Monday, 15 September 2014

Swedish electoral results 2014

Yesterday it was time for the Swedish elections. It was an unusually exciting election and a lot of feelings were involved. I stayed up and watched the night watch party on TV and followed the vote count.

Like I had come to expect the sitting government wasn't reelected. But that provided no means of security. We now have a Labour party who won the election without getting a victory. The Labour party got 31% and was thus the biggest party, but they won't be able to form a government without teaming up with other parties. They have already announced that they will cooperate with the Green Party, but they only got a baffling 6,8% and anything less than 40% togerther is going to make for a very hard-pressed government. The Labour party leader has already shot down any cooperation with the Left party and it seems like he's hoping to work with either the Liberal party or the Agricultural party, or both. I'm not sure either of them will be willing since they were both part of the past coalition government and I'm not sure their loyalty to the right wing side can be so easily persuaded to shift to the left wing side. Either way I'm happy that the socialist side won.

Even if the government refuses to be formed with these results and a re-election is announced I don't think it will work to the right wing parties' benefit. The leader of the biggest right wing party and the last prime minister announced his departure from the party last night when it was becoming evident that they had lost the election. Without him, the right wing parties won't be able to get as much trust from the people and I think that in the event of a re-election Labour might just get more votes. Either way we get a socialist government.

I learned more clearly than ever yesterday that people are never happy. For the past year people's trust in the sitting government has dwindled and a lot of the focus was on everything bad the sitting government has done and what they couldn't manage. Now when it has become clear that we get a new government they all talk about what a shame it is to lose such a good government that the sitting one was. This right wing coalition government has been sitting since the elections 2006. They were the sitting government when I started getting interested in politics. They were the sitting government when I became an adult and their influence on my everyday life became obvious. I'm not happy about them. I'm not convinced that a socialist government will be better, but I couldn't cope with the right wing one.
As soon as you're born they make you feel small, by giving you no time instead of it all. 'Til the pain is so big you feel nothing at all. A working class hero is something to be (2x). They hurt you at home and they hit you at school. They hate if you're clever and despise a fool. 'Til you're so fuckin crazy you can't follow their rules. A working class hero is something to be (2x). When they've tortured and scared you for twenty odd years, then they expect you to pick a career. When you can't really function you're so full of fear. A working class hero is something to be (2x). Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV. And you think you're so clever and classless and free. But you're still fuckin peasants as far as I can see. A working class hero is something to be (2x). There's room at the top they're telling you still, but first you must learn to smile as you kill. If you want to be like all the folks on the hill. A working class hero is something to be (6x). If you want to be a hero, well just follow me (2x).

But it wasn't all good news. In the final spurt before the election the Green Party and the Sweden Democrats tried to gain as many votes as possible as they were both aspiring to be Sweden's third largest party. Earlier this year the Green Party had gained over 12% in the European elections and my hopes were high. Their hopes were high. Instead the Sweden Democrats gained an appalling 13% while the Green Party only got 6,8%.

This doesn't mean that 13% of the Swedish populace are racists. While I seriously don't agree with the Sweden Democrats I also don't agree with the other parties' resolute stubbornness to shut the Sweden Democrats out, don't work with them, and continuously trying to undermine them.

I don't know about the rest of the Swedes but I live in a democracy. In a democracy freedom of speech, opinion and choice are important things. The Sweden Democrats have just as much right to express their opinion as all the other parties. They have just as much right to take up as much space as the other parties. Everyone has the right to express their opinion, no one is forcing you to agree with them or even to listen to them. So this childish business of ignoring the Sweden Democrats and hoping the problem will go away on its own is something I definitely can't stand.
All the Swedish parties seem to want to continue down the path of ignoring the Sweden Democrats, despite their position as the third largest party in the country. The 87% of the populace who didn't vote for the Sweden Democrats seem resolute to continue screaming "YOU'RE WRONG!", covering their ears and refusing to hear them out.

People vote for the Sweden Democrats because they are disappointed in the other parties way to deal with immigration, crime and health care. They vote for a sort of extremist party like the Sweden Democrats because the other parties can't seem to express their politics clearly. They've become indistinguisable and are all mashed together in the middle with variations so subtle it doesn't even matter. I did not vote for the Sweden Democrats, but I know why people do. Because they're disappointed. It's a way of showing civil disobedience, it's a way of showing the politicians who don't seem to listen that we're not happy and we want a change.

And this country needs to realise that the way to deal with the Sweden Democrats isn't to ignore them, it's to include them. Meet them and include them. If they're included people will notice that other parties are trying to deal with the issue and the problem, and when they do the influence of the Sweden Democrats will wane and they'll start losing followers to other parties. I don't agree with the Sweden Democrats' politics, but if no one meets them and no once includes them then there's also no distinguished voice that tells you they're wrong. To yell at them like children doesn't work. To ignore them like sulking teenagers doesn't work. Take up the debate. Listen to them. No one is forcing you to agree with them just because you listen. It's about knowing your enemy. Know your enemy. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. And this goes for all the European countries, who in this year's EU elections got an extremist nationalist party in their part of the parliament.

That's all I have to say:
Happy about the socialist trend.
Disappointed in people's inability to include everyone.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Nerd Pride

Recently I've been adding people from my old primary school on Facebook. Because I have this thing where I hope that maybe people have changed and matured over the past 8 years since I last saw them. So this post is dedicated to them mostly, but anyone can read it.

From growing up always feeling the negativity of being weird and never fitting in. I now revel in the feeling of being unique. And who am I in my uniqueness?
I've been a nerd for longer than I've known it. When I was 7 I fell in love with Pokémon and then Harry Potter. Then it escalated into practically anything related to Japan and fantasy, with a bit of sci-fi on the side. You see all those words in my profile on the left? Let me explain them to the uninitiated. 

Rocker. I love hard rock and heavy metal. I've cried, screamed my throat out and almost thrown my back in concerts, and if I ever got the change to meet any of my favourite groups/artists this is probably what I would do (fitting since it's Alice Cooper in the strip):
Gamer. It means I love games. Computer games. I'm very much on the PC master race side. Not because of specs, but because console just feels... wrong. It means I can cry my eyes out to a great story (like The Walking Dead), get scared shitless and have nightmares (like Slender), or all out geek out on the lore and learn everything there is to learn about a world that isn't even real (like the Elder Scrolls series). It means I buy merch and books to do with games. It means I get inordinately excited about games by companies I know or in series I follow. 
Linguaphile. This basically means that I love languages. I love learning new ones and I love to discover how languages fit together and what makes them tic. You know the thing mechanics do with machines? Pull them apart to find out how they fit together? I love doing that with languages. I currently know Swedish, English, French and Japanese. I understand Danish and Norwegian. I'm working on Spanish and Korean. I want to know Mandarin, Russian and Arabic. It also means I own books like History of Languages, The Languages of Japan, and French Grammar and find them extremely interesting.
Japanophile. I love Japan. The culture. The people. Basically everything except their outdated view on women and homosexuals. Japanse commercials are amazing. Japanese TV is amazing. The history is interesting and so different. The approach of anything is different to what I know from here. I love manga and anime (although not as much as a few years back). But this means I can excitedly talk about that latest episode of manga with people and be *omg feels (T_T) I can't even* with other manga/anime/dorama lovers.
Sherlocked. This means I'm mostly pissed at the TV series for only giving us three episodes every two years. It means that I'm super hyper excited before every episode and basically bawling my eyes out at the end. Or jumping up and down on the sofa in at the end. Depending on how the episode goes.
Potterhead. Well, it shouldn't be too hard to figure this one out. I love Harry Potter. Harry Potter has shaped my life and who I am. This means I can be extraordinarily tempered when arguing about the movies. It means I can be strangely excited when reading the books again, although I've already read them all more times than I have fingers. It means that every time I visit a place like Warner Bros Studio Tour or The Exhibition I can be like this:
Whovian. I love Doctor Who. The TV series. The TV series that's 27 years older than me. The TV series that keeps on amazing me and bringing out #tehfeels. Second, Tenth and Twelfth are my Doctors. Haven't finished Classic yet so I might get one or two more to my list :) I own a talking mini-Dalek and a copy of Tenth's sonic. Because I'm awesome :) Being a whovian means I've been on the edge of my seat since the regeneration last December waiting for the new season to start this August. Excruciating wait!
H!P Wota. This is probably the most unknown one. This means I'm a nerd for Hello! Project. Hello! Project is a Japanese music agency that hosts (among others) Morning Musume, C-ute and Berryz Koubou. I've been in this fandom since 2006 and so much has changed since then. But most of my love still belongs with the OGs. This means I can have a brand new music video on repeat a whole day. Especially if it's a new MoMusu song. This means I can curse my bad luck of living in Scandinavia and not in the UK or France to where Japanese groups travel most often. It also means I probably spent too many yen on photos of my favourites back when I was in Tokyo and discovered the Hello! Project Store in Shibuya. Current favourite girls? Kudo Haruka and Oda Sakura. Past favourite girls? Nakazawa Yuko, Yaguchi Mari and Tanaka Reina. 
I can watch entire seasons of TV series in a few days and absolutely love it all the way through. This results in my list of TV shows I'm watching being ridiculously long. I love anything with dinosaurs, because dinosaurs are awesome. It means that I can stay for hours in a book shop, but only visits cosmetics or clothes shops for about 10 minutes. I love books. Books are amazing. I clean out my shelves every few years and still they always seem to become full again... Can't figure out why ;) It means I get ridiculously excited about seeing all the "back to school" stationary in shops in August, although school like that ended for me 8 years ago. 

Basically I'm a geek and this is what geeks do:
And to all of you nerds out there: be proud!
Being a geek means that I can have a teddy bear with a Konoha head band, a pygmy puff, a statue of Molag Bal and a tiny figurine of Charmander in the same room, and not find it strange. And you know what? It's the fact that ordinary people find it strange that makes it so much more enjoyable to be what I am: a nerd. 

But you know the best part of being a nerd? It's when you find other nerds and can share the expectations, the disappointments and the feels with someone else. That's when us misfits who've never really fitted in anywhere in our lives suddenly feel like we belong somewhere. This is why I have the Swedish community Mugglarportalen. It's dedicated to Harry Potter, but I spend every day on there and I talk about everything but Harry Potter to other nerds. We're all nerds there.

Come join the nerd side.
We have Doctor Who.
And wands. 
I'm a Slytherclaw. What about it?

Monday, 1 September 2014

Summer is over: Here's my summer 2014

Today it's September 1st and summer is officially over. (Finally!) And that means I'm doing a post about all the awesome things I got up to this summer :) All of summer: June - August, compressed into a single post.

June

June started out awesome with Sweden Rock Festival. We went there on Tuesday 3rd and got home on the 8th. Best part was when I got to see my beloved Alice Cooper again, for the first time since 2011. But just spending time at the camp with all the alcohol and all the awesome people was incredible too. Definitely the best festival experience yet! Despite the fact that I got so badly burned that I had blisters on my scalp.

Two weeks later Toni and I travelled south to celebrate midsummer with my parents and family. We put up a huge tent in the garden and had the dinner there. A lot of traditional Swedish food and then strawberries for dessert :)

I finished The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Playing With Fire by Derek Landy this month. Games I played were The Elder Scrolls Online and Dracula: Love Kills.

July

The first week of July we celebrated Toni's 30th birthday with a great party, and with a special surprise of his little sister coming home from Australia after 9 months down under.

The week after we went back south to visit my parents again. This time we spent a full week there. We met up with Love and his girlfriend for dinner and pool. Toni and I won the first round and them the second round. The last three days of our visit we spent at the annual local festival, which I've been going to since I was about 10 years old. There we had a mini reunion from Sweden Rock and I also got to see Twisted Sister for the first time ever. Two of my favourite bands the same year! I also managed to get really badly burned.

On the 20th we had a board gaming night playing several different games. We played Rampage, Gloom, Escape, Timeline, Zombie Dice, and Cthulhu Dice.

1½ weeks later I finally got to visit Harry Potter: The Exhibition on its European premiere in Norrköping. It was an amazing experience, albeit a little short. I, unintentionally, compared everything with Warner Bros Studio Tour in London and that diminished The Exhibition somewhat. I had a lot of fun pulling Mandrakes, but the Quaffle throwing was too easy :P

The week after that I went with Toni, his family and his sister's family on a road trip to Gothenburg. There we went to the huge fun park, Liseberg, and had a lot of fun. The new roller-coaster was amazing! On our way home we stopped by Gekås Ullared, which is a huge department store. Famous in Sweden (and Scandinavia?) because it's so extremely cheap and because of its very own reality show. I don't mind crowds (I've been to Tokyo) but Gekås was too much and we didn't stay there for long. At least I can now say I've been there :)

I finished The Improved Emperor's Guide to Tamriel by Flaccus Terentius, The Faceless Ones and Dark Days by Derek Landy, and The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman this month. I also read a bunch of course literature and recieved the highest grade on my first home exam! Games I played were The Elder Scrolls Online and The Testament of Sherlock Holmes.

August

I tried out the The Sims 4 demo on Origin and absolutely loved it! Even more excited for the new game now!

Then in the middle of August I travelled north to visit Kajsa at her place in Umeå for the first time ever. It was my first time being that far north in Sweden and it was an experience. Although I didn't get to see much of the town (since the sky was falling down the day we had planned touring) I really liked the place! I also got to see Erika again for the first time in years and years, and I got to meet the boyfriend :)

On August 27th we finally welcomed the Twelfth Doctor and I immediately loved him.

Then last week we had a board gaming night and played Mansions of Madness for the first time since January! This story was called Lost in Time and Space and included time travelling. The guy with the time machine hid in a box and we had a lot of fun referencing to Doctor Who and calling him "a mad man in a box" :)

Originally I was meant to go to Uppsala last Saturday on the 30th and join in travelling with the steam engine train from there, pretending it was the Hogwarts Express, and the getting off it pretending we had ended up in Hogsmeade, but due to some construction work on the tracks in Stockholm no trains could travel north of the city. The replacement buses had weird times and it all resulted in crazy long travelling time. I'll have to do that next year instead. In the evening we had a really great pre-party at our place and in the end went out to two different bars and an after-party before coming back home. Good times :)

I finished Trinity Rising by Elspeth Cooper, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Mark Hodder, Ten Little Aliens by Stephen Cole, Dreams of Empire by Justin Richards, all of Neil Gaiman's teeny tiny children's books, and I started on Dancing Jax by Robin Jarvis. I also read some more course literature and got the highest grade on my second home exam! Thus I recieved the highest grade on the course in general! Games I played were The Elder Scrolls Online, The Wolf Among Us, The Sims 4, and Banished.

It's been a great summer with a lot of travelling: Sölvesborg, Malmö, Malmö again, Norrköping, Gothenburg, and Umeå!

Now, let's move on to a great autumn :)

Friday, 29 August 2014

The New Doctor: Welcome, Twelve!

Two days ago I finally got to see Deep Breath, the first episode of series 8 and the first episode with Capaldi as the Doctor. From the moment Capaldi was announced as the new Doctor I instinctively knew he'd be awesome. And after seeing Deep Breath I really think he was. Sure he started out weird and to begin with I wasn't really sure what to think about him, but then he grew on me and when the episode ended he had surpassed both 9th and 11th in my book, and gone straight to my heart.

Don't read any further if you haven't seen the episode.

What I loved most about Deep Breath (except 12th obv) was all the references to earlier episodes. The dinosaur in the beginning was a reference to a Classic Who episode where there also is a T-rex in London.

12th saying he needs new clothes and a really long scarf was obviously a hint towards 4th Doctor Tom Baker - the most loved Doctor in Classic.

Then ofc the comment "You've redecorated. I don't like it." It's a classic comment, said by every single incarnation of a Doctor that ever visited another one. This time Clara said it, but it worked just as well.

They mentioned a pocket watch and if it is what I think it is, then it's a reference to the fob watch 10th used when he hid in 1913.

He mentioned Amy! :D

And then the robots and all these references to The Girl in the Fireplace. When we were told that the robots were from SS Marie Antoinette sister ship of SS Madame de Pomadour I was on the edge of my seat "Oh! Oh! Oh!" :D

And then his face. The fact that 12th walks around the episode wondering where he got his new face, convinced that he recognises it from somewhere before, is obviously a hint towards all the fans who complained that Capaldi couldn't be the new Doctor because he had already been in an episode before. I love it. It feels so in your face.

They said "Geronimo"! :D

And then the cameo by Matt Smith. It had me teary eyed and I knew who it was already before it was revealed. I recognised his voice instantly.

All in all I love 12th. He made a fantastic impression and I'm no less excited about Capaldi's run now than when I was when he was first announced. This is going to be epic. 12th feels like a best friend. He also feels similar to 1st, a young soul trapped in an old man's body. Although the Doctor really isn't young anymore. He has similar quirks as 2nd and 10th. He's amazing. Already, he's amazing. I've seen one episode and he's already amazing. (That's too many "amazing" in a row). He should have credit for that. I wasn't convinced of 9th, 10th or 11th after their first episodes. Basically, I started loving 12th when he opened the TARDIS door and told Strax to hush! :P

And I'm not worried about the Doctor. Both Moffat and Capaldi are life-long fans of the show. This is going to be great.

I'm the Doctor. I've lived for over two thousand years, and not all of them were good. I've made many mistakes, and it's about time I did something about that.
You can't see me, can you? You look at me and you can't see me. You have any idea what that's like? I'm not on the phone, I'm right here. Standing in front of you. Please, just... Just see me.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Neil Gaiman's teeny tiny children's books

Last week the major Swedish Sci-Fi book shop celebrated its 30th anniversary and as part of the celebration all orders from their Internet shop of over 300 SEK were free of postage. I decided to take advantage of that and do something I had planned for a really long time - order all of Neil Gaiman's teeny tiny children's books in one go. It went mostly well. They didn't have Crazy Hair, Melinda basically doesn't exist on the Internet and Chu's Day got out of stock before my order was dealt with. But those I did get were:
The Dangerous Alphabet
Instructions
Chu's First Day of School
Blueberry Girl
The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish
The Wolves in the Walls
So now I'm only missing Crazy Hair, Melinda and Chu's Day. I don't count Fortunately the Milk, Coraline, Odd and the Forst Giants, The Graveyard Book, M is for Magic, InterWorld or The Silver Dream among his teeny tiny children's books. The teeny tiny ones are the really thin ones with more pictures than text.

I had to read The Dangerous Alphabet thrice. Once to read the text. Twice to look at the pictures and the story told only in them. Thrice to find the secret within the book that Gaiman hinted towards in the opening. The text was pretty dull tbh, but the story told in the pictures alone was amazing and that's why Gris Grimly should have more credit than Gaiman for this book. The secret was pretty funny once I noticed it... And here I've gone and thought myself to know the alphabet really well! xD

Instructions was really good and I almost ended up seeinig it as an instruction book on what to have in a fantasy novel. It was an interesting story, almost like having put a dream on paper exactly as it unfolded. It was random and still made sense, just like dreams. Instructions is easily one of my favourites out of the six books I got today. The illustrations by Charles Vess made the strangeness of the dreamlike world yet stranger and somehow they made reading the book feel the same as I it did when I was little and read Elsa Beskow's books.

Chu's First Day of School was simply adorable and one I could definitely imagine a parent reading to a child the day before school starts for the first time. I don't remember my very first day of school, but I remember the nervosity of starting a new school and a new class, which I've done several times, and Chu's First Day of School shows that nervosity really well from a childish perspective. It went straight to my heart simply for being so adorable. If this is how I feel about the second book I wonder how I'll feel about the first one, Chu's Day, when I get my hands on that :) Adam Rex's illustrations are perfect and fitting and very imaginative :)

Blueberry Girl was presented as a prayer to a little girl. Gaiman explains in the end that he wrote it for Tori Amos before her daughter was born and with that perspective the book becomes really lovely. It's a children's book from an adult perspective and I'm not sure a young child would appreciate it, but for an adult with a childish mind it's absolutely perfect. Although I'm not a parent I can recognise a parent's hope for their child's future in a lot of the words, and it's simply brilliant. Once again Charles Vess brings that Elsa Beskow-ish feeling to the book, which gives it a whole new level.

The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish was a classic tale of a child messing up and then spending the rest of the book trying to fix what he or she caused. It was the most fun one out of all the books and I can definitely recognise the bickering between brother and sister in the book. My sister and I did that all the time... It was pretty obvious how the book would end, but the way there was hilarious. (What's up with the Queen of Melanesia?) The illustrations by Dave McKean was amazing ofc (it's Dave McKean) and I could definitely re-read this one an infinite number of times without getting bored. The real story in the end of how this book came to be is also an interesting little tidbit that made the overall grade of the book go up one.

The Wolves in the Walls is my favourite out of the six books I got today. How is it even possible to fit that much story into so few pages? The story was intriguing and slightly spooky, and it pulled me in. Little Lucy was a perfect heroine and her parents and brother were just annoyances. Stupid annoyances who didn't take her seriously. I love how Gaiman managed to make it seem like the most natural thing to have wolves in your walls! Dave McKean's illustrations just added to the spookiness of the story and they fitted perfectly. This story had me smiling in the end, and I could take a dive into that story once again - no problems. I just wish it were longer... (Once again, what's up with the Queen of Melanesia?)

What gave me the idea to bunch buy all of Gaiman's picture books to begin with was when I bought Fortunately the Milk. It seemed silly, but I liked the cover text. The story was amazing. Immersive, hilarious and completely transported me into another world with a time travelling stegosaurus. I decided then and there that if he could make a book like that amazing, then I ought to get his other books for small children.

Having read these six my favourite children's books by Gaiman are now:
1). The Graveyard Book 2). Coraline 3). Fortunately the Milk 4). The Wolves in the Walls 5). Instructions

Now I wish I could bunch order all his graphic novels and comics as well, but they are a bit more pricey than teeny tiny children's books. So I'll probably have to get them one by one.