Reflected Buildings

So I was walking across a bridge near my workplace while the sun was setting, and thought I’d take a quick snap of the way the buildings on one side of the bridge was reflected on the glass panes of the bridge. I like the end effect of this photograph, the buildings and colours were reflected so that it looked like some weird alternate reality colliding with another one (although I would have preferred a space-ship or two as well in the background!)

So although this is an everyday image that I walk past nearly every day, here’s a different twist on it. May you ever look at your world-view in a different way each time you look at it (and happy Monday!)

20131028_163109Also part of this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections
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Weekend Pretty…Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque in Iran

I’ve seen a few  beautiful religious buildings in my time, and a few more beautiful mosques, but this one probably beats most of them. The Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque in Iran is a beautiful one, covered in beautiful stained windows, patterned rugs and beautiful designs on every wall and ceiling. When the word mosque comes to mind, you don’t often think of something like this, I’ve seen some beautiful interiors of mosques myself but a lot of them tend to be a bit less decorative than this and focus more on having wide, clean spaces, although a lot of these also do have lovely decor and paintings too.

I love the fact that the designers of this mosque have made this into a work of art, it’s clearly something beautiful to be admired, a peaceful space to pray in as well as a chance to showcase the art and history of Iran. I’d love to visit this place one day, I have no idea if I’ll visit Iran anytime soon but this is one more reason for me to go!

You can see some more images here and here of this beautiful mosque.

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Surreal Spring Blossoms

One of the things I like about my job is that even though it involves a lot of travelling around during the day, I see a lot of things around London which catch my eye, and which I wouldn’t normally see. And because it’s during the day, I get to enjoy the summery weather occasionally ( when I’m not behind the desk!)

These are some beautiful blossoms I saw yesterday while I was out, which I thought looked quite surreal and bright, partly because of their translucence and also they almost looked like paintings against such a blue sky. Although I love the bright colours of flowers which unfurl and grow in the summer, I also love the tree’s blossoms at the beginning of spring too, and it’s nice to see pink-and-white fluffy clouds floating in trees right now.

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Inside a Giant Puzzle

I love mazes, I always have – they represent a manifestation of those puzzles and games I’ve always played in games, computers and in story books. It’s not often I get to see one, I’ve probably been through about four mazes in my life so far (and one of them was a really rubbish one at Disneyland which was more aimed for small children rather than my lumbering feet).

I’m still on the look-out for more mazes around the UK (I don’t think I’m ready for the World’s Biggest Maze yet, though), but I am looking forward to wandering around some life-size puzzles and discovering the secrets behind the hedges (sounds like a rubbish teen horror book, doesn’t it).

If you haven’t been to a maze and would like to in the future, I will give you some warning – if you get lost it can become very frustrating, tiring and boring to wander around in circles! Try and keep a sense of your direction (eg. walk north, walk towards the sun etc) and try not to get too confused!

mazeAlso part of this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

Weekly Penguins in Sweaters Links

I do enjoy doing these. I’ve decided to start watching Hannibal after reading good reviews about it (it’s been on my to-watch list for a while), so while I do, here’s some links.

Apparently it was National Grammar Day last week, here’s a buncha cards you could have sent.

An idead of what it would look like if our Great-Grandmothers would’ve had Facebook and Twitter when they were young.

Penguins in knitted sweaters. Cuties, I tell you.

Good news, there’s finally a Pakistani-American superheroine called Ms Marvel (aka Kamala Khan) – I also liked this blogger’s take on the character.

Please stop falling down Jennifer Lawrence. Sincerely, all of us.

The Drama Button. Play at appropriate moments.

A photographer dresses up her little bebble in various film and tv characters (I like the Game of Thrones one!)

Bored on the train? Do what this artist does and make the journey more fun!

1000 Life Hacks – some of these are actually quite useful!

The pains and joys of having Very British Problems. I suffer from many of these, at least about 10 times in a day.

That’s all for this weekend, I’ve been caught up again going through a spiral of links which lead me to another twelve links, so excuse me while I explore the wonderful world of cats with moustaches or something.

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The 8-Bit Movie Gifs by Dusan Cezak

I love seeing 8-bit interpretations of stuff (like this), so I really like these 8-bit gif by Slovakian animator Dusan Cezek, who took his love of movies and re-drew them as a gifs series called ‘Pixelwood‘. I adore all of these (although my favourite is quite possibly The Avengers one) – the movies are instantly recognisable, despite how concise and simple the gifs are. I really like seeing art like this – it’s cute, clever and shows a mix of two of my favourite things, art and film.

You can see more of Dusan Cezak’s 8-bit comic-themed gifs here and the rest of his work here.

The Big Lebowski8f21e8f4980827a3572f76a9932af3b5

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissouc01963390b3a97ce9a640fd80355ca46

Nacho Libre5748f5e7cfeb0747586e2a5249e38723

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District 988e03b3c7dfddd3ab9085cbf13692919

Shaun of the Dead628a788fff49f7432351a561d9c529b1

Pulp Fiction777fb9a87154b06c4433515ee841d61a

Evil Deadedbea56254d9f3708b7cb8c2552eb82d

The Avengers8ea467520bbec472737b6aed05912d3e

The Fifth Elementce8476a5750ace5d19811c836fc45a9b

Fight Club293154e83ae32b10b478e85a679839ce

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Pics & Tricks: Perspectives – A Car View

It can be interesting to play around with angles of an object to create an optical illusion which can change perspective with different views. One of the things I’ve learned over the years as I’ve gotten more and more interested in photography is how to present an object and make the most of what you see (and think you can see!)

This is a car that I took a photograph of today, which I took from the front to get a flattering angle – the red of this car looks beautiful:

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So now you’ve seen the car, here’s what it really is, a toy car! (to be fair, it did look plasticky from the first picture, but I couldn’t hide that!) When the picture is taken from the top and further away as a whole picture, you can see what it is, rather than distorting the picture to show another reality.

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So here the pictures are side by side so you can see the difference in angles and zoom – there’s a different effect created in each right? I’d love to try this out with big (and smaller) buildings and landmarks, to see the different end results you get from various angles – something for future posts, I think!

carAlso part of this week’s Photo Challenge: Perspectives

The Unspoken Rules of All Soap Operas

I don’t watch as much soap operas and those day-time tv series as much as I used to, mainly because they frown on watching television at my workplace (it doesn’t look good to have iPlayer running in the background of my reports, managers tend to frown on that), and also because after years and years of watching Eastenders, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Neighbours, I got sick of watching the same storylines being disguised and recycled with each generation.

How many times will Den die? Will Kat cheat again? More importantly, will she be wearing leopard-print while doing it? And how on earth do people like Tony from Hollyoaks and Ian from Eastenders convince so many women to marry them?

It got me to thinking about how a lot of TV’s soaps follow some unscripted rules which seem to be unchanging over the years – even if they’re disguised to reflect current issues. In the 80’s and 90’s there was a lot of controversy over story-lines like homosexuality and teenage pregnancy, these day the storylines will be about immigration, transgender issues, terrorism or just about Cornish pasties – but the results are the same, possibly because the soaps follow the same ‘rules’.

I expounded on some of my theories about soaps to a friend of mine and she urged me to share my theories so I can enlighten you all with them. Admittedly, her exact words were “write a post about it, it sounds funny”, but I’ll take that as a positive too. Read on follow soap-cynics, and tell me if you agree.

Rule #1: There is no such thing as a happy relationship or marriage.

No matter how long the ‘romance’ has been dragged out, and the suspense built up, when a couple finally ends up together or gets married, it will never last. I have yet to see a marriage which has lasted on any soap. Even those married couples who have supposedly been married for 50 years suddenly end up having problems with each other.

It is inevitable that there will be three possible outcomes in any relationship:
1. One of them cheats (which probably means nothing because the other one is likely to be cheating as well)
2. One of them dies (which forever immortalises them and makes them the perfect partner)
3.They just give up their relationship because it gets boring/one of them has to leave the country for obscure reasons/one of them turns gay (i.e. their relationship got boring and producers wanted to spice it up)

The best relationships have been the ones where one half of the couple is dead (probably because they’re too dead to argue or cheat) – in which case, the living half will remember the relationship with unrealistic fondness. Strangely enough, this doesn’t stop characters from having an impaired memory – the amount of times Pauline Fowler talked about her beloved (and belated) ‘Arfur’, despite the fact that he was a cheater and she was a husband-beater. Sounds like him being dead suddenly redeemed him.

Married and separated so many times, we lost count.

Rule #2: Everyone must visit the pub.

It doesn’t matter if you aren’t a drinker, every soap has a thriving pub which is at the centre of all business, drama and gossip, which means it’s a place that everyone eventually ends up being in the episode. Teetotal and/or ex-alcoholic? Why not go to the pub and surround your lemonade with some drinkers? Muslim and don’t drink? Down to the pub with you. Underage or with young children? Why not have a rest at the pub, there’s plenty of people to keep an eye on your children while you have a quick pint. Best of all, no one will ask you why you are at the pub at 11.00am, plus a possible pub lunch and a quick pint after your dinner too.

Some would argue that the pub is a great equalizer – the rich, poor, working class, middle class and people of all colours and ages congregate to the pub cos they all want a drink at the end of the day (or want to witness the latest debacle about to take place). But I’ll just say that the Queen Vic and Rover are too over-populated to be realistic, especially when you know most people would prefer to be at home in front of the telly (I wonder if there is a soap that the characters watch in Eastenders, something called The Market maybe).

Rule #3: Ian is always going to be a git.

I just don’t like him. ‘Nuff said.

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Rule #4: There should only be one taboo topic at any one time.

Every season in soap-world will have a new scandal going on, whether it’s affairs, crime-doings or someone ‘aving a go in the market. In order not to confuse us simple viewers, there’s only ever major story arc at a time, so that we can keep our bums on the edge of the seats without being distracted by other storylines. The downside of this is that a story can drag on for months until we stop caring. But it also means that you can watch a story about an affair in January, go on holiday for a couple of months, come back in April and the affair’s still going on. When it comes to ‘taboo’ topics which become major storylines like teenage pregnancy, homosexuality, immigration or similar issues, I can’t help but think that they’re dumbed down and simplified so that we are beaten over the head with the overall message.

Rule #5: There is always a loophole for characters to come back, regardless or how they leave.

Death is not a preventive factor because there’s always an explanation , even if it’s not a realistic one. We may have seen someone get shot/stabbed/go on the run for twenty years, but it still means that there’s a small lee-way for them to come back. Yes, you, Dirty Den, we’re looking at you. What do you think this is, the Resurrection?

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Rule #6: There is always a villain that we love to hate in every soap

It’s practically a requirement. In Eastender it’s Ian (for me), but there’s plenty of real ‘baddie’ characters to spice things up a bit. And there’s different strands of baddies too, whether it’s the gangster type;, the smarmy type who everyone hates; and, worst of all baddies, the ones who pretend to be good but have serial killer eyes and end up going cuckoo crazy before they get carted off in a wheely bin to a local asylum (which they’ll probably escape from). Think Annie from Sunset Beach, maybe.

Rule #7: The token ethnic person is never accurate.

I have a personal gripe about this because every time there has been an Asian, particularly a Pakistani character in a soap, they’ve never sounded or behaved like anyone I know. The Masoods are a classic example of unrealistic storylines which have either been lifted straight from a Bollywood serial or just made up by non-Asian people who think that Pakistani families are like this. Coronation Street was just as bad, although the only thing they got right was that the Indian family owned the corner shop. As for Emmerdale, well, I have yet to see any Asian people out in the fields.

Put some more of these in Coronation Street.
Rule #8: Time is irrelevant in soap operas and doesn’t run at the same speed as real life.

Don’t try to make it make sense of it, it’ll only give you a headache. A character may find out she is pregnant in May and then be ready to give birth just two months later, pay no attention to that, it’s just producers speeding up time for us. Similarly, a baby will grow into a toddler and suddenly get replaced into a teenage character in a couple of years (I may be exaggerating here, but still). And if it’s highly convenient that Christmas day in Soap World is on the same day as real life, well that’s just clever timing.

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Rule #9: Every character has potential to have a huge (translation: stupid) secret

This ‘secret’ will cover a storyline that will drag on for weeks until we stop caring and the producers are forced to do a ‘big reveal’ so they can try to save the storyline and make us all interested again. Usually the secret is something like having a criminal past or that they’re really someone’s secret mum, or that they were the one who stole Dot’s sandwich. Admittedly, there have a been a few interesting storylines in the past, like the secret serial killers, the complicated affairs and the random storylines which make no sense but which still are fascinating. At the core of soap operas, the moments we all hang on for are the ‘Big Reveal’ parts, the moment everyone finds out something that we knew all along – even if it’s a boring secret.

Rule #10: I can’t think of any more rules so here’s a picture of a cute turtle.

Look how cute it is.

That’s all I could think of folks, I know some of these are silly and some of you might not agree with these, but a lot of these are silly and down to the fact that I watch a lot of rubbish TV which doesn’t always make sense, so I may have done some over thinking here!

Next up, clichés and rules about Bollywood films (and Indian TV serials) – expect some silliness!

Purple Ombre Flower Mondays

The weather the last few days have been beautiful. it’s finally shining brightly and there’s a nice cool breeze outside which we really have been making the most of (translation: we’ve been wandering around the garden and looking at my mum’s flowers). Here’s a pretty ombre-style purple-pink flower to start the week off, it caught my eye because of the pretty tones of pink, fuschia and lilac and also because the petals remind me of tissue paper.

Here’s hoping the week stays warm and not temperamental (last week we had all four seasons in a single day, sun, rain, wind and slight hailstone!) – Happy Monday everyone!

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