Saturday, 24 September 2016

...and the winner is...

The ten winning images of Wiki Loves Earth Biosphere Reserves photography competition 2016 have been announced. There is only one Spanish entry, and (in case there were any doubts as to who is the best photographer in Spain) that is Tamara’s fantastic Barranco de los Enamorados taken in 2013. Congratulations!

More photos of Fuerteventura @ Shutterstock.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

A Special Scar: The Experiences of People Bereaved by Suicide

by Alison Wertheimer; foreword by Colin Murray Parkes

I hesitate to call this book a “must read”. And no, not all experiences in this life are necessary. You wouldn’t wish this one on your worst enemy.

The book is based on interviews of 50 suicide survivors conducted by the author, a suicide survivor herself. It’s not your typical “self-help” book. Nor is it an easy reading but, ultimately, a very gratifying one. You’ve got to get used to Ms Wertheimer’s dry, almost academic writing style. As Colin Murray Parkes points out,

she is very self-effacing and she avoids pontificating, theorising, and offering simple answers to complex problems. In much of the book she allows the survivors to speak for themselves, elsewhere she quotes the opinions of others, but they are always opinions offered for our consideration rather than holy writ. And because she shows us bereavement through the eyes of the bereaved, what we see is often direct and painful, but not without hope.

A hope — for those who tries to make sense of what happened, who is looking for clues which cannot change anything, who feels guilty, who feels alone, orphaned and abandoned, who feels angry and betrayed, who feels robbed of their past, present and future, who feels diminished, cut in half, who wants to talk and cannot talk, who strives both to forget it all and remember everything, who listens to the door opening with a familiar sound (could it be? ... but no), who wakes up in the middle of the night and thinks, thinks, thinks, who asks oneself, for the nth time, all these “why him?” or “why her?” or “why me?” or “what if?”, who wants to move away, to never wake up, to disappear, who needs to carry on as before — a hope is not a small thing.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Search for Happy-Land

by Timur Kulikov

Timur had been working on this picture for quite a few weeks (all these Celtic swirly things!) and finished it when we were in Finland this August. This is what he wrote about it:

I thought of a web-comic a while ago. The main character lives on a barren wasteland and searches for a mythical “Happy-Land” because he hates his current life. He travels through a deceptively dark journey with a particularly stupid dog.

I am looking forward to the first installment of the comic.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Croqueta y Empanadilla

by Ana Oncina

Everybody — at least in Spain — knows that croquetas are from Mars and empanadillas are from another planet. What could possibly go wrong when they decide to move in together? (For the last time: empanadilla is not a Cornish pastry.)

Croqueta y Empanadilla are creations of Valencian artist Ana Oncina, who does not look like an empanadilla at all. Yet she says that the comics are based on her and her partner’s true adventures. In any case, they are charming. My favourite story is about CyE’s trip to Germany, featuring Greek Yogurt as a dorm-mate from hell.

Friday, 19 August 2016

The Last Bastion

a film by Blizzard Entertainment

I know nothing about the video games. That includes Overwatch. This did not prevent me from enjoying this animated short, once again, suggested by Timur (who said he is not interested in the game as such). Bastion reminded me of Laputan robot from Castle in the Sky. A surprisingly heart-warming story for something that is intended to be a promotional short for a first-person shooter video game.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Something Wicked

by Yuri & Timur

Last year, for my birthday, Yuri and Timur presented me with a handwritten manuscript of their joint literary work. At long last, we have digitised it (i.e. typed it on a PC), keeping as much of original spelling, punctuation and capitalisation as possible.

The moon is black, the night is dark
Monsters howl and cry and bark
Scream now, leave now, run away
Something wicked comes this way

Friday, 5 August 2016

Revolver

by The Beatles

While Revolver was not the first Beatles album I’ve heard — ironically, my first one was The Beatles’ last — it probably was the first I heard in its entirety and appreciated as such. Which is also somewhat ironic considering that Revolver is still just a collection of (brilliant) songs rather than a concept album. Never mind that. I discovered it in 1977 and listened to it a zillion times. Love You To was unlike anything I heard before.

Perhaps I was fascinated by those open endings: Taxman, I’m Only Sleeping, Love You To, Good Day Sunshine, wonderful as they are, fade away when something even more wonderful is just about to happen — wait, I’m still fascinated with them. And then, Tomorrow Never Knows — what was that? Is that how the album was meant to end? Amazing. Rewind the tape, listen again. The only song I felt out of place on the album was Yellow Submarine, and that despite (or because) it was the first Beatles song I ever learned the chorus. So did Yuri when he was about three, although in his rendition it was “we all live in a yellow atmosphere”.