07 October 2014

Pictures from Krakow part 2: Wieliczka salt mine

On our last day in Krakow we took a packaged trip to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and the Wieliczka salt mine. The salt mine dates back to the 13th century and the main attraction of going there for a field trip is to check out all the chambers and sculptures that the miners created (to busy themselves between mining sessions I guess). I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, the salt mine is worth the trip and it's not far from Krakow if you want to make a "half day trip".

04 October 2014

Pictures from Krakow part 1: Wawel castle

The two week break on the blog was due to my vacation in Poland and among the things we did was to visit Krakow royal castle, Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Wieliczka salt Mine. There are a ton of pictures from this trip and those three categories, I will be posting most of the pictures over the next couple of days - starting with pictures of the Krakow royal castle (Wawel).

Starting with the outside areas of Wawel castle which is situated atop a hill overlooking the Vistula river. It is possible to walk around the entire outer wall, as well as inside the courtyard and many of the buildings.

Outer walls
Approach towards the main entrance

Inside the castle grounds and exterior of the castle cathedral and belltower as well as the royal castle courtyard

22 September 2014

More pictures from Swedish BF&S tournament

I received the pictures that Patryk, our Stockholm player, was taking during the tournament with his high quality camera. The pictures were great and I wanted to share them on the blog, especially since they show a lot of things that I was unable to see myself.

Hope you guys enjoy another photodump :-)

Players gather around the whiteboard for a mid tournament update on their progress.

Tournament organizers flank a very happy tournament winner

Group photo of the participants, from left to right:
Magnus (Sweden), Patrik (Muscovy), Johan (Muscovy), kneeling in fron of everyone is Patryk (Lithuania), Simon (Cossacks), Jonatan (Muscovy), David (Muscovy) and Robin (Ottoman)

21 September 2014

Swedish By Fire & Sword tournament results and pictures

This saturday our club held the first Swedish By Fire & sword tournament, with a total of 10 players (9 local and 1 from Stockholm). It was a 1-day tournament, with 3 games (3 hours each) and lunch in the middle of the day.

Last weekend we prepared all of the tables at the club by fixing them up with new flock and repaired some broken off pieces on the playing surface, as well as improving the flock on some terrain pieces. It all looked really good when we set ut the tables.

Having seen how a tournament is run down in Poland during the Polish championship that Andreas and I attended we made a terrain pool from which players picked terrain for their tables after having rolled scenario choices. I had asked Jonatan down at the club to make some "village footprints" which were 30x30cm wooden pieces with sand and flock, which were used in the village scenario. I think everyone liked the idea since it eliminated a lot of measuring and time waste when setting up that particular scenario.

19 September 2014

Quentin Tarantino: Omega Genre Nerd

This is a guest blogpost by Brandon Engel

From his underrated script for True Romance to the more recent
Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. He’s almost like a composite of every notable auteur who has ever picked up a camera: he has the exuberance of Godard, tempered by the exactitude of Hitchcock, with an aptitude for recontextualizingcliches in a way that evokes Brian de Palma, with the witty repartee of Billy Wilder. Films like Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill, and InglouriousBasterds will likely endure in the same way that the works of John Ford and Martin Scorsese have.

While other up-and-coming filmmakers spent time in universities taking film courses, Tarantino took on the humble role of a video store clerk, which provided him with invaluable fodder for his vast imagination. He was enamored with blaxploitation films, vintage Italian horror, French new wave, classic kung fu films...Tarantino devoured film, and assimilated everything he loved into his own directorial bag of tricks. From the beginning, he’s crafted films that are more of a reflection of his particular tastes — whether we’re talking about the gratuitous shots of female feet, or obscure rock songs from the sixties, or the characters seen eating bowls of vintage Halloween breakfast cereal. He constructs his fantasy world, so that we might immerse ourselves in it.

Taking cues from famous directors such as KinjiFukasaku, Woody Allen, and Sam Peckinpah, Tarantino speaks the language of cinema fluidly. Consider the standoff from the sequence in Reservoir Dogs that is very similar to the sequence in The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. Or the references to Godard’s Contempt in the scenes of Pulp Fiction whereBruce Willis and his wife are mingling in the bathroom. Or the scene where Uma Thurman gets maced in the eye, which coyly evokes the infamous eye-gouge scene from Lucio Fulci’sZombi 2 (1979). Or even the references to Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill, Kill(1965)in Death Proof (2007).

Those who are quick to deride Tarantino on the grounds that his work is derivative are missing the whole point. All art is imitation, and nothing is born of nothing. Tarantino takes all the fragments of everything that stimulates him, and uses them towards his own ends as a filmmaker. What it means, ultimately, is that his films are reflections of what is meaningful to him. He doesn’t select music, for instance, on the basis that he’s exploiting the popularity of current recording artists. His movies are labors of passion first and foremost, but he has still had strong box-office performances, consistently.

His recent interview with his protege Robert Rodriguez on El Rey (details here) revealed the fact that Tarantino wants to leave the world an impeccable filmography, and its likely that he will stop making films after he turns 60. Whether or not he ultimately makes good on this claim remains to be seen. What we can say now, confidently, is that if Tarantino were to hang it up now, he would still the leave a world one extraordinary cinematic legacy.
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