Thursday, 4 February 2016

Travelling: Germany 2016 day 6

The breakfast buffet at the hotel in Walsrode started at 6.30am and we went there five minutes later, which meant getting up even earlier than usual. They didn't have honeydew melon, but I could have salmon on my sandwich, which totally made up for it! After breakfast we repacked our bags, checked out and continued drivning north on the autobahn.  I fell asleep after a while.

The time was a little over 10am when we arrived at Fleggaard outside of Puttgarden for a bit of cheap shopping. Alcohol shopping. Alcohol is cheaper abroad than in Sweden, but candy is more expensive abroad than in Sweden. The candy thing is due to the EU having implemented a sugar tax, which Sweden could get out of.

When our shopping was done we got on the ferry from Puttgarden in Germany to Rødby in Denmark. It's a short ride: only 50 minutes. They are talking about building another bridge there but with all the border trouble nowadays that will probably be postponed. It was almost 11am when we got on the ferry and so we decided to get an early lunch.

When we left the boat we happened upon an ID control on the border, but we were let through without having to show. Either it was the Swedish car or we just didn't look like refugees. Probably the last.

It was only 2 hours left to Sweden and I spent most of the time on Facebook. Thanks to having Telia it costs the same in the Nordic and in the Baltics as in Sweden :)

I always enjoy crossing the bridge between Sweden and Denmark. It feels symbolic somehow, seeing my home rise out of the distance. It's like a transition. We arrived in my home town of Svedala outside of Malmö about 1.30pm. We unpacked the car and went to pick up the dog from the neighbour. He's been babysitting her during the day when we were in Germany and my mum at work. She was very happy to see us, and almost immediately my black clothes were covered in her white hairs xD

I'm staying at my parents place tonight and then I take the train home tomorrow. It's been fun, but I'm looking forward to coming home. Boyfriend, own bed, computer... In that order.

Tonight my dad is meeting with an Estonian guy who buys from him and then sells in the Baltics and Russia. So work is not entirely over, the way I see it.

And for some reason my laptop can't find my parents' new wi-fi. I had it on on my phone so I knew it worked, but my laptop couldn't find it, so I had to buy my train ticket via my phone (which is a hustle but I've done it before so it's alright), and now I'm doing this post on my phone. I've never liked blogging via my phone, though I've had the app forever. I think it's mostly due to the fact that a computer's keyboard is a lot more comfortable to type long things on than any phone's.

Now I'll return to my books. Hopefully I'll finish one of them by the time I'm home tomorrow :)

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Travelling: Germany 2016 day 5

Honeydew melon was back for breakfast today! :D After breakfast we took all our things and brought them with us to the fair venue. There we deposited our things in the car and then went to work.

Yesterday I had managed to convince my dad to consider Japanese products so we went to visit the big company that would hardly even acknowledge me when I was there alone. But now we pretended that Dad, although he was the CEO, was very bad at English so I did all the talking :) We were met by a woman who politely listened to me and then when she thought it seemed interesting she brought two more representatives. By the end of our talks where I provided all the information about our company and Dad only asked questions in Swedish and I translated, we were given a big bag of samples to try along with a promise to keep in touch and find out more about cross-continent trading and requirements. The company is a really big conglomerate and has an office in many Southeast asian countries, so none of the representatives we talked with were Japanese so no Japanese for me :/ Afterwards we also went to take a look at the smaller company I talked with yesterday. There was another girl there now and we spoke English, although she was Japanese. My dad was allowed to try their nori snacks and their matcha sweets, and while he didn't really enjoy the nori ones (which I liked) he really liked the matcha ones (which I don't). By the end we got a few samples from that company as well. My dad seems really keen on the idea. In the beginning of the fair, last week, I had pitched the idea for him to go and look at the American companies, but he didn't seem that interested in them when he returned. It seems to be the total opposite with the Japanese companies, and that makes me very happy! :)

The fair itself was really slow today, not many visitors until just after lunch, about 2pm, when they let the ordinary people in and they grabbed just about every piece of confectionary that was not nailed down. I understand why they're called "the locusts" xD Those of us working in the Swedish area did manage to grab some things from each other before the locusts took everything, so now I have a nice bag filled with sweets :3 Now I don't have to buy anything for the train ride home on Friday xD

Although the official ending time was 6pm, we called it quits at 3.30pm. The halls were mostly empty except for workers and we saw no reason to hang around any longer. So we said goodbye to our friends (they were also leaving) and went to the car.

After about 3 hours on the autobahn we arrived at a small place called Walsrode. I haven't seen much since it's dark outside, but it seems to be in the middle of the woods. There is a hotel here that we're staying at for tonight. My dad stayed here when going home from Cologne last year. They hardly speak any English here, though, which makes it all very interesting. Faster wi-fi here, though! :D

Tomorrow afternoon we'll be back in Sweden.
The beginning of "the locusts"

Travelling: Germany 2016 day 4

Got up at 7am as per usual and went to have breakfast at the buffet. They were out of honeydew melon so I had to improvise :P

Work was kind of slow today, but because of that I did find the time to go visit the three Japanese companies that were there. The first one I went to was a small one and it was the first time they were there. The woman who approached me when I showed interest in their wares was very relived and excited when I knew Japanese, and we talked for a while about Japan and my studies and differences in candy in Japan and Europe. It was a lot of fun :) After that I went to look for the second small company, but they only sold cakes and nothing I found really interesting so I didn't stop there. Then I went to look up the big one. Turned out I already knew them when I went there, I recognised most of their products. But they were a big company with a big corner and had a no BS kind of attitude so I didn't get to talk with them. However, I did talk my dad into considering Japanese candy so we are going to go there together tomorrow and talk to them, and see if we can find something interesting that may work in Sweden. I'm excited! :D

After work we went quickly back to the hotel and changed clothes and freshened up and then we met up with some people at the Dominikaner, before going to a dinner we were invited to by another set of people. It was a fancy Italian restaurant, and while most of the other picked some sort of fish, I went with octopus and it was delicious :3 After dinner we went to Haxenhaus and ordered 1 metre of beer. When that was done, we did another metre. Then we went to Papa Joe's again for one more beer. I love Papa Joe's :3

Now it's time for packing and then sleeping, but first some pictures from the day!

Sign at Papa Joe's: "Every day without beer is a health risk"

1 metre of beer, anyone?

My dinner at the Italian place! Octopus!

This cathedral is friggin epic!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Travelling: Germany 2016 day 3

Today has been busy. Got up at 7am for hotel breakfast buffet and then went a little extra early to the fair venue. We were there around 8.30am. Both dad and the boss had several meetings planned from 9am to lunch time, so I was mostly left to my own devices at the counter. It went mostly well. The boss had his meetings in our corner so he was within asking distance if a customer had a question I couldn't answer. One of the people I talked to today was French. The first thing he asked was if I knew French and I said a little. He stated his business in French and I completeled blanked out and had no idea what he said. He noticed and we continued our conversation in English. I added some French words when I remembered them and I understood everything he translated into French to his two associates. Of course, after they had left I remembered how to say everything I had needed to say in French. Maybe I'll get another chance tomorrow.

From 10am to 4pm we had an almost steady stream of potential clients and so I didn't have time to realise how tired my muscles got after standing up for so long. Keeping busy to avoid feeling weary is always good, the problem is when you stop being busy and feel everything at the same time. At 5pm my dad left for a mingle party in the other end of the fair venue (the size of this thing is like 22 football (soccer) fields, I've been told), and just before 6pm the boss went too. They both said they wouldn't be long and probably would be back shortly after the fair closed at 6pm. At 6.15pm I called my dad and asked if they were on their way. They weren't and Dad told me to get over there. I left our stuff by our coats in the storage room of the Swedish area, and went down to their mingle party. We stayed there for about 30 minutes. I didn't mingle much. I didn't have much to contribute to their talks of B2B, shipments, weights, pallets, etc.

When we left it turned out we'd get an early night tonight. The people we had been out with yesterday and had planned on going out with again tonight were still tired after last night and cancelled our plans. Just as well, getting some more hours of sleep is sorely needed. So after a quick and cheap dinner at KFC we went back to our hotel. I took a long, relaxing shower (great for my weary muscles) and then read some in my French book. I understand everything I read and hear, I just have problems finding the words when I'm supposed to construct the sentences.

Now it's sleepy time anyway.
The slogan at the Swedish area

Morning star, week 4

What a week!

On Monday I went to work as usual, but I was deadly tired, and when they asked me to stay behind to work for a little while longer I felt like crying from exhaustion. But it all went well. When I got home I played some Dragon Age: Inquisition and watched a new episode of Call the Midwife and some episodes of classic Doctor Who. I fell alseep around 9pm.

I woke up after 14 hours of sleep and almost immediately started playing Fallout: New Vegas. Toni had the night shift this day so I played long into the night.

Wednesday was spent gaming, preparing for travel, and watching the last episode of Heroes Reborn and the three last episodes of Under the Dome. Kind of glad to have Under the Dome out of the way, and although the series was cancelled before the proper ending arrived, the last episode of season three really felt like an ending either way, so it was kind of satisfying.

On Thursday I went up early to catch the train to Malmö. Because of some problems north of Stockhom every single train going from Stockholm was delayed. First I had some trouble getting to the train station from which the long distance trains go, and then my train was delayed. But I caught it in time, and managed to get to my parents place not too late. Went to bed farily early.

On Friday I got up around noon and then I had breakfast and read some before my dad came and picked me up and went around some errands to fix things before going to Germany. Around 8pm we were picked up and then we went to the ferry.

For what happened on Saturday and Sunday read the respective posts from Germany :) I've had a blast so far!

Travelling: Germany 2016 day 2

The day started at 7am when we went down for the hotel breakfast buffet. I could eat honeydew melon for life. Then we went to the fair venue and started work. It went well. I had no reason to worry about French and Japanese, no people with those languages as preference came around, but I did manage to make some contacts in English. This job is different from what I've done before. Before I've sold wares to customers who approached me, now it's my job to make them want to approach me. So I need to hand out sample bags and brochures and hope that they want to hand over their company card and make contact. It worked alright, but I'm told there will be more people tomorrow and on Tuesday. Still I had a blast. It was a lot of fun, the people are a big part of it. Everyone were so accomodating and friendly, most of them already knew my dad so I went along for the ride and got to know all of them.

After lunch I went with my dad to meet Vidal. They are his main distributor and very friendly. They are based in Spain and the contact we met today was also the contact that we went to dinner with when we were in Spain last spring. After the meeting we were invited for some tapas behind the scenes, and it was delicious. Afterwards we went around looking for new potential customers, and then we went back to our corner in the Swedish pavillion section of the European area. After a little while the fair closed and we went back to our hotel, before going out to have a beer at Haxenhaus and then dinner at Löwenbräu next door. After a delicious dinner we went across the street to Papa Joe's jazz club and had a blast. Now it's time for sleep, but first some pictures from the day.

Dawn. This is the view from my hotel window. Good morning, Colgone!

Going back to the hotel from the fair venue. This cathedral is immense! And so beautiful I can't stop looking at it whenever I walk past it - which is often.  

I've heard of hamburger and pizza candy, wanna try sushi candy?!

The inside of Papa Joe's :) Such a cosy atmosphere!

The live band at Papa Joe's!

January favourites 2016

January has felt like an eternity. Most of the time it's been cold as fuck. But here goes, some January favourites.

Books: I've read four books in January. The only reason I managed that many was because I decided I should read every day on the train to work, that's a total of 80 minutes reading a day, and it has worked surprisingly well. My favourite book, must be Himmelstrand by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Horror in the middle Swedish summer. It was fabulous.

Music: Too many favourites to choose from this month. So many days going to and from work ended up giving me a lot of tracks. But this is it, I think.
• Black Veil Brides - "Wretched and Divine"

• In This Moment - "Out of Hell"

• Lordi - "Something Wicked This Way Comes"

• Lovendor - "Ikujinashi"

• miwa - "Hikari e (English Version)"

• SPICA - "You Don't Love Me"

• Steam Powered Giraffe - Cellophane

• Street Drum Corps - Happy Christmas

• Morning Musume - "TIKI-BUN"

Games: It's been Fallout all month. First Fallout 3 and then Fallout: New Vegas. I did also start a new playthrough of Dragon Age: Inquisition one Monday when I wanted to play something but was too tired to play something that actually demanded my concentration. DAI worked well in that respect since I've played it so many times I know it by heart. But favourite game of this month has to be Fallout: New Vegas.

TV shows: This month I've watched Classic Doctor Who, New Who Xmas Sp, Call the Midwife, Heroes Reborn, The Big Bang Theory, Under the Dome, Da Vinci's Demons, and Rederiet. Favourite show from this month has to be Da Vinci's Demons. It was a little slow to get into, but by the latter half I couldn't stop watching!

Other things: Went to Germany for work!

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Travelling: Germany 2016 day 1

At 8.30pm yesterday we checked in on our ferry from Malmö to Travemünde. We got on board shortly afterwards and entered our cabins. We left our stuff there and then went on to check out the dinner buffet. It was really nice. Salads, shrimps, chicken, beef, fish, pasta... Anything you could really want. We helped ourselves and then sat down, we met some people that my dad and the boss knew and talked with them for the rest of the evening. After dinner we had a beer each at the bar and then went to sleep. The ferry had departed at 10pm and we went to bed around 11.30pm.

I couldn't sleep. It was pretty rough seas this night, and I could feel it rolling beneath me. I had never slept on a ferry or boat before so it was a brand new experience. The engines were roaring, and at some points made my cabin door vibrate in its frame, which made it hard to sleep, and the bed itself was the hardest bed I've ever tried to sleep on (that includes the floor in a gym hall). I don't think I slept much, perhaps two hours in the whole night. At 5.30am my alarm went off, and just after 6am we went back to the buffet to have breakfast. Met up with the people from the day before. Breakfast buffets are always nice. I'm not big on breakfast, but breakfast buffets can make me eat a lot.

Turns out the ferry had become late and we docked at Travemünde at 7.30pm, half an hour later than planned. Our car was among the last ones to get off so the next part of the trip started late. I fell asleep pretty much as soon as we had left the harbour. Around 1pm I woke up, we were not very far from Cologne, our final destination, and we decided to make a pit stop for food and filling up the car on fuel. And then we continued on. After several wrong turns we found our hotel and checked in. We basically just dropped our stuff in our rooms, and then got back into the car to find our way to the fair hall. After a few wrong turns we found our way there. It's interesting that there were so many wrong turns seeing as dad and the boss had been going to the exact same place for the past five or six years.

In any case we got there and first off we said hello to every other Swedish company there. This trip is for work and not for fun, although there will be room for fun as well. It's Europe´s largest fair for confectionary companies and there were representatives from a lot of countries around the world. Our place is in the European section, of course, but I'm more interested in checking out the Asian part, and especially the three Japanese companies that are here. We'll see if I can find the time. After we had said hello we went to set up our corner, which didn't take long. Screwed a few shelves into the wall and put out some samples.

When we were done, and after talking some more, we took the train back to the hotel and left the car at the fair. It makes everything easier, I've been told. I quickly showered and unpacked and then we went to meet up with a few of the Swedes at a bar close-by called the Dominikaner. We had a beer each while we waited. We were supposed to have dinner with another company, but their representatives had problems with their lodgings and we decided to postpone our plans for another night. Instead, the three of us went alone to the intended restaurant, Maredo, and had some nice steaks for dinner. Then we went back to the hotel.

That's been the whole day. It's been fun, but also tiresome and stressful. I'm kind of nervous about tomorrow, because I'm not yet entirely sure how everything will work and what exactly I'm supposed to do. I think it's going to be sort of like my work at the tourist agency, where I answer questions about what we sell. I can handle English, but I was asked to come along because I know more languages than English, and I'm kind of nervous about using French and Japanese, especially French because I haven't talked French properly in maybe three years. Because of that I've brought books in French to read to get into it again, as well as my grammar book. The sort of answers I'm supposed to provide include words that are not in my vocabulary in either French or Japanese. But hopefully everything will work out fine! :)

Good night!

Monday, 25 January 2016

Morning Star, week 3

On Monday I got a ride to work from a colleague for the first time since I started that job in November 2014. Felt pretty amazing to be able to sleep until 3.30am rather than just 2am :) I was still very tired when I got home, though. I wanted to play something, but I didn't have the energy to play Fallout where I would have to actually concentrate, and so I started up a new playthrough of Dragon Age Inquisition instead.

On Tuesday I picked up my new passport. The picture turned out alright, even though I thought I looked tired and haggard and ten years older when I took the picture :P For the rest of the day I played Fallout.

On Wednesday and Thursday I mostly spent the day playing Fallout. We did have our weekly cosy day on Wednesday too. We watched episodes of Heroes Reborn, The Big Bang Theory and Under the Dome.

On Friday and the weekend I worked in the morning all three days and then spent the rest of the days playing Fallout: New Vegas. I'm really getting into it. This weekend I completed the side quests portion of the game, as well as discovered every available location. Now I'm working on the unmarked quests as well as the DLCs before I decide what to do with the main story and complete that. I still love the in-game radio. It was awesome in Fallout 3, and it's awesome in New Vegas as well :)

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Morning Star, week 2

Better late than never.

On Monday I went to work as per usual. Cold as fuck, and snowing like crazy. Snow gets stuck on my coat and my bonnet, so when I arrived at work my clothes were completely white rather than black. Work went well, though. When I got home I watched some Da Vinci's Demons and played some Fallout 3.

No work on Tuesday, but I went over to the police station to have a new passport made. When I got home I watched the last two episodes of the first season of Da Vinci's Demons and then I played some Fallout 3.

Slept in on Wednesday and spent most of the day playing Fallout 3. Toni had the night shift and so I sat up playing, alone, until maybe 3.30am. Oops. :3 We managed to watch the Sherlock special episode before he went on his shift. It was good. I missed Sherlock. Too bad I have to wait another year for the new season :/

Thursday started in tears. I woke up hours ahead of Toni and got on Facebook before I even got out of bed. The first thing I see is the announcement of Alan Rickman's death. Moved from the bed to the living room and cried in the sofa. This was the first celebrity death in recent years that has affected me more than just "oh, that's sad". When Toni got up I had stopped crying and was reading a new book, a short story sci-fi anthology in Swedish called Andra Världar, the first thing he did, though, was ask whether I knew that Alan Rickman was dead. And then I started crying again. I moved from the sofa to the computer and started playing Fallout 3 instead. Get my mind on other things. In the evening we watched the new episodes of The Big Bang Theory and Heroes Reborn.

Friday was work again. Still cold as fuck, but nothing special. Got home and played some more Fallout 3.

Saturday was also work. When I got home I finished my book, Andra Världar, and then I finished Fallout 3 as well. After blogging about Fallout 3 I started up Fallout: New Vegas. One step closer to Fallout 4 :D

Sunday was work and then Fallout: New Vegas. On the way to work I started reading another short story horror anthology by E.F. Benson. I had tried to read this before 1½ years ago, but I couldn't get into it. Now's the time to try again. I went to bed early, as per usual, but this time I could sleep until 3.30am, because for the first time ever I was getting a ride to work with a colleague :)

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Game completed: Fallout 3 + DLCs

I mentioned in my weekly post from last week that I had major problems getting this game to work at all. When I finally managed to start the game I soon realised that I had maybe 20-40 minutes of uninterrupted playtime before the screen would freeze and I'd have to force-quit. To make the game work at all I also had to disable all autosaves and thus F5 became my best friend:
Killed an enemy?
Picked up loot?
Discovered a location?
Before entering a place?
After entering a place?
Before talking to someone?
After having talked to someone?
Walked 20 steps without any interference?
Got a new quest?
Completed quest?
Level up?
Having no idea for how long I'd be able to play this time, and having all autosaves disabled made me slightly paranoid. Sometimes the game would work without a hitch for an hour, maybe two. Then sometimes I could barely play two minutes before the game would freeze. And because of the freezing and force-quitting I tried to squeeze as much playtime as possible into the minutes I had, which meant that I rushed through this game without proper exploration or getting a proper connection to any of the characters.

I gave this game a bad review on Steam, purely for the fact that despite all the amazing *sarcasm* guides about how to get this game to work on Windows 7 it still wouldn't frickin work until Toni provided a random solution (that wasn't mentioned anywhere whatsoever online that I could find) that at least got the game working, but didn't solve the freeze problem.

But despite all the negativity and the rushed way I had to play it, it still managed to grab my attention, and if it wasn't for the freeze thing I may very well have fallen in love with this game, which makes it even more frustrating that my computer specs wouldn't allow me to play it properly (my computer is too modern #firstworldproblems). But since it's Bethesda it was more the DLCs and the random locations and the side quests that caught my attention. It's the same with both Oblivion and Skyrim - all the fluff is better than the main story xD But it took a while so it wasn't until the last few days that the game really grew on me despite the frequent freeze-ups.

I really enjoyed the Point Lookout DLC, mostly because I thought it was cool with Desmond and the Brain. I killed the Brain in the end, because I ended up liking Desmond in some weird way. This DLC also provided my first shock as I approcahed Desmond's mansion and it was blown to pieces! Also getting high as fuck and having the weirdest game experience ever was cool, though it ended sadly by finding mom :( And finding out that it was the ferry man who had been seeling the cultists' pieces of brain! Ew.
 1). Mom in the drug-infused vision. 2). Desmond's mansion blown up. 3). The Brain! 4). The ferryman's jars of brain pieces

But the creepiest part of this DLC was when I got to Blackhall Manor. I entered and was approached by an old man who eventually asked me to recover an old book, an heirloom, that had been stolen from him. I accept and leave the house. Outside I encounter a woman who claims that the book is evil and that he wants to use the rituals inside it to control the native swampfolk, and maybe worse. I go to pick up the book and then I decide to destroy it. To do that I had to go to the Dunwich Building in the Wasteland (rather than in Point Lookout). The evil book was the first clue. The name Dunwich was the second. When I got to the end, a cavern at the end of the tunnels below the building, I found an obelisk. A whispering obelisk that wouldn't shut up. I activated the obelisk and chose to destroy the book. When I activated it again I got a message saying that everyone with the knowledge to investigate this obelisk further either didn't have the means or were dead... Dead investigators. Lovecraft.
 1 & 2). The obelisk. 3). The old man from Blackhall Manor praying at his basement altar. 4). The woman who told us about the book was murdered.

I also loved some parts of Mothership Zeta DLC. Getting abducted by aliens, Sally who's still a little girl but who's been on the ship for 200 years, the random Japanese samurai who only spoke Japanese (this was hilarious because I understood perfectly), the space walk was cool, and the space invader fight in the end was awesome.
 1). Getting abducted. 2). Getting probed. 3). SAMURAI! :D 4). Samurai snuck off alone and this is how I found him.

In the main game one of the most memorable side quests was Oasis, where I found a tree-man named Harold. I liked him, but instead of killing him like he asked I made him grow faster. He approved of that afterwards. All the vaults were of course memorable. No 101 where my char came from, no 112 where I found Dad after a creepy afternoon in Tranquility Lane, no 87 where the Super Mutants originate, no 106 where everyone went crazy after a gas experiment gone awry, no 92 where I picked up Agatha's violin, and no 108 where all survivors are clones of a man named Gary and all they can say is Gary (that was seriously creepy). I also enjoyed the quest in Arefu involving vampires, the quest in Andale involving cannibals, and the quest in Canterbury Commons involving a superhero and a super-villain. The quest in Rivet City with an android who'd run away, changed his face, and wiped his memory was really intersting. And I enjoyed playing the quest called Those! that was so obviously an easter egg in and of itself and a reference to the very old movie Them! that I like.
 1). Harold. 2). Harold's heart in the tunnels underneath the oasis. 3). The super-villain. 4) The superhero.

I didn't like Broken Steel at all tbh, and preferred the ending the way it was, I didn't need the add-on. The Enclave broke up after their base was destroyed and their leader gone. Organisations tend to do that when they don't have a clear leader. Has happened before, will happen again. Why did that require some extra ratification? I felt that Broken Steel was completely unnecessary, but a part of it comes from the fact that I wasn't even allowed to finish it. After the final building has exploded I'm supposed to board a stolen Enclave plane and get back to the Citadel, but every time I activate the plane the game freezes. So I can't finish the quest. I can't use the console to finish the quest, because the DLC is on a different map and so I can't fast-travel from there back to the Wasteland. I'm effectively stuck because of the freezing, and so I haven't finished the absolute last five minutes of the post-game DLC.

There's so much to like about this game, but the constant freezing destroyed so much of the experience.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Morning Star, week 1

Busy, busy week.

On Monday I went to work fully expecting a long day and not being home until 5pm. That wasn't the case and I was home well in time to kiss Toni goodbye before he went to work :P I spent the rest of the day watching the first season of Rederiet (Swedish TV show from the 90s that was immensly popular), reading and playing Fallout 3.

Tuesday was work at the tourist agency and afterwards I spent most of the day reading. I finished Let the Right One In, as well as completed the first season of Rederiet.

Wednesday was once again work and I started readinga new book: Himmelstrand by John Ajvide Lindqvist, the same author who wrote Let the Right One In. When I got home I played some Fallout 3, and then we watched the Doctor Who Christmas Special for our weekly cosy day.

Thursday was work again and then Fallout 3 when I got home, though after dinner I fell asleep in the sofa. Toni woke me up around 7.30pm and then I stayed awake for another 1½ until I went to bed at 9pm. So not used to getting up early every day of the week xD

After work on Friday I got completely lost in my book and finished it the same evening. Afterwards I spent some time online and then went to bed.

Yesterday was my first free day since the 1st, and although I had planned on thoroughly enjoying it there were things I really needed to do. First off was laundry, second I went grocery shopping for today, Sunday and Monday, but when all of that was done I could kick back and play Fallout 3 for the rest of the day. I also watched some episodes from the first season of Da Vinci's Demons. Still not entirely sure about that one.

Today I'm planning on playing for the rest of the day, and then watch another episode of Da Vinci's Demons while having dinner. Good Sunday :)

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Evening Star, week 5

Yes, that's correct. Week 5. And it's been a busy week.

On Monday I was weirdly energetic when I woke up. I felt rested although I had only gotten about 5 hours of sleep as is my norm on Mondays. Got to work and it was a quick day. After work I got on the train to Stockholm instead of back home. Although, it was a quick visit I got to meet Kajsa before she got on her train back up north. Also got to meet her mother for the first time in what I think was 2 years! And it's always a lot of fun. Kajsa and her family have been my second family since I was 11 :) When I got home I made dinner and watched the Christmas specials of Call the Midwife and Historieätarna, as well as 2015's last two episodes of Once Upon a Time.

On Tuesday I got woken up by my boss calling at 9am wondering where I was. Damn it! The schedule changes every month and sometimes every week and I was so certain I had no more hours in 2015. But I did. It was the first time I had messed up like that so she said it was ok, though :) I spent the day reorganizing my book shelf (long overdue), doing the laundry, and watching 2015's last episodes of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals as well as playing some Skyrim.

On Wednesday I went to work and when I got back home I was so tired that I actually went for a nap. Big mistake. Always is. I'm always more tired after a nap than before the nap. After I woke up we cleaned the flat and then I played some Skyrim for the rest of the day :)

Thursday was a big day. New Years! We got out of bed together, but I was done getting ready long before Toni (as usual) and played Skyrim for a few hours, before we went out to have dinner with a friend downtown. After dinner, we all went back to our place and waited for the party to start. The party was a success! Last year we had been about 14-15 people and it got really crowded in our flat. This year we were about 8 people - a lot more manageable. Lots of music, drinks and laughter and when the time was 11.45pm we all went outdoors for fireworks, champagne, and new years kisses & hugs. While we were firing off our fireworks one of our neighbours came out, seemingly on something. He was so happy - laughing, dancing, yelling - that all of us were pulled along with him. It's one of the most memorable moments of the day. Then we went back indoors for more music, drinks and laughter before the party broke up at around 2-2.30am.

I woke up at 11am on Friday unable to sleep any more. Instead I grabbed a new book (Let the Right One In, by John Ajvide Lindqvist in its original Swedish) and sat down to read in the living room, letting Toni sleep some more. After he woke up I went to start up my computer and play some games. I had decided to shelf Skyrim after New Years, and now it was time for my new project - Fallout. I had previously installed Fallout 3 so I fixed my resolution and things in Options, made sure all the DLCs were in the load order and then pressed play. Nothing happened. Frozen black screen. I went through multiple guides, spending more than an hour (maybe two) trying to actually get to the main menu and get the game started at all. I managed for a short while, but then the game started freezing again. This time in-game. I decided to download the Unofficial Fallout Patch from Nexus and get everything working with their mod manager, and for the rest of the evening everything worked perfectly. Yes! (All of this because Fallout 3 isn't optimized for Windows 7...)

Yesterday, Saturday, I went to work again. When I got home I started up Fallout 3, expecting it to work after the Patch, buuuuuuuuuut I was back to frozen black screen not even getting to the main menu. I was ready to give up. I installed Fallout: New Vegas instead and started it up. Then Toni came up with something that he had done on his computer to get Fallout 3 to work and got me to try it. That thing did the trick. Got the game working like a charm. In the evening we went to Toni's parents' place to have dinner with them, his two sisters, and the older sister's family. The eldest daughter had asked me to bring my first two Harry Potter books in Swedish as she wanted to start reading the series. I was happy to. Spreading the Potterverse to the next generation. #PotterItForward Made me really happy that she wanted to read the books tbh. Books have always been a big part of my life, abscence of book shelves in any home is as weird as the absence of a TV screen imho. After we got home I started up Fallout 3 again and it still worked flawlessly :D

Today I got up early for work and when I got home I played some more Fallout 3. I still expect the frozen black screen every time I start it, but as long as the game keeps proving me wrong I'm good. I'm still waiting for a "Wow!" moment in the game, though... Now I'm gonna read for 30min-1 hour and then it's sleepy time. Monday starts at 2am!

Friday, 1 January 2016

My last 5 books: Mass Effect, Dragon Age, BioShock, and Gaiman

In the order I read them - oldest first.

1. BioShock: Rapture, by John Shirley.
The prequel to the game BioShock. While I love the game and always try my best to pick up every single audio log in-game it's hard to get much sense out of the jumbled up audio logs. They aren't found in the right order and the dates keep getting mixed up. So in that sense this book helped a lot to show how things really went down before the game starts up. That said I wasn't extremely fond of this book. It was slow. So slow. And if I hadn't been a fan of the game series and had an intitial interest to find out how things happened, I probably wouldn't have finished it. 

2. Dragon Age: The World of Thedas vol. 1
Game lore galore! Thedas is immensly detailed and I keep finding out things I didn't know before, despite having played Origins 5 times, DA2 3 times and Inquisition another 5 times, there are still things I don't know. This book was amazing!

3. Adventures in the Dream Trade, by Neil Gaiman
I bought Gaiman's Humble Bundle back when. This was the first of the books in the bundle that I decided to read, and for the first time since getting into Gaiman's stuff, I'm not sure if I like it or not. There are some brilliant pieces in there, but they get muddled by all the pieces that aren't. This book is divided into sections. The first sections consist of Introductions, Afterwords and other similar things, and while they are all interesting to read they soon start to flow into each other and create an indecipherable mess. Next section consisted of a few poems. They were cute. They made me smile. I'm not a poetry person so I can't claim to know if they were good or not, but at least they seemed cute to me. The essays that came next were long and for the most part I can't even recall what they were about. The song lyrics section I mostly just skimmed through, because reading lyrics without the music is really weird to me, but I did enjoy the anecdote in the beginning of this section. And then there was the weblog from when American Gods were going to press and it was extremely interesting up until the point where it was mostly a tour journal, and it got repetitive (went there, signed this many, ate this, met people). At the end of this book there were a couple of short stories which were the highlight of the book. I love Gaiman's work, that's usually the rule of thumb. But this book was (hopefully) an odd exception. This book was more a chore than a joy. I'm sorry.

4. Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne, by David Gaider
I read a lot about this book before I read this book. A lot of people claim to understand Loghain better in Origins after having read this book. I don't. I still feel he's a self-satisified idiot who thinks he knows more about the world than he actually does. What bothers me most is that all through this book he talks about the importance of giving someone their word. Eventually he swears an oath to Maric and thereby the Theirin bloodline. So why the hell does he get Cailan, his son, killed, and tries to have Alistair, his bastard, assassinated? The only thing I can think of is lust for power. Loghain has stood in the sidelines watching everyone close to him getting more than he did. Maric got Rowan and the kingdom. Loghain wanted Rowan. Loghain thinks he knows more about being king than Maric. Loghain is an idiot. Mostly this book made me sad. Severan, the bad guy, sends a bard to the rebels to infiltrate and destroy them. In the process this bard falls for Maric who also falls in love with her, which breaks Rowan's heart because she's in love with Maric and they are betrothed. So she goes to Loghain for comfort only to find out that he's in love with her. She dabbles with him once, which breaks Loghain's heart when she breaks it up after the bard dies. Maric's heart is broken by the bard's death and everyone is miserable. Even if they manage to get Ferelden back from the Orlesians by the end, it's a hollow victory because none of them gets to be happy having reached their goal, and it makes me sad.

5. Mass Effect: Revelation, by Drew Karpyshyn
Basically the story of why Anderson and Saren hate each other, why Anderson didn't get to be a Spectre and how Saren came across Sovereign. This book was exciting from page one and it was hard to put down and put out of my mind.

December favourites 2015

December went by so quickly I have to look things up to remember what actually happened this past month. But here's what I came up with:

Books: I read two books in December, but I completed four. Two of them were books I had started months earlier, but hadn't yet finished. I wanted a clean reading sheet for 2016 so I completed everything I had lying around. However, my favourite book from December was Mass Effect: Revelation by Drew Karpyshyn. Out of the three game prequels I've read in 2015, this was the best one.

Music: A few favourite songs this month. Looking through my December playlist on iTunes these are the ones I've listened to the most and actually had in my head for days:
• Avril Lavigne - "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet"

• Disturbed - "The Sound of Silence"

• In This Moment - "Whore"

• Lindsey Stirling - "Roundtable Rival"

• miwa - "Faith"

• Steam Powered Giraffe - "Steamboat Shenanigans"

Games: This month I finished my latest playthrough of the Mass Effect series. I also completed Dragon Age 2 and I got halfway through the prologue of a new playthrough of Dragon Age Inquisition before I realised that I was so done with that game and went on to play Skyrim instead. Despite how much I love Dragon Age and Mass Effect, my favourite game this month has been Skyrim. I feel so at home there it's nuts, and with Steam Workshop and all the mods there I can add new quests as much as I want. I get the feeling I won't be done with Steam until I get an Elder Scrolls VI.

TV shows: This has been a sad month for TV shows. Both America's Next Top Model and Downton Abbey saw their last episodes ever. I've been watching ANTM for 10 years! Seeing it go was sad. I already feel like something will be missing next year when a new season of ANTM won't be available. But despite how much I've loved ANTM, the Downton Abbey Christmas Special was amazing and it steals the spot as favourite show of the month.

Other things: It was Christmas and it was beautiful! It was New Years and it was amazing! Despite a bad cold two weeks before Christmas, December has been a great month! :D

Monday, 28 December 2015

Evening Star, week 4

Monday was work as usual, but for some reason I was more tired than ordinary and fell into bed completely exhausted by 7.30pm.

On Tuesday I woke up at 5.30am. But I refused to get up at 5.30am so I fell back asleep and woke up again around noon. We played games and then went downtown so Toni could have his hair cut and had dinner as well. When we got home we dyed each other's hair (my hair is now purple-ish!) and then we played some more before we started packing.

On Wednesday we got on the train south and for the four hours of train I half slept and half read Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne. When we arrived at my parents place, we started dressing the tree and after that it was time for delicious Christmas dinner :D After dinner mum and I watched Bridget Jones' Diary on TV, while dad and Toni were fiddling with their phones/tablets.

Thursday was Christmas Eve. The big day. I know this day by heart. It's always exactly the same, and I love it. The day starts off at noon when my little sister and a part of the town orchestra plays some Christmas songs on the tiny town square. They play for about 30 minutes and then we go back home and start preparing things. Around 2.30pm the grandparents arrive and we're all seated in the living room in front of the TV. At 3pm, most of Sweden are watching Donald Duck for an hour. The same show, every year, and yet everyone keeps watching. After the show's done my parents fix up the last things and then we are seated for dinner. After dinner we go back to the sofas and then my little sister dress up as Santa (just cause) and she starts handing out the presents from underneath the tree. After every present is delivered everyone starts opening them up, showing them off, and talking to each other about them. Afterwards there's lots of Christmas candy, until the grandparents decide it's time for them to go home.

Christmas Day and Boxing Day are spent reading books and playing board games. We played Ticket to Ride and Mah Jong, just like usual. And I lost spectatularly, just like usual. Also lots of Swedish movies on TV, and I'm not even a fan of Swedish movies. I was also amazed at the fact that nobody switched the channels when Downton Abbey Christmas Special came on. I really wanted to see it, but nobody else had any interest in it so I honestly thought they'd change the channel. My mum was half-interested. It's so stupid, because they broadcast the Christmas Special the day after it was shown in the UK, but they haven't even broadcasted the latest season yet! So my mum asked a lot of questions, while I watched, because she just wasn't up to speed, not having seen the latest season yet. The Special and absolutely last episode ever was beautiful, though. It made me really happy, although I had to really try and control my feelings. Didn't really feel like bawling in front of everybody, It was a great ending. But I really wish I'd get to see the family deal with the Wall Street crash in 1929 - or the rise of Hitler during the 30's after what he did to Gregson - or the Second World War after Rose's marriage to Atticus who's Jewish... So many potentially interesting stories... I stayed up late into the night on Boxing Day, although I needed to get up early the day after, just to finish The Stolen Throne. It made me sad, because all the main characters lost a part of themselves in the end. All because one of them fell in love with someone he shouldn't have. Basically, Maric ruined Rowan, Rowan ruined Loghain, and Loghain ruined Maric. In a way, Severan won, because if he hadn't sent his bard to them, none of them would've been so miserable at the end. I really liked the book, though. Some of the descriptions made it feel like I was running through specific landscapes in Dragon Age: Origins :3

Yesterday, Sunday, was spent packing, travelling, unpacking, and then sleeping. During the trainride I started reading Mass Effect: Revelation, which is already intriguing less than 60 pages in. The difference in weather was incredible. Getting on the train in Malmö it was around 10 degrees and rainy. Getting off the train in Södertälje outside Stockholm it was below 0 degrees and snowing like crazy. After unpacking I played some Skyrim before going to sleep at 8pm.