Ibane’s ramblings

“The biggest danger, that of losing oneself, can pass off in the world as quietly as if it were nothing; every other loss, an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc is bound to be noticed.” S. Kierkegaard

Gran Torino (2009)

My previous post has been deleted due to a mixture of too impatient clicking and some problems with wordpress when about deleting drafts. However I think that everyone is following this post will be able to sleep with such a loss. My disappointment has been mitigated thanks to the very good movie “Gran Torino”.

I usually love Clint Eastwood films because his honesty, his mastering of the
times in his films, the excellent development of characters and his precision directing.
Many good things that nowadays it is very difficult to find in the films released
from Hollywood, especially.

In “Gran Torino”, Eastwood shows the complexity of relationships between different
cultures without sweeteners, and the long journey that some has to take to
understand their neighbors and ourselves. Clint Eastwood solves this issue without falling in an
easy and cheesy way out. There are some deficiencies in the film like some key roles are not performed by actors at the level required but this is easily forgiven and forgotten with the superb interpretation of Clint Eastwood. The script is solid and no holes, which lately in the film panorama having a decent script has become a luxury. In other words a good film as a good film should be done.

Probably Clint Eastwood is not very appreciated among the leftist intellectual
European elite because of his Republicanism militant, and I would probably
disagree in many issues with him, however if someone asks me how I would like
to get old, I definitely will reply “like Clint Eastwood…”.

Job offer

We are looking for skilled candidates to cover a high-level position.


– You must have an enormous greed.
– By any means you should apply any ethics or moral in your actions. You will be allowed or even encouraged to talk to any type of people with no resent or moral prejudices. Dictators, drug dealers, corrupted politicians, merciless property developers,…these will be your allies and main customers in order to be successful.
– You will and must take risks in a irresponsibly manner and not caring at all about the effects or the consequences as long as your bonus increases.
– Creating poverty, scarcity in job market, strengthening an unfair system and creating an unbalance distribution of wealth will be your drivers.

If you managed to screw up everything and create historical losses you will be compensated by an obscene bonus that you will be able to enjoy in some tax paradise.

Please send your CV to any investment bank in Wall Street or banks in general.

European politicians and some ramblings

Here I am, writing in an Iberia’s flight in my way to Madrid. Surprisingly the flight is on time and the flight attendants are not bitter, these two marks are usually distinctive in Iberia. Another fact that supports this, in Iberia Magazine, the CEO has a letter to the passengers apologizing by the mess (I guess he has different templates, since he must be using them so often). So here it is a bit of advice, if you visit Madrid, try to avoid as much as possible Iberia and Telefonica Customer Service. You will thank me. Obviously, if you have masochist tendencies I strongly recommend Telefonica Customer Service, and try for example to change your DSL line to a different address, it is going to be very tasty for you.

My flight is going through Brussels, which means that we are loading our plane with different European politicians and European civil servants. I don’t know how many of those guys are in Brussels, last time I have read that there are like 800 European MPs, plus 25000 staff. Then I was leaning in my seat, looking through the Belgium sky, and the figures start to fly, travel expenses by 800, translators, assistants, laptops, hotels,… and I got dizzy. I guess that with the European Parliament and European Commission we are trying to give an example of inefficiency, waste of resources, useless approach with no benefit for the citizen so it can be shown as a lesson not to be repeated later. Don’t get me wrong, I am in favor of a European Union, and I think that the way to go is to strength it, but with this army of bureaucrats overlapping competences and structures I am not sure if it is the way. Nowadays, we might have up to 4 directives or laws to address the same issue, one from your local government, another from the Regional Government, another from Central Government and the European one. As a tax payer, I get really uneasy when I see these legions of politicians traveling for example to support trade,  the case of Spain for example, we have regional governments going to China to strength our commercial relations between Cataluña or Madrid and China, then 2 months later we send another bunch of them (this time we include our King in the trip, for the pictures, I guess) for the same, and finally we send a commission of Spanish European MP and at this point you don’t know any more.

Barajas AiportThe other day I got the papers to vote in the next European elections, and being honest I don’t feel like voting, I don’t share the current view and I demand more efficient institutions that really represent the interest of the citizens and not a bunch of guys bullshitting in Brussels with the translators, with lorries moving around tons of papers in 37 different languages and all that. European MPs, you need to work harder to get  my vote.

By the way, as usual, Iberia lost my luggage…

Richmal Crompton and the pleasure of the things well done

My post today is about how nice and pleasant is to see that someone is taking time and effort to create something that deserves to use with care and pleasure. It was some years ago when happened to know that my favorite writer, Javier Marias (I might dedicate a post to him, let’s see), had decided to enter in the tough world of book publishers. So he set up a publishing company named Reino de Redonda, the name has a very literary origin but I let you to find out with some few googlings. The most remarkable difference about the books he was publishing was not only the content, which had very interesting and fascinating titles, it was also the care and good quality of the books. All of them are hardcover, the paper used has a better quality than usual, the font size make the life easier for your eyes and others details that makes you to really enjoy the book. I think that I would enjoy even if it were the instructions of my DVD player.

The first book I bought in this format was “The House” (“Dread Dwelling” in USA). I remember that days reading the book and not wanting to finish it, paging slowly in my favorite cafe, and I can’t avoid smiling. The story itself is very good and if you are  into ghost stories is a must to read this one. I think that having that excellent edition made me to like it more.

Laterna Magica

I really appreciate to Javier Marias to make this effort in these days where the fast, the superficial, the buy and throw culture that we are immerse is clearly dominant. Thanks.

The Wrestler (2008)

I belong to those who admire “Requiem for A Dream”, I was fascinating for that movie, the intensity of the tragedy and the no hope ending caught me, apart from the soundtrack that I think that it is one of the best pieces of Clint Mansell.

So I was ready to watch the movie in a good mood expecting something deserved to be watched. And I was not disappointed, I really liked it, and I think that Mickey Rourke is superb in his role, though some times you feel that he is not even acting, that he is playing himself, but who cares. He is amazing and he is able to transmit a very wide range of feelings to the spectators, you love his character, Randy the Ram, also you hate him when he screwed it up, you feel sorry, sad, pain, mercy. Basically Mickey Rourke manages to do what an actor suppose to do, acting.

The story has a solid script and Darren manages extraordinary well the tempos and with that short shots allows you to feel closer to the story. Some times you feel that you are watching a documentary rather than a fiction film. Probably the fact that there is no soundtrack, I mean that there is no a composed song for the movie, just a bunch of a good songs that are played in the background it helps to have this feeling of documentary. Don’t get me wrong, this fact does not diminish the quality of the film, actually I think that it was necessary to give more strength to the story.

I enjoyed the movie and I got the feeling that maybe we get back to the track and we start to see some good movies. It is well known my opinion about the poor quality of movies nowadays.  This one definitely breaks that tendency and though I don’t generally share the Oscar awards nominations, in this case I think that Mickey Rourke with all merit The Wrestlerdeserves it. I don’t care if he wins it or not. Who cares.

Crisis responses

I have been trying to avoid to emit any opinion about the current finance and economic situation for many reasons, among them my opinion is irrelevant and also I don’t have all the information to build one that it is worthy to be considered. On the other, hand seeing how our leaders having privileged access to all kind of information from advisers, institutions…they were not able to foresee what was coming, not even close.

Now that we are sunk in deep dirt, our politicians, policy makers, bankers, finance brains seem to agree that the whole problem is that the coward consumers have stopped to do what apparently is so needed, to consume without limits and control. We have in Spain the prime minister asking (it sounded more begging) to consume as normal to recover faster, in Helsinki metro you can find an ad where they encourage you to consume to save the economy. I am sure you can find similar examples all around the world.

These messages coming from media in different formats made me think, having a naive thought, I thought that these unfortunate happenings would be a very good opportunity to change our economic model, a model that has carried us to have more poverty, more distance between poor and rich, and being very harmful for our environment. However, our leaders seem that the only message is “Please, keep on consuming  to keep things the same because we are too incompetent to think something by our own”.

Well, I rebel against this, I am not buying these messages and all that crap, as a voter and a tax payer I demand a better solution from them. I know for some politicians will be the introduction of two activities at the same time, working and thinking. Bankers and corporations are other story.

Vicky Cristina (Wherever)

I watched this film because I still have the excellent memories of watching “Match Point”, which I consider a very good film with a marvelous soundtrack. “Vicky Christina Barcelona” is not close to my favorite one, actually it is pretty far, though I think that it is ok film thanks to the performances of Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Rebecca Hall, who I think that plays perfectly the role of well-educated repressed American girl.

Probably the thing that I dislike most from the film is the way that Woody Allen make us to attend to a tourist bus-tour for Americans in order to please Catalan Government and Barcelona city. I understand that Barcelona needs some promotion since it is selling paellas to Americans one of the main incomes but I truly think that there is another channels for that. Using a film ends up being very gross and I felt like not coming back to Barcelona ever. Woody Allen did the same in “Match Point” and London but it was much more smoother and the story had enough strength to keep location away, this time it seemed the other way around, first location, second story. It seemed that the deal was Woody Allen needed to spend some working-holidays in Barcelona, Catalan politicians see an opportunity to promote the city and voila here we go. I guess that Woody Allen could start a saga with different cities “Vicky Christina Bangok, Sydney, Lima…”, sell t-shirts, mugs and so on. Woody, I am joking, please don’t. As always, politics and art don’t get along very well.

In any case, the film can be watched with no much pain. There are funny moments and hilarious dialogs between Pe and Javier Bardem, however the story lacks of credibility and some solid background where to hold it. Scarlett was unnoticable for me, and that means something.

Anyway, I will go to see next Woody Allen movie hoping that this he has not been enchanted by any politician and he is been able to focus on what he really knows to make, just films.vickychristina

What I talk about when I talk about running

No, I will not talk about running or maybe a little, it is about the book of the same title written by Haruki Murakami. I have not finished it yet but I have read through enough to build my opinion about it.

It is not a great book or don’t expect any high literature but I definitely recommend the book, even if you are not a runner. Mr. Murakami explains his big moments in life and link them with the running. His situations might be familiar to many because in my opinion he describes the battle of I think that almost everyone goes through and it is finding ourselves and what we want from life. Running here is just circumstancial, I guess that you can substitute for almost any other activity that define yourself. In my case, it is also running and some times Haruki put in written words what I have thought and felt many times when I am out running.

For me running has become my little island where everything else vanish and there is only left my running shoes, my music and the road. And it is something so deep in me that some times I get scared if some day I will not be able to run. That’s maybe the reason why I am planning to take the bike (also thanks to my blog colleague The Real Bookish) and swimming. But as far as I can I will keep running…

Sydney Australia

Sydney Australia

Getting back…

I just arrived after spending some time in Australia…now I spend the nights of my insomnia due to my jet lag thinking about those days reading Sherlock Holmes stories under the vigorous sun while the ocean tried to cool me with its breeze. Always memories are the ones that keep us floating.

The Eternal Darkness in the North

lonelinessandthetreeI have been oftenly asked about how I handle the darkness up North, where I live, and the truth is that admitting that sometimes can be very hard and exhausting, there is something enigmatic about it that I will miss if some day I decide to leave these latitudes. I don’t really remember when was that I started to like that much the night and its darkness. I am aware of this sentiment is not original, but here the night gets a special dimension due to its length.

Although it might sounds weird, these days I really enjoy just taking my running shoes, my music and get out for running in this darkness. It is a feeling difficult to explain, hearing only your constant steps, and your breath trying to make its way in the cold air of the North, and then your mind somewhere else and realizing, that you are alone with the night. And then, I smile…