Liseberg: What is a “break”?

I actually wonder why I have never written about what it is like to work at Liseberg before. It has been a big part of my life for the past four years and I guess some might be curious about how it actually is like to work as an attraction operator at Scandinavia’s biggest amusement park.

I will start this new series of mine with explaining what a “break” is and what it means to us in the staff. It might be stressful and emotional for guests, but is is for us as well. A “break” is when there are technical issues with an attraction and we temporarily have to close it. It can be anything from a restraint that is malfunctioning to strange noises to error messages that doesn’t make any sense. I have to be clear on something first though: safety is our biggest concern and nothing ever becomes dangerous and we always have everything under control beacuse all of us has gone through extensive training to be able to operate the rides safely. And we would never ever run an attraction if it wasn’t perfectly safe. After four years I have been through a lot of “breaks” but the one I experienced today really had me tested.

I was sitting in the driving seat at Helix, the big green rollercoaster that was installed in 2014. It is nice sitting there, the music gets dulled (because working most of every day in that music is exhausting), you get 30 minutes where you don’t have to talk to guests, and best of all: you get to sit down. Helix is a very dependable attraction, nothing much ever happens. But today, when one of the three trains were driving in on the station, it stopped. The control panel started beeping very loudly and red. I tried resetting it, the train started moving. Phew. Then stopped again, more beeping. Resetting, not working. Not good. When the train doesn’t properly come into the station, it means that no more trains can fit on the shunt zone (the part which we move the trains on to the garage) or break zone (zones easily explained: the attraction has 5 zones and there can never be more than one train per zone as a safety precation, the trains can also stop in each zone). So that meant that one train got stuck out on the track, on launch 2 as we call it. With people on it. I have never experienced an evacuation from there before, only from the three zones right next to the station which is very easily handled. This is a big deal, people stuck out on the attraction! And it is my responsibility to make sure that the evacuation is done as smoothly as possible.

There are a ton of things to do in every “break” situation at Helix (or at any attraction for that matter).

  • Talk and comfort the people stuck in the trains
  • Explain to people on the station and in the queing area that they have to go to the closest exit
  • Designate jobs to all Liseberg workers at Helix (like who should evacuate, who should give out tickets to those who already paid, and inform guests what is wrong)
  • Call our supervisors
  • Write down the error

And all of this has to be done with my heart trying to beat itself out of my throat. And also with not enough people on the station since we were in the middle of switching people on the attractions (every 30 min or 60 min we switch attractions so we won’t get injuries being on one attraction for too long). It was hard, it was scary. Everything went really smoothly though, even though the guests stuck on launch 2 had to stay for a bit since we were under staffed, but one of the supervisors went there to keep them company until I could send people there. The mechanics got to me fairly quickly after everyone had been successfully evacuated and the error was fixed in two minutes, something with the driving motors on the station. My heart was beating fast for a long time after.

Everything went well, and it was actually exciting if I may say so. I got to use my skills as the operator in charge of the whole attraction in a situation where it was truly needed. And what feels best is that I managed it really well under the circumstances. During this event I was not in contact with the guests so I don’t know how they felt. But I am hoping they read this and that they understand that a “break” is a stressful event for the staff too and that we are doing everything as good as we can with the resources we have.

We are working at Liseberg because it is a fun working place, we love interacting with guests, we love to see the little kids who are scared before going on a ride jumping and crying out of joy after. We do all we do for their sake. And sometimes I get the feeling that they don’t understand that. But we do! Perhaps a few of those will read :).

Inspiration

I have to admit that I don’t know a single thing about writing fiction. Sure, I was pretty good at it in grade schoå´0äut that was just short stories written down directly from my head. This is different. There seems to be tons of things to think about which I right now have no clue about. I am sure that will bite me in the butt when I have come a little longer, I just started on my ninth page in Word, so for now I am focusing on getting the story straight.

My inspiration hits me whenever I least expect it. I read a meme (I think) somewhere, that being a writer is not something you are when you are in front of a computer writing, but it is having to have a piece of paper with you at all time because you get ideas wherever you are. That’s how it is with me. When I actively think about certain things I haven’t clarified in my head yet, I always draw I blank. I don’t think I have ever come up with something when I was conveniently in front of my computer.

I also get a lot of inspiration when I read. Of course I have drawn inspiration from my favorites, but this book I am reading now is not that good and I have little to no inspiration from it. But still I get ideas on completely different things than what I read. It’s quite interesting. And maybe that is why I don’t find that book very good, because I think about my own too much while reading, haha. By the way, I am reading Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth (author of Divergent, that series was amazing, this one is hard for me to symphathize with). I actually just want to finish it so I can start reading Odinsbarn by Siri Pettersen, a Norwegian fantasy which I have only heard great things about.

First page is written

Whoah, this was fun! The first page of my book is written (the first page in Word, I guess that equals around two pages in a printed book?) and I have to say that I like it. The language sounds good both in my head and when reading it aloud to my boyfriend. I can’t wait to write more!!

This whole weekend I finished drawing the map and figuring out what the different territories would look like. I wrote short synpopses of the first three steps in the story. I think the whole story will be maybe eight or nine steps? Well, I got eager and wanted to start writing, I can finish the short synopsis steps another day. I tried thinking of names (both for characters and places) as well, but after drawing a blank this whole weekend, I realized that that will be a huge pain in this process. Any help is appreciated :).

Coloring book

The fantasy story set in Sarah J. Maas’ latest series A Court of Thorns and Roses got my extremely caught. She was amazing with the environment descriptions, described vivid colors and fantastics scenarios. When I enjoy something and have a beautiful picture in my head of what it looks like, I always wish there will be a movie or TV show where I can see this on screen instead of just in my head. In a majority of the cases I am very certain that I would be dissapointed… However, I feel like a coloring book could work! The pictures look really good, and when I get to decide colors I think the picture in my head will be even clearer. So therefore I bought my very first coloring book as an adult. I also bought new pencils, the ones I have are probably a hundred and thirtyseven years old and I wanted to give this book a fair chance. If I feel like it I can also add water and make the colors float into each other or mix. Cool pencils.

I am going to write a book (read: try)

I have always loved to write, I have tons of short novellas on my external hard drive dating back more than 10 years. On there are also countless ideas of stories I had when my mind wasn’t occupied with school and too much work on the side of university studies to make the personal economy go around. It is sad that I lost my creativity… Perhaps not lost it, but at least stored it in a box for a while. I also loved to paint when I was younger. I am not going into that again, but writing has always been a huge interest to me. If it hasn’t been fiction, I have at least had a blog so I have always had the opportunity to get words written down.

As of June 7th, my master thesis is approved, and since I don’t have any other courses dragging behind, I am now officially done with school. I think I have to apply for my degree before I get the Diploma though. But in any case, this means that I can finally start focusing on me again and get those rusty gears of the creative part of my brain up and running once again!

Ever since I was young I have always had the dream of being a published author and it will continue to be, but my first milestone towards that goal is to actually write something. So, for the past few months I have been thinking and taken a lot of notes and written down the main plot (I think it is clearer in my head than in written words right now though), the setting and a brief description of the environment where it will take place. I think I am on the right path. I want to do this right, and I believe this goes for anything, but if you want to do something right, go through a thorough planning phase first. I still have a few things I want to clarify for myself before actually start writing, like for examples the yeses I want to have in the story and the noes I want to stay away from (side note, can you say ‘yeses’ and ‘noes’?). I also have to make sure that I know what type of book I want to write, what kind of feelings do I want to generate with the readers. Maybe I don’t need all of this before writing, maybe it is just the project manager in me that wants to plan ahead and have a clear path in my head before writing anything down. I don’t think it will hurt and I am sure my notes will expand exponentially once I actually start writing.

 

I am not going to tell you anything yet, but I will keep you updated with regular intervals on what’s going on. I have plans to make this blog updated more often again!

Reading of a non-finished script

This was a new experience for me, and I have to say that I learned a lot from it. And also found som personal motivations. A couple of months back I signed up for the test-reading of a non-finished script for a book by a young Swedish author, Gabriella P. Kjeilen. I have heard of her main series before, Mellody Looh, but haven’t read them. This new novel she is writing is a stand alone novel set in the same universe and she wanted test-readers who both read the Mellody Looh series and not. I thought it would be a cool experience so I had no expectations at all. Except that I had a hard time figuring out how fantasy would sound in Swedish.

It is not high fantasy which I am used to reading, and since the setting of the book was Sweden, ca 80 years in the future, and mostly in Gothenburg, Swedish worked perfectly (like with Stjärnklart by Lars Wilderäng where he gives detailed descriptions of the city of Gothenburg set in a spaced-out sci-fi scenario). The fantasy part was also a bit hidden and the main focus was on the main character’s personal revenge which reminded me of one of my favorite series Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

I am not going to go into detail what I thought, that’s up to the author to work with, but I will definitely put a final review up after I have read the final version.

But while critically reading (since I normally enjoy-read) I realized what I myself should think about when I am writing my book. Oh, right, I haven’t made that announcement yet, or have I? Eh, well, I have decided that I will finally realize one of my oldest dreams, I am going to write a book. During the past few months, I have been thinking about the story, the setting, and written down a lot of notes so far. The next step I guess (which I will start with any day now since I am now done with everything: my MSc degree is done and all my students’ grades are set) is to start the actual writing. After thinking hard about this, and making pros and cons lists in my head, I have decided that I will actually try to write it in English. I have a very hard time even imagining a high fantasy world in Swedish. And honestly, for the past 4 years I have written approximately 95% more in English than Swedish. So I don’t think there will be any issues, and if it will, I guess I will just switch to Swedish or ask for help.

It is too early to reveal the plot yet, but I think it will be interesting and I hope original. Thoughts and ideas have been drawn from many of my favorites, but I will of course try my best and make it my own. Stay tuned for updates!

Review of “Gemina” by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Title: Gemina
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #2
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 659
Published: 2016, Alfred A. Knopf
My Grade: 4 out of 5 wormholes

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

MY REVIEW

The second book in the Illuminae Files was similar in story, which was great and so unexpected and action-filled in the end, but it took me a little longer to finish it. The main reason was because I found it a little boring that it was more like a normal book than Illuminae. Meaning that there were many many “Surveillance footage summaries”. In the first book there were a few, and it was clear that it was a summary of a video, but in this, most of the video summaries were written like it was a normal book, the perspective of the video reviewer was gone and that made it feel like a normal book when the cool thing about it was just that it was written with chat logs, radio communication logs, data drawn from the AI and so on.

However, it is still a great story, and especially at the end (like with Illuminae) with all that unexpectedness. Another fun thing about this book (and Illuminae as well) is that they have crossed out all the swearwords, so you have to guess them when you are reading. Kinda hard sometimes to be honest.

Before I finished it, I was actually thinking of giving it a 3 or maybe a 3.5. But the ending totally brings it up to a final score of 4.