marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
The author of many, many popular Czech children's books, animated shorts screenplays etc. (Responsible e.g. for these two.) Taken from the current issue of Týdeník Rozhlas, the Czech Radio's weekly (and one of the best Czech magazines on offer, IMHO). Where it's taken from a 2001 radio programme.

"It makes me happy when I can sit down and write something. Writing does not have to be hard work, when you are well prepared. It's the same way with everything. I don't mean, in this case, the immediate preparation, figuring out what one wants to write and how it will go, how it will end. The preparations reach deep, deep, and sometimes it happens against one's will. It's the will to read a lot, and to read good books. Because that's also a way to learn for a person who's to write something. And it's necessary not to live in seclusion, but to live with people, to live with children, to observe everything around oneself, to think about it. And all that slowly, slowly adds up and adds up, and then when there is an impulse that tells one to start writing, all this will jump to assist."

(translation mine)

marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
Disclaimer: This duo has a fairly cavalier approach to wines. Which is definitely not the same as a connoisseur approach to wines.

* * *

I made pasta with bacon and tomatoes for lunch / dinner / you-know-the-main-meal-of-the-day-that-Czechs-have-at-noon.

Father (considering): There's a Müller opened... and a Neuburger unopened, but I'm saving that. Two Neuburgers.
Me: I think I'll really have the Müller.
(= Müller Thurgau, a dry white)
Father: It's Hungarian.
Me: It's Hungarian, but bottled in Velké Pavlovice. (...) You stopped it with a stopper from port!
Father: I couldn't push the cork back in, and the stopper from the port was just lying at hand.
Me: It doesn't even bother to say what it goes with...
Father (with conviction): Müller goes with everything.

* * *

Earlier this month:
Father (speaking of a Wikipedia article he'd already come across much earlier): Neuburger is... (blah, blah), the vine was fished out of the Danube in the 1860s. The centre of growing is in Austria, area of 652 ha. It is also grown in (blah, blah) and the Czech Republic, area of 795 ha...
Me (bursting out laughing): The centre of growing is the Czech Republic!

* * *

The lowdown: The varieties / types of wine most likely to be bought by Father are Riesling, Tokaji Furmint, Neuburger, and Müller Thurgau, probably in that order (except that Neuburger would be, without a shadow of doubt, bought much more often if it could much more often be stumbled upon). And port. With the exception of the latter and the very occasional South African red, it's all whites from Central Europe, leaning heavily towards the dry end of the spectrum.
I pretty much agree with that choice, although I also share my mother's taste for Sauvignon.
Basically, give me a dry or semi-dry white, please, and by all means, make it Central European.

marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)

To my readers: you don't really have to read this, I guess, it's a bit of an anthill into mountains; I just needed to get this out of the system, because it's hit a nerve on some basic level in ways that surprised me, it's late in the evening, I have no one to share with at the moment and I don't want to end the day with it rattling about in my head.

If you're inclined to self-assessment, though, I guess it could be interesting.

If you don't want to, just jump straight to the cuteness. If I've figured this cut thing out correctly.

Read more... )



And because I did say I didn't want to end the day on that note, let's end it on this: the first baby wild horse born in the Czech lands (ha!) in centuries. (Okay, technically an Exmooor pony. Which apparently recent research indicates is as close to the original wild horse as it gets.)

marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)

I've been searching for this on YouTube for several years now, because I've wanted to share it with my online friends. The sound of my childhood Christmases. "The Old Notes", as I called the LP because of the cover. It was usually taken out somewhere around the beginning of Advent, I think, maybe on my birthday, or - well, I don't really remember anymore, just that it's an integral part of Christmastime for me. Tomorrow is the first Advent Sunday, so it's a good time for a repeat.


If you click through to YouTube, there's a list of the songs and performers in the description. I really like or love all of it, but my greatest personal favourites are 6 and 7, with 7 being the absolute favourite. (The completely instrumental 9 then pretty much encompasses that warm childhood Christmas feeling I get from the whole thing.) I still can't understand all of the lyrics, though, before you ask. It's not that I couldn't understand the language of the time, it's not that terribly different in the 15th century (unlike the writing, as the images in the video prove); I just can't understand what they're singing there...

I could not have found it even if it were on YouTube earlier than it was; the actual name of the LP is not listed. I think I seredipitiously found it now because YouTube offered it to me from a video about historical clothing.

It's probably my childhood speaking, but you just can't beat 15th century music for a really special feel.
The absolutely most popular Czech Christmas song - and I mean this, people would stand up to sing it as if it were a national anthem - also goes back to the 15th century, although it seems to have gotten a baroque makeover along the way. And with such a hugely popular song, I just can't gather the strength to dive into the deluge of versions on YouTube to find one I would like - not to mention the time.

(It seems my entries here tend to end up with the bunny at the bottom thinking of carrot all the time, because the entries tend to be contemplative, one way or the other, and apparently that's what bunnies think about all the time. Carrots. - This came out sounding like a double entendre. It wasn't meant to.)
marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
My father seemed to be celebrating November 17th with "We Shall Overcome"; he played it twice today.
But then he ruined the impression with other songs, for the large part Latvian. E.g. Pazudušais déls by Jauns Mēness. Followed by Prāta Vētra's Lapsa. Can't say I blame him for either. Then he completely ruined the mood with a song by a Slovak punk band. Followed immediately by another by Jauns Mēness. He finished the whole session with Something by Beatles. His song selection technique is very odd.

The first, though, was sung during the events of November 1989, in the Czech version popularised by Spirituál Kvintet. Which is why it seemed like a timely celebration.
Well, except that he chose the version by Bruce Springsteen. For reasons I don't entirely understand (see above about his eclectic musical tastes), he really likes him in the Seeger Sessions attitude.

Just so you know I'm not pulling your leg, here's the historic Czech version:

You can find nearly everything on YouTube these days.
marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
Some days ago, my father bought a mocca pot, obstinately ignored the instructions to wash it thoroughly and cook several cups of coffee in it without drinking first ("what a waste"), and then very happily pronounced the resulting coffee as tasting exactly the way it used to. The part that boggles me is that I agree with him.
We never had one in all my memory, and neither had anyone I know. And besides, I started drinking coffee only a few years ago and still don't do that often.
The only explanation I have is that grandma has always had this percolator thing or whatever - I'm really confused about all the manners in which coffee can be prepared and the translation - which father says is basically the same thing with different anatomy (not in those words, those are mine); and I may have occasionally tasted it as a child to see if I still hated it.
I don't hate it anymore. I actually approach it like a treat. I'm slightly puzzled by that, too.

But I'm still enjoying the Yorkshire Tea - that father used to bring from Britain years ago and now ordered online - much more. Much more often. We both have a thing for "common black tea", my father and me - that's what he calls it, with carefully put on British pronunciation. How I loved its blackness when he first brought it; back then, the choice of teas in Czech shops was very dismal indeed. It's got better (even the awful awful cheap Czech brand of tea has got slightly better since it's not Czech anymore, I think; in this particular case, being bought off by an international concern was not a bad thing, because the concern is Indian). But Yorkshire Tea is still a class unto itself which I love with all the calm fierceness I imagine English people might love their tea.

* * *

I wonder what my various not-Czech online acquaintances would think of the relish with which I devour bread with lard, salt and fresh onion these days, another blast from the past. (It started a few days ago with the need to consume vitamins in this autumnal time and being left with onions in the house, but by now it's just an excuse.) The trick is, it has to be processed lard, not that sticky soapy pressed stuff. And Czech or similar bread; it would not work with white bread or bread that is somewhat too sweet in taste.
Years ago, a visiting Irish vegetarian man was horrified by the relish with which I ate a similar combination in a pub. I'm not sure what horrified him more, the fact that it was blatantly meat-based, or the blatant amount of fat a young slip of a girl like me was eating without concern. With fresh onion.
* * *
I'm sewing a corset. It's my first properly boned Victorian-ish corset (corded Regency stays don't count in this context); I'm making it for my sister, and, partially due to my lack of experience, it's taking far too long. Also, grommets setting is proving highly unpredictable for me, and tiresome. I've made myself a tiny callus on my right thumb. Thank goodness for thimbles.
I have to keep mom updated on the progress, because she bought the materials as a gift for my sister. It's a roundabout gift and repayment in my family; my sister recently gave me money for a theatre performance as payment for the corset. I went to see one of the Cimrman plays with a cousin, who goes to their plays very, very often and this time she suddenly found herself with a spare ticket.

Anyway, I'm in the handsewing finishing stage, and I'd started (re-)reading Night Watch by Terry Pratchett, and was bemoaning the impossibility of sewing and reading at the same time. Because that would be the perfect thing to keep me going.
The obvious answer is, of course, audiobooks. There does not seem to have been a Czech audiobook of Night Watch published yet, but I found an amateur reading on a file-sharing site. The reader's doing voices and everything. It took me a while to get used to the voices and emphases being different than I imagined, but goodness it's good for an amateur job. Death's voice is run through an echo effect and it's perfect. It's so good they should just recruit the reader and make it official.
He's done Guards! Guards! and Wyrd Sisters as well; I think for a while, my reading vs sewing dilemma is solved neatly.

(I wonder how it works when I do have those books, just not in audio form. Okay, and Guards! Guards! is just barely glued back into book form by now.)

* * *

My father came to my room to share the excitement over the Latvian writing he's found on batteries he bought earlier today:
"'Nemest uguni.' Isn't it beautiful?"
I agreed that it was, and he left to look up the case of "uguns" used in a Latvian grammar.

It is beautiful, in an ordinary beautiful language way.

(It means "Do not throw into a fire." The case seems to be mixed up. Father still doesn't realise just how good with language he is.)
marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)

... this may be the first time I wished I were. Because they apparently get away with stuff like this. Emphases mine.

"Hammer Head, Single Malt Whisky 1989 (Czech Republic)
Hammer Head offers an initially dry, roasted nut nose, with developing cream soda. Becoming more floral and perfumed with time, plus a note of furniture polish. More leather with the addition of water, and a hint of warm, rubber diving suits. Very drinkable, with well-integrated spices, dried fruits and worn leather. Ultimately liquorice and oak. Tobacco notes at the last, with the addition of water."


Just how much of that whisky did the writer drink before settling in to write the above?!

(The story of how the whisky came to be isn't bad, either.)

marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
I need to work on how the beta-reading thing works, I think, and work on my time management as it relates to creative pursuits (and not just them). Better next time?
ETA: I do have a beta, I just sent the story off into the ether later than I wanted.

Also, my creative juices, at least as far as writing goes, definitely flow better when I'm alone. That should not be such a surprise, I know I'm introverted; what surprised me was the force with which listening to someone and being around someone suppressed them this time. And then I needed time to get that out of my system when I was alone, which postponed the writing further. I really do need to work on that.
Also, they flow more freely when I travel through the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands by train often enough. Definitely not when travelling to Prague. I'm WEIRD.
(But I guess Bohemian-Moravian Highlands always having felt very Narnian to me does have something to do with it. The kick I was on when I started writing The Peridan Chronicles - phew, now I can finally focus on that - came from travelling through the Highlands after a long winter.)

marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
The title is a Czech pun invented by my father today. It's presumably "macaque and female macaque", except that... "makačka" is actually a colloquial word for "hard work".

The story behind it: After two macaques escaped in 2011 and were out in the open for eight months, the zoo in Olomouc invested in a new macaque-proof place for their group and opened it today with much ceremony.

Only for four young macaques to promptly escape.

(Or maybe three. What news there are say they're staying inside the zoo and there's hope they'll return on their own.)
marmota_b: Photo of my groundhog plushie puppet, holding a wrapped present (Default)
So the authors were revealed, as inconspicuously and outside of our notice as Čapek describes buds in the spring opening. Josef Čapek, that is, in a feuilleton I read on Saturday, although I suspect Karel wrote something very similar somewhere...

... anyway, as I said, the authors have been revealed, so it's time for Take 3.

I got two stories.

Condiments (The Morning After remix) was written by [personal profile] transposable_element 

Rating: General Audiences
Archive Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Category: Gen
Fandoms: The Avengers (Marvel Movies), Marvel Cinematic Universe
Characters: Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanov, Clint Barton, Thor
Additional Tags: Fluff, Breakfast, Pancakes, Bickering
Language: English
Words: 430
Chapters: 1/1

After the Battle of New York, the Avengers indulge in a little friendly bickering over pancakes.

I love all the culture-and-taste clashing. I love the subtle and less-than-subtle characterisation between the Avengers. I love that Clint likes his with blueberries, because yay, blueberries!!!! I love that Thor eats his pancakes with lingonberries and is surprised by their thickness.

(Fun fact: Czech actually has two words for the two kinds of pancakes. The thin, crépe-like ones are called palačinky (which, wow, is related to placenta via Romanian and Hungarian and Slovak) and the thick ones, leavened or with baking powder or soda, are called lívance (which comes from the verb lít, to pour). One of the zillion reasons I like my language!)


Pack Rat (Remix of "Packing for the Journey") was written by [personal profile] syrena_of_the_lake 

Rating: General Audiences
Archive Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Categories: F/M, Gen
Fandom: Chronicles of Narnia - All Media Types
Relationship: Aravis/Shasta | Cor
Characters: Corin, Shasta | Cor, Aravis
Language: English
Words: 532
Chapters: 1/1

Sometimes, Cor can be a little too prepared. And Corin, though an exasperatingly bad packer, is paradoxically something of a hoarder.

I love how Syrena expanded on my tiny mention that Corin did, of course, come back from his diplomatic journey to Calormen with trouble on his heels. "Corin's second diplomatic trip to Calormen fell short of a complete disaster in the same way that a lost and unhorsed soldier in the desert would at least not be swept away by floodwaters. It was not Corin's fault by word, deed or inaction, but the brunt of the misfortune had nonetheless fallen upon his head." Hehe. Read on if you haven't yet, it's hilarious!

Hmm. I'm still not sure I've figured out this formatting thing.

I wrote three stories; but one of them was something I actually started writing years ago, and the Remix Madness provided an opportunity to pull it out.

For [personal profile] syrena_of_the_lake , I wrote Dear Jenna, Father Christmas (and Ilbereth), a remix of a three-sentence fic of hers that she wrote in response to my prompt... yeah, I did do that.

Rating: General Audiences
Archive Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Category: Gen
Fandom: The Father Christmas Letters - J. R. R. Tolkien
Characters: Father Christmas, North Polar Bear, Paksu, Valkotukka, Ilbereth
Additional Tags: Mischief
Language: English
Words: 217
Chapters: 1/1

Arm wrestling with the cubs wasn't the best idea. Letting them pack the chocolates was a worse idea.

It needed to be put into proper letter form, you see!

Ilbereth's post scriptum was actually inspired by a little brochure we had when I was a child (it must still be lying around somewhere), full of lavish illustrations of ways you can re-purpose ordinary items and junk and fruit and vegetables into toys and ornaments. With handwriting and poems. There was a Christmas section. I'm not sure there were any orange rind boats, but the spirit of it was an obvious fit.

For [personal profile] edenfalling , I wrote a missing scene from her work In Song and Story, Truth and Nothing but Truth

Rating: General Audiences
Archive Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Category: Gen
Fandom: Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis
Relationship: Edmund Pevensie & Peridan
Characters: Edmund Pevensie, Peridan (Narnia), Original Female Character(s)
Additional Tags: Newspapers
Language: English

Edmund wants to establish newspapers, but he keeps running into problems. Do newspapers print the truth?

In which Edmund's search for people willing to undertake the newspaper project continues, unsuccessfully. Because Narnians do not know what newspapers are, and my headcanon Peridan (who, if he is Methos, does...) could not refrain from pointing out another obvious glitch in Edmund's argument. It's a glitch that has been discussed many times over the years in this family, which is, I guess, why it jumped to my mind immediately when reading the original story.

The two ladies in the story, Amathea the Naiad laundress and Lady Dariam of Heather downs, are people I came up with for The Peridan Chronicles, though neither of them has made it to the main body of the story yet - Amathea is mentioned in a deleted scene and Lady Dariam ought to be mentioned in a chapter I haven't managed to finish yet.

The third story, the one I'd written before, is Survivors, inspired by daegaer's Captain Crowley series, particularly Bright with his Splendour and a short WW2 piece published on LiveJournal that doesn't seem to have made it to their AO3 account. And by LeonaWriter's delightful story And He Smiled over at; that wasn't part of the challenge, it's just just because it found its way into it inevitably, it's that lovely. I think I'll leave this one for another post...


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June 2017



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