Miscellaneous

We Are Grounders

Not long ago a I made a post citing dialogue from one of my favourite TV shows, Vikings, and how it related to real life stuff. I never expected to do something like that again–and on the same topic!

So, I’ve been watching The 100.

Set 97 years after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization, when a spaceship housing humanity’s lone survivors sends 100 juvenile delinquents back to Earth in hopes of possibly re-populating the planet. –IMDb

I admit, after the first couple of episodes, I had a feeling as if I was in one of those YA dystopian series that are in vogue now, but this is not a bad thing. (In fact, the TV show is actually based on books by Kass Morgan.) I loved Divergent. And well, why not? YA has always been a good age group to write for and dystopia–have you read the news lately? Though The 100 is post-apocalyptic rather than dystopian. What I like about this series is how the characters find themselves in situation where they have to make very difficult decisions. Do we kill 100 people to save 1000? Someone like Captain Picard would refuse to even answer that but here, it’s sure, let’s pull a trigger. And while the hundred from whom the show’s title is derived are all in their teens, there are plenty of older characters to root for.

Now to my quote. As it happens, the humans on the spaceship, The Ark, were not the only survivors of the nuclear war; there are people living on the ground, who are soon referred to as Grounders. The Grounders nickname those from the Ark the Sky People. Naturally, tensions rise between the two groups, culminating in a big battle. This is said by one of the main characters, Bellamy (played by Bob Morley), in Season 1, Episode 12 – We Are The Grounders Part 1.

Twilight’s Last Gleaming

Bellamy’s full speech:

This is our home now. We built this from nothing with our bare hands! Our dead are buried behind that wall, in this ground. Our ground! The Grounders think they can take that away? They think that because we came from the sky we don’t belong here! But they have yet to realize one very important fact. We are on the ground now. And that means WE are Grounders!

I’m speaking as an EU citizen living in UK in this crazy post-Brexit time. The government have refused to guarantee us any rights, instead they are using us as bargaining chips in the Brexit negotiations. We will give you rights, as long as the other EU countries give rights to UK citizens living there. Because that’s how it works. UK decides to leave EU and then demands rights for their citizens that live in there. Have your cake and eat it, anyone? I am aware that some nations think themselves superior to others but surely there is a limit. But I digress.

Of course, probably not many of us have built anything here with our bare hands, but we have built our lives. You know, got married, had kids, bought houses, got university degrees, got promotions at work. And yes, buried some dear ones too. We are here now, we are the residents! (Gosh, how I hate the word immigrant.) At least the House of Lords is arguing for our rights, let’s see whether it’ll do anything good.

 

Indoors

A Good Match

In this week’s photo challenge post, Ben posts a photograph of a donut, a cup of coffee and a glass of sparkling water, but tells us not to limit ourselves to edible stuff–but this is exactly what I’m going to do, even though I don’t normally blog about food or post pictures of food.

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The colours are a good match too

Let me introduce you to my favourite breakfast. Bacon sandwich + a cup of black coffee = heaven. For me bacon sandwich is the second best thing in the world (the first is pizza). But there is more to this shot.

We hear of things typically British and we hear of things typically Continental European. Nothing more essentially British than a bacon sandwich, I’m sure you agree. On the other hand, coffee is continental, whereas the Brits like their tea.

Best of both worlds then. Imagine if referendums never existed, we could have breakfast instead of Brexit. Sigh.

Speaking of which…

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A very Belgian private detective with his very British sidekick.

A Good Match

Indoors, Miscellaneous

Love is Somewhere Around Me

For this Valentine’s Day, let me talk about about my favourite fictional couples (or, as is the fandom term these days “ships”).

Originally I was planning to post just one photo for Valentine’s–a shot of two figures from my favourite series with a simple card in the background–but a comment I made on this Goodreads Facebook post inspired me to expand it a bit more. At least this gives me an opportunity to blog about my favourite things.

The Couple That Gives Me All the Feels

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Jon Snow and Ygritte (Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire). Equally good in books and in TV show. And the only love story that can truly melt my cold, cynical heart.

The series has a lot of memorable quotes, such as All Men Must Die (which inspired my blog’s tagline) and Winter is Coming and–You know nothing, Jon Snow. She’s the one with the common sense, he’s the one with the  formal education. She teaches him about the Wildling ways, he shows her castles.

If I could show her Winterfell… give her a flower from the glass gardens, feast her in the Great Hall and show her the stone kings on their thrones. We could bathe in the hot pools and love beneath the heart tree while the old gods watched over us.

~A Storm of Swords

It was not meant to be, but I like to think there is an alternate universe where they stayed in that cave. And there is–Kit Harington and Rose Leslie are dating in real life.

Here’s the photo that I mentioned earlier:

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Not Your Typical Couple

Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist from The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (the Millennium series). But not together as in together.

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“Better not mess with us.” Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace from the Swedish movies

Lisbeth is one my most favourite fictional characters ever. She’s a brilliant hacker and she kicks ass. And she always look out for the vulnerable and the abused. I don’t ship her with Blomkvist in the normal way, instead I like to think of them as BFFs with benefits slash partners in crime. Besides, Blomkvist is a womaniser and Lisbeth is too much of a free spirit to settle down.

It was absurd to pretend that he did not exist. It no longer hurt her to see him. She opened the door wide and let him into her life again.  

~The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest

In the English version they are played by Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig. I once saw a comment on YouTube video of the trailer saying “Lisbeth Salander is so badass, James Bond is her sidekick.

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The Couple That Should Have Been

Jo March and Laurie, aka Teddy Lawrence from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, who ended up not together because the author threw a tantrum.

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Then do, for god’s sake. Ugh.

I recently read Little Women for the first time in English. I love Jo, but I’m not a fan of the book. Some passages made me want to throw my (quite new) Kindle against the wall and it’s not because of the obvious mismatching of couples. It’s the constant preaching. Dog forbid you want to have fun once in a blue moon or a day off work… but I’m not here to talk about that.

If readers and Alcott’s publishers wanted Jo and Laurie to marry, there was a reason for it and that reason was that she wrote them that way. Apparently Alcott meant for Jo to remain single but the publisher was against it, so okay, 3/4 through he story Alcott introduces some German professor or other who would become Jo’s match but why, why oh why oh why OH WHY pair Laurie with Amy? Amy, that frivolous little shit that burned Jo’s book? Gosh, I hate her. She should have died instead of the loving, kind Beth.

Some fans say that Laurie was too immature for Jo. But he could have grown up, done something with his life and then come back and try asking her again. Like, character development, you know.

I can somewhat accept Jo with her professor but I will never be able to accept Laurie with Amy. Ah, what the hell, in my mind he never stopped loving Jo.

Forever and Ever and Ever…

Of course, it’s got to be them. The One True Pairing–OTP.

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Anne and Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables series.

Poor Gilbert, though. It took years of suffering and almost dying for her to finally realise he was the one for her. The romantic hero she had dreamed about since her childhood didn’t belong to her life the way Gil did… and turned out not to be very interesting after all. Gilbert may not have written poetry but he could make her laugh, he comforted her. He got her.

There was nobody else–there never could be anybody else for me but you. I’ve loved you ever since that day you broke your slate over my head in school.

~Anne of the Island

There was that time in Anne of the Island when Anne’s bosom friend Diana secretly entered Anne’s story into a competition for the best story featuring a baking powder Rollings. Diana simply took Anne’s story Averil’s Atonement, which failed to get published in magazines, added a line or two advertising the baking powder and sent it–and the story won the prize. Twenty-five dollars, which must have been a lot of money then. Anne felt very ashamed because she thought it meant, how we would say now, selling out. So when Gilbert came to congratulate her and she confided in him and told him she was afraid that her fellow students at Redmond will tease her for it, he had this to say:

The Reds will think just as I thought–that you, being like nine out of ten of us, not overburdened with worldly wealth, had taken this way of earning a honest penny to help yourself through the year. I don’t see that there’s anything low or unworthy about that, or anything ridiculous either. One would rather write masterpieces of literature no doubt–but meanwhile board and tuition fees have to be paid.

Contrast this with Jo March’s professor who got all superior over Jo’s silly stories. Jo wrote them to earn some money and thus help her family, the point that completely escaped the educated professor. (Maybe that’s why he’s penniless in his forties.) What’s interesting is, when Anne rejects Gilbert’s first proposal, her feelings are very similar to what Jo goes through when she says no to Laurie. At least one writer with initials LM knew how to satisfy her readers!

Boys Love Boys

Barca and Pietros from Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

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I know Spartacus is not to everyone’s taste but I loved it. It has everything; profanity, violence, nudity, sex. It makes Game of Thrones look like a weak tea.

From what I’ve seen on Tumblr, another gay couple from Spartacus: War of the Damned, Agron and Nasir seems to be the more popular one but I prefer these two. I was rooting for them so much and they had such a tragic end.

I do what I must, Pietros. I’ll return soon.

Girls Love Girls

Look who I just remembered:

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Xena and Gabrielle. Friends? Sure, they were friends. That’s how it started.

Quote by the Warrior Princess herself, Lucy Lawless:

Now it wasn’t just that Xena was bisexual and kinda liked her gal pal and they kind of fooled around sometimes, it was “Nope, they’re married, man.”

They were.

You know what, I changed my mind. I think Xena and Gabrielle are my OTP after all.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Miscellaneous

Spaniards in UK, post Brexit feels (Edge of Humanity Magazine)

via Spaniards Living In UK – Their Accomplishments, Experiences & Hope After Brexit | Edge of Humanity Magazine

In the aftermath of the EU referendum, many UK-based Europeans have been left with feelings of insecurity and anxiety about what the future might hold for them and their families.

This project offers a snapshot of their experiences, capturing their thoughts and emotions following this momentous and potentially life-changing political decision.

“On the day of the referendum, I [Simon] was working at a theatre workshop in London with people from all over the world. We were all devastated. Then out came the stories in the press about people telling European waiters to go home. It was disgraceful.

Some people say that the Leave vote was a vote of punishment against Cameron and the Tories, but I think the voters are only punishing themselves. I see no positives at all in this situation. Things seem to have calmed down but you can already see some repercussions.”

“I [Maria] experienced a lot of sadness and anxiety at the beginning. It [Brexit] made me question whether this was really the place for me in the long term. I felt left out at a time when I was working hard to fit in and adapt to British culture.

However, I have had a lot of support from some sectors of society, like work colleagues and my own students. This has made me feel a bit better. I am not sure where I will end up, I’m young and there’s a whole world out there to explore.”

“It was sad to see how most of the Leave campaign was focused on immigration, blaming people like us for some of the biggest problems of this country.
After the referendum we experienced a mixture of emotions – fear, frustration, anger, a strong feeling of being unwanted.
We felt it was very irresponsible of politicians to pit one section of the population against another for their own interests, not valuing foreign workers like us for the contribution we make to the development of this country.
We are worried that this could greatly affect the peaceful coexistence between nationalities in this diverse and multicultural country. ”

“I believe in a world without borders and think this [Brexit] is a step backwards from that.
I am not concerned about my situation as a EU National in the UK, perhaps because I have been here for longer than the London Eye and I am both practical and resourceful, or it could be that I am still a bit in denial, I wouldn’t know.
As Murakami says in one of my favorite books, sometimes “You have to wait until tomorrow to find out what tomorrow will bring.”

Me: At least I’m not on my own. Even though I haven’t got a PhD, Master’s degree, nor do I run my own business.

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Miscellaneous

Us

One of the TV shows I have enjoyed lately is Vikings. It was a bit of dialogue in  season 4.02, episode 7 that inspired me to write this blog post. The episode title is The Great Army.

The dialogue is between Rollo, a brother of Ragnar (the main character) and Floki, a boat builder and Ragnar’s close friend. To give a bit of a background if you haven’t seen it: Rollo betrayed Ragnar and sided against his own people in a battle between the Vikings and the Franks. The Franks offered him a deal: help us defeat Ragnar and we give you some lands and the hand of our princess in marriage. Having always been a bit jealous of Ragnar, he accepted. However, years later, still feeling like a Viking, he joined Ragnar’s son Bjorn on his voyage to raid in the West Mediterranean sea.

The exchange happened on their way back north, as Rollo parted ways with them upon reaching Frankia.

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What is “us” is changing.

 

I thought it was strangely relevant, you know, with all this talk of immigration on both sides of the Atlantic.

Floki on the left, Rollo on the right.

Have a great week.

 

Indoors

Colours for Blue Monday

The term Blue Monday was coined in 2005 and refers to the most depressing day of the year–usually third Monday in January. Well, in the Northern Hemisphere at least.

This idea has been dismissed by scientists and according to charity Mental Health UK, it’s been created to sell summer holidays. Quite likely, since Blue Monday was first mentioned in a press release by a travel company. Nevertheless, many people might be feeling very blue, so I thought I’d do a little colourful photoshoot.

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I know I have published beads and paperclips before, I just like colours, okay?

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One of the factors that supposedly contribute to Blue Monday is failed new year’s resolutions. But, isn’t it too soon to give up on them? The first month isn’t even over yet. There are 11 more months left. And whatever you have resolved to do, nobody says you should start on it on 1st (or 2nd) January. March is as good. Or April. Or June. I remember once reading some article which claimed that people would have more success if they set their resolutions in the beginning of September, as we still think of new academic year as the time to start something new. Certainly makes more sense to me that the middle of deep winter.

So, if you don’t think you’re doing well, please don’t throw in the towel.

{{{{{{warm hugs}}}}}}

Outdoors

New Horizon

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I love the title of this challenge. It’s full of positivity. New Horizons is also a name of the NASA probe to Pluto. I’ve not managed to get a shot of any space probe yet, but I did manage to get a shot of a hot air balloon (sort of)–it’s that tiny red dot on the above photo. Speaking of hot air balloons, once I watched some movie with a hot air balloon when I was a kid and I liked it so much that when it crashed at the end, I started crying and my mum, who wasn’t watching it, ran to the living room, worried, asking what happened, why was I crying and when I told her, she said, don’t worry, they will fix the balloon and it will fly again! I remember she then went to the kitchen, where, I imagine, burst into massive laughter, though this couldn’t be confirmed; she has no recollection of this incident. (I don’t remember how the movie ended.)

I don’t know what’s on the horizon. On one hand, I can’t wait for 2017, on the other, I’m scared that after 13 (well, 14 by then) years of living in UK, some politicians will decide that I have to go. These guys have expressed it much better than me. But it also proves that you must not under any circumstances take anything for granted. My favourite saying is shit happens and now that shit happened, let’s see how we can deal with it. (Like, google “moving to Germany” for starters.)

The picture was taken in Arnside, Cumbria.

New Horizon

Miscellaneous

In The Style Of

Snippets from current events (with a dash of pop culture)

Brexit conversation

UK: We want to leave the EU!

EU: Bye.

You say Brexit, I say going full retard.

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The presidential candidates as characters on Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire

Hillary Clinton: And now it begins.

Donald Trump: No, now it ends.

A frantic attempt at sub-space communication

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An advert in national paper

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Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson waiting for the results on election night

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From Time magazine issue November 21, photograph by Dina Litovsky

So nice of him to lend her his jacket so that she’s not cold. He’s a good boy at heart.

A horror story I sent to my brother on Halloween night

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But hey, don’t despair, humanity. In times like these, always remember

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And keep a towel ready. Just in case.

Like Hagrid said at the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

It had ter happen. Well, now it has, an’ we’ll jus’ have ter get on with it. We’ll fight.

Here’s one of my November pictures

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And a quote from the peerless Tyrion Lannister which may or may not be relevant

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In The Style Of

Outdoors

Local

Manchester Old Cheetham Hill police station

I was standing on the street next to mine, photographing this, when a woman approached me and asked me what it was that I was taking a picture of.

“Old Cheetham Hill police station,” I said. Cheetham Hill is this area of Manchester.

The woman was pleasantly surprised and told me she was interested in local old buildings and had been trying to find out for years what this gateway was part of. There was no information on it anywhere.

I told her the truth, that I found it only thanks to Pokemon Go.

In fact, I never even noticed the gateway before, even though I have passed by it regularly for at least a decade. It was when I was catching Pokemon in the summer that I looked at it for the first time–it was a Pokestop. So we chatted a bit, I explained to her how the game worked and then we parted.

I haven’t been able to find out almost anything on the net about this old police station and now I really have to give it to those folks at Nintendo.

This obviously refers to “local” as in where I live, not where I’m from. My home town (if that is the right word, as in the place I was born and bred) is Bratislava. But this makes me think, what is local?

Some Tory politician or other (I’m not making the effort into looking up her name) said at a recent party conference, that firms should be hiring British people instead of immigrants. Because immigrants… well, immigrants. You know, immigrants. I’ve seen a comment on Facebook post that linked to that news article, which agreed with this politician and that it yes, the firms should be recruiting local people in the first place. What is “local people”?

I have been living in Manchester for 13 years, in the same area for  almost 12, have been renting from the same estate agency for 11 years and been living in the same flat for 6. But immigrants.

It will take me a very long time to get over being bitter about Brexit.

 

Local