30 May 2010

Movie Magic: Summer Stock

Andrew over at Encore's World of Film & TV is hosting a Musical Blog-A-Thon today and since I had a new dvd waiting to pop in the machine I though this would be the perfect occasion to join in to a bit of crazy bloginess! ;o)

The idea was to write about your favourite musical, but you already know I'm not very good at following instructions... and besides, I've already written about my favourite musical Meet Me In St Louis. As I looked for it through the archives I discovered that was actually only the 3rd post I wrote for the blog (and my first review)! And it's not half bad, if I do say so myself (you can check it out here). ;o)

So anyhow, back to this post. I was practically jumping for joy when I saw this on the shelves at the FNAC a couple of weeks ago, as is usually the case when I land on a Judy Garland film I haven't seen. Add in a dose of the extremely talented Gene Kelly and the summery title fitting perfectly into this glorious weather, and I thought it would make for a good choice for the Blog-A-Thon.

24 May 2010

TV Addiction: R.I.P. - LOST

Part of me can't believe I got up at 6 in the morning to watch a TV show (and cancelled my rehab session this morning)... but then part of me feels like a 10 year-old again sneaking down to the TV room at 6h30 on a Saturday morning to watch cartoons. That sense of anticipation... in this case a feeling of sharing in something epic (it's been shown simultaneously in 59 countries!)... and LOST did not disappoint! :o)

Ok, so if you haven't seen the final episodes of LOST, you'd better stop reading NOW, because I'm going to ramble on about it for a while. I'm home alone and none of my friends here are into it so I don't have anyone to talk to about it (my sister will watch the re-broadcasting later tonight in the UK, my Aunt set her dvr and will see it at some time this morning), so I've just got to let it all out here! Read on if your a Lost fan and share your thoughts, pass on if you're not.

14 May 2010

Movie Magic: new outing of a favourite outlaw

Robin Hood Memorial (Wikimedia Commons)
Traditionally the stories of Robin Hood and his merry band of outlaws who rob from the rich and give to the poor take place when King Richard is off fighting the Crusade in the Holy Land, with his brother Prince John back in England having usurped the Regency and playing at being King. They usually include the dastardly plot to keep Richard a prisoner by the Duke of Austria who captured him on his way home from the Crusades and is keeping him under lock and key at the behest of Philip of France (a canny politician if ever there was one!) and Prince John. Traditionally Robin Hood foils this plot by helping gather the ransom moneys and having them delivered to the Queen Mother Eleanor of Aquitaine who ensures the delivery of The Lionheart and upon his return to England thanks Robin for his services to the crown and rewards him by pardoning him his "crimes" against the crown and so he is no longer an outlaw.

Well that's not this story

13 May 2010

A Musical Haircut

So, I was at the hair dresser's the other day getting a trim etc. and it turned out to be quite an interesting afternoon! Seemingly out of no where these guys waltz into the salon and start playing their instruments and serenading one of the clients, the hair stylists and then walking all over the place stopping for a bit in front of each of the clients!

Allow me to introduce you to La Cuarentuna de Cartagena:

What's a Cuarentuna? Well it's a "older" ("cuaren" as in cuarenta = 40) Tuna. And no, I don't mean the fish!!! :p

The Tuna (similar groups in Latin America are known as "Estudiantinas") is a musical tradition in Spanish universities dating back to the Middle Ages and is present in all (as far as I know) Universities, usually one in every "school" (Science, Medicine, Law etc.). They're easily recognisable by their laid-back attitudes (some of these guys take a bit long to finish college) and their Renaissance inspired outfits (pantaloons, doublets, hose etc.). To get in one must not only have a good voice and know how to play an instrument, but also pass a "practical joke" exam to determine if the candidate is of good cheer (and knows both how to take and give a joke).  Mostly guys, although there are a few female Tunas out there... They know how to have a good time and travel around a lot for competitions etc. My mom once ran into the Tuna de la Facultad de Ciencias de Alicante (so the one associated to my school at Uni) in Vienna, and then in Budapest the next day!

A quaint old tradition. Some people don't like it, I think it's fun!

7 May 2010

Movie Madness: Iron Man has landed, it must be Summer!

Right? At least in Movieland. Once the big blockbusters a.k.a. tentpoles start making their appearance, then it's definitely a sign that summer is upon us! (Just ignore that fluctuating mercury and the rain clouds that refuse to go away)

So in case you hadn't guessed, I went to see Iron Man 2 last weekend as part of my weekly father-daughter ritual of a cinematic adrenaline injection (well, sometimes I convince him to see less "exciting" stuff). Oh, and before anyone reading this across the pond says "huh? Doesn't Iron Man come out this Friday?! as in today?!", let this European who's frequently frustrated by months of waiting for movies from across the pond chant: "nah-nah-nah-nah-naaaaaaaaaaaaah!" :p (sorry 'bout that, apparently 2h of man-child on the big screen leads to childish behaviour on my part... I'm just glad I wasn't the one driving the car home! lol!) (and I actually wrote most of this right after I got home from the movie... haven't had time to polish it and post it until today though!)

4 May 2010

Alicante Crazy Weather

We had a really freaky weather front roll in through Alicante yesterday morning... and I mean literally rolled in from somewhere inland out to sea. I was sitting at my table in the middle of the day when I suddenly noticed how dark it was and looked up to see this huge black cloud over the Castle. The really cool skies made me reach for my camera to take a couple of shots....

I ended up mesmerized by the advancing storm, watching the opposite coast around the Bay of Alicante gradually disappear into the cloud...

I was shocked by the amount of water running through the storm drain built after a major flood in 1997 (my dad couldn't even get the car out of the garage to come pick me up at the University it was so bad)... but even more surprising was how quickly it all came -in a matter of minutes- and went! 

Less than an hour later the skies were pretty much cleared up and most of the water was gone...

Those are strange storms, but it's the way it usually rains here in Alicante, sudden and strong but short bursts. But when the hard rain goes on for over an hour, then we get floods... (usually in the Fall). People have been complaining about the really wet winter we had this year, but at least it was soft, gentle rain most of the time... good for the soil and the reservoirs. Not this torrential rains that drag everything along with them. It wrecks havoc on some of the beaches as well...

Playa de la Albufereta May 3rd 2010 (from Facebook group)

As I said I was mesmerized by the storm (which turned out to be hail!) and kept fluctuating between my camera and my cell phone for some video. I've put it together in the video below, adding time stamps so you can get an idea how quickly things progressed. I trust you'll recognise the music... seemed an appropriate choice! ;o)

The rest of Spain got hit pretty badly too... some mountain towns got snowed in again and a few mountain passes required the use of chains.

Beach and satellite photos from the blog Alicante Vivo.

3 May 2010

Alicante y Las Cruces de Mayo

There's a holiday held each year in the oldest neighbourhood in Alicante that I'd caught a mention of in passing once or twice (heard someone speak of it, read a plaque somewhere), but never got to see or knew when it was. Well I stumbled upon it quite accidentally this year, thanks to the internet! It's amazing the random things one stumbles upon in this virtual world...

painting on a wall depicting the emblems of the Barrio

 The Barrio de la Santa Cruz is the prettiest neighbourhood in town (basically the only one worth visiting!) with its traditional white houses piled on top of each other, narrow streets with plenty of steps going up (and down!) and flowers everywhere (at least in Spring). It's basically the old medieval/arab town, on the flanks of the Castillo de Santa Barbara and leading down to the Cathedral and the Rambla (one of the main avenues, which used to be a dry riverbed!). A small chapel -which legend has is built on the foundations of an old mosque- overlooks the neighbourhood, and one of the most interesting Holy Week Processions starts out from there on the Wednesday before Easter (I actually saw it this year, was too busy -still am- but do you think it's too late to write about it now?).

From May 1st to 3rd this neighbourhood (as well as many other towns in Spain and Latin America) celebrates the "Cruces de Mayo". Music fills the air, as does the noise of firecrackers and children playing and people talking. The residents decorate their streets with streamers and lights and flowers and set up Crosses covered with flowers.

my favourite in the street decorations

Cross on a corner

2 May 2010

What to do on Mother's Day?

How about taking your mommy out to see mummies? ;o)

There's a special exhibit on a couple of Egyptian mummies here in the Alicante Archaeology Museum  (the MARQ) and I took my mom there for Mother's Day (and then we all went out to lunch). Fun wrapped in bandages!

It's Mother's Day here in Spain, so I want to send a BIG HUG to all Mothers out there! :o)

double reflection through that glass! :o)

I'll tell you more about the mummies another day. Was a fascinating look into the Egyptian relationship (read: obsession) with death.

1 May 2010

Happy May Day!

...with some flowers I spotted walking along the coast last Sunday (on a Geology outing I'll tell you about later). The first is Asteriscus maritimum, the second I have no idea and is the first time I've ever seen it (was next to a house so could be an escaped garden plant) and the third is one I've seen many times in Spring but can't remember the name! Don't touch it, it's sticky! :p

Spring is definitely here and summer is coming along shortly! At least it feels that way here in Alicante. :o)

Monthly Movies: March+April '09

March and April: the "couldn't get to the cinema much" months thanks to a bloody pair of crutches! grrr... That and not much time to blog, figured I'd just combine the two movie months... :s
So we've got a trip down the rabbit hole, a old country singer, some passionate letter-writing, a stint in a criminal psych ward, a very high body count and some boys' time!