Northern Ireland based geekery & nerdisms

Tag Archives: games

Ahhhh, I am so bad at keeping this blog up to date, I have just been so seriously busy. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Sorry.

I DO keep meaning to sit down and write movie reviews, but (a) I don’t like the ever present risk of spoilers and (b) that’s not really very specific to Northern Ireland now, is it? I realize I occasionally veer off this very strict path I’ve set myself, but I think it’s okay if I’m trying not to. At least. Maybe.

SO. Here are some marvelous Etsy finds for the month of July. And oh, it has been glorious! Have you been enjoying this seriously un-Northern-Irish weather? I decided to backtrack to July, since I will probably run out of things to talk about later in August and then I can pull out the Etsy Finds card again. Genius.

As per usual, all these AMAZING crafty treasures are made by buyers/Etsy stores based in and around Belfast. It never fails to surprise me what local people are capable of. Not because I think you’re all rubbish (I don’t!), I’m just that impressed by the handiwork.

First up:  look at how topical I can be. Since they have just revealed the new Doctor, here is a wall decal that every fan of Doctor Who should rush out and buy immediately. Except that you don’t even have to rush out, because you can get it on the internet, by clicking that picture right up there.

Speaking of mysterious creatures from other worlds…

My obsession with Adventure Time continues. I just think I would’ve been a much better adult if I had been able to watch that cartoon as a child. Or I would’ve turned out like Lumpy Space Princess and somehow taken over the world. If you are feeling particularly crafty, this is actually a PDF download for a crochet pattern. Click on the picture to pay and download.

If you DO make it, send me it. Or at least a picture, as proof.

I apologize, gentleman, but excuse me for just one moment.

OH, HOW CUTE ARE THESE SHORTS? I just realized I could have put an “eat my shorts” joke here, but I’m too lazy and hungry to think of one right now.

Welcome back, men folk. Don’t worry, I saved the very best for last.

How amazing! And also awful. I’m crying, but also impressed. These are hard emotions to understand. Again, you can click on this to find and buy it.

You’re welcome. I will try to be better with the blogging situation, but if the sun comes out again, I will make no promises…

S.

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I already had a rant about the airport and covered the Eiffel Tower in day one – you can go read that here, if you like.

While I had a plan for the weekend in mind before we set off, day two (Saturday) was meant to be a day of wandering and discovering. And oh, it was. I am not a healthy, sporty or fit person, but I think we might have walked about 5 miles. First thing in the morning I hopped out of bed (also something I don’t usually do, at home it’s more of a roll-and-splat motion), and we made a beeline for the Seine. If you are headed to Paris in the future, you really, really have to start your trip with a boat tour. It’s insanely beautiful, very informative and gives you an idea of where everything is in comparison to everything else.

We went with Bateaux Parisian, because it wasn’t raining and we could sit outside and take fifty million pictures.

Like this picture, of a university class, having a class beside the Seine. So jealous I could just hurl stuff at them.

Like this picture, of a university class, having a class beside the Seine. So jealous I could just hurl stuff at them.

After our very lovely boat trip, we WALKED from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame, via a whole bunch of bridges and museums and gardens and landmarks. Paris really does need to be done on foot, we would’ve missed so much if I had been more me-like and refused to walk. Notre Dame is spectacular, of course, but they’ve built a viewing platform-thingy for the 850th anniversary (yes! 850 years! That is one OLD, OLD building), which was packed, ruined the view from the ground and looked downright cheap and tacky. Especially when you put it beside on of the most recognizable cathedrals in the world.

This was in Notre Dame. I don't know what it was, but CREEPY, yes?

This was in Notre Dame. I don’t know what it was, but CREEPY, yes?

RIGHT. On to the real geekery. First up, after getting into Notre Dame and being silent and respectful, we got a little bit lost. Which would’ve been fun, if my legs weren’t about to drop off and if we weren’t literally going in circles. We did stumble across the world’s fanciest toilet, but I don’t think that’s really a feature of the city…

Eventually we found the Pantheon, one of the big tourist attractions that nobody seems to really go to. Except for the French. Good news is, if you are between 18 and 25 and from the EU, you get in for free! Same goes for the Louvre and the Arc De Triomphe. It pays to be from Northern Ireland. Sometimes.

Rarely.

This one time.

I highly recommend a visit to the Pantheon though, it’s really amazing. They have a wonderful exhibition on how the church building is actually crumbling and falling down, which was both interesting and terrifying. Maybe bring a hard hat? The real sights are underneath the church/mausoleum part (it’s changed purpose so many times, thanks to all those revolutions), where there are crypts where the French government bury citizens of note. Of which there are many! Voltaire, Rousseau, Marie and Pierre Curie, Victor Hugo, Alexander Dumas, Louis Braille…the list goes on and on. Humbling to visit and fascinating to look at (all the info. panels are in French, by the by, so you might want to get a book or an audio guide if you really want to know what’s going on).

Dome! Amazing. I took a video, but I look well rough, so it'll never see the light of day.

Dome! Amazing. I took a video, but I look well rough, so it’ll never see the light of day.

Marie & Pierre Curie, complete with little picture.

Marie & Pierre Curie, complete with little picture.

Hugo & Dumas.

Hugo & Dumas.

Voltaire's tomb.

Voltaire’s tomb.

After we went and visited some famous dead people (ah Paris, the city of love), we got lost a little bit more, but again, in the pursuit of something marvellous. If you have been to France/Paris and you are of a geeky persuasion, you really must’ve gone to Album.

Album is sort of like Forbidden Planet. Except, bigger. And better. With newer stock and older stock and displays that nearly put Disneyland to shame. It’s just…wow. They have an English section as well, so if you aren’t fluent in a foreign language (I got by okay, I’d like to point out), you won’t be completely lost.

PICTURES. ALL THE PICTURES.

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As we were heading back to the tourist-beaten-track, we stumbled across another store I’d been dying to see – Shakespeare & Company. An English bookstore opened in 1951, named after an even older English language bookshop (that closed during the Second World War), the place is pure, incredible chaos. There are books everywhere, each room leading on to another room, people crammed into every little space. Oh god, I really loved it. I want my house to look like that. So many books. Heavenly, it really was. The outside of the shop is just as lovely, with little benches and trees and tables of books. Everyone who works there seems to be American, which struck me as odd (HIRE ME?!), but at least you don’t have to try and ask for a specific book in broken French!

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All in all, a brilliant day of wandering and finding and shopping and romance. And now, I am sitting in Northern Ireland, wishing so badly I could just go back and stay there forever.

Don’t worry though, days three, four and five are on their way!

S.


So, you may or may not be aware that I am a girl. Of the female persuasion, if you will. Actually, that makes me sound like a lesbian, but I’m just trying to convey to you that I am a chick. Anyway, I can’t speak for all the other geeky lady folk out there, but from time to time, I do like to embrace my inner Barbie. I just like pink, is all. And glitter.

Only sometimes, mind you. Mostly, I like Batman and converse and cats.

With this in mind, here are some pink bits and bobs that I’ve seen around; don’t worry gentlemen, I’m sure you can pull off pink just as well as any lady. Smash the gender roles.

Ears!

Ears!

£4 in H&M! Such a bargain, and they still have them in the store in Belfast. They don’t appear to be on the website any more, but if you click the picture, there is an even cuter Iphone cover for under a fiver…it’s panda shaped! If, however, you are a crazy cat lady like myself, you can get something very similar on Amazon. I can personally recommend this one, because I went and ordered myself one when I needed cheering up recently. It has a little tail on the back, too! Bless.

This glittery number is in Primark at the minute, too. £4 and pretty cute if you're into diamondy things.

This glittery number is in Primark at the minute, too. £4 and pretty cute if you’re into diamondy things.

Darth Vader and pink go oddly well together.

Darth Vader and pink go oddly well together.

Cute, yesyes? Spotted in H&M in Belfast (the Royal Avenue one, I think). I can’t remember the exact price, because it was a while ago and I was skint and didn’t want to look too closely, lest I get depressed.

Also, I’m not actually a fashion blogger, go look and find the price yourself. Leave me alone.

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More Primark love now, in the form of Hello Kitty. The little slippers were £4, but when I went back after payday to buy a pair, they were nowhere to be found! Typical. The onesie is around £14, complete with Hello Kitty ears and bow.

I know I said earlier that this was a boy friendly blog…and I truly meant it. I would greatly like to see a picture of a man in that purple onesie. Not for any weird sexy reasons, just for a giggle. Honest.

I'm *A* genius.

I’m *A* genius.

Finally, another pink pick from Primark (Lisburn). I’m not entirely sure about this, because it doesn’t really make any sense, grammatically. I do so love a garment that lets everyone know that you’re smarter than them, though. It saves telling everyone you pass in the street, which is time consuming.

I think that’ll do nicely for girly moment, I am all pinked out. I might scrounge up the energy to do a ‘Feelin’ Blue’ for the male types out there…but only if you comment nice things.

My ego needs the boost.

S.

 

 

 


Oh. My. God.

This is one of, if not the, greatest episodes of Game Of Thrones so far. It had everything that a fan wants out of the show – intrigue, new characters and dragons. All three of them, at once! That, like, never happens.

I shall start my praise like I usually start – with a confirmation of my love for the Tyrells. Yet again, Margaery shows herself to be a genius little minx, leading Joffery around by with his own ego while his mother watches haplessly. Olenna, too, is well clued into the games that go on in King’s Landing, enough to even catch Varys off guard.

Sidenote: Varys’ revenge on the sorcerer who ‘cut’ him as a child was not in the books (at least, not to my recollection?), but I liked it! It made about a dozen points about his character – he’s powerful, patient and his arm stretches a very long way indeed.

And he’s from Ballycastle!

"There's a spider in the garden."

“There’s a spider in the garden.”

The episode starts with a bit of a recurring theme – pity for the bad guys. Both Jamie Lannister and Theon Greyjoy were main protagonists in seasons one and two (killing children does not really make for a hero, does it?) and now…well, comeuppance has never been so completely soul wrenching to watch. We’re meant to hate these guys, right? So why does seeing Jamie pushed in the dirt with his severed hand tied around his neck make me so very sad? And why isn’t watching Theon cling to misguided hope feel more satisfying?

Curse you, George R. R. Martin, you are causing me inner turmoil.

This week we finally, FINALLY, got a look at one of the new characters that I have been looking forward to the most. Berric Dondarrion, head of the Brotherhood Without Banners has finally got some screen time – I’ve been expecting him since episode two! He looks a little bit the worse for wear, which is not surprising considering…well, if you’ve read the books, you’ll know he’s had a tough time. He made a rousing little speech about the role the Brotherhood had to play in the war (justice!), and sentenced the captive Hound to trial by combat. Awesome.

I like the eye patch. I think I would suit something similar.

I like the eye patch. I think I would suit something similar.

I’m going to say something really weird, but give me a minute. Look at both those pictures. The details that go into the costumes and make up and accessories and…everything! These characters are perfectly constructed – Olenna could not be more like how I imagined her if I’d cast her myself. I did picture Berric as being younger and hotter but, well, that’s just me, I suppose.

Anyway, there were, in my opinion, two main scenes in this episode, an icy one and a fiery one. DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?

While we got some nice new characters, we lost one. Mormont, the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, was struck down in cold blood during a mutiny. Sniff. Poor, poor James Cosmo. He was at Heroes and Legends in W5 this year, y’know. He wasn’t there when I was, or else I would’ve given him a preemptive hug. Craster had his last moment as well, which was well deserved, obviously. During the ensuing fighting and killing and dying, Sam grabs Gilly and her son and slips off into the darkness.

Slightly different from the scene has they had it in the book, but as I has said before, this doesn’t really bother me, as long as everyone is still pointed in the right direction. On the other hand…aren’t we getting anymore white walkers this season?

Meanwhile in Astapor, Daenerys is kicking ass. The moment she was all like, “Yeah, I speak Valyrian, I AM DAENERYS STORMBORN, IT IS MY MOTHER TONGUE”, I screamed. Yes yes yes, I’ve read the books, but I sort of forgot that little detail. And it was so well done!

She’s definitely becoming a queen in her own right, I like how it’s been a gradual change too, and not a haphazard montage or something.

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The closing scene of the episode was literally the greatest scene in anything ever, and it goes without saying but I really can’t wait for next week. *

S.

*Next week, I shall be watching a recorded Game Of Thrones on Tuesday night, because I’ll be in Paris for a long weekend. It is a hard, hard life.


A little while ago I mentioned that I got Sky TV. I won’t go back into my adoring prose, because I’m pretty sure everyone knows how much I love it by now. I also mentioned that there are a butt load of new shows starting at the moment, and that I would no doubt have a blog on what I do and do not like. So, well, yes, this is it.

I watch an awful lot of TV recently. Recently, if someone so much as sneezes within a two mile radius of my delicate self, I seem to get sick and have to spend a week on the sofa, so it gives me something to do at the very least.

Anyway, first up on awesome-Sky-TV night, I started to get caught up with Spartacus. Having only seen the first season and the prequel season, I’ve got a quite a bit to catch up with, given that the series just ended. I don’t know what put me off ever watching it after the prequel…I think the change in actors (unavoidable as it was) and my awful habit of moving house lots in the last few years (away from the safety of the parental nest and Sky box) had something to do with it, but I really am I very big fan. Sexy, violent, gory and clever, this is a must-watch show. Preferably not with your parents in the room, which is usually the sign of a great program, no?

Spartacus: Vengance is currently showing on Pick TV.

Also, look.

Also, look.

Next up, I took a gamble, and watched a show that I really did not like the look of. Da Vinci’s Demons is (yet another) fantastical historical drama, based around  the history and life of Leonardo Da Vinci. You know, that guy from that Dan Brown book. Anyway, when I say fantastical, I mean of the fantasy genre, I am most definitely not making a reference to the quality of this show.

Made by the same studio as the aforementioned Spartacus series, Da Vinci’s Demons is trying so very hard to replicate the popularity of it’s ancient peer, all the while attempting to cling to the back of the rollercoaster that is Game Of Thrones. It fails it both aspects. The story line is overly complex, the characters are the least engaging they possibly can be (especially ‘Leo’ himself. Playing him as flamboyantly camp yet troubled was a strange way to go, and the actor can’t quit pull it off) and I’m pretty sure there is some harsh racial stereotyping going on in there. There are at least three characters who are summed up completely by their nationality; and please don’t get me started on Da Vinci’s gormless manservant/boy toy. It’s not made entirely clear what that relationship is, but it is not healthy.

TOO groomed.

TOO groomed.

There are some saving graces – this is not a low budget production, so it is well shot and there is some interesting use of CGI in making Da Vinci’s ideas and doodles come to life. I’ve decided that I will watch at least two more episodes, in the hope that, maybe, the first episode was just aiming too high. Even then, I am anticipating that those will be two more hours of my life that I will never get back.

Finally (and this one will be brief, because my need to shower and eat meant that I only caught a little bit of the episode), there is Defiance. I know very little about this program, apparently there’s a game based on it? Or it’s based on a game? Or it is a game? I don’t know. Basically, there’s been some sort of event and now humans and a race of (very humanoid, but very pale) aliens have to live together. Either way, some very recognizable faces, an interesting concept and reasonable production value (if you ignore the crappy CGI, which I cannot), this is actually shaping up to have some potential. I might even be tempted to go back and watch the whole episode.

This is high praise indeed, coming from me.

Anyway, more shows are on their way, so I suppose more blogs are too. Both Banshee and Hannibal (as in, yes, Hannibal) look incredible and are starting in the next few weeks. Keep an eye out, yesyes?

S.


This post is a special post, because it is my 100th. Marvellous! I am devoted and I remember to write things. Good ol’ me. On that note, no Sunday review this week because I was ill. So ill. I didn’t forget though, that’s the important point that I’m trying to make.

Before I delve into the wonderful world of Etsy, I thought you might be interested to know that Fox recently took a little hissy fit, contacting a number of crafty darlings who sell via the sit with cease-and-desist orders. This particular number of fiddley dears were making Firefly themed merchandise. Although Fox cancelled the show after one season and a movie, they are apparently still well within their rights to be uppity about their ‘intellectual property’. Ewk. Big co-operations. Ewk. The law.

Anyway, you can read more about this whole clusterfork here.

Onwards, to the things that people are still allowed to sell…

(As ever, click on the pictures to buy buy buy. All locally sourced, of course).

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First up, a shiny new trinket from HearHoofBeatsThinkZebras (who incidentally fell victim to Fox’s ban on Firefly merchandise. Buy other things from her, so she feels better?). This deluxe Game Of Thrones charm bracelet is extremely thoughtfully made, by a real fan for other real fans. The House sigil can be changed depending on your own personal alliances. I, for example, have recently decided I am more of a Tyrell than a Greyjoy. My blood runs quite warm, you see. The other charms are equally adoring and meaningful – tiny castles, swords and dragons.

Also. Free shipping with the code FREEPOST until April 23rd. Don’t say I never help you.

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I hope you are laughing as hard as I laughed when I first saw this. Picard facepalm t-shirt. Is there a nicer three word phrase in the English language? I doubt it.

I only recently encountered Hallion Clothing, but they have some really brilliant t-shirts (and only £7.50!). You should go take a look.

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I am pretty sure I’ve babbled away about shoes pretty similar to these at least once before…but hell, look at how cute they are, they deserve all the babbling. Look at the little bows! The best thing about these particular shoes is that the lovely lady who makes them is willing to collaborate on the design. So you could have Batman shoes! Or Spider-Man! Or Thor! Or Batman!

Another bargain, only £20, but if you’re looking for something more glamorous, there are heeled versions available for £35.

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I seem to pop something from this Etsy store in every other blog, but I cannot help it. I like that everything is handmade, I like the little faces, I like the bright colours. I can’t help it, I am a girl and as such, I am easily led by woodland creatures.

Especially bunnies. Yesterday, I was in Pets At Home at Sprucefield, watching the cutest white baby bunny eat hay with his fat little paws. Then loads of French teenagers came in and started shouting ‘Oooo, LAPIN!’, which apparently means ‘rabbit’. Both an interesting anecdote and a learning experience. If a tad irrelevant.

Anyway, go forth and shop. If you buy anything beautiful and geeky, I want to know about it. I want to know very much.

S.


Finally! I have been waiting so very long for this precious announcement, and it was starting to look as though it might not be coming at all…but yes, TitanCon 2013 has been confirmed and announced.

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For those of you that have read by blog faithfully and devotedly (lovely people), you’ll know that it was at TitanCon last year that I decided I should start a blog for the geeks and nerds of Northern Ireland. With this in mind, I sort of consider TitanCon weekend to be RefugeekNI’s birthday. I should get a cake or something, maybe. However, the date has changed. As has the venue. While the last two conventions have been held in the Europa Hotel in Belfast City Centre, this year, proceedings have been moved to the Wellington Park Hotel (up Malone Road direction). At first I was a bit like…’oh’, because I like the Europa (so fancy!), but apparently this venue change means that the organizers can spend more of the limited budget on guests – obviously, this is a good thing.

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For those of you unfamiliar with the event, it’s over three days and is essentially a sci-fi fantasy convention – with a whole lot of Game Of Thrones. A Friday evening event (last year, Belfast Culture Night. This year, a TitanCon specific Literature Night, with readings by the author guests), the convention on a Saturday, and then the coach tour on the Sunday. Friday night is a free event, but the rest of the weekend requires a membership to the event. It’s so worth it, though. I promise.

While guests have yet to be announced, the extra budget should mean even shinier people to adore – I’ll try my very best to keep you updated, as long as you promise you’re not planning on kidnapping anyone.

If you are intent on getting a Game Of Thrones cast member to keep for your very own, well. That might be okay, too. I want an Alfie Allen, after all.

He will be mine. Oh yes, he will be mine.

He will be mine. Oh yes, he will be mine.

You can find ALL THE DETAILS – here, and you can find ME – here.

S.