Monday, 28 December 2015

Evening Star, week 4

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

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

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


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

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

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

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Evening Star, week 3

On Monday I went to work as usual although I wasn't feeling too good. But it turned out to be a short day and I was home about 2pm, which was nice. I had originally planned on starting up Fallout 3 after I was done with Dragon Age 2, but on Mondays I'm generally too tired to concentrate on anything new and with the added cold I just wasn't up to it. So I booted up Skyrim. I had modded it and started a new playthrough about a month ago so I just continued with that. I'm planning a lot more mods! Especially mods that add new questlines. New things to do in a game that's honestly getting old. So I played Skyrim all day.

And that's basically what I've done this week. We've both been home sick. So I've been playing Skyrim. We've watched a few shows as well, like The Big Bang Theory, Doctor Who, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Under the Dome. But otherwise it's been mostly games.

On Thursday I wrapped all my Christmas gifts. Yesterday we went out to buy alcohol for New Years, since we won't have time to do that later.

But mostly Skyrim, yes.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Mass Effect 3 indoctrination theory refuted

So last time I played Mass Effect 3 I got on Youtube to look up stuff on the extremely ambiguous ending. And I found a video of The Indoctrination Theory. It made me angry, because basically it says that everything that you played through after Harbinger's final assault by the beam up to the Citadel didn't happen. It was all in Shepard's head, and I hate writing like that. "You did all this but not really nah-nah". And it fit so well into all of it! So this time when I played Mass Effect 3 I actively looked for the things this video talked about and tried to see if it all really matched up. I'm proud to say that nothing did. It looks like a perfect fit on the outside, but if you start digging and looking at details you'll notice that it doesn't add up. So here I am refuting this guy's top ten arguments.

Reason 1: The Child
He claims that it's weird that no one but Shepard seems to notice the child. Well, I don't know about all you guys, but if a giant alien race out of mythology had suddenly descended upon my planet and started wreaking havoc I'd be too busy staring up into the air at that thing, rather than looking down for any children. The second point I don't know enough of psychology to be 100% sure about, but isn't it possible that the child sort of haunts Shepard's mind? She just saw an innocent child die, and she had a good look at the kid, surely that must have left some impression. It's also highly possible it's a completely different child. The reasoning that Anderson would've heard Shepard and the child talk is also strange. There would've been a lot of background noise - burning buildings, explosions, gun fire, people screaming, and the Reapers themselves aren't exactly quiet. There's no guarantee at all that Anderson "should have" heard the conversation. 

Reason 2: Dream Sequences
I see these in a completely different light than the guy in the video, I see them as proof that Shepard blames herself for everyone she couldn't save. This, imo, becomes even more obvious as the game goes on and she starts to hear the voice of everyone she's lost while dreaming. The voice of the one of died on Virmire, the voices of any and all you lost in ME2, the voices of any you loose during the course of ME3... They're all there. And the dark shadows multiply as the game goes on, giving a hint that she blames herself for all the victims of the Reaper attacks that she could do nothing to save. The guy in the video says that the oily shadows are the same oily shadows mentioned by the Rachni queen in ME1. But they are not, proof of this comes later in the game. Slow-motion movement. Yes, you're in a dream! Have you ever had a dream where you moved normally? And as for getting hit by the Reaper beam - you just got hit by a high-tech friggin weapon of mass destruction! Of course you're gonna walk slowly! And the trees - since when do you look at trees so closely that you can tell individual trees apart? Honestly? And the burning is more like her subconcious telling her that she can't save everyone and if she tried she'd burn out. She is extremely stressed out by the end of the game when that final dream sequence happens. 

Reason 3: The Normandy
Why doesn't it make sense for Joker to try and outrun the mass relay explosion? It's an explosion! Anyone with half a mind would try to get away from an explosion! And no, the engines don't explode in all scenarios. My Normandy had some bumps a bruises, but no hull breach and no exploded engines. And I took the red beam that was supposed to destroy synthetics. Read that again. Synthetics. The beam wouldn't destroy all technology! Just self-aware synthetics. The Normandy would be fine - but Joker didn't know that, did he. EDI had Reaper code installed, however, and it's entirely possible that he rushed to save her. But no, my Normandy didn't break apart. And I think that has to do with the upgrades I got in ME2. And how the crew is on the Normandy? Well, we know that Shepard called Joker to pick up the two squad mates she had with her just before Harbinger's final attack and her ascent to the Citadel. It's not entirely impossible that the others got picked up too. We have no idea what the crew were up to while Shepard was half-dead on the Citadel. 

Reason 4: Harbinger's Beam
The radio chatter says everyone was killed, and they are right to believe that. It certainly looks that way. But as soon as Shepard has entered the transporter beam we get a sequence that show Admiral Hackett being handed a data pad that tells him that Shepard has managed to get up to the Citadel. Which makes the whole thing real. Also, Harbinger must've figured they were all dead lying still on the ground like that. To Harbinger the people must seem like ants. Do you stop to make sure an ant is dead after you've crushed it? And yeah, the gun doesn't need to be reloaded, but that gun normally has about 30 shots in it, and unless you're a really bad shot there's not way you'd need to use all those 30 shots on the last 6 enemies. The ammo isn't unlimited - there's just no point in showing how much ammo it has. How Hackett knows? See above. He gets the report. How the radio works? Well, the armour still works, doesn't it? The outer layer is burnt off, but Shepard is hardly naked and I'd assume the radio isn't put on the outside with a piece of tape. 

Reason 5: Anderson and Illusive Man on the Citadel
How Anderson beat Shepard there? Probably he was blown closer to it than Shepard by Harbinger's beam. How Illusive Man is there? That's explained earlier in the game if you pay attention. Back when you're assaulting Cerberus HQ there's a video that shows the Illusive Man talking to a nurse about some implants they've experimented with. He's happy with the results and wants the implants as well - Reaper implants. Around the time of the battle with Kai Leng it's also mentioned that the Illusive Man has gone to the Citadel to inform the Reapers what the Catalyst is. So Illusive Man has every reason in the world to be there. And well, according to what she heard on the radio chatter Shepard shouldn't be up ther either, but all the evidence points towards the fact that she is. Wanna know why the Illusive Man isn't interested in the console? He's indoctrinated. It's that simple. And that's not the Reapers exerting control over Shepard. These are the oily shadows the Rachni talked about. They are not at all like the ones in the dreams. But why are they there? Because Illusive Man is using his newly implanted Reaper teach to try to control Shepard. Meaning the Illusive Man is trying to indoctrinate Shepard, not the Reapers. And if you pay attention you will notice that Shepard has been holding her left arm close to her left side ever since she got up after Harbinger's last blast. She's been hurt since then. Probably bleeding since then. But she's looking at it now, first of all because she now has time to do so, and second of all because she realised it hasn't stopped bleeding and she'll probably bleed to death. 

Reason 6: The Illusive Man's Unexplained Powers
They are not unexplained. See above. Video at Cerberus HQ. Reaper implant experimentations. 

Reason 7: The God Child Makes no Sense and Lies to you
Not gonna argue with that. That part's true. But he does angle his little speech so that he's the most favourable to synthesis, which would allow the Reapers to live, because he wants the Reapers to live. He says the least about destroying the Reapers, because he doesn't really want that. He makes no sense, and he lies. But in-between those lies it's not that hard to see that he is the Catalyst and parts of what he says are true. But we still don't know how the Catalyst works at this point. It's entirely possible that the Catalyst takes on a form that's familiar to the person who goes up there. Why would it otherwise look like a human? Humans haven't been around long enough for the Catalyst to have had that shape originally. Because of that it's also enitrely possible that the Catalyst uses a voice that's accessible to the person being there. The Reapers brough the Citadel to Earth because that's where their force was the strongest. They basically took the Citadel and put it in their stronghold. That's explained in game. Pay attention! Also why they'd establish a conduit? That's also explained - they take humans to make more Reaper ground troops from. They beam the up to the Citadel to convert them there. Seriously. Pay attention. And it's also explained that the Crucible's plans were added to over the cycles. The colour-coding was probably added at some point. Why is that even remotely important? And finally, the Catalyst knows organics tend to value their own lives, ofc he's trying to dissuade Shepard from the destroy option by lying and saying it will kill her as well. He doesn't want the Reapers to be destroyed! 

Reason 8: Shepard's Eyes
No. Husks don't come from indoctrination. They come from conversion. And even if the eyes were an indication to indoctrination you almost have to will it to look like that. The only other reference of such eyes are the Illusive Man, and we don't know if his eyes are due to indoctrination. It could easily be some sort of tech implant. Because the Illusive Man has had those eyes since the very beginning of ME2. And he wasn't indoctrinated back then, that much is obvious. His behaviour has completely changed between ME2 and ME3. 

Reason 9: The breathing scene
Yes, Shepard couldn't have survived a fall back to Earth. But she didn't fall back to Earth. She's still on the Citadel. The Citadel wasn't destroyed. I don't know if they added that sequence in a later patch or something, but I definitely got a screen showing the Citadel a little broken and a little worse for wear, but not blown to pieces. Shepard is still on there and she's lying in a pile of space rubble. And say what you want, but the Citadel looked mighty concrete-y and metal-y to me. 

Reason 10: Bioware
Well, this reason just doesn't exist anymore. The video was done in 2012 when ME3 was brand new, and the hopes of getting a DLC that would explain something about the ending were high. We now know that that didn't happen. But hopefully, maybe, we'll get some sort of explanation and closure in Andromeda next year. 

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Evening Star, week 2

On Monday I went to work as usual and when I got home i watched the latest Allt för Sverige and played some Mass Effect 3. Toni got home later in the evening and announced that he wasn't feeling well. We also had a really big scare due to what we later discovered was an Internet scam. So there was really no reason to be scared, it was all fake, but before we knew that...

Toni stayed home on Tuesday and we watched The Walking Dead and Under the Dome. As well as showing off some British comedy. He showed me The Mighty Boosh, while I showed him some Monty Python - most notably The Dead Parrot. I also played some more Mass Effect 3.

On Wednesday we had our cosy day as per usual. Sushi for dinner and crisps and shows in the evening. Some Doctor Who and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. And more Mass Effect 3 for me :D

Thursday I started poking around with Spotify. I had considered it before and thought I'd give it a try. But I discovered just what I had found four years ago - if I had only listened to Western music (i.e. North America and Europe) Spotify would have worked amazinly. Too bad that about 50% of all my music is Asian, mostly Japanese, and it basically does not exist. And some things that do exist just baffle me. Like seriously, why do you have ABCHO who only released one single ever back in 2012 and it didn't even do that well, but you don't have Morning Musume? Morning Musume who's been household names since 1997, had over 50 singles throughout that time which all managed to get on the Singles Top 10 in Japan, and the only thing you have of them is one album from 2012? Seriously? When I mentioned my predicament on Facebook, one of my friends started talking about their stock of Korean pop music. I don't listen to much K-pop, but according to her they were quite well-stocked in recent K-pop releases. The only three Korean bands I listen to were not there, however. CNBLUE, FTISLAND and Cherry Filter. So right now, Spotify serves as a back-up. If I run out of battery on my iPod I can easily change to Spotify on my phone (minus anything that's not sung in a European language).

On Friday I got up on time to go to work. Got to the train station in time and looked at the table for next departures. The train usually leaves 10 minutes after I arrive. When I got there on Friday, however, it said 25 minutes. While I was counting my time and looking at it it slowly went down to 20 minutes. I thought it'll be close but I'll make it - and then it bumped to 30 minutes. I called in to work and told them that I wouldn't be able to make it in time and they gave me the day off. Good they did, because while I was talking to them the time flipped again to 38 minutes. Some sort of issue with the signals up in Huddinge caused the problems. When I got home I finished Mass Effect 3. For this playthrough of Mass Effect I had romanced Kaidan in 1, Thane in 2 and then Kaidan again in 3. And while I adore Garrus, Kaidan's romance has this sort of "meant to be" vibe to it. Kaidan has really, really grown on me. Thane's romance was just as heartbreaking as I was expecting. There wasn't very much sadness in 2, because their romance was more "living in the moment" so they never really looked forward to what was going to happen. But then in 3... Meeting Thane at the hospital was intense. I had expected some sort of new content for his death scene after he got stapped by Kai Leng, but nothing new there so that wasn't as heartbreaking as I thought... But then there was the memorial. I cried my eyes out at the memorial, it was so intense. And then when I was meeting up with Kaidan for lunch and he started talking about getting back together and then he says "I understand why you cheated"... All I could think was "No, Kaidan. You told me to fuck off on Horizon, so that's what I did. Don't blame me, you dumped me."

On Saturday I got up early for work again. Pretty intense day, but nothing short of the ordinary. When I got home I picked up Dragon Age 2 again, with the intention of finishing the playhrough I had started a couple weeks earlier.

Today I awoke with Toni's cold, but I still went to work. When I got home I finished Dragon Age 2. I liked it a lot more than I remembered. Mostly because of the humour. I always play as a humouristic Hawke and it makes the game hilarious. Though, this time I managed to make Merrill my rival, which made me sad because she's usually so sweet but as a rival she was so mean. All because I wouldn't let her fix the mirror. Last time I played DA2 I hadn't played the Dalish elf origin in DAO, but now I had and I just wouldn't let her finish it. So she kind of hated me for it, but at least her whole clan wasn't killed this time around. I was also set on romancing Fenris, but I got impatient. Hawke mirrored me that way. I wouldn't wait around three years for a guy after he walked out on me - I'd move on, and she did too, with Anders. Romancing Anders my Hawke became a mage freedom radicalist like him. She approved of what he did to the Chantry, refused to kill him and completed his romance. Anders has a great romance tbh. But because of my pro-mage freedom actions I never became friends with Fenris and so he chose the Templar side in the final battle and forced me to kill him :( Oh well, it was a great ride :D

And now I'm going to sleep. Gonna get up early for work tomorrow, despite my cold.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Evening Star, week 1

Evening Star = December in Tamriel

This week has been kind of slow.

On Monday I still wasn't feeling well so I needed to get a sick note to my boss. The website had no information whatsoever on how to get one at my care centre, so I walked down there for their drop in hours. When I got there I was told that I needed to reserve a time and meet a doctor to get one. So I walked away from there without my sick note. Got home and wrote an annoyed email to the care centre about the lack of information on their website. Then I watched the latest episode of Allt för Sverige, a Swedish show about Americans with Swedish ancestry who comes back to Sweden to find their roots and compete against each other to win a chance to meet their Swedish relatives, and then played Mass Effect 2.

On Tuesday I got up at 7.30 am (the care centre's opening hour) and called in to get an appointment. I got one for 11.30 am. Had breakfast and read some in The World of Thedas vol. 1 and then I went down there again. Everything went well, got my sick note and sent it to my boss. Then I went home and went back to sleep for a few hours more. I got up and made a blog post, ordered some Christmas presents, had some dinner and then went to play some more Mass Effect 2.

On Wednesday I finished Mass Effect 2 and immediately went on to Mass Effect 3 (my favourite game in the series!). In the evening we had our weekly TV show watching evening where we watched some episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as some Heroes Reborn.

Thursday was pretty much the same as Wednesday.

On Friday I went to work at the tourist agency. Extremely slow day with almost nothing to do at all. When I got home I played some more Mass Effect, and in the evening we saw a few episodes of Doctor Who.

Yesterday I played Mass Effect 3. Toni and I also finished playing Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, and I started up Until Dawn. It was a lot of fun to play. I was afraid I'd be really bad at all the quicktime events (the quicktime events in Tomb Raider were what ultimately led me to abandoning the game), but I managed quite well. I find it funny that it seems like I manage quicktime events more easily with a controller, while I'm really bad at steering my characters on a controller. I don't have as much agility in my thumb as I do with my entire arm! I usually find the controls for computer games far easier than the controls for console games. But I like Until Dawn, and it's a completely different experience playing it myself than watching gameplay, especially since it's a game based on choice and consequences.

Today is Sunday and I'm feeling well again so today will be a short day. I'll probably only play Mass Effect 3 today. There may be an episode of some TV show while we have dinner. But since I'll go to bed at 8 or 9 pm, there won't be much variation from Mass Effect :P

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

November favourites 2015

This is another idea of mine to keep the blog running - the first of each month I'll do a favourites post for the previous month! So here's everything I liked about November.

Books:
I only read two books in total in November, which is a lot less than I'd like. But my favourite out of those two is definitely Rapture by John Shirley. It's the official prequel to the Bioshock games and it was really good. Not fantastic, but good enough to be extremely memorable. 

Music:
There's been a few songs that I've had almost constantly on a loop this month: 
• All That Remains - "What if I Was Nothing"
• Avril Lavigne - "Give You What You Like"
• Berryz Koubou - "Ai wa Itsumo Kimi no Naka ni"
• C-ute - "I miss you"
• Kelly Clarkson - "Heartbeat Song"
• P!nk - "Raise Your Glass"
• Stone Sour - "Zzyzx Rd."
• Tanaka Reina, Sato Masaki, Kudo Haruka - "Futsuu no Shoujo A"

Games:
The reason I've been reading so little is because I've been completely caught up in games. I started a new playthrough (with a whole bunch of mods) of Skyrim. I also started up Dragon Age 2 on a whim, and really enjoyed it until I got another whim and started a completely new playthrough of the Mass Effect games. I'm about halfway through ME2 presently. Favourite game of the month? First Mass Effect.

TV shows
I watch way too many shows to list them all, but my favourite show that I've followed this month was Downton Abbey, which makes it even more painful that it was the last season ever. And it was glorious. The Xmas special better be freakin amazing!

Other things:
It was my birthday! And my favourite physical gift was the game Until Dawn for PS4. I've watched tons of gameplay from that game, but I still think I'll enjoy playing it. I'll probably do that this weekend. Other favourite gift was my ticket to next year's Sweden Rock Festival :3

I also got a new follower for my Tumblr! I now have 17 and I feel so famous rn :P