Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Nerdiness of February

Medieval II Total War. The Sims 2. George Carlin. Call of Cthulhu. Magic: The Gathering. Harry Potter. Mad Men. Star Trek. Puss in Boots. How to Train Your Dragon. Japanese. Writing. Les Misérables. Pirates of the Caribbean. Neil Gaiman. David Eddings.

In no special order.

Medieval II Total War. I've been playing it every day for the last five days. I restarted as France and it's going really well. I manipulate everything with diplomats and assassins with high skills, and I see everything using spies.

The Sims 2. Well, since I started playing Medieval I haven't really played any The Sims. But! I created a new family, a Japanese one, in a new neighbourhood, but decided that it was too boring to restart completely in a new neighbourhood and had them move to the other neighbourhood where I have my Teague family. They get along very well and I'm planning on making my new Japanese family into an equally large family as the Teagues.

George Carlin. It's not that long ago since I first showed his comedy to a friend. And this time I showed him Losing Things. Then we watched the very old performance of Words we Use, and re-watching his reality check. Then some video from 2005 about being old. This man was a genius!

Call of Cthulhu. Two RPG meetings. The last one ending with the whole group minus one dying. Great ending to a great night :D My favourite RPG this far.

Magic: The Gathering. I'm not overly interested in this yet, but I'm considering learning it properly. Since I'm discovering that more and more people around me actually play this and I understand nothing when they talk about it... Gotta fix that!

Harry Potter. Well, you didn't actually think that there would be a month when I wasn't obsessed with Potter? My Valentine's is proof of that ;) And these two images that I shared on Facebook:

Mad Men. I can't see a package of Lucky Strike without immediately relating it to this series. Is that obsessed enough? And I've been blogging about it a few times. Finished the fourth season last week and can't wait for the 5th season to come around!

Star Trek. After Mad Men it was time for Star Trek: The Original Series. It's from 1966 and it's not that great. Anymore. That anymore is very important! Cause to me of today's generation it's slow and boring and the special effects are hilariously bad. The plot of each episode is always interesting, but the realisation of it is sooooooo slow -.-' I'll continue watching it though. If I'm gonna complain about something I wanna know what it is I'm complaining about, and beat the fans at their own game ;) A possible setback from this experience may be that instead of disliking it I come to like it. But meh, then I'll just be even more geeky. Wouldn't be that bad.

Puss in Boots. Went to see this movie at the cinema in 3D and it was great! I'm a big fan of the first three Shrek movies and this was nearly just as awesome! I love the addition of Humpty Dumpty and Jack & Jill. The Magic Beans that grew up to the giant's castle in the sky. All of the Shrek movies and this one is like a fast forward through every fairtale there is! :D

How to Train Your Dragon. Watched it for the first time after a friend recommended it about a hundred times. It was great. All there is to say. Simply amazing.

Japanese. Went through first grade kanji yesterday and I'm planning on doing more rehearsing of kanji. This webpage is very useful! I should add that I study kanji because it's fun...

Writing.There hasn't been a lot of it this month, but meeting up with Kajsa always sparks my imagination and wish to write and that's obviously what happened after the book sale :) So I have been writing some and I know what will happen further on in the story. I'm still planning a lot even if it doesn't get down on paper.

Les Misérables. Partly studying. Partly nerdiness. I'm going to write my exam paper this term and what I chose for subject is; Les Misérables. I'm reading the 2000 pages novel right now - in French of course and I like it a lot! I feel like I met the characters briefly in the musical and now I get to know them better :)

Pirates of the Caribbean. When do we not quote any of these movies? I had a really boring day two days ago and went on a YouTube trip watching clips with Captain Jack. Tonight we'll watch one of the movies while having dinner :D 1 or 3, which one should we watch?

Neil Gaiman. I haven't started reading the book I bought at the book sale yet. But the fact that I bought it is enough. I'm still stuck in Good Omens (in my head) and I keep going back to Smoke & Mirrors and Fragile Things reading a short story there and another one there. Simply because he's that good.

David Eddings. I started reading The Treasured One, but it was hard to get into. Mostly because I was still stuck in Good Omens in my head and kept comparing them (not a good idea), but now I'm more into the new book and the humour typical for Eddings has shown up again. Now I'm back. Everytime I'm reading Eddings I feel like I'm 13 years old again, cause that's how old I was when I discovered Belgarath :)

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Call of Cthulhu RPG #5 - ending

The house is in a very bad state and looks to have been empty for a very long time. We're being hit in the face by the garden. Trips, falls, swears, and have to walk in a line alongside the wall of the house. Charlie opens the first door and enters. The rest of us follows. We're in a dark corridor and use a lighter to see. One door on each side. The first door leads to a bedroom. Sophie finds a hand mirror with gold edges that slides into her bag. We make a torch. Walks into the next room. The floor is made of dark stone. The walls are made from wood with things carved into them. An altar. The carvings are of monstrous misshaped people and creatures. Very professionally done. The altar is covered by very old dried blood. We continue to follow the corridor and arrive at a three-way crossroad. There's a door to the right. Ordinary bedroom. Make another torch. Follow the first corridor. Another bedroom. Charlie finds a misshapen children's skull. Packington establishes that it's a real skull. An extreme underbite and polished teeth. Fangs. The child would've only been a couple of years old when it died. Sophie puts the skull in her bag and gains suspicion from Packington. The next room is a broken toilet. The next is a study. The walls are covered by shelves. On the desk there's an old paper with text written in old English. Y'Gollonac. Image. Sophie connects "image" to the carvings in the altar room. We look for references in the shelves. Find nothing. Amanda leaves to open the entrance doors wide and puts them open to let the daylight inside. Garden furniture on the deck. She calls for us. In the corridor to the right in the hallway there're traces of the explosion. Furthest down the house has fallen in. We start checking out whole rooms. Mostly bedrooms. We find a few more children's skulls and establish that they don't have baby teeth. Meaning they aren't that young. We go back and check the bed with all the rats. Find nothing. Take the corridor north. There are several locks on the door. The room has three cells with leg-irons in them. A number of skeletons in different sizes. Seems to be normal humans. All of them are fretted at. The next is a nicer bedroom. Desk. There's a gust of wind when Packington walks towards the desk. The torch goes out. The room is completely quiet when we walk inside, but as soon as we notice it it goes normal. On the desk there's a paper. Recently written. But in an oldfashioned language. The text describes in more detail how to worship Y'Gollonac with sacrifices etc. Feeling of discomfort. Cowell walks to the study and starts to read. Charlie, Amanda and Sophie go to the next room. Packington tags along. The next room is a nursery. A normal baby skeleton in the crib. Next we arrive to the kitchen. There are steps down into a cellar. All the food except the cans are torn to pieces/chewed at. We go into the cellar. There's a furnace and a large crate of coal. There are dynamites taped to the wall. Packington finds a trap door. It looks like it's dug from the underwork. Puts up the hatch. Packington grabs two dynamites. When everyone have entered the hatch falls down with a great bang. Packington panics and starts to crawl along the walls to find a way out. The passage is darker than it ought to be considering the torch. It's so narrow we have to walk in a line and some of us have to crouch. Somewhat claustrophobic. We can hear water and sounds behind us. Seems like someone is walking beneath us/above us. The sounds are very strange. The passage opens up into a cave. Amanda says that she saw a small creature run on the other side. We think it's one of the strange creatures. We follow it. We see Charlie jump and look around himself. We continue walking. Very close to each other. Very quiet except the sound of something slithering in front of us and the sound of water dripping. We arrive at another cave. Something's scraping. Continue onwards. Find a somewhat larger cave. Dynamite on the ground. A small creature jumps up on Packington who shoots. The creature runs off. Amanda shoots after it. We follow it. The new passage is long. Very creepy. Arrive in a cave that's more like a room. More dynamite. 10 creatures ahead of us. We hear a shot. A person with a cut off shotgun. He introduces himself as Philip Baucher. We mention Y'Gollonac and he starts to transform. Amanda shoots and nothing happens. Packington lights a dynamite and throws it. We run for it. But the entire cave, the passage and the house collapse. The entire group is suffocated to death. Cowell survives as he's out by the car at the explosion.

- The End -

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Mad Men and book sale

Alright, so today a big (is it only in Sweden or elsewhere as well?) tradition kicked off; the annual book sale. It starts in February each year and continues for... I don't really know, about a month? To be quite fair I usually don't pay a lot of attention to the whole thing, simply because it can get as crazy as Christmas shopping... And the regular big book shops (the big corporations, like the Swedish version of WH Smith) don't really have the kind of books I read. I read fantasy, horror and sometimes, but very rarely, science fiction. Those genres are still pretty obscure here and the regular shops only hold about one shelf of English language fantasy and one shelf of Swedish language fantasy. It's kind of ridiculous... But in the three largest cities in Sweden (Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö) we have book stores called the Science Fiction Book Store, which is heaven for me and all other geeks of various size and interest. They stock manga, anime, Asian pop culture (not music), RPG, board games, science fiction books, fantasy books and horror books. They too participate in the book sale. So today me and my friend Kajsa went there to take a look. Actually none of us could really afford to heavily spoil ourselves with new books, but we managed to walk out of there with three books each.

Looking at their web page yesterday I had my eyes set on one book specifically; Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman.  Since 2010 when I read Smoke & Mirrors, Fragile Things, Coraline and Stardust I've really been a huge fan of his way of writing. And now after recently finishing Good Omens, I feel like this is the next one I'll deal with before getting started with American Gods, Anansi Boys and The Graveyard Book.
After getting my hands on that one I found, by chance, By Blood We Live. It's a compilation book with vampire stories by Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Stephen King, Tanith Lee and Anne Rice among others. Some of them will undoubtedly be the urban fantasy vampire, but I have hope that some of them will be the classic Victorian vampire that I like.
Then I had decided that I was done with getting books. But Kajsa wanted to go check out the New Arrivals book section too and I went with her. The first book my eyes fell on in that book case was Songs of the Earth by Elspeth Cooper. The cover immediately spoke to me and as I read the back cover I realised that I would probably like reading this one. So I just had to buy that one too... So I got out of the shop €28 poorer, but three books richer ;)

Now for something completely different...

Yesterday I finished watching the latest season of Mad Men. So now I've caught up. I like it a lot, although I'm really not sure why xD It's not the type of TV-show I usually watch.
Anyway I've really fallen for Peggy, I think she's great. Maybe not in the first season, but the three after that and especially in the fourth season she's awesome!
Then there's Don. The main character. Sometimes I like him, sometimes I hate him, sometimes I pity him, sometimes I think he's an idiot, sometimes I feel compassion, sometimes I think he's an ass... But the fact that he's a character with many layers that stirs so many feelings makes me want to continue watching.
And Sally. I've always liked Sally. Even in the first two seasons when she wasn't such a big character. Now I like her even more.
I used to not care for Joan, but the more I've seen of the series the more I've grown to like her. I really missed her when she quit Sterling Cooper cause she got married and I was really happy when she came back to work again. I like her a lot in the fourth season.
Then there are the characters I don't like.
For example Betty. I thought she was a little weird in the first season, but as the season's have been going on she's getting more and more neurotic and more and more obstinate. She's acting more and more like a spoiled child.
Then we have Roger Sterling. Another adult that keeps acting like a child and can't get his temper under control. I dislike the fact that he doesn't seem able to think ahead. He divorces his wife and marries a woman young enough to be his daughter and it seems to be a spur of the moment thing. He can't get over Joan and it doesn't seem like he's making any attempts to do so either. He's too confident and then he gets mad when things don't go his way. Like a petulant child.
Then there's Pete Campbell, whom I'm not really certain if I like or not. Sometimes I think he's great. Sometimes I think he's just a boasting kid trying desperately to get on the top of his game. Trying desperately to be one of the big boys although it seems like he's just starting out. He just seems too desperate to make a fantastic career sometimes.

Thus far the fourth season is the one I like the most. But the fourth season wouldn't be great without the other three ones to let the characters and the story evolve. The next season (coming on March 25th) will be very interesting... :)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Dåligt beteende

Jag är så fruktansvärt arg.
Vet inte ens om jag borde blogga om det här, men jag måste få det ur mig på något sätt som gör respons möjlig och jag orkar inte berätta det för flera personer flera gånger.

Jag fick för ett par, tre dagar sedan veta att en av mina favoritlärare under gymnasietiden sagt upp sig efter att skolledningen krävt att han pensionerade sig till sommaren. Anledningen var att han och en lärare till blivit utsatta för förtal av en tredjeklass på skolan. Ett gäng 17-åringar hade alltså orsakat hans avgång från en skola där han arbetat i 25 år. Hela min klass älskade honom och alla jag pratat med på skolan, om skolan, har alltid nämnt honom som en av de bästa. Även de som faktiskt inte hade honom som lärare i något ämne.

Incidenten som orsakade detta förtal hände tydligen på en projektarbetsresa. Klassen ifråga hade tidigare åkt till Jordanien, Ghana, Mexiko eller Japan för två veckor, men det hade tydligen blivit strul med ekonomi och kontakter och dessa resmål blev inte längre av. Efter ett tag anordnades en resa till Ryssland istället. Efter bara några få dagar där urartar det. Lärarna får under ett flertal gånger berätta för eleverna att reseschemat är till för att följas och att man ska dyka upp på aktiviteter såvida man inte är sjuk eller har något relaterat till sitt projektarbete att göra. Eleverna är ute och festar hela nätterna och är högljudda inomhus så andra gäster och personalen på vandrarhemmet klagar. Det hela slutar med en incident ute på stan och samma kväll skriver eleven som orsakat incidenten hem till skolan i hemlighet bakom lärarnas ryggar. Hon vill genast bli hemskickad och beskriver situationen som att eleverna är otrygga i ett främmande land. I brevet anklagar hon bl a lärarna för att ha använt hennes dåliga familjesituation öppet i bråk och att en annan elev ska ha fått en knuff. De ska tydligen också ha blivit lämnade ensamma mitt i Moskva. Lärarna hade ingen som helst aning om detta brev förrän efter hemkomsten ca två veckor senare.

Läraren i fråga har på Facebook delat med sig av det hemliga brevet (som de fick tag på efter hemkomsten) och brevet som de själva skrev för att försvara sig. Efter att ha läst båda kommenterade jag detta på det hemliga brevet:
Det låter teatraliskt och överdrivet. Som att något litet har hänt och sedan har eleven förstorat upp det till enorma proportioner för att utmåla sig själv som offret och svartmåla de två som enligt henne agerat fel. Meningen att brevet skulle ges till diverse institutioner och till media avslöjade hennes omogna mentalitet. Detta är skrivet av en missförstådd tonåring, inte av en mogen ung kvinna.
På svarsbrevet kommenterade jag detta:
Helt otroligt. Jag finner inga ord. Hur kan de vara så otacksamma? Eleverna har sysslat med kollektiv mobbning och kommit undan med det. Det är otroligt hemskt och fult av dem att agera på det där sättet.
Skolledningen granskade i slutändan inte ärendet ordentligt och lät eleverna komma undan med det genom att kräva att lärarna gick i pension. Detta oansvariga beteende av eleverna ledde till att minst en otroligt omtyckt lärare sa upp sig. Skolan förlorade en fantastisk tillgång. Det slappa beteende av skolledningen kan man inte heller undgå att lägga märke till.
Jag är så fruktansvärt arg över att det ens kunde förekomma. Hur kunde skolledningen välja en 17-årings ord över en lärare med 25-års anställningshistoria när ord stod mot ord? En lärare som dessutom har en lång historia av att vara omtyckt. Det har blivit hanterat så fruktansvärt dåligt, och jag är arg.

Liknande resor har gjorts med båda lärarna flera gånger tidigare och detta var första gången några sådana här problem uppkommit. Andra som har rest med dem säger att allting har gått bra och att en projektarbetsresa handlar om just studier. Tiden under resan är likvärdig med tiden i skolan. De har också handlat en hel del om att klara sig själv i ett främmande land, som ett steg i att lära sig bli vuxen. Jag åkte på en sådan här resa och det var något av det bästa jag upplevt. Alla i klassen tyckte samma sak. Alla bevis talar för att eleverna gjort fel. Hur kunde skolledningen låta eleverna komma undan med det här?

Ordet korruption dyker upp i mitt huvud när jag skriver det här.
Vi fd elever fortsätter ge vår favoritlärare stöd på Facebook.
(Jag har utelämnat alla namn av en anledning. Jag vet inte om jag får lov att publicera breven ifråga så det låter jag bli.)

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Dropping out again

I dislike misty rain. Especially when it melts the snow.

Remember the mystery of my Spanish course? The new teacher has comepletely messed up the schedule of our old teacher and completely changed the assignments she made for us. Suddenly the small Spanish course weighed a ton due to his meddling and I decided to quit that course and focus on the French. I sent a mail to the administrator today asking for the drop out to be registered as of today. My original thought was to balance the two until I have my exams in French in the end of March/beginning of April, after that I only have my essay to write and plenty of time to get better at Spanish. But no, it got too messed up and I'm out. I may continue to study Spanish, though... Just because it's fun... Yeah, I'm such a nerd ;)

Any other news?

Well, I saw How to Train Your Dragon for the first time today. It was an amazing movie and I truly recommend it to everyone. Toothless' personality reminds me of Dixi :P

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Valentine's Day 2012

For this year's Valentine's we had something unusual planned. I had actually planned to go to school but decided not to and slept for some more hours, though I'd need them later on that day.

Around 3pm our friend, Gisela, came over. The three of us; me, Love and Gisela, had planned a drunken evening with a Harry Potter marathon. Around 4.30pm we started out with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and every time they said "Hogwarts" in the film we had to drink. We had a little break after the first one, then we started up Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. This time we had to drink at every "Hogwarts" and every "wand". After the second one we decided that it was time for dinner and made macaronis and bacon :) By now the time was about 10.30pm so it was a very, very late dinner :P
While eating dinner we started up Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkban and added "Sirius/Sirius Black/Black" to the list of words to drink to. 
At the end of the third film the time was about 1am and we decided we didn't have the energy to do one more. after some talking we went to bed.

Waking up today I wasn't hungover and the only signs of last night's drinking game is the mess in the kitchen and the bottles on the table. 

Monday, 13 February 2012

The weekend: Books, movies, music and comedy

I love crisp winter mornings.

Felt a need to express that, and now, let's bring back the weekend.

Got up early to go to school. I usually don't have school on Fridays, but today was an exception. We had some kind of oral test about Corneille and Le Cid. Our teacher asked us questions and we had to answer as if she knew nothing and we were explaining something completely new to her. It was kind of fun. We're going to to the same thing with Racine and Phèdre. But there will be a difference. I liked reading Le Cid, but I'm not a big fan of Phèdre.
Anyway, in the evening I took the bus from Lund to my hometown of Svedala to stay with my parents for the weekend. It had been about a month since I last saw them and it felt nice being back there. Especially the food. Having moved out and having to make my own food that isn't that great yet, it's a nice treat to go home and get to eat a real homemade meal. Friday was really luxurious with an entré in the shape of half an avocado each with Skagen mixture on top and the mixture topped with shrimps. This is pretty much the only entré we ever have on occasions that are not festive. But it's delicious. Main course was hare with potatoes, sauce and cranberry jelly. Afterwards there was the, now traditional, large bag of sweets and the film on TV was Män som Hatar Kvinnor (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). It was the first time I ever saw that film and it was really good! Usually I don't really like Swedish films, they have a tendency to be somewhat placid and boring (much like the people, really), but this one was... wow.

Got up around 10am. Most of the day was spent reading Good Omens (which I finished as expected) and I just didn't feel like starting to read Phèdre. My parents love Ticket to Ride (ever since I gave them the Europe edition two Christmases ago) and we play it every time I am there. We played two rounds and both of them went as expected. I came in second last and last respectively. I never win at playing games, but usually it's a lot of fun anyway. In the evening we ate a delicious meat stew and then it was time for the second part of the Swedish selections for the Eurovision Song Contest and cheese doodles :) I hadn't watched the Swedish selections in two years, I don't really care anymore. The organisers seem to concentrate more on the quantity of genres than the quality of the music and thus it has become really bad. I'll know who wins anyway from the magazine posters. I watch the semi-finals and the final of course; the main event: Eurovision Song Contest. That's always a lot of fun. Anyway in this selection there was only one song that I thought was good. A song called Soldiers by the cutest boy ever called Ulrik Munther. After the selection for ESC we watched Tomorrow Never Dies, which we've all seen about a hundred times, but what to do when my mum said she didn't like Sherlock (blasphemy!), which was the only other watchable thing on TV that evening.

Once again got up around 10am and I spent most of the time lazily hanging around the sofa and watching TV (Sonny with a Chance dubbed to Swedish (horrendous), Kitchen Nightmares and Bring it On: All or Nothing among others), while trying to find the energy to start reading The Treasured Ones by David & Leigh Eddings. In the late afternoon we went to the church where my sister's orchestral ensemble were going to have a concert. She had gotten her first solo song and I had to record her performance of course:
The concert was quite nice actually. It was the first time I heard the soundtrack to the Zelda video games in an orchestral version :P And they played some of the score from the Sweeney Tood movie, as well as some of the score of the Shrek movies.
I had to rush to the train station and missed the last two songs of the concert. Reason was that I had to get to Lund because we had tickets to see a Swedish comedian by the name of Magnus Betnér. It was awesome!!! Here's a sample of his awesomeness:
I love how he made fun of the year 2011. Complained that there was so much news last year, that this year 2012, that's completely normal news-wise, seems boring. He managed to make fun of the old news of the rebellion in Libya and Egypt, the death of Usama bin-Ladin and the Fukushima disaster, as well as some new news. And there were new versions of the old themes of his; religion, parenthood and sex. Simply fantastic!

So that was my weekend. Kind of interesting actually. The coming weekend has the potential of being almost equally interesting! :) Now I'm gonna read the book by Eddings and write some before it's sleepy time! Tomorrow is a big day; Valentine's. I'm gonna have a somewhat different and interesting Valentine's and I probably won't be able to tell you anything until Wednesday, so until then:

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Some of this, some of that...

About school
I think I'm having a temporary melt-down. That one teacher keeps expecting us to know things and for us to have already done things he expect us to do, without giving us any information at all! How are we supposed to know what we are going to do if you don't tell us that we're supposed to do something?! Je m'en fous! Vachement...
I have some good news at least; I've decided a subject for my Bachelor degree essay! I'll write about Les Misérables! 20-25 pages shouldn't be that hard if it's about something I like, n'est-ce pas? ;)

More recently we have the mystery of my Spanish course. On Wednesday last week we got a mail saying that our classes were cancelled until further notice. On Friday we got a mail saying that they had found a replacement for our teacher and that classes would resume today. After a quick look at our timetable it's obvious that all classes are for him now. I didn't feel like going to class today although I knew I should. I stay up to date with the schedule handed out to us and I do all the exercises... Should be enough, right? Anyway I feel like I'm just sitting there staring at the clock, waiting for time to pass when I'm actually in class. However it still bothers me that our first teacher disappeared just like that. What the heck happened? O_o

About politics
The Prime Minister of Sweden has gotten yet another brilliant idea (notice the sarcasm). He suggests that we should raise the age of retirement to 75 instead of 65 as it is now. This is an emergency solution since it seems like the government doesn't have enough money to pay all the retired people if they keep retiring at 65. However it poses another problem as well. This will post-pone the coming generation switch in society. This means that my generation will continue to go unemployed while the older generation will keep on working 'til they drop dead. Lovely idea, isn't it? *sarcasm* Instead of solving the increasing unemployment problem amongst young people he's going to force old people to work more. He's going to let us starve to death and the old people work to death. What the heck has he got instead of a brain?! The Swedish politicians are driving me mad with their stupidity! We need that generation switch now!

Then we have ACTA. I blogged about that before. Last week there were demonstrations against this proposal throughout the country. This is a picture from the demonstration in Stockholm:
I couldn't participate myself. I was busy otherwise. This link contains info about ACTA demonstrations throughout the world. If the officials don't get the picture after all this work then I'm seriously scared for the future. I found this on Tumblr. As long as there's people fighting there's hope, right?

About the nerdy stuff
Mostly it's The Sims 2 right now. My second generation of Sims are growing up into elders, and it's a little wistful to see them grow old since they are the first generation I've had since they were babies. However this means that the third generation are growing up into adults. Meaning more babies! Yay! And more houses! Yay!

I've been watching a little less Mad Men lately, but I'm almost done with the 3rd season now. While I'm watching Mad Men I'm looking forward to a bunch of stuff like the 2nd season of Game of Thrones will begin on April 1st. Then we have the 3rd seasons of Sherlock and Downton Abbey ^_^ And ofc the 5th seaosn of Mad Men. I will try to catch up on the entire 4th season before March 25th when the 5th season airs! When I'm done with Mad Men I'm also going to start my sci-fi marathon; the Star Trek franchise, the Star Wars movies, the Star Gate franchise and Battlestar Galactica. I should add Dr. Who to that list as well... And I should catch up on Fringe, and I should watch that single season of Invasion. Why am I doing this? Well, it bothers me when people argue about stuff they obviously have no clue about, so I'm going to fix that. I'm also going to see if the entire sci-fi genre seems less ridiculous if I sit down and have a real good, deep and thorough look at it.

I'm still working on "Good Omens", but I'm planning on finishing it this weekend and get going with the final series by David Eddings :)

Oh and I also found that they're making a new Total War game based on the world of Westeros from "Game of Thrones". I'm actually really excited about that! :D


And now, I'm gonna get started with the writing again. I really feel like finishing off that book and send it away to some publishing company :)

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Why it's not scary

This Saturday we were role-playing for the first time in ages, it was also Call of Cthulhu for the first time in ages. After finishing playing and returning back home the discussion turned to horror and the fact that I don't scare easily. To me most of western horror is laughable. I may think it cosy if they're lucky. But western horror has the trait that it's almost always beatable. You can almost always beat the evil and there's almost always a place where you're safe. Thus far that argument goes for CoC as well. The evil is only inside that house, outside of it I'm safe, and the feeling of being safe shouldn't be there when playing a horror RPG. But it is. The demon in CoC is, thus far, beatable, vanquishable and it won't come after you hunting you 'til you crack. Another problem that western horror has that when they don't know how to make it more scary they turn it gross instead. Like this scene from the Poughkeepsie Tapes (I haven't seen it, just this scene turns me off), the same goes for the four latest Saw movies. Western horror movie makers need to learn that gross does not equal scary!

When it comes to horror I'm toughened, I'm jaded. Why? I started reading horror stories (those short stories printed in packs in books) when I was somewhere around 9-11 years old. I started watching 15-rated horror movies at the age of 11, some of them alone. Jumpers don't scare me anymore. I may jump, then I laugh. Nowadays I watch western horror movies more because of a keen interest in what's supposed to be scary rather than actually wanting to be frightened. I was put in front of a computer and set to play Amnesia. I was excited, thrilled, to finally start playing it. I expected adrenaline and a heart beating fast. I expected being chased around by zombies in a dark house unable to defend myself. I was left disappointed. After having played for 71 minutes I had had no rush of adrenaline, no fast-beating heart. I had not yet been chased around and the only things that were supposed to scare me was the guy breathing asthmatically and biting his nails, occasionally he would whimper when a light was burned out. The dark rooms and the occasional trembling was supposed to create a scary environment, I suppose. But not being able to see properly combined with his everlasting nailbiting was more annoying that scary. When the game told me how to run I thought that it would get scary soon enough, I would be chased soon enough. But even after that nothing happened. I guess I should play it more to fully realise why people seem to be so scared of it... Cause this far I really don't get it. Like the guy in this video... I don't get it...

It also applies to other things. I love to read Stephen King. I haven't read that many yet, but Pet Sematary is my favourite thus far. It gives me those cosy spine-chills that makes me appreciate the warmth of my cover or blanket. The same goes for Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. They're simply cosy and enjoyable.

But there are ways to make me scared still. I've talked about how easy, predictable and safe that western horror is. Asian horror is the complete opposite! You can't ever get rid of it once it sets its eyes on you. It will always be there, watching you, hunting you, wanting you... You're never free from it. Even when you can't see it, even when you can't hear it, you can feel it. It's nagging at your brain. It's making you scared of ordinary things like taking a shower. It's more psychological than physical. There's no jumpers, only the monsters sneaking up on you, grabbing hold of you when you least expect it. You can't beat it easily, and even if you think you did there's no telling if it actually worked. It can follow you anywhere, there are no safe places. This is what's scary!
I still watch things like this although I know it'll scare me into sleeplessness. I try to not watch it when it's dark outside. But I love the sensation. You know getting all tense and scared, adrenaline pumping, heart beating insanely fast. Then it's over, the video or the film has ended. The tension lets go, the heart slows down, you relax and that single sensation of relaxation makes being scared so worth it. You know how some people look for adventure to feel their adrenaline pumping, people that are kind of addicted to adrenaline? Yeah, this is what I shoot up on. 

That it's hard to scare me has nothing to do with my imagination. My imagination is alive and well. Very lively actually. I can scare myself sleepless at nights just by starting to think of the wrong things. Usually "the wrong things" are associated with Asian horror. I can't see very well without contacts or glasses and I wear neither, of course, when I go to sleep. That white shadow over there is the ghost boy from the Grudge staring at me. That darker shadow in the corner of the ceiling that seems to be growing is the hair from the ghost girl in the Grudge. She's coming, she'll kill me, she's growing out of her hair, coming out of that corner. Soon she'll crawl over me in my bed. If I turn around she'll be there staring at me. From the space between my bed and the wall there's a shadow hand rising, a shadow hand wanting to grab me and take me away. That scratching sound from the hallway is someone crawling across the floor, trying to grab the handle on the door... They'll get to me! 
Those are the kind of thoughts that can haunt me at night. I know how to counter it of course, once they have begun, but I don't know how to stop them from coming. 

There are of course games that are supposed to be creepy but in my eyes seem more interesting and exciting than scary.
Limbo is one of them. 

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Call of Cthulhu RPG #5

Amanda Palmer shows up to interview Sophie about the death of her father. She's disappointed to find out about Sophie's obvious detachment towards her father's death. Amanda mentions a disappearance outside of Boston. Sophie says she has a car and expereince of disappearances. Amanda agrees to it. They drive to Amanda's contact with the police. The person who has disappeared is Meklin, a demolition expert. An explosion in a house outside of Boston. There's covered up information around the whole thing. The police contact Angus can't find anything special around it. There doesn't seem to be any proper information at all. The policeman tags along in the car. On the way to the army doctor, another of Amanda's contacts, we pick up Amanda's assistant; the paper boy Charlie Harper. We find the army doctor Charles Packington ins a park. Amanda talks him into coming with us. We drive to Meklin's office. Charlie, Amanda and I walks up to the fourth floor where his office is. Amanda and Charlie walks into the other offices on the same floor. Sophie stays outside. Amanda finds out that he disappeared after he had gotten a job outside of Boston where the exploded house is. Ordinary office. A safe ajar. Lots of money in it. An archive folder with the name Boucher House + ASAP written on it. Amanda takes photos. Charlie takes notes. Angus says that a man called Jason Porter hired him to do this job. Take a drive to the city archive to check out an addition to the old house. Amanda finds a certificate of ownership belonging to Jason Porter. Angus drives to the police house. The rest of us go to the archive of the Boston Globe and looks for information concerning the Boucher House 22 years ago and what happened with the child after the incident with the dogs and the death of the mother and who the father is. The child was left to Martin Adoption Agency after the mother had been bitten to death by dogs. People says that they have seen a monster that looks like a dog close to the house. We find nothing of the dad.
The day after we meet at the Martin Adoption Agency. Jason Phyllis Boucher was adopted by Ben and Emma Porter = Jason Porter. Angus tells us that he found a false death certificate of Porter with the police. The house in the suburbs is empty. The neighbours tell us that Ben died of the flu 6 years ago, Emma died naturally 6 months ago. Sophie pries open the door and we take a look around. Completely empty. All we can find in the phone book is a Jeff Porter. Knocks on door. A young man in his 20s opens. He tells us everything. That he went out to the house after he found out that he inherited it. Uninhabitable. He wanted to demolish it and build something new. After too many questions about the Boucher House and Meklin we're driven out of there. We decide to get to the house and sleep in a motel along the way. We arrive at the house the morning. Very deserted. Wild garden. A wall around it that has no door. Can't drive inside cause the vegetation is in the way. Charlie jumps up at the wall to try to see above the vegetation. Sees some kind of stone building. We prepare ourselves and walks through the vegetation all the way to the house. The door is unlocked, but we decide to walk around the house first.

Friday, 3 February 2012

A music questionnaire

So I found this one post a day for a month-thing at a friend's blog and thought I'd do it. But of course you know by now that I do all the questions in one go ;)
Your favourite song
The most difficult question. It's a tie between "Last Man on Earth" (can't find on YouTube) and "Ghouls Gone Wild". Both by Alice Cooper.
Your least favourite song
"Det Löser Sig" by Timbuktu.
A song that makes you happy
"Rottara Rottara" by Buono!.
A song that makes you sad
"Hello" by Evanescene
A song that reminds you of someone
"Lost in Life" by Sirenia. We used to practice this song on guitar :)
A song that reminds you of somewhere
"How do you like this Japan?" by Morning Musume. Reminds me of Tokyo ;)
A song that reminds you of a certain event
"Summer of '69" by Bryan Adams Was played on the truck at my graduation :D
A song that you know all the words to
Well, I like to learn all the words to songs. I know all the words of the songs posted above. Which means I can post any song I like ;) "Hey Stoopid" by Alice Cooper.
A song that you can dance to
I can't really dance at all. But a song that makes me want to move then... "Keepin' Halloween Alive" by Alice Cooper.
A song that makes you fall asleep
In a good way. I use to listen to this before going to sleep. It gives me pleasant dreams ;) "Music of the Night" sung by Ramin Karimloo.
A song from your favorite band
I've already given you three xD But let's go with the most known one then ;) "Poison" by Alice Cooper.
A song from a band you hate
"Poker Face" by Lady Gaga
Gah, my ears! Don't make me do this again. This version is waaaaaay better ;)
A song that is a guilty pleasure
A song that no one would expect you to love
"Disturbia" by Rihanna
A song that describes you
"How Does it Feel" by Avril Lavigne
A song that you used to love but now hate
"Just Friends" by Jonas Brothers I was going to say "Australia" first cause the lyrics are just soo... But then I realized that I had never liked "Australia" while Ia ctually did use to like this song...
A song that you hear often on the radio
Last time I listened regularly to the radio was back in 2004/05. Does that count? Anyway this is what was on the radio all the time back then: "Welcome to My Life" by Simple Plan.
A song that you wish you heard on the radio
I could say anything Japanese as an answer, but I'm going to be somewhat realistic and go with "Storytime" by Nightwish. I'm guessing they still don't play symphonic metal on the regular radio channels?
A song from your favourite album
Yet another tough question. My favourite album? ARE YOU INSANE?! But I'm gonna say the album I listened to all the time back in 2006-2008. And the song is "It Snows in Hell" by Lordi.
A song that you listen to when you’re angry
"Runaway" by Avril Lavigne
A song that you listen to when you’re happy
"Smily" by Otsuka Ai (Just don't watch the video if you're gonna listen. The video is freaky -.-')
A song that you listen to when you’re sad
"Fuckin' Perfect" by P!nk
A song that you want to play at your wedding
"Heaven" by Bryan Adams
A song that you want to play at your funeral
"Wild World" by Mr. Big Seems perfect... actually :O
A song that makes you laugh
"America" by Stephen Lynch Listen to the lyrics and you'll laugh too ;)
A song that you can play on an instrument
"Acoustic medley" by In Flames I can do one of the guitars ;)
A song that you wish you could play
"Boku wa Shitteru" by Miyavi
A song that makes you feel guilty
I can't really think of a song like that...
A song from your childhood
Now this is a fun one. I could take any song from Aqua, Spice Girls or any of those billions of boybands in the late 90's to the early 2000's... But it should be a song that I listened to a lot... I listened to this song a lot and I loved the video and this song also made me love her for a couple of years... Couldn't believe that now :P
Oh dear me the fashion... ;P
Your favourite song at this time last year

This was.... interesting :P

Thursday, 2 February 2012

And the Best Children's Book of the past 10 years will be...?

So Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is up for a battle of which book was the Best Children's Book of the past decade. The other competitors are:
  • "Mr. Stink" by David Williams
  • "Alex Rider Skeleton Key" by Anthony Horowitz
  • "Candy Floss" by Jacqueline Wilson
  • "Horrid Henry and the Football Fiend" by Francesca Simon
  • "A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Austere Academy" by Lemony Snicket
  • "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" by Jeff Kinney
  • "Private Peaceful" by Michael Morpurgo
  • "Silver Fin" by Charlie Higson
  • "Theodore Boone" by John Grisham
Call me old but the only books I've heard of in that list is (ofc) Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events and Alex Rider, and out of the three of them, I think, Harry Potter would easily win. It's also for the fans to vote at this website (gotta sign up first though).

But seriously, if the fans can vote, what other result would you get except HP as a victor? I haven't heard anything about those other books having such devoted fans ;)

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Nerdiness of January

Sherlock. Pirates. Harry Potter. Good Omens. The Vampyre. The Sims 2. Medieval II Total War. Morning Musume. The First Law. Skulduggery Pleasant. Durarara!. Japanese. Korean. Chinese. Pokémon. Writing. Mad Men.

In no special order, these are the subjects I've been nerding the last month. 

Sherlock. The second season was friggin beautiful! Why oh why does have to be so long until the next season? And why is every season just consisting of three episodes?! I loved, loved, loved the new version of The Hound of the Baskervilles and how I cried at pretty much all of the last episode. I love watching Benedict Cumberbatch, and that Martin Freeman won a BAFTA is just *love*. So I started following this Tumblr on my Google Reader...

Pirates. As in Pirates of the Caribbean. We started watching the first film one evening and now we're back at reciting the entire movie together at random times. Today we started at "I've heard of one. It's supposed to be very fast nigh uncatchable; The Black Pearl." But usually the favourite is "You'll get another one!"

Harry Potter. This one really never ends. I'm hanging out on this Swedish community where we talk about so much more than Harry Potter, but having HP as the main thing that gathers us together. I also signed up for myHogwarts :) And I'm really looking forward to it! I also started following this Tumblr on my Reader.

Good Omens. The book I'm currently reading, written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Gaiman is one of my favourite authors. I've never quite liked Pratchett, only thing he's written that I've found funny is The Wee Free Men. But this far I'm liking it a lot! It was my Christmas present from Kajsa and she did right in getting me the edition with the demon Crowley on the cover, because I do like him the best ;)

The Vampyre. The first book of the year. It's a vampire book, but it was nice reading a vampire novel with the classical gothic vampire that is evil, sucks blood, kills humans and LIKES it. None of that urban fantasy crap where vampires are plain sexual beings that put a little adventure into having sex. No this is the classical gothic vampire story and I love this book. It starts off kind of slow and for a while there one thinks it will keep going the same road as Dracula, but it takes a turn - for the better - and turns the main character into a vampire.

The Sims 2. I've spent hours building an apartment house and a huge mall in my neighbourhood. Now I'm back to playing on that one family.

Medieval II Total War. It's been a while since I played this, but I started it up again after I figured out how to play it in windowed mode. I love playing as the Holy Roman Empire and having the armies shout "Ja, mein Kaiser!" at me, but this time I started as France and having the armies yell "Mon Roi!" isn't that bad either ;)

Morning Musume. The 9th and 10th generations joined last year. I've grown accustomed to the 9th generation by now but I don't really have any opinion on the 10th yet. Just had my first ever serious discussion on the subject. I'm also extremely disappointed by MoMusu's new single, the debut single for 10th, which is soooo bad compared to what 9th has done since their debut. But this Tumblr keeps my interest up.

The First Law. The fantasy triology by Joe Abercrombie. I started reading this series last year, but I recently bought the following two books and can't wait to continuing the story! I love Glokta!!!

Skulduggery Pleasant. A youth fantasy series that I started reading in 2010. I bought the two following books at the same time as I bought the continuation of The First Law, I really like reading youth novels again. It's lighter reading and usually a lot more easy humour than with adult fantasy. Stephanie is just *love*.

Durarara!. Not that long before I went to Tokyo this became an anime series that I really came to like before going. In Tokyo however I forgot to watch the anime and started reading the manga online instead and I really liked it. I bough the first volume of the manga in Japanese while buying the books mentioned above ;)

Japanese. I've started going through my notes from Japanese class at university and in Tokyo, and I've started looking at the Joujou Kanji again... I'm also trying to find new Japanese artists that I can come to like witht he help of generasia and JPopSuki. That's how I found miwa before :)

Korean. I'm getting really good at reading Korean now. Now I just gotta learn the words and the grammar ;) I'm also looking at Korean artists. As of now I only have the discography of Cherry Filter and a few songs by Girls' Generation

Chinese. Or rather Taiwanese. I want to find the time to go through Love's Chinese textbooks but I would need more than 24-hour days... I've found a Taiwanese band that I like called Cherry Boom

Pokémon. I recently picked up SoulSilver again. It's really a lot of fun but I was in a somewhat tight spot picking up the game where I left it, with two Pokémon at daycare and no money xD I managed to fight enough trainers to get one of them out of daycare at least. Right now I'm in Goldenrod playing Voltorb Flip, fighting to gain 2100 coins so I can exchange it for a Dratini ^^

Writing. Yup, I've found a way to get out of the hole I nicely put myself in ;) So now I've been taking notes, making a few changes in the story and looking up stuff that needs to be checked with historical sources :)

Mad Men. Right. I started watching the series in January. I'm now almost halfway through season 3 and this far I love it! Peggy is by far my favourite character.