Saturday, October 29, 2005

Film music

I borrowed Lord of the Rings (Fellowship of the Ring) soundtrack and have been listening to it ever since. Not only listening - by now I know it by heart. I looked up Howard Shore, the composer on IMDb and was impressed by his work, by the amount of work he's done so far.

Actually, I am rather a fan of soundtracks, that is: film music that actually has a score, written by a composer instead of the soundtrack being a patchwork of several popular music pieces, written and performed by pop singers. My favourite soundtrack would have to be The Hours (especially suitable for rainy autumn days, but has a tendency to make me depressed, since I listen to it repeatedly for hours on an end) by Phillip Glass. I also liked the music he composed for Scorsese's Kundun (1997).

Among my other favourites are Shine soundtrack, and Amelié, The Beautiful Mind, The Gladiator, Shakespeare in Love and The Godfather soundtracks. I also have Angels and Insects soundtrack, but have never been able to see the film. (I might read the book.)

However, the latter soundtrack is very inspirational and the very first time I listened to it, I had an amazing idea for a story (in short) about a young woman, living on an island. I knew it is the most wonderful idea, one that could be worked into a story, and a very good one. Over the years (it's been 4 years) I've added details to the plot and characters and thought about their respective lives. It's like meeting old friends again. I think I will finish the story this year, since I will have more time, especially from March onwards. I feel I need to confine it to paper, because for the last four years I have not managed to go beyond a few drafts and pieces here and there. But the idea is more clearly shaped than ever, there are just a few details I need to sort out and then I can really begin. And if, once written, the idea reads as smoothly as it seems (it should) in my head, then this will definitely be an improvement.

*

But since I know LOTR soundtrack by heart already I thought today should be a Chopin day. I've been listening to classical music since I was 11 and at first I didn't have the patience to listen to Chopin or Mozart. I found them overrated and dull. But as I grew older and have gone through many CDs of classical music, they improved on me. Now listening to Chopin feels like he knows me, like we share the same thoughts.

Oh, yes. Most definitely a Chopin day.


P.S. While looking up Shore on IMDb, I could not resist to check the progress of Elizabeth: The Golden Age, a new project by Shekhar Kapur, Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush. It's gone from "announced" to "pre-production", which is great news. I only hope Cate does this one as well as I LOVED her in Elizabeth.

posted by Nadezhda | 11:50 | 1 comments | links to this post

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Awaiting Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the film

I am eagerly awaiting the release of the fourth film. From the movie stills and trailers we've seen so far, it looks decent. Supposedly it was also the most expensive film ever made, but that is just a rumour - I haven't seen it confirmed by a reliable source.

I really liked the tone and atmosphere Cuaron created for the third film - the darkness, the longing... But with every film so far I thought I would have liked it better if they really followed the books. And that goes for the little details - it wouldn't cost them one bit to change it. In Sorcerer's Stone Dumbledore says "the Dark Forest" whereas in the books it's always been the Forbidden Forest.

I appreciate the effort they put into making a 500 page novel into a two and a half hour film, but they should have relied on the material in the book rather than creating their own version of everything. I don't mind them cutting S.P.E.W., neither Winky and Dobby as I realize they're rather an addition to the action, not its essence. I don't mind their cutting Bagman and Percy and the Ministry stuff; I could live without Bertha Jorkins being mentioned in the movies... But my real concern is that people who have never read the books (or at least the fourth one) won't have the advantage of knowing what an excellent plot twist there really is (and how many people are involved in it) and are likely to think it very simplified and plain - at least the way it is portrayed in the film.

That being said, I hope Radcliffe and Grint (who play Harry and Ron, respectively) improve on better (that is - fourth) acquaintance. I've never esteemed Grint's acting abilities highly, but was glad to see at least a little improvement in Radcliffe. In Watson's (Hermione) acting abilities I have complete confidence and I really hope she manages to bring about "Just because it's taken you three years to notice, Ron, doesn't mean no one else has spotted I'm a girl!" with all the vengefulness she can muster.

And I'm also looking forward to see Hagrid trying to comb his hair and court Madame Maxine, although I think their "relationship" has been too Hollywoodized in the film.

Awaiting 8th December.

posted by Nadezhda | 12:53 | 0 comments | links to this post

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Not a winner, but a winner anyway

Naturally I did not win the 10 km track, but I finished it even before I thought I would. It took me an hour and a few minutes to finish the run and I am very proud of the achievement. I have no muscle cramps and feel great in every respect. My shin didn't hurt in the least and I've now got more than enough reasons to keep running.

And my TSH is normal. Am now waiting to get a referral for a cardiologist.

posted by Nadezhda | 10:27 | 0 comments | links to this post

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Stephen King's wisdom

I'm thinking: "The scariest moment is always just before you start." (S. King, On Writing)

I'm taking part in 10th annual Marathon in Ljubljana; I'm running the 10 kilometer track at 11.10 tomorrow morning. I'm not overly excited by the prospect. I'm going there because I want to run the distance, burn some extra calories and become acquainted with a major running event. I want to see how it looks like, how it feels to run alongside 5000 other runners, I want to partake in the excitement before the start of the race.

How will I do? I probably won't be even close to finish when they announce the winners in my category. My estimates go for 1 hour and 15 minutes, but will allow to extend that to 1 hour and 30 minutes. My goal is to reach the finish line and to run uninterruptedly for the hour and a half. I want to keep my heart frequency low, because I'm still having problems with it (my heart goes to 185 if I run at any speed above very slow, and that still bothers me; I might be undertrained still or there might be something wrong with me - I have an appointment at cardiologist in 6 weeks' time and the TSH results still aren't in). Preferably, and if I can, I will try to keep it at 165 beats per minute, but so far I have not been able to come under 170 regardless of the sluggish speed of my running.

But in a way I can't wait, because I'm sure it will be thoroughly exciting and a very good experience. Also, it's my first time running on an actual running event, not to mention that this is a rather big event. Hopefully all goes well and my right shin doesn't give me many problems (I'm a bit concerned because all the running is done on asphalt, which is an undesirable surface - much too hard). I have already firewired (there you go - a new verb!) the latest Mugglecast (a podcast - episode 11) to my iPod and will hopefully be able to listen to it while running. Also, as a back up I have lots of fine music there as well to keep me going when the going gets tough.

I really hope my shin doesn't hurt too much, because running while in pain is much more difficult - but if it doesn't a good run and a well spent day is inevitable.

On another note - I have already started studying for my Histology with Embryology exam, which I take in late November. Better to start early than too late, especially as I am known to continually run out of time to study the materials well enough.


P.S. (Thanks to cookie) I was reminded of the mistake I made - the author I quoted is indeed Stephen King, not Michael King as I originally wrote. I offer my sincerest apologies.

posted by Nadezhda | 13:19 | 2 comments | links to this post

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Reading Alice Walker

I have made a step forward and decided to try my reading self at reading Southern (American) literature. I started with Alice Walker and here are a few quotes I liked from her essay.

"Blindness about other human beings, especially for a writer, is equivalent to death."

"A country person finds the city confining like a too tight dress."

"In the nicest possible language, which still made me as mad as I've ever been, he suggested that a ˝farmer's daugter˝ might not be the stuff of which poets are made."


I like her writing and will add Color Purple to my to-do reading list.

posted by Nadezhda | 14:01 | 0 comments | links to this post

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Why I despair over Desperate Housewives


I have seen the complete first season of Desperate Housewives and have read the recaps of the second season. At first I liked the idea of a soap opera that combined comedy, suspense or even thriller and a modern take on housewives - women who are less than perfect while they strive to become that blend of everything perfect - a mother, wife and daughter who exceeds everyone's expectations. But as the story unfolded the main characters started taking actions which were without foundation (and underexplained), events took place which surprized me and every character became a type.

Susan is clumsy and has the ability to expose herself to ridicule of others, she is about as prone to most bizarre accidents as Bridget Jones is. Bridget is funny and desperate and overweight and has every reason to be frustrated, but she remains optimistic despite her faults. Whereas Susan is paranoid (without foundation), treats her daughter (who is far more mature than Susan) as a child, needing her guidance and control and sets rules only to break them herself. She is romantic to the point where it's doing her harm, almost pathologically can't decide about Mike (her sexy single neighbour) and is almost more nosy than Mrs. Huber. It's funny how it's always Susan who discovers clues (Mike's gun, Dana, sounds coming from Betty's cellar) that take the story further. Susan, in short, has nothing to recommend herself but being incurably suspicious, prone to bizarre accidents and helplessly immature. All I can do is wonder how she was selected as the most fascinating wousewife.

Bree is one of the characters that probably makes most sense, is most consistent and very seldom (if ever) acts in a way you wouldn't expect her to. (Perhaps the funeral thing with the tie was out of control, but then again Bree likes to have it her own way). The part I don't understand about her is how her vindictiveness clashes with her choice to keep things private. She doesn't even tell her best friends that Rex wants a divorce, she didn't tell them about his infidelity, about her own feelings for George, but she does go as far as to comment Rex's ejaculation in public. Talk about a private woman. But still, she at least makes sense.

My pet peeve is Gabrielle, the ex-model. When she starts her relationship with John, it's obvious that she's doing it solely to get her revenge (because her husband pays little attention to her and she realizes she's already got all the gifts she wanted to have). A few episodes later she even realizes John's falling for her, but chooses not to act on this cue. Later (and there's no evidence in the acting of the said actress) she apparently starts to warm for John, but is aware that she couldn't be happy without all the material possessions Carlos (the husband) provides for her. She breaks up with John and from then on things get messy. One moment John knows she's playing with him and distances himself from her, the next moment she comes to his apartment, literally begging him to be with her again. After a few episodes of this constant alteration, one loses grip on reality. Whatever. I don't even care about her character anymore.

If I had to pick a favourite character in the series it would be Lynette. She knows she can't tame her children and that perhaps (just perhaps) it was wrong of her to assume that because she was a good business-woman she would make a good mother, too. She will not let herself be overlooked or looked down on, she can't suppress her concerns and she openly faces her husband about them. Now, she might have her faults. The most obvious of which would be that she has no idea (no idea in the least) how to raise children. If they get out of hand, she just starts screaming and issuing all sorts of threats, but it doesn't get her far. In her desperate attempt to control her children she starts blackmailing them ("And I'll let Santa know you want SOCKS for Christmas!") and plays a (what she calls) psychological war with them. She has her faults enough, but at least her character has consistency, is funny, believable and (where it's needed) shows reasons behind actions.

This show might be called good by some, but not by me. In Desperate Housewives one has to take actions and events at face value. It's the kind of soap opera (I don't know what else I expected!) where the course of actions and the reasons behind them are never explained and you just have to take them for what they are. I refuse, therefore I choose not to watch this anymore.

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posted by Nadezhda | 15:49 | 0 comments | links to this post

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A quick update

Turns out I am not anaemic. But there was something wrong with the urine sample and I will have to repeat the procedure next week. I'm also going to be tested for TSH (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TSH) so as to eliminate the possibility of there being something wrong with my thyroid gland. And shouldn't that suffice I might get a referral to a cardiologist.

While consulting my blood test the doctor casually remarked: "You're not stressed out, are you, dear? Be sure to calm down and take it easy."

I swear to be calm from now on. But just now I've got to rush to my running practice. Will start my peaceful new life tomorrow.

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posted by Nadezhda | 15:13 | 0 comments | links to this post

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Anne Niemick coming to stay?

I ran 6 kilometres today, which felt great. The accomplishment in itself - having actually run this distance for the first time in my life. And it doesn't really mean this much solely cause of the distance - obviously I knew I could run 6 kilometres, having previously regularly run 5 kilometres in one go. There was no need to prove to myself that I could - I already knew I could. The achievement means something because I kept going. There was this tiny voice in my head saying "You've done enough, just stop... you know you can - there's no need to prove it today... why are you pushing yourself farther - isn't 5 kilometres already good enough for you? Go home and relax."

And perhaps, just very perhaps, I should have gone home. There seems to be something wrong with my body, but I can't yet tell what it is. I went to my doctor today and had to give blood and urine samples. I suspect urine might turn out to have too high a concentration of bilirubin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilirubin) in it - something I discovered half a year ago but did nothing about it (and only heaven knows why I didn't!).

The other possible cause is that I'm anaemick (Anne Niemick) - I might have microcytic anaemia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anemia), caused by low iron levels in my blood. I've been running for quite a while now and I still have difficulties running uphill and keeping up with the pace of the group. My pulse was very high yesterday (after having walked uphill and then run for some time) - it was still about 170 when I stopped and just walked on flat surface. I didn't feel exhausted and could rationally see that there was no way running that slowly could have such an effect on me.

I only hope tommorrow's appointment at doctor will bring glad tidings to me.

posted by Nadezhda | 13:42 | 0 comments | links to this post

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Running for life

I am taking part in running lessons. One of my obligations in a school year at University is to complete a course of 36 P.E. lessons (per year). One can take part in swimming (which I did for the last 2 years), basketball, football, yoga, pilates, aerobics class, badminton and just about every other sport imaginable. To my great disappointment fencing isn't on the list.

I've decided that it's high time I did something about my level of preparedness for physical activity. Once I started to gasp for air after having climbed two sets of stairs, it was clear to me that if I was in any form worse I'd probably be dead already. I'm in my twenties and couldn't climb stairs without feeling a bit exhausted. It's no miraculous consequence of having sat through two years of pre-medical school (and doing practically no sports - if turning pages in a book is excluded).

I did some jogging this summer. I started back in June, but went running very infrequently and that is no way one could improve. In late August I took things into my hands and decided I needed to be more serious about my approach to running. Then I went running four times a week and ran the length of 5 kilometres. In late September I had my exams and I stopped running for a while. Coming back to my previous tempo was difficult, in part because I didn't go running when it was raining and it did rain for quite some time.

So now I've decided that my best bet would be to sign up for running lessons, where we gather two times a week and run for about an hour after having done some basic warming up and stretching. We go running whether it's raining or not and will keep this up until January. This is the best way to assure that I won't stop running now that the colder season approaches with its fog and rain.

I'm going again today. And by the time I'll come home I will be feeling much better, will be more alert and functioning better in every respect. (And will have lost some weight, which was also one of the reasons that kept me going. In the last two years my weight was steadily climbing and when my trousers only barely fit I knew I must lose the excess. I've found running to be one of the fastest and surest ways of losing weight.)

posted by Nadezhda | 11:10 | 0 comments | links to this post

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Harry - my other love

After I posted the post below I immediately thought of plenty of ideas for this weblog (only using the term, because my spelling checker doesn't seem to be familiar with the word "blog" even though I've tried to teach it many times. And yes, for the record, I do use a spell checker - now you may find me as simpleminded and so-out-of-your-league as you like).

The most obvious choice for this entry will be Harry. Harry Potter. Now many of you will stop reading here. Some of those brave few who will continue will either be fans of the aforementioned subject or naive people, who think I'm 10 years old. Sorry, more than a decade more than that. (Now I begin to question the choice of my subject, because by now even the naive people will have stopped reading and quite possibly never come back again. This I will consider proof enough that I'm no exhibitionist.)

The sad thing about Harry P. is that you can only have a rewarding conversation about it with another fan. No one else is willing to listen (or agree). And also with fans you don't get the "that's a book for children" look, which is more than annoying. But then those who haven't read it (with the exception of those pitiful souls who only watched the films) can't understand it. Or appreciate it. Or love it. Or overanalyze it. Or quote Hermione/Ron where appropriate.

I've only read the books last summer after being the proud owner of the first two books for over 4 years. Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets just remained put on my book-shelf waiting to be read. Last summer felt to be a good time to get over with this. I read them in 4 days. I was hooked. I finished Chamber at about four in the afternoon on Saturday and the mere thought of having to wait until Monday morning to buy the remaining books (and read them) was driving me crazy. I did somehow survive, which in retrospect was lucky for me, because I got to read 3 more HP books!

I've never read more English literature than then. About 2500 pages in under two weeks is a statement in itself. (I'm really rather proud of my ability to bring bragging about unnoticed.) Since then I've been reading Mugglenet (www.mugglenet.com) very faithfully; I especially like The North Tower and The Two-Way-Mirror (columns). I never wrote an editorial myself, but read them a lot - almost to the point where it's doing me harm. And for those, who want to have an objective account on the teenage wizard - check it out at Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter).

Anyway - I'm only writing this because I'll write about some of my theories and expectations for Harry (book) 7 in the future. I might as well try to explain why I like the books so much - which isn't as easy as it might seem. But as I'm running out of time I'll do this in due course.

posted by Nadezhda | 09:37 | 2 comments | links to this post

Saturday, October 08, 2005

To live again

I don't know what to write about. I have plenty of ideas but feel that my vocabulary is not extensive enough to do these themes justice. I'm also running out of time (and refuse to make more) to keep this going.

I thought I'd write about the death of my grandfather, because that changed my view of things, of my purpose here and what I'm doing to be a fulfilled person, but now I feel as though last Thursday belongs to a past I'm no longer in contact with. I feel that those thought should be written down (to serve as a reminder), but I don't know when I'll do it.

I think I could write more and more often if this was in Slovenian, but then I'd hardly find an excuse to write it. If I did this in Slovenian I think it would be an utter waste of time.

If anybody has an idea, please tell me what you'd like to read here. (I suppose that by now I have given the fullest impression of someone who can only be pitied.)

posted by Nadezhda | 00:15 | 1 comments | links to this post