First Lines: Firestarter

As the result of a secret government experiment gone FUBAR, Andy McGee gained some limited psychic powers. When a few years later his daughter Charlie is born, it becomes very clear that she got an even bigger ‘gift’. She is able to start fires. Of course, the same government agency who did the tests, The Shop, becomes very interested in the little girl. A chase and kidnapping follow, which in turn lead to a break out. And a lot of fire. A real freaking lot of fire. Go figure.

Book read
Stephen King — Firestarter
First line
Daddy, I’m tired, the little girl in the red pants and the green blouse said fretfully. Can’t we stop?

First Lines: Gaudí in Manhattan

Back in September 2004 I was in Barcelona for a couple of days. I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I should have, since I was sick for about half of the trip. Must’ve been something I ate.

One of the things that I did get to enjoy, was what’s finished of Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia. Stylistically, it’s a grotesque mess. But a lovely mess. Over the past few years and trips I’ve seen a lot of churches, but besides St. Peter’s in Rome I can’t think of one that made an impression as big as this one did. When I go back to Barcelona, I’ll just have to go and see what kind of progress they’ve made.

In Gaudí in Manhattan, the master is invited to design a skyscraper. If he agrees to do so, he will be rewarded with enough money to complete the construction of the Sagrada Familia. Strange things happen, end of story. With just sixteen pages of text, this lushly designed “book” should be seen as an attempt to whet the appetite for the real follow up of The Shadow of the Wind. Which it does.

Carlos Ruiz Zafón — Gaudí in Manhattan (translated by Nelleke Geel)
Jaren later, toen ik gadesloeg hoe de rouwstoet van mijn meester door de Paseo de Gracia trok, moest ik denken aan het jaar dat ik Gaudí leerde kennen, en hij mijn lot voorgoed veranderde.

I’m in

Sweet Holy Mother of All Things Bright and Shiny… I’m connected to the interwebs.

Counting down

As they say, third time’s a charm. I bloody well hope so.

In other news, it looks like I might have internet at home tomorrow. This is the cue for the technical support team to go into hiding: I got your number, and I’m not afraid to use it.

So, I’ve been to Budapest

Long story short, I had a great time in Budapest. And that shouldn’t surprise anyone, since I always seem to have a great time when I’m on some sort of holiday.

But anyway, in the long version I arrived in Budapest early in the afternoon of June 26, 2007. After dropping my luggage at the apartment, I started to walk around in Pest. First to the theater, then to the cathedral, and over the Chain Bridge into Buda. After a climb to the top of Castle Hill, I cam to the conclusion that already liked Buda a lot better then Pest. Walked around some more, had some dinner and called it a day.

The next day started out clouded, with a light drizzle. Considering I had planned to climb to the top of Gellért Hill, that wasn’t to bad. It’s a pretty steep climb, but the view from the top is totally worth it. Then I went on to Castle Hill again, where I visited the castle and the Hungarian National Gallery. Some pretty paintings, and a very impressive little statue, which wast called something along the lines of “The Genius of Death” by someone with an unpronounceable name, and Google isn’t really helping me finding out more about it. After the visit I descended Castle Hill via the Fisherman’s Bastion, and crossed the Chain Bridge to Pest again. While I was chilling out on the square at the foot of the bridge, Dave called, saying that there would be a meet-up near the theater, where we could stalk the premiere. After a quick trip I met up with Dave and Julie, Ann and Judy. Since there was nothing yet to see near the theater except some of the set near the side-entrance, we went for dinner first. While waiting for the pizza, we were joined by Will. (Somehow, the Hungarian radio managed to play “Anything for Love” as well as Bonnie Tyler’s “If You Were a Woman (And I was a Man)” while we were there.) When we arrived back at the theater there were quite some people, but no recognizable ones. Except for mr. Steven Rinkoff, Jim Steinman’s long time co-producer/engineer, that is. After the show started, we hung around, listening to the sounds leaking through from inside. Somewhere through act one, Brian joined us. After the show, Mr. Rinkoff more or less ordered us to crash the after party in the New York Palace Hotel. Pretty posh party in a pretty posh hotel. Very nice indeed. There, Rink introduced us to Gernot Kranner, the original Vienna Professor Abronsius, and shared quite a few interesting bits of information (The Dream Engine not being dead, Tanz going to South Korea, Belgium and quite possibly The Netherlands, etc.) We left the party around midnight.

Sunday morning I spent mostly visiting the Palace of Fine Art on Heroes’ Square, and the early afternoon I spent strolling through and reading in the city park. At four o’clock the group gathered in front of the theater to pick up our tickets, and we went out for dinner. Now, the group had grown to 10 people, as we were joined by Mr. and Mrs. Laci and Hennie (also from The Netherlands). Back to the theater, and show time. One word would be enough to descibe Vámpírok Bálja: Sweet. You can throw in all kinds of modifiers, like very, totally or fucking, but with just the right intonation, sweet will cover the sheer awesomeness of the show. The cast was great, very good singers all over the board, the sets were fantastic (false perspective on the exterior of the castle, the inn rotated around, very good use of the limited space), the orchestra was fine, the sound was good: all was sweet. After the show, we met up with mr. Rinkoff again, who once again managed to get us into the afterparty. Spend some time talking with mr. Kentaur, the set designer, and met some cast members, as well as the director of the show. Rink provided us with some goodies (cast photos, posters, flyers), drinks and some more stories/info. Very nice guy. When the party started to slow down around half past one, we all went back to our respective hotels.

On monday morning, those who hadn’t gone home already met up for a boattrip on die nicht so Schöne, nicht so Blaue Donau. After that and lunch it was time for me to go back to the airport.

Once again I had a great time. I guess that is what these Steintrips are about: meeting up with some great people to listen to some great music, and have a great time. I guess someone must have blessed us when he gave us those songs. More pictures can be found in the usual place.