Tuesday, 30 September 2014

My writing - the beginnings and the future

When I was 10 years old I decided I wanted to become a writer and from that day on I started writing stories. I still remember my first story being about superheroes coming from each of the planets in our solar system and they battled evil on Earth. Kind of cool, huh?

When I was 12 I sent a finished manuscript to a publisher. I did this in secret. My parents didn't know. Some time later I got a letter in the mail telling me that they couldn't accept any manuscripts from author's who weren't of age, but encouraged me to keep writing. I'm kind of sad that I didn't keep the letter - my very first from a publisher.

Between the ages of 13 and 17 I had my big surge of ideas. I have a big notebook where I tried to assemble all my ideas, but to this day I still find random scribbles in other notebooks of ideas I had. It's still those ideas that I refine into proper stories today. Most of the stories start in bullying, because that's the foundation I had while growing up, then there's a supernatural element that disrupts the every day way of things, the main character grows and is forced to face off against the evil that threatens both the everyday life and the supernatural plane. The main character is most oftenly an exaggerated aspect of myself. But in hindsight it's easier to see how the character would grow from the bullying today than when I was in the middle of it myself. That may be why I never managed to finish a manuscript properly, except that one time.

When I grew up I was told by my parents that it's very hard to make a living off of writing, and that you need to be very lucky. So I downgraded my writing from "future job" to "hobby" and started trying to find something else I wanted to do for a living. But this past year while I've been unemployed I've started seeing the potential in writing again. When things feel hopeless it's my writing that gives me hope again. Because sometimes it feels more probable that I'd be able to make a living from writing rather than find a proper job. So writing has once again become the thing I want to do and the thing I will continue to aspire to do for a living.

I have decided that 2014 will be the year. The year when I, for the first time as an adult, send a finished manuscript to publishers. I know the year is fast coming to an end, but so is my manuscript! All I have left now is getting to the final fight and tie up loose strings. It's time to wrap up the story, find my beta readers, get some constructive criticsm, edit and then send it off for reviews.

I'm excited!
The amount of paper in my manuscript thus far.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Recent gaming activities

Seems like my blog became sort of dormant 10 days ago. Reason? I got caught up in Elder Scrolls Online. On Tuesday evening I started playing again and continued all day on Wednesday. On Wednesday I got to talking to another user there and since then we've been playing together practically every day. I took a break of two days yesterday and the day before that.

My main is now veteran rank 11 (the cap is on VT14). I've been through all of Aldmeri Dominion where I started, all of Ebonheart Pact, all of Daggerfall Covenant and a big part of the PvE elements in Cyrodiil. I just started going to Craglorn. I really enjoyed the Ebonheart Pact - it was so nostalgic going through Morrowind and Skyrim. Although Mournhold didn't look anything like it did in Tribunal DLC, and neither Riften nor Windhelm looked anything like they do in Skyrim. But the general landscape was the same. I'm so glad they didn't have any cliff racers in the Morrowind zones though xD I hate those things!
It's also been nostalgic running around and questing in Cyrodiil. I feel kind of sorry for Bruma. In Oblivion that city is the site for the largest Oblivion gate of the Oblivion crisis; in ESO the city is the site for its own private Anchor. I remember that Cheydinhal was my favourite town in Oblivion, and I was so disappointed to find out in ESO that it looked nothing like in Oblivion. They really should make the towns more similar :( High Rock was easily the most boring region to run around in, but for some reason I really liked Hammerfell. Alik'r Desert was amazing. Lots of sand and sad stories. I didn't like Shadowfen as much as I thought I would, but I've adored every single region of Aldmeri Dominion. Both Summerset Isles and Valenwood are absolutely breath-taking and the little we get to see of Elsweyr is amazing. Elsweyr is also the place for the most depressing quest line in the entire game. I felt like crying when I finished it.
 1). Summerset Isles: Auridon. 2). Valenwood: Greenshade. 3). Elsweyr: Reaper's March. 4). Hammerfell: Alik'r Desert.
What I don't like about the endgame content is that it's largely group based. There's barely anything I can do alone nowadays. Everything in Craglorn is group based and you can't very well manage alone in Cyrodiil either. I wish for more solo content in a coming patch or DLC. Because the trouble of finding a complete group was the reason why I postponed all the group dungeons in the solo regions until I could basically solo all of them. (Although I did get some help form my new friend.) That is no longer an option. I can't postpone group moments, because that's all I have left. And that was the reason why I decided to take a short break.

During this short break I caught up on my studying. (I'm doing a single part-time evening course in contemporary Swedish at the university of Stockholm), and caught up a bit on my backlog of games. I started out with Banished. I played that before and when I quit that last time it was going really well for my settlement. I continued with the same town and it kept going really well. Until I passed the 300 mark. By then I had about 250 adults, 60 students, and 40 children. The food levels that had previously stayed at a comfortable 29,000, suddenly dropped to 8,000, I built two more Gatherer's, two more Hunter's, one more Fishing, and three more crop fields. Still the food levels dropped to 500 and then the people started dying like flies. In just a few minutes my town had gone from well over 300 to 98 adults, 20 students and 20 children. By then, while I had frantically tried to save the situation by re-allocating workers and making sure every resource and occupation stayed covered and still tried to build more food sources, I had run out of iron, coal, and firewood. People started complaining of being cold as well as still hungry and then I started running out of tools because I had no iron. I watched my town die and then decided I was done with Banished.

Afterwards I started up Neil Gaiman's computer game Wayward Manor. It's a point-and-click, which I tend to like, and the art of the game felt like a cartoonish Tim Burton style. It was made even better when I started it up and realised that it was Gaiman himself who narrated every cutscene. The game consisted of 6 chapters and every chapter of 5 parts. The novelty of the game quickly wore off after completing the second chapter and from then on it got mostly boring until chapter 6 came around and the whole motive of the game suddenly changed. The last chapter was a bit more exciting and fun, but overall I felt disappointed once I had completed the game. The story was fun and simple yet deep, like all Gaiman's stories. I loved the art, the style, the narrative, and yet the gameplay didn't deliver.

So instead of going through the game again, trying to win all the achievements like I usually do with point-and-click I closed it down and turned to Shadowrun Returns instead. I had almost finished this game when I played it before, but I couldn't manage the final boss. I still couldn't. So instead I started looking at fanmade stories from the Steam workshop. I found a few and had some fun with them. I really enjoy the style and gameplay of Shadowrun Returns, I just wish there was more than one in-game campaign. I might replay the whole thing at some point, because I really don't feel done with it.

That's basically all I've been up to since the last post. I have been doing boring stuff like applying for jobs as well (and hoping for the best), and some other fun stuff like new episodes of Doctor Who, America's Next Top Model, Downton Abbey, and Big Bang Theory.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Swedish electoral results 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Nerd Pride

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


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

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

I can watch entire seasons of TV series in a few days and absolutely love it all the way through. This results in my list of TV shows I'm watching being ridiculously long. I love anything with dinosaurs, because dinosaurs are awesome. It means that I can stay for hours in a book shop, but only visits cosmetics or clothes shops for about 10 minutes. I love books. Books are amazing. I clean out my shelves every few years and still they always seem to become full again... Can't figure out why ;) It means I get ridiculously excited about seeing all the "back to school" stationary in shops in August, although school like that ended for me 8 years ago. 

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

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

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

Monday, 1 September 2014

Summer is over: Here's my summer 2014

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

June

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

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

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

July

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

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

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

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

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

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

August

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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