Stranded on Mars – Books and Audible and booktubers and such

I finished The Martian by Andy Weir the other week. It is one of the more exciting books I’ve read in a long time! The kind of book you don’t want to end, but still WANT it to end because you need to know HOW it’s going to end and your nerves can’t take it anymore. If anybody has missed the synopsis of this book, the main character is left for dead on Mars by his crew, who has to quickly evacuate the mission. They think he is dead, people on earth think he is dead, and he has no way to communicate with anyone. He has limited resources. He has to science the shit out of things to find a way to survive.

There are a lot of numbers and calculations and explanations and science and it is STILL frikkin’ exciting. I don’t think I have ever paid quite so much attention to facts and science in a fictional book before.

I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads (yes, I am on there, and hoping to use it a bit more in the future). I also tried to put in most of my TBR pile on there to keep track. I like keeping track. It keeps me steady.

phobicgamer_TBR_pile1
Bedside table…

Somewhat related, something I have been enjoying a lot lately is following some booktubers on YouTube. Bookhauls, TBR-videos, reviews, pretty bookshelves in the background; all booknerdy and geekhappy. It speaks to that part of me that would mostly like to live in a bookstore and fondle all the pretty books.

Actually, the reason I chose to listen to The Martian as an audio book rather than reading it was because of Kristina Horner, who said she enjoyed it because the book was mostly written in a log form anyway and it went well with the audio book format, plus, good voice actor. So here’s a link to Kristina Horner on YouTube, because I think she’s a great booktuber and well worth watching if you are a bookworm like me!

Another booktuber I really like and who is quite new to the scene is Nancy, also known as Kitty Scrapper on YouTube. I basically found her because I love her chatty and rambling scrapbooking videos, and she started doing booktubes on the same channel, just as lovely and chatty. She just started the Booktube-athon 2015 which is happening this week:

Awesome reading list!

Speaking of Audible (she says, adding to an already long blog post), The Martian was the book that got me to sign up. You get the first one free, after all. But then they had some of Neil Gaiman’s audio books on sale, so now I am re-reading (well, listening) The Ocean at the End of the Lane, since it was only like three pounds and who can resist listening to Neil Gaiman reading his own books over and over again?

Goodbye July

July has come and gone. It was mostly cloudy with a high chance of rain. We managed to grow a thing on our balcony but have no idea what it is, or if it’s edible. I look at it accusingly and point and say: “What ARE you?!”. I’m thinking about naming it Gregory.

The cat mostly napped. His new favourite spot is one specific pillow on our sofa. It is slowly turning into a very furry and grey pillow. Sometimes things are not quite right, sometimes a corner of another pillow has trespassed on his territory. Then he will let us know, very very loudly.

August. People are getting back from their holidays. The relative quiet at the office is quickly slipping away, and we are going back to a constant chatter and relentless background noise. Summer isn’t over yet, but for some people it seems to be. Personally I have been loving the summer rain, but feel tired from lack of light. A little bit like I feel after a long winter. But then again, it feels like it’s been a long winter for years now.

As always I long for the fall. And lazy afternoons under blanket, reading a book cover to cover, someplace quiet.

I long for quiet.

Usually this is the time of year when I start thinking about new projects and crazy writing months and new hobbies to try out, finding new music to geek out on or read new books. And buy a lot of new pens and notebooks. But right now it sort of feels like I’m constantly starting a 100 meter sprint and get fatigued after twenty. Where’s my puff of energy?

I think I need to stick to my pile of books to read for a while. And possibly I need a holiday.

Fly, my pretties!

I went to the gym yesterday. It’s something I do sometimes and I quite enjoy it. I take some different classes, depending on what I am in the mood for, but mainly I really like lifting stuff. So if I take a class, my first choice is always Bodypump. Because I get to lift stuff repetitiously to loud music. It’s fun.

Yesterday, however, I’d booked myself on a class called PowerStep. It is basically a half-and-half mix of Step-Up and Bodypump, so, one song you get your heart rate up by doing various combinations of steps and jumps on a board, and the next song you “actively rest” by lifting weights and going through different muscle groups. This alternates back and forth for an hour.

Now. First of all, I just have to say that I love the instructors. The amount of energy they put in, and the amount of constant encouragement and cheers and motivational bitch slaps (in the kindest possible way, of course), while giving clear instructions AND still doing all the steps and jumps and lifting all the weights and making it look So Frikking Easy. Cheesus! Them giving a 100% makes the rest of us mortals at least able to give 80%. I used to think those types of people a little bit over the top. But, no. You need them. Without them, you give up.

So, this Powerstep class…

I do alright at the strength part. I’m not overloading and my form is okay. The Step-Up part though… Things is, I can’t help but get pulled in and try my best. I get the steps, I do the steps, foot up on the board, dip on the floor, combination, more steps… and then the music crescendos and the instructor shouts “Time to fly! Wheee!” and then it’s just not a step up on the board anymore, but a step and a jump up in the air, bouncing, flying, arms pointing like Superman.

And I am not Superman. I am not a gracious but freakily muscular bird. I am not a bouncing miracle. I am not built to fly. But I try. I try to fly.

If I hadn’t been a Step-Up freak in my late teens, I don’t know if I would be able to keep up. I don’t have the best coordination, especially not when I start to get tired my brain goes dumb, and that’s when all the combinations starts to feel way to complicated. Luckily most of them are Step-Up standards. But… you know… with super-bouncy high jumps.

It’s crazy fun. And I sweat like hell. And it’s only an hour. I can do an hour. And I feel awesome afterwards.

Fly! Fly, my pretties!

P.S. This is what you do in powerstep if you’re interested

Thoughts about books and things

I hit me the other day that I have done a bit more reading lately, but have done a poor job documenting what books I am actually reading. I’ve always enjoyed my friend Hanna’s blog posts about what she’s been reading and how many books in a year she’s gone through, and also lately I have really been enjoying quite a lot of booktubes. They are quite addicting and lovely to listen too as I craft or whatever, and always makes me want to rush out to a bookstore and spend all my money. Or book a trip somewhere, and hit the bookstore at the airport to pick up some crisp, new books with happy covers, which is one of my travel indulgences.

I do have an account on Goodreads and use it quite a lot to search for new books and read reviews, but am absolutely useless at actually keeping track of my books. I sort of really wish I’d been using it much much longer and much more efficiently. But, it is sort of another “social media platform” to keep track on and honestly, nowadays I have to ask for a new password almost every time I have to log into any site whatsoever, ‘cause I just can’t keep track anymore.

I used to keep a notebook with a reading list that I crossed off as I went. Now I keep track using the classic “pile system”: One pile on my nightstand is books I want to read, one pile is the books I’ve finished the last couple of months or so.

It sort of irks my rather categorical and organizing brain to have been so careless with this issue, and it rather stresses me out that I haven’t kept my accounts in order. If there would have been one thing  I would have liked to leave behind for posterity, it would be a big fat book about my books. I love my books.

On the other hand, if I try to reason with myself, reading is a completely pleasurable passed-time for me now. I used to study literature for years and had a dense reading list with books I had to cram through, now I read for pleasure. And keeping an account of all the books I read might not be as important as just enjoying it. Even if I do enjoy documenting things.

So all these thoughts where rumbling around in my head and then stumbled on this post on Tumblr:

·         It doesn’t matter how many books you read.

·         It doesn’t matter how many books others read.

·         Don’t worry too much about your reading goal.

·         Don’t judge others on their preferences.

·         Nobody likes book snobs.

·         Don’t worry about how many books you own.

·         Don’t force yourself to read books.

·         You can put a book down if you aren’t enjoying it.

·         Life’s too short to read books you don’t like.

·         You are allowed to reread books as many times as you want.

·         Ebooks are books and they’re great.

·         Audio books are books and they’re great.

·         Physical books are great too.

·         You are still valid. You are still a reader. It literally doesn’t matter how or what you read.

·         Don’t worry about what everyone else is reading.

·         Don’t worry about other opinions.

·         Read what you want.

And I felt it was a good reminder. Yay for reading!

Frozen

In just three days we had ALL the snow. ALL of it. Then is started to melt. Then it froze again. So now Stockholm is just a slippery, cold, uneven ice rink. My way to work was just one long, slow shuffling with me flailing my arms in desperation and exclaiming “Hooh!” every third step as my feet made an involuntary Riverdance tap. Honestly, it’s like freaking  Arendelle when it’s been completely frozen by Queen Elsa.

This winter just don’t want to make up its mind what kind of winter it wants to be; super-cold and wonderlandish, or quite mild and tolerable. Temperatures this week as already ranged between +5 and -8 degrees. My handbag is stuffed with various articles of clothing to survive in any event; thick jumpers, scarfs,  and legwarmers and warm hats and mittens and thinner scarfs and less warm hats and gloves. It’s chaos, I tell ya! It’s like lugging around half your winter wardrobe.

Other than that I CANNOT BELIEVE it’s already the 13th of January. What the even heck? I was gonna start this year with a bang, get shit done and stuff. And… stuff! Instead I basically spent the first week of the year in my PJ’s and warm, fuzzy socks, and then had to go back to work.

I DID however get a ton of questing done in Ferelden, hunting dragons and fighting evil and suchlike, so, in a way I suppose I started my year being a hero. In PJ’s and warm fuzzy socks.

What would we do without coffee?

So, I got to work this morning, the first proper work-Monday of the year, everybody shuffling around trying to remember their logins or actual placement of their desk, and crisis alert! We were out of milk in the kitchen.

Always a gamble, Monday mornings. Is there a carton of milk left over from previous week? Did some bastard drink it all? Will we be able to soft-spokenly and politely answer our first phone call of the week, voices oozing with honeylike service mindedness, or will our first words to our customer be “Urgh *cough* what hello? Yes, no, what? Sure, eh…. zzzzzz”.

So people were creating a downright mob in front of the coffee machine, staring at it angrily, opening and closing the fridge repeatedly, as if milk would appear, and trying to make up their mind whether to just have a plain cup of joe, or to go without, and start their day, and yes, the very new year itself in the workplace, without the power of caffeine.

Granted. I was one of these people. I was the one that wandered back to my desk like a zombie, hopes and dreams of a better world crushed forever.

Until half an hour later, when milk was indeed delivered to our office, and everybody were back to themselves again in no time, for better or worse.

This country runs on coffee. Or the fumes thereof. The fumes of having 8 cups of coffee in just as many hours. If coffee was suddenly to disappear, I do wonder what would happen to our GDP.

The No-Nano Year of 2013

I skipped NaNoWriMo this year, completely. I didn’t even try to write a short story, like I usually do when I feel swept away by the NaNoWriMo enthusiasm and start-but-not-finish (more often than not). The notion of diving into the rather hefty writing project in November made me feel all angsty, so I decided I would not put myself through that this year around. But I hope that 2014 will entail some more creative writing on my part. I miss it a lot.

Instead, this November, I baked a lot of cookies, had a birthday, and spent a lot of my time and energy on my job.

I know a few brave souls though that still took NaNoWriMo by the horns and are typing their hearts out, as we speak. Best of luck luck, you guys, you can do it! I believe in you! Type type type! *moah!*

Time Travel and Unravelling

Sometimes I feel this blog has completely died and think I might scrap it completely, and then sometimes I want to write something and revive it and be all blaze and glory. Maybe it just feels dead because I’ve let my inner introvert run wild for quite some time, and I have not been feeling very computer/social media friendly for a long while now. In short my life has pretty much been of the read-only variety lately.

Then the seasons shift and new things happens and your life changes and when the dust finally settles, when things have had their rest, then you look back and realize that time has run ahead of you. You pick up your bags and try to catch up, and along the way you pick up things you’ve lost for a while and those things are more precious than ever. But they might seem foreign too you now and you don’t know how to approach them any more.

That’s the thing; life and routines and emotion and involvement always swerves around in never-ending circles and waves. It pulsates. Much like the blood pumping through your body.

I have no point or conclusion to these ramblings. In all honesty, all I really want do is cuddle up at home with a glass of wine and sort through all my photos from the last year, craft, game, write and generally feel creative and prolific in an introvert kind of way. Bundle up in a coat and a long scarf and go for walks and look at pretty trees with the leaves changing. Drink hot chocolate. Cook an awesome bortsj. Draw a big map of my life on a wall somewhere, step back and look at it and see if I might get a handle on all my projects and plans and things I need to do.

Maybe, if I draw a map, and write everything on post-it notes, connect the dots with multi-coloured pieces of string and tack photos to the wall for visualization, I will finally be so organized that nothing will slip through my fingers. All the secrets to stay focused and proper would be unravelled. Although, I imagine it would look like something planned by a mad man or a super villain. An evil master plan to travel in time. A bit like one of those crazy people in Criminal Minds or Heroes. When you don’t feel like you have a handle on life, those crazy fictional characters don’t seem so cray cray no more.

Sometimes I feel like I need to make like the Doctor and regenerate. That’d be nice. I wonder what my new face would look like.

Don’t disappoint my subconscious, SOE

As the reveal of EQnext is getting closer and closer, I pretty much get more obsessed with it every day. But since there are very, very few details released about the game as of yet, my brain sort of makes up things on its own, when I’m sleeping.

Last night, for instance, I dreamt that I was playing a new fantasy MMO. And I didn’t know how it worked, so I ran around in the world trying to figure things out. I remember being very frustrated, because I could not figure out skills or stats. Or how to open any basic window to read about them.

So I’m shuffling around (I assume my character was a ratonga) in a small village, when suddenly I realize where I can see information about some of my skills. As it happens, one of them, for some reason, is gardening.

”Gardening?” I think, perplexed, and wonder how in hell I am supposed to raise that skill. So I hobble over to my little cottage, since I apparently have one in this village, and find a small urn outside, filled with soil. And I start to dig in it and rummage around with my paws. Then a bar pops up in front of my eyes, and I can see how my skill is getting higher, much like in The Sims.

Then my alarm goes off and I remember being very perturbed by the fact that I didn’t have a chance to finish raising my gardening skill before I had to wake up.

And then I had to remind myself that I wasn’t ACTUALLY playing the game.

Uhm… yeah….

I guess if crafting isn’t a big part of EQnext, my subconscious will be very disappointed.

You can block the tags, but not the enthusiasm

Hello world! Anybody following my Twitter might have noticed a slight increase in tweets and re-tweets regarding EverQuest Next. Anybody not the slightly bit interested in my complete fanaticism in the EQ-, EQ2- and EQNext franchise and MMORPGS are advised to filter out the tags #EQnext, #EQ2 and #SOElive. Because there is likely to be much, much more where that came from.

I have had a long, standing love affair with EQ2 since it was released in 2004, and have been waiting for EQ3, now known as EverQuest Next, for years now. Rumours have been out for a long time and now, finally, they will do a big reveal at SOE Live in Las Vegas, in the beginning of August. Seriously, I am so excited now that I almost can’t sleep. I am dying to get to know EVERYTHING. So far, very few details have slipped out from the EQnext team, all in a very controlled fashion. The game has not even been released yet, but still it has won awards at this year’s E3. The hype is huge.

I am so freaking excited. I feel like screaming: “It’s so fluffy, I could die!”. That is the voice in my head, when I think about the game.

So… Big reveal at SOE Live in Vegas on August 2nd. Hopefully a release date before the end of the year. Then you’ll know where to find me…