Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

Today was the day! I have finally been to Harry Potter: The Exhibition at the European premiere in Norrköping here in Sweden. Since there was no photography allowed at the exhibition I will post photos from the Studio Tour in London to give you a hint :)

I was both really nervous (the trains, bus and tram had to be on time!) and extremely excited today. I felt like I was 10 years old and I couldn't sit still. I was like that yesterday too and was so fidgety that I couldn't concentrate on one thing for more than an hour before I had to do something else. The bus and train to the big train station were all on time and the train from Södertälje was on time too. The trip to Norrköping took 1½ hours and when we arrived there the tram was on time too and I found my way perfectly (very proud of myself, I have a lousy sense of direction).

We went inside and after recieving our audio guides (we both picked English over Swedish - I can't stand the Swedish names on stuff) I got in front of the green screen and had my picture taken.

Then the exhibition began. In the first room there was a lady with the Sorting Hat and three children got sorted. Two of them (of course) wanted Gryffindor and only one little guy wanted Slytherin. When no other child volunteered the lady picked one of the adults and she ended up in Hufflepuff. Then we got into the exhibition proper. Portraits, costumes, items and furniture. The first part of the first room was basically dedicated to the Gryffindor common room and the boys' dorm along with clothes and possessions of Harry and his friends. Then there were items, costumes and furniture from the Potions classroom, Divination classroom, Defence Against the Dark Arts and Herbology. I was not pleased that the form of the Boggart that they had chosen for the exhibition was the big jack-in-a-box clown :( But it was a lot of fun to pull Mandrakes, and I think I stood there pulling them up about 10 times, trying all of them a couple of rounds xD

Then there was the Quidditch room. I have never seen the Nimbuses so close up before :) I would've loved another riding-a-broom segment like they had in London, but instead you got to throw the Quaffle through hoops. There was a lot of children there throwing over and over and having real difficulties going through the hoops. When there was room for me I went up to try. I threw four times. There were three hoops and I first tried once in every hoop and then one more time in the middle furthest one. No problems whatsoever for me. Either I was tall enough or I did gain something when I played basket ball all those years ago. But holding a Quaffle was fun :)

Then there was Hagrid's Hut and the Forbidden Forest. Getting really close to Buckbeak was cool :D There was a segment where you could try to sit in Hagrid's armchair but the crowd of children around it proved too long of a waiting time so I decided to skip that one. Instead I got up and close to a baby Thestral. Cutie! :3 Being really close to the Hungarian Horntail's head was awesome too. There's so much detail on it. The audio guide said they made it life-size, which made me rather disappointed cause I thought it looked bigger than that on screen xD

Then there was the Dark Forces part. The first thing is the Angel of Death statue which looked really plastic and small compared to the one in London, but the Dementor prop had me creeped out and I stared at it for quite some time. I also liked looking at the Philosopher's Stone and Bellatrix Lestrange's dress. The glass case with the Horcruxes was also really interesting. The diadem was so beautiful! *_*

Then there was the costumes from Bill and Fleur's wedding along with Hermione's beaded bag. And then there was the Great Hall. Glass cases of all sorts of wizard snacks and sweets along with Yule Ball decorations and costumes. There were also the Triwizard Cup and the case of the Goblet of Fire and a glass case containing the three Deathly Hallows. Fawkes was there too, and the sword of Gryffindor.

And then it was over. The website said the approximate time for the exhibition was 1½ hours and thinking of how much time I spent at the Studio Tour I counted that the exhibition would take about 2 hours for me. Instead I was done in 45 minutes. I was so happy there and when Toni (who went slightly ahead of me) declared that that was the end I felt so disappointed. That's it? I loved it. It was amazing. But it was so quick. So to make up for it, I spent 15-30 minutes in the souvenir shop. I had heard about stuff from there via friends and looked for some things that I had considered buying on before-hand. In the end I didn't buy any wizard coins, which I previously thought I would, and I still didn't buy a Time Turner although I really want one. Instead I got the Official Exhibition Guide (which is how I remember all the things and what order they came in), my picture that I took in the beginning (which looked very fake compared to the London one, which looks much more real), a pink pygmy puff and a chocolate frog. The chocolate frogs from here weren't as big as the ones from London, but at least these ones weren't made of British chocolate (which isn't even half as tasty as Swedish chocolate) and the cards didn't look like in the first movie (like the ones from London) but I still liked it. I got the guitarist from The Weird Sisters :)

I really, really liked the exhibition. It was very different from the Studio Tour in London. In London I hadn't booked any audio guides since they cost extra, but here they were included. So most of the exhibition I spent with the guide pressed to my ear. Most of what they said was interesting but some things made me giggle. One thing that bothered me, however, was that it says clearly on the website and on the tickets that there's no photograpy allowed at the exhibition and still there were so many people there taking pictures. That's partly why it took forever by Hagrid's armchair, cause all the parents wanted pictures of their children in the big ass chair. If that had been at a no-photography-allowed-museum in Japan the guards would've checked our phone photo galleries and camera memories before leaving and make us delete the photos. I almost wish they would've done that here too... I also wish they could've sold Butterbeer on the outside here too. A glass of Butterbeer in this heat would've been amazing.

After the exhibition we walked back to the central station and bought drinks there. Then we went to the park close by and chilled in the shade from a big tree. That's when we heard a clock tower nearby start chiming Hedwig's Theme. It was amazing and so random that I just couldn't help smiling.
"Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home."

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Top 35 favourite songs made before I was born

I was born in the end of 1990, sometimes I feel like I'm born in 1991. My best friend and I are born the same year. She turns 25 in 6 months. I turn 24 in 4 months :P But anyway, here's my top 35 songs made before I was born, i.e. 1989 and backwards, in no particular order other than alphabetical of group names. I was going to go with 10, but I couldn't choose only so few, and tbh it was hard picking these 35 as well...

Monday, 14 July 2014

Gaming, reading, shopping and a festival

Alright so I haven't blogged for two weeks basically. Well, there's been a lot of stuff going on. Summer tends to do that :P Last week I spent in the south visiting my parents among other things and the week before that sort of just disappeared into preparations for and the execution of Toni's birthday party. On the side I've also studied my course books and completed the first home exam available for the course, as well as writing my story and finally defeating the big bad boss in Elder Scrolls Online, giving me access to previously closed off Veteran level content :) And I've also finished reading a few books :)

I no longer remember 2nd - 4th July very well. I know I finished The Improved Emperor's Guide to Tamriel (the book that I recieved with the Imperial Edition of ESO) and that Toni and I also did our preparations for his party. Since the Veteran content of ESO still was locked to me back then cause I kept failing at defeating the big bad boss I finished my campaign at Empire: Total War, as well as started and finished playing The Testament of Sherlock Holmes instead. The ending of The Testament of Sherlock Holmes touched me in a way I hadn't expected and I'm not sure if anyone would understand if I tried to explain. So you play it and tell me ;)

On the 5th we had Toni's party which started out with an improvised BBQ and later turned into a standard drinking party that was a lot of fun. Toni and I fell into bed around 4.30 am that night.

On the 6th I was feeling surprisingly alright and since my guild in ESO tends to have organised PvP every Sunday I decided to check if there was one. Turned out there wasn't, but instead I got incredible help with my character. My main is my first ever MMO character and I have unintentionally managed an amazingly bad build. But the guy who helped me worked with what I had, got me a new armour and some tips on what foods and potions to use. Then I gave it a shot and after using my given tactis of kiting around the playing field and using archery I finally managed to defeat the big bad boss and recieved all that Veteran content :) I couldn't stop thanking the guy - I might have embarrassed myself - but at least I guess he feels appreciated :P

On the 7th we got on the train south. I finished the third Skulduggery Pleasant book that day. As soon as we arrived I got swamped by my parents asking about employment and suggesting things I could do. So in the end I grudgingly went upstairs to their computer and applied for the job they suggested just to shut them up. I know they mean well, but I'm perfectly capable of stressing myself out over finding a job and blaming myself for being inadequate when I'm not contacted after application. On the 8th we met up with Love and his girlfriend in Lund. It had been his idea for a double date the next time we were in town, so we went to have dinner at a restaurant with humongous hamburgers (Toni's request) and then we went to play some pool (Love's idea). Apparantly I'm much better at pool than I think. I secured mine and Toni's victory the first round. I'm proud of it :) The 9th Toni and I spent in Malmö. First a visit to the new mall, then some lunch/early dinner, a visit to Shock (bought a t-shirt) and one to the Sci-Fi bookstore (bought three books), before relaxing with delicious frapinos at Espresso House. Finally we took a walk to the beach and spent about an hour there, until we decided to walk back to the central station and get on the next train home. I finished one of my course books this day.

On the 10th the annual festival of my home town started. The only band Toni and I had any interest in seeing the first day was Dead By April, and it turned out they suck. We did get to hear some of BadiTudes punk rock covers too, which were much better than Dead By April. After hearing 2 or 3 of Dead By April's songs we left. Just sounded like general pop songs spiced up with disted guitars and some growls. I like pop rock, but pop metal is not my thing. The 11th was the big day in my book. We got there somewhat early to listen to The Boppers, an old school rockabilly band that I thought could be fun to watch. I did know some of their songs too. Then we left to walk the dog. Later we returned to see Joddla med Siv (tradition) and Twisted Sister. Twisted Sister was the main event of the festival and they were A-MA-ZING! :D Loved how Dee Snider made fun of the festival line-up as well as modern mainstream music during his little MC moments. I finished The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman this day. Although being a welcome respite in the suffocatingly hot weather, it just wouldn't stop raining on the 12th. Despite the rain we went to the festival area. First to see stand-up comedian Hasse Brontén (hilarious) and then to listen to Linus Svenning (great). Then we left for a while before returning 2 hours later to watch The Sounds and Perikles. To my disappointment The Sounds are better on CD than live. Perikles is, along with Joddla med Siv, tradition to see each and every year. Their audience is incredibly diverse and they still manage to get everyone going by playing a mix of their own songs and covers of well-known pop and rock songs. Despite the pouring rain the area in front of the stage was crowded with people. After the concerts I finished reading the fourth Skulduggery Pleasant book.

Yesterday we spent going home. We had chosen a cheaper train for the ride home and thus a slower ride home. But I loved the train. Doesn't matter if it takes almost an hour longer, it has wood panelling and openable windows! It looked old and the seats were much more comfy than on the faster train. One step older and the locomotive would've been steam-engine :P Loved it. Spent the first hour of the trip just soaking in the atmosphere of the train. When we got home I prepared some work stuff. I had been given an interview from the jobs I had applied to on the first day with my parents. I really wanted to play some ESO, but after preparations I was so tired that I basically just clicked around online until bedtime.

Today I got up at 7.20 am (basically in the middle of the night for someone who's used to getting up after noon), showered, had breakfast, read some in my next book and then went to catch the bus. I was headed to my interview. Ironically, this day some construction works was underway on some of the train tracks and because of that I couldn't ride the train all the way but had to change to a bus and thusly explore a whole new part of Stockholm. Things like that always make me nervous. New places, new connections, new bus lines... Don't know how long it will take to walk from one place to another... But I did find my way and although I was 20 minutes early I wasn't the first one there (group interview). The interview process felt a bit too much for the type of work we had applied for. Before we got there we had been required to do both a typing test (for words/min) and an English test (for proficiency), when we got there we first had a short individual interview (none of ours were longer than 15 minutes) and then we were required to do another test. Not all of us had applied for the same type of job and thus we had different types of tests. Mine was basically a long list of technical abbreviations that I don't really think about but either see or use daily that I suddenly had to know what they meant. I had applied for a job as a support service for smart phones and tablets, and while our interviewer assured me that they didn't require any earlier specific knowledge (only an interest in technology) and that I would take a company course if I got the job, she also told me that if I didn't pass the test I wouldn't get a call-back. So... if I'm not required to have any specific knowledge - then how would I be able to pass that test? I'm confused, but I hope I did alright and that I will hear from them within 2 weeks' time.

Now, however, there will be ESO!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Vampire craze

I've always had a thing for vampires. For as long as I can remember. Maybe since I was 5-7 years old? Don't know, really. I was always a vampire on Halloween as a child. I loved every version of Dracula that I could come across (except the original, how's that for irony?). I loved the first seasons of Buffy and Angel. I taped the Vampire Night that one of the TV channels showed when I was 13, just so that I could watch Nosferatu and Bela Lugosi's Dracula. I was a huge fan of the movie Interview With the Vampire (I really should read that series). But my craze died down a bit when Twilight became such a huge hit. Because when that happened, if you're a girl and you say you like vampires people automatically assume that you're referring to Twilight.

But now it has flared up again. It started about two years ago when I got my hands on The Vampyre by Tom Holland. Which was amazing. It told the tale of vampire stories by having Lord Byron as a vampire in the book :) The Vampyre caught my attention and I finally read John Polidori's short story from 1819, which is said to have been Bram Stoker's inspiration for Dracula. After that I got the book Vampire Forensics, which tells the real story of vampires and it's place in common folklore and history.

Now I'm writing a story about vampires. I've finished all five seasons of Vampire Diaries, and I just finished playing a point-and-click puzzle adventure game called Dracula: Love Kills, which was a lot of fun.

I was sceptic towards Vampire Diaries. I was a little wary that it would be like True Blood or all the other "sexy vampire in the city" stories that are so popular nowadays. It has that, I won't deny it, but it actually has the darkness too. The thirst for blood, feeding on people for fun... All that stuff that makes a vampire what it is. And that part, the darkness part, makes up for all the sexy vampire shit that's in it. And I love that they make fun of Twilight in it.
"Howcome you don't sparkle?"
"Because I live in the real world where vampires burn in the sun."

I remember when I was 9 years old and read the first Harry Potter book that when Hagrid told Harry that Quirrell never was quite like he used to be after he had a run-in with some vampires, I thought that it was so cool that there were vampires in the story. 

I was also a huge fan of the cartoon Ketchup Vampires. Back when I still liked ketchup I used to pretend that it was a substitute for blood :P

Do I even have to mention that I loved Hotel Transylvania and that one of my Sims is vampire? ;)

I love vampires. But it's supposed to be the darkness and the blood and perhaps trying to be functional in the real world. Not the sex. And for gods' sakes no sparkles!

Monday, 30 June 2014

The Hunger Games and Skulduggery Pleasant

So the last two books I've read have been fairly light. I read the first book in The Hunger Games trilogy and I was sort of disappointed. I liked the movie more than the book. The movie was really close to the book, they managed to have pretty much everything from the book in the movie, which should tell you a great deal about the contents of the book. It's not much, it's not very advanced and it's not very detailed. To begin with the images I had of book-Katniss and movie-Katniss really clashed. Katniss is supposed to be small-ish and dangerously thin. Jennifer Lawrence is none of those things. I love Jennifer Lawrence, but couldn't the caster have found someone more like Katniss to play her? But there's something about the book, something that draws you in although you're not a fan. When the games started I couldn't tear myself from the book and although I was disappointed by it I'm still excited to read the other two books in the series. So I'm kind of torn.

The other book, which I finished yesterday, is the second novel in the Skulduggery Pleasant series. According to this old blog post I've already read it, which is weird because I don't remember reading it. I usually remember everything that happens in a book and when I re-read them it's just to relive old memories. Skulduggery Pleasant is a childrens series. On the back of the book it says 9+, but the humour in it is just too good. I can tell while reading that it's aimed at a younger audience than me, but I'm still laughing out loud while reading it cause the humour is just too good.

"I'm not weird like that. I'm good weird. I'm cool weird."
- Valkyrie Cain

Tanith Low: "I've got some shackles with your name on them."
Billy-Ray Sanguine: "Shackles can't hold me, pretty lady. I'm immune to just every binding spell I reckon you ever heard of, and a few more you haven't. That's what makes me special."
Tanith Low: "That and your Psychopathic tendencies."
Billy-Ray Sanguine: "Oh, those don't make me special. They just make me fun."

"What is it with you women? You come into our lives, you take everythin'! Throughout the years you got little pieces of me, of my very soul, and now? Now you got my damn straight razor! How am I supposed to kill people? How am I supposed to even shave?"
- Billy-Ray Sanguine

Brobding the giant: "I'm gonna kill you. Want you to know, it's nothing personal."
Skulduggery Pleasant: "That's good to hear. In which case, I'm going to knock you down and hit you with the pool table, and Iwant you to know, it's nothing personal either."

"Whatever you do, do not fall over. Falling over, I think, would be the wrong move to make at this moment."
- Skulduggery Pleasant

Skulduggery: "It's not him. Idon't know what they are, but there are dozens of them, relatively small, moving as a pack."
Valkyrie: "They might be kittens."
Skulduggery: "They're stalking us."
Valkyrie: "They might be shy."
Skulduggery: "I don't think it's kittens, Valkyrie."
Valkyrie: "Puppies, then?"

Kenspeckle: "Have you eaten?"
Valkyrie: "One of your assistants brought me a burger for breakfast."
Kenspeckle: "I meant, have you eaten sensibly?"
Valkyrie: "I was very sensible while I was eating the burger. Didn't miss my mouth once."

Just that weird sense of humour keeps me reading this series. 

Friday, 27 June 2014

Who would I be

Sometimes I think about who I would be if Harry Potter wasn't in my life. I know some of you might not understand and some of you will think it weird that a series of books is such a big part of my life.

But the world of Harry Potter has been so much more than books to me over those 15 years I've known Harry.

Without Harry Potter, what would've been my world of refuge when I was 9-15 and the world was so harsh? Would I have another if Hogwarts wasn't there to welcome me? Every day when I came home from school I went up to my room to find my refuge at Hogwarts. 4-6 grade I always had a blue R written on the back of my left hand. A blue R for Ravenclaw. I pretended to go to classes at Hogwarts, I had friends there, I was popular and important there. And during those years when I was 9-15, Hogwarts was more important to me than the real world. Even today, when I'm home alone and talk to myself I pretend that I'm talking to some character from Harry Potter.

There are so many people I wouldn't have met if it wasn't for Harry Potter. So many people online, whom I now consider my friends, that I would never have talked to, if it wasn't for Harry Potter. Most people meet their friends at school, through a mutual friend, or at work. I get to know people through a mutual interest.

Who would I be if Hermione Granger hadn't taught me that it was alright to be intelligent and take pride in it?
Who would I be if Hermione Granger hadn't comforted me when others bullied me for getting top grades?
Who would I be if Luna Lovegood hadn't convinced me that it's alright to believe what I want and be who I want?
Who would I be if Ginny Weasley hadn't taught me that it's alright to be a tomboy?
Who would I be if Neville Longbottom hadn't showed me that bravery is to stand up for yourself?
Who would I be if Arthur Weasley hadn't convinced me that it's not about how much money you make, it's about how much you love your work?
Who would I be if my admiration for J.K. Rowling's work hadn't inspired me to start writing myself?
Who would I be if Harry Potter hadn't been there to open the doors to the fantasy genre for me?
Who would I be if the first Harry Potter computer game hadn't open the doors to gaming for me?

Who would I be?

Harry Potter is the groundwork for everything I am. Take away Harry Potter and it all falls apart. The way things are now, I wouldn't be able to leave Harry Potter behind even if I wanted to. What I read, what I play, what I write, what I take pride in... If I disect everything about me to find out its source, more than likely that source will be that 9-year-old girl who decided she could read the first Harry Potter book herself, despite thinking it was huge with its 379 pages.

My life begun at Hogwarts.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

I watch too many TV-series

Another bad part about summer is that all TV-series go on break. And that's when I discover new ones and the pile of TV-series I follow is ever-growing. Here's a list of series I've watched this spring:

SPOILERS. Don't read if you haven't watched unil Grey's Anatomy S10E24
Grey's Anatomy. I've followed this series since it started back in 2005, and although the quality of the series isn't even close to what it was 9 years ago I still can't seem to stop watching it. But now I can feel the end approaching. Sandra Oh left the series. No more Cristina Yang. How can there be Grey without Yang? I'm not fond of how things played out in season 10. They can't give Bailey OCD and break down her tough exterior. Derek can't leave for DC. MerDer can't break up because of that, but there's a hint that they will. The only happy couple at the end of this series was Arizona and Callie. And then there's the promise of a fight between Bailey and Alex on who'll get Cristina's seat in the board. Probably Alex, but that'll just give Bailey more self-doubt. And I don't think she can deal with that. So much drama.

SPOILERS. Don't read if you haven't watched until Once Upon A Time S03E22
Once Upon A Time. I did get sort of sick of Peter Pan several episodes before he was defeated. So the introduction of Oz, was welcome when the season came back. I didn't like that Henry didn't know anything for most part of the second half. I really liked Zelena, too bad she had to die, and why did Neal have to die? :( And I love that Emma is finally in the book! This second half of the season was an awesome half for couples. RumBelle back together and married! Captain Swan is finally a thing! And I loved Outlaw Queen! I had been waiting for that for forever and it finally happened. And then Marian shows up and destroys it all :( I don't think there's a single fan out there who likes her now xD Everyone was rooting for Outlaw Queen. But I'm really excited for season 4. Frozen has entered Once Upon a Time. I'm slightly wondering if they're doing Frozen or Frozen-fied Ice Queen.

SPOILERS. Don't read if you haven't watched until Mad Men S07E07
Mad Men. I quit this series after the first episode of S06. But then I heard on TV that the new season was the final season ever, and I just had to catch up. Turns out the final season is split and the ultimate end won't air until spring 2015, but at least now I'm up to date. The only character I still like is Sally. She's the star of the show. I have a feeling Betty and Henry won't work out in the end. Megan and Don are finally getting a divorce! I never liked Megan and I still think Betty and Don should be together, no matter what they have between them. They fit. I loved the part where Margaret left her husband and son to be a hippie. It was glorious! Then there was the shooting of Martin Luther King and the moon landing. Both very cool to see. But this first half of S07 ended in tears as Bert Cooper died. Cooper was an awesome old man and I'll miss him in the second half. Then there's the fact that Don actually spilled the beans about his upbringing, growing up at a brothel. It got him in trouble, but I think he gained some respect from Sally. I'm excited about the end of this series!

SPOILERS. Don't read if you haven't watched until The Big Bang Theory S07E24
The Big Bang Theory. Things worked out for the best this season. Raj finally has a girlfriend! :D Penny and Leonard are getting married! And Sheldon is on some trip to grow up and find himself. It's well-needed but ofc Amy doesn't like it. Then there's Howard and Bernadette getting some experience in how it would be having a baby by caring for Howard's mother. Wonder if that's a hint that they're getting pregnant next season? :P

SPOILERS. Don't read if you haven't watched until Game of Thrones S04E10
Game of Thrones. Season 4 was amazing. The death of Joffrey. Tyrion's imprisonment and awesome speech: "I wish I was the monster you think I am." Sansa coming with Littlefinger to her aunt, only for the aunt to end up dead. How will Robin manage being the actual Lord of the Vale? I'm still shipping Brienne with Jaime, and didn't at all like when Brienne was sent to find Arya. Arya grew a lot as a person hanging out with The Hound. I can't help but feel a little sorry for Brienne who's still looking for Arya in the Vale, while Arya is on her way to Braavos. Stannis saved the Night's Watch's asses. That battle was awesome, btw, although I hate that Ygritte had to die. Bran making it to his tree was brilliant, but I really liked Jojen :( Wish he could've lived. Despite knowing that Bran had to make it to the tree and that Jon would've tried to stop him, I still wish Jon would've discovered Bran. First in the mill when he ran from Ygritte and got all those arrows in his back. And second at Craster's Farm. Both of them would've been so happy at the reunion. And then there's Jaime helping Tyrion to escape. Tyrion's got a friend in his brother. I don't think he'd ever expect that. Shae got what she had coming. But I really didn't think that Tyrion would kill Tywin. I sort of grew to like Tywin in a twisted way.

After I had finished Grey's Anatomy, Once Upon a Time and Mad Men, I was a little torn to what I should watch next. I have a few series on hold and I asked on Facebook whether I should continue watching Pokémon, Classic Who or Lost. Instead I got a big heap of recommendations: Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, X-files, Torchwood, The Strain, Falling Skies, Terra Nova, Penny Dreadful, Girls, Supernatural, and The Addams Family.

So now I've started watching The Vampire Diaries. I saw the first episode and fell for it immediately. Now, two weeks later, I'm halfway through season 4. There was always a lot of action and I loved the first three seasons, but the first half of season 4 has been kind of slow and boring. Hopefully the last episode I saw was a turning point and the action will come back. Favourite character? Damon. I don't like Stefan one bit.

After I've caught up with The Vampire Diaries I'm probably going to watch the only single season of Terra Nova and then probably some Classic Who (I have to get past the boring Third Doctor). Maybe I'll restart watching Fringe with Toni too.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Graduation is in the air - have some memories

It's graduation time. Everywhere I turn I see people talking about their secondary school graduation or their college graduation or university graduation, or that they're going to some friend's or family member's graduation, and it brings back memories to all my own graduations.

Where I'm from we had one school for 1-6 grades and then one for 7-9 grade. 10-12 grade is college and works completely different. Everytime it was time for a class to switch school there was a sort of graduation.

I remember my 6th grade graduation when we spray dyed or teacher's hair and beard neon pink and then dressed his car in toilet paper. All of the 6th graders on the school had come up with the plan that during our entrance to graduation we'd make the alarm sound on the building and then run in with scarves covering half our faces. Like in cowboy movies. Every class had made a song to our teachers and the years we had had in that school. The others' songs were funny and happy, ours was kind of sad. We had a reputation of being the problem class of our year group and a substitue teacher could never last long with us. So our song kind of asked for forgiveness for being so troublesome :P 6th grade graduation was a big day for me, cause it was one of very few days that I actually felt like a part of the class and not just some outcast appendage.

9th grade graduation lasted a few days actually. One day we had the big masquerade parade through town. I was dressed as an elf, with long sleeves and flowing skirts and curly hair and a circled band around my head. In the afternoon the same day (or maybe it was the day after?) we had the annual brännboll tournament against the teachers. Teachers one team, 9th graders one team. We won ofc :P Then there was the day with the actual graduation ceremony. Grades being handed out, teachers making speeches, students and teachers saying goodbye. Then in the evening we had a graduation ball. Three course dinner and a dance floor, and since it was either the world cup or the european cup in football at the time and Sweden was playing that night we also had the game on a big screen in the dining room. The fact that Sweden won that game only added to the celebration, and it felt great although I couldn't care less about sports. There was no alcohol served at the ball, but some people had brought it with them anyway. The ball ended about 3am and that's when we were picked up and taken home. I remember I slept until 3pm the next day. But all I felt from graduating 9th grade was relief that it was over and that I would never have to see any of those people again. I felt free.

Then there's the big one. College graduation. I can't believe it's over 5 years ago now... It feels like an eternity has passed, but at the same time when I think back it feels like it wasn't that long ago... The sun was shining all day and I got terribly burned by it. My shoes chafed awfully and I was forced to walk barefoot through Malmö after my shoes had created blisters and then chafed through the blisters until they drew blood. So yeah. But the graduation photos turned out good. We were the last class to run out on the steps in my school. But it was worth the wait. Running out on the steps shouting, singing, jumping around and hugging each other. Then finding my way through the crowd to my parents, friends and family who put lots of gifts around my neck (mostly flowers). Then off again to the truck to ride and dance on it through the entire city. Lots of singing and hugging and even some crying. Then got picked up and taken home by my dad to where all my friends and family were gathered. Then there was food and more presents. It was glorious. We had a ball a few days before graduation, but I didn't go. I had that ball in 9th grade. Didn't need another one. Then there was also the game day a couple of days ahead of the actual graduation where my class was dressed up as pirates. And then there was the graduation dinner too, with all the speeches and flowers that we gave to all our teachers. That was awesome and so much fun. I miss my class, we were crazy, but we were so great. So I'm gonna put my home made video here.

Never mind me having short blonde hair and glasses for the first half of the photos and then blonde hair and no glasses for the rest of it. Instead of no glasses and red hair ;)

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Summer, go away. Sun, you too.

So I guess it's time for my mandatory "I hate summer" post.

Well, it basically comes down to the fact that I'm sensitive to heat and pretty much allergic to the sun. And what is summer? Heat and sun. Lovely combination, don't you think? Yes, I'm sure you do.

I'm sensitive to heat. I can't empty a sauce pan of water without oven mittens, I can't hold a pizza slice that comes directly from the oven, and my biggest pet peeve is when I'm served a latte in a drinking glass at cafés. I have to get about 5 paper napkins to be able to hold the glass and drink from it and I can still feel the heat through the napkins. And I have to let the tea cool for about 10-15 minutes before I can drink it without burning my lips and tongue off. And by then my tea drinking buddy has probably finished his/her tea. Summer heat makes my head go woozy, the sun's so sharp that on top of my woozy head I almost always get a headache when I go outside (even with sunglasses). I can't be in saunas cause it feels like I can't breathe in there and in summer time the whole world turns into a sauna = constant shortness of breath.

I hate to be sweaty. I love to just lie around in bed for about 30-60 minutes after I've woken up. It's hard to do that in summer time cause I always wake up from being too hot and too sweaty and I hate it so I can't just lie around. I have to get out of there. I also like sleeping. Sleeping is difficult when it gets too hot in the room even with the window open and no cover. I hate to be sweaty and going outside in summer time and moving around a bit, like say, going to the shop and getting some groceries, will mean that I'll come back home feeling like I'm melting cause it's so hot.

The sun hates me. For three years I was happy with my sunscreen for sensitive skin and with SPF 50. This year it stopped working. I got sunrash all over my forhead even with it on. Little bumps all over my forhead, is really sexy -.-' I burned my shoulders into a two-day pain even with it on. I'm white. Like really, really white. Other white people usually have like a pink tinge. I'm totally white. And I can't change it. The sun burns painfully and gives me a rash. Two days later it's like nothing happened. I get no colour from it. The red doesn't turn brown, it turns white again. I always burn my scalp in the parting of the hair and then it itches for days.

There are three things I like about summer.

Number 1 is the evenings. Summer evenings are cooler and I can finally breathe and the sun doesn't go down until 11pm, but after 6pm it doesn't burn as much so I don't have to worry about going outside. If I could I would sleep all through the day and then wake up around 4-5pm and live during the part of the day that's actually liveable. But I can't sleep all day cause it gets too friggin hot in the room.

Number 2 is the ocean. I can finally go for a swim in the ocean, and in lakes, and outdoor swimming pools. The only place I don't feel like I'm melting is when I'm soaked in water. I love the world beneath the surface. My favourite place in summer is in the water.

Number 3 is the food. BBQ is heavenly. Ice cream every day is amazing. Shrimp and crawfish make for awesome meals. And the little tiny potatoes.

So if I don't go outside much during summer it's because it's hard and mostly painful. Don't complain that I spend all my summer days by the computer.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Sweden Rock Festival 2014

After 5 days with too little sleep, too much to drink, lots of laughter, sunrash and a rather bad sunburn I'm back home from Sweden Rock Festival.

So let's see if I remember everything the way it happened.

Tuesday: Ricky and Madde picked us up at 4 am. Since our normal sleeping pattern is getting up at noon-1pm and then not going to sleep until 3-4am, we decided not to sleep before. Instead we slept some in the car. If I take anti-motion sickness pills I rather enjoy road trips :) Due to taking a wrong turn a few times we arrived to the camp site around 1pm (should take about 6 hours to get there, took about 10 xD) and while we raised our tents and the party tent rain started falling. My Converse got all wet :( Lucky I remembered my wellingtons ;) After everything was set up we turned on the music and started on the alcohol. The rest of the Tuesday was spent drinking, laughing and singing along to weird music. We attracted a few people during the day and evening. We were just a few metres away from "the peeing fence" where all the guys went to pee and so we attracted some of them while they were on their way and then they kept coming back :) This day also introduced our mascot - Jerker the Viking :)
First person to fall asleep. Covered with his own beers and crowned with the duct tape. Ricky and Toni bowing down to him :P

Wednesday: Raining all day and not really any band I was interested to see. Instead we spent the day pretty much like the first one. Except at one point in the evening Toni and I went to have a look at the main festival area with all the stages and stuff, in connection to finding some sort of food. In the area we found Ricky by himself. Him and Toni played around and were going to sit together on top of a recently emtpied out trash can, but Toni moved and Ricky fell halfway in, then he fell all the way in. A group of middle aged people close by saw it happened and they along with us had a laughing fit from Ricky falling in the trash can. Then the two guys from the other group got the idea to turn the trash can over and roll it up the hill with Ricky in it. Then they just let go and let him roll all the way down. We all laughed so hard, including Ricky. Too bad we were all laughing too hard to remember to film it! xD But that was pretty much the main event of Wednesday.
 1). Ricky with cool contacts drinking mead out of a real drinking horn. 2) & 3). Madde's G&T cans had these stickers on them... 4). Tequila hat! 5) & 6). Ricky in a trash can. 7). What happens if all of us stack our legs? Jerker is in there! 8). Toilet art :P

Thursday: The rain had stopped, but it was still cloudy and a little chilly. I was excited for this day. For this day I had planned on seeing four bands; Black Stone Cherry, Alter Bridge, Rob Zombie, and Alice Cooper, but in the end I only saw Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper. When it was time to leave for Black Stone Cherry the sky opened up and rain started pouring from out of nowhere. Pouring down hard. So I decided to stay in the camp. I had only heard a couple of songs by them anyway. Then when it was time for Alter Bridge, Toni was basically passed out in the tent, so I decided to let him sleep and skipped Alter Bridge too. Have only heard a couple of songs by them too so it was alright. Then we went to the Rock Stage to watch Rob Zombie. I haven't really heard much by him and I couldn't sing along to any of the songs (except when he played the first verse and chorus of School's Out just cause Alice was gonna play directly after him on the stage opposite), but he was cool and I will definitely check out more of his stuff! Then it was time for Alice Cooper. How I had longed for that moment. Three years since last time. I saw him in 2011 in Stockholm, I missed him in 2012 in Gothenburg, and in 2013 in Östersund, but now it was finally time again! And it was incredible! Not as great as last time, but nothing is as great as first timers. My only complaint is that they had turned up the dist on the guitars so much that I couldn't recognise several of the songs until Alice started singing and I recognised the lyrics :/ Favourites were House of Fire, Hey Stoopid, Feed My Frankenstein, Caffeine, The Ballad of Dwight Fry, School's Out (same as last time with Another Brick in the Wall during the bridge!), and Department of Youth. All in all a great mix of old and new songs, and still a few songs I didn't recognise! I need to listen to his albums a lot more, but 26 albums are a lot to take in! ;) Cooper for president! No one does gigs like he does. Other bands go out on stage do their stuff and get the crowd going. Cooper doesn't interact, he's got his stage persona and it would destory the atmosphere to interact. His gigs are like a mash-up of circus/freak show/old school horror movie and I absolutely love it! School's Out was the last song he sang and for this song Rob Zombie came out on stage and performed with Alice.
 1). Balloon as a table? 2). Rob Zombie on stage 3). Alice Cooper on stage 4). Feed My Frankenstein puppet 5). Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie on stage

Friday: First really hot day. After Cooper's concert I woke up around 4 am from freezing to death under my cover inside the tent. About 8 am I wake up again. This time dying from heat! I remembered to put on my sun lotion with the highest spf available in Sweden (50) and still I had burned face and shoulders by the end of the day :/ Around 11.30 I went with Johanna and William (Toni wasn't up and ready yet) to watch the National Day celebration. June 6th is the Swedish National Day. But it only lasted for 5-10 minutes. Swedes suck at celebrating their National Day. So we grabbed something to eat (pulled pork burger ftw) and watched Kings of the Sun for a while. At 1pm Electric Banana Band came on the Festival Stage and it was awesome! I listened a lot to them when I was little so I recognised most of the songs, although I was 12 the last time I listened to them. Totally worth spending an hour watching them. I love how a (sort of) parody band with a target audience for children can get a whole crowd of tough rockers and metalheads dancing to nonsense songs :D After that we went to buy soft ice and slush ice and then went to watch Rockklassiker All Stars on the smallest stage, but we left after 15 minutes cause the sound from one of the biggest stages (where there was another concert at the same time) completely drowned the sound from the small stage and as we heard nothing we left. Then it was all party party until we left for the stages again to watch W.A.S.P. This was Toni's hallelujah-moment, just like Cooper had been mine. And we can't agree which concert was the better - I think Cooper and he thinks W.A.S.P., but I guess it depends on whose fan you are ;) After W.A.S.P. it was time for Black Sabbath. Neither of us are Sabbath fans, but it's one of those bands one should see before they drop dead so we listened to maybe four or five songs before we left. I don't understand a word Ozzy says. I did discover that I liked Sabbath a lot better live than on CD. They make concept albums and I find that on a CD all their songs are too long and sound too similar that I can't really tell them apart, but during a concert all the songs are mixed up and it worked better imho. After Sabbath we bought T-shirts and stayed up partying until about 2 am when we finally went to bed. This is also the day we found Jerker brutally murdered on the ground. And the day the security guards gave us all a condom each xD
 1). Electric Banana Band on stage! 2). Rockklassiker All Stars on stage 3). Glam rockers walking around like this. Very show-off. 4). W.A.S.P. on stage! 5). Black Sabbath on stage! 6). Toni took the arm of Jerker and put it in his pants it was after this that we got the condoms xD 7). Poor Jerker brutally murdered... :(

Saturday: Woke up around 8 am with the feeling that I was melting, it was so hot inside the tent. After putting on my clothes I crawled out on all fours and the morning air was the best thing in the world. This day we had no concerts until 6 pm when I was going to see Within Temptation. There was a possibility that I was going to drive the next day and so I kept drinking to a minimum and only before the concert itself. It was my third time seeing Within Temptation live (first time on an arena gig, second time on Metaltown) and it was just as awesome as the other times. I really respect Sharon. After about 30 minutes Toni left and I stayed in the scorching heat to watch the rets of the concert. In the beginning most songs were from their new album like Let Us Burn, Paradise, And We Run, Dangerous, and Summertime Sadness, so it wasn't until the classics (Our Solemn Hour, Stand My Ground, What Have You Done) that the concert really got going. Sweden Rock was only the second stop on their promo tour and the album has only been out for a few months, so not everyone knew the songs yet. Since I was alone from the concert with a nice guy I had only known for three days, I decided to skip Billy Idol and went back to the camp with him. There we had some party and Toni decided to skip Arch Enemy. Their concert didn't start until 00.30 am  and we were pretty tired for all of this day. To the point that Toni and I actually went to bed at 11 pm already.
 1). Within Temptation on stage! 2). Toilet art

Sunday: Awoke around 4 am again from freezing to death. Then some sort of alarm sounded at 7 am. After Toni and I had both gotten dressed we started to pack our things. We decided to dump the tent there since the zipper to the door had pretty much stopped working. Even without all the alcohol it still took the four of us (me, Ricky, Madde, Toni) two rounds to bring all our stuff to the car. We got it packed in the trunk Tetris style and then we drove off. Ricky drove for about two hours and then stopped at a gas station where we bought food, drinks and snacks and then we switched. I drove for about an hour and then we stopped at another gas station to fill up the tank and we switched back. I think driving is boring, mind-numbingly boring. After 30 minutes I feel like I have driven halfway across Sweden already. The more I drive the more confident I feel about it, but I still think it's so terribly boring that I can't understand how anyone can enjoy it. I rather sit in the back seat and watch the landscape pass by while dreaming away. I also have a bad case of road rage and I sit swearing under my breath at all those drivers who don't know how to use their blinkers. But today I mostly swore over all those friggin trailers all over the friggin highway. We got home after about 6½ hours and I put dibs on the shower already before we set foot inside the door. First shower since Monday was amazing.
Post-festival selfie

And now, here I am. Sweden Rock is over and I liked it a lot more than Metaltown.