Monday, 18 April 2016

The world stops when you enter an MMO

It really doesn't, but I wish it would. For the past 2-3 weeks I've been living and breathing ESO, which is also why my weekly posts died out.
I started playing a Skyrim quest mod called Falskaar at the end of last month, and while I was exploring I started to feel the need for ESO. I picked it up and continued on the character I created some weeks earlier. I had a lot of fun with it and decided to stick around, so I asked for any casual guilds in the chat. I got two hits very quickly. One was a very small guild with a very enthusiastic guildmaster, and as soon as he realised that I was a veteran in this game he made me second in command. I have a lot of fun with those guys :) The other was a big bustling trading guild with over 200 members. They are very active in the chat and we're always engaged in odd conversations (most recently I promised to tickle Molag Bal's belly when I took him down. Another night we learned that pizza is a vegetable, but also that it kills your soul). Chatting with those guys is now half of the fun I'm having. And I love not having to look in the zone chat for random people to do dungeons with - I just ask my guildies and 99% of the time someone is willing to team up. I used to avoid the group dungeons because I dreaded LFGing in the zone chat, now I volunteer every time someone mentions dungeons. For the first time in the two years I've played this game I've found guilds who are casual and fun. I don't like serious guilds who analyse everything, it takes the fun out of it imho.
And now I'm back to trying to talk my IRL friends into playing the game. I can't believe it's been two years and I still don't have any IRL friends who play. I can't believe I'm still trying to convince people two years later -_-
But hey, I'm having fun and I don't even mind that they keep calling me "he". I haven't been very obvious with me not being a guy. I've mentioned the boyfriend a few times now though, so I guess most of them have figured out I'm a girl, or they just think I'm gay. I don't mind either. And tbf I also assume that everyone I talk to is a guy before he says otherwise. They just tend to be mostly guys :P

Friday, 1 April 2016

March favourites 2016

Books: I managed to complete 7 books in March. Tbf four of them were manga volumes and thus didn't take too long to read although they were in Japanese. My favourite book from this month is easily the last book in the Hunger Games series: Mockingjay. Impossible to put down, I finished it very quickly.

• Tommy february6 - "Little Red Forest"

• The Pretty Reckless - "Burn"

• Simple Plan - "In"

• Three Days Grace - "Fallen Angel"

• Morning Musume - "One and Only"

Games: Half this month consisted of Fallout 4, the other half was Portal, ESO and Skyrim. I must still say that Fallout 4 was the best game of the month. None of the others made me feel withdrawal symptoms for being away from the game :P

TV shows: I've watched a lot of shows this month as per usual. But the best one is X-Files. Can't stop watching that show!

Other things: Easter was fun. I also saw the first butterfly of the year which was nice.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

My last 5 books: Japanese & YA

The Almost Nearly Perfect People should've been at the top here, but I felt that book deserved its own space.

1. Drug & Drop, vol 1, by CLAMP.
The first volume of manga in Japanese this time around. This is a remake of an old series by CLAMP that I read in English way back. Back then it was called Legal Drug and as far as I know it was put on hiatus after only three volumes. Maybe it's because the manga contains a lot of difficult, different, and odd words that you don't really learn unless you travel in the correct circles, and because of that I maye not have understood everything correctly, but was it always this jumpy? I'm missing the context, the connections between scenes are subtle to non-existant. The best part of the whole thing was when Watanuki from xxxHolic showed up (and what I hope is a regenerated Yuko). I used to love CLAMP to bits, I collected everything written by them that I could get my hands on, but this is not very good. Too stereotypical characters for one. Did they lose their touch or did I grow up?

2. Watashi no Suki na Hito, by CLAMP.
This is a short story collection in manga format and also in Japanese. This book has 12 short stories, all about different girls experiencing love in different ways. If I had read this when I was 14, and if it had been available in Swedish or English back then I would probably have loved it. As it is now, I found the stories too sugary sweet, too girly, and mainly too kawaii. Most horrible realisation of my reading life - Have I grown out of shojo manga? O_o I finally start to read CLAMP again after 7-8 years, only to discover that I don't like them anymore? This is awful :(

3. Code Geass, vol 1, by Ichirou Ohokouchi, Goro Taniguichi & Majiko!.
This volume of manga (in Japanese) is based on the anime of the same name. I haven't seen the anime, but I'm really excited to after reading this! Damn this was good! Some sort of post-apocalyptic world war setting, in a Japan that has been converted into a part of the world spanning empire known as Britannia. Lelouch is originally indifferent to both the empire officials' deeds as well as the rebels' loud opinions, but after finding a girl hooked up to a machine and locked inside a see-through tank, and also watching his childhood friend get shot by the empire, he decides to destroy Britannia. When freeing the girl in the machine he recieves some mystic power that enables him to influence people to do his will. As the story unfolds, he becomes a sort of avenger, while facing doubts when discovering that friends and classmates are on the side of the empire.

4. Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins.
Last part of The Hunger Games! I can't believe I've waited this long to finish this series! The first two books were amazing and this one was no different. To be fair I did figure out some of the plot before that part came around, but thanks to the amazing writing my realisations didn't make the book boring, far from it. It was exciting all the way. Emotional ups and downs. Before I started reading I saw that several of the reviews on Goodreads began with; "What kind of an ending is that?!?!?! ahsghs D:" But I didn't mind the ending, I thought it was kind of fitting. Best goddamn series in a while! (I have only seen the movie based on the first book.)

5. Maze Runner, by James Dashner.
That could be my whole review. Just a no. I read this in Swedish, so it could be the translator, but the language was boring, even the trying-to-be-inventive-slang was boring. There was not even the slightest shade of character development in anyone. For being the smartest kids in their post-apocalyptic world they were incredibly stupid. I figured out what they needed to do in the maze about 100 pages before the characters even get to it. And - because there was no language to hold on to, because the storytelling was flat, and because the characters never grew - from that point on it basically became just waiting for them to catch up. The telepathy thing was stupid (I sincerely hope that will be explained more in detail in the other two books, because here it was mostly 'oh this is a thing we can do, let's roll with it'), the Grievers seemed like something a five-year-old would paint if asked to imagine a monster: a big blob with arms and needles, and the sins of the main character were in no way left to mystery when very early on the girl starts ranting about what they did and how this is all their fault.
Actually, throughout most of this book I had the same feeling I have when I read through my own manuscripts from a few years back: cringe.
This book was too predictable and too flat. (I haven't seen the movie.)

Mostly disappointments this time around. Hopefully that will get better by my next batch!

The Almost Nearly Perfect People - Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia

As soon as I saw this book I knew I had to buy it. I've seen plenty of posts, especially on Tumblr, where Americans and otherwise make out the Nordic countries as some sort of haven for education, health care and social liberty. The author, Michael Booth, is a Brit who's married to a Dane and lives in Denmark. He has travelled a lot in the Nordic countries, both for pleasure and for research, and so I decided to try to find out why this legend about the Nordic utopia exists. The author ventured to do the same and so this book was made. I love the quotes on the back of the book:
"The Danes are the happiest people in the world, and pay the highest taxes.
'Neutral' Sweden is one of the biggest arms manufacturers in the world.
Finns have the highest per capita gun ownership after the US and Yemen.
54 per cent of Icelanders believe in elves.
Norway is the richest country on earth."
The book paints a pretty dark picture, actually. What he finds out about all of us is that we're all basically balancing a very thin thread each and it could go either way - either total collapse or continued welfare. The country that takes up the most space in the book is understandably Denmark, and the smallest part is Iceland, and while reading I realised how little I actually know about my neighbours. I knew some of it, but far from everything. I can't say how accurate any of the other countries' depictions are, but when it comes to Sweden he paints a pretty correct picture.

He starts with the crayfish party season, and also touches upon graduation celebrations and Midsummer, which are some of the days when Swedes actually allow themselves to let loose and become crazy. We are partying Vikings just like the Danes, but we usually keep it under tight wraps. He describes Swedes as being shy (because we honestly don't talk to people we meet on public transport or on the streets), reserved, boring, and a little rigid. I recognise that picture. He also talks about the fact that Swedes love conformity (which we do) and if you don't fit in to the pattern you're going to have a hard time. I find it funny that he realised the conformity problem for non-conformed people when he basically only visited the major cities. I wonder what he would've made of the small villages. Because for myself who never fit into the rigid conformity of my home village, Malmö and Stockholm are areas of liberty. Because the way I percieve it no one looks twice at me or thinks I'm weird in the cities, while that's the impression I get all the time when I go "home".

The most interesting chapter in the Sweden part was the discussion upon immigration. This book is written and published before the immigration crisis of last year, and it seems like he gathered his information on Sweden before the last election (2014), so some of his information isn't correct anymore, but even he realises that the media is blowing the issues way out of proportion. He visits the immigrant neighbourhood of Rosengård in Malmö (well-known for violence throughout Sweden) and talks to the people he meet there as well as the people in charge of the area, and an imam. And you know what he realises after all this? That they are the same as "native" Swedes, same hopes and dreams and worries. He walks across the big road to the area next to Rosengård and talks to the people living there - mostly well-to-do "native" Swedes and their responses to his questions about immigration problems and violence and what they want and hope for are mostly the same.

Some things irk me, though. He complains a lot about the weather. You're British! You hardly have exceptionally good weather in your own country. And he also complains about the monarchies of Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Again: You're British! If any country is known for loving their royalty, it's you. In Sweden the attitude is mostly: we don't mind having them there. They don't really do anything and they don't have any say in anything anyway. And having them there sort of blocks the way for any crazy dictators :P Heirs to wealthy conglomerates have more power than our royal families. Keep that in mind. I'm not a royalist, but I'm not really a republican either. I just don't mind having them there.

But the overall feeling I get from this is something I've known for a long while to be true: we are family; Denmark, Norway, and Sweden are brothers, Iceland is the cousin, and Finland is the adopted brother (Faroe Islands and Greenland are foster children). Since we are family we've had our squabbles (wars, culture oppression etc), but nowadays when we're all grown up we've reduced our squabbles to joking about each member's stereotypes, and we're all ok with that (as far as I know).

The rest of this post will be quotes from the epilogue:
"Of course there are downsides even in almost nearly perfect societies: there are historical skeletons in every closet, and yes, countries with homogenous, monocultural tendencies do tend to be a little too safe and dull, and insular. Looking to the future, the Nordic countries are also facing some serious challenges - aging population, creaking welfare states, the ongoing integration of immigrant populations, and rising inequality. But it's still Scandinavia. It is still the enivably rich, peaceful, harmonious and progressive place it has long been."
"To achieve authentic, sustained happiness, above all else you need to be in charge of your life, to be in control of who you want to be, and be able to make the appropriate changes if you are not. This cannot merely be a perception, an empty slogan like the American Dream (the Us came way down on the LSE's social mobility scale, incidentally). In Scandinavia it is a reality. These are the real lands of opportunity. There is far greater social mobility in the Nordic countries than in the US or Britain and, for all the collectivism and state interference in the lives of the people who live here, there is far greater freedom to be the person you want to be, and do the things you want to do, up here in the North. In a recent poll by Gallup, only 5 per cent of Danes said they could not change their lives if they wanted to. In contrast, I can think of many American states where it would probably be quite an uncomfortable experience to declare yourself atheist, for example, or gay, or to be married yet choose not to have children, or to be unmarried and have children, or to have an abortion, or raise your children as Muslims. I don't imagine it would be easy being vegetarian in Texas, for instance, or a wine buff in Salt Lake City come to that. And don't even think of coming out as socialist in any of the fifty states. In Scandinavia you can be all of these things and no one will bat an eye."
"I didn't mention it but the day after the Malmö crayfish orgy, the city's annual festival continued with more al fresco feasting - mainly of Turkish, Indian, Arabic and Chinese food - but this time the streets of the city were packed with the most multiethnic crowd I have ever seen on the streets of a Scandinavian city. The atmosphere was terrific that day; it felt to me like there was a genuine sense of community and that, contrary to much of what I had heard about Malmö in the Danish media, this was a city at peace with itself."
"Though there has been increasing discussion about this in the Scandinavian media in recent years - with some suggesting a Federal States of Scandinavia as a northern alternative to the faltering EU - it is still unlikely. Just in case, though, my plea to the Nordic people is this: please don't. For if you ever really did band together in such a way then, truly, the rest of us would not stand a chance." 
One of the most interesting reads I've had in a while. Be sure to pick it up!

Monday, 28 March 2016

First Seed, week 4

Monday was work. It went very well and I was done and leaving by 1.30pm :) When I came home I watched X-Files and then went to sleep early.

On Tuesday I went downtown and bought a birthday gift for my mum. When I came back I started playing Portal. It's my first time and I only played for a little over an hour. All the portals made my head spin xD But I'll finish it soon and then move on to Portal 2. I'll try to deal with my humongous backlog now that I don't have any big amazing games coming out soon. (Or maybe I do but I don't know about it yet). After dinner and X-Files I started up Skyrim instead. I have downloaded a new quest mod called Falskaar and as soon as I'm done with Dragonborn DLC I'll get started!

On Wednesday I mostly spent the day watching Toni play Uncharted.

On Thursday I met up with Anna in Stockholm. We went for coffee at Espresso House in Old Town and then walked across the road to spend some time in the Sci-Fi bookshop. Hadn't seen her in over a year I think so when we started talking (getting past the initial awkwardness) we talked about what we had been doing since last time and also a lot about TV shows that we both like (she got me into Once Upon a Time, I got her into Doctor Who - fair trade :P), and also about books and authors in general. She was the one who recommended me John Ajvide Lindqvist and I recommended her Neil Gaiman, also a fair trade. While there I bought two new books (Half a War by Joe Abercrombie (finally!), and Agnes Cecilia by Maria Gripe), the original Harry Potter colouring book, and a Garrus Pop Vinyl figurine (finally! that one has always been sold out when I've been there before). After a quick trip to Comics Heaven a short walk away and some time sitting out in the fading Spring sun we went back to the Central station and went our separate ways. It was a really nice day and I hope it won't be over a year until we meet again :)
When I got home I watched Toni play some more Uncharted and then we watched the new episodes of The Walking Dead and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

On Friday we got on the train to Malmö. Due to construction/reparation work on the tracks we had to wait for a transfer bus from Stockholm before the train could depart from Södertälje, and thus we were 20 minutes late. But by the time we arrived in Malmö we were only 7 minutes late so they made good time :) Arrived to my parents place and got delicious dinner and then spent most of the evening reading on the sofa :)

On Saturday the family arrived for Easter dinner. Easter still means Easter eggs for my sister and me from our grandparents, and they always include our SOs. So that meant 2 eggs each for all the "children" (of which the youngest is 22 and the oldest 31). When all the grandparents and sister + her bf had left we watched The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared on tv. I haven't read the book, but the movie was fun so it seems promising. Maybe a new Swedish author to discover this year? :)

On Sunday we got on the train back to Södertälje. Originally the trip takes about 4 hours, but due to the train being redirected because of construction/reparation work on the tracks also in the south the trip was now estimated to take almost 6 hours :/ On top of that we were 20 minutes late from Malmö. Awesome. But I had my books and the train managed to catch up to those 20 minutes and we arrived right on time in Södertälje. Toni's mum picked us up at the station. She was going to get Chinese food on her way back so we decided to get some too since we hadn't eaten on the train. So ride home + Chinese food = win :) When we got home I watched Toni play some more Uncharted and then I went to sleep.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

First Seed, week 3

I don't even remember xD Let's see what I can recall.

Monday was work, and everything went well. I know me and my colleague talked about some game or other, but I can't remember what it was xD When I got home I watched Grey's Anatomy and Once Upon a Time, as well as some X-Files. Went to bed early.

Tuesday I mostly played Fallout 4.

On Wednesday I read some in my book and then played Fallout 4 until it was time to go downtown and have dinner with one of Toni's friends who'd asked if we couldn't meet up. It was alright. The food was great, but I still felt a bit like a third wheel :P When we got home I continued to play Fallout 4 and finished the game. Such a great game! :D

On Thursday we had our cosy thingy with The Walking Dead, The Big Bang Theory and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. I also watched Toni play Uncharted most of the day. Feeling a bit like I don't know what to do next when I had finished Fallout xD

Friday to Sunday were mostly the same. I spent the day working and the evening watching X-Files and reading my book. I also did laundry on Saturday and when Toni got home we watched an episode of The Strain.

I've had this song on a loop since Friday. The translation in the video is slightly off, but the song is still good :3

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Game completed: Fallout 4

Man, I loved this game. It was amazing. I imagine this is what Fallout 3 would've been like if the game wasn't fucked-up and broken and forced me to rush through it if I wanted to play at all. Fallout 4 was perfection.

I had stayed away from hints and spoilers and trailers completely before I picked up the game. I was extremely confused when the game started and I found myself in 2077, before the bombs fell. But the rush to the Vault to get there in time before the bombs fell was exhilarating, and then realising that the pod I entered was cryo... Fuck, shit, fuck. And then waking up and watching my son get stolen from my husband's arms and him getting shot... Fuck, shit, fuck. Finally waking up, and realising that I'm the only one left in the entire Vault was extremely creepy. Then I got out of the Vault, picked up my old robot butler Codsworth and went on my way to Concord. Found Dogmeat on the way :3 Met the Minutemen at Concord and helped them out of their pickle. The new design of Power armor was badass (though I had to google how to get out of it, because I missed that info bubble). But why was there a Deathclaw in my first ever battle in the game?! That's not fair!

After I got the Minutemen to Sanctuary and joined them, I started to slowly travel down to Diamond City and by slowly I mean exploring every location I happened upon on the way. It took a while xD Joined the Brotherhood of Steel on the way. When I got to Diamond City I heard about the Freedom Trail and followed it all the way to the Railroad. And then I joined the Railroad.

Having joined every faction available to me at that time, I began my personal mission to complete every single side quest, misc quest and unmarked quest, as well as discover every location. It went really well :) I picked up every companion on the way and gotta say that my favourites are Nick, Hancock, Deacon, Cait, and Piper. Codsworth is cool too, but I dumped him as soon as I got Dogmeat, and then I dumped Dogmeat as soon as I got Hancock. My lovely Hancock ♥♥♥ I romanced Hancock :3

Out of all the side quests and misc objectives my favourites were: The One with the Chinese Submarine, The One with the Ship Stuck in a Building, The Silver Shroud, The One with a Kid in a Fridge, The One with Cabot House, The One with Pickman's Gallery, The One with the Museum of Witchcraft, The One with the Treasures of Jamaica Plain, and The One with Nick Valentine's Past.
1). The captain of the Chinese submarine. 2). The ship in the building
1). The Silver Shroud! 2). The kid in the fridge
1). Pickman. 2) The treasure room at Jamaica Plain

Out of all the locations in the game my favourites (mostly due to the back stories) were: Dunwich Borers, Boston mayoral shelter, Cambridge Polymer Labs, Jamaica Plain, Libertalia, Parsons State Insane Asylum, HalluciGen Inc, Hubris Comics, Swan's Pond, Vault 81, Diamond City, Goodneighbor, and The Slog.
1). Flashback scene at Dunwich Borers (yes, this is Lovecraft). 2). Libertalia
1). Entrance to Vault 81. This became my home. 2). Diamond City

When I had completed my personal mission I started doing the main quest. After meeting everyone and doing all their side quests I had decided on beforehand that I was going to side with the Railroad. So I followed their story and got inside the Institute, and that's when all the figurative bombs started to drop and I became seriously conflicted on whether I should go through with the Railroad's plan or dump their asses and join the Institute. But the more I went back and forth between them, the more I realised that I liked the Railroad's goal more. I had to ignore the feelings that being at the Institute stirred and focus on the quest. And holy shit the main quest got epic! Epic ending :3
1). One quest with my boys all together :3 Hancock, Deacon and Tinker Tom ^^ 2). The Nuclear Option

I played for all four factions (Minutemen, Brotherhood of Steel, Railroad, Institute) for as long as possible and I have created separate save files at the specific moments when I had to make a choice. All to make it possible for me to go back and experience the main quest another way but not having to play through the entire game again. I may do that at some point or other.

I'm also happy that I did take the time to play the two previous Fallout games, while New Vegas was hardly mentioned, Fallout 3 references popped up often enough. Everything from a certain little Lamplighter and a certain Rivet City doctor, to Liberty Prime and aliens. Then there's also the fact that Bethesda likes to re-utilise voices. The voice for Nick Valentine is also the voice for Belethor/Mercer/Enthir in Skyrim. The voice for Desdemona is also the voice for Legate Rikke in Skyrim. And then there's the fact that more than half of random unnamed NPCs in this game have the same voice actor as Garrus from Mass Effect.

This has been an amazing ride :3 I loved some of the new weapons available (like the Broadsider and the Junk Jet), and I loved how I could customize my armour. I hardly ever got out of my vault suit, I just modded the suit and the put armour parts on top of it. I never used a helmet, only different kinds of hats and by the end I really loved the look of my bowler hat :3

I'm really looking forward to the DLCs, first of which will arrive next week! :D

Monday, 14 March 2016

First Seed, week 2

Monday was a really nice day. Everything went smoothly at work, and then during all the 15 minutes it takes to walk to the bus stop me and a colleague talked about Mass Effect and Dead Space, and also sci-fi in general :) It was a lot of fun ^^ Got home and made dinner, and then I watched the season finale of Call the Midwife, as well as the new episodes of Once Upon a Time, Grey's Anatomy, The Vampire Diaries and The Originals :) And then I felt like playing something, but I couldn't think of what, so instead I spent an hour downloading patches for Elder Scrolls Online, while watching classic Doctor Who, and then I spent a few hours playing ESO with a new toon. It's been a while and it was a lot of fun, though I basically only got through the prologue and like half of the starter area. I have this headcanon that one and the same toon has lived through all the games. A wood elf that thanks to vampirism has been around for a lot longer than she should have. So basically she's around 1000 years old by the time we get to Skyrim :P (If I count correctly, Tamrielic eras are weird). So long periods of vampirism and occasional bouts of getting cured and living a while as a mortal, and occasionally as a werewolf, is how she's lived her life. I'm seriously considering writing a fanfic on this premise.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were mostly spent playing Fallout 4. On Thursday we also watched the latest episodes of The Walking Dead and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as an episode of The Strain.

On Friday I had work in the morning, and when I got home I played some more Fallout 4, before Toni asked me to dye his hair and then we went downtown for some fancy, delicious dinner :3 380g burger was a bit too much, but also very awesome. When we got back home I played some more Fallout 4 :)

Saturday started out with playing Fallout 4, but a little over 5 pm I got on the bus to go to a party north of Stockholm. It was a party with colleagues from the tourist agency, most of whom I had never met before but it was still a lot of fun. We turned on the TV to watch the finale of the Swedish competition deciding our participant in the Eurovision Song Contest :) (Which I realised was the reason why there was so goddamn many people at the central station in Stockholm, they were all going to the show). Tbh I don't follow the Swedish competition, but I always watch ESC, so this became the first time I watched it this year. Most of the songs were boring, rip-offs of earlier years, or just plain bad. After the winner was announced I decided it was a coup because Sweden can't afford to win two years in a row :P (I thought this was the best song of the evening). The best part, honestly, was the medley towards the end of old hits that first saw the day of light in this show, throughout the years. Nostalgia deluxe! Most of the songs were from the last decade (02-09) and during that time I followed the Swedish competition more closely. Let's just say I knew all the songs (and I rediscovered an old favourite!). Another beautiful thing was the performance of last year's winner of ESC as a sort of anti-bullying campaign - gave me goosebumps. Here's the nostalgia medley:
Since it was a party with the tourist agency, during the evening we also had a quiz about Stockholm. I lost, which was expected. Questions about restaurants? I've only briefly flicked through the restaurant pamphlet and I never eat at fancy places in the city :P Questions about streets and squares? I don't even know the street names of Malmö and I grew up there! Questions about museums? I should know this, but the others were quicker - I blame the wine. Questions about the history of Stockholm? Yes, maybe something I know! This is where I got my only question :P I got the answer right to what happened in Stockholm in the year 1520. That's easy. The Stockholm bloodbath :P In the end I had to leave early, because of work the next day, but I had a lot of fun while it lasted. 

Sunday was work again. First time in a really long while that I worked on a Sunday at the food box place. What I like about working Sundays there is that we have a set time when we're done. On Mondays we just keep going 'til everything's packed and shipped and ready, and that sometimes takes a while (sometimes the machines keep acting up, or someone is new on the job and makes mistakes, or some food stuffs haven't even arrived on time so we have to wait for them). So Sundays are nice in the sense that we know when it's done, and can thus make plans for the rest of the day. During the walk to the bus, this day, my colleague and I talked about the Witcher-series. It was a lof of fun for me to finally be able to point out flaws in the storytelling in Witcher 3 and how there's so much that doesn't add up between the first two games and the third one. I love Witcher 3, but it feels separate from the other two games, and that bothers me. In the evening we met up with Toni's family and had dinner at a restaurant, because it recently was his mother's birthday. After the food was finished, his younger sister and I both felt like we wanted dessert, but none of us felt like we could manage one alone. So we decided on sharing (we have done this before, it's great). But since we wanted dessert, some of the others also decided to have dessert. The sister and I got baked cheesecake with passionfruit, which was a good choice, easily the best out of the whole dessert menu. Toni got the vanilla pannacotta so I got to taste that too. It was good, but not as good as the cheesecake. Yum!

Monday, 7 March 2016

First Seed, week 1

This whole week has kind of blurred together, but let's see...

On Monday I went to work super early as per usual. It was really nice weather out, felt like Spring. After some grocery shopping I went home and made dinner, during which I lost a fight against the frying pan and I still have a burn mark on my hand from the frying fat that splattered up. Turns out that holding my hand under cold water until my whole hand aches from the cold doesn't really help. Afterwards I watched the new episodes of Call the Midwife, Grey's Anatomy, The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. And then I went to sleep.

On Tuesday Toni was staying home because he didn't feel well. Spent most of the day playing Fallout 4. Mostly the same on Wednesday and Thursday, though on Wednesday we had our weekly thingy and watched new episodes of The Big Bang Theory and The Walking Dead. We also got into The Strain again and watched several episodes in one sitting.

On Friday I went to work, and when I got home I sat next to Toni on the sofa and watched some Youtube videos with him. I fell asleep. Then I spent the whole evening watching him play Batman Arkham Knight. In the evening we watched Star Wars The Phantom Menace, because I want to watch all the past movies before seeing The Force Awakens. That movie has not aged well.

On Saturday I went to work again. When I came home I went back to bed and slept for another two hours. Spent the rest of the day playing Fallout 4.

Sunday was work in the morning, then Fallout 4 in the evening before going to sleep early.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

February favourites 2016

February was a very busy month. I'm almost glad it's over.

Books: My reading suffered a bit in February, and I basically only read two books. My excuse is that the first one was over 700 pages long and written in 1920s English, and the other one was in French, so they both took time. But I also hardly had any time to read during the first week of February. Out of the two I managed Night Terrors has to be my favourite!

Music: I've had so much Fallout 4 music on my head this month. But I'm gonna list the other songs that I've liked specifically in February.
• All That Remains - "A Reason For Me to Fight"

• Black Veil Brides - "Drag Me to the Grave"

• Breaking Benjamin - "The Great Divide"

• In This Moment - "Adrenalize"

• Nickelback  - "Figured You Out"

• Seether - "Blister"

• Simple Plan - "The Rest of Us"

• Morning Musume - "TIKI BUN"

• "Jag är en astronaut"

Games: Once again it's been Fallout all month. I finished Fallout: New Vegas around Valentine's Day, and at the same day I started up Fallout 4. It's been Fallout 4 since then. And some Fallout Shelter, and a little side trip to play Left 4 Dead 2 with friends. Gotta say that Fallout 4 is the best game of the month!

TV shows: This month I've watched The Big Bang Theory, Call the Midwife, Grey's Anatomy, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, The Walking Dead, The IT Crowd, and The X-Files. My favourite this month has to be Call the Midwife. Waiting a week for each episode is terrible! And soon the season will be over! What do?!

Other things: We saw Deadpool on the 13th! It was amazeballs! There was also the fact that I was in Germany the first week of the month, and several other small things that rarely happen.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Sun's Dawn, week 4

Monday was work, but we worked fast and got off relatively early. When I arrived at the bus stop afterwards, there came a bus with the sign "not in service", but the driver noticed another driver walking by my bus stop and stopped there, allowing his colleague to ride with him. The driver then asked me where I was going and allowed me to go with them since they were going the same place xD First time riding on a "not in service" bus xD When I got home I watched the new episode of Call the Midwife, as well as some episodes of X-Files.

Tuesday was work and after a really slow day I got home and played Fallout 4, and that's basically it xD

On Wednesday I was free and I spent most of the day playing Fallout 4. But the day ended with new episodes of The Big Bang Theory and The Walking Dead.

Thursday and Friday were both work. But I had some issues with the card terminal on Thursday so that was interesting. Enough to keep me occupied anyway. After work I came home and started playing, you guessed it, more Fallout 4.

On Saturday we had plans, but not before the evening so I spent most of the day playing Fallout 4. After dinner we joined up on Skype with some friends and acquiantances and played Cards Against Humanity for a couple of hours, then we switched to Left 4 Dead 2. Both of which included drinking alcohol so towards the end we weren't especially agile while dodging the zombies xD We finished playing around 3am, but Toni and I didn't get into bed until almost 5am, spending almost 2 hours talking in the sofa, which was incredibly cosy.
Screenshot from the evening

Sunday was spent being hungover. Still, I had to get up early so I could go to bed early the same evening. Spent the first few hours reading my new book, and then started up my first ever game of Fallout Shelter on my phone. Surprisingly good graphics for a phone game. It sort of feels like Banished, but in the Fallout universe. Too bad the game works like a Tamagotchi and demands my attention every time some room has produced something, or a kid is born, or a kid grows up... And my explorers of the Wasteland keep dying because I'm not there to monitor them. But overall everything worked fine in my Vault the last time I checked in on them :P After Toni woke up I went to play some Fallout 4 before bedtime.

And then it was Monday again...

Friday, 26 February 2016

My last 5 books: Horror, sci-fi, and French

The first five books of the year. My promise to myself to use every bit of commuting time to read has payed off somewhat. So here are the last 5 books I've read, starting with the oldest first:

1. Låt den rätte komma in, by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
Known abroad as Let the right one in. I'm generally sceptical towards Swedish writers, but this guy has proven me wrong. I couldn't put this book down. It was incredibly gripping. I didn't like that he made so many of the characters sexually or psychologically deviant, though, I guess that has something to do with him trying to make the characters more interesting. Sexual deviance is not necessary for a character to be interesting! I liked Eli a lot more than Oskar, and especially the flashbacks were interesting. The author's take on vampirism was inventive. I have not yet seen the movie, and I'm not sure I will. Movies have a tendency to be bad compared to the book.

2. Himmelstrand, by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
Same author. This book was a lot better than Låt den rätte komma in, and it's obvious that his writing has evolved during the years between his first novel (Låt den rätte komma in) and this one. Himmelstrand was haunting and scary in the cosy creepy way. Without actually saying much until the last 150 pages, there's this overwhelming feeling that something is incredibly, terribly wrong. But just as the characters have no idea what has happened, neither do you. I love how the characters span every single version of horror movie characters: The scared ones who completely break down, the ones who become violent in the face of screaming stress, the idiot ones who think they can solve the problem by hunting it, and the ones who just resign themselves to the end and don't really care. I particularly love that the most "evil" character (if you want to use that word) is a 6-year-old. Awesome book! If this is how good his writing has become, I can't wait to read more from him!

3. Andra vägar, by Karin Tidbeck (red).
This is something as rare as a modern-day Swedish anthology of sci-fi. Ten short stories by more or less known Swedish writers fill these pages. Some of them were outrageous and weird, some of them I really liked, and some were just boring - the way things normally are with anthologies. My personal favourites were numbers 5 and 8. Number 5 is Vomb by Jessica Schiefauer about a couple who decides to have a family, by using the new technology called a vomb. The vomb makes it possible for the parents to shift carrying the baby during the pregnancy. Number 8 is Dykplats Lund by Kristina Hård about an evolved human who works in diving beneath the surface of the ocean, which in this distant year of the future has covered much of the ground we live on today.

4. Night Terrors: The Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson.
This author was active during the same years as H.P. Lovecraft, both in the horror/supernatural genre. Unlike Lovecraft Benson didn't create his own mythology of Elder Gods, and his stories mostly concerned the supernatural we know: ghosts, spritis, demons, witches and magic. Another difference is that while Lovecraft was American and most of his stories took place in New England, Benson was British and most of his stories take place in Britain. I originally started reading this book in October 2014, but you have to be in a certain mood to read anthologies and I just wasn't. Now I can't imagine why, because this book was glorious. A few of my favourites were: Caterpillars, The Cat, The Other Bed, The Temple, The Wishing-Well, The Step, The Bath-Chair, and The Sanctuary.

5. Pas si fous, ces Français! by Jean-Benoît Nadeau & Julie Barlow
This book was part of the course literature when I studied French at the university, but we only read snippets from it. I thought it seemed interesting back then and I still do. So when I needed to get into French again to prepare for Cologne, I decided to pick it up again and read it from back to back. Unfortunately I hardly had time to read while in Cologne (20 pages in total during the whole week we were there). I was very relieved when I started reading it and realised I understood practically everything, despite the fact that I had hardly used French for 3 years! So this book is written by two French-Canadians who decide to understand France. They spend 2½ years in France and this book describes what they found. They write through the perspective of North Americans and some of the time I was gaping at the book for something they did in France that I found really weird,  and some of the time I was shrugging like what the hell that's not strange, for something the authors thought was strange, but that we do in Sweden too. It's been a ride, an although this book tried to disprove the notion that France is an elitist country/community I still think it is, but I have gained more of an understanding towards their system. Unfortunately, this book is getting on in years. It was published in 2003 and is thus now more than 10 years old. I'd like to know what the authors would say to everything that has happened in France since 2010.

And that's it for now! Five books, three languages, and three genres.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Sun's Dawn, week 3

It feels like last week went on forever.

On Monday I went to work and everything went smoothly. When I got home I watched the latest episode of Call the Midwife and then some episodes of X-Files. Went to bed before 10pm.

On Tuesday I went up to my new job to call around shops again, this time asking if they had looked at the email we sent and asking if they were at all interested to order. However, after lunch I started feeling weird. I got a headache and then I felt all trembly. So I went home from work early. Spent the evening watching X-Files and reading, and feeling both cold and warm at the same time.

On Wednesday I had called in sick to work and spent the whole day playing Fallout 4. In the evening we watched the new episodes of The Big Bang Theory and The Walking Dead.

On Thursday I felt better but still stayed at home and played more Fallout 4.

Friday-Sunday consisted of first work in the morning and then Fallout 4 in the evening, with some breaks for dinner and some episodes of Grey's Anatomy, The Vampire Diaries and The Originals.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Not all women

I've been trying to get this right for a while, but I'm still not convinced that I got it. The idea for this post was born from my frustration over being represented in a way that's not me. As a woman I am represented by feminism as being scared by men and expecting rape, abuse and miosgyny round every corner. At least that's what it looks like on the surface. That's the loudest words of feminism today. And I know that's not all there is to feminism. I am a feminist. And just like the men of today cry "not all men", I want to stand on my tip-toes and yell from the top of my lungs "not all women"! Because not all women feel that way. That has to be true. Either that's true, or I'm not a woman.

I am not discrediting your truth. I know it's true that a lot of women have experienced rape and abuse and misogyny several times in their lifetimes. But I must also be allowed to express that this is not the ultimate universal truth. There are other truths, that are just as true as the one mentioned above.

And this is my truth.

My truth is that I had passed 20 before I even realised that men and women were sometimes treated differently in Sweden. Until that point I had been convinced that it only happened in other countries. I was convinced that inequality between the sexes had been completely eradicated in earlier decades in Sweden. How could I not see anything earlier, you may ask. Because I never experienced it. Not in Sweden. When I did experience it I was abroad or alcohol was involved. So naturally I blamed the alcohol and the differences in culture/society.

I've been told about a time from before I can remember that when before I went to bed every night I wanted to sit on my dad's motorcycle. Every night. Because of that my parents gave me my own motorcycle: a playmobile one. I was always daddy's girl and no on seemed to think it was weird that it was me, a little girl, who loved camping or being in the woods or having snowball fights with her dad, or rather played with Lego with her dad than played with dolls with her sister. I was the girl who fought against wearing skirts and dresses, while her sister fought against wearing trousers. I was the girl who always preferred to play with boys, and even now I have more guy friends that I meet on a regular basis than I have girl friends. And they don't seem the least perturbed by the fact that I'm not a guy. I can't percieve ever having been treated differently by my guy friends. Ever.

I was the one who started helping out at my dad's work when I was 10 and then started working summers there after 13, and no one even batted an eye when my dad said he wanted me to take over when he was old. He still says that. I'm still refusing.

I grew up with a mother who worked part-time, took care of two small children, and at the same time studied for a Bachelor degree in Economics. She got it and for a time earned more money than my dad, and no one even thought it was weird.

And that's how I was lulled into thinking it didn't exist in Sweden.

I was 12 years old the first time I got cat-called. To be fair my body was mature and I looked at least 15 and the guy saw me from a distance. And this was in Spain. But I remember not being sure whether to be grossed out or happy. I think I chose happy in the end, because already at that time I had pretty much convinced myself that I was ugly and no one would ever look twice at me. And yes, women are more than their bodies, but you're fooling yourselves if you think looks don't matter. It's the first anyone sees and that creates the first impression. First impressions are important.

But I digress...

The first time I was groped I was 19 years old and I was in Japan. Admittedly, Japan has a view of women that is about 60 years out-of-fashion in Sweden, so this time I blamed it on culture and promised myself to never go alone with a random Japanese guy again. But I still wasn't afraid to be out alone in the streets. I didn't look over my shoulder all the time and I didn't grab my house keys in-between my knuckles as a weapon against potential attackers. Why would I? Most men are decent.

The other times I've been groped have been at bars and there's been a lot of alcohol involved. Naturally, I blame the alcohol. I've met some of the groping guys afterwards when they were sober and they were completely horrified by what they had done and apologised profusely. I'm ok with that. Some people can't control their impulses when they're drunk. Note that I said people, not men. Because the same goes for women.

I may have been blind to the sexism in Sweden. But I still can't pretend that I notice it. Because I don't. At all. Even at 25 I don't notice it. You'd think if the sexism was so widespread people would start telling me to have children and get married. No one does. You'd think if the sexism was so widespread people would tell me that I'd look prettier if I only tried a little. No one does. You'd think if the sexism was so widespread guys would stare until their eyes fell out when I go to the bar in a lowcut, short dress. But they don't. Because most guys are decent and nice.

I can't help but wonder where you girls hang out, if this happens to you so many times that you actually start to expect it from every guy you meet.

I'm not sure if I managed to say everything I've been thinking about. But this is my truth. My truth is that I'm misrepresented by feminism. I don't fear men. I don't hate men. I don't fear misogyny. If it even happens to me I ignore it until it dies. Because what kills a flame faster than no kindle?

So what does it mean that I haven't been subjected to these things that apparantly "all men" do? That I'm undesireable? That my body isn't hot enough for guys to want to touch it or comment it or rape it? Or does it mean that I'm lucky? Lucky to have escaped it. Or does it mean that this thing is blown completely out of proportion, at least in Sweden?

All I know is that I am a person.
Every woman is a person.
Just like every man is a person.
If we are going to become equal, this is what we need to realise.
Stop differentiating between men and women.
Know that everything you fear about men, women do too.
But when women do it, it doesn't get politicised.

This is my truth. And I just want to say: not all women.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Game completed: Fallout: New Vegas + DLCs

Today I completed New Vegas and it's been quite the ride! From the first go it worked a lot better than Fallout 3, there were a few times when the game froze, but that can happen to the best of them and in this case it was nothing game-breaking.

This game was weird. There was so much crazy involved I sort of started to wonder what the devs were on while making this game :P

So for the main quest I was shot in the head, patched up again, and then chased after the guy who shot me all the way to New Vegas where I paid my way through the front gates. I found the guy, Benny, and making use of my perk Black Widow I seduced him into sleeping with me and then I killed him in his sleep :P And then I started working with Yes Man.

Choosing which side to ultimately side with was hard. On my way to New Vegas I initially helped the NCR, but when I got to New Vegas I thought Yes Man was adorable. I killed House and got the Platinum Chip back and then I was tasked to go find Caesar's Legion. Talking to them, what they wanted to do kind of made sense, although the rest of the Mojave area were making them out as the ultimate bad guys, so for a while there I was inclined to help the Legion. But after running around making sure to complete every side quest and every unmarked quest available I soon was left with very bad rep with the Legion. And in the end I liked the idea of running the show myself more than I liked the idea of the NCR taking over. So I forced the Legion to leave and threw the NCR general from a tower and then I ruled the Mojave and New Vegas alongside Yes Man.

Out of all the random NPCs I liked the female supermutants the most. I loved Tabitha and Lily. And although I ran out of time to help Lily, since I picked her up late and couldn't bring her with me for the DLCs I did love how the end turned out for Tabitha. Out of all the side quests my favourites were partly the one to help the ghouls get on a rocket and find their home somewhere beyond the stars, and also the one where I helped the Boomers lift an old fighter plane from the bottom of a lake and made their collective dream to fly a reality.

One of my least favourite side quests was the one in the Thorn where I had to go pick up eggs from different creatures so that they had creatures to raise for their gladiator games. One of the eggs I had to pick up were Deathclaw ones. I chose to do that at the quarry, but I soon realised that I was sort of under-leveled for that quest. But I pushed on and I found a spot on top of the digging machines where the Deathclaws couldn't reach me because they were too big and from the top of the digging machine I used my grenade launcher to slowly bomb them to death. It took a while, but it was fun to watch their health bars slowly decrease. When I got all the different eggs to the quest giver she rewarded me with sex xD

And then there were the DLCs. Usually with Bethesda the DLCs are way more epic than the main game. That was not the case this time. Separately the DLCs felt very meh. But when I had completed all of them I realised that a bigger story was unravelled and that they all fit together. Somehow it all started with the old leader of the Brotherhood of Steel, Elijah. He found himself at Big Mountain, at the Big Empty. There he heard of the Sierra Madre casino and all the riches supposedly hidden within. He went there and then lured others into helping him crack into the casino's vault. (That DLC was seriously annoying; a killing cloud, ghost people that you can't kill unless you chop them to pieces, and you're wearing a bomb collar that blows your head off if you're standing too close to a radio or a speaker.) I'm not sure of the chronology of the other courier. He was at the Big Empty at the same time as Elijah, but he was also in Zion, and then he lured my char into the Divide for the ultimate showdown. The DLCs were all connected in a way that I found beautiful. Finding the urban legend of the Legion, The Burned Man, alive in Zion was also pretty cool. I helped him in the end to create a genocide for the White Legs, so that the other two tribes could stay in Zion, rather than to force evacuate them. I felt the other tribes would be better off staying where they were. All in all the DLCs were not as impressive as in Fallout 3. My favourite DLC was Old World Blues in the Big Empty, because the whole DLC was tripping balls xD

Something I missed in New Vegas compared to 3 was all the crazy Vaults. In 3 all the Vaults had pretty much gone bad and you never knew what you'd find once you entered. In New Vegas there was really only one such Vault, number 22 where spores from the plants they were experimented on infected all the inhabitants and transformed them into spore carriers. The place was also full of carnivorous plants. This vault, however, showed up referenced in two of the DLCs: the origin of the spore plants was the biological research institute at the Big Empty, and it also showed up in Zion where you find an exploration party murdered by one spore carrier and the area infested with several carnivorous plants.

This game was summed up on Tumblr better than I ever could. So if you're wondering if the level of weirdness is as hilarious as I hint toward, then just read these to get confirmation:

I can definitely see myself replaying this game several times, if not only to see what the ending will be like if I choose to side with Mr. House, the Legion or the NCR.