And then everything changed

Samstag, 30. April 2016

Movie Recommendations - Edition: This year's Blockbusters (Part 3): The Revenant and Hateful Eight

I have kind of a hate-love-relationship with awards, because on one hand I find awards pointless and watching all the rich people makes me sick, but on the other hand I've already written my accetance speech. Nevertheless, the Oscars are for me a great input into which movies I should check out this year. So far, I think that last years blockbusters where better alltogether with outstanding movies like the incredible Birdman, the beautiful Boyhood and the emotional rollercoaster Wild and of course with the genius Interstellar. I yet have to write my review of American Sniper, which I've also watched.

From this years nominations I still have to watch a few more but so far I've watched Mad Men (which I'm not reviewing because I don't really know what to say about it except: really cool images but a pointless story), The Revenant and Hateful Eight.

The Revenant

Well, it's a Leonoardo diCaprio movie, so my expectations of it were really high because to this date I've never seen a movie of him which disappointed me. But also I heard some negative things about it from several friends. Let's just say, the Revenant was a well-made movie and there's really nothing wrong with it but it didn't completely blow my mind as I hoped.

The thing which I found a bit disappointing was that in the end the whole movie was just about this one major asshole and about revenge. As it stars Leo diCaprio I was expecting some message against exploitation of Native Americans or something similar. But the motive for the actions were mostly pretty mundane (revenge).

Neverheless there's nothing wrong with a good survival story. The Revenant impressed me most in the scenes which showed Leonardo DiCaprio on his own. Seriously, I could just watch him crawling though the forest, eating raw meat and doing drastic things to survive for three hours. In those moment it was like I don't even notice that time is passing, Of course, Leonardo diCaprio did a fantastic job and I admire what he went through for this movie (especially because in real life he's a vegetarian). But still I don't think that it was his best work. I think that some of his previous roles were more Oscar-worthy.

Of course director's Alejandro González Inárrito and cinemathographer's Emmanuel Lubezki (who are both brilliant and both also worked on last year's oscar winner Birdman) work was great as always. But then again, how hard is it to make landscapes look majestic. It's a lot harder to make mentally instable actors in New York look magestic, which they managed to do in Birdman.

The Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight was a very well-made Quentin Tarantino movie. It is a very typical movie of the famous director. The setting follows Reservoir Dogs, the characters remind me of some characters from Inglorious Baterds and the humor is close to Pulp Fiction. The idea is as simple as it's old: Trap all your characters with all their secrets and emotions and problems into one room and see what happens. In The Hateful Eight the room is a hut and the thing which traps them is a blizzard.

The setting was beautiful and the characters interesting. It was funny and witty and suprising and you didn't really know who the good guys and who the bad guys are until the very end. Every Quentin Tarantino fan has to watch this movie. I think on a scale for the cult movie Pulp Fiction on the top end to the awful From Dusk Till Dawn at the bottom end, Hateful Eight is somewhere in the upper third, between Inglorious Basterds and Kill Bill.

Have you seen The Revenant or The Hateful Eight? What did you think of them?

Dienstag, 26. April 2016

Celebrate being alive!

This weekend I watched a Youtube video about how women often have to decide between a career and children. It made me think about how I'd decide and I came to the conclusion that I want neither of these things. I mean, I'm not sure if I won't want any of it at some point in my life (I'm only 24 yet) but I do know that neither a career nor having children is a priority for me. Those things are not the goal of my life, as they seem to be for many others. I think there's more to life than those two paths.

You know what I want out of life? I want to be happy. I want to live it to its fullest. I want to travel and read great books and watch life-changing movies and kiss in the rain and go on a sunrise hike and watch the stars and light scented candles and cuddle and dip my toes in the ocean. I want to spend my life doing the things that make me happy and being with the people who make me happy.

Sure, I'll have to work to provide for myself. But I don't want my life to only be fullfilled when I start a family (and by this I mean having children, really I don't understand the term to start a family - I already have a family). And I also don't want to spend my life working day and night, chasing money and fame. I have dreams and I chase them but I wouldn't call them a career. Success is relative. If I hold a dream job and earn a lot and people know me, I might not be happy. If I have children and grandchildren I might not be happy. But if I focus on spending as much time as possible doing things I love and being with people I love, then happiness is possible. I work but when the workday is over, I go home. You might say that's because I don't have my dreamjob, but I can seriously not imagine a job in the world which would make me wanna work day and night.

I always try to keep my blog positive. But I too have days when it all feels too heavy and when simple tasks like getting out of bed and having a shower seem really hard. I hate those days because they make me wanna crawl under my blanket and never come out again. But luckily in the last years those days are becoming more and more rare. Because I started being aware of the fact that life is full of possibilities, no matter how stuck you think you are.

A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend and I watched a documentary about a group of people who's plane crashed in the Andes and they were all dead or hurt and it was cold and then there was an avalanche. In short, it was really awful and a lot of people died. But some of them survived despite the odds. The documentary left me with such a joy for the simple fact that I'm alive. The next day we made a bonfire and we had some champagne and we celebrated that we're young and we're alive.

Because being alive, how simple it may sound, really is everything. Being alive means that there's always hope. There are so many things yet to see, so many adventures to embark on, so many places to visit, so many poeple to meet. So, take a minute to be grateful that you're alive and then go and be excited about the things to come. Celebrate being alive!

PS: If you want to have your life changed by said documentary, you can find it here.

Donnerstag, 21. April 2016

The Magicians Characters - TV Show vs. Books

If you've read my blog, you've probably noticed that I'm obsessed with the book series The Magicians by Lev Grossman. The books are seriously fatastic and if I could forget it, just to read it for the first time once more, I'd gladly do so. Unfortunately I can't. But luckily their is now a tv show by SciFi Channel based on The Magicians, which just completed its first season.

Be warned. The show is very different from the books. It takes Lev Grossman's characters and some plot lines and his phenomenal atmosphere and squeezes them into a different story. Nevertheless, I think that the tv show is pretty well made and fascinating in its own way and I devoured every episode.

So, withour further ado, here are the characters of The Magicians - TV show vs Books.

(There will be minor spoilers.)


Quentin is the story's protagonist and I think in the most parts they really found a good Quentin. Tv Quentin is just as crumpy and unconfortable and unlikable as in the books. I do love Quentin's development in the books, so let's see where he'll go in the show.

In the show however Quentin starts out with a clinically diagnosed depression for which he was in a psychatric hospital for a while, while in the books he's just a bit negative but not clinically depressed. I feel like in the show they made him a bit sadder and weaker while in the books he's more of an asshole. In neither is Quentin a character you want to look up to, but this is just what I love about Lev Grossman's world - it's not perfect, it's real.


Julia was a big surprise in the tv show, because in the books her story only takes place in the second book and in the show they already squeezed it into the first season.

By the way, another huge difference between the books and the show is that in the show they are in college for the whole time and that's when all the story happens, while in the books college ends after the first third of the first book and the story starts only after they hung around their New York apartment doing nothing. But I get why they changed that. Seriously for the frst half of the first book, very little happens and you can only show depressed twentysomethings drinking for so many episodes before the viewers are bored.

Back to Julia. Julia's story in book 2 was my favorite part of the whole serious. It's absolutely brutal and terrifying and simply genius. In the show I think that they shortened it too much and that her suffering doesn't get enough credit.

I do love Julia though, in the books as well as in the show. She is my reminder that sometimes you have to take the tough path to get to your goal. She's incredibly determined and strong and she really goes through hell but she survives and that's why she is the character who inspires me the most.


Oh, Alice, I hated her in the books and I hate her just as well in the show. I wouldn't mind if they made her a bit more bearable in the tv show but unfortunately they stayed with Lev Grossman's idea of her. Alice  is incredibly uptight and stiff and controlling and everytime she has a scene, I feel uncomfortable.


I love Eliot! They really nailed Eliot, he looks excactly how I imagined him. Eliot is this glamorous diva who everyone notices when he enters a room. He's handsome and he likes to party. But beneath it, he is extremely broken, he's such a tragic character. In the tv show they kind of gave him a reason to be this way but in the books it seems like he was just born unhappy. Of course he develops into a better version of himself, but in the show this has yet to come. Right now he's a desperate alcoholic. I always kind of related with Eliot because it feels like he's the only one who realizes what an awful place the world can be at times.


When I started the show, I was like: Who the hell is Margo? Then after a while it dawned on me, that she has to be Janet from the books - Why the hell would they changed her name? I think Janet is a perfectly fine name. Who's called Margo?

Whatever you call her, she's kind of a bitch, manipulating, condescending but also really self-confident and she has the potential to be great. She's Eliots best friend and they have an unhealthy relationship in which she obviously loves him but he's gay so he has no interest.


Penny is the one character who they really improved in the show. In the books Penny is an outsider, a weird loner, who makes bad jokes and who everyone hates and looks down to. I always suspected that he's merely a plot device. But in the tv shows he's fabolous. He is the character with the best style, both fashion-wise and attitude-wise. He's funny and sassy and unbreakable. I actually love him in the show and hated him in the books. Also he has the coolest gift of them all. While the others can only do minor magic, Penny can travel between worlds - how cool is that?


Okay, seriously, who the hell is Kady? There's no Kady in the books. In the show Kady seems to be Penny's girlfriend + associated with the underground magic circle Julia belongs to + part of an internet magicians group. She's an interesting character but I still don't know where they're going with her.

So, yes sometimes I'm upset that the tv show changed so much from the books but at the same time I'm just so happy to see my favourite flawed characters come alive on the screen. Can't wait till season 2!

Donnerstag, 14. April 2016

Get your priorities straight

I have a friend who studies catastrophe management and frequently travels to interesting countries like Israel, India or the Sudan for research. For this she is gone for periods of time ranging from a couple of weeks to a year. Her work is interesting and adventurous and important. But for it she repeatedly leaves behind her boyfriend who remains in Europe. This of course makes her a bit sad but I can tell that she's okay with it because this is how she wants so live her life.

Personally I could never be apart from my boyfriend for such long periods of time. When you share your life with someone, it comes with many perks: having a partner in crime, sharing your dreams for the future, frequent sex. But it also comes with some sacrifices. Living in a commune in Israel, moving to the other side of the Earth for a job oppurtunity, travelling the world with a trailer, running away with the circus. All these things now are only possible if one of two things happen: Either your boyfriend is on board with your drastic life changes and neither of you has any responsibilities which keep you from going after them - or you do them alone and stand being apart from the person you love.

For me the first is difficult and the latter impossible. The longest I've been apart from my boyfriend was six weeks, and let me tell you, I was absolutely miserable. If you're seperated from the one you love, it feels like you're physically missing something, like an arm or a leg, a condition which makes you feel odd and hinders you from functioning in everyday life. So, I rather stay with my boyfriend and change the year long travelling plan into a week long trip. I even tell my boss that I can't go on business trips which are longer than a week.

Neither my friend nor me are wrong with how we handle our lifes. For her her studies are most important, for me it's my love. And that's fine.

The one thing that you have to do in order to make most of your life, is to get your priorities straight. What do you desire most: A thriving career? Travel and adventures? Money? Or time for your hobbies? Being close to the people you love? I know, I too want all of these things, but chances are that we can't have it all and that we have to sacrifice some aspects of those things for the ones which matter most to us.

Find out what you want and then go and get it!

Sonntag, 10. April 2016

Travel Photography: Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Maastricht

Last week I visited the equally amazing cities of Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Maastricht. Here are some impressions of a great week of travel.


Unfortunately it was raining the whole week but I didn't let it affect me and I started right away with a beautiful walk through Strasbourg.

There's a lovely part of Strasbourg which is called Little France.

I also visited the cooles cathedrale ever, mostly because of its astronomical clock but also because it's simply impressive.


I walked through the Casemates which is are tunnels inside the city walls. They're seriously cool but also a bit confusing, so I got lost a couple of times.

This was a question at a modern art exhibition which made me think.

This was the view out of the train.


In Maastricht there's the world's greatest bookstore. It's located inside an old church an looks fabolous.

I also visited a castle runie in Valkenburg.

There was a lovely park where my friend and I went on a walk.

You can find all these photos and more on my Facebook Photography Page.

Freitag, 1. April 2016

The Magicians by Lev Grossman - Told in Quotes

I'll be on vacation next week, so to fill your freetime, as I won't be putting up new posts for a week, I'm giving you my favourite quotes of The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman. You might have noticed that I absolutely adore these books. I have reviewed part 1+2, as well as part 3+the tv show before, but I think that the best way to show you what these books really mean to me and why I love them so much, is to let them speak for themselves. Enjoy!

The Magicians:

"Quentin knew he wasn't happy. Why not? He had painstakingly assembled all the ingredients of happyness. He had performed all the nessecary rituals, spoken the words, lit the candles, made the sacrifices. But happyness like a disobedient spirit had refused to come. [...] All of it just confirmed his belief that his real life, the life he should be living, had been mislaid through some clerical error by the cosmic bureaucracy. This couldn't be it. It had been diverted somewhere else, to someone else, and he had been issued this shitty subsitute faux life instead." (p.12)

"She seemed to know everything about Quentin, everything he was thinking and feeling, sometimes before he did, and she wanted him in spite of it - because of it." (p.182)

"Just for one second look at your life and see how perfect it is. Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. This is it: there's nothing else. It's here, and you better decide to enjoy it or you're going to be miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever." (p.327)

The Magician's King:

"What was the point of all this when you could just drop dead, just like that? That's what he wanted to know: What was even the fucking point?" (p.32)

"That was the thing about the world: it wasn't that things were harder than you though they were going to be, it was that they were hard in ways you didn't expect." (p.97)

"It was magic. Real magic! And she was doing it! Hakuna fucking matata. Either she wasn't crazy, or she'd finally gone well and truly around the bend, and she wasn't coming back. Either way she could have died for joy." (p.121)

"He wanted to go back, but there was no back to go to. The only way out was through. Onward and downward." (p.144)

"What was so great about magic anyway, compared to love? Seriously, what?" (p.171)

"She opened herself up to them in a way she never had to anyone: no irony, no caveats, no regrets. She poured out her broken heart to the Free Traders, and they took it and cleaned it up and fixed it up and gave it back to her fresh and bloody and pumping again." (p.174)

"She hadn't run far enough, or fast enough, or hid herself well enough, and the disaster had tracked her down and it had found her. It wasn't going to let her go." (p.179)

"So the journey is the arrival kind of thing?" Josh said. "I hate that stuff. I'm an old-fashioned arrival-is-the-arrival kind of guy." (p.227)

"The first time he's seen the Neitherlands he'd felt, maybe for the last time in his life, pure joy: the kind of uncut, pharmacy-grade, white-hot joy that comes with believing, or not just believing but knowing, that everything was going to be okay, not just then or for the next two weeks, but forever." (p.269)

"He was never going to lose this, he thought. He was going to enjoy everything exactly as much, as Benedict would have enjyoed it if he could have come back from the underworld. And Alice, and all the rest of them. It was all he could do for them. Earth or Fillory, did it even matter? What was the huge conundrum? Everwhere you looked there was so much richness, you could never exhaust it. Maybe it was all a game, that got crumpled up and thrown away at the end, but while you were here it was real." (p.344)

"This now, this stopped him. He'd known that adventures were supposed to be hard. He'd understood that he had to go a long way and solve difficult problems and fight foes and be brave and whatever else. But this was hard in a way he hadn't counted on. You couldn't kill it with a sword or fix it with a spell. You couldn't fight it. You just had to endure it, and you didn't look good or noble or heroic doing it." (.360)

The Magician's Land:

"Maybe when you give up your dreams, you find out that there's more to life than dreaming." (p.35)

"Doing magic was like finally finding the words you'd been groping for your whole life. You'd always known what you wanted to say, it was at the tip of your tongue, you almost had it, you knew it a moment ago but forgot it - and then there it was. Casting a spell was like finally finding the words: there, that's what I've meant, that's what I've been trying to say all along." (p.37)

"Elliot thought it spoke well of Poppy that he saw the point of Josh, which not everyone could. He wasn't handsome, and although he was as clever as any of them, he didn't walk around making sure everybody knew it all the time. No, the point of Josh was that he had a big and noble hard. It had taken Elliot literally years to figure that out. Poppy was a quicker sutdy." (p.70)

"Maybe that's what the ghost was trying to teach her: it's all pointless. Fate is coming whatever you do, so quit wriggling around, it's only making you look more ridicolous than you already do. We're all ghosts here, you just don't look like one yet. But she wasn't having that. If that was true, than what was the point of anything ever? She was going to wriggle a bit longer anyway. Who the hell cared how ridicolous she looked?" (p.105)

"That was magic for you, right? The thing about magic, the real kind: it didn't make excuses and it was never funny." (p.243)

"Magic was decidedly imperfect, but the really funny thing, she thought, was that if it were perfect, it wouldn't be so beautiful." (p.246)

"He'd wanted to create something, make something new, be somebody new, but it was becoming apparent that he couldn't, not until he'd dealt with something old." (p.268)

"Usually in moments of crisis he was lost in a swarm of choices, paralyzed by the possibility that he might do the wrong thing - there were so many wrong things to do, and so few right ones!" (p.270)

"Janet had to give him credit: when he understood something, he really understood the hell out of it." (p.286)

"Something began dying a little inside Janet. Oh yes - hope. That's what people called it." (p.291)

"It was ending too soon, the way everything did, everything except ebola viruses and very bad people like psychopaths, those things never ended. How was that fair? Fuck it, it was stupid. Theories about life were always bullshit." (p.315)

"He wished he could tell him that none of it was going to turn out anything like the way he hoped, but that everything was going to be alright anyway." (p.360)

"He didn't disagree with him - he still felt solidary with him on major points. The world was fucking awful. It was a wretched, desolated place, a desert of meaninglessness, a heartless wasteland, where horrific things happend all the time for no reason and nothing good lasted for long. [...] He wasn't desolate and he wasn't empty. He was full of emotion, full of feelings, bursting with them, and when it came down to it, that's what being a magician was." (p.369)

All quotes by Lev Grossman