I have never bitten a tea bag

Quick post today, about the I never I should have written a week ago. I wanted to do a post about going jogging every day for a week, but that turned out not to be a great idea.

So last Saturday at 2 am, Lena and I were tired and goofing around and we both bit a tea bag. There’s a video and I’m not sharing it.

On an unrelated note, here’s what’s left of my garden:

Out of the 12 I planted, only 4 survived. To be fair, only 4 of the plants that perished could be blamed on me. The rest simply didn’t sprout.

Right, I’m gonna put some more effort into this month’s I Never again.

I have never planted a kitchen garden

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With our trip to Turkey so recently, it was tricky to find an actual I Never subject for March. Lena and I are working on something, but we determined it wouldn’t be completed this month (and perhaps we’ll delay it until May (ooh, exciting!)).

So I had to improvise. Now, where we live, spring has come very definitively this past week, and our local supermarket The Albert Heijn has, like the previous two years, started giving out DIY fruits, vegetables and herbs. We haven’t gotten any of them yet this year, but we did have a dozen left over from last year, just sitting in the windowsill, waiting to be brought to life.

Today I finally took some time to plant them. Have some pictures!

Can’t do gardening without a glass of wine!

First steps. By now I realized it took very long for the dirt to dampen, and I was starting to doubt my methods.

Figured it would be better to continue at the kitchen counter. Lena came downstairs and thought I needed to have a picture with the wine.

I’ll spare you Lena’s comments on what this resembles.

Using Medley’s bottle to measure the amount of water needed for my dirt.

The result! Three times arugula, two broccoli and red beets, and one thyme, spinach, cress, basil and watermelon.

And now we wait… Check back later to follow my plants’ progress!

I have never visited Turkey

I’d like to think my faithful readers were wondering why there was no I Never entry for February. Initially, I’d write something about how we only got back a few days earlier, but that was at least a week ago. Unfortunately, I fell pretty ill in the meantime, which delayed my posting. Plus, it was a pretty big post to write. But here it is anyway!

During the trip, I didn’t take many pictures, and most of the pictures I did take were with Lena’s phone. I did steal some pictures from her Facebook, so thanks bby <3

Background

To provide a little background: back when Lena and I visited Melanie and Diederik to make sushi, we were also informed that Melanie was pregnant (and oddly enough with the same due date Lena had for Medley). While we were having dinner after playing in a Pokémon tournament, we discussed the holiday to Turkey they were planning (their last opportunity before their baby arrives), and possibilities for going with the four of us. Suffice to say, we concluded to join them on their trip and have some holiday time for ourselves too.

Day 0 – 1: Deventer – Opende – Antalya

Our journey started right after I was done working, on Tuesday February 22nd. After a quick meal and packing the final things, our family set off towards our first stops: dropping Medley off at her grandmother, and Lena and I staying the night at another grandmother.

The next morning, the real trip started. We received a ride to Schiphol, where we met up with Melanie and Diederik. This part started off hectic, with some difficulties scanning our tickets, long lines at the baggage check and more lines at the passport control. Lena and I got separated from Melanie and Diederik at the passport control, because we used our Dutch ID cards instead of passports, which prevented us from using the self-scan. Diederik ran ahead to our gate, while Melanie waited for us. As soon as we made it through, the three of us ran after Diederik. A check of the boarding information taught us that the plane was already boarding, but also that we were running to the wrong gate. So while trying to call Diederik, we turned around and made our way to the right gate. Fortunately, upon reaching the correct gate, we found that boarding hadn’t started yet and that we were even the first in line. We were soon joined by Diederik and we could finally fly off to Turkey!

Bye bye rain!

Fast-forward 7 hours and two time-zones, to landing in Antalya. After the usual exit-the-airport tasks, our translation troubles started. The bus that was supposed to quickly take us to a bus/tram terminal turned out to have a way longer route than we thought. And when we finally made it to the terminal, the trams turned out to have stopped driving at that hour. The good thing was that taxis in Turkey are very cheap, and a quick trip took us to our beds: a guesthouse in the old city of Antalya.

With all the rushing and traveling, we hadn’t had a chance for a proper dinner, so we headed off into the city. Antalya’s old city felt very much like what you’d expect from a Mediterranean city: heavy use of stucco, ornamental iron and many orange trees (thank you random website for teaching me the terms). This is where I took my first picture of the holiday:

It took some time, but a little after 3 am, we found a place to eat a hot meal. The journey had left Melanie confused, because she accidentally ordered meat. But we shuffled some food between us and it all turned out fine. Straight after, perhaps around 4 am, we finally got to bed after a long, long day.

Day 2: Antalya – Fethiye

The plan wasn’t to stay in Antalya for long. Melanie and Diederik had been here before, and they preferred to go to a new place. So after resting up, checking out some of the local bazaars (“kijken, kijken, niet kopen”) and eating delicious ice cream, we took a bus to Fethiye.

It was a long ride, over the top of some gorgeous mountains. You know you’re up high if you have to chew gum just to keep your ears popped. But the views were amazing. We made it to above the snow line and were served some beautiful scenery.  It always reminds me how lucky we are not to have mountains in the Netherlands, because it makes these sights all the more special.

Pretty

But time moved quickly and it was almost dinner time when we arrived. We quickly jumped into a guesthouse called Status, which was a grave mistake. It was extremely dirty, with stains everywhere and a wet spot covered with a spare patch of carpet on the floor in our bedroom. I didn’t even dare try the shower, fearing what I might find there.

Now, these first two days were very stressful, what with the rushed flights, long traveling and Turkey’s culture of loud “singing” early morning made us pretty weary. Add to that this dirty guesthouse, and our holiday spirit was quickly dwindling. We were getting pretty desperate, even considering our possibilities of flying home the next day.

But  we decided on something else.

Day 3: Fethiye

Lena and I stayed in the guesthouse this morning, while Melanie and Diederik took a hike through some local mountains. After some extra sleep, we too got up and headed for the city. We had a McDonalds brunch and some pricey coffee and cake after. Using the coffeehouse’s wifi and despite already having paid for the second night at Status, we booked an apartment at Kilim Apart Hotel.

That was the best decision we could have made. We grabbed our things from the guesthouse and took a leisurely stroll to our next destination, where, to our surprise, we were greeted in Dutch. Turns out that the man checking us in originally came from Belgium. The hotel was also popular with Dutch and Belgian guests.

We came across chickens while going there. Lena insisted I be on a picture with them, so here you go

Anyway, once we were let into our apartment, we were so happy! The apartment was very large, with a two-person master bedroom and a main room functioning as a kitchen, dining room and bedroom with two extra beds. We had two balconies and the view on all sides was amazing. And this was the only place we stayed that had bed sheets like we’re used to (as opposed to the carpet-like covers we slept under in all other places). And the best part was that it was barely more expensive than the gross Status guesthouse.

You’d think three pictures is a bit much, but we were just so happy with this place!

For the night, we took it easy. We went shopping at a nearby supermarket, made pasta for the two of us and had Melanie and Diederik over for some board games.

Day 4: Fethiye

For our final full day in Fethiye, we went out of the city. Melanie and Diederik had rented a car and had already done some research on hiking possibilities. Our first stop: Tlos, an old ruin Melanie and Diederik had already visited the day before, but did not want us to miss out on. It was very cool to visit. We managed to get to the top of an amphitheater, which was a really impressive sight. When you look at it from the bottom, it doesn’t look so big, but from the top you can really appreciate the enormity of the structure.

The view from the top

I like this picture because we look derpy C:

All four travelers

We found actual ancient Greek inscriptions in a rock. I tried to translate it a bit, but it seems my Greek is as worn as the rock itself!

Lena and I also managed to get up on part of the structure and in Assassin’s Creed style make our way to the other end of it. Melanie made a video, which I’ll add if I get it.

From Tlos, we headed to Kadyanda, only stopping at a small ruin on our way. When we were near Kadyanda, we parked half-way to the top of a mountain and started hiking the final part. During the whole of the vacation, this was the most I Never-y part of them all. Not only had I never hiked 5 km up and down a mountain, we also took an off-road shortcut while climbing up and I drank water from a fountain getting its water straight from the source. It was refreshing and delicious.

Yummy!

Apparently, it’s a hiker thing to make little towers of rocks to show other hikers that you’re on the right track. Of course I had to join in. Not that it added much, since we only walked on paved roads. Oh well.

Once at the top of the mountain, we took the tour of Kadyanda, another old ruin. This one was left very much untouched and there were no other people there. We walked along the path, past the agora, the necropolis, a temple, an athletic court and all other kinds of ancient buildings. The most impressive place however was the amphitheater in this place. Because of the season and the altitude, there were no bugs and no birds. The thick foliage and long distance from civilization meant that at that place, there was absolute silence. It was the most majestic thing I’d ever experienced, a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Definitely one of the best highlights of the trip.

Enjoy the silence

Anyway, after the scenic tour and descent from the mountain, we had dinner at Kadyanda, a restaurant that was apparently popular with tourists. The main course was good, but most of all I remember the chicken soup, which was marvelous. Anyway, after dinner we drove home and got to bed. The next day would be traveling day again.

Day 5: Fethiye – Marmaris

On day 5 we went to our final city: Marmaris. Luckily, this journey was a lot shorter than the previous one and we arrived in Marmaris at a good hour. It was Sunday by now and Lena and I were still pretty tired from the long hike the day before. However, Lena was looking for new shirts, so we went into the nearby bazaar and walked all around it. Something that really stood out were the huge amounts of cats that were there. We had seen lots of cats everywhere thus far, but on this day we saw more cats than any other day. The best part was when a shopkeeper came out with a long stick with a sausage on the end and fed it to a Maine coon in a roof gutter. Nothing to make Lena happier.

Our little friends. You can’t see it in this picture, but there were shadows of cats walking on top of the roof.

Anyway, our dinner experience was pretty interesting. Our main course passed without strange incidents, but after ordering our desserts, we saw an employee run out of the restaurant and into the Sok market across the street. When he got back, we got our desserts, still in the plastic, served on a plate. After dinner we hopped into the same supermarket and got some extra ^^

After more board games at the hotel, this day came to an end.

Day 6: Marmaris

With two more days left, we decided to split up again this day. Melanie and Diederik went off hiking again, while Lena and I took to the city. Though the day started off grey, the sun came through shortly after we left for the city. Though we didn’t do anything spectacular, we had a very nice day around the harbor. We bought some super-legit Pokemon Go TCG cards, which we opened at a cafe. At the same cafe, Lena was very quick to make a friend:

This is how I found her when I came to the table with our coffee

We also visited the castle for some culture, checking out some ancient artifacts. Lena bought cat-food and quickly found a following of cats who kept begging her for more and more food. All in all, it was a very nice and relaxing day.

I bet this was Lena’s favorite moment

After Melanie and Diederik came back from their hiking, we joined them as they had dinner at the place we had dinner before earlier that day, after which the four of us went for a cocktail. Because we wanted to have some more fun on the final day, we called it a night after that.

Day 7: Marmaris

For our final day in Turkey, we tried to rent a boat. The day before, Lena and I had talked to a man who offered boat tours, so we went back to him to arrange everything. After everything was set though, he had a little surprise for us: we would be getting a sixty-person boat, with a beautiful sun-deck where we could lounge throughout the trip. The boat took us past a fish farm, beaches, a cave and across the bay. The weather was again beautiful. We could see far enough to notice the curvature of the earth on the horizon. It really was an excellent activity to end the journey on.

But it wasn’t completely over. Instead of going back to our starting point, we requested to be dropped off at the final sight of the boat tour: a tourist town called Icmeler. We wanted to check the town, but it turned out that because the tourist season hadn’t started yet, there wasn’t anything open yet. We did find some orange trees and I shook some oranges out, which was oddly satisfying. Unfortunately, I threw it away after a single bite: it was the sourest thing I’d ever tasted! Later Melanie told us that the town of Icmeler was apparently known for its sour oranges. Still, it was fun.

From Icmeler, we walked a bit into the mountains, towards an old abandoned hotel that we saw from the boat. The captain told us that construction of the hotel had started in the 90s, but it was never finished. It looked very spooky from afar and we wanted to walk around in the haunted hotel.

On the way there we walked past a set of abandoned apartments, just a bit off the road. From what we could tell, they had once been completed and they probably have seen use, but by now they were a hangout for the local youth. One of the apartments looked better maintained than the rest, complete with a usable bed, which we assume was used by a hobo some time ago. It’s a shame the apartments were abandoned though, the view from the building was gorgeous.

A piece of the mountain had fallen off during a storm behind the apartments. Perhaps it’s for the best that there’s nobody staying there.

Anyway, we made our way to the big hotel, but were stopped by a small guardhouse with a dog. Apparently the local authorities didn’t want strangers snooping around those parts. We settled on sitting on the rocks to enjoy the view for a while, before going back for our final dinner.

For dinner, we sat down at one of the restaurants near the harbor, where Lena, Melanie and Diederik ate a big, freshly-caught fish. The local cats were begging us for food, so we took the head of the fish with us and fed it to some cats later on.

It’s this cat’s lucky day!

But it was the final day, and we had quite a trip planned for the next day, so we went to bed early.

Day 8: Marmaris – Opende

Unfortunately, our trip back wasn’t the easiest one. I was starting to feel a bit sick, probably having caught a cold during the big mountain hike, and the trip just seemed to take forever.

The first part still went pretty smooth. Melanie and Diederik had again rented a car, which they used to drive us to Dalamar Airport. However, once we got passed security, there appeared to have been a mix-up in the flights. Our tickets said we should take flight PC4279 at 14:55. The signs however said that flight was supposed to have left at 8:20, but had a delay until 17:20. There was another flight scheduled to leave at 14:55 with a delay until 15:20, but we weren’t allowed on that one, because it was the wrong flight number. Luckily a stewardess overheard our conversation with the information people and told us to go the booth of our airline company to have it re-booked. While the man there was setting that up for us, the amount of people there kept growing, but we did eventually get a ticket for the earlier flight (with extra legroom, so silver lining!).

Unfortunately, our quick arrival in Istanbul didn’t really amount to anything, because our next flight was delayed by an hour and a half, on top of the two-and-a-half hours we already would have had to wait. We spent our time getting some dinner, walking around, grabbing Turkish fruit samples and eventually settling near a power outlet to play Phoenix Wright vs Professor Layton.

After a very long wait, we could finally fly home. It must’ve been past 12 am when we landed. Lena’s mother picked us up, so we didn’t have to drive home, which was good, because neither of us were in a state to drive. When we finally got back, around 2:30 am (which to us felt like 4:30), we fell asleep in no time.

Afterword

So much happened in our week abroad. We had highs and we had lows. In the end, we liked it a lot, but we think we would prefer to go back at a later time. The weather was better than back home, but it wasn’t my ideal temperature (my ideal being hot enough to wear a t-shirt all day, but not melting hot). Also, because we were there during low season, a lot of the fun things weren’t open yet, though that did mean it was more quiet. Except for the mosques’ early singing. That’s never quiet.

Anyway, if we were to go again, it’ll probably be more around March or early April. But there’s plenty of other destinations we want to visit first and I’m sure all about those travels will be on here again. Until the next time, good night!

I have never played in a Pokémon tournament

Somewhere near the end of last year, before going to Melanie and Diederik to make sushi, Lena and I quickly went by the Gamemania games store, where we could get some Pokémon merchandise with a discount. It was there that we came to conclusion that the both of us really wanted to play the card game, but never had anyone to play against. Somehow it never occurred to us that we could play together.

And so it came to be that we dug up our old cards, bought some new ones and started building some decks. Lena played all kinds of Eevee decks, and I tried to continuously improve a Squirtle deck.

Having heard of our recently-refreshed hobby, Melanie and Diederik invited us to the Alolan pre-release tournament, which we happily joined.

Simply put, the pre-release tournament was a promotional event to get people familiarized with the new set of cards about to be released. Everyone got a random set of cards, from which we were given twenty minutes to build a deck. After that, we played three rounds against others to see who built the best deck. And unlike regular tournaments, there were no prizes, aside from everyone getting to keep the deck they played with.

I lost two battles and won one, but all-in-all, it was a fun event in a friendly setting. I got some reasonable cards (unlike Lena who managed to get both legendary cards), but it’s a decent deck.

Anyway, Lena and I are spreading the Pokémon love to our friends and a local tabletop community, so perhaps I’ll be able to post some more Pokémon soon!

I have never made sushi

It’s only a little over two years that I had sushi for the very first time in my life, when the Hearth’s Warming Con committee went out for dinner in Amsterdam. Even though I don’t like fish, I enjoyed it a lot. Since then, we’ve taken plenty of opportunities for a sushi dinner.

This month, we got an opportunity to make sushi. Melanie and Diederik invited us over and guided us through the steps.

It was a lot of fun (and very tasty!), but there’s not much of a story to wrap around it (unlike the seaweed of the sushi), so have a bunch of pictures.

I have never skated on ice

Just like eating a raw herring well over a year ago, Lena has often reprimanded me for being a poor Dutchman for never having skated on ice.

Near the end of last month, we were having a few days of anniversary fun with the Albert Heijn discount on activities. On one of the days, we decided to go ice skating at De Scheg, a swimming pool, kart track and ice skating course just a short walk from our home. There, I had my first experience on the irons.

It was a bit scary at first. I had imagined that it would take me fifty falls before I would even be able to stand up. But it turned out much easier and before I knew it, we were going around on the skate course.

I’d say it was a decent work-out and I did fall once, but I fell into the inflatable railing around the course, so nothing really major. But above all, it was a lot of fun. And to think it’s so close to our house. We definitely want to go again!

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I have never played with VR goggles

Wow. Just wow.

A little background on this: a few weeks ago, Lena and I were invited to a weekend in Center Parks with the committee of Hearth’s Warming Con 2016. In general, it was very fun, especially to see Opaque from Denmark again!

But one of the activities of the weekend was particularly awesome. For a long time, Lena and I have been wanting to try out VR goggles. It just so happened that our friends Melanie and Diederik recently bought the VR goggles for Playstation 4 and brought it along for our weekend.

So last Friday, we had a shot at playing actual VR games! And it was awesome!

It’s everything you can expect from it and more. I started off in a sort of demo room where you could look around at all the things going on. The weirdest thing was being able to actually move closer to the little characters while the game actually zoomed in on them. It was so immersive, I wanted to touch them!

I also played a strange game where I was a dinosaur wrecking a city with my head (yes, by head-banging!), and a shooting game demo where I had to manually reload. I loved it.

This is definitely something we both want to get. Now we just have to wait for it to become affordable (after we get Nintendo Switch!)

Here’s a bonus gif of me shooting:

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I have never crossed the Afsluitdijk

Last month, I promised something big going to happen this month. Unfortunately, due to temporal and financial constraints, the thing that we had planned for this month had to be postponed. However, this month has plenty of opportunity for things I’ve never done.

Lena’s mother had offered us to watch over Medley for the weekend, which meant that Lena and I had some time for ourselves. We didn’t have anything in particular planned, so we decided to spend the day hunting for Pokémon, as we usually do with our spare time.

We were considering going to Kijkduin, the Pokémon capital of the Netherlands, where legends foretold would reside numerous wonders like Blastoise and Lapras. However, we also feared that parking would be a problem, and we were unable to obtain cheap train tickets in time, so our plans were moved to Hoorn instead, which was suggested in some comment on some website somewhere.

As we were staying at Lena’s mother for the night (Friday-Saturday), this decision lead us to cross the Afsluitdijk, a 32 km connection between Friesland and North Holland, which forms a barrier between the North Sea and the man-made IJsselmeer.

It wasn’t quite what I had expected. I knew of the existence of this crossing, but in my mind it looked like the bicycle bridge from the Pokémon anime. Instead, it was actual land with a road on it, and even a few stops to the left and right. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see the North Sea, but the IJsselmeer was quite a sight too. And though I expected this to be the case, the Afsluitdijk can also be crossed by bike: something I’ll definitely do!

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Sightings!

Ok, so onward to Hoorn. Our research found a place to park for free not too far off the center. However, our search in town was very disappointing. We managed to grab a few Pokéstops, but aside from the Ratata-Pidgey junk we find at home, nothing valuable showed up.

So, we made the best decision we could make that day: we decided to drive to Kijkduin and just gun it. After our second hour-and-a-half drive, we found that the parking problems were grossly exaggerated and we found a spot without effort.

As we walked towards the promised land, the first signs of success were already showing: Voltorb appeared in the sightings list, shortly followed by Electrode. And before we even made it to the Deltaplein, the hotspot of Pokémon Go the Netherlands, we encountered and caught both of them.

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Feast yer eyes on this!

The hotspot itself was beyond anything I could have imagined: a small center with five Pokéstops , with at least 15 more stops in the near vicinity, with at least 7 or 8 lures active at any given moment. There was not a single time that there weren’t any Pokémon to catch. The sightings list couldn’t even keep up with the amount of Pokémon. And the people! There must’ve been at least a hundred of them.

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I saw pictures of twice the amount of people from someone who went the day after.

The Pokémon that spawned here were also of the rarest kind. The regular Pidgeys and Ratatas have been replaced by hordes of Voltorbs, Magnemites and their evolutions. Every once in a while, a very good Pokémon would spawn. We managed to catch Jolteon, Omanyte, Kabuto, Hitmonlee, Muk (though it ran away for Lena), and even an Aerodactyl (we were leaving and decided to do one more round when it spawned).

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Mwahahaha. I have an Aerodactyl!

But there are more stories about the place, and I have found them to hold some level of truth as well. People living in the surrounding area complain about the noise coming from the gathering of trainers. Aside from the occasional children yelling, the people present were not that loud, but the sheer number of them caused a constant humming of conversations, which I can imagine is very audible for the nearby flats. It’s not something you can blame a specific person for, but the collective group still brings that about. I hope it won’t cause repercussions against the spot though, as we will certainly come back to this place!

P.S. I would have loved to write an I Never about watching the sun set behind the horizon, but a layer of clouds prevented us from seeing it. Another reason to come back and try again!

I have never mixed cider and rose wine

A few days ago, I realized that because we had been so busy with our new car and my birthday, I had not done an I Never yet. But we also started working with a tighter budget this month, which meant that I couldn’t do anything too expensive. That’s why this month’s I Never is sponsored by the people who left cider and rose wine in our fridge after my birthday party last weekend. I mixed them. It tasted horrible. The end.

That’s three kind of meek I Nevers in a row. Next month we have something better planned, so stick tight!

I have never had a horror movie night

Though Lena and I have a lot in common when it comes to what we like, there are also big differences. The biggest difference is probably that Lena loves watching horror movies, and I don’t care for them at all. So, in light of doing things I don’t usually do, we decided to watch the first three Saw movies in a row last Friday.

Before we started on it, I wasn’t very much looking forward to it. Friday a week ago, I called in sick for work. Over the weekend, I started feeling a lot better, but after working a full day on Monday, I felt horrible. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I called in sick again, instead staying at home with high fever and general miserableness. On Thursday, I wasn’t fully recovered, yet I got back to work. I did work from home to take care of Lena, who by now also was sick, and Medley (and also to prevent disease from spreading at the office).

After a week like that, I wasn’t really interested in spending all night watching movies I wasn’t at all in to. But, we did do it.

Warning: spoilers and poorly written reviews ahead.

The first movie was written pretty decently. Two men are locked in an old and dirty shower room with no clue as to why they are there and how to get out. With the help of clues around the room, they slowly puzzle themselves towards a hopeful release. While going through the game, a series of flashbacks shares what the prisoners know about their captor, a serial killer/kidnapper called Jigsaw, and why they specifically were selected. Meanwhile, an ex-cop obsessed with the case of this serial killer slowly zones in on the truth of the matter. The story converges to a chase scene where the ex-cop meets an unfortunate ending. However, the two captives do manage to overpower and kill their captor, only to find out that he was as much a victim as they were. The real Jigsaw, who had been pretending to be a victim who committed suicide before the start of the movie, stood up and left the two men for dead.

I enjoyed most of this movie. The setting of the imprisoned men was created very nicely, and the flashbacks were a good way of filling in the details from before this ordeal. However, the scenes with the ex-cop were somewhat frustrating to watch, as there were plenty of moments where I as a viewer was certain he could have easily taken control of the situation, but each time he just messed it up. Of course, the person he was chasing turned out not to be the actual serial killer, but still. Anyway, this movie has an amazingly executed ending, where pretty much everything we were lead to believe turned out to be completely different. I can’t say I saw any of that coming, so kudos for that. In the end, this movie was well worth my time.

The second installment was similar but different. The confinement of two men in a small room has been replaced with a group of 6-7 stuck in a mansion. The setup this time: the prisoners have about 2 hours until the toxic fumes in the house will kill them, but there are antidotes spread across the mansion which will allow them to walk away safely. This time however, the evil mastermind has practically invited the police over to watch his schemes unfold on a set of monitors, following the prisoners. The father of one of the captives, detective Matthews, eventually manages to “convince” the kidnapper to take him to the place. As with the first movie, nothing turns out to be what it seems, as it is shown that the monitors the police were following are actually recordings, meaning they never had any chance to prevent what they were watching from happening. Furthermore, one of the prisoners, Amanda, was actually conspiring with the serial killer. She overpowers detective Matthews as he searches the building for his son and leaves him there instead.

The first movie was brilliant in the simplicity of the setting: two men in only one room. This sequel expands on that, making it feel similar to the Cube movies, where a group of like-fated individuals navigate through a series of rooms and corridors. Unfortunately, I feel some elegance and uniqueness were lost in this change. Nevertheless, just as had happened in the first movie, this movie saves everything with some amazing twists right before the end. Though not as enjoyable as the first one, this movie was also well worth my time.

Then came the third movie, with again a different setup. It starts by cleaning up some of the loose ends from the last movie: detective Matthews freeing himself from his chains by pretty much fracturing his foot and a researcher who knows too much about Jigsaw ending up in his grip and not making it out. We are then brought to the main story of the movie, again consisting of the path of a prisoner through a series of challenges and his captors watching on monitors. The victim in this case is Jeff, who lost his son to a drunk driver and has his mind set to vengeance. His challenges bring him to meet a witness who did not testify, the judge in the case and the driver himself. Unlike the previous movies, Jeff is at little risk himself, but it’s up to him to forgive and save the other victims. He tried for all three, but only manages to save the judge, who he later accidentally kills by triggering a trap while it was aimed at him. Meanwhile, Jigsaw is dying of cancer. Amanda has kidnapped a surgeon Lynn, who she made to wear a necklace that will blow up the moment Jigsaw’s heart rate flatlines. Lynn manages to keep him alive, but Amanda chooses to shoot her anyway, leading to the plot twist of Jeff being the surgeon’s husband, and he in turn kills Amanda. Not knowing of the bomb necklace, he also kills Jigsaw, which in turn kills his already-dying wife. The movie ends with Jigsaw revealing he also captured their daughter, which should probably be a good setup to the next movie.

While the first two movies were pretty enjoyable, this one was often a pain to watch. Even the pretty decent plot twist did not manage to save the hour and a half leading up to it. The biggest problem I have with it is that it doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do. It had to tie up some loose ends from movie 2, but doesn’t seem to build on that. There were a lot of flashbacks to things that lead up to the first two movies, but they did nothing to support the plot in the current one. And the plot of movie 3 had a far greater divide between what was going on inside the game and outside of it, making both stories feel really short. Not to mention Amanda, who was written to be some kind of attention-desperate wannabe Jigsaw, made each scene with her in it feel like a major drag. The first two movies were solid, this one felt like a scrapheap of stories.

In retrospect, though we had a good night, I don’t entirely feel like I did a horror movie night. The Saw movies in my opinion are more like thrillers with some pretty gory scenes, so I’m not sure whether this should activity qualifies as completed. However, it was a very enjoyable night, which is much better than I had expected at the start of it. I might continue the series, though I don’t have really high hopes after the last one. I might also one day do a proper horror night, but we’ll see when the time calls for it.

For now, I’m done writing this review. Good night!

Ramblings and other things