selenak: (Nina by Kathyh)
Politics: Egytian women protesting in Cairo. Make sure to watch the video that comes with the article as well, because we hear various women speak on the situation, which I think has been missing in a lot of reporting. Also, it's a somewhat depressing comment on short attention spans that everyone was following the spring uprising but what's going on now hardly warrents a remark on lj, and I'm not excluding myself here.

Yesterday I reflected that it's incredible it was ten years already that The Fellowship of the Ring was released in cinemas world wide. While despite (or because of?) its popularity Jackson's film versions of Tolkien's saga always had their detractors as well, and you can argue about individual choices he made, what to emphasize and what to cut etc., there's no denying that it was an epic fannish event. Now we get the first trailer of The Hobbit, here, and I am absolutely thrilled. My favourite moment is the use of the dwarves' song in Bilbo's home, because that captures so well the description of how in the book hearing them sing awakened something in Bilbo that made him go from being overwhelmed and irritated by his uninvited guests to, well, see and hear for yourself. BAGGINS!

And now for the tv meme most recently spotted at [personal profile] local_max's!

Which TV shows did you start watching in 2011?

Sanctuary. As in, I marathoned the first three seasons when they became available on dvd. Do not spoil me for s4 in the comments. I also started Camelot but stopped early on because it was not for me. Game of Thrones, which was okay, aka the flaws of same were already in the source and ditto for the qualities, though it should get some kind of dubious award for its use of sexposition (most awkward example: Littlefinger explaining his motivation while two whores "train"). The Borgias which I loved, loved, loved.

Which TV shows did you let go of in 2011?

Dexter. Alas.

Which TV shows did you mean to get into but didn't in 2011? Why?

Lost Girls (recced to me but there's lack of time), Homeland (actually, I was never planning to get into it before Christmas for lack of time, but after, I will. [profile] abigail_n has really made me curious).

Which TV shows do you intend on checking out in 2012?

Homeland for sure. Possibly one of the two fairy tale shows. Not the one which I gather via fannish osmosis is inadvertendly hilarious for using really bad German when named after our two linguistic professors of the 19th century who other than for fairy tales are famous for their dictionary of the German language. (Jakob Grimm had quite the acerbic temper, I'll have you know. He was the Holmes to his brother's Watson, but as opposed to Wilhelm didn't have much of a sense of humour. I'm not sure he would have been amused. He also was an Übergeek; this is the guy who travelled to Paris just so he could read the Manessehandschrift, aka medieval German songs at the French National Library, and didn't do anything else there.)

Which TV show impressed you least in 2011?

Alas. Dexter.

Which TV show do you think you might let go of in 2012 unless things significantly improve?

Thankfully, my other shows while not perfect are doing pretty well.

Which TV show impressed you the most in 2011? Why?

Being Human, season 3. Most dramatic unjumping the shark and growing the beard since Angel season 4 lured me back from almost giving up after s3. Everything that had made me so angry and dissappointed about s2 was dealt with. The season had a clear narrative arc. And compared with some tv that came later - looks as DW season 6 - the way it uncompromisingly delivered on what was set up is even more impressive. Coming close behind: The Borgias, for being atmospheric, creating a great, rich ensemble of characters who were all interesting, and for its gorgeous cinematography.

Which TV shows do you think you'll never let go of no matter how crappy they get? Why?

See, I don't do that. If it gets to the point where I get more misery than enjoyment out of a fannish source, I let go. It's just not worth it, staying around, feeling miserable, spreading misery, not for me and not for the people still enjoying the fannish source, and I never got the point of hate communities, either.

Shows I watched and loved that aren't mentioned on this list because I started them in another year

The Good Wife: not perfect, but overall still so good I enjoy returning week after week. Merlin which is the type of show that while I objectively see the flaws of just taps into my emotions in a way that makes me love it, so seeing it step up its game and deliver some genuine game changers (and not as cliffhangers but early and mid season) is all the more pleasurable. (Also the acting and the cinematography this year were so very, very good it's irritating beyond belief it'll never be seen award material in said categories.) Fringe which so far has made up for what I found problematic in s3 and is very, very enjoyable to watch; Doctor Who which for all its flaws and the fact I have an emotional disconnect currently does deliver the occasional pearl beyond price (aka The Doctor's Wife and The God Complex) and besides is the kind of show which has cycles where you can't love every season or era in the same way, and that's no problem, because the very premise is constant reinvention. And of course I throw in the occasional rewatch of my old loves, B5, DS9, etc. I've been meaning to get on a BTVS and AtS rewatch as well.
selenak: (Illyria by Kathyh)
In honour of yesterday, five of my favourite Egyptians throughout history:

1) Hatshepsut. Pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty, one of the few female rulers of ancient Egypt; while warfare occured early in her reign, she ushered in a long and peaceful era, re-established trade networks and left behind a rich country. Her successor and stepson tried to wipe out her memory of history, but thankfully did not succeed.

2) Hypatia of Alexandria. Philosopher and mathematician. "There was a woman at Alexandria named Hypatia, daughter of the philosopher Theon, who made such attainments in literature and science, as to far surpass all the philosophers of her own time. Having succeeded to the school of Plato and Plotinus, she explained the principles of philosophy to her auditors, many of whom came from a distance to receive her instructions. On account of the self-possession and ease of manner, which she had acquired in consequence of the cultivation of her mind, she not unfrequently appeared in public in presence of the magistrates. Neither did she feel abashed in going to an assembly of men." (Socrates Scholasticus, a contemporary historiographer.) Brutally murdered by a Christian mob.

3) Moses ben Maimon aka Maimonides. As opposed to the previous two not born in Egypt (he came from Cordoba, Spain), but spent the majority of his life there. One of the most famous scholars and physicians of the 12th century, Nagid or leader of the Egyptian Jewish community, court physician to Saladin. His contemporary epitaph: From Moshe (of the Torah) to Moshe (Maimonides) there was none like Moshe.

4) Rifa'a el-Tawtawi, 19th century writer, teacher, translator, and arguably the first Egyptian Egyptologist. He founded the school of languages, wrote what could flippantly be called the first Arab tourist guide to Paris (where he had spent five years), saw Islam and European modernity as entirely compatible. His history books on the pharaonic period were the first by an Egyptian scholar and reclaim Egyptian history for Egypt at a time when the Turkish rulers were busy selling the remains to various European powers. His most famous book on education - "The trustworthy guide for girls and boys" - demanded education for women as well. In January of the year of his death (1873), the first Muslim's girl school had opened its doors in Cairo.

5.) Constantine Cavafy, journalist and poet from Alexandria (quite often a topic of his work) where he was born and died, probably the most famous Greek poet of the 20th century (and a few earlier centuries besides). His poetry covers history (especially the Hellenistic era of Egyptian history), present, his own homosexuality and the present; even if you're not into poetry, you may or may not know Leonard Cohen's adaption of one of Cavafy's most famous poems, "The God forsakes Antony" into "Alexandr(i)a Leaving".

Which brings me to the stuff below the cut: some favourite music describing Egypt, to wit, the Cohen song plus Omar Khairat's pieces about Egypt in general and Alexandria in particular.

say goodbye to her, to the Alexandria you are losing )
selenak: (Guinevere by Reroutedreams)
More halfamoon goodness:


Diamond Mind: brief but wonderful Anya vid.


There's also the annual love thread for disliked female characters. Some personal favourites to share the love for:

Guinevere from Merlin. As the poster said, every time someone hates on Gwen, a fairy dies. Trufax.

Amy Gardner from West Wing.

Gwen Cooper from Torchwood.

Ana-Lucia Cortez from Lost. As [personal profile] londonkds once said, if Ana-Lucia had been Luis Cortez with the exact same storyline, fandom would have been all over him.

Lily Evans Potter.

Doctor Who:

Article about the portrayal of historical characters on Doctor Who. IMO the author is way too kind to both Victory of the Daleks the episode and Jolly Old Churchill, but that's a pet peeve of mine, and the article is still interesting to read. Am utterly unsurprised that Mark Gattis wanted "the Churchill from the war posters", btw. Oh, and this reminds me, what's this I hear about the writer of the worst of the three Sherlock episodes, aka the middle one, having received a DW episode assignment in season 6? Ah well. I suppose something has to balance the high expectations for the Neil Gaiman episode.

Finally, one of the most touching image of this last week:

The protester went to the feet of the soldier and asked him to help protect them from Mubarak’s thugs and the soldier is crying because he said that he can’t because he was not given the orders to.
selenak: (Goethe/Schiller - Shezan)
Egypt: wow. Aside from everything else, though, it reminds me again of the innate hypocrisy and contradiction of the West regarding the Middle East. We'd like you to be democratic and free, sure, but only if it can be guaranteed your freely elected goverment will be pro-West and above all secular; otherwise, we'd rather keep the pro-West despot in place, thanks. And I do mean "West", not just "US". Among the many, many Wikileaks that somehow never made headlines as opposed to gossip was the fact the German goverment agreed not to press any charges against the CIA agents who abducted a German citizen in order to torture interrogate him. Guess where to? Egypt. Back to the present: [personal profile] monanotlisa put up a post detailing what you can do from here about the internet and telephone lockdown. Meanwhile, this tweet from two days ago is amazing.


In more lighthearted news, today's Süddeutsche in its book review section has a headlline saying "Was it gay love?" about the latest book on Goethe and Schiller, by Katharina Mommsen. Seems literature professors finally got around to slashing our two literary giants. People, I did that six years ago, and also more recently two years ago. The review itself, written by a male professor on the work of a female one, is rather fun because it's really just like a current day slash fanboy meets fangirl debate on the internet. Basically Gustav Seibt liked her book and thinks she sort of kind of has a point that it was intense and not your avarage friendship, and yes, okay, Goethe published that 1805 (year of Schiller's death) pro-homosexual love essay about Winckelmann... but he still thinks they really were 100% heterosexual and "love" in the famous "dem Vortrefflichen gegenüber git es keine Freiheit als die Liebe" (Schiller to Goethe, look up the quote in English in my linked old slash post) doesn't mean, you know, love, but "selflessness". If you say so, Gustav, if you say so. For readers of these ramblings who know German, the title of this pioneer slash work is "Kein Rettungsmittel als die Liebe" (that was Goethe's variation of Schiller's statement which he used in one of his later novels, and the difference between "freedom" and "salvation" is telling. I'll look it up when I can. One must support the followers of one's old thesis. :)


Speaking of academics, I see you can now graduate on your Beatles knowledge. (Cue lots of song title puns in the comments to the article.) I find this rather charming and of course wonder that if I hadn't my PhD already, whether I could go to England score with my knowledge. Probably not, because, like certain composers, I can't actually read music. But you know, I bluffed my way through a three-terms-seminar on Wagner by biographical knowledge alone and got great degrees, so who knows. Meanwhile, try out this quiz on your own Beatles knowledge. .

Something else I came across was someone putting up a 1966 Teen World article in which the Beatles each give a list of replies to the question "what tickles your fancy". Bearing in mind that these kind of list replies could have been just written by the busy Derek Taylor, their PR guy, it's also possible they were genuine replies because some are just odd and random enough (and became true later, which in 1966 no public relations man could know they would). Anyroad, as the Beatles would say, the replies make for hilarious and at times touching reading. Particular highlights:


- Buying loads of toys for baby Zak and playing with them before Zak does.
- Having wild pillow fights in airplanes.
- Talking like Donald Duck, even though he hates the cartoon character.
- Wearing a cowboy hat to the breakfast table.

(Comment by yours truly: I think there is a YouTube clip out somewhere where Ringo talks like Donald Duck, and we now know whose faults all those pillow fights were. *g*)


- Hiding John's glasses.
- To sketch his mates when they don't know he's sketching them.
- Catching frogs.
- To get married, buy a house, settle down and raise loads of children.
- To grow a beard and mustache.

(Comment: What's up with the frogs, Paul? (Actually, brother Michael told the world what that was all about. ) Also, the beard kind of worked for you but the mustache was not your friend. Loads of children, check.)


- To take Cyn and the baby with him wherever he goes.
- To film the other Beatles off-guard with his movie camera.
- Beating Paul at a game of chess.
- Having one of his old teachers, who used to scold him, ask him for his autograph.
- To be able to eat all he wants and as much as he wants without gaining any weight.
- To make his mother-in- law take out the garbage.

(Comment: if he really said that about Cynthia and Julian, double aw. LOL about the teacher. The mother-in-law wish definitely sounds like John, and so does the eating thing. The reason why he was so frighteningly thin from the late 60s onwards was that some idiot called him "the fat Beatle" around Help! and he had body loathing issues ever since.)


- To set a world's speed record for sports car driving.
- Choosing all of Pattie's clothes.
- NOT to sing in the shower.
- Owning a pair of PINK suede boots.
- Pulling loose threads from his buddies clothes.

(Comment: George sure loves car races. And clothes. Choosing all of Pattie's, George, really? Also, figures he'd be a thread puller.)

Overall comment: Paul and John both have a thing for secret sketches/recordings, it seems. While George and Ringo democratically want to tease everyone, Paul has it in for John's glasses in particular and John has chess issues. In conclusion, aw.

Lastly: David Tennant proves his impeccable taste in music:
selenak: (AmandaRebecca by Kathyh)
[community profile] fannish5: Name five historical characters whose lives you'd like to see adapted into movies or TV series.

1.) Hatshepsut, pharao of Egypt, one of the few female ones. (Yes, there were more than two.) (Though not many.) Now I'm admittedly biased in favour of Pauline Gedge's novel about her, so my ideal would be for that novel to be the basis of a film or miniseries, but I'd be fine with an original script as well, as long as it's good.

2.) The Dumas Family, consisting of Marie-Cesette Dumas (slave in Saint-Domingue, aka Haiti; had four children by a white French aristocrat, one of which he took with him to France; the other were sold to cover for debts, and Marie-Cesette died of dystentry) , Thomas-Alexandre, who upon reaching adulthood fell out with his white father, enlisted under his mother's name in the revolutionary army, served in an all-black unit in same, reached the rank of general, fell out with Napoleon and died when his son the author was only three years old; Alexandre père, entertaining novelist extraordinaire (aka he of the Three Musketeers and the Count of Monte-Christo), Alexandre fils (that's the one who wrote the Lady of the Camellias, which La Traviata is based on). A century of history via a family epic that could put Roots to shame; I'm surprised has filmed it yet (the whole family saga, I mean, not just Alexandre père's life).

3.) Frederick II (the emperor, not the king of Prussia with the same name who lived centuries later). Stupor Mundi, his contemporaries called him, the amazement of the world; Frederick was a religious sceptic, spoke seven languages, conducted the only crusade without bloodshed, entirely via negotiations, while he himself was excommunicated, and succeeded to the intense annoyance of the pope who had excommunicated him; had a great scientific mind, a terrible temper, was probably the first ruler to declare rape of prostitutes a crime (when it would take most societies a few centuries more to acknowledge there was such a thing) and unquestionably a tyrant in the modern sense of the word (ask anyone who rebelled), and co-founded poetry in the Italian, instead of Latin, language. Also he's one of those once and future rulers whom legend has returning in the hour of greatest need, etc., although the legend in question was transferred to his grandfather later. In short, someone with a gift for renaissance people in a medieval context should make the biopic or miniseries already!

4) Theophanu, a Byzantine princess who was nearly sent back to Constantinople because she was the niece, not the daughter of the Byzantine emperor and the German emperor who had wanted her for his son felt cheated. Lucky for the empire, he reconsidered, because Theophanu after her husband's early death became one hell of a regent, kept the various German princes in line (not an easy thing to do), introduced the fork to Europe and shocked everyone by bathing regularly. Despite an uneasy relatonship with her mother-in-law Adelheid these two women basically ruled the largest realm on the continent and disillusioned any ambitious wannabe who thought women couldn't and that there was time for a new dynasty.

5) Samuel Ibn Naghrela: also known as Samuel Ha-Nagid. Jewish scholar, poet and statesman, originally from Cordoba, eventually ending up as vizier and top general of Granada, the second most powerful man of that Muslim kingdom, a job he held until his death and passed on to his son (who lived a shorter and much more tragic life). Samuel's life is a fascinating part of Jewish-Muslim-Spanish history, and made for a cinematic treatment.

On a related note, about contemporary RPF and politics this time, after reading this review of Fair Game, about Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson, starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, I definitely want to watch it. I remember reading that Op-Ed article in the NY Times, and the explosion that followed. Down to an interview with Cheney a year ago in which he's still sulking Bush didn't pardon Libby.

Lastly, [personal profile] skywaterblue, this one's for you. Sean Lennon, after being adorable at age 5, seems to be still incredibly sweet at age 35. Last month he said about older brother Julian that "Julian is the reason I started playing music actually" and "the truth is Julian was like my hero. He is still is". Today there's an article in which he praises and defends his mother and which contains a wonderful Yoko anecdote involving Lady Gaga as told by Sean's girlfriend: 'Gaga was killing it as always and everyone was standing on their feet and screaming. And Yoko was looking at this and she was like, “Hmm…” She was not to be outdone! So she climbed all over the piano – and she’s 77! And Gaga climbed up after her. They both started rolling around and singing upside down on top of the piano. It was amazing.' Just to round off the collection of adorable quotes, in that same article Sean says about Paul McCartney: 'I’m just so excited when I’m around him. It’s like when you see a white buffalo and you just hold your breath – you’re just hoping that it’s not going to end. Becaus it’s the closest I can come to hanging out with my dad. Every second I’ve ever spent with Paul has been really meaningful to me. He was my dad’s best mate for a long time. And my dad didn’t have many friends, you know?’

selenak: (City - KathyH)
The undisputed highlight of my time in Berlin: the new exhibition Ägyptens Versunkene Schätze ("The Sunken Treasures of Egypt") which hasn't been shown anywhere else in the world yet and was only opened last week. It shows the findings made in the bey of Alexandria - the lost cities Heraklion and Conapus, and the part of Alexandria which had been taken by the sea, the Alexandria of the Ptolemies. It's Hellenistic Egypt which you see there, this unique mixture of Egyptian and Greek - and later Roman - style expressed in the statues of kings and queens and Gods. Coins of Cleopatra VII, the most famous and last of that name, which show her in her Greek hairstyle, curly hair tied back in a knot, and statues showing Cleopatra as Isis, utterly Egyptian. A huge, gigantic tablet/monument with both Egyptian and Greek writing, like the famous stone of Rosetta, by Ptolemy II. The Nile presented as a bearded river god, which was a Roman contribution (the Nile having been female for the Egyptians). The second of the Arsinoes, probably the most famous queen of that name, looking more individualistic than any Egyptian ruler (safe for the Ankhenaten period), and yet with that small belly that Greek representations of women lack and which makes the Egyptians look that much more real. Gold from all areas, even a few Byzantine coins. And everywhere the eerie projections of film, showing how these artifacts looked in the water where the archaeologists unearthed them. Ah, Alexandria.

[ profile] eirena wrote a fantastic Sydney point of view on the last Alias episode, Cause & Effect. And a lot of CDs from [ profile] karabair arrived. Off I go, checking whether my computer plays them...


selenak: (Default)

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