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Safely returned from the north-eastern Highlands and having a ton of laundry to deal with.

More detailed holiday report will follow, once Cavendish and I have gone through what feels like a gazillion of pictures ;-)
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The dialogue on Once upon a Time may not always be perfect, but there is this delightful line, spoken by Rumplestilstkin, that magic always comes with a price. It’s wonderfully catchy and universal, quite applicable to a lot of things, actually. Being the information junkie that I am, I would never have thought, though, that trying to keep up with the Brexit and its consequences would be one of those pricey things.

Some of you already know that I work in adult education, teaching everything from basic travel English to conversational English, and also British (sometimes Scottish) life and culture to a bunch of open-minded, interested and simply fantastic people, most of them in the 55+ age group, although the folks in the evening classes usually tend to be a bit on the younger side.

So spending the better part of last week discussing the various aspects of the Brexit, professionally but also with family and friends, was exactly what I had expected. What I hadn’t reckoned with, however, was how bloody exhausting these discussions would be, because I am emotionally involved.

In essence, the British Isles aren’t a foreign country to me but rather my holiday home in Europe. I’ve been travelling the UK ever since I was sixteen. Over the years, I’ve consumed more than my share of British culture, literature, history and media; I’ve formed friendships and regularly exchange Christmas cards.

Among my favourite TV people ever are David Attenborough, Simon Schama and Jim Al-Khalili. And if fellow Doctor Who fans inquire about my favourite Doctor, I’ll proudly say it’s the Fifth. (I only caught up with classic DW after the new series had started, and while I’ve seen every classic Doctor in action by now, Fivey is the one I really clicked with on every level, which is kind of sweet, because due to his early 1980s run, Peter Davison’s Doctor would have been the one I had imprinted on as a child if I had grown up in the UK.)

Despite the fact that I certainly think, feel, act and sound unmistakably German in everyday life, it is therefore no wonder that a large part of my personal identity is determined through what I love about the UK.

I would hate to see these ties substantially weakened, due to the bureaucratic complications that are likely to ensue now. Following media reports and political commentaries feels like a trip to some clownish, nonsensical and ugly bizzarro world.

The reports on the rising number of racist attacks on immigrants from other EU countries are leaving me shocked.
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Broken Crown by Zurik 23M. Grand and intense, with powerful emotions at work. And yet at the same time quite intricate.


bimo: (DRD_beware)

Apparently someone at our local community-run indie cinema possesses a certain wicked sense of humour. Two showings of Jaws , one in German, one in English, right at the start of bathing season.

Of course, Cavendish and I went to see. Jaws is one of the movies that I know by heart and will never cease to admire because of how skillfully it was filmed. By a director who, at that time, was still a relative newcomer to the business and hadn’t even reached thirty years of age.

One aspect I have never realised before, though. (And here comes the amusing part): Matt Hooper, the youthful marine biologist played by Richard Dreyfuss, is Dana Scully. Totally. Just think about it.

  • Comparatively small and soft-featured person
  • Extremely smart and competent in their field
  • Strong belief in science, rationality, technology and proper equipment
  • Able to hold their own in a macho surrounding, while not necessarily subscribing to hyper-masculine ideals themselves
  • Coming to town to fight monsters
  • The second they utter their first line of dialogue you know they are cool.
  • And then there is that autopsy scene where Hooper cuts up a shark that isn’t the shark…
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I guess, I was never really satisfied with how the Underworld arc depicted hope as just a handful of blossoming flowers. So I sat down and wrote...

Not Fade Away by Bimo (500 words)

Fandom: Once upon a Time
Rating: G
Summary: Change has come to the Underworld and Milah can feel it.
Characters: Milah, Liam Jones
Thanks to: The wonderful folks who encouraged me when I wrote the first draft version of this little piece, and Epona610 for volunteering to proofread :-)
bimo: (Mug_collectors)


The things that enter your guestroom once you are approaching middle age and realise how catastrophically out of shape you have become …

Btw.,

[personal profile] selenak , I think this acquisition can be blamed on you, at least partly. When we were in Bamberg, there was a crosstrainer in our hotel. Cavendish and I both tried it and decided we liked it so much that we had to get one of these things of our own. ;-)

 


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From the description text of an exhibition I went to see at the Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg:

From 27 February, 2016: Liquid Identities – Lynn Hershman Leeson. Identities in the 21st Century

“Digital identity”, “patchwork identity”, “multiple identities”, these are all terms and constructs we use in our attempts to approach the complex question of “Who am I?”: Under digital conditions identity is no longer a fixed constant. Permanently in flow, it is contingent on a multitude of changing factors, the most influential of which are the presentation and communication opportunities offered by the Internet today.

Hershman Leeson’s art is fascinating, and many of her works eerie and unsettling.

Also at the Lehmbruck as an accompanying exhibition: Jakub Nepras - State of Flux

Rushing and fleeting. Hovering, static. Organic. The most otherworldly and transient light effects. I feel privileged to have seen these in real life. Needless to say the picture below doesn’t do the actual experience any justice.

image
Jakub Nepras: Landscape, videosculpture with sound, photo by Martin Polak, artist’s archive


bimo: (Terra_incognita)

Just an idea from that split second before analytical thinking kicks in and kindly informs me that I’m chasing impossible butterflies, because OuaT and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman universe are really not all that compatible.

I’ve been nursing the thought before. There is this half-overheard conversation I have in my head. Two of Gaiman’s Endless (a family of timeless entities embodying universal concepts), the sisters Despair and Desire looking down on Killian Jones during his Neverland years, and discussing to whom of them he ultimately belongs. So far, so much for private fantasies and head!canons.

But now that OuaT has added an officially introduced “Realm of Untold Stories” to its evergrowing list of fictional worlds I’m beginning to wonder. What if they all, the various realms and everybody within them, every forest, castle, mountain, mouse and man were actually part of the Dreaming?

Sounds weird, yes? However it would account for quite a lot of the things going on.
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Negative stuff first, just to get it out of the way:

No matter how much I used to enjoy Castle, after all the news and rumours surrounding the departure of Stana Katic, I am actually relieved that ABC has finally decided to cancel the show. 

There is this conversation I had with [personal profile] selenak  a while ago, about series being continued well past their natural expiration date, that ideal, non-realized stopping point at which plotlines could have come to a satisfying conclusion and the characters full-circle. With Castle, that point would have been reached at the end of season 7 by latest, I guess, with Beckett’s impending promotion and a lot of personal growth for both her and Castle himself. It was back then, when both Cavendish and I decided to quit and let these two characters ride off into an imagined sunset, so we would be able to remember them fondly.

And this is exactly what I will do now. 

Salute a show that I followed for over one hundred fifty episodes. Here’s to cast and crew, to the fun-to-watch character dynamics. To a plethora of criminal cases ranging from serious, over bizarre, to simply hilarious.

One of the things I liked best was how shamelessly self-indulgent Castle played with the boundaries of its genre. As audience you never knew what you would get. Thriller, film noir, romantic comedy, western, mystery, sometimes even sci-fi. Also bona fide B-Team action adventures with Detectives Ryan and Esposito. Almost as if the show wanted to acknowledge its own fannishness by being playful.

One of my fanfic stories, a little Once upon a Time/Castle crossover would never have worked, if Beckett, in addition to being simply gorgeous, competent and smart, hadn’t also been such a huge, canon-confirmed fangirl. I had so much fun writing her from Hook’s point of view.

Thank you, Castle, for being such an occasionally weird and goofy fun ride. You were one hell of a show.

Kate Beckett, back in the Enchanted Forest, you would have been royal.
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Some older, more settled fandoms like Farscape or Doctor Who have always made it rather easy for me to find just the sort of fan video that I enjoy. Perhaps because of their well-established infrastructure, or perhaps because the respective age music taste of the vidders in question was a bit closer to my own, I figure.

However, over the last couple of days, I finally managed to track down and bookmark a few Once upon a Time vids that were striking a chord with me. I'm going to spare you the Captain Swan one, though, because I doubt anyone around in these spheres would be interested in this particular folly of mine.

Instead, have two more general vids, with a strong focus on the ensemble cast and earlier seasons.



Once I Was Real by Hurleybird, pure, beautifully edited S1 nostalgia, dealing with themes of identity and loss.




Seven Devils, by Jackie1609f. Of demons and fears. Powerful imagery matched by just the right song. This one is a  killer.



bimo: (Mug_collectors)
I’ve been wanting to post these pictures for over a week now, because they constitute such a wonderful case of real life weather conditions mimicking fiction. In the current season of Once Upon a Time the sky of the underworld to which Emma and her family have traveled looks just like this.




The view from my study at sunset, during a thunderstorm. Thunder from afar, the sky heavy and oppressive, the air glistening with rain. Only a tiny stretch of blue at the horizon. On a clearer day you would see a large iron bridge leading across the Rhine and also some industrial buildings on the other side of the river.




Completely out of focus, but this picture gives a much better impression of how it looked like when I went outside.

Oh, and speaking of my study, in case you are curious…



The desk where I type all my posts. Both the keyboard and the desk are antique. I purchased the keyboard in 1998, the desk is roughly one hundred fifty years older.

bimo: (Terra_incognita)
I guess, I had this one coming ever since 5.11 "Swan Song"...

Atlas by Bimo (430 words)

Fandom: Once upon a Time
Rating: G, but dealing with themes of loss and abandonment
Summary: A closer look at the Jones brothers, set shortly after the children were sold into servitude. The reality of their father's deed sinks in slowly.
Characters: Liam Jones, Killian Jones
Thanks to: Scapeartist,  for the fantastic beta!

bimo: (Terra_incognita)

I'm currently in the process of planning our summer holiday in the Scottish Highlands. Starting from Inverness, mostly by rail. Sometimes it's just weird which remote places you can discover simply by checking out every single stop along the train line (not that there are that many stops to begin with *g*).

 

 

Altnabreac (from Scottish Gaelic Allt nam Breac) is a tiny settlement within the former county of Caithness, in the north of Scotland, and now within the Highlandcouncil area. The settlement, notable for its remoteness, consists of Altnabreac railway station, the former Altnabreac School (converted into a house in 1986), and a couple of scattered dwellings. It can only be approached by train, or along unsurfaced roads from the nearest village, Westerdale, about 12 miles away.

Altnabreac, like Dounreay, was considered as a location for a final repository for the UK's nuclear waste. However, this idea was not pursued.

 
bimo: (Mug_collectors)

A happy Easter to everybody out there! :-)


Easterly pictures ahead... )

In case you are wondering about the not quite so brightly coloured eggs: I was naive enough to believe that if you set out to buy egg dye the Saturday before Easter, the supermarket would actually still have some in stock. Surprise, surprise, everything sold out. So I had to resort to curcuma and beetroot...



bimo: (Coop)

Watching  5.12 Souls of the Departed it occurred to me how strongly the episode seems based on a theme of smoke screens of mirrors.

All in all: Very Orphic, very fairytale-like and much smarter than it looks at first sight. Rather well-done, show. )
bimo: (Terra_incognita)

1. You begin re-reading Treasure Island.

2. You try installing the 2004 edition of Sid Meier’s Pirates! on your shiny Windows 10 PC only to realize that the game, quite miraculously, is running more smoothly than ever. During an afternoon of nostalgic bliss and cheerful plundering you memorize the exact shape and position of Nassau. Seeing Jack Rackham included in the game’s Top Ten Pirates Ever list is making you cheer.

More side effects likely to follow.

Now, the computer game that I’d really love to play is a 1715 Age of Empires Special Edition located in the Caribbean… *g*





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I guess this is mainly for a certain person on my friendslist, who has been repeatedly trying to get other people into watching this show...  Well,  [personal profile] selenak ,  I’m glad to report that your efforts have not been entirely without success. *g*

After a real life week from Hell, I thought it was high time to unwind and grant myself some marathon viewing. Thanks to you I picked Black Sails. Consider me hooked.

I must say, though, that I probably wouldn’t have made it past the *ahem* decidedly action-laden pilot, if I hadn’t known about the character-driven drama and world building to come. What a spectacular mix of historical and Stevenson-based fiction! I’m fascinated by the show’s take on Nassau and the evolving web and interpersonal relationships.

(Extra kudos for fleshing out even supporting characters like Dufresne in a way that is not only contributing to the plot but also a pleasure to watch.)

So, hooray for fannish osmosis!  Also hooray for Bear McCreary’s soundtrack and  the simply gorgeous opening credits! Hooray for morally ambivalent characters, male and female, and their agendas.

 

 

bimo: (Mug_collectors)
I usually tend to keep my cookery adventures private, but this particular one turned out too nice not to share it. Especially since it was an improvised first attempt.


Grilled venison fillet with kale-potato tartlets and a dark sauce made of apple syrup, rosemary and red wine:





bimo: (Terra_incognita)

Maybe it is my occasional tendency to romanticise the good Captain Hook, which I should hold responsible.

Until now I had always assumed that it was Hook who had drawn Milah’s portrait on that sheet of paper which Baelfire finds on board the Jolly Roger in 2.22, “And Straight On ‘til Morning”.

For me, the idea of Killian Jones as a person with a secret artistic streak has always gone hand in hand with the notion that said portrait was an expression of grief. Maybe Killian could have drawn it several years after Milah’s death, feeling the memory of her face slip away from him and fearing he would lose it forever, I thought. Perhaps drawing was a talent Killian had always possessed, but never really honed before Neverland, initially just to ease the passage of time, helping him to stay sane. (Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day is coming to my mind, the longer I think about this.)

So far, so bitter-sweet melodramatic melancholic.

Yesterday afternoon, while doing the laundry, I listened to the 2.22 audio commentary by Colin O’ Donoghue and producer David H. Goodman, in which David Goodman clearly states that the portrait wasn’t done by Hook, but by a still alive Milah, as a self-portrait.

Judging by the sound of his voice, even Colin O’Donoghue appears to have been a tad surprised and disappointed when he heard that.


 

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I have to admit I was looking forward to the new mini-series.  A clear case of curiosity and nostalgia winning over reasonable caution, one could say. No matter how frustrated I might have become with the X-Files during the show’s later years, agents Mulder and Scully will always be dear to me. Also, wouldn’t it be interesting to see what kind of spin the 21st century with its changed political, technological and social landscape of would put on the general narrative? After all, it’s a post financial crash, post Snowden world that we live in, a world ideal for any kind of deeply unsettling fictional nightmare driven by conspiracy and paranoia.

So I acquired an ITunes season pass, leaned back and watched... )

 

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