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101 Goals, 1001 Days: A Short Movie Update

I’ve watched a few movies, two of them were on the list of recommended movies: Interstellar and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Two down, eighteen more to go.

Interstellar

My husband told me to watch this one, but more people recommend it to just about everyone. I remember Twitter fawning all over this movie when it came out.

I really enjoyed the movie, but I don’t know enough space stuff to fully understand the story. I do believe that if I had known more, I would’ve liked it even more. The concepts of wormholes, blackholes, space/time relativity, altered gravity and fourth and fifth dimensions are hard to understand. Separately, but even more so when they’re all thrown together in a two hour story.

Another problem I have with any movie in space is that some of the cinematography is giving me a headache. I get that there’s on ‘ground’ in space and everything floats around each other, but the rapid movement in the background is enough to make me motion sick. (I had to close my eyes during some of the scenes in Gravity as well.)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

I prefer the first one. I never read any Marvel comics so I only know what’s in the movies. The Guardians of the Galaxy movies both seem a little far fetched, plotwise, but this one seems even more so.

The whole god/demigod thing might just be one step too far. If it was a standalone movie, I might’ve accepted that, but in such a big universe with Doctor Strange and the Norse realms, having one god who could create everything seems wrong. IMO, you can’t have a all powerful god in a universe with a pantheon.

I do like the execution. The cinematography and art direction are great. I love the characters, especially the couple of Groot and Rocket. I just wish the story was different.

The highlight of this movie (and the first) is the soundtrack. It’s filled with 80s hits and I love it. There is a Spotify playlist with all of the songs if you want to listen to it on the go.

101 Goals, 1001 Days Reflection

It’s a little over a year ago since I started with this list and I already completed some of them. That was kind of the point, to pick long and short term goals.

Last year has been full of big changes. I quit my job to start writing and blogging full time while also taking care of my health. The few months after I quit, I was still busy with the wedding. Both before and after. It took up most of my energy just thinking about everything that had to be done. When all of it was done, there was this empty space left. I needed something to work on.

Yes, my writing, I know. But I also wanted to accomplish something on a personal level. I wanted to grow as a person. Using 101 Goals, 1001 Days, has allowed me to do so. Learning Japanese is purely for my own satisfaction (and my brother’s girlfriend is delighted that I’m doing my best getting to know her culture). Trying out new recipes is what will make our day to day life a little more adventurous. Eat something you’ve never eaten before. I want to learn new skills, but which are related to what I want to do professionally.

By combining long and short term goals, I always have the idea that I’m working towards something. Some things are easier to track than others (quality versus quantity), but that’s okay. I’m expanding my Japanese vocabulary and I notice that I don’t rely on the subs in animes that much anymore. It’s getting easier to work out new recipes when I want to substitute an ingredient and I also know how to work with flavor and spices.

I don’t notice my personal growth on a day-to-day basis, but looking at this list, I see that growth. I believe I’m a better person than I was before, but I still have a long way to go. I’m glad that I chose to do this even when the challenge seemed a little too daunting before. You don’t grow if you don’t challenge yourself.

Diablo 3 Seasons

This post is part of the Blaugust Developer Appreciation Week.

I think I’m not the only who was happy to see seasons arrive to Diablo 3. Diablo 2 used to have ladders for set periods of time, but with only the glory of being the best, there was no incentive. The seasons in Diablo 3 do.

Each season has a complete set for every class and two cosmetic items. You can only get one set per season. I think this is a great way to have players come back. The cosmetic items so far have been different every season. The sets are on rotation so you have the chance to get the other sets in other seasons.

You get the rewards after completing the four chapters. Normally this is won’t take up too much time especially when you play with multiple people. I play solo, so it’s taking me longer. Leveling to level 70 does go faster than before because I’m learning when to level where.

One of my 101 goals was to complete a season. I never take the time to complete the fourth chapter. So taking on this goal would force me to do it at least once. I then realized that doing those last few achievements wasn’t that hard. Since then I’ve completed a few more seasons.

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Painting With Inks and Watercolour

Art runs in the family. My sister and father can draw very well. My sister even considered art school, but chose to learn something she didn’t know yet. Now she has work as an animator, which is what she always wanted. Check out her blog at Fish by Night. I chose to stick with writing, but I know that I can do drawing/painting as well, as long as I put in the hours for practice.

I fell in love with the quotes with a watercolour background. A few colours mixed to create clouds of pastels. Some artists even add gold sparks to give it more texture. I want to create those as well. But before I can do that, I have to get better at painting and calligraphy.

Made by Molu

Instagram has been a wonderful source of inspiration. The things that people do is exceptional. It makes me want to try it as well. Watercolouring is one of those skills that I want to get better at. Goulet Pens also had a blog post on painting with inks. The skills are transferable, but the mediums react differently. That’s why I’m planning to use both during my practice.

Various techniques with Lamy Vibrant Pink

I made a card for our friends who were getting married. It’s the first card I made in a long time and I’m happy with how it turned out. It’s not perfect, but I didn’t expect it to be. I wanted to give them something personal and nothing is more personal than a homemade card with heart felt feelings written on the back.

I want to get better with these techniques and practice drawing and painting so I can create more cards instead of buying generic overpriced Hallmark cards. I’ll take more pictures of other things I try to paint and post them later.

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Learning Japanese

I’ve been watching anime for a long time and with Netflix including more foreign programs, I’ve been watching more drama shows and reality series as well. Through watching that, I’ve learned some basic Japanese phrase, but it’s not nearly enough to survive a trip to Japan.

When I first met my brother’s girlfriend she was impressed with the phrases I knew. Most of what I know are the oneliners from anime and manga.

Ohayou, konbanwa, hajimemashite, aishiteru, oyasuminasai.

That’s nothing special, right? That’s why I’m slowly expanding my vocabulary with Duolingo. It’s become easier for me to recognize words in sentences, although the sentence structure is still hard to understand. Grammar (no matter what language) has always been my weak point.

I don’t think Duolingo is the perfect tool to learn Japanese. After the first basic lessons, you will learn harder words and phrases which use those words. But they don’t talk about the words used to connect nouns. So the one thing that I’m struggling with, they don’t explain.

Luckily, through my interest, I’ve already bought some books on learning Japanese. Combining these source has been a great way to increase my mastery of the language and I notice that when I’m watching Japanese series, it’s easier to recognize what they’re saying. I still need subtitles to confirm what they say, but I can look away for a second and know that I haven’t missed much.

I hope that by the time we go to Tokyo I will know how to ask my way, understand directions, know how to order food and read a menu.

Learning Calligraphy

My interest for calligraphy isn’t new. In my early childhood my fascination with fountain pens and calligraphy was already apparent to my mother who bought me a Parker calligraphy set and a book on popular calligraphy (cursive, not hand lettering).

I still have the book, although I’m not sure where the pens are. I now have a wide range of fountains and dip pens with various widths. I have a few brush pens that I can use for practicing line variation. No flex nibs yet, but that might still be too advanced for me. I need to learn my letters first.

I hope to get better at it so I can make my own cards with inspiring quotes. Even though I have learning calligraphy as a goal for my 101 Goals, 1001 Days challenge, I know that this is a skill that takes years to master. It would be weird if I mastered it fully in three years.

Below are a few pictures of calligraphy and handwriting practice. I’m by no means any good (average at best), but I’m working hard to get better. Follow me on Instagram to see more pictures of calligraphy practice, bookish pictures and fountain pens.

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Recommend Me Books And Movies

I need your help for two of my goals. I need 20 books and movies recommended that I’ll read/watch. Will you help me out?

Movies

There’s a catch though. You can recommend me your favourite movie, but if it’s Saving Private Ryan or Victoria (the new Netflix Horror), I’m not going to watch it. I don’t watch horror movies or movies centered around wars. Especially the most recent ones. They just don’t appeal to me.

A few exceptions that I did watch are Pearl Harbor and La Vita E Bella.  I don’t think these movies are war centered, but tell a story with the war as a background. I loved Memoirs of a Geisha and it’s still one of my favourites. The war is ever present, but it’s still not what the story is about.

I have watched a fair share of horror movies in the past. Recently, just seeing a realistic zombie is enough to give me nightmares.

(It happened after I saw the zombie mask in a Loot Crate box and I dreamed about a zombie apocalypse that evening. Not fun.)

So please, no horror movies or movies with zombies. I will not watch them.

Besides these two, I watch nearly everything that isn’t too art house. I probably won’t finish a French experimental movie about two dancers who only talk using dance. I did watch Coco Before Chanel (2008) and liked it more than I thought I would.

Movie genres I enjoy: romantic comedies, drama, fantasy, science fiction, animation (Eastern and Western), historical.

Movies I enjoyed: The Lord of the Rings franchise, Harry Potter franchise, anything Disney, Shawshank Redemption (1994), Stardust (2007)by, Pride and Prejudice (2005), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Angels & Demons (2009)

Books

This is where it gets interesting. I’m a bookworm and I’ve read so many books already, but there are even more that I haven’t read. I’m looking for non-mainstream books. The hidden gems. The names that don’t get pushed by the Big Five. Self published books are very welcome! I review nearly all of the books I read and I’ll happily do so for any self published work.

Even in books, there are genres that I don’t enjoy. I don’t enjoy thrillers or crime. Unless they have something supernatural. I’m all for angels and demons. Zombies in books are okay, but preferably not too many. I don’t read much horror, but I won’t skip over it if someone recommends it.

I will not read erotica.

Genres I’ve been reading lately: fantasy (not the epic kind), romance, young adult, dystopian, science fiction (not the hard kind), historical.

Books I’ve enjoyed immensely: the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, the Dark Gifts series by Vic James, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, the Wicca/Sweep series by Cate Tiernan, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Abarat by Clive Barker.

If you want to know which other books I liked and/or have read, check out my Goodreads profile.

I already asked UnwiseOwl and he recommended Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and someone else said It by Stephen King. Please leave your recommendation in the comments. If someone already named that book or movie, reply to that comment so I can bump it up on my priority list.

I’m looking forward to all your recommendations and widen my view on books and movies, discover new authors, actors and directors.

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Inspiring TED Talk About Book Covers

Chip Kidd is hilarious. I watched his TED Talk on book covers, because book covers are, well, part of my job. I review books and write my own. The book cover is the first thing people will see when they grab your book from the shelf, but it’s also the thing that can catch the attention of a digital browser. I don’t think enough people realize how important it is and that self published authors don’t invest enough in. Chip Kidd explains how he designs covers and how he translates a story to art. I love his play with slip-on covers on the hardcovers. It made me look at cover design a little differently.

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Books To Read And Read

Since I’ve started reviewing books on Narratess, I’ve been reading much more. This year so far I’ve read 27 books and I hope to finish at least 40. My Goodreads Reading Challenge says I’m ahead of schedule, which is good. So I know that I’ll can complete my goal of reading 100 books with the 43 I already have as of this writing. Probably not this year, but I’ll get there next year or early 2020.

I’ve read 5 non-fiction books since I started, so I don’t think my goal of reading 20 non-fiction books will be a problem either. I still have a biography to read (my pick was Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance) and I still have a few books on writing that I need to finish (Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer among them). If you know a great non-fiction book which isn’t political, war-related, but preferably creativity, inspiration or business related, please let me know in the comments. I’m always looking for more great books.

I still have It by Stephen King down as my horror book to read and the one for “Read book, then watch the movie”, since I can both quickly. But there are so many book based movies I might pick another one to read first, watch later. I still have The Circle by Dave Eggers and Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett which is nearly done as well.

Here are the last 20 books I read. I don’t know which books I’ll be reading the rest of the year, but Warcross by Marie Lu is one of them. I’m really excited about reading another book which features gaming.

The 20 books I read recently

Bright Ruin
it was amazing
tagged:
recommended, dystopia, fantasy, and young-adult

The Things We Said in Venice
it was amazing
tagged:
recommended, dutch, contemporary, and romance

Sworn to Conflict
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy and young-adult

The Book of Peril
it was amazing
tagged:
fantasy and romance

The Reckoning
really liked it
tagged:
contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and young-adult

And That's When It Fell Off in My Hand
liked it
tagged:
young-adult, romance, and contemporary

The Awakening
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy, young-adult, and paranormal

Sworn to Raise
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy and romance

Nib + Ink: The New Art of Modern Calligraphy
really liked it
tagged:
language and non-fiction

The Summoning
liked it
tagged:
fantasy, paranormal, and young-adult

The Underwater Ballroom Society
it was amazing
tagged:
fantasy, historical, and science-fiction

School for Psychics
it was amazing
tagged:
fantasy and paranormal

Awakening
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy, romance, and young-adult

Dark Magick
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy, romance, and young-adult

Blood Witch
really liked it
tagged:
contemporary, fantasy, romance, and young-adult

The Coven
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy, romance, and young-adult

Book of Shadows
really liked it
tagged:
young-adult, paranormal, romance, and fantasy

The Gatekeeper's Sons
it was ok
tagged:
contemporary, favorites, romance, and young-adult




goodreads.com

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Games I Played

One of my 101 Goals is to play 20 games that I never played before. Well, I downloaded a bunch of games from my Steam library to start out. Of the 20 games I picked, I played 4 so far: Renowned Explorers: International Society, Kami, Epistory, and Sunless Sea. They are all very different games, but no triple A.

Official Screenshot

Renowned Explorers: International Society

Renowned Explorers: International Society is made by the same developers as Reus, Abbey Games. They’re a Dutch team and I enjoyed both games by them. Renowned Explorers is more complex than Reus, with sixteen different characters that can make up for your team of three. Each playthrough is different with the choices that you have. The mechanics are borrowed from different genres and I particularly like the combat, even when I suck at it. You can choose to end and encounter in a positive way, by becoming friends with your enemies, or ridiculing them, or just plain killing. You can earn bonus points for resolving an encounter in a specific manner. So far I’ve only completed one round without dying, and that’s okay. I don’t have to be good at a game to enjoy it. Even knowing that I’ll probably fail my next round, I still go in. Maybe I’ll get lucky.

Official Screenshot

Kami

Kami is a puzzle game that reminds me of origami with coloured paper. You have to change the colours so it ends up in just one colour. It’s a nice puzzle game to play in between things to relax and focus your mind. I’ve reached the harder puzzles now and it’s taken me a few times before I managed to succeed. I’ll try to finish all of them before the 1001 days are over.

Official Screenshot

Epistory – Typing Chronicles

I loved Epistory from the moment I saw the art, way before the release. I actually still use one of the artworks as a wallpaper. It looks stunning and the narration is great as well. Think Bastion, but with a different voice. You kill the enemies by typing words. If your average words per minute is on the high side, this game will be easy for you. For the others it’ll be a challenge, but not one that’s impossible. I love the game’s atmosphere, the art, the story. It’s adorable. I highly recommend this for anyone who wants a unique indie game experience. I’m definitely going to finish this.

Official Screenshot

Sunless Sea

Years ago I played the browser game Fallen London. A card based game set in the dark shadow side of London. The Victorian world with gothic flair is incredibly immersive. I think the whole game has over 500.000 words now. Sunless Sea is also made by Failbetter Games and set in the same universe, maybe now slightly more Lovecraftian. It’s a dark, rogue like game, where you’re an explorer of the Sunless Sea. Complete quests, find out everyone’s secrets, make money by smuggling wears, and kill great sea creatures.

There are still a few more games that I tried which I didn’t play using Steam, but I’ll talk about those later.

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Guild Wars 2 Fiction

Miira Lightbringer:
Fried Moa Steak
Quiet Before the Storm

Young Miira:
Tail Tugging Part 1
A Promise Made Part 2
Night Falls Part 3
Grawling Preparations Part 4
Badazar Incarnated Part 5
Graduation Part 6 - Final

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Dogs and Ogres

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