Thursday, July 26, 2007

Harry Potter 7

New Scientist has an article saying that obesity is possibly (socially) contagious. It sounds ridiculous at first, but when you read the article and think about it, it makes sense. I guess it ranges in the same category as peer pressure/soft power. We proclaim our individuality, but simultaneously became more of the same.


Finished reading HP7 (so rejoice, this will be the last HP posting for a long while). Overall, I enjoyed it. The first two thirds could have been more interesting. You notice that J.K. Rowling is not used to deviating from the usual Hogwarts school year structure. It was nice that quite a few characters died (could have even been more - I was hoping Harry would die). The last third was absolutely wonderful; very capturing (although I didn't need the heaven-scene and the epilogue). I loved Snape's memories. The book is a good ending to a good series. And, as always, I'm happy to finish off a series so I can start something new.


Couple of sketches from the Irish Pub and FNM. It's amazing how you notice that many different people sit in the same position a lot.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Harry Potter 5

There's a nice article on organic farming over at New Scientist.


I watched HP5 a couple of days ago. It was nice - dark and moody. The essentials of the book were in it (as far as I could remember), but - of course - a lot was cut, so the film really could have been longer. Despite the 140 minutes it seemed quite short and a little too fast-paced. I don't think cutting Daniel Ratcliffe's hair was a good decision aesthetically and Sirius again looked too elegant and handsome. I'm also not sure if people who haven't read the book understand all that is going on in the film (Tonks' red hair wasn't explained at all, also pretty much her whole appearance; same with Kreacher). Still, as someone who has read the book and who watched the film for a nice visual reminiscence of a known story, it was good and enjoyable. The film has some very amiable characters who partly don't get enough screen time (Tonks, for instance). And some who do get their due screen time - I was looking forward to every appearance of Luna Lovegood and I still love Katie Leung's (Cho Cang) accent. All in all recommendable, even if you don't know the book.
Hm, I do wonder if it's common for British girls to yell "cute" and "awww" whenever a teenage character appears and does something "cute" (I admit, Ron had a nice hero-scene when he defended Harry, but it's nothing that I find culturally justifyable to go vocal about).


Started as a sketch to get into the flow, thus the boring content:
Loosely inspired by George MacDonald's At the Back of the North Wind

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Back to Camelot

The fair in Linz was nice. Huge masses of people, which got annoying around midday, but in the evening there were fewer people, the heat cooled down and we had a good time. There was some very good stuff at the fair. Some of my favourite merchants (Windalf, for example) and nice, skilled artists. Frank und Frey did an awesome fireshow with eight people and Discordia, as ever, showed a highly motivated swordfight, which resulted in one of the fighters injuring his knee. The fair was just a bit weak on the music side, which is a shame, since that's my favourite part.


Going to the fair in the morning, posing with our mead horns.

This was a fairly young group from Linz. They were nice (although it was obvious they were still inexperienced) and tried to involve the kids, which was good, as the fair was aimed at families.

Angus der Barde, who was the most entertaining musician at the fair (of the two that played). And he was nice enough to keep playing a bit when the artist who was scheduled after him could not come.

Aaaand the jester. He was awesome. At the fairs, the good jesters can be as good as the music (for me), and sometimes even better. He was definitely a good one. Poor him could not speak German and tried to communicate in English with the children (who had no idea what he wanted). Very sweet guy.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Kendo and BBC

Since I have holidays now there's not University Kendo training. So my brother and me contacted the Kendo society in Linz and asked if we could train with them. On Tuesday was our first day.
It needs to be said that the Kendo I do in Salzburg is more free, less perfectionist and less aimed at tournaments, while my brother's society in Graz and the one in Linz (especially the one in Linz) go all the way for tournaments. So I now next to nothing about all the formalities, what the single kata are called, what a big men and a small men is, etc. And, sure enough, this hit me right at the beginning when everybody got into a circle and we did exercises with everybody counting to ten ... in Japanese. Imagine you're standing around with, oh, say twelve people and all of them count perfectly in Japanese, even your own brother (hmpf, what a betrayal). In the end I sort of whinced my numbers and hoped it would be over soon. Oh the shame. I need to learn Japanese till next week.
Apart from that, it was great. The different level of the group in Linz gives me a wonderful chance to improve a lot and to learn massively. Especially because, and this is what I like most about it, every advanced kendoka gives helpful instructions to the novices during the exercises (so in my case, everybody else tells me what I am doing wrong, haha!). I'd probably be scared and intimidated to death if the people weren't so friendly. Well, I'm looking forward to learning and improving. Everybody is a novice of anything at some point of their life.


I also seem to have a British Films - phase. I liked Plots with a View from the first time I saw it, then saw Calendar Girls some time last week and watched several of the BBC evening shows the last two days. Granted, most of them I don't find great and kept watching them purely for their accents. I liked Liar though. It's an interesting show, the audience seems involved and I love the parts where the people throw in colloquial English. I also saw Little Britain, which seems to have a fanship among some students of English in Austria. Not sure what to think of it. Some is funny, some is gross, some I just don't understand. Nod and accept, I guess.

So, on Saturday we have the medieval fair (yay!) and in two weeks Alex is visiting me (I'm noticing a peculiar tendancy in my life involving guys who are willing to drive 8-10h to see me ... hmmmm). Ah, yes: Also, one of my paintings is featured in the Ascheherold 6, which is a magazine providing adventures and other materials for the free RPG Darkage. I'm not too familiar with the RPG (although it sounds interesting and fun, from what I've read), but there's also an artist's portrait (of me) in the Ascheherold, and also a part about life, battle and fashion in the Middleages, so it's worth checking out.
(Err. That is, if you speak German. Otherwise you can just look at the pictures