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Saturday, January 28, 2012

SherLOCKED--Please Join the Club

You know how sometimes you fall in love with the character of a film or a book and you get excited and then the mere fact that you are excited about it excites you even more? How you then research the character, research the actor, discover some hidden jewels along the way, even secretly try to imagine different plotlines, endings? That’s where I am now.
For some reason, last several years have been productive in terms of good-quality TV and some series tackled the challenge of being short, engaging, well…serial, but still retain the eminence of a film and pack a lot of character and story development in a short period of one episode.
Recently, I was pleasantly surprised by BBC’s “Sherlock”; last year, when my hubby offered to watch a modern British adaptation of Sir Conan Doyle’s work, I was reluctant; I could not imagine this project done tastefully. We started watching the first episode and though I instantly loved Dr. Watson, an image of young Sherlock was harder to stomach (though his age is exactly the same as in the books; we have been fed an old Sherlock in other adaptations). The plot was excellent, with so much nerdy references to the original that it got hubby and me squeaking with delight. Each episode is 90 minutes long, so we could not just watch it tired, after work, thus it took us a while to watch all three episodes of the season 1. By the end, I was completely hooked and could not imagine any other Sherlock. As a result, I started appreciating the story again--after all, I’ve read “Sherlock Holmes” sometime in 6th grade and seldom went back to it.
Very short review: I value this fresh duo of John and Sherlock, the fact that the former has some personality and is not just a dumb story-writer, and the depth given to the characters of Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade, Mycroft and, most importantly, Moriarty. Actually, Moriarty deserves a separate post...The creators of the film have stated, that they aim to show Sherlock as he was perceived in his age—innovative, using modern technologies, intelligent, but at the same time, very classical and Byron-esque—not hidden under the set of Victorian decorations, outdated, a creature of the past.
Along came the season two, and if season one succeeded in building this super-human, super-intelligent, I would say Aspergerish Sherlock, season two exposed a human, fallible side of his character and accomplished the impossible—proved to be better than the first season! Of course, the importance of human emotion on Sherlock’s usually grim face would never be appreciated without the first season, but watching the second season is twice, thrice as satisfying! All, absolutely all of the actors perform so well, watching them is a treat.
Back to my exited self: This whole week I have been reading “Sherlock” press reviews from all over the world; watching interviews with the actors and creators of the film; reading history of Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle; reading reviews of theatre work that Benedict Cumberbatch—the actor who plays Sherlock—performs well and consequently, collects awards; watching some of his films; and learning how to pronounce his name (sounds like BATCH of cuCUMBERs). I have gathered a ton of information about film, theatre, British actors in general and of course, all things Sherlock. I’ve written two posts on this theme (one will soon appear on my other blog), and spent some time looking through Cumberbatch’s pics (let’s hope my hubby won’t read this post). Hence, I can proudly declare that I have found something exiting to get excited about and I have been absolutely and irrevocably SherLOCKED. And maybe (just maybe) I am the first official Georgian Cumberbitch—a slightly disturbing twitter term describing quickly-spreading Cumberbatch fan hysteria.
Come on, watch it, get hooked!!! What else do you have to do this weekend?!
P.S. I have not taken this pic (I wish!!), I’ve copied it from :

Sunday, January 22, 2012

winter survival

This week is going to be cold. Here are some tips on staying warm. Depending on how warm your house is, you can choose ones you like. Regardless, it is always a good idea to insulate your house and save energy.
1. If you have older, wooden windows, insulate them with special tape you can stick to the outside of the windows
2. Put blankets on chairs and couches—you’ll have them handy when you sit down and feel colder.
3. Invest into a down blanket, ‘’Dutch house’’ has nice ones. Down blankets are fluffy, light and retain warmth very well.
4. Wear socks to bed. Why torture yourself at night, sticking your feet into frozen sheets?
5. Pour hot water into a glass bottle (but put a spoon or knife in it first or it might crack. plastic bottles deform from hot water). Important--Make sure that the cap is screwed on tightly. Go to bed with warm bottle—will fall asleep comfortably.
6. Warm your bed with a hair drier—be careful, don’t overheat the device (don’t use it over half a minute if you cover it). My bedroom is pretty warm, but I still warm my bed with a hair drier, cause getting into a bed that is warmer than the room is very soothing. Alternatively, you can iron the sheets and pillowcase (not the down blanket!)
7. Get a living, warm-blooded creature into your bed: a cat, a husband, etc. you will have a symbiotic relationship, giving heat to each other.
8. Take a hot shower, before you get into a warmed-up bed.
9. Warm up PJ’s by ironing them or by hanging them by a heating device
10. Eat spicy food, stews
11. Drink hot tea in bed
12. Boost your immune system with tea with honey and lemon; eat mandarins and oranges—the citrus season is here!
13. Take vitamins
14. If your house is very cold, put on a bathing robe over clothes. It is like a coat, thick and insulating, but you avoid wearing a coat in the house—cause that’s depressing,
15. Wear leggings under pants
Most of this is common sense, but for some reason I keep forgetting to put socks on, and if I do put them on, I wake up with one sock lost somewhere in the debris of the bed. I will ruin my hair drier by the end of the winter, cause it is extremely relaxing to get into a warmed-up bed, I do it every night.
All in all, staying warm is easier then cooling down in the hot summer. Last summer, in Batumi, I could not sleep because of the heat plus humidity. I tossed and tossed and then I thought—if I can get bottle of hot water with me in the winter, I should do the same in the heat, with cold water. There was a 24 hour populi by my hotel, so I got up, bought cold water and hugged it. Unfortunately, it got warm in 30 minutes, and then I remembered how solids retain temperature longer than the liquids, so I got up again and bought two packs of frozen margarine in the middle of the night. I put one by my wrist and one by my temple—close to the blood circulation spot. I did wrap the packs in several plastic bags—I did not want to wake up covered in smashed margarine. Anyway, it did help, so next night I bought more frozen margarine.
Sorry for the random association. What I was trying to say is that at least when it’s cold, you can layer up. So find a cat, hug hot water in a tightly-screwed bottle and iron your nighties. Good luck
p.s.this is my cat getting warm in a blancket.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Another Journey to Alternate Reality

January 3d. Time flies in a weird fashion. It goes slow and then it speeds up. I haven’t slept most of the night (late flight) and here I am at my work desk. I am sitting quietly, thankful for the fact that I can skip working for several minutes. But I shrivel at the thought that I still have to do something today.
I need to sleep, I need to sleep now, I need to put my head on a pillow and sleep. I am drowsy, I walk into furniture, I am not fine. I feel like I have a fever or something. Maybe I am sick.
This work, this stuff to do has accumulated during my week of vacation. I can’t, I can’t.
My body is slowly morphing into a chair. I am becoming a chair. I am a blue rotating chair. My head is on my desk. I am a desk. I am a brown rectangular desk. My particles mingle with the desk particles and I become brown too.
I want to be in bed and damn it, damn it, I have to pretend to work for 5 more hours. Or even worse, I might even work for 5 hours. I need to take a break, but I can’t get up.
Oh, these meaningless days after the holidays, when no one really wants to work and no one is doing anything, but there is stuff to do, so we are drifting in the air, we are pretending to do something, but no one is in the mood and everyone is sleepy.
Help me, help me, somebody help me.
I spent last week in Netherlands. I was standing in Amsterdam on New Year’s Eve, in Museum district, watching incredible fireworks. The day before I was in Belgium: Brussels and Bruges. Oh Bruges, Bruges, a medieval town in Belgium, where one walks around re-stating the phrase: “I know I'm awake but it feels like I'm in a dream, I know I'm awake but it feels like I'm in a dream”, the famous phrase from that cool film about Bruges. I know I'm awake but it feels like I'm in a dream. 1000 year-old buildings, old churches, old streets.
And Brussels, this little cute Brussels, with little pissing boy sculpture, with little chocolate shops all over the centre, mousetraps for tourists, huge Christmas tree on a main square surrounded by gothic buildings. Oh, I know I'm awake but it feels like I'm in a dream. And waffles, the Belgian waffles for 1 Euro, kill me, kill me now.
Netherlands, Netherlands!!!The land of freedom, a hippie country in Europe. How many times today I have pictured your canals, your flower markets, your special shops with special brownies. The trains that are always on time, the buildings adapted for everyone, costumes at the airport actually friendly (the only place in the world where customs smiled at me), oh Netherlands, I miss you so much!
How the three of us, my hubby, his brother and I, wandered around the Holland, from one town to another, from one canal to other, catching the on-time trains, so comfortable, so clean, so civilized. The cities and towns we have visited, hey Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Hague, Delpht, Uhtrecht, hey! I miss you, I miss your little streets, your cobble stones, your van Gogh museums, your free air and your acceptance. I miss your laid back attitude and happy people and most of all, I miss having extra time and extra money, being in control, deciding what I want to do today.

Oh, Netherlands. I will take my lunch break now and try to fight this dizziness. Or maybe not. Cause even now, I know I'm awake but it feels like I'm in a dream.

The pic: Bruges, Belgium. My hubby took it.