Monday, August 27, 2012

New James Bond trailer, featuring lots of Turkey

The last time I talked about movies filmed recently in Istanbul, I was bitching about how the first Skyfall trailer barely showed any Turkey scenes, even though Turkey is apparently the main foreign destination in the film. [Update: This turned out not to be true, which explains the lack of Turkey in the first trailer.] Well, there's a new trailer out, and that problem has been rectified.

After some brief dialogue about stolen computer files, the James Bond trailer moves into an action scene involving a train, which apparently also serves as the opening scene of the film. This segment was filmed at the Varda Viaduct in the province of Adana, in south-central Turkey, relatively near to Syria. I haven't been to the area, so I don't know anything about the province or the viaduct, except what I've read on Wikipedia, which is that it was built by German engineers and completed in 1916. As I mentioned in the last post, some local teenagers snuck into the train station and managed to film an action sequence taking place on top of the train.

The next shot featuring Turkey comes, I believe, at minute 1:16, as the sailboat glides across the Mediterranean. The crew spent some time filming Skyfall in the touristy town of Fethiye, and I'm guessing this is part of the result.

At the end of the trailer, the Turkey shots pick up again -- there's more of the train, a scene of Bond rushing through a (fake) bazaar in front of Yeni Camii with his gun out, and scenes of someone (Bond?) causing mayhem at Istanbul's Grand Bazaar. The rooftop shot, by now, is familiar -- it was also used in The International and can be seen in the Taken 2 trailer.

I'm not sure if the metro scenes are set in Istanbul, though the extras don't look particularly Turkish. There are a couple of other scenes filmed outside of Istanbul's Yeni Camii -- the jeep ride at the beginning (I am about 98 percent sure) and the motorcycle hurtling toward the camera at the end. Anyway, that's all I could figure out... Pin It

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hello, Pinterest

I've had a Pinterest account since February, but I'd never done anything with it until Thursday...and now I'm addicted. Help! The saddest part of it all is that I currently have zero followers. So who else is on? And will you be my friend? I can beg some more if you like...

This is me:

Pin It

Best in Show: the Olympic Union Jack

Well, after all of that talk of the Union Jack, in the end I suppose its greatest incarnation came during the London Olympics' Closing Ceremony. (Never mind that it was almost two weeks ago; we left early the next morning for a vacation/honeymoon, so I didn't have a chance to get to it.) I was bowled over by the stage, and the way the colors kept changing. My absolute favorite was the set-up at the beginning, featuring London's monuments.

The Eurosport commentators didn't say anything about the design, but just now I came across an interesting article on the Telegraph's website, where Es Devlin, the designer of the Closing Ceremony, talks about coming up with the basic idea, asking artist Damien Hurst to contribute and making his design happen. From what I understood from that article, his Union Jack -- the blue-white-red swirly one -- was the main design, laid down in the stadium as colored tiles; then I assume they used lights to change the colors throughout the ceremony. Hurst's design is titled Beautiful Union Jack Celebratory Patriotic Olympic Explosion in an Electric Storm Painting. Yes, I'm completely serious. Pin It

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Farewell, London Olympics: Union Jack and British crafts

Tonight sees the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics (at 11pm here, unfortunately), and in celebration of the Olympics being held in my favorite city, I spent some time over the last two weeks knitting a mini Union Jack from Debbie Bliss' book, The Knitter's Year. It was my first experiment with intarsia, which is when every separate block of color in a knitting project gets its own string of yarn -- it wasn't hard, but it was definitely messy.

But before embarking on this craft, I'd searched the interwebs for my options on Union Jack crafts. Surprisingly, there's a relative dearth when compared, to say, amigurumi anything, though on the plus side, a lot of the cute patterns I saw online are free.

Clockwise, from left: Double Fat Jack, free tutorial; Union Jack cushion, free tutorial; Mini Stamp PDF chart for cross-stitch, £5; Rowan Union Jack cushion, free pattern. In fact, all of the websites (except for the second one) have other patterns that are just as nice.

I have plans to make my own Union Jack wall hanging, like the one to the left -- I thought it could be a good introduction to quilt-making, which I have been wanting to try. I already have the fabrics -- I stuck with the traditional blue, white and red, though I picked some patterns -- but at the moment, I don't have a sewing machine. Alas.

But this isn't my first go-around with the Union Jack. Last summer, I made a Union Jack clutch using a plastic canvas "frame" from Darice, though I still need to put in a lining. All in all, it was pretty easy. I ended up creating my own pattern -- I counted out the number of squares both vertically and horizontally on both the back and the front, and created a graph (30x37 squares) from one of those online sites (just google graph paper). I also found a picture of a Union Jack online, and I overlaid the graph on top of the Union Jack in the paint application, which gave me a basic pattern to follow.

Pin It

Adventures in Cooking: Birthday oreos

I'm not a huge fan of Turkish desserts, so I decided that I would make myself birthday cookies this year instead of trying to buy something. Why cookies, as opposed to a cake? I have no idea.

I'd stumbled across a recipe for homemade Oreo cookies on Shine about a month ago, and the recipe (and ingredients list) seemed pretty simple, so I decided to give them a try. The recipe comes from One Girl Cookies: Recipes for Cakes, Cupcakes, Whoopie Pies, and Cookies from Brooklyn's Beloved Bakery by Dawn Casale and David Crofton.

I was generally pretty pleased with the recipe. I had expected the cookie shell to be moist and chewy, as they look in the Shine photo, but the cookies were pretty hard. Which wasn't bad, just surprising. I ended up keeping the cookies in the refrigerator because it's been so hot here and it was messing with the filling, and I found that this improved the cookie taste...and also that they tasted better after a day in the refrigerator.

My only comment about the recipe is that it makes WAY too much cream filling. You can't put a lot of cream filling between the wafers because it comes shooting out the side, and so when I was done putting the cookies together, I had more than half of the cream filling left. In my opinion, you could safely halve that portion of the recipe.

In other Adventures in Cooking news, I decided after the birthday baking that I would make wedding macarons (which is to say, macarons for our wedding), which I would delightfully and gracefully present to our small group of guests. Unfortunately, the macarons didn't cooperate with my fantasy. I suppose trying to make one of the world's most difficult desserts in a countertop mini-oven was probably not the best idea. :) Pin It