Thursday, 17 April 2014

My Kingdom For A Horse

Dear friends,

Who here that reads this blog likes to play chess? :) I for one am really bad at it even though in my early years my dad tried to teach me it. I would always lose as I would always start the game by playing the horses. I must admit I was called suicidal by one of the girls I have played chess with, but hey! I always did it for the game/fun as I knew I did not prepare myself for winning. I guess I never had the patience for it :)
The first weekend of this month there was a Chess Weekend at Galeria Krakowska and people could join in and play chess inside the galery. They did this last year as well, as I remember thinking my father would have loved to be there and play as well. He is quite a fan! From him I learned about Gari Kasparov, the Russian chess Grandmaster, former World Chess Champion who got beat up by a computer :)
Kasparov became the youngest ever undisputed World Chess Champion in 1985 at age 22 by defeating then-champion Anatoly Karpov. Still... that did not mean that the fight between Man VS. Machine was not won by a computer - how wicked is that?!
So this weekend, my husband and I, had a nice stroll along the Galeria and had a good view over the place. The new present from my husband is just amazing and I will continuously say that: I love this fisheye lens! I love the way I can capture the big picture in it and how it gives so much space so I could show you more of my world :) It makes me think that you feel you are there, next to me, seeing the things I can see :)
“It was like when you make a move in chess and just as you take your finger off the piece, you see the mistake you've made, and there's this panic because you don't know yet the scale of disaster you've left yourself open to.”
Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
“In chess, as a purely intellectual game, where randomness is excluded, - for someone to play against himself is absurd ...
It is as paradoxical, as attempting to jump over his own shadow.”
Stefan Zweig, Chess Story
“He examined the chess problem and set out the pieces. It was a tricky ending, involving a couple of knights.
'White to play and mate in two moves.'
Winston looked up at the portrait of Big Brother. White always mates, he thought with a sort of cloudy mysticism. Always, without exception, it is so arranged. In no chess problem since the beginning of the world has black ever won. Did it not symbolize the eternal, unvarying triumph of Good over Evil? The huge face gazed back at him, full of calm power. White always mates.”
George Orwell, 1984
“Like most conversations and most chess games, we all start off the same and we all end the same, with a brief moment of difference in between. Fertilization to fertilizer. Ashes to ashes. And we spark across the gap.”
Brian Christian, The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive
***
What about you, lads and lasses, do you play chess? Do you go with whites or with blacks? Do you start madly with a horse or you just go safely with a pawn? How do you like to play? Or do you like other games and you are not that much into chess? I would like to hear more :)
 
Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Sucks At Chess
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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Everything I Do, I Do It For You!

Dear friends,

If we are in the Robin Hood movie mood, why should we let Prince of Thieves escape from us? Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is the 1991 movie about the legendary Robin Hood, played by Kevin Costner without a British accent (I just had to point that out...). It has been mocked in the Robin Hood: Man In Tights, but you already know that if you watched my Monday post ;) So let's get cracking and see what this movie has to offer us and if it is worth watching.
After being captured by Turks during the Crusades, Robin of Locksley and a Moor, Azeem, escape back to England, where Azeem vows to remain until he repays Robin for saving his life. Meanwhile, Robin's father, a nobleman loyal to King Richard the Lionhearted, has been murdered by the brutal Sheriff of Nottingham, who helped install Richard's treacherous brother, Prince John, as king while Richard is overseas fighting the Crusades. When Robin returns home, he vows to avenge his father's death and restore Richard to the throne. Even though Maid Marian, his childhood friend, cannot help him, he escapes to the Forest of Sherwood where he joins a band of exiled villagers and becomes their leader. With their help he attempts to cleanse the land of the evil that the Sheriff has spread.  
Written by Graeme Roy <gsr@cbmamiga.demon.co.uk>
One of the movies of my childhood - along with Robin Hood: Man In Tights - was Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Actually this is one of the first movies I remember being in a Cinema and reading the lines of the movie by myself! So this was indeed a big step for me and of course I remember to this day Kevin Costner shooting the arrows and me falling in love with the soundtrack of the movie :)
Starring: Kevin Costner (the most un-british Robin Hood I have ever seen), Morgan Freeman (the first movie I have seen with him, taking into account that The Shawshank Redemption was a few years after Robin Hood), Alan Rickman (the kind of villain that steals the show and you feel pity that he is not the one who wins), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (God! I loved her hair in this movie, all curly and wild, but I felt no real connection between her and Robin!), Michael Wincott, Christian Slater (a very 20th century Will Scarlet)
Written by: Pen Densham & John Watson (story by Pen Densham)
Directed by: Kevin Reynolds
Let's start with Robin Hood, who should be a joyous person, full of laugher and merryment even though he had seen the horrors of the crusades. In the legends he is like that, in the previous movies/TV series he is like that but in this particular movie you feel that he is moving as if the whole world would be on his shoulders. You barely see him smile, you barely see him happy and he wears a constant frown. The whole movie does not help as it is as dark and could be accounted as scary for younger children - I suggest not to show it to children even though I had fun while I was small. The movie starts with the jail in Jerusalem where Robin is now and one of the first scenes is with a lad having his hand cut. How is that for a good start?! Robin here is not the fun-type of person who understands that all work and no play makes John a dull boy... he preffers to be dull! It is as if it were his duty to save everyone from everything. He is the one who will save the kingdom - by himself! - while King Richard is away! He will defeat evil and make things right! Kevin Costner can be an awesome actor when he wants to but here he was too much of a dark Robin Hood. I even felt no chemistry whatsoever with Lady Marian, even though the girl is just ravishing!
Sheriff of Nottingham on the other hand is simply amazing! Alan Rickman steals the show and makes you love him even though he is the negative character of the movie. He is the kind of villain that you love to hate :) Wicked and totally charming at the same time he steals the screen when he appears on it. It is weird and sad at the same time to love the negative character more but there you go! He is just one sad little puppy who did not get enough love so he started to rebel.  You even feel for him when he delivers lines like "Locksley, I'll cut your heart out with a spoon!" and you begin to think he is quite the Grinch when he says "That's it then! Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings and call off Christmas!". The sheriff even tells a child, "it's amazing I'm sane" when he talks about his childhood... it is quite sad to know that you have been brought up by a witch instead of your real parents. But don't pity him too much! He IS the evil character and he will try to deflower Maid Marian after marrying her in a haste! To be noted that in fact the Sheriff had an extra 15 minutes or so of screen time but the big shots of the movie stated that already people were rooting more for him than for Robin so they decided to cut his lines/scenes shorter. Plus... should we actually count for the try-out-rape-scene as real rape or mocking?! Here again apparently it was Rickman's ideea to have a funny twist about it - I think he was also trying to protect the viewers so... well done!
Now Maid Marian... well Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is delightfully pretty with her flowing rebel hair all in curls but somehow makes be dizzy by not deciding if she is frail or not. In the first scene of her in the movie we see her dressed up as a masked man, standing up to Robin and quite surprising him. We see her going with her maid into the Sherwood Forest - without any cavalry or man in waiting, just 2 ladies - and outhanding the merry man who were trying to steal from her + demanding to see Robin. Now that is one fiesty woman who flinches not even from seeing babies born in hard cases/conditions. So how come we see a whining and scared Maid Marian at the end of the movie, being happy that she was saved by a man? I much rather think Fanny - Little John's wife - an amazing woman! She had 8 children!!! and she is still able to run and jump and climb and join the men in saving her son - "I've given birth to eight babies, don't you talk to me about getting hurt, you big ox."
But to my humble opinion, the 2nd best performance of this movie - after the brilliant Alan Rickman - has to be the one of Morgan Freeman as The Painted Man, Azeem. He somehow manages to bring sanity and wisdom in this movie when all things fail. Even though he is dark colored and at the time he was looked as a servant, Robin is the only one who treats him as equal and demands that from the others as well. I remember a very cute scene from the party in the forest, when one little girl comes to him and asks him if God made him like that and why. He replies that God loves wonderous variety! and so it is, or so I believe as well. Colors do not matter but the soul of a person and the actions one takes during his life. As I said, this uis the first movie I have seen with him and I was mesmerised by the way he acted. Him and Alan made the movie brilliant! And even though Kevin gave us a very American-like Robin Hood, I hold that not against him, as I still like this movie very much :)
***
Worth mentioning is as well the beautiful soundtrack and especially the worldwide known hit by Brian Adams - Everything I Do, I Do It For You! that manages to make me cry every single time. It is so romantic and memory evoquing that it always manages to pull a tear or two from me - I admit it! I do not know if you ever seen this movie, though I think and believe you should have, but it is definetely worth an evening. Give it a try and let me know what you think of it and of Robin Hood: Man in Tights. And watch them in the right order, Kevin Costner first so you would understand Cary Elwes jokes ;) Plus! It is a must see if you are an Alan Rickman fan :)

Yours truly,
A Robin Hood LadyBug Fan :)
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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A Rainy Koln Carnival

Dear friends,

Here we are again at yet another lovely #TravelTuesday where I will share with you a bit more about our lovely trip to Koln/Cologne this year. We were lucky enough to schedule our trip so that we would catch the Koln Carnival so we could experience for the first time in our lifes one, and I am so glad we did!
Cute random street art :)
These pictures were taken in the students area of the city, early in the morning! The city was already full with people dresses up and drinking beer. Yup! You are allowed to drink alcohool on the street no matter if it is Carnival day or not! In Poland you are not allowed to do so.
As you can see we had a lot of fun :)
And we got in touch with the Flower Power :)
We walked all over town as Dana wanted to show us how different people party around the city. And I must admit it was fun and a bit confusing hopping on and off buses and walking about :)
Managed to get even to the meeting place of the parade cars and trucks and whatever not's. We even got a chance to see the lovely horses of the city guard that was all over the place and remined me of the musketeers and of Alexandre Dumas :)
Just Another shop ready to refill
Here are below a few shots that I took of the lovely horses and the nice people riding them :)
I just loved this guys smile! :)
He looked very happy/amused :)
Just a few shots...
Random statue we bumped into and that I liked :)
Small break for some food as we were hungry :)
And let the parade begin :) Of course you may not know this but during the parade the people on the cars/trucks/horses and the ones walking in the parade throw candies/sweets and other items while parading about. They even throw flowers like orchids and spring-like flowers... tulips and daffodils and such :)
Were they kissing for real or just for for, for the camera?!
Look! They gave us flowers!
Oh, did I mention that it was raining quite hard most of the day and all time during the parade?!
Would you just look at that cart and at those wheels?! Amazing :)
I bet that hat came in handy with all the rain! :)
Cute couple we met in the bus and gave them the flowers :)
We had a bit of fun at the pub - as you can see in the blurry pictures above. Sorry for the condition of the pcitures. We were taking continous pictures of the parade in the rain and the lens condensed and this was the best we could get in the given circumstances. The pub was packed and the entrance was 10 euro per person. You could not drop a needle inside that place, nor move. I think it took us at least 45 minutes to get in but the music was really nice and the athmosphere amazing - though I might have wished I had no coat, scarf, bag, camera with me so I can move freely and not worry about them laying around there... No tables, no chairs, just dozen upon dozen of people having fun :)
Here we are, the happy party people - picture taken by my lovely husband :) We had some fun in the club/pub... place :) and then we headed off by foot home. We had a short detour where the day started and we listened to this amazing band playing the drums inside a tower entrance where the acoustic was just amazing. In the middle of the night we were dancing in the street, rain coming down slowly and hundred of happy faces around...
When we managed to get home I figured out I should take out all the goodies we have gathered during the Carnival from my bag - thank God I always wear huge bags while travelling! :) I think we had at least 1 kilo if not more of candies/sweets, dozen of Ritter Sport mini chocolates (I just love those!), MARS mini bars, TWIX mini bars, HARIBO teddy bear minis and more more things you can see there :) Even some colorful pasta that we ate when we came to Krakow and was really really tasty! :) Now that is what I call a haul - all 3: me, Marek and Dana were proud of it ;)
If you would like to read more about our trip to Koln/Cologne you can choose any of the links below:
  • What Would You Visit In Koln - thoughts upon what one could see in Koln, ideeas at the beginning of the journey
  • Germany, Ich Liebe Dich - Koln/Cologne & Bonn through BB pictures + 2 dear pictures that my best friend Dana took :) - a short intro to our trip in Germany
  • The Flight Travel Bug - or how I love to fly and I am glad my husband choose Lufthansa for our trip to Koln/Cologne 
  • Krakow-Cologne. How do I get there? - on how we managed to get from Poland to Germany: flight + ICE Train, and a little extra on the side: chinese food for dinner :) 
  • A Dark And Gloomy Cathedral - a very extensive post on the awesomeness of the Cologne/Koln Cathedral. I fell in love with her at the first sight!
  • You Love Me. Real Or Not Real? - the wonderful Hohenzollern Bridge with its love locks, right next to the Koln Cathedral was a wonderful stop :) 
  • A Walk Along The Rhein - a short stroll from the Hohenzollern Bridge to the Chocolate Museum, close to the  Severinsbrucke.
Yours truly,
A LadyBug In Love With Koln :)
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