Entdeckungen im Garten und liebe Post von ganz weit weg


heute möchte ich Euch wieder einmal in unseren Garten entführen... da gibt es nämlich einiges zu entdecken. Habt Ihr Lust?
...today I'd like to take you on a little stroll in our garden again... there are many things waiting to be discovered. Would you like to come along with me?

Wie Ihr auf der Collage erkennen könnt, machen unsere Päonien ihrem Zweitnamen "Pfingstrosen" nicht wirklich Ehre... Es wird noch etwas dauern, bis sie uns mit all ihrer Pracht erfreuen werden... *seufz* Aber nun geht's weiter mit einem kleinen Suchbild. Schaut mal, ob Ihr hier einen Prominenten erkennen könnt:
As you can see on our collage our peonies don't do their second name justice, in Germany we also call them "Pentecost roses"... It will still take some time until they will spread their beauty... *sigh* But now we continue with a little image search. Can you spot the VIP here?

Nein, nicht das Flatterbärchen... *kicher* Aber unsere drei Salbeipflanzen outen sich doch eindeutig als Mickey Mouse-Fans, oder?
No, not the flutterybeary... *giggle* But our three sage plants are some true Mickey Mouse-fans, aren't they?
Und weil es gerade so viel Spaß macht, kommt hier noch ein kleines Suchspiel. Könnt Ihr mich sehen?
And because this was so much fun to search, here's another one... Can you spot me?
Ihr müsst genau schauen! Ehrlich, ich sitze wirklich in dem Fliederbaum, glaubt mir! Also, seht Ihr mich??? (Falls nicht, haltet Euch mehr nach rechts...)
Have a closer look! Honestly, I really sit in this lilac tree, believe me! So, do you spot me??? (If not, concentrate on the right side...)
Aber jetzt seht Ihr mich, oder?
And now?
Und nun weiter mit etwas, was Birgit gerade so richtig glücklich gemacht hat. Birgit liebt alle Arten von Blumen im Garten, aber zu ihren Lieblingen gehören schon immer Iris - aber wir hatten jahrelang leider keine. Aber nun haben wir drei Iris barbata gepflanzt, und eine davon blüht bereits... einfach spektakulär!
And now to something that really makes Birgit happy at the moment. Birgit loves all kind of flowers in the garden, but Iris plants have always been one of her favourites - but we didn't have any for years. But now we planted three Iris barbata and one of them is already blooming... simply spectacular!
Spektakulär ist das richtige Stichwort als Überleitung... Wir waren ja so glücklich, eines von acht tollen Giveaways bei Jennifer / Plushpussycat zu gewinnen, und unser Preis ist nun aus dem fernen Oregon angekommen. Schaut mal, wunderbare Möbel...
Spectacular is the right keyword for the next topic... We've been so lucky to win one of the eight gorgeous giveaways you could win at Jennifer's blog Plushpussycat, and now our price arrived from far away Oregon. Have a look, fantastic furniture...

... und tolle, schmuseweiche Fellstücke und noch ganz viel Spitze und Häkelblumen. Ist das nicht alles ganz große Klasse???
... and lovely, cuddly pieces of fake fur and lots of lace and crocheted flowers. Isn't this great???

Dear Jennifer, thank you once again - we are so lucky having won this gorgeous price. So much fun and so many possibilities... thanks!!! You're such a lovely and generous lady - it's people like you that make blogging fun!

Euch allen wünschen wir ein schönes Pfingstwochenende!
Have a great Pentecost-weekend!

Liebe Grüße / Hugs

Bane Comic vs Movie Info

There's a lot of misconceptions surrounding the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises villain.  Some think he's an idiotic 'roid head, while others think he's some absurdly muscular creature that could grapple with the Hulk.  I'm here to set the record straight on all things Bane.  Consider this your go-to guide before walking into the third (and final) Batman movie by Christopher Nolan on July 20.

Comic Origin vs Movie Origin

Bane and Bruce Wayne were born into this world under completely different circumstances.  Little baby Bruce was brought into an environment of luxury and wealth.  Meanwhile, south of the United States, Bane was born into the dark and violent setting of an island prison.  But why was Bane born into a prison?  What could possibly be the reason to force an innocent child into such a life?  Well, Bane's father was a revolutionary and was able to elude Santa Prisca's authorities.  They weren't too fond of that, so the flawed government decided that his son would be sentenced for his father's crimes.  The Batman villain had a life sentence before even learning to walk.  

It was adapt or die for Bane.  Surrounded by death and brutality, it wasn't long before that cruel world came crashing down on him.  While wee Wayne was enjoying a play, Bane was hiding a knife in a teddy bear he named 'Osoito.'  A man by the name of Trogg saved the young Bane from an attacker, but in the process Bane was hit off a ledge and knocked out.  While unconscious, he had a vision of his future-self and the grown up version delivered a powerful message.  He said the world was his to conquer, but only one thing stands in his way: fear.  Abolish that emotion and he will be second to none.  Bane woke abruptly and took the message to heart.  He equipped his knife and paid a visit to the man who tried to attack him.  He slaughtered the man and as a result was thrown into the hole, an isolation well that would flood every night and was infested with rats.  This experience made him tough as nails, and when he was finally released about ten years later, the inmates viewed him as a living legend. 

Bane then carried on the path his future-self spoke of.  Not a moment of any day was wasted for Bane.  He read every book he could to sharpen his mind.  He learned multiple languages and soaked in every bit of information that he could.  His mind wasn't the only part of his body getting a workout either.  Bane did a ridiculous workout routine daily which consisted of a thousand push ups, a thousand sit ups, and a thousand pull ups. 

Inmates often spoke of Gotham City, and since he had never seen anything beyond the island first-hand, the city fascinated him.  What especially interested him was hearing about the man who rules the city: Batman.  Bane was determined to destroy this man, and in turn, rule the city.  In the meantime, he regularly killed any challengers, but one day authorities had to take him down when the body count reached over thirty.  It turns out they were experimenting on the inmates with a drug called venom.  Bane was the first subject in the prison to survive the injection of strength enhancing fluids to the brain, but he knew there was only one way off the island... and that was death.  The man was able to will his vitals down to the point where machines declared him dead and they tossed his body out into the sea.  Bane killed a shark or two (take that, Jaws) and then was able to break his friends out of the prison (Trogg, Zombie, Bird).  From there, he heads to Gotham and aims to "break that bat."

Not much has been revealed yet about the villain's origin in the movie so far, but we have heard a few tidbits of information.  Recently a TV spot was released and it appears Alfred knows a bit about Bane.  During the 30 second spot, Alfred remarks that Bane was "born and raised in Hell on Earth."  While it might not be an island prison, it definitely sounds like Tom Hardy's take on the character has faced a life of misfortune that has crafted him into smart and tough Bat-baddie - one which seems to pay respect to the comic counter-part's origin.

Comic Venom vs Movie Venom

In the primary DC universe, Bane was used as a test subject for the drug venom.  When the fluid pumps into his brain, it essentially works as a superhuman steroid.  His muscle mass increases, thus making him stronger (he can lift a maximum of 2 tons or so), slightly more durable due to the muscles growing in size, and he claimed it would also kill his pain.  Despite what many think, using venom doesn't turn Bane into a rampaging mad man.  He's lost his cool while using venom a few times, but those were totally different circumstances (his first case of withdrawal from the drug turned him into an emotional wreck, and another time it brought him back from death's door and he was pissed over how he was being treated).  Long story short, it just makes him stronger than any human, but not nearly strong enough where he's going to be throwing down with some of the more popular powerhouses, like Superman and Doomsday.

Director Christopher Nolan's movieverse is dark and grounded in realism.  Having a superhuman strong guy throwing down with Bruce feels just a bit out of place, doesn't it?  So, it looks like movie Bane is on a drug (they haven't said whether it's being called venom) that does take one attribute from the comic counter-part: it numbs his pain.  Nolan's Bane suffered a critical injury at a younger age, and apparently it was so severe that he requires a constant dose of the anesthetic so he can cope with the physical trauma.  So as far as I know so far, the drug does nothing to boost his strength. 

However, in The New 52 (basically one big semi-reboot to DC Comics) Bane's venom makes him stronger than before (to an unknown degree), faster than Batman, and he claims the drug even makes him smarter now.

Story Similarities

As shown with the trailers and the viral marketing map of Gotham, Bane has rather destructive plans for Gotham City.  He claims to be "Gotham's reckoning" and has an elaborate plan set-up across the city.  From apparently creating a hostage situation at their equivalent of Wall Street to blowing up bridges and other locations, Bane's goal of using chaos to rule the city is quite similar to "Knightfall."  In that '90s event, Bane released a flood of villains to wear down Batman physically and mentally.  When Wayne's body and mind was drained, Bane broke his back and tossed the hero into the street for all to see what he had accomplished.  We've already seen a break-out in Arkham Asylum (Batman Begins), but we do know Bane releases the inmates from some kind of incarceration facility.  Whether or not it's Arkham Asylum has yet to be revealed.

There's a lot of rumors circulating around actress Marion Cotillard's character.  She's credited on IMDB as playing Miranda Tate, but it seems more and more likely that the character is really Talia al Ghul.  Liam Neeson is confirmed as making a return as her father, Ra's al Ghul, but we don't know how significant his role is.  It might just be a flashback.  However, if that's the case, this appears heavily inspired by the short series Bane of the Demon.  Bane teamed up with the legendary Batman villain and had a rather awkward relationship with his daughter.  It's possible this flashback will connect Bane to the villain from Batman Begins and he'll strike Gotham with Miranda Tate's character at his side.

At the moment there's limited information on Tom Hardy's Bane, but from what we do know, it's clear he's going to make the comic counter-part proud.  Regardless of your feelings surrounding the costume changes, he looks like he'll have the might to put a beating on Batman (seeing him drop that cowl gives me goosebumps) and the raw intellect to bring Gotham to its knees. And hey, 
even if you don't like the costume, we can at least agree it beats the hell out of his appearance in Batman & Robin.

Related links to feed your fanboy fix: 

Old Phuket Town Getting a Face Lift

One of the things that everyone notices here in Phuket, and just about everywhere in Thailand - overhead cables. There are power cables, phone cables, internet cables, all kinds of cables and sometimes it looks terrible. After living here for so long, I have developed a blind spot for cables, but when you come to an area with no wires hanging over the street, it's very noticeable! It looks so clean and tidy. And there are very few wire/cable-free places in Phuket. Putting all cables underground is expensive and with continual upgrades in technology, can lead to endless digging with cables being replaced. In the heart of Old Phuket Town - which blog readers may know is my favourite part of Phuket - a couple of streets were cleared of cables already a couple of years ago.

Thalang Road Phuket

(above) Thalang Road, photo taken December 2010 during the Phuket Street Show

Soi Romanee

(above) Soi Romanee, a narrow lane connecting Thalang Road with Dibuk Road

Only these 2 streets had been done, but plans were in place to remove cables from many other sections of street around the old town along Dibuk Road, Krabi Road, Yaowarat Road and Phuket Road. A map might be useful to explain, and voila ...

Map of old Phuket Town showing plans for removing overhead cables

Thanks to the Phuket Gazette website for the map. Well, plans are all very well, and over the last year, certainly some roads have been dug up, but all the cables were still there. And then suddenly a couple of weeks ago, we drove through the old town, and along Krabi Road we could see a whole new street view with no ugly wires. It was like the work had happened overnight, because I'd just driven down Krabi road the day before. The cables and electric poles were all gone and other wires had been run very neatly along the front of the buildings, barely noticeable. Great!

Doing this work in Old Phuket Town will allow the old buildings to show their true face. Much of the old town was built in the late 19th and early 20th century at the height of the tin mining boom. Some new buildings are present, but there is a very active old town association led by important local families, so these streets (I hope) will not be allowed to become ugly! Some buildings certainly need some paint and some need a bigger fix, but I do like a few crumbly façades and I love old tiled roofs too. Hope that the remaining streets in the plan can be attended to soon. I went to take a little walk on May 19th, a week after the work had been completed in "Phase 2" (well, not totally complete, the section on Phuket Road is not done yet). But part of Dibuk Road is done, and has some great shophouses...

Dibuk Road, Phuket Town

Dibuk Road 2nd floor windows

(above) On Dibuk Road with no wires

Dibuk Road, No Wires!

(above) The Aekwanit building on the corner of Dibuk and Yaowarat Roads. Now wire free and looking great. And look at the photo below. This is on the opposite corner of the same junction from the Aekwanit building, corner of Dibuk and Yaowarat, photo taken same day, this section yet to be done - it's quite a difference! Once you've seen a street looking great without wires, then the wires look even worse!

So many wires!

Krabi Road with no wires!

(above) Krabi road, just to the west of Thalang Road, now wire free. The Thai Hua Museum is found here. Of course some parts of old Phuket town are like a living museum with businesses such as the Old Herb Shop on Thalang Road that have been run by the same family for 100 years or more. And I love the old buildings. My wife and I joke (?) about trying to buy one, but a small shophouse might be too small for us and the kids to live in!

Old Tiled Roof, Krabi Road

(above) Old Tiled Roof on Krabi Road

Old town is looking good, and I read that a new museum will soon open celebrating the local Peranakan culture (for more about this, see my story on Baba Weddings in Phuket). There's always something new to see around town. The Shrine of Serene Light is being renovated, hope that's finished soon. I plan to make some more walks in town during the next few months. Always something to photograph!

Hotels in Phuket Town

Es war einmal... eine neue Hoffnung (Fortsetzung)

seid Ihr auch schon so gespannt wie ich wie's weiter geht mit unserer Geschichte? Also keine langen Vorreden - hier kommt die Fortsetzung!
Do you like me want to know how our story continues? Well, no more talking, let's go!
Im Schlafzimmer des Hexenturms hätte der Zauberspiegel ein Vermögen dafür gegeben, wenn ihm irgendjemand die drei Teenager-Drachen vom Hals geschafft hätte. Ruby, Emmy und Purple hatten "Zauberspiegel-Ärgern" zu ihrem neuen Hobby gemacht - und es gab nichts, was er dagegen tun konnte. Und so zählte er insgeheim mit, wenn die albernen Drachen abwechselnd riefen "Spieglein, Spieglein an der Wand, wer ist der schönste Drache im ganzen Land?" - "257" zählte der Zauberspiegel - und dann schütteten sie sich aus vor Lachen und der nächste Drache fing wieder an "Spieglein, Spieglein an der Wand... " - "258" zählte der Zauberspiegel apathisch weiter mit. Im Hintergrund sah er Arthud und hatte den Eindruck, dass auch der arme Kerl nichts Besseres machen konnte als einfach mitzuzählen. So schlimm war ja nicht einmal Schneewittchens Stiefmutter gewesen... 259... 260... 261... Moment mal!
In the bedroom of the witch tower the Magic Mirror would have paid a fortune if someone would have carried the teenage dragons away from him. Ruby, Emmy and Purple made "Drive the Magic Mirror nuts" their new hobby - and there was nothing he could do about it. So he counted secretly how often the silly dragons shouted "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest dragon of all?" - "257" counted the Magic Mirror - and then they were ROFL-ing and the next dragon started with "Mirror, mirror on the wall..." - "258" counted the Magic Mirror apatheticly. In the background he saw Arthud and had the impression the poor chap couldn't help himself better as by counting, too. Not even with Snow White's Stepmother things had been that bad... 259... 260... 261... wait a minute!
"Seid mal ruhig... ich bekomme eine Nachricht - von Magica" zischte der Zauberspiegel plötzlich. Die Drachen verstummten, sie merkten, das war kein Trick. Und so schauten sie neugierig auf den Spiegel. "Hört mal zu, Ihr drei Nervensägen - ich habe einen Auftrag für Euch!" sagte der Spiegel plötzlich mit wichtiger Stimme. "Ihr müsst sofort Oberon zum Hexereibedarfsstand schicken, Magica braucht seine Hilfe." Die jungen Drachen waren ganz aufgeregt: "Klar... machen wir... wird sofort erledigt... Du kannst Dich auf uns verlassen..." und *wuuuusch* - weg waren sie. "Endlich - Ruhe!" dachte der Zauberspiegel.
"Be quiet... I'm receiving a message - from Magica" hissed the Magic Mirror all of a sudden. The dragons fell silent, they noticed this was not a trick. And so they starred in curiosity at the mirror. "Listen, you ratpack - I have a job for you to do!" said the mirror in an important voice. "You shall send Oberon to the witchery supplies stall, Magica needs his help." The young dragons were excited: "Sure... we will... we're doing it at once... you can count on us..." and *wooooosh* they were gone. "Finally - tranquility" thought the Magic Mirror.
Die Teenagerdrachen stürmten so schnell in den Eulenbaumgarten, dass alle, die dort lebten, erschrocken innehielten. "Oberon... Oberon!!!" schrien sie schon, kaum dass sie aus dem Turmtor heraus waren. Oberon bäumte sich auf. "Gemach, gemach, meine jungen Freunde" sagte er. "Ihr habt es ja ordentlich eilig." Die Drei sprudelten gleichzeitig los: "Der Spiegel schickt uns... Magica braucht Dich... Du musst sofort zu ihr an den Stand kommen..." Oberon kam auf sie zu. "Und worum geht es?" - "Wissen wir nicht, aber wenn sie den Spiegel benachrichtigt, muss es wohl was Wichtiges sein." Oberon nickte. "Ich mache mich sofort auf den Weg zu ihr." Und mit diesen Worten machte er einen Sprung nach vorne, und schon im Springen nahm er seine eigentliche Größe an und fiel augenblicklich in einen so schnellen Galopp, dass er innerhalb eines Augenblicks außer Sichtweite war.
The teenage dragons rushed into the Owltreegarden so that everybody living there was scared for a moment. "Oberon... Oberon!!!" they started shouting, already when running out of the tower gate. Oberon reared. "Calm down, young fellows" he said. "You're really in a big hurry." The Three started all together: "The Mirror sends us... Magica needs you... You shall come immediately to meet her at the stall..." Oberon came near. "And what's the matter?" - "Dunno... but when she sends a message via the Mirror it must be something important." Oberon nodded. "I'll better get going!" And saying this he jumped forward, and while jumping he changed into his real size and fell immediately in such a fast gallop that he was out of sight in the wink of an eye.
Schnell wie der Wind war Oberon - und schnell wie der Wind erreichte er den Hexereibedarfsstand, wo Magica und die anderen ihn bereits erwarteten. "Was ist los?" fragte das Einhorn. "Lieber Freund, ich brauche Deine Hilfe. Flutterby hat mir diese Pflanze hier gebracht, aber die ist dem Tod näher als dem Leben..." Oberon betrachtete die Pflanze kurz und sah dann Magica für einen Moment fest in die Augen. "Eine "Radix Transnero"... ich hätte nicht gedacht, dass davon überhaupt noch welche existieren." Magica erwiderte seinen Blick. "Meinst Du, Du kannst der Pflanze helfen?" Oberon schüttelte seine Mähne. "Ich weiß es nicht - ich habe noch niemals zuvor versucht, eine Pflanze zu heilen. Aber dieser Pflanze geht es so schlecht... schlimmer kann es nicht werden, also werde ich es versuchen..."
Oberon was as fast as the wind - and fast as the wind he arrived at the witchery supplies stall awaited by Magica and the others. "What's up?" the unicorn asked. "Dear friend, I need your help. Flutterby brought this plant but it is nearer to death than to life..." Oberon had a short look at the plant and then looked straight into Magica's eyes. "A "Radix Transnero"... I wasn't expecting that there were still some existing." Magica looked back at him. "Do you think you can help that plant?" Oberon shook his mane. "I don't know - I've never tried before healing a plant. But this plant is in such a bad condition... things can't get worse, so I'm going to try..."
Und Oberon beugte sich hinunter zu der Pflanze und berührte sie mit seinem goldenen Horn. Die Pflanze starrte ihn mit weit aufgerissenen Augen angsterfüllt an. Auch Flutterby staunte nicht schlecht - Oberons Magie wurde geradezu sichtbar als gleißendes Licht. Er hatte Oberon noch nie in seiner vollen Größe gesehen - und dass das Einhorn ein derart magisches Wesen war, war ihm bisher nicht bewußt gewesen.
And Oberon bent down to the plant and touched it with his golden horn. The plant starred at him with eyes wide open and in terror. Flutterby too was amazed - Oberon's magic became visuable as a bright light. He had never seen Oberon in his full size before - and he hadn't been aware of the unicorn's magical powers so far.

Als das Horn des Einhorns sie berührte, merkte die Pflanze, wie eine nie gekannte Wärme sie durchzog... die Macht des Lebens durchströmte sie... sie fühlte sich wieder kräftig... und sie richtete sich und ihre Blätter auf.
As the horn of the unicorn touched it, the plant noticed a warmth running through it had never known before... it was filled with the power of life ... it felt strong again... and it straightened itself and its leaves.
"Seht nur" rief Flutterby. "Der Pflanze geht es wieder gut. Du hast sie geheilt." Oberon nickte. "Ja, es geht ihr viel besser. Mit der richtigen Pflege wird sie leben und wer weiß - irgendwann einmal Früchte tragen." Und er zwinkerte Magica zu, die sich einige Tränen aus den Augen wischen musste. "Ich habe nicht mehr zu hoffen gewagt, dass es Rettung für Arthud geben könnte - aber nun... ich danke Dir, mein Freund - und ich danke Sandra, Miranda und Emily, dass ich nun wieder hoffen darf." Igor fragte plötzlich: "Und was passiert nun weiter mit der Pflanze?" Magica wischte die letzte Träne fort. "Die braucht jetzt Pflege und Ruhe, am Besten im Hexenturm. Oberon, darf ich Dich um einen weiteren Gefallen bitten? Würdest Du..." Oberon unterbrach sie mit einem silberhellen Lachen. "Schon in Ordnung - komm, Flutterby, spring auf meinen Rücken - die anderen müssen ja noch arbeiten." Magica strahlte. "Flutterby, gib bitte Mysteria die Pflanze, sie weiß, was zu tun ist." - "Mach ich" antwortete Flutterby, dem ein bisschen mulmig war, als er sich auf den Rücken des Einhorns setzte. Sofort fiel Oberon in einen pfeilschnellen Galopp und trug Flutterby und die erstaunte Pflanze zum Hexenturm.
"Look" shouted Flutterby. "The plant is fine again. You healed it." Oberon nodded. "Yes, it feels better now. And with the right care it will live and who knows - maybe someday it will carry fruits." And he winked at Magica who had to wipe some tears from her eyes. "I never dared to hope there would be some rescue for Arthud... but now... Thank you so much, my friend - and thanks to Sandra, Miranda and Emily I may hope again." Suddenly Igor asked: "And what shall we do now with that plant?" Magica wiped away the last tear. "It needs caretaking and some rest and should go to the witch tower. Oberon, may I ask for another favour? Would you..." Oberon interrupted her with a silvery bright laughter. "It's okay - come on, Flutterby, get on my back - the others still have to work." Magica beamed with joy. "Flutterby, please hand out the plant to Mysteria, she knows what to do." - "I will" answered Flutterby who was a bit frightened as he sat himself on the back of the unicorn. At once Oberon fell into a fast gallop and carried Flutterby and the amazed plant to the witch tower.
Ach, schon wieder zu Ende... nun bin ich aber wirklich gespannt, ob die Pflanze wirklich die Rettung für Arthud sein wird. Aber das ist eine andere Geschichte und die wird ein anderes Mal erzählt... *schmunzel* Erst mal wird das Märchenbuch nun wieder zugeklappt...
Ah, already the end... now I'm really courious if the plant really will become the saviour of Arthud. But that's another story and shall be told another time... *smile* For now it's time to shut the fairytalebook...
Liebe Grüße / Hugs
Oberon - modelliert von Kathleen Moody für Breyer
Oberon - made by Kathleen Moody for Breyer

Bane's Must Read Stories

The Dark Knight Rises is almost here and I feel obligated to help prepare others for his appearance in director Christopher Nolan's final Batman film.  There's a lot of misconceptions surrounding the character (he's just a muscle head or he's insanely strong), so I'm here to set all of the facts straight and point you in the right direction before The Dark Knight Rises comes out on July 20.  

Today, I have a look at Bane's must read stories.  I'll tell you what they're about and how you can get your hands on a copy to read.  These are barely scratching the surface of Bane's history in the DC Universe, too. In my opinion these are his critical stories, but if you're interested in reading more with Bane, leave a comment and I'll gladly list all of his other appearances that are worth reading (and there are plenty).

Tomorrow (5/24) I'll have another feature detailing all of the misconceptions about the villain and all of the basic information you'll need to know.  You'll walk into The Dark Knight Rises feeling like a comic guru.

Batman versus Bane (trade paperback)
This new release collects Batman: Vengeance of Bane and the four issue run Bane of the Demon.  If you want to learn about the character, this is an absolute must buy.  Batman: Vengeance of Bane is Bane's first appearance and the entire issue is dedicated to his origin story.  Written by Chuck Dixon and with art by Graham Nolan, we get to see the villain's dark beginning as he's born in an island prison in the fictional South American nation of Santa Prisca.  You'll learn about the man's motives, how he started taking the drug venom, and there's plenty of action.

Bane of the Demon follows Bane's history with the villain Ra's al Ghul (played by Liam Neeson in the films) and his rocky relationship with Ra's daughter, Talia al Ghul (allegedly also in the upcoming film).  For the fans that'll want to read all of these events in proper order, it's important to note that this story takes place after Batman: Vengeance of Bane II - Redemption.

How do you get a copy?
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Versus-Bane-Comics-Paperback/dp/1401233775
Midtown Comics: http://www.midtowncomics.com/store/dp.asp?PRID=1168292
Mycomicshop: http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=22640925

Knightfall (Part One and Two)
"Knightfall" is the massive story that helped put Bane on the map and define the character for the general audience. Free from his life in prison, Bane has but one goal set in his sights: to destroy Batman.  Kicking-off  the story by creating a massive breakout at Arkham Asylum, the masked villain sits back and watches as the onslaught of villains create chaos across the city, forcing the Dark Knight to his physical and mental limits.  The story definitely feels a little dated at times, but it's fun and mandatory reading if you want to know more about the character before The Dark Knight Rises.

How do you get a copy?
(Pt 1)http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Knightfall-Part-One-Broken/dp/1563891425
(Pt 2)http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Knightfall-Part-Rules-Night/dp/B005KFIKGQ/ref=pd_sim_b_7
Midtown Comics:
(Pt 1) http://ww.www.midtowncomics.com/store/dp.asp?PRID=Batman+Knightfall+Part+1+_8233
(Pt 2) http://webmail.www.midtowncomics.com/store/dp.asp?PRID=Batman+Knightfall+Part+2+_8234
Mycomicshop: http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=309091

Batman: Vengeance of Bane II - The Redemption (issue)
Bane is back in prison after the events of "Knightfall" and he has a whole new agenda.  Once again he's hunting for venom, but this time around he's not seeking to use it, he wants to destroy the steroid.  This issue proves that Bane can become one of Batman's ultimate threats even without the aid of the muscle boosting drug.  Witness Bane's recovery from chubby and defeated villain to a physical and intellectual beast that many will come to fear.

How do you get a copy?
Midtown Comics: http://smtp.www.midtowncomics.com/store/dp.asp?PRID=Batman+Vengeance+of+Bane+_107134
Mycomicshop:  http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=202501

Detective Comics #701 (issue)
Now working with Ra's al Ghul (read Bane of the Demon for details!), Bane heads to Gotham City and encounters Batman.  Prepare for many punches and kicks.  If you're looking for an epic Batman and Bane fight, then this is your go-to issue.  That really should be enough to make you want to read this one, right?

How do you get a copy?
Midtown Comics: http://www.midtowncomics.com/store/dp.asp?PRID=Detective+Comics+%23701_196619
Mycomicshop: http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?tid=100871&pgi=701

Batman: Bane (issue)
Beaten down by Batman and drifting into the sea, Bane bumps into a ship and hops on.  Except this isn't your every day vessel... it has nuclear supplies.  Bane commandeers the ship like a boss and plans to use the weapons on Gotham City.  Naturally, Batman and Nightwing (the original Robin all grown up and awesome) won't stand for it and face off against Bane once again.  Guess who wins? Bane, and he nukes Gotham City, too!  Okay, maybe not, but the story's by one of the men who created the character (Chuck Dixon) and definitely worth owning.

How do you get a copy?
Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Bane-Chuck-Dixon/dp/B000TRW5SE
Midtown Comcis: n/a
Mycomicshop: http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=99081

Azrael #36-40 (issues)
Jean-Paul Valley beat Bane into a coma awhile ago, so you can bet Bane has been waiting for a chance to pummel JPV's face with his over-sized fists.  Some years later, we finally get the rematch we've been waiting for.  But it's not just one match, it's a handful and they're all well worth the wait.  Bane doesn't want Azrael dead, he wants him to suffer.  And to do so, he tries to make the hero addicted to venom.  Brutal battles ensue.

How do you get a copy?
Amazon: (then search manually for other issues)http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=azrael+36&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Aazrael+36&ajr=2
Midtown Comics: http://www.midtowncomics.com/store/search.asp?q=Azrael++%28comics%29&pg=2&reld=1/1/1900&reld2=1/1/1900&furl=pl=16@@q=Azrael++%28comics%29
Mycomicshop: http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=98321

Batman: No Man's Land Volume 4 (trade paperback)
A powerful earthquake strikes Gotham City and the government declares the location uninhabitable.  Citizens are forced to leave while the villains rise and begin to battle one another for control over turf.  For video game fans, it's pretty much Arkham City but spread across the entire territory.  Superman villain Lex Luthor wants to conquer and re-build the large city and he sends in Bane to do some dirty work.  This trade paperback is packed with tons of familiar faces and is sporting a solid Bane and Batman fight which is illustrated by the excellent Mike Deodato Jr.  Oh, and did I mention Bane also lugs around a minigun?  Few things are scarier than seeing this huge character casually walking around with the massive firearm.

How do I get a copy?
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Batman-No-Mans-Land-Vol/dp/1563896982
Midtown Comics: http://www.midtowncomics.com/store/dp.asp?PRID=Batman+No+Mans+Land+Vol+4_8217
Mycomicshop: http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=Eagle%20%20Vol.%204%20%2041&qloc=N&TID=515401

Batman: Gotham Knights #33-36 & #46-49 (issues)
Bane has wanted to demolish Batman for quite a long time now, but will that all change when Bane finds out they could actually be... brothers?! Bane teams up with the Cape Crusader to find the truth behind who his father really is.

How do I get a copy?
Amazon: (then manually search for other issues) http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Gotham-Knights-BEATTY-DARWYN/dp/B001DL53U2
Midtown Comics: http://www.midtowncomics.com/store/search.asp?q=Batman+Gotham+Knights++%28comics%29&pg=2&reld=1/1/1900&reld2=1/1/1900&furl=pl=16@@q=Batman+Gotham+Knights++%28comics%29

Be sure to check back tomorrow for another feature about Bane's misconceptions and information you'll need to know before the movie.

In the meantime, take a few minutes to enjoy some madness with Bane's Best Battles.

Es war einmal... eine neue Hoffnung

heute ist es mal wieder Zeit für eine neue "Es war einmal"-Geschichte und ich bin dran, aus dem Märchenbuch vorzulesen. Na, dann wollen wir mal, meine Toffifee als Nervennahrung habe ich griffbereit - hoffentlich wird es nicht zu aufregend... los geht's!
... today it's time for a new "Once upon a time"-story and it's my turn to read the fairytale-book. Okay, let's start, I have my Toffifee-candy at paw to calm my nerves - I hope it won't get too exciting... ! Here we go!
Es war einmal... an einem geheimen Ort, weit weit weg und doch ganz nah mitten unter uns, da lebte eine Bärchenhexe namens Magica de Spell glücklich und zufrieden in einem gemütlichen, wenn auch sehr engen und wenig geräumigen Hexenturm. Eines schönen Tages treffen wir Magica allerdings nicht im Hexenturm an, sondern bei der Arbeit, genauer gesagt hinter der Verkaufstheke des Hexereibedarfsstandes, den sie zusammen mit ihrer Schwester Mysteria betreibt. Magica hatte gerade Kundschaft - ihre alte Schulfreundin, die Böse Hexe aus Oz war gekommen, um ein paar Süßigkeiten zu kaufen, und die beiden Hexen hielten ein Schwätzchen während Rolli, der Kobold des Hexenturms, damit beschäftigt war, die neu ins Sortiment aufgenommenen Traumfänger aufzuhängen.
Once upon a time... in a secret place, far far away and yet quite near to us, there lived a beary witch called Magica de Spell happy and content in a comfortable but yet very narrow witch tower who lacked of space. One lovely day we meet Magica not in the tower but at work, to be exact behind the sales corner of the witchery supplies stall she runs with her sister Mysteria. Magica was just serving a customer - her old school friend, the Wicked Witch of Oz had come tho buy some sweets, and the two witches were chatting while Rolli, the goblin of the witch tower, was busy decorating the newly arrived dream catchers.
Rolli betrachtete mit Wohlwollen sein Werk. Hier hing die neue Ware doch richtig gut! Nevermore, der Hexenkater, kam näher und schaute neugierig nach oben. "Fall da nicht runter" schnurrte er. "Ich doch nicht" antwortete Rolli mit breitem Grinsen. "Ich bin der beste Traumfänger-Aufhänger unter allen Kobolden."
Rolli was satisfied with his work. Here was the perfect place for the new item! Nevermore, the witch cat, came near and look up with curiousity. "Don't fall down" he purred. "Not me" answered Rolli with a broad grin. "I'm the best dreamcatcher-decorator among all goblins."
Die Böse Hexe von Oz hatte kurz zu Rolli geschaut. "Ein schöner Traumfänger, den Dein Kobold da gerade aufhängt - dieser hier gefällt mir auch sehr gut. Ich denke, man könnte ihn nicht nur zum Traumfangen gut nutzen..." Magica musste schlucken - sie war der schwarzen Magie nur im Notfall zugetan. Die Böse Hexe lachte. "Ja, der Gedanke, ich könnte damit den Menschenkindern böse Träume schicken, gefällt Dir nicht - aber keine Sorge, ich habe Besseres zu tun. Danke für die Kürbisbonbons - bis zum nächsten Mal, meine Liebe."
The Wicked Witch of Oz had a quick glance at Rolli. "A nice dreamcatcher your goblin just decorated - I also like this one very much. I think it would not only be perfect for dreamcatching..." Magica had to swallow - she tended to Black Magic only in emergencies. The Wicked Witch laughed. "Yes, the thought I could send out evil dreams to mankind doesn't please you - but don't worry, I've got better things to do. Thank you for the pumpkin candies - until next time, my dear."
Und sie zischte auf ihrem Besen zurück nach Oz. Rolli war erleichtert, sie war ihm unheimlich - und schließlich hatte er genug schlechte Erfahrungen mit seinem früheren Herrn gemacht. Plötzlich erregte etwas seine Aufmerksamkeit. "He, da kommt ja Flutterby!" rief er. "Sieht aus, als ob er irgend etwas anschleppt." Magica kam näher. "Ja, ich wusste, dass Flutterby heute kommt, ich habe ihn extra hierher bestellt und nicht zum Turm, er sagte mir, er habe etwas für mich. Mal schauen - da ist er ja schon... Grüß Dich, Flutterby!" Flutterby stellte seine Last auf den Boden und atmete tief durch. "Hallo zusammen. Puuuh, war das anstrengend. Der Weg ist doch immer ganz schön weit in Euer Magisches Reich, vor allem, wenn man noch so schwer zu tragen hat." Die anderen schauten neugierig und fragten durcheinander: "Was bringst Du denn da?" - "Was hast Du mitgebracht?" - "Sieht aus wie eine Pflanze..." - "Erzähl doch mal..." Magica unterbrach ihre aufgeregten Freunde Rolli, Nevermore und Igor. "Nun lasst Flutterby doch mal zu Wort kommen!"
And she left on her broom. Rolli was kind of relieved, he found her scary - and he made enough bad experiences with his former master. Suddenly something caught his attention. "Hey, there comes Flutterby!" he shouted. "Looks like he's carrying something." Magica came nearer. "Yes, I knew Flutterby wanted to visit me today, I told him to come here and not to the tower, he told me he's having something for me. Let's see - here he comes... hello Flutterby!" Flutterby put his load on the ground and took a deep breath. "Hello to all of you. Poooh, that was heavy. The way is quite long into your magic land, especially if you have to carry a heavy load." The others were curious and started asking all at the same time: "What did you bring us?" - "What did you carry with you?" - "Looks like a plant..."- "Come on, tell us..." Magica interrupted her excited friends Rolli, Nevermore and Igor. "Now, let Flutterby tell what he has to tell!"
Flutterby nickte. "Diese Pflanze hier haben Birgit und ich vor kurzem geschenkt bekommen. Mir war schon klar, dass es eine besondere und magische Pflanze ist, aber sie war in einem so erbärmlichen Zustand, als sie bei uns ankam, dass ich ihr nicht sofort noch eine Reise zumuten wollte. Ich dachte mir, ich pflege sie erst mal gesund - aber es ging ihr immer schlechter, also habe ich mich nun doch auf den Weg zu Dir gemacht. Ich denke, sie gehört einfach in magische Pfoten - ich hoffe nur, es ist noch nicht zu spät..."
Flutterby nodded. "This plant was a gift Birgit and I received lately. I was aware that this is a special and magical plant, but she was in a terrible condition after her arrival, so I didn't want her to go on another journey immediately. I thought I'd take care of her first - but she got more and more sick, so I decided to bring it to you now. I think she belongs into magical paws - I only hope it's not too late..."
Magica stand wie vom Blitz getroffen. "Woher hast Du diese Pflanze, Flutterby?" fragte sie leise. Flutterby kratzte sich verlegen am Ohr. "Nun, unsere Blog-Freundin Sandra hat sie uns mitgeschickt, die Pflanze hat auch ein Etikett dabei, ich vermute, dass es eine Pflegeanleitung ist, es ist eine Sprache, die ich nicht kenne. Jedenfalls schrieb Sandra uns, das sei ein Geschenk ihrer Hexe Miranda, die bei ihr lebt und dafür wohl keine Verwendung hatte. Ursprünglich hat sie wohl die Nichte von Miranda, eine Emily Longbottom, gezüchtet. Mehr weiß ich leider auch nicht... ach, ich hätte schon eher kommen sollen." Magica schüttelte den Kopf. "Das ist nun nicht mehr zu ändern... Und Du konntest ja auch nicht wissen, was Du da für einen Schatz bekommen hast. Das ist eine "Radix Transnero", eine der seltensten Pflanzen auf der Welt. Die darf man auch nicht gießen, sondern muss sie zweimal wöchtentlich mit weichem Wasser besprühen. Und wenn man ganz viel Glück hat und sie sich wohl fühlt, trägt sie Früchte - und mit dem Schleim dieser Früchte kann man verzauberte Frösche zurück in Bären verwandeln..." Sie sah Flutterby an und er sah, dass sie Tränen in den Augen hatte. "Verstehst Du, was das bedeutet?" fragte sie leise. Flutterby schluckte. "Aber die Pflanze ist kurz vor'm Eingehen... es ging ihr schon nicht gut, als wir sie bekommen haben. Was ist, wenn ich zu lange gewartet habe... ich hab's doch nur gut gemeint... aber wenn nun alles zu spät ist... das würde ich mir nie verzeihen!" Magica blickte gedankenverloren an ihm vorbei. "Ich glaube, ich weiß jemanden, der helfen kann..." murmelte sie.
Magica felt like struck by a lightning. "Where did you get this plant from, Flutterby?" she asked in a low voice. Flutterby bashfully scratched his ear. "Well, our blogfriend Sandra sent it to us, there's also a label on the plant, I suppose it's some kind of instructions, but it's a language I don't know. Anyway, Sandra wrote us this was a gift of her witch Miranda living with her. It was grown by her niece Emily Longbottom, but Mirand didn't want to keep it. That's all I know about it... My, I should have come earlier." Magica shook her head. "You can't turn back time... And you couldn't know what kind of a treasure you received. This is a "Radix Transnero", one of the rarest plants in the world. You should never water her, only spread her with a little water twice a week. And if you're lucky and she feels fine she will carry slimy fruits - and with this slime you can jinx frogs back into bears..." She looked at Flutterby and he saw tears in her eyes. "Do you understand what this means?" she asked nearly audibly. Flutterby swallowed. "But the plant is near to death... she was already in a bad condition when we received her. What if I waited too long... I just wanted to do the right thing... but if it would be too late now... I could never forgive me!" Magica starred lost in thoughts. "I think I know someone who might be able to help" she muttered.
Ach Du liebe Güte, das war ja wieder spannend - und gar nicht auszudenken... mit dieser Pflanze könnte man Arthud vielleicht wieder zurück verwandeln!!! Hoffentlich kann die arme Pflanze noch gerettet werden - ich verspreche Euch, bald geht's weiter!
Oh my, this was thrilling again... and imagine... maybe it would be possible to transform Arthud back with the plant's help!!! Let's hope the plant can be rescued - I promise to you the story will continue soon!

Liebe Grüße / Hugs
Euer Märchenonkel / Your Storyteller


- Die Böse Hexe von Oz von Deb Canham für Teddy Hermann Original
- Pflanze "Radix Transnero" sowie die Idee über Bestimmung und Pflege der Pflanze stammen von der lieben Sandra / Samiras Minis, die ganz offensichtlich der Meinung ist, dass Arthud nicht dazu verdammt sein soll, bis zum Ende seiner Tage eine Kröte zu bleiben... Nun, wir werden sehen... ;O)

- The Wicked Witch of Oz: Made by Deb Canham for "Teddy Hermann Original"
- Plant "Radix Transnero" as well as destination and caretaking of the plant are courtesy of dear Sandra / Samiras Minis who is obviously thinking Arthud shouldn't be condemned to be a toad until the rest of his life... Well, we'll see... ;O)

Pastel Sky ...

Just a couple of shots from the other day.  Clouds like this are a common sight these days but the pastel patches only appear when conditions are just right.

Pha Dai on the Mekong River...

Having posted pictures of Pha Dai sometime before, I was reluctant to do so again.  I believe there is even a marker on my map.  It was a long time ago, however, and we had such a nice time there yesterday that I just could not resist.  It started off very overcast, plus it was late afternoon so I wasn’t confident that I would capture any decent images.  A zoom would have made things much easier but you make do with what you have.  In the end the weather was more cooperative than I had expected.

The 75 kilometer drive to Pha Dai is a little easier these days as most of the road has been repaired but it is still quite narrow as one continues on past Wiang Kaen, heading to the Eastern most point in Northern Thailand.  Arriving at Pha Dai there is a lovely little park and restaurant overlooking the Mekong River and Laos.  It is a bit of a long walk down to the waters edge this time of year.  The not so mighty Mekong was in a picturesque and docile mood with bold rock formations jutting from the gently swirling surface of the water, while the combination of boulders and fine powdery sandbanks made walking a struggle at times. 

With just a little effort you can make it down to the main channel and enjoy watching the fishermen in their tiny boats tending nets and navigating between the rocks.  While I was photographing nature my wife and her sister were photographing each other, jumping in the air, writing in the sand and generally have a good time doing whatever made them happy.  No doubt those shots will end up on my wife's Facebook page.

Being a bit off the beaten track one is unlikely to come across any western tourists at Pha Dai.  Those who take the river to Luang Prabang pass by Pha Dai without so much as a glance one might suspect.  There have always been a few Thai families whenever we have visited, though.  For us it is just one of many lovely places we have found on our explorations of this beautiful place we live.

I wasn't going to post this but it was just so cute and so Thai.