Monday, December 18, 2006

Bits and pieces of my mind - plus penguins!

I have done myself a huge service. I've scheduled most of my classes this week so that the senior high students have papers to independently do research for (my history class) and little presentations to give (my Finnish classes). Ergo, I find myself blogging on a Monday evening at 6.30 p.m. with all work for tomorrow done. Yay me.

It didn't rain today. I don't think it rained yesterday either. In fact, we've had a few drier days and the temperatures have been falling. There was even a few speckles of snow on the ground this morning. There's still a faint possibility of a white Christmas! Yay winter weather.

On Friday evening I was very tired, and wanted to watch something light and cute for entertainment. What I got from the movie rental place was a French movie called La Marche de l'Empereur or March of the Penguins. It's a nature documentary / family film, which tells the story of the Emperor penguins as they literally march (mostly in single file!) miles to a traditional breeding ground to bring their young ones into the world in the middle of the harshest Antarctic winter.

I found the movie simply stunning. I hadn't known this about the behaviour of the penguins before. They march by the thousands to a particular place, long away from the open waters of the ocean, to find a partner and mate. Finding a partner involves complicate "dancing" and "singing" - and when a partner is found, the pair is monogamous. The female lays one egg and leaves it to the male to guard - for two months without food! While the male penguins keep the eggs warm and protected on top of their feet, the females march back to the sea to feed. In two months time the females, once again, march back to the waiting male and hatching egg. The penguin parents change roles again and the males return to the sea. The females now take care of the little fluffy chicks until they are strong enough to, you guessed it, march to the sea.

May I just say at this point that there is hardly anything cuter than a fluffy emperor penguin chick. The adult penguings are adorable, but the chicks, OMG. I guarantee you that unless you are made of stone and have a heart of ice, you'll go "awww" when you see the little critters fluttering about. My heart was full of warm fuzzy feelings, when the baby penguins explored their world and just plain owned me with their cuteness. I mean, they're round and obviously soft and cuddly, naturally wobbly and when they fall over in the snow to bump on their little penguin bums, I doubt if I could've uttered a sensible word. It was all "awww" for me.

In other words, I warmly recommend the movie for everyone. It's a great family movie, obviously a great movie to watch alone - and honestly, penguins are teh cute. QED. :)

Yay penguins!

Ah, maybe I've now made my point about penguins. :) Time to move on to something completely different...

Often around these last few weeks / days of the year people like to look back on the past year and evaluate it according to whatever criteria they deem appropriate. I decided I'd just list a few "Bests of 2006". I'll add to the list later, as things come to mind.

Best bought CD
Sting's Songs from the Labyrinth. An amazing collection of John Dowland's songs from the 16th century, beautifully interpreted by Sting and Edin Karamazov. If you like historical music, you'll love this. At least I did. I admire Sting for this bold decision to record songs that certainly aren't material for the top10 pop charts.

Best book read
Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl and C.S. Forester's Hornblower novels (Hornblower and the Atropos & Hornblower and the Happy Return) share the top spot for historical fiction, I think. For fantasy, umm, well, Patricia McKillip's Ombria in Shadow was a pleasant enough surprise.

Best new addiction
The Fables, graphic novels by Bill Willingham. Instant love. Quite a few issues missing from my collection yet, but I'm adamant in getting them all into my bookshelf. They'll have a nice place next to my Sandman collection. My meagre collection of graphic novels.

Best purchase
Laptop! Digital camera (bought on Saturday, btw)! But laptop is definitely The One.

Best movie seen
Probably V for Vendetta and Kingdom of Heaven DC.

Best tv-show
Dr. Who takes the top spot here. I have enjoyed also shows like House M.D., Bones, Battlestar Galactica and many more. But Dr. Who offered a refreshing dose of British quirky humour and witty scripting.

Best decision
To start planning on a vacation in Wales next summer! Has kept me going (and saving up money) during the whole rainy, dark autumn.

Well, better think about some more bests and post them later.

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