Monday 8 October 2018

Domaru Takeshi "Neko" Oyama Infinity

This is the first miniature I've ever painted from the Infinity range. I've never been too enthusiastic about these. While I can appreciate the quality of sculpt, proportions, dynamic poses, I simply don't care much for the futuristic aesthetics. The box art shows them painted by Angel Giraldez to a very high standard. However, this is too different from my style to try so I stuck to my own, gritty one.

I followed the "official" paintjob for this one with slightly more toned down shades.I also got to use my new Colorshift paint set from Green Stuff World. It is very easy to apply (as long as you remember to use glossy black basecoat) and the effect is really nice without putting a lot of effort into it.

Even though I was initially not too happy to work on this mini, over time I started enjoying myself as I continued working. I don't plan to paint more minis from Infinity range in the foreseeable future, but it felt nice to take a break from my standard steampunk/Victorian/horror aesthetics for a while.

#12/2018 The Three-Body Problem

I hardly ever read science fiction novels (and had never read any book by a Chinese author before!) and chose this one only because my friend recommended it. "The Three-Body Problem" ponders big ideas, such as limitations of science, presence of other civilizations in the universe, technological advancement and its impact on human nature. Many of these ideas are supported by actual scientific theories, which makes the events presented a bit more credible. The story is presented through different timelines and puts the protagonists in extreme situations where choices of individual can affect the fate of entire mankind.

I did enjoy some of the ideas presented here (such as how the alien race seeks to undermine scientific achievements among humans and plants a seed of doubt as a method to prepare for their invasion), but the high tech theories mixed with scientific data proved at times a bit too much to fully enjoy it.

#11/2018 American Wolf

First and foremost, it is an account of O-Six, the most famous Yellowstone wolf. The reintroduction of these animals to the park caused many problems, both from the logistic, and theoretical point of view. Wolves have always been perceived by many as ferocious and dangerous, while in reality they steer away from humans as far as they can. That's why observing them is such a big challenge. The book presents some truly extraordinary and passionate people who devoted their lives to doing just that. These two worlds, one of nature with it's admirers and preservers, and the other of hunters and poachers, collide on many levels here.

#10/2018 Total Recall

I've always liked Arnold Schwarzenegger as an actor. He never pretended to be someone he isn't and his roles were usually well chosen. At the same time, it was nice to see how he broadened his scope and evolved as a professional over the years.
"Total Recall" gave me numerous interesting insights into his background as well as his career in entertainment and politics.I found the childhood part particularly fascinating. Growing up in post-war Austria, in a not-so well-off family and with a father from the military shaped his character. After that came the time for fulfilling his greatest dream of success in bodybuilding. I have to admit I've never found this sport interesting but the way he describes his meticulous preparation and true passion allowed me to find a new appreciation for bodybuilding.

Schwarzenegger's career in movie industry is a true testimony to his perseverance. Once he set out a goal he did everything he possibly could to achieve it. This part of his biography was really interesting to follow as there were many stories from the industry, curious facts that are normally not known by the viewer who has no access to what is happening backstage.
The author's story is presented in a very entertaining way and it reads really well. What particularly impressed me was the author's honesty in admitting the mistakes he's made over the years and how they affected his life. I think I might have underestimated his intelligence and political instincts. I tended to believe that his fame and people skills were the driving force behind his success, while in reality there is a lot of cunning and calculating. Hi involvement with the disabled, prisoners, fighting juvenile delinquency, are aspects of his career that I wasn't aware of and was very impressed by.

Schwarzenegger is a man of contrasts. He is a republican who married a woman firmly rooted in democrat family and throughout his political career managed to have good relationships with representatives of both parties. He is an environmentalist who drives a hummer. And yet in between all of those contrasts there is a wise man who's always tried to achieve more for himself and his people. A man who has achieved pretty much everything he planned. "Total Recall" is a positive story that can be both entertaining and motivating.

#9/2018 The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Non-fction books tend not to be too impressive when it comes to aesthetics, rich style, original ideas. What they can offer in return, is a true, honest, and often powerful message. Such is the case of "The Tattooist of Auschwitz". 
It tells a story of Lale, a young dandy from Slovakia who is sent to a concentration camp. From the very beginning, his narrative is characterized by bewilderment and lack of understanding. New camp reality seems completely incomprehensible and the shock comes through visibly. Further events, as Lale learns how the camp functions, bring even more feelings of utter horror. Hunger, violence, countless deaths, slowly become his everday reality. Despite that, he refuses to give up and fights to make the lives of people around him at least a little better. Soon he becomes the camp's "Tattoowierer" and starts tattooing the number on hands of new prisoners. As such, he was the first official to "welcome" newly arrived prisoners. He tried to soften the initial shock by being polite. There he meets Gita, a woman who will change his life and give him energy to push on and fight for survival.
I've read a few similar books and while I am familiar with the historical context, such first person narrative always makes a stronger impression on me. The book is based on interviews with the real Lale Sokolov and ends with some of his original comments. Not an easy novel but definitely worth reading.

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