Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Top 35 favourite songs made before I was born

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

Monday, 14 July 2014

Gaming, reading, shopping and a festival

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, however, there will be ESO!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Vampire craze

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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