Geeking By in July, August & September
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It has been another long gap between monthly updates and this time it’s been due to the hiatus I took. For those of you who missed that I had massive PC drama which wiped my entire PC and combined with my looming dissertation deadline, it was necessary to take a break. So the end of July and August really didn’t have much in the way of exciting news to report back. Most of it was filled with me swearing at my PC and Windows 10, being grateful for my external hard drive which has about 70% of my files and me stressing as I finished my dissertation. That in itself was a huge achievement which I talked about, especially having the deadline hanging over me for 4 years.

The rest of August post-deadline was supposed to be dedicated to getting organised and scheduling blog posts. I did get a lot of blog work done (see below) but I was riding the post-dissertation bust wave hard (still am) and didn’t get what I wanted done. The hard work was worth it as I passed my Masters with a Merit! I opened up about the moment I realised the price I had to pay to achieve it, asking whether great success comes with great failure?

Nethertheless I still have more to share with you, so read on my dear readers!

Geeking by in July, August & September

Blog Updates

Fancy Stuff and all that Jazz

While my writing powers were recharging, my organising superpowers were on overtime during my hiatus. My blog pages were in need of some much needed TLC and they finally got it! I still have some to finish off – the lower end of the menu, plus the health section – but everything else has had a spiffy new update with new headers. There are also some new sections! You can now keep up with what I’ve been watching, including my current TV schedule and TV shows I watch regularly. Bookworms do not despair; the bookish equivalent can be found here! It shows what I’m currently reading and includes two lists; book series I’m currently reading, and completed book series.

My Video Game pages got updated with pretty new graphics and my World of Warcraft character list is once again up to date! /cheer

There were only minor updates to the SWTOR and Guild Wars 2 pages, including the addition of a new character, an Asura Revenant, to the later.

The biggest updates were to the Content section and the new Guides section. The Guides previously existed under Content, and the changes to both were done to highlight the variety of content available here at Just Geeking By. Each type of content now has its own page with information and embedded posts and Pinterest board/s where relevant rather than just linking to the post category. You can see this at work in the Birthstones Series content Hub. The Guides are now all together under one roof and yes, I’ll be adding more to those 😉

Lastly, after seeing how much of a mess my tags were in I gave them a spring clean. Over the years they’d become an awful mess with quite a few duplicates, misspellings and a whole load of junk that just wasn’t needed. It took a lot of time, but they’re now streamlined and tidied up so if you scroll down to the footer you can actually see a tag cloud with a nice variety of topics rather than a cluttered mess.

Geeking by in July, August & September

Reading

I have a library card and I know how to use it!

Every few years my local library’s system makes you renew your library card, and while I’m fortunate to have my local library at the bottom of my road it’s still quite a hike for me. We live on a small hill and the library is at the bottom of the small hill. Scotland is pretty much all hills, some big, some small.  When I visit England I’m constantly amazed at how flat everywhere is and how I never noticed before. So the quick 5 minute pop to the library soon feels like I’m trekking up and down a mountain especially when most of their copies are in a hardback format (see photo above).

Naturally with everything going on and my struggles reading there wasn’t any point in me renewing my card. Then when I decided I wanted to and had the urge to read again it took a while for me to physically get to the stage of actually doing it. Low and behold, I did and have been down there twice now. The first visit I only returned with one book because it’s a tiny library (which apparently gave the Council ample excuse to cut the open hours in half, meaning it’s only open half days and only 2 of those are afternoons) and they have a terrible selection of fantasy and sci-fi. It doesn’t even get its own section, they’re just thrown in with fiction so it was a case of quickly scan everything to see if something jumped out. They had the last book in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, so I grabbed that and then headed home to order everything else from other branches.

As pictured I ordered the final book in the Cainsville series, Rituals, by Kelley Armstrong (which I just finished and highly recommend), and the next books in two of Rick Riordan’s series; Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead and Trials of Apollo: The Burning Maze.

I’ve been using my Scribd subscription for the rest of my reading needs and was really happy to find George Mann’s Newbury and Hobbes series available there. Starting with the first book, The Immortality Engine, it’s a paranormal Steampunk series set in an alternate Victorian London. It’s absolutely fascinating, thoroughly researched and features brilliant characters. I devoured it and now have to wait for the next book due next year. I’m making myself hold off reading Ghosts of Manhattan, the first book in a follow-up series set in the same universe because otherwise, I know I won’t read anything else until I’ve finished that series too!

Netflix

Watching

Big & Small Screen

As summer came to end most of my shows did so too. I just finished Harrow Season 2, and Private Eyes Season 3. They’re always on a slightly different schedule from the US shows which is great because it gives me something to fill the summer gap before everything starts up again in October or January/February. Having finally finished All Souls I was able to watch Season 1 of A Discovery of Witches! I’ve been really excited about this but as I knew a certain character existed in the show that wasn’t in the books I wanted to ensure there wasn’t going to be any spoilers. If anyone’s been wondering the same I can confirm there isn’t. Sadly the show was only 8 episodes long and really didn’t last anywhere long enough which means I’m stuck waiting for Season 2 along with everyone else now.

I’ve added a few new crime shows to my watch list; Instinct which is based on James Patterson’s books and features the wonderful Alan Cumming as an ex-CIA operative turned psychology professor who ends up working with the police. Yeah, the concept is a cliche that’s been done many times before but it’s the characters that make the difference. Having an openly gay actor playing a married gay main character is a definite win too.

The second one is FBI which is another in-depth FBI drama with two really compelling main characters and Sela Ward as their boss. I absolutely love her after seeing her in CSI: New York and while I’m loving the whole cast, I live for her scenes.

The third is super new as in it just started airing and is another cliche; ex-cop turned private detective. However, My Life is Murder is an Australian show and features the wonderful Lucy Lawless as the quirky protagonist. That had me sold in a heartbeat and then I watched the first episode. Yep, that was me, hook line and sinker. You might be wondering why I made a point of emphasising that it’s an Australian show. Well, sorry US crime dramas, but you guys just aren’t as off the wall as your Australian and Canadian counterparts. They really bring that something else to their crime drama. Then you have British crime dramas which have their own distinct flavouring too and come in so many flavours. It’s why I love shows like Vera, set in Yorkshire, and Shetland, set on the Scottish island because the location and culture is everything. Some US crime dramas have managed that, but I find a lot just don’t.

Geeking by in July, August & September

I’m stuck between TV shows right now. I started watching Stranger Things and The Magicians and then got to the next season and my interest in them both completely trailed off. I seem to have a very short attention span for fantasy/sci-fi TV shows nowadays. I’m not sure why; I used to lap them up back when they were so hard to come by. But now they’re a dime-a-dozen I just get bored after a season or two and go back to crime dramas. Whereas with movies I’m scrabbling to find decent fantasy movies that I’ve NOT seen before. I go to Netflix or Amazon’s fantasy/sci-fi category and find movies I’ve already seen or on the rare occasion, there is something it’s then a movie that I want to watch with Chris. Movie time with two people with chronic illnesses, one of which who suffers from chronic insomnia is a scheduling nightmare.

Anyway, the point I was going to make before that waffle came out was that I’ve been going for movies instead. Especially when I’ve been working on Inktober drawings (more below). I’ve been finding it really soothing to pop a movie on and just let go as I draw rather than being interrupted by the end credits/theme song or adverts between episodes. Even if you binge a season you still get interrupted with all those but a movie just keeps on going and doesn’t interrupt my creativity.

Movies I tend to be a bit more varied in what I watch, although right now I seem to be leaning towards fantasy, true stories and period drama mysteries – the later I have George Mann and his Newbury & Hobbes series to blame for! I started by finishing off the Hobbit trilogy at long last, and thoroughly enjoyed it as I did all the films. I won’t say any more as I’ve already been told twice how wrong my opinions are, but that’s a rant for another time.

Next up, and getting me started on the true stories kick was The Lost City of Z. It’s about British explorer Percy Fawcett and was absolutely fascinating. I am a knowledge whore; you could shut me in a library for the rest of my life and I would quite happily make my way through every book, learning everything I could about everything. I love learning about history, and while I realise that writers and directors take certain liberties with films (or A LOT as you’ll see with the next true story I watched)  they still tell a story of a life that came before us. It stars some wonderful actors too; Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland (who I didn’t even know was in it and was a very pleasant surprise!) and Robert Pattinson.  I fell in love with Sienna Miller in Casanova and G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Charlie Hunnam impressed me in Pacific Rim. Think whatever you want about the Twilight saga, but the more I see of Robert Pattinson the more I like him as an actor.

The next movie was The House with a Clock in its Walls and I highly recommend it. An orphaned boy goes to live with his eccentric uncle in a house that ticks and has all sorts of weird going on. He soon discovers that his uncle is a warlock, and he begins to learn magic. There’s a lot more to it that makes it sound less dull and stereotypical; I’m glossing over it purposefully. The premise is interesting but what really shines is the casting of Jack Black and Cate Blanchett who are absolutely hilarious together. They’re a witty pair of old friends, now neighbours who bounce off one another, constantly bickering and it’s wonderfully fresh and genuine.

After that, I spotted a movie that caught my interest long ago and was finally on Netflix; Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. I’d been curious about this after seeing the trailer and so as soon as I spotted it I knew it was my next movie. One thing I will say; it’s much less about Wonder Woman than the trailer makes out and much more about the Professor, his polyamorous relationship and his belief in DISC theory. While it was a really interesting film, it also turns out to be a load of complete bollocks. The writer/director Angela Robinson openly admits that she didn’t research further than Professor Marston himself, avoiding researching his family so she could “interpret” things as she wanted, stating that she had “one source” who interpreted their relationship that way. In other words; she heard what she wanted to hear from one person and then made things up to suit her own agenda.

Normally we could assume that “one source” was a family member, however, that is not the case because she didn’t contact the family. This is confirmed by his granddaughter, Christie Martson, who is very active in the comic book community. In an interview, she talks frankly about her grandmother’s relationship with Olive, her father’s second wife, and it’s pretty clear that she’s not denying anything happened out of denial. It really didn’t happen as Robinson has “interpreted”.

After finding this out I really needed a palate cleanser. I spotted The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and I’ve wanted to watch the first one for a long time so I did! The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a fabulous British film made with the creme de la creme of British actors who are now in their silver years, tackling a topic that I suspect was both difficult and also really important to them; getting old. It’s a film about age, change and finding life in unexpected places. It’s awkward – the incredible Maggie Smith plays a horrible racist, yet you’re spellbound by her acting – it’s hilarious and tearjerking. All set in the wonderful bright culture of India.

Naturally, the sequel got watched the next day. I’ll be honest; the first one was better because it was the type of film that you really couldn’t quite duplicate. However, it was nice to see some storylines get wrapped up and revisit the characters. Perhaps if I’d not watched them back to back I would have liked it more. The addition of Richard Gere was an excellent choice, and his scenes were surprisingly humble rather than show-stealing. In comparison, I felt like Tamsin Greig was not the right addition as a younger cast member and stuck out like an awkward sore thumb amongst much more refined and experienced actors. She has her own talents and a particular niche, but here she just didn’t fit well at all.

As for what’s next; 47 Ronin has been on my list for a while now and has been highly recommended to me by my friend Cherri. I just haven’t quite found myself in the right mood for it yet. I’ve been really interested in On The Basis of Sex since watching the trailer for it, the same with Molly’s Game. I’m also eying up Victoria & Abdul as I absolutely adored Judi dench’s portrayal in Mrs Brown. There’s a few others in my sights too, so I’m sorted for a while!

Lust for Darkness

Playing

Video game catch up

I have actually been playing something other than World of Warcraft! *gasp* Yes, it does happen every so often. The thought of remaking my UI again after my PC imploded was unbearable so I picked up Lust for Darkness which I’d been wanting to play for ages. I haven’t gotten far in it, but now that my dissertation is out the way I’ll be returning to it soon.

I stayed out of WoW for quite a while, not really feeling a desire to play it. I get burnt out every so often especially after a big patch with lots of new content hits and that’s exactly what happened. Then Chris started playing Classic and I got the levelling bug from watching him play. Not for Classic though; I have my reasons for not playing and I’ll write about them when I’m ready.  Instead, I’ve been levelling my Lightforged Draenei Priest Yaletha to 110.

She hit that the other day and as I still have several other characters to get to 120 I won’t be levelling her to 120 any time soon. I dinged my Death Knight to 120 – she was super close to it – and next is my hunter. I decided to check out the new Bee Reputation first and while it looks interesting it’s also so busy right now. I’m doing it on my druid so at least it’s quick to pick things up. But right now it was just frustrating and boring, so that’s going on the back burner for a bit.

I might start up some transmog runs again as well as levelling my hunter. I’m doing the weekly pet dungeons and the weekly if and when it suits me, but otherwise, I’m just playing very casually and for my own enjoyment.

Inktober

Let me know how you’ve been!

I decided to take part in Inktober again this year. But rather than going easy on myself with just some doodles this time around I decided to push myself. I’m taking part in Witchtober which means I’m making myself work on drawing characters and figures by drawing a different witch character each day.

I couldn’t decide on one prompt so I’ve taken several prompts and I’m picking a day from them at random each day. These are the prompts I’m using, please click the image to visit the original prompt creator:

Yep, eight is a lot! And it probably would have been easier to make my own prompt instead, however, it was a last-minute decision and I like joining in the community of Inktober. Making my own prompt excludes me from that.

You can follow my progress on Instagram where I am posting my completed work. If there is an idea from one of the prompts that you would like to see me try let me know!

Over to You

Let me know how you’ve been!

How have the last few months been for you? Less chaotic than mine I hope! Let me know how you’ve been, drop me a link to your monthly update and so on in the comments so I can catch up.

I’m trying out a few new things around the blog. There are google fonts in this post for the first time so let me know how they go (not so much the choice of fonts but rather whether they load ok) and there’s now an accessibility plugin installed. Any feedback about that would also be greatly appreciated.

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Image Credits: Banner photo from Unsplash, Movies Photo from Unsplash.

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