March in hindsight

2018_March

Dutch Comic Con

I went to Dutch Comic Con and I had a blast! I can really recommend it to anyone, it’s a fun day out especially if you look at different things you can do and experience on DCC. Whether you’re into games, books, movies, television show or comics there is certainly something for everyone out there.

Reading and writing

March was the month in which I’ve finished reading the second book in the Monkeewrench series – Live Bait. I really enjoyed reading it. From the moment I started reading it I was wondering what was going on and I really couldn’t figure it out. Which makes it a good crime novel in my opinion.

Music and songs

I decided to add a new part to my monthly posts. One thing I can say for certain is that I’ve been loving Beth Hart latest album, her collaboration with Joe Bonamassa ‘Black Coffee’! It’s been one of the full albums which has been in my favorite Spotify list ever since the album came out back in January.

However my absolute favorite songs of the past month has been ‘This is me’ both versions of the song are on my Spotify list – the original movie version from The Greatest Showman’ as well as Kesha’s version. Both are beautiful, however I think that the the movie version is much stronger. Keala Settle has a powerful voice and she delivers the song with so much passion. I haven’t seen the movie yet – I really want to see it but I haven’t had the chance – however it is definitely on my to watch list.

Fitness

For a while I have been thinking about changing things around. Part of me was thinking about getting back to running, something which I did a couple of years ago however I the problem was that I had shin splints. A very painful injury which is really hard to get rid off. It comes back and that was what was happening to me. I know that my pain level is pretty high but this was so painful that in the end it made me give up. That was part of the reason why I started doing yoga, I wanted to do a sport and it helped with stress relief of course.

But lately I was feeling restless,  wanted to so something more active. So I decided to sign myself up for the gym. And so far so good, I’ve been going for a couple of weeks now about two or three times a week and things are going really well.

Looking ahead:

  • Pinkpop of course!
  • My birthday is coming up – thirty-six! Ouch!
  • Vacation planning!
  • Camp Nanowrimo has started, I’m not participating but I do love going to those weekly meetings in the Library, it’s so good to see everyone. Even if it is just to talk and have a laugh.

Dutch Comic Con

DCC_2018

On the last weekend of March, also known as the Easter weekend it was time for one of the coolest Cons in the Netherlands. Dutch Comic Con, and I was there. The event took place on Saturday and Sunday but I only went on the first day.

Every time I go to one of these events I’m in awe by all the creations made by fans. It’s so amazing to see what they come up with and how diverse the fandoms are. The whole creative process that goes into creating their perfect cosplay is amazing. You can only look at it with deep respect. Of course there are people who just buy a costume. But the majority is handmade, and that means that they don’t just focus on one creative process it’s often a combination of many different things.

No matter how you look at it, in my opinion cosplay is a form of art. An art form which comes in many different shapes and forms. And it is popular! There is a reason why there seem to be more and more Cons every year and there is even a television show catered to audience who love creating cosplays – Cosplay Melee and of course Face Off even though that one is probably more catered to the professionals. I think that a lot of people learned their craft by watching that show as well. There are whole Youtube channels devoted to the art of making Cosplay props, make-up and designing clothes. Sometimes I watch these channels not because I want to do cosplay but just because I love watching these types of videos. The way people talk about the creation of something with so much passion is always a fun and I often find it’s relaxing as well.

First off all there is the clothes that are often partially of completely hand-made, adjusted in one way or another. No matter what they do with it, there are hours spend on creating that outfit. And then there is the time spend gathering or making the props.

Personally the most brilliant cosplay I came across was a dude who was dressed-up as Carl from The Walking Dead with the inclusion of black angel wings. Which I thought was brilliant looking at the way this character developed. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make a picture of him but I did tell him in passing that his cosplay was brilliant.

Book 2 – Live Bait by P.J. Tracy

Reading-Challenge-2018

2018_LevendAas‘Live Bait’ is the second book in the Monkeewrench series, and the second book I’m finishing this year in my reading challenge. Though it is technically not the second book I started reading but that has more to do with the backlog in books that I have. I’m trying to read my ebooks only when I’m away from home. So that I finally get through the books I have laying around my apartment and that is why I haven’t finished the other one at this moment.

Monkeewrench introduced a lot of cool characters, they all brought something different to the table – a team of extremely diverse people who work together and all bring their own . And it was kind of a shame that they weren’t really utilized more in this book. We saw glimpses of Grace and a teeny tiny bit of Annie (which is funny if you think about it!) but not much more about anyone else. I really missed them, I liked what they brought to the story. And given that this story is part of the Monkeewrench series and they are Monkeewrench I had expected them to play a bigger and more important part.

Let’s get on with the story. After the events from Monkeewrench 1 the city has been on a murder dryspell and the detectives are bored. But when an elderly man is brutally murdered Gino Rolseth and Leo Magozzi are in for case which will take much more from them than they ever could have imagined. A case which blurs the line between right and wrong and the way you look at a murderer. When they are called out to the murder of an elderly – very loved by the community – man they can’t imagine what reason anyone can have to kill him. Morey Gilbert is a helpful man, a pilar of the community not someone you’d ever imagine to get murdered. However Morey Gilberts murder is only the first, soon they have more murders on their hands and no real clues as to why these particular people became victims. The only thing which connects the murders is the fact that the three elderly victims are all jewish and have all lived through the war.

It really took me a long time before I grasped what was going on there were so many falls clues and so many potential ways this story could have gone. But what really happened never came to mind until it was quite obvious. And that is what I really liked about this story. It kept me guessing. The line between right and wrong was a very thin one and in a way you can understand why certain people made certain choices. It is one of those stories which makes you think about what drives someone to commit murder and even understand it in a way.

What I like about these books is the way that the characters are all their own person. All of the characters are very well developed, and very natural like regular people. They have their own voice and their own way of looking at things. Which is something that I really admire in a writer or in this case a writer’s duo.

On to the next book – Dead Run!

Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa – Black Coffee

BethHartJoeBonamassa

The company that I work for makes – among other things – band merchandise and both Beth Hart as well as Joe Bonamassa is part of that merchandise that we print. Something which I really like because I’ve been a fan of Beth Hart’s for ages. Someone who I really admire and who will always have a special place in my heart. But truth be told if it hadn’t been for these albums that she made with Joe Bonamassa – his name would not mean all that much to me. I really enjoy the songs that they make together but I honestly couldn’t name one song.

Probably because he’s a blues and rock guitarist who has a huge amount of albums out, under which three studio albums and one live album together with Beth Hart. The first one came out in 2011 ‘Don’t Explain’, followed by ‘Seesaw’ in 2013. In 2014 they recorded a performance at Carré in Amsterdam. And this year on January 26th the album ‘Black Coffee’ came out. Another compilation of old songs performed by this amazing duo.

Give It Everything You Got – The album starts with an awesome guitar solo! LOVE THAT!!! Great song to open album with, very familiar song absolutely love it!
Damn Your Eyes – Originally by Etta James is one of my favorite songs from this album, I love Beth’s voice in this song. Simply beautiful!
Black Coffee – the song which names the album, probably the best song to name this album after.
Lullaby of the Leaves – sounds like a very old song and I know it’s a cover (original 1932) but this recording feels like it was actually recorded back in the 60’s! It has that very classical feel to it. It sounds very much a like the version Ella Fitzgerald made of this song in 1964. It’s not really my cup of tea.
Why Don’t You Do Right – Nice guitar/piano/brass section intro I like it!
Saved – definitely the song with the most swing, this song makes me really happy. Try to sit still while you listen to it, I dare you!
Sitting on Top of the World – For some reason when I read the title of this song I had a completely different song in mind. I’m making a different connection, I still do. There is a really nice guitar solo in this song! Play that air-guitar, you know you want to!
Joy – great song!
Soul on Fire – Love this song! It works really with Beth’s voice, sounds classy. The battle fo favorite song on this album is between this song and ‘Damn you eyes’.
Addicted – another very classy and catchy song, nice way to close the album.

So yes it is the third album they did together and it might not be all that surprising since the concept is still the same, it works and it hasn’t lost it’s charm. Add to that the fact that both Beth as well as Joe have a very steady fanbase and I guess that success is guaranteed. I’ve seen Beth Hart live numerous times, I’ve never had the chance to see Joe Bonamassa if I ever have the chance to see them perform live I will go. I would love to see it.

Maybe they do it again in a couple of years! I’ll be listening to for sure. Give these artists a chance especially when you love soul, blues and rock.

February in hindsight

2018_February

February flew by, of course it’s a shorter month than the rest of them but still it felt like we went from February first to the twenty eight in a heartbeat. I had plans and ideas but not much came together, I need to be better at this, I want to be better at this. I’m working on it, this post is going up tonight on March first no matter what happens! This is my February in Hindsight post and it is posted on the first day of the new month.

The Lion King

I had a blast this past weekend – the last weekend of February – on Saturday my mom came to visit me and I took her out to a restaurant in the city where we had a really nice meal. The ambiance in De Vooruitgang was just perfect, it looks gorgeous! Followed by a nice evening watching television and talking about stuff.

On Sunday we drove to Scheveningen to go see The Lion King – the musical at the Circus Theater. It was truly a beautiful musical. Definitely one of the best I’ve seen so far – with Wicked being my absolute number one. The musical is simply beautiful, the costumes and the way the different animals are presented. It’s really pretty! If you’re like me a musical lover you’ll definitively like this one!

Pinkpop 2018

The Pinkpop press conference has taken place and let me tell you the line-up is awesome! So much better than these last couple of years, especially last year was not my cup of tea.  I’m so looking forward to the show, of course there is always that nail biting moment when you’re trying to get the tickets but in the end it turned out to be a lot easier that I had expected it to me. The sale started at ten in the morning and at ten past ten I had paid online for my ticket. That means that I will be able to see Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Snow Patrol, Editors, Miss Montreal en Jessie J! And that is just a small portion of the bands that I’ll be able to see. I’ve seen the Foo Fighters a couple of times before and they rock! They are so awesome! Pearl Jam is one of those bands which have always had this vibe around them. Probably because of their legendary 1992 performance, the last time they were at Pinkpop was in 2000! That was my first year at Pinkpop, but at the time I can’t remember if I’ve seen them. I probably did, but I can’t recall it. I always wanted to see Jessie J live! And now I have a chance to see her perform. There is so much more to see and hear. I need to check out the Pinkpop Spotify playlist.

Reading and writing

I’m still working on that second book in the Monkeewrench series, the book is so interesting! I am about half way through it and I literally have no idea where this story is going. The storyline is all over the place, and so far except for some of the same character there has barely been any connection to Monkeewrench. So I guess that once they become involved in the storyline things will become clearer. This storyline is different than any other book I’ve ever read. Interesting book though, a book like this makes me curious and I want to know where this is going.

This is only the first post I’ll be making in the month of March, I still have some stuff up my sleeve. Soon another post will follow, about an album which came out a couple of weeks ago.

Looking ahead:

  • Pinkpop!!!! I didn’t go to Pinkpop last year and the year before that I only went one day. But this year I’m going for three whole days. I can’t wait!
  • I’m meeting my vacation friends again, up for another fun day the first weekend of March.

 

 

January in hindsight

2018_January

The first month of the year is over.
It all happened so fast! Of course there was New Years Eve which I spend with a couple of friends from my writer group. We had of course way too much food, since every one brought something with them. And we played ‘Cards Against Humanity’ which is really cool. We had a lot of fun. In fact we had to keep our eye on the time because chances were that we would miss the celebrating New Year and the fireworks since we were so immersed in our game.

It was fun celebrating it with our writers group through the years we’ve become a wonderful group of friends so much more than just a group that meets up because we have a passion for writing or because we all participate in Nanowrimo. In fact without these friends my life would be pretty empty, we meet up for writing appointments, we go to the movies and sometimes we meet up at each others homes or we go to a convention or fair together.

New car

Okay, so my old Mint Green Opel Corsa 1.2 is twenty three years old! That is very old for a car! In fact I think that a car is called a classic when it reaches twenty five years! Nah, I’m just kidding with a color like that a car never becomes a classic if you ask me. And it was getting noticeable, every time it’s harder to get the car through the annual car safety test. And I was paying a lot of money to keep the car on the road. It’s not really surprising – and while it wasn’t anything bad it’s was just typical car stuff – that’s just the way it is.

I kind of made up my mind about it and I knew that I had to get a new car before September since that is the month when I had to renew my old car safety test. However I was not really doing anything about it – not yet anyway I figured I had some time. But my parents apparently had the same conversation amongst each other and they even started looking for a different car for me. I mean, that is so sweet, let’s face it the only way I can look at a different car is by looking at the aesthetics of it. Does it look good? Does it have the right color? I honestly don’t know anything about cars, I have my dad for that. He’s been working with cars since he was a mere sixteen years old in a garage, he worked on cars in the army and ever since he’s been working he’s done different jobs at a car factory for the last forty or forty five years. So I don’t need to know my way around cars unless it is to drive them or tell my dad something is wrong. But anyway on a Sunday afternoon I was minding my own business, reading a book – when I received a phone call from my mom. She and my dad had been looking around the internet and they had seen a car for sale which according to them had my name on it. I really liked the car it’s bright red! And it drives like a dream! And from twenty three years old I made an upgrade to a car which is only eight years old! So that is a huge step forward!

Reading and writing

I’ve not really done any writing during January except for my book reviews for Nevermore and Monkeewrench. And that brings me to the next part of my January post, reading. I finally read Monkeewrench, a book which I had on my to read list for a while but I never really got around to it. I started reading it a couple of times but for some reason it didn’t continue. I can’t really explain why that is, especially not now that I’ve actually read the book because I really enjoyed reading it. I’m currently reading the next part in the Monkeewrench series, really curious where this is going.

Looking ahead:

  • Pinkpop press conference and the sale of the tickets.
  • I’m going to see The Lion King Musical with my mom. I have a huge weak spot when it comes to musicals I love them and I’m finally going to see this one!

Book 1 – Monkeewrench by P.J. Tracy

Reading-Challenge-2018

2018_EngelenmoordI’m trying to clear my backlog, and this book was definitely on that list in fact I first started reading it back in October of 2016! Yes, that was a while back, for some reason – I can’t remember why, but I stopped reading it half way through November. Then I picked it up in January 2017 but after a day I put it away again. I had at that point only read 59 pages. In fact I choose to read ‘The Death Cure’ the third installment in the Maze Runner series over this book.

Which right at this moment I find quite astounding and unexplainable. Because that book really wasn’t what I hoped it would be. It could have been wonderful and interesting. But it was not and instead I allowed this book to stay on my shelve and now that I actually read it I feel bad because it is a good book! And I could have read it years ago as well as a couple of the other follow up books because I have them on my shelve as well, like literally in my living room. Not the digital copies on my tablet but physical copies.

Anyway lets finally get on to this long overdue book review – I’ve been reading this book in Dutch so the tittle of it is Engelenmoord which roughly translated to ‘Murder of an Angel’ (however in English the first part of the Monkeewrench series is called ‘Want to play?’). Which could of course refer to one of the murders in this book where a young girl is killed and is placed on top of a large angel statue in the middle of a cemetery. A very graphic and interesting murder case but that is not the only murder. There is a couple killed in a church, a jogger killed in a forest and another man found murdered at a boat while the entire police force and a private security company was trying to prevent the murder from happening. Each and every murder is very different and on the surface nothing links them together – apart from the .22 bullets which killed the victims – until it becomes obvious that the murders seem to come straight out of a video game. The problem is that the game isn’t out yet and it has only been played by a group of test players. Monkeewrench the company which is developing the game is unwillingly being dragged into a game they don’t want to play.

They all know the game inside and out including all twenty murders which take place in the game which makes them suspect in the eye of the detectives investigating the murders and at the same time the Monkeewrench founders have a huge secret to hide. Because up until ten years ago none of the Monkeewrench founders existed. Not Grace MacBride, not Harley Davidson, not Roadrunner, not Mitch Cross and not even Annie Belinsky existed ten years ago.  The fact that they didn’t exist ten years ago did make them all look suspicious. There are a lot of twists and turns in this story and quite frankly that ending I did not expect that at all!

The book kept me captivated, from the moment I picked it up on January seventh this year and I finished the book on the twenty first. All in all it took me a long time to finish the book but once I finally got into the story I loved it. I should have read this book a long time ago. I immediately picked up the next book in the Monkeewrench series. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

The fascinating thing is that these books are written by a mom-daughter team, PJ and Traci Lambrecht – under the name PJ Tracy. I don’t know how that works, how do you write a book together? Does one person write one chapter and the other person the next chapter. Or does one person actually write and is there are lot of conversation and brainstorming going back and forth? I really do wonder about that process. It fascinates me.

Fun fact, whenever I read the way they describe Annie Belinsky I see a sort of Penelope Garcia type of woman (one of by me very beloved Criminal Minds characters). It’s the image of the type of woman which always pops into my head.

My plan for this year is to get through that backlog of books to read in my apartment. The thing though is that I don’t like to take books with me when I make a trip, first of all because they are mostly a lot heavier than my tablet and secondly because the books get easily damaged when you have them in your bag especially when they are paperbacks which a lot of my books are. So whenever I’m at home I want to read as many books as I can and when I’m out – during a trip with the train or something similar I want to use my tablet. That way I might finally do something about the so far unread books in my apartment. And who knows once I read them I might finally get around to bringing some of my books to a store which resells them and support Books4Life Eindhoven.