This visit we managed to make it into the London Eye, which is the huge Ferris Wheel that gives you a birds eye view of the city, and it is amazing. It makes a nice contrast with the view you get from the ship that cruises along the Thames, and both of those viewpoints are completely different from the way everything looks from the streets. I was somewhat surprised to learn that the famous London Clock Tower is actually called Elizabeth Tower, after the Queen; Big Ben is the name of the bell in that tower, not the tower itself. The foundry that made Big Ben, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, also made the Liberty Bell that called the Continental Congress into session in Philadelphia.
These are a few pictures taken while wandering around London’s Chinatown area, and the first one is my new favorite snack, TaiYaki. We first ran into this snack while hanging out in Second Life, but had never seen it in RL until we found a little bakery in London’s Chinatown that seemed to be making 70% of its sales from fish waffles. Most times of day they had a line the length of the store queuing up to buy them.
They may look like fish, but they taste like lightly sweetened Belgium Waffles (the real ones that you can buy from the street vendors in Brussels) with just a dab of creamy custard in the center.
I think of Tori’s as the gateway into an area, but the one in London’s Chinatown is a good two blocks in.
I never did find out exactly why this representation of the Monkey King was hanging out on this building, but I found it interesting so I am including it here.
For the last week or two I actually partook in a vacation which consisted of a trip to Europe both instigated and accompanied by my very good friend Jenn, and it was amazing. Most of our time was spent in the UK, but there was a day trip to Paris, with a bus stop by the Moulin Rouge, a boat ride by Notre Dame, lunch in the Eiffel Tower, and a visit to the Louvre. I realize that a serious trip to the Louvre takes about a decade to get a good start on, and much longer to complete, and the rest of the city requires a lot more attention than a single day allows for. But within the time allotted for the days visit we got enough of a glimpse of the structure and flavor of Paris to get a good general impression, and I now have a lot of mental and emotional hooks to hang references off of that I might be exposed to through various books, movies, music, or other media. I enjoyed every minute of my time there, and had to share a few pictures.
This complex of buildings was awe inspiring to finally see in person, but when you started looking into the detail work (especially through a high powered telescopic lens) you began to understand just how immense the project that created the facility was.
Here is one of the statues on the bridge that was featured as the suicide weapon in Luc Besson’s Angel-A. Note that if either the Angle or the Human had leaped off the bridge they would have fallen an entire 14 feet before hitting the water, so only careful camera angles kept the scene tense.
The Eiffel Tower springs to everyone’s mind when they think of Paris, so how could we miss it? We not only looked at it from the ground (from multiple angles; it is visible from quite a ways off, after all), but we got on the lift that took us up to the lower platform and to a wonderful lunch of chicken under foam. When we tried to get back to the ground we discovered that was not quite as easy; it seems that some of the approached to the lifts are only accessible at certain times, and while we were not there long enough to learn the rules we did manage to get down again.
The wonderful lunch of chicken under foam I mentioned; trust me when I say it tasted even better than it looks, and it was heart healthy besides!
As a kid from Louisiana, no way I was leaving without a glimpse of the most famous and art-infused strip club of all time! Moulin Rouge is in a category by itself, and had to be included here!
There are a lot of family friendly choices this time, starting with the live action remake of Pete’s Dragon from Disney. Spielberg’s take on Roald Dahl’s The BFG is also by way of Disney, and also family friendly. The animated adventure comedy The Wild Life has one of the more cleverly done interactive web sites that I have seen, is a world of fun, and again, is family friendly. It is also still another excellent example of the kind of quality animation work coming out of Belgium and France this century. I do have to admit that Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is family friendly for only certain totally twisted and dysfunctional variations of the word Family (or Friendly, for that matter), which should be obvious from its R rating, but it is a total hoot as well. See this one, just don’t let your kids in the room while you are watching it.
In Anime, Death Parade: The Complete Series has a simple premise: When two people die at the same time, they have to fight. The one who wins gets to live again, the one who loses is gone for good. Decim is the arbiter:a judge who determines whether or not a soul is worthy of reincarnation. At least until he until he meets a mysterious young woman whose fate seems impossible to decide, and the real story gets underway. Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine, Complete Collection is season 2 of this series, and includes all 12 episodes plus the movie. This is not the first anime series to explore what it means to be human, or even the first to do so while the characters DNA is being rewritten, but it does have a somewhat unique approach to the question. The first part of one of this years most edge-of-your-seat shows, God Eater 1, also becomes available this week. I will be waiting for them to put all 13 episodes into a single box set myself, but it is good to see they are making it available in however limited a form.
The stylish thriller Evolution will be in theaters this week, but it seems fairly close to horror based on the trailer I saw. Because of that I will not be one of the folks watching it. I also find it a tiny bit confusing that the only web site I could find for this French movie is in Japan, but that could be my search engine stats being out of whack from all the Anime and J-Rock I google.
Shin Gojira AKA Godzilla Resurgence is in theaters as of tomorrow, and runs for one week. On Friday Max Steel is the combination of human Max McGrath and alien Steel, who become the superhero when they have to. This is a spinoff of a TV series based on an action figure, so it is somewhat Transformers-like in its genesis. Considering it was filmed in the Carolina’s and the toy company producing the movie is Mattel, I am not sure why the only official web site I could find for it is in Japan.