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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Romantics Anonymous (Review)

Lovely endearing film of Jean-Pierre Améris. This film is a very lighthearted, funny, and quite frankly simply a joy to watch.

Two people who are basically emotionally retarded, happen to cross each others paths.
Angélique Delange has to tell herself about fifty times she can do something before she does it. She hums it, repeats it, like a magical formula, to make sure her inner self knows. Jean-René van den Hughe is her boss, who works at a chocolate factory that’s nearly broke. Still, they need someone to help to sell the chocolate they make.Jean-René has a taperecorder in one of his drawers that tells him he’s a man, a vulcano, that he is strong and can deal with all of the world. He can’t pick up a phone if he doesn’t know who’s phoning him (no mobiles in this film, so oops!). Fantastic.

Reminds of Amélie, but that’s probably also because the actress who plays her mother (Lorella Cravotta) plays in this film aswell. She is Magda here, one of the women who works in the chocolate factory. Where Amélie tells about a girl who doesn’t know how to make proper contact with a man, that element is visible here too, though in different measures. This film also reminds of Amélie because of the ridiculic situations that hop along the merry melody of the main characters. You’d think there’s no way of making some of the stuff up. And yet, there it is.
It also reminds of The Sound Of Music, since the song that Maria sings to herself before entering the Von Trapps’ premises, is sang here too. In French, but still. Even the scene of Maria swinging her suit- and guitarcase around is being repeated here.
The only con I have here, is that although this film reminds of these two films, the soundtrack simply isn’t as strong. You more or less expect the music to touch your very soul. That doesn’t happen.

So, we have two pretty big idiots, Angélique and Jean-René. Now what? Well, Angélique attends meetings of Les émotifs anonymous (hence the title of the film), while Jean-René goes to a psychologist. Who gives him assignments.
As Jean-René has never been with a woman -they scare the crap out of him- he is told to ask a woman out.
At the same time, Angélique, who has been hired within 5 minutes, discovers that she has not, in fact, been given the job of chocolatier, as she wished, but of commercial seller. Angélique dreads contact with people. She faints as soon as she gets too much attention. Not the best quality for a seller.
So, she decides to quit. At the same moment where Jean-René is trying his best to invite someone to have dinner with. As neither of them can read any kind of bodylanguage, it ends up with the two of them having dinner, of course.

The night of the dinner, Angélique enters the restaurant first, with hiccups. Realising that she has no idea what her boss is called. Which is unlucky, as the waiter just asked you who made the reservation at the restaurant?
Whilst she sits down, Jean-René enters the restaurant, fleas off to the restrooms and puts a suitcase on top of the cistern. You go ‘wtf?!’ but after that, he simply walks to the mirror, tells himself some powertalk, then joins his coworker. This is only the weird start of that date.
It doesn’t end well that night. And still, she comes in to work the next day, after Jean-René has told his coworkers she won’t be returning.

I could give you so many examples as to why this film is fantastic. It simply is. Who goes to the loo to change into a new shirt every 5 seconds? Who pretends to be a less successful person, just to be able to be a shyer version of yourself, so you can live in peace? Who tells a man she has plans to marry him, has a dozen of his babies, but just enough to keep the sexlife interesting, after only one kiss?

It is such a joy to watch a film with two quirky beings having no proper example of how things should be, so things are complicated, but not in the emotional way. They don’t get hurt, just heavily confused. A joy to watch.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2016 in Films, Opinion

 

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When Gods Play Hide & Seek (teaser)

This story begins on a Monday.
To add to its nasty consequences -Mondays are barely ever popular, as beings are not that happy to give up their freedom to perform such a silly thing as work if they have to interrupt or even stop a pleasant thing such as ‘doing nothing’ in front of a tellybox, an xbox, an intergalactic Javahoohoobox, hopping a Mega Hypermatic Bouncing Ball or any such kind thing on weekends- this particular Monday even begins with a meeting.
Meetings are about as pleasant as having a hemorrhoid removed by a dentist, an earthling once told me.

This was not just any meeting.

It was going to be a lifechanging one for some, though not a very impressive one for many others. Most of the latter were attending the table where the meeting was held at.
It was a rather messy meeting, too.
Not quite how Tryxeon had envisioned it. He could hardly draw enough attention to make himself heard, let alone present his new Power Point Presentation.

Which was too bad.
He had spend quite some time making it, after seeing what kind of big audiences it could bring to complete and utter silence on Earth.
Then again, this wasn’t quite Earth. This was his own planet, in his own solar system.

Massive Big Ball.

When it came to naming it, he had been a bit hungover, he admitted. He went for the description his three year old son had given him when seeing it for the first time, from a distance, while eating his porridge. A spoon had pointed at it in his small, sticky and dirty hands.
‘That’s a massive big ball!’
Tryxeon had concluded this was, in fact, the perfect description of it, so he decided that that should be its name.

Got curious?  Purchase on amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018EG9V7Y?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

 

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2016 in Books, Humour, Projects, Promoting

 

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Strooistraling /Scattered radiation

Ooit deed ik de opleiding voor Radiologisch Laborant. Een Radiologisch Laborant is degene in het ziekenhuis die voor de arts en/of Radioloog het beeldmateriaal maakt (echografie, röntgenfoto, CAT scan, MRI, etc) wat hij/zij nodig heeft voor het stellen van een juiste diagnose bij de patiënt.
Niet dat ik het afmaakte, daarvoor had ik al iets te lang geen wis- en natuurkunde meer gehad op het juiste niveau. Ik herinner me wel een paar college uren.
Zie je, we hadden een leraar die iets te dol was op zichzelf. Daar heb ik al bij voorbaat een grafhekel aan, sorry. Ik kreeg uitslag tussen m’n griebels en m’n greubels als hij weer eens beweerde:
‘Mensen vinden altijd dat ik zo grappig ben….’, terwijl hij de enige was die lachte. Om z’n eigen grappen.
Maar toch, ik kan me heugen dat we lachten. Alleen niet op het moment dat hij voor ogen had.
Hij probeerde ons iets uit te leggen over hoe strooistralen werkten, wat dat inhield. Strooistralen zijn, bij een patiënt van een röntgenfoto, die stralen die niet bijdragen aan de beeldvorming (=de foto). Ze maken deel uit van de bundel straling die op de patiënt wordt gericht, maar niet meedoen aan het eindresultaat, zogezegd. Zelf vergelijk ik het, voor de beeldvorming, altijd met het leegschudden van een zak meel in een bak. Niet al het meel komt in die bak terecht. Er ontstaat altijd een soort stofwolk. Hetzelfde principe geldt hier. Hoewel mijn/onze docent het liever als volgt uitlegde:
‘Probeer je voor te stellen dat 100 egels tegelijkertijd een vierbaansweg willen oversteken’, zei hij.
‘Zoals je je misschien wel voor kunt stellen, enkelen ZOUDEN het kunnen redden tot de overkant, maar NIET allemaal’. Ik zat naast een studievriendin die zich dat, net als ik, iets TE goed kon voorstellen. Rondvliegende egelnaalden, poten, ingewanden enzovoorts, tamelijk cartoonesk wat er voorbij kwam. In ons hoofd dan. Die eerste keer gedroegen we ons nog. Een soort hiklach, daarna over. Toen herhaalde de professor de zojuist verhandelde beeldspraak, omdat iemand het niet goed had gehoord.
‘Dus, de egels die de overkant niet redden…die liggen dan in tweëen?’ (het beeld van die studievriendin en mijzelf werd al wat smeriger, een vreemd inwendig neusgeschater ontsnapte me).
‘Nou ja, ik heb het nooit uitgeprobeerd…’ sprak de professor iets te serieus, terwijl hij ons inpandige gelach hoorde.
‘Maar…’ onze medestudent had duidelijk veel moeite met de beeldspraak. Studievriendin en ik vroegen ons af of de medestudent misschien een vegetariër was, die dergelijke horror-scenario’s niet uit wenste te denken? Ik deed m’n uiterste best niet nog meer te moeten lachen. Totdat de studievriendin naast me een rollende lach tevoorschijn toverde, meteen haar mond dicht slaand met haar hand.
De professor probeerde het nog eens. Zijn beeldend bedoelde theorie. Toen hielden we het niet meer. Hikkend van de lach verlieten we uiteindelijk de collegezaal.
Die arme, verstrooide egels…

Once I was at school to become a Radiodiagnostic Laborant. This specific type of Laborant is the one that is responsible for making the image(s) (echocardiagram, MRI, CAT scan, X-ray, all the medical images basically) the doctor or the Radiologist needs to make a proper diagnose of the patient.
I didn’t make it in the end, as there was a wee bit too much Science involved on a level I had not been trained at since kindergarten, but still. A few of the college hours I do remember.

We had a teacher that was rather fond of himself. Don’t you just hate these smug people? He gave me a rash as soon as he said:
‘People always like me because I joke so much’…meanwhile, he was the only one laughing. At his own jokes.
And still, I remember us laughing. Just not specifically as he intended.
You see, he was trying to teach us how scattered radiation worked, what it entailed. Scattered radiation is, in making an X-ray, the radiation that doesn’t go through the patient, does not involve the image that is made in the end. I usually compare it, purely for the image (haha, yes) with emptying a bag of flour in a bowl. You know not all the flour is gonna endup in that bowl. It’s the same with the scattered radiation. But my/our teacher chose to explain it as follows:

‘Try to visualise a hundred hedgehogs, who wanna cross a dual carriageway’, he said.
‘As you may be able to imagine, some MIGHT be lucky enough to get to the other side in one piece, but not ALL will be that lucky’. I was seated next to a friend of mine, who, just as I did, could visualise that a bit TOO well. Flying hedgehogneedles, paws, guts and so on, quite cartoonesque. The first time the professor said it, we could behave. Just a minor chuckle, and that was it. Then the professor repeated what he had just said, as someone else hadn’t quite understood.
‘So….those hedgehogs that don’t get to walk across. They would be in half then?’ (we had a more graphic image, a tiny snort escaped my nose).
‘Well, I have never tried it…’, the professor answered in all seriousness, noticing our snort.
‘But…’ our fellow student obviously had problems with the additional given theory. We wondered if our fellow student was, perhaps, a vegetarian, who did not wish to even think in horror stories? That’s what my friend mouthed at me anyway, to which I tried not to laugh more. Then she did. A big laugh. Slapped her mouth with her hand.
Then the professor once again repeated the theory. And then we couldn’t stop laughing anymore.
The thought of a hundred hedgehogs, brutally killed by trucks that the professor had just let loose to make his point.
Those poor, scattered hedgehogs…

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2016 in Humour

 

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Michael Caine and the Oscars

When a person is trending on twitter, it’s usually because they’re either dead or made a remark so controversial that half the twitter globe is tripping over it.
So when Michael Caine was trending -one of my favorite actors- I got scared. Especially as David Bowie, Alan Rickman and others have proved that 2016 is a shit year to begin with.

But no.

Michael Caine is very much alive, has just starred in a new movie and, as a result of that, gave an interview where he was asked his opinion on several subjects.
One of them being the Oscars and the boycot that popped up this year.
To be fair: I am very bad at picking sides when it comes to such sensitive subjects.
Then again, I’ve seen Whoopi Goldberg once, winning an Oscar (or Golden Globe, either way it was a prestigious price) and to me it was weirdly obvious she was gonna win that. Not just because I watched the particular video on Youtube and the video was simply titled ‘Whoopi Goldberg winning an Oscar’. I mean, that could have been the most important clue, I’ll give you that, but aside that: she was the only black woman being nominated at that moment, and Denzel Washington was supposed to hand it out.
Somehow that struck me.
No, there is nothing wrong with Denzel Washington. I loved him in ‘Remember the Titans’, and ‘The Pelican Brief’, and I was in awe with his performances in ‘The Bone Collector’ and ‘Fallen’.

But.

I do wonder if him and Whoopi didn’t mind -or did they applaude?- that they were, in a way, kept aside from the rest? It did look like that to me, but I could be wrong, ofcourse. It could be it was thought of as the right thing to do, in fact.
I think it shouldn’t matter who hands out the Oscar and to whom, so why should I even point it out, right? Well, because I did happen to notice and it makes me wonder if it was a coincidence or not?

The comments ‘perhaps they just weren’t good enough’ struck me as wrong too, because there are so many films being made, I do think the Academy Awards commission should force themselves to spread more variety in their little price circus. Of course, actors/actresses have to perform extraordinary, but I think lots of performances are overlooked aswell, where others are praised so easily. Almost too easily. I get that certain actors and actresses simply really take an effort to prepare for a role or are simply good at the job they’re doing and should be properly rewarded for that, but still. There’s so many others. Lots of them are fantastic at what they do. All of them.

I know films like The Maid and 12 Years A Slave or Precious weren’t made this year. Still, I think there’s more than moves with heavy drama that should be considered.

I also understand people think: ‘well hellloooo, I had to wait like 30-40 years to finally have a bloody Oscar, it shouldn’t be made so easy now?!’
Of course, this should not be the goal. A price that precious should be earned through hard work, just like always. I do think, however, that somehow the variety could be made more obvious. I mean I can understand the boycot that some choose. With so many films being made, it’s hard to believe none of the films that have been produced this year, no broader variety in nominations appeared. Especially after the controversy in the new Star Wars film. Not that those films have been known for their flawless acting (I saw the original series the other day, WTF, Luke & Leia, you call THAT convincing acting??;), but still.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2016 in Films, Opinion

 

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Hjordis (review)

Hjordis is another stunningly lovely show on Netflix. I doubt it’s visible in the USA, though I could be wrong about this.
I wrote about Rita earlier, and Hjordis looks like a spinoff of that. A few of the same actors (Lise Baastrup, Ellen Hillingso) and also within the same school.
But either the series is no longer complete, or this spinoff was solely made to bring up the theme of bullying.
You see, the school Hjordis works at, is having a ‘anti-bullying week’ at school. Helle, the headmistress, asks Hjordis to come up with ideas to do something with this theme. It is decided that Hjordis will gather some of the students in school to perform a play. Given that the possibility exists that they get to play for the royal family -who will be visiting the school- everyone is really excited.
Then it appears that Helle, the headmistress, has gotten cold feet. She decides the students of her own school are not nearly good enough to perform for such important people as the royal family. So Helle phones a schooll for gifted children, who can sing, dance and generall perform really well.
The children that Hjordis had gathered are being put aside by these priviliged kids, who are a bit too aware they are awesome and so on.
Hjordis reports the problems of both groups to Helle, but gets no real answer. Helle wants the children to cooperate and mostly, the priviliged kids to do the performances.

When the royal family finally cancels their plans to come and visit, the plans change. This is where it becomes even more interesting. Don’t forget this serie is Danish, where the acceptance of different individuals is, apparently, far more accepted. There’s the girl who is deaf and gets romantically involved, there’s the boy who really wants to dress up as a princess. This brings more problems than you could imagine. Not just for Hjordis, who has to adjust to the idea in about 5 seconds, but also to other teachers, parents and so on.

Meanwhile, the show is brought light and airy. No heavy debates.

It’s a joy to watch. And an eyeopener for those who are so used to classic soaps 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2016 in Daily life, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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Drugs

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/12-year-wisconsin-girls-stab-friend-19-times-23959855

Reading about this, it brings me back to a story that involved the friend of one of my siblings.
I had been on my first holiday for weeks, my parents came to collect me and my mother took me for a swim.
Whilst taking a dip -in a wonderful lake in Austria- I asked my mother:
‘So what’s new?’ and she told me that Paul, a friend of one of my sinlings, had been nearly stabbed to death one night.
‘What?!’ I cried in shock. I nearly drowned because I forgot to peddle my legs in shock.
‘Yes, it’s a bit of a horror-story’, my mother continued in seriousness when I got back up.
It appeared that my sibling wasn’t even around at the time. Paul was lucky in a few ways: he was very close to where my parents lived and he managed to get there all by himself.
At 2AM in the morning, he rang the bell of my parents house. Which wasn’t a normal time for them to be awake at all. Paul was -again- lucky my other sibling happened to be at home and up late. So he opened the door, found a heavily bleeding Paul on the doorstep. He took Paul inside, knowing who he was. They woke up my parents and phoned the hospital (which was very very close to the house. Again thankfully). Paul was rescued that night by many factors that were in his favor.
The boy who did it was kicked out of this circle of friends. He ate mushrooms. The kind that can give you a rush. He didn’t understand the impact of his actions, not even after:
‘Paul is alright now, isn’t he?’ was his response when they told him to fuck off forever.
The boy ony apologised when he was told to do so.
Not every child is the same, ofcourse. But these boys were about 14, 15 years old. The girls who planned to kill their friend are 12. Even though teenagers don’t always show literally what they’re thinking of, it should be made clear that killing another human being should never be a game in any way.
Paul survived to tell the tale. My parents didn’t have to tell us it was dangerous to go to the place where the teens had hung out before. My sibling didn’t need a lecture. Simply never attended that spot again.
But these were sane teenagers, with 1 being the idiot to eat drugs before knowing what that does to your body and mind. Not everybody gets to be that lucky to experiment in a way that doesn’t hurt anybody.

We are very happy Paul is still among us and, to this day, part of my siblings’ circle of friends.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2016 in Daily life, Opinion

 

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Weekend Away

So my husband and me had a meeting of friends in the UK. Friends we have known for years, through a game online. My husband being even more familiair with them, as he has been playing that game for years before I came into his life.
A weekend to meetup was planned, rooms for a local Premier Inn were booked -we were not the only ones from a bit further away- and activities to do during the day were being brainstormed about.
All very nice.
The weekend started well, with us taking a plane and finally smelling the true British air again (I may have exaggerated a little here, but I happen to love the country, so sue me).
When we arrived at the airport, one of our friends was waiting for us. As we hadn’t found a code for that yet, I kissed the friend on the cheeks three times, as is a Dutch custom. It’s not British, so the friend was slightly overwhelmed, but all was good and we got into the car.
The way with roundabouts was a bit fearsom for me. The friend drove excellent, nothing wrong there. It’s just that my body couldn’t adjust to going against the directions. It’s always weird at first.

Then, we arrived at the hotel.
This was where it got awkward. Funnily awkward, but still awkward.
Not only did I notice it was possible here to ‘pay by the hour’ (which I’m sure is the case in many other hotels, just not so obviously written down a chalkboard), the room had been arranged by our friend. So hubby and me stood behind the friend, who paid the room, gave us the key and told me he’d ‘see you later!’ (as he was supposed to put supper on the table for his kid).
After I had stopped laughing at the possible wrong interpretation of what just had occurred, we decided we might aswell have some ‘action’. We used condoms at the time, as contraceptive pills make me go ballistics for nothing and I didn’t feel like that.
Afterwards I said: ‘I am not going to throw the condom in the bin. Not after Friend paid the bill. It will look even more weird?!’ hubby agreed.
We decided not to do anything with it, except for rolling it into some toiletpaper and put it next to the tea tray.
After that, we went out to have a grab of food.
Hubby and me aren’t the tidy types that get rid of junk immediately. So we watched a film on our laptop afterwards, had a stroll into town -the other friends for the meetup wouldn’t arrive until the next day- and so on. Next day: ‘ah yes, that blasted piece of rubbish! Oh well, first lets have breakfast, then be rid of it’, as we had seen big bins outside to throw it in, but those weren’t on our route to have breakfast. They were at the back of the hotel.
So out we went to have breakfast.
To discover, upon our return, the loo-roll rubbish had disappeared. Including, quite possible, some remarks that weren’t very much in our favour.

THAT.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2016 in Daily life, Humour

 

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