Monthly Archives: August 2016

Campfire Tales

I’ve been following Eve Estelle since I participated (and won) her writing contest „Raven’s Omen„, recently she started another writing contest and for quite some time I wasn’t sure if I would find the time to participate – thanks to not having my usual drafting time.
But I did – even if it was a different process this time, as I wrote it directly in a document and not on paper first – and now you can read the resulting story, as I submit my entry.

The Prompt

Trust can take years to build, and only seconds to shatter.

The Guidelines

  • Using the above prompt as your basis, craft your own urban legend.
  • Your story should be between 500 and 1300 words in length.
  • You must enter by August 26th, 2016. No entries will be accepted after this date.

The Story

The group sat around a blazing camp fire and filled the forest with laughter.
“Do you remember when he –“, started one of the guys, barely able to talk, his arms‘ motion telling the rest of the sentence.
“Yeah, and then he –“, continued another in a similar fashion.
Their tales continued like this for a few more moments before they eventually settled down. The cracking of the fire and the leaves rustling in the wind were now the most prominent noises.
Grins and smiles still spread on everyone’s faces, the men each took a wooden stick from small piles lying beside them. The sharp cuts of the metal knifes on the wood soon became another background sound.
“I’m getting my blanket it’s getting chilly”, one of the women exclaimed, standing up from the toppled log she sat on.
“You’re sitting beside a huge fire and you’re cold. That’s so typically female!” One of the guys jested.
“Oh, shut up, Brian!” The offended woman retorted, glaring over her shoulder as she walked away to one of the small wooden houses.
“You know, it’s scientifically proven that the heat distribution in a female body –“, another guy chimed in from across the fire.
“Dude, spare me the lecture. It was a joke”, Brian interrupted him.
The other lifted his hands in defeat, not bothering to continue.

Finally finished with the sticks Brian ripped open a pack of marshmallows and put a few of them on the sharpened tip. Across from him his friends searched for something.
“I think they’re still in the car”, another woman declared and got up, patting her pockets.
“Roy, do you still have the keys?” She asked the man sitting beside Brian.
“Oh, yeah, sorry”, Roy replied, pulled them out of his pocket and threw them over the fire.
The woman easily caught them and went off to the parking lot. She rummaged through one of the cars for a moment, but returned empty handed.
“They’re not in there”, she announced when she got back.
“What’s not where?” The other woman, now sitting with a blanket around her shoulders asked.
“The sausages”, the other merely stated.
“Oh, I took them out when the guys lit the fire and put them by the sticks behind Ian”, the former informed her, waving towards their friend.
“Are you sure, Beverly? We just looked there”, Ian replied looking again.
“Yes. I’m certain”, Beverly assured.
“Maybe you just put them somewhere entirely different, wouldn’t be the first time you misplaced something”, Brian mocked her again.
“Very funny”, she just replied with a huff.
“I’m sorry Susan, I was sure I put them there, maybe I really put them somewhere else because I was distracted”, she apologized.
“It’s okay sweetheart, I’m sure we’ll find them when we break camp tomorrow”, her friend assured her.
“Yeah, but that leaves us with only marshmallows today”, Brian complained.
“Oh, suck it up, you had a good dinner back in town”, Roy silenced him this time.
“Yeah, but nothings better than a camp fire with marshmallows and sausages”, he still continued.
The others just shook their heads at their friend.

“It’s not unusual that things go missing in these woods”, a fourth man suddenly noted.
“How so?” Beverly wondered.
“There are said to be creatures that take whatever they desire from travellers. Food, trinkets, things like that.” He explained in a relatively bored tone.
“What, like Goblins or Kobolds?” Beverly now wanted to know.
“Oh come on, you can’t really believe such nonsense. You probably put them in your sleeping bag or something!” Brian exclaimed unconvinced.
“I could not tell. No one ever saw them and Brian is right, they’re just stories”, the other acknowledged looking away.
“I like stories like that. Please tell us, Julian. You’re from around here, so you have to know some of them. Maybe even some scary ones”, Beverly urged putting her hand on his.
“I don’t know. They’re really silly”, Julian declined.
“Come on, dude, camp fire without scary tales, that’s stupid”, Brian complained.
“And I’m sure the little Miss can handle it, if you hold her hand throughout it”, he added mockingly.
“You’re such a jerk”, Beverly complained, removing her hand from Julian’s and wrapping the blanket closer around herself.

“I’d like to hear a scary tale”, she assured Julian after a moment, a smile on her face.
Julian looked at the others and each in turn nodded their agreement.
“All right”, Julian gave in with a sigh and sat upright.
“This part of the forest used to belong to the Mayans and as they worshipped different jaguar deities it was not uncommon that packs of such animals would live nearby –“, he started.
“Aren’t jaguars solitary creatures?” Roy wondered out loud.
“Shush, Roy!” Beverly scolded him.
“No, he’s right. Jaguars usually live by themselves and the packs I mentioned aren’t really packs as such. They do not live together, but there are times when they get together to hunt.” Julian admitted.
“Really? I never heard something like that”, Ian now chimed in.
“Would you guys let him tell the story, maybe it’ll become clear why they’re so different?” Beverly scolded.
The two men looked down and she motioned for Julian to continue.
“Thank you. The packs that lived with the Mayans were indeed special. Some say they were trained and raised by the Mayans to protect their homes. Others say they were Mayans walking in the skin of a Jaguar, defending their people from threats –“
“You mean like werewolves?” Brian interrupted again.
“BRIAN!” Beverly yelled and he just lifted his arms.
“A bit, maybe” Julian merely accepted and continued “It is said that in the old days, when the Mayans were still at the height of their powers, no one in their right mind would dare to attack them. Especially not when the moon was full, like tonight.”
Julian paused to see if he had everyone’s attention and carried on in a hushed voice, as if he didn’t want anyone else to overhear their conversation: “In those nights, when the enemy was close they would not get an easy rest. The night around them would be silent, no night bird would sing, no animal stir. The wind would only bring them the rustling of the leaves, but they would feel that something was watching their every move. And then when midnight approached they would hear the growls –“
“Fuck!” exclaimed Brian as he hastily pulled the stick out of the fire, the smell of burned marshmallow rising from it.
A small grin could be seen on Julian’s face for a brief moment, the other’s sat in silence, not daring to disturb the quietness that was only broken by Brian’s low grumblings. When he was finished removing the marshmallow and putting on new ones, Julian went on.
“When midnight approached they would hear the growls, deep and menacing. Soon after the cries of their comrades would echo through the night until they found themselves screaming for their lives until the very last one of them was slain.” He paused again, letting this sink before adding: “Nowadays, without Mayans and real threats, it is said that the jaguar have to make do with what they get.”

The friends sat in silence once more, everyone looking across their shoulders into the bushes surrounding them. Brian was just about to comment something when a low growl came from the forest.
“It’s just a story, right, Julian?” Beverly asked, frightened.
She turned to him only to find two glowing, amber eyes looking back at her.
“Of course it is”, he assured her in a mocking tone, a sharp toothed grin on his face.

The screams of the friends could be heard from miles away, echoing through the forest until the early morning broke.

~ 1300 words

Afterword

If my word count doesn’t deceive me I’ve met the maximum on the spot which I’m actually surprised about as I kind of noted down that it would be 1500 words and had to throw out about a hundred words. I rephrased things for that and scratched some things entirely, but I hope it’s still an interesting read.
Something I’m not entirely sure about is the „typically female“ in German we use the phrase „typisch Frau“ (or any other gender/job/etc.) to refer to something that is characteristically for a certain group of people and I tried to translate it and according to Leo.org that would be the proper translation. If anyone can confirm or deny it, please let me know.

The narrator is a bit different from the one I used for the other story – or use in general, but I intentionally tried to only let him make simple observations, as if he was sitting in the bushes watching them. 😉

I also think that I took some liberties with the prompt. The trust between Julian and the group might not be as deep as the trust between the other group members, but I do believe that you at least trust someone to a certain extent if you let them camp with you in the wilderness…

A curious thing: At some point I called the third guy Roy, but afterwards still used „the third guy“ not remembering it. Annoyed with doing that I had someone call him „Max“ later on, only to realize that I had already given him a name in the beginning of the tale when I edited it. >_<

Edit:
Eve chose the winners and look what I got! 😀

You can read more about her decision here:

Tell me a tale

PoiSonPaiNter

© Rights for the story lie with me. Do not use or repost without my permission.

Webcomics: Bonus Chapter – Animated

As I can’t decide which Webcomic I want to present to you today and instead of continuing with the Gamers-theme from the last few posts, I’ll simply introduce you to a few animated variations of the comics I already told you about.

A not funny series

When I „re-wrote“ the first post of this series where I told you about Nichtlustig (Notfunny) the German

one panel Comics by Cartoonist Joscha Sauer, telling the stories of his various characters. These include a Professor, his assistant and their strange experiments; Yetis; suicidal Lemmings, a killer-robot aspiring to become a kindergarten teacher, Mr. Riebmann, who lives in the wall beside his constantly annoyed neighbour and of course Death and his Poodle, who are the not so secret stars of the Comics.

I also mentioned that they had just

finished a successful Kickstarter campaign to animate the Comics as a Cartoon series.

So this of course is the first one I want to talk about – even if this will be boring for those who don’t know German, as they are only synchronized in that language.
With the Kickstarter Sauer wanted to be able to produce a whole series of animated comics, but aimed low and set it up for one episode first. The campaign funded that well that by now two of the six funded episodes are produced, with the remaining four being released in 2017.
As far as I know are the stories for these episodes completely new, even if some parts of it where used in comics before. In the books there are a few episode like narrations instead of the usual one strip jokes, so as a reader you can already get an idea of how quirky and intertwined his stories can be. A few glimpses at the episodes – I’m not sure if they will be publicly available as soon as all of them are finished – and some old animation of the one strip comics can be found on the Nichtlustig Youtube Channel. It is certainly fun to finally have a voice for Death and Poodle and all the other characters. 😀
(And if you’re really into animated German comics, don’t forget to check out the ones by Sauer’s college Ralph Ruthe while you’re at it. 😉 )

Miniaturized Adventures

After I recently talked about Looking for Group and Tiny Dick Adventures in passing it’s creators now released a new project, where the latter got a bigger spotlight.
Starting next Wednesday there will be a 50-60 seconds episode of the so-called Tiny Dick’s Briefs each week, with daily special releases during this (release) week.
Additionally to the briefs with random (new) commentary by LFG star Richard will there also be an animated version of one of Sohmers other comics that I’ll talk about on a different day. 😉
All of these – and old attempts at animations, like a very incredible and hilarious take on The Little Mermaid’s Part of that World, that were originally planned to go into a movie that turned out to be way more expensive than they had anticipated – are available on the YouTube Page of Blind Ferret Studios – the company behind all their works.
I’m certainly looking forward to this.

A cat’s tale

As I’m already talking about animated comics do I feel like a can’t leave out Simon’s Cat. Different to the other two that were (web)comics first and were animated later, was this one animated first before also releasing comic book versions – at least from what I know.
The short episodes about the cat’s antics and adventures are quite adorable and funny and it doesn’t matter that most of the story is carried by music and simple cat noises.
All of the episodes are and regularly updated on the YouTube Page linked above.

Last words

What are your thoughts on animated Webcomics?
Is it something that interests you or do you prefer the written word?
See you around
PoiSonPaiNter
© For the pictures lie with their creators. I merely used them as example of their work and hope that’s okay.

Ghostbusters (2016)

Contrary to what I told you last week do you get a different post than you might have expected, I just needed to get this out of my system after watching the new Ghostbusters movie yesterday evening – there will be Spoilers.

But before we start into the movie review let’s take a look at the Ghostbusters in my past:
When I grew up I loved the Real Ghostbusters cartoon series (never quite got into Extreme Ghostbusters though) and I don’t know how many times I watched the re-runs of the original Ghostbusters movie(s). It was quirky, it was fun and it had really cool characters – and lots of ghosts.

So you can probably imagine my scepticism when I heard they wanted to reboot it with a gender-swapped cast. At first I thought it would be just a fan-cast or a joke but when the first Trailers were released it felt more like it was actually going to happen, though it still left me sceptic about it and worried they’d turn it into a fully-fledged gag reel instead of a proper movie.

But what is it about?

Official Poster

Physics Professor Erin Gilbert tries her hardest to get a permanent job at the university she works at, but a book (Ghosts from our Past) she wrote with her high school friend Abby Yates about their scientific theories about ghosts comes round and bites her in the butt when the curator of a supposedly haunted museum turns to her for help.

Furious to find out the book is being sold without her permission she confronts Abby, who is by now working with engineer Jillian Holtzmann on realising their theories. When Erin mentions the curator the three of them (reluctantly in Erin’s case) run off to investigate, but what they find is more than they had ever wished for when they come face to face with a real ghost – and its slime/ectoplasm.

Thanks to the witness account and help of Patty Tolan they soon discover that this and other sightings were not just a coincidence and the aptly called „Ghostbusters“, who everyone things are frauds, have to save New York from a hoard of ghosts, when an overlooked hotel staff member Rowan decides to break the barrier between this world and the ghost realm.

The watching experience

Originally I wanted to watch this with Schmusi and Anna but as it was only available in 3D they had to opt out and I went to see it on my own. When I entered the cinema I was surprised to find so many people from all kinds of different age groups already sitting there (Okay, the schools have summer holidays, it was cinema day and the movie was the discount feature film, but it was still more than I expected). As it turned out most of them were just casually watching as I barely heard any reactions to cameos and inside jokes.

Anyway, as soon as the first ghost was shown and the theme tune started playing I was hooked and I think I had the silliest of grins on my face throughout the whole movie.
While the story wasn’t the most innovative one and not all the jokes worked (the soup one did get a bit boring the third time around, but the final iteration was still fun), was it still full of the charm I had loved about the original.
This combined with pretty cool visual effects and a great usage of 3D made for a really enjoyable time. The ghost hoard was amazing and the jump scare of the first ghost really got me.  And even if the fight scenes felt a bit over the top (like in pretty much every super hero movie) – and lacked the explanation of how they could destroy the ghosts with the proton containment laser when previously they could only contain it – they were still really amazing and fun to watch.
It was also interesting to see that they used more than the actual screen for the effects when slime and Patty’s necklace went across the border of the movies‘ frame.

There were a few scenes were I wasn’t sure what to think about them at first but they turned out great.
One of them was the haunted Metal concert and, as a Metalhead myself, I feared they would go for the stereotypes of drunk, satanic Metalheads, but they didn’t.
They showed us like we are: A chill bunch of people wishing each other a good time and enjoying the music we love. The only thing weird about it was the singers reaction, but I guess it was better than admitting that there was a freaking ghost in the concert hall. 😀

The other scene was were Rowan possessed Abby. I had seen it in the previews and already considered it weird, but seeing how Rowan interacted later on it wasn’t that strange any more.

And now for the best part of the watching experience: The glorious cameos – even if for a long time it sounded like none of the original cast members wanted to participate in this.

Whether it was Bill Murray’s (Peter Venkman) sceptical Debunker, Dan Aykroyd’s (Raymond „Ray“ Stantz) cabbie with a remark to the ghosts around him just being „minor level five apparitions“ and that „he ain’t afraid of no ghost„, Ernie Hudson’s (Winston Zeddemore) funeral home owner – and involuntary provider of Ecto 1 – or Annie Potts (Janine Melnitz) as hotel clerk and Sigourney Weaver (Dana Barrett) as Holtzmann’s mentor.
And of course Slimer and the Stay Puft Marschmallow Man.
I think I made a funny noise at every last one of them.
Though it is unfortunate that Harold Ramis (Egon Spengler) couldn’t participate – though having one of the (more relaxed) ghosts look like him would have been a pretty neat tribute, but the bust was cool too – and Rick Moranis (Louis Tully) declined to so. The other thing I was kind of waiting for was the „crossing of the streams“ that saved the day in the original, but wasn’t necessary here.
Though somehow it felt as if none of the people around me reacted in the slightest to any of the cameos, which I found pretty weird.

What I didn’t get either was that they also left the cinema as soon as the credits started. By now it’s more common than not that outtakes, additional scenes or other things are shown in them and this movie did not disappoint in that respect either. It had a dance off between Rowan-possessed Kevin and the police force, three or four more scenes, including one leading to a possible sequel with another reference to the original and a karaoke version of the theme song, with videos of tons of Ghostbuster fans singing along (I was very close to singing along in the cinema as well…).
And at the very end a personal greeting/thank you by the leading ladies. 😉

The characters

Movies like this stand and fall with their actors and with Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones they provided a cast with both comedic talent/timing and the ability to portray more serious elements – even if there weren’t that many.

The Ghostbuster-girls are quirky, smart and different, flawed even, but in my book that’s a good thing. We learn a little about the back stories of Abby and Erin, that they were bullied and excluded because of what they liked. We see how rudely Patty is treated in her MTA booth and can imagine peoples reaction to Holtzmann’s creepy genius. Some of it was over the top, but it still felt natural for the character to be like that, eccentric and cartoonish, if you will, it just fit the theme.
They weren’t just the super smart ghost hunting physicists, no they complained about soup-content, acted awkwardly around other people, were boisterous and flirty and all in all just really enthusiastic about what they did and that made them just so much more human.

I was a bit annoyed at Erin’s fawning over Kevin, but it was still adorable in a way – and true to the origin if you see this has homage to Venkman’s flirtations.
Speaking of Kevin, well, he was far more useless than Janine ever was. Janine was awesome, Janine had snark, he was just the perfect mixture of incompetency and (male) arrogance combined with a pretty face – the sandwich discussion at the end did not improve his role to me. I really don’t understand why/how the girls can put up with him… I would have kicked him out on the first day, though I probably wouldn’t even have hired him…
What I found funny was the comment about him being a possible „Superhero“ and I couldn’t stop myself from comparing one of his fight scenes to what I’ve seen of Thor.
Probably only funny for me, was the fact that – at least in the German version – they keep referring to him as their „Empfangsdame“ (literally: reception lady; otherwise: receptionist).

If you know the original characters you start comparing the new ones to them at some point, but even if all of the scientists have something from Egon, that is pretty much where that comparison ends. You have little things that remind you of them, like I mentioned before, but you can’t say: Erin is the new Egon, Abby is Ray, Patty is Winston, because that would leave Holtzmann for Venkman and that wouldn’t work, she’s too eccentric and committed. Neither would it work to put her in Egon’s shoes and Erin in Venkman’s. Likewise would the comparison with Abby and Patty only go as far as their compassion (and background in Patty’s case).
I do believe this is the most difficult thing about a reboot like this: Seeing the new guys as their own characters and not as knock-offs of the originals.
And I think they did a pretty good job at that.
They don’t feel like Ghostbusters 2.0, they are the Ghostbusters, even if they are the new guys in town. 😉
The bad guy, Rowan, was in his essence quite lame, but he posed an interesting alternative to the heroines journey. He complained about being bullied and misunderstood and therefore wanting to bring about the 4th cataclysm, but as Abby points out herself: They went through the same things (and became kick-ass Ghostbusters). But instead of pulling through like the girls, he became a deranged and strange man, that isolated himself even more from society. I didn’t feel any kind of pity for him or otherwise thought his motives to be anything more than a sorry excuse to wreak havoc. Interestingly did he make a much more interesting ghost than human, suddenly he dared to do things – even if that meant toying with an assembled police force while possessing an Empfangsdame.

After all those I’m still not entirely sure what to make of the Mayor, his assistant and the Homeland Security guys – or what they were good for. The only thing I know is that the latter felt useless, the assistant annoyed me incredibly and the Mayor seemed quite stupid. It showed well how politics are willing (and capable) to cover stuff up and declare it fake, but you could have done that with less frustrating characters.

Interesting though was the comment that

„someone let the cat out of the bag before and the people forgot“

Was this just another nod to the originals or a big hint that they have really happened and people just forgot? Would this mean that the cameos weren’t that, but that these people were the original Ghostbusters (and why did they not acknowledge their successors)? Was this the reason the media was so fast on calling them „Ghostbusters“? Questions upon questions…

Even if non of these musing are correct, it certainly fits into the nowadays mentality that things are forgotten as soon as no media stations report about any more.

General Opinion

Short and brief: I loved it. More please. 😀

Long version:

There certainly are things it could improve on, e.g. a more fluid story telling (it dragged on a bit during the middle), less caricatures in the characters and less bland and annoying side characters, but all in all was it an enjoyable watch from start to the final greeting.
I’d really like to see more of the modernized franchise, we certainly have the technology for it now. Though I’m not entirely sure a new version of the Zuul story line would sit well with the fans, even if it’d be interesting to see how they’d pull it off.
I’m no longer sceptic, I’m hooked and curious how and if this’ll continue. 😀

Stuff I’d like to add

This movie – and especially its actors – received a lot of backlash for daring to reboot such a classic with a gender-swapped cast and that mostly before the movie even started to film.
I honestly don’t understand such sentiments, but I don’t understand a lot of stuff happening in different Fandoms, because I would never even think of doing such a thing…
I’m of the opinion everyone should figure out things for themselves and not complain about something they haven’t even seen yet.

I said I was sceptical about the whole project, but that didn’t keep me from watching and, as I told you above, enjoying it; the grin I mentioned still returning whenever I think about it.
That’s why I really don’t understand how people can say this movie ruined their childhood, I most certainly believe it enhanced mine. They took something I loved as a kid and turned it into something just as incredible. It’s simply brilliant. 😀

PoiSonPaiNter

© For the poster belongs to its rightful owner

Weltenwanderer – Reading Night (Lesenacht) #2

Thanks to all the renovation troubles I’m not really able to read properly, so I decided it was time to do so again and what better way to use another Reading Night by Weltenwanderer?

What is a Reading Night and how does it work?

It’s basically different people picking up a book to read during a set amount time.
If the invitation is sent from a Blog that usually involves answering question throughout the session.
In this case Aleshanee invited us to join in a reading from 7pm to 1pm on the 12th August 2016.
I answered the question that night on my Facebook (and subsequently Twitter) Page until 11 am and now you can find the collection of those answers and the missing ones here (All questions are obviously translated from their German version on Weltenwander).
Note: Everything in []-brackets is added/changed after the original posts.

Question 1: As you are participating in the ReadingNight‬ today, I assume you’re not on vacation 😉 Where you away already or is it still planned for this year?
And which book accompanies you through the evening? Are you starting it or are you already in the middle of it and want to finish it?

I had my large vacation in March where [Janzy] and I visited and explored London for nearly two weeks. The other trip that was planned for September surrounding the Connichi was unfortunately postponed, so I don’t have any plans for further travelling (the exploring kind anyway) this year. (Non exploring travellings: Conventions and family trip)
I’m continuing with NeilGaiman‬’s ‪‎The Sandman, so I’m not reading a book, but a comic – or rather comics[ as the Volume I chose consist of several chapters that were published separately].
I’m currently at Chapter 41, which is the beginning of Volume 7 (of 10) of the original run, so I want to finish this series, I guess.

Question 2: In which country or region does your book‬ take place? Would you like to take a vacation‬ there or would like to live there? Where would you most like to have your next vacation?

This Sandman‬ story so far takes place in the different realms of the Endless, right now I’m in the Dreaming and I’m not entirely sure if I wanted to stay there for a prolonged period of time…

I mean what is shown of it is fascinating and there are quite a bunch of interesting people around, but suffering through Dreams mood swings? I’m not so sure that’d make it a good place for vacation…
In the real world there are a lot of places I’d like to visit. Currently I’d like to return to Ireland – especially for Halloween – , but that probably wont work, as I would[n’t] have anyone to take with me and travelling alone isn’t really my thing…

Question 3: By now you’ve gotten to know the characters in your ‪‎book‬ a little bit: Could you imagine to go on vacation with them? Are they likeable, like a buddy to through thick and thin with or would you not get along that well?

As I said before does Dream have a lot of mood swings. He’s fascinating, but he can also be extremely annoying, stubborn and even cruel. His little sister Delirium would probably drive me nuts with her babbling, it’s hard enough to follow her within the story.

So in both cases: Nope. I don’t think I’d like to go on a vacation with either of them – and I pity the poor driver Ruby, who currently is travelling with them, not only because I think she’ll die on one of the next pages (as I think I spoilered myself earlier…)…

Question 4: Where was your best vacation so far? Are there any funny anecdotes you could tell us about it?
If you spontaneously could go on a vacation tomorrow: Which three books would you definitely take to read?

All of my vacations had something special, so I can’t really decide which one of them was the best, but I can give you a look at some funny things that happened during some of my travels: Of Angel Chicken Wings and other oddities

I don’t know which books I’d pick, it usually depends on the vacation and my mood, but I mostly only take short ones with me as I rarely read while I’m travelling anyway.
The last time I went away I took „Am Anfang war die Kuh“ (In the Beginning was the Cow) by Fritz Steinbock – an anthology of short stories and poems about North Mythology – and a book with Russian folk tales in both Russian and German with me, but I didn’t read either.

Question 5: Do you like the ‪‎book‬ so far? Is it exciting, romantic, funny? Is it like you expected it to be?
Describe it with 5 nouns or a great quote, that you found!

I enjoy the tale that is told in the ‪‎Sandman‬ volume „Brief Lives“. It twists and it turns and the journey is interesting to follow. It’s kind of the way I expected, as this is already the seventh volume of the series and I kind of have a feeling of what it might be like to read it, but it’s still different every time around.

There were a few interesting things said by Dream or one of his siblings, but I couldn’t pick one in particular, so I’ll have to figure out five nouns…
Dream, Delirium, Destruction, Search, Siblings would probably be the easiest choices and as my mind is slowly drifting off into sleep-mode I’ll keep it at that. 😀
[Shortly before Question 6 was asked I finished the volume and decided to call it a day, with getting up at around 6am it had been a long one. So everything after this is answered retroactively.]

Question 6: Do you like the cover of your current book? Is the cover important to you or do you not care about it when buying a book?

I’m not quite sure I like any of the covers (chapter covers included) of the Sandman-series. They are strange and weird and I don’t know, chaotic and definitely different to what is usually used. They just don’t go for appealing the audience. At the same time are they fascinating and filled with all the things happening within the Chapter(s).
I don’t think I would have even picked them up if I hadn’t known the series to be by Gaiman and said to be one of his best works.
As for the other part of the question: I’d like to just forward you to my answer from last time with this quote:

It depends.
If I look for a certain book then it doesn’t matter.
If I’m just browsing through the book store my attention occasionally gets caught by a cover. If the blurb then fits what I like to read, it is highly likely that I will take the book with me. If not it’s just put back where I found it.

Finale: Sooo, some of you made it this far, but now I’m quite tired I have to admit… The conclusion of the evening: Did you enjoy the Reading Night, where the questions all right, did you manage to read even a little? Did you reach your goal and would you recommend your book?

As I’ve said, did I not manage to get this far, but I did manage to reach my goal in finishing the Volume.
I’d recommend the whole Sandman series, it might sound like a broken record as everyone is saying this, but it certainly is one of the must reads.
It has some very fascinating and interesting story lines, characters and worlds. The drawings might not be what is generally depicted as beautiful, but they’re certainly unique. The way the characters are shown feels almost like reading a story board that only waits for some director to pick it up and turn it into something amazing. 😉
The questions were interesting and even if the cover-question was a repetition do I think it’s a nice addition on such a night.
A great thank  you to Aleshanee for hosting this one again!

Additional Notes

I’m not sure when I’ll continue with the series – or reading in general, but I certainly will.
As I noticed yesterday did Feuerflügel participate as well, so feel free to check out her post about reading Stephen King’s The Dark Tower (that I still have to get too…  >_<)
Have you ever participated in a Reading Night?
Would you like to?
Let me know, maybe one day I’ll host one myself. 🙂
PoiSonPaiNter
© For the cover belongs to its rightful owner.

What'cha Watching Wednesday – Special: Evil RPGs

Well, I spontaneously decided that you’ll get another Special instead of the usual update, as I am a) too lazy to finish that one and b) have too much to say about one of the films which will also c) lead to a Lost in Translation post (potentially next week).

WWWWhat is the WWW generally about?

Every fourth Wednesday evening I will publish a post in which I collected the thoughts I had throughout the week(s) while watching the latest or any episode of a series or maybe even a movie.
Depending on how my time allows it, the comment will also be for those that I watched that day.
You’re warned: There will be Spoilers.

Introduction

Last time I told you about The Gamers, this time I want to talk about some other projects Zombie Orpheus Entertainment (ZOE) is involved in – or created.
The movies are connected through the cast and crew, but still have a different approach to the same topic. But read for yourself.

Dark Dungeons

This short movie tells the story of Debbie and Marcie who come from a Christian background but are drawn into the depths and evilness of the world of RPG. Though through their ordeals and the loss of Marcie, Debbie finds her way back to Jesus.
Anyway.
The movie is based on the tract Dark Dungeons by Jack T. Chick LLC (from 1984) that tells the same story in an abbreviated version and therefore has some really strange views on the whole matter of what RPGs are really about.
It has a lot of „WTF“ moment, where you’re not entirely sure what you should think, especially when Roleplayers are put on a pedestal that is usually occupied by the sports-teams, people are chanting „RPG“ and are so deeply engrossed in the game that they forget reality. At the same time – especially the latter – it is something that could be true. People could lose themselves in a fantastical world and it’s a bit frightening to see it escalate like that on the screen – even if you still can’t take it too seriously. Not uncommon, however, is the portrayed fear that playing RPGs and letting your imagination grow through it is a gateway to hell and even though I’ve never experienced that first hand, do I know the weird looks one gets when you try to explain what it is your doing (and of course all the media hysteria towards it whenever something goes wrong…). It’s usually frowned upon to participate in such things, because their childish and ridiculous, so seeing it be the „in“-thing on a campus is kind of incredible, yet still really weird, as it’s portrayed so over the top that it’s not believable any more. Though I do believe the latter stems from the tone of the original tract that portrayed it similarly.
It’s interesting to see the two main characters switch personalities throughout the movie and the gaming Mistress is positively frightening, just as some of the other characters were slightly psychotic, very strange and stuff (I guess, I still don’t really understand the part with the Chuthulu-cult… guess that was a bit too much for my taste)…
Regardless of the characters involved do I believe that the most horrible scene of the whole thing was the book burning (which is especially weird, if you think about the fact that someone dies in this movie o.O). Everything hurt when I saw those beautiful (and expensive) things thrown into the fire…I guess I myself am too deeply involved to be unfazed by this. 😀
To sum this up: It’s a very weird and very strange movie and you should watch it yourself to make your own opinion – and to have a little more fun with:

Attacking the Darkness

Attacking the Darkness (AtD) is the first Mockumentary ZOE created that was filmed on the set of another feature film (guess which one ;)). It documents the trials and errors of a very Christian couple that is filming their own independent feature film to show the horrors and evils of gaming, especially RPGs. But they soon realise that film making is not really an easy business…
The movie was released for a week during the Kickstarter campaign (and is currently only available on private setting – so thanks to Producer Chris Ode for giving me the okay to include the link here) to help fund the DVD production and I took the chance to watch it.
Later on a few poor souls that volunteered to help with the translation received a link again. Well, who am I to pass off the chance to add German subtitles to something that I’m sure some of my friends (with less English knowledge than myself) would certainly enjoy? 😉
Anyway, (and I’m basically rephrasing a comment I made on one of the Kickstarter-Updates) when I watched the film during the trial run, it was okay, but not more.
Now that I’ve went through it minute by minute, I’ve seen way more stuff that makes it incredibly special. Things you don’t catch through casually watching it.
It was a lot of work, it was a bit annoying (especially the puns were hard to translate and this’ll be the topic of the Lost in Translation post I mentioned), but was totally worth it and I started to appreciate this film even more for all it’s hidden complexities.
As it is a Mockumentary the movie is told by either showing interviews with the different characters or their interactions as filmed through different cameras while „filming“ the movie.
This also means that the following very confusing description applies: The actors from AtD play the actors hired to play the characters – who incidentally are the same people/characters in the other movie – in the movie „Attacking the Darkness“ whose filming is documented in AtD. I really hope I got that right. >_<
Additionally, were most – if not all – of the interviews improvised, meaning that at least the actors who portrayed the main characters Harmony Hope and Brady made up everything they said in their interviews on the spot and the camera just kept rolling. The movie feels kind of similar to what you know from „Behind the Scenes“ stuff, but as the topic – and some of the characters – can be quite over the top, you never really forget that this is all make belief.
The characters themselves range from totally adorable (Lucy and Pastor Doug) to absolutely frustrating (Harmony Hope) or questionable (Pastor Canon, Godrick), but all so very realistic and refreshingly human, with a lot of puns, jokes and very human reactions.
My highlight certainly was when „real Gamers“ were introduced to the set and one of them turned out to be Gary from The Gamers (From what I read during the campaign, was there also a scene with Lodge, but it was cut because it made things too complicated). 😀 Though it is weird to hear Christian Doyle’s voice in almost every interview – except the one with his character – but not really know if it is Gary asking those questions after realising how much fun he could have with the creators of this movie or just a random interviewer that just happens to sound like him – which Gary’s questions in the interview would suggest as he talks to Brian Lewis (Brady) and wouldn’t say those things to the Producer.
[Edit: I just found this Tweet again that I do not want keep from you:

Yeah, I’m really good at (mis)reading stuff…]
All in all does the movie have several moments that are just really funny or absolutely adorable – the whole sub-plot with Doug and Lucy was adorable and provided quite a few funny moments and I do believe „Cheesus“ is still one of SaJaehwa and my favourites, even if it was tricky to translate – , but also some very questionable things (one word: credits).
One of the gaming unrelated things I appreciated most was that one of the pastors – Doug – was not portrayed as religious dimwit – which is most likely thanks to the fact that the actor is a real life pastor (Doug’s whole journey and story line was great and reminded me somewhat of Coelestin’s in Warlords – just with way less physical pain). 😉
Apart from the fact that the English „pastor“ is a very confusing term for me (it is the translation of both „Pfarrer“ – catholic pastor/priest, that’s not allowed to have a family AND „Pastor“ – evangelic pastor, that’s allowed to have a family), is the portrayal of clerics in modern media usually quite frustrating.
When I was preparing for my confirmation (Yup, I’m actually Evangelic – or Protestant or Lutheran or however you translate „evangelisch“) we had two incredible pastors in our and the neighbouring parish: Funny, open minded, musical and not too stern and focused on teaching us the religious aspects of our belief. They didn’t tell us that we needed to do this-and-that to be good Christians, they simply gave us a good example of how to be a good person. I still occasionally remember the hiking trip to Norway with them and if it weren’t for the few prayers and some biblical stories and songs you wouldn’t have thought this to be a religious group trip (Incidentally was this also the trip that turned the son of one of the pastors into a Metalhead – thanks to me and Avantasia – as I learned years later from Lil‘ kat, when we discovered that I „knew“ her best friend :D).
Anyway, what I want to say with this is: I get that it’s fun to ridicule religion/religious belief and that there actually are a lot of people in the profession that deal with things like Pastor Canon does, but in the end it’s people like Pastor Doug who actually help people through their difficulties, that show them that religion can be a good thing. And I think it’s incredible that they included him in the cast – even if in the beginning he seemed to follow Canon a bit too closely for my taste, but I do blame that on Harmony who wanted to hear such ridiculous prayers…
Either way, he came into his own and to answer ZOE’s question from another of their Kickstarter-Updates again:

„(Also, for those of you who have seen the film, who would want to see a Gamers special episode with Pastor Doug and Lucy leading an RPG session for the youth group?)“
Do I want to see more of the characters that easily became my favourites?
Hell – I mean – Oh, yeah! 😀

What were you watching?

What episodes (or movies) did you enjoy/dislike throughout the week/month?
Anything you’d recommend checking out?
Let me know in the comments below!

Final Words

I hope you enjoyed this little look into this special project and are at least a little curious about what I’m going to tell you about creating the German subtitles for Attacking the Darkness. 😉
I’ll probably share this post again, when I receive my copy of the movie (with „my“ translation on it 😀 ). 😉
PoiSonPaiNter

The Odyssey of a Renovation

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you might have noticed that some of my posts mentioned „being on car-commute“ or doing something for a „renovation“ and you also might remember the comment in this post, where I said that I wanted to rant later on.
So, here you have it, but let’s start at the beginning…

A limited rental

When I moved into my first flat – a shared flat – in 2007 the landlord told us that this would only be a limited rental, as the flat was supposed to be torn down in 2011. For us that was enough time, as our A-Levels would be over in 2009, so we accepted (The house we lived in was a five story building and due to a lack of renters they decided to turn it into a three story building by tearing down the upper two floors).
Then my flatmate moved out to pursue love somewhere else before finishing her A-Levels. I was alone in the flat, with the notion that the landlord could send me a new flatmate whenever they felt like it. In 2009 I started studying and stayed in the same town for work (dual-mode studying system, remember?), but as I did not want to share the flat with a stranger that would live ten weeks alone with my stuff, I moved out. I stayed in the same building, but was now on the first floor. 2011 past and nothing happened and they told me/the renters that it would be postponed. In 2015  the notice finally came: We’ll start the reduction in 2016 and will also renovate the kitchen and bathrooms (and more) of the flats (and buildings).
When finally the day came that my old flat was completely gone I posted this poem on my private Facebook page and mentioned the oddness on the other ones (I wont translate the poem itself, but what it’s about is explained above):

Ode an eine Wohnung

2007 sind wir eingezogen,
da hatten sie uns gleich belogen.
Bis 2011 so lief der Vertrag,
so zumindest hatten sie uns gesagt.
Wir lebten, lernten, alberten und lachten
und was wir nicht sonst noch machten.
Dann 2008 da kam die Liebe,
E. trug sie mit sich fort,
nun lebte sie an einem andern Ort
und ich war alles was noch bliebe.
In 2009 begann mein Studium
und ich sah mich nach einer neuen Wohnung um.
Da bin ich jetzt und schau nach oben,
wollt ich doch das Alte loben.
In einem Jahr ward dann gesagt,
die Bauarbeit, die wird vertagt.
2015 dann kam der Bescheid,
im nächsten Jahr ist es soweit.
Vor kurzem begann die Arbeit dann,
und nun ist es auch schon getan.
Die alte Wohnung, die ist weg,
dort wo sie war ist nun ein leerer Fleck.

Regardless of this the construction phase itself – inside my flat and the whole building – had a bunch of very frustrating things happening. A few of those I’d like to tell you about.

Technical difficulties

One evening I came back from work, made dinner and sat down to cosily watch a stream, when I noticed that my Internet didn’t work.
My first thought was that my Laptop had a fault, so I restarted it, without any improvement.
My second thought was to restart my router/modem, still nothing.
The third though was: Did they turn off something during construction without telling me/us again?
As I asked my direct neighbour she mentioned that she had just had similar troubles and a call to the provider had helped.
So I called them and they told me they couldn’t do anything as the company managing the building(s) were responsible (aka my landlords), but he’d try to reach the guy on stand-by duty.
In the meantime I called my landlord and left him a message that they should call back, as Internet, telephone and television weren’t usable.
While I called him the provider called back and told me someone was on their way.
When the guy came he told me that they had turned off the distributor so that the users who still used the old system would call them so that they can attach a loose cable that hung beside my Internet/telephone/television-socket (that’s been hanging around since April and the only thing they told me about it was, that they’d do it later). He also told me that he could only do it provisorily now, as it was outside of his working hours and I should have called them during their working hours or at least be home (how could I dare to go to work)…
He wrote down my number and said that he’d tell his boss to make an appointment with me to do the proper work as soon as possible.
The next morning I went to the workers that were already renovating the other flats and told them about it – according to them it was the providers fault. They wrote down my number as well to make sure I got my appointment. When we left the other building the construction-electrician conveniently recognized the provider-electrician and that guy even had time to work on my socket right away. When he was in my flat his boss(?) came to see him and told him that my flat and two others – that have the same provider – still had the loose cable. Unfortunately he told his boss that he was already finished with my flat, so I couldn’t hear how he should have contacted me.
At last the distributor/socket worked again and that part was done.
Three days later I got a return call from the landlord…(as is usual when I contacted him with questions)…

Watery fun

During the construction we had three instances of water damage.
The second I didn’t notice and only by chance heard about it from my neighbour, as it happened during a weekend and only affected a flat on the other side and the cellars – mine included – beneath it, but I didn’t have any important stuff down there anyway.
The first time was also in the cellar, but started somewhere around my flat. I was just getting ready for work when there was a knock at my door and someone wanted to take a look at my pipes as again there was water in the cellar and someone had mentioned the sound of rushing water. From the bathroom he couldn’t see anything and I told him that I had heard it, but I hadn’t paid much attention to it, as rushing water wasn’t an unfamiliar sound in this old building. So he went outside again to shut down the water first and to get someone else to look at it.
Hurriedly I finished getting ready – using the water before it was gone – and waited for him to return. He then told me that they needed to take a look at the pipes from the other side. Well, my kitchen was still filled with all my supplies, so even them appearing with three people didn’t change that. Without being able to do anything they left and I had half an hour to remove the stuff I had in two kitchen shelves – two weeks before I would have to do so anyway.
When they returned an hour later the worker was confused that the shelves still stood there and I told him, that I simply couldn’t remove them myself.
So we did that and he apparently changed a pipe when I could finally go to work.
On my return my shelves and hearth were positioned towards the wrong wall and there was a tear in my floor covering…(and the board that led to the pipes was still partly opened).
While I was in the flat during the technical incidence one of the workers came into my flat and was surprised to still find me around and asked if he could take another look at the pipe, but had to leave again with the words „next week we’re in here anyway“ as he himself saw – not believing my words – that he couldn’t reach it at the moment as my stuff was more or less back where it stood – at least the shelves – and that they hadn’t left a hole there to take a look.
And now for the grand finale:

A Puddly Ordeal

On that day I didn’t know whether I should cry, scream or even laugh a little.
I prepared my flat for months, weeks, days in a way that the workers would easily have access to my kitchen, bathroom, radiators and windows. I brought almost all my important belongings back home, so they wouldn’t be in the flat when it was open for the workers. I packed everything that was still there beneath tarpaulin and went to stay at Unmeis for the night. I returned the next morning to let the carpenter in, who’d remove the last of my kitchen shelves when my neighbour welcomed me with the words:

Open up, there was water again

After a moment of shock I opened my door and saw a few small puddles on the floor, in my living room the puddles where a little larger and the corner of the carpet that looked out beneath the tarpaulin was soppy.
A look into the bathroom reminded me of a paddling pool: Water up to the door border.
But the best awaited me in the kitchen.
The wall/the strand that should have been removed and renewed the FOLLOWING DAY: Crushed inwards, tiles blasted off and the chute door pressed outwards.
If the damned pipe would have lasted one flipping day more I wouldn’t have had to spent ~two hours hauling my whole – wet at the bottom – inventory into an empty flat – luckily on the same floor – with the help of the carpenter so they could completely rip out my lamination to renew it – as soon as the flat would be dry again.
It wasn’t helping that some of the other workers made jokes about the flat being cleaned well or that the electrician out of nowhere asked me whether I even want to move back into the flat (as he otherwise would remove my other lamps as well).
Nor was it helping that they somehow managed to not give my fridge enough electricity to keep it working and in the process ruin everything I still had in there.
Nor that they moved my stuff a floor up when someone moved into the flat it had previously occupied – and I don’t know if any of my dishes survived either trip as I hadn’t had time to pack them properly.
Nor that I always had to contact the landlord to learn anything new about the status of the flat.
Nor that I’m just so fucking tired of the whole situation and basically don’t even know if I want to get back into the flat if stuff like this keeps happening.
The drying has now lasted for more than a month.
A month in which I could not use my own flat, but paid my bills regardless of that.
Fortunately(?) a part of that time was covered by the Rockharz and me being sick afterwards for three weeks – though I’m still kind of sick, but at least I can work again without annoying everybody with my coughing.
Last Tuesday my landlord told me that they’ll remove the driers – that took electricity from my line – and that soon the actual work will commence and potentially last two more weeks, including my new floor and painting of my walls – I really hope what they have planned for the mould on my bathroom door frame will work and that stuff wont return in a few months.
Anyway, that leaves me in my current situation.
I have to drive from my dad’s place (aka home) to work (Neubrandenburg) on a daily basis, as I only want to bother other people when it’s absolutely necessary. That means I’m in my car ~1 1/2 hours a day, which in turn means, I don’t have my usual time to read and write stuff in the bus, making me lack behind on all those things – again. A few days ago I started listening to an audio book to at least get something useful out of this situation.
So yeah, after that drive and work I’m rarely in the mood to do anything, so posts here will be a bit wonky again until I finally get my flat back.
Just so you know…
Poisonpainter