Merry Christmas and Take Care!

flitwick christmas hogwarts

Hello lovely people. I just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and make an announcement.

As you probably have noticed, I was quite inactive last month. Balancing full time studies and general life with making the kind of thought-through content that I strive for has proven… really stressful. And as much as I hated to realize it, something had to give.
Since I’m an ambitious little geek, and have LOVED to write and share my zombie survival tips, favourite books and love for various fandoms on here, it was a hard decision. But I’m not superhuman (another harsh truth for me to handle ;_;) so I had to lower my expectations on myself a bit.

Geek by joh will go into hiatus for a while, maybe a few months, maybe a year. There may be the occasional book review or hype-post but nothing regular or scheduled, so if you don’t want to miss them I recommend you click the follow button. I will still be lurking (LIKE A NINJA pahaha) and reading the blogs of the awesome people I’ve come in contact with through this project.

Thank you all for being amazing and making my first try at blogging such a great experience. ^^ I’ll see you around!

see you in the future

Being Introverted- What Does It REALLY Mean?

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about this seemingly small word. Introvert.

introverts assemble

Sinfest / sinfest.net

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, it affects every part of your life, not to mention your mental health when each type’s core need is not met.

For introverts this need means a lot of alone time, for extroverts social interaction. And I think that since what you are “supposed” to be in order to be successful and popular in today’s society is social and active- introverts can sometimes have  a hard time. Even more so since the true meaning of introversion isn’t common knowledge, leaving many to feel like there is something wrong with them.

I’m hoping to spread a bit of light on the subject so that we can all understand each other a bit better and become more accepting of who we are.🙂

What Being Introverted DOESN’T Mean

Let’s start by clearing up some misconceptions. Contrary to common belief, being introverted does not have to mean that you:

  • are painfully shy
  • never speak up in public
  • do not like people

An introvert CAN of course have these traits, but it is not what makes them introverted.

What It DOES Mean

Being introverted mean that you gain your energy from yourself, from being on your own. You need space and alone time to recharge your batteries, while an extrovert will become energized by their surroundings and by being around other people.

I could never say it better than this infographic by Roman Jones:

Dr Carmella's Guide to Understanding the Introverted
Dr. Carmella’s Guide❤

Think you might be an introvert?

I’d say the amount of times you giggle at and identify with these graphs from Buzzfeed could be a decently accurate and quick (or at least amusing) way to measure your level of introversion.😛

graph 1 -introvertgraph 2 -introvertgraph 3 - introversiongraph 4 - introversiongraph 5 - introversiongraph 6 - introversiongraph 7 - introversiongraph 8 - introversiongraph 9 - introversiongraph 10 - introversiongraph 11 - introversiongraph 12 - introversiongraph 13 - introversiongraph 14 - introversiongraph 15 - introversiongraph 16 - introversiongraph 17 - introversion

Final words

Of course people aren’t binary. Most have a mix of introvert and extrovert traits and nothing says an introvert can’t be the life of the party or that an extrovert can’t be uncomfortable around people.
The one thing that really differs is how you stay on top of the madness that is life. And if that is going into hermit-mode whenever you get the chance, escaping into your favourite book for the 17th time, then that’s cool.

You are not boring, weird or alone.

(Or maybe we both are but you know what? It’s awesome. Embrace it.)

gemma corell introvert

Gemma Correll / gemmacorrell.com

Top 3 Creepy-Crawly Reads

Long dark days were made for creepy books. Just be sure to turn the lights on before you start reading, I actually feel a bit tense after just writing the reviews below. Good going Johanna.

Starting from third place:

3. “Bird Box” by Josh Malerman

bird box

Something bad is happening. At first, there is just the occasional story in the news or on the radio about weird things happening to strangers very far away. The kind of stories that are easy to shake from your mind. Then, whatever is happening comes closer. People seem to be going… mad, in lack of better words. Family members, lovers and passerbyes violently turn on each other, all over the world.

The one thing all the horrific attacks have in common is that before they happened, the attacker saw something. The stories have suddenly become very real and soon survivors have to deal the only way they can: through holing up inside barricaded houses or hiding spots and never looking out.

“In a world where you can’t open your eyes, isn’t a blindfold all you could ever hope for?”

Composed of flashbacks from the past and snippets from the present that gradually meet to reveal the full story, Birdbox is an elegant but straight-forward read. Regardless of what the cover says, the story is a bit cliché, but I am really fascinated by this kind of unseen, waiting horror– the complete helplessness that comes from it.
I always found it scarier to not know exactly what you are dealing with, and this is just the kind of subtle, survival-focused horror tale I delight in. Even if I’ll need to have the lights turned on for a week after.

2. “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”
by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrines home for peculiar children

This is such a cool book! Mixing narrative with haunting vintage photography, this is a strange and spine-tingling read.
One thing I enjoyed is that despite the creepy photos and the dark plot, which I’ll get to in a moment, Jacob is very much an average teenager. His character is thoughtful yet easy-going which creates a good balance between the impossible and everyday life.

We hadn’t spoken since the day he nearly shoved me off the roof, but we both understood the importance of maintaining the illusion of having friends.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot for fear of ruining the suspense for you. But this is the gist of it:
After a tragedy strikes his family, sixteen-year-old Jacob is on the hunt for the truth of things. And something is on the hunt for him. He journeys to Wales where he discovers the ruins of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” and finds his answers, but also many more mysteries.

I have not yet read the sequels but I have heard that they are really good as well, so that’s nice (as Shirley from Community would say).❤

1. “White is for Witching” by Helen Oyeyemi

white-is-for-witching

A dream of a tale– confusing and sharp, beautiful and foreboding. I wasn’t even sure I liked it at first, but I’ve never been able to forget it and the prose is exquisite.
I think this is the kind of book that you either love or hate. If you are interested in books about mental illness and philosophy plus have a taste for the gothic and intellectual– I definitely suggest you give it a go. However, it is not for people who enjoy a story told from the beginning straight to the end and appreciates clarity and order.

I know of witches who whistle at different pitches, calling things that don’t have names.

White is for Witching tells of a haunted house, and of the Silver family who has inhabited it for centuries. Of loss, sorrow, lust, bonds and broken minds. Mostly, it tells of the young Miranda Silver who has gone missing, and her twin brother Eliot who is searching for her.

That was it for today, let me know if you’ve already read any of them or if you would like to! What are you favourite creepy books?

/Joh

Geek Approved – October

October has now passed and time just continues, barreling down the hallway of life like a crazed quarterback. Seriously. I can’t keep up.
r2-d2-falls-over
Me dealing with life.
A lot of cool things happened between exams and curling up in fetal position from lack of life-handling-skills.
These were my nerdy favourites for the past month:

1. Roleplaying

svavelvinter bok rollspel roleplaying book

As I wrote in (Tabletop Roleplaying – My First Time) I have kinda feared the actual roleplaying. Then I was sidetracked with some lovely character creation and forgot to be nervous. But yesterday, the time had finally come.
I would have to actually… act. Or at least pretend in front of people and not just in my head.

But it was amazing. Yes, my face was kind of red. Yes, I had to have a drink or two for bravery. But it was SO MUCH FUN. I love exploring new worlds, through gaming or books and I will now add roleplaying to that list.

The best moment of the night was when my character had to desperately defend herself. At the crucial dice roll which would decide if she would succeed in defending herself with wind magic, or likely die, I scored sixes. Which meant the assassin was literally blasted across the alley by a gust of wind so powerful it took everything in its way with it.
I felt like goddamn Kvothe when he called the wind for the first time.

excited minions

It was, just to cement your view of me as a sad little nerd, everything I’ve ever dreamt of. Can I always be her instead of me? Okay, maybe that’s not a healthy approach. My point is, it felt like being there. The only equally strong sense of stepping into another world and affecting it myself, not just spectating, was when I first played World of Warcraft, many years ago. And that is saying something.

To all others who are afraid of trying out tabletop roleplaying, who thinks it is too nerdy and that they will feel embarrassed playing pretend like that:
With the right friends and someone to guide you through it, it can be an absolutely amazing experience.

2. Guild Wars 2

guild wars 2
I never fell for GW2 like I though I would. It was a very pretty game and I loved customizing my character (so much I made four in a row before even pressing play).
But the story didn’t grab me and I felt that I had no direction or purpose. Sandbox games are not always my cup of tea.

Now though
, on the third attempt, there’s a spark.I’m getting the hang of my abilities and the game mechanics- I’m thoroughly enjoying discovering events and hunting down bosses. I’ve not gotten excited about a “new” MMO in a long while. So yay!
dr horrible fingers crossed

3. Halloween

Halloween is always a highlight for me. But this year things got quite stressful. Eventually it worked out though and I had a brilliant night with my BF and friends.
Here is my costume! (Or you know, the parts of it that fit in a bathroom selfie.)

fawn_halloween
I was some kind of Urban Fawn-Demon/Forest Creature. Just go with it. xD

I got lots of compliments on my horns which of course made me go  ~*w*~ (=starry-eyed, overly excited and waving my arms around like a jellyfish, in case that wasn’t clear.)

If you want to make your own for a cosplay or a party or something, you can  have a look at my antler-tutorial here. Quick and cheap, the way I like it. (Y)

What did you enjoy most in October– a book, a movie or dressing up as something awesome for Halloween?

/Joh

Halloween Special – DIY Antlers, Wall Decor and Snack Ideas

Halloween is only two days away and I’m working hard to get everything ready for the small party I’m throwing.
Here are two really cool but simple and cheap DIY’s plus some creepy-cute snack ideas, I hope you like them!

DIY’S

Deer Antlers

For my costume come Saturday I really needed a pair of large, wearable antlers. It can be quite expensive to buy that kind of costume accessories so I looked to the internetz for aid. I found some tutorials on how you could create your own antlers with non-fancy materials. With those in mind, I improvised.
I’m actually super happy with the result, and all in all it only took me about 2-3 hours so check it out. : D

What you need:

  • Tin foil
  • Paper tape
  • String
  • Acrylics (optional)
  • Headband
  • Glue gun or similar sticky-provider
Doesn't look like much.
Doesn’t look like much.

Step 1: Create the basic shape you want for your antlers out of the tin foil. Just tear off a large piece, maybe 30×30 cm, then scrunch and bend away. Add smaller pieces if you want more points on your antlers.

Step 2: Tape all around your foil base, from root to tip(s). This stabilizes and smooths your construction.

Tin foil-base all taped and purdy (...)
Tin foil-base all taped and purdy (…)

Step 3: Wrap thick-ish string around the foil base. This creates a nice, horn-like texture and eliminates any unwanted bumps and cavities you might still have. Cut and glue the edges so they stay put.

Wrapped and almost ready to go.
Wrapped and ready to be glued.

Step 4 (optional): Paint your horns! I choose to keep mine as they were, I was short on time and the string I had used was the colour I wanted anyway. But if you got the time or want black, glossy or just more advanced horns then this is where you make it happen. I’d recommend a darker base with lighter tips and some shading in the ridges to make them pop more.

Step 5: Attach the antlers to a head band. I used a cheap but effective glue gun and was surprised at how little problem this step created. The tin foil and tape base makes your horns really lightweight despite their size and I was thrilled that it actually worked, haha. Most of my ideas work better in my head, but this was not one of them. : D

halloween deer antlers- geek by joh - close-up antlers
Done, except for some last-minute touch ups I’ll probably do as I finish my costume.

Make sure to measure and mark where on the headband the antlers should be attached. Otherwise they might end up at a wrong angle or too low or high for you liking once you put them on.

I’m looking forward to wearing them, even though they are a bit scrappy and rough they look really good on. (I’ll obviously cover the headband and horn roots with my hair, hehe.)

Wall Decor – The Three-Faced God

Or The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Whatever you prefer.
I came upon these simple, white paper masks in a hobby store, they were about 3 dollars each. I liked how impersonal and creepy they looked and decided to paint them a little and hang them on my wall.

What you need:

  • Paper masks
  • Acrylic paint
  • Ink pen
The masks! I actually think they are creepy just like they are, so if you don't want to paint you could simply hang them up straight away, haha.
The masks! I actually think they are creepy just like they are, so if you don’t want to paint you could simply hang them up straight away, haha.
First mask painted. No smudging so far *knock on wood*
First mask painted. No smudging so far *knock on wood*
Waiting for paint to dry.
All three done. Waiting for paint to dry so I can add a little bit of ink.
The finished result!
The finished result!
Three identical white masks, slightly altered by paint. One has red tears running down it's cheeks. One has blood dripping from it's mouth. One has two long, red scars across it's face.
Close-up time.

Not much to say about the process, as you can see it is very straight-forward. I simply painted and tried to not go overboard. I wanted them to be like the three faces of one dark deity– one sad, one bloodthirsty and one serious and scarred.

Snack ideas and strategies

Key element of my preparations for Halloween this year was cheap and simple. Busy-student-style. Yeaaah. With some modifications, these treats will be my saviours come Saturday.

Ghost Cupcakes

ghost cupcakes
Original recipe: Halloween Ghost Cupcakes

These are just so adorable. I will keep the design but go for a basic muffin batter, with a blood-red center filled with raspberries and white chocolate to make it a bit more interesting.
I’ll make a double batch of both batter and frosting so I’ll also have enough for…

Pumpkin Cupcakes

halloween-pumpkin-cupcake
via baked cupcakery uk

I think this design will look great next to the ghost ones! I’ll flavour what’s left of the basic batter with carrot and cinnamon (pumpkin and spice would be delicious and maybe more theme-appropriate, but I want to make do with what I already have at home).
I’ll then colour the white frosting orange with food-dye and try to use that to imitate the pumpkin decor, and create the green stems and black features from coloured marzipan.

Spider Cookies

spider cookies
Original recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Spider Cookies

The cutest of them all! Although, I will merely be inspired by the look here as I have friends who are very allergic to peanuts. I’ll do it the quick and dirty way instead:

  • Buy Sugar Cookies
  • Stick a chocolate truffel on top
  • Drizzle melted chocolate to create the “legs”
  • Add edible googly eyes.

Done!

Creepy, Moldy (mmm) Popcorn

Slimy green.
Slimy green.

Just discovered this so I can’t vouch for it, but looks to be exactly what I was after. A bit more complicated than simply slathering food dye on the popcorn, but probably a lot less soggy. Recipe and guide from Wikihow❤

That was it for the DIY’s I’ve already made and my snack plans!

Come Saturday I will also make a Dead Leaf Curtain to pimp our apartment with, and of course finish my costume.
I might make another post on that and  my party decor, but I wanted to get these up ASAP in case anyone was looking for inspiration but would be out of time by Saturday.🙂

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned, mwahaha.

/Joh

Top 3 Non-Cringey YA Fantasy Books

I am a big fan of Young Adult books when they merge with the fantasy genre. But, it can be an absolute pain to navigate these waters if you, like me, are sensitive to overly flowery language and awkwardly described sexual tension. Maybe I used to be too young for it and then fast-forwarded to being too old. Anyway:

Below are three books whose existence there’s at least a possibility that you might have missed. They all have the ingredients of what I think makes a great YA book: easy and enjoyable to read, cool hero/heroine, danger and romance- but  handles the genre with a little more style than the average Twilight-wannabe.

3. “Tithe – A Modern Faerie Tale” by Holly Black

tithe a modern fairytale

Nobody does edgy, YA urban fantasy like Holly Black. Think bleak suburbia, grunge outfits, hopeless infatuation, grim death and fairies. Yes, fairies. But these are about as far from Tinkerbell as you can get. These are cruel, powerful and poised, especially the nobles.

A mortal had woven it, a man who, having caught sight of the Seelie queen, had spent the remainder of his short life weaving depictions of her. He had died of starvation, raw, red fingers staining the final tapestry.

The story really begins when Kaye finds an injured fairy knight in the woods on her way home from a party gone sour.
He has been shot and she pulls the iron-tipped branch out of his chest in exchange for three questions. His name is Roiben and he is beautiful, mysterious and emotionally tormented. Ka-ching. (Hey, I never mentioned unpredictable as criteria for the list.)
After this, Kaye is drawn into the bloody politics of the Seelie and Unseelie Court, and also discovers a  truth about herself that changes everything.

Kaye is just the kind of self-sufficient heroine I go for- street smart and not that easily impressed. And to this day she has me thinking that a smudged eyeliner applied without a mirror probably would look totally cool on me as well. Hint: It never does.

A detail I absolutely adore is that the chapters start off with a short quote or poem from another book- sometimes beautiful, sometimes insightful and sometimes foreboding. Major style points. (Y)

2. “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore

graceling-kristin cashore

If you enjoyed the Hunger Games you will probably love this one as well.
In Cashore’s world, some people are born with so-called Graces. These manifest themselves through a certain skill and the mark of the Graced: different-coloured eyes.
Katsa has been born with the Grace of killing and is forced to work as a thug and executioner for her uncle, Lord Randa.

She hates her situation but believes that she does not deserve anything better. In an attempt to somehow make amends, she has formed a secret council who tries to counteract the cruel regimes of the warlords.

On a mission for the council (to free an old, peaceful lord who has been kidnapped) she encounters a fighter who actually matches her skill in combat. Almost, anyway. Intrigued, she takes him out but spares his life.

When the strange young man shows up at Randa’s court and starts asking questions they find a common mystery to solve– who could possibly have gained anything by kidnapping the old nobleman? Unaware of that they are on their way to unraveling the most chilling secret in seven kingdoms they set out to find some answers.

“Lady Katsa, is it?”
“Yes, Lord Prince.”
“I’ve heard you have one eye green as the Middluns grasses, and the other eye blue as the sky.”
“Yes, Lord Prince.”
“I’ve heard you can kill a man with the nail of your smallest finger.”
She smiled. “Yes, Lord Prince.”
“Does it make it easier?”
“I don’t understand you.”
“To have beautiful eyes. Does it lighten the burden of your Grace, to know you have beautiful eyes?”

Katsa is very similar to Katniss personality-wise (not on purpose, the books were released the same year) with her hard practicality and matter-of-fact attitude. She is simply put badass but still real and vulnerable.

The book is funny, thrilling and very fast-paced. I adore this kind of supernatural skills that still has limitations to work around, no matter how powerful. And the antagonist is one of the most disgusting and cold villains I’ve yet to encounter.

1. “A Great and Terrible Beauty” by Libba Bray

a great and terrible beauty- libba bray

Maybe best described as a modern, snarky “Pride and Prejudice” set at a boarding school for young ladies. With the addition of magic, lots more girl power and things that go bump in the night.

Felicity ignores us. She walks out to them, an apparition in white and blue velvet, her head held high as they stare in awe at her, the goddess. I don’t know yet what power feels like. But this is surely what it looks like, and I think I’m beginning to understand why those ancient women had to hide in caves. Why our parents and suitors want us to behave properly and predictably. It’s not that they want to protect us; it’s that they fear us.

It is the first book in a trilogy I’ve read numerous times and highly recommend, especially if you enjoy historical fiction as well as fantasy. The language is pleasantly balanced between 19th century-light and just telling a good story the straightest way, and the characters are wonderfully complex and relatable.

I run after her, not really giving chase. I’m running because I can, because I must.
Because I want to see how far I can go before I have to stop.

Gemma Doyle has been raised in India, and is angry at her mother Virginia for keeping her away from London and an actual life. When they are at the market place, once again bickering, two men approaches Virginia and tells her that “Circe is near”.
Her mother blanches at this and tries to send Gemma home immediately.
So Gemma stomps of, infuriated, but doesn’t get far before a pressure comes over her and she falls into a vision where she sees her mother plunge a dagger into herself to prevent being taken by a horrifying, dark spirit. When Gemma comes to and runs back, she finds her mother dead with the dagger from the vision deep in her chest.

Gemma is finally sent to London, but for all the wrong reasons. There she is to attend the imposing Spence Academy for Young Ladies and must cope with both her grief, the Victorian strictness and Mean Girls a la 19th century.
And then there are the visions that she keeps having of three girls in white– warning her that Circe is coming for her.

The two things I love most about the Gemma Doyle Trilogy is firstly how insightful they are, about friendship and secrets and loneliness and not feeling good enough. And secondly that Bray is constantly entertaining, her sarcastic humor in perfect counterpart to the 19th century setting.

What do you feel? I’ve never been asked this question once. None of us has. We aren’t supposed to feel. We’re British.

Haha, I’ll shut up now. Giving book tips always makes me a bit too enthusiastic, please pretend to not notice how the reviews got longer and longer towards the end, hehe.
I think I want to do more posts like this, maybe one on the quirkiest fantasy I’ve read? Oh, or my favourite zombie books! Yes, yessss! (<–really poor Palpatine-impression.)

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you found at least one of them a bit interesting. See you next week!

/Joh

Scary good art – Karl-Johan Thole

NOTE: When I say scary good, I mean it in all its various implications. His creations are not for the faint of heart. You have now been warned.

Karl-Johan “Utte” Thole and I studied game design together at university, but he is just on completely another level when it comes to painting. He is never pleased with his work though, which I think is crazy because look at the stuff, but that seems to be the curse of almost all truly creative people in this world.

Anyway, enough blabbering. Just in time for this the spookiest of months and with Halloween soon upcoming- feast your eyes and fuel your nightmares with these babies! ;_;

“Tolk”

Hang this suave horror above your bed, I dare you.

“Jasmine”

Inspired by Maxim Verehin & Gottfried Helnwein.
(Though rumour claims it actually depicts me on monday mornings.)

A study from the movie
A still study from the movie Triangle.

Wow. I wish I could paint like that! The skin and lighting are just amazing don’t you think?

“Subject X”

Such a charming creature. Love the almost chalky feel of this and can I just say, you have one twisted imagination Utte. My mom claims I have, but yours is just way waaay worse.

“Monster”

Aptly named, here is a 3D model of another of his beloved mutated, blood-dripping aliens. Such nice work on the topology, I could never get that quite right hehe.
I faced this creature in a prototype game they made for the Oculus Rift and all I remember after that is screaming and trying to get the Rift of my head. So I guess that’s a job well done.

He also does more err, non-revolting paintings, mostly studies like for example these two:

A woman, in profile, wearing a feather earring.
“Study – Emelie”. Original photo by David Bellemere.
Black and white painting of a young alternative woman with lots of jewellry and dreadlocks.
“Value study”

I especially like the contrast of sharp versus smudged in the last one. (And can I please have her hair and jewelry.)

If you liked, or got disgusted but also intrigued and impressed with what you saw, Karl-Johan has a DeviantArt account , go check it out and show him some love! And thank you for stopping by, I really appreciate it. : )

/Joh