Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Birthday time!

Birthday has come and gone along with all the split celebrations (because living 300 miles from your family tends to split things up a bit). So let's see...

A few days before my birthday I recieved my first gift. It was from Toni and it was Dishonored 2. I was cautiously optimistic. I wanted this game. I had really been looking forward to this game, but canyourunit.com insisted that my video card wasn't good enough to run it. But I tried and it worked. Admittedly, the game automatically set my video settings to low, but so did Skyrim SE and that still worked without hiccups after I raised it to high. I haven't experimented with that yet on Dishonored since I wanted to try it out first. I'm hilariously bad at stealth in most games though. I'm the player that always tries for stealth but ends up with chaos. This far I like it. I've been putting off playing more, though. Partly because I want to complete Skyrim SE, and partly because I don't want it to be finished.

On my birthday I was away all day. First I had a job interview in Stockholm (which went surprisingly bad) and then work, so I wasn't home until 10.30pm. When I got home Toni had prepared cake, flowers, and chocolate, and also scrubbed the whole place from top to bottom :D I had asked for the cake so I was expecting that. Everything else was a surprise and I really liked it. Although I was extremely tired after my long day so my reaction wasn't as energetically happy as Toni expected. I was very happy with it, though!

On the 18th, two days after my birthday, we went to see Fantastic Beasts. Toni met me at work where I finished at 5pm and then we went for dinner at an Asian buffet restaurant. Afterwards we bought lots of sweets and then went to the cinema. I was very excited to see the movie and I was also really happy to point out all the House scarves and wands among the people there. Did get a few funny looks, though. Don't know why. Showing off my House, my wand and my Deathly Hallows tattoo maybe was a bit much for some people. The movie was amazing, though, and I really want to see it again!

On the weekend we had hoped for a birthday party with friends, but turned out we had bad timing. Despite the fact that we had prepared people two weeks in advance for this, they still had other plans or no money. Toni was probably more upset about it than me. I'm used to it. Mostly because the second half of November is a notoriously bad time for birthday parties because everyone is wrapped up in work, or buying Christmas presents, or having no money left because it's the last money from the previous salary. We had a little movie night on our own instead watching the Lego Batman movie from 2013.

This past weekend I went home to my parents to celebrate my birthday with my family. They always ask me to give them lists so they know what to get me. But, apparantly, I was very difficult this year. I know that the things I wanted were all available online, but my entire family (except for my 70+ y/o grandparents) have some kind of aversion to shopping online. They couldn't find a lot of the things in shops and so I had to do without. That's ok. Coming up with things is always hard, but they keep asking me for lists ;P Another funny thing is that I usually ask for books in English if that's their original language. I want to read the book in the tone set by the author and it very rarely translates well. But I got the books in Swedish instead, because they are more readily available in shops. It sounds like I'm complaining, but I'm not. I appreciate what they got me. So here we go:
Maze Runner books 2 and 3 in Swedish. I read the first one in Swedish so might as well continue.
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. I've seen this in English every single day for months in Pocket Shop, yet got it in Swedish, because they couldn't find it in English. I've wanted to read it for a while now, so I hope the translation is good!
A Thousand Miles to Freedom, by Eunsun Kim. Autobiography of a North Korean girl and her flight from there. Got it in Swedish, but I also asked for it in Swedish.
The Ice Twins, by SK Tremayne. A thriller that probably was one of the easier things to find. It's more in line with what most people read. I thought it sounded interesting so I wanted it :P Asked for it in Swedish.
Kallocain, by Karin Boye. A Swedish classic. I tried to read it once when I was about 14, but didn't manage. I'm still interested in the general plot of the book and I hope I'm better equipped to read it now at 26 :)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Original Screenplay, by JK Rowling. Saw the movie. Got the script. This is the one gift I was the most excited about getting, and also the one I was the least sure about getting since it was released only a week ago.
The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. In Swedish. A blogger I follow has been completely obsessed with this book for a large portion of this year and so I became curious about it.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by JK Rowling and Jim Kay. The illustrated version. In Swedish. This is probably the book I mind the least about getting in Swedish. After all, I read the books in Swedish growing up so that translation is very dear to me, although I do think the original language is better.
Odinsbarn, by Siri Pettersen. In Swedish, but that's what I asked for. Been curious about this series for about a year now, so now I'm excited to find out how it is!
Sid Meier's Civilization VI for PC. I liked Civ V, so now I'm gonna play Civ VI :)
Crimson Peak on Blu-Ray. Saw it at the cinema last year. Loved it :)

And that's all my birthday stuff for this year :) It's been a good year, all in all ^^

Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Harry Potter love is back!

The past week (+ a few days) have been very Harry Potter-centered for me. It started on Sunday 13th of November when I bought the special edition magazine for Fantastic Beasts. It's published by Aftonbladet which is an evening paper and half of their articles feel like "I'm 16 years old and I'm studying high school journalism". But generally I liked reading the magazine. Some of the things felt weird because I haven't dealt with a Swedish translation of anything Harry Potter related for over 10 years. Of course I discovered faults in the text. The whole "Things you didn't know about Harry Potter" failed to provide things I didn't know, as per usual. I've been doing this since 1999. Try giving me some material I haven't already found! ;) But towards the end, came most things that bothered me. First was the whole discussion why Rowling didn't out Dumbledore in the books. Because she wrote the story almost 20 years ago! If she had had an openly gay character in a childrens book during the 90s all hell would've broken loose. It wouldn't have become as popular as it is today, even more publishers wouldn't have wanted to touch it and if they did it would probably be banned in a whole lot of places. Society's view of inclusion of homosexuals have changed a lot in the last 20 years. So that's why. Now deal with it. The second part was basically dealing with why there weren't more muggle technology interested wizards in Harry Potter. Mostly because, as Rowling has explained on Twitter, electronics surrounded by magic tend to form their own mind. Like the Weasleys's Ford Anglia. Basically: technology + magic = AI. And then the girl writing the article went on about internet and mobiles, and I'm just sighing. The books take place in 1991-1998. Internet wasn't even half as mainstream as it is today back then, and not everybody had mobile phones. The fact that Dudley has a computer in 1991 is kind of amazing. Home computers weren't all that common back in the early 90s. Do you see how this whole technology discussion is moot? So some of the articles made me exasperated, which happens a lot lately because people tend to forget that times change and 20 years back the world was a very different place. But mostly the magazine was either very interesting or made me smile in all the right places, and left a huge feeling of nostalgia. Which I filled by using my Harry Potter colouring books ^^;

Then on the 18th we went to see Fantastic Beasts :D I dressed up ofc, with a Ravenclaw t-shirt and my Ravenclaw diadem, and my wand in my boot. The movie was amazing! I was originally quite sceptical to both Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts. But Cursed Child was really good and after I saw the trailer of Fantastic Beasts where they used a snippet of Hedwig's Theme I became a lot more excited for it. In the end I looked forward to Fantastic Beasts a lot more than I did the other Potter movies. Mainly because the Potter movies were based on the books and there were always so many things changed or wrong that it bugged me. With Fantastic Beasts I had nothing to compare to, and it was amazing! Absolutely wonderful! We're thinking of seeing it again :P

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

My last 5 books: Fifty Shades of King (and some vampires on the side)

1. The Decided Ones, by Laura Hrastar. I picked this book up ages ago. What mostly interested me about it was that it was a vampire novel set in my home town of Malmö. And on top of that written by an American. It was so out of the ordinary urban fantasy bubble that's usually in America or the UK or if it's in Sweden it's mostly in and around Stockholm or even further north. Having something set in surroundings that I'm 100% familiar with was a novelty. And while it was really cool having the characters go to all these places that I know, the book itself was unfortunately not very good. It started off in the generic way: young woman who's sort of isolated in her job and who likes to read books, meets very attractive young man. Attractive young man turns out to be a vampire. Here's when I first started to dislike the book. When she found out about his nature her reaction was completely sub-par. Summed up it was basically a shrug, telling him she's ok with it and then moving on. Like, this is the real world - aren't you gonna be at least a little bit surprised by the fact that vampires exist?! Then we go on to the danger surrounding this guy because he's a vampire and she isn't and it's dangerous for her to be with him but they still want to be together bla bla bla. Can I please have a vampire novel with realistic reactions and something that hasn't been done before? Then we get to the end where she inevitably and expectingly becomes a vampire, but for some reason she gets webbing between her fingers for swimming as a vampire. Luckily, that was the end of the book, which was good because I was so done. I gave it two stars on Goodreads mainly because of the setting.

2. The Dark Half, by Stephen King. As a teen I read several of King's books and really enjoyed them, so I was excited to read them as an adult and find out if I still liked his stories. This one was alright. I expected horror going in, but this book was more of a murder-mystery with a supernatural twist. I wasn't a huge fan of it in general, but it was one of those books that I just couldn't put down so I finished it quite quickly. Despite not being my general cup of tea the story pulled me in and I wanted to find out what would happen next. But there was no true ending! That bugged me for weeks afterwards. So they defeat the bad guy with some supernatural help. But throughout the book there's talk of supernatural things always having their price, so when is Thad going to have to pay the price? What is the price? Also, the ending definitely doesn't explain if and how Thad got out of being the prime suspect in a murder investigation. Congratulations you disposed of the real murderer - a man no one believed existed. How is this going to help Thad save his future and not end up in prison for life?! The word of one single smalltown police man probably isn't good enough for the FBI tbh. So why are we all so happy when nothing is resolved?!

3. The Bachman Books, by Stephen King. Reading lots of King now. This was a compilation of three of the five books he wrote under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman. The Long Walk, Roadwork, and The Running Man. I really enjoyed The Long Walk. When I was reading that part I just couldn't put the book down. It was a really simple story essentially, but it was also amazing. 100 boys participating in the ultimate competition in a dystopian future. The ultimate competition being a 450-mile marathon, where if you drop down under a speed of 4 m/h for 30 seconds you get a warning. Three warnings and you're unceremoniously shot and out of the competition (and life). This story was a sort of psychological thriller, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And then came the fact that once again there was no true ending. Ofc the main character is the last man standing (no surprise there), but at the end he just runs off. Does he die? Is he caught and later dies? Is he caught and rehabilitated and somehow survives the ordeal? No idea. I was so annoyed at the no-true-ending trope that King seemed to be having that I didn't pick the book up again for several days. Then came Roadwork, which was hilariously bad. I guess it was supposed to be psychological, but to me all it was was reading about a man who slowly ruined his life and then killed himself. Thoroughly boring and thoroughly depressing. At least it had a true ending. Gold star for effort. Finally there was The Running Man, which I had read before, but that was about ten years ago and the only mental picture I had left from the story was of the main character's guts hanging out of his stomach and getting stuck on debris. The Running Man has some similarities to The Long Walk in that they were both set in dystopian futures and the main character enrolls in a gruelling competition that means either death or fame. The Running Man was the first book in my King marathon where I actually liked the main character; resourceful, cunning, glib, and completely defiant of authority. This book was a sort of action thriller, which I really enjoyed re-reading (and that scene with the guts was still as gross as I remembered it). What struck me twice during the read of The Bachman Books was that both The Long Walk and The Running Man were sort of Hunger Games where ordinary people from outside the game savoured the savagery and cheered when people died or were injured. Hunger Games made the dystopian game show into a YA thing and mainstream, but it was far from the first novel to toy with the idea.

4. Insomnia, by Stephen King. This book took me forever to read, mainly because it was so boring. When I realised that the main character was in his 70s I originally thought it would be really cool and interesting to have a main character who wasn't young or young-ish. Instead the book was a chore. Halfway through nothing seemingly important had happened, and it wasn't until I had read about two-thirds of it that things started to get underway, and what King had done then was allowing the supernatural powers the main character had recieved to regress his age. Suddenly he was 20 years younger in body and spirit, and if that's the case it doesn't matter if he's really 70, because he isn't really anymore. Things started to get underway after two-thirds but it was still slow going. Not much action, and even when there was King described it in a way that took all the excitement out of it. Something action-y and exciting happening right now? Let me make this character sentimental for something that happened 40-60 years ago and describe it in detail, because this is what he's thinking during the split second this thing happens. Completely took all the excitement out of it. Maybe it's realistic, I don't know, but it wasn't entertaining to read. Extra credit for the plot twist in the end that I didn't see coming. And a gold star for a true ending. But the overall grade is poor. When I had finished reading it I was actually glad to put it back in my shelf and it probably won't stay there for long.

5. Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy, by E.L. James. Yes. I did it. I read the whole trilogy. I bought it as an eBook in August last year, mainly because I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about but I also didn't think it deserved to be a "real" book and I most definitely did not want to let people know I was reading it on the train or while waiting for the bus. I read the first few pages when I first bought it, but then I didn't pick it up again until about 6-8 months later. Since this Spring I've been reading it on and off when I have nothing better to do - waiting for the bus, waiting for work to start, can't sleep... Things like that. And I finally finished it yesterday evening. I don't really know how to review this book. If I review it as a novel then it's utter trash. Entertaining trash, but still trash. If I review it as the fanfiction it is, then it's really well-written fanfiction. Mainly because there's a lot of fanfiction out there that makes me wonder if the writer stopped attending school at age 10. Throughout reading it I had the same relationship with it like I do with fanfiction. It's easy entertainment. Something to do when I have nothing better to do, or when I'm too tired to do something worthwhile. I understand how it became mainstream, I really do. Nothing about Fifty Shades, and I mean absolutely nothing, is unique from a fanfiction point of view. All of it has been done before and I can point out several Harry Potter smut fics with the same story if you want me to. But this type of sex and relationship in a mainstream novel? Oh-la-la! That's a novelty! I'm not getting on the hype train for this series, it isn't amazing. You know what this is? It's a modern Harlequin novel that has enticed young people because of the elegance of the characters' world and the forbidden-ness that this book's BDSM-inspired (but not really BDSM) sex represents. But basically it's an old lady book. Don't get me wrong I've laughed along to this book a lot. Ana's subconscious and her inner goddess were hilarious as well as the email banter, but what really kept me coming back for more was Christian. That's basically the only thing I thought was well-done in this story; how Christian evolves as a character. In the entirety of the first book he's this bastard asshole stalky freak billionaire. Then, in the other two books, we get to know about his past and slowly, slowly in baby-steps he learns to come out of his shell, learns to be vulnerable, learns to trust, accepts that he actually is unconditionally loved despite his flaws, and slowly learns to love and accept himself and that's beautiful. So yes, I admit I liked this trilogy of books. I enjoyed it. But in no way do I think it's deserving of all the attention it gets.

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Not a lot of positivity there.
Still waiting for the horror part, King! Can you show me how you became known as the Master of Horror?

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

American election 2016

I can't really form any coherent thoughts of the American electoral results. I stayed up until 4 am watching the election. It was 4 am here, but about 10pm in D.C. when I gave up. At that time they hadn't even completed the counting in Florida and all I knew was that it was crazy even in most states. But for the most part it seemed that Trump had a slight lead everywhere. I went to bed suspecting Trump would win, but hoping against hope that he wouldn't. Woke up to what I suspected. Trump had won.

Fun thing is that I suspected this way before. Years before. Not that it would be Trump specifically, but that it would be a Republican in the White House next. Because for as long as I've been alive that's basically been the case: Republican - Democrat - Republican - Democrat - Republican. Bush - Clinton - Bush - Obama - Trump. That's the entire presidency of my life so far.

But despite knowing on some level that Trump would win, my feelings about it are all over the place. I'm not American, I've never even been there, so I'm watching it unfold from afar and a part of me is feeling grateful and lucky that I'm not American and won't have to deal with the fallout of this election as directly. Another part of me is terrified because the thins the President does have repercussions in the whole world.

One of my acquaintances on Facebook said today that "No matter what people say Democracy won tonight". My spontaneous immediate thought was: "Well, both Caesar and Hitler were also democratically elected." It's always been the biggest fault of democracy - that it can unknowingly make way for dictatorship. But it's a risk we have to take, because it's the best system we've got.

If we're lucky maybe Trump won't prove so bad. If we're lucky.
What the hell's going on? Have you gone undercover? You were here, now you're not. Been replaced by another. Cause it's still your face, but there's something strange. Not the one I remember. Can you please explain. Did they wipe your brain? Is this gonna be forever? Cause everything you say, everything you do is freaking me out, freaking me out. You know we used to be the same. Who the hell are you? Freaking me out, freaking me out. And I swear I thought I knew you, but all that was yesterday. And now you turn it around, what's that about? Cause you're freaking me out, freaking me out. Think you're real, but you're fake. Think you're deep, but you're shallow. You've become what you hate. Now you're lost. Just a shadow. So we pull your strings cause it makes no sense that you act like you're better. You can say these things to your so-called friends and they might just think you're clever. But everything you say, everything you do is freaking me out, freaking me out. You know we used to be the same. Who the hell are you? Freaking me out, freaking me out. And I swear I thought I knew you, but all that was yesterday. And now you turn it around, what's that about? Cause you're freaking me out, freaking me out. Wake up, wake up, wake up. Snap out of it. Wake up, wake up, wake up. Snap out of it. Wake up, wake up, wake up. Everything you say, everything you do is freaking me out, freaking me out. You know we used to be the same. Who the hell are you? Freaking me out, freaking me out. And I swear I thought I knew you, but all that was yesterday. And now everything you say, everything you do is freaking me out, freaking me out. Why d'you play your games? Who are you trying to fool? Freaking me out, freaking me out. And I swear I thought I knew you, but all that was yesterday. And now you turn it around, what's that about? Cause you're freaking me out, freaking me out.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Fallout 4 DLCs: Contraptions, Vault-Tec, and Nuka World

Next game on my list was the last DLCs for Fallout 4. Like I said in my last Fallout post; I'm not a fan of the settlement thing, but I want the achievements.

Contraptions Workshop
This DLC had three achievements. The first one was to assign a settler to a pillory. Easily done since I already had the materials. Put it in Sanctuary and assigned Mama Murphy to it - she wasn't doing anything productive anyway. Next one was to display a weapon, an armor and a power armor on their respective racks. Easily done. Just built each rack and then put some random stuff on them. Then I had to produce 100 objects from my builders. This was the most tedious one, but it was over pretty quickly. I chose Starlight Drive-In for the builder. Then I produced 20 Teddy Bears, 20 Jangles the Moon Monkey, 20 Toy Aliens, 20 Toy Cars, and 20 Giddy-Up Buttercup. Done. Let's move on.


Vault-Tec Workshop
I originally thought this would be like any other wkorshop DLC - build a bunch of stuff. I was  looking forward a bit more to this than the other workshop DLCs. Primarily because I thought it would be like Fallout Shelter, but incorporated into Fallout 4. I was wrong, though. Vault-Tec Workshop wasn't just about building stuff, it had a complete little quest line, along with its three achis. The quest was unlocked when I listened to the radio broadcast from Vault 88. I went down there and found a half-finished Vault. They hadn't had time to finish it before the bombs fell. In the Vault I found a bunch of feral ghouls along with one ordinary ghoul - a woman who would've been Overseer if the Vault had been completed. She tasked me with doing different things. First off was to clear out the feral ghouls after it became clear to her that they were vicious towards humans. Then I was to build a settlement broadcast to make settlers come. While we waited for the settlers I was allowed to explore the rest of the would-be Vault and unlock the rest of the workshops. I explored every inch of the place and unlocked all the workshops (Ding! Achi!). Then the settlers arrived and I was tasked with equipping one of them with a vault-suit and a pip-boy (Ding! Achi!). A settler named Clem became the unfortunate victim of the Overseer for her Vault-Tec experiments.
She tasked me with everything, but I undermined every single one of her experiments by making them pleasurable for the settlers. Despite all my efforts one of the settlers had enough and left. Then in the end I convinced the Overseer to leave the Vault and make me Overseer (Ding! Achi!). But I felt bad releasing the Overseer to the Commonwealth and so I shot her, which surprisingly made the few new Vault-dwellers hostile towards me and so I had to kill them too :P Just one more empty and failed Vault.


Nuka-World
This was the main event. I answered the radio broadcast and went to the transit terminal to Nuka-World. I disposed of a few raiders and then got on the train to Nuka-World. As soon as I entered the park the game tried to have me killed. The raiders at the park had set up some sort of trial they called the Gauntlet. Turrets, traps, rabid animals, and feral ghouls deluxe! I managed to get through after a stubborn over-usage of stimpaks. Then I was pitted against the current Overboss in a rigged battle that (with some help) I got through with a squirt gun xD So I became the new Overboss of the place and the three gangs of raiders living there.
Next job was to clear the other areas of the park from creatures and give out the new territories to the gangs. In the meantime I ran jobs for the raiders in the Commonwealth (which accidentally ended with me making a graveyard out of Goodneighbor). Then came the time to establish the groups of raiders in the Commonwealth. Since I had taken all the settlements before this became an issue of me driving my own settlers from their lands so that my new raiders could go there. After 12 jobs and 8 settlements I got the two corresponding achis and moved on with the story. The least favoured group of raiders had turned on me, and I now had to "deal with them". Meaning I had to kill them all. I did and got the power turned on for all of Nuka-World. Beautiful! And that was the quest line.
I had assigned one settlement to the group that betrayed me and so I had to go there and kill them off. Unfortunately that quest is bugged and can't be completed :( But it didn't bother me much. I had two achis left at the end of this. First one was to kill 40 Nuka-World exclusive creatures while under the effect of a Nuka-World exclusive Nuka-Cola mix. I ran around the entire world looking for DLC exclusive creatures, but since this area for some reason doesn't respawn I resorted to console commands and spawned 40 bloodworms and just killed all of them. The other one was to redeem 100,000 ticket at the Nuka-Cade. I did try to do this one honestly. I had picked up every ticket I had found in the world and even played several rounds of the arcade games in the Nuka-Cade. Still I was only at abour 11k at that point. I refused to play several hours more just to grind tickets and so I once again resorted to console commands to get all the way to 100,000.


And then that was it. Fallout 4 is 100% completed. I almost feel a little sad.

October favourites 2016

Books: I only managed one and a half books in October. Tbf both of them have over 900 pages, so I'm cutting myself some slack. The one I'm currently reading is mind-numbingly dull, and so I have to say the other one, though that one's hardly a favourite either.

Music: I haven't listened to much music this month. But here are a few songs that I remember:
• Alice Cooper - "Wicked Young Man" & "Salvation"

• Nightwish - "Crownless" & Within Temptation - "The Heart of Everything"

• Morning Musume - "I WISH" & Buono! - "Rock no Kamisama"

• Hollywood Vampires - "School's Out/Another Brick in the Wall" & Marilyn Manson - "The Gardener"


Games: This month I've played Dragon Age Inquisition, Elder Scrolls Online, Fallout 4 and Skyrim Special Edition. Out of those I'm going with ESO, just because I had so much fun during my last turn there.

TV shows: So many shows. I'm watching all the current ones: The Big Bang Theory, The Walking Dead, Westworld, Agents of Shield, Fear the Walking Dead, Grey's Anatomy, Once Upon a Time, and The Vampire Diaries. On top of that I've also watched some X-Files, and the latest season of a Swedish reality show about Americans coming to Sweden to find their Swedish roots and compete to meet their living relatives. Out of all of those shows I'm currently the most excited about X-Files.

Other: Nothing much has happened this month. Most exciting things I guess were the Fantastic Beasts live event, and the temporary Harry Potter shop at the central station in Stockholm.