Search

Some Nerd Girl

Some Like It Nerdy

Category

Claire

What’s Good: Nerd Life – August 30th Edition

Hey folks! Things have been very quiet recently, I know. So, I thought I’d bring you all a little semi-regular feature about the nerdy things I’m currently enjoying in life. Because after all, a nerdy life is a lovely life!

Watching

StrangerThings
Art by J. Caleb Design

Stranger Things. Stranger. Things. STRANGER THINGS. If you haven’t heard about this amazing sci-fi/mystery/horror series on Netflix, where have you been? We initially watched it a few days after it was released, but it’s finally on a lot of people’s radars so I can squee about it more. The story is phenomenal, the cast is fantastic – especially the young actors, they are all just wonderful. I want to protect them and love them, and make sure they’re happy and safe. Plus, the horror aspects of the show are top notch. Also, if you’re a big fan of the eighties and that vibe, you’ll love this even more.

I’ve been rewatching the Saw anthology too. Some might say that after the third film it all went downhill, and there is a point there, but I’m a huge fan of the series. An eighth film is in production as we speak, and I’m curious as to what they’re planning to do with the series – especially with the fate of certain characters made very clear during the film timeline. But I’ll give it a go nonetheless I’m sure. (Controversial opinion time! I fucking adore Detective Mark Hoffman, played by the delicious Costas Mandylor. His character is messed up and wonderful.)

Reading

Red Dragon

I’m still reading through Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. I go through periods where I’ll read and read, devouring books by the day, and then there might be months where I don’t pick up a single book. Hannibal Lecter is one of my favourite fictional characters, something that was cemented further by the wonderful (and sadly cancelled) TV series. Mads Mikkelsen was the perfect Hannibal. I aim to actually finish this book and pick up another one soon, trying to get back into good reading habits again!

Playing

I did pick up Pokemon GO for a little while. But when the company that makes it started buggering it up, it lost its appeal very quickly. I’m a huge Pokemon fan, have been since I was 10 – I’ll be going back to the console games at some point.

MagicTheGathering

This weekend saw the release of Magic: the Gathering’s exciting new multiplayer set, Conspiracy: Take the Crown. I was lucky enough to play in a draft of the game today at work at our launch party for the set, and it was a LOT of fun! The drafting of the cards was a brilliant experience in itself, seeing all the new cards built around the Conspiracy cards. Along with the addition of cards that play on the Monarch mechanic – I was the Queen for two rounds! – it made for a very fun afternoon. If you play MtG, I implore you to get along to your nearest Conspiracy: Take the Crown draft, you won’t regret it.

That’s it for my first regular post with Some Nerd Girl! What have you been up to this week? Drop me a comment below!


ClaireClaire is a foul-mouthed British twenty-something who spends most of her time pretending to be an adult. Her nerd status started from an early age with her dad’s love of sci-fi and developed through a love of gaming, reading and horror. As well as volunteering for a charity, Claire writes about her life with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and mental health over at her blog, as well as tweeting nonsense over as @MouthAndSpoons. The dream is to either make it as a successful writer, or go into mental health research. She lives at home with her equally nerdy husband, their dog Lady, cat Pip and a lot of fish.

Game of Thrones and What ‘ship May Never Be

Season 6 of Game of Thrones has managed to blow me away week after week. I have laughed, cried and ranted until I have no more air in my lungs. If someone tells me they’re also a fan then you can bet I will drag them into a conversation about the show, books and world surrounding George RR Martin’s epic fantasy series. Who will end up on the Iron Throne? Which House do you support? How much did you cry when [redacted] died? And of course the age-old favourite – who are you shipping together as a couple?

We’re all guilty of shipping at one time or another. When I was 12 I wanted Yuna and Tidus together so badly when I played Final Fantasy X, as a Buffy: The Vampire Slayer I kept rooting for Xander and Willow – even after Tara died, I wanted them together. Last night whilst playing FFXIV after patch 3.3 went live the other day I was whispering that Aymeric and Lucia need to be together because I said so. Some ships make sense, others don’t. Some are ridiculous – and then there are some that simply shouldn’t see the light of day. Jessica Jones and Kilgrave? No. Hermione and Severus Snape? No. Cersei and Jaime Lannister? Weird enough. But people are taking the recent reunion of the very alive Jon Snow (TOLD YOU!) and Sansa Stark as a sign of a potential romantic pairing.

The reasons for this? Apparently, romantic chemistry. The way they look at each other. How relaxed they are with one another. Sansa made him a cloak. Jon likes redheads – Ygritte, Melisandre, Tormund… Who cares if they share a father and grew up together? They’re clearly madly in love and meant to be together!

No. NO. You’re free to ship who you want, but don’t seriously tell me this is going to happen. I have some real-life experience to throw your way, so suck it up.

sansa-stark-got-spoilers.gif

I have five half-siblings on my dad’s side, and one on my mom’s. I grew up with two older half-brothers and one half-sister, and another brother and sister came into my life when I was a teenager. The two brothers I grew up with both spent a lot of time out of my life, as there is a ten year gap between us and I clashed frequently with my mom’s son. Now at 26 I only talk to my dad’s son who I grew up with, and my eldest sister who now lives in Canada. There is a distance between myself and all my siblings if I’m honest, which is a particularly painful thing for me. But when my brother and I reconnected after years of broken contact along with the loss of our mothers, it was an amazing moment when we hugged and got to talk over our issues. We are now in a position where we just ‘get’ each other.

Something I was reminded of when Jon and Sansa are sat at Castle Black, talking over their last time together. We didn’t actually see them talk to each other once before they all went their separate ways from Winterfell in the first series and she mentions him only briefly in the books as her father’s bastard son. It’s clear that Sansa takes after her mother Catelyn in looks and her attitude towards Jon as a living reminder of her father’s apparent affair. She apologises for being awful to him when she was younger, and he apologises for always sulking in the corner, not able to really mix with the Stark children due to his bastard status. After the hell that each of them have been through, they have a much better understanding of the world and how cruel it can be. Their father and Sansa’s mother were murdered, along with their brother Robb. They only know that Rickon is alive because Sansa’s evil husband Ramsay Bolton has him hostage. Arya and Bran are lost to them so they need they to stick together – especially with the real threat being just beyond the Wall in the form of the Night King and his undead army.

Jon Snow is not a Stark, something that is not going to play well in his favour. Sansa makes him a cloak like that of Ned’s perhaps to make him finally feel like a part of the family. That hug? THEY FINALLY FOUND A LIVE MEMBER OF THE STARK HOUSEHOLD. Sansa had just ran away from the sadistic Ramsay along with her broken foster brother Theon, Jon has just come back from being murdered by his brothers in the Night’s Watch, of course they’re going to be fucking overjoyed to see each other! They’re just so happy to not be alone in the world anymore, something I’m sure they’ll feel if they are reunited with Arya, Bran and Rickon.

8bd

As for Jon’s love of redheads… there might be an Oedipal thing there, what with his father’s red-headed wife hating him and berating him all his life, then he met red-headed Ygritte who also mocked him even after they were clearly in love with each other. Melisandre taunted him with her naughty bits, and Tormund… don’t tell me he doesn’t love Jon. The dick jokes after coming back from the dead kinda cemented that fact.

Yes, there have been cases of siblings falling in love. It’s a recognized phenomenon called genetic sexual attraction, and there’s usually factors in place that cause this – the thing that stops this is called the Westermarck effect, something that doesn’t happen if siblings grow up separated. Somebody quite rightly pointed out to me that this doesn’t explain how the Lannister twins are a thing, seeing as they grew up with one another and still fell in love. That is an anomaly, but besides that Jon and Sansa would have grown up together and experienced no attraction before this.

This whole ship makes my skin crawl. Incest is not something to be romanticised, there is a reason why it is taboo. Incest is a big issue, especially when consenting relationships between two relatives exist as well as non-consensual abuse happening too. Then there’s the problem with inbreeding, something which is actually covered in Game of Thrones with the madness highlighted in the Targaryen bloodline said to be a result of siblings having children. It’s also hinted that Joffrey’s violent psychopathic behaviour comes from being born of incest.

joff

Ship it all you want. It’s still wrong as far as I’m concerned from my own experiences growing up with half-siblings and also the evidence from the show too. Can’t we just like two characters without wanting them to mash their genitals together?


ClaireClaire is a foul-mouthed British twenty-something who spends most of her time pretending to be an adult. Her nerd status started from an early age with her dad’s love of sci-fi and developed through a love of gaming, reading and horror. As well as volunteering for a charity, Claire writes about her life with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and mental health over at her blog, as well as tweeting nonsense over as @MouthAndSpoons. The dream is to either make it as a successful writer, or go into mental health research. She lives at home with her equally nerdy husband, their dog Lady, cat Pip and a lot of fish.

An Open Letter to Jared Leto: Please Stop

Dear Jared Leto,

You’re a great actor. In Fight Club, Requiem for a Dream, Dallas Buyers Club and even Panic Room, you gave your all to each role. And I’ll admit, I have a soft spot for 30 Seconds To Mars as a band to listen to when I want to revert to my mopey teenage years. When it was announced that you would be taking the role of the Joker in the film adaptation of Suicide Squad, I kept an open mind. After all, Heath Ledger was known as a teen heart throb when he took the role in The Dark Knight and although he sadly passed away before the film’s release, his portrayal of the anarchic, unbalanced Joker remains iconic to this day – much to the chagrin of some of the hardcore fanbase. I gave you a chance. I wanted you to prove them all wrong.

Even when your costume and makeup were revealed for the first time, I tried to tell myself that it was a different universe to what we were used to so naturally there would be some changes. Sure, you looked like a juggalo, but I had faith. I had faith in you as an actor, Jared Leto.

joker-empire-magazine

But now, I want you to stop. Please stop, Jared Leto.

Not a day goes by when I haven’t heard yet another story involving your LOL CRAZY antics on the set. Most recently, he has sent used condoms and anal beads to his fellow cast-mates as well as sending a live rat to Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn) and a dead pig filled with bullets to the rest of the cast. You read that right, used condoms. Aside from the fact that could count as sexual assault, it’s also just fucking gross. I actually retched a little when I read that.

DavidAyer
This satirical piece pokes fun at what some might consider legitimate concerns  about Leto’s behavior

We were barely into 2016 when tales from the set started to ripple through social media and not so surprisingly, a meme was born.

LetoMeme
Satirical Meme

This quote from the Daily Dot sums his character up really well;

By trying to make the Joker look as dangerous and subversive as possible, Jared Leto and David Ayer accidentally rebooted the character as a teenage boy who just found out about Banksy and likes to quote Hunter S. Thompson to girls at parties. He literally has the word “damaged” tattooed on his forehead. So edgy.

Joker

Leto claims to be a method actor, and all of these ‘shenanigans’ could well be part of his ‘method’. But if this is supposed to be in-character to the Joker, what does this say of his perception of a dark, complex character? Would the Joker send filthy, jizz-filled rubbers to people? I’d like to think that sort of thing is way beneath him. Would he send a live rat to his Harley? Hell no, he’d just push her out of a window.

DO NOT PUSH MARGOT ROBBIE OUT OF A WINDOW, LETO.

And all these cringey little snippets into the ‘twisted’ mind of the Joker that he spouts… he sounds like a scene guy from the MySpace days. You know the one, his profile had the quote “They laugh at me because I’m different, I laugh at them because they’re all the same” somewhere on his page. He’s not scary. I still see kids like this when I play Magic, and I laugh because if they started a fight with anyone they’d be on their arse before they could even get their cheap knuckledusters out of their checkered Vans backpack that hangs past their knees.

Joker2

Jared Leto, please stop all this bullshit. If the weight of your acting relies on you pulling stunts like this, then don’t be surprised if people don’t take you seriously. The late Heath Ledger perfected his performance through a journal that is reportedly truly dark and upsetting, and some people say to this day that he got so far into the character that he could never drag himself back out. But he was phenomenal.

I urge you Mr Leto to just get this film done and go away for a little while. AND STOP SENDING DEAD ANIMALS AND OTHER GROSS THINGS TO PEOPLE. Seriously, if you weren’t famous you’d have been arrested.

Yours,
Claire (Mark Hamill is My Joker) Stephenson


ClaireClaire is a foul-mouthed British twenty-something who spends most of her time pretending to be an adult. Her nerd status started from an early age with her dad’s love of sci-fi and developed through a love of gaming, reading and horror. As well as volunteering for a charity, Claire writes about her life with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and mental health over at her blog, as well as tweeting nonsense over as @MouthAndSpoons. The dream is to either make it as a successful writer, or go into mental health research. She lives at home with her equally nerdy husband, their dog Lady, cat Pip and a lot of fish.

Game of Thrones, or – WHAT IS HYPE MAY NEVER DIE!

As of March 15th – the day this piece runs – there are 43 days left until the start of season 6 of the mighty epic fantasy drama series Game of Thrones. I’m sure it needs no introduction to the wonderful readers of Some Nerd Girl, as chances are you’ve either come across the HBO show or you’ve devoured the A Song of Ice and Fire books that gave us the phenomenon that’s taken the world by storm.

got0.jpg

I am a huge fan of both mediums. The rich, gorgeous world that is weaved within the pages is brought so vividly to life on screen by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, with the author George R. R. Martin also at the helm to make sure his vision is similar to what he has created over the years. The first five seasons were taken from the pages and reworked for television, but season 6 is going to be something different – as it will actually be ahead of the books. GRRM has been taking his time writing the last book of ASOIAF, but he kept his schedule and age in mind and told the showrunners exactly how the story ends.

What does this mean? Every Game of Thrones fan, readers and viewers alike, will be going into the sixth season with no idea of what’s to come. It’s going to be an exciting time – the hype is real. And I’m here to pull the hype train into hype station, as I sit in hype first class with a glass of hype champagne, to throw some glorious hype your way and not be alone in my excitable madness.

WARNING: BELOW THIS, THERE BE SPOILERS. DON’T READ IF YOU’RE NOT UP TO DATE WITH SEASON 5!

I refuse to accept that Jon Snow is dead and gone. He’s most certainly dead, having been shanked to death by his so-called brothers in the Night’s Watch for his loyalty to the Wildlings, but as we’ve already seen in previous seasons death doesn’t necessarily mean the end. And I’m not just talking about the dreaded White Walkers. The Red Priest Thoros, who rocks around with the Brotherhood Without Banners was seen reviving Beric – and as he tells the Red Priestess Melisandre, it’s the sixth time he’s brought the man back from the dead.

Oh yes. Melisandre. Her intentions have always been questionable, with her loyalty to the late Stannis ‘The Mannis’ Baratheon driving him to burn his only daughter alive in the last season – as well as getting him to knock her up with a weird shadow assassin baby – only to seemingly figure that her belief in him was possibly misplaced as his army is defeated by Ramsay Bolton’s men.

got4

Before this, she tries to seduce Jon Snow. Melisandre has always had a thing for those who have ‘King’s blood’ in their veins – and if you believe the R + L = J theory, this might give us some grounding as to what her plans for him might have been. And if she shares the ability to raise the dead like Thoros… maybe we can finally see more to her than just a pair of boobs who sometimes does magic things.

(I really hope that Jon Snow is brought back from the dead, because if he’s not my six months pregnant cousin/best friend will go postal – and there’s not enough Greggs steak bakes in the world to placate that kind of rage…)

Arya is now blind after disobeying the rules given to her in the House of Black and White by going rogue and slaying the disgusting Meryn Trant. Yet, it seems she will continue to train under the Faceless Men to become an assassin. Will she become the badass that finally gets revenge for the brutal murders of her family members? I hope so. I also want to see where her direwolf has got to.

got3

Sansa ‘Stark’ Bolton has escaped her captivity in Winterfell thanks to the help of Theon ‘Reek’ Greyjoy after killing her husband Ramsay’s lover/partner-in-sadism Miranda. Pictures from the latest season show that they both survived their huge jump from the keep’s walls, but there seems to be another theory that’s sending everyone into a frenzy. It looks like Sansa has a very small bump, and considering how many times Ramsay defiled her… could she be carrying his child? What ramifications will that have for her? Will Reek become Theon again?

What else is going on? Well, Daenerys Targaryen has been surrounded by a horde of Dothraki, which may not work out well for her. Tyrion Lannister seems to have been left in charge of Meereen in her absence with Varys by his side. Jaime Lannister was supposed to be returning to King’s Landing with his niece/daughter Myrcella Baratheon. She revealed she knew about him being her father and was even happy about it! Well, until she died. It seems as if she was poisoned by Oberyn Martell’s concubine Ellaria Sand as a form of revenge for the death of her lover. I’m sure Cersei Lannister will be devastated at the tragic loss of another child, leaving King Tommen Baratheon as her only surviving child – she’s bound to become even more protective of the boy than she was before.

got1

Margaery Tyrell is still locked up. Religious nuts are still ruling the capital. There’s the case of that big bloke who used to be the Mountain but is now some sort of beefy zombie. Still no sign of Lady Stoneheart much to most fan’s dismay. Bran and Hodor were missing from last season, but they’re both due to return. Where’s Petyr Baelish? He might be a creep but he’s a sexy Irish creep. And worst still, BENJEN STARK IS STILL MISSING BEYOND THE WALL.

(Oh and then there’s the whole White Walker hoard making it’s way south, which I’m sure is more important than any of the characters realise at this point… I’m sure Tormund Giantsbane can take care of it by himself though.)

got2

I’m sure there’s loads of stuff I’ve missed. But the hype is real. Are you as excited/illegible as I am about season 6 of Game of Thrones? Have you got any theories you want to share? Please share them with me in the comments!

JON SNOW, ALWAYS AND FOREVER.

Game of Thrones returns April 24th – prepare yourselves…

(Images courtesy of Chrys Watches Game of Thrones – support her Patreon if you like what you see!)


ClaireClaire is a foul-mouthed British twenty-something who spends most of her time pretending to be an adult. Her nerd status started from an early age with her dad’s love of sci-fi and developed through a love of gaming, reading and horror. As well as volunteering for a charity, Claire writes about her life with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and mental health over at her blog, as well as tweeting nonsense over as @MouthAndSpoons. The dream is to either make it as a successful writer, or go into mental health research. She lives at home with her equally nerdy husband, their dog Lady, cat Pip and a lot of fish.

What We Do in The Shadows (2014) – Review

Like every little girl, when I grew up I wanted to be a vampire. …wait, that’s not a thing? Well, I was a weird kid. I remember watching Interview With A Vampire and being totally enamoured with Lestat and his charming arrogance, as well as being very confused by how much I wanted to be bitten by one of the Backstreet Boys in the video for ‘Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)’ – don’t act like you don’t know the song, everyone knows the song.

Vampires were dark, dangerous and totally charismatic monsters. Christopher Lee gave Dracula his now iconic look as the sultry dark lord of the night, which was only beaten by Gary Oldman in Francis-Ford-Coppola’s-Bram-Stoker’s-Dracula where he definitely made a few more of us willing to be one of his brides. Vampires were awesome. Until the dreaded Twilight saga came along. Suddenly, my beloved undead horrors became a joke, thanks to glittery pretty boy ‘vegetarian’ vamps, along with the True Blood TV series and other teenage supernatural romance novels. I was resigned to watching classic Hammer Horror and hoping that one day there would be something that would make me fall in love with vampires again.

wwdits3

My patience (and occasional ranting) was rewarded with the 2014 mockumentary horror comedy, What We Do in The Shadows. I found this film through my good friend Rachel over on Tumblr – we did Film Studies together for two years in college so I trust her taste in movies – and I was immediately intrigued. Set in Wellington, New Zealand (coincidentally where one of my best friends lives) What We Do in The Shadows focuses on four vampires, Viago, Vladislav, Deacon and Petyr, who share a flat together and have agreed to be filmed by the human camera crew who are protected by wearing crucifixes and have the vampires’ word that they won’t eat them. I can’t say I’d be so trusting, but there you go.

wwdits2

Viago, Vlad and Deacon are relatively young in comparison to the more Nosferatu-like Petyr, who is kept in the basement and looked after by his other flatmates. Their lives consist of sharing chores (occasionally, in Deacon’s case), going out on the town to hunt and have fun, and enjoying their hobbies of music and knitting. Things change however, when Deacon’s very patient familiar/servant Jackie brings over a few humans for the vampires to feast on and the night ends in one of them, Nick, being turned into a vampire himself. As he is welcomed into their company, Nick takes it upon himself to bring his new friends into the 21st century with technology as he adapts to his new undead life – however, he’s not exactly subtle with his new status, which brings trouble to the group’s doorstep.

wwdits5

If you’re a fan of Flight of the Conchords, you’ll recognise Jemaine Clement as Vladislav ‘the Poker’ (who co-wrote and directed with Taika Waititi, who plays the delightful and sweet Viago) as well as an appearance from Rhys Darby too. The humour is very similar to Conchords as well, which should be good news for fans of the quirky Kiwi show. The characters are all likeable in their own ways and the development over the film is very believable too – especially when Nick’s lovely red-cheeked human friend Stu is introduced. Even the darkest moments are lit up with the wonderful sense of humour that runs throughout the entire thing. Then of course, there’s the Spinal Tap feel of the film, it’s funny yet feels genuine and very real. The practical special effects add to that I feel, from the copious amounts of blood to the way the vampires float and fly – in a world where CGI has become the standard for creating effects, it’s a treat to see something more tangible.

wwdits1

My absolute favourite part of What We Do in The Shadows? Viago. He manages to be an adorable cinnamon roll of loveliness as well as a vampire who feast on blood – there’s no gold-eyed vegetarianism here, and yet even covered in blood, gingerly holding a tea towel, Viago is the most wonderful vampire in modern fiction. Just take one look at that adorable little smile and tell me you wouldn’t let him drain you dry. I’d even put down the towels and newspapers for him. (Bonus points go to Clement’s Vladislav, who is somehow oddly sexy in this role.)

I cannot find a single fault with this film. I’ve watched it four times since I got it, and I’ve recommended it to pretty much every friend I’ve had the chance to – you’ll find yourself feeling good after watching it. Which is more than could be said for the feeling I had after watching New Moon. Urgh.


ClaireClaire is a foul-mouthed British twenty-something who spends most of her time pretending to be an adult. Her nerd status started from an early age with her dad’s love of sci-fi and developed through a love of gaming, reading and horror. As well as volunteering for a charity, Claire writes about her life with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and mental health over at her blog, as well as tweeting nonsense over as @MouthAndSpoons. The dream is to either make it as a successful writer, or go into mental health research. She lives at home with her equally nerdy husband, their dog Lady, cat Pip and a lot of fish.

Final Fantasy XIV – The MMO You Should Be Playing!

I’m a huge JRPG (Japanese Role Playing Game) nerd, a love that stemmed from dipping my toes into the Final Fantasy franchise at age 11 with the tenth installment in the main series – Final Fantasy X. It’s also the series that taught me how to use Roman numerals, if you can believe that. I fell deeply in love with the characters, the story, the way I could build and develop my party, oh, and the music. That music was the soundtrack of my teenage years, (along with Linkin Park, Muse and Evanescence… we all make poor choices okay?) and followed me to my adult years, as I picked up more Final Fantasy titles. In order, I played IX, X-2, VIII, VII, III, VI and XIII, the latter being my least favourite.

I stayed away from the first FF MMORPG (that’s a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game for anyone not familiar with the daft term) which was XI, because it didn’t appeal to me. Plus, I had somehow managed to dodge the online gaming bug that seemingly started with World of Warcraft. I had to pay monthly to play a game with strangers who were probably going to be mean to me? You’re talking to someone who gets worn out from talking to friends in real life, let alone online! I played a WoW trial for an hour a few years ago and didn’t enjoy it. When I first heard about the next MMO in the series – Final Fantasy XIV – I was intrigued. I’d heard that it was going to be available on PS3 as well as the PC, which appealed massively to me, as my PC at the time was basically an advanced typewriter.

ffxiv_15102015_165718

But… well, when FFXIV first came out, it wasn’t received very well. In fact, ‘disaster’ wasn’t even a strong enough word for it. Bugs galore, shoddy interface, lacklustre content – there was still a loyal, if frustrated, fan base for the game, and despite attempts to fix the unseemingly unfinished launch product, the game was pulled offline altogether and completely rebuilt from the ground up. Released under the title Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn with a new team in control (ALL HAIL YOSHI-P!), they literally dropped a meteor on the old story and world, bringing in a fresh start for old players and new.

So, where do I come in? Well, a friend of mine called James (check his Twitter, he’s a huge comic book nerd!) introduced it to me as he played with someone we knew. They showed me the massive in-game world, along with their characters and classes, and then told me to give it a go. I saw there was a trial available for me to play, so I installed and found myself immersed in the story from the beginning. I was a Warrior of Light, destined for something amazing as time would go on. I created my character, a human Gladiator named Kezia Walker, and started my journey in the vast world of Eorzea.

ffxiv_17012016_170120

This game would have won me over had it been a standalone game, as it ticks all the boxes that I expect from a FF title – the surroundings are absolutely gorgeous, the characters are engaging, and the story… easily the best in a long time, probably since X. And I probably don’t need to comment on the music, the composer Nobuo Uematsu is a genius, I couldn’t love him more if I tried.

I was amazed at just how much content I could do without having to build a party, or even communicate with other players. The effort was made on my behalf, matching me with other players to do the first dungeon in the story as well as other content which required four players. My role as a Gladiator put me in position of being a Tank for the party, meaning I would take the enemy’s attention away from the other members, while the DPS (damage dealers) pummeled their way through, leaving the Healer safe from harm. It was a role I didn’t quite understand, and when I found myself in a Free Company (FFXIV’s guild system) and played with more experienced players, I realised that taking charge and being a sponge for damage wasn’t quite for me.

The brilliant thing about FFXIV in my opinion, is the Job system. You start off with a class – so in my case, I was a Gladiator – which would then lead me to picking up a Job as I levelled up. This requires some experience in another class, which is an option in FFXIV. I know people who play WoW who have multiple accounts to play different roles, as that’s the only way you can, but not in FFXIV!

ffxiv_20032015_221058

The Job available to me beyond my class was Paladin – which required getting to level 30 on my Gladiator, and level 15 in the healing class Conjurer. So, I played at healing as a Conjurer, and found that I enjoyed healing way more than I ever did tanking. And although I eventually unlocked the Paladin Job, I continued to level Conjurer, before levelling up the Arcanist class to 15 so I could become a White Mage. It sounds complicated on paper, but couldn’t be easier to pick up in-game.

I also ditched my human appearance and became an adorable purple-haired Lalafell – a race that can only be described as what an anthropomorphised potato would look like – took up the stave and became a determined, if easily irritated healer. I have now been playing FFXIV for well over a year, I have made some amazing friends within my Free Company, I’ve shared some amazing experiences and have been lucky enough to see this game go from strength to strength. The original incarnation of FFXIV was known as version 1.0, A Realm Reborn was 2.0 and with the launch of the first expansion for the game called Heavensward, we are now in the era of 3.0. And with yet another free patch rolling in on February 23rd, it only gets better.

ffxiv_01042015_223928.png

As for the tale of plucky Lalafell White Mage Kezia Walker? Well, she’s conquered gods, downed beasts and has saved the world from oblivion more times that anyone has counted. Along with every other Warrior of Light she has encountered during her time. And you know what? She’s had a lot of fun along the way. If only her FC mates would stop slapping her…

Final Fantasy XIV Online is available on PC, PS3, PS4 and Steam. Heavensward available separately. 14 day free trial also available – and highly recommended!

Are you already playing? If you’re on the Cerberus server, look me up and we’ll do some fun things together!


ClaireClaire is a foul-mouthed British twenty-something who spends most of her time pretending to be an adult. Her nerd status started from an early age with her dad’s love of sci-fi and developed through a love of gaming, reading and horror. As well as volunteering for a charity, Claire writes about her life with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and mental health over at her blog, as well as tweeting nonsense over as @MouthAndSpoons. The dream is to either make it as a successful writer, or go into mental health research. She lives at home with her equally nerdy husband, their dog Lady, cat Pip and a lot of fish.

You, Me, and the Best End-of-the-World Show Ever!

It’s very rare that I become so enthralled with a TV show that it becomes compulsory weekly viewing, well, aside from Gogglebox and Game of Thrones. It took me until this year to finally catch up with Breaking Bad, I lost interest in Orange is The New Black after the latest season, and American Horror Story lost its shine after Asylum – although, Wes Bentley’s perfect arse is doing alright in Hotel I must admit. I digress.

I recall seeing the trailers for You, Me and the Apocalypse while dogsitting for a friend of a few months ago. I’m a big fan of most apocalyptic media, British comedy is always a huge hit and Mat Baynton (who plays protagonist Jamie) is a cutie patootie previously seen in the wonderfully funny show Horrible Histories. So, with these three factors in mind, I settled down to watch the first episode when it started here in the UK on September 30th.

The show starts with the credits – a very dishevelled looking Jamie is sitting in an underground bunker, watching on TV as a meteor begins to crash down on Earth. Each week, we see more familiar faces in the bunker there with him, a seemingly random bunch of people thrown together at the end of days.

jaime-apocalypse

In the first episode, we’re introduced to bank manager Jamie, who lives a very mundane life in Slough living with his best friend Dave (Joel Fry, who some of you may recognise as Hizdahr zo Loraq from Game of Thrones) and his mum Paula (Pauline Quirke). We learn that his wife Layla went missing while they were on honeymoon seven years earlier, and he has never given up hope that she might return – despite his mum’s resignations.

We’re then taken over to America, where we meet Rhonda (Jenna Fischer from the US Office) who is in prison for a crime she didn’t commit but is willing to take the wrap for. It’s clear that she’s not exactly prison material, but she soon finds herself a friend in Leanne, a seemingly sweet Southern lady who just happens to have a Swastika tattooed on her forehead… (Megan Mullally, on fire as usual in this role)

Leanne

Suddenly, the worst news imaginable is reported after Jamie is arrested for a bizarre crime he swears he didn’t commit – an eight mile wide comet is on a collision course with the planet and it doesn’t look good for mankind. But Jamie has more important things on his mind – like, why his wife is alive and well in Russia? And why was she spotted with a man that looks strikingly similar to him?

Back in America, it might not be all doom and gloom, as Scotty McNeil (Kyle Soller) and the US General Arnold Gaines (British stalwart Paterson Joseph) are in charge of the plan that will save the world. Hopefully. Maybe. While all that’s going on, we go over to The Vatican, where Sister Celine (Gaia Scodellaro) is a nun with the sunniest disposition in the whole convent – she’s sent to work in the recently reopened office of Devil’s Advocate along with foul-mouthed, chain-smoking Father Jude Sutton (Rob Lowe is brilliant, alright?) where their job is to find the potential saviour for mankind.

Father_and_Sister

Somehow, this group of people comes together for the end of the world. Over the ten episodes, we find out the answers to questions we didn’t even know we’d have, about people we didn’t know we’d come to care about so much – Scotty is a precious being who needs to be protected at all costs, and I will fight anyone who wants to hurt him – and you’ll be fooled into thinking you’re watching a comedy when there will be times when you feel like your heart has broken in two. I loved every moment of this series and I can’t recommend it enough. If you’re a fan of Shaun of The Dead, Hot Fuzz, Monty Python and anything inbetween, then You, Me and The Apocalypse will be right up your street.

The cast is perfect, the story is extraordinary and brilliantly written, the mix of comedy and drama is just right (“You do not put people’s feet in food processors – there’s a line even in these kind of situations!”) and then there’s the fact that this series has somehow got me researching religion and theology for fun. There’s also a very satisfying amount of twists and turns that will keep you coming back for more – and trust me on one thing, just because you know the series ends when the world does, it doesn’t mean you know what’s coming…

You, Me and the Apocalypse is available in the UK on demand via Sky 1, and will soon be showing in the US on January 28th on NBC.


ClaireClaire is a foul-mouthed British twenty-something who spends most of her time pretending to be an adult. Her nerd status started from an early age with her dad’s love of sci-fi and developed through a love of gaming, reading and horror. As well as volunteering for a charity, Claire writes about her life with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and mental health over at her blog, as well as tweeting nonsense over as @MouthAndSpoons. The dream is to either make it as a successful writer, or go into mental health research. She lives at home with her equally nerdy husband, their dog Lady, cat Pip and a lot of fish.

The Top Five Books That Turned Me into a Horror Nerd

Hi. My name is Claire and I am an unashamed horror nerd. I love everything that ranges from bloody and gory, to the tortured and psychological – if it gets my heart beating fast and leaves me looking over my shoulder, then you can consider me a fan. It doesn’t matter if it’s a film, game, comic or book, if it scares the shit out of me then I will love it.

As well as consuming horror, I love creating horror. Up until this year, I was running a series online based on slenderman myth along with Irish mythology called She is The Huntress. After having to cut the series short due to personal disputes, I am now rewriting it as a novel and hope to have it released next autumn. Writing something that will pull people into reading it despite not wanting to see what’s waiting for them on the next page is a thrill in itself, and having got into horror so heavily via books – my parents couldn’t dictate what I read as a child as easily as they could read BBFC ratings on films – my ultimate hope is that I can make others feel the same chill I did.

So, how did I become so enchanted by the genre? These books had a hand in it. Sit back, get comfy, and make sure the door is locked…

Goosebumps: Welcome To Dead House – R.L. Stine (1992, Scholastic)

H215_SCH_GB1DeadHouse_0.tif

Who didn’t love Goosebumps back in the day? I discovered this book in my primary school’s library, and was curious about the gorey cover. The plot follows a family that moves into a new house (something I did a fair bit in my youth) and finds that all is what it seems in their new dwelling. Suddenly, zombie children! Fake great uncles! Spooky real estate agents! A dog!

For an eight year old girl, I was holding true terror in my hands as I read along. This book lead me to read through as much of the Goosebumps range of books that I could find in any library I came across, as well as the well-loved TV series, and soon my feet were firmly placed in the genre. I also have a huge amount of admiration for author R.L. Stine who has made his living scaring children senseless. What a wonderful bastard.

Point Horror: Teacher’s Pet – Richie Tankersley Cusick (1991, Scholastic Point)

teacherspet

My cousin/stand-in sister Rox got me into the Point Horror series as came to the end of my time in primary school and found I needed something a little more frightening to whet my wicked whistle. It also introduced me to a whole different type of fear – obsessive people. A naive teenage heroine who loves to write and be scared… oh, I can picture her so clearly.

Suddenly, a handsome, fragile teacher who falls for her – I always pictured him as my old history teacher Mr Clayton – and a demented stalker enter the scene and our heroine is left scared for real! It had everything I wanted in a book, suspense, drama, and a protagonist I could, strangely enough, relate to. Like ghosts, zombies and dentists, obsessive stalkers are fun to fear in fiction, but should be avoided in real life.

 Misery – Stephen King (1987, Viking)

misery

I actually borrowed this off my nan (AKA, my reading hero) and found it feeding further into the fears left from Teacher’s Pet. A talented writer, a demented fan, an axe… it was a perfect story. It had a heavy, claustrophobic feel to the whole story, along with the tension that built the longer that our protagonist Paul was kept captive by His Number One Fan Annie.

It opened my eyes to the legend that is Stephen King and his extensive back catalogue of horror and suspense – my particular favourites include Pet Sematary, Carrie and Cell, as well as The Running Man. His writing is sheer perfection, and I implore every horror fan out there to pick up at least one of his books in their lifetime. You won’t regret it.

The Rats – James Herbert (1974, New English Library)

therats

James Herbert was a superb British writer who passed away back in 2013. He was exceptionally talented for painting a gruesome picture involving gore and violence, and I recommend this book to anyone reading this just like it was recommended to me by my mom who read this back when she was my age now.

I love rats.They’re adorable, intelligent little animals and they make wonderful pets – but not the rats in this book. They are vile, disgusting mutated monsters who rise from under London and begin to attack people without provocation. One of their first victims in the book is a baby. Herbert does not shy away from shock and mutilation in his debut novel and it makes for truly unsettling reading.

American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis (1991, Vintage Books)

american psycho

The odd one out in my selection here, but the book that cemented my fear of human beings and made me question sanity as it stands. This is not a horror book, but it is still shocking, graphic and paints a picture of a deplorable human being in main character Patrick Bateman. Most people will know this story from the iconic performance that Christian Bale gave in the 2000 film adaptation – he based his version of the character on Tom Cruise – but having read the book, I can assure you that the more graphic parts were definitely left out, probably so it would actually get shown in cinemas.

As the book goes on, we are left wondering if anything we are being told by Bateman is true. Is he a psychopath? Is he leaving a bloody trail? Or is he just another jaded yuppie? It is a chilling insight into his mind – as well as a graphic tale of sex, violence and madness.


 

So there you have it! These are the books that cemented my love for the written fright. As for my currently reading section, here is what I am slowly devouring…

  • Red Dragon – Thomas Harris
  • House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski
  • Horns – Joe Hill
  • Code Junkie – Jeffrey Koval Jr

If you have any horror book suggestions, or anything to say about the books I’ve spoken about here, please leave me a comment and we’ll have a chat! Until next time friends, take care – are you sure all the doors are locked?


 

ClaireClaire is a foul-mouthed British twenty-something who spends most of her time pretending to be an adult. Her nerd status started from an early age with her dad’s love of sci-fi and developed through a love of gaming, reading and horror. As well as volunteering for a charity, Claire writes about her life with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and mental health over at her blog, as well as tweeting nonsense over as @MouthAndSpoons. The dream is to either make it as a successful writer, or go into mental health research. She lives at home with her equally nerdy husband, their dog Lady, cat Pip and a lot of fish.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑