Tag Archives: Films

The Education of Charlie Banks: Sebastian Stan Pictures

The hunt for my favourite Sebastian film continues, this one wasn’t quite so bad as the previous one but it’s not something I’ll be watching again. This time Sebastian plays a rich preppy jerk named Leo who has more money than common sense and who doesn’t seem to give a damn about anyone but himself. My main reason for not enjoying the film a great deal is Jessie Eisenberg, he just always feels like the same character, no matter what film of his you’re watching. He’s the main character Charlie who meets Leo at college. The film centers around Charlie, his friend Danny and their mutual friend Mick. The latter is not a pleasant character and is the source of much conflict. You’re meant to feel sorry for him but it’s not easy to. He may have a had a difficult upbringing and his life isn’t easy but that doesn’t give him the right to act like a thug and attack other people. Though some people would argue the treatment he meted out to Leo was warranted. He was being a jerk and his actions could have cost the girl her job, yet he didn’t care. Because he’s rich and has no concept of having to work for a living. But then you could argue Charlie and Danny equally have no concept of such things. At the beginning of the film when he’s defending his involvement with Leo and why what he does is not so bad Danny claims that he’s not rich, his parents are. That kind of logic is totally bogus, who does he think pays for his stuff and later on to send him to college? He’s certainly not working his way through college like some people have to. His indulging of Mick’s dangerous behaviour is a way of sort of living through him. He can’t or won’t take chances like that but he can encourage Mick to.

In some way both Danny and Charlie are complicit in what Mick does because both of them could have turned him into the police and didn’t. If Charlie had not backed out of his witness statement all those years ago it’s possible Mick wouldn’t have been out to be able to kill or harm someone else. On the matter of being complicit, Leo’s friends play a part in his behaviour too. They don’t take his behaviour very seriously when he almost costs someone their job, they don’t laugh it off but they don’t pull him in line either. Because out of all of them Mick is the only one who knows what’s it like to worry about money that way. Yet it still doesn’t excuse his reaction, Leo may have deserved to be put straight but violence never solves anything and he certainly wouldn’t have learnt anything from the experience.

I guess the film was interesting and raised some interesting questions about what people become and if they are destined to be that way. If those things can change or are set in stone. Whether or not what happens to people growing up has to define who they become as adults. Whilst it was interesting it also lacked the final punch, I didn’t find the end convincing. At the beginning of the film Mick is shown beating up two jocks in a matter of minutes and with no real problem. Yet when it comes to beating up Charlie who should pose no problem it goes on forever even though Charlie isn’t fighting back. I’m also not sure that Mick would be able to stop himself from stomping on him, nor by how Charlie sees the situation. That it was a graduation of sorts, that Mick didn’t make that final blow because he cares about him or discovered his humanity or whatever. Another thing I was disappointed by was the lack of an explanation for why Mick was so interested in Danny. With the scene in his dorm they seemed to hint at some kind of romantic interest on Mick’s part but it never came up again. Anyhow, I did get some nice pictures of Sebastian. His character may have been a jerk but he was a handsome one:

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The Covenant: Sebastian Stan Pictures

Another Friday night with more of Sebastian Stan. This time round was The Covenant, it didn’t look promising from the description on the back of the case but then it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve sat through a terrible film for an actor I like. If I can put up with a terrible film for James Spader or Vincent D’Onofrio then I can do so for Sebastian. Though this one really tested my patience with rich kids, witches and plenty of teenage angst. Not to mention lame special effects and terribly predictable dialogue. The acting wasn’t great either. I always like to try and find something good in a film, just one redeeming feature. And I mean one other than how cute Sebastian looked or how much screen time he got, I guess it had it’s creepy moments, the spider nightmare and the darkling were pretty good.The scene in the shower where she’s convinced someone was watching her was very atmospheric too. On the counts of both character and plot development however, well almost non-existent would be the only fair word to describe both. Definitely not one to watch again. Up next on my Sebastian list is The Education of Charlie Banks, here’s hoping that will be one that’s worth a rewatch. Not that I could get sick of The Winter Soldier but it would be nice to add another Sebastian film to my favourites shelf:

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The Apparition: Sebastian Stan Pictures

Tonight I watched my first non Marvel Sebastian Stan film. I borrowed it from someone who’s a huge fan of him and they assured me it was scary so I was excited about getting to see it. I don’t watch many horror films because I don’t scare that easily so I don’t see the point. Other than getting a lot of cute Sebastian pictures this film was a disappointment in pretty much every way. Sebastian was ok, I don’t want to criticize not just because I like him but because he didn’t have a lot to work with. It was a pretty weak script, it’s not so much that I can’t find anything good to say about it but that I can’t really find anything to say about it. It was just kind of meh, for lack of a better word. I could see the moments where it was meant to be creepy but I wasn’t feeling it, I didn’t jump or get scared at any point during the film. And I didn’t cheat, I watched late at night with all the lights switched off but still no reaction.

It wasn’t scary and not interesting either. The story is when Sebastian’s character Ben was in college he and some fellow students attempted to conjure up a spirit of some kind. It went wrong and now that spirit is haunting them both. Tom Felton who’s best known as playing Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films plays his friend Patrick. So strange things start to happen, furniture moving, doors being left open and plants dying until things start to get steadily worse. Long story short his girlfriend Kelly finds the video of the experiment and she asks him to leave because he didn’t tell her about it.

They end up in a hotel where the spirit tries to kill her, because it’s not the house that’s haunted but them. Ben and Patrick try to send the spirit back where it came from but it didn’t work. Patrick gets taken by it and so does Ben when he and Kelly go to Patrick’s safe room. They get in the room and then he disappears. I have to admit that was kind of a neat trick. You think they’ve got to the safe room, so they’re safe. After all it’s where Patrick’s been hiding these past two years. I wonder if that means the spirit could have taken him anytime he wanted, if he was just toying with him. Because that is the worst thing such a spirit can inflict upon people, that kind of mental torture where they don’t what to trust or what’s going to happen next, the never knowing of if you’re safe. So I guess there is one good thing about the film other than how cute Sebastian Stan looked. Kelly gets taken by it too, though it’s not at all clear where she is. They didn’t show what became of Ben and Patrick. He mentioned purgatory, I wonder if that empty mall was her version of that. She hides in a tent but it gets her anyway. I don’t know what the point of that was. If maybe by putting the tent there it was providing her with the illusion she was going to get away. Toying with by making her feel safe and then scaring her to death. Or if it was meant to be symbolic of her denial of the situation. I don’t really care what happened to any of them, the film didn’t do a great job of making you care for any of them. If I didn’t like Sebastian Stan I wouldn’t have cared what happened to him.

Anyhow, to the good stuff. I figured since I put up pictures of Jogi from every match I watch why not do the same for Sebastian Stan and his films as I see them:

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Witness Protection

Witness Protection

When you do something scary or stressful — bungee jumping, public speaking, etc. — do you prefer to be surrounded by friends or by strangers? Why?

This is yesterday’s prompt but I didn’t have any thoughts on the matter then. Also I didn’t find today’s prompt particularly interesting which is ironic given the prompt in question asks what bores you. Logically it would be better to be surrounded by strangers, after all if you do something stupid or make a mistake then you’ll never have to face them again. But on days like today being surrounded by friends is a better idea. Well not surrounded, I don’t want to be surrounded by anyone. I don’t like groups of people, no matter how many people.

Today I went to an unfamiliar place, a cinema I’d never been to before and one I never plan to visit again. All of this was in aid of seeing The Hateful Eight, and it pains me to say it but it wasn’t worth it. I never thought I’d see the day when Quentin Tarantino disappointed me. I missed Freiburg’s friendly against FC Basel for this. For three mind numbing hours I had to be subjected to scenes which from a visual perspective felt very familiar, plenty of long and over indulgent scenes and substandard dialogue. The former I can live with, I actually quite enjoyed picking out the similarity of certain shots to scenes from Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. But the latter is not acceptable at all. It’s not the violence I have a problem with or the racist language used. Django features a lot of both those things, difference is in Django it had a purpose and was in context. Here it was just a gore-fest. And Tim Roth was doing a bad impression of Christoph Waltz, he was veering between Hans Landa and King Schultz.

But none of that is my point. My point is today wasn’t easy to deal with, having to deal with change or an unfamiliar situation of some kind never is. One thing which made it slightly easier is the thought that I was doing it for a good reason. That I would be rewarded for my suffering. Whilst that wasn’t true today wasn’t a lost cause. Today did prove to me that sometimes it’s good to have other people around, not only that but it’s ok to let them help you. It was just a small thing they did to help me out. It’s not what they did that’s so important to me, it’s how they did it. I’ve been on edge the past few days, mostly because of today and partly because of Friday. I’m both excited and yet apprehensive. More than anything I just don’t want something to go wrong. But getting back to today, being on edge and not having gotten much sleep meant I’ve been a little bit more twitchy and uncoordinated than usual. My friend was worried I would drop my popcorn and drink, as they put it “it was an accident waiting to happen.” Like I said it’s not only what they did but how. They didn’t make a big deal of it, they didn’t fuss over me or anything like that. They just took it from my hands and gave it back to me when I could take hold of it properly. I’m not good at letting people help me but I didn’t really have a choice. It was either let them take it or risk having no popcorn to eat. Sometimes practicality has to trump my own stubbornness and need to do everything myself. Even better is the fact I’m not beating myself up about it which is what usually happens. It’s odd that way, whenever I need someone to speak for me or help someone else understand what I’m saying I feel stupid about it and obsess endlessly over it. But when it’s something that requires physical help I’m less obsessive about it. I wonder why one is easier to accept than the other.

There’s also two other good things about today, one of which might not have happened if I’d stayed at home. Talking about how unsatisfying the new Millennium book is we naturally got to talking about August. It’s my view that August would be better off far away from his mother and that she doesn’t deserve a second chance at taking care of him. In discussing how lackluster the ending is I got the idea of writing my own version. Not only that but writing a back story of sorts for August. I came up with the idea partly because of a comment made by someone else about one of my stories. They want to know more of what the autistic character is thinking. I told them I’m not doing that, not yet anyway. Because the reader not knowing what he’s thinking gives some idea of how his parents feel. Why should the reader get to know things they don’t? Not knowing what he thinks gives the reader a better understanding of how frustrating such a situation can be for all parties. Despite my position on that story I do like the idea of doing such a thing for August. The second good thing was getting someone else’s opinion on the first Matze chapter. Not only am I happy they liked it but their comments really mean a lot to me.

December: The Month of Dieter

December could only be named for Hans-Dieter Flick and it’s quite fitting that I start writing this post now because on the day I started writing it there was a new video of Hansi posted on the DFB site. It’s also fitting in the sense December is the month you get gifts in and he and Jogi have certainly been the source of many gifts this past year. And now Matze too of course. In fact at the moment I have more Matze chapters in progress than Jogi or Hansi ones. He’s proving to be quite the little character.

Despite the month being named for Hansi it’s not exactly my favourite time of year. I’ve never been a fan of Christmas and I’m still not. But I did have a little fun this year, the Bundesliga took care of that because on TV Christmas morning was a repeat of Freiburg’s 6-3 opening night win against 1.FC Nürnberg. Seeing it again didn’t take the sting out of losing the reverse of the fixture two weeks before Christmas but it was still a lot of fun.

The only gift I really wanted for Christmas this year was for Freiburg to be autumn champions, they just missed out on that honour with RB Leipzig in pole position instead. It would have been nice but it is ultimately meaningless, what counts is where they are four months from now. That’s all that counts. At least they did get to start and end the month with a win, two routine victories in both cases. First a 3-0 win against 1.FC Union Berlin and then against 1860 München.

As things stand the gifts I did get turned out to be quite nice. A few books including the kicker Almanach which has almost all the German related football stats you could dream of. A most useful gift. I also got two DFB calendars, two Dortmund programs one with Thomas Tuchel on the front and one with Matze Ginter on there. Plus some Matze Ginter cards. The real highlight however for me was the wrapping paper. I love all my gifts but I love the wrapping paper the most. Three kinds this year, Freiburg, Dortmund and the by now traditional Jogi & Hansi paper:

IMG_20160111_182837IMG_20160111_183337IMG_20160111_183434IMG_20160111_182926Matthias Ginter - SC Freiburg 2011-12 signed card Matthias Ginter - SC Freiburg 2012-13 signed card Matthias Ginter - Borussia Dortmund cardAs I expected it was a rather strange month, even more so than usual. For one thing I watched thirteen films. Nothing I watched could beat the first film of the month which was The Secret in their Eyes. Every time I watch it I just fall in love with it a little bit more. It gets more perfect every time I watch it. I also saw a very odd filmed named Stuart Saves his Family late one night when I couldn’t sleep. I watched it purely because Vincent D’Onofrio was in it but it ended up being quite an interesting film and certainly gave me something to think about.

I’m not sure I’d say I liked the main character Stuart, in fact I’m not even sure I enjoyed the film but it did intrigue me. So much so I drafted a post in relation to some of the themes it covered. Gist of it is Stuart is a little addicted to self help groups and is a little overbearing. When you meet his family you understand why. He has his own TV show which is not at all popular and when it gets cancelled his life falls apart. In between dealing with the dramatics of his family he gets another chance at a similar endeavor. The second time round it works out. And it’s partly because of what he learned from his family that it does. Eventually he realises that you can only help someone up to a certain point, if they don’t want your help or are unable to recognise they need help then there’s not a lot more you can do. Sometimes when it comes to your family you have to just accept them as they are and stop trying to fix them all the time. Which is what Stuart does, he’s always trying to fix things. Sometimes you just have to play the hand you’ve been dealt. His motto is “Progress not perfection.”

This is what I meant to entitle the post but as I mentioned I’d been up late when I watched the film, thus it was even later when I drafted that post and as a result I ended up typing “Perfection not Perfect.” It amuses me but I’m not sure why, perhaps because I’m so much of a perfectionist that I couldn’t even contemplate typing the real title and accepting that something could be anything less than perfect.

At the cinema I saw Star Wars which I have absolutely nothing to say about, a disappointing Christmas film called The Night Before which I only went to see because Michael Shannon was in it (he was terrific, as always) and Black Mass which was the true story of Boston gangster Whitey Bulger. I know the film got quite mixed reviews but I quite enjoyed it. It was certainly a passable film for an evening at the cinema anyhow.

Other than that I revisited some old favourites. In the spirit of Christmas tradition I watched one of my favourite James Bond films Goldeneye. I also watched Ratatouille which is surprisingly moving for what is essentially an animated film for kids. The scene where the restaurant critic is served  the dish ratatouille and it takes him back to his childhood memories always makes me cry.  On the subject of childhood memories I also watched Toy Story and Toy Story 2. I’ve seen them at least twenty times each but I’ve only watched the third one twice, and I never watch them as a trilogy. It’s not because I don’t think it’s a good film or because I don’t like it. I think it’s more because in the third one Andy grows up and gives his toys away, I’m not good at accepting change of any kind. I think it bothers me that Andy grows up and gives away his toys. That’s the whole point of the film, about moving on, accepting changes, starting a new chapter in your life and all that. Except it’s quite so cut and dried for me. There is no clear delineation between chapters because the events which normally mark the beginning or end of a chapter aren’t happening for me that way.

Book wise it wasn’t a good month, I know I read The Book Thief but I can’t recall what else I read. I certainly hope I did read another book and I just can’t remember because if I really did read just the one then that’s a new low for me. On the other hand reading The Book Thief was extremely important. I did so to test a theory, to see if I still loved it as much and whether or not the plot hole bothers me. I’m happy to say it doesn’t, that I’ve fallen back in love with it. Though I don’t think I ever stopped loving it. I like to think of it like this, no person is perfect, everyone has their quirks and annoying habits but when you love someone it doesn’t matter. So why should a book be perfect.

It’s like two of my favourite games Mass Effect and Assassin’s Creed. Neither of them are 100% perfect but I love the first one in the series for both way more than the others. Because for me the other games don’t have the same feel to them, they don’t have the same kind of charm. I don’t care that Assassin’s Creed is a lot more repetitive than AC2. I love the setting, the characters and everything about it. I know the flag missions annoy some people but I actually quite liked them. I’m not saying there’s nothing good about AC2, there is and I did enjoy playing it. I must have done since I’ve completed it three times. But it just doesn’t conjure up the same kind of feelings and excitement that the first one does. Same with Mass Effect. It’s why I’ve played through Mass Effect at least six times and why I haven’t done the same for Mass Effect 2. Though I have to admit part of the reason I don’t love Mass Effect 2 is because I’m still annoyed at not being able to have Kaidan in my squad. I was doubly annoyed because on my play-through with the female version of Shepherd he was my love interest. I really missed Kaidan and as much as I like Garrus, I would have preferred having Kaidan back.

Back to the topic at hand reading The Book Thief again was important for another reason, I found out just why I like it so much. That it’s not because the book is narrated by death or because it’s set in Nazi Germany. The person who recommended I read it told me just those two facts about it. As if that’s all I needed to know. They weren’t wrong, the first part alone would have made me read it. But reading it again lead me to think of it a little differently, a little deeper. Only this time around did I think about what I have in common with the book thief Liesel. I didn’t have many books when I was a child, though to be fair no matter how many I owned I wouldn’t have thought it enough. The books I did own I treasured. As much as I loved my Playstation and my Gameboy it certainly wasn’t as much as those books. And considering my Gameboy was like an extension of my right hand during my Pokemon phase, I mean  a lot. In fact I still have most of them in storage. But it’s not just about the books.

It’s about the words, about being able to tell your own stories. Unless you can read and write you can’t do that. When we meet Liesel for the first time she can’t read or write. It’s her foster father who teaches her to read. But that would never have happened if her brother hadn’t died, if she hadn’t stolen the book from a careless grave digging apprentice who dropped it and didn’t realise. And if the war didn’t happen she may never have met her Papa Hans who taught her how to read. She never would have met Max who helped her realise just how important words can be.

I didn’t have that problem, I taught myself to read before I started school. I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. And I think sometimes I take them for granted, not just the books but the written word in general. Not only being able to read but being able to write my own adventures. Just like some people overestimate the importance of being able to read and write so I underestimate it. Because whilst those people are wrong, whilst they are over simplifying the issues, words do matter, they do help. Because as I’m coming to realise when it comes down to it they are all I really have. At least words of the written variety anyway. Because when it comes down to it a lot of the time it’s the only way I can reliably express myself. For someone who talks a lot I actually say very little. That is whilst I can talk about my special interests until I tire myself out I can’t talk about what’s bothering me. I can’t explain what’s going on in my head. For that I need the written word. I need my stories and my characters. Without them I can’t make sense of anything.

As well as being a quiet month book wise so it was in terms of collectibles as well, obviously with it being Christmas I didn’t have as much spare cash as I would have liked. That didn’t stop me from purchasing one very important item however, something I’ve dreaming about getting since last year. The item in question is one of the newer DFB polo-shirts, the ones for the Euro qualifiers. It’s not a blue one like I wanted but the white one is quite nice too. The other small notable items I got include two signed Match Attax cards, one of Roman Bürki and the other of Vincenzo Grifo, a card signed by Joachim Löw and a signed Nils Petersen Bremen photo:

IMG_20151211_171831IMG_20151211_171922Roman Bürki – signed Freiburg Match Attax cardVincenzo Grifo - signed Hoffenheim Match Attax cardJoachim Löw – signed Eintracht Frankfurt cardNils Petersen signed Bremen photo

Vampire Jürgen and other Random Musings

Usually when I dream about a team near to a game they lose, I can think of only two exceptions to this pattern, happily on both those occasions it was Freiburg I dreamed about. I know there’s probably nothing to such things but I like making a note of them regardless, I like patterns like that. Last night it was Jürgen Klopp I dreamed about. Today Liverpool lost 2-0 to West Ham United. The pattern holds. What I don’t like is first dream of the year that I remember and it’s Klopp in it. Not Jogi, Hansi, Christian Streich or even Thomas Tuchel, but Klopp. It was I have to admit a most amusing dream. It took place at a school for vampires and Klopp himself was one, as was I. Also there was someone named Daniel. There’s three possible choices for who that could be. The real life one can be ruled out, it was definitely not him. That leaves Daniel Brühl and Daniel Siebert, the referee. I’m certain it wasn’t the former, but not entirely certain it was the latter either. It’s most disappointing that’s all I can remember, I would have loved to know what the story was. As for what the message was I don’t know. But there is one I’m choosing to take from it. If I got to bed at a decent hour and got enough sleep then maybe I would be sufficiently rested upon waking to remember more of my dreams. I don’t need to be told twice. Maintain a vampire schedule and you don’t get good dreams or to remember them. All you get is Klopp, albeit a vampire version. But go to bed at a decent hour and be rewarded with your favourite Germans, at least I hope so. In fact with how tired I feel today I could most likely happily fall asleep right now. The only reason I’m not is that there’s a repeat of an old game on later this evening that I want to see. After that I’m going straight to bed.

It’s the first of three football free weekends and it’s a very strange and disorientating experience. Combined with being tired and it only being the second day of the new year it all makes for a very confusing day. When I was watching part of Liverpool’s game earlier I got to thinking how slowly time was moving and how I never feel like that whilst watching Freiburg or Germany play. Then it’s like it’s over before I even know what’s happened, it feels like it’s just started and then all of a sudden it’s over. I feel that way about time in general, you spend a lot of time wondering where it went. Right now with there being no football on and having no fixed schedule for the weekend I feel the opposite way. Like there’s all this time to fill and I have no idea how to fill it. There’s plenty of things I could be doing. I just don’t want to do any of those things. I should be catching up on my Bundesliga posts, I need to do that before the season resumes. I can put that off for the weekend at least and get back to work on those on Monday. I also keep putting off rewatching the final two episodes of The Bridge and writing the final post about them. I’ve had enough time to do so, but I keep putting it off. It’s almost like if I don’t watch the final two episodes again then I won’t have to let go of Henrik and Saga. And I won’t have to admit that Hans is gone. I still can’t believe that. That they killed Hans off. For me that reason alone makes me wish there’s not going to be another series. Her having a new partner in the form of Henrik is one thing, but the thought of replacing Hans in anyway is unbearable.

Along with counting down the days until the season resumes I’ve been trying to work out what film to watch next. I keep thinking about Inglourious Basterds. Partly because that film is never far from my thoughts and partly because I read an article in which Tarantino said that the opening scene of that is his most favourite scene that he’s ever written. I would say it’s mine too but the truth is any line or scene he’s written that has Christoph Waltz in it is my favourite. Tarantino’s right about that, Christoph really does make his words sing. I’m not sure I could pick a favourite but if I really had to I would say the “That’s a bingo” line is the best of them all. There’s just something priceless about that scene.

The only thing holding me back from watching it is that the last time I watched it was the last but one week of the previous season. It was the night before Freiburg beat Bayern, or to be more precise since it finished so late, it was the very same day. It’s almost like a curse of some kind, I know Freiburg did beat Bayern but it didn’t matter in the end. On the other hand it seems like that’s exactly why I should watch it now, when the season is on break so I can watch it and not feel like I’m cursing anyone. Plus it would be a good time to watch it and Django Unchained, as kind of a preparation for The Hateful Eight on Friday.

I may be feeling a little lost today but at least I’m not worrying quite as much as I was yesterday. I think getting some sleep helped on that count, as did the Matze adventure I’m working on. I didn’t get enough sleep but enough to be of some help. The problem is still there and I’m still avoiding dealing with it but that’s ok for the moment. It will still be there on Monday. Right now my mind is focused on other things, I know all I’m doing is running away from it but that’s not always such a bad thing. I don’t think I come up with a solution just yet so surely it’s a good thing I’m not obsessing over it. Nor am I sure that I should allow myself to make up my mind right now, not when I’m feeling so confused. Allowing myself to be focusing on Matze and making character related decisions is not the worst thing to happen. Though it’s probably a little misleading to say I’m letting it happen, that implies I have any control in that matter. When truth is that couldn’t be further from the truth. Normally when I wake up I write whatever I can in my dream journal and I may make a few story notes if I have any random ideas. This morning I wrote a full three pages of the the beginnings of a new story for Matze. That was before doing anything else, it was after waking up and writing about the vampire dream, the third thing I did this morning. Writing the start of that story was apparently important enough to put off getting breakfast. Given how hungry I always am in the morning that means he’s pretty important then.

There are two other things which brightened up my day today besides Matze. Whilst I don’t yet know what Freiburg and Dortmund have planned for the winter break I do know that Bayern are playing Karlsuher SC in a friendly two weeks from today. So I will at least have one Saturday accounted for in the next three weeks. The other thing is something I got in the post, a very special signed picture of Hansi. I always like it when he smiles but I especially like it in this picture. I have by now quite a few pictures of him from when he was younger and active as a player, in many of them it doesn’t look like him. In this picture not only is his smile as wonderful as it always is but it looks like him too:

Hansi Flick – 1.FC Köln signed photo

2016: First Film of the Year and other Deliberations

Normally picking the first film of the year to watch would be a big deal. In fact it would not only be the topmost thought in my mind right now but it would already be decided by now. This year like the year just gone is a little different. Films are still important but they aren’t the foremost thought in my mind. Right now all I can think of is how many days there are till the Bundesliga returns and how many days till Freiburg’s next game. 21 days until it all kicks off again and Bayern play HSV. 22 days until a newly resurgent Gladbach play Dortmund. The prospect of that game is mouthwatering, unbelievably so. And most importantly and no less mouth watering is the game between Bochum and Freiburg, precisely 34 days from now. I’m happy they play on a Friday, it’s one less day to wait.

But of course there’s no football to watch right now, not live anyway. Not unless I watch the Premier League and so far I haven’t done. Back to the title, whatever the film I chose it was certain to be a German one. In the end it turned out to be a rather predictable choice, a by now very familiar favourite, The Lives of Others. Some films you just don’t get sick of, regardless of how many times you’ve seem them and how well you know them.What I love about The Lives of Other is it’s one of those films that makes me think every time I see it, that there’s always a new detail to notice. You really do gain something from every viewing. As for the first film at the cinema, I have a creeping suspicion that will be The Hateful Eight. It would be very fitting where that to be true.

Towards the end of last year I wrote a list of things I wanted to do in the year to come, some fun stuff and some serious stuff too. I haven’t done that this time round and I have no plans to. Not because I’m unhappy that I didn’t cross enough things off my list, I actually crossed off quite a few things, including the item at the top of my fun list. More because in the words of August from The Bridge my plan is to “not to have a plan.” I just don’t see the point, everything is all over the place and it’s close to impossible to make any plans, so I’m just not going to bother, not with any major overarching plans and not with any aims.

The first thing on my fun list was to learn how tie a scarf like Jogi Löw, which I am now able to do. The final point from that list was to write more Löw adventures. Well that’s pretty much taken care of it’s self, I have no worries on that front. In fact it’s taken over almost everything else. Everything but football itself that is.

Two things from my serious list were to save some money and to downsize my collection, that is my DVD and book collection. Saving money, not so much, but the latter I’ve had some success with and hope to move on to downsizing my book collection next. The most important thing on the list was to do the things which make me happy, regardless of whether other people find them strange or not. I’ve certainly done that, in fact I wonder if I may have committed to doing so a little too much. At the same time I can’t help but wonder how good the friendship in question was if it was almost broken over a special interest. And just what or who was in the wrong, If a special interest can really be more important than a friendship, And if you’re even asking that question, then surely the friendship doesn’t mean as much as you thought it did. Is it possible that I wanted an excuse, an out from it, and the special interest conflict just gave me the excuse I was looking for.

In a not so fun conversation a while back I was asked for my reasons for writing the Löw adventures, how it was that I who can’t stand romance in any form likes to write such things. And whether or not writing said stories made me have any interest in romance and relationships in real life. Or if it was the case that I was writing them precisely because I have an interest in such things but that I can’t actually have them, so I write stories instead. I do find them fulfilling in a sense but not like that, they haven’t given me any interest in pursuing such things. I do however consider my characters good company and they are a lot less anxiety provoking than real life people, that’s for sure. Which is most likely why I prefer them, I always know what they’re thinking, what they’re going to say and what they mean. There’s only confusion if I want there to be. How could I not prefer them to real life people?

One thing from that post I will repeat here is to list four things I’m looking forward to this year. I thought Euro 2016 would be top of this list, but I have very mixed feelings about it now because of what happened in November. But then I can’t figure out what else would top the list. So my four things to look forward to in 2016:

  1. Euro 2016, not to mention the U19 Euros and the Olympics because Germany qualified football wise.
  2. The second half of the 2.Bundesliga season and finding out what will become of Freiburg and their promotion campaign.
  3. The Hateful Eight, Tarantino’s next film.
  4. Writing more Löw adventures.

Were the list to have a fifth addition no doubt something sticker related would make the list, perhaps the prospect of a German album for Euro 2016. But then seeing as Hansi won’t be in there, perhaps not.

One thing which I’m not at all looking forward to or have a great deal of enthusiasm for is the prospect of spending time with other people. It’s barely the first day of the year and I’m already worrying about how to get out of something of this nature. I no longer have the excuse of being sick but I still don’t feel like being around anyone. I know part of this is because it’ll take some time to get back to a normal routine and I’m feeling out of sorts because of all this. With that in mind I shouldn’t do anything stupid or rash. Which I have to admit is unlikely anyway because that would actually involve me making a decision and taking decisive action. That’s not like me, that’s not how I screw things up. It’s more because of what I don’t do as opposed to what I actually do. I let things like friendships fall apart by doing nothing. It’s always a tempting proposition, to simply disappear. To allow everything to fade away. Not to make any decisions but to do nothing and simply allow old habits to creep in. Like they are now, avoiding other people and creeping around in the dead of night. Allowing such patterns to continue because you know you can avoid other people that way.

With all this friendship stuff I can’t win. It’s not a question of whether I want friends or not, or even of whether I’m lonely or not. It’s a question of which is more tolerable, because I’ll be anxious and worried about something either way. If I have friends then I’m worrying about getting it wrong all the time, and if I’m a good enough friend. And when I think something’s gone wrong which is a lot, I can’t let go of it. Whilst part of me is worried they’ll never speak or write to me again another part of me secretly hopes they won’t, it would make it so much easier on my part. It’s tempting to think that having no friends at all would be easier, at least I would have one less thing to worry about.