Short book review: A Game of Thrones

Yay! I’ve finished reading a book for the first time in years! I used to read a lot of books, but during my university years I couldn’t find the time for them (except during summer holiday). But now I do have time and I started reading again and I love it! And I want to talk about it.

This is a short and spoiler-free review of A game of Thrones, the first book of the A Song of Ice and Fire saga.

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I’d never though I say this but: I recommend watching the tv-series first. It’s much easier to get into the book that way because it has a lot of different characters and places with difficult names, which are hard to keep track of. The first season of the show is pretty 1 on 1 with the book, but while the show focusses more on politics and shows relatively much violence and sex, the book (while it certainly contains these 3 aspects too) gives us more lore and depth, giving to story a way better fantasy-feel than the show. So if you liked the show and if you love reading, I really recommend reading the book.

That said, the characters and places and lore and history are still a bit hard to keep track of. A Wiki of Ice and Fire was a great help for me, just as this map. The book contains a map, but it lacks a lot of details and it does not contains all the places covered in the book. As for the wiki, when you’ve finished watching all the seasons of the show, you don’t really have to be afraid for spoilers, especially not for the first book (but if you’re a spoilerphobic like me, don’t go looking for stuff form the 4th and 5th book). Reading the lore on the wiki and keeping track of everyone on the map gave more depth to the experience for me.

Have you read a Game of Thrones or seen the show? What did you think of it?

Book Review – “Doctor Who: City Of Death” (Author: James Goss based on a screenplay by David Fisher and Douglas Adams)

Critically, the sixteenth season of the classic version of Doctor Who isn’t one that could be seen as a vintage due to various production issues.  However, there was one diamond in the rough in the form of the second story of this season, “City Of Death” – the first story in the programme’s history to be filmed outside of Britain’s shores.

Now, more than thirty-five years on, the publishing arm of the BBC have finally released a novelisation of this classic story thanks to author James Goss using the framework of the initial screenplay developed by David Fisher and the revised storyline penned by Douglas Adams (under the BBC stock pseudonym “David Agnew”).

As a fan of the original televised version of this story, I was curious as to how Goss’ take on “City Of Death” would stack up against the orignal… and I am happy to say that the book is faithful to the 1979 televised version whilst managing to build on it.

The plot of the book is virtually the same as the original.  The fourth incarnation of the Doctor and his companion Romana decide to visit Paris for a holiday.  Unfortunately for them, their chance to relax is cut short courtesy of a disturbance in the flow of time along with the plot by notorious art thief Count Scarlioni to steal the Mona Lisa.

The plot itself isn’t the only way that the book echoes the screenplay.  The story structure of the book is split into four parts, as in the original TV version, and has the cliffhanger structure to end Parts 1 to 3.  The pacing of the story is also reminiscent of the original version, especially in the fourth part as the story rushes to its conclusion.

The book also manages to balance the threat against the Doctor and Romana along with their “companion”, the art detective Duggan, whilst ensuring the wit of the story is maintained.

Due to the wider scope afforded to James Goss, he manages to use the opportunity to add in plot points from the original version of the screenplay such as the Doctor playing croquet with William Shakespeare at the start of the story and build upon off-screen moments such as Romana and Duggan going for a night out around Paris which ends with Romana getting her first experience of a hangover.  For those who know the story from the interview on the DVD release for “City Of Death”, there is also a sly cameo by Douglas Adams and “Destiny Of The Daleks” director Ken Grieve.

But the big development for the book is a plot strand which is built upon the cameos by John Cleese and Eleanor Bron in Part Four which could be seen as “Exquisite… Absolutely exquisite.” (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).

In terms of character, Goss perfectly encapsulates the characters throughout whilst building upon them – most significantly the character of Romana.  The book takes the character and develops upon Lalla Ward’s portrayal by making Romana an academic intellectual whilst making her naïve in the ways in the universe to worry about the after-effects of a “night on the town” or to be bluffed into helping the villain of the piece.

If you’ve seen the original televised version of “City Of Death”, you will want to read this book to recapture that romantic heady 1979 “bouquet”.  If you haven’t seen the original, this book will serve as a perfect introduction to a story that is well deserving of the “classic” tag and is worthy of the writing of Messrs. Fisher and Adams.

Based on the evidence of this novelisation, I’m already looking to what James Goss will do with his take on Adams’ Season 15 story “The Pirate Planet”… “Watch for the omens”.

Satoru Iwata 1959-2015

As some of you might already know, today it was announced that Satoru Iwata, CEO of Nintendo since 2002, has passed away on 11-07 at the age of 55. (source: http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/pdf/2015/150713e.pdf ). I’m at work atm so I don’t really have time to write a long post about the magnificent Iwata-san (I would really love to tough), but I wanted to dedicate a short post dedicated to the late CEO of Nintendo.

Iwata-san was off the radar for a bit last year because of the removal of a tumor, but all signs pointed at a full recovery.

“In general, it is said that a bile duct growth can be difficult-to-treat, partly because of the difficulty of detecting it early. In my case, luckily, it was detected very early and I had no symptoms. I was counseled that removal at an early stage would be the desirable medical option. Therefore I had surgery last week, and I came through it well, as predicted.” -Iwata.

Iwata was seen in a video at the E3 last month and nothing hinted that he might still have health problems (in retrospective, he skipped the event itself, so that was probably due to his health). His death shocked the gaming community. Iwata-san was one of the few game developers that was well-loved by everyone and he gained almost a cult status by his Nintedo Directs and Iwata Asks. He had heart for Nintendo and he will be missed.

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I watched the Breakfast Club and I didn’t like it

AM I THE ONLY ONE BEAR FUCK ME RIGHT PUFFIN

There. I made memes about it. So now you can forgive me. No? Then read this.

Yesterday me and my boyfriend were browsing Netflix and we came across this movie. I realized I’d never seen this classic so I decided to watch it. The Breakfast Club is about a group of stereotypical highschoolers who spend their Saturday together in detention. We have the Sports Jock, the Prom Queen, the Nerd, the Weirdo, and the Criminal. During the movie they start to interact with each other and learn something about each other but also about themselves. I think this movie is intended to be about character growth, thinking outside your assigned stereotype and emotional development. But in my opinion it just fails to send the right message. I’ll explain by exploring each character. BE AWARE: SPOILERS!

The Criminal

The facts
This bully makes it a sport to rub literally everyone the wrong way. He’s rude and aggressive. He has some kind of obsession on finding out if the Prom Queen still is a virgin or not. During the movie we found out that his father has anger management issues and doesn’t care much about him. The teacher treats him a bit too harsh and picks on him solely because he’s ‘the criminal’.

What I expected to happen
He learns to confront his father and vent his frustrations another way. He finds something he’s good at (sports maybe?) and stops bullying everyone.

What really happened
He just continues to be a bully and nothing really changes except that he gets a relationship with the Prom Queen (I will tell more about that later).

The message that I got
It’s okay to be a complete ass-hole if your home situation is shitty. Being a dick will get you the girl.

The Prom Queen

The facts
She’s rich and popular. She seems to be good friends with the Jock. She’s not necessarily mean to anyone. She’s constantly picked on by the Criminal until the point that she’s in tears. She actually makes quite a few good points: she says it doesn’t matter to her if someone is a virgin or not and she says that she’s not obligated to share details about her sex life with anyone. We also find out that her parents are divorcing and that they use her as a pawn to get back at each other. She brutally honest about the fact that on Monday she will probably ignore the Nerd and the Weirdo because she has to keep up appearances for her friends.

What I expected to happen
She realizes she is a strong woman who doesn’t need the protection of her clique. She befriends the Weirdo and maybe even starts to date the nerd.

What really happened
In the last 5 minutes of the movie she suddenly starts to passionately kiss the Criminal because dating him would be a good way to get back at her parents.

The message I got
It’s okay to have sex with persons who verbally abuse you just to prove a point.

The Jock

The Facts
He doesn’t seem to have much personality or personal traits except for the fact that he is the best of his wrestling team. We learn that he is pressured by his father to be a WINNERRRR! and to bully other kids (the reason why he’s in detention), when he actually doesn’t like either of those.

What I expected to happen
He learns to stand up for himself to his father and befriends the nerd and the weirdo. He’s going to do something his father disapproves of in stead of wrestling (Book Club? Cooking?).

What actually happened
He indeed bonds with the nerd over the fact that they are both under a lot of pressure. He learns that he isn’t capable of thinking for himself and acknowledges that he only does stuff because his father wants him to (Yay! There is some actual character development here!). We don’t get to know how this realization works out for him in the end though. But here’s the thing that ruined it for me: after the Weirdo gets a make-over (more about that in a minute), he instantly falls in love with her and they get into a relationship.

The message I got
It’s okay to date someone solely based on his/her looks even if you don’t like their personality much.

The Weirdo

The facts
She’s weird and constantly weirds everyone out by her behaviour. She doesn’t talk in the first half of the movie but later on we learn that she goes to a shrink because she’s a compulsive liar and that she doesn’t like it at home because her parents ignore her. She doesn’t have any friends.

What I expected to happen
She opens up to the group and turns out the be a very likeable person. She befriends them all. She learns that it’s okay to be herself and that she doesn’t need to be this shy.

What actually happens
The Prom Queen gives her a make-over and the Jock falls in love with her after. They start dating instantly. Interesting exchange between the Prom Queen and the Weirdo: Queen: ‘You look much better without that black stuff around your eyes’. Weirdo: ‘But I like the black stuff around my eyes!’. <— which is totally ignored.

The message I got
It’s okay to totally change you appearances and act like someone else to get friends and to get attention from the other gender.

The Nerd

The facts
He’s socially awkward who’s a member of the science club, the chess club, and practically any other ‘nerdy’ club. He has excellent grades but as we learn later he fails wood-shop and that made him so desperate that he was planning to kill himself. The teachers found a gun in his locker so he got detention (Yes, you read that correctly, a student has suicide plans and they found a gun in his locker and all they do is give him one day of detention. It was a flare gun but still. MURICA?).

What I expected to happen
Everyone is shocked by the Nerd’s personal issues and they decide to help them to get over his psychological problems. They learn that if they look past his good grades he is a very nice guy and the Prom Queen falls in love with him. The Jock leans him how to deal with pressure.

What actually happens
They all laugh about his suicide plans (because it’s funny <— yes, that was sarcastic) and they talk him into writing the essay they all had to make all by himself. He’s the only one who doesn’t get into a relationship.

The message that I got
If you are a good student and if you’re a nice person you end up alone doing everyone else’s work.

Post Hoc thoughts:
It is of course also possible that this movie is about the fact that teenagers will be teenagers and won’t change or change for the worse because teenagers are stupid (I doubt it though). I didn’t really get that message when I first watched it but if that’s the case, they’ve done fairly good job.

Jurassic World, a review.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. Welcome to another film review. It’s been ages since I went to the cinema and this time I had a really huge urge to go see the newest in the Jurassic Park films, Jurassic World.

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Beware, this review contains major spoilers! You have been warned!

As I am typing this review, I just got home from the cinema on a huge sugar rush and Jurassic Park in my DVD player, watching it for the umpteenth time.

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I grew up with Jurassic Park and the dinosaur rage in the 90’s and I loved it, still do by the way. And why is it they don’t show a film like Jurassic World during ladies night? I would love to get a goodie bag, free drinks and food while enjoying a couple of epic looking dinosaurs / hybrids killing of stupid people. What’s not to love for a lady?

Anyways, when the opening tune started I got some serious goose bumps and almost ended up with tears in my eyes. S0 beautiful, so familiar, such a big part for me growing up.

The park is finally opened as John Hammond imagined 20 years ago and you immediately get that, that’s a huge mistake, people are gonna die, feeling. It went wrong the first 3 times, why would number 4 turn out to be a winner? It’s still an island on the coast of Costa Rico, we still have a couple of annoying kids without parental supervision, one bad guy who’s really not that smart, some major meddling with genetics and DNA and one dude who gets how scary and smart dinosaurs really are.

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No John Hammond, (god rest his soul), no Dr. Ian Malcolm (how can we have a Jurassic Park without Malcolm), but we did have a goat being eaten by the T-rex!

Mr. Masrani had the bucks to open the park again and a whole team of scientists from InGen to breed some pretty scary and idiotic hybrid dinosaurs (idiotic as in not a good idea to mix a T-rex with a Raptor, squid and a touch of frog, seriously, can’t you image the scary outcome?).

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We get a nice overview from the park and some serious and pretty epic rides. You almost wish it was all real and you had enough money to visit it. Like I said, almost.

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Chris Pratt, also known as Star Lord, apparently babysat (imprinted) some just hatched velociraptors and now is the dinosaur whisperer when he isn’t saving the Galaxy. He is training 4 beautiful and very smart Raptors and that is epic. It shows just the right mix of being in awe and being scared shitless if you ever encountered one in real life. (Remember kids, don’t meddling in the affairs of dinosaurs, for you are crunchy and taste very good with ketchup.)

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I love that throughout the film you get the little hints from the previous films. Like the Hammond visitors centre, the weird cartoon DNA guy, but also the old visitors centre, the banner, the old cars, the ‘I can see in the dark goggles’, the original doors from the original film and much more. If you’ve seen the films it’s a constant reminder of the previous three films and I absolutely love it! And every time you here the theme song (or part of the theme song like in a ringtone) I’m getting those goose bumps again. And not to forget B.D Wong, who played in Jurassic Park in 1993 as Henry Wu.

The film also gives you some serious thought about the exploitation of dinosaurs, and yes I know they’re not real, mostly puppets and CGI, but baby triceratops for small kids to ride on? That’s just wrong! It’s consumerism in its ugliest form.

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And you have more of those moments, you really feel for the dinosaurs when they get brutally murdered by the main monstrous hybrid dinosaur, the Indominus Rex. And she is one smart beast.

The film is loaded with epic, ‘hell yes moments’, and ‘you’re so gonna die’ and ‘I wish you would be eaten by eater the T-rex, the Raptors or Indominus Rex. Which usually happens. But also tear-eyed moments as the Brontosauruses are killed and the Raptors choosing the ‘right side’ and die.

The last fighting scene between the T-rex, Indominus and the Raptor is a bit over the top, but then again, it’s a film about dinosaurs. The last scene is just… epic.

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One thing though, why the hell did they hire Phil Tippet again?! Ok, this time as a Dinosaur Consultant (I know IMDB says supervisor, but the credits say consultant, I stayed to watch, I know I’m a geek.) But seriously, Phil?!

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I loved this film, you should see it, ASAP!

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy.

Being busy.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. As you have noticed by now I haven’t written a lot of new blogs. Life’s been busy.
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For the moment I’m really concentrating on my etsy shop. I have a lot of fun knitting and crocheting geeky stuff and also a bit of designing as well. It takes up more and more of my time, which I don’t mind at all. At the moment my etsy funds (the part I don’t need for new materials and such) are being used for my new tattoo.

The word Everything on a To-Do list on a dry erase board to remind you of your tasks, priorities, goals and objectives

The tattoo is something I’ve wanted for some time now but I really want to get it while I’m in Cardiff. And I can only go to Cardiff if I get a contract renewal. I have my final appraisal in July so keep your fingers crossed. I really hope I do get a renewal. I mean, I love my new job and my colleagues and I love going to work every day.
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Although I work less hours with my new job I feel like I don’t have enough spare time. Which has nothing to do with my job, but more with everything else. Cleaning my house, grocery shopping, giving medication to my mum’s cat everyday (because she can’t do it) keeping up with my social life and with boyfriend and keeping up with all my etsy orders.
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This is also cutting into my reading time. At the moment I’m only reading when commuting to and from work and at night before I go to bed. And since I’m tired as hell, which for me is the time of the year, I don’t read that much. The being tired part is the biggest of my current problems and part of why I’m doing half the things I want to do.
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Seeing as I don’t commute that much during working hours, all my house calls for my new job are either within cycling or walking distance, also means I can’t read and tweet. I miss tweeting but it’s too much a hassle for the moment to follow everything.
I also made a Facebook page for my etsy shop, in the hope of getting more orders. Summer time is coming and business is slow. I’m also planning to attend my first convention with my shop. I’m waiting back on what the costs are. Dutch Comic Con isn’t until the end of March next year, but I do need to make stuff which I can sell. And I need to finish this before the holiday season begins as well.
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And I contacted a friend of mine who is an epic designer. The plan last year was to redesign this website, but since I spend more time on etsy she’s now designing a new banner and logo. With that new logo I can also make business cards, yay!
Coming back to my Facebook page. Like I said I linked it to my etsy shop. I have regular updates of the stuff I make, what I’m shipping and loads of pictures with links as well. You should check it out. I’m also doing discount codes and give-aways with enough followers (or whenever I feel like it). Click the link and like my page!
So yep, this is my life at the moment, work, crochet, read, eat, sleep and repeat.
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Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy

Books, books and more books.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks. I seriously need more time for writing and blogging and even though with my new job I work 4 hours less than I’m used to, I still seem to be in greeter need of extra time.

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Books, I love books, I have a serious book addiction, which, by the way, I don’t see as a problem. I don’t feel the need to join the book AA. (Hello my name is Mendy and I read too much). In my opinion you can never read too much.

My current collection is somewhere between 700-800 books. All unpacked and in bookcases or on book shelves. I started keeping track of my books during puberty. Not that I had such a large collection back then, but still. I used to have a word document where I first started a list of my books by title and author.

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I lost this list (you know, back then, floppy drives and such).

I started a new list some years later, this time in excel and for a period of time I kept track of my books, sorted by author, title, ISBN and such, all by hand and it was in the time I had about 500-600 books. One freaking big monster project.

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I lost some books, sold some books, donated some books and bought enormous amounts of books (well duh!) But I also bought some books twice, or I wanted to buy a book and not knowing for certain I actually had it already so I left it in the bookstore (I missed out on some great deals thanks to this).

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A couple of nights ago I was thinking about the fact I wanted to make a new list but not insert all the books manually. Since it’s the age of smartphones and apps there must be an app out there where I can keep track of my book collection.

Google can be your best friend and I finally found ‘Book Catalogue’ and app that keeps track of your books, connects them to Goodreads, sends a list to your computer and much, much more. You need a barcode scanner and with both apps adding a book to your list is done within seconds. Both apps are free, yay! At least for android.

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I tested the app with a couple of books (75 so far) and it works like a charm! The app automatically searched for the cover photo, gives a quick summary, tells you everything about to book and you can make different lists and everything. This is so much fun that I can’t wait until the weekend that I can start cataloguing my collection.

Some features in this app, like I said it connects to Goodreads, although I recommend you synchronise with Goodreads before adding books, because I added 75 books, synced it and lost 25 in the process. No clue where they’ve gone.

Another feature, the app lets you add books manually by either ISBN or author and book title. Very handy if the barcode scanner doesn’t read the right code.

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Also handy, if you register with library thing and ask for a key, you can change the book covers which are automatically added to the book.

You can add notes in the edit mode, it automatically counts your books, uploads the stars you gave the book on goodreads, uploads reviews, when you read it etc., let’s you add if the book is signed and much more.

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For me it feels like I have a brand new shiny toy so if I’m done with my crochet order I will be adding books, books and more books!

Until next time, love your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy