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Archive for the ‘Stuff’ Category

Coldplay released their new music video for “Magic”, a single which will be featured on their upcoming album “Ghost Stories” launching 16th May 2014.

I’m very excited for Ghost Stories… and I like Magic…

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Tour_de_France_Wallpaper_by_JohnnySlowhand

It’s done! The 100th edition of Tour de France ended tonight on Champs-Élysées in Paris. It has been almost a month and 21 stages in the race, covering a total of 3,403 kilometres (2,115 mi) entirely in on french soil.

Bradley Wiggins, the defending champion, retired early due to illness. This left Chris Froome, second place finisher in the 2012 tour, a top favourite for the race, having already won the Tour of Oman, Critérium International, Tour de Romandie and Critérium du Dauphiné in 2013.

There were four main classifications contested in the 2013 Tour de France, with the most important being the general classification. The general classification was calculated by adding each cyclist’s finishing times on each stage. The cyclist with the least accumulated time was the race leader, identified by the yellow jersey; the winner of this classification was considered the winner of the Tour. Additionally, there was a points classification, which awards a green jersey, a mountains classification, identified with a polka dot jersey, and a young rider classification, marked by the white jersey.

And the bets were right! Chris Froome managed to keep the yellow jersey from the 8th stage until finish, winning 2013 Tour de France. He pulled off a time of 83 hours, 56 minutes and 40 seconds, with 4 minutes and 20 seconds faster than Nairo Quintana, the occupier of the second place, who won on both mountains and youth classification. On the other hand, the winner on points was Peter Sagan who kept the green jersey for most of the race, since the 3rd stage until finish, scoring a total of 409 points.

 

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Awards

Wow, this really made my day. First, I have to thank Sue Vincent (scvincent.com) for her consideration. It really meant a lot to me. Lately, I have stayed away from my blog, but I decided to give it another try to see how it goes. Having one person appreciating you out there is everything you need in order to keep up you going, so, for one more time, thank you, Sue!

So here is how it works. Once you’ve been nominated, you have to post 11 things about yourself, answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you and pass it on, so I am going to answer the questions now like an exercise of self-knowledge (don’t really know what’s that…). The questions and answers, below:

1. When did you start to write?

I started to write more than a year ago, but that was an experimental phase. Also that’s when this blog was created.

2. What genre do you read most?

Mostly, I read 20th century prose.

3. What is top of your bucket list?

Write a novel/make a movie.

4. What is your favourite book? ( Go on,  pick one, hard as it is…)

Hard one… Les Miserables by V. Hugo

5. What landscape sings to your heart?

Any as long as it’s raining.

6. Are you a dog person or a cat person?

More of a dog person…

7. If you could go back in time to visit, where would you go?

I’d go to the 40’s in the Second World War time.

8. What makes you laugh?

Myself…

9. Do you have a favourite quote?

I have more, but for this time I’ll go with: “Live to the point of tears” by A. Camus

10. What is your favourite time of year?

I guess that Christmas, because it has a distinctive feeling.

11. If time and money were no object, where would you most like to visit?

New York City.

So, that’s me and that’s pretty much what I’d answer at this questions, but maybe tomorrow I’ll be another person and all this answers would be different. But who knows, right?

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Franz Kafka

We celebrate today 130 years since the birth of novelist Franz Kafka. As you probably saw, Google has dedicated him a logo today which is a representation of his work “The Metamorphosis”, which is  story of a salesman, Gregor Samsa, who gets transformed into a monstrous vermin.

Franz Kafka is one of the most influential authors of the 20th century, strongly influencing genres such as existentialism. His works, such as The Metamorphosis, The Trial and The Castle, are filled with the themes and archetypes of alienation, physical and psychological brutality, parent–child conflict, characters on a terrifying quest, labyrinths of bureaucracy, and mystical transformations.

Kafka was born into a middle-class, German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on July 3rd 1883. He trained as a lawyer and, after completing his legal education, obtained employment with an insurance company. He began to write short stories in his spare time and only a few of Kafka’s works were published during his lifetime.

I read The Trial and currently I’m reading The Castle and I can tell you that Kafka’s works are great, but hard to read because of his style. Nevertheless, great writer.

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The 2013 Tour de France is starting today its 100th edition. The race has been held annually since its first edition in 1903, except for when it was stopped for the two World Wars. The Tour will start in Corsica, in the city of Porto-Vecchio. The island will also host the first three stages of the tour.

The tour will be the first to be completed only on French soil since 2003, when the “winner” was the well-known Lance Armostrong. However his result was canceled in October 2012 due to his use of banned substances. In fact, all of his record 7 connectives wins at Tour de France no longer applies and therefore there is no official winner between 1999 and 2005.

Anyhow, the race will finish at dusk in Paris, on 21 July 2013, after its competitors will have had covered a total distance of 3,403 kilometres (2,115 mi) over a total of 21 stages.

That being said, I’ll see you in almost a month (you do the math) with the name of the winner.

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the-eagles-hotel-california

The Eagles – Hotel California

It seems like the summer rushed in sooner than usual. Something spiritual came with it, something to carry me away in a Californian Dream, in a land just like the one depicted in this song: “on a dark desert highway… cool wind in my hair… dancing in the courtyard”.

Just like the old times, when music was still music, when life was much simpler and much more beautiful… Let’s embrace that kind of peaceful atmosphere and let’s remember “such a lovely place”, such a powerful memory, even if it doesn’t exist. Let’s go to Hotel California… but be careful, you might be charmed and never leave… so did I…

 

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In 1912, humanity encountered on of the most recognizable tragedies in its modern history. RMS Titanic, the largest ship afloat at the time of her maiden voyage, sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on 15 April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg as it was traveling from Southampton, UK to New York City, US. The sinking resulted in the death of 1 514 people from the total of 2 224, both passengers and crew. Titanic has become one of the most famous ships in history, her memory kept alive by numerous books, folk songs, films, exhibits, and memorials.

The route of Titanic

Alight by such an event which happened exactly 101 years ago, I decided to pay my small tribute. I regret that I haven’t done this thing last year, but that’s a problem of timing as many others that occur in my life. We miss one crucial moment or event, we arrive to late or we die to soon… The one thing that I did last year was watching James Cameron’s film, but more about that later…

“The unsinkable ship”

Titanic was the biggest ship at the moment of its voyage, measuring 269.06 m in length, displacing 52,310 tons. The greatness of such a ship was matched only by its highest standards of luxury. Even so, the ship carried most of its passenger in the Third Class. Titanic‘s passengers numbered around 1,317 people: 324 in First Class, 284 in Second Class and 709 in Third Class. Anyway, the ship’s attention to details was countered by its small number of lifeboats. Only 20 lifeboats with a total capacity of 1 178 people were introduced on the ship, even if it could have carried up to 64 lifeboats which would have been enough for 4,000 people, considerably more than its actual capacity. Such a mistake… Half of the people on that ship were doomed in the eventuality of sinking, thing that took place… The fate was working against Titanic

Even if there were iceberg warnings, Titanic would meet its fatality in the night of 14 and the morning of 15 April 1912. As Titanic approached her fatal crash, most passengers had gone to bed. At 23:39, Fleet spotted an iceberg in Titanic‘s path. He rang the lookout bell three times and telephoned the bridge to inform “Iceberg, right ahead!”. Even if Titanic‘s heading changed just in time to avoid a head-on collision, the ship striked the iceberg with a glancing blow. A few minutes later, all of Titanic‘s engines were stopped, leaving the ship facing north and drifting in the Labrador Current. From this moment on, the ship was doomed, as well as its passengers…

Diagram of Titanic’s course at the time of the collision with the iceberg.

The iceberg buckled the plates, popping rivets and damaging a sequence of compartments. Contrary to widespread assumption, the iceberg did not slice the hull. The ship began to flood immediately, with water pouring in at an estimated rate of 7 long tons (7.1 t) per second, fifteen times faster than it could be pumped out. Thomas Andrews, Titanic’s builder, informed the captain that the ship was doomed and that she could remain afloat for no longer than about two hours… The ship sank at 02:20.

By about 00:20, 40 minutes after the collision, the loading of the lifeboats was under way. Second Officer Lightoller took charge of the boats on the port side while Murdoch took those on the starboard side. The two officers interpreted the evacuation order differently; Liutenant William Murdoch took it to mean women and children first while Lightoller took it to mean women and children only. Neither officer knew how many people could safely be carried in the boats as they were lowered and erred on the side of caution by not filling them. They could have been lowered quite safely with their full complement of 68 people. Had this been done, an extra 500 people could have been saved; instead, hundreds of people, predominantly men, were left on board as lifeboats were launched with many seats vacant…

Animation of Titanic’s sinking

At about 02:15, Titanic‘s angle in the water began to increase rapidly as water poured into previously unflooded parts of the ship through deck hatches. After another minute, the ship’s lights flickered once and then permanently went out, plunging Titanic into darkness. The ship sank at 02:20, leaving the rest of the people who were still alive and not in a lifeboat in the freezing waters of the ocean.

The water was lethally cold, with a temperature of 28 °F (−2 °C). Second Officer Lightoller described the feeling of “a thousand knives” being driven into his body as he entered the sea. Heat is lost more quickly in water than on land. A water temperature of 10 °C (50 °F) can lead to death in as little as one hour, and water temperatures hovering at freezing can lead to death in as little as 15 minutes. Such a thing happened during the sinking of the Titanic, in which most people who entered the −2 °C (28 °F) water died within 15–30 minutes. Only a few of those in the water survived… Titanic‘s survivors were finally rescued around 04:00 on 15 April by the RMS Carpathia, which had steamed through the night at high-speed and at considerable risk, as the ship had to dodge numerous icebergs en route.

The Titanic has gone down in history as the ship that was called unsinkable. Many stories were told about Titanic and the most recognizable one remains the film of James Cameron.

One of the most known films, “Titanic” was a tremendous succes in both critics and box-office, winnig a record number of 11 Oscars, grossing $1.84 billion

Launched in 1997, Titanic is a fictionalized account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as members of different social classes who fall in love aboard the ship during its ill-fated maiden voyage. Cameron wanted to convey the emotional message of the tragedy, and felt that a love story interspersed with the human loss would be essential to achieving this. With an initial worldwide gross of over $1.84 billion, it was the first film to reach the billion-dollar mark. It remained the highest-grossing film of all time since 1998, until 2009. When I’ll see Titanic without shedding few tears, then I’ll know that something broke inside me. When I’ll see Titanic without having the smallest emotional reaction, then I’ll be dead. Until this point, Titanic remains in the list of my favourites…

The bow of the wrecked RMS Titanic, photographed in June 2004

Fate or human error put Titanic on the bottom of the Atlantic at a depth of 12,415 feet (3,784 m). No matter what was the cause of such a disaster, the sinking of Titanic is one of the stories we all heard, one of the stories we should remind, at least now in the day when such a tragedy took place. With the hope that I reminded you the story of Titanic, let’s have a minute of silence in the memory of those who died on that ship.

23:39, 14 April, 2013.

S.B.

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Futility

"Futility of futilities, all is futile"

Sorry

"Live to the point of tears"