6 Nov 2018

Movie Madness: the intensity of BlacKkKlansman and Bohemian Rhapsody

Oh wow! I mean... WOW!!!

I just got back from seeing the Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody and man... they weren't kidding when they said "we will rock you"! I'm not sure there are words to describe the intensity of that film... of the music of Queen and their creation process. And those final 15' at Live Aid? DAMN!!!

The film's reviews might be kind of "meh" or "it's pretty tame, they took the 'safe' route in telling Freddie Mercury's story". IGNORE IT! Doesn't matter! Could there have been a more in-depth look at the band's hard partying life? At the choices Freddie makes? Sure, of course. But ultimately the music is what matters. And they are pretty damn insane! Their creative process is unbelievable. And their musical style, abilities for interpreting it, vocal range... you name it, they've got it! 

So go watch it, and I dare you to walk out at the end and not want to walk right back in to another screening... (I might go back on Sunday!) Oh, and someone give Rami Malek the Oscar for best actor right now and be done with it. 

And the thing is... that's not the only awesome movie I've seen this week. Yesterday my dad and I (he also came tonight) went to see Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman and we were equally (but differently) blown away by it! 

I remember going in thinking "ok, how is a black cop going to infiltrate the Klan?!" and came out going "with the help of a Jewish cop?!?!?" The story is so surreal, it could only be believable when you remember it's TRUE!!! Pretty insane! The whole film keeps the tension so tight you could cut it with a butter knife before the end, and yet at the same time it has some absolutely hilarious moments! We couldn't help cracking up laughing time and again (starting with that absurd phone call to the KKK's recruitment number that's shown in the trailer). I'm not surprised this took the Grand Prix du Public at Cannes last Spring!

After a couple of months of movie-drought, I've been blown away several times this past month (these, A Star is Born...). If the awards season is starting out this strong, I can't wait to see what comes next! And am happy I don't have to vote to choose a "best" from among them. 😜

28 Oct 2018

Random Sunday Time-changing thoughts

Daylight savings started today. Or is it ended? I never remember if Winter or Summer is Daylight Savings time! I guess because I was barely aware of it when I lived in the US as a child... In any case, as we'd say in Europe, we switched to "Winter time" and moved our clocks back an hour in the middle of the night.

Does anyone do that? Get up at 3 a.m. to switch the clock back to 2 a.m.? In this day and age most of us probably barely remember to do it, as our cellphones switch automatically. Wristwatches are easy and fast to change... but the car clock is a drag!!! 

On the news today they were talking about the time change... showing the weirdness of the nighttime radio announcing it was 2 a.m. for the second time in the same night, or how people out partying enjoyed an extra hour before pubs closed, or how much it sucks for people working night shifts who end up working an extra hour and not getting paid for it!

But mostly they were talking about how this might be one of the last times we go through this... It's been commented more and more each year. About how annoying it is (twice a year). About if it's really useful/necessary (economists say the savings are basically nothing for the average household). Etc. Then this past summer the EU ran a poll on its Facebook page asking people across Europe to vote in favor of keeping/cancelling the time changes. And a majority overwhelmingly said ENOUGH! So now the EU has asked the countries to consider it... and there will be a vote in Brussels (if it hasn't already happened, I get timings mixed up) and then directive sent out to all governments stating the end of the changes. If that goes through then all EU countries have to stop with the Fall/Spring time change (or it will be confusing for businesses who deal across Europe, not to mention travel!). It will be up to each country to decide if they keep Winter or Summer time...

In the case of Spain the government is also studying replacing us in our "proper" time zone. Right now we're in GMT+1 (a.k.a. CET or Central European Time), but if you look on a map then you'll notice the Greenwich meridian goes right through Spain, we should be at GMT! Same time zone as the UK and Portugal... Franco's the one who moved Spain into GMT+1 out of solidarity with Germany I've heard (not sure as to the accuracy of that why). I wonder if the present Government will move us back when they decide on the time issue...

Personally I can't decide if I prefer the Winter or Summer time... I enjoy the nice long summer evenings, but they're not really necessary. However they also mean longer daylight in the second half of the day in winter. But that means it's bloody dark very late in the morning! I've always appreciated the Fall time change as it makes it easier for me to wake up in the morning (I need sun to awaken properly). But is it really worth exchanging slightly easier wake-ups for shorter days? Dunno!!! 

6 Oct 2018

Movie Magic - A Star is Born (2018)

So I just got back from watching the latest iteration of A Star is Born... and it was simply brilliant! I've known for a while that Bradley Cooper can act, but I didn't know he could sing so well! And vice-versa for Lady Gaga, wow! Both of them simply blew me away with their performances, and the music was simply amazing! Although I'm with Cooper's character Jackson Maine who clearly thinks Gaga's Ally is much truer to herself earlier on, her new manager is leading her in a direction (look, style etc.) that seem to hide her more than reveal her... Or maybe it's just that I'm more of a rock than a pop girl. 😉

I hadn't realized this was actually the fourth version of this story, I thought Judy Garland's 1954 movie was the first (follow by Barbra Streisand's in 1976 - haven't seen that one yet). Looks like I'll have to dig up from somewhere the 1937 original! The movies all follow an almost identical plot (aging, almost washed out star "discovers" a young woman with immense talent and ushers her into the business, her success parallels his decline) and have progressed from being about actors, to musical actors, to musicians... and we've correspondingly switched from the big prize being an Oscar to a Grammy. Come to think of it, I'd say 2011's The Artist follows this storyline quite closely as well (except the original star's decline is not self-inflicted, but a change in the industry itself - silent film to talkies). It's a story that could be retold in each generation as the media of film or music keep evolving. And as long as they take good care of the script and choose good actors who have chemistry with each other, it will continue to be a successful story.

In the meantime, GO WATCH THIS ONE!

Now I'm going to go load the soundtrack on iTunes and listen to it on a loop. 😎

23 Sep 2018

Still here, still writing!

So far so good! 

I mentioned in my previous post that I intended to be more active on the Blogs, and it's been going pretty well now these past five weeks! The one post here in August, another on Cris Crossing the Globe (only a year late that one! 😝) and eight on Adventures in Camelot (and Sherwood). Yay me!

The thing is... September has been relatively peaceful. Four of those eight posts were already well advanced drafts from last summer, and all of them (but one) covered a TV series rewatch (so posting will stop with the end of the season). And I'm about to embark on three months of "where in the world am I?!". Will I be able to keep writing? I'll try! At least about traveling! Maybe here on random thoughts or awesome books or super movies or funny memories. I'll try!

For sure I've got to put something out about finally setting foot on the only continent I've never been to before... 

Summer is over. Autumn is here (although in Alicante it still feels like summer, bloody hot!). So much work awaits me these next three months, but with it so many adventures to come! Colombia. South Africa. Vietnam. England. Laos. Italy. Sweden. Here we go again! 😎

29 Aug 2018

Ignoring the rules when choosing favorites...

Last year my sister challenged me to complete the #challengeonnaturephotography on Facebook. The idea was to occupy FB with nature photographs. Each nominated person had to post a different nature photo for 7 days (and of course nominate someone else to take up the challenge). I got really into it and reposted the daily results here as well as on Facebook. But as I was selecting photos, I figured seven wouldn't cut it. So I chose to share two a day... for two weeks instead of one. Whoops! Carried away much? Nah! That's just me. Rules are more like guidelines, right? Do what you will with them? 😊

Earlier this month one of my Aunts tagged me in another a game on Facebook: the seven day book challenge. The idea was that for a whole week you were supposed to post a picture of the cover of one of your favorite books. No words, and no explanation (and of course challenge one of your friends). 

SEVEN days of favorite books?! How on earth could I possible choose only seven?!?!?! 

I promise I tried... I decided I'd just get up and pluck off my shelves books that immediately came to my mind as I walked around the house. The result:

TEN. 😱And if you look closely you'll notice an extra level of cheating: half of them are actually several books in a single volume! 😇 (I mean, how could I choose a single Narnia novel over another?) 😈

How about you? Ever broken the rules like this? And if not... how on earth were you able to keep the numbers down?!

Oh, and how do you like my books? (I actually ended up switching out the Little Women volume for another one I bought a few days later at the bookshop in the British Museum. Lovely hardback edition... that also includes Little Men and Jo's Boys so another 3-in-1!)

PS: I promise I'm still trying to write! This is actually my second post this week, the other was on one of my other blogs. I've decided I'm going to try and make Wednesday and Sunday evenings writing time. Depending on what I plan to write might be enough time to post something, or might need more work. And will be split between the 3 blogs... First off I need to dedicate some time to wrapping up six posts I left in draft form last summer on the Camelot/Sherwood blog! After that... fingers crossed all 3 will start coming back to life this Fall. Inch'allah.

26 Feb 2017

Oscar Preferences & Predictions 2017

I get teased quite often by family, friends, colleagues about my efforts each year to see as many of the Oscar nominees that I can (not always easy considering sometimes some aren't even out in Spain when the Oscars roll round), but this year's batch has reminded me again why I do it. 

In part it's because I love the movies and the Oscars and want to "try and guess the winners", but also because once the big night comes and goes I might not feel so much "pressure" to go and see the non-winners (I honestly don't think you can call a nominated film a "loser") and I might miss out on a gem. After all, when over 6000 film professionals come up with a list of movies to reward, you can be pretty damn sure those are going to be excellent films with something to say!

This year, if it weren't for the Oscars, I probably wouldn't have gone to see Manchester by the Sea or Moonlight or Fences or Jackie or Lion (or Hell or High Water which I still haven't seen but fully intend to on dvd - or an airplane, was only out for a week in English just after New Years, and the family chose another movie to see). And I would have missed out BIG TIME! All of them surprised me and moved me deeply. The depths of the human experience they allow us to witness, the huge talent of the actors bringing those characters to life, it just blew me away! I just came back from seeing Fences and I'm still in awe. Someone give Denzel Washington and Viola Davis their Oscars already, sorry for any competition (was sure Casey Affleck would win, until just now).

20 Nov 2016


This is going to be different than my usual posts (not sure if I can qualify anything as "usual" though, seeing how little I've been writing these past couple of years).
Will be something of a meandering of thoughts that have been coming at me for the past 10 days.

24 Jul 2016

Milestone birthdays

Why is it that we seem to mark some birthdays as more special than others? Place more significance on them? Dunno really, not even sure every culture around the world does this... And those that do, don't necessarily have the same milestones!

I guess my own mixed cultural background comes in to play here... 

The first big milestone I remember - yet didn't celebrate - was 15. I was living in Mexico then and the "Quinceañera" was a big deal! But I mostly saw that through a friend's birthday two years after mine, as my family was on holiday in the US Southwest (fabulous summer camping in the "4 Corners" area!), and I was actually in Vegas for my birthday! Perhaps if we'd been in Mexico instead of out of the country there might have been a "Quinceañera" flavoring to the celebrations? Your guess is as good as mine! And it's not like many of my friends would have been in town, they were all off on their own summer holiday (international school).

21 Jul 2016

First Lady Michelle Obama Carpool Karaoke

Have you seen this??? Can I just say... how fabulous is Michelle Obama?!?!?! LOVE this!!! :o)

8 Jun 2016

Wearing Blue for World Oceans Day!


Did you remember to "wear blue and share two" today? Two facts about the oceans that is!

I miss the Oceanic Blog-A-Thon very much! One day when I have time for more serious blogging again I'll relaunch it (and hope there are still enough people left reading me who want to join in). But for today, a quick simple post to remember the day.

Considering this year's topic is "Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet", I thought I'd point you towards a HUGE problem for the ocean: PLASTIC. :o(

Here's a really good video from NOAA on Marine Debris and its impact on marine life (link in case the embed stops working in the future)...

17 Apr 2016

Alicante is SWINGING!

So apparently there's a festival going on in Alicante this week called "Eat My Soul" (8th edition, a week dedicated to "Black Music"), starting this weekend, and going all out next weekend with a series of concerts, showings of movies/documentaries, a New Orleans food market and much more (which I'll miss out, out of town!)

I headed into town this morning to catch some of the action, and boy was it a blast!!! Swinging their way through the streets of the old part of town to the tune of "El Refugio Swing Band" (I didn't even know you could play a bass while moving it around!) and watching the people from "Alicante Lindy Hop" swing dancing (wish I could do that! Might sign up for classes in the Fall!). Check out these photos and videos! 

Here are the musicians:
Swinging their way through Alicante!

And here are the dancers!

Alicante Lindy Hop takes to the streets of Alicante!

That last video got cut a bit abruptly as I ran out of space of the phone... Unfortunate 'cause I LOVE that song! 

I've been moving to the rhythm all day... even once back at home! ;o)

PS: And yes this means I'm hopefully back on the Blog(s)! (fingers crossed!)

14 Jan 2016

Day 14 - Challenge on Nature Photography

DAY 14 in the #challengeonnaturephotography on Facebook.

LAST DAY in the Nature Photography Challenge! I thought I'd go out with a triple bang, and share some shots from the safari I went on in Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania last October (stayed for a couple of days after a work trip in Dar es Salaam). Was amazing!!! (click them bigger)

Giraffes are funny! :)

While zebras are crazy. ;)

And lions are lazy! :p

Well this was a fun experience! Plus it gave me an excuse to dust off some photos... I hope you enjoyed it too.

13 Jan 2016

Day 13 - Challenge on Nature Photography

DAY 13 in the #challengeonnaturephotography on Facebook.

For my penultimate Nature Challenge post, I figured it would be nice to head home: Alicante! And where do I feel most at home? Under the water!!! So here are a couple of photos taken while snorkeling or scuba diving: medusa Cothylorhiza tuberculata, photo from September 2009 while snorkeling at the base of the Peñón d'Ifach in Calpe; and mussles growing on an rope (they'll grow on any hard surface!), photo taken during a deco stop in Cabo de Palos, Murcia. (click them bigger)

So my sister​ challenged me to participate in the #challengeonnaturephotography on Facebook. The idea is to occupy FB with nature photographs. Each nominated person will post a different nature photo for 7 days. With each photo they will nominate another person and give the name of the person who nominated them... 

It seemed to be that this would be a very nice way to start off 2016, and I wanted to share it with you as well! :o)

Unfortunately I'm terrible at following instructions, and after going through my photos I can't choose any more! So I'm going for DOUBLE! Two photos a day for 14 days... :p

I don't know about challenging anyone on the Blog... But if you feel like joining in please do! Don't worry, you can stick to the original challenge of 1 photo a day for 7 days! ;) (just leave me a comment with the link so I can be sure to go see yours)

12 Jan 2016

Day 12 - Challenge on Nature Photography

DAY 12 in the #challengeonnaturephotography on Facebook.

Continuing the photos taken on Fall hikes in Belgium, this post is dedicated to mushrooms! No idea what species they are (well, someone told me the name of the red one way back when, but don't remember). :p Photos taken in September & October 2010. (click them bigger)

So my sister​ challenged me to participate in the #challengeonnaturephotography on Facebook. The idea is to occupy FB with nature photographs. Each nominated person will post a different nature photo for 7 days. With each photo they will nominate another person and give the name of the person who nominated them... 

It seemed to be that this would be a very nice way to start off 2016, and I wanted to share it with you as well! :o)

Unfortunately I'm terrible at following instructions, and after going through my photos I can't choose any more! So I'm going for DOUBLE! Two photos a day for 14 days... :p

I don't know about challenging anyone on the Blog... But if you feel like joining in please do! Don't worry, you can stick to the original challenge of 1 photo a day for 7 days! ;) (just leave me a comment with the link so I can be sure to go see yours)