Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Week 7 of 2017

Reading: Only The Stand by Stephen King. 1300+ pages takes a while. Especially since I've gotten into the habit of not rading every day but only when I'm on the train to and from work.
 
Gaming: Mostly ESO, but I also completed The Walking Dead: Michonne. Both great games.
 
Working: Five dys last week, and most of them morning shifts, which I'm not used to after working middle and evening shifts for so long, so I've spent the entire week being constantly tired.
 
Watching: I've watched Call the Midwife S06, Grey's Anatomy S13, and I finally caught up with The Vampire Diaries S08. And we also watched the new episode of The Walking Dead S07. I also watched Rosemary's Baby from 1968.
 
Fun stuff: Nothing special tbh. Since I've been mostly tired I haven't felt up to anything.
 
Annoying stuff: A colleague who ended up being extremely late and I still don't know why. He aways sends a text if he's gonna be 5 minutes late. But this time there was nothing. 10 minutes after he was supposed to be there I asked if he was on his way. He said yes, but 10 minutes later he still hadn't arrived. Luckily a new guy who we've been teaching to do the job was there too that night (although almost 15 minutes late himself), and he said I could leave. Which I did. Still don't know when that colleague actually showed up.
 
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Sunday, 19 February 2017

Watching old, old movies part 7

(Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4) (Part 5) (Part 6)

19. Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920)
This is the oldest movie on the whole list I think. Fun part is that I've heard of it before (and this movie was 70 years old by the time I was born!), who hasn't heard of Dr. Caligari and his somnambulist? This movie starts out as a young man tells a story of something very odd that happened to him and his fiancée. He tells the story of a carnival coming to the city where they lived and how Dr. Caligari set up a stage there to show off Cesare, a young somnambulist, who would awake at Caligari's command. Soon after the duo arrived in the city people start dying, and after some investigations it becomes clear that Cesare is the culprit, but whether he does it on Caligari's orders or chooses to do it himself is never really explained. There's a chase (which looks extremely funny in a 20's film - all rickety and speeded up), and then there's a huge twist. When the movie finishes you have no idea if all if that really happened and was later covered up, or if it's just the ramblings of a madman. I love it. It's the oldest movie on the list, but thus far one of the most cleverly executed ones. Also Cesare was oddly attractive, and the weird angles of all the sets in the movie were amazing.

20. The Old Dark House (1932)
This one was odd. It's supposed to be a horror comedy, and I guess that may be part of it. Humour very rarely ages well. And wth was up with the disclaimer in the beginning? Like "this is indeed the same Boris Karloff made famous for portraying Frankenstein's monster, but we're not trying to impose on that and this only serves to prove his versatility". And then his role in this movie is a mute, imposing and crazy butler. So basically, not at all different from the monster. "Versatility" lol. And not a speaking role at all. And ofc there's the same "I met her three seconds ago and now I love her and want to spend my life with her bs". Wat. Like ok, I can see that it's supposed to be humourous, with all the banter and the jumpy master of the house and his crazy sister, but it's not comedy that I find funny. Maybe it's too old and I'm too young. I don't know. But the humour of it felt forced and cliché. I mean the running joke of the last 20 minutes was "Saul has no soul"! Heh. Heh. Heh. If this movie had been released today it would've become an instant meme. And the most famous line from the whole movie is: "Have a potato."I'm not even kidding.

21. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
For the first time going through this list I can say that I have seen this movie before. Last time was in my very early teens and my mum told me it was scary. It was interesting to see it all again as an adult. I remember thinking it was very boring as a 13-something-year-old, but as an adult I spent most of those 2 hours completely exasperated with Rosemary and absolutely pissed off with her husband. What right does he have to tell her what to do? What right does he have to throw out her books because he doesn't want her to read them? What right does he have to dictate which doctor she sees during her pregnancy? And why tf is she letting him?! And when she figures out that her neighbours and their friends are in a coven and have recruited her husband, she decides to go to get help from the doctor her neighbours recommended. What part of that makes sense, woman?! In what world isn't it obvious that he's in on it too, if your neighbours insist that you see him? Come on. Some logical thinking would be appreciated. And in what world do you live in that you actually expect to be believed when you tell someone you're being targeted by a group of witches? Honestly. I was looking forward to seeing this movie again, because I was hoping that what I percieved as boring at 13, would have become interesting and maybe even exciting at 26. This movie ended up as a huge disappointment. Don't get me wrong. The story is good, if a little thin in places, the acting is nice, and Mia Farrow is amazing eye-candy, and except for her hair-cut the fashion is beautiful, but the characters are so exasperating. I just can't like any of them, and the characters create the story.

Game completed: The Walking Dead: Michonne

I started playing this last autumn and I only finished it this week. It was really good, but a little short. Only three episodes. The first episode always sets the tone for the rest of the game and it felt a little sped up. Not entirely in a bad way, but still a little rushed. I never knew what to make of Sam in the first episode but she quickly grew on me in the second.

The bad guys in this story are Norma and Randall, and I swear we've seen them before. Weren't they in 400 days? I think at least Randall was... I'm not sure.

In any case you're playing as Michonne and the story is about what she was up to when she was away from Rick's group in the TV show. It's basically a story about coming to terms with not knowing what happened to your family, whether they're dead or alive, and forgiving yourself for not being there when shit hit the fan.

In true Telltale fashion they make us do some things we definitely do not want to do. In Season 2 we had to stitch up Clem's arm, in this one we have to dig a bullet out of Sam's shoulder and then burn the wound shut as if we were in the 12th century. And also taking us completely by surprise and shocking us way beyond what we were expecting. Like that one death.

I'm not gonna say anything more about the story. It's a great game. It's up to the high Telltale standard, and I think it's actually better than Season 2.
Also, that very last choice... I really wonder what would happen if I picked the other one, because that one doesn't seem possible...

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Elder Scrolls Online: Homestead

ESO got housing last week! You can have more than one (you can buy all of them if you have the gold), and your guild can have official homes. And there are houses in all race styles.

With the update came lots of new crafting materials and achievements, as well as furnishing items that you can find in nodes and containers around the world. Which has turned my guild into crazy looters. Loot everything!!! And the market prices for the new items are through the roof, but they have slowly started to normalise.

The decorating system seems heavily influenced by Fallout 4's settlement building mechanics, and I'm not sure if I like that. I never liked the Fallout 4 settlement thing. But considering that nodbody's around to complain about things and I can do literally whatever I like in my house it may be better than Fallout 4. I was made decorator at a guildmate's house and the first thing I did was to pick up a tree and put it right in front of his front door. And then he followed suit and picked up all the vegetation and put it right in front of the house. So now it looks like a tornado came by and just dropped everything in front of his house xD

But what I've been the most excited about with this update is that it also introduced Master Crafting Writs. They are crafting quests that you have a small chance of getting when you turn in your crafting dailies, and the better the crafter the better chance to get them. And I love getting them because they are usually a little bit of a challenge and you have to go to crafting stations out in the world where you haven't been before. The crafting dailies are usually the same three requests on a loop, but with master writs you never know what you'll get and it's so much fun. I've gotten five since the update last Monday.

I haven't yet bought a house, but I've been looking around and I think I've decided which one to get when I finally get the gold.

Here's a sample of some of the bigger houses (but not the biggest):
 1). Wood Elf style. 2). Khajiit style. 3). Argonian style 

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Week 6 of 2017

This past week was dominated by ESO, so I didn't get much else do.

Reading: I've only been reading The Stand by Stephen King. It's really good, but it's sooooooo long it's gonna take a while.

Gaming: Only ESO. Been having lots of fun with my guildies, and I've possibly peaked the interest of starting to play in three friends.

Working: Four days this week. Also got two interviews with the same place, and I'm optimistic I might get it, but I still haven't heard back from them so who knows. On a different note, I now have no more evening shifts this month! \^o^/

Watching: The Big Bang Theory and Containment. Nothing much else. Been watching a bit of TB's Co-Optional podcast as well.

Fun stuff: Saturday was gaming night! :D It was supposed to be a boardgaming night, but in the end we didn't get to do any boardgaming. We started with Worms W.M.D on the PS4, which was hilarious. Then there was a few rounds of Zombie Dice, and a game called Who in the Room, and then there was some Spank the Monkey.

Annoying stuff: The day when no trains were going south from Stockholm. That was slightly annoying but mostly an involuntary adventure in how to get home.

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Why The Sims Medieval is hilarious.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

My last 5 books: Gaiman and King (IIII)

1. A Little Gold Book of Ghastly Stuff, by Neil Gaiman. This is a compilation with mostly short-stories, but also some speeches and an interesting essay about the Brothers Grimm and their storytelling. I only skimmed through the speeches tbh, but the short-stories were as good as usual. I had read Jerusalem, Feminine Endings and Orange before. Feminine Endings was just as creepy as the last time I read it, and Orange is a really cool sci-fi story. Jerusalem still doesn't make sense to me, half the time I don't know where we are in that story or what is happening, but the underlying tone of the story is really interesting, which makes me like the story despite my confusion. The essay about the Brothers Grmm was probably the highlight of this compilation imo. It dealt with the problems that oral storytelling are facing when written down, given the fact that there are so many versions of it. The essay comments on the first published version by the Brothers Grimm from the 19th Century and how this version differs from the stories we know today. Love it.

2. Love, Fishie, by Maddy & Neil Gaiman. This one was extremely cute. It's mostly written by Gaiman's then 8-year-old daughter Maddy. The poems in it were simple and obviously written by a child, but I couldn't help smiling because the whole thing was so cute. Gaiman's own poems in this Collection were only replies to his daughter's poems, that they sent each other as emails when Gaiman was out of town for conventions or signings. So cute :3
 
 
 
 
 
3. Skeleton Crew, by Stephen King. This is a short-story collection by Stephen King. Out of all of the stories inside I had only heard of The Mist before. I had seen the movie, but ofc as with The Shining the movie is nothing like the short-story. Most of the stories in this collection were really good, and some of them were actually scary (gj!). The stories I liked the most and which stayed with me after I had finished them were: The Mist, The Jaunt, The Raft, Beachworld, Survivor Type, Gramma, and The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet. Gramma was genuinely scary to me, and Survivor Type completely grossed me out. But they were so good. Almost missed my station on the train while reading them.
 
 
 
4. Feeders & Eaters and Other Stories, by Neil Gaiman. This was a very short comic, but Feeders & Eaters was creepy, really creepy, and despite the shortness of it I really liked it. The other two went by too quickly to leave any impressions. Comics do that to me sometimes. I read so fast that they sort of just pass me by. But my general measure of how good something is, is how long the story stay with me, and if they don't stay at all then I can't have liked them very much. The titular story was really good, though.
 
 
 
 
5. Free Speeches. This is a compilation of speeches made by comic book writers talking about the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. If I was more passionate about comics I may have read all the speeches from start to finish, but as it is I just casually like the occasional comic, so instead I skimmed through this book. I read the introduction to get a sense of the whole thing, and I really support the whole idea of CBLDF (which is why I bought the first Bundle).

Week 5 of 2017

Reading: I finished Skeleton Crew by Stephen King, and started on The Stand by the same man. During one night when I couldn't sleep I also read some Neil Gaiman shorties from his Humble Bundle: Feeders & Eaters, Free Speeches, and Gods & Tulips.

Gaming: It's been only ESO the past week. Did a trial with some peeps from the guild, and also lots of dungeons + saving up as much gold as possible to prepare for the Housing release.

Working: Five days last week. Three days closing hours, and opening hours on the weekend. Nothing special happened during those days really. Except for the time when a colleague stayed way, way, way past his shift just because he didn't want to go home and study, and then he stayed and studied with me, because it was Japanese so I could help him. It was a lot of fun and sort of made me miss studying Japanese.

Watching: I watched Call the Midwife S06 and Grey's Anatomy S13. Toni and I also watched The Big Bang Theory S10 and some Containment S01.

Fun stuff: That would be the Japanese I think. Also ESO. And the fact that I got a call-back from one of my cold applications asking if I could come in for an interview.

Annoying stuff: Only the fact that I couldn't sleep for two days and I have no idea why that happened.

Stuff bought: Only lots of tea and coffee aside from the necessities.

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The difference between Morrowind and Skyrim
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Shout-out to all the fanbases
The evolution of news
If life was a game
When mods go wrong

Thursday, 2 February 2017

January favourites 2017

Books: I've been working my way through Neil Gaiman's Humble Bundles and I'm almost finished. Apart from the physical book I read, I've read 9 e-books in January. Most of them less than 100 pages so it's not really all that impressive. Best one was easily my only physical book The Shining, by Stephen King.

Music: Last month I had my iPod stuffed full of releases from 2016. Best songs were:
• Green Day - "Revolution Radio" &  Asian Kung-Fu Generation - "Kimi no Machi made"

• Asking Alexandria - "Just a Slave to Rock n Roll" & Avatar - "Black Waters"

• Avenged Sevenfold - "Roman Sky" & Black Stone Cherry - "Born to Die"

• Bump of Chicken - "Colony" & CNBLUE - "Puzzle"

• Dark Sarah - "Dance With the Dragon" & Dee Snider - "We Are the Ones"


Games: I played Skyrim SE, Dishonored 2, ESO, Dragon Age:Inquisition and Baldur's Gate in January. Best game is a tie between ESO and Baldur's Gate. 


TV shows: We watched Penny Dreadful S03, Sherlock S04, and The Big Bang Theory S10. I also watched The X-Files S07, Call the Midwife S06 and Grey's Anatomy S13. And we watched the Doctor Who Christmas Special.

Other: Movies! We saw Rogue One at the Cinema, and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. I also really liked visiting the Royal Armoury, and the staff party was also a lot of fun.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Dealing with backlog: Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition

I think I bought this game in a sale back in 2013. Already back then I had been recommended this game several times only because I like Dragon Age. I was a little wary of it, though, because it's old I was expecting it to be very hard. So when I did start playing it I did it on the easiest difficulty, which also accidentally meant my party was incapable of dying.
 
It took a little while to really get into it. The pixelated graphics made me feel somewhat distanced from my party and the NPCs, and it wasn't really until I reached chapter 2 and had finished up in the Nashkel Mines that I started to get involved. That's when I found my favourite party: Rasaad, Neera, Dorn, Jaheira and Khalid (Jaheira and Khalid were interchangable to me, though, and it often meant that I switched them for someone else when a quest came up). Especially Dorn. I started out as a good character, I got Heroic reputation. But when I reached 20 in reputation Dorn left me and that made me sad so I killed a guy, lost half my reputation and got Dorn back. But then I screwed up. At the end of chapter 4 when I fought my way through the bandit's mine in the Cloakwood I decided to follow it up by flooding it. Except I forgot to talk to one guy and all the slaves got drowned alongside the bandits. Which meant I lost even more reputation.  After that I went frantically looking for side quests that gave me reputation points so Rasaad and Neera wouldn't leave my party. But after chapter 5 there are no more side quests and I didn't quite manage to get it all the way up there. After chapter 6 you become a fugitive from justice and all the city guards are after you and will kill you on-sight, but killing them back results in loss of reputation. I ran all the way through the city to get to their stronghold where I could reportedly kill them without penalty, but one or two of the guards from outside followed me inside during the battle which resulted in reputation drop and Rasaad left me. Neera too, but she could be persuaded to come back. So there we go towards the final battle with a severly decimated party. I think I died twice in the final battle, but since my party couldn't die their health just regenerated from 1 to 10 every time. The final boss battle had one flaw though. If I could keep my spellcaster casting protection spells on my party and the rest of my party focused on bashing the head in on Sarevok the battle was done quickly. As soon as he died his accomplices disappeared and the battle was over. Ignore the adds, nuke the boss.
 
After I first talked to Rasaad I decided to romance him, but then I talked to Dorn and he was even more awesome so I decided to romance him instead. Unfortunately, there are no guides around for the romances and the advice offered by other players I had already followed without knowing. When chapter 6 reached its end and I still hadn't progressed anywhere with Dorn I realised that I wouldn't on this playthrough. I don't know why. I completed his quest, I said all the right things to him, and yet nothing.
 
The story felt epic, although by the end there were a lot of loose ends, which I belive will be tied up in the second game.
 
So the story. It's divided into 7 chapters + prologue. The prologue shows your character as the ward of Gorion in a place called Candlekeep. Then something big happens, something that your character is involved with without knowing, something to do with his/her birth. Chapter 1 starts with you all alone, but you're soon joined by your friend Imoen. Together you go to the Friendly Arm Inn to meet up with friends of Gorion, and you hear about the iron shortage and the increased rate of bandits on the road. On the way you meet up with Montaron and Xzar who want to go to Nashkel. Jaheira and Khalid, Gorion's friends, also want to go to Nashkel so off we go there. When you get to Nashkel chapter 2 starts. Chapter 2 ends when you stop whatever is going on in the Nashkel Mines and find evidence to what's behind the strangeness there. Chapter 3 is all about trying to infiltrate the bandit camp. You can do that in either Larswood or Peldvale. Doing it successfully will cutscene you to the bandit camp. You make your way through the bandit camp and then you loot the leader's office, which tells you there's a larger mine in the Cloakwood, which is now the only source of non-contaminated iron. Chapter 4 is all about exploring the Cloakwood and trying to find the mine. When you find it, go through it until you find the boss and kill him, loot him, and (optional) flood the mines. When the boss is dead chapter 5 will begin, and now you get to go to the big city of Baldur's Gate. In the city you follow through with the investigation you're tasked with and you'll find out that the leaders of the whole conspiracy are located at (you guessed it) Candlekeep. Chapter 6 starts when you get to Candlekeep and there are some nice reunions all around with your character and the NPCs he/she grew up with. When you kill the leaders you'll be immediately arrested and thrown into jail. Another denizen of the jail helps you escape through the caves under Candlekeep. The caves are deep and winding and a lot of things will be revealed to you there, most of it kind of heart-wrenching. When you get out chapter 7 will begin. Time to go back to Baldur's Gate and collect evidence. You're once again arrested. Once you escape from jail you'll have to save the Duke by taking him halfway across town, and continue all around town all the while the city guard is trying to kill you. After you have collected the evidence you have to obtain an invitation to the Ducal Palace, because the bad guy is going to be crowned the new Duke! You get there and fight the bad guy (preferably without harming any of the nobles gathered there). The bad guy is teleported away and you have to chase after him through a maze of tunnels. The tunnels end under the city, which is where the old city of Baldur's Gate is. The bad guy is located at the Temple of Bhaal and attempting to wake the old god to make himself a god. Fighting ensues and if you come out victorious the game is over.
 
That's the main quest. Throughout the main quest you'll pick up innumerable sidequests and companion quests. There are about 20 different companions in BG, some of them won't group with a character with heroic reputation (18 and over), and others won't group with a character with despised reputation (7 and lower). If a companion breaks with the party due to reputation you won't be able to find that companion in the game again.
 
And that's another thing. Remembering where you switched companions. Because when you pick up someone new and someone else has to leave the party they don't go back to where you found them. Instead they stay where you left them and so you have to remember where you left them if you want to pick them up again.
 
I really enjoyed this game and I can't wait to continue the story with Siege of the Dragonspear DLC and Baldur's Gate 2.

My last 5 books: Gaiman and King (III)

1. Blood Monster, by Neil Gaiman. This one was very short and kind of odd. It's a comic that shows a dad telling his kids a bedtime story about the blood monster. His wife is having none of it, but lets him go along anyway. The story was very short and it feels like it wasn't quite finished. I would've liked to see more. Was it just a bedtime story? Did the kids have nightmares about the blood monster? Did that bring it to life? This could've been an amazing horror story if it just got a little more attention and/or time from the authors. As it is now it's kind of a let-down.
 
 
 
 
2. The Shining, by Stephen King. Did I say last time that Pet Sematary was my favourite King book? I take that back now that I've read The Shining. This book is amazing and for the most of it, the horror is entirely psychological. Nothing scary is actually happening but the suspense was killing me all throughout it. Not until the end does the scary stuff start happening and by then it's real and horrifying, but up until that point the terror is just something lurking in the background, something there but not tangible, not really real. However, after I finished the book I was actually angry with the movie adaptation. I had read beforehand that King was really disappointed with it himself, and after reading the book I completely understand why. They didn't just slightly change it, they completely turned it inside out and slapped the same name on it. Except for the character names there isn't really much that the book and the movie have in common. Those two little girls that are so prominent in the movie? Don't exist in the book. They're mentioned once as the children of the previous caretaker. That's it. The hedge maze in the movie? Not in the book. Instead the book has a topiary with hedge animals that come to life. Jack Torrance chasing his family with a fire axe? Not in the book. He has a roque mallet. The ghosts are not as prominent in the book as they are in the movie. And where the hell is Tony and Dick in the movie? The book was amazing and I'll never be able to see the movie in the same way again.

3. Ghastly Beyond Belief: The Science Fiction Book of Quotations, by Neil Gaiman. The introduction of this book says that it was originally planned to be a literary index of science fiction, until it was pointed out to the author that nobody would read it that way, and instead it became a collection of funny quotations of old-time science fiction. I say old-time because this book is from the 80s and tells me that the Hitchhiker's Guide is contemporary. I would probably have enjoyed this book more if I actually had any clue who the authors were. I know some of the names but I've read very little science fiction. When the book shifted to movies instead, however, I suddenly knew a lot more of what it was talking about and that part of the book was a lot more fun to me. A part of me keeps wondering, though; in this day and age when people can become professors in fantasy, would this book have worked as it was originally intended?

4. Day of the Dead: A Babylon 5 Script Book, by Neil Gaiman. I'll start with saying that I've never seen Babylon 5, and after Ghastly Beyond Belief I was excepting something incomprehensible and cheesy. Instead this script drew me in and after the first act I didn't want to stop reading. The characters were fleshed out, despite the fact that it was only a script and the story was well-rounded. Gaiman does things with small amounts of words that I don't think anybody else does. I have never watched Babylon 5, but after reading this script I find myself really wanting to.
 
 
 
 
5. Manuscript Found in a Milk Bottle, by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman says in the introduction of this short story that it's his worst one. I can't really disagree. It was hilarious in its badness and it felt like something a high schooler would've written. I'm not gonna bash it completely though, because a part of me enjoyed it in its simpleness and glorious badness. The milkmen taking over the world with the help of telepathic milk microbes? Even the premise sounds bad, but I'll take it. Also, I have the nagging feeling that I've read this at some point before...