Thursday, May 31, 2007

Haul the Colours Up High

I went to see Pirates of the Carribean in English last week. What a pain (the process of getting there, not the film). I missed the bus by two minutes, so I had to get to the cinema in 20 minutes (the bus takes 10 minutes). Miraculously, I managed it and was only five minutes late, wondering if I was in the wrong film since the people on screen were talking (singing) in German. There were lots of language issues in the whole film - German sound, no sound, etc. In the end, we got our money back, because the group of English people complained (they probably didn't understand a word in the German parts).
All in all, though, I liked the film. Definitely better than the first sequel and I liked Jack better as well. Ooooh, his first scene. It was brillliant. I first thought "Hmmm, this is ... kinda abstract" until he appeared on the screen and everything made sense. So, unlike the second film, worth watching.


The medieval fairs were good. Lots of fun, lots of nice sellers. On Saturday we got into a thunderstorm and hid in the car for an hour. Tittmoning was the bigger market, more merchants, more visitors, more people in appropriate garment. My brother bought some clay dishes. Schörfling was a quite small town market. Fewer people and merchants and (at the beginning) almost no people in garment except for us. But this meant we had more time to peacefully walk through the area and watch the shows. Surprisingly, we also bought more stuff there. I got myself an amber bracelet and (tam-tam-tam) a leather armguard from AC Atelier (I wanted to have something like that since I saw two friends from Amsterdam wearing them). Markus got a dagger from them. I was very impressed with their work ethics - the normal armguards sold at such markets are for men, so far too big for me. I told the merchant that I'm looking for something smaller, and he said he could custom-make one for me in an hour. We went away so I could think about it (it would have cost 30€), and when we came back some time later to give him the commission, he had one ready and gave it to me for 15€. Awesome! Next my brother is getting a sword from him and I probably a fibula or some buttons.
We also found our favourite mead seller in Schörfling, who renamed her shop, but will be at a lot of the fairs we will be going to this summer (now there's a bottle of hemp mead in our cellar). We also found out that there will again be a fair in Linz this year. With all the nice stuff we got and the information, it was a really good birthday.


A quick portrait I made for a dear friend. Alex's character:
(roughly referenced off the mirror in my room)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Aggression and Responsibility

New Scientist has an article about the "quirkier" scientific breakthroughs in the world of science. It's a nice read (yes, I admit I'm interested in some abnormal sciences, including popular anthropology).

The website also has an article on Bipolar Disorder. Most of what it says is common knowledge, but one remark made me hesitate.

"Carlson says many parents and doctors would prefer to have a medical diagnosis rather than accept that a badly behaved child is psychologically normal."

Is this so common nowadays? Do we prefer children with psychological children to badly behaved children (i.e. refuse to take responsibility for their upbringing), as we prefer thinking that violent shooters make teens aggressive rather than considering their upbringing and surroundings? Nobody wants to take responsibility anymore.
Just today, I experienced what was probably the strongest outbreak of aggression in my life so far (thinking back, I really can't remember anyone getting even close to that level of physical violence, the closest being an ex of mine whose aggression was mostly on the verbal level - physical violence seems to be 98% absent from my life). It was at a Magic - The Gathering tournament that's held weekly in one of the local shops. Two guys drank too much and one of them got fed up to the point that he pushed his table hard at the other player (the owner's helper), threw his mobile phone around (hitting me and Christine) and made threats (while ignoring his girlfriend who was in mourning). I heard the other player kicked said helper hard last week when the helper tried to get him out because he was smoking. Responsible, of course, is the alcohol. Really gets you thinking (also in relation to the alcohol anthropologics I've posted about some time ago). I've been wondering for the last few hours if the majority of the world is that aggressive, or has the potential to be.
A part can't help to be fascinated by all the emotional interactions and by seeing how people react to the outbursts. I love watching people interact, observing their gestures and their behaviour. I think it's very beneficial for your creative work, be it painting or writing.


Here's the finished version of the WIP painting I showed some months ago. I didn't touch it for several months because I was afraid of painting the guy's pose. It turned out alright, but I had some higher hopes for it. Ah well.
It's an illustration of the medieval story "Lanval". I'd pull out the original text from the Norton Anthology and type it, but after what happened to day I'm not much in the mood for it. It's a beautiful story though, well worth getting a copy of (or looking up online).
Still, medieval painting, here you go. Next weekend I'll be on two medieval markets, in Tittmoning (Germany) on Saturday and in Schörfling am Attersee on Sunday. I've been excited about these two for a long time now. It will be awesome!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Weekend Fun

I'm back from an absolutely fantastic weekend in Graz. I went there Friday afternoon to see the Schandmaul concert and then stayed till today, visiting the Zotter chocolate factory and the Riegersburg with my brother and some friends.

The concert was, in my opinion, the best to date (apart from the fact that I had to throw away my water bottle because it had a cap). Good atmosphere, very good view to the stage and great songs. Schandmaul always manages to connect to the audience really well and interacts a lot. It seems to me that they even became better at that.
On Saturday we first went to the Zotter factory, where we got a short introduction and could then try out a good variety of their chocolate types (100, all in all) and also got some drinking chocolate. I decided that dark Whiskey chocolate tastes better than I'd have thought.
In the afternoon we went to the Riegersburg and had a look at the castle and the museum, and later watched a bird of prey show with hawks, vultures, eagles and Hedwig. The whole castle and the show were breathtaking. We were lucky to have a beautiful weather, so we could enjoy everything to its fullest extent. Allegedly the castle is the biggest in Europe. It's certainly one of the nicest I've ever seen, with a lot of garden space and absolutely beautiful landscape all around. The birds were cooler than expected. I usually prefer hawks over all others, but this time the vulture was my favourite. It was about 2.5m long and made an awful sound when breathing, which really gave you the chills. We were told its favourite place is down in the town at some cafe, where all the tourists go. It ravages the tourists' handbags, because it expects them to contain meat (like their trainers' bags).
And the rest was all good food. In the evening some pubs with lots of billiard playing (among them an Irish Pub in which I confirmed that Irish Coffee tastes a lot better in Ireland and that buying a small sketch to carry around was the best purchase in the last few months), and today we went to my brother's favourite Chinese for lunch, which now is also my favourite Chinese. Chinese food that doesn't all taste the same is good - especially if there are fruits and ginger in it.

The inventor of Zotter chocolate, Mister Zotter.

The chocolate shop with 100 different flavours and some chocoholics. They all left the shop with grins on their faces. I'm guessing everyone was high from the very strong chocolate smell inside.

The Riegersburg. Isn't it beautiful?

The cool vulture who eats tourist handbags.

Hedwig. She didn't like this at all, being thrown among a heap of tourists who want to look at her and take a photo with her. Poor Hedwig screamed all the time.


I put a review of Tad William's Rite up on my Website (in German; it's here. More to follow.