October 2023

October was a month full of nice stuff. I visited friends, we had friends over at our home and I enjoyed the social time very much. We also had some quality time with the doggys, the local swimming pool was closing their outdoor area and made a dog swimming event. I also visited my friend in London for a couple of days. Last time in July, I was cold. And this time my packed clothes were too warm…. We visited Windsor Castle and Eton, my first time there. I enjoyed the visit, I like Castles and „typical English“ towns. And we had good food at The Ivy in Windsor. The next day we spent in the City, in posh Mayfair. There we visited the Fortnum & Mason store and I bought quite a lot of tea. It’s not that the tea is very special, I can also get very good tea in Germany. But in bigger stores like F&M, I can sniff the different teas without being watched by a salesperson, like here in Germany in our rather small tea stores. We also vistied Kensington Park, it was a beautiful late summer day! First time this year that I had luck with the weather during my visit. It was a really nice visit, not so busy like my last one.

Well, talking about UK trips: I am going to Manchester next year. I have been a fan of Oasis for many years. When they split up in 2009, I was really devasted. It wasn’t surprising but 2009 was a really shitty year for me with cancer, death, loosing my home, my social circles and on top of that the band that I loved split up. A couple of years later, the Gallagher brothers did music on their own. Which was good in Noel’s case and got really bad in Liam’s case. His voice sucked, his concerts sucked, I gave up on him. Then I stumbled last year over his instagram and saw that he had performed at Knebworth. A huge and legendary location. I was really surprised that Liam played there, that he was that famous play at this venue. I started to read comments that he really turned around. So I checked out his music. His voice is the best since maybe ever, he seems to be way more professional and he does really great music again. I listened to some of his newer albums where I found many songs that I liked very much (but I also liked that he played a lot of Oasis songs live). I got really excited when I read that he wanted to do a 30 year anniversary tour of Definitely Maybe. My most favorite album. Well, in October he announced this as a UK tour. I was thrilled and very very eager to see a show. I wanted to go to Manchester, the home of Oasis, the home of Britrock. Getting a ticket wasn’t that hard, after 15 minutes I could buy one for my preferred date in Manchester (after 5minutes I had already bought one for a not preferred date – already sold this one via the platform). I AM HYPED.

Boardgames (and other games):
We visited the Spiel Messe this month, after a longer hiatus. I enjoyed the day very much and we bought a selection of nice games like Beacon Patrol and Everdell Farshore, which I both tried already and like. I played quite a lot in October. We played games like Ark Nova, Seas Salt and Paper, Mysterium, Cascadia, Quacks, Takenoko… a very good boardgame month!
Not quite boardgames but related: we also had a great evening with Call of Cthulhu, the tabletop pen and paper game. It was the first time for our friends and they absolutely enjoyed it. There was also a game of Pathfinder which is a bit too much on the fighting side and too few on the investigation side for my taste.
I finished Final Fantasy 16 on the Playstation 5. This took me about 57 hours, I wanted to finish all side quests and monster hunts. I bought the PS5 for FF16 and it was worth every Euro. I absolutely loved the story and FF16 is now in my top 3 FF games.

Books:
Finished 7 books in October. King of Ashes by R. Feist was a big disappointment. I love his Midkemia books but this new series was just very boring. I liked Alle_Zeit by Teresa Bücker, it’s a book about… well, time. From a sociatal perspective. I also liked Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller, it was fast-paced and also quite surprising.

Films:
Films I liked: The Fabelmans, Stoker, Decision to Leave, Broker, The Wailing. I also re-watched Titanic. I saw this film twice in cinema as a teen. The film aged pretty well and is still extraordinary. Better than expected was the horror film Leviathan and worse than expected was Knock At The Cabin. It wasn’t bad but the ending was boring.
In England I saw the film Killers of the Flower Moon in the cinema. Well, that was the first time I left a film early. Partly due to the cinema’s ac being very high and delivering a scent of meat. Partly also due to the film being 3 hours long and boring in the first 1,5h. I lived Lily Gladstones performance, but I was so bored and tired of old white men talk with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro. It’s a typical Scorsese film, it’s not bad but it’s also very uncreative. I have no longer energy to watch such films in one sitting.
Well, concerning long films: I also saw Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour in the cinema in London. I didn’t know any song by her and I didn’t recognize any song during the movie. Her shows are really something special, wow. It was all so sparkling and so magical. But to me it also seemed somehow artificial? Every wink, every smile, every sentence seemed to be on cue. Like a musicial. It was still very good but also a very different kind of concert that I usually visit. Her songs were also…nice? But I think I didn’t remember anyone. Well, but it was a fun evening, especially watching the fans enjoying themselves, singing and dancing. First time I saw something like this in the cinema.

TV Shows:
I finished Sex Education, can’t remember much, but the ending was okay. I binge-watched Killing Eve. The show got worse with every season but I still enjoyed Sandra Oh’s performance and overall the show was entertaining.
The Fall of the House of Usher was quite okay. A bit weird was then watching Painkiller. Both shows were about families being in the pharma business and selling painkillers. But Painkiller was based on real events and the opioid crisis in the USA, really shocking.
My partner and I started The Crown and finished the first season. John Lithgow as Winston Churchill was just brilliant. I’m not a royalist but I still enjoy the stories about the English monarchy. I like the show so far.

September 2023

This month was very intense with work stuff. I had two larger work gatherings that were every exhausting. But it was good that I attended them. There were a few positive developments at work, too. On the social side, September was very lonely. I had no playdates on the weekends, the only date was cancelled. Well, there was a session of roleplaying but this was not with close friends. But I had my electric guitar fixed by a friendly helper, my partner’s work colleague who builds his own guitars. I was right that my guitar was weird. He fixed the strings and the neck and now it the guitar smooth again. My fender is now 23 years old but still in good shape. Well, I only played it for 6 years but I want to get back to this hobby. I saw my old stuff from the guitar lessons back then. I never learned to do the „Wonderwall by campfire“ thing but I was actually really skilled at playing complex guitar solos and jazz. I was so impressed by my younger self.

One of the most cherished events of the month was the theater play of A Little Life. I watched it in the cinema and now I am still a bit angry at myself for not visiting the real play in London. It was so good. The book is very sad and hardcore, it contains a lot of traumatic stuff but is also about friendship and love. The play was excellent in catching these things. First I was a bit unhappy about James Norton playing Jude. He is too tall and broad, and looks a bit too „manly“. I always imagined Jude as fragile and more feminine looking (maybe like Elijah Wood). But James Norton is such a brilliant actor. And he even can sing. In German. It was so eerie, he sang a song by Mahler/Rückert Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen which suits so well to the character. The camera play was also awesome. They didn’t just film the play like you would see it as the audience but did close ups and other perspectives. It was also fascinating how they sometimes put the camera in such a perspective, that James Norton looked much smaller than Luke Thompson/Willem. I hope that they will release the play on Bluray. I would really like to watch it again. It didn’t even bother me that the play is about 3,5 hours (I usually hate films above 2hours).

So, not so many social events, but even more media consumption.

Boardgames:
Only four boardgames this month. Not good. I played Backgammon, a couple of solo games of Cascadia, Cartographer Heroes and the newest Clever 4Ever expansion. I hope October will be a better boardgame month.

Books:
I consumed six books/audio books this month, unfortunately there were some that were a bit too boring. I think my fav book was the comic Dark One by Brandon Sanderson. A big suprise was that I actually liked Das Kind in dir muss Heimat finden by Stefanie Stahl. I thought it was one of „those“ self-help books but actually it was quite good and (seemingly) science-orientated on what is actually done in psychotherapy. I also read How Long Til Black Future Month by N.K.Jemisin, a collection of her short stories. There were good ones, one a predecessor to her Broken Earth series but all in all I don’t like short stories that much.

Films:
We watched some of the old and the not so old Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films. They aged well and are still good, although I am not into dinosaurs. Okay, but now I am into raptors because they were like geese or ducks (okay, the birds don’t bother with killing humans nowadays). My fav film as The Matrix Resurrections. I think it was a really good sequel, better than the other two sequel Matrix films. And I also liked The Killing of a Sacred Deer, a suspenseful psychological horror film and so far my fav by Yorgos Lanthimos. I also watched Lanthimos‘ film Dogtooth this month. I don’t know whether I liked it or if it was too absurd.

TV Shows:
September was the month of brilliant tv shows! I loved The Afterparty (Apple+) and binge-watched the whole two seasons. It’s a murder mystery where every episode has a different genre. I also finished the 5th season of the Handmaid’s Tale (DVD from library) which I also liked very much. Another great tv show was Mask Girl (Netflix). It didn’t sound so good at all from its teaser, but turned out to be a captivating psychological horror drama. If you are not used to Korean horror (not to be confused with the Korean show Squid Game which was rather harmless and very „westernized“), you should check CNs. I finished Foundation (Apple+) season 2 as well, I think it was even better than the first season. I’m still a huge fan of Lee Pace and his performance of the variants of Empire Day. Next up was the 5th season of Virgin River (Netflix). It continues to be a cosy romance-drama with a beautiful landscape. Then a speed run through The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart (Amazon Prime) because I only had Prime for a week. Great female-centered miniseries with Sigourney Weaver as matriach of a flower farm. My fav of the month was Silo (Apple+), a dystopian mystery show where 10.000 people live in an underground Silo. I also watched some new episodes of The Morning Show (Apple+), Sex Education (Netflix) and then I started Killing Eve (Netflix) which is okay-ish but didn’t catch me so hard like other shows.
Yeah, a very good tv month indeed.


August 2023

July was very busy and now August was very unbusy. I must admit that it was also a bit lonely from time to time.
I had two nice dates with friends for boardgames and snacks. And two roleplaying sessions, one in an ongoing offline group for Pathfinder, the other with a new online group where we will play DnD The Wild Beyond the Witchlight. I am so looking forward to this campaign!
It was also time to get back to work after my vacation. My team-mate also came back after a longer hiatus. To celebrate her being back, we had a delicous long breakfast and brunch at another colleague’s house where we could sit outside in her beautiful garden. And we went to a couple of lunch breaks together. This was very nice, I love going to cafés and restaurants, it sparks so much joy.

Boardgames:
I didn’t play as much as I wanted to but still I got a couple of games in. The best one was Everdell. I like it so much and the design is beautiful. Other than that I played a couple of smaller games like Azul, Clever or Fantastic Realms.
I finally finished the first campagin of Welcome To The Moon. I really didn’t enjoy this game and will sell it (probably today).

Books:
I listened to the autobiography Verse, Chorus, Monster! by Graham Coxon. Despite being a huge fan of Oasis, I also always liked Blur and especially Graham Coxon because of him being so weird and such an awesome musician. In the book, he talks a lot about his struggles with social anxiety which even led to him becoming an alcoholic. Of course I also liked the bits about the britpop wars and what a big influence the labels and press had on it. Well not all of it, the beef between Damon and Liam was pretty real. I also listened to the audiobook Looking after your autististic self by Niamh Garvey where I got some good advice. Then there were two books I struggled with: Human Acts by Han Kang, it was about a revolt in the 80s in Korea, history I definitely don’t know anything about and due to the stories changing narrators and perspectives I struggled with this book. I had a similar problem with the classic book Beloved by Toni Morrison. I get why this book won a pulitzer award but it was so hard to read with the changing perspectives and going back and forth in the timeline.

Films:
August was the release of Red White and Royal Blue. And the film was as good as I hoped it would be. Even better than the book. It’s a cheesy romance about the son of the president of the USA falling in love with an English prince. But my fav movie was A Man Called Otto with Tom Hanks. It was so cozy and wholesome. Other films worth a mention:
The Favourite with Olivia Colman playing a very disturbing role.
The Florida Project about a poor single mother living in the shadow of Disney World.
del Toro’s Pinocchio with Cate Blanchett voicing a monkey that is only doing monkey sounds. Imagine casting Cate Blanchett for this!

TV Shows:
Oh, a lot of shows in August, so what I lacked in social contacts I substituted with tv shows.
I did a speed run through Sweet Magnolias. I wanted something easy and light and I got it. It’s about three 40something female friends living an upper-middle class life in Southern USA. I don’t think that living there is like in the show, with no racism and polite, emotionally aware hot men, with every women having to choose between two men. But the show is there for entertainment and I felt very entertained.
I also finished Ted Lasso Season 3. It was the best season and a beautiful ending for the show/the first arc. Then there was the second season of Heartstopper which was cute and nice to watch. Another show finished was Daisy Jones & The Six. I didn’t like the casting of some of the characters and it made me angry through the whole show. There are finally new episodes of Foundation. I love the plot around Empire and Lee Pace’s performance as wanna-be-god-like emporer. I also got my hands on a copy of the fifth season of The Handmaid’s Tale. Not possible to watch it on any streaming service, so I got it from my library.
Still like the show very much, despites it’s very heavy theme. Elisabeth Moss is such a brilliant actor. I once saw her (and Jon Hamm) live during a screening for Mad Men. In reality, she looks so tiny and fragile, yet she manages to play this furious, strong and frightening character in the Handmaid’s Tale.