AirToob Lightning
I like looking on the bright side. I relate very much to the Mediterranean extended-family, take-it-slow, money-isn't-everything outlook on life. I'm not a great cook but I like cooking, especially Mediterranean food (my recipe page is here). I'm interested in environmental issues. My main hobby is flying (on a PC simulator).

The people I admire most are those who see no end to pain, illness, grief or disability and who still retain a sense of humour, people who spend time making life better for others in any way, and people with toxic parents who have "broken the chain" in bringing up their own children.

If you like my pages you will probably also enjoy my web site - do visit! You can get a quick flavour of it here.

PS: I'm a refugee from StumbleUpon. I have copied all of my old SU reviews (the ones containing images) here, except for some not-so-good and outdated bits.



As Michelle in 'Allo, 'Allo might say, please read the following very carefully - I shall write it only once!

I'm a great believer in tags. SU restricted you to 5 tags per post (and then only for site-review posts), but here you can have as many tags per post as will fit into about 200 characters, so I have tried to take full advantage.

For example, you can select from this blog (if you want to) only posts to do with arts, science, entertainment, books, movies, music, environment and so on.

If you're feeling down (or even if you aren't), try this selection of things to enjoy in life, which is pretty much what these pages are all about.

You will find a larger selection of my favourite tags here (or click the White Rabbit below).

The main thing is: if you like something about one of my posts, try clicking the corresponding tag at the top of the post. If you keep doing this, you may find yourself navigating down some nice paths through this blog (for example, this one or this one).

Among these tags you will find the name of a Categorian or Stumbler if their work features in that post, so if you click one of those names (e.g. expressioniste or johnshaven) then you will get (hopefully) a nice selection of that particular person's work as it appears on my blog.

You can find my posts that introduce other Categorians if you click the Cat... then if you like one of the posts that you find, click that Categorian's tag on that post to see everything that I have snaffled from that person! (And you can do the same for ex-Stumblers if you click the image to the right.)

There are plenty more tags to choose from. Enjoy your visit!



WHITE RABBITS - If you're pressed for time, and you would like a quick sample of what I think are the best of these pages, or help in finding quickly what you need, then go here or click the White Rabbit!

Alternatively, if you click the chevrons >> wherever you see them (including here, where you will be presented with a multiple choice of starting places that will change occasionally) you will follow a (relatively) short path through my "special favourites".



Click the cat to chat!



Brian's miscellaneous rambles...

... with words (thoughts on Life, the Universe and Everything) - click the image to the left

... with pictures (my photos and photoblogs) - click the image to the right!




HELP!

For essential Categorian help, just click Help at the top of your screen - and don't forget to make Help your "friend", that way you can easily see when new help information has been added.

It can really, really help to know something about HTML and web pages, if you don't already.
Try here for pointers to some good stuff (even for complete beginners), and also the web design utilities that Matt lists here - and don't miss Karenak's Guide for Categorian Beginners and Borderline's Categorian Help.

When you look at someone's awesome web page and wonder "How do they do that?" then (if you know at least a little HTML) try looking at the source text ("Page Source") for that page. You can do this from the "View" menu of browsers (or Ctrl+U on Firefox or Chrome) - some later versions of browsers hide it under "Web Developer" or similar.

My own Categorian Help posts will be found here, and my Computer Help posts will be found here.



Do you want your reviews to be noticed by other users?

Do you want to find other users who share the same interests as you?                    *updated*

Do you want to be notified of new site reviews for topics that you like?


The Categorian Library is your key to all these things... if you need some help with it, you might find some useful stuff here (or click the image).



HERE BE TREASURE - or my archive pages, anyway:

1 (Oct 2007) | 2 (Jan 2008) | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 (Jan 2009) | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 (Jan 2010)| 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 (Jan 2011) | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 (Oct 2011) | Nov | Dec 2011 | Jan 2012 | Feb | Apr | May | Jun-Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec 2012 | Jan 2013 | Feb | Mar-May | July | Aug | Sep-Nov | Nov-Dec 2013 | Jan-Feb 2014 | Jun-Jul 2014 |

Archive pages 1 to 34, and part of 35, come from my StumbleUpon blog. Dates in brackets refer to original post dates on SU. Because I transferred the blog manually, dates in my Categorian blog prior to October 10th 2011 (unless marked as original dates) are the date of the transfer.

Archive pages present posts in increasing-date order (oldest first). This is the opposite direction to the "normal" blog pages which are in decreasing-date order (newest first). One effect of this is that the contents of a given archive page (page 5, say) always remain the same, unless you delete something, whereas the contents of a given page on the "normal" blog keep changing as you add stuff to the front.



NGC 6302 is reckoned to be one of the 10 most beautiful nebulae in the Universe, a collection that I found on the very fine pages of Toetie, and one which certainly lives up to its name.

From Wikipedia (click for the full article):

From what I read in the article, NGC 6302 is tiny by the standards of the mega-structures out there, but it would still take about 3 years to traverse from one “wing tip” to the other at the unimaginable speed of light.

When I searched around to see what a more realistic speed would be in the near future, it seems that the fastest actual spacecraft currently projected (the Solar Probe Plus, to be launched in 2018) would take about 4,500 years to cover the same distance at its blistering maximum speed of 200 kilometres per second. To reach NGC 6302 from Earth would take the same spacecraft (if it could keep its maximum speed around our Sun all the way) about 4,500,000 years... passing our Moon after only half an hour... and the awesome Hubble Telescope can see structures that are much, much further away. The mind boggles!



If you like this...

[Faster than light? A guide to Starship Enterprise Warp Factors]
[A rather beautiful wallpaper image of Starship Enterprise NX01 on patrol]
[... and you might try clicking the astronomy tag...]



A collection of soothing music videos, arranged as a playlist, perfect for insomniacs... thanks, Little Lu Lu!

(Click the image to play)





This great photo of one of the Dutch windmills at Kinderdijk (from Wikimedia Commons, click image for source) reminded me of Noel Harrison's version of Michel Legrand's song "Windmills of Your Mind" (“Les Moulins de Mon Coeur”) that appeared in the original 1968 version of The Thomas Crown Affair.

It wasn't a great movie, I have to say, but it had much to enjoy, notably the sexual chemistry between Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway (including their famously erotic chess game).

If you'd like a nostalgia trip to the 60's, you can watch the movie's glider sequence, which was accompanied by an abridged version of Noel Harrison's song, here (or click the image to the right).

Noel Harrison performs the complete version of his song here.

BTW: The girlfriend watching Thomas Crown gliding is played by the beautiful Dutch fashion model Astrid Heeren (a purely decorative role in this movie).

In searching for videos of Michel Legrand's original, I also came across this very nice video of the instrumental version.

In complete contrast...

Later on, the Muppets produced a gloriously funny interpretation of the same song, which anyone who has suffered from seriously jangled nerves (or is only “calm on the outside”) can relate to... you can watch that here (or click the image to the left).

Enjoy!

If you like this...

[Night photo of the Dutch windmills at Kinderdijk]
[Great music and style from the 60's: Claude Lelouch's film Un Homme et une Femme, with music by Francis Lai]



I've just been there...



What is Suzanne Collins doing with in Central Park with a rat, you ask?

I'll get there in a minute.

Suzanne is probably best known for her “young adult” blockbuster trilogy The Hunger Games. I nearly didn't read the books, or see the movies, because a short description of the plot (children fight to the death in an arena) somehow didn't seem like my thing.

In fact, as several authors who have climbed on her bandwagon have found out, The Hunger Games is a very tough act to follow. The story is basically about an uprising against oppression and injustice in a dystopian future. Beginning with a struggling community in the Appalachians, the author makes you really care about the characters and what happens to them. It is a truly gripping adventure, very well told, and there is no upper age limit on who might enjoy it.

Looking around for something else by the same author, I discovered Gregor the Overlander, a single story in 4 parts (the last part spread over 2 books) notionally aimed at a younger readership than The Hunger Games.

As with The Hunger Games, a short description of the plot (boy living in New York descends to an underworld populated by giant rats, bats, cockroaches and a whole range of other talking beasties) wouldn't make me want to read it. And as with The Hunger Games, it's hard to convey easily how very good the story is, and why there is also no upper age limit on who might enjoy it.

The themes in the story are actually very adult (and very relevant to today's world), and many traditional conventions of children's books are well and truly broken. There are many heartwarming moments as unlikely bonds are formed with apparently loathsome and/or fearsome creatures, but there are also scenes of horror, agonizing loss and dire peril - and yet it is still a story that children can read (see here, for instance).

The climax of the gripping story includes a siege that reminded me strongly of the battle for Helm's Deep in The Lord of the Rings, and a moving love story between two very young people that is not a fairy tale.

If you like reading, and whatever age you are, I recommend this one.

(Like The Hunger Games, it's also available as good-value (and properly produced) eBooks.)



If you like this...

[Brian's Place - The Book Corner]



“In Silence” by REgiNA (whose other work is well worth checking out)



“Imagine” by Nikki Harrison

Autumnal colours in a rather beautiful form - thanks, Lexlu4 (Lex)!



“I will be there”, one of Katie Melua's most beautiful songs (full orchestral version, I like the album version even better)
(If, like me, you are getting problems with the audio on this particular VIMEO video, try here)


“What a wonderful world”, a special duet between Katie Melua...


...and the much-missed Eva Cassidy (as well as a non-performing appearance by the French rock star Johnny Hallyday)

Katie Melua is one of my favourite singer/songwriters. Some years ago I was lucky to see her perform live at Kenwood House, Hampstead on a beautiful summer's evening, hearing several new numbers that were later to appear on her album Piece by Piece.





A live, exhilarating performance by Jesse Cook and friends, a medley of tracks from Jesse's album (and full video) The Rumba Foundation.

“The Rumba Foundation” (see the bottom of this post) is essentially a musical lesson in Rumba Flamenca, which could almost translate as “how to enjoy life”, and the various fusions around it.

Jesse Cook is not just an awesomely talented guitar player, but an ambassador for world music and an extraordinary team leader. He is Canadian, and it happens that my other favourite Rumba Flamenca artist, Govi, is a German who spent 8 years in India. Both of these people obviously have Latin deep in their souls!



If you like this, do NOT miss...

[The Rumba Foundation - Full Video (59 Minutes)]




Hockley Valley


“Morning on the Farm”


“Jenne Farm”

Beautiful images of autumn (or fall) in Canada, © by Magda Bognar


From the page Fall or autumn: the Canadian dilemma:


If you like this...

[Autumn and winter images by Anka Zhuravleva]



“Enjoy this beautiful piece with an appropriately awe-inspiring slideshow”

“The Adagio in G minor for violin, strings and organ continuo, is a neo-Baroque composition popularly attributed to the 18th century Venetian master Tomaso Albinoni, but in fact composed almost entirely by the 20th century musicologist and Albinoni biographer Remo Giazotto.” (thanks, Antonio!)


.
Nice desktop wallpaper, probably taken in Bay of Islands, New Zealand... reminds me of the great time we had here on the Florida Keys.



“Vessels” by the realist painter Patrick Nevins

Thanks yet again, Jerry!


If you like this...

[Try the jerzee55sst or realist-painting or still-life tags]




Images © Stian Klo

Stian is a landscape photographer from Norway who grew up in Vesterålen and is now based in Harstad - two places that I would like to visit!

Stian's other work is well worth checking out.



A beautiful Orivit Art Nouveau vase, from a blog well worth visiting

Discovered for me by Tamarlass, whose pages are also a treasure trove of beautiful things and well worth visiting!



Click the image above to visit this wonderful page.

When you get there, you can drag the globe around with your mouse, or roll the mouse-wheel to make the globe bigger or zoom in to see fine detail.

You can also click the word earth (when you reach the page) and change what you are looking at in lots of interesting ways, including viewing historical or forecast data instead of current data.

Click the word earth again to return to the full view.

I have a desktop stretching across two monitors (easy if your graphics card has a dual head), and I like putting the big earth on the left hand monitor - I could watch it for hours!

If you want to do this, and you have two monitors, right-click the image above and select "open in new window", and just drag the window to the other monitor. (People with two monitors probably know this already, but I thought I would advertise one of the many benefits!)

Thanks to joris3pinter for this great find!


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