28 Jul 2012

Olympic Excitement


By "they" I mean the Olympics, and by "here" I mean London... well, and on our TV/computer screens! ;o)

Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE the Olympics? No? Well I do! Since as far back as I can remember. The Opening Ceremonies are always thrilling (my clearest early memory is the lighting of the torch in Barcelona'92... with a flaming arrow! And then watching Spain win Gold in football). I'm constantly amazed when I watch the gymnasts -how do they do that?!?!?!-, thrilled with the divers, mesmerized by the synchronised swimming, excited by the team sports, my adrenaline starts pumping with the speed of the swimming and running and I'm simply moved in each medal ceremony I watch (no matter whose anthem is playing). I love having the chance to see sports that are never given any air time. And I particularly enjoy them when I'm living in a time zone that allows me to enjoy as much of the events as possible! This year it's more special because thanks to a wonderful blogger I'm able to see some of the goings-on backstage, through the eyes of one of the volunteers! ;o)

The Olympic Fever is a widespread phenomenon I think... Some of the kids who live in my complex have been playing at "synchronised swimming" in the pool! Not too bad either!

22 Jul 2012

Movie Madness: The Dark Knight Rises

Holy flying batmobile batman! (sorry, I just had to do that! :p )

O! M! G!

And any other variant on that exclamation. In various languages. That was me during the movie! Woah! Holy shhhh... Oh no they didn't! AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!! no no no no NOOOO!!! La vache!!! Pu***n!!! Jod**r!!! WOAH!!!

Damn. I was so glued to me seat I couldn't get myself out of it until the credits finished rolling (I blame the music). Just in case there was one. final. scene. (there isn't)

I can't quite believe he did it. Nolan actually crafted a trilogy in which each film was better than the previous one! Each one independent, and yet part of a greater whole. I loved how in this one there were flashbacks to crucial character moments from the first and second films, a reminder of certain key moments for those who'd seen them, or a useful bit of information if by some strange circumstance one was watching this one without having seen the others (like a friend who went with me). Let these be a lesson to those who think they can get away by just rehashing their previous material.

If you know nothing about this movie (aside from what you saw in the previous two films) then STAY AWAY from spoilers! I had heard something about one of the characters and it sadly ruined one surprise for me.

The Dark Knight Rises takes place 8 years after The Dark Knight ends. Commissioner Gordon's and Batman's plan (to have Batman take the fall for the crimes of a deranged Dent) worked. The city passed some stricter anti-crime laws and organised crime seems to now be a thing of the past, and no one has seen or heard from Batman since that fateful night. Of course we know this state of affairs isn't going to last (otherwise we wouldn't be here watching!). They did a great job in showing how this major lie has weighed on the two men who carry all that responsibility on their shoulders: Gordon and Bruce Wayne. Well, actually Bruce Wayne is still living in the past, hasn't gotten path that other death at the end of Dark Knight... *sigh* 

Great introduction to Selina Kyle a.k.a. Batwoman! And although Anne Hathaway may not have quite the same sex appeal of a Michelle Pfeiffer, she's leagues above Halle Berry's work in the role! And she did great with the action scenes and showing both strength and vulnerability in her character! I thought she was fantastic! :o) 

Also loved our new cop friend whose name I can't remember right now (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) because he gave a different name later and that was a WOAH! moment for me so that's the one that stuck!  (but him figuring out what he figures out seemed a bit far-fetched to me, even if it was "recognising the look on his own face") And he is a key character in this film, he kind of gets the ball rolling and in a way we see most of it through is eyes.

Bane was very impressive, and although the voice is a bit annoying, you get used to it. Loved the way they used him to make the rest of the characters learn and grow... and get beaten to a pulp! And boy does he have a good story! :p

Could have used more scenes with Alfred, but enjoyed seeing Commissioner Gordon again! Count me in for any future Gary Oldman movies! :o)

And Christian Bale. Wow. His performance was just perfect as both Batman (they improved his funky voice a bit) and Bruce Wayne! A broken man who needs to be broken even more before he can rise again...

In case it isn't obvious: I LOVED IT!!! 

Loved the way they started things up again. Loved that they were consisted with the consequences of the second film. Loved Bruce's wake-up call and Alfred's loyalty. Loved the twists and turns. And LOVED the endings! Little tid-bits that wrap things up nicely and yet leave room for us to imagine oh so much more! :o)
(finally a movie I've gotten excited about this dreary summer!)

Cherry on top? I got to see it in ENGLISH!!! No dubbing! YAY! :D

For a more thorough review, may I recommend visiting Billie Doux? (I really enjoy their reviews of genre movies and TV shows) And don't worry, no spoilers! ;o)

20 Jul 2012

In the Inky Darkness

I wish I had the words, a talent for poetry, then perhaps I could find a way to convey the exquisite delight of this evening's outing...

It involved me being out on a moonless night.
Under about 15m (50ft) of nice warm water (27ºC ~ 80ºF).
The only light, that which shone from our torches.
8 beams of light illuminating a swath of seagrasses, then darkness.
Shining under a rock, looking for life, and finding it!
An octopus halfway out of its den, can't quite decide whether to venture forward to hunt, or retreat from the intrusive lights.
The filament arms of a Bonellia inch across a rockface, searching for food.
The vast armies of sea cucumbers slowly make their way across the seabed, or a rockface, filtering their supper.
A brittlestar lets itself fall to the ground from a rock, then starts climbing up another.
A few fish can be spotted here and there under the overhanging rocks, trying to sleep.
Others do so by resting on top of the rocks.
Squeal of delight upon seeing a squishy, blotchy purple Aplysia, a sea hare! Rhinophores aimed forward, moving around as if searching. And next to it two others! More cross the paths of our lights over the next 40 minutes, about a dozen in total. 2-3 the size of my hand, the others up to 30cm (1ft)! Two caught in a compromising position (they're lucky I don't have the equipment for nighttime photography!). One elegantly swimming in the water column. A couple more moving slowly along over the rocks, grazing on the seaweed.
And then finally another little octopus, but this one out wandering on the top of a huge boulder. Tentacles spreading forward, then contracting to bring the body closer in. Shying away from the light, but there's no place to hide.
And then it's time to head back up to the surface, slowly yet surely.
A safety stop at 5m, holding on the anchor line, with the itty-bitty zooplankton flicking by in the water column, so dense it's as if your hand were in a mini-shrimpy soup!
We clear the water's calm surface, and the stars fill the heavens above.

And now it's time for bed.

11 Jul 2012

2 Jul 2012

Football Fever hits a HIGH in Spain!

During the month of June temperatures were slowly increasing throughout Spain, and I don't just mean the ones measured by an atmospheric thermometer (although I'm glad that particular heat wave finally cracked!). There has been a wave of RED spreading across the country... It started out on June 10th with an immediate impact on all segments of the population, including its youngest members:

The intensity increased over the next couple of weeks, invading our supermarkets...

and even taking over the streets at times during the Hogueras:

The climax hit us last night, on July 1st, as we prepared for the possibility of entering the history books...