Friday, 29 August 2014

The New Doctor: Welcome, Twelve!

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

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

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

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

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

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

He mentioned Amy! :D

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

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

They said "Geronimo"! :D

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Neil Gaiman's teeny tiny children's books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

This thing about feminism

Sometimes I feel like I'm blind when this subject is raised. There's a lot that I still don't notice and a lot that I take for granted. The things I take for granted are usually the reason why I feel blind, because I haven't seen any of that growing up, not in Sweden, and for some reason I expect other Swedes to have had the same experience as me. Although, I know they won't have and expecting so is against my better judgement.

So what are my own experiences?

I grew up with parents who shared every chore. They shared cleaning, cooking, gardening, laundry, and serviceing the car(s). My dad usually cooked during our special Friday night dinners, cause Mum thought he did it better. Both of them worked even when my sister and I were really young. My dad used vacation days to extend his parental leave so that he could be home with baby me and baby sister as much as my mum could. My mum worked part-time and studied while my sister and I were young. A few years back she was the parent who earned the most money. They shared picking us up after daycare or school and taking us to after school activities. Basically I've grown up with very equal parents. Grandparents then? Both of my maternal grandparents worked, even when my mum was little. And although I can see some of the classic dividing of chores between them, I still consider them pretty equal for their time. I don't know how my paternal grandparents worked together since my pat. grandfather died before I was born. But I do know that my pat. grandmother worked. No housewives here.

Growing up I could play just as much with Lego as I could with dolls. I got both kinds for birthday presents and Christmas gifts. I've wanted my hair long for as long as I can remember, but it still wasn't a disaster those times I got my hair cut short. I had both boy and girl friends, and I spent a lot of time both running around with sticks pretending they were guns, and dressing up my Barbies. I still have more guy friends than girl friends. But I've already talked about how I don't really fit into the girl stereotype. 
 Tokyo 2010: Both pictures are of me

So you can see that I never thought about anything like feminism until I was in my 20's. But talking to other girls about feminism I've learned a lot and started to notice things I didn't before. I'm not completely blind anymore, and I've realised that although Sweden is one of the most equalised countries in the world, we still have some ways to go. We still need feminism.

So why do I need it?

I've never considered myself to be pretty until later years and thus I never noticed if guys looked at me in a certain way, because I was so sure they wouldn't. But now I can notice guys eyeing me. I'm going to keep this Swedish, otherwise I would've told you about all the little things that happened at the jam-packed trains of Tokyo underground. I've met guys at the bar who just couldn't take no for an answer when I tell them I'm not interested. Lucky for me I never go out without my bf and the only way to shut most of them up is if he snogs me. That gets the message across. A simple 'no' should do it. But it doesn't. That's why I need feminism.

  • I need feminism because although I'm not expected to stay at home after I'm married in this country, I'm still not expected to do as well as if I were a man. Some of the mentality that a man is a failure if his wife does better than him also lingers here. 
  • I need feminism because I want my future husband to be able to have the right to as much parental leave as I do. 
  • I need feminism because I don't want it to be an insult to do something "like a girl". I don't want degrading words for 'vagina' to be the most common insults thrown at people. 
  • I need feminism because I want every girl to own her own body. That goes for men too. I want everyone to have the right to own their own bodies. Girls shouldn't have to shave or wear make-up or have long hair to be considered pretty. And guys should be able to wear make-up, long hair and skirts without being considered weak. "Feminine" and "gay" aren't insults. 
  • I need feminism because I want gay couples and single women to be able to adopt children more easily. It's easy for (most) straight couples to have babies whenever they like, but if you're not straight and not a couple, then it's a trial. The concept of 'family' has changed. This is 2014, not 1914. 
  • I need feminism because, although I can exploit it, I don't want there to be any need for gender quotation in businesses. There should be a sort of equal amount of men and women in every business. Male nurses or kindergarten teachers shouldn't be laughed at, and female fire fighters or construction workers shouldn't be laughed at either. 
  • I need feminism because Sweden is yet to have a female prime minister, and because it's almost 300 years since Sweden had a queen as head of state. 
  • I need feminism because the gaming industry is way to sexualised and female armour takes the prize in non-functionality. 
  • I also need feminism because the sizes of clothes are crazy. I can wear my bf's t-shirts in size M and they fit perfectly, sometimes they even are a bit too big. But my own t-shirts has to be size L or XL for them to fit. No wonder it's usually girls who have trouble with their bodies and get eating disorders if their clothes trick them into thinking they're big.

Hello, I'm size XL
---------------------------

There's a deep misunderstanding what feminism is and what it stands for. Feminism stands for equality of all. It's not about women wanting women to be better than men. It's not about women wanting to turn the patriarchy into a matriarchy. It's about people (both men and women and in-between) who want everyone to be equal and have equal rights, responsibilities and expectations. It's about people wanting women to have as loud a voice as men, it's about people wanting LGBT+ to have the same rights as straight people.

Feminism doesn't ignore the fact that men sometimes are repressed too, but it's far more common that women are repressed and that fact takes a bigger role.

I play games like a girl. Because I am a girl.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Dealing with backlog: The Wolf Among Us

A problem with playing an MMO is that you tend to get a whole lot of backlog of other games. I intend to deal with that... Somehow xD I started yesterday evening when I decided to finish playing The Wolf Among Us.

I started playing it ages ago when the first episode was released since it was Telltale and I usually like Telltale Games. But although there was some weird stuff going on it never really got to me. I played the second episode too when it was released, but after that I didn't start the game again until yesterday.

That's when I discovered that everything up until episode 3 had just been a prologue. Shit really hit the fan in episode 3 and after getting into episode 3 I wouldn't be able to stop playing the rest even if I wanted to.

The ending of episode 3 was insane. That final battle. Omg. O_o

Although episode 4 was mostly investigating and not that much action it was still really really intriguing and you could feel the end approaching.

Then episode 5... Epic battle against a pretty creepy opponent. But Bigby is friggin' awesome in his original form.

If you haven't played it - do it. You won't be disappointed. The game starts off slow, but it more than makes up for it in episode 3 and on. The first two episodes leads you on and gives you an opinion of who the bad guy is. In episode 3 you get a hint that it's so much bigger than that. And it really is SO much bigger than those first two episodes tell you. 

I played a mostly nice Bigby Wolf. Although I did kill and backstab characters that weren't nice to me ;) But I have a hunch that the game would turn out and end very differently if I had played a douche bag Bigby. 

Friday, 22 August 2014

Books I've read in July and August

I'm having a blogger's block. Like writer's block, but with my blog. I want to keep it going, but I have no motivation or inspiration to blog. But I did notice that I haven't written about the books I've read since I read Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing With Fire, and that's a while back. I've read 7 books since then, excluding school books. So here goes a small presentation of each along with a teeny tiny review.

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones was the best Skulduggery-book thus far. The excitement was on top throughout it all, and the feeling of doom got stronger the closer I got 'til the end and I realised that nothing would work out alright in this book. The Faceless Ones, those godlike beings, really were just as horrific as all those whispers in earlier books implied. The book ended with a humongous cliffhanger and I was very happy that I had the next book already so I could continue reading instead of agonise over the cliffhanger.
Skulduggery Pleasant: Dark Days was interesting. I love how Valkyrie has started dabbling in
necromancy. Skulduggery hates it, but Valkyrie just isn't as good with Elemental magic as with necromancy. He has to deal with that. The return of Lord Vile was a surprise. There were a lot of bad guys in this one, especially Sanguine's father.
The humour in this series is basically what keeps me going. The books are hilarious. The characters are also really well written for being a childrens' book. I need the next one in the series.

The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains is Neil Gaiman's latest work and it's beautiful. Basically it's a live storytelling session by Gaiman, where he told this story and an artist drew sketches for the story that were shown on a screen while Gaiman told the story. The words and the sketches are now combined into a small book of only 80 pages, but the story is amazingly gripping and it becomes impossible to put the book down. It's a classic story of love, death, vengeance and magic, and the main character is a dwarf. A badass dwarf. This story is just another Neil Gaiman masterpiece and it's well worth your time reading and re-reading.

The Wild Hunt: Trinity Rising is the second novel in The Wild Hunt series. I like how the first part of the book tells us what happened in the last book, but through the eyes of Savin and Tanith rather than Gair's. Gair doesn't play as big of a role in this second book as he did in the first, but there's enough of Gair and Alderan to go around. Rather this book is more about Teia. Teia is introduced to us in this book and she's basically amazing. While Gair is the standard "why me?" character of high fantasy, Teia is this strong and amazing woman. And she happens to be pregnant. Heavily so, by the end of the book, and I imagine that baby will turn out to be something very special. Along with Teia we're introduced to the workings of the North and its tribes and peoples, which was very interesting. What happens in the North is probably the reason for what's going on in the next and final book. Basically, the North fucks up and it has consequences.

Burton & Swinburne in The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man is the second novel in the Burton & Swinburne series. The first book, The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack, was incredible and this second one was far from a disappointment either. I am in love with this steampunk series and its universe. I love how the main character is conscious of the fact that it wasn't supposed to be like that. Burton knows that history was supposed to move in a different way (our way), but time travel messed things up and now we have steampunk. I also love that most (if not all) of the important characters have actually existed, and there's an appendix in the end of each book explaining who they were in our world. The author actually says in the beginning of the first book that although they have existed in our world and are well-known British historical people, he (the author) felt that they were too well-known to have their reputation tarnished by his work. I'm not British and I've never heard of most of those people before, but there are some familiar names that show up throughout the series. Like Oscar Wilde :) I need the next book in my life!

Doctor Who: Ten Little Aliens was the first Doctor Who adventure I read. It features the First Doctor along with Ben and Polly. I would've preferred Vicki and Steven as companions, since I liked them better. Anyway, after a boring beginning the book really kicked off and I sat up reading late into the night. There were mysteries, enemies of several kinds and a lot of twists. There was an element of horror in it and it was really good. I love how the author hints towards the Doctor being alien and apart from the humans, but he never explains anything or goes into any detail. Basically because that part of the Doctor wasn't known before he regenerated the first time. Until that point the Doctor was only a person from the far future, and the author takes that into consideration. This first Doctor Who book (for me) promises great things from other Doctor Who book adventures!
Doctor Who: Dreams of Empire is number two in the 50th Anniversary collection (11 stories, 11 authors, 1 Doctor) from which Ten Little Aliens was the first. Dreams of Empire features the Second Doctor (my favourite!) along with his companions Jamie and Victoria. This book contains a lot of politics and warfare (quite the theme for Second actually). But it also has all the elements that make Doctor Who amazing: adventure on a medieval fortress built on an asteroid with an artifical atmosphere, lots of robots, the Doctor being a clown, laser guns, and a lot of chess metaphors! The story basically revolves around a person named Kesar, who is imprisoned in the fortress on the asteroid for trying to overthrow the Republic, turn it into an Empire and make himself Emperor. He still has a lot of supporters in the Republic and while most people think what happens next is his supporters trying to kill him to make him a martyr for his/their cause, there are so many twists to the story that the ending comes as a total surprise! Dreams of Empire didn't linger in my head as Ten Little Aliens did, but it was still really, really good.

Right now I'm reading Dancing Jax by Robin Jarvis. I've only read the first chapter thus far and I'm not sure I like it yet. But if there's something I learned from Ten Little Aliens, it's to never judge a book on its first chapter!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Sims 4

I had planned on doing this post last week before I went awat for four days, but other things got in the way and I got tired too quickly. So I'll do it now.

Last week EA released the Create A Sim demo for The Sims 4 on Origin. I've played The Sims since the original game back in the beginning of the 00's, and although I never really liked 3 I'm really, really looking forward to 4.

So I played around with the demo for about an hour. I made three families. One a girl and her twin brother. She's an evil mischief and he's a heartbreaker :) Second a living-alone, very cute, Japanese inspired girl looking for The One. Third a girl and a boy who are BFFs and living together as roomies. When I buy the game I think I have my drama cut out for me already xD

The demo was a lot more fun than I thought it would be, creating Sims was never the funniest part of the game for me. Now I'm really excited about building and gameplay :) Only two weeks to go! :D

I really wish that Origin had a screenshot button so I could post photos of my Sims, but apparantly I have to share them to Facebook to be able to do that, and I just don't want to do that...

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Gothenburg

So I've been off the blogosphere for about two weeks so here's what happened last week. On Wednesday I went with Toni's parents, sisters, and his older sister's husband and three daughters to Gothenburg. I enjoy road trips as long as I'm not the driver and so it was quite pleasant. We arrived in Gothenburg in the evening and after checking in to the hotel and resting/freshening up a bit at our hotel rooms we went out for dinner. It's hard keeping everyone satisfied in a group of 10 people! In the end we had dinner at O'Leary's. Hot & Smokey Ribs ftw :D

The next day was the reason we went to Gothenburg to begin with. We went to Liseberg, the biggest fun park in Sweden, and went on every single worthwhile ride :) We started out with Helix, the new roller-coaster. It was amazing! So much fun! Up-side-down and everything :D During the day we then went on Balder, Kanonen, SpinRock, Kållerado, JukeBox, the whirligig (Slänggungan), and Hanghai. We ended the day with Lisebergsbanan and the huge ferris wheel. In retrospect the most fun rides were Helix, Balder and Kållerado. I got completely soaked while on Kållerado xD We left Liseberg at their closing hour of 11pm and after that we had a very late dinner at McDonald's.
Helix

The next day we checked out and took a detour on our way home to visit Gekås in Ullared. It's the biggest department store in Scandinavia (as far as I know), it even has it's own TV reality show. I had never been there before and after having been there now I don't think I ever want to go back there. Too crowded, too many people... I usually don't have troubles with that kind of thing, but this was something really exceptional. We did buy some things there, most notably for me a mini speaker in the shape of a rabbit head :3 So cute! And it works amazingly well. There's a lot of sound in that little thing :)