Outlander Premiered on UK TV, and Yes, It was Amazing.

Dearest Readers,

Last Thursday, June 29, was the premiere of episode 1, season 1 of Outlander on the UK television channel More 4.

And it was amazing.

I got together with three friends to watch it, two of which have seen it and read it already.

I was so excited that I wore my kilt and “Scotch on the Rocks” tee.

We played ping pong and ate snacks for a while, then turned the TV on and moved to the couches to wait for the show to start.

There was something surreal about seeing commercials for it, which I haven’t experienced before since I always watched the show online with Starz. But it was also wonderful, as if Outlander was just another cable show available to the masses that might become (more of) a phenomenon.

We did notice that Claire sounded different. And the commercials breaking up the show weren’t the best thing. But those are my only real complaints, and the commercials simply come with cable TV. I’m really only wondering about the sound of the voices….

AND my non-Outlander-fan friend enjoyed the first episode and is willing to come back to watch the second!

Spreading the love, one person at a time.

Your Bonnie Celtophile,

Dani

My First Midsummer

Dearest Readers,

One of the things I love about being in Scotland is that there are people from so many more countries than I would get to experience back home. One of those countries happens to be Sweden, and if you know anything about Sweden, you’ll know that Midsummer celebrations for the longest day of the year are a big deal.

Or at least, that’s the impression I get, both from two Swedish Scottish Country dancers hosting a Midsummer for friends and from the website dedicated to the festival.

I recommend watching the video from that website, as it includes more than I was a part of, but we did three things in our Midsummer celebration: games, food, and drink.

According to the Swedes, they usually play seven games all in a row, but we only played three: Kubb, a quiz, and Pen in the Bottle.

Kubb is one of my favorite games. I used to play it in middle school when we had game rooms for the morning or afternoon and it was sunny enough to go outside. Basically, you throw sticks at other sticks to knock them over, and the last stick you knock over is the king stick. Here’s more:

(The people in that video are much better than us.) The only difference is that we played that to knock the king over, you have to face away from it and throw the baton between yours legs. I wasn’t very good at that.

Next up: The quiz. They put 8 questions about Sweden onto objects around the park, which we answered in teams of three. They were multiple choice, and for some reason the answers were listed as 1, X, and 2 instead of 1, 2, and 3. The explanation was that that’s just how they did it. Both teams only got two of the 8 right, and so a tie breaker question was the word for crayfish. My team got it, so we won despite knowing unfortunately little about Sweden.

The third game was Pen in the Bottle, and those of us that never experienced it were told nothing about it before we started. Luckily, there’s a video for that, too.

We did not try it tag-team. I managed to win my round, which was made all the funnier by the fact that my opponent started playing Ginuwine’s “My Pony” (the Magic Mike song) on his phone before we began.

We went to the pub for food and drinks after that, and we all agreed that next time we should go to the pub before doing the games so that we’re all sufficiently, traditionally buzzing for the duration of the games.

After the pub, a group went back to the Swedes’ place for continued drinking into the night, but I went home to get some sleep.

And that’s the story of my first ever Midsummer. I’m extremely grateful that I was able to experience it. Maybe one day I’ll make it to Sweden.

Your Bonnie Celtophile,

Dani

Habitica: Productivity’s a Game, and You’re Winning.

My Dearest Readers,

I don’t like to use planners. I’ve tried, and it generally doesn’t work out for me. I prefer post-its and constantly shifting lists and multiple schedules for each aspect of my life in an endless array of messy planning that I’m surprised has never failed me.

But I’ve found something that works. Something that keeps the things I need to do for the next few days or weeks in one place yet still allows it to be a messy, constantly changing list.

And I earn experience, hatch pets, and go on quests in the process, because with Habitica, productivity’s a game, and you’re winning.

It’s simple, really. You get an avatar. You level it up by completing your tasks, which can be habits (multiple times a day), dailies (once a day), or to-dos (one time only). You can add due dates and a checklist to each task. When you check something off, you get experience, gold, and sometimes items. The items include eggs, hatching potions, and food in order to hatch pets and feed them into mounts.

You can choose from one of four classes of character. I’m a rogue, and the other three are warrior, healer, and mage. They have special skills that can help yourself and people in your party.

Parties are groups you can join that go on quests, which involve either finding items or doing damage to a boss, both of which require simply completing your tasks.

The harder the task and the more steps to finishing it, the more damage you do, and the more experience and gold you receive.

You have HP, too, which you lose by not completing tasks on time or by acting on negative habits.

Basically, Habitica is a video game fueled by your to-do lists.

And I adore it.

If you think it’ll be useful for you, try it out and let me know how it goes.

Your Bonnie Celtophile,

Dani