Friday, 30 December 2016

My last 5 books: Gaiman and King

1. Angels and Visitations: A Miscellany, by Neil Gaiman. This is basically a short story collection. There are a few other things in there as well, but mostly a short story collection. I've read most of them before in other collections, and just as before I love the general Neil Gaiman weirdness of it all. My favourites in this collection are the short stories We Can Get Them For You Wholesale, and Babycakes. But his drunken experiment was also fun to read. Wholesale is about a man who wants to hire and assassin to kill his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend, but he's pulled in by the bargains the assassin offers and ends up ordering something much larger than a petty murder. Babycakes is almost a poem and it's very short. It tells of how one day all the animals were gone, and instead of using animals for everything that we do, people started using babies, until suddenly, one day all the babies were gone... It's totally morbid, but it gives me chills and I love it.

2. An Honest Answer and Other Stories, by Neil Gaiman. This is three comics. The first one is called
An Honest Answer and is actually quite funny. Gaiman gives an honest answer to the question writers get asked the most: Where do you get all your ideas? And it's hilarious because I can relate. The second one is called Villanelle and it's so short that I honestly can't remember what it's about, but it looks so cool. The third one is called From Homogenous to Honey, and it's scary. Not scary as in horror, but scary as in how true it is. An Honest Answer made me laugh, Homogenous to Honey gave me the creeps. All in all this was a good read.

3. Sweeney Todd and Other Stories, by Neil Gaiman. This is an unfinished graphic novel, which was included in Gaiman's 2015 Humble Bundle. I love the Sweeney Todd legend almost as much as the Jack the Ripper legend. This could've been something very interesting and really good if it had been finished, but in it's current state it's very bland and it has an extremely sudden end. This combination gives it a very low score to me. There is potential, but reading it was kind of boring.

4. Being and Account of the Life and Death of the Emperor Heliogabolous, by Neil Gaiman. This
comic also came from Gaiman's 2015 Humble Bundle. It was entertaining, but at the same time I got the feeling that it was very amateur-ish. It tells the tale of a Roman emperor that no one really hears of anymore, and all the shit he got up to. Entertaining but bland.

5. It, by Stephen King. This is the best King I've read this far in my King marathon. I haven't read It before. I put it off because I'm scared of clowns and because it's so frickin huge. But I decided now that it was time. And it was good. It's slow going, but instead of being boring this slow going just builds tension and I just need to know what happens next. The book doesn't leave my mind and the characters stay with me. And strangely enough, since both books take place in Derry, I kept thinking that Ralph and Lois from Insomnia was somewhere there when all these things happened in It. I didn't even like Insomnia. I was a little bit disappointed by the final form of Pennywise though. I felt like, really? you couldn't think of something better than that? I was surprised that not more of the kids died. I thought it would just be Beverly and Ben left in the end. Richie annoyed me to no end, and I wanted to shoot Eddie's mother. Otherwise I don't really have any complaints :P

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Christmas 2016

It's been a busy Christmas.

December 24th is the big day in Sweden. This year we had decided to celebrate with Toni's family. So around 2pm his parents picked us up so we could go together to his sister's family. They got a puppy this summer and he was the centre of attention, a place which the youngest daughter fought for the whole evening :P She was hyperactive, impatiently waiting for the time when we would open all the gifts from under the tree. At 3pm we were all seated in the living room watching Donald Duck on the TV. Been a tradition in Sweden for over 50 years, maybe even 60, I don't remember. An hour later we just sat around talking until it was dinner time.  Swedish Christmas food is mostly an assortment of meat. There are regional additions to the table, but the Christmas Ham is always the main feature and on every table all over the country. After dinner we opened the presents. I never expect anything when I celebrate with Toni's family, much the same way as I don't think he expects anything when we're with my family, but the few times I've been there I've always recieved something. This time it was a black velour set of pants and cardigan, and together we also recieved a set of tea cups and saucers. When everything was opened and we had talked some more, we decided it was time to go home. Before we left the car to go inside Toni's mother offered to drive me to the train station the morning after, which I really appreciated and readily accepted. Getting a ride would mean one more hour of sleep.

On December 25th I got up at 7.30am and at 8.15am Toni's mum picked us up. I was getting on the train to Malmö, and Toni was going to the Christmas sale. The train took a little over 4 hours and I spent most of the time sleeping. I arrived in Malmö completely starving so I bought a little something to eat so I'd survive until dinner. Then I got on the bus. During the bus ride I caught two Pikachus wearing Santa hats :P
I arrived at my parents' at about 2.15pm and put my gifts in the pile under the tree. One after the other my grandparents, my sister and her boyfriend arrived and then, to get as close to the real day as possible, we put on a Mickey Mouse DVD that my sister had brought. Toni always jokes about how much we eat at Christmas, and this is where it starts. During the TV hour there's ginger bread and mulled wine. About 5pm we start our Christmas dinner. Which is first a Christmas platter (with a little something of each from the traditional Christmas table) as starter, then lutfisk for main course, and then rice pudding with fruit sauce as dessert. After dinner it's time to open the presents and my sister, who insists we have a Santa, dresses up and hands them out. When all the presents are opened my parents start taking out the Christmas sweets and after a few more hours everyone decides it's time to go home. I spent the early night finishing my book.

December 26th is usually spent playing board games. As usual we played Mah Jong and Svea Rike, but also a new game that my sister had bought for my parents. In the evening I was originally to meet up with my high school friends. First time we weould all be together for about 4 years, but there was a teeny tiny problem in the shape of a hurricane. All trains cancelled, and buses barely going, people being advised to stay indoors... My mother told me I couldn't go. Felt a little like being a teenager again, but tbh I wasn't really looking forward to the prospect of maybe being stranded in the city because of the storm. Instead we played more Mah Jong. In the evening we half-watched Miss Congeniality 1 and 2 on TV while reading new books. And before bedtime I watched the season finale of season 6 of X-files.

December 27th went a lot like 26th, except there was less wind. After another day full of board games we watched the documentary about Ingrid Bergman, while reading, and before bedtime I watched a horror movie from the 1960s called Black Sunday.
December 28th was going home day. I woke up at noon, showered and started packing my things. My parents drove me to the train station and I just had time to buy snacks and a salad for dinner before getting on my train. I spent the 4 hours reading. After I had unpacked I started playing Skyrim SE and played it for the rest of the evening.
Merry Christmas.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Elder Scrolls Online: New Life Festival + Shadows of the Hist DLC

Two weeks ago I started playing ESO again, this time because I knew the New Years event would come around soon. It started last Monday and it's been the most fun yet. Unlike the Halloween event it wasn't exactly grindy.
You bought a free scroll from the Crown Store, which gave you a quest to seek out Breda in Eastmarch, Skyrim. She was a scholar on the New Life celebrations of Tamriel and also the start of  a questline of nine quests. Those quests were hilarious. Much like the Halloween event you got containers as quest rewards (this time looking like little Christmas presents) and these containers contained (lol), among other things, parts of the new Skinchanger motif, new recipes, and collectables. The entire questline was daily so you could complete it once a day, which became necessary to collect all the parts of the Skinchanger style and the recipes and collectables.
But let's start from the beginning. The day the festival started it was insane. Because Breda was stationed in one place and couldn't be summoned anywhere you wanted like the Witchmother in Halloween, her immediate area became extremely crowded. I read in the online chats that lots of people couldn't even go there with their toons without the game crashing on them or them getting unplayable lag. I had no issues, though, so I happily started playing the festival as soon as it begun.

The nine quests consisted in the PC getting to participate in the different kinds of celebrations for each race of the continent.
• Nords: Snow Bear Plunge. Cannonball into freezing water and then warm yourself by the fire close by. To get the achi; cannonball naked.
• Dunmer: Lava Stomp. Go to several taverns in Stonefalls and participate in the dancing.
• Argonian: Go fishing. Three different kinds of fish. To get the achi; catch five of each.
• Khajiit: Pick Three different leveled chests and bring the contents to the woman nearby.
• Bosmer: Mudball Merriment. Throw mudballs at 10 different people, and when you're done throw one mudball at one of the ambassadors of their Alliances. To get the achi; throw mudballs at Queen Ayrenn, Jorunn Skald-King, and High-King Emeric.
• Altmer: Help their temple with either donations or by killing the encroaching wildlife. To get the achi; do both.
• Orsimer: Help prepare a feast by hunting for meat and honey. Eat the food and then show your appreciation by putting your soiled napkin on display. To get the achi; Learn how to make Betnikh Twice-Spiked Ale and then drink one after your fest.
• Breton: Perform at several locations around a castle; juggling with knives, sword-swallowing, and fire-breathing.
• Redguard: Participate in a race and light signal fires along the way. To get the achi; do this in less than 35 seconds.

I loved throwing mudballs at people (you can even throw them at other players!), doing the cannonball into water and the fire-breathing, also the fishing was hilarious when there were so many people doing it at the same time.
I completed all the achis this Sunday night/Monday morning, so it basically took me a week. But the event is on until January 4th, so I could keep doing this just for the lolz. And throwing mudballs at other players may become a general thing to do in ESO - it's that popular!

I also recently, finally, managed to play through Shadows of the Hist DLC. It was a DLC consisting of two slightly tougher group dungeons. Ruins of Mazzatun has a main quest that has you saving enslaved Argonians from another group of Argonians who've been influenced by a corrupted Hist. Cradle of Shadows is full of Mephala worshippers... So spiders deluxe! That quest is a bit simpler. Just kill her followers and clear the place out. Ruins of Mazzatun is by far my favourite of the two. Now all that's left is doing these two in hard mode :P
End boss in Cradle of Shadows. So ugly OwO

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Watching old, old movies part 5

It's taken me longer this time. Mostly because the movies have seemed boring to me. Nothing to really look forward to. But on the other hand it did take me forever to actually sit down and watch Les Yeux Sans Visage and that movie was awesome :)

(Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4)

13. Island of Lost Souls (1932)
This one was weird, and I don't think it would work today. A scientist is making experiments upon animals at an island. His goal is to push evolution to go faster during his experiments. These evolution experiments turn animals into people (what?), but after a while they always start to regress into animals; physically and mentally. After a completely unbelieavable plot the animal-people turn on the scientist and kill him. Why it wouldn't work today? Firstly, why would evolution cause animals to turn into people? Why wouldn't they become something else? As if mankind is the pinnacle of evolution. Secondly, it's so friggin 1930's that all the people the animals turn into are white. Everything about white people are mutations. White skin, blue eyes, fair hair... All of it are mutations. Evolution, sure, but still mutations. If the animals turned into people those people would logically be black, since that's where we started as people and that's where they would start as people. Thirdly, they have no idea how DNA works. When was DNA even discovered? *googles* "DNA was first isolated in 1869. It's molecular structure was identified in 1953." So basically they have no idea. This movie hasn't aged well, because the science doesn't hold up. If this movie were to be re-made I think they'd have to set the premise in an alternate universe or maybe even in a fantasy or sci-fi world. It wouldn't work in the real world. Bela Lugosi had a minor role in it, so that made it so very slightly better.

14. Peeping Tom (1960)
A man who was abused in childhood by his photographer father, is now a photographer himself. He's obsessed with expressions of fear and thus goes around killing women in slow ways so as to have time to capture their final horrific expressions on film. Ironically his hobby is revealed by his blind soon-to-be mother-in-law. And that's it. That's the whole movie. I guess that from a psychological stand-point this movie was very interesting and I know it caused an outrage when it was released, but to me it was very boring (probably because this psychological view point has been done over and over again in fiction). I kept tapping the screen to see how much was left, and that's always a bad sign. The main character was played by a German actor (Karlheinz Böhm) and his accent was very noticeable, but they explained it in-movie as a kind of pathological speech-pattern in relation to the abuse he suffered as a child. The only thing I actually enjoyed watching was when the actress, who was going to be his next victim, was dancing around warming-up for a scene.

15. The Haunting (1963)
I haven't seen the 1999 remake in years, but I remember that I really liked it. I was hoping I'd like this one too. But just as was the way with Hill House, they couldn't just let a haunted house be haunted. They had to rationalise it and explain it, and thereby completely ruin it. This time it was explained with the main character losing her mind. I liked the characters (I can see why they cast as they did in 1999) and I liked the premise, the setting, and the storytelling. This movie would have been amazing if they could just have let the haunted house be haunted. Honestly smh.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

November favourites 2016

Books: I read 3 ½ books in November, which is kind of good considering that two of the books were 900 pages, one was a really short e-book, and the half one was another huge book of over 1000 pages that I haven't completed yet. Although, right now the book I haven't finished is the most promising one out of the four, I'll choose from those I did complete, and from those Angels & Visitations was the best one. Hands down. Go Gaiman! :D

Music: When November started I filled my iPod with bands I have less than 10 songs by, and then I mostly listened to Spotify on my phone anyway. I discovered a bunch of new bands (I've heard the names of most of them before but never really listened to them): Silent Elegy, Dark Sarah, Xandria, Amberian Dawn, and Eluveitie.
• Area 11 - "Shi no Barado" & Gyaruru - "Boom Boom Meccha Maccho!"

• Silent Elegy - "Valkyrie" & "Never Meet Again"

• Eluveitie - "Call of the Mountains" & "A Rose for Epona"

• Dark Sarah - "Save Me" & "Memories Fall"

• Xandria - "Nightfall" & Amberian Dawn - "Magic Forest"

Games: This month I've played Fallout 4, Assassin's Creed, Baldur's Gate, Dishonored 2, ESO and Skyrim SE. Best game, I think has to go to Dishonored 2, although I haven't played much of it yet.

TV shows: This month it's been The X-Files, Grey's Anatomy, The Vampire Diaries, Once Upon a Time, Westworld, The Walking Dead, The Big Bang Theory, Agents of Shield, Allt för Sverige, and Historieätarna. Once again I have to say The X-Files, although Historieätarna comes at a very close second!

Other: It was my birthday this month! And I saw Fantastic Beasts! :D