Saturday, 30 January 2016

Travelling: Germany 2016 day 1

At 8.30pm yesterday we checked in on our ferry from Malmö to Travemünde. We got on board shortly afterwards and entered our cabins. We left our stuff there and then went on to check out the dinner buffet. It was really nice. Salads, shrimps, chicken, beef, fish, pasta... Anything you could really want. We helped ourselves and then sat down, we met some people that my dad and the boss knew and talked with them for the rest of the evening. After dinner we had a beer each at the bar and then went to sleep. The ferry had departed at 10pm and we went to bed around 11.30pm.

I couldn't sleep. It was pretty rough seas this night, and I could feel it rolling beneath me. I had never slept on a ferry or boat before so it was a brand new experience. The engines were roaring, and at some points made my cabin door vibrate in its frame, which made it hard to sleep, and the bed itself was the hardest bed I've ever tried to sleep on (that includes the floor in a gym hall). I don't think I slept much, perhaps two hours in the whole night. At 5.30am my alarm went off, and just after 6am we went back to the buffet to have breakfast. Met up with the people from the day before. Breakfast buffets are always nice. I'm not big on breakfast, but breakfast buffets can make me eat a lot.

Turns out the ferry had become late and we docked at Travemünde at 7.30pm, half an hour later than planned. Our car was among the last ones to get off so the next part of the trip started late. I fell asleep pretty much as soon as we had left the harbour. Around 1pm I woke up, we were not very far from Cologne, our final destination, and we decided to make a pit stop for food and filling up the car on fuel. And then we continued on. After several wrong turns we found our hotel and checked in. We basically just dropped our stuff in our rooms, and then got back into the car to find our way to the fair hall. After a few wrong turns we found our way there. It's interesting that there were so many wrong turns seeing as dad and the boss had been going to the exact same place for the past five or six years.

In any case we got there and first off we said hello to every other Swedish company there. This trip is for work and not for fun, although there will be room for fun as well. It's Europe´s largest fair for confectionary companies and there were representatives from a lot of countries around the world. Our place is in the European section, of course, but I'm more interested in checking out the Asian part, and especially the three Japanese companies that are here. We'll see if I can find the time. After we had said hello we went to set up our corner, which didn't take long. Screwed a few shelves into the wall and put out some samples.

When we were done, and after talking some more, we took the train back to the hotel and left the car at the fair. It makes everything easier, I've been told. I quickly showered and unpacked and then we went to meet up with a few of the Swedes at a bar close-by called the Dominikaner. We had a beer each while we waited. We were supposed to have dinner with another company, but their representatives had problems with their lodgings and we decided to postpone our plans for another night. Instead, the three of us went alone to the intended restaurant, Maredo, and had some nice steaks for dinner. Then we went back to the hotel.

That's been the whole day. It's been fun, but also tiresome and stressful. I'm kind of nervous about tomorrow, because I'm not yet entirely sure how everything will work and what exactly I'm supposed to do. I think it's going to be sort of like my work at the tourist agency, where I answer questions about what we sell. I can handle English, but I was asked to come along because I know more languages than English, and I'm kind of nervous about using French and Japanese, especially French because I haven't talked French properly in maybe three years. Because of that I've brought books in French to read to get into it again, as well as my grammar book. The sort of answers I'm supposed to provide include words that are not in my vocabulary in either French or Japanese. But hopefully everything will work out fine! :)

Good night!

Monday, 25 January 2016

Morning Star, week 3

On Monday I got a ride to work from a colleague for the first time since I started that job in November 2014. Felt pretty amazing to be able to sleep until 3.30am rather than just 2am :) I was still very tired when I got home, though. I wanted to play something, but I didn't have the energy to play Fallout where I would have to actually concentrate, and so I started up a new playthrough of Dragon Age Inquisition instead.

On Tuesday I picked up my new passport. The picture turned out alright, even though I thought I looked tired and haggard and ten years older when I took the picture :P For the rest of the day I played Fallout.

On Wednesday and Thursday I mostly spent the day playing Fallout. We did have our weekly cosy day on Wednesday too. We watched episodes of Heroes Reborn, The Big Bang Theory and Under the Dome.

On Friday and the weekend I worked in the morning all three days and then spent the rest of the days playing Fallout: New Vegas. I'm really getting into it. This weekend I completed the side quests portion of the game, as well as discovered every available location. Now I'm working on the unmarked quests as well as the DLCs before I decide what to do with the main story and complete that. I still love the in-game radio. It was awesome in Fallout 3, and it's awesome in New Vegas as well :)

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Morning Star, week 2

Better late than never.

On Monday I went to work as per usual. Cold as fuck, and snowing like crazy. Snow gets stuck on my coat and my bonnet, so when I arrived at work my clothes were completely white rather than black. Work went well, though. When I got home I watched some Da Vinci's Demons and played some Fallout 3.

No work on Tuesday, but I went over to the police station to have a new passport made. When I got home I watched the last two episodes of the first season of Da Vinci's Demons and then I played some Fallout 3.

Slept in on Wednesday and spent most of the day playing Fallout 3. Toni had the night shift and so I sat up playing, alone, until maybe 3.30am. Oops. :3 We managed to watch the Sherlock special episode before he went on his shift. It was good. I missed Sherlock. Too bad I have to wait another year for the new season :/

Thursday started in tears. I woke up hours ahead of Toni and got on Facebook before I even got out of bed. The first thing I see is the announcement of Alan Rickman's death. Moved from the bed to the living room and cried in the sofa. This was the first celebrity death in recent years that has affected me more than just "oh, that's sad". When Toni got up I had stopped crying and was reading a new book, a short story sci-fi anthology in Swedish called Andra Världar, the first thing he did, though, was ask whether I knew that Alan Rickman was dead. And then I started crying again. I moved from the sofa to the computer and started playing Fallout 3 instead. Get my mind on other things. In the evening we watched the new episodes of The Big Bang Theory and Heroes Reborn.

Friday was work again. Still cold as fuck, but nothing special. Got home and played some more Fallout 3.

Saturday was also work. When I got home I finished my book, Andra Världar, and then I finished Fallout 3 as well. After blogging about Fallout 3 I started up Fallout: New Vegas. One step closer to Fallout 4 :D

Sunday was work and then Fallout: New Vegas. On the way to work I started reading another short story horror anthology by E.F. Benson. I had tried to read this before 1½ years ago, but I couldn't get into it. Now's the time to try again. I went to bed early, as per usual, but this time I could sleep until 3.30am, because for the first time ever I was getting a ride to work with a colleague :)

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Game completed: Fallout 3 + DLCs

I mentioned in my weekly post from last week that I had major problems getting this game to work at all. When I finally managed to start the game I soon realised that I had maybe 20-40 minutes of uninterrupted playtime before the screen would freeze and I'd have to force-quit. To make the game work at all I also had to disable all autosaves and thus F5 became my best friend:
Killed an enemy?
Picked up loot?
Discovered a location?
Before entering a place?
After entering a place?
Before talking to someone?
After having talked to someone?
Walked 20 steps without any interference?
Got a new quest?
Completed quest?
Level up?
Having no idea for how long I'd be able to play this time, and having all autosaves disabled made me slightly paranoid. Sometimes the game would work without a hitch for an hour, maybe two. Then sometimes I could barely play two minutes before the game would freeze. And because of the freezing and force-quitting I tried to squeeze as much playtime as possible into the minutes I had, which meant that I rushed through this game without proper exploration or getting a proper connection to any of the characters.

I gave this game a bad review on Steam, purely for the fact that despite all the amazing *sarcasm* guides about how to get this game to work on Windows 7 it still wouldn't frickin work until Toni provided a random solution (that wasn't mentioned anywhere whatsoever online that I could find) that at least got the game working, but didn't solve the freeze problem.

But despite all the negativity and the rushed way I had to play it, it still managed to grab my attention, and if it wasn't for the freeze thing I may very well have fallen in love with this game, which makes it even more frustrating that my computer specs wouldn't allow me to play it properly (my computer is too modern #firstworldproblems). But since it's Bethesda it was more the DLCs and the random locations and the side quests that caught my attention. It's the same with both Oblivion and Skyrim - all the fluff is better than the main story xD But it took a while so it wasn't until the last few days that the game really grew on me despite the frequent freeze-ups.

I really enjoyed the Point Lookout DLC, mostly because I thought it was cool with Desmond and the Brain. I killed the Brain in the end, because I ended up liking Desmond in some weird way. This DLC also provided my first shock as I approcahed Desmond's mansion and it was blown to pieces! Also getting high as fuck and having the weirdest game experience ever was cool, though it ended sadly by finding mom :( And finding out that it was the ferry man who had been seeling the cultists' pieces of brain! Ew.
 1). Mom in the drug-infused vision. 2). Desmond's mansion blown up. 3). The Brain! 4). The ferryman's jars of brain pieces

But the creepiest part of this DLC was when I got to Blackhall Manor. I entered and was approached by an old man who eventually asked me to recover an old book, an heirloom, that had been stolen from him. I accept and leave the house. Outside I encounter a woman who claims that the book is evil and that he wants to use the rituals inside it to control the native swampfolk, and maybe worse. I go to pick up the book and then I decide to destroy it. To do that I had to go to the Dunwich Building in the Wasteland (rather than in Point Lookout). The evil book was the first clue. The name Dunwich was the second. When I got to the end, a cavern at the end of the tunnels below the building, I found an obelisk. A whispering obelisk that wouldn't shut up. I activated the obelisk and chose to destroy the book. When I activated it again I got a message saying that everyone with the knowledge to investigate this obelisk further either didn't have the means or were dead... Dead investigators. Lovecraft.
 1 & 2). The obelisk. 3). The old man from Blackhall Manor praying at his basement altar. 4). The woman who told us about the book was murdered.

I also loved some parts of Mothership Zeta DLC. Getting abducted by aliens, Sally who's still a little girl but who's been on the ship for 200 years, the random Japanese samurai who only spoke Japanese (this was hilarious because I understood perfectly), the space walk was cool, and the space invader fight in the end was awesome.
 1). Getting abducted. 2). Getting probed. 3). SAMURAI! :D 4). Samurai snuck off alone and this is how I found him.

In the main game one of the most memorable side quests was Oasis, where I found a tree-man named Harold. I liked him, but instead of killing him like he asked I made him grow faster. He approved of that afterwards. All the vaults were of course memorable. No 101 where my char came from, no 112 where I found Dad after a creepy afternoon in Tranquility Lane, no 87 where the Super Mutants originate, no 106 where everyone went crazy after a gas experiment gone awry, no 92 where I picked up Agatha's violin, and no 108 where all survivors are clones of a man named Gary and all they can say is Gary (that was seriously creepy). I also enjoyed the quest in Arefu involving vampires, the quest in Andale involving cannibals, and the quest in Canterbury Commons involving a superhero and a super-villain. The quest in Rivet City with an android who'd run away, changed his face, and wiped his memory was really intersting. And I enjoyed playing the quest called Those! that was so obviously an easter egg in and of itself and a reference to the very old movie Them! that I like.
 1). Harold. 2). Harold's heart in the tunnels underneath the oasis. 3). The super-villain. 4) The superhero.

I didn't like Broken Steel at all tbh, and preferred the ending the way it was, I didn't need the add-on. The Enclave broke up after their base was destroyed and their leader gone. Organisations tend to do that when they don't have a clear leader. Has happened before, will happen again. Why did that require some extra ratification? I felt that Broken Steel was completely unnecessary, but a part of it comes from the fact that I wasn't even allowed to finish it. After the final building has exploded I'm supposed to board a stolen Enclave plane and get back to the Citadel, but every time I activate the plane the game freezes. So I can't finish the quest. I can't use the console to finish the quest, because the DLC is on a different map and so I can't fast-travel from there back to the Wasteland. I'm effectively stuck because of the freezing, and so I haven't finished the absolute last five minutes of the post-game DLC.

There's so much to like about this game, but the constant freezing destroyed so much of the experience.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Morning Star, week 1

Busy, busy week.

On Monday I went to work fully expecting a long day and not being home until 5pm. That wasn't the case and I was home well in time to kiss Toni goodbye before he went to work :P I spent the rest of the day watching the first season of Rederiet (Swedish TV show from the 90s that was immensly popular), reading and playing Fallout 3.

Tuesday was work at the tourist agency and afterwards I spent most of the day reading. I finished Let the Right One In, as well as completed the first season of Rederiet.

Wednesday was once again work and I started readinga new book: Himmelstrand by John Ajvide Lindqvist, the same author who wrote Let the Right One In. When I got home I played some Fallout 3, and then we watched the Doctor Who Christmas Special for our weekly cosy day.

Thursday was work again and then Fallout 3 when I got home, though after dinner I fell asleep in the sofa. Toni woke me up around 7.30pm and then I stayed awake for another 1½ until I went to bed at 9pm. So not used to getting up early every day of the week xD

After work on Friday I got completely lost in my book and finished it the same evening. Afterwards I spent some time online and then went to bed.

Yesterday was my first free day since the 1st, and although I had planned on thoroughly enjoying it there were things I really needed to do. First off was laundry, second I went grocery shopping for today, Sunday and Monday, but when all of that was done I could kick back and play Fallout 3 for the rest of the day. I also watched some episodes from the first season of Da Vinci's Demons. Still not entirely sure about that one.

Today I'm planning on playing for the rest of the day, and then watch another episode of Da Vinci's Demons while having dinner. Good Sunday :)

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Evening Star, week 5

Yes, that's correct. Week 5. And it's been a busy week.

On Monday I was weirdly energetic when I woke up. I felt rested although I had only gotten about 5 hours of sleep as is my norm on Mondays. Got to work and it was a quick day. After work I got on the train to Stockholm instead of back home. Although, it was a quick visit I got to meet Kajsa before she got on her train back up north. Also got to meet her mother for the first time in what I think was 2 years! And it's always a lot of fun. Kajsa and her family have been my second family since I was 11 :) When I got home I made dinner and watched the Christmas specials of Call the Midwife and Historieätarna, as well as 2015's last two episodes of Once Upon a Time.

On Tuesday I got woken up by my boss calling at 9am wondering where I was. Damn it! The schedule changes every month and sometimes every week and I was so certain I had no more hours in 2015. But I did. It was the first time I had messed up like that so she said it was ok, though :) I spent the day reorganizing my book shelf (long overdue), doing the laundry, and watching 2015's last episodes of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals as well as playing some Skyrim.

On Wednesday I went to work and when I got back home I was so tired that I actually went for a nap. Big mistake. Always is. I'm always more tired after a nap than before the nap. After I woke up we cleaned the flat and then I played some Skyrim for the rest of the day :)

Thursday was a big day. New Years! We got out of bed together, but I was done getting ready long before Toni (as usual) and played Skyrim for a few hours, before we went out to have dinner with a friend downtown. After dinner, we all went back to our place and waited for the party to start. The party was a success! Last year we had been about 14-15 people and it got really crowded in our flat. This year we were about 8 people - a lot more manageable. Lots of music, drinks and laughter and when the time was 11.45pm we all went outdoors for fireworks, champagne, and new years kisses & hugs. While we were firing off our fireworks one of our neighbours came out, seemingly on something. He was so happy - laughing, dancing, yelling - that all of us were pulled along with him. It's one of the most memorable moments of the day. Then we went back indoors for more music, drinks and laughter before the party broke up at around 2-2.30am.

I woke up at 11am on Friday unable to sleep any more. Instead I grabbed a new book (Let the Right One In, by John Ajvide Lindqvist in its original Swedish) and sat down to read in the living room, letting Toni sleep some more. After he woke up I went to start up my computer and play some games. I had decided to shelf Skyrim after New Years, and now it was time for my new project - Fallout. I had previously installed Fallout 3 so I fixed my resolution and things in Options, made sure all the DLCs were in the load order and then pressed play. Nothing happened. Frozen black screen. I went through multiple guides, spending more than an hour (maybe two) trying to actually get to the main menu and get the game started at all. I managed for a short while, but then the game started freezing again. This time in-game. I decided to download the Unofficial Fallout Patch from Nexus and get everything working with their mod manager, and for the rest of the evening everything worked perfectly. Yes! (All of this because Fallout 3 isn't optimized for Windows 7...)

Yesterday, Saturday, I went to work again. When I got home I started up Fallout 3, expecting it to work after the Patch, buuuuuuuuuut I was back to frozen black screen not even getting to the main menu. I was ready to give up. I installed Fallout: New Vegas instead and started it up. Then Toni came up with something that he had done on his computer to get Fallout 3 to work and got me to try it. That thing did the trick. Got the game working like a charm. In the evening we went to Toni's parents' place to have dinner with them, his two sisters, and the older sister's family. The eldest daughter had asked me to bring my first two Harry Potter books in Swedish as she wanted to start reading the series. I was happy to. Spreading the Potterverse to the next generation. #PotterItForward Made me really happy that she wanted to read the books tbh. Books have always been a big part of my life, abscence of book shelves in any home is as weird as the absence of a TV screen imho. After we got home I started up Fallout 3 again and it still worked flawlessly :D

Today I got up early for work and when I got home I played some more Fallout 3. I still expect the frozen black screen every time I start it, but as long as the game keeps proving me wrong I'm good. I'm still waiting for a "Wow!" moment in the game, though... Now I'm gonna read for 30min-1 hour and then it's sleepy time. Monday starts at 2am!

Friday, 1 January 2016

My last 5 books: Mass Effect, Dragon Age, BioShock, and Gaiman

In the order I read them - oldest first.

1. BioShock: Rapture, by John Shirley.
The prequel to the game BioShock. While I love the game and always try my best to pick up every single audio log in-game it's hard to get much sense out of the jumbled up audio logs. They aren't found in the right order and the dates keep getting mixed up. So in that sense this book helped a lot to show how things really went down before the game starts up. That said I wasn't extremely fond of this book. It was slow. So slow. And if I hadn't been a fan of the game series and had an intitial interest to find out how things happened, I probably wouldn't have finished it. 

2. Dragon Age: The World of Thedas vol. 1
Game lore galore! Thedas is immensly detailed and I keep finding out things I didn't know before, despite having played Origins 5 times, DA2 3 times and Inquisition another 5 times, there are still things I don't know. This book was amazing!

3. Adventures in the Dream Trade, by Neil Gaiman
I bought Gaiman's Humble Bundle back when. This was the first of the books in the bundle that I decided to read, and for the first time since getting into Gaiman's stuff, I'm not sure if I like it or not. There are some brilliant pieces in there, but they get muddled by all the pieces that aren't. This book is divided into sections. The first sections consist of Introductions, Afterwords and other similar things, and while they are all interesting to read they soon start to flow into each other and create an indecipherable mess. Next section consisted of a few poems. They were cute. They made me smile. I'm not a poetry person so I can't claim to know if they were good or not, but at least they seemed cute to me. The essays that came next were long and for the most part I can't even recall what they were about. The song lyrics section I mostly just skimmed through, because reading lyrics without the music is really weird to me, but I did enjoy the anecdote in the beginning of this section. And then there was the weblog from when American Gods were going to press and it was extremely interesting up until the point where it was mostly a tour journal, and it got repetitive (went there, signed this many, ate this, met people). At the end of this book there were a couple of short stories which were the highlight of the book. I love Gaiman's work, that's usually the rule of thumb. But this book was (hopefully) an odd exception. This book was more a chore than a joy. I'm sorry.

4. Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne, by David Gaider
I read a lot about this book before I read this book. A lot of people claim to understand Loghain better in Origins after having read this book. I don't. I still feel he's a self-satisified idiot who thinks he knows more about the world than he actually does. What bothers me most is that all through this book he talks about the importance of giving someone their word. Eventually he swears an oath to Maric and thereby the Theirin bloodline. So why the hell does he get Cailan, his son, killed, and tries to have Alistair, his bastard, assassinated? The only thing I can think of is lust for power. Loghain has stood in the sidelines watching everyone close to him getting more than he did. Maric got Rowan and the kingdom. Loghain wanted Rowan. Loghain thinks he knows more about being king than Maric. Loghain is an idiot. Mostly this book made me sad. Severan, the bad guy, sends a bard to the rebels to infiltrate and destroy them. In the process this bard falls for Maric who also falls in love with her, which breaks Rowan's heart because she's in love with Maric and they are betrothed. So she goes to Loghain for comfort only to find out that he's in love with her. She dabbles with him once, which breaks Loghain's heart when she breaks it up after the bard dies. Maric's heart is broken by the bard's death and everyone is miserable. Even if they manage to get Ferelden back from the Orlesians by the end, it's a hollow victory because none of them gets to be happy having reached their goal, and it makes me sad.

5. Mass Effect: Revelation, by Drew Karpyshyn
Basically the story of why Anderson and Saren hate each other, why Anderson didn't get to be a Spectre and how Saren came across Sovereign. This book was exciting from page one and it was hard to put down and put out of my mind.

December favourites 2015

December went by so quickly I have to look things up to remember what actually happened this past month. But here's what I came up with:

Books: I read two books in December, but I completed four. Two of them were books I had started months earlier, but hadn't yet finished. I wanted a clean reading sheet for 2016 so I completed everything I had lying around. However, my favourite book from December was Mass Effect: Revelation by Drew Karpyshyn. Out of the three game prequels I've read in 2015, this was the best one.

Music: A few favourite songs this month. Looking through my December playlist on iTunes these are the ones I've listened to the most and actually had in my head for days:
• Avril Lavigne - "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet"

• Disturbed - "The Sound of Silence"

• In This Moment - "Whore"

• Lindsey Stirling - "Roundtable Rival"

• miwa - "Faith"

• Steam Powered Giraffe - "Steamboat Shenanigans"

Games: This month I finished my latest playthrough of the Mass Effect series. I also completed Dragon Age 2 and I got halfway through the prologue of a new playthrough of Dragon Age Inquisition before I realised that I was so done with that game and went on to play Skyrim instead. Despite how much I love Dragon Age and Mass Effect, my favourite game this month has been Skyrim. I feel so at home there it's nuts, and with Steam Workshop and all the mods there I can add new quests as much as I want. I get the feeling I won't be done with Steam until I get an Elder Scrolls VI.

TV shows: This has been a sad month for TV shows. Both America's Next Top Model and Downton Abbey saw their last episodes ever. I've been watching ANTM for 10 years! Seeing it go was sad. I already feel like something will be missing next year when a new season of ANTM won't be available. But despite how much I've loved ANTM, the Downton Abbey Christmas Special was amazing and it steals the spot as favourite show of the month.

Other things: It was Christmas and it was beautiful! It was New Years and it was amazing! Despite a bad cold two weeks before Christmas, December has been a great month! :D