Wednesday, April 30, 2008

(Almost) wordless Wednesday 16

This is a traditional Easter tsoureki :-)

And this is one we've got at home at the moment. A twist on the traditional Easter tsoureki, it's mixed with chestnut cream and covered in white chocolate ganache. It looks a bit battered since it's had to travel upright in a shopping bag, but it tastes (and smells!) delicious. Yum yum.

You can see what it should look like here.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Easter photos

I've not had time to post about Greek Easter, but I've uploaded some of my photos on Flickr, along with brief comments. You can see them either by clicking on the photo to the right, or by visitng my Flickr account.

Happy Easter to all who are celebrating Easter today! Xristos Anesti! Hristos a înviat!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Guess how many bags...

Yey!!! We're finally in Greece :-)

The weather's glorious - feels like English summer, only with more sunshine. It's so great to escape the gloomy London spring. I hope it stays nice until Easter Sunday as I need to recharge my batteries with light.

I'll post about Greek Easter as soon as I get a chance. In the meantime, guess how many of our bags flew to Athens with us.

Tip: We flew out of Terminal 5. Ahem.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The hidden Cylon at No. 7

Having come up with a neat theory about the final Cylon, Sarah has changed her mind and has now formulated another BSG theory, which, if I'm honest I don't like at all, although I have to admit it sounds more plausible than the earlier one about Dualla - but I still hope it's not true.

So, without further ado, here is Sarah's definitive BSG theory in her own words:

I read the beginnings of this theory on a board last year, and now that I’ve seen Friday’s episodes, I am 98% certain that it’s not a theory at all: it is the connection between the Cylons. Like, there’s not really a question in my mind right now. And what does it mean? Well, among other things, I am relieved because it seems to indicate there’s been a plan all along.

*** Long complicated BSG theory below with spoilers through Season 3 AND Season 4!!! I know there are people who read here who haven’t watched these episodes yet, and I don’t want to spoil anyone, so I’m actually sticking this under a cut. On which you should NOT CLICK. ***

(OK, I don't know how to do a cut, so if you've not seen Season 3 yet and you don't like spoilers, stop reading now-now-now.)

In the episode “Six of One” that aired on Friday, we saw the Cylons begin to splinter due to internal disagreements between models. One of the coolest things was that we FINALLY learned everyone’s model number.

1- Cavil
2- Leoben
3- D’Anna
4- Simon
5- Doral
6- Six
7- ?
8- Boomer
9- ?
10- ?
11- ?
12- ?

Now we know there’s this “Final Five” whose identities aren’t known to the regular seven Cylons. Four of them– Anders, Tory, Tigh, and Chief– appeared to be revealed in the Season 3 finale. One is still out there, presumably in the Fleet. When the “Final Five” idea was aired, we were all like, “What the hell. They came up with this at the last second. They’re making things up as they go along. THE NUMBERS DON’T EVEN MATCH UP. How are they going to explain that?” Because, obviously, the Five being special, you’d assume them to be made first, thus making them Numbers 1-5. But they’re not, since we already know 3 is D’Anna and 5 is Doral. OK, then. Maybe they’re #7-12? But they’re not, because we know Boomer is an 8.

It’s always been obvious that the number 12 is important in the show. 12 colonies of Kobol, 12 Lords of Kobol, 12 Cylon models. But what’s the significance of this? There are about a billion different theories you can come up with… and then I re-watched Home Part 1 and Home Part 2 last week. It was something Sharon said on Kobol that I couldn’t forget.

Elosha: “And the blaze pursued them, and the people of Kobol had a choice. To board the great ship, or take the high road through the rocky ridge.”
Valerii (continuing): “And the body of each tribe’s leader was offered to the gods in the tomb of Athena.” And the great ship was the galleon that departed from here, where we’re standing. And it took the founders of the thirteen colonies to their destiny. And those that didn’t board the galleon took the high road, a rocky ridge that led to the tomb.

So wait. What? There was some sort of sacrifice or ritual suicide of 12 leaders? What if… the Lords of Kobol weren’t gods at all? What if the leaders of the tribes had some sort of power… to live over and over, to project their consciousnesses? Wouldn’t that make them look like gods to the humans they lived together with? What if… the original Cylons go off into space at the end of the first Cylon war and they run into… something or someone… out there? For this to be the case, each Cylon model would have to be the leader of a colony.

First Mike and I kicked around the idea of the Cylons each matching up with a god. But the problem is, although we can assume they more or less match up with the Greek gods, we’ve only actually heard the names of 7 or 8 of the Lords of Kobol. And besides, how would you get the numbers 1-12?

The Zodiac.

Check it out. The names of the 12 Colonies of Kobol are derived from the 12 zodiac signs. Caprica = Capricorn, Gemenon = Gemini, Picon = Pisces, etc. When they’re in the Tomb of Athena, Laura Roslin acknowledges this, saying the symbols on the 12 Colonies’ flags are based on constellations, which used to have different names: the names of our Earth zodiac. Watch what happens when you look at the zodiac signs, not based on the calendar year, but as numbered 1-12:

1. Aries - a leader type, blunt and to the point, tendency to force ideas on others, strong-willed. Cavil is Model Number One.

2. Taurus - persistent, sensual, loyal, can be possessive. Leoben is Model Number Two.

3. Gemini - curious to a fault, intelligent, can be two-faced, excellent sign for careers in journalism. D’Anna is Model Number Three (when she’s in the fleet, she’s a documentary filmmaker).

4. Cancer - Nurturing, emotional, a caregiver, suited to medical careers. Simon is Model Number Four (we see him masquerading as a doctor on Caprica).

5. Leo - Egotistical, likes to be center stage, outgoing, suited to careers such as actor, tour guide, or public relations. Doral is Model Number Five (and he’s also a PR guy when we meet him).

6. Virgo - Perfectionist, practical, high sense of duty, places value on appearance/beauty. Six is, obviously, Model Number Six.

8. Scorpio - Associated with transformation and rebirth (!!), hardworking, complex, secretive, can become vindictive, does well in a military career. Boomer is Model Number Eight.

Now. We’ve got four known Final Five Cylons. And we’ve got four slots open that are all in a row. Why not see if our four known Cylons fit? I’ll tell you why I’m putting these four here in a minute.

9. Sagittarius - Easygoing, idealistic, values freedom highly, honest, often athletic. It seems like an easy choice to plug Sam Anders in at Model Number Nine.

10. Capricorn - Ambitious, serious, detail-oriented and organized, responsible. “Capricorns make great civil servants, law enforcement specialists, politicians, and members of any other administration or government profession.” Tory is most likely Model Number Ten, as Roslin’s chief of staff.

11. Aquarius - Rigid and dogmatic, derives a sense of identity from groups and their goals, impersonal and detached, sometimes eccentric, they love to think they’re right. “People born under this sign are said to be the strongest and the weakest people in the world.” Tigh is my choice for Model Number Eleven.

12. Pisces - Compassion and empathy, selfless work, a person people can count on, self-sacrificing, can be associated with mysticism (remember the Temple of the Five). Chief is Model Number Twelve. (He’s said to fans that he’s been told he’s #12, but it’s not officially confirmed.)

Why did I skip #7? There are two reasons.

1) It seems to make sense that the four we know go in the four slots next to each other. Now that I’m certain the numbers are based on the zodiac signs and therefore aren’t chronological, this is sort of a leap to make. But… it works for me because those four signs fit the four members of the Fleet who heard the music. And because…

2) #7 would be our final hidden Cylon. And there is absolutely no better choice than the Libra.

7. Libra - This sign is represented by the scales, bringing balance. Strives for peace and harmony. A communicator, mediator, and negotiator. Sociable and somewhat intellectual, just, charming, “peace at any price”, represents the laws of civilization.

My first thought was, “Shit. It’s Lee.” But it could also be Roslin. I don’t like either of those characters as the final Cylon model, but I have to admit it fits with the sign. Clearly the Libra being the last one makes sense, because this is the person who is going to bring the two sides — Cylon and Human– together.

And finally, the final piece of my theory is that I think the real entity controlling things– the Hybrids, HeadSix, HeadBaltar, and HeadLeoben– is not the Libra, ultimately, but an unknown 13th. The “One True Cylon God”? Maybe, maybe not. But I do think there’s going to be the last of the Final Five, and there’s going to be someone else. And I think there’s a connection between all those visions that have been guiding certain people and groups all along to some place where things are going to come together.

Oh nooooooooo! Don't let it be Lee. Please, pretty please RDM, don't make it be Lee.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Easter is coming - again

Not that you'd be able to tell from the weather, which actually feels very much like Christmas - the only saving grace being the longer days since the clocks sprang forward last month! Next Sunday is the Eastern Orthodox Easter, a whole 35 days after this year's Western Easter on 23 March.

This is the Easter card that my 6-year-old goddaughter made for me at school. Isn't it cool? It's the first time she's made me a card and as you can imagine I'm a very proud godmother :-)

You'll notice the egg is dark red, almost crimson. This is the colour eggs are dyed in Greece, and they're usually plain, with no swirls, dots, stripes or other decorations.

I can't wait for Easter second time round. Roll on the Holy Week!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A weekend trip to Paris

The Louvre Museum

Two weeks ago my friend Sandi and I spent a chill out weekend in Paris. We'd been expecting it to be cold and wet, and had braced ourselves for endless hours in department stores and museums. Instead, we woke up on Saturday morning to bright sunshine which lasted until mid afternoon, so we bought tickets for the open top tour bus and decided to leave the museums for another time.

As it happens we managed to see quite a lot of the city in one day: the Louvre, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, the Latin Quarter, the Champs-Elysées, Saint Germain des Pres and everything in between.

Place de la Concorde

Parisian driving :-)

Buskers at the Ile de la Cité

Notre Dame cathedral

The Eiffel Tower at sunset

We wandered round Saint Germain and the Champs-Elysées and even caught a "just married" couple being photographed in front of the Arc de Triomphe. How special was that?

Congratulations, whoever you are!

Between sightseeing tours, we managed to fit in quick trips to Sephora and Fnac for supplies of cosmetics and DVDs, although we were unsuccessful in finding a LV bag for Sandi (apparently out of stock!!) and Diptyque candles for me (couldn't find the shop). We didn't have much luck with the cake shops either - Ladurée was busy at the time we visited and we never made it to Stohrer. Maybe next time.


We did have some yummy food though. Friday night dinner at L'Avenue (118 € for two risottos, two small glasses of wine and two giant desserts, but *so* worth it), Saturday lunch overlooking the Louvre courtyard at Café Marly, scrummy Berthillon ice-cream at the trendy Ile Saint-Louis, and Saturday dinner with friends at Le Relais de l'Entrecôte followed by drinks till late. It was gone 3 AM by the time we got back to the hotel and 7 hours later I was meeting another friend for hot chocolate at the Hotel Meurice. Life's tough in the fast lane.

The chocolate eclair was clearly happy to see Sandi

Club sandwich and croque-madame at Café Marly

Scrummy Berthillon ice-cream

Steak and fries at Le Relais de l'Entrecôte

Anyone for seconds?

All in all, a very relaxing weekend of good food, good shops and good company, and the sightseeing wasn't bad either ;-)

Sandi, we must do it again soon xxx

Monday, April 07, 2008

(Almost) Wordless Monday

The Evening Standard's two main headlines for Monday 7th April refer to the "unhappy shambles that the opening of Heathrow's Terminal 5 has become" (you've got to love the British art of understatement) and the hoo-hah surrouding the Olympic torch relay in Paris which resulted in the torch being extinguished at least three times (tsk tsk tsk).

Apparently BA's toubles have enriched the English language. From now on, when things go badly wrong, you can say you've been T5'ed. Not the most charming of expressions, but still. At least we kept the Olympic torch going. Heh.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Let it snow!

It's snowing quite heavily out there. We've just had a nice pork stew followed by bread and butter pudding (2,000 calories per spoonful, but who cares). I'm about to settle down with a cup of tea and the Sunday papers.

This is what I call bliss :-)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Humanity's children are back today

Those of you who watch Battlestar Galactica will know that today is the much awaited Final Season premiere (whey hey!!) and that we're on the lookout for the final Cylon. There are many theories as to who is the 12th model, and this is my fave - first formulated by Sarah and shamelessly copied from her blog, where it was first posted last January.

Those of you who do not watch Battlestar Galactica, get thee to the nearest video store and rent the mini series. If you're remotely interested in sci-fi and possibly even if you're not, you'll love it.

So this is not *the* theory. It is not the be-all and end-all of all BSG theories. But it is a theory. And, having come up with a set of compelling evidence, I wanted to put it out there. Ready?

Oh, needless to say, if you don’t want spoilers for Season 3, read no further. And now, here’s the theory.

It’s Dualla. Consider carefully the following:

Leoben tells Starbuck, “Adama is a Cylon.” Well, if the promo picture from Season 4 is to be believed, we can rule out both big Adama and Lee as Cylons. One of my favorite early throwaway theories was how awesome it would be if it was Zak, the dead brother. But wait – Dee married Lee, which makes her an Adama by marriage. One counterargument would be that Leoben is a liar. This is true. Personally, I’ve always assumed he was lying about that to make Roslin question her trust in Adama. Another point against is the fact that he said it way back in Season 1, when Dee wasn’t even involved with Apollo yet. But you know, Leoben talks to the hybrid. He sees the pattern, he swims in the stream, and all that.

Remember 33, the very first episode? Who gets reamed out by Tigh for “losing” the Olympic Carrier in the jump? Dualla. Later they blow the ship up because they figure out it’s been taken over by Cylons and that’s how they’re tracking the fleet.

The last name Dualla suggests a duality. “Two” of something. Personalities, perhaps? Two distinct sides? Something duplicitous?

They’ve rarely mentioned her first name, but it’s Anastasia, which means “resurrection” in Greek.

This doesn’t mean much, but so far we have 7 male Cylons and only 4 female. I just don’t think it makes sense to leave it that imbalanced. If the last one turns out male, I’ll be like, WTF?

Of the Final Four supposedly revealed to us at the end of Season 3, three are close to a person of some significance. In fact, most of the major characters have “their” Cylon. Tigh is Adama’s XO. Tory is Roslin’s top aide. Anders is married to Starbuck. Chief doesn’t quite fit this theory, but he was very involved in the Resistance on New Caprica, which does also seem to be a common thread. We know this is a Cylon strategy, whether conscious or unconscious, because of 6 and Baltar. Apollo is one of the only major characters without a Cylon. And Dee is his wife.

Speaking of which, didn’t that come out of nowhere? That Dualla dropped Billy like that and went for Lee instead? She kind of became hated right about then, because everyone liked Billy and she was indirectly responsible for his death. What a heinous bitch. The death of Billy seemed sort of out of place. But looking back now, who benefited the most from Billy’s death? Which character replaced him as Roslin’s aide, putting a Cylon into a position of power? Tory.

Remember when Cylons boarded the Galactica? And rooms full of people are dead, but they find Dee with just a concussion? Yeah.

Dee helps Roslin escape from the military coup in Season 1 and steal the election in Season 3. You might say, “Why would a Cylon want to help Roslin?” But we also seem to have been told that the motivations of the “mysterious” Cylons don’t necessarily match the motivations of the others. And we know too that Roslin is the dying leader from prophecy who will lead the humans to Earth. Don’t forget that the Cylons want to get to Earth too. They have every interest in making sure these prophecies play out. Six, for one, has been adamant about this type of thing in the past.

Dee gets strangely P.O.-ed and leaves Lee because of his role in Baltar’s proceedings at the end of Season 3. “He isn’t who she thought he was,” and all that. Or is it that with a rift between Lee and his father, and the fact that he is leaving the military, he won’t be in a position of power anymore? She has no use for him.

Rewatch the scene where Adama is working on his model ship and Dee urges him to reconcile with Roslin and put the fleet back together. I challenge you to watch it, after reading everything I just said, and tell me it doesn’t creep you out a bit now. I did last weekend. “Children are separated from their parents.” The Cylons are the children of humanity.

Of course for this theory to work, they’d have had to know she was a Cylon from the beginning. Or put on some really good spin. We know for a fact they didn’t decide on the most recent four until fairly late in the show. I’m just saying there’s evidence. But it’s Dee. I said it here first.

Well, in fact Sarah said it in her own blog first, I've just copied her throughts and pasted them here with some very minor adjustments. Personally, I reckon it's a pretty good theory. Does anyone else have any others?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Spot the spoof

10 stories that could be April Fools... but aren't. 1 story that could be an April Fool... and is. Can you spot which one it is?

1. A new pay-per-view funeral service scheme is being launched today. The Daily Mail says the scheme at Southampton Crematorium allows mourners to grieve from home by watching proceedings online.

2. A turtle is addicted to nicotine. He became addicted after picking up the smouldering butts in his owner's garden, in Kouqian, China, and sulks if he doesn't get his fix. The Daily Express, which picked up the story from Chinese news agency Xinhua, includes a gob-smacking picture of the turtle doing a rather good impression of Dot Cotton.

3. The menopause is caused by the age-old battle between wives and mothers-in-law, reports the Times. As long as 50,000 to 300,000 years ago, competition for food in a family unit was a battle won by the younger women who fed their offspring, which led to the older women losing their ability to breed. With food hard to find, mothers-in-law tended to help rear the grandchildren rather than have more children themselves.

4. An injection that allows women bigger and better orgasms by increasing the size of the mysterious G-spot is being launched in the UK, says the Sun. The £800 collagen jab takes less than half-an-hour and is given under local anaesthetic.

5. School desks and chairs are to be enlarged to meet the needs of the UK's ever-heavier schoolchildren, reports the Express. On average British children are a centimetre taller than they were 10 years ago, and there are more obese youngsters, so desks supplied to UK schools will reflect this.

6. Wind turbines or solar panels built by UK companies anywhere in the world could count towards Britain's renewable energy targets under controversial government proposals, according to the Financial Times.

7. You will soon be able to have a tattoo on your teeth, reports the Sun. Steve Heward, the dentist who started the craze in the US plans to set up in Britain.

8. Did you know penguins can fly? A BBC camera crew filming a colony of Adelie penguins were astonished when they did something "no other penguins can do" and took to the Antarctic skies.

9. The traditional Chinese martial art T'ai Chi can help control diabetes, reports the Daily Mail. Apparently, researchers have found the flowing movements and deep breathing involved can result in a fall in blood sugar levels.

10. A thief walked out of a busy Norwegian aquarium with a crocodile that was over two feet long, says the Independent.

11. Drinkers have been banned from calling barmaids "love". An outraged Daily Star says new discrimination laws mean landlords that allow punters to chat up staff could be hauled before a tribunal and face unlimited fines.

Happy April Fool's Day!