31 Oct 2009

Happy Halloween!

I hope you're all having a SPOOKY evening!

I don't have anything special planned this year. Halloween's not a big deal on this side of the pond, although I did have a blast organising a big fiesta two years in a row when I lived here before... I re-discovered a love of Jack'o'Lanterns:

27 Oct 2009

TV Addiction: combining two favourites!

I haven't seen last night's Halloween episode of Castle yet... but seeing this clip online makes me really impatient!

Rick Castle disguised as Captain Mal Reynolds?! Oh yeah!!! :o)
(and the dialogue with his daughter is priceless!)

Now if Joss Whedon could only give Nathan Filion a proper excuse to wear the space cowboy togs... preferably onboard the Serenity! ;o)

26 Oct 2009

Fishy Fridays ep. 6 (late!)

It's time to give the fishies a rest and talk about another group of underwater critters: crustaceans!!!


You know, those things with lots of legs, usually a set of claws and a hard shell around their body (which they have to ditch by moulting every time they want to grow...)?

Like this guy:

20 Oct 2009

TV Addiction: a new season begins

Any other series-addicts TV fans reading this?

So, the new (US) TV season is back in full swing! I've been so psyched about this since summer started drawing to a close and I realised how close I was to witnessing certain cliffhangers be resolved (where did Lois go? what happened to Olivia? to Zhiva? will Booth regain his memory? will he tell Bones how he feels? who died, George or Izzie? is House truly crazy?...), the rebirth of hope for certain series (Dollhouse got renewed? yessss!!! please oh please make Heroes improve its storylines!), and the delight of new discoveries (what would happen if the whole world blacked out for 2'14s? can we really take in another vampire series?).

16 Oct 2009

Fishy Fridays ep. 5

We're giving the Liège Aquarium a break this week... I've been too busy correcting students' homework and now I'm off to do some shopping for a wedding tomorrow and join a friend for a birthday dinner!

So I'll just leave you with one really funky fish...

If you missed out on previous posts, take this chance to look back!
  • Ep. 4 with the Mediterranean sex-changing wrasses
  • Ep. 3 and the crazy sex lives of Lesser-spotted dogfish
  • Ep. 2 and that shiny fish we've been eating (and farming) for over 2000 years
  • and Ep. 1 where it all began.


11 Oct 2009

La Nocturne des Coteaux

a.k.a. my favourite night of the year in Liège! :o)

One of these days I'll get around to giving you a proper tour of Liège, but right now I'm just going to talk about what I think is the most awesome night of the year... when the oldest part of the city and the hillside gardens and forest that lead up to the old Medieval walls are all glowing with candles and lanterns and music fills the air!

9 Oct 2009

Fishy Fridays ep. 4

Welcome to the Mediterranean! 

Ahhh, it's so good to be home! Even if it's just through the glass of a couple of Aquaria... ;o)

We group our fish based on their origin, and while the first two groups I introduced you to were present in both the Mediterranean and the North Sea, the next two tanks will be 100% mi casa!!! (well, they also hang out along the northern Atlantic coast of Africa)

Do these guys look familiar to you? They should if you've been hanging around here over the summer! I told stories about each of the three species present in this Aquarium when I took you diving under the Island of Benidorm! ;o) They're all present close to the coast, among the rocks and seagrass beds, usually not much deeper than 60m.

Remember them?

President Barack Obama, Nobel Prize winner!

My first reaction reading a mention of this in another blog: "is it April Fool's Day?" or "is she posting about what she's been dreaming?"

6 Oct 2009

Darwin anyone?

For those of you lucky enough to live in the US with access to that wonderful channel that is PBS... you might be interested in watching this tonight:

I wish I could! And then check out their website, there appears to be plenty more information there!

One of these weeks I'll finish getting things organised enough to to a "Darwin Week", big double anniversary this year: 200th birthday (if he were still alive that is, lol!) and 150th anniversary of the publication of his revolutionary "On the Origin of Species".

5 Oct 2009

Gracias a la Vida

A friend just posted this on his Facebook and I wanted to share it... this is such a beautiful song! One of the ones I grew up with, a friend of ours in Mexico used to sing it (accompanying herself with the guitar) quite frequently. It brings back fond memories. I have a version on my ipod that's a duet with Joan Baez...

Gracias a la Vida by Violeta Parra performed by Mercedes Sosa:

Here's a translation for the final verse:

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto
Thanks to life which has given me so much
Me ha dado la risa y me ha dado el llanto
It has given me laughter and tears
Asi yo distingo dicha de quebranto
So I can distinguish happyness from sadness
Los dos materiales que forman mi canto
The two materials that compose my song
Y el canto de ustedes que es mi mismo canto
And your song which is the same as mine

4 Oct 2009

Monthly Movies: September'09

Not a single dubbed movie in September... EXCELLENT!!! It's so good to be back in Belgium ;o)

And I just switched to the new Blogger Post Edit thingy... with lots of new options I plan on fiddling with, starting with the "break"! I've wanted that option for sooo long... I'm guessing it won't make a difference if you click in from your "following" reader (or whatever it's called) since that takes you straight to the post page (as opposed to the full blog page), but if you're reading this from the main Blog page... and you want to know what I thought of September's movies (Abrazos Rotos, Inglorious Basterds and Public Ennemies), well then get ready to JUMP! :p

3 Oct 2009

Monthly Reading: September'09

I really thought I'd have done more reading this month... but I guess going to bed late and tired and having to get up early for classes the next day kind of limits my bedtime reading habits. And I'm not finding much time to read elsewhere! I need to start going downtown on the bus instead of the car just to be able to read! :p

Agatha Christie's Sparkling Cyanide and Elephants can Remember
It's always nice to re-visit old friends when one feels the need for some comfort, and familiar books fall into that category. I've probably read all of Agatha Christie's books (including her two fabulous memoirs), although I'm not sure I'd recognise one I hadn't read if I came across it! I tend to prefer her books that don't involve Poirot (he annoys me), my favourites involve those intrepid detectives Tommy and Tuppence Beresford.
I borrowed these two off a friend here in Liège (in previous visits I'd already borrowed his other volumes) and read each of them in a couple of days. And although I couldn't remember the "whodunnit", methinks either my subconscious whispered the answer to me halfway through the books, or else I've read so many Christie books that figuring them out has become second nature. Anyhow, they're still enjoyable many years down the road, once I've forgotten the plot again! ;o)

Mutiny on the Bounty by John Boyne
I picked this one up last Spring as a Father's Day present for my Dad since I'd read good things about other books by the same author and my Dad enjoys both Mutiny on the Bounty movies. Also, let's be honest, with the afterthought if reading it myself when he'd done! :p (I love Historical Fiction as you'll have noticed by now, and stories that paint "history" from a different point of view to the one usually acknowledged are always very interesting)
In this case we've got the entire voyage of the Bounty laid before us, from their departure to their abortive attempt to round the Cape of Good Hope. From the escapades of several officers in various ports to their arrival in the Eden that is Tahiti. From the evolution of Captain Bligh as a man reluctant to use disciplinary measures to one almost tyrannical when imposing discipline in Tahiti. To the fateful night of the mutiny. All told as a memoir, in first person narrative through the eyes and voice of the Captain's cabin boy. One that aims to be "more impartial" than previous tellings (i.e. where -if my memory serves right- Bligh is the flat-out villain and Fletcher Christian is a saint), but in a fight one chooses sides, so no re-telling can ever be truly impartial.
In any case I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it!

The Fire by Katherine Neville
A much looked forward sequel to the absolutely wonderful The Eight... which was a complete let down! Ok, so not that complete... it was nice to see what had happened with these characters 30 years later, but it was so confusing and way too complicated for its own good! The technique that was so original in the first novel, that of telling two parallel stories (that of Cat and Mireille) with a common thread (the Montglane chess game) in two different historical periods (late 18th century and 1970s), has since been copied and over-used in way too many novels. And this one kind of feels like one of those. The second storyline (centred on Mireille's son Charlot and Haidée as well as a few other secondary characters from the first time) doesn't really earn its space in the book. It doesn't really provide much necessary information for the main plot, and its constant interruptions into the main plot are annoying. Also, the new characters in the main plot (2003) feel like watered down versions of the original and the story leads to a rather predictable ending.
It's a totally unnecessary sequel too... the original novel impeccably wrapped things up in its own storyline and left you feeling good about where all the characters were at. I never even felt the need for a sequel until I heard it had been published and I've been impatiently waiting for it to hit paperback! Sigh, but if you're like me (i.e. a BIG fan of The Eight) it doesn't matter what I say you'll go read this anyway (like I did even though two friends told me they were very disappointed, the only advice I followed was to not re-read The Eight beforehand otherwise the contrast between the quality in the two would have been too much). If not, then just ignore this book and head out and grab a copy of The Eight! ;o)


Hey! Does everyone know it's the 70th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz this year?!

Probably... but did you know you can watch online for free at Netflix today (Oct 3rd) for 24h?! I don't know yet if it woks outside of the U.S. as well, I'll try it later... In the meantime, for those interested, here's the link: http://www.netflix.com/wizardofoz/

2 Oct 2009

Fishy Fridays ep. 3

Oops! Fishy Friday is a week late, sorry! The "real world" (and a nasty cold) got in the way of this coming out on time... will try to keep it from happening again, but things are kind of crazy now so no guarantees! :p

So, back to business! Where did we leave off last time? Oh yeah, fish in a tank! :p

Damn! Will you guys stop swimming around so I can get a decent shot?!

Much better, thx!

Whew, taking pictures without flash in a dark space with moving objects: NOT EASY!

Why no flash you might ask? One of the cardinal rules of visiting an aquarium, to be obeyed at all times! Do you remember the scene in Finding Nemo when Nemo gets fishnapped? Right at that moment one of the divers takes a picture of Marlin, his dad. *Flash* and all Marlin can see for the next few seconds are stars... Well, fish don't have eyelids... so flash (which we instinctively close our eyes to avoid) is a big NO-NO!

Hmmm... so much movement, so many critters. Who should we start with?...