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 I have copied all of my old SU reviews (the ones containing images) here, except for some not-so-good and outdated bits.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!

Click the cat to chat!

OK, so you're in a hurry and missed the White Rabbit... Just to point out that there's a lot of (hopefully) good stuff hidden in the back pages that most people don't see. If you want a fast sample that jumps you in at different points, try clicking the Coyote!

Once you're there, you can follow a sequence by clicking the chevrons >> at the end of a post, or try clicking a tag you like at the top of a post.

Have fun!

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!


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?

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 | Aug-Sep | Oct-Dec 2014 | Jan 2015 | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | July | Aug 2015 |

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.

Lisbon, September 2015

Some posts about our recent visit to Lisbon appear below (or click a picture to go there).

If you are interested, here are the direct links to my photoblogs:

[Lisbon, September 2015 - Local scenes]
[Lisbon, September 2015 - Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, and the walk back]
[Lisbon, September 2015 - Lisbon Oceanarium]

If you would like to skip the photoblog, then (as usual) click the chevrons (>>) below to move on to my next “normal” post

Lisbon, September 2015 - Local scenes

A nice start to the day - early morning at our hotel (location at the centre of this map)

Walking down from the hotel a short distance to the National Museum of Ancient Art. As well as some interesting contents, it turned out to have very nice café with garden on the other side (see below).

Looking back uphill, before entering the museum (no photography allowed inside)

The café garden, near the river

Not too hot, quite a wind blowing from the sea! Looking towards the famous Ponte 25 de Abril (a bridge which never seems to come closer however long you walk towards it!)

Walking towards the city centre from the hotel on a very quiet Sunday morning, I passed this ornately decorated building...

...which seemed worth a closer look!

[Lisbon visit continues in Part 2]

Lisbon, September 2015 - Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, and the walk back

[Lisbon visit continued from Part 1]

We passed The Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, a truly amazing place, on a river trip during our previous visit.

It is said to be the world's most advanced centre for research into cancer, brain damage and blindness, both medically and from an architectural point of view. From the river it looks a little like a cruise ship, but it is designed to look quite different from almost any angle in which it is approached.

On this occasion we took a (cheap) taxi to the Centre (location at the bottom left of this map) so that we could walk around it, and then walk back along the river towards the Ponte 25 de Abril, near which we knew there were some nice restaurants.

Inside the centre. This is as far as we could go (and we discovered later that photos inside aren't really allowed)

The best job in the world, possibly - official Lego model creator at work!

The habitat inside is part of the healing process

Looking past the edge of the Belém Tower to the gigantic Christ the King statue, which was inspired by the famous statue in Rio de Janeiro. It was erected to express gratitude because the Portuguese were spared the effects of World War II.

Looking back - showing the aerial walkway to the auditorium

The auditorium (the inside of which is shown here), with sun blinds closed, and a café restaurant that looked like a great place to eat (but opens at 12.30, as do most restaurants in Lisbon, too late for us on this occasion)

Heading back along the river... the memorial outside the Military Museum (one of the best in the world, according to Tripadvisor reviews)

The amphibious HIPPOtrip vehicle going by (we took this trip last year, an excellent way of seeing what there is to see)

Approaching the The Discoveries Monument, built on the north bank of the Tagus River in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator.

In the background is the Ponte 25 de Abril, near where we were planning to eat. It didn't look too far away at this point...

After a long walk in which the famous bridge never seemed to get nearer, we stopped gratefully at the Café In - highly recommended! My spouse chose a smoked salmon salad - this wasn't what she was expecting, but it was absolutely
delicious! Good value food here, too.

[Lisbon visit continues in Part 3]

Lisbon, September 2015 - Lisbon Oceanarium

[Lisbon visit continued from Part 2]

The Lisbon Oceanarium (location in the centre of this map) is said to be one of the best in the world. It is located on the banks of the Tagus (which the locals pronounce somewhat like a sneeze), which is enormously wide at this point, being crossed nearby by the 12km long Vasco da Gama Bridge.

The Ocenarium is is organized as 4 "oceanic ecosystems" around a huge central tank. This is the Antarctic...

I had to look twice before I saw the bird!

The Temperate Pacific kelp forests... I have always had a weakness for sea otters, since I once saw them in the wild like this off Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey, California. The Lisbon Oceanarium's sea otters are famous, apparently.

If you like sea otters, too, don't miss this video of an otter giving itself a massage which was shot here...

The Tropical Indian coral reefs

The big central "ocean" is accessed on two levels. We're looking down at a school party on the lower level. The Lisbon Oceanarium has all kinds of educational activities, many of them especially for children (e.g. “sleeping with sharks”, a different kind of pajama party!).

Down at the lower level

The inhabitants are hand-fed on a very scientific diet, designed to keep them healthy and avoid one species feeding on another. In the case of the sharks (no photos - sorry) hand feeding is done at the end of a very long plastic pole! Very interesting video shown in the lower level theatre about all this...

One of the nice features is that the big "ocean" is ringed by natural-looking grottos, which you can look through from outside

Outside the Oceanarium, on the way to a very good (and cheap) fish food restaurant

The area surrounding the Oceanarium looks really interesting (e.g. see “Sights Nearby” here) - worth a day in its own right

If you like this...

[Index of all my photoblogs]

Humpback whale and calf, off the Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico

A really interesting, in-depth article into the study of humpback whale songs, with many opportunities to listen.

The article starts with the discovery by scientists that the strange and eerie sounds were actually songs, and the fact that humpback whales don't just sing songs - they compose with the whales around them, singing a song that evolves over time.

The article describes how acoustic biologist Katy Payne analyzed the sounds... and the results are fascinating.

Thanks again to overthetrail for sharing this on her FB page.

Sea Turtles in Danger

From “Protecting Honu” - the green turtle of Hawaii

From “Sea Turtle Endangerment

My spouse wanted to sketch turtles for a project of hers during our recent visit to the Lisbon Oceanarium. We didn't see any on that occasion (possibly because they weren't there) but we learnt about the danger they are facing from marine debris in the ocean, in particular from plastic bags, which can take 1,000 years to degrade.

In Britain, the use of one-trip plastic bags has thankfully decreased considerably over recent years, and in a few days' time all large shops in the UK must start charging for them. The problem, however, will take a long, long time to go away. Let's not add to it any more...

If you like this...

[A nice advertising video with green turtles to chase away those winter blues]

The Forest Where the Wind Returns... a major new project by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki - but it's not a movie. It's a theme park on Kume Island in Okinawa, Japan, due to open in 2018, which reflects the love of nature that Miyazaki shows in so many of his films.

The image above is my screenshot from The Wind Rises - click it if you would like to see my post “The Art of Animation: Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli”.

[Latest news about the new theme park]
[Kume Island]
[All of my posts on Hayao Miyazaki]

“Harbor Master's House” by Barbara Applegate, whose other work is well worth checking out

Gratefully snaffled (as so many others) from the fine pages of Jerzee55sst - thanks again, Jerry!

This is my photograph of a painting by the Portuguese artist António Neves, hanging in the lobby of the hotel in Lisbon where we stayed recently. (I took it from the side to avoid glass reflections, and then fixed perspective etc. with image processing.)

I have posted some photos of our Lisbon trip here.

Such a beautiful use of autumn colours, from my friend ArtistryBySandy

These gardens (near Philadelphia) look like a great place to visit. For those who can't make it (like me) their web site is a particularly attractive second-best.

Thanks again to my friend overthetrail (the other Sandy) for this one!

(She hasn't posted here much for a while, but click her overthetrail tag to see some really nice stuff that she has sent my way over the years.)

A very nice image by the Lithuanian photographer Olegas Kurasovas, whose other work is well worth exploring

Also available in high-res as desktop wallpaper (click the wallpaper tag for more of those)

First touch of autumn - August 17th, 2015

A chilly start to a beautiful day on our meadow. It was also the first time that I had to use manual focus on my camera, which couldn't “see” this one!

“Emerald Morning”, an oil painting of an “absolutely classic PA barn” on the Granogue Estate, by Stephen White

Gratefully snaffled (as so many others) from the fine pages of Jerzee55sst - thanks again, Jerry!

If you like this...

["Autumn Frost", a very fine photograph by Alex Ugalnikov]
[...and try the jerzee55sst or autumn or landscape tags - just a suggestion!]

Found on the very nice pages of Vedika, where you will find much interesting and beautiful stuff. If you haven't already, do visit!

“Landscape with House and Ploughman, 1889” by Vincent van Gogh

From The Blessing of Autumn, one of a number of fine posts by Jonie combining inspirational paintings and poetry.

Jonie (if she's the same person, and I'm pretty sure she is) had a fine blog on SU. I can't find posts from her anywhere later than 2012, but this particular blog is a treasure trove. Don't miss it.

If you're interested...

[Some info about this painting]

Ceara is rebuilding her fine collection of art - a resource not to be missed, full of high quality images and high quality information.

Her collection is well tagged, too - for example you can easily see all of her collection of impressionist paintings.

(Click the palette for more good art sites.)

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