all needed things in no time.
Oh yeah do I need to mention we ended up all over fighting again about bits and pixels? No? Good, thought so too. LOL
Close to the day of getting the new design up, we spotted a lot of trouble with our hosting company who hosted our server where the website was setup and located. It took ages to load the page, lots of downtime out of a sudden because of server overload etc. Sure, members didn’t realized what was going on but Carol went nuts about this behaviour because she paid the hosting company and every server downtime is a real nightmare for any website admin.
Carol: What do you think, we should get a new hosting server company? (me: oh boy, here it comes) Let’s look for someone good! Again we spent searching the web for “someone good!”
Finally we found someone really cool! This was short to the launch date of the new site and Carol was a bit scared that we’re going to screw things up and the site could go down the toilet.
So we kept the old hoster and after weeks the new design was launched. This was the point were we found out of course during launch: Don’t forget to get a backup of your website because it helps a lot and you don’t have to shoot yourself afterwards.
Carol: Oh my god! I forgot to get a backup done! Oh no! We’re in trouble! A few things will not work properly! Oooooh shit! I have to do check all the changes by hand now! Shit! Shit! Shit! Sooooo, Carol spend another few hours to get rid of all small mistakes which were popping up all over the site. Job for me? Pixel counting and getting the info to her so she only had to check correct or wrong. Do I need to mention that I’m a hell annoying critic? No? Cool! As you may thought, yes we closed our convos more then once about tiny things we didn’t agreed on. Both are pissed? Convos closed! Two hours later: Shall we continue? Sure. LOL

Next step: What to do next? Yeah, let’s get Tuomas more involved. Easier said then done. Carol put a lot of time and effort into this and finally Tuomas agreed to do something he had never done before. A chat like Q&A and all that LIVE! He spent over four hours, in total, with the chatties and this was a huge success for the site.
After all this, we changed the server company and finally it turned out that was the best move ever. Carol: Is this for real? I asked the hosting company for help and 3 minutes later I received an answer? Wow!
After all that we did a few more competitions and a bit more Tuomas chat dates. All went well. Ok now the mother of all questions: What is Carol doing when she’s running out of things that needed to be done? Exactly! She has this habit to find things that NEEDED to be done and then: ASAP.
Carol: I thought about getting a new design again. This now, it’s not what I really want to keep forever. (me: ooooooh boy, here it comes) So yes, Carol went for a new desine idea.
This time a surprise! Carol + Me convos = NOT even one of them were closed during exchanging ideas! Yep, there is hope for us! LOL
The new design was launched a few days ago, which was in the pipeline for months!
Carol put a lot of careful thoughts to it how she could prepare this and getting closer to a pro looking website. The new software was ready to go, including the launch was ready. Because of a month-long preparation Carol made this launch smoothly in about 2 hours, means downtime of the website. That’s what I call pro! Yep.
Finally, working with Carol is and will be always be a challenge. This is meant in the very best way you can possibly thing of. Look what happened to me. From the thought of a fangirlie site admin to the point we’re I have to admit: One of the best and dedicated Website-Teams I’ve been a part of! Anyone who’s going to think now: Oh god, now he’s over doing this!! Let me tell you this: People who know me will tell you that I’m the most utterly over the top critic when I think something is wrong or a waste of time and working hours but I’m also being fair to recognize when someone is doing an outstanding job for a community and then this should be addressed properly. Period!
Btw, a short statement from Nightwish Management to a few fans during one of the last live concerts: “Yes, over there? Yep, that’s Carol…aaah yes, she’s one of the best webmasters Nightwish ever had!” Anything else needed? Naaaa, enough said! ;-)  

Monday, 23 April 2012

Partying in Paris

Oh my where to start.

So one day I decided I would like to go to more Nightwish shows than just the Finland ones, so had to think where. Then it became obvious that it should be Paris as we had team members living there.
Liz jumped on the idea to come with me and then a little while after that Sari decided to come to. It was shaping out to be a proper girls holiday.

I met Liz at my local train station and we then drove to the Doubletree hotel next to the airport. I was going to initially drive down to pick Liz up and bring her back to the hotel, but in the end the train would be cheaper and no 5 hour drive for me at stupid o'clock in the morning. The room was lovely even if we did end up sharing a bed, it was huge so it didn't matter. We have a meal in this fancy restaurant attached to the hotel which cost more than our room for the night and we called it a night.
In the airport we were on a mission to get Troy's present.We had made message books for the rest of the band and we obviously could not leave Troy out so a nice single malt was on the cards. Job done, we headed to the gate and then off to France.
We had a bit of trouble with the ticket machines for the train into the city and ended up calling Alex and then having to pluck the courage up to talk to one of the cashiers and hoped they spoke English. We did manage to find one and got on the train for Paris then the tram to our hotel. It was very handy that the tram station was right outside our hotel, it meant no crazy searching around.
Once more the room was lovely in this swanky 4 star hotel and this time we had separate beds. After unpacking it was time to hunt for food. Liz just cannot function on a slightly hungry stomach so it was priority. We did consider just ordering room service but I'm really glad we went out as we found the most beautiful little place 2 doors away from our hotel. The waiter was really friendly and kept coming over to speak to us, but even better was the food. It was honestly the nicest tomato soup I have ever had. We wanted to visit again before we left but sadly didn't get the chance. We tried to not keep awake too late as we were meeting Alex early in the morning for our Disney adventure.
We checked on google maps where the Metro was to our hotel and it looked really close. So we went walking the direction google told us and found squat. It completely baffled us as it looked so close on the map. We admitted defeat and asked in our hotel where the receptionist smiled and pointed the opposite way to what we walked. When we went outside and looked, it was honestly about 10 meters from the door, and worse was we walked past it to get food the night before! We arrived at Concorde where we were due to meet Alex, who herself was running late. When we left the hotel the sun was shining and it was nice and warm, at Cocorde it was bloody freezing and I had not brought my coat. I wasn't impressed. We stood around about 10/15 minutes waiting for Alex to arrive and took some random pictures of our surroundings:

So Alex turned up and it was the first time we had met her so we played a game of "find the birdie" with the public around to see if we could spot her. After some hugs we set off to get to the train station to go to Disney. Liz was making comments about Alex's jewellery and about how she had a ring on nearly every finger. At this point I put my hand out and made a gesture with my hand mimicking having lots of rings on and showing them off. At this point a bus went past us brushing against my fingers.. at this point the phrase "Carol poked a bus" was born.
We got to Disney and made a B-line to go buy some hoodies to try and warm up. I'm still kicking myself that I didn't take my coat.
(Liz and Alex)
We ended up not going on as many rides as we originally wanted. We couldn't believe how busy it was considering it was a Monday and not great weather. All the best rides like the roller coasters and Haunted Mansion had over an hour wait, so we mostly walked around and talked and went on a few of the shorter queues. It still was a really nice day out, we had 2 free tickets and if we had to buy 3 full price ones we probably would of waited in the queues. It was also a disappointment that Pirates was closed.
The 20th Birthday parade started and we got a position where we could pretty much see. They played the same song again and again and again, I think we were about to go insane. It didn't help that Alex would randomly start singing the chorus again. One thing that stood out was a pretty messed up float to Alice In Wonderland. Don't know why but it was kinda disturbing. I got the best picture I could from the angle I was standing:
So we had one more look around the park at the waiting times, then decided to call it a day and go back to the hotel.

The next day we were not in as much of a rush, we had to be at a hotel in Bercy to be interviewed about the work I do for the band. It went really well and Toni, the guy who was interviewing, was really nice. It's sounding quite exciting what he's writing up but might be a while before anything is published to read.
After the interview we went back to Bercy metro to meet Alex.. she was fashionably late again :) then we had to try and find Sari's hotel. Realising we had no clue where to go, we stood under Alex's umbrella in the pouring rain as I called Sari. Luckily she said she would come and meet us, which produced a fully quote of "Sari do you have an umbrella?" .. "No but I can swim".
So Sari arrived looking like a drowned rat as we did and we stood around trying to think what to do. We had about an hour to kill before we were due to go meet Ewo. We ended up in this little cafe for a coffee to wait out the rain, which never happened and it just got harder and harder. 4 o'clock arrived and it was time to locate the band's buses to go meet Ewo. We walked to Bercy Arena and I was attempting to walk in heels, something I do so rarely I'm useless at it. Lucky Alex linked arms with me the second I lost my balance, she must by psychic. 
After getting near the queue of fans we realised there were no buses, so we turned and walked the other way. Eventually we found the buses and French security were wanting to know what we were doing. They didn't seem to understand me when I said it's okay we are expected. I called Ewo who came out the venue to meet us and like a true gent he let us into sound check, thus getting us out the horrible rain.
Inside the girls were fascinated that the crew were playing badminton and that they were moving around on scooters. Of course we had to take some pictures inside, though Sari was obsessed with trying to whip Liz on multiple occasions (yes she brought a whip to Paris) I can't imagine what the bands and crew thought of us.

(My face on here was a joke but it doesn't look it)
After sound check we went to interview Tuomas. I sat this one out and let the girls do it as they had never met him before.

Everyone seemed to of had a good time then I asked Tuomas to take us to the others so the girls could give them all their gifts. The girls organised a book of fan messages and a DVD for the band to celebrate their largest show to date. Jukka was around first but he thought we planned to enter the dressing room so he went back inside to wait for us.
The books were handed out to Marco, Tuomas, Emppu and Anette and Troy got his whiskey and he was overjoyed at it. We were still waiting for Jukka to come back out, only to find out he had fallen asleep.
We hung around backstage with Liz complaining she was hungry once more :) It became a joke Liz and her affection with food. Tuomas popped out of the dressing room to let us sample some of his home-made Salmiakki, it was gorgeous but it ended up being my downfall later in the evening.

We dumped our bags in the crew room and went to the stage when Eklipse started their set. Bercy was filling up and the energy from the crowd far surpassed what I felt at the Finland shows.

I really enjoyed Eklipses set and up next were Battle Beast. They really got the crowd pumping and seemed to go down really well. I preferred these guys to Poisonblack in Finland.

Then it was the turn of Nightwish. The girls' first Imaginaerum show, and some of the girls first Nightwish show ever.We stayed to the side of the stage during the performance, it was just so much easier than squeezing through fans who now were in front of the backstage entrance in the barriers. The girls seemed to enjoy being at the stage side, it meant it was easier to chat, dance and acquire drinks or disappear to bathroom without and battles through crowds. Of course Ewo was playing barman and started me off on some whisky concoction. 
The gig itself was the best one I had seen so far. All the boys had smiles on their faces throughout and Anette had loads of energy and positive vibes. Her voice was even better than in Finland and I was really impressed by the whole evening. 

I failed to warn the girls about the pyros at the end of the show, so they were not amused with me when they all jumped out of their skin.
After the show we went backstage, we went to collect our belongings and the French security had a bit of a go at me when I walked Alex to the door as she had to leave early. After the look of  'you cannot be serious' to the security guy, Tuomas called me so it was easy to walk past the security guard who didn't look best pleased.
In the back, me and Tuomas made light weight of the Salmiakki. There was about 2/3 a bottle left and by the end of the night it was gone. The boys posed for the girls and I got some more as well, though I told Tuomas off for acting drunk on some pictures but he insisted he was completely sober, however I'm not so sure:
(This is the 'least' drunk looking one)

All in all it was a fantastic night and I think the girls were well looked after which was all that really mattered to me. Poor Sari ended up exhausted and had a little doze on the sofa in the boys dressing room, of course I had to get a picture of it.
At the end of the night Tuomas picked me up and squeezed me so tight I actually have a bruise on my ribs (cheers T), he left me with the remains of the salmiakki which I finished off. Although it wasn't the best idea as it seemed to be more potent and the bottom and it pretty much knocked me out.
I can't remember the taxi ride back to the hotel or much after that till I decided to go for a walk around Paris at 08:00 to try and clear my head. I returned to the hotel and managed to catch Anette as she was getting ready to leave in her cool looking camper van transport thing with Johan and Nemo. Nemo was so cute and was smiling when we showed him "baba" a picture of my son. 
I'm sure there are loads of funny stories I've missed out, simply because my memory of the night is not so clear any more.
1 week tomorrow and I do it all over again!